While in Iowa, international participants stay with Iowa families, study in Iowa schools, intern in Iowa businesses and organizations, and become involved in community activities. When they return to their home countries, they take with them new ideas and strategies for economic development and peace advancement. They also return with new friendships and a better understanding of Americans and our democratic way of life.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study

Since the inception of the U.S. Department of State's YES Program in 2004, IRIS has played a key role in recruitment and placement of students from sub-Saharan Africa with Iowa host families. For over ten years, IRIS has helped over 475 students find a place to call home throughout Iowa. The program is part of a national effort conducted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

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Community Connections

IRIS began working alongside World Learning to administer Community Connections programming in 1997. Since then, IRIS has hosted over 500 participants from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and Serbia. Participants travel to Iowa for three-week programs.

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Global Grants & Scholarships

At IRIS's 20th Anniversary in 2013, IRIS's Executive Director and Board decided that it was time for IRIS to create a way for Iowa and American supporters to give back to our international alumni. Many come to Iowa and leave with big ideas for their educational futures and the future of their communities, but have very few resources to make those goals happen. Global Grants and Scholarships are available to IRIS's alumni to continue education in their home countries and create programs and services to their communities based on what they learned here in Iowa.

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