10th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 22-27 July 2017

In 2017, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Hargeysa International Book Fair, and we were focusing on our chosen theme of Connectivity. Each year, HIBF has focused on a specific theme and we have previously explored themes including Freedom, censorship, citizenship, collective memory, visualization the future, Journey, Imagination, Spaces and Leadership & Creativity. In the last nine years, we have had six guest countries including Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, and Djibouti as well as none African countries such as the United Kingdom. Our guest country last year was Ghana, with eight authors and artists attending HIBF2016 and we had the privilege to host South Africa this year. The preparations for the book fair went well, artists attended, hotel bookings and other technicalities fixed, and the dates of the book fair were 22-27 July 2017.

Because we are celebrating 10 years of HIBF, we wanted the culture celebrates the city of Hargeysa. We therefore proposed to have multiple venues and arranged contemporary parallel sessions.  This was also to improve our policy of reach out to diversify the audience and offer quality delivery according to the specific audience. Educational institutions like University of Hargeysa, Somaliland National Library new site, cultural hubs like Hiddo Dhawr and Laalays restaurants, as well as our historical venue at Guuleed Hotel and the new venue of the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, in the heart of the city, hosted different and sometimes parallel events during the six days program.

As culture is to know the other people and their places: HIBF organized this year a tour within the program at Laas Geel, a historical archeological site located 45 KM from Hargeysa in East. A poetry reading session took place in the village at Laas Geel.

The 11th Hargeysa International Book Fair will take place in Hargeysa from 21-26 July 2018. This year the festival incorporates the 40th Anniversary of the Somali Studies International Association, which coincides also the 13th Congress. More information to come soon on both HIBF and SSIA, so watch this space s well as the official website of the Book Fair: www.hargeysabookfair.com. For the Somali Studies International Association congress, refer also www.somalistudies.org.

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018, Hargeysa, Somaliland

We are pleased to announce that the Hargeysa International Book Fair  (HIBF) will held 21-26 July 2018 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Last year, we celebrated the festival’s 10th anniversary with our chosen theme of Connectivity, this year we start the next decade with our theme of Wisdom. As an organization we have always sort to promote a “connected, open, creative and tolerant society led by wisdom”, and not by emotions; a society that has survived within its own mechanism, culture, heritage and knowledge production. From the 9th century BeytulHekmi (or Dar'ulHekma) in the Islamic Golden Age in Bagdad to the Somali wise men and women who guided the society in the traditional judiciary system, and who governed with authoritative leadership, the virtue of having wisdom as attribute, always gave few people a distinguished mandate to lead. What happened to that virtue? Who are our chosen vanguards today? What do the literature, the traditional oral poetry and arts had to do with the wisdom? Are men of literature loosing their appeal? Do the radical transformation of the Somali society in the recent time deteriorated the essence of wisdom of the ordinary people? These are the questions that we will seek to answer collectively.

Intertwined with this, HIBF2018 will be hosting Somali Studies International Association 22-24 July 2018 (SSIA18), with Somali knowledge production filled by foreign people (something we often ignore) during a period of difficulties of war - it is important to consider how that factor changed Somali literature and how with a young Somali scholars emerging once again to claim their space within Somali knowledge production- this yet again will change and shape our understanding.

Last year we had the privilege of hosting South Africa as our guest country- this year we will welcome Rwanda, a country which less than three decades ago was embroiled in horrific genocide, but which has reemerged as a proud, progressive and leading country in Africa. Rwanda is also reclaiming its narrative and knowledge production and we are pleased to welcome writers, poets and film-makers, but also policy makers and influential people that shaped the recent history of Rwanda.   The parallel between Somaliland’s own difficult recent history and road recovery are many- and with Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame elected as the 2018 chairperson for African Union, it seems that their futures are also intertwined.

We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to Hargeysa International Book Fair 2018.

