The International Programs Communications & Relations team (C&R) provides event planning and logistics support to IP-affiliated Affinity Groups and winners of Major Project awards and the Provost's Global Forum. This page serves as a "one-stop-shop" for Affinity Group directors and faculty award winners to access administrative, accounting, and event resources.

If you have questions about any of these services, please contact staff below:

Accounting & Budget Support

Mary Paterson

Mary Paterson

Administrative Services Manager
International Programs

Communications & Marketing Support

Amy  Brewster

Amy Brewster

Communications & Relations

Event Planning & Logistics Support

Daniel Vorwerk headshot

Daniel Vorwerk

Assistant Director, Events & Stewardship
Communications & Relations

The C&R team offers event planning and promotion support for Affinity Group-sponsored events funded by IP that are open to the public. Daniel Vorwerk can provide the following event planning and logistics support:

  • Making travel arrangements for guests (airfare, hotel, and airport shuttle reservations)
  • Submitting honorarium payment paperwork
  • Making room reservations for events
  • Ordering catering for events
  • Making meal reservations at local restaurants and setting up as a direct bill, if possible
  • Assisting with the set-up of the room. Event staff may not be able to remain on site for events taking place during the evenings, weekends, and on holidays. This means alternative arrangements may need to be made for clean-up and technical support.

It is helpful to have notice a minimum of one month before for all events, or four months before for events that require international travel for guests coming to campus.

The C&R team promotes the work of International Programs and all of its units and affinity groups, in addition to promoting IP-sponsored events hosted by community and student groups. This is accomplished through the creation of promotional materials using the web, social media, listservs, print, and other digital media.

To utilize the C&R team's event promotion services to publicize your IP-sponsored event(s), please fill out the Event Publicity Form a minimum of three weeks before your event. Additional time is appreciated as it allows us to thoughtfully design promotional materials and spread the word about your event. Once you complete the form, the C&R team will work on the following:

International Programs News

International Programs' news section is a dynamic communications vehicle that is regularly updated to share the achievements of students, colleagues, research partners, and other news stories. We also will publicize your upcoming events and speakers through this news source.

IP and UI events calendars

IP C&R staff manage the IP online calendar on the IP website and add all events submitted on the Event Publicity Form to the UI event calendar as well.

IP-announcement listserv

IP C&R staff moderate the IP-announcement listserv, which reaches more than 300 UI faculty, staff, students, and members of the general public interested in international lectures, symposia, conferences, and other special events with an international focus.

Graphic design materials

The IP C&R team typically creates a number of digital assets for IP-sponsored event promotion. This includes digital display graphics, posters, and graphics that can be used for promotion on a website or social media, in a news article, on events calendars, or through other media. If you have a request for a non-standard item to be designed to promote your upcoming event, please include the details of your request in the comment section of the Event Publicity Form.

Website support

IP C&R staff can provide general support for content updates to IP-affiliated sites, including Affinity Group pages. For more information or to submit updates, please contact Katie Ron. You do not need to submit individual requests connected to events - events on Affinity Group pages are pulled in from the IP events calendar.

Eating at a restaurant

  • Call ahead to make a reservation. When reserving your table, tell the restaurant that you'll be paying via direct bill. This means they'll send a bill via email and you will not pay in person at the restaurant.
    • At the restaurant, give your business card to staff at the time of payment. They'll email you the receipt.
    • The restaurant may still give you a receipt - this is okay.
    • The university does not pay tax on food or drink, plan to remind restaurant staff just in case so they know we are tax exempt.
  • Gratuity is allowed when eating at a restaurant but cannot exceed 20% of the total bill.
  • Once you have a receipt, send it to IP's University Shared Services contact ( for payment.
    • When providing a receipt to IP's University Shared Services contact (, you'll need to provide a headcount of attendees if over 20 individuals.
    • If under 20 individuals, you'll need to provide the names and affiliations of all diners. Affiliation means a university or organization the person eating belongs to.
  • If alcohol is being purchased, a separate receipt will need to be processed for alcohol.

Additional details for all meals

  • For ALL events where alcohol will be served (e.g. reception at a conference, meals with participants as part of a conference/event), you will need to request prior authorization from Mary Paterson of International Programs. Alcohol cannot be served at IP sponsored events where students are present regardless of age and/or who is paying.  This applies to all undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral students.
  • Meals where alcohol is approved to be served need to be in the Iowa City area.
  • The allowance for food and beverage expense is limited to an average of $70 per person for food, an average of $30 per person for alcohol, or an average of $100 per person per meal for food and alcohol combined.
  • The UI-to-visitor ratio for meals should be kept at 4-to-1 for individual guests (or 5-to-2, 6-to-3).  Exceptions need to be pre-approved through Mary Paterson.
  • International Programs limits the percentage of food to 25% of the total programming budget.
  • Sample email for requesting alcohol at a dinner: I am writing to request approval to serve alcohol at a dinner for ESG presenter, Professor German Labrador-Mendez, whom we are hosting at UI for a presentation on Monday, March 24. The dinner is scheduled for Monday, March 23, at XXXXX (location) and we are anticipating XX people in attendance. There will be no students at this dinner. 
  • If your party goes over these allowances, we will need to request personal reimbursement from the faculty member who hosted the meal.

