Foundation Profile

A one-of-a-kind organization, the Atlantic & Pacific Exchange Program (APEP) has a specialism that is as unique today as it was when APEP was founded: high-level, on-site international study programs arranged for governments and businesses, either upon request or on an invitation basis.

APEP – non-profit, neutral and independent – was established in 1983 with the aim of improving mutual understanding between the Netherlands and the United States by promoting first-hand exchanges of knowledge. Founded by an American journalist (Bob Williams, who remained APEP’s president until his retirement in 1995) and headquartered in Rotterdam, APEP soon expanded its activities to East Asia (mainly China and Japan), Canada, and other parts of Europe.

High-quality program content is central to our work. APEP through its network and research identifies the destinations, organizations, persons and sites that best match the program’s objectives. Subsequently, we put together a detailed agenda of meetings at the appropriate levels and relevant site visits. To make sure participants have nothing but their meetings and visites to worry about, we arrange everything else, too: the logistics, the accommodations, the meals, and (in the case of programs-upon-request) any additional activities participants may desire, such as guided sightseeing or cultural outings.

APEP study trips – for whom?

In general terms, for those who prepare, make, and carry out policies and decisions in the public sector or the private sector. For those in, or on their way to, influential positions within government bodies, businesses, universities, media, and non-profit organizations. For executives and managers, administrators and professors, senior civil servants and high-potentials, politicians and journalists. Our study trips help them to make and to implement policies and decisions by allowing them to gather and exchange information, ideas, and inspiration with counterparts and experts abroad.

APEP study trips take participants not only across national borders, but typically also across cultural and sectoral boundaries as well as political and hierarchical lines. Often also, our programs let participants cross ‘psychological borders’ – by allowing them to expand their horizons, do away with prejudice, and replace assumptions, hearsay and second-hand information by first-hand knowledge.

Tailor-made & thematic programs

APEP study trips can be divided in two categories – with a mix of the two possible:

  • Tailor-made programs– tailored entirely to the goals and wishes of the organizations requesting them. Programs of this type are arranged only for APEP Members.
  • Thematic programs– for participants of varying (cross-sectoral, cross-disciplinary) backgrounds who are invited to join based on shared expertise or a shared interest in the program’s central theme.

Thematic programs are initiated by APEP, sometimes in conjunction with one of its Members, and characteristically bring experts and stakeholders from various backgrounds together in mixed delegations. Depending on the program, ‘recruitment’ of participants is done via targeted invitations, open registration, or a combination of the two.

In addition to great content, APEP study trips offer a prime networking opportunity as participants – whether they be close colleagues or competitors, existing or potential partners, or just strangers with a shared interest – enjoy ample time for informal discussion among themselves, en route to and in between meetings, on planes, buses and trains, over dinner and at the bar.