On Monday, Somali National University, which is the only public university in Mogadishu and which had been closed for 23 years due to civil war, successfully produced its first batch of graduates in a colorful ceremony witnessed by top Somali government officials including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmajo.
131 Students graduated from Faculty of Law, Education, Agriculture, Livestock & economy. They are the first batch of graduates after the reopening of the university and the twentieth batch since its establishment.
Among the graduates was one Yusuf Abikar Shador who was forced to suspend his education with just two years left to graduate in 1991 before the institution closed down.
In 1990, the government of President Mohamed Siad Barre fell, and like a deck of cards all other government structures, including the university, soon crumpled and was abandoned.
Terrorist group Al-Shabaab – which forbade education and stifled development – was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 by the Somali National Army backed by African Union peacekeepers.
After the departure of the extremist militants, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGOS) had the security and support it needed to mobilise financial and technical assistance from local businesses to rehabilitate the campus.
The University, which is located in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu – also known as ‘Old Mogadishu’ was later reopened in 2014.
The Somali National University was established in 1954 in the Trust Territory of Somalia. It later obtained official university status in 1969.
The campus was built by Italian colonialists in 1956 originally as an institute for Somalis to learn management, law and economics. In 1969 – nine years after independence – it was renamed the Somalia National University.
The school grew over the years into a 14-faculty institution that produced most of the country’s top civil servants.