New pioneers: American Dream Award Program

Join the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association, as we recognize the incredible contributions immigrants make every day in Utah at the American Dream Award Program. 

This new award helps remind us about the positive impact immigrants have on our community and how they have helped shape Utah’s history, values and beliefs. 


March 28, 2018


7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.


Hilton Salt Lake City Center

255 South West Temple



This Year’s Honorees:

  • Aden Batar – Director of Immigration and Refugee Resettlement at Catholic Community Services

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. 

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; he also works to help the Islamic Society of Salt Lake, and volunteers with his family to benefit the refugee community in other ways.

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.”

  • Senator Luz Escamilla – Utah State Senator and Vice President Community Development, Zions Bank

Luz Robles Escamilla is the Senator for Utah State Senate’s 1st District and serves as the minority assistant whip. She was first elected to the Utah State Senate in 2008, and was re-elected in 2012.

The daughter of two Mexican college professors, Robles was born in 1977 and raised in Mexico.  After moving to the United States in 1996, Robles graduated from Marian Catholic High School in San Diego, CA. She then earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Utah in business marketing in 2000.She also holds a Masters in Public Administration, which she earned from the University of Utah in 2005.Luz is married to former Arizona lawmaker Juan Carlos Escamilla. He proposed to Luz on the Utah Senate floor during the 2014 legislative session.

Luz Escamilla is a director for the Zions Bank Business Resource Center. In 2010, she received the Salt Lake Chamber Pathfinder Award and the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Award from the SBA. She has also received the Pete Suazo Memorial Award from the University of Utah. Senator Escamilla has also served as a board member for the University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Regence Caring Foundation, the Utah Health Policy Project, and the Primary Children’s Medical Center.

  • Valter Nassi – Owner and Proprietor of Valter’s Osteria

Born in Italy, trained in Sardinia, London, Paris and New York, Valter Nassi is the proud proprietor of Valter’s Osteria in Salt Lake City. Valter’s Osteria, which opened in 2012, recently achieved Ospitalitá Italiana’s prestigious certification as one of its “Italian Restaurants around the World.”

Valter has been in the restaurant business for more than forty years and established his first restaurant in Salt Lake City, II Sansovino, almost 20 years ago. Valter’s Osteria is Nassi’s third Italian restaurant in Salt Lake City.

  • LDS Humanitarian Services 

Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates LDS Charities, provides aid to people around the world without regard to cultural or religious affiliation.  In 2016, the Church responded to 147 countries on 2,630 projects with over 1,500 partners to serve millions of people worldwide.

Two ideas are at the core of the Humanitarian Services response is that 100% of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin, and Humanitarian Services helps people attain self-sufficiency so they can be self-reliant long after Humanitarian Services departs.

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