The International Impact Award recognizes distinguished alumni and other individuals with significant ties to the UI who have made important contributions internationally or, in the case of international alumni, abroad in their home countries.
The International Impact Award was established by UI International Programs in 2010 in order to honor exceptional individuals in any field who have made sustained and deep contributions internationally or in the U.S. to promote global understanding. The award is presented in November, during International Education Week, in a public ceremony.
2022 International Impact Award Winner: Andy Code
Andy Code, a successful businessman, mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs, and long-time supporter of the University of Iowa, is the recipient of the 2022 International Impact Award for his global efforts as a social justice and human empowerment advocate. Testimonies of his empowerment projects exist in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Haiti, Uganda, and Chicago, and they confirm that his commitment goes far beyond the significant financial support he’s provided and reflect his core belief that those who are blessed with much are called to positive action in the world. That commitment spurred Andy and his wife Susie Code, a graduate of the UI College of Nursing, to establish the Code Family Foundation in 1997. The foundation has helped young boys and girls get quality educations in their home countries and has sponsored many students who wish to study in the United States. Code and his philanthropic partners have built schools, dormitories, and kitchens in under-resourced areas where educational opportunities had previously been nearly non-existent.
Code’s personal involvement as a mentor to young Haitians who are enrolled in courses on entrepreneurship in the Tippie College’s Institute for International Business inspires students and advances the University of Iowa’s educational mission. But Code’s social justice commitments in Haiti and elsewhere go beyond education and entrepreneurship. He supports numerous organizations that are involved in health justice in marginalized communities around the world. The Code family’s ongoing support has allowed local healthcare entities to strengthen capacity and deepen partner relationships so that they are better equipped to confront challenges when they arise. Major contributions to the UI College of Medicine and College of Nursing support impactful healthcare programs in Niger and Eswatini, and Code’s funding supports pediatric care and healthier futures for children in several remote Ugandan communities.
Code holds a BA in finance and an MBA from the University of Iowa and is a founder, partner, and chairman of Promus, a private equity investment firm. He has served as a board member and advisor to numerous public and private companies, serves on the national board of directors for Young Life, and is incoming board chair for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. Code’s abiding and passionate commitment to putting his wealth and good fortune to work for the benefit of others led him to found the organization Chicago Fellowship, where he serves as chair.
Nominees may come from any field; current UI faculty and staff are not eligible for the award. Examples of successful nominees can be found below. Success in international business and industry alone is not considered a sufficient qualification. Individuals whose backgrounds include public service, social entrepreneurship / non-profit activities, and engagement in civil society non-profit activities are particularly encouraged to apply.
Nominations for the International Impact Award are accepted between March 15 and May 1 prior to the academic year in which the award would be given. Nomination forms and submission guidelines are available here or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
2021: Nina Jovanovic
Dr. Nina Jovanovic received her MD at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014 and was then accepted as a fellow in the NIH-funded University of Iowa International Trauma and Injury Prevention Training program. While a fellow at the UI, she completed her Master of Public Health degree. Jovanovic has an exemplary record of international achievement. She is currently the head of pediatric ophthalmology and oculoplastic surgery in the Department of Ophthalmology, Canton Hospital, in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Canton Hospital of Zenica is one of the largest trauma hospitals in the country. Jovanovic is responsible for many firsts in Bosnia and Herzegovina: she was the first certified oculoplastic surgeon, introducing the techniques of oculoplastic surgery to Bosnia and Herzegovina largely by herself; she introduced the first eye injury registries to advance knowledge about eye injuries, their prevention and treatment; and she is the first physician to advocate for eye protection for workers. She is the leading eye researcher in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is well poised to substantively reduce the burden and disability associated with eye trauma and eye disease. Jovanovic witnessed the trauma of war in her home country, the former Yugoslavia, often, walking to school during shelling and seeing firsthand the psychological and physical impact that war has on communities. These experiences impacted her decision to become a physician and to focus on the prevention of trauma. As a young physician, she continued to see the impact of war through injuries suffered in land mine explosions, often ruining lives by taking away the victim’s vision, independence, and ability to work. Public health is not a common field in Bosna and Herzegovina, and when Jovanovic learned of opportunities to integrate public health and population-level prevention with her medical practice, she found her passion and focus: to advance eye treatment with research, prevention, and advocacy. Jovanovic shares her experience and expertise with UI students and faculty during nearly annual visits to campus and welcomes UI students for global clinical experiences in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An accomplished scientist, she promotes a public health perspective geared toward prevention and unites colleagues from Iowa and across the globe.
