When: Wednesday, January 19th,2022 @12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Zalmay Niazy (Afghanistan), Elizabeth Bernal (Mexico), Ines Pecuvcic-Jasarovic (Bosnia),
Rex Mwamba (DRC)
Moving to a new country involves many changes and new sets of priorities, challenges, and rewards. The realities of building a life—finding a home, securing employment, and developing relationships, to name just a few—vary for each person, for each family. Some carry with them traumas from the circumstances which led to their displacement from their home countries. Most are motivated by the promise of new opportunities for their own careers or the educational aspirations of their children. Many are confronted with the need to learn English as a primary language and the challenges that come with navigating complex legal, social, and service systems in that new language. And, of course, new Iowans must engage with neighbors and community members unfamiliar with their lived experiences and often long journeys to the US—not to mention their daily habits, religious practices, accents, and their hopes, fears, and desires. In this session, the panel will discuss how the experience of moving to Iowa differs for people from different walks of life—refugee, immigrant, documented, undocumented, with familial ties in the area, without familial ties. They will share how local nonprofits, especially ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs), support new Iowans. And they will offer insights into what Iowans, born and raised in the state or elsewhere in the US, should know about their neighbors who have just arrived, those who have been here a longer period, and how we can be welcoming and supportive of both groups.
Ines Pecuvcic-Jasarovic is a Refugee Specialist for the Bureau of Refugee Services in Des Moines, where she has worked for 26 years. Before that, she worked for Interchurch Refugee and Immigration Services in Chicago. She provides various services targeted to prepare clients for employment and education goals. She was born and raised in Sibenik, Croatia and graduated from the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1988 with a degree in teaching. There she met Semsudin James, a young Bosnian mathematician/computer programmer. Coming from two different backgrounds (Ines as Croatian Catholic and Semsudin as Bosnian Muslim) was not a highly accepted relationship. They married anyway and had a daughter, Suncica. Due to the conflict in former Yugoslavia, Ines and Suncica had to flee Bosnia in early 1992 and started a refugee journey through different locations in Croatia and resettled in Chicago in December of 1993. James reunited with them on Valentine’s Day in 1995.
Elizabeth Bernal lives in Iowa City, where she is involved with multiple community organizations that promote inclusion and wellbeing for immigrant communities. She is co-founder of Open Heartland, a nonprofit serving families in five mobile home communities in Johnson County whose residents are mainly Hispanic immigrants. Elizabeth is also a founding member of the board of directors of the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project, a local community organization that pays immigration bond for incarcerated Iowa immigrants who cannot afford their immigration bond. Elizabeth also serves on the board of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, and last October she was awarded the Rick Graf award from the Iowa City Human Rights Commission.
Rex Mwamba (DRC), Employment Services Case Manager, Catherine McAuley Center, Cedar Rapids. Born in and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rex Mwamba arrived in the United States in the state of Iowa in August 2013. Rex has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Telecommunication and Network Administration from the DRC. After he completed the English program at Kirkwood Community College for 2 years, Rex obtained an IT certificate and an associate degree in Network and System Administration at the same institution. Today, Rex works as an Employment Services Case Manager at Catherine McAuley Center, where he attends daily work to settle and integrate refugees from all over the world into the Cedar Rapids community in Iowa.
Zalmay Niazy was born in a rural village in the Urozgan province of Afghanistan. He learned to speak fluent English at the age of thirteen and later worked as an interpreter for several branches of the United States armed forces upon graduating from high school. Mr. Niazy has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kardan University in Kabul and he has worked for different national and international organizations, including Titan Linguists, Red Orange International, and Qabaiel General Supplies. He moved to Iowa in the United States in 2015 and, based on the community desire, decided to establish a small business, Zee’s Handyman Services, LLC, which he now owns and operates in Iowa Falls.
When: Wednesday,January 26th, @12pm-1:00
Where: Online-via Zoom
Speakers: Erin C. Johnson, Hannah Gorsline, Grace Nelson, Allie Zucker
Podcast Creation as a Mechanism to Explore and Expand UI Students’ Cultural Intelligence
Change is a ubiquitous in the international business environment and reflected in the increasing number of employees embarking on international assignments, and the high-paced flow of information around the globe spurring innovation that connects business partners across national borders.
The increasing complexity and dynamism of the international environment requires that future business leaders develop cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to successfully establish relationships and accomplish their goals. Cultural intelligence is defined as “a person’s ability to function effectively in a variety of contexts – both internationally and domestically” (Cultural Intelligence Center, 2022). Study abroad programs have long been a preferred mechanism by which many university students were able to develop CQ. However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of study abroad programs, rising costs and other factors prevented a large number of students from pursuing these opportunities. Through a project of creating podcasts in her International Business Environment course (IBE), Professor Erin Johnson fosters the development of her students’ cultural intelligence by leveraging technology to engage students with this experience. Working in small groups, students conducted field research and interviews, analyzed their findings, and crafted a series of persuasive podcasts .In this session, Professor Johnson and her students will share their experiences with this project. Specifically, Professor Johnson describe the structure and goals for the IBE podcast project followed by a student presentation of podcast excerpts. Students will reflect on the process of podcast creation and answer the question of whether participating in this project did, in fact, increase their CQ.
Dr. Erin Johnson is an Associate Professor of Instruction at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. Dr. Johnson teaches courses on negotiation, leadership and international business. She has a long-standing interest in global business and cross-cultural collaborations. She has partnered with universities in Poland, China, and Kosovo to create global virtual collaborations for her students in the context of their coursework. Most recently, students in her International Business Environment course participated in a short-term global virtual teams projects with students at the University of Business and Technology (UBT) in Pristina, Kosovo. Professor Johnson plans to continue this collaboration in the Spring 2022 semester and is hoping to travel to Kosovo to meet her colleagues later this year.
My name is Hannah Gorsline, and I am a senior at the University of Iowa studying Marketing, with a minor in Rhetoric and an International Business Certificate. I am involved in various student organizations on campus, including Delta Sigma Pi, the Professional Business Fraternity, Women in Business, and the Marketing Institute. I also serve as a Senator within Tippie Senate, alongside a dozen other Tippie students. I am passionate about finding ways to increase my cultural intelligence and am very grateful for the opportunity to share our findings from our podcast in Professor Johnson's course.
My name is Allie Zucker and I am a Marketing Management major at the University of Iowa with a physical activity and nutrition science minor as well as an international business certificate. I am also involved in multiple organizations on campus such as Women in Business, American Marketing Association, and Marketing Institute. I have a love for traveling and enjoyed learning how to enhance my cultural intelligence this past semester!