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The graduation will bring together hundreds of students, parents, professionals and leaders from the state of Ohio and national leaders in education.A Invited dignitaries include Ohio Governor John Kasich, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Columbus Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris; Westerville Schools Superintendent Dan Good, Southwestern Schools Superintendent Bill Wise, Governors Director of Minority Affairs Lynn Stevens, representatives from the Ohio State University, Ohio University, Columbus State, Denison University, Capital University, Franklin University, Ohio Department of Education, and other county, state and state officials. Somali community leaders and educators including the first African man to receive a PhD from Princeton University and former Ministers will be honored at the event.A In addition to financial scholarships by the Law Office of Russell Flickinger, Presidential Service Awards will be conferred on members of the Somali-American community in recognition of their contributions to the community.
Yamamoto, Ambassador Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs Donald Yamamoto's prior assignments included serving as the U.5. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2003 to 2006, where he was responsible for coordinating U. Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti from 2000 to 2003 and was the Deputy Director for East African Affairs from 1998 to 2000.Ambassador Yamamoto entered the Foreign Service in 1980. He attended the National War College in 1996 for senior training and received a Congressional Fellowship in 1991.Ambassador Yamamoto is a graduate of Columbia College and did graduate studies at Columbia University, receiving a Master's degree in International Affairs.
If you pass the turn-off ramp, you will enter onto the freeway and will have to get off at the next exit and backtrack. Somalia needs to be united or the ongoing problems will simply be exacerbated, said Abdinur Mohamud, a consultant for the Ohio Department of Education.There has to be a solution that brings all those territories together so regions and communities can function at the local level, said Mohamud, a member of the organizing committee. Global Leadership Coalition.Somalia has been in a state of violence and conflict for over two decades now, Jibril Mohamed, president and chief executive officer of the Northland-based Somali Community Access Network, said last week.
Many attempts were made to bring together the sides that were fighting for power in Somalia. State Department, was invited to be one of the speakers but will not be able to attend, according to Mohamed. But as we do with any policy we look at the situation on the ground and make determinations on when and whether we need to make adjustments to that policy. It is going to be a painstaking process to move things forward in a positive direction.Malac was invited to give the keynote address last night at the conference, which will conclude today. Somalis many thousands of whom live in Columbus have an important role to play in determining policy.We understand that having a connection to them is something we need to do to ensure that we have that flow of ideas or an understanding what the impact of what our policies might be, she said, adding that violence is a major concern among Somalis. They take every opportunity to try to get that message to us to put pressure on us to keep doing something.Mohamed said he was one of two Somalis invited to attend a 2010 forum at the White House, where the president unveiled his administrations strategy in Somalia. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.A ****************************************************************************************************************************************************Ohio conference discusses Somalia future, problemsJan. Issues discussed include the national roadmap, piracy, humanitarian crisis, frontline state military interventions, Diaspora remittance challenges and community development issues.
Engagement in Somalia: DualTrack Policy Aims and Implications * Debunking the Roadmap: A Tool for Statehood or Death-knell for Disintegration?
His remarks will provide an overview of Americas role in supporting humanitarian, development, and security assistance in Somalia. Ambassador James Swan has served as the United States Special Representative for Somalia since August 2011.
He has served with the State Department since 1988 in Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Haiti, and Nicaragua, as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2006-2008). Somalis in America are not only active contributors to their newly adopted communities, but also continue to follow, and more importantly, influence developments in Somalia. So it was a priority for me to engage in a dialogue and learn from the Somalia diaspora in the first few months of my new assignment as the U.S.
They see heart-breaking news coverage of malnourished Somali children, read about bright young college students murdered by suicide bombers, or hear reports of wide-scale corruption and say that Somalia cannot be helped. The problems Somalia faces today, the critics say, are the same problems it has faced for twenty years. Interests in Somalia The answer is simple: Americas national interests require robust engagement with Somalia.
As a compassionate society, the United States has an interest in addressing the acute humanitarian needs of our fellow human beings in Somalia. As part of our global commitment to advancing democratic values and improved governance, we have an interest in promoting political reforms that allow Somalis to be represented by leaders who will govern for the benefit of the people and the development of the country. The combination of instability and poor governance threatens not only the Somali people, but the security of our regional partners in the Horn of Africa and beyond.
These factors have led to the most serious piracy problem in the world on key international trade routes.
They have also created a dangerous terrorist organization al Shabaab that wantonly attacks innocent civilians and African peacekeepers, has conducted terrorist attacks against Somalias neighbors, and has actively recruited American citizens.A For all these reasons humanitarian, democracy and governance, and cold-eyed security concerns America is committed to helping Somalia regain stability and security. While Somalia faces enormous challenges, it also has, to quote President Obama, enormous support from the people of the United States.A A Vision for Success in Somalia We are committed to working with Somalis and the international community to help develop indigenous, long term solutions to the countrys ongoing problems.
