Dr. Ali Galaydh, former prime minister of Somalia, to comment on ‘The Letter,’ a documentary

“The Letter” (2003), a documentary of the arrival of Somali immigrants to a small town in Maine, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium. A reception will precede this event at 6:30 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center foyer.

This event is free and open to the public.

Following is a synopsis of the film: In the wake of Sept. 11, a firestorm erupted when Mayor Larry Ramond of Lewiston, Maine, sent an open letter to 1,100 newly arrived Somali refugees, advising them that the city’s resources were strained to the limit and asking other Somalis not to move to the city.

Dr. Ali Galaydh

Interpreted as a rallying cry by white supremacist groups across the United States, “The Letter” documents the crossfire of emotions and events that followed, culminating in a “hate” rally convened by the World Church of the Creator and a counter “peace” rally, involving 4,000 Lewiston residents supporting ethnic and cultural diversity.

This documentary will be shown as part of Multicultural Student Services’ Films Without Borders Series and in partnership with co-sponsors the Changing Faces of Minnesota-A Global Perspective Program and the University Lectures Committee.

Following the film will be remarks by Dr. Ali Galaydh, former prime minister of Somalia and one-time minister of industry for Somalia. Galaydh first fled Somalia in 1982 to avoid detention when he and several colleagues with Western ties fell out of favor with the ruling powers. Galaydh then settled in Cambridge, Mass., where he was a fellow with Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs from 1982 to 1984.

Galaydh was appointed prime minister of Somalia in September 2000 and served until December 2001, when he was ousted by the Parliament. He returned to the United States in January 2002 to join his family in Owatonna, Minn.

Galaydh holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Syracuse University and is a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Galaydh will comment on the film and the Somali experience in Lewiston and the Twin Cities.

For additional information, contact Dr. Ellen Kennedy, (651) 962-5082.