Around the Diaspora July 2017

Facebook Founder eats iftar meal in Minneapolis

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, embarked on what he called “a great American road trip,” saying  his goal was to visit all 50 states and meet the people who make American great. The trip brought him to Minneapolis on the last 3 days of Ramadan where he shared an iftar meal with some local Somali Minnesotans.

Here is his own Facebook account:

Tonight I had my first iftar dinner with a group of Somali refugees in Minneapolis.

As a refugee, you often don’t get to choose which country you end up in. When I asked one  man who had spent 26 years in a refugee camp whether America now felt like home, he gave a simple and profound answer:

“Home is where you are free to do what you want. Yes, this feels like home.”

There are few places in the world he felt comfortable to be who he is: the country where he was born, and our country that values freedom.

What a beautiful tribute to America. 

Thanks to my hosts for being so gracious at the very end of Ramadan. I left impressed by your strength and resilience to build a new life in an unfamiliar place, and you are a powerful reminder of why this country is so great.”

Pizza house that was terrorized in Mogadishu gets rebuilt in one day to show resilience

On June 14 a car packed with explosives destroyed a fairly new restaurant in Mogadishu owned by young professionals who had relocated to Somalia after living in the diaspora for a long time.

The explosion brought down the restaurant roof, destroying furniture, dishes, pots, and more. Right after the explosion, a group of youngsters got together and volunteered to rebuild the restaurant as soon as possible. Their efforts were even recognized by the newly elected Somali president, Mohamed Farmaajo.

A Somali-Minnesota girl wants to become the first female Somali pilot

Meyran relocated to Minnesota in 2002 from Saudi Arabia. Since the age of 10, she has dreamed  of becoming a pilot. After war broke out in Somalia in 1989, she experienced her first flight which confirmed her wish of one day becoming a pilot. Meyran faced many obstacles including divorce from her then husband who did not want her to go to school. She is currently in school to studying to become a pilot and is scheduled to graduate soon.

The story of Abaarso Tech highlighted in the American media

Abaarso Tech is a school founded by an American hedge fund manager who relocated to Somaliland (a breakway region of Somalia) to start an American-style school that accepts only the brightest students from Somaliland. The school has been so successful that 80 Abaarso students now attend elite universities like Havard, Yale, MIT and Brown. A segment about the school aired on the CBS TV news show “60 Minutes” on June 2.

BET AWARDS recognize Ilwad Elman as a Global Good Star

Ilwad, a Somali-Canadian social activist, is the director of programs and development for the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu, Somalia. The center was founded by her mother Fartun Adan in honor of her late husband Elman Ali. It focuses its efforts on human rights, gender justice, protection of civilians, countering violent extremism and peace building in Somalia through socially entrepreneurial approaches. Ilwad was  honored at the BET awards, which was held June 25, 2017.