Iowa Sister States held our volunteer appreciation event at The Purveyor (@the_purveyor_dsm) in Des Moines. A selection of delicious (with a focus on local) Italian charcuterie, bruscetta and crostini, rice balls, yummy baked goods and beverages were available to our guests, which included our award recipients, ISS Board members and staff, and other esteemed colleagues. The Purveyor has a cozy yet modern atmosphere--including a cool catwalk where you can gather above and watch the proceedings below. Their friendly, attentive staff helped us with every need. Lively conversation was had and new acquaintances were formed.

We are so appreciative of these award recipients for their contributions and to have honored them in this way is only a fraction of our gratefulness for what they do to foster cultural exchange in our great state of Iowa. They are all true Citizen Diplomats. The Robert D. Ray Sister States Service Award

The Robert D. Ray Iowa Sister States Service Award was

named in recognition of the international efforts by former Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray (He served from 1969-1983). Governor Ray served as the first President of the Board of Directors at Iowa Sister States. We are greatly saddened at the passing of Governor Robert D. Ray but we hope that these awards will continue to honor his legacy. He saw Iowa Sister States as a way for the State of Iowa to show the international community Iowa’s brand of foreign policy. He fully believed in and lived the concept of Iowa nice. For him, actions always spoke louder than words. These awards acknowledge those in our community that are following in his footsteps.

2019 Robert Ray Award Recipients

Host Family The Yocum Family The Yocum family has been a tremendous volunteer for Iowa Sister States for many years. First a few years ago Claire was an intern with ISS and helped us with many projects throughout the summer. Now we are happy to have Claire and her family become a host family for us many times over the past year. They have really stepped up and hosted for groups from all over the world including Yamanashi and Ukraine. Their delegates always talk about their wonderful time with the family and we couldn’t ask for a better home host. Thank you for opening your homes and your heart to our guests!

Individual Volunteer Todd Jacobus Todd has volunteered with ISS for the past few years and recently has stepped up to become the chair of the Kosovo Committee. You can really tell the passion that Todd has for the Iowa- Kosovo relationship that began during his time with the Iowa National Guard. He is always willing to help wherever possible to make the Iowa-Kosovo relationship a success. We can’t thank him enough for all the hours he has put in during countless meetings and delegations. Todd is willing to go above and beyond to help, even if it is to drive around with secret service with the President of Kosovo! Thank you, Todd for being an invaluable asset to the Iowa Sister States. Valley High School David Maxwell, Principal

Iowa Sister States has been partnering with Valley High School in promoting sister school exchanges with Hebei, China, for over a decade. Two signature events are the one in 2013 celebrating the 30th anniversary of the sister states relationship between Iowa and Hebei and the one in 2018 celebrating the 35th anniversary of the two states. This partnership has been phenomenal, and this cooperation has been friendly and effective. Valley High has pioneered Iowa schools in promoting international education.

World Food Prize Foundation Kelsey Tyrrell, Director of Youth Leadership Development Since 2013, with Ambassador Ken Quinn’s strong, enthusiastic support, World Food Prize Foundation has been sponsoring five students and a teacher coming to Global Youth Institute, and in 2019, the number of students increase to ten. Until October, 2019, the WFP Foundation has financially sponsored 40 Chinese students from Hebei, Iowa’s Sister States in China. All the participating Chinese students have tremendously benefited from this program in their education and their growth to become world citizens.

Special Recognition Award--Ambassador Kenneth Quinn

Ambassador Ken Quinn has been a firm advocate for citizen diplomacy for decades. Since he served as President of World Food Prize Foundation, he has been devoting himself to the lofty goal of getting the world elite agriculturists together in fighting hunger in the world. He has also particularly been caring about educating young people and getting them involved. Due to his enthusiastic support, dozens of high school students from Iowa sister state in China have come to attend the international youth institute in the past six years. AMD Ken Quinn’s exceptional contributions to enhancing the friendship between Iowa and Hebei, China, have won high regards and praises across the Pacific. (World Food Prize recipient Kelsey Tyrell accepted Ambassador Quinn's award on his behalf).



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