NEW 2017 Passport to Prosperity Date:

October 14, 2017

Join us in Parents Hall at the Olmstead Center on Drake University’s campus for our annual Passport to Prosperity Awards Celebration and Gala!  


Nominations for Passport to Prosperity are Now Open!

The Iowa International Center invites you to nominate an outstanding immigrant or refugee who has made a significant positive difference to the quality of life in Iowa.

Click to go to nomination page



About Passport to Prosperity

Passport to Prosperity recognizes immigrants and refugees who make Iowa a better place to live through their significant contributions to the economic, social and cultural fabric of our communities. This event has, to date, honored fifty-seven global Iowans for their significant contributions to our communities and the state of Iowa. Proceeds from the event will support the ongoing work of the Iowa International Center, and the organization’s Ray Resource Initiative Campaign to provide free multilingual resources and educational opportunities for new Iowans – with former Governor Robert Ray’s work with refugees from Southeast Asia 40 years ago as inspiration.


2016 Passport to Prosperity September 24, 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. This year, we honored five outstanding immigrants and refugees at Passport, and welcomed nearly 300 friends, donors and community leaders at this inspiring September event.
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, which has already raised more than $400,000 toward a goal of $750,000 – to maintain and grow our multilingual and educational resources, thereby helping new Iowans in our state thrive!

Learn more about the honorees and read the inspiring stories of our 2016 Passport Honorees



2016 Passport to Prosperity 


HONORARY CHAIR2016-sponsors-for-web



Passport Honoree (2009)
Bankers Trust CEO



Honorary Event Committee


Jane Brimmer – Event Chair
Telstra Inc. – AU (retired)


 Nicole Dohm – Assistant Chair


Dr. Judith Conlin – IIC Executive Director

Brendan Comito – IIC Board President                                                                                                                                                                                                                Capital City Fruit

Jeffery Aden – IIC Board of Directors
McKesson Corp.
Tony Braida  – IIC Board of Directors
Bankers Trust


Kerry Goodson
Greg Johansen – Past President
IIC Board of Directors
GRX Holdings


Christen Bain
Davis Law Firm


Jan Kaiser
Owner of Kick Marketing


Zeljka Krvavica – 2010 Passport Honoree 
Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services


Bob MacKenzie – IIC Board of Directors
(Retired) Youth Homes of MidAmerica


Claudia Schabel – 2014 Passport Honoree


Dr. Eleanor Zeff – IIC Board of Directors
Drake University


Volunteers & Interns


Ashley Baugh, Stacie Behrens, Claire Schafer, Harrison Yu, Emily Ortiz, Mohammad Majeed, Paula Hutton McKinley



Past Passport to Prosperity Award Winners

Sahar Al-Shash (Syria)
Mone Aye (Burma/Karen Nation)
Somphong Baccam (Laos)
Luca Berrone (Italy)
Cyndi Chen (Taiwan)
Juliet Cunningham (Iraq)
Swati Dandekar (India)
Tej Dhawan (India)
B.J. Do (Vietnam)
Deniz Franke (Turkey)
Penny Furgerson (India)
Alejandra Vidal Soler Graham (Argentina)  
Joe Gonzalez (Mexico)
Himar Hernandez (Canary Islands)
Nu Huynh (Vietnam)            
Eric Idehen (Nigeria)
Dau-Shen Ju (Taiwan)
Fasil Kebede (Ethiopia)
Zeljka Krvavica (Bosnia)
Wangmeng Lee (Laos)
Doua Lor (Laos)
Fred Lorber (Austria)
Shazia Manus (Bangladesh)
Ahmed Merchant (Pakistan)
Dr. Sachiko Tamura Murphy (Japan)                     
Vinh Nguyen (Vietnam)
Sonia Parras-Konrad (Spain)
Alba Perez (Honduras)
Aiddy Phomvisay (Laos)
See Rodari (Thailand)
Elizabeth Salinas-Newby (Mexico)
Alejandro Orozco (Mexico)
Suku Radia (Uganda)
Alma Reed (The Phillipines)
Ying Sa (China)
Dekow Sagar (Somalia)
Rohey Sallah (The Gambia)
Sandra Sanchez (Mexico)
Karuna Sayeed (India)
Claudia Schabel (Brazil)
Dr. Yogesh Shah (India)
Dr. Rizwan Shah (Pakistan)
Hicham Sibouih (Morocco)
Cladius M. Sillah (Sierra Leone)
Isak Sivi (Turkey)
Mario Soria (Bolivia)
Alicia Stessman (Bolivia)
Sol Varisco-Santini (Argentina)
Kumsan Song (Republic of Korea)
Phoukham Tran (Laos)
Serkan Usta (Turkey)
Liansuo Xie (China)
Swallow Yan (China)
San Wong (Singapore)
Li Zhao Mandelbaum (China)
Grace Zhenhuan Yang  (China)                                                           Dr. Jane Agyeman (Ghana)
Kenia Calderon (El Salvador)
Alex Duong (Vietnam)
Lomoro Moses Santino (South Sudan)
Samra Uzunovic (Bosnia)