Photo: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Pious Ali, a Youth and Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service, has spent the better part of his life focused on community engagement.  He has created meaningful and ongoing dialogue across cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and faith-based barriers.

Prior to joining the Muskie School, Pious worked with the city of Portland’s refugee services and spent many summers working as a facilitator for Seeds of Peace, a summer program which builds relationships and leadership skills among youth from regions of conflict. He also worked as a site coordinator for the Peer Leader Program at what is now the Opportunity Alliance in Portland, Maine, and as an Education and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Portland branch of the NAACP.

Pious is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to a public office in Maine, becoming a member of the city’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Maine Interfaith Youth Alliance and the current co-director and co-founder of the King Fellows, a Portland-based youth group dedicated to creating meaningful opportunities for youth through leadership and civic engagement based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pious is an alumnus of the Institute for Civic Leadership (now known as Lift360), and in 2015 he was named Lift360’s Most Distinguished Alumnus.

A native of Ghana, Pious migrated to the United States (NY) in 2000 and has called Portland his home for the past decade where he lives with his daughter. He is also a gifted photographer and has worked as a photojournalist for a range of print publications in Ghana.

“I have known Pious Ali for a number of years and have been impressed by his ability to transcend all social, religious, ethnic and cultural divides and make connections with youth and adults in our community in a positive way. Pious has served ably on the Portland school board and will be an asset to our community as a member of the city council,” said Natan D. Kahn, M.D.