2021: Martín López-Vega
When Dr. Martín López-Vega received his PhD in Spanish from the University of Iowa in 2017, he was already one of the most notable authors of his generation in not one, but two languages: Spanish and Asturian. Asturian, a minority language spoken in the north of Spain, is not as well recognized as other languages in Spain such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician, but López-Vega is one of a handful of artists and activists who have fought successfully to increase legal recognition for Asturian and to create awareness about the rich heritage associated with it. López-Vega has written several books in that language, as well as an impressive number in Spanish, totaling more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, and essays to critical acclaim. López-Vega was appointed director of cultural policy for the Cervantes Institute, the government agency charged with promoting the varied languages and cultures of Spain around the world and to encourage cultural, intellectual, and artistic exchanges between Spain and the rest of the world. López-Vega has also served as general director for culture and heritage of the Principado de Asturias—a high office in charge of conserving and promoting the history and cultural production of the region—and director de gabinete (executive director) of the Cervantes Institute. López-Vega’s love of and commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity is reflected in his work as a literary translator and editor of authors in a variety of languages, from Italian to Portuguese. He has devoted great attention to less commonly taught languages as a literary critic in the three most important newspapers in Spain and as director of several collections for two publishers. He has worked throughout his career to foster a greater understanding between nations and to raise awareness about the value of linguistic and cultural diversity, both in his home country of Spain and around the globe.
2020: Susan and Pat Keefe
Pat (BSPh ’69) and Susan Keefe have dedicated their lives to helping people in need internationally, regionally, and locally. Their compelling story started in 1971 when they volunteered with the Diocese of Davenport to be medical workers (Pat as a pharmacist; Susan as a nurse) in a remote Mexican mountain village. Upon returning to the U.S., the Keefe family continued to embrace a call to provide care to underserved or vulnerable communities. Since 1993, the couple has worked with underserved communities in Cincinnati, Ohio, to include immigrant populations, women, and children during and after pregnancy, and combatting hunger/undernutrition. Pat Keefe spent the majority of his impressive career as an executive for Omnicare, Inc., a Fortune 500 company that provides long-term care services. After his retirement as chief operating officer in 2010, Pat formed a consulting company, Bridge Healthcare Partners, to assist start-up companies and non-profits in the achievement of their goals. Additionally, he recently started a company with his son called Six.02 Bio with the mission to bring together specialists in optimizing the delivery of biopharmaceuticals and diagnostics. In a time where our world needs the development of new vaccines, this company is working to create unsurpassed quality, communications, and efficiency from concept through early-phase manufacturing of these products. The commitment to improvement and support of global health and international work remains a theme in the Keefe family's contributions to the University of Iowa community, specifically the College of Pharmacy. They have generously supported various initiatives in the college, including the Patrick E. Keefe Professorship and the Patrick and Susan Keefe Service-Learning Scholarship. Their focus relates to enhancing access to opportunities, providing mentorship, and the provision of education and exposure to global and international issues – including involvement with humanitarian campaigns.
2020: Sarah Lande
When asked to describe her life-long involvement in citizen diplomacy, Sarah Lande said, “I think of myself as a citizen of the world. My passion is waging peace through friendship by leaving a legacy of opportunities for people from my community of Muscatine, the state of Iowa, and the world.” A resident of Muscatine, Iowa, and University of Iowa alumna (BA and MBA), Lande served as a board member, president, and executive director of the Iowa Sister States and recently served as co-chair of the 30th Anniversary Committee celebrating the Sister State relationship between the state of Iowa and Hebei Province. Lande’s citizen diplomacy efforts tied to China began in 1985 when she arranged the Muscatine itinerary for Xi Jinping’s visit to the state of Iowa. Lande hosted a dinner for Xi Jinping and his delegation in her home. More than 25 years later, Lande and her husband, Roger, had a reunion with the then Vice President Xi Jinping in their Muscatine home. In 2013 Lande was named an “Honorary Friendship Ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association of Friendship Foreign Countries. Lande is a recipient of the UI Distinguished Alumni Award for service and the Athena Award for Women’s Leadership. She has served on the advisory board of the UI Institute for International Business and serves the Muscatine, Iowa, community through leadership and volunteer roles in a variety of organizations, including: the Muscatine Community Improvement Action Team; Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine; Mississippi River Trail, Inc.; River Action; Muscatine China-Initiative Committee; and Rotary International Friendship Exchange Committee.
