Mohamed Ali is the founder of the Iftiin Foundation, an organization that incubates social entrepreneurs, young leaders and their groundbreaking projects to encourage a culture of change and innovation in Somalia. Mr. Ali is also an African development fellow at the Aspen Institute. His passion is on using entrepreneurship, especially among youth populations, as a tool to alleviate poverty and promote development in Somalia and other conflict-affected countries. Mr. Ali believes that transformative entrepreneurship can accelerate peace and stability in war-torn countries.
Mr. Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, where he spent his childhood before he and his family were displaced as a result of civil war. He eventually moved to the United States where he demonstrated a passion and commitment to assisting refugees and displaced populations. Mr. Ali put himself through law school so he could advocate for the legal and human rights of refugee populations, particularly immigrant and refugee populations from East Africa. During his work in human rights sector, Mr. Ali came to realize the important link between human rights and development and that economic and social development provides the basis for the general attainment of human rights. This belief was strengthened during the devastating 2011 famine in Somalia. Mr. Ali was one of the founding members of the End Famine campaign, which provided famine relief in the Horn of Africa region during the crisis. Mr. Ali has taken an active role in seeking sustainable solutions to famine and poverty in Somalia.
In 2010, Secretary Hillary Clinton recognized Mr. Ali as an exceptional young Muslim leader and in 2012 he spoke alongside Secretary Clinton on affecting change in the Muslim world. In 2012 The BMW Foundation recognized Mr. Ali as a rising young leader and he participated in the Europe-Africa Young Leaders Forum in Namibia. In 2013 Mr. Ali was recognized as a leader in the development sector by the Aspen Institute and selected to join the inaugural New Voices Fellowship, a partnership between the Aspen Institute and The Bill Gates Foundation. Mr. Ali obtained a Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School, where he was active in immigrant legal advocacy and assisted developing and post-conflict countries on legislation and constitution drafting. Mr. Ali also holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from The Ohio State University.