Thursday, February 22, 2018
St. Louis Bosnians

St. Louis Works to Welcome Refugees

In the 1990s, St. Louis, Missouri became a hub for Bosnians, as refugees escaped from war and genocide in their home country. There are now 50,000 Bosnians living in the region, the largest Bosnian community outside of the country itself.

Akif Cogo and his family migrated to St. Louis from Bosnia in August 2001. Now the president of St. Louis Bosnians, Inc., Cogo reflects on the community he now calls home.

Secretary of State John Kerry has promised that United States will welcome a 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017. St. Louis, Missouri has taken in 28 so far this year, and 20 more are expected by the end of 2015.

Immigrants make up just 4.5 percent of St. Louis’s population, a low percentage for such a large metro area—in nearby Chicago, for example, immigrants comprise nearly 17 percent of the city’s population. But St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has become an advocate for refugees in the greater Missouri region.

Mayor Slay’s paternal grandparents migrated from Lebanon, and he says that, despite recent revelations regarding racial disparities and conflict in nearby Ferguson, his city is uniquely welcoming to refugees. He also hopes migrants and refugees will grow the region’s economy.

What you’ll learn from this segment:

  • How the city is preparing to take in Syrian refugees.
  • What refugees can do for a city like St. Louis.
  • How the city has historically worked with refugees.

SOURCE: The TakeAway

About The Author


The St. Louis Bosnian is an online database of Bosnian community in St. Louis. The purpose is to document and preserve existence of the Bosnian immigrant community in metropolitan St. Louis area. Through published books, articles, interviews, researches, videos, photos as well as speaker series, seminars, workshops and educational classes. We hope to leave the legacy of our community to the future generations.

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