Dr. Jama Musse Jama


Hargeysa Cultural Center

20th March 2018

12th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 20-25 July 2019

12th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 20-25 July 2019, Hargeysa, Somaliland

The 12th instalment of the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair will be held in July, from 20th to 25th, in Hargeysa, Somaliland, with the theme of coexistence and the guest country of Egypt.

COEXISTENCE: The Theme of the Year (2019)
On its 12th anniversary, the Hargeysa International Book Fair (HIBF) has adopted the theme of 'Coexistence' to be central to the events of this year's Book Fair programme. Throughout the annals of history, all the conflicts for which humanity has paid in millions of human lives and immeasurable destruction of properties have been based on suspicion and hostility engendered by differences in creed and culture. Sadly enough, no continent in our planet today seems to be totally free from the scourge of political and ideological conflict. Albeit in varying degrees, the plight of war still remains a major concern of all countries in our boastful era of unimagined advancement in science and technology. That is why we zealously hold the principle of Peaceful Coexistence as the most cherished and practical idea for bringing together peoples and nations at variance in their political ideologies and national traditions to live in lasting peace and harmony. The same applies within intrastate and interstate social conflicts.

Even in the current international quest for overcoming the challenges of global warming, it is rightly conjured that the realisation of peaceful coexistence is essentially seen as a requisite condition towards that objective.

So far the themes explored at Hargeysa International Book Fair have included Freedom, Censorship, Citizenship, Collective memory, Visualization of the future, Journey, Imagination, Spaces, Leadership & Creativity, Connectivity and Wisdom. We will focus this year on the principle of peaceful coexistence of nations and people, in contrast to the antagonistic contradiction principal that nations with competing interest and ideologies could never coexist.

The choice of peaceful coexistence as our theme of the year has not come about casually at all. It has always been our firm belief, in the Redsea Cultural Foundation, that the advocacy and upholding of this cardinal principle is the real test of our claim to genuine human civilisation. So, let us pool our efforts together in order to make this claim come true.

EGYPT: This Year's Guest Country
We take both great pride and pleasure to be hosting Egypt as our Guest Country for this year’s Hargeysa International Book Fair. The reasons for our choice are too many to relate in this brief introductory note. Suffice it to say that Egypt has a special place in the minds and living memory of the people of Somaliland. The future prospects of both countries also seem to be equally entangled.

Despite the huge numerical difference in population and potentiality, yet the two countries share similar histories in that both are bound by the Islamic religion, they have experienced the rules of the Turks and later the British in the past century. Both occupy geopolitical strategies; Egypt at the Northern entrance of the Red Sea, and the people to people interaction is millennia old, with Somaliland located at the Southern post. Moreover, giving praise where it is due, there is hardly any country in the African continent in which Egypt has not left its marks in the spheres of education, politics, arts or culture. In Somaliland, the majority of our foreign educators and foreign health professionals are Egyptian, while global appreciation for Egyptian scholarship and academia in general is evident.

By having Egypt as our Guest Country, we in the Redsea Cultural Foundation, look forward to hugely benefit from the distinguished scholars, artists and intellectuals who will surely bring along with them invaluable experience we are so eager to share. We most warmly welcome our highly reputed and respected Egyptian guests.

Social media tags
Follow us
on twitter @HIBF, official hashtag #HIBF2019 on FB fb.com/HargeysaBookFair or fb.com/XaruntaDhaqankaHargeysa
web: www.redsea-online.org
e-mail: info@hargeysabookfair.org

We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to Hargeysa International Book Fair 2019.

Hargeysa Cultural Center
23rd February 2019

14th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 24-29 July 2021, Hargeysa, Somaliland


The 14th instalment of the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair will be held from the 24th to 29th of July, in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The theme of the year is Neighbourhood and the guest country is Ethiopia. Our previous themes have included coexistence, Wisdom, Connectivity, Freedom, Censorship, Citizenship, Collective memory, Visualization of the future, Journey, Imagination, Spaces and Leadership & Creativity. Over the years we have welcomed Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Djibouti, Kenya, UK, South Africa and the last Gust country was Egypt in 2019 before Covid-19 forced the missing on the 2020 HIBF.

