ICFRC in 2023: Compelling and Impactful Programming, Forward Looking Organizational Developments, and a New Look

Hello friends and supporters,

Let me begin by saying it has been an honor to lead the ICFRC these last two months. As the organization's new Executive Director, I have the privilege to think anew about how we honor our nearly four decades of hosting excellent speakers and how we can grow and try new things in 2023. 

First, we are unveiling this new medium, a monthly newsletter, to announce our upcoming programs and to bring you other ICFRC news and information. We hope you'll enjoy the new look of things--and the content, too!

This month's programs focus on the Afghan refugee community in Cedar Rapids, Islamic feminism from an East Asian perspective, transnational experiences of Chinese international students in Iowa, and a unique look at Peace Corps' service.

Second, we have also been working on our website, and we hope you'll take a few minutes to check out each of the redesigned pages. Our website will increasingly be the go-to place for everything about the ICFRC.

Finally, we are excited to inform you that we will celebrate our 40th anniversary later this year. Stay tuned for information about upcoming events, and how we plan to showcase the ICFRC's impact and recognize those who have contributed to this great organization's success.

In partnership,

Peter Gerlach, PhD

Executive Director


Speakers: ​Saadat Ahmadi &

Zainab Afghan

Cedar Rapids' Afghan Community, 18 Months On

Mar. 1st, 12PM CST - Online

18 months after the fall of Kabul, we will discuss how the Afghan community in Cedar Rapids has been doing in Eastern Iowa, sharing their challenges and their joys as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Attendees will learn how they can support their Afghan neighbors and the agencies in Iowa serving our newest residents.  

Recording Coming Soon

Islamic Feminism and Women's Rights

Mar. 8th, 8PM CST - Online

Is misogyny part of Islam? In the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad took pains to address both male Muslims and female Muslims, because both have the same religious duties. The Five Pillars of Islam apply to both of them. The Quran states explicitly that men and women are equal before God. 

Register Here

Speakers: ​Dr. Vivienne Wee 

& Rozana Isa 

Speaker: Shu Wan

We Were Ever Here: Chinese Exchange Students in Iowa, 1909-1937

Mar. 22nd, 12pm CST - Online

It is rarely known that Chinese students have long had a significant presence in institutions of higher learning in Iowa. As early as 1909, at least one Chinese enrolled at the University of Iowa. Following this forerunner, a significant number of Chinese students were enrolled in higher educational institutions in Iowa. 

Register Here

Peace Corps Volunteer Service as a 50-Year-Old: Seeking Dragons and Drinking Tea to Partner in Combating Racial Stereotypes

Mar. 29th, 12pm CST - Online

I turned 50-years-old at the 12-month mark of my 27 months of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cambodia. Full of curiosity about this culture I knew little to nothing about when I was accepted to serve, I was quickly enchanted by the leftover vestiges of colonization and the omni-presence of dragons in Khmer architecture, whether its small rural villages or the King’s Palace gardens.

Register Here

Speaker: Dr. Darlene Grant

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Dr. Glaser's favorite accomplishment was starting a university engagement project in Somalia that brought together students at four universities for online marine science courses and field-based fisheries data collection.

Dr. Sarah Glaser leads the newly formed Oceans Futures team for which she is developing programming around ocean and climate security. The Oceans Futures technology platform will engage maritime stakeholders around the security implications of climate change for marine ecosystems. She is interested in exploring—and preventing—conflict between marine resource users where it will be most likely or most impactful.

Dr. Glaser has experience working with a wide range of stakeholders, including those in international militaries, foreign government ministries, academic institutions, and coastal fishing communities. Her geographic expertise is in coastal East Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the California Current.

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The Indian Card: America's Native Identity Problem

Jan. 25th, 2023

Over the last twenty years, there’s been an explosion in the number of people who are checking the so-called “Indian box.” More than 9.7 million people in the United States self-identified as Native American or Alaska Native in the 2020 census, twice as many as in 2000 when the number was just 4.1 million.

Watch Here
Watch Here

When Iowa Led the World in Moral Leadership

Jan.18th, 2023

In reviewing Iowa's remarkable agricultural and humanitarian heritage, 1979 stands out as a time of exceptional global moral leadership. Republican Governor Robert D. Ray was at the forefront of related efforts: to rescue the Vietnamese "Boat People" refugees as well as to rush desperately needed food and medicine to starving and dying Cambodian victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide.


Our programming is made possible by support from our members, who have helped us reach communities across Iowa for nearly 40 years. Learn more about how your support is helping uplift communities and raising awareness about issues affecting our world.

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