WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — An international group that calls Iowa home battled Mother Nature during its fight for world peace on Sunday.
The Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS) organization held its fifth annual Peace Day 5K and International Festival at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines.
International students studying in Iowa put their cultures on display while informational booths highlighted global efforts to promote diversity and education.
Since 1993, the Ames-based organization has connected Iowans to 54 countries. IRIS uses Peace Day to enhance learning opportunities for international students and to provide continued education through scholarships and grants that have reached over $100,000 in the last five years.
Executive Director Del Christensen believes the road to a peaceful tomorrow can be as simple as getting to know your fellow neighbor. “Expose them to other cultures and better understand what America is about. For Americans to better understand their country is critical to better understanding each other,” said Christensen.
The IRIS event often coincides with the United Nations International Day of Peace, which is observed worldwide on Sept 21.