Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS)

2521 University Boulevard Suite 123
Ames, IA  50010
Phone: (515) 292-7103
Fax: (515) 292-7105
Contact: Del Christensen, Executive Director

2020-2021 CSIET Listing Status: Full
Countries Served: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United States
Number of 2019-2020 Participants: 30 full-year inbound
Grant Programs: Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program
Not-for-Profit Organization: Established 1992

Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS) was founded in 1993 by Robert Anderson, a former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa. Our mission is to promote international understanding, development and peace by connecting Iowans to communities worldwide. In order to fulfill this mission, IRIS has coordinated various grant programs that bring students, journalists, business professionals, educators and government leaders to Iowa from various parts of the world. To date, more than 2,300 participants from 56 different countries have taken part in IRIS programs. IRIS takes pride in being one of the first organizations to have been awarded the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program when it was first launched in 2003. Since that time, IRIS has continuously and successfully selected, placed and coordinated more than 600 students as they participated in the program.

IRIS only coordinates J-1 high school exchange through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program and only places students within the state of Iowa. IRIS has an extensive network of local coordinators who provide support to students, schools and host families.  Coordinators recruit and vet host families and supervise the program throughout the students’ academic year in the U.S.  Local coordinators submit monthly reports and program supervisors oversee local coordinator efforts and provide additional support for students and host families. YES students receive intensive orientation training in-country before their arrival in the U.S. as well as upon their arrival in Iowa and prior to their arrival in the host community. The primary focus of the training is to understand program policies and procedures and prepare them for their academic year in America. Host families are also provided with orientation training to prepare them for a successful exchange year experience.