European leaders receive a Minnesota-welcome lesson

A welcome lesson in Austin

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(ABC 6 News) – A politician from Germany, a mayor from a town in Estonia and an ambassador from Andora are just a few of the leaders dedicated to making their communities a welcoming place, just like Austin.

“We are very proud cause we are very few and I’m very proud to represent my country in this program,” said Gemma Cano.

Cano hails from the small country of Andorra, where she works as both a diplomat and an ambassador.

Cano, along with the other European leaders, learned from leaders in Austin about how the city has made a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees.

“And they are getting so many great examples on how this community has been able to do that,” said Phillip Hansen, the president of Global Minnesota. “It’s actually quite amazing. It’s a wonderful representation of how to build a really strong vibrant community, and they are sharing that with the rest of the world right now.”

Cano says Austin is doing things the right way.

“In this city you have reached something that’s very difficult to do in Europe, which is to build a community with all the immigrants that have come here for work,” she said.

Cano came with Global Minnesota, a non-profit aimed at furthering international engagement and understanding.

They partnered with the U.S. state department and the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce to make Friday’s visit happen.

“The great thing we are doing here is giving Minnesotans the opportunity to share the best of Minnesota with the world. And when these delegation members go home, they go home with a positive feeling of what it is we are doing here in Minnesota and what American’s are all about,” said Hansen. “It’s just another chance for us to be more globally connected to the world.”

The European leaders got the chance to speak to people at Hormel as well as city leaders about housing, jobs, culture and what Austin is all about.