International Institute

Bosnians and thier allies marched down Gravois Ave. Saturday in honor of the Srebrenica massacre
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

About 1,500 people gathered in south St. Louis to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide Saturday evening with a solemn re-enactment and walk.

Original Story published July 9, 2015

  Elvir Ahmetovic, 33, is a teacher in the St. Louis public school system. Twenty years ago, he was a child living through an event that has been called the largest civilian slaughter on European soil since the holocaust

“My parents thought, OK, this is something temporary, something ephemeral, we are civilized people after all, we will not let the situation escalate that bad, but unfortunately just in a matter of weeks they came to our village and started killing people,” he said.

Anna Crosslin
Courtesy of the Intentional Institute

Picking up your roots in one country and moving to a land with different customs and language is a daunting prospect. That story is not unfamiliar to Anna Crosslin, president and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis.  

“I am a Japanese American and have grown up with my foot in two cultures. So what I have done for a living has been very grounded in what my personal mission has been, which has been building bridges between two worlds,” Crosslin said.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Thirty people from different corners of the globe gathered together to share in the same experience Friday: Becoming a U.S. citizen.

The naturalization ceremony was held at the International Institute of St. Louis. It was the first ceremony held at the institute's new location on Arsenal Street in south city. The International Institute moved into the building, which is four times larger than its previous location, earlier this year.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

A new program at the International Institute of St. Louis is helping immigrant professionals build job skills and advance their careers.The Career Advancement for International Professionals encourages immigrants like Tairou Goura not to abandon their professional ambitions.

International Institute
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Windows. That’s one of International Institute Director Anna Crosslin’s favorite parts of the International Institute of St. Louis’ new location. Its previous office building only had skylights on the second floor.

Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is a city built on immigration – from the early French settlers, to the Germans and Irish in the 1800s, to the more modern immigration of Bosnians and Southeast Asians.

While there have been numerous waves of immigration into St. Louis, the welcome extended by existing religious groups to new immigrants has remained fairly consistent throughout St. Louis' 250 year history.

Providing Resources

Emanuele Berry/St. Louis Public Radio

Tigrinya, Nepali, Somali, Arabic, Vietnamese: These are just some of the languages that clashed as translators relayed information about becoming a U.S. citizens to more than 100 lawful permanent residents. Many of those in attendance at the St. Louis International Institute event were refugees.

The information session covered requirements for becoming a citizen, the application process, classes available at the International Institute to help prepare for the citizenship interview, medical waiver information and success stories.

Akif Cogo
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region’s Bosnian community long has been touted as the largest in the world outside of Bosnia itself.

But, as some local activists add ruefully, their numbers have yet to translate into political clout.

“We definitely have that sense of being ignored,’’ said Akif Cogo, founder of St. Louis Bosnians Inc., a nonprofit organization advocating for the tens of thousands of Bosnian-Americans who now call St. Louis home.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Saint Louis University economist thinks he has found a key to growth for St. Louis.

Professor Jack Strauss presented his findings this afternoon from an economic study that shows a direct correlation between an increasing immigrant population and economic growth. The study was originally released in June.

He says he thinks it is likely that the city’s economic slump is partly due to a dwindling number of immigrants living in the area. Four and a half percent of St. Louis’ population is foreign. In other large cities, that number is closer to 18 percent.