Mr. Abdul Bakar fled the civil war in his home country, Somalia, in 1992, when he was 13 years old. He lived in a UN refugee camp outside of Mombasa, Kenya, and against great odds pursued education as a means to secure a future. He taught himself Swahili so he could work and go to school among the Kenyans. He established himself, which enabled his surviving family to join him in Kenya. After eight years in Kenya, Abdul immigrated to the United States, first to Atlanta, where he met and married his wife, Dahabo. He and his wife then settled in Kansas City. They have five children.
Mr. Bakar is the former director of the refugee resettlement program at Della Lamb Community Services. Earlier, since 2005, he was with Jewish Vocational Services helping resettle refugees in the Kansas City area, and finding employment for them. Abdul also is currently studying toward an interdisciplinary Ph.D. (education and social science) at UMKC. His research is on the impact of the refugee experience on African children. He was awarded the 2016 Kansas City's Global Citizen of the Year.