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YES Program

Since IRIS began administering the YES program in Iowa, 280 students have been provided scholarships to participate in the YES Program in our state. The students are currently living throughout Iowa, attending school and learning about the Midwest with their host families.

The program is part of a national effort conducted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State

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World Learning’s Participant Training Program

IRIS brought the Community Connections program to Iowa in January 1997 and hosted 52 Ukrainians in the first year of the program.  

This multi-year program is currently managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Learning.

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While in Iowa, international participants stay with Iowa families, study in Iowa schools, intern in Iowa businesses and organizations, and become involved in community activities. When they return to their home countries, they take with them new ideas and strategies for economic development and peace advancement. They also return with new friendships and a better understanding of Americans and our democratic way of life.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study

Since the inception of the U.S. Department of State's YES Program in 2004, IRIS has played a key role in recruitment and placement of students from sub-Saharan Africa with Iowa host families. For over ten years, IRIS has helped over 475 students find a place to call home throughout Iowa. The program is part of a national effort conducted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

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World Learning's Participant Training Program

IRIS began working alongside World Learning to administer Participant Training programming (formerly known as Community Connections) in 1997. Since then, IRIS has hosted over 500 participants from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and Serbia. Participants travel to Iowa for three weeks programs.

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Past Programs (Global Kilimanjaro Bowl)

In May 2011, IRIS partnered with Drake University, CONADEIP, and Global Football in an international endeavor of epic proportions. The two collegiate football teams from the U.S. and Mexico traveled to the country of Tanzania to play the first collegiate American football game ever on American soil. The game was held in Arusha, Tanzania

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