Neighbourhood: The Theme of the Year (2021)

In the West, the concept of the neighbourhood has been considered as a utopian approach to creating a residential community, socially and spatially, in which the sense of community as existed in pre-industrial cities prevails. In the nomadic society, where the continuing movement along with one’s own livestock removes the boundary concept, in a vast quite infinitive space, and therefore lack of meaningful physical limitation to measure the neighbour distance that one gives in the cities. These overlapping and apparently conflicting concepts made us choose as the theme of the 14th Hargeysa International Book Fair and ask ourselves what is a neighbourhood? Is the fear or feeling safe with your neighbour? In fiction, how do we imagine the neighbour? What does the state of a neighbourhood tell us about the well-being of the city as a whole? Of the region? As boundaries, national and international? What kind of methodologies are most effective in terms of engaging with residents, and understanding neighbourhood dynamics? Are there specific indicators that might be identified as evidence of “healthy,” “desirable,” or “successful” neighbourhoods? Do these indicators translate across different national and regional contexts? And what aspects of neighbourhoods make them into assemblages of empowerment or disempowerment, inclusion or exclusion, connectivity or dysconnectivity? These all are questions the theme of the year tries to answer in the six days engagement of this year’s book fair.

Ethiopia: This Year’s Guest Country

Ethiopia is not just a neighbour not only to Somaliland but to the regional countries. Being considered the origin of Humankind with the discovery of Lucy, a 3.2-million-year-old hominid skeleton in 1972 by Donald Johanson and Tim D whereby for years Lucy “Dinkinesh” as she is called in the local Amharic language, was considered the oldest human remains until the discovery of Ardi, also from the Afar region but one million years her senior came to the world. Ethiopia is not the only origin of humankind, also the historical win over a western colonial power at the Battle of Adwa” that is considered an “African Victory” also sets Ethiopia on the high ladder of Human dignity, freedom and endurance. This is what has set the Pan-African ideology to be associated with Ethiopia as it was used by many African nations for their liberation and independence struggle. The role the nation played in the founding of the then OAU and now AU is another paramount historical juncture for Ethiopia and African nations' aspiration for a connected, cooperative and prosperous continent. Considered one of the oldest states in the world, Ethiopia is also one that had religious marks with Christianity and Islam with being the first to receive Muslim travellers and also had a Muslim king that had built the oldest Mosque in Africa AlNajashi in Axum Tigray region of Ethiopia. Harar, the fourth Holi City in Islam is one of the Nine cultural and natural monuments counted as UNESCO World Heritage. The only African Nation with its own Script, music note, calendar and origin of Coffee adds to the uniqueness of the nation. The massive ethnic diversity with more than 80 nations and nationalities is another aspect of Ethiopia. The nation now has more than 100 million population which makes it the largest population in the region. Add these all to the following aspect of the unique relation Somaliland and Ethiopia had to answer your question why Ethiopia shall be a gust country.

Ethiopia is the first country to have a diplomatic presence in Somaliland after the declaration of independence and the Ethiopian Airline is the first national carrier to land on Somaliland’s soil. Further, Ethiopia is the first country to accept Somaliland diplomatic office and Somaliland’s passport.

In addition, Somaliland and Ethiopia are the first place to welcome the first religion of Islam followers when the companions of the prophet Mohammed (PBH) were being prosecuted in Mecca. Many Somaliland religious scholars of the previous century have learned the teaching of Islam in the ancient city of Harar in Ethiopia.

There are many reasons, with this theme of the year, that we have chosen Ethiopia as guest country, be cultural, religious and political. With the theme of the neighbourhood and all its meaning, Ethiopia will be the appropriate guest country to welcome at the HIBF 2021.

Social Media

Follow us



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.

Mailing form

Our Contacts

26 June Street No. 2, Sha'ab area, Hargeysa, Somaliland


Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa