|Washington, DC Metro, USA, Friday, October 16, 2009: One hundred fifty Somalis and friends of Somalia extended a warm welcome to Ms. Asha Haji Elmi, winner of 2009 Clinton Global Citizen Award and her Husband Mr. Said Farah Garad. Ms. Elmi also received Worldwide Organization for Women’s Women and their Influence for Good award.
“Asha Hagi elmi Amin is co-founder and chairperson of Save Somali women and children (SSWC) and a member of the transitional federal Government in Somalia. Amin has been deeply involved in the struggle for peace and reconciliation in her war-ravaged country and has worked tirelessly to carve out a role for women in public life.
Amin founded SSWC in 1992, aiming to establish a safe environment that would help women cope with war, marginalization and famine in Somalia. SSWC promotes the rights of women and provides tools and programs for female empowerment, including leadership training, computer instruction, and hygiene education. it also offers emergency and long-term development programs for internally displaced people.
Somali women were sidelined from peace talks until the “Sixth clan” was formed by SSwc and other women in 2000. Through this historic new clan, these daring women convinced the five male-dominated clans to accept a new role for women around the negotiating table. This became the first time that women were represented in a peace process in Somalia, and Amin has participated in the talks ever since. In 2004, she was one of the first women to sign a Somali peace accord. Amin was a 2005 women and public policy fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a 2008 winner of the right Livelihood Award.”
Ms. Elmi spoke about her trips and meetings in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C metro area. She also talked about the humanitarian, social, and security problems in Somalia. In particular, Ms. Elmi spoke at length the suffering of Somali women and children as a result of the long running crises in Somalia.
During her trips in the U.S, Ms. Elmi met with many dignitaries including President Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Undersecretary Johnny Carson, Congressman Donald Payne, and Ambassador-at-large for international women’s issues Ms. Melanne Verveer. Ms. Elmi gave speeches at several institutions including the UN Security Council, Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Brigham Young University, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, University of Utah, Georgetown University, and George Washington University.
In addition to the Keynote Speaker, Ms. Elmi, other prominent women community leaders spoke at the event. They included Sadia Ali Aden of Adar Foundation, Ms. Faduma Abdullahi Insania, Member of Somali Parliament, Ms. Raqiya Abdalla of Somali Family Care Network and former Deputy Minister, and Ms. Faduma Omar Hashi, former Chairwomen Somali Women’s Organization and former Somali Parliament member. TF.SF picture file