The Global/Local section focuses on connections between Minnesotans and the world.

My run-in with art pieces in Laos

The door was open. I dropped in, of course. It became a gallery. Paper, paint, textiles— all scattered across tables and floors. I quietly called across the room, hoping to not wake anyone up but still intrigued to step in like the curious explorer mae always scolded me as a child. No one answered back. I walked through a maze of art pieces hoisted along the walls from top to bottom and rows of old books and sheets of paper tightly and neatly stacked high on broken tables. The pieces spoke of an artist who had more than one love. There were influences of Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh in the impressionist brush strokes and style of bright colors. This was an artist who was privileged enough to have studied from a Westernized paintbrush, but held a Lao eye to what the pieces had to say about the Lao consciousness. I sat on a bench, the only bench, and waited in anticipation. After 20 minutes of sitting and observing, no footsteps in the distance was heard. No artist. I walked out, but I was already inspired.


Minneapolis Afghan man fights misconceptions about his homeland

To capitalize on positive Afghan stories, Munhazim embarked on a photography project in 2010, returning to Kabul and capturing images of the daily life of Afghans. (Photo by Qais Munhazim)

It didn’t take long for Qais Munhazim to learn about the misconceptions many Americans have about his home country, Afghanistan.


A sheriff visits the Jewish state

Matt Bostrom: It was a great setting to ask questions and interact. (Photo: Mordecai Specktor)

Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom has the highest regard for the folks who organized his recent group tour of Israel.


COMMUNITY VOICES | #OromoProtests in Perspective

Oromo students protesting in Burayu. (Image courtesy of

Since April 25th, thousands of high school and university students across Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, have turned out in peaceful protest against a government land grab that stands to displace millions of indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands. Even though the country’s constitution theoretically allows for peaceful demonstrations, the student protesters, along with local populations in many cities and towns, have faced a ruthless crackdown from Ethiopian Special Forces, known as the Agazi Commandos. These forces have used excessive violence by indiscriminately shooting into crowds in an attempt to quash the protests. Children as young as eleven years old have been killed, according to statement issued by Amnesty International on May 13, and reports of fatal injuries, torture, imprisonment, disappearances and killings have been coming out of Ethiopia since then.


Reflections of New Minnesotans: Finding home and place

10,000 journeys to 10,000 lakes: that's the theme for this year's annual Twin Cities World Refugee Day celebration. [TCDP editor's note: Twin Cities World Refugee Day is June 14.] With over 100,000 refugees resettled here, Minnesota has a rich diversity of cultures and stories from these communities.


Minne-Faire 2014 with a winning Hackmobile

Much of the Fifth Minne-Faire occurs inside so the rainy weather was not too much of a factor on Saturday, the 31 of May. I wonder how food trucks cope?


Kenyans in Minnesota get ready for Madaraka Day celebration June 1

“Nairobi, Kenya – Waving his ‘wisk’ the newly-elected Premier of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta (R, foreground), greeted throngs of cheering citizens as he rode through the streets of Nairobi. Accompanying Kenyatta are Tom Mboya (L), Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; A. Oginga Odinga, Minister for Home Affairs; and James S. Gichuru, Minister for Finance. The motorcade was part of the National Holiday celebrations which marked the start of internal self-government for the African nation.” (Photo: © Bettmann/CORBIS)

Hundreds are expected at Parkers Park Community Playfield in Plymouth this Sunday, June 1, as Minnesota’s Kenyan-American community celebrates Madaraka Day, which marks the day Kenya attained internal-self rule from the British on June 1, 1963 in the run-up to full independence on December 12, 1963.


Africa is open for business: Forum touted benefits of investing in East Africa

Liberata Mulamula (l) and Tom Gitaa (Photos by Charles Hallman)

Several African-born persons “pitched” their native lands to Minnesotans at a recent African business forum. Commodities, vegetables and machinery are presently the three top products exported from Minnesota. Trade officials agreed that more business exchange and investment in many African nations would be welcome and profitable for all concerned.


COMMUNITY VOICES | Minnesota Muslims speak out on martyrdom, murder of Dr. Mehdi Ali

On Monday, May 25, Ohio based cardiologist, Dr. Mehdi Ali was assassinated in Pakistan.


Summer kicks-off with Sweden on the road: Great Swedish-American Road Trip

Just when we thought there was no hope of sunny warm weather ever returning to Minnesota, a bunch of Swedes drove into town and brought summer with them. Sweden on the Road is a bus tour of Swedish ambassadors seeking to promote Swedish and American collaboration, and showcase Swedish ingenuity in issues of sustainability, music, and cuisine. They began their summer tour of America in Minneapolis at the American Swedish Institute.

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