What We Offer
Request an interpreter
With interpreters fluent in over 60 languages and dialects, we help facilitate appointments to medical clinics, government agencies, schools, non-profit organizations, businesses.
Take English Classes
IIC offers free English Language Learner ELL classes at a variety of locations, and now virtually! We offer classes throughout the week.
IIC hosts international groups year-round. Our professional hosts get to share their expertise with people from all over the world; our home hosts share dinner and conversation with visitors.
Passport to Prosperity
Thank you for celebrating our 2020 Honorees and our global community. Every year we look forward to honoring the economic, social, and cultural contributions of new Iowans to our community. We will be again celebrating Passport to Prosperity in Fall 2021.
Founded in 1938, the Iowa International Center began by welcoming and providing safety for refugees fleeing Germany and Poland. Since that time, the Iowa International Center has been providing personal and professional opportunities linking Iowans with people from around the world. The Iowa International Center was formed by a group of volunteers to assist immigrants fleeing the war in Europe. In 1941, the Center partnered with a group of community organizations to sponsor a Panamanian student’s trip to Iowa -a venture that led to the formation of the Pan American Board of Education. In the 1940s, this organization sponsored 150 college students from Panama and changed its name to the Iowa Children’s Institute of Language and Culture. Elinor Robson was hired as director. Over time, the name of the organization, its staff, volunteers and locations have experienced changes the essential goal – connecting people and changing lives – has remained unchanged. A focus of the Iowa International Center is to provide access to important educational and cultural resources to Iowans, new Iowans, and international visitors in Iowa. The overarching impact of our work provides economic and cultural leadership resulting in Iowa being a more inclusive and welcoming place to live, work and raise a family.
through an ever increasing number of languages, with currently more than 60 languages and dialects and a network of 150 professional interpreters.
facilitated by ICC with the U.S. Department of State and USAID
a monthly public forum featuring experts on relevant international issues and topics.
free and in 180 languages to assist non-English speakers
In September, the Iowa International Center virtually welcomed 16 international visitors from across Africa who participated in a cybersecurity program that highlighted the need for global collaboration. Cybersecurity is an issue that transgresses borders. By bringing together professionals from around the world, we can work together towards building a safer cyberspace for all. As a Read more about Global Collaboration to Promote a Safer Cyberspace[…]
Representative Marti Anderson has been a continuous supporter of ours and has done great work at the Capitol. We recently asked Anderson to share some thoughts on the connection between her work and what we do at Iowa International Center. Q: How do you feel welcoming international visitors and promoting international understanding, helps the work Read more about Q & A with Iowa State Representative Marti Anderson[…]
Iowa International Center had a chance to talk with Kathleen Richardson, Dean, and professor at Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Ms. Richardson has met with many international colleagues on a variety of platforms, including through IIC’s international visitor program. In the past, Ms. Richardson worked for The Des Moines Register and as Read more about Q&A with a Journalism Professor: What we have in common[…]
On March 30th, Iowa International Center hosted the first installment of its Global Café series. The event centered around the topic of Women Empowerment and featured two influential European women, both of whom visited Iowa a few years ago as part of a International Visitor Leadership Program. The first speaker of the day was Ms. Read more about Global Café Recap: Women Empowerment[…]
Meet Dr. Ahmed Agyeman, one of Iowa International Center’s newest board members. From his roots in West Africa to his influence within the state of Iowa, Dr. Agyeman has been a global advocate for community engagement and social justice. As a teenager, Dr. Agyeman immigrated from Ghana to Iowa in 1993. Even at an early Read more about Ahmed Agyeman: An Agent for Social Change[…]
Iowa International Center is pleased to announce the names of the 2020 Passport to Prosperity Honorees. Passport to Prosperity recognizes immigrants and refugees for their significant economic, cultural or social contributions to our communities and the state of Iowa. They serve as an Read more about IIC Announces 2020 Passport to Prosperity Honorees[…]
“Everyone should have to attend classes like these!” said Rachael, an Iowa International Center interpreter, after finishing interpreting for a financial literacy class at Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. One of the benefits of being involved in the class is that interpreters share in the excitement about what they learn. And now she wants other Read more about IIC Interpreters: Using Language to Build Trust and Homes[…]
Ten special education professionals from Belarus will visit Des Moines, Iowa from April 11 through May 2, 2018. As part of the Community Connections Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the goal of this experience is to strengthen their professional development around special education. By seeing different educational Read more about The CCP International Visitors from Belarus[…]
Are you interested in helping refugees and immigrants get out of poverty? If yes, please consider applying to be our AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Iowa International Center. We need a program coordinator for our English Language Learning (ELL) program. Currently, we serve about 75 adult students annually from a variety of backgrounds, including Somalia, Read more about Iowa International Center Seeks AmeriCorps VISTA[…]
Here at the Iowa International Center we believe in the concept that every individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations, “one handshake at a time.” Now in my third month as executive director, I love reflecting on the numerous handshakes I’ve already shared and the promise of so many Read more about The Many Faces of Citizen Diplomacy[…]