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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fowler

Farewell, Holly!


This month, we are sadly saying goodbye to Holly Harris, Manager of Programs and Operations. She will be going to Brazil through the Fulbright Program to teach English at a University in Salvador, Brazil.


Holly first came onto Global Ties Iowa in 2019 as a Membership Intern. In early 2020, she became a Programming Intern, and later that year, Program Coordinator. Holly graduated from the University of Iowa in December 2021 with a B.A. in International Studies, B.A. in Portuguese, a Spanish minor, and a Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy certificate. After taking a few months to travel, she re-joined Global Ties Iowa staff as a full-time Manager of Programs and Operations.

“I feel like that [it was] super important to my skill development and professional development that I had the flexibility and the opportunity to do many different things like communications and membership and programming,” said Holly. “[Because of this] I was able to grow, and that has helped me [so much] with my career, my Fulbright, and my future endeavors.”


2022 Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy

In her 4 years working at Global Ties Iowa, Holly named the 2022 Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy as her most memorable experience. This was the first in-person event we had since the pandemic, held outside at City Park with the Mandela Washington Fellows and a visiting delegation from Sri Lanka.

“It was just a really fun opportunity to reconnect with our members and volunteers and engage with our visitors. There was music and games and lots of good food. It was my first time organizing an event in my full-time role, too, so I was really happy. It was a great success and I just remember laughing and smiling a lot,” said Holly.

After teaching in Brazil for 9 months, Holly hopes to continue working in international exchange, potentially in Washington, D.C. at a higher level.

“Having the background in [international exchange] work has helped guide me to what I want to do in the future, because I know this is work that I love to do, which is why I'm doing it,” said Holly. “I'm hoping that while I'm [in Brazil], I'll make some really good connections and have a better idea of what I want to do after I get back.”

2019 Mandela Washington Fellow Welcome Reception

Holly would like to thank many people in the Global Ties Iowa community for providing guidance along the way. She especially credits and thanks her executive directors for allowing her to grow and develop her skills across roles.

“When I first started off as an intern, I learned a lot from [Jo Butterfield]. She was a great introduction to the field, a great leader to have. Janice Weiner and I navigated the pandemic times together and she was always just a great resource, a great support system. And then Amy [Alice Chastain] was the [Executive] Director I've had leading into my full-time role. We've had a lot of fun and busy times expanding our outreach and working really hard to be more diverse and intentional about the work that we're doing, because it means so much to both of us,” said Holly.

Holly would also like to thank Global Ties Iowa volunteers for their help and dedication.

“We couldn't do anything that we do without [our volunteers]. They're what makes the visitors' time here really special and unique,” said Holly. “And that's why [our visitors] remember Iowa, because of a volunteer, so thank you to [our volunteers] and our members.”

Fall 2022 staff selfie

Lastly, Holly would like to thank Global Ties Iowa staff members and interns.

“Thank you for working with me [and] working together [to build] our goals. It makes the work that we do more fun behind the scenes," said Holly. “I'm appreciative of all that you guys do to make this work fun and successful because you guys do a lot, so thank you.”

Staff and interns would similarly like to thank Holly for her unwavering dedication and exceptional contributions to our organization. She will be sincerely missed!

“Holly has been an integral part of CIVIC/Global Ties for almost the entirety of my time working here, and has helped me immensely with learning how to program. It's always a joy to come into the office and catch up. This year, I feel she has grown to be a friend in addition to a coworker, and will greatly miss our laughs over silly jokes and bonding over Noah Kahan's fantastic music. I and everyone else at Global Ties Iowa will miss Holly immensely but know she will do great things in Brazil and beyond!” wrote Bailey Shafer, Program Coordinator.

“I have had the great pleasure of knowing Holly Harris for several years now. In Spring 2021, she was a student in a service-learning course I teach at the UI focused on refugees and immigrants in Iowa. She was not only one of the most reliable and participatory students, but she also demonstrated repeatedly her great potential to make a difference in our community. At this same time, I came to know Holly’s vast array of smarts, talents, and skills as an intern while I served on the board of directors for both the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) and Global Ties Iowa (formerly CIVIC). And most recently, I have been fortunate to call Holly a colleague since she took on a professional role with Global Ties Iowa as Manager of Programs and Operations. I knew when she was a college student that Holly had tremendous promise, and now so many more people know that, too. It is an understatement for me to say I am excited for her upcoming Fulbright experience in Brazil. She is the very best of this country’s next generation of leaders. She will impress her Brazilian colleagues, students, and those living in her community. And I know she will continue to do great things thereafter. I wish her all the best!” said Peter Gerlach, Executive Director at the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and former Board Vice President.


“Holly started with CIVIC when the organization was going through a staff transition. Holly took a leadership role above and beyond what was expected of her at that time and her young age. I found Holly easy to communicate with and made direct calls and texts to report or clarify some of the challenges of some programs. She always asks for pictures and always responds with "Thank you." Now, I want to say THANK YOU, Holly, and I wish you the best of luck in your next endeavor. You transitioned CIVIC into Global Ties Iowa and we are all thankful!!” wrote Newman Abuissa, Board Vice President.

“Since rejoining us full-time, Holly has been the rock of our organization. She knows Global Ties Iowa inside and out, could answer any question and help with any aspect of our work. We could not be where we are today without her hard work. Her passion, bubbliness, and can-do attitude made her a true pleasure to work with. I will seriously miss having her around to chat, joke, and brainstorm with!” said Abby Fowler, Communications Coordinator.


“Holly brings her heart and passion to Global Ties Iowa and its people like her that make local organizations like ours thrive. We are so lucky to have her and help create a welcoming environment for all our international visitors and our volunteer community,” said Marlén Mendoza, Board Secretary.



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