Media Note
Washington, DC
July 9, 2010

The U.S. Department of State has named Abdishakur Sheikh Hasan Ahmed, an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), as State Alumni Member of the Month. Throughout July, his dedication to empowering community members in Somalia is being recognized on the State Alumni website (, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ official website for more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide. Each month, the Bureau’s Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award on an outstanding alumnus or alumna.

Since participating in the IVLP project “Contemporary Challenges in Higher Education” in October 2007, Abdishakur Sheikh Hasan Ahmed has worked selflessly to empower members of his community. He founded the Somalia Alumni Association, which under his leadership has flourished in its work to enhance citizen diplomacy. In order to increase the association’s breadth and scope, Ahmed has opened various activities to professionals and students who are not exchange alumni. One such effort was a day of activities for students to exchange ideas and compete in a soccer game. The association has also organized community-wide clean-up projects and hosted students and teachers for Earth Day discussions about the environment.

Ahmed is also the founder and chairman of The Somalia Center for Education & Research (SCER), which is dedicated to advancing opportunities for Somali people through education and training, with emphasis on youth empowerment and income generation for poor families. SCER manages six schools, a center for computer skills training, and a library. In 2009, Ahmed helped implement a youth-empowerment project providing 150 youth with shoe-shine kits, to afford them an opportunity for income generation and economic empowerment. As a result of this project, Ahmed reported a 70 percent increase in income for beneficiaries and their families.

In addition, Ahmed was a vital influence in establishing the first American Corner in Somalia, located at Mogadishu University, which promotes student and youth activities, citizen diplomacy, youth enrichment, and social welfare.

Please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website for more information.

Media Contact: Catherine Stearns,, phone (202) 632-6437

PRN: 2010/918