IIC Announces 2020 Passport to Prosperity Honorees

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 inspiration to others. The 2020 Honorees are:

Samuel Gabriel

Gabriel is the co-founder and executive director of Genesis Youth
Foundation, where he works to empower underserved youth and young adults, engage
them in opportunities to become effective leaders, and provide a unified voice for African
voices. During the COVID-19 crisis, Sam has been instrumental in making sure families
had food, services and accurate information. The Des Moines Register named him one
of the top 15 people to watch in 2019. Gabriel is a refugee from Liberia and lived in
refugee camps in Guinea and the Ivory Coast before coming to the US.

Tijana Kudumovic

Kudumovic, a long-time John Deere employee, is a founding
member of the World and I (Working on Recognizing Leadership, Diversity, and
Inclusion) resource group. Tijana is known as a force of change and healing: she has
raised funds for research and awareness for Cysitic Fibrosis, volunteered with Startup
Kids, serves on the board of CultureALL and as a Court Appointed Service Agent for the
Child Advocay Board Kudomovic escaped Bosnia during the Civil War and lived with her
family in Croatia and Germany before coming to the U.S.

Abigail Sui

Abigail Sui is one of the founding staff members of EMBARC, a grassroots
nonprofit founded by and for refugees. She helped to conceptualize, launch and manage
the Parent Navigator Program. Under Abigail’s leadership, the program has taught over
400 parents, enrolled over 300 preschoolers and kindergarteners, and provided over
1,000 social services in the past five years. The community considers her a gate-opener.
Sui left her family and home at age 16 when her Chin community was persecuted for
their religion and ethnicity. Her path to the US included stays in India and Malaysia.

James Suong

Suong serves with the Iowa Army National Guard. His nominators call
him a standard bearer for bringing together people of varying cultures. Through his
volunteer efforts, he has influenced public policy and programs for refugees and the
Asian Pacific Islander community in Iowa. He serves on the Commission of Asian and
Pacific Islander Affairs at the Department of Human Rights by gubernatorial
appointment. Suong came to the U.S. with his mother as refugees from the Khmer
region of Cambodia.

Emerging Leader: Mohamed Sharif

Sharif has worked with several community non-
profits to help groom future technology talent, spending countless hours outside his full-
time studies and two part-time positions at DMACC, inspiring middle and high school
students. His nominators praised Mohamed’s commitment to helping others, passion to
promote education & IT, and service to his community. Mohamed has been the catalyst
for numerous students to enroll in college. Mohamed is a refugee from Somalia. He
came to the U.S. after stays in multiple refugee camps Kenya.
The Emerging Leader recognizes the extraordinary work of young immigrants and
refugees (age 17-24) on behalf of their families and communities. Mohamed is only the
2nd individual to be given the honor.

The 2020 Passport to Prosperity honorees will be recognized during Iowa International Center’s
Passport to Prosperity celebration in September. The event reflects the cultures of each
recipient and includes an awards presentation, as well as special video stories highlighting the
inspiring lives of these global Iowans. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To reserve
tickets or become an event sponsor, visit Iowa International Center’s website                                                                                                          or email Kassi at kbailey@iowainternationalcenter.org.

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