Accepted Paper:

Academic partnerships in education and peace building: Complexities, challenges and opportunities in Somaliland  

Author:

Tejendra Pherali (UCL Institute of Education)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the notion of peace and the role of higher education in contributing to social and political development in Somaliland.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the notion of peace and the role of higher education in contributing to social and political development in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed republic in the Horn of Africa. It draws upon a research-based capacity development project to discuss challenges of educational partnership, research and academic development. Issues around cultural disconnections, skepticism, different understanding of academic research and sensitivity around political identity are also identified. It is argued that Somaliland's clan-based social structure serves as a successful mechanism of conflict management and stability at the local level and most importantly, as a social deterrent to Southern influence of Al-Shabab but the very system is rather ambivalent about Western influences and neoliberal economic policies that seem to offer an opportunity for market reforms and foreign investment. The anxiety about the loss of stability as well as social and cultural erosion that may follow the enthused economic liberalisation faces the reality of persisted stagnation in providing basic services such as food, water, education, health and the infrastructure to Somalilanders. In this context, the higher education sector in Somaliland has a prominent role not only in economic development but also in preparing Somaliland for transformative democracy and sustainable peace that respond to new local and regional challenges. In order to nurture peace in the Somali region, more attention is needed in the development of higher education that produces critically conscious citizenry that is able to deal with threats to peace in the Somali region by addressing economic, political and social challenges.

Panel P006
Africa and Higher Education - A Transnational Perspective