When a devastating fire unexpectedly took over the Waheen Market in Hargeisa on the eve of Ramadan, our community quickly mobilized in an effort to support our brothers and sisters in Somaliland. Through your generous donations, we were able to raise a total of $130,000 in just 30 days. More details in the video!
2022 Somaliland-American Conference Memo:
This memo summarizes the Somaliland-American Conference hosted by Somaliland Professionals of America (SLPA) and the Somaliland Mission to the United States held on March 19, 2022.
The aim of the conference was to bring together delegates from Somaliland and stakeholders from the Somaliland diaspora to engage in critical discussions on the political, social and economic development of Somaliland. The conference began with introductory remarks by SLPA, followed by opening remarks by the Somaliland Representative in the United States, Bashir Goth, and a keynote address given by Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Essa Kayd. Journalist Mona Kosar Abdi served as the conference’s Master of Ceremonies (MC).
Following the opening ceremonies, the conference consisted of five panels with panelists ranging from members of the Somaliland delegation to distinguished leaders in academia, business, and the nonprofit sector. The panels elaborated on Somaliland’s foreign affairs, gender and inclusive politics, healthcare and education, democracy, justice and freedom of speech, and business and economic growth. A theme underpinning the panels was the exploration of opportunities that exist for the Somaliland diaspora to support the country’s development. An overview of each panel is provided below:
1. Dynamics in the Horn of Africa vis-a-vis US & Chinese rivalry and the unique role of Somaliland: The first panel explored Somaliland’s geopolitical environment, honing in on the differences in approaches to diplomacy between superpowers United States and China. Furthermore, it also examined Somaliland’s strategic relationships with the world powers, as well as Somaliland’s interests within the Horn of Africa and globally. Somaliland’s current diplomatic priority is for world powers to recognize its successful and democratic sovereignty. A key takeaway was the message that strategic relationships should lean on similar interests and focus on cultivating mutual benefits to advance that goal.
2. Gender and Inclusive Politics: Ensuring Equitable Representation of Somaliland Women in Politics: The second panel focused on gender and inclusive politics in Somaliland. Some of the ways Somaliland aims to improve women’s political participation include: instituting a quota for women in political positions, establishing a fund to support women in election processes, and empowering women engaged in community work. Obstacles to women’s political involvement persist, such as the need for increased women’s voter registration. The importance of women in the diaspora entering politics within their own countries was also raised as it would benefit the international Somaliland communities.
3. Healthcare and Education Challenges and the Role of the Diaspora: The third panel touched on healthcare and education, identifying the challenges that exist today (e.g., underqualified teachers and curriculum development in education) and highlighting high-impact initiatives taking place in Somaliland and the United States to spark change. An overview of Burco Academy of Science and Technology, a school equipping students with the in-demand skills needed to enter the workforce, was provided in the panel discussion. In addition, Hargeysa Book Fair, an annual cultural event that promotes Somali art, culture, and knowledge production, was discussed. Overviews of non-profit organizations making significant contributions to Somaliland such as Somalilander-American Health Association - SAHA, an organization that aims to build a better healthcare system in Somaliland through supporting greater professionalization, regulation, and ethics, and Amoud Foundation, a charity that implements critical health, food, Somaliland-American Conference Memo water and education projects across Somaliland, were also presented. Amoud Foundation was noted as a sponsor for the conference.
4. Democracy, Justice, and Freedom of Speech: The current party system and future thoughts of elections and Media and Conflict: The fourth panel investigated democracy, justice, and freedom of speech in Somaliland and globally. A focal point of the discussion was Somaliland’s success in sustaining democratic governance, including effective separation of powers and a democratic election process. The panel touched on how freedom of speech and journalism are under attack globally, and how it is important for everyone to educate themselves on identifying fake and legitimate news and be conscious of misinformation.
5. Business and Job Creation: The Ministry of Trade discusses Investment Opportunities in Somaliland: The fifth and final panel explored business development and job creation. From a government standpoint, panelists discussed strides made in advancing intellectual property rights, introducing online business registration and building an infrastructure for e-commerce. Challenges to economic growth include a high unemployment rate and the reliance on foreign imports due to the lack of investment in domestic productive activities in Somaliland. Industry partners focused on how their companies (Telesom, Dahabshiil) contribute to job creation directly and through numerous subsidiary businesses across sectors (e.g., construction, gas, ride-sharing, finance) which also employ thousands, particularly those in marginalized communities. Tapping into the potential of the growing local population and the expansive Somaliland diaspora, which both fuel economic activity in the country, are two key areas for advancing the economy.
The Somaliland-American Conference was a tremendous success. SLPA and the Somaliland Mission to the United States welcomed and hosted the Somaliland delegation, brought together 300+ attendees from the United States and Canada, and engaged Somaliland’s leaders and diverse members of the diaspora in discussions on topics that are key to the country’s development.
