At the turn of the century, a dream that came to be fulfilled two decades later was hatched.
After 12 years of study and work in Saudi Arabia, I returned, sadly but hopefully, to a conflict-engulfed Somalia run by militias and armed gangs after the overthrow of the dictatorial central government in 1991.
Fear, panic, and unease swept through Somalia. Cognizant of my civic duty and mindful of the importance of participating in efforts to restore the lost peace, security and stability and defend the sanctity of humanity by promoting and defending rights and freedoms of the Somalis, I joined the civil society.
This pledge to my motherland came at a steep cost given the fragile area of operation hence posing grave danger to our lives.
However, our belief that the country was in dire need of strong leaders and resilient voices calling for peaceful transformation kept us on the ground going.
We kept believing that education is the way out of the crisis to increase human awareness, and inspire noble values and transform the Somali elements from saboteurs to ones who could contribute to reconstruction and peace in the traumatized Somalia.
Waving the slogan ‘Take the pen and leave the gun and the weapon’, a large number of young people from the capital, Mogadishu, began to lay down their arms and join schools despite opposition from warlords.
In order to raise my education level and by extension, bolster community service, I started looking for opportunities for a Master’s degree. A scholarship came pretty fast in 2006 at a Libyan university, but never materialized due to the raging conflict in Mogadishu which had displaced my family.
In pursuit of a platform to directly influence decisions, whilst harboring the dream for higher education, I joined the civil service in the Somali Foreign Ministry in 2008 and became one of the pioneer intellectuals who worked in re-establishing the ministry.
Two years later, I received the first foreign deployment to the Somali embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, as the first secretary in the embassy, and in 2012, I was promoted to Consul General in the Somali Consulate General in the city of Aden- the second capital. Yemen was then devastated by unprecedented civil crises including jihadist attacks, a separatist movement in the south and disloyalty of security personnel. This again shattered the dreams of education in Yemen.
At the University of Aden, at the beginning of 2015, a flickering light appeared. The cherished journey appeared to have kicked off. Sadly, just three months into the master’s studies, Yemen entered a new phase of conflict, life and social services were disrupted. The jinx wasn’t broken. As insecurity raged on, the Consulate and neighborhood were ransacked and turned into a center of military confrontations.
Months later, with Mogadishu still facing bombings and target assassinations of the nascent Somali government officials, I moved my family from Yemen to Uganda due to the political stability and security available here.
During several family visits to Kampala, after my appointment to the Ministry’s headquarters as a consultant for Arab Affairs in 2018, I was warmed by the friendliness and discipline of the people of Uganda. I was also impressed by the prestigious Ugandan Institutions in which many foreign students and professionals seek education.
I saw a dazzling light at the end. On this basis, I decided to join the growing list of the foreign students to earn academic awards here in Uganda especially Kampala International University.
Kampala International University provided an ideal destination. I was fascinated by its systems and facilities available to enhance students’ knowledge such as the ultra-modern library, lecture rooms and academic friendly environment.
Convinced about my preferred destination, I obtained an official permission from my ministry, then submitted my application to KIU for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.
Having served in the foreign service for more than ten years, I purposed my course choice to advance my knowledge and sharpen my diplomatic skills- comprehend modern tactics, techniques, and negotiation tools in improving relations among nations/states so as to defend national interests abroad.
My long held dream took a solid shape in February 2019, a quiet and beautiful environment campus welcomed me, and honestly I was very proud to sit in class with students from diverse backgrounds and mentored by lecturers with extensive knowledge and experience in International relations and diplomacy.
Basking in the joy of finally breaking the jinx after completing my first year without any obstacles, the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Forcing global economies, flights, educational institutions, and other sectors to shut, the pandemic brought the world to a complete halt. So it did to my dream of obtaining a master’s. Thanks to advanced e-resource infrastructure built by the university for holding virtual interactions between lectures and students, the realization of the dream was delayed but not denied this time.
KIU’s student-tailored study programs and resilient e-learning infrastructure enabled me to be among the graduating students of November 20, 2021 with a CGPA 4.25. KIU made my dream come true.
Praise be to Allah and hail KIU. I am extremely thankful to my government for granting me the opportunity and my lovely family, lecturers and colleagues who made the journey amazing.
Ahmed Abdi Hassan (Ahmed Suudaan)
Deputy head mission
Somali Embassy in
Khartoum – Sudan