America, as President Obama also said, wants Somalia to succeed.A Success means that Somalis facing drought and famine are helped to survive the current crisis and are given the long-term tools to better withstand future droughts.


Success means that Somalia is free from totalitarian terrorist groups like al Shabaab, which is responsible for many lost and shattered lives not only in Somalia, but in Kenya and Uganda, through its terror attacks and through its policy of banning humanitarian assistance. Success means that Somalis can turn to their government for the basic services that we take for granted in America.
It means that humanitarian and development assistance goes where it is needed and not into the pockets of corrupt officials or the armories of warlords and terrorists. And success means that the Somali people get to decide what form of government and constitution they will have. Poll after poll shows that the Somali people want self-determination, even if they are unclear exactly how that democracy should look.
Our role is to support the Somali people as they arrive at these decisions.A The Current Humanitarian CrisisLet me turn first to the current humanitarian crisis, which has been so much in the headlines in recent months.
Nutritional data released by the Food and Agriculture Organization in early September spoke of 4 million people in need of assistance in Somalia alone, with more than three times that number at risk elsewhere in the region.A To address the immediate crisis, the United States has provided over $750 million to meet ongoing and urgent humanitarian needs in the region.
Our dollars and diplomatic leverage are also being used to provide protection and assistance for Somali refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.A While America is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa But, we are not alone. European partners, Turkey, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, China, Japan, and many others have all responded to Somalias urgent need. Together, we have met nearly 80 percent of the $1 billion UN Consolidated Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance for Somalia, the highest percentage reached of any appeal in the world today. In addition to aid from governments, there have been significant contributions from private citizens and NGOs from around the world. In many respects, our core humanitarian challenge is not only to continue to mobilize the necessary resources, but also to ensure that all donors and implementing agencies are coordinating their response for maximum efficiency and effect.The areas worst affected by the famine are not coincidentally those where the extremist group al-Shabaab is most influential. Though assistance is beginning to reach these areas, coverage is uneven and continues to be impeded by al-Shabab in many places. We call on al-Shabaab to remove urgently all remaining obstacles to aid delivery in areas where they are present.
Although humanitarian access is far better in areas of Transitional Federal Government presence, we believe this could be further improved through efforts to establish more effective TFG aid-coordination systems and address the problem of small armed bands that control entry to some Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sites. The TFG should make areas it controls a model of effective aid delivery.A There is also something that you can do. You may be surprised to know that more than 54% of Americans have no idea there is even a crisis in the Horn of Africa region.
Today we are asking that 13.3 million people, the same number of people impacted by the crisis, take action to raise awareness for the Horn of Africa.
Dual Track Policy after One YearBeyond the immediate crisis, our primary vehicle for advancing broader U.S. Under Dual Track, our diplomatic engagement and development assistance for Somalia is steadily increasing. These funds support a vast array of programs, across the entire country, that address security, peace and reconciliation, conflict mitigation, good governance, justice, democracy, education, economic growth, private sector competitiveness, health, water sanitation, food security, nutrition, and protection for vulnerable peoples.A Track one of the Dual Track policy reaffirms Americas continuing support for making the Transitional Federal Institutions more effective, more inclusive, and better able to provide services to the Somali people. Track One is consistent with our support for the Transitional Charter and Djibouti Peace Process. Track one also reaffirms our continued support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers who defend those institutions.A The Second Track of Dual Track broadens our engagement with regional and local administrations, civil society groups, and communities across the country that share the same goal of defeating al-Shabaab and bringing peace and stability back to Somalia.
In reality, the Second Track announced last year codified efforts that were already underway to expand outreach to communities and organizations that were creating pockets of stability and improved governance.
Key administrations and organizations we engage under Dual Track include Somaliland, Puntland, Galmuduug, Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa, other local administrations, and civil society groups.A The past year has seen important progress on both tracks of Dual Track. On Track One, the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM have succeeded in retaking ninety-eight percent of Mogadishu from al-Shabaab. This is a significant accomplishment in the security arena and one that has led to increased humanitarian access in newly liberated parts of the city.
Mogadishu has been the scene of the fiercest battles in the country as al Shabaab struggled to keep its grip on the city that remains the economic heart of the country and has historically been its political epicenter as well. While al Shabaab has lost territory and support over the past year, it remains a very dangerous organization within Somalia and our support to the Somali forces and the Ugandan and Burundian troops deployed alongside them in Mogadishu will continue.
The United States supports the Somali National forces with stipends, training, and equipment, and has also provided the lion's share of equipment and training for the AMISOM troop-contributing countries ever since their first deployment in 2007.A On the second track, we have increased outreach and support to key regional administrations and local governments across the country that are providing stability and services and countering al-Shabaab. Somaliland, for example, emerged from a successful presidential transition last year, a process the United States supported with over $700,000 in assistance. Having clearly progressed on democratization, the Somaliland administration has also successfully attracted new investment. That is why the United States more than doubled its assistance to Somaliland under Dual Track, going from about $8 million in 2009 to more than $20 million in 2010.
