Somalia President Visits Minneapolis - #SomaliaMN2013

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  1. On January 18, 2013, Somalia's newly elected President Hassan Mohamud and members of his delegation visited Minneapolis, Minnesota to address the Somali-American community, home to the largest Somali diaspora community in the United States.  It was President Mohamud's first visit to the States. He arrived from Washington, D.C. where he met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Members of Congress.  Mohamud was joined by Somalia's first female Foreign Affairs Minister & Deputy Prime Minister, Fawzia Yusuf Adem.  

    After a rousing introduction by Congressman Keith Ellison, President Mohamud and his delegation addressed the crowd of 5000 people, laying out the new government's priorities for Somalia.  His remarks were warmly received by the attendees, who waved Somali and American flags throughout his speech.  Despite the warm reception inside, a crowd of protestors stood outside holding signs against Somalia's 2011 elections and demanding the government adhere to a federalist structure.

    Although Mohamud's speech was not available on livestream due to logistical difficulties, it is available on YouTube and below in this story. 

  2. As soon as I walked into the Minneapolis Convention Center, I felt right at home as soon as I saw the huge crowd, long lines, and people buzzing with excitement.  It reminded me of the early days when Eritrea's diaspora held conventions and festivals to support our struggle for independence.  The popular EPLF musicians & activists would organize international tours and I remember we would all flock to the designated city for a rare sighting and celebration with our community members. It was that kind of feeling.  Reunions, rumors, families, children everywhere, teenagers trying to act like they're too cool for the event but clearly excited.  It's the heart of so many diaspora communities. I'm not Somali, and yet, I still felt like I could relate to that excitement.  Anyway, I digress....Here's my summary: 
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