2019: Simon Estes
Internationally renowned opera singer Simon Estes is a Centerville, Iowa, native and graduate of the University of Iowa. His exceptional musical talents were recognized when he joined the UI’s Old Gold Singers as an undergraduate and they led him to a full scholarship at the Juilliard School of Music. His operatic debut as Ramfis in Aida at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1965 launched an international career that placed him among the first generation of black opera singers to achieve mainstream success. Estes is viewed as part of a group of performers who were instrumental in helping to break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the world of opera. He was the first black man to sing a leading role at the prestigious Bayreuth Festival when he performed the title role in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, has given performances in 84 of the world’s greatest opera houses, has sung for six U.S. presidents as well as Pope John Paul II, helped open the 1972 Olympics in Germany, and sang in South Africa in 2010 to open the World Cup, among many other notable performances. Estes, whose grandfather was a slave and father a coal miner, is ever mindful of the life-changing role philanthropy has played in his own life and has created numerous educational scholarships and foundations at the University of Iowa and around the world to benefit children and students, and raises funds for the United Nations Foundations‘ Nothing But Nets organization to fight malaria. For these efforts, Estes received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 from the U.N. Here in Iowa, he has received, among many honors and distinctions, the Iowan Award, the state’s highest honor, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award.
2018: Rajat Jay Seghal
A 1986 graduate of the University of Iowa (BBA management sciences), Rajat Jay Sehgal is the executive vice president of the Sehgal Foundation (U.S.) and a trustee of the SM Sehgal Foundation (India), organizations whose mission is to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change across rural India. With support from donors and partners, the Sehgal Foundation designs and promotes rural development interventions that create opportunities, build resilience, and provide solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in India’s poorest communities. The foundation team works together with rural communities to create sustainable programs for managing water resources, increasing agricultural productivity, and strengthening rural governance, while promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment, and access to education. In his leadership roles, Sehgal represents the foundation to American donor organizations and development institutions, mobilizes resources from donors, creates linkages with key research organizations and foundations, and attracts volunteers and postdoc candidates from the U.S. to work with the foundation. Seghal has worked closely with International Programs and a number of UI colleges and departments for over a decade to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students who take advantage of the award-winning India Winterim study abroad program. Well over a thousand students and faculty have benefited since the program was initiated.
2017: Janine di Giovanni
A 1986 graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Janine di Giovanni is an award-winning investigator, journalist, and analyst in foreign affairs and human rights. She is the Middle East Editor for Newsweek, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, and the Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Affairs in New York. Di Giovanni is one of Europe’s most respected and experienced reporters, with unrivaled experience covering war and conflict in the Middle East, the Balkans, and Africa. The author of seven books of nonfiction and reportage, she has won eight major awards for her writing and was recently named by Action on Armed Violence one of the 100 most influential people in reducing armed conflict. She is viewed internationally as a leading voice on these issues: she is a frequent moderator of high-level panels and an analyst on foreign policy at conferences for several institutions including the World Bank, the UN, Harvard, Princeton, and the World Economic Forum.
2016: Howard Kerr
Howard Kerr is a native Iowan, a 1960 graduate of the UI, and a former naval commander and advisor to U.S. presidents. Having earned graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Kerr combines a unique appreciation of academic education with fascinating experiences in the real world and government. Whether serving on the front lines of U.S. strategy during the Cold War, helping military leaders understand the military situation in Vietnam, advising presidents and vice presidents on military and naval matters, or consulting with thought leaders on international affairs, Kerr has provided a significant international impact. He has been a Military Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, contributing to high-level discussions of international politics among individuals who create and implement American policy. Kerr has been a strong advocate and aide to the University of Iowa, specifically the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He serves on the CLAS Dean’s Advisory Board and has provided a generous amount of time and effort to the political science department, regularly lecturing in presidency and foreign policy courses.
2015: Rebecca Arnold
Arnold’s focus has always been global. She’s worked as a community health educator, has fought global poverty with the NGO CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), and has developed grassroots advocacy guides used in Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda to assist local activists in the prevention of gender-based violence in their communities.Currently the senior program officer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, Rebecca Arnold has effectively blended her deep knowledge of communication strategies with an understanding of critical public health issues facing populations in many parts of the world. A self-described ‘social and behavioral change communications specialist,’ her work has directly affected the delivery of knowledge and skills around family planning as well as maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition, and has led to improved health behaviors in communities from Madagascar to Bangladesh.
In recent years, Arnold has directed the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. BKMI is a USAID-funded project to strengthen the capacity of the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as it attempts to develop a national communication framework for health, population, and nutrition, which is currently absent in Bangladesh. As part of this effort, she is developing digital resources (eHealth) for community-based, non-clinical field health workers to use in counseling at the household level.
These are only a few highlights of Rebecca Arnold’s impressive accomplishments at a global level. Since her earliest days as a Peace Corps volunteer, Arnold has been acutely aware of the relationship between health and economic security. By creating appropriately targeted behavior change communication campaigns around health, Arnold and her public health colleagues are positively affecting not only those in the immediate vicinity but serving as a model for use by public health workers in other developing countries.
Rock Island, IL, native and UI Masters of Public Health graduate Rebecca Arnold received the award on November 10 at the start of International Programs’ WorldCanvass television show and participated in a wide-ranging discussion of global public health issues.
