Under the themes of trust and self-reliance, the Global Somali Diaspora International Annual Online Summit 2021 took once again on 30th and 31st October. The high-profile meeting featured key stakeholders and actors including public and private authorities from Somalia, international communities, policymakers, business groups, service providers, practitioners dealing with issues affecting the lives of Somali people. The aims of the event were to bring in people across the globe, especially the Somali diaspora, to discuss how the Somali nation and its people could become more self-reliant.
Hosted by BBC Somalia broadcaster Mowliid Hagi Abdi and translated by Caaisha Cabdi Xersi, the conference began with an introduction by GSD Chair, Jawaahir Daahir BEM. Mrs Daahir pressed the importance of increased collaboration, cooperation, and building trust in order for Somalia to become more self-reliant, especially following its arduous civil war. Tackling key issues Somalis face across the globe, the members of the conference promoted the centrality of local knowledge and methods in providing solutions.
Attendees of the conference included H. E. Ambassador Aykut Kumbaroğlu from Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Speaker of Southwest State Parliament, H.E. Ambassador. Ali Said Faqi, President of Yunus Emre Institute, Professor Şeref Ateş, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mr Gamal Mohamed Hassan, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Somalis to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union, H.E. Yonis Hashi, and UK Development Director, Mr Damon Bristow.
Commending the self-led achievements and progress of Somalia over the last decade, H. E. Ambassador Aykut Kumbaroğlu drew on the cultural and historical ties that exist between Turkey and Somalia and the extension of strategic cooperation between the nations, especially after the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Somalia in 2010. President of Yunus Emre Institute, Professor Şeref Ateş, echoed Ambassador Kumbaroğlu’s commendations and touched on how the Institute had been working closely with Global Somali Diaspora over the last years to create meaningful relationships with the people of Somalia through the establishment of open and transparent ties.
Meanwhile, Somali Ambassador to Belgium and European Union, H.E. Yonis Hashi, recognised the complex challenges that Somalia faced and put forward a message signalling a positive future that saw both international collaboration and self-reliance. In attendance was also UK Development Director, Mr Damon Bristow, who pointed to the UK’s efforts in supporting Somalia and outlined the importance of targeting key issues Somalia faced through the utilisation of the private sector.
The conference was divided into four key, interrelated sections: ‘Raising the Quality of Somalia’s Education System’, ‘Dialogue between Diaspora and Locals’, ‘Food security: promoting local farmers, Fishers, livestock, and natural resources’ and ‘Reconciliation within Somali community through media.’ Each theme was addressed separately by a keynote speaker and a panel of experts who took questions from the attentive audience.
The summit also featured a short concert by talented Somali musician Abdi Badil and moving poems by Farah Gabdon, which contributed to the positive and hopeful atmosphere of the event.
Energy for positive and collaborative change, as well as the solution-orientated approach of all those attending, was felt throughout the conference.