Letter from the President

by riamn. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

Holiday Greetings to our friends of many countries, cultures, and human experience, who make our lives here in Southern Minnesota so much richer. Tis indeed the “Holiday Season” in America; and to say so for many of us goes far beyond being politically correct. Even if your religious or cultural tradition doesn’t call for you to celebrate Christmas, which you may know as Las Posadas or Ta Chiu, perhaps your festive time centers around the Jewish Hanukkah, or simply the coming of the New Year. I know from some of the questions we get at the Public Library, where I work, that some folks in Rochester even celebrate Winter Solstice or Yule. The point is we can be true to our own traditions, while enjoying the rich diversity of those others in our very midst who bring something new to the festival table. I recently attended the December RIA-sponsored International Luncheon, at the Rochester Family Y, and the theme of the post-meal talk was “Sharing Seasonal Holidays.” One woman, Heidi Buettner, gave a wonderful account of the culturally-rich Christmas traditions of her German childhood; and for a time we were all transported with her to simpler, less materialistic era. The main thing about this special time of year is that it is a time for gathering with our families to reflect on the past, resolve good things for the future, and renew our significant commitments. On behalf of the Rochester International Association, my wish for you in 2006 is that you experience many of those meaningful moments of happiness; and I sincerely hope that we can spend some of them together as we celebrate the richness of our various cultures.