2014: Roger Thurow and Selma Jeronimo
For the first time since its inception, two winners were selected for the International Impact Award: journalist, author, and activist Roger Thurow, and tropical medicine specialist Dr. Selma Jeronimo. UI President Sally Mason and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas presented the awards at the WorldCanvass program “The Tenacious Cycle of Poverty, Hunger, and Disease.”
Roger Thurow is a UI journalism grad who grew up in a small town in Illinois and went on to a high-profile career writing for the Wall Street Journal and covering a host of momentous international events, including the emergence of Nelson Mandela from prison, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the war in former Yugoslavia. But the tragic and seemingly intractable issues of inadequate nutrition and food inequalities in Africa haunted him and eventually became his driving cause. After three decades as a journalist and foreign correspondent, Thurow turned his energies toward personal activism, joining the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a senior fellow for agriculture and food policy, speaking out and writing on nutrition and hunger issues, and being named the 2009 Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in the process.
Selma Jeronimo is a professor of biochemistry and medicine at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil. Her research involves work in the neighborhoods and homes of low-income populations, and she provides free medical consultation and care as a part of her studies. Although not an alumna of the University of Iowa, Jeronimo has a long history of working closely with UI medical and global health faculty and students. A partner in numerous high-level, grant-funded research projects investigating endemic but curable tropical diseases that affect thousands of her fellow Brazilians, particularly those living in impoverished conditions, Jeronimo also provides hands-on learning opportunities that are invaluable to her UI colleagues.
2013: Marcelo Mena-Carrasco
Mena-Carrasco, the fourth recipient of this honor, is deeply involved in air quality research, striving to unfold the layers of complexity surrounding our understanding of global warming and climate change. Recognizing the social impact of the technological choices we make, Mena-Carrasco is not content to simply conduct research in his lab and leave policy questions to politicians. He takes his research into the world in hopes of finding solutions to the environmental problems that are daily causing harm to individuals and society, creating great demands in the political and public policy spheres of countries all over the world. Through continued collaboration with colleagues at the UI and elsewhere, Mena-Carrasco believes the path can be found to a more sustainable and healthier future.Dr. Marcelo Mena-Carrasco, a Chilean alumnus of the UI College of Engineering and powerful advocate of socially responsible and sustainable environmental practices, has been named the recipient of the 2013 International Impact Award. Mena-Carrasco directs the Center for Sustainability Research at the Universidad Andres Bello Santiago, and serves as Energy and Climate Specialist for Fundación Chile, a private nonprofit corporation whose mission is to introduce high-impact innovation and empower human capital.
UI President Sally Mason and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas presented the award to Mena-Carrasco at the WorldCanvass program The Social Impact of Sustainability on November 8, 2013. In 2017, he received the Climate & Clean Air Honorary Award from the Climate & Clean Air Coalition for his work to reduce short-lived climate pollutants and air pollution in Chile.
2012: Hualing Nieh Engle
As only the third recipient of this award, Engle is being honored for her vision in creating and nurturing the International Writing Program; for her commitment to freedom of expression and international/intercultural dialogue regardless of political barriers; for her personal investment in internationalizing the UI campus as well as the larger American literary landscape; and for proudly carrying the name and reputation of the University of Iowa to the most cosmopolitan of cities and most humble of communities in her own voice and in the voices of IWP writers.Co-founder and tireless supporter of the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa, Hualing Nieh Engle received the 2012 International Impact Award.
2011: Trudy Huskamp Peterson
"I'm extremely grateful for this award because it gives a little more visibility to the question of the importance of archives in defending, protecting and asserting human rights around the world." Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson, former acting archivist of the United States, founding executive director of the Open Society Archives, and director of archives and records management for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, was named the 2011 recipient of the International Impact Award for her unflagging commitment, even in the face of opposition and intimidation, to the protection and safe-keeping of at-risk documents in order that history may be preserved."
- Trudy Huskamp Peterson
Learn about Trudy's 2018 Emmett Leahy Award here.
2010: Richard and Mary Jo Stanley
“We are most pleased and honored to receive the International Impact Award,” said Richard Stanley. “This award recognizes our family’s interest in global education over the years. We believe that the survival issues of today and the future require the understanding, engagement and collaboration of all peoples and nations. We are thankful to have a small part in this.” The inaugural award was presented in 2010 to Richard and Mary Jo Stanley of Muscatine who, along with the Stanley family, have been long-time donors to UI International Programs.
Hear more about the Stanleys and their work in the free iTunes podcast from the Nov. 12, 2010, WorldCanvass program "The Value of an International Education."Stanley commended UI International Programs’ work in preparing students and others to be globally competent and comfortable in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.