A Letter from MINN's President

  • Posted on: 10 January 2021
  • By: minnesotangos

Dear MINN Friends and Members,

I am honored to introduce myself to you all as the 2021 President of the Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN). I am Nicholas Hayen and I currently work as a Global Program Manager for United Language Group, a translation and localization company. I’ve been connected with MINN for three years now and have a passion for international development work and American foreign policy. I firmly believe that the example of our international work can serve as a model for global peace and prosperity. 

MINN was founded over fifteen years ago with the goal of bringing together Minnesota's international NGO practitioners to connect, share ideas, and learn from one another's expertise. Through the years, we have endured multiple challenges and multiple successes together as we attempt to do global good better. It is no secret that the year 2020 was especially challenging. Though the difficulties presented by the pandemic are still far from over, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for those of us living in areas with access to the vaccine. Still, we should not forget that the most vulnerable populations whom we serve are often the last to receive such critical services and supplies. 

Despite the unique challenges of 2020, MINN and its amazing team of volunteers, Board membersFellows, and members helped drive us toward another successful year. We hosted a wide variety of virtual events and pulled off a fantastic virtual Summit via Zoom. In all, the hard work, quick thinking, and generous contributions of everyone connected with MINN has ensured that we are well positioned to build on this success in 2021 (no matter what the year throws at us). 

As we begin this year, I wanted to lay out my vision for MINN and what we can accomplish together. MINN's wide array of programming is the lifeblood of our organization. From our Solutions Spotlight series, to our executive roundtables, annual Summit, panel discussions, and networking events, MINN strives to offer something for everyone. One of our key focus areas for MINN in 2021 will be to offer even more options for engagement including special members-only events to showcase the value of our membership program. Whether we stay virtual for the entire year, or if we are finally able to meet in person again, MINN will remain committed to offering virtual options as part of our events moving forward. We will also be looking to partner with other international NGOs to host joint events, so drop us a line if your organization wants to take part in this exciting new venture. As part of this, we are thrilled to announce that we will be hiring a part-time Program Manager in the coming weeks to help oversee this critical area of our work. 

Another major focus of MINN for 2021 will be in our efforts to promote antiracism and our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. Like many international NGOs, MINN's demographic makeup does not always accurately reflect the communities which we serve. My own status as a white male is certainly not lost on me as I prepare to lead MINN this year. The events surrounding the killing of George Floyd this past summer hit especially close to home for us in Minnesota. We intend to continue the conversation around decolonizing international development throughout 2021 and welcome feedback from other organizations. 

Through it all, we encourage you all to continue staying connected with MINN. If you haven't already, sign up to receive our biweekly newsletter and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. To deepen your engagement, consider becoming a MINN member or donor today. We'll be publishing our 2020 Global Report in the next few days and please be on the lookout for our survey for the 2021 Global Report later this Spring. Thank you all for your amazing support and encouragement through such a difficult year. Here's to a much better 2021!