In 1992, Ismahan Abdullahi and her family escaped war-torn Somalia to have a life of hope and opportunity in America. This experience has shaped her to advocate for and work on building and strengthening AMEMSA and refugee communities in San Diego. In her work with the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim American Society, Ismahan has worked to address
hate crimes in community, develop leadership and civic engagement among youth in San Diego, and continues to work on issues that address racial disparities and inclusion for refugees. Ismahan received her Bachelors in Human Biology from UCSD and a MA in Education with concentration in Counseling from SDSU. She currently serves as the Director of Community Partnerships and Civic Engagement at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. In this role, Ismahan champions the the civic, social, and economic inclusion of refugees in San
Diego. She designs, executes, and supervises PANA’s civic engagement campaigns. In the last year, she developed over 32 leaders from refugee backgrounds and trained them in civic engagement strategies including phone banking, canvassing, and understanding voter data.
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She has been an active part of her community since high school, in which she graduated as Valedictorian and pursued her dream of attending UCSD. Ismahan earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology at UCSD where she served as the president of the Muslim Student Association. Ismahan is currently pursuing her graduate degree at San Diego State University.