Host City

So far twelve SSIA congresses have been held to date, but only four have taken place partially or wholly in the Somali-speaking territories. Exactly 40 years after SSIA’s establishment, it is appropriate that another International Congress be held exclusively in the Horn of Africa. By hosting SSIA 2018 in Hargeysa, the Congress will strengthen connections between Somali Studies as an international academic pursuit, and current realities on the ground; including an emerging cohort of young scholars who live in or maintain strong connections with the Horn. The last time a full congress was held on Somali soil was in 2001 in Hargeysa. While the concerns of Somali Studies have long ranged widely, including diasporic experiences, much of the focus of the discipline lies not with those Somalis who already have avenues to participate, contribute and debate in established fora outside the Horn, but with Somali people in the region, and their political, cultural, historical and social narratives. The 2018 congress will be held in conjunction with both public and private universities, which will provide both legitimacy and access to scholarly and non-academic communities who might otherwise lack access to international and local platforms to engage with Somali Studies beyond being “mere” subjects. Local Somali scholars are missing two fundamental things: institutional support for their work; and the recognition and platform to showcase it.