Board of Directors: Ismael Ahmed

Ishmael Ahmed

Ishmael Ahmed

Ismael Ahmed
Associate Provost for Integrated
 Learning and Community Partnerships
University of Michigan/Dearborn

Ismael Ahmed was appointed Associate Provost for Integrated Learning and Community Partnerships at the University of Michigan-Dearborn beginning Jan. 3, 2011. In that position, Mr. Ahmed is responsible for connecting academic initiatives with the community. He works closely with the university’s deans and faculty to foster an institutional perspective that engenders collective leadership and builds support for academic programs that engage community partners far and wide.

In September 2007, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm appointed Mr. Ismael as director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, a position he held until the end of 2010. In his final year, the department’s nearly 11,000 employees administered a $6.9 billion annual budget that served 2.9 million people in Michigan in cash, food, medical and emergency assistance programs and thousands more in child and adult services programs such as adult and children’s protective services, adoption and foster care, and child support. During his tenure, Mr. Ahmed implemented child welfare reforms that reinvented the way services are delivered in Michigan, lowered the number of children in foster care placements, increased options for relatives and others wishing to care for children, substantially reduced the number of children living in child caring institutions, and began new community-based prevention programs aimed at serving children and families at home, surrounding them with services, and keeping children out of the child welfare system.

Mr. Ahmed co-founded the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in 1971 and was appointed executive director in 1983. ACCESS is the largest Arab-American human services organization in the United States with affiliates in 11 states offering more than 90 different programs with more than 900,000 client contacts annually. Under his leadership, ACCESS received the Exemplary Community Service Program Award from the state of Michigan. In addition, ACCESS received the Points of Light award, given by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 for an exemplary non-profit service. He has been named Director of the Year in 1992 by the United Way of Michigan. An expert on immigration, Mr. Ahmed was for three consecutive years a guest speaker on U.S. and Arab relations at the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the League of Arab States. He has also been a contributing author to Arabs in America: Myths and Reality and has written for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation publication, Arab American Political Participation in the United States.

Ismael Ahmed has served on a number of governing boards for Southeast Michigan organizations, Eastern Michigan University’s Board of Regents, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, University of Michigan Citizens Advisory Board, United Way, and New Detroit The Coalition. He chaired the Immigration Task Force and the Cultural Exchange Network for New Detroit. He has also hosted multi-cultural music programs, one on Detroit’s WDET Radio and two others on Detroit Public Schools Radio. As Department of Human Services’ director, he served on the Michigan State Housing Development Authority board and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation executive committee.

Mr. Ahmed has enjoyed a lifelong affiliation with the national and metropolitan Detroit arts communities. The son of first generation immigrants, he is co-founder of The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and now serves as an executive member of its advisory board. Since 1984, he has been affiliated with New Detroit’s Concert of Colors, one of the largest world music festivals in the United States, which he co-curates and co-chairs. His long-term participation in Southeast Michigan Community Foundation led to a more unified arts and cultural community. From 1983-2007, Mr. Ahmed was co-chair and founder of the East Dearborn Arab International Festival, the United States largest Arab music festival that attracts 300,000 followers annually.

Mr. Ahmed is a 1975 graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a minor in sociology. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Michigan-Dearborn, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Marygrove College in Detroit and a Doctor of Public Service Honorary Degree from Grand Valley State University. He resides in Dearborn, Michigan with his wife Margaret and has five children and two grandsons.

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