Community Programs

Read Africa Grant Competition

IRIS NRC was delighted to collaborate with the African Studies Program at UW-Madison to provide funding for the Read Africa grant competition.

Grants were awarded to public libraries across Wisconsin to enrich their collections with new titles or programming that enables readers to deepen their understanding of Africa.

The grant competition awarded over $20,000 to 34 libraries, representing 14 of Wisconsin’s 16 library systems.

IRIS NRC Selected Winners

As a cosponsor, IRIS NRC supported proposals from:

  • McIntosh Memorial Library, Winding Rivers Library System
  • La Crosse Public Library, Winding Rivers Library System
  • Jane Morgan Memorial Library, South Central Library System
  • Shawano County Library, Nicolet Federated Library System
  • Brown County Library, Nicolet Federated Library System
  • Hammond Community Library, IFLS Library System
  • Colfax Public Library, IFLS Library System
  • Washburn Public Library, Northern Waters Library Service
  • Menomonee Falls Public Library, Bridges Library System

IRIS NRC Criteria for Evaluation

  • Preference was given to proposals that additionally focused on priority themes of migration, human rights, global health, climate, or global Islam.
  • Preference was also given to transnational or cross-regional content

Book Lists 

Cia Siab in Wisconsin: A HMoob Story

Cia Siab in Wisconsin Exhibit is a community-based traveling exhibit led by HMoob community members, Hmong scholars, trained in different fields, and HMoob activists. Cia Siab is creating this exhibit to display HMoob artifacts, objects, and artistic representations of HMoob historical trauma, resilience, and healing in Wisconsin from the perspectives of HMoob women, youth, LGBTQ, and elders in Wisconsin. Their goal is to empower HMoob communities, cultivate collective healing and promote cross-cultural understanding among the wider public. 

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Cia Siab Facebook page

April 5-25, 2021: The Battlefields of Memory Exhibit at UW-Oshkosh Annex Gallery 

Explore the virtual exhibition: 

Description: America’s Secret War in Laos was a covert military intervention (1964-1973). Unlike the Vietnam War that was known to the American public, the Secret War has remained an unknown history in the American memory. However, the Hmong, whose relocation to the U.S. was a direct product of that war, this history is alive in Hmong memories: refugee artifacts, objects carried from Laos to the U.S., everyday objects that bear witness to the struggle of living in the U.S. as refugees, and the things that offer Hmong resilience and healing. It is in the traces of memory and its battlefields that marginalized communities like the Hmong work to reconcile the erasure of their history and to find healing.

In this exhibit, you will enter a bedroom that will invite you into the private and intimate spaces of memory. You will encounter artifacts that testify to the consequences of America’s Secret War. And lastly, you will interact with objects that speaks to human resilience. This is a community-based and community-led exhibit in partnership UWO’s Hmong Studies Program, Hmong community organizations throughout Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

This exhibit is co-sponsored by the following community partners: Hmong Studies Program (UW-Oshkosh), Cia Siab Inc. (La Crosse, WI), Freedom, Inc. (Madison, WI), Hmong American Women Association (Milwaukee, WI), Wisconsin Historical Society (Madison, W) the Wisconsin Arts Board Creative Communities Grant and the Morgridge Center for Public Service (UW-Madison) Community Research Project Grant, the Institute for Regional and International Studies (UW-Madison), Center for Southeast Asian Studies (UW-Madison), and Pepsi Programming Allocation Fund (UW-Oshkosh). 


April 7, 2021, 6:00 pm 

Healing Hmong Experiences of Historical Trauma

Register here to join a conversation with Dr. Ia Xiong on Hmong historical trauma and the possibilities of healing for our community.

Dr. Ia Xiong is a licensed psychologist with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. She specializes in multicultural issues and trauma-informed care. Her work focuses on historical trauma experiences in the Hmong community and managing stress through mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. She is a 2019 Bush Fellow and committed to advancing culturally appropriate mental health services for the Hmong. In her free time, she loves to write and travel. In addition, she is a proud mama of two.

April 14, 2021, 7:00 pm

A Journey of #Becoming

Register here to join this conversation about meditation, mental health, and healing in the HMong community with Pajdee Yang.

Pajdee Yang, CEO & Founder of EmPajwer Meditations. Pajdee has been practicing meditation for over half a decade. She discovered it soon after her epiphany of what she believed was Nirvana (absolute bliss) during her first experiences with yoga. That was when it opened the doors to her spiritual awakening and was what guided her to discover meditation. Pajdee believes that meditation was one of the few forms that saved her life while struggling with her mental well-being.

Creating, guiding, and sharing meditations has become a crucial part to her life purpose. Pajdee also advocates for self-growth and stepping outside one’s comfort zone. That was a major reason why she decided to immerse herself into pageantry and then fortunately, got appointed USOA’s Miss Minnesota 2020. She believes that there’s no epitome to growth and the sky isn’t the limit, it’s simply only the view.