The Vice President HE Abdurrahman Abdillahi Ismail was among the hundreds of people attending the opening ceremony of the 14th Hargeisa International Book Fair started on Saturday 24th to 29th of July 24, 2021, at the Hargeisa cultural center.
The Hargeisa International Book Fair is an annual cultural event in Hargeisa. The week-long event, which was first run in 2008, is now unarguably the biggest literary festival in the Horn of Africa with thousands attending.
This year, the festival which is themed as ‘Good neighborhood’ will run between 24th up to 29th July 2021.
This annual festival is run by Redsea Cultural Foundation.
The founder of the Hargeisa International Book Fair Dr. Jama Musse Jama officially welcoming the guests and delegates of this year.
“I would like to thank all our distinguished guests and to give special Thanks to the Vice president of Somaliland who always inaugurates the opening of the book fair,” said Jama Muse Jama, CEO of Redsea Cultural Foundation.
One of the unique features of the festival is the Guest Country, Ethiopia, where more writers, poets, and other artists from that country making an appearance and exhibited their unique culture and history.
This year, the festival’s special Guest country, Ethiopia, has a special relation with Somaliland as it’s the biggest neighbor and trade partner with Somaliland.
Dr. Jama Muse Jama, Founder and Director of Hargeisa Cultural Center speaking during the opening ceremony of the 14th Hargeisa International Book Fair said, “What makes Hargeisa International Book Fair different is that we celebrate Art, love, tolerance, and neighborhood, and most importantly we celebrate our audience.
The festival has in the last decade featured Special Guest countries from Djibouti (2012), the United Kingdom (2013), Malawi (2014), Nigeria (2015), Ghana (2016), South Africa (2017), Rwanda (2018), and Egypt in 2019 which was the last time the Festival was inaugurated as the 12 edition of Hargeisa International Book Fair.
The 13th Edition of the Festival was canceled in 2020 due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Somaliland Vice President speaking during the opening ceremony said, “First, I would like to thank all those participants from neighboring and foreign countries who are here today attending this prestigious event. Secondly, I would take the opportunity to laud Mr. Jama Muse Jama and his team for their relentless efforts in making this event into reality and by promoting the country through the eyes of the country. This event brings together artists, poets, and writers from all four corners of the world.
Dr. Sacad Ali Shire, the Minister of Finance speaking during the opening event said, “I would to start by welcoming those entire international guests to the capital of Somaliland, a beacon of peace and democracy in Africa.
“I would like you to not only enjoy this event but also sample even though the title of the event is the Hargeisa International Book Fair is in fact more than a book fair, gathered here is scholars, poets, artists, politicians and authors which is more than what you have in a typical book fair hence my suggestion we call it Hargeisa International Cultural and Book Fair and add an awards component to the fair such as the Booker and Pulitzer Prizes”, he said.
Dr. Sacad Ali Shire added that through such prizes we could recognize the works of the best authors and will enable to broaden the reach and scope of the event, that is food for thought for future fairs.In my opening remarks, I did not forget to thank the organizers of the event; especially I would to thank Mr. Jama Muse Jama for conceiving the idea behind the book fair and promoting the idea by turning it into reality that requires lots of dedication and a flexible mindset especially when you’re a mathematician such as Mr. Jama Muse Jama.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if someone asked me today what has Somaliland contributed to the World lately, I would say it’s the Hargeisa International Book Fair which is the mother of many book fairs in the region and beyond. The theme of this year’s book fair is “Neighborhood” through cultural and literary exchange we can consolidate our good neighborly relationship with Ethiopia.
Dr. Edna Aden speaking during the event said, “I would like to thank Allah SubhAllah for letting the Republic of Somaliland for pioneering and holding book fairs in this part of the world, let me also recognize all this won’t be happening without the initiative of Mr. Jama Muse Jama and his coworkers at the Red Sea Cultural Foundation.
Mr. Abdirashid Dualeh of Dahabshiil Group of Companies speaking during the opening ceremony of 14thHargeisa International Book Fair said, “I would like to thank the organizers and all those taking part in the 14thHargeisa International Book Fair, we at Dahabshiil group of companies have over the past 13 years promoting this cultural and literary event together with Somali Week which is held in the UK each year with the aim of promoting our culture, religion, and values
Dr. Hibo Moumin Assoweh, Djiboutian Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs speaking at the event said, “Artist, Scholars, Poets, Youth, Photographers, and Filmmakers from the Republic of Djibouti are taking part in this year’s Hargeisa Book Fair.
Amb. Allen Chenhwa Lou, Taiwan Ambassador to the Republic of Somaliland said, “We are supporting in Somaliland in the areas of agriculture and technology and by cooperating with the government but also we respect cultural integration.
Amb. Said Jbril, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Somaliland on his part said, “The Ethiopian government is continuously supporting and working closely with the people of Somaliland on socio-economic developments such as the Berbera port but also share deep cultural history.
Amb. Nicholas Berlanga, EU ambassador said, “The best way to bridge communities and peoples is culture and we congratulate Mr. Jama Muse Jama and Hargeisa Cultural Center on organizing this cultural event and we will support the establishment of a cultural center in the port city of Berbera”.
Councilor Abdikarim Ahmed Mooge, the Mayor of Hargeisa said, “On behalf of the people of Hargeisa, let me welcome all the Hargeisa International Book Fair guest and delegates to our city and the hospitality it offers and the peaceful tradition of hosting”.