Today is not a sorrow remembrance of the beloved and respected brother Ali Iman Sharmarke whowas killed while working for peace and freedom of expression in Somalia, but to honour him byrenewing our commitment to the ideals he died for – peace, freedom and development. The questionis what is the best way to honour brother Ali? According to the Islamic tradition, ProphetMohammad said: "
When a man dies, his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity,beneficial knowledge and righteous offspring who will pray for him.”
Indeed, the legacy that he left behind will benefit him and also Sharmarke Foundation will make him sustain his rewards forever. Icongratulate those who formed this Foundation and in particular his widow Lull Farah (Arabeto) andchildren Nora and Hanad. Let me now talk about the subject I was invited to speak about and that is Mogadishu University andits program for training journalists in Somalia. However, before, I go into that, let me give you someshort background. With the collapse of the Somali state, Somali people are commended for their talented entrepreneurship, endurance and inventiveness. As evidence, Somali non-state actorscomprising of civil society organizations and business community has shown perseverance andresilience to the challenges of the civil war. In competing with the dark and gloomy images paintedon Mogadishu as the city of warlords, marauding and unbridled militias, ever enlarging bright spotsand islands of peace and development were emerging in the early years of 1990s. These bright spotswere created primarily by the networks of the civil society organizations, free media and businesscommunity. These non-state actors were challenging the dominance of warlord discourses and in themeantime created new environment for peace and development. The most visible among all non-state actors is the education sector almost run by civil society organizations.The idea of opening higher education institutions was taking momentum in the late 1990s and manyuniversities were opened all over Somali regions. These universities were providing baccalaureatedegrees in education, economics, business, Islamic studies, engineering, arts and healthy sciencesand so on. However, training journalists were not their priorities. Paradoxically, when free mediawas taking upsurge momentum and website journalism was taking unprecedented attention, professional journalism and training was lacking behind.2