The Yunus Emre Institute in London was founded in hopes of promoting the history, culture and language of Turkey as well as fostering friendships between communities. So, it was an honour to partake in the Global Somali Diaspora Annual Summit 2020 taking place between 28 – 29 November 2020. During the summit organised with the support of Yunus Emre Institute, the problems faced by the Somali diaspora were discussed and solutions were sought. The summit highlighted Somalia’s development in recent years and underlined the bonds of friendship between Somalia and Turkey. Although the summit was held online this year due to restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the warm arms of friendship and cooperation were felt no less.
The event was attended by Turkish and Somalian ambassadors, key figures of the Global Somali Diaspora, Somalis from different professions supporting the diaspora, heads of civil society organizations and artists. The participants at the International Annual Online Summit of Global Somali Diaspora included, among others, H.E. Mohamed Hussein Roble, Prime Minister of Somalia; H.E. Jama Abdullahi Mohamed, Ambassador of Somali to Turkey; H.E. Ben Fender, OBE, British Ambassador to Somalia; H.E. Ali Said Faqi, Speaker of Southwestern State Parliament of Somalia; H.E. Deniz Çakar, Turkish Ambassador; Prof. Şeref Ateş, President of Yunus Emre Institute; H.E. Mehmet Yılmaz, Ambassador of Turkey to Somalia; and Mehmet Karakuş, Director of Yunus Emre Institute in London. Dr Suad Mohamed of GSD moderated the two-day event.
Important issues were discussed by key attendees. For instance, the Somalian Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, pressed the importance of global environmental action and the impact the Somali diaspora could have to this end, Ambassador Deniz Çakar, General Director of Overseas Promotion and Cultural Affairs, stressed the cooperation and unity between Turkey and Somalia that would lead to a better future and, the British Ambassador to Somalia, H.E. Ben Fender OBE, noted his appreciation for the Somali Diaspora in the UK for the rebuilding and development of Somalia. Meanwhile other key attendees including the President of Yunus Emre Institute, Prof. Şeref Ateş, who stressed the importance of Yunus Emre Institute for building platforms for discussion and offered solutions to various problems and the Ambassador of Somalia to Turkey, H.E. Jama Mohamed Aidid, who noted Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the capital Mogadishu in 2011 as a historical turning point in terms of the relations between the two countries, The Director of Yunus Emre Institute in London, Mehmet Karakuş, Karakuş also stated that economic relations should be institutionalized and noted that he worked voluntarily on the matter and that an agreement to be signed between governments was among the possible options.
The summit also included artistic shows which included a brief concert by Somalian musician Abdi Badil, an exhibit by multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour and a performance by famous Somalian-British musician Aar Manta.
Overall, the friendship and support, as well as the solution-orientated approach the members of the panels brought, were felt throughout the summit. The Yunus Emre Institute in London is proud to have taken an organisational role.