This March, the Salt Lake Chamber is recognizing the important contributions immigrants make every day in Utah at the American Dream Award Program.

This program helps remind us about the positive impact of immigrants and how they have helped shape Utah’s history since the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley as refugees in 1847. That shared cultural memory informs our values and beliefs today.

This award honors that legacy by recognizing new pioneers who contribute to our state.

Aden Batar, director of immigration and refugee resettlement at Catholic Community Services is one of this year’s honorees.

About Aden Batar

Aden Batar received his law degree from Somali National University. After marrying and starting a family, civil war broke out and Batar hid his family for two years. When his older son died as a result of the war, Batar and his family fled Somalia and came to Utah, the first refugees from Somalia to resettle in Utah through Catholic Community Services.

After spending two years studying at Utah State University, the Batar family moved to Salt Lake City and he took a job with Catholic Community Services to help with resettlement. He became director of the refugee program in 2001 and is still working to resettle refugees in Salt Lake City. For 25 years, he has fought valiantly to bring refugees to the state and to protect their rights and identity. Batar founded Somali Community Services of Utah; he is a member of the Islamic Society of Salt Lake, and volunteers with his family to benefit the refugee community in other ways.

Batar also earned his MPA from the University of Utah and serves the Alumni Board. He also serves the Utah State Advisory Board.

In 2017, Batar was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award. The award is presented annually by the Utah Gandhi Alliance for Peace to recognize someone in the community who has worked tirelessly for peace and exemplifies the well-known quote by Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Learn About the other Honorees