About the Host

Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF) will be hosting the 13th congress of the Somali Studies International Association (SSIA) at Hargeysa Cultural Centre. RCF is a cultural, art and research institution registered in Somaliland as non-governmental, not for profit, non-political independent organization. RCF has been organizing the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair and co-organizing Somali Week Festival in London for a decade with the aims to: encourage cultural understanding, tolerance and democracy; foster an appreciation of Somali culture and literature; promote a culture of reading and writing; facilitate critical thinking and debate; and to stimulate creative writing and other forms of cultural engagement. Both festivals have become platforms for artistic, cultural and academic discussion. The HIBF has grown into the largest literary festival in the Horn of Africa, attracting up to 10,000 participants each year and writers from across Africa, as well as Europe and the USA.

In 2014 RCF opened a permanent cultural centre in Hargeysa expanding and extending the activities of the book fair throughout the year. The HCC has in a short time become a gathering place for many young and not so young people, with three to four weekly events. Through this the Hargeysa Cultural Center is offers a new generation of Somalis a place to go, including a public library, open 12 hours a day, with dedicated reference and lending facilities, and some 15,000 books, including a rare books collection. The HCC has also become a resident centre for research and development. In less than a year it has hosted more than 10 foreign PhD students and 5 senior scholars for a period of time ranging from 7days to 3months. It also facilitates the supervision of local university masters students supervising.