Crossroads to the World (editorial)

There is a green, gold and red sign jutting from a humble office building in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood that says "Books For Africa." It's a small statement (in the colors used for many African flags) that our city boasts the world's largest shipper of donated books to Africa — 22 million and counting after more than two decades in business.

This week, Ghana's ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ohene Agyekum, came to the Twin Cities for a Books For Africa fundraiser and to pose in front of part of the latest shipment. Ghana is the group's largest recipient nation among 45 African countries it has shipped books to. Books For Africa is currently filling a 40-foot sea container with more than 20,000 books bound for the capital city of Accra.

Textbook diplomacy earned a visit last year from President Sharif Sheik Ahmed of Somalia, another book-recipient nation, further evidence that Lowertown has become a world crossroads to rival Paris, London, New York — and perhaps even Minneapolis.