Columbus – Yesterday, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus), Assistant Senate Democratic Leader, had the honor and privilege of welcoming Puntland, Somalia President Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas to the 15th Senate District. President Mohamed Ali Gaas spent time in Columbus engaging with the Somali community. Columbus is recognized as having the second largest Somali population in the United States, with an estimated 45,000 Somalis calling Ohio’s capital city their home.

“It is an honor to have President Mohamed Ali Gaas and his wife visit our city and bring messages of hope for Somalia, electoral representation, and partnership with Columbus,” said Senator Tavares. “The Somali community is part of what makes Columbus such a vibrant and ethnically diverse city.”

Burhan Ahmed, the Director of the Center for Somali American Engagement, is responsible for bringing President Abdiweli to Columbus. The Center for Somali American Engagement works to increase community engagement and communication between neighborhoods, and strengthen communication with government and elect officials in Ohio and other states to enhance public and private partnerships.

“The contribution of the Somali community is part of our city’s rich heritage of cultural and business diversity,” said Senator Tavares. “I am thrilled to have a dignitary from Somalia travel to Ohio to speak to the residents of our community and build a relationship between our city, Somalia, and the Somali people.”

President Mohamed Ali Gaas took office in January 2014 after previously serving as the interim Prime Minister of Somalia. In his role as the Prime Minister, he was credited with ending Somalia’s eight years of transitional administrations as well as improving the economy of Somalia and East Africa. As the current president of Puntland, Somalia, he is dedicated to ensuring stability and security in Somalia and the region.

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