Day of Hope Speakers
Abdi Nor Iftin
Abdi Nor Iftin was born in Somalia in 1985. He was forced to flee to Kenya after Al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist group, rose to power in 2006. Nor Iftin won entrance to the U.S. in the annual green card lottery and settled in Yarmouth Maine.
His story has been told by the BBC and This American Life. He is now a published author living in Portland Maine. His book, Call Me American was published in June 2018.
Jared Conant has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration. Though he is just a freshman at Yarmouth High School, Jared is a model of optimism and integrity for the entire school. He has dedicated his life to serving the Yarmouth community and others with muscular dystrophy, raising over $125,000 to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make a Wish Foundation, Shriners Hospital, and other organizations. Jared is an ambassador for the Maine Muscular Dystrophy Association and runs his own Youtube channel. He lives with his dad, Barry Conant, in Yarmouth Maine.
Robin Alden has dedicated her life to maintaining a sustainable fishing industry in Maine. She co-founded the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in the mid 1970s and co-founded the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF) in 2003. Her work with MCCF has helped bridge the gap between fishermen, regulators, and scientists. Alden served as Commissioner of Marine Resources under Gov. Angus King Jr. from 1994-1997 and was a member of the National Sea Grant Review Panel from 2000-2009. She stepped down as Executive Director of MCCF last year and now lives in Stonington Maine with her husband Ted Ames.
Patrick Arnold is a community developer and entrepreneur. After traveling the world as a merchant marine, he settled in Portland with his wife in 2007. Together, they started Soli DG, a company focused on business development in an effort to increase Maine’s prominence in the global shipping sector and to bridge the gap between water-based and land-based industries. Soli DG has partnered with Eimskip, the Maine Port Authority, Bristol Seafood, MDI Biological Laboratory, the University of New England, and other businesses, both local and international. Along with a host of other initiatives, Arnold has also founded the New England Ocean Cluster, which aims to connect people within the ocean economy and encourage an innovative and sustainable approach to pursuing economic opportunity.
Dick Woodbury served three terms in the Maine House of Representatives from 2002-2006 and one term as an independent Senator in the Maine Senate from 2010 to 2014. He participated in the Taxation and Judiciary Committees, sponsoring bills to expand Medicaid eligibility, reform education and immigration, and regulate campaign financing. Mr. Woodbury was also a key proponent of rank-choice voting. Currently, he is an economist working at the National Bureau of Economic Research, studying the effects aging populations have on the economy.
Alexa Craig is a Neonatal Neurologist and Clinical Scientist at Maine Medical Center. Performing research in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Maine Medical, her work focuses on preventing brain damage in premature babies through the use of therapeutic hypothermia as a neuroprotective strategy for newborns and infants. She was recognized at the March of Dimes in 2016 for her work.