The Iowa International Center May 2016 Newsflash

Iowa International Center Newsflash - May - 2016

 2016 Passport to Prosperity Award
Nominate an Outstanding Immigrant NOW
Passport to Prosperity 2008 051
Important Deadline: Friday, May 27, 2016

The Iowa International Center’s Passport to Prosperity Awards Celebration and Gala is a unique and highly inspiring event featuring award presentations to a select number of immigrants and refugees in Iowa, as well as dynamic cultural entertainment and a delicious menu representative of the native countries of each recipient.

Last year, we honored five outstanding immigrants and refugees at Passport, and welcomed nearly 300 friends, donors and community leaders at this celebratory event in September.

Know an immigrant or refugee who has made a significant positive difference to the quality of life in Iowa?  Narrowing your choice may be difficult with so many worthy immigrants and refugees helping to make Iowa a better place to live today, but our nomination form is quick and easy.  

Simply complete the 
Nomination Checklist available on our web site and submit your nomination along with all requested materials and forms before 5 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2016.

Questions? Call Dr. Judy Conlin at 515-282-8269, ext. 13 

Kerry Goodson, ext. 15 

Support raised through Passport to Prosperity sponsorships and tickets helps the Iowa International Center fulfill its mission to build cultural respect and understanding in Iowa, and to continue our work as a clearinghouse of information and resources for international visitors, immigrants and refugees all year long. Proceeds from Passport to Prosperity support the Iowa International Center’s Ray Resource Initiative to maintain and grow our multilingual and educational resources, thereby helping new Iowans in our state thrive!

Save the Date: Passport to Prosperity
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Olmsted Center - Parent's Hall at Drake University
Reception at 6 p.m.
Dinner and Program at 7 p.m.


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Iowa International Center Dialogue Series Presents: 
"What We Believe: Understanding Religious and Cultural Identities"

Dialogue Logo 2015The Iowa International Center and Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) continue the 2016
Dialogue Series with the program, “Understanding Religious and Cultural Identities,” on Tuesday, June 7, from Noon to
1:00 p.m.
in the Meredith Conference Core
at 1716 Locust Street in Des Moines. The
free cultural program is open to the public.

Our speaker is Dr. Maeve Callan, Associate Professor of Religion at Simpson College.
Dr. Callan has been studying and teaching religion for more than 25 years. Using this knowledge and experience, as well as interviews with leaders and representatives from Iowa’s diverse religions, she’ll discuss religious and cultural identities. She’ll touch on how community members can unwittingly convey insensitivity, either through silence or unknowingly using offensive terms. Dr. Callan will also consider how the media impacts people’s perceptions of religious and cultural identities, as well as the media’s representation of religious diversity in Iowa and beyond.

Attendees may bring lunch or purchase food from the Meredith cafeteria.  Free on-site parking is available in the Meredith parking ramp at 17th and Locust streets. 

Thank you to The Meredith Corporation Team for making this Dialogue possible.
 We hope to see you on June 7 from Noon to 1 p.m.

Complete descriptions of the Dialogue series programs can be found 
 on the Iowa International Center's web page. 

May 3rd Dialogue Update

Our May 3 Dialogue series featured Nancy Mwirotsi, founder of Pi 515, a free after-school program to educate refugees and underserved youth in grades 7-12 on basic computer coding. The technology classes emphasize tackling real-world problems with coding and prepares students for higher education and careers. Nancy and her students shared a few of their web site projects and spoke about future goals. We loved the pink t-shirts!

group photounnamed (1)

Presenter Logos

The Sehgal International Visitors Center - IVLP Program

The Sehgal Foundation International Visitors Center / International Visitor Leadership
Program welcomes emerging global leaders from around the world to study the work
of state and local governments in Iowa.  The Iowa International Center serves as a
facilitator during the visitors’ stay in Des Moines, coordinating professional meetings
with delegates’ Iowa colleagues, visits to educational institutions, business tours,
speaking engagements, job shadows, and hospitality dinners. These meetings have
provided the starting point for many of the lasting personal and institutional ties between
Iowa and other countries around the globe. 


