Rochester International Association

A nonprofit organization

10 donors

Our mission is to celebrate cultural diversity and provide opportunities for multicultural education and exchange.

Geri Critchley moved to Rochester a few years after having spent a year in Senegal for the Peace Corps, and she found the two experiences strangely similar. Actually, she found life in Rochester even stranger than in Senegal.

“I found myself as a doctor’s wife,” she wrote. “I felt more out of place in Rochester at first than I had felt in a small village in West Africa. In Africa I looked different and the villagers looked different. We expected differences and it was easy to deal with. In Rochester I looked like everyone else, but I didn’t feel like everyone else. There was something missing.”

The recollections are part of an amazing document, Critchley’s memoir of experiencing “reverse culture shock” after arriving in Rochester in 1979, and starting the Rochester International Association as a result. The group exists to this day, sponsoring World Festival Day, a multicultural extravaganza, as well as a monthly international lecture series and occasional internationally-themed dances and musical shows in town.

Organization Data


Organization name

Rochester International Association

Tax id (EIN)





2500 Vallehyhigh Dr NW
ROCHESTER, MN 55901-7644


507-289-5960 ext. 116