Amjambo Africa joins the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, his family, the Burundian community in Maine, and his many friends in mourning the passing of Alain Jean Claude Nahimana, Executive Director of the GPIWC, who passed away on Sunday, May 31, 2020, from complications related to diabetes. He was 49 years old. Mr. Nahimana and Damas Rugaba co-founded the Center in 2017 with the goal of helping Portland’s immigrant community fully reach its civic, economic, and social potential. Mr. Nahimana was a member of the board of the National Partnership for New Americans, a national partnership of 37 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 31 states. He formerly served as Executive Director of Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. Born in Burundi, Mr. Nahimana arrived in the United States in 2010.



Remarks from community members on his passing

Georges Budagu Makoko, Executive Director, Ladder to the Moon Network, and Publisher, Amjambo Africa: The passing of Alain Jean Claude Nahimana today is tragically shocking. It is very hard to find the right words to express the grief that has engulfed his family, friends, and the community at large. Alain’s life and legacy will live on. May he find peaceful comfort as he rests on his permanent bed. My sincere condolences to all his closest family and everyone who has been touched by the loss of our dear brother and friend Alain Jean Claude Nahimana. He will be very much missed.

Philémon Dushimire, President of Burundi Association of Maine: It is with great sadness that we want to inform all Burundians living here in Maine that Mr. Alain Jean Claude Nahimana passed away today.

Claude Rwaganje, Westbrook City Councilor and Executive Director of ProsperityME: My Dear friend Alain J Claude Nahimana, Rest in Peace. You left us young, and we will remember your work in our community. I wish we had a moment to say goodbye. We are saddened by your passing. We lost a great man in the community. What a sad day in the New Mainer Community!!!!

Abdullahi Ali, Executive Director of Gateway Community Services :Rest In Peace, my friend Alain J Claude Nahimana. A great leader of our community was lost today. Sad news.

Deqa Dhalac, South Portland City Councilor, and Specialist, Department of Education: My heart aches for the passing of my dear friend and brother.

Indigo Arts Alliance: We are sad to learn of the passing of our Advisory Circle member Alain Nahimana. Executive Director, Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center. Well known as an effective community builder and advocate for Maine’s diverse African immigrant communities. He was an enthusiastic partner who believed in the strength and importance of the entire African Diaspora. Our heartfelt prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed, Co-Principal, Deering High School: Alain was a great community leader. We lost a great man. He was always there for others who needed help.  I hurt for his family and my thoughts are with them.

Pious Ali, Portland City Councilor: Our community, our city and state have lost a leader, a bridge builder, and a visionary. Alain’s love and dedication to creating a welcoming community for all was second to none. My heartfelt condolences to his colleagues at IWC, his family, and our community. Fare thee well my brother/friend.

Tarlan Ahmadov, President Azerbaijan Society of Maine: With deep sadness and sorrow, we mourn the passing of a true community leader, a compassionate man with incredible vision and sense of humor. Our ardent prayers and thoughts are with him and his beloved family. Allah rehmet elasin!

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree: I’m very saddened to learn of Alain Nahimana’s passing. He was a tireless advocate for Maine immigrants. Through the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Alain promoted civic engagement among new Mainers and encouraged them to understand the power and responsibilities of citizenship—crucial work given the injustices that are front and center in our country today. His legacy will live on, and his contributions to our state will be long remembered. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Senator Angus King: Alain J. Claude Nahimana was a powerful voice for Maine’s immigrant community, and a leader who saw the strength in bringing people together to fight for shared values. His work to advocate for the inclusion of all peoples made our immigrant communities and the entire State of Maine a better, more equitable place. It is now up to us to carry forward the ideals Alain fought for throughout his life, and ensure all Mainers have the opportunity to succeed.


Alain Nahimana worked tirelessly in Maine as well as nationally to shift the conversation about immigration from a defensive to a proactive stance.

 Recent articles we published about his work:


  • Photo by Hamid Karimian @OpenVisionStudios