KOM Appoints Hsajune Dyan as New Board Chair

On Feb. 14, KOM’s Board of Directors appointed Hsajune Dyan as the new Board Chair. He has been a part of KOM’s Board since 2012.

Get to know Hsajune…
Hsajune Dyan was born in Burma and lived in a refugee camp for 8 years. Upon leaving the refugee camp, he and his family wandered in Thailand for a few years before coming to the U.S. in 2001. Dyan graduated from Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) in 2004 and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2008. Since then, he has been working for SPPS in various roles and capacities. He is currently works as the Karen Cultural Specialist for SPPS. He also earned a Masters of Nonprofit Administration from Metropolitan State University in 2015 and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in education leadership from Bethel University. Read the interview below to learn more about him and the leadership and vision he will bring as KOM’s new Board Chair.

Since being on KOM’s Board, what have you learned? What have you helped KOM with since joining the Board?
“Being a board member has truly been a humbling experience for me. I came to KOM’s Board to see nonprofit governance in a broader picture, understanding its functionality and accountability process, and the process of running a mission effectively. I used to have a contrary view (somewhat of a misunderstanding) of nonprofit work. Growing up in Burma and deprived from information, we view nonprofit work as a project for quick money making. Within the community, we are still battling this misconception to some extent. Being a board member at KOM has given me a very unique opportunity to share what I know with Karen and non-Karen communities alike. Advocacy is essential and I was proud to have other KOM board members who joined me to share the voice of the voiceless with matters pertaining to housing, employment and public safety.”

Why did you accept the position as KOM’s Board Chair?
“After serving two terms as a regular board member, I want to take a greater role during my last term. I’m looking forward to this new adventure with a great sense of optimism.”

What are you looking forward to with your new position as KOM’s Board Chair?
“The cities of Saint Paul, Maplewood and Roseville have been a welcoming hub for the community from Burma/Myanmar, particularly the Karen community. Saint Paul hosts the largest concentration of Karen community in the nation. The community is here to stay and recently many families became home owners. My short-term goal is to continue strengthening a partnership between KOM and the local community. My long-term goal is to lay the ground work for KOM long-term sustainability.”

How do you hope to see the Karen community in Minnesota grow in the future?
“Outside of the Twin Cities, Minnesota has hosted the Karen community throughout rural towns and cities. At present, the community as a whole still strictly holds onto Karen cultural identity and sometimes it almost feels like self-imposed isolation. My goal is that as we grow, we will be more open to take the positive aspect of what mainstream culture has to offer. Namely, become more engaged in civic engagement and participate in the political process.”

What is your goal as a leader in the Karen community?
“My goal is to see my community, the Karen community, enjoy freedom and capitalize on the many opportunities that this country has to offer. Moreover, I want to see young people pursue higher education, become a part of the larger social fabric, and give back to the community in the most effective and meaningful ways. I want my community to embrace Karen culture and identity, but to also seek out for the betterment of the common goods. We all need each other to move forward.”

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