News in Brief

GAO Welcomes 2024 Cohort to its International Auditor Fellowship Program

June 17, 2024

By Melissa Alvisi, GAO Student Intern

On April 17, 2024, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) welcomed 16 fellows for its 42nd cohort of the annual International Auditor Fellowship Program (IAFP). With over 640 officials from the SAIs of 109 countries as graduates from the program, the IAFP is excited to announce this year’s fellows come from Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Georgia, India, Kosovo, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ukraine.

This is the largest cohort in recent years, and the growing participation rates showcase the success of this program and its importance across INTOSAI regions.

It is also the first time that the SAIs of Madagascar and Ukraine are participating in the IAFP, making them great additions to the list of participating countries.

About the IAFP Program

Established in 1979, the IAFP aims to enhance capabilities of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) to fulfill their missions and increase accountability, transparency and governance worldwide covering auditing practices, personal, and professional development, and cultural exchange. The program is open to middle to senior level officials positioned in their SAIs to transfer learning.

During the 3-month program led by GAO’s Office of Strategic Planning and External Liaison, the fellows will have the opportunity to take courses and informative and educational panels led by GAO volunteer staff covering a range of topics, including GAO’s auditing practices and leadership development. The program also requires each fellow to complete a strategy paper designed to improve their SAI’s operations and effectiveness.

The program’s value is also enhanced by the participation of GAO staff who serve as mentors and sponsors. Mentors play a critical role in helping fellows as they prepare their strategy papers. Sponsors organize cultural exchange activities and events to help fellows learn more about US culture, and to enable the fellows to share their home country’s culture with program staff and participants. Engaging in additional activities beyond classroom training providers an excellent opportunity for fellows to connect and expand their network.

Photo of the GAO headquarters building where fellows receive their training. Source: U.S. GAO

The IAFP is a high priority to GAO as it is one of the programs that enables the agency to provide capacity development support to SAIs worldwide. Many program graduates have gone on to become Auditors General, Deputy Auditors General, or Government Ministers.

The 2024 fellows pose for a picture in front of GAO Headquarters during their second week of the program. Pictured in front row from left to right: fellows from Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Georgia, Madagascar, and Malawi. Pictured in back row from left to right: fellows from Albania, Argentina, Brazil, India, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, and Nepal.

To date, the fellows have positively engaged in sessions and courses. In reflecting on their experience so far, one fellow remarked, “I look forward to making new memories with new colleagues from other SAIs” and added “we all add so much and our different backgrounds only enhance the diversity of the program”. And another fellow said “I feel like I am home, everyone has been very welcoming so far!” It has been an enriching experience for the IAFP Team as well.  

To connect IAFP alumni with the current fellows, the IAFP moderated an Alumni Panel, where current fellows had the chance to meet former fellows from 2011, 2019, and 2023, respectively from Morocco, Belize, and Greece. It was a great learning experience as each fellow is at a different point in their career. The alumni shared their key takeaways, including staying focused in order to succeed, learning by taking insights from former fellows’ strategy papers, and that fully immersing in the experience is their best teacher.

IAFP Alumni from Morocco, Belize, and Greece participate in a panel session for the 2024 GAO fellows.

Building from this alumni connection, the IAFP recently supported alumni in launching an IAFP Alumni Network. Led by the alumni for the alumni, among planned Network activities include hosting an Alumni Network Webinar Series throughout the year for current and former IAFP fellows. In addition, the alumni are currently working on a mentorship program for fellows to enhance the connection between IAFP cohorts throughout the years and to maintain a professional relationship. If you’re an alumnus of the IAFP and have not yet joined the LinkedIn Alumni Network group, you can do so here.

The fellows are eager to work on their strategy papers as they plan to explore Washington DC for the remaining time in the program. They have so far had the chance to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo, U.S. Capitol, and White House, among a number of events.

The IAFP has announced the 2025 program and information can be found on the program website on how to apply.