December 1st, 2013  |  By Round Earth Media

U of M, Morocco renewing connections forged in Minnesota Project

sadiki in office

Courtesy of Mohammed Sadiki
Mohammed Sadiki, secretary general of Morocco’s
Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing


RABAT, Morocco — The University of Minnesota produced pioneering agronomist Norman Borlaug, Medtronic founder Earl Bakken, journalist David Carr, astronaut Deke Slayton – and Mohammed Sadiki, secretary general of Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing.

Sadiki is one of hundreds of students trained under a 20-year partnership between university agronomists and Morocco in the 1970s through 1990s. Now plans are in the works to revive the program and plant a new generation of U of M-trained farming experts in this North African country.

Sadiki credits the University of Minnesota for much of his success as a scientist, professor and now second-in-command at the ministry. Many other high-profile Moroccan agronomists can claim the same. Nearly all of the professors at the Hassan II Agronomy and Veterinary Institute (IAV) – Morocco’s agricultural university – were educated through the partnership with the U of M, which grew out of early cooperation with a Belgian agronomist working at IAV who spent a sabbatical studying soil science in Minnesota. The program brought young, bright Moroccans to the United States to study agriculture and then return to their home country to apply their knowledge.

“My experience in Minnesota, it’s every day in my memory, every day present,” Sadiki says from his spacious office in Rabat’s administrative district.

Read more of this story by Round Earth next gen journalist Alice Urban in MinnPost.

September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media


For Kunrath Lam, the most special occasion for eating plear - this Cambodian beef salad - came after the murderous Khmer Rouge was finally driven out of power. | Photo by Mary Stucky

When Kunrath Lam was just a little girl she endured one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known. Nearly 2 million Cambodians died during the reign of the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Kunrath Lam and her parents somehow managed to survive – though her childhood was one of intense deprivation. Lam used to dream of the delicious meals her grandmother had prepared for her in happier times. Lam’s absolute favorite– plear salad. Now, in the new country she calls home, Lam makes plear for customers at her restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mary Stucky paid her a visit. Her story appeared in World Vision Report.

September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Goat Cutlet

Jamal Hashi shows off the goat stew his mother taught him to make years ago. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Throughout East Africa, goat is a traditional source of both meat and milk. When he was a boy in Somalia, Jamal Hashi spent his summers herding goats on his family’s farm.   Now, he’s in the United States,  introducing Americans to Somali delicacies – including goat — at his restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Mary Stucky visited Jamal Hashi as he prepared roasted goat cutlet with vegetables in a special sauce – a dish he says his mother served on special occasions in Somalia.

August 7th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Dual Identity and the Liberian-Minnesotan Experience

Tamia Dakinah is Miss Liberia Minnesota. | Photo: Facebook, Miss Liberia MN Beauty Pageant

To make other cultures real through vivid first-hand stories and to explain the connections between “us” and “them” – that’s our goal here at Round Earth Media, and Linda Sjostrom, our web editor, understands it well. Linda has spent time reporting and editing for print and radio both in the United States and abroad. Here, a recent event prompts her to not only reflect on a story she covered in the past, but to also consider identity.

Just last month, a crowd gathered at the Miracle Empowerment Center to witness the crowning of Tamia Dakinah as Miss Liberia Minnesota 2010. In the same way, others across the country have or will name someone the Miss Liberia of their own state this year.

The title is, to me, an interesting one. Many of us are familiar with pageants like ‘Miss Minnesota’ and ‘Miss USA’ – roles that dub their bearers as representatives of one singular place. The title I’m thinking about now seems to hold quite a different meaning. Miss Liberia Minnesota. A representative – a part – of not one area, but two.

As I think this over, I think of the tens of thousands of people who are Liberian in my own state. What does it mean to identify as Liberian? What does it mean to identify as Minnesotan? And how do those dual roles play into each other, and into all of the other roles that encompass daily life?


February 1st, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

The Taste of Freedom

Rodwan Nakshabandi became well-known for his cooking in a refugee camp before opening his St. Paul restaurant. | Photo by JoAnn Verburg

Rodwan Nakshabandi | © JoAnn Verburg

These five restaurateurs survived war, genocide, and long journeys to bring their native cuisine to the Twin Cities.


June 1st, 2007  |  By Round Earth Media

A Walnut Grove Welcome

A Hmong home in Walnut Grove.

A Hmong home in Walnut Grove. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Walnut Grove, Minnesota was the real life setting for the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” But its population and business community was eroding until Hmong refugees from Laos showed up. They received such a friendly reception in Walnut Grove others followed. Now Hmong refugees make up a third of the town’s population. And Walnut Grove is prospering and growing. (more…)

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