COMMUNITY Iowa’s first Malaysian exchange student, Alias, was partnered up with a young man named Bill, as Bill was the only other Muslim student his professor knew of. As time went on and they parted ways, a Trade Mission to Malaysia in December 1979 allowed Bill and Alias to meet after many years of distance as global travel and trade was still in its infancy, especially between U.S.A. and Southeast Asia. Iowa became a State leader in International trade. Eventually, there was a meeting in Des Moines with Governor Ray and the Sister State Committee members. As an official representative of Terengganu, Chief Minister Dato Seri Amar Di Raja proposed with Governor Ray that a new Sister State program between Iowa and Malaysia be initiated. This would be the first Iowa Sister State program with a country of Islamic Heritage. Our fourth sister state developed as a lot of citizen diplomacy things do, through a person-to-person interaction. Many in Malaysia were surprised at a linkage between Iowa, the Heartland of America, and Terengganu, far from the Capitol and main activities of Malaysia, to partner for education, trade, tourism, and mutual exchange. August 2019 The URBAN EXPERIENCE 29

30 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication