K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN- directed by Iara lee

It was also part of our academic discussion to create a space for other forms of research and knowledge production areas. In this attempt w have had our first session of documentary based discussion using “K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN- directed by iara lee.


K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN- directed by iara lee

Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. Nicknamed the ‘Savage Mountain,’ K2’s peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions.

Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters—whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers—do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering.

In K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN, filmmaker Iara Lee and team chronicle the lives of both Pakistani porters and Nepalese sherpas. The film also follows the first official all-Pakistani climbing team, made up of former porters, who successfully summited in 2014, in celebration of K2 60th anniversary. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. In their striving to perfect their craft, these mountaineers provide a fresh look into the cultures and national traditions of Pakistan, a country typically portrayed in the foreign media as merely a land of conflict and sectarian strife

The discussion was worth the time since it has made it clear that such recording an knowledge production.

Environmental and Economic Impacts of Climate Change

Environmental and Economic Impacts of Climate Change and Global Trade (a published Phd Research)

Dr. Mohamud Hashi Hussein, Executive Director of Agribusiness Solutions Hub (ASH). Mohamud is an agricultural economist with research interest in the analysis of agricultural, food and environmental policies. His research skills and expertise include food safety and quality systems, econometric analysis of food demand and economic modelling of regulation. Mohamud has authored numerous reports, co-authored book chapters and published research articles in high-ranking journals including, Food Policy, Food Quality and Preference, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics and Journal of Agricultural Economics. Mohamud has a Laurea degree in Agricultural Sciences with Economics (University of Perugia, Italy), MSc in Agricultural Economics (Imperial College London, UK) and PhD in Agri-Environmental Economics (University of Kent, UK)


Environmental and Economic Impacts of Climate Change and Global Trade Climate change and globalization-driven spread of pests and diseases are increasingly a major threat to environment and human welfare. For example, higher average winter temperatures, combined with increased trade of palm trees in the Mediterranean region have resulted in the spread of a pest (insect) called Red Palm Weevil, which has in turn caused substantial environment damage and economic loses over the past three decades.

In this talk, I intend to provide an overview of the impact of this pest and discuss analytical tools economists use to assess such impact to inform mitigation policies for the eradication and controls of pest and disease spread. The goal is to draw a Somaliland-relevant inferences from the analysis presented and hopefully to inspire other researchers to learn more about the topic.

Berbera Basing Politics

Berbera Basing Politics: Understanding Actors, Interests, and Animosities (Risks) (published Article with in the research domain of the Researcher’s PhD research)

Najah M. Adam is a third-year PhD candidate in Political Science, with specialization in Diplomacy and International Affairs, at the Euclid University in Gambia. The researcher has Masters Degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from Kampala University, Uganda, and Bachelor Degree from University of Hargeisa, Somaliland. The academically interest of the researcher lies in variety of areas, including understanding structures, norms, theories, and policy actions that are posing a constant, and long-term challenges to the life of the common man. Has recently published an academic


The presence of forward forces in foreign soil is not a modern notion, but puzzling when a small state projects its military might in multiple locations, having a similar strategic importance. The lese of military base by United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) in Berbera is a case in point, which attracted a reproach from the public, and the politicians. The joint parliament sitting to approve the draft agreement further complicated the reproach, resulting many stakeholders to argue that the approval process suffered insufficient consultation, citing ambiguity and suspicion. Berbera basing politics is critical to Somaliland’s national security, but gained  a  little  scholarly  attention  that  can explain     the      rationale,       and     the underlying assumptions. This academic research tends to provide a qualitative assessment on impact of UAE’s overseas defense posture on Somaliland political direction. Specifically, it analyzes the structural   architect        of        the      basing          politics including actors, interests, risks (animosities), and prophesy on scenarios for use. This paper uses secondary and primary sources to sketch out the key issues; it also employs relevant international relations

Theories: security dilemma, deterrence, defensive, proxy war, geopolitics, pre-emption, beggar-thy-neighbor, and safe-haven concepts to make sense on this matter.

