Xamse Warfaa joins Biden Admin.

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Minnesota official Hamse Warfa picked to join Biden administration


Warfa is starting a new job at the U.S. State Department later this month.

Hamse Warfa, a high-ranking Somali-American official in state government, has been picked to serve in Democratic President Joe Biden's administration.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Monday that Warfa is leaving his role as deputy commissioner for workforce development to become a senior advisor in the U.S. State Department. Warfa said in an e-mail he will be "helping advance the president's democracy and human rights agenda at home and abroad."

"What I hope to achieve is be an inclusive voice that helps us strengthen our vibrant democracy," Warfa, a former refugee, told the Star Tribune.

The new role comes after Warfa volunteered on Biden's 2020 presidential campaign as an economic policy committee member, according to his LinkedIn profile.

When Warfa starts his new role later this month, he'll join noteworthy members of the administration with Minnesota ties. Others include national security adviser Jake Sullivan, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough and Duluth native Thomas Nides, who is serving as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Warfa said he's proud of his work for the state's department of employment and economic development, including responding to the pandemic that has impacted the state for close to two years.

"Hamse and his team at DEED advocated for the economic well-being of all Minnesotans during the pandemic and focused on ensuring workers and businesses had the resources and training to survive and thrive," Gov. Tim Walz said in a press release. "I am grateful for Hamse's service to our state and his commitment to building an equitable economy that works for everyone."

Monday's announcement also noted that Warfa's DEED appointment in 2019 made him the "highest ranking Somali American official in the executive branch of government."

Warfa has "more than 20 years of experience in economic development, community building, philanthropy, public policy and entrepreneurship," according to his bio. Turning hardship into leadership has been a major focus of his work, Warfa said, describing himself "as a global citizen, an American in service to the world."

"I feel incredibly honored," Warfa said. "I've gained a set of experiences in different sectors. My mission in life is to help build equitable economy and advance democracy."

His new role also comes during a challenging period in American democracy, an issue that Biden has focused on since being sworn in as president two weeks after last year's violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As he approaches the start of his second year in the White House, Biden continues to face a difficult partisan climate on Capitol Hill.

Last month, Biden held a global Summit for Democracy. Warfa pointed to the gathering as one that "created important dialogue and initiated concrete action towards this global democratic renewal."

"I really consider it a privilege to serve America and to strengthen the special place this place is because of democracy, and extend benefits of democracy to the world," Warfa said.

Although Warfa anticipates challenges in his new job, he said he is excited about the opportunity. As he talked about the position, Warfa recalled that his father would pray for him, "may you be useful to society."

"I think this is a way in which God is guiding me to serve," Warfa said.


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Hamse Warfa is leaving the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for a position in the Biden administration, making him the highest-ranking Somali appointee in Washington

As a senior advisor in the U.S. State Department, Hamse will play a role in promoting democracy abroad and addressing refugee resettlement at home

Hamse Warfa, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will be joining the Biden administration as a senior advisor to the State Department at the end of the month, making him the highest-ranking Somali presidential appointee in Washington. 

January 17 is Hamse’s last official day with DEED, where he served as the state’s highest-ranking African official. As the highest-ranking Somali in the Biden administration and the only Somali advisor in the State Department, he will play a key role in promoting democracy worldwide and in refugee admissions in the United States.

In a statement released by DEED Monday, Hamse thanked President Joe Biden for the appointment. He added: “As I prepare to represent all people of the United States, I am blessed by the colleagues, friends and family who supported my public service.”

Hamse joins the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, a State Department office responsible for providing protections for displaced people. The Bureau also advises the president in determining the number of refugees the United States will accept in a given year. The refugee resettlement cap had previously been slashed to record lows under the Trump administration. 

The Bureau also provides funding to resettlement agencies based on how many refugees they resettled in a year. Because arrivals were down under Trump, agencies struggled to continue operating. Resettlement agencies in Minnesota have spent the last year rebuilding infrastructure, hoping for more support from the State Department.

The Biden administration organized a Summit for Democracy on December 9–10, which brought together 275 participants to discuss today’s threats to democracy. Hamse said his role at the State Department is part of the commitment discussed at the summit to promote democracy and human rights worldwide.

Hamse first came to the United States as a Somali refugee when he was a teenager in 1994. He studied political science and organizational management, and built a career in both the public and private sector. In 2014, he published his autobiography, America Here I Come: A Somali Refugee’s Quest for Hope. As a Bush Fellow in 2016, Hamse founded BanQu, a blockchain service to provide access to credit and bank services for refugees. He also founded a consulting group to address poverty and economic opportunities for marginalized people.


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I know this guy, he used to call us during the election. He is very young and can not be representative, rather he will used as communicator.

It seems Biden is making political U turn in east African and rest of the world. The game of humanitarian business did not work as planned. With Sudan and Ethiopia problems, shifting political alliance in the middle east and America midterm election coming he have to do some change. The Ethiopian diasporas in DC showed their voting power.

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Success has many friends. Everyone from Duale (Kenya)to average person is congratulating this young man. And then there are those fighting over what  region aka clan he is from. 

That said, I wish him the best.


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