Somali Studies International Association was established in 1978. It is an organization that has played a central role in defining the field of modern Somali Studies, and since its establishment, it has organized 12 International Congresses, and many other regional and continental conferences. Out of the 12 International congresses, only four took place in the Somali speaking territories. 40 years later, it is high time for SSIA to hold its Congress in the Horn of Africa. In fact holding 2018 SSIA in Hargeysa will enable Somali studies to reconnect with the current reality on the ground. The last time a full congress was held on Somali soil was in 2001 in Hargeysa and in 2007 Djibouti co-hosted.
The initiative would assist young Somali scholars to close the feelings of disconnect they feel with academia as whole and thereby positively encourage young Somalis to be more active and feel ownership over scholarly contributions. Additionally the legitimate subjects of Somali Studies are not necessarily Somali’s who have avenues to participate, object, contribute and debate in the Diaspora, but rather local Somali people in Somali territories that lack the academic platforms to engage with Somali Studies beyond being subjects of study. Holding it here in conjunction with state and private Universities will provide legitimacy and access to a hard reached population. Local Somali scholars are missing two fundamental things: firstly institutions to provide backing of their work and secondly the recognition and platform to showcase their work. For this reason 2018 SSIA congress will be jointly held in Hargeysa by Somali institutions and some western Universities who already work in the Somali territories to benefit key stakeholders.