Mayor R.T. Rybak on Tuesday appointed Somali businessman Hussein Samatar to the Library Board of Trustees, making him one of the highest-ranking Somali public officials in the country.
Samatar, the executive director of the African Development Center, has played a key role in assisting African immigrants as they start their own businesses and has helped to promote community reinvestment. “Appointing Hussein to the Library Board is about bringing new voices to lead our libraries into the future, especially voices from our growing immigrant communities,” Rybak said in a statement released by his office. “Hussein has shown incredible leadership helping many entrepreneurs get their start and will bring excellent business and financial planning experience to our libraries.”
Since arriving in Minneapolis in 1994, Samatar has earned an MBA in finance management from St. Thomas University and recently completed a one-year policy fellowship at the Humphrey Institute. He was recognized in 2002 as one of “Forty Under 40” by The Business Journal. “I am humbled and honored to be selected to help lead our libraries,” Samatar said. “My family and my community have benefited tremendously from public libraries, and we have a big stake in ensuring access to the educational opportunities that libraries provide.”
Samatar succeeds Laura Waterman Wittstock as the mayor’s appointee to the board. Wittstock was elected in November to a four-year term.