IOWA INTERNATIONAL CENTER | Mirza Kudic Receives Passport to Prosperity Award

Posted on Aug 13, 2018 in Artists, Events, MAINFRAME News

Congratulations to photographer Mirza Kudic (Studio #421) for this award recognition!


Mainframe Studios was honored to offer its full support of Mirza Kudic and his Passport to Prosperity 2018 Nomination. He is an inspiration to our growing community.

We provide permanent affordable workspaces to artists of all disciplines and Mirza is one of our 71 studio tenants. There may not be a better example of someone so well aligned
with our goal of promoting an inclusive culture of creativity, prosperity, innovation and equality. During our frequent building tours, we often point out Mirza’s story and his outlook. Art is a powerful connector and the outreach he achieves through is jaw-dropping photographs is simply stunning. Mirza’s talent is undeniable. His understanding of the value of personal interactions is equally impressive.

Mirza shows us how to take pride in our state and in one another. We join others in applauding his journey, his tenacity and his capacity to give back.

The Iowa International Center’s Passport to Prosperity Awards Celebration and Gala is a unique and inspiring event featuring award presentations to select immigrants and refugees in Iowa who make our community better. Funds raised support programs and initiatives of the Iowa International Center to support new Iowans with language services that help lead to prosperity. Read more about what they’ve accomplished: IIC 2017 Report.

2018 Honorees

Barwaqo Aden. Barwaqo’s family fled Somalia when she was an infant, living as refugees in Kenya for years. Barwaqo, husband Yussuf and baby son, Abdiaziz, came to the United States as refugees in 2011. They first settled in Houston, Texas, and in 2012 moved to Iowa to join family. Barwaqo is Assistant Director at Nisaa African Family Services, which she helped establish. She is a sought-after team member for nearly every task force and event that involves refugees and immigrants in Central Iowa.


Mirza Kudic. When asked, Mirza modestly describes himself as an immigrant, a veteran, and an American. Mirza immigrated with his parents to the United States from Bosnia in late 1996 when he was about 14. Mirza joined the Army in 2003 and believes he may have been “the first Bosnian kid who joined the U.S. Army as a full time active duty soldier.” Mirza is recognized nationally for his photos of Des Moines.



Albert Liu. Albert came to live in Iowa in 1994 as an immigrant from China. Since that time, he has served with State and local boards, committees, and businesses dedicated to building a strong relationship between Iowa and China. He played a key role in preparing Iowa for the 2012 visit to Iowa of Xi Jinping, then Vice President of China. Albert is currently Director of International Business Development with Kent Corporation.


Welcoming the World to Iowa Award

Trudy Holman Hurd has been name recipient of the 2018 Dr. Judith Conlin Welcoming the World to Iowa Award. The award recognizes Trudy’s long-time support of initiatives that help improve the lives of new Iowans and enrich Des Moines.