Class IX (2011-2012)

2. Abdikheir Ahmed

Sponsor Club: Charleswood, Winnipeg, District 5550


Abdi is a Somali Canadian from the cold city of Winnipeg otherwise known as ‘Winterpeg’. He spent his formative years in Kenya, where he did his primary and high schools and studied environmental studies at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. He immigrated to Canada in 2003 as a refugee, where he joined the University of Winnipeg to study international development studies, graduating in June 2006 with a four-year BA as a student of high distinction.

Abdi has extensive experience working with refugees and nomadic pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya. Right after graduating with his first Bachelor’s degree in Kenya, Abdi, together with a few of his former college mates, formed a non-profit called Environmentalistes Sans Frontieres, which raised awareness of the environmental problems facing these communities. In 2002, Abdi attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa after helping to develop the East African Civil Society position paper on the rights of nomadic and pastoralist communities. Prior to coming to UQ, Abdi worked with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba in Winnipeg as a Program Coordinator helping with the settlement of new immigrant and refugee communities in Winnipeg’s inner city. His work focused mainly on settlement issues, gang and street crime prevention and peaceful coexistence between immigrant and aboriginal communities.

In Winnipeg, Abdi served on a number of boards and committees advocating for the needs of immigrant and refugee communities. For his advocacy, Abdi was awarded with the Amina Malko Fellowship in 2009 by the Canadian Council for Refugees, a nation-wide advocacy organization, as one of a few potential refugee leaders across Canada. In 2011, Abdi was also honoured as a Great Friend of Children by the Manitoba Children’s Museum for his work in providing mentorship and integration support to immigrant and refugee youth in Winnipeg’s inner city.

Abdi did his applied field experience in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State with Mercy Corps, a US-based NGO that is engaged in peacebuilding work across the world. He was based in the remote town of Gode, where there is no internet and telephone communication is intermittent, evaluating vocational training programs for youth who are vulnerable to being recruited into both extremist activities in neighbouring Somalia and inter-clan conflict in Ethiopia.

Abdi also has research interests in resource conflicts amongst nomadic pastoralist communities, development of a hybrid conflict resolution process, and is currently working on his thesis on conflicts amongst pastoralist and agropastoralist communities in Ethiopia’s Somalia Regional State.

Abdi is married to his lifetime partner Saadia, also a Somali Canadian, and they have two boys Mohamed and Ibrahim, who are 5 and 3 years old, respectively.