Minnesota (Little Oromia) is playing host to the North American Summer Oromo convention (aka Oromo Festival in North America). Now a sixteen year old tradition, once a year Oromo immigrants living in North America and around the world, descend on a chosen city for a week long soccer tournaments, conferences and cultural events.
For many, the summer Oromo festival is a pilgrimage that can’t be missed under any normal circumstances. The festivities are on a par with the Muuda, an occasion of spritual renewal and rejuvination. Others do the rounds at the nightly concerts and attend soccer matches to find lifelong partners. Long lost friends and family members separated by civil war often meet at these events. In short, this is an atmosphere filled with love, remniscence, and happy spirits.
This year’s grand event is taking place in Saint Paul, Minnesota, home to the largest number of Oromos perhaps anywhere outside Oromia, the Oromo country (now estimated at 30,000). Recognizing the significance of the week long festivities and cultural awareness events, the city of Saint Paul has officially proclaimed July 16 to 23, 2011 Oromo Week.
In the proclamation letter, given to the Oromo Community of Minnesota, Saint Paul Mayor, Chris Coleman acknowledged the “many contributions made by Oromo residents” to the community. He urged all residents of his city to honor those contributions and join Oromo-Minnesotans “in welcoming” guests from around the world who will be participating in the festival.
This year’s festival opener, Oromia Youth Association’s Annual Oromo Ball, was well-attended and highly successful. Call it Oromo Youth prom; the event attracts Oromo youth and young adults from around the world. This year’s attendees came from around the US and as far as Canada. The 2011 Oromo Ball, held at Radisson Hotel in Roseville, drew in some 200 best-dressed Oromo youth. The networking event is also a fund-raiser for OYA. The proceeds from this year’s event go toward renovating the newly acquired Oromo Community Center.
The Oromia Youth Association is an integral part of the community and had a very important role in raising the money to acquire the center. Now, OYA leaders and members have a different plan. They want to make the community center more welcoming to the youth. OYA hopes to raise $10,000 to purchase equipments, games and other gadgets deemed important by their members.
The International Oromo Youth Association’s, Oromo Youth Leadership Conference, also opened at the University of Minnesota this weekend. Attended by over three dozen Oromo youth from around the states, OYLC’s first day consisted of check-in, meeting and greetings, and an address by Hashim Adam, the immediate president of IOYA. OYLC will take place from July 15 – 18, 2011.
OPride.com in partnership with other Oromo media organizations will bring you live updates of events and happenings around town throughout the week. To start off our weeklong extended coverage, tomorrow, we will bring you live the Oromo Artist Association’s reconciliation forum starting about 11AM CST.
Highlights of This Week’s Events:
- IOYA’s Oromo Leadership Conference (OYLC): July 15 – 18, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)
- The 5th Annual Oromo Ball: July 15, 2011 (Twin Cities, Minnesota)
- The 16th OSFNA Annual Oromo Soccer: July 16 – 23, 2011 (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
- Yaamicha Walgahii WAO: July 16, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)
- ULFO: Waamicha Walgayii Ummataa: July 16, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)
- Kora Gamtaa ABO Kutaalee Kanadaa Fi USA: July 19 – 22, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)–both OLF factions hold separate events.
- Macha Tulama Association USA: July 21, 2011 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Oromo Studies Association (OSA) Conference : July 22 – 24, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)
- Walgahii Hawaasaa ABO 2011: July 23, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)–both OLF factions address the public separately.
Music and Concerts:
- Benefit Concert for DC’s Oromo Community w/Abdi Nuresa: July 20, 2011 (Saint Paul, MN)
- Music Concert: Saliha Sami and Habtamu Lamu: July 20 and 21, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN)
- Hirpha Ganfure and Muktar Usman Live Concert: July 19 and 21, 2011 (Twin Cities, MN)