The primary purpose of the UoH President’s trip to UAE was to explore external sources of funds to augment the meager financial resources of the University of Hargeisa, which are based, nearly 100%, on TUITION FEES. To this end, I had meetings and discussions with eminent and well-informed persons from Somaliland, who are permanent resident of the UAE.
I had the first meeting with Mohamed Ibrahim Yassin (Olad), Founder and Managing Director of Dallo Airlines. Olad came up with an appropriate and practical idea. He suggested the establishment of a foundation like the Amoud Foundation whose responsibility is to work for the growth and development of the University, the relief of financial and highly qualified staffing burdens. Olad contacted Abdullahi Adan Rayid ( Abdullahi Congo), a former high-raking Arab League official and a former Somali Ambassador, who is well-connected with the top leaders of Sharja Emirate. Mr. Abdullahi supported the idea to create a foundation that champions the cause of the UoH .
This foundation is hoped to raise funds and other relevant support on sustainable bases from UAE charity organizations, UAE universities and higher education institutions, UAE businesses, and the Somaliland Diaspora. The main purpose of the foundation is to defray the cost of providing quality education at the University of Hargeisa while lessening the burden of students fees increments as well as addressing the unemployed University graduates.
Olad suggested that he would consider engaging Dr. Bulhan, the former President of UoH, to assist in this worthy endeavor. He would also urge Abdullahi to facilitate the arrangement of a conference under the auspices of the rulers of Sharja province. The key participants of this conference will be UoH and the Ministries of Education and Planning.
Olad raised a question that UAE donors may ask. Why should they give funds to the new foundation? To answer this question, the theme of the conference should not only address the need for funds for the foundation to improve the quality of education at UoH, but it should also articulate the plight of unemployed University graduates who could be attracted by radical religious groups that pose serious threats to the security and stability of the East African region and the rest of the world including UAE.
Next, I traveled to Abu Dubai where I was received by Abdurahman Jamea, Advisor for Abu Dubai Economic Development Council. Mr. Jamea expressed his willingness to help the University of Hargeisa. He recommended that the University write a proposal for the establishment of an Institute of Islamic and Arabic studies which would support the existing College of Islamic studies as well as expand the scope of the College to include research and Arabic learning. Mr. Jamea also assured to play an active role in the planned foundation for the University. He also shared with the President other innovative funding mechanisms that could raise a great deal of funds for the University. In this city, I also met with Dr. Saad, the Chairperson of the UoH Board of Trustees. Dr. Saad is very supportive of the idea of establishing a foundation.
The last leg of My trip was to United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain. I was welcomed at the United Arab Emirates University by Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics, and Ali H. Dualeh Abdulla, Director, Collections & Scholarly Communication. They were eager to assist the University of Hargesia in any capacity possible. They expressed an interest in visiting the University in this summer to conduct a needs assessment for teaching staff professional development and other academic resources such as books, equipment, etc. They also assured their desire to support the establishment of the foundation. However, they indicated the need of a letter from the Minister of Education requesting a collaborative agreement.
All in all, the President’s trip has been a success but requires constant follow up. I thank all those who extended hospitality and made the trip fruitful. The establishment of a foundation would be a great external source of revenues for the University of Hargeisa.