Recent News

In Memory of Cyndi Chen

​On March 7, 2017, long-time ISS volunteer and former ISS board President (2008-2009) Cyndi Chen passed away.

Cyndi Shiou-Hua Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan on November 7, 1951. She traveled to Iowa in 1985, teaching Chinese as a visiting scholar. For more than 30 years, she was a key player in Iowa’s international and Asian communities. Two days after Cyndi’s passing, The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago sent a letter to Iowa Sister States, extending condolences to Cyndi’s family.

Cyndi requested a simple cremation with no ceremony and a small number of witnesses. As  her obituary notes, her approach to life was to “live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece.” We will never forget her enthusiasm, her zest for life, and her countless contributions that strengthened the Iowa/Hebei sister state relationship.


The relationship between Hebei and Iowa was initiated by former Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray. In 1983, a formal agreement was signed by Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa and Governor Zhang Shuguang of Hebei. At the time of the signing, Governor Branstad said, "This agreement is a significant step in US-China relations and a diplomatic milestone for the State of Iowa." Many exchanges have taken place over the years, and in 2013 ISS celebrated the 30th anniversary of this  relationship in style! h here.

Hebei Province, China

Meet the Leadership

Dr. Will Zhang, Chair

Will has been volunteering for ISS since 1998, and he became Hebei Chair in 2000. Will also serves on the ISS Board of Directors. Will has helped coordinate many exchange projects in Hebei, and in its neighboring cities Tianjin and Beijing.

Will teaches English and global study courses at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).


Cyndi Chen: A Celebration of Life

Please join us for a festive potluck gathering as we celebrate the life of our departed friend Cyndi Chen as she would want us to: sharing stories, memories and laughter.

Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 4 – 7 pm
Windsor Heights Community Center, Colby Park
6900 School Street
Windsor Heights, IA 50324

If you're interested, you can sign up to volunteer.

For those bringing food: to reduce waste, please bring food in a sealable container. If that is not an option, please plan on taking any leftovers home.