During a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a former Somali-born refugee, Ahmed Hussen, as the new Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Hussen was the first Somali-Canadian to be voted to parliament in 2015, where he represented the ruling Liberal Party of Canada. He has served on the Justice and Human Rights Committee as well as the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association.
Prior to being elected, Hussen worked as a lawyer, practising criminal defence, immigration and refugee law. He has served on the board of the Global Enrichment Foundation, which helps women in East Africa go to university and colleges in the region, as well as the board for the Toronto-based Journalists for Human Rights.
Since his election, Hussen has become a household name among Somalis in the diaspora, as he headed the Canadian Somali Congress – a community based group that champions the interest of Somalis by engaging the Canadian authorities whiles also at it, strengthening civic engagement and integration.
His election has been touted as a symbol of the Canadian Liberal Party’s openness to immigrant communities.
Ahmed Hussen, a lawyer, and community activist came to Canada in 1993 at the age of 16 after fleeing his hometown, the Somali capital of Mogadishu.