The British Ambassador to Somalia, H.E. David Concar, hosted a welcome home event for young Somali alumni who had spent a year studying in some of the UK's top universities, with support from the prestigious Chevening scholarship scheme.
During the event, held at the British Embassy in Mogadishu on Tuesday 15th May, the Somali State Minister for Education and the British Ambassador welcomed the scholars back home and urged them to use the knowledge and experience acquired through the scholarship to help rebuild their country.
Speaking at the event, British Ambassador to Somalia David Concar said:
"The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave but even better to come back and rise to high office and positions of real influence in your country; this should be informed by what you as young Somalis want your country to become. Pursue power as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
"Think big, be ambitious, use your Chevening experiences, the marvelous experience you had in the UK, the great network and club you belong to in Chevening, use it all as a springboard and place absolutely no limits whatsoever on yourselves as you do that."
Mr. Concar's remarks were echoed by the Federal Minister for Education, Abdirahman Mohamed, who thanked the British government for making the Chevening programme available to Somali nationals. Speaking to an audience of alumni from last year and previous years, he noted the tremendous role Chevening alumni are already playing in the rebuilding of Somalia.
Minister of Education Abdirahman said:
"Listening to the Chevening alumni, it is clear they have really contributed to the social development of the country and I want to thank the UK government for the support they have provided but also request that they increase the scholarships for the country."
Two of the Chevening alumni, Bahsan Ahmed Said and Mubarak Ali Geedi, shared their experiences about the programme and thanked the UK government for the opportunity.
Ms. Said stated;
"With all these brilliant Chevening scholars in various levels and the support of the United Kingdom and the British Embassy in Somalia, I think we can make a big difference in Somalia and see Somalia rise and shine again."
Mr. Geedi said:
"I had never imagined that I could go to the UK to study my masters. That I would go to such a prestigious university like Manchester. So what is really possible with Chevening is unimaginable. It is such a great experience."
Chevening Scholarships are an important element of the British Government's programme to promote greater capacity for the next generation of Somali leaders and to further develop the excellent relationship between Somalia and the UK.
The Chevening scholarship was launched in Somalia in 2011 and 27 Somali nationals have so far benefitted from the programme many of whom are now working at senior levels in the Federal government of Somalia as well as other international organizations.