Iowa International Center Newsflash - Edition 4 - 2015

May Dialogue Program To Feature
Award-Winning Author and Poet

Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith

On Being an Immigrant Writer in
the United States

Tuesday, May 5 - Noon to 1 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
Downtown Des Moines

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Please join us as award-winning Iowa writer and poet 
Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith  shares her experience as an immigrant writer in the United States and reflects upon how this is a microcosm of larger immigrant issues and concerns in America, interspersed with readings of excerpts of her work (poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction) inspired by such experience. 

Ms. Grageda-Smith will also share her knowledge
and insights on World War II Philippine comfort women
and how her forthcoming novel, Gabriela's Eyes, explores this as a continuing human rights issue to this day.
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. 

Save the Date!

Iowa International Center 
Dialogue Series June Program

Zach Nunn_Representative

Washington and Tehran:
Locked In Cyber Warfare?

featuring Representative Zach Nunn

Tuesday, June 2 - Noon to 1 p.m.
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
Downtown Des Moines

The United States and Iran are battling online in an
increasingly intense cyber campaign taking place against the backdrop of high-level talks on Iran's nuclear program. 
The use of cyberspace is only the latest field of battle between Washington and Tehran as clandestine cyber espionage races toward open cyber conflict.

Join the White House’s former Director of Cybersecurity and current Iowa House Representative Zach Nunn as he
examines U.S. cyber operations, Iran’s counter-strikes and the unintended consequences of global cyber warfare.

Plan to attend this intriguing program on the impact of cyber security on a global scale. 

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.  



Our Ray Resource Initative supports new Iowans with free multilingual resources and educational opportunities. 

Donate today to support our work in welcoming the
world to Iowa. 

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 About the Iowa International Center Dialogue Series

The Iowa International Center Dialogue Series, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, 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 sponsors:


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In Case You Missed It:


Our April Iowa International Center Dialogue Series Program featured an outsanding panel of local business leaders and human resource experts from Capital City Fruit, 3M, Pine Ridge Farms, Manpower Des Moines and Lemar Industries. This was an important discussion about inclusion of refugees and immigrants in central Iowa's workforce. Click here to watch the presentation.

Popular video recordings from past presentations also include: 

- 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”


Nominations for 2015 Passport to Prosperity
 Awards Close May 26

Download the Passport to Prosperity 2015 Nomination Form Here!



The Iowa International Center’s Passport to Prosperity Awards and Dinner Celebration will take place Saturday, September 26 at the Olmsted Center at Drake University.

This highly inspiring 
event celebrates the accomplishments of immigrants and refugees now living in Iowa, 
and is well-known for its dynamic cultural entertainment and delicious menu that is representative of the native countries of each award recipient.

Click here to see pictures of the fabulous 2014 Passport to Prosperity event!

Click here to find links to the videos celebrating the lives of our four 2014 honorees: Tej Dhawan, Claudia Schabel, Aiddy Phomvisay and Li Zhao Mandelbaum.

Claudia Video Screen Shot 2014 P2PPassport to Prosperity Award nominees must be an immigrant or refugee to the state of Iowa, have lived in Iowa for at least the past five years, and have made significant contributions to the social, cultural or economic fabric of Iowa’s diverse community. Look for more information on the Iowa International Center's Facebook page and website.

Completed nominations are due by
5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26.

For additional information on nominating an individual for a Passport to Prosperity Award, 
please contact Dr. Judy Conlin, IIC Executive Director, 
at 515-282-8269, ext. 13 or


Summer Accessible ESL Classes Begin in June

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(Pictured Above: Students at an Accessible ESL Class at
Zion Lutheran Church in Des Moines)

The Iowa International Center's Ray Resource Initiative campaign supports programs that help new Iowans thrive. This includes Accessible ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. Summer sessions for our Accessible ESL classes will be held at two sites: Deer Ridge Apartments (near Park Ave. and 63rd St. in Des Moines) and a new site, Parkside East Apartments on East Douglas in Des Moines. Ninety-minute classes will be held M/W/F from 9 to 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. beginning in June. The Iowa International Center's Accessible ESL classes are taught by paid, professional instructors and help adult students learn basic English written and oral skills. 

To receive additional details, please contact Dr. Judy Conlin, IIC Executive Director, via email at 

To date, the Iowa International Center has raised more than $240,000 toward a three-year goal of $750,000 to support critical programs for new Iowans, including Accessible ESL classes, through our Ray Resource Initiative. Thank you to the many individuals, companies and foundations who have supported this effort to date. 

Click here to see how former Governor Bob Ray's work inspired this campaign to serve immigrants and refugees, as a reflection of his leadership in welcoming the world to Iowa more a generation ago. 

  Emerging Global Leaders Are
Discovering and Loving Des Moines!

WOW! It's been an exciting and busy spring welcoming the world to Iowa! 

During March and April, the Iowa International Center's Sehgal Foundation International Visitors Center welcomed 30 emerging global leaders from countries including Kosovo, Barbados, St. Kitts, Iraq, Syria, Morocco and more for intense professional exchange programs as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Meetings during these visits focused on a wide range of topics - from intellectual property rights protections to comprehensive and special education for children around the world. These programs build relationships and memories that last a lifetime, as well as opportunities for professional and economic growth for Iowans and our global counterparts. Thanks to the many 
Iowans who shared their expertise, time and hospitality to make our visitors feel incredibly informed and welcome.

IVLP Collage for April Newsletter

Click here to learn more about becoming a Volunteer Host for
international visitors


Dates To Remember
Upcoming Visitor Programs, Events, Cultural Holidays and Observances

May 5 - IIC Dialogue Series, Noon at Central Library
May 20 - 24 - IVLP program focused on Women and Justice
May 22 - 23 - IAA's CelebrAsian Festival - downtown Des Moines (We'll be there!)
May 25 Memorial Day (IIC office will be closed)
May 26 - Nominations Due for 2015 Passport to Prosperity Awards
May 27 - 30 - IVLP program focused on Journalism in a Democratic Society
May 30 - June 3 - IVLP program focused on International Crime
June 2 - IIC Dialogue Series, Noon at Central Library
June 17 - Ramadan begins
July 4 - Independence Day (IIC office will be closed Friday 7/3 in observance of holiday)
July 7 - IIC Dialogue Series, Noon at Central Library
July 17 - Ramadan ends
July 23 - 28 - IVLP program focused on Women as Leaders in Social Change
July 26 - 29 - IVLP program focused on Human and Civil Rights for Minority Communities

Save the Date! 
Sept. 26 - Passport to Prosperity 2015

Visit the Iowa International Center's online event calendar at for upcoming events,
global and regional holiday observances and community 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 and dialects. 


Iowa International Center
319 7th St. | Suite 200

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

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

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