Iowa International Center Newsflash - Edition 7 - 2015
IIC's Accessible English Classes Help
Build Skills - And a Sense of Community
The inability to communicate in English and engage with members outside of one's own community can be an isolating - and sometimes devastating - experience. An article just this week by Rehka Basu of the Des Moines Register shares the impact of depression and isolation on Bhutanese refugees in Iowa - leading to hopelessness, cultural conflict and for some, even suicide. Pictured above are students gathered for the 9 a.m. ESL Class at Deer Ridge Apartments, five of whom are from Bhutan. Students from other countries, including Laos, Sudan, Congo, Somalia and China, are also learning how to communicate in English and improve their lives through our ESL classes on site at Deer Ridge Apartments. The classes are privately supported throught the Iowa International Center's Ray Resource Initiative campaign - designed to give new Iowans the resources needed to thrive in our state. Free instruction and professional teachers help to engage students, build trust and create strong connections - all for the benefit of refugees and their families. The inspiration for this campaign comes from former Governor Ray's leadership in welcoming and providing critical resources to refugees coming to Iowa a generation ago. The Iowa International Center currently offers Accessible ESL classes for refugees and immigrants in two locations in Des Moines, several times a week.
Your contribution to support this work has a direct impact on the success of new Iowans in our community!
40 Years of Resettlement:
Vinh Nguyen is the English Language Learner (ELL) Program Coordinator for the Des Moines Public Schools, and helps provide resources for young refugees and immigrants dealing with the language barriers and cultural struggles he once experienced. During this Dialogue program, Vinh will be joined by a Vietnamese marine veteran and a young Vietnamese entrepreneur, 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.
One State, Many Faiths:
Religious Diversity in Iowa
Tuesday, September 1 - Noon to 1 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
Downtown Des Moines
Dr. Maeve Callan, Associate Professor of Religion at Simpson College in Indianola, has been studying and teaching religion for more than 25 years. A first-generation American whose family emigrated from Ireland, her book, The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish: Vengeance and Heresy in Medieval Ireland, was published earlier this year by Cornell University Press in the U.S. and Four Courts Press in Ireland. During this Dialogue Program, Dr. Callan will discuss Iowa’s rich religious diversity, which contradicts common assumptions and will explore the ways in which religious diversity and American democracy mutually enrich and challenge each other. Click here for more program information.
About the Iowa International Center Dialogue Series
The Iowa International Center Dialogue Series is a monthly forum highlighting current international issues and 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. We thank our promotional sponsors:
- 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"
IIC Welcomes New Board Member Christa Olson
The Iowa International Center is proud to welcome Dr. Christa Olson of Drake University to our Board of Directors. Dr. Olson serves as Drake University’s first Vice Provost for International Programs. In this capacity, she is charged with developing and advancing Drake’s Internationalization and Global Engagement Strategic plan, overseeing administrative offices responsible for supporting Drake’s internationalization efforts, and collaborating with colleagues across the Drake community, in Des Moines and around the world. Prior to coming to Drake, Olson served as the Associate Director for International Initiatives at the American Council of Education.
Dr. Olson's involvement enhances the bond between the Iowa International Center and Drake. Our organization was founded on Drake's Campus in 1938, and Drake is home to Passport to Prosperity, our largest annual celebration and fundraiser. Drake also serves as a promotional sponsor of IIC's Dialogue series. Welcome, Christa!
The Sehgal Foundation International Visitors Center at the Iowa International Center recently experienced a delightful deluge of emerging global leaders. In July alone, 26 visitors from 20 countries took part in professional exchanges in central Iowa through the IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program.) Program topics included Women Leaders as Engines of Social Change, Human Rights & Minority Advocacy, U.S. & European Security Issues, and Youth Agricultural Outreach & Extension. These emerging global leaders learned, listened and enjoyed interactions with our volunteers, and built memories to last a lifetime. Pictured above are visitors from Central and South America, as they met with Mone Aye (2015 Passport Honoree) and Rachel Vannice of EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center.) Mone and Rachel shared how EMBARC addresses the needs of Burmese refugees in Iowa.
Thanks to the many outstanding volunteers who made July successful!
July Professional Host Volunteers:
Brenda Allen - Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Rep. Marti Anderson - Iowa Legislature
Mone Aye - EMBARC
Creative Visions - Ako Abdul Samad & Gary Woods, with fellow staff and volunteers
Keenan Crow - One Iowa
Matthew Eddy - SE Polk High School
Laura Graham - Des Moines Human Rights Commission
Col. Greg Hapgood - Iowa National Guard
Denny Harding - Renew Rural Iowa/Iowa, Farm Bureau
Jennie Hargrove - Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Greg Hudson and students - Valley High School Model UN
Jacob Hunter - World Food Prize
Former Lt. Governor Patty Judge
Cynde Keatin - Madison County Extension and Outreach
Grant Kimberley - Iowa Soybean Association
Asst. Special Agent in Charge Mike Kitsmiller - FBI
Special Agent Kevin Kohler - FBI
Former Ambassador Mary Kramer
Zeljka Krvavica - Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services
Peter Kyveryga - Iowa Soybean Association
Dr. Susie Meade - Winterset Schools Winterset Community School District
Kim North - Iowa State Seed Testing Laboratory
Rep. Zach Nunn - Iowa Legislature
Sen. Janet Petersen - Iowa Legislature
Donna Red Wing - One Iowa
Heather Riley - Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Nathan Ritz and the Greater Des Moines Partnership Diversity & Inclusion Council
Matt Sexton - Office of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (Des Moines)
Dr. Rizwan Shah, M.D.
Rachel Vannice - EMBARC
Kelsey Warner - Story County Fair
John Wilken - Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services
Mary Wilkins - Story County Fair
Kevin Winker - Iowa Department of Public Safety
Dr. Jeff Wolt - BIGMAP, Iowa State University
Col. Michael Wunn - Iowa National Guard
Mike Zeller - Biotechnology Outreach Education Center, Iowa State University
July Home Hospitality Volunteers:
C.N. Anderson & Christen Bain
Doug and Patty Dornacker
Wayne and Lisa Ellis
Harold and Carol Hill
Larry and Barb James
Bob "Mac" and Mary Mackenzie
Jeff and Wendy Sontag
August 4 - IIC Dialogue Series - 40 Years of Resettlement: The Vietnamese Community in Iowa, with Vinh Nguyen of DMPS
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