Building Bridges Multicultural Education Program
To respond to the need for community education about the Hmong refugee experience, Hmong
refugees from Wat Thamkrabok and Hmong contributions to Minnesota and the United States,
the Hmong Cultural Center's Hmong Resource Center has started a program that provides
comprehensive and interactive multicultural education presentations about the Hmong to
groups in the Twin Cities community and Greater Minnesota.

The Building Bridges program has been supported by grants from:
The Otto Bremer Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota
The Asian and Pacific Endowment of the Saint Paul Foundation

View the Building Bridges Program's Hmong 101 Curriculum (2012)
View the Building Bridges Program's Health Care Provider Curriculum (2007)

Building Bridges Program Brochure (PDF File)

Building Bridges Program Evaluation Form (PDF File)

Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data (Early 2006) (PDF File)

Building Bridges Program 2006 Evaluation Data (Supplementary Data) (PDF File)

2007 Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data

2008 Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data

Winter 2009 Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data

Spring 2009 Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data

Summer 2010 Building Bridges Program Evaluation Data

A Building Bridges presentation may be booked for a fee. Call 651-917-9937 or e-mail to book a presentation.

The Building Bridges Program curriculum is flexible and is adapted to meet the needs, questions
and interests of groups. Presentations may range from 1-2 hours with considerable opportunity
for participants to ask questions The following is a list of topics included in the program

Hmong Population Around the World

Hmong History and the Hmong Role in the CIA's Secret War in Laos,

The Hmong Refugee Movement to the U.S. 1975-Early 1990s

Hmong Refugees in Wat Thamkrabok Buddhist Temple in Thailand 1992-2004

Characteristics of Hmong Refugees from Wat Thamkrabok and How they differ from earlier
groups of Hmong refugees who came to Minnesota

Hmong-American Population and Demographics

Diversity in the Hmong Minnesota Community

Hmong Clans

Traditional Hmong Religion and Shamanism

Traditional Hmong Beliefs about Health and Medicine

Hmong Marriages and Funerals

The Hmong Language

Cultural Etiquette and Communication Strategies for Service Providers who work with Hmong

The Building Bridges program Curriculum is accompanied by a set of educational handouts.


Roseville School District

St. Paul School District Teachers Inservice

Separations Filteration GE Infrastructure Corporation

READY 4 K Hmong Youth Leadership Group

MN Dept. of Health Quarterly Regional Staff Meeting

MN Dept. of Health Redwood Falls Office

Michigan State University Asian Studies Center

Wells Fargo Checkcard Staff (Minneapolis)

Thompson West

UW-Eau Claire Students and Staff

Children's Hospital Staff (2 Presentations)

Metropolitan State University Asian Heritage Month

MN Center for Book Arts

Roseville Area Schools Continuing Education

Multicultural Resource Center Staff, Saint Paul Public Schools

Brooklyn Junior High School Staff (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Central Minnesota United Way and Saint Cloud Area Health Care Providers

Big Lake, MN School District

Elk River, MN School District

Forest Lake, MN School District

Mac-Groveland Elementary School Site Council and PTA (Saint Paul)

Macalester College Sociology Class

University of Saint Thomas training for K-12 tutors

University of Saint Thomas Education Providers Conference

MN Department of Health Staff

East Saint Paul YMCA Staff

Normandale Community College Multicultural Education Class

UW-River Falls Social Work Class

Minnesota Children's Museum Staff

Wingspan Life Resources Staff (Saint Paul)

Benilde-Saint Margaret High School Staff (St. Louis Park)

University of Minnesota Asian American History Class

Minnesota Department of Transportation Staff

Buffalo, MN Middle School Students

Dunwoody Technical Institute Staff (Minneapolis)

Courage Center Staff (Golden Valley, MN)

Minnesotal Department of Revenue Staff

Minnesota Department of Health, Refugee Health Program Staff

Ceridian Corporation Staff Diversity Day

Thomson West Corporation Staff

Apple Valley High School

U.S. Forest Service Staff (Fort Snelling, MN)

