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About Us

The Somali American United Council of Arizona is a non-profit organization.  It was founded in 2006 by Dr. Mohamed Ali Abukar in response to the growing need to connect multi-ethnic refugee communities in Arizona with each other and the rest of the American society.

The Somali American United Council of Arizona fills a critical need in Maricopa County helping newly arrived refugee families adjust to their new lives, location, language and culture. 

The Somali American United Council of Arizona exists to promote better understanding between the multi-ethnic refugee community and other American communities and to find solutions to the challenges refugees face throughout the resettlement process. 

By building a structure of best practices, the Somali American United Council of Arizona serves as a model for other non-profit organizations working with refugee communities and immigrant populations.  The Somali American United Council of Arizona collaborates with other ethnic community based organizations to find together solutions that address cultural barriers and emotional trauma that refugees face throughout the resettlement process. 


To guide the multi-ethnic community of refugees to better integrate into the mainstream American society while preserving their own culture.


To become a premier institution that provides high quality services to the Multi-ethnic Refugee Community in Arizona and prepare individuals to  achieve self-sufficiency and become law abiding citizens with great patriotism. 

SAUC Leadership

Top Management


Dr. Mohamed Ali Abukar


Dr. Abukar established the Somali-American United Council in 2006 to respond to the needs of unity and collaboration among multi-ethnic refugees in Arizona.  

In addition to being the President/CEO of our organization, he is also an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University and Utah State University. He has a Doctorate in Public Administration from the Pacific W. University in Hawaii and a two Masters Degrees in Journalism and Management from Italy. 


Jack Salvatore


Shannon Reber

Executive Assistant CEO
Executive Office Administrator & Financial Controller

Shannon started in our organization in 2019 as an intern from BYU Idaho. She coordinates all logistics of our programs, and she is the main point of contact for SalesForce, intake documentation, data, office procedures, and policies.

In her own words:

"Refugees need our help. They need our connections, knowledge, and our experience, but most of all they need our love."

Executive Team


Adan Samantar


Youth Enrichment and Development Vice-President

Adan arrived in the United States as a refugee in 2011 and started working in our center immediately. His passion is working with the new American Community and especially enjoys working with the youth. He is in charge of the Youth Development and Enrichment Programs. Adan speaks Somali, English, and Swahili.

Ilyas Sheikh Mohamed

Case Manager Vice-President

Sadiki Ikyebwe

Case Manager Vice-President


Judy Bulsiewicz

Vice President

Immigration Project Manager

Literacy Coordinator

Supplemental Project Coordinator 

Volunteer Coordinator


Yasmin Ahmed

Preschool Coordinator

Yamin has been in the United States since ____ she is a role model and a true ambassador for refugee women in our area. She is dedicated to the education of women and children and is also a great problem solver in the area of housing..

Muhiyadin Hassan


Muhiyadin supports our organization providing supervision and safety in our facilities. He is our eyes and ears to keep our facilities safe. When you arrive in our facilities, he will greet you with a smile, will take your temperature, and will ask you to sign-in.  He will then direct you to your class or to see a case manager when necessary. 

Abdallah Mohamood

Case Manager 

Abdallah is the younger member of our staff.  He is a full time student at Gateway Community College and works part time in our organization. He is a dedicated case manager that is persistent and does not rest until finding solutions for our clients. He is always positive and always optimistic about the future.


Rehan Durrani


Asma Yosufi


Mohammad Imam

 Cleaning Crew

Hawo Abdi


Hawo arrived in the United States as a refugee from Somalia in _____. She has been working  for our organization since 2018. She is also a very dedicated student of  English. She participates in our Women Empowerment Program and English classes in our center.   Hawo speaks Somali and Swahili and is currently learning English. 


Jane Wright

Early Literacy

Church Service Missionaries

Duties as Assigned

Our current service missionaries are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are from the Phoenix area as well as from different parts of the country. They support our organization teaching, tutoring, cleaning, organizing, supporting, and encouraging refugees throughout the resettlement process. 


"The case managers and volunteers of this organization are helping achieve my goals here in America.  I attended English classes and Citizenship and Naturalization classes for two years and now I am an American citizen! I am very happy.  Now they are helping me prepare to take English classes in a community college. My goal is to become a teacher and I know that with their help, I will achieve this dream.   Thank you!

Faiza Ali

Local Client  from Somalia

"The Somali-American United Council workers have supported me and my family with job searching, job applications, housing issues, English classes and cultural adaptation trainings. I feel that I have a place to go for support when I am facing a challenge. I can always find somebody here that can give me guidance. 

Thank you! "

Aliyou Babari

Local Client from Central Africa 

My family has received a lot of support from the Somali-American United Council since we arrived here from Sudan.  I have participated in English classes and women empowerment classes as well.  My children have benefited from the Leaders for Life program, summer school tutoring, and the FBI Teen Academy. I am thankful for all their support!

Habiba Mahamoud

Local Client from Sudan

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