Americas, Africa

Biden hailed for appointing 1st Somali-American senior adviser to State Department

Hamse Warfa will help advance president’s democracy and human rights agenda both in US and overseas

Hassan Isilow, Mohammed Dhaysane   | 13.01.2022
Biden hailed for appointing 1st Somali-American senior adviser to State Department


The Somali government and intellectuals hailed US President Joe Biden on Wednesday for appointing Hamse Warfa, a Somali-American, as a senior adviser to the State Department.  

“We are happy and welcome the appointment of Warfa by the US president. We extend our congratulatory messages to him and all Somali people," Somali government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu told Anadolu Agency. 

Moalimuu said Warfa’s appointment is an indication that Somalis are very active wherever they live. 

Warfa was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. His family fled the Somali civil war and moved to neighboring Kenya, where they lived in refugee camps. He later relocated to the US. 

He has been working as the deputy commissioner for workforce development at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). 

Warfa, who has held the position since April 2019, has been the highest-ranking African immigrant in the state government. 

“We congratulate Warfa. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a young, well-educated Somali-origin lad,” said Abdurahman Sheikh Azhari, director of the Centre for Analysis and Strategic Studies, a Somalia-based think tank. 

He said it is not easy to be appointed to a role in an administration like that of Biden-Harris with the eyes of the world on it, especially for a Black Muslim immigrant from the Horn of Africa. 

“It’s a golden opportunity for the Somali diaspora as a community across the world, the US, and Hamse particularly to serve the US’s highest office in which he can influence the policies towards Africa and the Muslim world,” Azhari said.

He said the appointment shows exactly how well-integrated immigrants and refugees can contribute to a large nation like the US.

“If the Somali communities continue to integrate, settle and contribute to the Western world, they will produce more successful leaders who can be role models to young Somalis inside Somalia. This appointment deserves to be celebrated and commended,” Azhari added.

Prof. Hassan Sheikh Ali Nur, a lecturer at Somali National University in Mogadishu, said “Warfa's nomination for senior adviser on democracy and human rights by President Biden is a milestone in race and religious recognition in the United States of America's political participation and citizenship.”

Warfa said in a tweet that he is “excited and so ready to get to work along with incredible public servants in the Biden-Harris administration.”​​​​​​​

According to reports, Warfa has become the first Somali-American presidential appointee in history. Another Somali immigrant, Ilhan Omar, made history in 2018 when she became the first Somali-American elected to the US Congress.

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