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 train and develop youth and community leaders, foster a strong sense of Muslim identity and build a vibrant and active community. She has developed and implemented programs that serve to empower Muslim youth.
In her current role as the Director of Community Partnerships and Civic Engagement at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, she focuses on building grassroots community power through organizing, advocacy and coalition work, designing and implementing a civic engagement infrastructure in Muslim and refugee communities, addressing hate crimes and bigotry and using an integrated voter engagement strategy to build a visible refugee electorate. Ismahan champions the civic, social, and economic inclusion of refugees in San Diego. She continues to be engaged in and work on issues that address racial disparities, social injustices, equity and inclusion for marginalized communities. She is a co-host on Flip the Script: The Future is Female podcast which lifts up women game changers and leaders in San Diego county.
She also currently serves as a Board Member for the Muslim American Society-San Diego chapter and a Board Member for Huda Community Center. Ismahan received her Bachelor’s in Human Biology from UCSD and a MA in Education with concentration in Counseling from SDSU. As a motivational speaker and community organizer, Ismahan is passionate about working for justice and building an inclusive society.