The city of Portland has hired its first justice, diversity, equity and inclusion director.
Umaru Balde will take on the new role starting in April.
Balde is expected to advise the City Council on recommendations from the Racial Equity Steering Committee, as well as make sure the city prioritizes racial, social and justice equity through everything it does.
The position was created following recommendations from the Racial Equity Steering Committee.
Balde will relocate from Iowa, where he was most recently the director of the Multicultural Family Center for the city of Dubuque. Prior to that, he was an investigator for the Civil Rights Commission for the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Balde is a doctoral candidate at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and he is expected to complete the degree in spring 2025. He holds a master’s degree in postsecondary education and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
Additionally, he has attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, for Hebrew language studies, and he has a master’s in comparative religions and a bachelor’s in English literature from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
Balde is fluent in English, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Hebrew, as well as Fulani, Creole, various Arabic and African dialects.
He will earn $113,168 annually.