Analyses of Structural Changes in Livestock Trade

Analyses of Structural Changes in Livestock Trade in Berbera Corridor, Somaliland: Before, During and After War

Ahmed M. Musa is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Nairobi’s College of Agriculture and Veterinary Science (CAVS) under GOVSEA project. Ahmed has a Post Graduate Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies, Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and Master’s degree in Public Administration and Management, from Uganda. Ahmed is currently undertaking PhD in Dryland Resource Management at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in Kenya. Ahmed had previously worked for Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP), ActionAid International Somaliland (AAIS), Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC)/Interpeace. Ahmed had previously worked with reputable research organizations such as Rift Valley Institute (RVI) and Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway (PRIO). Ahmed’s main interests include post-war economics and governance, issues in the Horn of Africa drylands which range from livelihoods, resilience to governance. Ahmed has taught in Admas University College, Civil Service Institute (CSI) and Beder International University (BIU). Ahmed’s panel of supervisors are: Prof. Tobias Hagmann from Roskilde University in Denmark, Prof. Stephen G. Mbogoh and Dr. Oliver Wasonga from University of Nairobi, Kenya.


Livestock production and trade play an important role in the lives of people in the Horn of Africa (HoA). Historically, people in Somaliland largely practiced pastoralism (Walls 2014). As far back as 1838, the British had engaged in livestock trade in Somaliland to supply food to its military garrison in the Gulf of Adan. Since then, livestock has been the main export commodity for Somaliland, contributing an estimated 60% of the GDP; 15% of government revenue and employment to more than 70% of the population (Samatar et al. 1988; Renders 2012; MoNPD 2012; Mugunieri et al. 2016). Furthermore, 50-80% of pastoral household incomes in Somaliland come from sale of their livestock ( Mugunieri, et al. 2016). Revenues generated from livestock trade account for the largest foreign export earnings both pre-war Somalia and post-war Somaliland, with MoNPD (2012) estimating that 85% of the Somaliland export earnings come from livestock trade. Berbera port has remained the main gateway of livestock export to some designated markets in the Arabian Gulf (De Waal 1996; Renders 2012; MoNPD 2012; APD 2002).

In the last 100 years, there have been structural changes in the livestock production and trade in Somaliland (APD 2002). The structural changes that affect livestock trade include social, economic, political, environmental and technological (ibid). Some of these changes are war-induced and affect both livestock trade and livelihoods. Little academic research has been done on the changes in the livestock trade and their implications on trade and livelihoods; most of the literature on livestock trade along the Berbera corridor exists in the form of gray literature. In addition, Somaliland’s post-war ‘economic recovery owes a great deal to the livestock trade’, therefore, understanding structural changes in the livestock trade is essential to understanding post-war economic changes in Somaliland (APD 2002). It is in the light of these that, this PhD research will aim to understand livestock trade in terms of the structural changes since late 1980s and their implications on trade and traders.

Hybrid Systems of Governance

Hybrid Systems of Governance as a Strategy for Conflict Resolution in Somaliland: Challenges and Prospects.

(The is presentation was not a PhD proposal but it is a published article by the researcher who is hopeful to make it his PhD project working area.)

Abdullahi Odowa is a General Director for the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention, responsible for overseeing its strategic and organizational direction as well as organizational overall management and daily operations. He holds a B.Sc from the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria, MA in Natural Resources and Peace from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and MA in Peacebuilding from Centre of Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University in the UK. He is currently persuading his PhD in Peace Governance and Development from United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.


The collapse of the central government of Somalia and the creation of the Republic of Somaliland has led to a new power struggle between political elders and political elites, with each party striving to get access to state resources and power. Whilst political elders enjoy the respect of different clans, they lack the formal education and experience needed to establish and run modern state institutions, while the political elites were weakened by internal division and lacked legitimacy, but acquired some formal education and experience that they can use to run a modern state. Hence, the two parties have quickly realized their dependence on each other for political survival, and have finally decided to resolve their differences through a constructive way of sharing state power through the formation of a hybrid system of governance that allows the traditional authority to be incorporated into state institutions. Whereas the hybrid political order seemed to have worked well for protecting the interests of the two parties, it has arguably failed to address the contemporary political, social and economic challenges facing the people of Somaliland. Failure to modify the hybrid system of governance after more than two decade of its formation has produced several shortcomings that, if not address properly through political and institutional reforms, could undermine the hard gained peace and stability in Somaliland. The article argues that the hybrid political order in Somaliland was a conflict resolution strategy used to resolve power related conflict between political elders and political elites, and not necessarily a long-term vision of establishing viable state institutions.

