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East Africa Association for Research and Development (DAD), a research and development organization that develops solutions the challenges in East Africa and develops its human capital through youth training programs organized a roundtable on ‘How To Write About Somalia’ with the honor of Dr. Abdurahman Abdullahi ‘Baadiyow’, a prominent individual in Somali reconciliation and an expert in its state building.
In the opening statement of the program Professor Dr. Ali Sheikh, the director general of DAD delivering an inspiring speech on the importance of knowledge and research and how vital is it for DAD to work on nurturing young minds so that they would be the future leaders of the country.
In the program, Dr. Baadiyow described vividly about the contemporary schools of thought concerning Somali Studies. In an interesting critical outlook, Dr. Baadiyow discussed with the participants the pros and cons of each school. In the discussion, some fundamental questions about Somalis and the traditional thoughts are raised. Dr. Baadiyow also stressed on the importance of researching on Somalia and producing genuine understanding and solutions to its current programs.
One of the main lessons learned from the discussion is that to do an effective research on Somalia we should clarify basic concepts about tribe and tribalism, citizenship and modern state. Another misconception that is required to be clarified is ‘Somali exceptionalism’ in which individuals perceive Somalis as a unique group that is different from people around the world. In his speech, Dr. Baadiyow stressed that Somalis are like any other people around the world who are composed of tribes, ethnic groups and have political affiliations and their problems should be considered as social phenomena and addressed accordingly. Participants showed excitement and great interaction during the round table and asked for more similar programs soon.