Iowa International Center Newsflash - Edition 6 - 2015
banner_header5 edited
Passport to Prosperity:
Celebrating the Global Iowan

p2p Instagram Group copy

If you haven't already heard our exciting news,
the Iowa International Center has selected five outstanding
Passport to Prosperity honorees for 2015.

  • Mone Aye, a refugee of Burma, and Bilingual Community Outreach Worker with the Des Moines Public Schools and Board Chair and co-founder of EMBARC;
  • Alejandra Vidal-Soler Graham, an immigrant from Argentina, and founder and owner of South American Beef, Inc.;
  • Nu Huynh, a refugee of Vietnam, and Executive Director of the Iowa Asian Alliance;
  • Serkan Usta, an immigrant from Turkey, and Artistic Director of Ballet Des Moines and co-owner of the School of Classical Ballet and Dance;
  • San Wong, an immigrant from Singapore, and Director of the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
These outstanding individuals - who are each making significant contributions to the social, cultural and economic fabric of our state - will be honored at the Passport to Prosperity Celebration Saturday evening, September 26, at Drake University's Olmsted Center.

Passport to Prosperity tickets are only $50, and can be purchased here online. 

Corporate and individual Passport sponsorships ensure your recognition as a champion of Iowa's rich cultural heritage, in front of nearly 300 special guests.

Plan now to celebrate the impact these outstanding Iowans are making in our communities the evening of Saturday, September 26!


Thanks to these sponsors who have already committed support for 2015:

John Deere bw logo              principal financial

bpc_black_logo capital-city-fruit-logo-web

Follow us on social media!
facebook logoTwitter logolinked in logo


Passport Honorees Recognized In Washington D.C.

Mone zeljka2015 Passport to Prosperity honoree Mone Aye (who will be honored this coming September and is pictured top left) and 2010 Passport Honoree Zeljka Krvavica (pictured lower left) were recently honored at the White House as two of ten World Refugee Day "Champions of Change."  The White House's Champion of Change program celebrates the efforts of Americans making a difference in their community.

Mone is a bilingual community outreach worker with the Des Moines Public Schools and co-founder and Board Member of EMBARC (Ethnic Minority of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center) in Des Moines. She was born in the Mae La Refugee camp in Thailand and lived there for 19 years. In 2008, Mone resettled in the United States, became a U.S. citizen in 2014.  Zeljka works as a Refugee Case Manager with the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services in Des Moines. She came to the United States in 1993 as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina after fleeing her home in
war-ravaged Sarajevo. She is a founding member of the Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association (IITA), a Cultural Ambassador for CultureAll, an advocate for refugee women’s rights and former IIC Board Member. Congrats to both Mone and Zeljka on this special recognition for your work!


Iowa International Center Dialogue Series

Upcoming Events

David Skidmore
After the Umbrella Revolution:
Which Direction for Hong Kong’s
Pro-Democracy Movement?

Tuesday, July 7 - Noon to 1 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
Downtown Des Moines
​Next week, David Skidmore, Professor of Political Science at Drake University, will speak as part of the Iowa International Center's Dialogue series about Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution. This movement was about much more than the rules governing the selection of the city’s next chief executive. Students and their supporters have emptied the streets, but the issues that gave rise to the Umbrella Revolution continue to roil the city. The event is free to attend and open to the general public. No RSVP is required. Guests are welcome to bring lunch and eat during the program. Click here for more program information. 
Nguyen square

40 Years of Resettlement: 
The Vietnamese American
Community in Iowa

Tuesday, August 4 - Noon to 1 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
Downtown Des Moines

Vinh Nguyen is the English Language Learner (ELL) Program Coordinator for the Des Moines Public Schools, who helps to provide resources for young refugees and immigrants dealing with the language barriers and cultural struggles he once experienced. Vinh will be joined by a Vietnamese marine veteran and a young Vietnamese entrepreneur for this Dialogue program, and the group will share issues affecting the different waves of Vietnamese migration, and the impact in the community over the last 40 years - a timely subject given the fact that 2015 marks the 40th year since the Fall of Saigon. Click here for more program information. 

About the Iowa International Center Dialogue Series

The Iowa International Center Dialogue Series is a monthly forum held at the Central Library, highlighting current international issues, offering perspective on current events and providing audience members the opportunity to ask questions and learn from experts.  Dialogue Series events are free and open to the public. Thank you to our promotional sponsors:

greater dsm partnership logodrake jpg 2dmpl_color

Popular videos of past Dialogue presentations include: 

