Leila Abukar

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Leila Abukar
ليلى أبو بكر
Born 1974/1975 (age 43–44)
Alma mater University of Queensland
Occupation political activist

Leila Abukar (Somali: Leyla Abukar, Arabic: ليلى أبو بكر‎) is a Somali-Australian political activist.

Personal life[edit]

Abukar was born between 1974 and 1975 in Somalia.[1][2] She attended a private school in Mogadishu.[3]

When the civil war broke out in 1991, her father and eldest brother were killed by militants. Abukar's mother subsequently took the family to a UN asylum center in Kenya. The teenager therein volunteered as an office interpreter, teaching children and raising awareness on reproductive health.[2] In 1997, Abukar moved alone to Australia through a women-at-risk program run by the Australian High Commission.[3] Soroptimist International group workers helped her settle into her new surroundings in Moorooka, Brisbane, with her family later joining her.[2]

For her tertiary education, Abukar earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Queensland.[2][3] She also holds a post-graduate diploma and master's degree in the discipline.[2] Additionally, she has qualifications in Disability Support and Conflict Resolution.[4]

Abukar is Muslim.[5] She is multilingual, speaking seven languages.[2] A mother of two children, a son (Abdi) and daughter (Diamond),[6] she and her family reside in the Brisbane suburb of Yeerongpilly.[4]


Abukar began her career as an interpreter for the Australian Department of Immigration.[3] She has significant experience as a Community Advocate, working in a broad range of senior management posts with government, council and non-profit organisations.[4]

In addition, Abukar was previously a member of the Queensland Multicultural Roundtable, the Refugees Resettlement Advisory Council, and the Council for Multicultural Australia.[4] She also campaigned against female genital mutilation.[7]

In 2014-2015, Abukar ran for office as the Liberal National Party of Queensland candidate for the Yeerongpilly electoral district. She vied for the seat in a field of four other aspirants.[8] If elected, she would have become the first Somali and Muslim to serve in the Queensland Parliament.[9] Abukar came in second place, earning 31.4% of the total vote in the first round run-off and 36.7% in the final round against the eventual winner Mark Bailey of the Australian Labor Party.[8]


Abukar has received various awards and recognition for her societal work. In 2001, she was presented a Centenary Medal by the Australian government for her contributions to Crisis Counselling, Advocacy and Settlement vis-a-vis the Somali community and other immigrant populations in Queensland.[4][10]


  1. ^ "Precious thing: take part in this special project". The Age. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "LNP candidate Leila Abukar recounts her harrowing life in Somalia and why she's running for a seat". The Courier-Mail. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Somalia: Harrowing journey to reach safe haven". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Leila Abukar is the Liberal National candidate for Yeerongpilly". Crescent Community News. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Candidate's war-torn past". North West Star. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Faces of Brisbane - Leila Abukar from Somalia". ABC Brisbane. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Who cries for those who don't come by boat?". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Yeerongpilly (Key Seat)". ABC. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Queensland may elect its first Muslim MP". SBS. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Centenary Medal - ABUKAR, Leila Mohammed". Australian Government. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 

External links[edit]