A full week of events is lined up starting on Friday and running through next week to celebrate three things Missoulians embrace with open arms: refugees, food and beer. The emphasis, of course, will be on those new Missoulian residents who have fled war-torn countries and have become a part of the community fabric here.
Soft Landing Missoula and Imagine Nation Brewing are organizing the second annual Welcoming Week from Sept. 14-23 in coordination with organizations and communities nationwide. Soft Landing is a local group with dozens of volunteers that has worked to integrate refugee families in Missoula while coordinating with the International Rescue Committee.
“We are so excited that our city has been able to give such a warm welcome to more than 60 new refugee families resettled by the International Rescue Committee these past two years,” said Mary Poole, executive director of Soft Landing Missoula. “It has been incredible to see personal relationships blossom and what those close connections mean, both for a family coming to a new and strange place and the Missoulians who have opened their arms and hearts."
Poole said Welcoming Week is a way to give an outward showing for all the support Missoula has given her organization.
"Through Welcoming Week events, we are honored to be a part of extending the sharing of cultures to the larger Missoula community and continuing to help create a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees in Missoula," she said.
The Roxy Theater, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, ARTS Missoula and other organizations also are helping.
Here’s a list of events scheduled:
Friday, Sept. 14, 5:30 p.m. at Imagine Nation Brewing: Welcoming Week kickoff party with limited edition “Together” Global Pale Ale brewed for Soft Landing Missoula with a global trivia game. Shwarma and falafal served by Ammar Omar of Kamoon Arabian Cuisine.
Sunday, Sept. 16; pre-sale ticketed event at the Top Hat: September’s Supper Club will feature the flavors of the Middle East with four refugee chefs partnering to create a menu. A three-course family-style dinner featuring food from Iraq and Syria will be served alongside beverages.
Monday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. at The Roxy: Global and Cultural Affairs of Arts Missoula, in collaboration with the Roxy Community Theater, Soft Landing and the International Rescue Committee, will present the opening premiere of a new global film series titled: World View — Cultures in Motion. Set in Northern Uganda, “War Dance” tells the story of three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a refugee camp in Patongo.
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 5:30 p.m. at Jeannette Rankin Peace Center: Join the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center for a discussion about "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai, followed a Q&A session with Maria Chaudhary surrounding the stereotypes and generalizations that are made about a person's country, and navigating the issue of cultural sensitivity. Drinks and small bites provided, teens and adults welcome!
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 6 p.m. at Imagine Nation Brewing: Interested in learning more about our sister cities or being involved in culture and language immersion programs? All are welcome to ARTS Missoula’s community discussion on increasing our strategic city partnerships with our sister cities of Neckargemünd, Germany, and Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Friday, Sept. 21, noon-2 p.m. at Imagine Nation Brewing: Join the International Rescue Committee to discuss refugee resettlement efforts in the United States.
Saturday, Sept. 22, 9-11 a.m. at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church: Join Soft Landing to celebrate Missoula’s Eritrean community at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church for a traditional coffee ceremony, where green coffee beans are hand-roasted, ground, and brewed into strong and delicious coffee. Enjoy a cup with traditional Himbasha bread, sitting in front of a traditional serving table. Admission is free with a suggested donation to benefit the participating families.
Sunday, Sept. 23, 4:30 p.m. at Playfair Fields: Soccer teams from two of Missoula’s refugee communities kick off the final Welcoming Week event with a friendly soccer match. Head down to Playfair Park to watch the game, enjoy great company, and mingle with neighbors — new and old. After the game, bring a dish or treat to share, and join a potluck at 6 p.m. hosted by the Missoula Alliance Church to celebrate the end of Welcoming Week 2018.