Hodan Nalayeh

Hodan Nalayeh (Somali: Hodan Naaleeye; Arabic: هودان نلايا; 1976 – July 12, 2019) was a Somali-Canadian media executive, marketing consultant, social activist and entrepreneur. She was president of the Cultural Integration Agency and vice president of Sales & Programming Development of Cameraworks Productions International.

Hodan Nalayeh
هودان نلايا
Hodan Nalayeh in Somalia in 2015
Hodan Nalayeh in Somalia in 2015
Born1976 (1976)
DiedJuly 12, 2019(2019-07-12) (aged 42–43)
Cause of deathDied in the Asasey Hotel attack
Alma materUniversity of Windsor
Seneca College
Occupation(s)Media executive, marketing consultant, activist, entrepreneur, journalist
TitlePresident of the Cultural Integration Agency

Early lifeEdit

Nalayeh was born in 1976 in Somalia[1] She was raised in a large family, with four brothers and seven sisters. She hails from the Naleye Ahmed sub-clan of the Dhulbahante tribe. Her sister Dega Nalayeh is a senior vice president private client advisor with U.S. Trust.[2]

Along with her parents and siblings, an eight-year-old Nalayeh later emigrated to Canada in 1984. They initially settled in Edmonton, Alberta, before eventually moving to Toronto in 1992.[3]

Nalayeh attended the West Humber Collegiate Institute, a high school in Etobicoke. For her post-secondary education, she studied at the University of Windsor, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Additionally, she earned a postgraduate certificate in broadcast journalism from Seneca College.[3]


Nalayeh was involved in client management, sales and production in radio and television for over 13 years. She served as a producer on a number of TV shows, including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.[4] Additionally, Nalayeh provided marketing and writing consultancy to burgeoning companies. Her work in this area was centered on video marketing combined with online branding.[4]

In September 2013, Nalayeh was appointed Vice President of Sales & Programming Development of Cameraworks Productions International's Canadian operation based in Vaughan, Ontario. The company is a global, full-service and comprehensively-equipped video and television production facility focusing on pre- to post-production of business-to-business video assets.[4]

Nalayeh served as the President of the Cultural Integration Agency, a full-service media firm specializing in the development, production, marketing and distribution of multicultural programs. In February 2014, the company partnered with Cameraworks Productions International to produce a new television format for cultural community programming. To this end, on March 1 Nalayeh began hosting the half-hour Somali community show Integration: Building a New Cultural Identity, which airs Saturday nights on Citytv. She also served as an Executive Producer on the weekly Toronto program.[1]

Besides media production and consultancy, Nalayeh was involved in voluntary and advocacy work for the Somali community.[4] She founded the Somali Refugee Awareness Project, which in 2011 presented the veteran Somali artist Saado Ali Warsame with a Lifetime Achievement Award.[5] In this capacity, Nalayeh also worked closely with a number of non-profit organizations.[4]


Hodan Nalayeh and her husband Farid Juma Suleiman were killed during a terrorist attack at Hotel Asasey in Kismayo, Somalia, on July 12, 2019.[6][7][8][9] The attack involved a car bombing and gunfire. The jihadist radical group al-Shabaab, based in Southern Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.[10][7] Nalayeh and Suleiman married in November 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, according to Nalayeh's sister.[11] Nalayeh was the mother of two sons and was heavily pregnant.[3][8]


In March 2021, a secondary school in Vaughan was officially renamed to Hodan Nalayeh Secondary School.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "New Television Show Uplifts the Image of Somali-Canadians in Mainstream Media!". Hiiraan Online. February 26, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  2. ^ Brooks, Brandon; Miller, Kenneth; Bihm, Jennifer (December 19, 2013). "Somalia native right at home with U.S. Trust". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Reason, Cynthia (June 14, 2014). "TV host Hodan Nalayeh shines a light on Somali life in Toronto". The Etobicoke Guardian. Metroland. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "International Award-Winning, Cameraworks Productions, Introduces VP, Sales & Programming Development" (Press release). Cameraworks Productions International. September 24, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Somali singer, composer, poet, Saado Ali Warsame, to receive Lifetime Achievement Award-". All Boocame Online. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  6. ^ O'Grady, Siobhán (July 13, 2019). "A Somali-Canadian journalist returned to Somalia to tell 'uplifting' stories. Then terrorists killed her". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Kismayo attack: At least 26 dead as gunmen storm Somali hotel". BBC News. July 14, 2019. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Hodan Nalayeh: Somalia's 'inspirational' journalist, killed in Kismayo". BBC News. July 13, 2019. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Radio Dalsan [@DalsanFM] (July 12, 2019). "BREAKING Intergration [sic] TV's Hodan Naaleye and husband Farid confirmed dead in the #Kismayo Alshabaab attack. Hodan established the first diaspora english online TV covering life of Somalis in diaspora and in Somalia. She was expectant at the time of her death #Somaliapic.twitter.com/eidSTjwDLj" (Tweet). Retrieved July 12, 2019 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Several killed in bomb, gun attack on Somalia hotel: officials". Al Jazeera. July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  11. ^ Schachar, Natalie; Lindeman, Tracey (July 14, 2019). "Slain Canadian-Somali journalist Nalayeh a trailblazer". Associated Press News. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Bowden, Olivia (March 2, 2021). "A Vaughan high school will be renamed Hodan Nalayeh Secondary School after months of controversy". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 2, 2021.

External linksEdit