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Use knowledge to drive away anarchy, US envoy to Somalia Larry André urges UPEACE graduants



MOGADISHU—Graduants urged to use their knowledge to propel Somalia from the ravages of anarchy to a peaceful state.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of UPEACE, the United States (US) envoy to Somalia, Larry André said education has the potential to make Somalia a better place.

“Dear graduates, remember to install your heart with good energy, and use that energy to propel your nation forward and continue to build this great country,” noted the envoy during the Upeace graduation event held in Mogadishu earlier this month.

In his address, Andre recalled when he first came to Somalia in 2001 for few weeks. “I am a witness to the huge progress you have made. I am very confident that (the) positive trajectory will result in Somalia’s full revival and net contributor to the prosperity and peace in the region and beyond.”

He continued: “You graduates are the builders of Somalia’s bright future and your work comes at a historic and interesting times. Your energy, skills and knowledge is what will move this country forward. Keep that trajectory.”

Among the audience was the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who was conferred with a PhD in Peace Studies by University for Peace , a branch of United Nations.

The president graduated alongside 166 students who received postgraduate degrees by the Somali branch of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace. He is now among the few educated presidents to achieve such a fete. Other leaders who have attained PhD are Kenya’s William Ruto, Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, Moeketsi Majoro of Lesotho, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The Somali leader thesis focused on peace, governance and development. He said his dissertation, which he defended in August, was titled, ‘Examining the Challenges of Clan Politics in State-building: A case study of Somalia’.

He thanked the University for the opportunity and promised to establish a fund to support the education of a hundred Somali students pursuing doctoral degrees at the university.

(From left) Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, UPEACE country director; Dr. Francisco Rojas, Rector UPEACE; Professor Samuel Kale Ewusi, Regional director for UPEACE; Dr. Mohamed Osman, Representative for Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa 

In 2018 when UPEACE began offering its program in Mogadishu, President Hassan Sheikh was one of the first students to enroll in the university’s doctoral program.

“I successfully defended my dissertation at UPEACE and got my PhD in Peace, Governance, and Development,” said President Hassan after undertaking extensive courses, comprehensive and independent research.

An educationist himself who worked in the sector for nearly three decades, he asserted that: “Education can reconstruct our nation and government. We wish to simplify and reduce the cost of education.”

According to a pact seen by Kulan Post, the university where the president of Somalia defended his dissertation would invest more resources and partnerships in global peace, governance and climate change in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.

The University for Peace (UPEACE) and Fifty Shades Greener—leading environmental educational programmes—signed an MoU earlier this month in Geneva on peace and environmental protection.

“Carbon emissions courses have the potential to create action-based programs to reduce emissions. Environmental education creates action-oriented programs to reduce carbon emissions,” reads part of the MoU.

The University will host a significant commencement ceremony for more than one hundred master’s and doctoral students at the end of this academic year.

The University for Peace (UPEACE) was established through UN General Assembly resolution 35/55 of December 5, 1980, globally to lessen the obstacles to peace as enshrined by the United Nations Charter.

The President of Somalia, Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, signed the instrument of accession during the 77th session of the United NationGeneral Assembly, making Somalia the 42nd nation to sign the UPEACE charter.

There are over 2,000 alumni from 120 countries who have graduated in Master’s and doctoral degree programs at UPEACE, an institution created to prepare future leaders.

In late 2018, UPEACE expanded its operations to Somalia and aims to build a fully-fledged campus in Mogadishu to aid Somalia’s post-conflict recovery.

A group of graduates from United Nations University for Peace UPEACE celebrate their milestone during a graduation ceremony held in Mogadishu, Somalia on 21 September 2021.
UN Photo / Mukhtar Nuur

Last year while marking the International Peace Day, 76 students graduated with Masters from Mogadishu’s campus. The ceremony was attended by James Swan, the Special Representative of Secretary General of the United Nations for Somalia and was presided over by the Dean of UPEACE, Professor Juan Carlos.

As Somalia recovers from decades of civil strife, UPEACE has become the only international institution with a physical presence in Somalia to offer a PhD in Peace, Governance and Development.

On September 30, 2022, at the 34th Council meeting of UPEACE in Geneva, UPEACE signed a new MoU with UNHCR. The MoUs emphasized peace education, migration and multi-sectoral development.

On September 30, 2022, at the 34th Council meeting of UPEACE in Geneva, UPEACE signed a new MoU with UNHCR. The MoUs emphasized peace education, migration and multi-sectoral development.

While in Geneva, the University re-elected the current Rector, Francisco Rojas Aravena for the third team in recognition of his unrelenting efforts to make UPEACE a premier peace and development education center within United Nations.


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