What's New?

  • Donate to the Veneto Relief Fund!

  • Iowa-Kosovo Documentary​

Support us

First and foremost, THANK YOU to the volunteers and financial supporters who have contributed to ISS programs over the years! We could not do what we do without your generous support of our international programs.

How to Donate

Click the form button below for directions on how to send a monetary donation to Iowa Sister States via check

Click the 'Donate' button below to contribute a monetary gift to Iowa Sister States via PayPal:

Who we are

Iowa Sister States is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. We strive to build sustainable international partnerships that connect Iowans to the world community. Iowa has a powerful history of citizen diplomacy, and our dedicated volunteers and staff are proud to continue this legacy.

"If only people will get together, then so eventually will nations."

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Filmmaker Luke Harwath has been working hard on his Iowa-Kosovo Documentary and has a sneak peak into this upcoming film! Luke has done a great job of showcasing Kosovo as an emerging country and how Iowa has had a role in it. Luke plans on premiering the film during Dokufest 2016 in Kosovo. Watch the video below to see the clip! 

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and we need your help! In order to complete the film we are looking for donations to help this film become a reality. If you would like to donate to this film please contact kosovofilm@gmail.com. We need to reach a goal of $48,000 in order for this film to become a reality! Please consider a donation today!  ​​

In July, 2015, Veneto Region, Italy was hit by a surprise and violent tornado. There was one death, many were injured, and the loss of historical property was high. The Reional Government was still dealing with the clean up from the tornado when the Region was hit with heavy rain which caused flash flooding and landslides. Besides injuries and loss of property, there were 3 deaths. The Governor of Veneto Region-Governor Luca Zaia declared a state of emergency in the area where the deaths occurred. The citizens of Iowa are all too familiar with the damage, both physically and mentally, that tornados and flash flooding inflict. Our sister state relationship with Veneto is not only an avenue for exchange in the best of times, but also looked to as a source of strength in challenging times.   

​The funds raised will be sent directly to the Veneto Regional government via ISS. Please click the form below to make a contribution to the Veneto Relief Fund. 


  • ​​ISS Volunteer Spotlight! Chuck Safris


​​​With the recent announcement of our Robert D. Ray Iowa Sister State Service Award winners, we have decided to feature a new installment on our website highlighting ISS volunteers, home hosts, delegates, and partners!  Our volunteers, affiliates, and home hosts work tirelessly to create mutually beneficial relationships with governments and organizations from around the world and we would like to provide further recognition for their selflessness and acts of citizen diplomacy. 

The Iowa – Yamanashi Sister State relationship has a rich history dating back to 1959.  The first such relationship between the United States and Japan, Iowa and Yamanashi have paved the way for cultural and economic exchanges and played an important role in easing post war tension.  This seemingly unlikely alliance arose on the selflessness and compassion of individuals and continues to be the centerpiece for this relationship.  Nobody better embodies these traits more than current Yamanashi Committee Chair, Chuck Safris.   

After his first trip to Japan in 1974, Mr. Safris was so grateful of the hospitality he felt that upon his return home, he decided to sign up as a homestay for upcoming visitors from Japan.  Uncommon in Iowa at the time, the experience of hosting an exchange student had a profound impact on him and his family.  “Home hosting really had an impact on every aspect of my life,” he said when asked about the experience, “it was significantly important to my entire family as it provided a better sense of cultural understanding.  We made some great contacts along the way and were even invited to Japan by our host child’s family.”  

Click here to read the full Spotlight

What we do

Iowa Sister States (ISS) manages Iowa's official relationships with its 9 international partners. One of  the roles of ISS is to promote programs between our sister states and Iowa. These are a wide variety of programs, which can includes topics such as economic trade, professional development, agriculture, education, and many more. We host  a wide variety of delegations and groups from our sister states throughout the year. For more ISS and community events click below!