Abdi Nor Iftin

As a child in war-torn Mogadishu, Abdi Nor Iftin learned English by watching action movies. When U.S. Marines landed to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real-life American action heroes. Sporting hip-hop clothes and dance moves, he became known as “Abdi American.” But when radical Islamists took control in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Instead, Abdi risked his life posting secret dispatches to NPR. As life in Somalia grew more dangerous, he fled to Kenya. In an amazing stroke of luck, he won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America—ending in a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi—did not come easily. Now he is a proud resident of Maine, a Tedx Amoskeag 2019 speaker and he is working on a documentary about his story. Abdi is US citizen, his naturalization ceremony took place in Portland, Maine January 17th 2020. From callmeamerican.com

Abdi is the inspiring author of the memoir Call Me American, which was adapted for young adults in 2020. View IRW's resource that helps students did deeper into the book: Call Me American Activity Sheet

Upcoming Programs

Fall 2020: 7th Grade Read Virtual Discussion Groups with MDIRSS