|The Somaliland Times|
|ISSUE 42 November 9, 2002||
Somalilanders Attend NEPAD Awareners Meeting At LA
By Hassan Mogeh Hirsi
Los Angeles, CA USA
The South African Consulate-General in Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) African Studies, West Los Angeles College Pace program, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Diane Watson and Constituency for Africa have presented a series of discussion panels on NEPAD. The South African Government has lunched these panels to promote NEPAD program in pursuit of the successful implementation of the program and increase awareness among the African American communities and businesses.
First such panel was held on Thursday, October 24, 2002 at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Saeed Maygag Samater and I attended this panel discussion as individual Somalilanders. The discussion and program were very informative. Moderated by Dr. James Barth of the Milken Institute, the participants and their topics were as follows:
Once the discussion was over we intermingled with the participants and tried our best to meet all the panel discussers. Among the audiences were the Swaziland Ambassador to the USA and the Ethiopian Consul-General of Los Angeles. Both I and Saeed met most of the panelist and discussed with them Somalilandís current issues. Since most of the panelists were from South Africa they had enough information. We got the opportunity to meet Ambassador Sisulu whom I have wrote number of e-mails before, and I chatted with her and the Swaziland Ambassador, Her Excellency, Ambassador Mary Kanya. Both Ambassadors were extremely polite, brilliant and highly intelligent.
On Saturday, October 26, 2002, a two-phased discussion panel was conducted, sponsored by the South African Consulate-General, Congresswoman Diane Watson, UCLA, WLAC Pace Program, and Constituency for Africa Presented in West Los Angeles College.
First phase was by invitation for business in a round table format. Saeed Maygag was among the speakers. The discussion started 9:00 AM and ended around noon. Again both I and Saeed Maygag did our best to network and increase the awareness of the participants of Somaliland issues. I got the opportunity to talk to the Minister from Senegal, Dr. Cherif Salif Sy. He was very receptive to my discussion and he promised me that he will contact me as soon as he gets back to Senegal. He was fully aware and understanding our reason of reclaiming our independence.
The Second phase was open to the public in a Townhall meeting format, and it was packed. The panel discussion started around 1:00 PM and ended 5:00 PM. Abiib Jama of San Diego Somaliland Community joined us in the Townhall Meeting Panel Discussion and Abdirahman A. Mohamed, the grandson of Abusite, a graduate student at UCLA was part of the organizers from UCLA. .Again, we put priority on meeting and networking with people and I believe we had succeeded beyond our expectation. We met many people who didn't know Somaliland ever existed, we met new groups that we need to keep in touch with, and we meet people from the media, in particular the morning panel moderator was from NBC local channel, and he gave us a chance to talk to him alone for a while. He asked for more information in regard to the Somaliland issue.
I can say our participation in this NEPAD discussion was very eye-opening and we understood that we, the Somalilanders, need to do more work in educating others about our situation. The Somaliland Government also needs to do better job in searching for recognition. We have been sitting on the sideline too long. It is time that all Somalilanders as one entity (The Somalilanders) join hands and demand our right to exist in this world. Anywhere on the globe, wherever we are, it is time to stand and demand our right. No more waiting while the world is entertaining Somalis.