This funds programs focused on local government administration and planning, education, community development initiatives, and economic growth.A We plan to extend the same type of Track Two community development assistance programs to Puntland, Galmuduug, and accessible areas of Gedo Region in the coming months.


Even in Mogadishu, our quick impact community-focused projects are channeled through the Benadir Administration in order to reinforce local ownership and keep the projects close to the people.A We know Dual Track also has its critics. Some claim the policy has undercut the influence of the Transitional Federal Government, but this ignores our continued support to both the TFG and AMISOM.
There are those who claim Dual Track further Balkanizes Somalia, pointing to opportunists who quickly self-declared newly independent states states that often represent little more than a hastily-posted website in a foreign capital.A The Second Track is in no way an open-ended commitment to assist any regional entity. We are focused on looking for opportunities to help political structures that enjoy real legitimacy with their constituents and have a record of building pockets of stability within Somalia and responding to the people. We want to help Somalis living in such communities, even while Somalis as a whole decide what sort of relationship they want between their central and regional governments. When it comes to recognizing new African states, America follows the African Union lead -- and the African Union supports a single Somali state.A On both tracks, we will continue to provide training to local authorities and targeted Transitional Federal Institutions to promote credibility and confidence in the peace process. This includes funding activities to support constitutional and democratization processes across the country.
It also includes training, often with the expertise of Somali diaspora like yourselves, to promote government transparency and responsiveness. A great recent example includes a member of the diaspora who returned to work with the TFG. He identified $1 million dollars in lost assets, funds which belonged to the defunct Somali national airlines that were sitting unused in banks, and restored these assets the national budget.A Road Map Let me turn now to the national political process. If Somali political leaders want to garner credibility with the Somali, they must capitalize on the improving security environment to make significant progress in both the political and governance realm.A Many Somalis still express a deep skepticism about the Transitional Federal Institutions ability or willingness to govern in a representative, responsive and accountable manner.
Much of their frustration comes from the perception that the Transition Federal process begun in 2004, which was supposed to provide the constitutional, electoral and parliamentary foundation for a new Somalia, has become hopelessly stalled. In the eyes of many of their constituents, the political leadership in Mogadishu has become complacent with the status quo, and the benefits it affords those in power, rather than committed to progress that will help the average Somali.A On September 6, however, these Somali leaders created a unique opportunity to change that perception.
On that day, Somali leaders from the Transitional Federal Government, the regional administrations of Puntland and Galmuduug, and the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa movement signed the Roadmap for Ending the Transition in Somalia. The terrible suffering of the Somali people, particularly during the current famine, underscores that the signatories must make rapid progress toward representative and effective governance that can meet the basic needs of all Somalis. We will continue to support the efforts of those who strive to achieve its goals and bring stability back to Somalia. Equally, we will work with our regional and international partners to hold accountable those Somali officials who obstruct progress.A Final ThoughtsFor all the challenges Somalia continues to face, we have seen positive though still fragile results from the efforts that we and our Somali, African, and international partners have expended.
This years humanitarian response has been massive, and now needs follow-through and improved coordination to ensure the necessary effect. In the security arena, momentum has shifted from al-Shabaab to the TFG and AMISOM -- although al-Shabaab still remains dangerously capable of asymmetric attacks. Politically, the Roadmap offers a positive vision for the end of the transition and also the prospect of convergence between the national government and regional entities, but it needs strong direction by Somali political leaders and active regional and international engagement to keep it on track. He wants the United States to provide more humanitarian support to help stabilize the country. We need an American action immediately, said Issa, who is a village council member in Urbancrest. That includes $175 million to Somalia.A Swan said the transition period for the government must end if the many needs of the Somali people are to be properly addressed.
Yesterday, I led a community roundtable in each city, home to the two largest Somali diaspora communities in the United States. The UN has declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia where humanitarian access has been limited by Al Shabaab. USG is urgently supporting partnersto provide food, health, water and sanitation assistance wherever they can access communities desperate for help.I was also able to listen and learn from this dynamic community.
Somali Americans are a vital lifeline of supportfor their communities and families throughout Somalia. I heard from dozens of community leaders who have mobilized their friends and neighbors to raise money for the drought through car washes, bake sales and fund drives.
A young woman in Minneapolis, choking back tears, described her Facebook page where she is raising money for drought relief and posting stories of families struggling to survive. As I heard from Jibril Mohamed in Columbus, In 1992 I was a boy who fled the conflict and drought of southern Somalia and did the same long walk to the border that families are doing now.
The Somali American community is a critical partner in identifying ways to help save lives. We need urgently to ensure life-saving assistance reaches people now and are committed to doing so.



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