“My role is to always empower others, to lift others, and to make sure that people understand each other by first getting to know one another.”
A former refugee from Somalia, Fatima Dirie resettled in Salt Lake City with her family in 1997 while still in middle school. Her family escaped war back home, first finding refuge in neighboring Kenya, then ultimately finding safety and an opportunity to pursue the American Dream in Utah.
More than twenty years later, Fatima is empowering refugees and other under-served populations in her local community, making an impact at the national and international level.
Background and Professional Experience
Fatima Dirie is the Policy Advisor for Refugees and New Americans in Mayor Mendenhall’s inaugural administration at the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office. Previously, she served for 4 years as the Community Refugee Liaison for the prior administration. Fatima has her Masters of Social Work with an emphasis on international social work from the University of Utah, and 15 years of professional experience supporting youth enrichment programs and working with the refugee and immigrant population.
Fatima served as President of the Black Student Union at Salt Lake Community College and is the Co-Founder and Vice-President of the Somali Youth Center. She also coordinates the Utah Refugee Civic Group and serves on the Governors Refugee Advisory Board. Fatima is the Utah Delegate and board member of the Refugee Congress, a national nonprofit organization of refugee leaders from around the country.
Fatima has used all five languages she speaks, Somali, Mai, Chimini, Swahili, and English, to advocate for her community. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as traveling and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. Fatima believes in leading by example and works hard to strengthen families and youth in her community. She is passionate about advocating for human rights, social justice, and empowering women and youth to be leaders.