Social Work Class from Saint Scholastica College

Metronet Library Consortium

Resource Incorporated

CRTC Residential Treatment Center

Humboldt High School Class

Great River School

Mankato State University Library Staff

State of MN Dept. of Health WIC Program

Concordia University-St. Paul Multicultural Education class for future teachers

Saint Cloud State University Anthropology of Hmong Culture class;

Saint Cloud State University Introduction to Asian American Studies Class;

Mankato State University Introduction to Ethnic Studies Class;

University of Minnesota Multicultural Education Class for Science Teachers

Metropolitan State University Multicultural Communication Class

South Saint Paul Boy Scout Troop (Troop for Developmentally Disabled Adults),

Marshall (MN), Junior High School 7th and 8th Graders

World Culture Magnet Elementary School 6th Grade Class (Saint Paul);

Blake School, Plymouth, MN, all 8th Grade Classes;

Saint Bernard's School (Saint Paul) Staff Development Day;

Creative Arts High School Class, Saint Paul, MN;

J.J. Hill Elementary School, Saint Paul (Presentations to all grade levels K-5);

Apollo School, Saint Paul (Developmentally Disabled Adults),

Chisago Lakes School District, Taylor Falls, MN 5th Graders Transition Day (a special daylong
program of presentations we gave about the Hmong to help facilitate a positive transition
between Hmong and non-Hmong students who will be integrated together in a middle school in
the Fall of 2004, currently all of the Hmong 5th graders in the District are concentrated in just one
of several elementary schools.)

Best Buy Corporation Diversity Committee

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Flushing United Methodist Church (Flushing, Michigan)

University of Minnesota Human Rights Center Summer Equity In Education� Program for

Multicultural Education Class, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Carl Perkins Summer Program Multicultural Awareness Activities for Suburban Schoolteachers in
Twin Cities Metro Area

Anoka County Social Services Caseworkers

Twin Cities Academy School

Hmong Academy High School

Admission Possible

East Metro OIC

3 Groups of Minnesota Educators and Service Professionals at the Minnesota Humanities

Saint Paul Foundation Staff

Blake School 8th Grade Classes (From Hopkins, MN)

Multicultural Education Class, University of Saint Thomas

Ramsey County Action Employees

College of Saint Scholastica Social Work Students

North Hennepin Technical College Multicultural Education Class

University of Minnesota Introduction to Sociology Class

Staff Inservice Hopkins (MN) School District

Multicultural Education Class, Metropolitan State University

Hennepin County Libraries Staff

Hopkins School District Staff Inservice

St. Thomas University

University of Minnesota Medical Center

Pine City Schools

Brooklyn Center Middle School

German Immersion School

Minnesota Historical Society Staff

Luther Seminary Students

Hmong Culture and History Class, Metropolitan State University

North Saint Paul Elementary School

Powderhorn Community Center (Minneapolis)

Asian Media Access

United Children's Hospital

The Community We Serve Event, City of Minneapolis

Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Cambridge, MN) Campus

Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Stillwater, MN

Minnesota's Diverse Population, Forum at Galaxie Library, Apple Valley, MN

Professional Hmong Women's Association - St. Paul

Metropolitan State University Class

Wentworth Library, West Saint Paul, MN

Vista Program, Saint Paul Mayor's Office

St. Jude of the Lake School, Mahtomedi, MN

Saint Paul Public Schools Staff

Community School of Excellence (St. Paul, MN) Staff

University of Minnesota History Class

North View Junior High School, Brooklyn Park, MN

Weaver Elementary School, Maplewood, MN

Vital Age Network

Hennepin County Employees

Hazeden Graduate School

Brooklyn Park, MN Public Library

North Minneapolis, MN Public Library

Brookdale Public Library, Brooklyn Center, MN

University of Saint Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Metropolitan Transit Central Light Rail Corridor Planning Project, St. Paul, MN

Plymouth Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, MN

Skakopee School District (MN)

Fedex Employees

Weber Shandwick

Great River School (Saint Paul)

The unique Building Bridges Program was featured in a front page story in the Saint Paul Pioneer
Press newspaper on September 3, 2004. The Building Bridges Program of the Hmong Cultural Center
was a finalist for the 2004 Non-Profit Mission Award in the Anti-Racism category sponsored by the
Minnesota Council on Non-Profits.


