Upcoming Events

Immigrant Borderhoods and Cities in Minnesota and the U.S.

Date: October 27, 2016

Time: 6:00 PM 

Location: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.

Like other U.S. cities, the Twin Cities have long been and continnue to be immigrant cities, products of economic transformations that have depended upon generations of immigrant labor. Latinos have been an essential part of these changes in both the past and the present. Professor Albert Camarillo (History, Stanford University) will draw on research he has conducted for an upcoming book to dicuss the evolution of ethnic and racial diversity of American cities since the mid-nineteenth century. He will specifically discuss the impact of Latino immigration to Minnesota within this national context. Following Prof. Camarillo's keynote talk, Professors Jimmy Patino (Chicano and Latino Studies, UMN) and Erika Lee (Director of the IHRC) will lead a Q & A session with Camarillo and the audience.


Covering Immigration in an Election Year

Date:  November 15, 2016.

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. 301 19th AVE S, Minneapolis, MN, 55455.

In the weeks following the 2016 election, Global Minnesota will take a look at how immigration is covered in the media, both as part of the presedential campaign and the also as part of the general news cycle. With an invited panel of experienced journalists representing a wide range of media outlets, we will host a moderated discussion to explore how topics like immigration, race, and identity are covered, by whom, and for whom. Some of the questions we hope to explore include: What are the current trends in immigration-related reporting? What are the big immigration stories coming out of the 2016 election? How does diversity in the newsroom matter to the stories getting produced and aired/printed? How do news organizations reach out to recent immigrant and refugee communities to cover significant stories? How do news organizations use new media to cover immigration and encourage conversation? How does the ability to collect, count, crowdsource information shape how journalists write about the politics of immigration?

Confirmed participants include: Ibrahim Hirsi of the MinnPost, Mila Koumpilova of the Star Tribune, and Angilee Shah from Public Radio International. Giovanna Dell'Orto, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and former reproter and editor for the Associated Press, will moderate.

Please register to attend this event here.

Parking and public transit map for Cowles Auditorium.
Parking and public transit map for Cowles Auditorium.





LGBT Immigrant Stories

Date: January 23, 2017.

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: 120 Elmer L Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21 AVE S, Minneapolis, MN, 55455.

Over the past several years the LGBT community has made signifcant headways in securing equal civil rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriages in the U.S. The impact of this can be felt especially among binational same-sex couples. Despite these advancements, reports of abuses against transgender immigrants held in immigration detention centers highlight continuing discriminatory practices. This event will engage a diverse audience, bringing together immigrants from various backgrounds and members of the local LGBT community and their allies. Global Minnesota will partner with the IHRC's Immigrant Stories Project and The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies' Transgender Oral History Project to screen existing LGBT immigrant digital stories at this public forum. Following the screening will be a talk by distinguished scholar Eithne Luibheid whose work has explored the intersections of sexuality, gender, and immigration. There will also be a panel discussion with two LGBT immigrant storytellers and an invited humanities scholar moderated by a University of Minnesota faculty member.

If you, or someone you know, would like to make a short 3-5 minute digital story to share for this event and to be preserved in our Immigrant Stories partnering archives, please Email Bryan Pekel, Program Manager for Global Minnesota: Immigrants Past and Present at


Past Events

Somali Voices in Minnesota and the Diaspora

Date: September 10, 2016

Time: 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Location: Somali Museum of Minnesota. 1516 E Lake ST, #011, Minneapolis, MN, 55407 (the museum is located on the lower level).

Join us for a unique event that combines art, history, culture, performance, and discussion!

Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somalis in North America, who are the subject of much (often divisive) national media attention, including reports focusing on questions of assimilation and suspected ties to terrorism. Such limited attention too often precludes any chance for Somalis to tell their stories of coming to, living in, and building communities in the U.S. Somali Voices in Minnesota and the Diaspora seeks to provide such an opportunity. Organized in partnership with the Immigration History Research Center’s “Global Minnesota: Immigrants Past and Present” programming and the Somali Museum of Minnesota, this event also begs us to ask, “how are the experiences of Somali immigrants and Somali Americans today similar to those of Minnesota’s immigrants of the past?”

Attendees to this unique event will be able to explore the museum's collection of art and artifacts with the museum's founder and Executive Director, Osman Ali. Professor Cawo Abdi (Sociology, UMN) will discuss her path-breaking research on the Somali Diaspora in the U.S., South Africa, and the U.A.E. Her work illuminates the opportunities and disadvantages Somalis face in each of these locations. Research on Somali refugees and Somali Americans is just emerging, and Professor Abdi is one scholar leading the way. We will then be treated to a special performance by celebrated local Somali artchivist, Ifrah Mansour, and a screening of a collection of digital stories made for the IHRC’s Immigrant Stories project. Our event will conclude with a moderated discussion with our distinguished guests. There will be a reception with light refreshments afterwards.

*Video of this event is forthcoming 


Seeking Refuge: Minnesota and the Refugee Experience and Book Launch of Kao Kalia Yang's The Song Poet

Refugees fleeing war and persecution have sought refuge and made new homes in Minnesota over the past sixty years. Join us to explore Minnesota’s unique history as a place of resettlement for refugees from Europe, Asia, and Africa and consider the state’s role in the ongoing global refugee crisis today. Speakers include: Abdi Roble, Executive Director of the Somali Documentary Project, László G. Fülöp, Hungarian American Coalition Vice President, and Mai Na Lee, Professor of History and Asian American Studies. In an exciting book launch event, award-winning author Kao Kalia Yang will also read from her new book The Song Poet, a powerful memoir of her father, a Hmong song poet who sacrificed his gift for his children’s future in America. A light reception will take place in between the two events, with a book signing with Kao Kalia Yang following her reading.


Minnesota’s Immigrant Roots: Connecting Immigrant Histories to Contemporary Communities

Minnesota is a place of both “old” and “new” immigration. A century ago, immigrants from Germany, Norway, and Sweden were the most numerous in the state. Today’s immigrants come from Somalia, Mexico, China, and India. Join us to explore Minnesota’s immigrant roots past and present. Speakers include Megan Marsnik, the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants who settled in the Iron Range and the author of Under Ground, a historical novel set on the Iron Range during the tumultuous strike of 1916, told through the perspective of a strong young Slovenian immigrant woman and Peter Rachleff, Professor Emeritus, Macalester College and Executive Director of the East Side Freedom Library.