CLEVELAND, Ohio—The room at Market Garden Brewery was full of travelers like Sid Cukali. 

  • Global Cleveland, a nonprofit that connects international newcomers with economic opportunities, held a Passport Party at Market Garden Brewery
  • The party was part of their "Welcoming Week" for immigrants
  • The event encouraged attendees to share their travel experiences and learn about new cultures

“Hopefully, I will meet someone who has been to Albania as a tourist, so hopefully we can exchange what they experience and what I remember,” said Sidrit Cukali, Cleveland resident.

Cukali is from Albania. And he’s traveled to about 15 countries and lived in New York City.  He moved to Cleveland two years ago.

“So far, it’s been a great experience. We moved here to be closer to family and it’s just been a dream come true as far as coming from New York City,” said Cukali. 

He was there for a Passport Party, hosted by Global Cleveland, where everyone is encouraged to share their travel experiences while being encouraged to try new ones.

Inna Nikolova is looking for her next adventure. 

“There are people here who are from other countries, born in other countries, and there are also people here who have been to other countries their whole lives, but have seen other countries, have traveled around, and I think it’s an excellent way to kind of hear the story,” said Nikolova, Cleveland resident. 

And as a Louisiana native born to Bulgarian immigrants, she speaks highly of her current city.

“Cleveland is one of the most welcoming cities, I can say that from personal experience. People have been very open to immigrants,” said Nikolova.

Joe Cimperman, with Global Cleveland, says that welcoming message is part of "Welcoming Week," as is improving Cleveland as a whole.

“If Cleveland can welcome one more person internationally to our community, we will have succeeded in tonight’s event,” said Cimperman.

And, according to Cimperman, a more global city is a better city.