HIRDA celebrates its 15th anniversary!

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On Friday the 17th of May, HIRDA celebrated its 15th anniversary by organising the conference ‘Looking back to move forwad: innovating Diaspora’ in Utrecht. HIRDA was very pleased to welcome over 120 attendants, and the keynote speakers Farah Karimi, General Director of Oxfam Novib, and Mohamed Diini, motivational speaker in Columbus, Ohio (US). HIRDA is especially honored by the presence of Abdiwelli M. Ali, former Prime Minister of Somalia.

Vice President of HIRDA, Mr. Ismael Ali, opened the conference with a warm welcome to all the attendants, journalists, special guests, and everybody who supports HIRDA, ending with the inspiring words: ‘We need to shift from talking the talk, to walking the walk!’, which formed a leading thread running through the day’s programme.

Former Somali Prime Minister

Farah Karimi, director of HIRDA’s alliance partner Oxfam Novib, expressed to be very satisfied about the constructive collaboration between HIRDA and Oxfam and the progression made in Somalia. After these positive words, HIRDA was very proud to announce Mr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, former Prime Minister of Somalia. He congratulated HIRDA with its great work during the passed 15 years. "I hope HIRDA will stay involved with the development of Somalia in the future." Furthermore, he explained how NGO’s can contribute to the development of Somalia, by shifting from remittances to stimulating foreign direct investments, by focusing more on attracting Diaspora entrepreneurs to invest in the country.

Subsequently, an extensive panel discussion took place, involving Hans Sandee, member of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zia Gulam, Programme Coordinator of International Organisation for Migration, Jan Nico Scholten, honorary president of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Afirca, Mohamed Diini, Ismael Ali, and Abdiwelli M. Ali, answering pressing questions of the audience. A vivid discussion arose, which proceeded even during the tasteful lunch that followed.   

Somali comedy

In the afternoon our special guest Mr. Amin Amiir, made everybody laugh with his interesting and humorous cartoons. Malique Mohamed continued the humorous intermezzo with a briliant comedy performance. Subsequently, it was time for the participants to attend 1 of the 4 workshops arranged by HIRDA. The purpose of the workshops was to brainstorm about ways to involve the Diaspora in the developemnt of Somalia. And how can we convince the Dutch government of the significance of Diaspora involvement in the development of developing aid policies? Thanks to the active and passionate attendants, an vivid discussion arose, and a lot of good and inventive ideas were offered.

Mrs. Fatumo Farah, director of HIRDA, closed the day by thanking all the attendants, keynote speakers, and of course special guest Abdiwelli Ali, for their presence and their inspiring input, ideas and suggestions, as well as all the volunteers who have supported HIRDA in all its work. "We are proud to say that the conference was a great success, and we hope to see everyone again in five years at our next jubilee."

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