The Anne Frank Initiative was the host of this half-day event geared toward middle-schoolers.
Monday, May 22, 2023
Students sitting on Pentacrest
Clear Creek Amana middle school students sitting on the UI Pentacrest

The Anne Frank Initiative (AFI), an International Programs affinity group, welcomed approximately 200 students from the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District to the University of Iowa (UI) campus on Friday, May 19. Students spent half a day participating in activities centered on Anne Frank’s writing, advocacy, and historical significance.  

“I was thrilled to welcome Clear Creek Amana middle-schoolers to the University of Iowa campus,” said Kirsten Kumpf Baele, director of the AFI and a faculty member in the UI Department of German. “A strong tenet of the AFI is to create transformative moments that strive for advocacy. Through the activities that we planned for the students, we hope that learning about history, writing, and more specifically about Anne Frank in a tangible way, sent these students home ready to discover and enact their own ‘calls to action.’ Anne Frank’s diary is an important document for the Jewish identity, but Anne Frank also shares with the world the universal challenges of being a teenager.” 

The students visited the Anne Frank sapling on the Pentacrest and learned about its significance and UI’s “tree campus” designation. They were invited to reflect on Anne Frank’s story and compose their thoughts on a leaf, which were collected and will be displayed in the hallways of CCA schools. 

"Anne Frank’s diary is an important document for the Jewish identity, but Anne Frank also shares with the world the universal challenges of being a teenager.”

Denise Filios is a UI associate professor of Spanish and advisory committee member of AFI. She participated in the event and was eager to see what the students already knew about Anne Frank.  

“I am so proud that the AFI can help amplify the uniqueness of Iowa and create opportunities to engage students creatively and imaginatively with Anne Frank, participating in her legacy through activities here in Iowa City,” remarked Filios. 

Each student chose a complementary activity to conclude the day. These included a writing activity entitled “Writing to Locate Identity,” self-guided tours of the National History Museum or Old Capitol Museum, a virtual tour of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, or a tour of the UI campus. 

Lindsay Herr, CCA eighth grade English language arts instructor helped coordinate this event, as it served to augment what students already learned about the Holocaust.  

“Our morning spent at the University of Iowa was a great experience for our eighth graders to not only learn more about Anne Frank, but to also wrap up our Holocaust unit,” said Herr. “I know the students thoroughly enjoyed it!” 

UI faculty and staff that helped make this event possible include John Achrazoglou, clinical associate professor and chief technology officer, College of Education; Kai Clemons, instructional services coordinator, College of Education; Carl Follmer, director, Frank Business Communications Center, Tippie College of Business; Mallory Hellman, director of the Iowa Youth Writing Program; David Lippe, computer systems administrator, College of Education; and Kevin Zihlman, assistant athletics director. 

 The AFI was established in early 2023 and is committed to investigating Anne Frank’s literary contributions, her ongoing legacy, and all that she represents in a more globalized, international, and contemporary context. 


Learn more about the Anne Frank Initiative 


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.