The gift law prohibits public employees from soliciting or accepting gifts from a restricted donor. One exception to this rule includes gifts other than food, beverage, travel, and lodging from/for a foreign citizen given during a ceremonial presentation or as a cultural custom.   

UI Gifts Policy

The C&R team stocks some low-dollar gift items which faculty and staff may distribute to international officials and dignitaries. Current stock includes, but is not limited to, the following items: IP-branded flash drives, keychains, lunch coolers, magnets, sticky-note books, and bike seat covers. Contact Daniel Vorwerk for details.

Faculty and staff may choose to purchase more personalized gifts. Gift purchases of items not regularly kept in stock will require prior approval from Mary Paterson.

Alcohol is never an allowable gift.

If you plan to invite an international guest to campus, an invitation letter needs to be generated. Please consult with Daniel Vorwerk to determine if the visitor falls under the J-1 scholar status. It is not IP’s responsibility to determine the visa type applied for, but to determine if the individual will be a J-1 scholar on our campus or not.

J-1 scholar status

  • This designation will be determined in consultation with ISSS staff based on what is learned from the inviting department.
  • J-1 scholars are typically engaged in an exchange of culture, which may include anything from long term teaching/lecturing to short-term speaking engagements.
  • If it is determined the J-1 scholar status is the appropriate path forward, the inviting department/organization will use the UI ISSS inviting scholars to campus page as a guide to obtain a DS-2019 for each scholar. The DS-2019 form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States. It is the scholar's host's responsibility to submit paperwork to ISSS for DS-2019 processing.

B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status

  • If the visitor is not a J-1 scholar, they may be able to apply for these status types (among others).
  • B-1 business visitors could include those attending a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference.
  • B-1, B-2, WB, and WT visitors are allowed to be paid honoraria if they meet the 9-6-5 rule (nine days or less in the country and have not been paid or reimbursed by more than five other U.S. institutions or organizations during the past six months).
  • If the visitor does not meet the 9-6-5 rule, then they can still consider obtaining B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status, but they cannot be paid for their visit to campus.

Sending an invitation letter

  • If the J-1 scholar status is the path forward, draft and send an invitation letter to each scholar using the template linked below. This should be sent to the scholar with a cc to Taivna Mills ( and Russ Ganim ( If the scholar is being invited in conjunction with a visit for an affinity group, a Major Projects Award, or a Provost's Global Forum, also cc Daniel Vorwerk (
  • If the J-1 scholar status is not the appropriate path forward, Daniel Vorwerk will draft and send an invitation to campus letter to the inviting department to share with the guest.

J-1 Scholar Invitation Letter Template

Regardless of the letter sent, it is the invited guest’s responsibility to apply for a visa with their U.S. embassy and inform the inviting department of what visa they obtain for entry to the United States.

If IP is coordinating travel arrangements for the guest, the inviting department will share with IP staff when the visa is obtained so travel arrangements (flights) can be booked. Flights cannot be booked until after a visa is obtained.

The health, safety, and security of University of Iowa travelers is important to our entire community. To help you understand International Programs' role in this process, as well as your own responsibilities, consult our Travel Safety page for university policies, health and safety resources, high-risk travel information, and more.

Travel Safety

Visas for UI employees/staff

If you need to acquire a visa for international travel, we recommend the CIBT Visas.


For information about immunizations, please consult the UIHC Travel Medicine Clinic.

Travelers' Health

For information on travel notices and travelers’ health, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Resources & Guides


Event Publicity Form

The IP C&R team can assist in marketing and promoting events sponsored and funded by IP Affinity Groups. You will be unable to submit this form for events that are less than three weeks away; additional lead time is recommended to maximize publicity efforts.

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International Commons Room Reservation & Technology Guide

Instructions on how to reserve the International Commons, University Capitol Centre 1117 for an event and details on how to use the technology found in the room.

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Budget & Finances

IP provides support to IP-funded Affinity Groups, Major Projects Award winners, and Provost's Global Forum award winners, including accounting assistance, budget tracking, and honoraria/reimbursement processing.

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International and Domestic Travel Arranagements

If you are seeking reimbursement from IP for any kind of expense, please make the request within 90 days of the original charge. Failure to do so may result in a denial of the reimbursement.

Before you make any travel arrangements funded by IP consult this page and Daniel Vorwerk.

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ISSS J-1 Scholar Invitation Process & Procedure

A guide to the process to establish a DS-2019 for each J-1 scholar. The DS-2019 form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

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Grant and Fellowship Assistance

We are interested in helping IP faculty and staff develop proposals for external funding in support of their research, teaching, and service goals, especially those related to the mission of International Programs. The IP Grants Office can also help you identify appropriate sources of external funding for individual projects.