- Karen Miller of Manpower of Des Moines and leadership from Capital City Fruit, 3M, Lemar Industries and Pine Ridge Farms: :Tapping into the Untapped Workforce"
- Des Moines Public Library Staff and Volunteer Panel Discussion: "Coffee and Conversations: Bringing English Language Learners into the Conversation"
- Nancy Mwirotsi, Pastor Wilondja “Willy” Msuiando and Rev. Francis Nyawello Chan: "Stories from a Diverse Continent: African Community Leaders in Iowa" 
​- Rob Dillard of Iowa Public Radio: "Being in Iowa: A Thoughtful Look at Iowa's Diverse Population" 
​- Expert Panel including Immigration Attorney Lori Chesser and Marshalltown Chief of Police Michael Tupper: “Immigrants and Drivers Licenses”


Stay Informed: IIC's Free Statewide 24/7
Emergency Interpretation Hotline


blue phone 2The Iowa International Center's free 24/7 statewide Emergency Interpretation Hotline is a valuable resource for emergency responders, law enforcement officers, and direct service personnel in Iowa who need to ensure clear communication 
with non-English speakers in crisis situations. We are happy to provide this resource and want to share a few guidelines for utilizing the service:

  • The Free 24/7 Emergency Interpretation Hotline will connect users to interpreters via phone in 220 languages, and can be accessed by calling the Iowa International Center at 515-282-8269 and selecting option 5. You’ll be redirected and asked for a client code - 7092. Please be prepared to answer general questions about your usage. The Iowa International Center relies on this information to plan for additional outreach and to plan for future funding.

  • The Free 24/7 Emergency Interpretation Hotline is designed to assist first responders and non-English speakers in moments of crisis, when no other interpretation service or multilingual person is available to help and when communication is critical. In using the hotline, we ask that if possible, please limit calls to emergency situations, and please keep calls at 30 minutes maximum.

  • If you need more extensive interpretation services for your organization, the Iowa International Center provides central Iowa's largest network of in-person interpretation services in 60 languages. Our staff would be happy to help you plan for future appointments to meet your multilingual communication needs.
    Call 515-282-8269, ext. 16 for more information. 


Interns Help IIC Welcome The World to Iowa!

Hannah and Dylan

We're now featuring great stories about our four fabulous IIC summer interns on our Facebook page. Kim Hughes, Dylan Struck, Hannah Halloran and Suzanne Sontag are making things 
happen and gathering some great global experiences along the way. When it comes down to it, we just couldn't do our work without them!  Click here to read more as we post updates on our Facebook pageThe Iowa International Center is still accepting applications for Fall interns until early August. For more information, please visit our website or email

IIC Interpreters Gain Great Knowledge at IITA Conference

hind ana at IITA

Several IIC interpreters took part in a recent conference held by the Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association (IITA) in Des Moines. We were proud to sponsor several of our interpreters this year so they could attend various workshops and build professional skills in interpretation and translation. The Iowa International Center is committed to providing ongoing professional development opportunities for our network of more than 150 interpreters who provide access to 60 languages and dialects.

Please note: The Iowa International Center is now seeking to hire interpreters for these languages: Burmese, Chin, Karen, Kareni, Tai Dam, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian/Khmer, Swahili, and Somali. Preference will be given to individuals with experience in medical, legal or human service interpretation.  To apply to be an interpreter or translator with the Iowa International Center, please click here to visit our website and download an application form. 


Key Dates To Remember

Upcoming Visitor Programs, Celebrations, Cultural Holidays and Observances

July 3 - Independence Day (Observed) (IIC office will be closed Friday)
July 7 - IIC Dialogue Series on Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution, with David Skidmore of Drake University, Noon at Central Library
July 12 - 15 
IVLP program focused on U.S. and European Security Issues with visitors from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom

July 17- Ramadan ends
July 23 - 28 
IVLP program focused on Women Leaders as Engines of Social Change with visitors from Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela    
July 26 - 29 IVLP program focused on Advocating for Human and Civil Rights for Minority Communities with visitors from Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Lithuania, Montenegro, and Portugal 
July 28 - August 1 - IVLP program focused on Youth Agricultural Outreach and Extension with visitors from Russia

August 4 - IIC Dialogue Series on 40 Years of Resettlement, with Vinh Nguyen of Des Moines Public Schools
August 4 - 9 - IVLP program focused on U.S. Foreign Policy Challenges
August 12 - 14 - IVLP program focused on Youth Leadership and Community Service with visitors from Estonia and Latvia

Save the Date!

Sept. 26 - Passport to Prosperity, The Olmsted Center at Drake University 

Visit the Iowa International Center's calendar at for upcoming events, holiday observances and cultural events. 


Please visit for organizational news, event calendar listings, program information, interpretation and translation resources, volunteer opportunities and more! 

Please visit
for a complete listing of resources for
new Iowans in 80 languages online. 


Iowa International Center
319 7th St. | Suite 200

Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone 515-282-8269
Fax 515-282-0454

facebook logoTwitter logolinked in logo


Forward this message to a friend

Click to view this email in a browser

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

Iowa International Center
319 7th Street
Suite 200
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Non-Profits Email Free with VerticalResponse!