A Leap Towards Unity: New American Consortium Starts New Peace Initiative

The Initiative for Peace and Conflict Prevention looks to bring the community together

FARGO, N.D. —¬†After coming to the metro from Liberia 14 years ago, Christian Harris recognizes the importance of learning the English language for New Americans.

“You have to be eloquent in the English language to get your message across, and so it’s important for everyone who comes to the country to be able to speak well so they can be understood,” said Harris.

One way Harris looks to help New Americans is through gathering volunteers to serve as their English language tutors.

“A lot of the New Americans that come here come from refugee camps. A lot of them never had good formal education, and tutoring is a way of helping them catch up with the extent of English spoken in the United States,” said Harris.

Several people in the community have stepped up to the plate to help out.

One volunteer previously taught English to Japanese students, and says it’s important to help New Americans overcome the language barrier.

“It’s just something we just take for granted but we have the keep in mind that they have their own language too, so it’s just something we all come at a little different, but being able to communicate is really important,” said Arielle Windham of West Fargo.

In addition to gathering volunteers to tutor English language learners, the New American Consortium also looks to bring the Initiative for Peace and Conflict Prevention to the metro.

Harris got the idea to organize a group focused on working out conflicts after he went on a trip to Thailand earlier this year.

He says it’s an important step towards creating a sense of unity for all people.

“We can come together as a community, we can tolerate one another, that we can live in a happy environment, that our children can go to school and be peaceful and happy with one another,” said Harris.

Welcoming Week continues on Friday with an International Peace Day celebration at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News