Abdusalam Omer (’86) is putting his degree to good use trying to rebuild his native country. Fifteen years ago, Omer worked for the mayor of Washington, D.C. Now, he is the foreign minister of Somalia, his native country.
Omer left Somalia at the age of 16 and instability in the country since then often set barriers to his return. His personal journey took him to Boston and eventually to Knoxville. He studied public administration at UT and earned a PhD in political science. He left for the nation’s capital and became a US citizen. He worked in a variety of meaningful policy positions in Washington before fate brought him back to Somalia. Although he knew of the instability, violence, and chaos, seeing Somalia upon his return was jarring. He has served in variety of governmental and private positions since his return to his native country.