A first-of-its kind event tonight in Des Moines is expected to become an annual celebration honoring the contributions made by Iowa’s immigrants.It’s called “Passport to Prosperity: A Celebration of Iowa’s Newcomers,” and is a “first” in the country. Michelle Soria is director of the Iowa Council on International Understanding, which is staging the event in a venue that’s also unique, to say the least. She says no event like this has ever been held at the top of a parking garage, though she assures it’ll be elegant with tents over a buffet of international food and live entertainment. The event’s being held at the top of parking ramp, at 3rd and Court streets in downtown Des Moines. Soria says Iowa’s communities and families wouldn’t be as strong as they are today without tonight’s honorees and thousands of other immigrants like them.She says they include Sahar Al-Shash, owner of Sahar’s Continental Shops, Dr Kumsan Song, a doctor of internal medicine, Fasil Kebede, a utility specialist for the state, Elizabeth Salinas Newby, administrator of the Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs, and Dr Mario Soria, professor emeritus of Spanish at Drake University. Dr Soria’s her father, though Michele hastens to add she had no part in his selection.
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