Passport to Prosperity

Passport to Prosperity Gala

Saturday, October 13, 2018
6 p.m. Reception
Drake University Olmsted Center

The Iowa International Center’s Passport to Prosperity Awards Celebration and Gala is a unique and inspiring event featuring award presentations to select immigrants and refugees in Iowa who make our community better. As well as cultural entertainment and a menu representative of the native countries of each recipient, we welcome 300 friends, donors and community leaders at this inspiring event.

Funds raised support programs and initiatives of the Iowa International Center to support new Iowans with language services that help lead to prosperity. Read more about what we’ve accomplished with your support: IIC 2017 Report.

2018 Honorees

Barwaqo Aden. Barwaqo’s family fled Somalia when she was an infant, living as refugees in Kenya for years. Barwaqo, husband Yussuf and baby son, Abdiaziz, came to the United States as refugees in 2011. They first settled in Houston, Texas, and in 2012 moved to Iowa to join family. Barwaqo is Assistant Director at Nisaa African Family Services, which she helped establish. She is a sought-after team member for nearly every task force and event that involves refugees and immigrants in Central Iowa.



Mirza Kudic. When asked, Mirza modestly describes himself as an immigrant, a veteran, and an American. Mirza immigrated with his parents to the United States from Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 1996 when he was about 14. Mirza joined the Army in 2003 and believes he may have been “the first Bosnian kid who joined the U.S. Army as a full time active duty soldier.” Mirza is recognized nationally for his photos of Des Moines.




Albert Liu. Albert came to live in Iowa in 1994 as an immigrant from China. Since that time, he has served with State and local boards, committees, and businesses dedicated to building a strong relationship between Iowa and China. He played a key role in preparing Iowa for the 2012 visit to Iowa of Xi Jinping, then Vice President of China. Albert is currently Director of International Business Development with Kent Corporation.




Emerging Leader

Robert Nishimwe. Robert’s family are from Burundi and came to the U.S. when he was still a child. Since resettling, Robert has worked hard to progress his education, help others, and work towards bringing prosperity to himself and his community. Robert is the first ever recipient of the Emerging Leader Award, honoring an outstanding young person (aged 17-24) within the immigrant and refugee community.


Welcoming the World to Iowa Award

Trudy Holman Hurd has been name recipient of the 2018 Dr. Judith Conlin Welcoming the World to Iowa Award. The award recognizes Trudy’s long-time support of initiatives that help improve the lives of new Iowans and enrich Des Moines.









Bankers Trust       Capital City Fruit        Davis Brown Law Firm     Bâton Global LLC

MidAmerican          Casey’s General Store          Manpower        Sehgal Foundation



Trudy Holman Hurd

Brendan and Christine Comito          Harold and Carol Hill          Eleanor and Robert Zeff

Mark Babcock & Tony Braida

 Justin and Li Zhao Mandelbaum


For more information about the event, please call or email Catherine Tran: ctran@iowainternationalcenter.org, 515-282-8269, ext. 15.


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