Somalia’s former ambassador to the United States, a longtime Columbus resident and advocate for refugees and resettlement efforts, died this week.
Abdikarim Ali Omar, 70, of Westerville, died Tuesday evening of natural causes, his family said. and community leaders.
Omar was Somalia’s last ambassador to the United States before the fall of the government and civil war in 1991.
“He was a great leader for the Somali community. He was very kind, very helpful to newcomers, ”said Abdi Hakim, a community refugee and immigration service officer.
Omar joined Somalia’s Foreign Ministry in 1975, trained as a finance clerk. He arrived in the United States in 1978, transferred to the Somali Foreign Embassy in Washington DC
He graduated from George Washington University in 1984 with a degree in political science and economics, said Ahmed Hussein, a friend and business partner.
Omar was most recently CEO of Vanguard Home Health Care, until his retirement in 2018.
“He was well known in Somalia, a community leader in Columbus and a very outgoing, very humble, very helpful man,” Hussein said.
“He was the backbone of our family, a gentleman, a happy person. He has always been involved with Somalia. He wanted the country to bring back the pride of Somalia,” said his sister, Maryam Ali Omar.
Omar served as Somalia’s Ambassador to Canada for a year before being appointed Ambassador to the United States, a post he held until 1991. He moved to Columbus in 1996, taking a job in the financial industry.
Omar was married to Deka Mohamed Siad, daughter of former Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre, who held the post from 1969 to 1991. The couple have six adult children, Hussein said.
A funeral was held at the Ibnu Taymiyah Mosque and the Islamic Center on Wednesday.