As a global investment manager, we recognize the importance of reaching out to others—including those who live half a world away. That’s one reason the Principal Financial Group® partners with the Iowa Sister States program.
Iowa Sister States is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that connects Iowa with seven regional territories and states across the globe, and with the country of Taiwan. The program supports the idea that people-to-people diplomacy has a lasting and positive impact on the political and economic relations between nations.
“Through Iowa Sister States, The Principal participates in cultural exchanges and creates ties for business opportunities,” says Andrew Allen, director of community relations at The Principal. “Many of the relationships Iowa Sister States have developed over the years align with the business opportunities of The Principal.”
The relationship with Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan is a great example. In 1959, a typhoon devastated the area. In response, Sergeant Richard Thomas, an Iowan who had previously visited Yamanashi when he was stationed in Japan, encouraged his fellow Iowans to help in any way they could.
The Japanese Prefecture of Yamanashi and the state of Iowa became sister states in 1961 in a formal agreement signed by Iowa Governor Norman Erbe and Yamanashi Governor Hishashi Amano. This agreement marked Iowa’s very first Sister State relationship. The Principal supports that relationship in honor of our relationship with Nippon Life Insurance Company.
Iowa Sister States and The Principal also have a long-standing relationship with the Hebei Province of the People’s Republic of China.
In Feb. 2012, Chinese Vice President Xi JinPing, (now President), visited Iowa for an historic trade and innovation exchange, which included a meeting with Larry Zimpleman, chairman, president and CEO of The Principal, and several other business leaders from across the state.
This momentous visit developed as a result of Iowa’s long tradition of sister state-sister city relationships.
In Oct. 2013, The Principal hosted 180 delegations from Hebei and representatives from the State of Iowa to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Iowa's Sister State relationship with the Hebei Provence. The celebration focused on deepening relationships and fostering additional exchanges, with attendees signing 20 cooperative agreements.