Pious Ali to Speak at 2017 Gould Commencement

January 26, 2017

Gould Academy is proud to announce that Pious Ali, Portland City Councilor, will be the featured speaker at our commencement exercises on Saturday, June 3, 2017.


Portland City Councilor Pious Ali will address the Class of 2017 at Gould’s 181st Commencement exercises in June.

“Pious is a wonderful example to the Class of 2017 of how they, and all of us, can impact our community by living lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion. His work with youth in Portland, the Maine immigrant and refugee community, and his work as a Portland City Councilor are inspiring. I look forward to welcoming him to campus and hearing his message to our students.”

Matthew Ruby, Gould Academy Head of School

Along with serving as a City Councilor, Mr. Ali is a Youth and Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and 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.

“I am honored to be part of this special day and celebrate the success of Gould Academy’s graduating class. As they enter a new phase of life, I believe they will carry the compassion and inclusive values they have learned at Gould. At a time when our world is divided by so many lines, I am hopeful for these exceptional students who are prepared to be successful and responsible citizens. They will be the game changers of our future.”

Pious Ali, Portland City Councilor

Prior to joining the Muskie School, Mr. Ali 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 being sworn in as a City Councilor at Portland City Hall in December. Photo from Portland Press Herald Staff Photographer Ben McCanna.

Mr. Ali 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.

Mr. Ali 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, Mr. Ali migrated to the United States 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.

Gould Academy’s 2017 Commencement takes place on June 3 at 10:00 AM on Alumni Field.


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