Sharing Survival Skills – Somaliland Ambassador to Taiwan Mohamed Hagi Visits IMAS
Ambassador Mohamed Hagi, who just arrived in Taiwan, visited the College of Social Sciences (CSS) at National Chengchi University (NCCU) on September 24 where he gave a speech titled “Survivability of Somaliland: State-Building, Democratisation and Taiwan-Somaliland Relationship” in the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS). This speech gathered an audience of over 50 people from on and off campus. IMAS appreciates Ambassador Hagi’s visit and looks forward to further academic cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Somaliland.
Somaliland’s 3-person delegation from the embassy visited Dr. Chiang Min-hsiu, the Dean of CSS, upon their arrival. The Dean asked many questions regarding Somaliland’s needs in higher education. In addition to explaining educational system and the targeted countries for Somaliland’s youth to study abroad in, Ambassador Hagi said that the CSS is the first academic institute he visits since he arrived Taiwan, and he hoped that this esteemed institution would consider admission applications from Somaliland.
Ambassador Hagi began his IMAS speech after his meeting with the Dean. As a highly-educated PhD candidate in the UK, his speech was full of academic inspiration. He began his speech by reviewing the history of his country from colonialism in Africa and British Somaliland’s response to anti-colonialism during the 1960s. Based on Africa’s development in the past century, Somaliland, when regained its statehood in 1990s, decided to establish this newly born nation with a solid democratic foundation. Democratization is not only helpful to Somaliland’s international relations, but also the basis of its friendship with Taiwan.
Ambassador Hagi’s speech received many responses from the attendees. For example, Liu Shih-chieh, director of International Affairs for the Taiwanese New Power Party, asked him which side, Taiwan or Somaliland, initiated their bilateral relations. Zou Zhongsu, a PhD student from China, inquired about Hargaysa’s relations with Beijing. Ambassador Hagi answered all the questions he was asked before taking group photos with the audience after the session ended.
The lunch was hosted by May-shine Lin, Distinguished Professor and Vice President for International Affairs, NCCU, and Ching-ping Tang, Associate Dean for International Affairs, CSS. Ambassador Hagi was very interested in international students in NCCU. Julian Tash, the class leader of second year IMAS students, gave Ambassador Hagi details of international students’ daily lives based on his experiences. After lunch, all participants enjoyed their tea time in CSS lounge for international students and continued to discuss post-colonial issues in both Somaliland and Taiwan. As a Muslim, Ambassador Hagi also visited Muslim Prayer Room, and was surprised that the CSS takes care of the religious needs of international students.
Philip Hsiaopong Liu, professor and IMAS director, points out that Taiwan has had almost no official links with Eastern Africa ever since Ethiopia terminated their bilateral relations in late 1960s. Mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland provides an excellent opportunity for Taiwan to understand this region. As for IMAS students, Ambassador Hagi’s visit was a great opportunity for them to understand a link between Africa and the Asia-Pacific. This speech effectively extends the international perspectives of students and teachers, and IMAS will continue to arrange similar events.