Somali global diaspora conference “GSD” was held in Istanbul between 14-17 of June 2019. The conference is the 5th since it was started in 2014. The main purpose of the conference was to bring to gather Somali diasporas to Network and discuss challenges that faces by creating joint agenda as well as discovering the opportunities and how to build a strong diaspora community. During the two-day conference There were key speeches, and panel discussions also workshops on the challenges facing Somali youth in the Diaspora and those inside the mother country, Peacebuilding and reconciliation, and business & the environmental challenges.
Important Diplomat delegates and intellectuals attended the conference both from the Federal Government of Somalia and the Republic of Turkey such as Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Turkey Faruk Kaymakcı, the former President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Director General of East Africa Association for Research and Development “DAD” Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed, the well-known Somali academician Dr. Abdirahman Abdullahi “Baadiyaw”. Other participants were from all professions, including artists, activists, businessmen, doctors, religious scholars, philanthropists, Humanitarian, non-profit organizations, Students and Academicians.The conference was organized by the Global Somali Diaspora “GSD” in partnership with East Africa Association for Research and Development “DAD” and Yunus Emre Institute and other Somali and non-Somali organizations.
The Director General of East Africa Association for Research and Development Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed was among the keynote speakers in the conference, he talked about the viable role of Somalis in the east Africa region, their tremendous contribution to the social fabric in the countries they locate. During his speech he talked about the distinctions of Somali-Turkish relations which is based on mutual benefits and respect unlike the approach of other countries in their relations with Somalia. Among the features of this solid relations between the two nations are: the easy accessibility of visas for the citizens of the both countries & the availabality Turkish airways every day in the weak, the affordable life in Turkey for the Somali middle-class families, and the general positive attitude towards Somalis in Turkey.
Also, he elaborated the obstacles facing the growing Somali community in Turkey, like the barrier of the language, lack of enough knowledge in business & residence requirements, the absence of social organizations which reaches out the families and students to give them awareness and advices and as a result the high the probability that more Somalis crosses the border towards Europe. Dr Ali, Sheikh Ahmed underlined the indispensability of collaboration and joining hands to tackle those challenges.
On June 17th the program was concluded with a tour of Istanbul city attendees were taken to the historic places and Somali Culture Exhibition that opened at Taksim Art Gallery. It was arranged by GSD and Somali Culture Association partnering with Yunus Emre Institute, and with the help of İstanbul Kültür A.Ş. Somali culture, nature and nomadic life of Somalia was presented through Art painting and antiques. Nomadic life is essential part of Somali culture and they have one of largest livestock’s in Africa.
Its worth to note that nearly two million Somalis are living abroad, they are active society and according to UNDP yearly they send nearly $1.6 billion remittances to Somalia relieving the burden of the hard life from thousands of Somalis.