When Rahim Milani was growing up, he was taught to appreciate the variety of cultures and people in the world. He has carried this lesson with him for his entire life.
Mr. Milani was born in Tehran, Iran. His mother was from Turkey and his father was from Turkmenistan. His parents sent him to college in Germany where he pursued a degree in architecture. While studying in Germany, Mr. Milani met his wife, an American citizen studying abroad.
After marrying, Mr. Milani and his wife thought about starting a family and decided to immigrate to the U.S. They moved to the town of Willmar, Minnesota, but it felt too small so Rahim considered other options. He decided to share his architectural knowledge with a developing country. After sending out several applications, he was offered a position at a university in Papua New Guinea—a country just north of Australia.
Rahim spent 28 years living in Papua New Guinea and served as the Dean of the Architecture and Building program at the university. As the political climate began to change, Mr. Milani decided to retire and move back to the U.S. In 2010, he returned to Willmar to be with his daughter and grandchildren. He has lived there ever since.