"Understanding the Somali Culture" Community Meeting in Willmar a Huge Success!

The African Development Center was proud to be a part of a community meeting aimed at increasing public knowledge of the Somali culture in the Willmar area. This meeting, sponsored by the Willmar Lakes Area Community Marketing Coalition in cooperation with ADC, the City of Willmar, Willmar Public Schools, Bremer Bank, and the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce was a huge success – with over 650 residents attending the day’s sessions.

Entitled Understanding Somali Culture, the event featured a panel-type discussion aimed for “anyone who’s curious and would like to enhance their understanding about the Somali culture specifically and more generally about the evolving nature of the broader community,” says Greg Hilding of Bremer Bank. Hilding moderated the two panel discussions, with one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Footage is available on our Video Page

ADC was proud to feature our own Abdirizak Mahboub on the panel, as we understand the importance of community engagement, education, and cooperation that is necessary for true and successful comprehensive community economic development. When ADC purchased and renovated its new office in Willmar, it understood the it would be more than just a community space, but a symbolic structure to facilitate vital discussions of cultural and religious difference that often accompany the influx of a new community such as this. Also on the panel were the Rev. Tim Larson of Calvary Lutheran Church; Mohamed Sayid of Kandiyohi County Family Services; Charlene Stevens, Willmar city administrator; and Rachelle Peterson, a community member.

These meetings on Thursday, were a phenomenal example of community-focused education and discussion. Full of inquiry and dialogue, organizers and attendees could not have asked for a better event. For a full review of the panel’s events, review this story from the West Central Tribune.

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