The President of Somalia H.E. Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud delivering a public lecture at CHS

On Wednesday, the President of Somalia H.E. Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud delivered a public lecture on the status of stabilisation efforts in Somalia at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS). The lecture comes at a critical time for stabilisation in Somalia amid the President's visit to Qatar, which is a key regional ally.

The Somali government faces deep security challenges in view of political divisions in the Federal Member States of Somalia, the complete military withdrawal of the African Union's peacekeeping troops, and a resurgent Al Shabaab.

President Mohamud emphasised that successful peacemaking efforts in Somalia must reflect from lessons learned from the previous period of state collapse in the 1990s, which weakened central state institutions for rule of law and led to a lack of political consensus among Somali elites. He advised that nations should "keep politics within the institutions. All the difficulties we faced with [former dictator] Siad Barre, we faced much worse later, long after his death [in 1995]."

Speaking in Doha, the President noted the prominent role that Qatar has played in conflict mediation at the global level. Referring to his previous experience in reconciliation and mediation in Somali communities, he soberly reflected on the lessons learned from past failed strategies. The national stabilisation strategy has expanded beyond the previous military focus of the anti-Al Shabaab counterinsurgency operations to include ideological campaigning and counter-terrorism financing activities.

He also pledged his commitment to ongoing negotiations with Somaliland and the need for sustainable reconciliation that addresses deeper grievances of the Somali people. He cautioned against the previous short-term reconciliation with Somaliland, stating "We should not shake hands on top of the graves of our fallen people."

The lecture was moderated by the Director for CHS, Dr. Ghassan Elkahlout, who stated that "dialogue will play an integral role in reconciling opposing sides in Somalia… and the Arab region should have a continuing third-party role in these efforts."

The President's remarks were followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. The lecture was attended by diplomats, journalists, and academics from CHS, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. The event was also broadcast live on social media.

CHS is an independent academic center. A central pillar of the vision and mission of CHS is to facilitate dialogue and build bridges between all sides in conflict-affected societies.