Document Written By: Deqa Mohamed
Edited By: Hodan Gudal
On behalf of the SLPA Conference Planning and Logistics Committees, consisting of members:
Chair of Planning and Programming Committee
Chair of Logistics and Operations Committee
Thanks to all our members and supporters for making 2021 a great year for SLPA!
Look forward to accomplishing these goals together! Let's make our vision a reality!
SLPA kickstarted its advocacy campaign by targeting 280 members in 18 key states with congressmen and congresswomen on the foreign relations committees. We look forward to growing in this area, stay tuned!
SLPA members expressed to their congressmen and representatives the importance of Somaliland's presence at the US Summit for Democracy on December 9th and 10th. SLPA is committed to help in Somaliland's right to self--determination.
Will aim to host the event via Zoom or in Hargeisa Summer 2022. The focus will be on career/resume/business development.
Fun Fact: 70% of the Somaliland population is made up of youth under 35. Unemployment Rates are above 50% with a large market available for entrepreneurship.
Will aim to be the host university and provide the space to host all Somaliland Universities either via live stream or invitation to their campus for the event.
Our goal is to be inclusive and be sure to have all Somaliland Universities present across the 6 regions of Somaliland.
SLPA Members met with Foreign Minister Dr. Esa Keyd and SL Adovocate Dr. Edna Aden to discuss US-Somaliland relations and SLPA's role.
2021 SLPA Officially launched the Mentorship Program geared towards our college students in the US.
Currently have 40 SLPA members involved in the mentorship program!
"At SLPA our goal is to help move the next geneartion forward. If you're an industry professional pay it forward by being a mentor within our network. If you're a student or early-career professional come seek guidance from our fellow members by becoming a mentee. Reach one, teach one, for the betterment of our communities."
This was one of our many success stories, thanks to SLPA member Ahmed Hassan from Michigan! Let's all pay it forward.
We have ran the program over the past 6 months with a select few members upon request and seen the potential it had for our members. We have seen many mentees benefit by increased academic performance, class schedule planning, career planning, internship opportunities with Fortune 500 companies, and leads to Full-Time roles. Many of us are first-generation college students/graduates or even here as international students without much guidance in the country. At SLPA we were able to build a strong network of over 400 professionals across geographical locations, educational backgrounds, and diverse industries. By connecting the two sides of our membership base we believe this program could yield long term results for the socio-economic dynamic within our communities here in the US for generations to come. Let's all pay it forward by signing up as Mentors for our younger generation or utilize the resources and guidance of our professional network as Mentees.
We would like to thank all those who were early mentors, mentees, and supporters of this program.
Benefits of Being a Mentor:
Benefits of Being a Mentee:
Sign up today via our programs tab!
Theme: Unity Through Community Building
Thank you for joining us in our two part event to commemorate Somaliland's 30th Anniversary! For those who missed it we have you covered with both events now on our Youtube Channel.
Our first event was on the night of May 18th via Instagram Live and more celebratory in nature as we brought on Hodan Abdirahman, Fathia Absie, and SLPA member as well as digital podcaster Amina Isir. The event was lead by our committee member Edil Yousuf and was a great way to bring in our 30 year milestone of peace, prosperity, and development.
SLPA is off to a strong start for the new year as our first event was a success! We wanted to share with you an innovative event SLPA held in Hargeisa, Somaliland a few weeks ago. The event was hosted and organized by SLPA committee member, Faisa Ali, who brilliantly guided the conversation for the 15 SLPA attendees. The SLPA members were from a vast variety of backgrounds, visiting Somaliland either for work, vacation, or potential relocation.
Enjoy a deep conversation we had with Ambassador Bashir Goth regarding SLPA
Enjoy a conversation led by committee members Faiza and Edil regarding SLPA
Enjoy a conversation led by SLPA member Mushtaq and special guest Amina from Somaliland-UK health community
Somali Development Conference '19
We are working hard behind the scenes for our target launch date of Q1 2019. Thank you all for being members and we look forward to working with you. As some of you may have heard, the newly appointed Foreign Minister Hon. Yasin Hagi Mohamud Hir and Presidential Economic Advisor Dr. Osman Sheikh Ahmed are in Washington DC to meet with high-ranking US government officials. The goal of their trip is to further diplomatic relations between the US and Somaliland. As part of their trip to DC, they will be meeting the Somaliland Community on Saturday night December 8th at the Waterford-Fair Oaks at 7PM. The address is 12025 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway Fair Oaks, Virginia 22033. If any one is in the area, it would be a great honor to join us at this event. There will be a Q&A session at the end for the Foreign Minister and the Presidential Economic Advisor, so please come prepared with questions! For any questions regarding the location or questions about the event please feel free to contact SLPA at 202-241-0017 or any of the contacts on the flyer attached.
SLPa is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations.
Moving the next generation forward