Refugee Featured at Governor’s Inauguration Ceremony

Yar Kuany Awan, a Sudanese refugee and recent naturalized U.S. citizen, led the Pledge of Allegiance at Governor Gary Herbert's inauguration ceremony on Jan. 4, 2017.

Governor Herbert said of Yar:

"Humility, hard work and mutual support have always been at the heart of the Utah spirit....I see that same Utah spirit in Yar Kuany Awan.

"Yar had a difficult childhood. Yar grew up hiding from militants and dodging bullets in Sudan’s brutal civil war. She saw family and friends killed as she fled from one refugee camp to another.

"In 2009, Yar sought refuge in the United States. She worked hard to succeed in her new life. She learned English, and learned about the responsibilities and rights associated with U.S. citizenship. She found mutual support from other refugees, from fellow congregants at the All Saints Episcopal Church and from the people of Utah.

"Yar loves America. Her pioneer journey has taken her from the refugee camps of war-torn Sudan to marriage, to motherhood, and to full-time employment at a Utah medical device company. She truly exemplifies that the pioneer spirit is still alive and well in Utah today. And the best news is that, just last month, Yar was sworn in as a new American citizen."

(Click here to read Governor Herbert’s full inaugural address.)

Yar, wife of Workforce Services Job Developer, Solomon Awan, is an example to all of us of rising above difficult challenges and being a strength for her family and community in Utah. We are proud to welcome Yar as one of the newest citizens of the United States of America.

Watch Yar’s participation in the inauguration ceremony and Governor Herbert’s remarks here.

  • Time stamp 7:45 - Yar leading the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Time stamp 27:40 - Governor Herbert's remarks begin
  • Time stamp 33:22 - Governor Herbert's remarks about Yar