The Political Economy of unrecognized States

The Political Economy of unrecognized States: understanding Secessionism, Sovereignty and Democracy in the Horn of Africa: The Case of the ‘Republic of Somaliland’.

Mohamed Osman Guudle is a Doctoral (PhD) Candidate in Political Science and International Relations at the Faculty of Economics, Istanbul University, Istanbul Turkey. Mohamed is a Somaliland Scholar whose main research interests are Economics, Politics, Political Economy of the Horn of Africa, mainly the Economics, Society, State and Politics of the Somalis in the Horn of Africa. He has M.A degree in Development Economics from Unity University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and MSc degree in Economics from Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul Turkey. His main research areas are Economics, Political Economy of Development, Political Economy of Colonialism and Socialism in Somaliland, Somalia and Ethiopia. Mohamed is currently writing a PhD dissertation on ” Political Economy of unrecognized States: understanding Secession-ism, Sovereignty and Democracy in the Horn of Africa: The Case of the ‘Republic of Somaliland’.


In 1897, Somaliland officially became a British protectorate (Spears, 2010:121; Farley, 2010:779; Bradbury 2008:26) and on 26 June 1960 British Somaliland got its independence from Great Britain (Jhazbhay 2009; Hansen and Bradbury 2007: 463). Four days later, it joined Italian Somaliland upon the latter’s independence on 1 July of the same year to form the Republic of Somalia (Farley 2010; Bradbury 2008; Hansen and Bradbury 2007). British Somalilanders pressed hard for the consummation of the union while the Italian Somalilanders wanted to proceed cautiously.

In this study, it mainly assesses the defining theoretical attributes of unrecognized entities2 and exposes theoretical paradigms encountered when these attributes are applied in the case of unrecognized states such as Somaliland. Some scholars argue that the theoretical space occupied for example by Iraqi Kurdistan in political science and international relations theory, the work may be viewed as part of a specific body of literature dealing with unrecognized entities which has continued to develop since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.


Somaliland is remarkable because it exists in oblivion (Kaplan, 2008). Although the Horn of Africa is no newcomer to the peering eyes of the international community, the spotlight shines upon the seemingly unending spirals of violence, piracy and poverty of Somalia, but rarely upon the goings on in Somaliland –an unrecognized state in the northern regions of Somalia. In contrast to the warlords, and corrupt governments in the region, Somaliland “undoubtedly has the most democratic political system in the entire Horn of Africa,” (Kaplan, 2008: 143). 3

Will Somaliland be the next independent state? The case for recognition as a sovereign state is strong, from a legal standpoint. In fact, “in terms of international law Somaliland holds some very strong cards –stronger than, for example, Bosnia some years ago –qualifying it as an independent state,” (Doornbos, 2002: 96). These cards include its previous status as a sovereign state in 1960, and the fulfillment of the 1933 Montevideo Convention criteria for statehood (Kaplan, 2008: 153).

This study will assess the case of the ‘Republic of Somaliland’ 4as de facto unrecognized state in the Horn of Africa. The debate about self-determination can be divided into three broad categories: state-centric, society-centric and legalistic (Bereketeab, 2012). This thesis will mainly discuss the secessionism, sovereignty and democracy in the “Republic of Somaliland” as unrecognized defacto state in former Northern Somali Republic5. The central questions are, how does Somaliland come into existence? What are the roots of Somaliland’s secessionism and self-determination? It also tries to understand how Somaliland’s democratization process took place from 1991 to present?

In order to investigate and empirically analyze these theoretical considerations, this thesis will undertake qualitative research along the lines of a “structured, case study comparison” (George etal, 2005; Gerring 2007) of a controllable number of case studies. Case study research, through reports of past studies, allows the exploration and understanding of complex issues.

It can be considered a robust research method particularly when a holistic, in-depth investigation is required. Recognized as a tool in many social science studies, the role of case study method in research becomes more prominent when issues with regard to different fields in the Social Science (Gulsecen & Kubat, 2006), and sociology (Grassel & Schirmer, 2006). A central advantage of the case study approach is that it does not run the risk of ‘conceptual stretching’ (Sartori 1970, 1984). Mainly the data of this thesis will comprise interviews, field research notes, as well as published and unpublished materials dealing with the Somaliland case. There will be 1-year field work starting from February 2017 to February 2018.

