Somalia’s pool of academic skills deepened recently with the conferring of a range of postgraduate degrees to 166 students – including the country’s president.
The event brought together 29 women and 137 men to a venue in the Somali capital of Mogadishu for a graduation ceremony from the University for Peace, a tertiary education institution established by the United Nations General Assembly some four decades ago.
Other senior officials and dignitaries attending the graduation on Friday included Somalia’s State Minister of Education, Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir; the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, who also serves as the Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); and other representatives from the international community in Somalia.
Established in 1980, the University for Peace’s focus areas include conflict prevention, human security, human rights, environmental security and post-conflict rehabilitation.
In Somalia, it offers specialised post-graduate programmes with a focus on peacebuilding, conflict prevention, human security, human rights, environmental security and post-conflict resolution.
Presiding over the ceremony was a member of the university’s Council, Lalla Ben Barka.
According to University for Peace’s Professor Samuel Kale Ewusi, who specialises in peace studies and international relations and serves as the director of its Africa Regional Programme, it was by design that the university was had operations in Somalia and that the first Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) graduates of its programme in Africa were all from Somalia.
One of the event’s new degree holders, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took the opportunity to address his fellow graduates and highlight the importance that education can have on their country’s future development.
To assist and encourage other students considering applying for the university’s doctoral programme, President Mohamud pledged to create a scholarship fund to support the first 100 students willing to pursue doctoral degrees at the university.
The country’s leader was conferred with a PhD focused on peace, governance and development. He noted that, in August this year, he had defended his dissertation, which was titled, ‘Examining the Challenges of Clan Politics in State-building: A Case Study of Somalia.’
The graduation ceremony was the University of Peace’s second such event for students in its specialised Somalia programme. The first cohort of students took part in a graduation event in 2021.