In Iraq, Fahad worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), assisting the agency with its efforts to support a democratic government in his home country. After his office was the target of a bombing by the insurgency, Fahad applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) — a program available to Iraqis and Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and armed forces as interpreters, translators, and support staff.
For the next two years, Fahad essentially lived two lives: one focused on continuing his work with USAID and the United Nations despite the danger involved, and another preparing for a potential new life in America. In 2016, after extensive vetting and background checks, Fahad settled in Chicago with his young daughter and began yet another journey to rebuild his life and career in a new country.
Fahad was lucky. The scope of the global refugee crisis remains staggering: there are more than 22 million refugees in the world, the most since World War II. The Trump administration set a historically low cap of 45,000 on the number of refugees to be admitted in 2018 — and only 14,000 have been resettled so far this year. Thousands of men and women remain in limbo, among them people who risked their lives to serve the U.S. military abroad.
Fahad was one of the hundreds of refugees that Upwardly Global has helped to secure professional positions, many of them Special Immigrant Visa recipients from Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is now on staff with Upwardly Global, working as a Senior Program Manager. He is responsible for tracking project progress against dashboards, data analysis and reporting, managing partner accounts and databases, reporting key performance indicators, and increasing business partnership revenue through outreach plans.