Passport to Prosperity 2014

Non-profit: Iowa International Center

Date: September 27, 2014

Venue: Drake University Olmsted Center

Main Attraction: Passport to Prosperity is the Iowa International Center’s annual celebration recognizing the outstanding contributions of immigrants and refugees to our community. The event this year featured award presentations to four remarkable individuals who call Iowa their home: Tej Dhawan (originally from India) Principal and Cofounder, Startup City in Des Moines; Li Zhao Mandelbaum (originally from China) President – China Operations, China Iowa Group in West Des Moines; Aiddy Phomvisay (originally from Laos) Principal, Marshalltown High School in Marshalltown, Iowa; Claudia Schabel (originally from Brazil) Organizational Vibrancy Champion, DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa.

Unique Touches: Passport to Prosperity is a unique celebration of the contributions and success stories of community, business and cultural leaders in our community who have come to the U.S. and moved through the immigrant or refugee experience to make a positive impact in the lives of others and make Iowa a better place to live for all. Not only did our four honorees share their stories with the more than 275 people in attendance, but guests were charged to think and act in their own lives on the major issues of immigration and cultural tolerance in our communities.

Food: The menu offered delicious items that reflected the native countries of the recipients, including artisan breads from Brazil and India, curried vegetable soup from Laos, vegetable stir-fry from China, Murgh Makhani (spiced chicken) from India and a variety of candies and pastries from both India and Brazil. Guests enjoyed cultural entertainment from Salsa Des Moines during the reception and program, including a special salsa rueda on stage.

Entertainment: Guests were invited to their seats for dinner by the dynamic Chinese Lion and Dragon Team from Valley High School in West Des Moines, and were entertained by the group during a lively opening performance.

Amount of Funds Raised: Proceeds from Passport to Prosperity helped push the Iowa International Center’s Ray Resource Initiative Campaign past the $225,000 mark. The campaign is helping the Center build multilingual resources and educational opportunities for refugees, immigrants and international visitors in Iowa. The campaign is named in honor of Former Governor Robert Ray, who is known for his leadership in warmly welcoming and helping to build support networks for refugees from Southeast Asia to Iowa in the 1970s.

Photography: Mustafa Photography

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