Personal Perspective: The Appointment of Miss Ayan Ashour the New Somaliland Representative in the United Kingdom. By: Awale Shirwa

The appointment of Ayan Ashour, to become Somaliland Representative in the UK, is great news for different reasons. Ms Ayan has a good track record of success, particularly; community projects such as raising public awareness for the issues that important to the local communities in the UK, as well as Somalis people back home. For some Miss Ayan, is known for her extraordinary achievement of setting up the much celebrated ‘’Annual Somali Week Event’’. Her community activism started long before she moved to the UK, i came to know Miss Ayan while she was in The Netherlands about two decades ago, where she was a constant voice for thousands of Somalis, who sought refuge in The Netherlands. There they faced difficulties of settling into a foreign country where everything is new to them. Similarly, it was not easy for the host government to establish a good relationship with the new arrivals ‘’ refugees’’ from far countries.  Ayan played a pivotal role in facilitating that process, her opinion on community cohesion and immigrant issues, were regularly published in the Dutch media.


Ms Ayan was, one of the most outspoken Somali, if not horn of African community activist. She regularly ,spoke on behalf of thousands of new arrivals who did not speak the local language (Dutch). She worked tirelessly with Dutch Authorities and immensely contributed programmes that helped local Somali youth in the Netherlands. She regularly participated national discussions and raised the issues that new arrivals, ( NieuwKomers) as they are called in the Netherlands, were facing .  Her passion to contribute to the betterment of local community did not stop when she left The Netherlands, in similar fashion she undertook major projects that raised the profile of local community such as the much celebrated annual event ‘’ Annual SomaliWeek Event’’, which is arguably the first major project in its kind. It’s an achievement that every Somali person is, or, should be proud of.  Another ambitious project she established is the popular annual Somali Book Fair, a platform that is important for established writers, but most importantly, allows the young to experience the value of writing.

Its widely acknowledged that she possess tremendous amount of stamina and passion to promote and bring fruit from the long awaited quest for Somaliland recognition and build good rapport with other brethren Somalis. Her challenge is to take the quest for a Somaliland’s recognition to a level that was not achieved in the past. I have no doubt she will benefit from the counsel of her knowledgeable and experienced network, however, since her appointment is coincided an election period it’s very essential to reach out in the wider community and appreciate their views. Ms Ayan has been a community activist and civil society advocate for many years and she is used to be free to raise any issue with the language she deem to be fit , but now she is in a different ball game and it’s to be seen how she adopts ‘’ the limited freedom to speak her mind’’ that comes with her new role . I, personally, hope she will succeed in her new role but most importantly, i sincerely hope her new role will not prevent her engagements with other signature projects that she established in the past.

Awale Shirwa ( London, UK) :