Language use of Somalis in Dollo Ado refugee camps: a sociolinguistic study of communication.

Tirsit Yetbarek is a PhD student in Sociolinguistics Studies at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Her study focuses on the language use of Somalis with special interest to the dialect variation and the community’s preference for use of the different dialects in different domains of communications. She has a double master in Journalism and Communications from Addis Ababa University School of Journalism and Masters in Peace and Security Studies from Institute of Peace and Security Studies in Addis Ababa University. Currently she serving as head of the School of Postgraduate Studies at Admas University Hargeisa.


Language is a structured system of arbitrary symbols which is usually vo-   cal.  It is through this system that we interact and collaborate with others; in fact, a human group literally cannot cooperate in most circumstances without a common language. Generally, language has two functions: communicative and symbolic. While the communicative function facilitates the flow of information within a speech community, and the symbolic function signifies the identity, preference and cultural aspects of a community; it defines, identifies and describes society in-depth (Simpson, 2008: p. 18). One important function of language is what Sapir has called a ‘communicative function’ (Sapir, 1921:  p.   7)  (Sapir, 1921:  7).   Sapir further explains language as ‘the key to the heart of a people’. In this regard Moulton (1974) defines language as a wonderful and rich vehicle of communication, that is, expression of ideas, wishes and commands, conveyance of truths and lies, etc.  He states that only human beings have that attribute of sending and receiving an unlimited number of messages. That is why the combination of the two helps to describe a community in depth, through     its language use and its marks of identity contained in the language. That means cultural differences are inextricably bound up with language.

The interaction gets more interesting bearing in mind the fact that linguistic variation appears on several levels. Even within common language groups, differences may be found on national, provincial and local levels,   and these differences are manifested through dialectal differences. Dialect, sociolect and idiolect are among the mirroring realities which create different types of language use in various domains. This is the situation in which we find Somali society, which is assumed to be monolingual but has significant variation mainly on a dialect basis. Dialectal variation creates a situation where members may rank and choose among the dialects For a Common Communication Channel in Any Given Context.

Accordingly, the factors initiating the inclination to use one or another variety in a certain domain are diverse but can be explained by a cost-benefit analysis of the individuals in that interaction. Therefore, investigating language use in a particular society will significantly help to understand, define and inform socially significant policy directions regarding the language situation in any language community in general and in Somali language speaking communities in this particular case. It will also help to explain how significant dialectal variation could be a point of reference for in-group and out-group membership, which is usually the case in a general language variation domain but which might present a different outlook in the context of  a presumed monolingual society.

It is with this base that the present author proposed a sociolinguistic study of Somali language, focusing on language use of community members based on dialect variation and its effect on choice for different domains.

Based on my observations and primary data obtained from the official sources, I have selected families with active interaction in the different camp environments along with the criterion of their being a family with parents who are from different dialect speaking groups.  I used a snowballing sampling system with the assistance of the Refugee Central Committee members in each camp. Therefore, in my stay at the refugee camp, I have been observing, recording and doing interviews with those selected informants from whom I have recorded twenty eight interviews.  Based on this, I have managed to   find out that the main naming for all the dialects is Af-Soomaali vs. Rahanweyn, which indirectly refers back to Maxatiri vs AF-MAAY, these are the umbrella terms used for the dialect domains. However, it is also understood from further investigation that the Af-Soomaali which indicates the ‘proper Somali dialect’ connotation includes the Northern and the Benaadiri Somali Varieties. While the  Rahanweyn varieties are the major varieties of Central Somalia along with those of Af- Ashraaf, Af-Gelede (Belede,) Garre, Jiidu and Dubo.  All in all, the existence of various varieties is proved to be the case in the community. These varieties are the less dominant ones in certain domains

The dialect labelled ‘Af-Soomaali’, which indirectly refers to the northern dialects is dominant in function since it is used in almost all domains. It is especially demanded and highly encouraged in the official or formal domains.

