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Minnesota's Outstanding Refugee Awards

2023 recipients

Hsakushee Zan

Hsakushee Zan

Entrepreneurship Award
Ahmead Shah

Ahmad Shah

Civic Leadership Award
Talo Heh

Talo Heh

Young Leader Award
Ramesh Hashemy

Ramesh Hashemy

New Arrival Award
Iryna Petrus

Iryna Petrus

New Arrival Award

2022 recipients

Sacad Guled photo

Sacad Guled

Entrepreneur Award
Ilham Ibrahim photo

Elham Ibrahim

Entrepreneur Award
Safi Khalif photo

Safi Khalif

Civic Engagement Award
Dr. Tsewang Ngodup

Dr. Tsewang Ngodup

Civic Engagement Award
Hanifullah Rasooli photo

Hanifullah Rasooli

New Beginnings Award

Recipients in previous years 

Learn more about the 11 refugees who were recognized in 2021. Learn about refugees recognized in previous years


About the Outstanding Refugee Awards

The Resettlement Programs Office of the Minnesota Department of Human Services celebrates the strength, courage and resilience of all people in the state. We recognize that there are many Minnesotans with a refugee experience who are making a positive contribution in Minnesota. Every year we honor local leaders and citizens with Outstanding Refugee Awards to recognize former refugees who are making Minnesota a better place for all of us.

People from all over the world call Minnesota home. Refugees are people who have experienced persecution, whose lives were in danger where their country was no longer safe for them. People who arrive in the United States through the refugee program come from different backgrounds and experiences, but they have in common a strong desire to build a safe, new life for their families.

They are people who are highly motivated to work, to contribute, and, in many cases, to give back in service and volunteerism to help others in their new adopted home. Learn more about refugee programs in Minnesota.

We are surrounded by neighbors, coworkers, employees and friends who have powerful stories of resilience in the face of difficult circumstances, and are showing leadership in small and sometimes large ways to improve their communities in Minnesota. These stories of how residents are positively impacting other Minnesotans are important stories to share. 

The department’s Outstanding Refugee Awards are one way to recognize the individuals in our communities who are making a difference in our neighborhoods, communities and world.

Nominate an outstanding refugee

Nominate individuals by midnight March 31, 2024, in one of four categories:

  • Entrepreneurship: Recognizes individuals contributing to the community in business, the arts or education.
  • Civic Leadership: Recognizes individuals making communities stronger through their civic participation.
  • Young Leader: Recognizes young people who have achieved great milestones and/or are making a difference in their community.
  • New Arrival: Recognizes individuals who have been in the U.S. two years or less who are examples of the resilience and courage it takes to rebuild well-being and make Minnesota their home.

Complete a separate form for each person you want to nominate.

Selected individuals will be recognized and presented with a plaque at a ceremony in August of 2024. 

Refugees make an impact in Minnesota

Learn more about how refugees are making an impact in Minnesota.

  • Refugees, immigrants reach for the sky
  • Helping refugees move forward on a successful journey
  • Giving people with disabilities the ability to live life to the fullest
  • Coordinating grants to help people with disabilities
  • Helping department staff resolve issues with technology

To learn what services are available to refugees in Minnesota, visit the department’s refugee services webpage.

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