Who is Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud?
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is the current president of Somalia; he is in the office since September 2012. Born in central Hiran province, he grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Mogadishu and completed his diploma in technology from the Somali National University. Then after earning a master's degree in technical education from Bhopal University (presently known as Barkatullah University) in India, he returned to Somalia and worked with various NGOs and UN bureaus during the civil war. He remained in Somalia throughout the 21-year civil war unlike many other Somali intellectuals, serving as an educational campaigner and a peace activist. Meanwhile, he won respect for his work in civil society and education, and was one of the founders of Mogadishu's Simad University, where he became a lecturer and served as its dean for 10 years. After resigning from his post as the dean, he founded the independent Peace and Development Party (PDP) and entered politics. In 2012, in the first Presidential election in over 40 years, this former academic and university head was elected as the 8th President of Somalia, a post he currently serves in
Childhood & Early Life
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was born on November 29, 1955, in Jalalaqsi, Trust Territory of Somaliland, to a middle-class family belonging to the Abgaal Hawiye clan. He received his primary and secondary education from local schools in his hometown.
In 1978, he went to Somalia's capital Mogadishu where he attended the local Somali National University and obtained an undergraduate diploma in technology from the institution in 1981.
In 1986, he traveled to India and got enrolled at the Bhopal University from where he earned a master's degree in technical education in 1988.
He is also a graduate of the ‘Summer Peacebuilding Institute’ (SPI) of the Eastern Mennonite University based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He completed three of the SPI's intensive courses which comprised of mediation, trauma healing, and designing learner-centered trainings in 2001.
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Hassan Sheikh Mohamud started his career as an instructor and trainer at the Lafole Technical Secondary School. In 1984, he joined the Somali National University-affiliated Technical Teachers' Training College and two years later, became the head of the department.
In the early 1990s, when the civil war broke out, Mohamud operated as a consultant with various NGOs, UN bureaus, and peace and development projects.
Between 1993 and 1995, he worked as an education officer for UNICEF in the central and southern Somalia.
In 1999, he co-founded the Somali Institute of Management and Administration (SIMAD) which subsequently developed into the SIMAD University, with Mohamud serving as the dean until 2010.
In 2011, he entered Somali politics when he founded the independent Peace and Development Party (PDP). PDP members unanimously elected him as the party's chairman in April 2011, with a mandate to serve as its leader for the next three years.
In August 2012, he was chosen as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the newly formed Federal Parliament of Somalia.
On September 10, 2012, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected unanimously by the Somali parliament to the office of President of the Republic. Six days later, he officially assumed the office, thus becoming the first head of state after the end of the transitional phase.
Upon assuming office, President Mohamud and his cabinet resumed talks to end the 21-year UN arms embargo on Somalia. He reasoned that lifting the ban on the procurement of arms would facilitate the Somali authorities' attempts at strengthening the Somali Armed Forces.
He has initiated bilateral cooperation talks with various countries such as the United States, Japan, Egypt, Turkey and Palestine. He has also been successful in efforts to join the Cotonou agreement which promotes sustainable development and the eventual elimination of poverty in ACP member nations.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has also worked for several Non-Government Organizations including UNDP, UNICEF, Life and Peace Institute, Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD), and Department for International Development.
In 2013, he resumed national reconciliation talks between the central government in Mogadishu and the regional authorities in Hargeisa. The following year, he announced a number of new development projects aimed at Somalia's youth.
In January 2015, he signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on behalf of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Following the signing of the pact, the Federal Government is now slated to adopt child friendly systems and policies, and implement steps geared toward child development, survival and protection.
Awards & Achievements
In April 2013, for his efforts towards advancing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was listed in the TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Personal Life & Legacy
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has two wives and is the father of several children.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has ties with Al-Islah, Somalia's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and in support of the association, he has contributed towards various philanthropic activities such as, the construction of schools and research hospitals in regions across the country.