Advancing Community Agenda Across the Atlantic

By: Hussein Samatar

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Since the 1980’s, Somalis have been going through tough times due to civil war. This war has caused immeasurable human tragedies and an uncountable drain of human and natural capital.

I am extremely lucky to have not only survived this unkind civil war, but more importantly, been given the opportunity to share the growing number of success stories of the Somali and other African entrepreneurs living in Minnesota. With the support of the ADC board and the dedication of ADC staff, these stories have consistently increased in number and impact, drawing state, national, and even international attention.

Because Somalia is unable to have Embassies anywhere, especially in the United States, we have taken it upon ourselves to play the role as ambassador of sorts for the community. Our aim is to share a balanced story with Minnesota, America, an the international community – complete with challenges and success.

As part of this endeavor, we often travel to other parts of the world experiencing similar influx of East African populations. Most notably, the Nordic countries of Europe. In the past two years, we have hosted 7 foreign delegations, traveled once to Denmark and twice to Sweden, and featured 4 Ambassadors interested in how ADC is successfully creating jobs and addressing issues of community development and civic engagement. Additionally, we have a wonderful relationship with the Minnesota International Center, and frequently partner with them to co-host a number of groups visiting from across the globe.

This week, the African Development Center is proud to host a delegation of 31 individuals from all parts of Sweden. For this visit, the delegation will be touring a number of the over 2000 businesses established statewide by this community, as well as the many African malls, community centers, and local banks, corporations, and academic institutions positively impacted by this new American community. I have attached the itinerary here, as well as these photos from the first days of their visit:

We are doing this work because we are global citizens and we are proud Minnesotans. It is our vision to see an integrated and successful Somali community in Minnesota and all Scandinavian countries.

Lastly, the best outcome for Somalis in Somalia at this time is good governance and a successful rebuild of the country. This stability is necessary for the large numbers of youth looking for employment in the country. The Diaspora and the International community should help this current new beginning in Somalia.