Former refugee takes over Canada’s immigration ministry

Ahmed Hussen, a Somali-born lawyer and social-activist, has been named the new Canadian minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, replacing John McCallum, who is heading to Beijing as the new ambassador to China.

Hussen was born and raised in Somalia but immigrated to Canada in 1993 at the age of 16. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the York University and his Law degree from the University of Ottawa. He is fluent in English, Somali and Swahili.

He co-founded the Regent Park Community Council in 2002 and helped secure a $500-million revitalization project for the area. Then as Canada’s first Somali-born MP, he has served on the Justice and Human Rights Committee as well as the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association.

“I am extremely proud of our country’s history as a place of asylum, a place that opens its doors and hearts to new immigrants and refugees, and I’m especially proud today to be the minister in charge of that file,” Hussen said in an interview outside the House of Commons.