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South High names commencement speaker


It is our honor to welcome back South High School alum Abdul Omari, '04, as our esteemed Class of 2016 commencement speaker at our graduation ceremony May 31.

Omari graduated South High as a Wallin Scholar and today holds a PhD in comparative and international development education. He is a current member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, and most recently was named a Future History Maker by the City of Minneapolis.

Read excerpts of Omari's online bios below which follow his academic and career ascent in the years since his graduation from South High in 2004. The complete biographies can be found at the provided links.


Abdul Omari is truly an inspiration to the students of color at the University of Minnesota. Now pursuing his PhD in Comparative and International Development Education, Abdul teaches courses on Leadership and serves on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. Thanks in part to the support of the Page Education Foundation, Abdul earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Policy degrees and was actively involved in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Black Student Union, and Public Affairs Student Association. His accomplishments alone set a striking example for others and stand as a testament to the virtues of perseverance and determination. Mr. Omari recognizes the unique opportunity offered by the Page Scholarship for community involvement and, for the past several years, has served as a mentor for young men through the Project Alpha program at Totem Town juvenile delinquency facility. He views his service experience as, “an opportunity to show these men a different future from the one they may have envisaged prior to our interactions. I learned that many of the young men we work with have incredible potential to be future leaders in their communities and a little guidance can set them on their way.”

Page Scholars



Today, I am a PhD candidate, a business owner, a college instructor, and a University of Minnesota Regent. Every day as I wear many hats in my work to positively impact the Twin Cities and beyond, I am reminded of all those who helped me get to where I am, including organizations like Wallin Education Partners. This morning I conducted a 90-minute interview as part of my doctoral dissertation. My study, African American and West African males' perceptions of mentoring: Exploring the role of Cultural Intelligence, seeks to uncover the perceptions of mentoring for mentees from two different ethnicities that are often grouped together. It is my hope to move the mentoring field past large universal approaches to mentoring into a new realm of approaches that considers the nuanced differences of mentees. I believe striving to be culturally intelligent will lead to more positive mentor-mentee relationships and encourage more empathy, allowing individuals to function well with others.



Abdul M. Omari grew up in south Minneapolis, just ten minutes from the University of Minnesota. Yet the first time he came to campus was for freshman orientation in 2004. Now, almost a decade later, Omari is deeply connected to the University. He completed his bachelor’s degree in global studies in the College of Liberal Arts with a minor in African and African-American studies, then earned a master’s of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Now in the College of Education and Human Development, he is a Ph.D. candidate in comparative and international development education. Last spring, Omari was elected to the University Board of Regents.

University of Minnesota College of Education + Human Development



Abdul M. Omari holds a B.A. in global studies, a master’s of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and a doctorate in comparative and international development education from the University of Minnesota. Abdul's research is focused on the perceptions of mentoring and the role of Cultural Intelligence within mentoring relationships. Abdul is the founder of AMO Enterprise, which helps people better connect in individual and team settings through leadership seminars, keynotes, and mentoring. Abdul is devoted to civic and public service. He is an elected member of the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota, serves on the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Greater Twin Cities, AchieveMpls, and Civic Eagle. Omari is a proud native of Minneapolis, Minnesota with immigrant parents from Kenya and Jordan.

University of Minnesota Board of Regents