An Iowa-Padova Project of Citizens’ Diplomacy

Virtual Zoom Meetings

Sponsored by Iowa Sister States (USA) and Province of Padova-Veneto, Italy


Tuesday February 23rd at 9 AM CST-Dialogue on COVID-19 in Education

Tuesday March 2nd at 9 AM CST-Public Policy and the fight against COVID-19

Tuesday March 9th at 9 am CST-Italy’s Cuisine

Tuesday March 16th at 9 am CDT-Iowa Cuisine

Tuesday March 23rd at 9 am CDT-Cultural Heritage of Padova

Tuesday March 30th at 9 am CDT-Iowa Art & Culture

Italian-to-English and English-to-Italian translation will be provided.

The Iowa-Veneto sistership agreement has thrived on the exchanges among citizens that have met and learned from each other for over the last 20 years. The agreement has been a fantastic example of the merits of the citizens’ diplomacy. The engagement of citizens has served as a support to the policies for peacekeeping and prosperity in many parts of the world.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented citizens from meeting in person and learning firsthand about their respective cultures, societies, and social systems. This unprecedented event is expected to mark a milestone in the resilience of the communities and to change forever the lives of the peoples throughout the world.

These one-hour virtual dialogues between the citizens of Iowa and Padova/Veneto are designed to show solidarity and hope in a better future in this difficult time of a world-wide pandemic.


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Language Arts Teacher – Hampton-Dumont Middle School Hampton, Iowa, USA


BA in Elementary Education from Buena Vista UniversityMA in Teaching from Morningside University 


K-8 Reading ; 5-12 Reading; K-12 English as a Second Language;

K-8 English/Language Arts

Training Certification:

Literacy Coach: University of Northern Iowa

This is my 19th year teaching. Now in my  my 5th year at Hampton-Dumont and I am currently in my first year as the 8th grade Language Arts teacher.



Math Teacher – Roosevelt High School Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Bachelor's degree from Grand View University in Applied Mathematics and Secondary Education.

I teach at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. I teach Algebra I and ELL Algebra I. I have taught for 22 years. I am married and have 4 children. In my free time, I enjoy coaching soccer, being outside, and reading. 




Language Arts Teacher – Hampton-Dumont Middle School Hampton, Iowa, USA

I have been in education for 17 years, teaching high school social studies courses in both Iowa and Washington State. After serving for six years as the K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator in DMPS, I am currently serving as an instructional coach at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines but spent the past few years as the district's the Advanced Placement Coordinator and a high school social studies teacher at Roosevelt High School. My specialty is in project-based learning.



High School Education Senior Manager, Province of Padova Padova, Italy

Senior high school manager since 2000, Stefano is in charge of the facilities management of 38 high school for a total of 64 school buildings. In order to open the new school year in safety, in the summer of 2020 his team has planned and implemented the regulatory system for social 

distancing and safety of students inside the school buildings.




President and CEO of Catch Des Moines Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Greg Edwards has over 35 years of hospitality experience. He began as President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau 

(Catch Des Moines) in 2000, previously leading convention & visitors bureaus in Illinois and Kansas. He is the recipient of many awards, including Manager of the Year with Marriott Hotels


Edwards has championed many accomplishments while in Des Moines. He reorganized the Des Moines Area Sports Commission and his team has tripled convention and event bookings since 2000. He (along with a strong team of others) led the charge in hosting the NCAA Wrestling Championships and multiple NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments.



President of the Province of

Mr. Bui, public servant and decision maker.

He is the President of the Province of Padova and the Mayor of Loreggia, a city north of Padova.

He has covered  positions as member of board of directors across several public institutions.

As President of the Province of Padova his powers stretch from environmental protection to school buildings, public transport  and territorial planning.

He is an employee of the Padova hospital with managerial tasks.



Padua Convention & Visitors Bureau, Director

 After a career in sales and marketing for international hotel chains between Florence and Rome, Laura Favaretti returned to Padova  in 2013 to start the Padua Convention & Visitors Bureau, which has the Chamber of Commerce  of Padua as its major shareholder.

The Bureau promotes the territory of Padua and its province in Italy and abroad, as a destination of excellence for congress tourism (MICE - Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and for individual tourism (leisure).

Laura coordinates the Venice Region Convention Bureau Network that boasts the highest number of tourist presences in Italy.




Des Moines City Councilman Des Moines, Iowa, USA

William (Bill) Gray was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. After graduating from Dowling High School in 1970 and the University of Iowa in 1975, he began his career in telecommunications. Much of his career was with AT&T, the world's largest telecommunications company (the former Bell System), until his retirement in 2018. Bill has always been an active community member and advocate for his hometown. 

Appointed to the Des Moines Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2001, Bill staunchly served the final nine years as Chairman until 2014. Citizens of Des Moines elected Bill in 2014 to the Des Moines City Council, then re-elected him in 2017. In 2019, during his second term, Mayor Cownie appointed Bill as mayor pro-tem.




Vice President of the Province of Padova

Vincenzo Gottardo is the Vice President of the Province of Padova since  2018. He has acquired city management experience during  his tenure as vice mayor of his home town and member of the provincial council.

Vincenzo is in charge of the Civil Protection Service and of the European Policies Unit of the Province of Padova. As such he has instigated several projects with the EU member states.

Since the early days of the pandemic in March 2020, along with his staff, he has coordinated the early response and aid to the population and distributed the  provisions donated by benefactors from the Veneto Region and beyond.

Vincenzo is an architect by profession and is very engaged in supporting the social development of the communities.



AICS Associazione Italiana Cultura e Sport Padova, Italy

Maurizio Marcassa is a top executive of AICS, the Italian Association of Culture and Sport. 

He started his AICS career in 1983 and has climbed up the ladder ever since. Regional President of AICS and later national vice president, Maurizio has been awarded with the silver medal by CONI, the National Italian Olympic Committee for his role in promoting sport. 

Maurizio has dealt with health issues since  his hospitalization in November 2020 due to Covid19 and will tell us about his experience as a patient in an Italian hospital.

Dialogue on COVID-19 in Education

Tuesday, February 23rd at 9 AM CST

Teachers, students and school administrators will exchange new ways of adapting to a fast-changing educational landscape.

•    Building resilient communities of teachers, students and families

•    Experience working through the pandemic: challenges of distance learning/teaching, what 

     methodology to be kept, how future learning might be affected

•    Impact of the pandemic on socializing

•    Distance learning vs. Classroom lessons

•    Infrastructural and logistical issues regarding the education of student body



Dialogue on COVID-19 in Education

Tuesday, March 2nd at 9 AM CST

Public Policy and the fight against COVID-19

Decision-makers and citizens from Iowa and Padova exchange views on shaping resilient communities.




President of URIPA, Regional Network of Hospices of the Veneto Region

Roberto Volpe has served as the President of URIPA since September 2020.

URIPA’s goal is to provide its members with viable solutions pertaining their core business, i.e. catering to the needs of the elderly people in their care, interact  with national and regional decision makers, provide legal services and promote social and care services.



Vice Principal

Guglielmo Marconi High School, Padova

Alessandra Potenza is a teacher of English and the school coordinator of linguistic and European projects since 2000. 

She has been taking part in the management of the school since 2014 and she is currently the school vice principal. 

Guglielmo MARCONI is a technical high school with 4 branches; chemistry, mechanics and mechatronics, electronics and transport and logistics. The student age range from 14 to 19.

© 2021, Iowa Sister States

Last Updated: JANUARY 20, 2021