Helena group that brings international visitors to Montana is facing tough times

Phil Drake

A longtime nonprofit group that brings some international flavor to Montana is facing tough, changing times, according to its board president, who vowed the organization will survive but is not quite sure what its future will look like.

Jeffrey Tiberi of Helena-based WorldMontana talked about the challenges facing his group to members of Hometown Helena, a grassroots civic organization, saying they did not recover from the ravages of COVID-19, in which international travel and human contact were limited.

“The pandemic knocked our socks off,” he said Thursday, adding they had not had visitors for such a long time that many WorldMontana members lost interest and initiative. “Sure, we have Zoom meetings, but they are not good enough.”

WorldMontana, nearly 30 years old, is one of 95 nonprofit centers throughout the United Sates that promotes global understanding through citizen diplomacy. It works with the International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It arranges meetings between international visitors and their professional counterparts to discuss common interests.

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Pre-pandemic, WorldMontana hosted more than 170 visitors from 50 countries yearly, Tiberi said. Most recently, journalists from

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