Audrey Lensmire, director of Augsburg College’s East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program, and program participant Salah Ali ’17 were interviewed by MinnPost for a report on Minnesota’s growing number of Somali-Americans working toward careers in education. The article notes that the number of Somalis resettling in the state has more than tripled in recent years, which has caused an influx of Somali students and created a need for teachers, counselors, and socials workers with a deep understanding of Somali culture.
The EAST program is funded by the state’s Collaborative Urban Educator program and seeks to graduate and license K-12 teachers of East African origin. In the article, Lensmire is quoted as saying, “Typically, becoming a professional teacher has been available only to people who have money and the means to get the license.” The EAST program offers financial assistance by providing students with full tuition scholarships as they seek licensure.
Augsburg’s program is one of several made possible by the CUE program. In the article, Ali notes that he knows many Somali students in similar programs at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota. “A lot of us are in the education field right now. Many are doing social studies and ESL programs and counseling licenses,” he said.
Read: More young Somali-Americans are choosing careers in education on the MinnPost site.
Minnesota Public Radio News recently published an article covering Somali singer Maryan Mursal’s concert series at the Cedar Cultural Center, an event co-sponsored by Augsburg College as part of the Midnimo program that seeks to build knowledge and understanding of Somali Muslim culture through music. Mursal rose to early fame as a teenager in Mogadishu, but was forced out of Somalia by war. She eventually found asylum–and a renewed musical career–in Denmark.
In addition to the concert performances, Mursal participated in public discussions, workshops, and community events, as well as a live radio performance on The Current that featured an Augsburg alumni jazz band and Somali musicians from around the world.
Read: Superstar, refugee, legend: Singer Maryan Mursal’s voice endures on the MPR News site.
The Sisterhood Boutique, a second-hand clothing store founded and operated by young Somali women in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and supported by Augsburg College, recently relocated to the old Smiley’s Clinic. Watch “Young Somali women open boutique,” a KARE 11 story to learn about involvement in this community-based project by Augsburg and about the women’s vision for the store.
A grant awarded to The Cedar Cultural Center and Augsburg College will support a program to build cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and understanding of Somali culture through music. One of only six grants of its type awarded in the nation, the $200,000 award was made as part of the highly competitive Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement grant by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
The grant will be used to launch a two-year project titled MIDNIMO: MUSIC FOR UNITY, CAMPUS, AND COMMUNITY. Through Midnimo, the Somali word for “unity,” Augsburg students, Cedar Riverside residents, and the general public will engage in a series of educational and experiential events focused on Somali music. Continue reading “The Cedar, Augsburg receive one of six national grants”
As evidence of the College’s commitment to connecting with the community, The Augsburg Jazz Instrumental Vocal Ensemble (Jive), under the direction of Bob Stacke, performed for the annual African Development Center’s gala at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on May 20. The Augsburg musicians played five Somali songs with Rahma Ruuhl, a local Somali vocalist. The arrangements were done by alumni Steve Herzog and were a blending of Somali contemporary music and American Jazz.