At the heart of the IRIS mission to promote international understanding by connecting Iowa to communities worldwide are our cultural and educational exchange programs. To date, more than 2,200 participants from 54 different countries have taken part in IRIS programs. These programs include short-term and long-term youth exchanges as well as adult exchange programs. These international visitors have included students, journalists, business professionals, educators and government leaders. All visiting participants to IRIS exchange programs stay with volunteer host families while they are in Iowa. We believe these host family experiences promote person-to-person citizen diplomacy and demonstrates we here in Iowa put the “heart” in American’s heartland. In addition to these person-to-person diplomacy programs, IRIS also provides support for their program alumni through our IRIS Global Grants and Global Scholarships Programs.