By Mowliid Ahmed Hassan
On 10th to 13th July, 2018, Mogadishu is set to host the first ever Somali STEM Summit, part of the widely celebrated annual event across the continent, Africa Science Week. As the country is rising from the ashes of civil war and decades of unrest, this is a fresh beginning to bring together young Somali minds across the country to develop careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
This summit is organized and hosted by the Somali STEM Society in collaboration with Hano Academy, the Next Einstein Forum; the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences; and the Institute for Education and Development (IED).
Dr. Sadiya Siad, Chancellor of Hano Academy, Next Einstein Forum Ambassador for Somalia and the Chair of Somali STEM Summit Organizing Committee says, “The event aims to revive, evolve, encourage and assist next-generation of Somali scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to innovate and excel in their specialized fields of study or practice and partake effectively in the STEM global movement.”
The medical multi-specialist and mastermind behind the socially responsible education enterprise Hano Academy believes that through such platforms for Somali scientists and technologists will transform Somalia from aid and import dependent country to a self-reliant nation. “Unfortunately, Somalia is one of the few countries in the world with limited capacity for manufacturing and industry, and therefore depends heavily on foreign imports for all of its manufactured goods. Thus, we started this national initiative (Somali STEM Society), hosting the first Somali STEM Summit. This will ultimately help Somalia to become a nation of innovators instead of consumers” added Dr. Siad.
The highly anticipated summit aims to bring together Somalia’s acclaimed scientists, technologists, engineers; mathematicians, academicians and researchers of diverse ages and fields from within the country and across the world to discuss the challenges facing Somalia’s STEM education and how science and technology can be leveraged to address problems that are commonly affecting the Somali region.
The keynote speakers at the event include: Hodan S. Isse who is a Central Bank of Somalia Board member and a former clinical Assistant Professor Emeritus of Finance at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Asha Ahmed – MBBS and PhD in Gynaecology at La Sapienza University in Rome and the likes who will be sharing their works and experiences at the event.
The shortage of Science, Technology, and Engineering and Math professionals in Africa is a great concern and Somalia arguably lags behind the rest of the continent. Somali STEM Society, the organizer of the summit, hopes to change the narrative and create awareness of STEM education through conferences and dialogue between the stakeholders.
In addition to Somalia’s recovery, creating such a platform for STEM dialogue and discussion helps thousands of young Somalis develop the skills they need to compete in today’s regional and global jobs markets. This is even more the case given that more than 70% of Somali population is youth who are in dire need of modern digital and technology skills that would give them both economic and employment opportunities for themselves and for the country.
Somalia STEM Summit 2018 with the theme ‘Rekindling Somali Knowledge and Interest in STEM’ marks a milestone and something to celebrate for all Somali STEM scholars and professionals in the field and aspiring Somali scientists who have never been given such an inspirational opportunity.