The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS), Somalia's first policy institute, was launched in Mogadishu on Tuesday (January 15th) with the goal of promoting "a culture of learning and research in Somalia", according to a HIPS press release.
HIPS, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research centre, will publish reports, hold debates, open libraries across the country and organise book fairs.
"The absence of meaningful policy discourse and a credible Somali voice that can articulate a national narrative have contributed to the plight of the Somali people during two decades of civil war," said HIPS director and former al-Jazeera English journalist Abdi Aynte. "HIPS intends to fill that gap by enhancing the public's understanding of complex policy matters through research and analysis, and by providing options to policymakers."
Deputy director of HIPS and former Somali Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Abdirashid Hashi said the institute would collaborate with Somali institutions of higher learning and civil society groups.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the initiative. "Somalia needs fresh thinking and we believe this institute will contribute to the betterment of this country," he said in a statement.