From Duluth to Minneapolis: The State Department’s Impact on Minnesota
On behalf of the American people, the State Department promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advances a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. By leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance, the Department keeps the American people safe both at home and abroad and advances our shared economic prosperity. The State Department directly impacts the “North Star State” of Minnesota through law enforcement partnerships, health initiatives, exchange programs, and support for intercountry adoptions.
Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the United States. With State Department support and funding, police agencies in Minnesota have developed partnerships with the Somali Police Force, sending Minnesotan officers to Mogadishu and hosting Somali Police Force leadership in the Twin Cities. Public safety organizations across Minnesota donated more than two tons of equipment valued in excess of $100,000, as well as two ambulances and a fire truck, towards life-saving work in Mogadishu. At the same time, this partnership has also strengthened the Minneapolis police department’s outreach to Somali-Americans, giving Minnesotan officers the credibility they need to speak with the Somali-American community on security issues. The initiative has improved community policing efforts, and enhanced their ability to build community resilience against radicalization. Learn more about this partnership here.
Secondly, the State Department partnered with the University of Minnesota to advance the One Health concept, which recognizes and seeks to promote understanding of the health links between humans, animals, and ecosystems. The One Health approach is improving the health of people, animals, and the environment in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam as part of the State Department’s Lower Mekong Initiative. The initiative also promotes gender equality in developing a One Health workforce of doctors, veterinarians, and biologists. This program hasn’t just benefited Southeast Asia — it has also strengthened American faculty experience and expertise in collaborating across health disciplines, schools, and universities, and has strengthened partnerships with government and private sector entities in their efforts to address global health challenges. Experts from the university have also served as “master facilitators” for Arctic Council One Health Table Top Exercises, and one scholar, Dr. Michael Osterholm, is serving as the State Department’s Science Envoy for Global Health Security in 2018–2019.
Third, the State Department invites international visitors to Minneapolis and St. Paul for exchange programs like the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to create networks of individuals to counter violent extremism and build community resilience to violence and extremist ideologies. Participants meet with law enforcement officials, state and local government, and civil society organizations to share best practices to prevent recruitment to extremist organizations and build networks to address the drivers of radicalization to terrorism. Through these exchanges, Minnesotans build their capacity to counter extremist narratives and strengthen community resiliency to radicalization. In 2018, 70 participants from over 40 countries visited Minnesota to discuss topics related to community resilience and countering violent extremism.
Finally, the State Department impacts Minnesota through the intercountry adoptions process. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued visas to 135 children who were adopted by U.S. citizens from Minnesota. Intercountry adoption is one of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ highest priorities, as the bureau’s Office of Children’s Issues works diligently to establish and maintain intercountry adoption as a viable option throughout the world.
From Duluth to Minneapolis, the State Department impacts Minnesotan communities through law enforcement cooperation, adoption support, exchange programs, and health initiatives. And Minnesotans, in return, strengthen our bilateral and people-to-people relationships around the globe.
Find out more about the Department of State’s impact in American communities at Department of State by State.
Editor’s Note: This entry originally appeared on DipNote.
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