50 for $50: ​​Iowa Sister States needs your help to hit our fall fundraising goal of $2500 to pay a portion of the housing needs for our current Yamanashi student-Ms. Nana Matsui.  Ms. Matsui will attend DMACC for the 2016-2017 academic year.  In Japan, her studies revolve around urban planning.  She is 20 years old and she is so excited to be a part of the Iowa-Yamanashi story.

In order to hit this goal-we are asking 50 people to give $50.  That will pay for half of the cost of her housing.  We will do another fundraising effort in the spring for the other half. Check how close we are to our goal below! 


To Donate either click the Donate button to the left to pay through our Pay Pal account or click the Donation Form on directions on how to send a check. Thank you for your continuous support!


Yamanashi Prefecture Research Scholarship: Each year, ISS selects a current college student or recent college grad from the state of Iowa (up to age 40) to attend classes and complete a research project of his or her choice at YPU, a public university located in Kofu. Applicants for this scholarship must speak Japanese at a high level and demonstrate an ability to be a positive ambassador for Iowa. The scholarship covers tuition, entrance fees, and accommodation in Yamanashi. The scholarship recipient will be responsible for their own travel and living expenses. 

Start your application here. Applications are due December 15, 2016. For more information, please contact Kassi Wheeler.

0         10         2 0         30          40          50!   

​ISS Volunteer spotlight of the Week! 

What's New?

​​​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. 

Japan Travel Information

If you are traveling to Japan and would like some resources to help with your planning we have maps and tourist guides for you! If you are interested please contact Alex at

Hebei Relief Fund: Recently, Hebei Province has struggled with severe flooding due to massive amounts of rain. Hundreds have been killed in the flooding, while scores more are missing and feared dead. The loss of property is in the millions at this point. The citizens of Iowa know all too well the devastating effects flooding can have.

       We feel that it is time that we truly exhibit what “Iowa nice” means. Iowa Sister States has established the Hebei Relief Fund to help in rebuilding efforts.

      Donations will be accepted for the fund until October 1. In recognition of the 1983 signing of the Iowa-Hebei sister state relationship, we ask that you make an $83 donation. (or multiples of 83). We know that this will go a long way in ensuring that the people of Hebei Province know that the citizens of Iowa care about their well being. This effort will further bring our two states closer together. 

       ​To donate please send checks to the address below or click on the donate button on the bottom left of this page to donate electronically.

            Iowa Sister States-Hebei Relief Fund

            200 E. Grand Ave.

            Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Now Accepting Applications for Jeff Zimpleman-Iowa Sister States Scholarship:​ We are pleased to announce that we have begun accepting applications for the Jeff Zimpleman-Iowa Sister States Scholarship. This is a scholarship that honors the memory of Jeff Zimpleman. It is in memory of his love of traveling and learning by challenging students to study international affairs as well as to attend conferences and symposiums that will help them to make a difference in our broader international community.  Iowa Sister States is proud to partner with the family of Jeff Zimpleman in the creation of this scholarship. For more information please look at the Information Sheet and Application below. For any questions contact Kassi Wheeler at or 515.725.3163

Also check out our new Engagement Opportunities for the latest ways to become involved with Iowa Sister States!

This week we would like to Introduce Chuck Safris!

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!

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