BY TODD NELSON Pioneer Press Published: Friday, Sept 3, 2004

Having the country's largest urban Hmong population has earned the Twin Cities the unofficial
title of Hmong capital of the United States.

Awareness of Hmong culture, however, may not to be as widespread as the Southeast Asian
people have become in their quarter-century here.

With as many as 5,000 refugees from Thailand on the way, the Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul
started fielding questions from people asking even the most basic questions: Who are the
Hmong? Why are they coming here? Why can't they go back to Laos?

The center's executive director, Txong Pao Lee, and Mark Pfeifer, director of its resource center,
were accustomed to answering such queries. But with interest in the Hmong sharply rising, they
assembled a formal presentation they call Building Bridges � Teaching about the Hmong in Our

The program sums up 5,000 years of Hmong history and culture in 90 minutes. The presentation
is decidedly low-tech but highly interactive, with Pfeifer and Txong Pao Lee addressing topics
and handling questions as they point out photos and news clippings, artwork and artifacts that
run floor to ceiling on the center's walls.

"A lot of people, even ones from St. Paul, have no more than a basic knowledge of the Hmong,"
Pfeifer said. "It kind of came into its own in response to all the calls we were getting from people
wanting to know more about the refugees, the Hmong people in general."

Taking in the presentation Thursday were 30 staff members from Admission Possible, a St. Paul
nonprofit that helps prepare high school students for college. About half the 550 students the
agency works with in nine St. Paul and Minneapolis schools are Hmong, said Jim McCorkell,
executive director of Admission Possible. The staff members are recent college graduates and
AmeriCorps volunteers.

"We learn a fair amount about the culture � you just pick it up," said McCorkell, referring to the
proliferation of Hmong businesses and agencies and the growing Hmong population, which state
officials estimate at 60,000. "But some of the historical stuff, with people born after the Vietnam
War was over, most of them don't even really know. So to understand where the Hmong people
come from and what that's all about, that's really useful."

The Minnesota Humanities Commission is sponsoring three Building Bridges presentations, with
each filling up quickly or near capacity, said Tom Fitzpatrick, a senior program officer for the

"The program is a great value to the non-Hmong who came and nice for the Hmong to see things
they remember from their experience or being told by their parents or grandparents," Fitzpatrick
said, adding the effort is sort of like a class titled "Hmong Culture 101."

The presentation blends the academic perspective of Pfeifer, who holds a doctorate and edits a
Hmong studies journal, and the refugee experience of Txong Pao Lee, who was 15 when his
family resettled in St. Paul in 1984. Thousands of Hmong, an ethnic minority in Laos, joined the
CIA's secret army to fight against communists during the Vietnam War. The Hmong began
resettling in this country in 1975, after Laos fell to communists, who began persecuting those
who had sided with the United States.

"You can't live in St. Paul without encountering Hmong businesses, Hmong professionals,
Hmong students," said Amanda Ziebell-Finley of Admission Possible. "But a lot of the historical
basis was new for me."

Seng Vang, a Hmong-American graduate of Bethel University working with Admission Possible,
said hearing about Hmong culture from a native is better than merely reading about it in a book.
She said she hoped those who hear the Building Bridges presentation would make the effort to
learn more about the culture and the Hmong people first hand.

"If you want to get more in-depth, you have to take the next step, to talk to a person or visit a
centralized place for a good amount of time," Seng Vang said. "There are thousands of
narratives out there."