Somalia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Ahmed Isse Awad?

Friday, March 11, 2016
Ahmed Isse Awad

Ahmed Isse Awad presented his credentials as Somalia’s ambassador to the United States to President Obama on September 17, 2015.


Awad was born in Garowe, Somalia, in the northern part of that country. He left Somalia in 1991 when the civil war began in there, settling in Canada where he became a citizen.


Awad returned to Africa to study, earning a Master’s in managing peace and security in Africa from the Addis Ababa Institute for Peace and Security Studies. He subsequently became chief of staff to Somalia’s prime minister, primarily Hassan Abshir Farah, from 2001 to 2004. There, he participated in the ultimately failed Somali peace talks held in 2003-04 in Kenya.


Awad then went to Sudan to work for the United Nations on peacekeeping missions for nearly 10 years, serving in Abyei, Kaduqli and Darfur.


In 2014, Awad was in the mix to become Somalia’s next prime minister, but the office went to his predecessor in Washington, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who was ambassador to the United States for a few months that year. The following year, Awad was appointed to set up the embassy.


Somalia’s previous embassy was abandoned in 1991 and the State Department sold the property, holding the funds in escrow for the Somali government. Those funds are now being used to rent office space in the capital.


Awad is married to Sarah Ashraf and has a daughter.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Long-Neglected Somalia Comes in From the Cold (by Larry Luxner, Washington Diplomat) 


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