We were pleased to welcome the following groups in May for business development, governmental relations and cultural sharing. Thank you to all of our hosts for sharing your time and expertise!

May 11 – 14: International Trade in a Changing Global Economic Landscape:
Jordan, China, Rwanda, Saudia Arabia, and Turkey

May 13 – 18: Anti-Corruption and Accountability: Thailand


International Trade group at John Deere 2 3

IMG_1682 IMG_1697unnamed (2) Thai visitor with Reps. Gaines and Anderson pt. 4 


May 21 – 25: America's Multi-Ethnic Society: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Russia, and Slovakia


Sehgal Foundation Reception 
May 12, 2016

Sehgal Foundation

We enjoyed this very special reception in appreciation and honor of the Sehgal Foundation whose sponsorship of the Sehgal Iowa International Visitors Center has contributed significantly to bringing global leaders from around the world to Iowa!

Thank you Davis Brown Law Firm and IIC board member Jason Ross for hosting our IVLP visitors, members and guests of the Sehgal family, donors, board members and staff of IIC

In Appreciation of our Generous Donors 
April and May 2016
  • The BWA Foundation is an organization of women dedicated to helping women and children lead healthy, fulfilling and productive lives. Founded in 1889, today the BWA makes annual grants to a wide variety of organizations in Polk County. The grants are intended to improve the education, health and well being of women and children in the Des Moines area, and to support programs that enrich their lives. We are pleased to announce that the BWA $3500 donation will fund accessible ESL education for refugee women in Des Moines.
  • The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines awarded a $3000 Capacity Building Grant to help us move forward with our 2016 Strategic Planning Session. 
  • Mike Simonson of Simonson and Associates Architects for your generous five-year pledge of $10,000 to help support the Ray Resource Initiative.  The Ray Resource Initiative makes it possible for the IIC to hire ESL instructors to teach our Accessible ESL classes for the growing numbers of refugees and immigrants who need them.  
  • The Christine and Brendan Comito Fund for their generous $1000 donation. Brendan Comito is the incoming IIC Board President. 

We are deeply appreciative of our generous donors. Thank You! 

IIC Board Member Promotions

Congratulations to the following board members:

Shashank Aurora most recently served as the Global Services Finance Director at Dupont Pioneer and was just appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer at Origin Agritech Ltd.

Tony Braida, formerly the Assistant Vice President, International Banking for Bankers Trust, was recently promoted to Vice President of Global Banking at Bankers Trust. 
Welcome to IIC!

 Goodson-final-1     We are very excited to be welcoming Kerry Goodson as the new     Director of Development and Marketing for IIC. Many of you may     already know Kerry from her work as Vice President/Treasurer of     the Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations. Kerry was     formerly a Partner in Diversified Management Services, a                 for-profit company that managed non-profit organizations,assisting in fundraising, communications and marketing, strategic planning, board and staff development and more. We are looking forward to having Kerry on the team.


Upcoming Events! 

Saturday May 28 at CelebrAsian - Gateway Park 

CelebrAsian is the largest Asian American event in Iowa, showcasing cultural exhibits, history, food, performance artists, sports, martial arts, and family-friendly activities.
Please visit the Iowa International Center booth for educational games and fun activities for children and adults.  You'll find us at the Diplomacy Village #17, Tent D. See you there! 

Saturday, June 4 at World Refugee Day - Valley Community Center, WDM

World Refugee Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. We want to invite you to celebrate with us the contributions of refugees in Des Moines. Please also feel free to share this with anyone that you think would be interested in attending. This year members from the various ethnic groups in Des Moines will prepare food, dance performances, and music as well as a soccer tournament of 12 teams. There will be a variety of refugee serving agencies on hand sharing the work they do as well including us. We are pleased to be a Sponsor again this year and hope to see you there! 

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

Please visit
for a complete listing of resources for
new Iowans in 100 languages online. 


Iowa International Center
319 7th St. | Suite 200

Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone 515-282-8269
Fax 515-282-0454
Open M - F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

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