Greetings from the new director of the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs!
Hamdi Mohamed, Director
I am so excited to announce that I have been officially sworn in as director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA). I am so thankful for this opportunity. As you know, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs aims to improve the lives of Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities by engaging them in decisions about the City of Seattle’s future and improving the City’s programs and services to meet the needs of all constituents.
My drive to serve as the OIRA director is rooted in my personal story and professional experience, which includes common struggles that many immigrant and refugee families here and across the nation continue to experience today. I often share the history of my family fleeing war and living unhoused for many years before coming to the U.S. as a Somali refugees. Because of my lived and professional experiences, I feel a deep need to advocate and serve our communities and ensure they have access to services, programs, and pathways to economic success.
Since joining OIRA, I have hit the ground running, meeting with community leaders and department directors, developing budget strategies, and conducting team-building activities. I have already met with over 30 community-based organization leaders and conducted needs assessment surveys from our program grantees to help inform our team about the most pressing community issues. I have led our office in responding to the evolving Afghan and Ukrainian refugee crises through regional partnerships. And I have brought my longstanding relationships with leaders on the federal, local, and state levels to ensure our offices work better together to address the region’s most urgent issues. My goal is to ensure OIRA meets the unique needs of Seattle’s most vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities and help provide the services and programs that have allowed me to be here today.
My high-level goals for OIRA are to maintain and expand our current programs and for us to set a pro-equity policy agenda for our office that addresses where the needs are greatest for immigrant and refugee populations. Here are my six priority areas:
- Regional and Cross-Departmental Collaboration
- Equitable Healthy Seattle Initiative
- Advance Inclusive Economic Recovery
- Ensure Seattle Continues to Welcome Refugees
- Expand Safety and Access for Immigrant Families
- Community Partnerships and Liaison Projects
I believe in servant leadership and a serve-first mindset, and I am focused on empowering and uplifting those who work on my team. My goal is to lead alongside our community members, and I look forward to engaging with you.