Mohamed Ali fled Somalia’s civil war with his family, part of an exodus of refugees escaping a conflict which left the country in tatters.
But after years abroad, Ali has returned to Somalia to found the Iftiin Foundation to incubate social ventures and groundbreaking projects that encourage change and innovation among young Somali leaders.
“Entrepreneurship at the grassroots level can be a powerful tool for sustainable development for poverty-stricken communities and can have a stabilizing impact on conflict- affected regions,” Ali says.
Ali is interested in the intersection between human rights law and international development, especially as it relates to post-conflict countries such as Somalia, and in 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognize him as an exceptional young Muslim leader.
“I am dedicated to expanding the opportunities of individuals from these communities to become emancipated from the cycle of poverty through their own initiative, generating income and being able to freely choose the lifestyle they want without being compelled to set themselves adrift into the Mediterranean Sea in search of better opportunities,” he says.
Ali obtained a Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School, where he was active in immigrant legal advocacy and assisted developing and post-conflict countries on legislation and constitution drafting. Mr. Ali also holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from The Ohio State University.