The Salt Lake Chamber announced today that Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services for Catholic Community Services of Utah, will be honored with the 4th annual Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award. The award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address critical community needs.
“For more than twenty years, Aden has supported the immigrant and refugee community in Utah, giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, upon announcing the award. “Given the continuing turmoil and increasing refugees around the world, keeping Utah a welcoming community is more important than ever. Aden is critical to this effort and his dedication and contributions will be felt for years to come in our community and in many individual lives.”
Batar was selected by the Utah Community Builders Advisory Board, co-chaired by Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes.
“The Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award rests on the idea that Utah is a unique place, full of people committed to serving others over self, as evidenced by its recipients” said Ivory. “This year, no one better exemplifies that spirit than Aden Batar.”
Utah Community Builders, the Chamber’s nonprofit social impact foundation, addresses our state’s most pressing challenges by providing a platform for the business community to engage on social issues. This strengthens partnerships between business leaders, service providers, academic experts and government agencies on social issues affecting Utah’s business community.
“Since Aden came to Utah more than 25 years ago, seeking refuge for his family from war in Somalia, he has been a tireless advocate for the many refugees who now call Utah home,” said Eccles. “In highlighting Aden’s years of dedication and service through this award, we are delighted that even more members of our business community and citizens throughout Utah will come to know and appreciate his extraordinary contributions to our state.”
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 the president 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 served the Alumni Board. He also serves the Utah State Advisory Board and had previously served Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation and many other boards in the community.
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.”
Batar will be formally recognized during the Giant in our City event on May 19, 2022, at the Grand America Hotel where Ray Pickup, CEO of WCF Insurance, will be honored as the 43rd Giant in our City.