The notion of ‘failed state’

The notion of ‘failed state’ and the implicit universalism of state building efforts by exploring how public services continues to be provided

Tobias Gandrup, a PhD candidate in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Policy and Management at University of Antwerp in Belgium. He is a Danish citizen and his educational background includes an MA in International Development Studies and Global Studies from Roskilde University, Denmark. His MA thesis focused on the political history of Hargeysa Egal International Airport and its role in state formation processes in Somaliland. I conducted two months of fieldwork in Hargeysa as part of the research.


‘Failed states’ are characterized by a vacuum of authority and as areas where public services are no longer delivered. However, evidence from the Republic of Somaliland challenges these ideas and illustrates that although the area has been affected by economic instability and conflicts, public services are still provided albeit by a variety of state and non-state actors. This PhD project challenges the notion of ‘failed state’ and the implicit universalism of state building efforts by exploring how public services continues to be provided in a context where the state has limited control and outreach. This will be done through the ‘hybrid governance’ perspective. The ‘hybrid governance’ literature demonstrates that not only state actors but also non-state actors are involved in the field of providing governance in a certain area. However, whereas the literature on ‘hybrid governance’ acknowledges that a variety of actors are involved in governance, it has neglected – or overseen – the ongoing interactions between these different actors. By studying interaction around the delivery of primary education, one of the most important state services, this PhD project aims at filling these gaps. Moreover, while this research takes theoretical point of departure in the hybrid governance literature, it seeks to challenge this notion and empirically investigates to what extent the notion of ‘hybridity’ is important ‘locally’.

More concretely, the research is interested in three overall themes: i) the emergence of an education sector in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Barre administration, ii) the different ways in which education delivery is organized today, and iii) the negotiations and reactions on government policies and interventions by non-state actors. This allows me to unfold how the ongoing interactions between various actors in the field of primary education delivery shape and reshape modes of (hybrid) governance in Somaliland. Extensive qualitative field research in Somaliland will ensure primary access to how people organize public and collective services.


In the presentation, the theoretical crux and the methodology of the research PhD project were shortly be presented. More importantly, he presented some of the preliminary findings from Hargeysa and tested a few arguments that the researcher is currently constructing. The research is a work in progress whereby he so far conducted three out of twelve months of fieldwork (in Hargeysa)

Diaspora politics in Somalia 1979-2016’

Claire Elder who is currently a doctoral candidate in Politics at the University of Oxford was our eye opener for the unique forum. A second-year student, Elder is currently in the initial stages of research, her thesis is entitled ‘Diaspora politics in Somalia 1979-2016’, covering the effects diaspora returnees had on politics and political institutions respectively. Prior to this she has worked for the International Crisis Group and the US Institute for Peace, and as an independent consultant in the region. She first came to Somaliland in 2013, and has come frequently since then.


Politics in Somaliland has developed for the last two and half decades, this will focus on, what role does diaspora has in Somaliland politics in that time? Diaspora returnees have influenced or taking a major role in the last four governments, whether the executive branch or legislative, they influence government policies, both internal and external. Some of them are transformative while others are non-transformative so, if they are productive what did they contribute? And if they are not why did they fail to contribute? Some people argue they are transformative in these areas:

  • Democratization
  • New policies towards development
  • Seeking international recognition
  • Trade and foreign investments
  • Local business investments

The audience asked Claire some awfully interested questions while displaying interesting ways in which, to look at diaspora politics, a few below.

How have Somaliland’s four sitting governments engaged with diaspora politicians? What the definition of diaspora in the context of Somaliland, and are people who return from across Africa and Asia considered diaspora? A point was also raised about the disparity between first and second-generation diaspora experience, and how this effects involvement in politics.

It might be fascinating to look at one particular branch of government over a period of time and a few different types of diaspora returnees (first, second generation, European, African and Arabian) and the ways they have impacted or not impacted that particular institution.


Another really interesting point was raised about the reasons for such high interest in politics among diaspora, perhaps being link to the lack of financial institutions and therefore the inability to raise initial funds so, being politically active opens doors for investment and creates legitimacy.

An audience member noted diaspora in policy making tend to be more outward facing mainly focusing on international recognitions, external trade links and foreign investment; and less on rural infrastructure and urban planning.


The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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