War-torn Somalia stages TEDx conference

May 17, 2012
Residents walk through the Bakara market area of Somalia's embattled capital Mogadishu, in 2011. Somalia's war-ravaged capital Mogadishu will host Thursday its first ever TED talks as part of efforts to showcase improvements in development, business and security, organisers said.

Somalia's war-ravaged capital Mogadishu will host Thursday its first ever TED talks as part of efforts to showcase improvements in development, business and security, organisers said.

"It is part of Somalia's regeneration, to show that a turning point has been reached after so many years of conflict, and that we are witnessing the rebirth of Mogadishu," said organiser and speaker Liban Egal.

Eight months after Al-Qaeda-allied Shebab insurgents abandoned fixed positions in Mogadishu following pressure from African Union and government forces, the capital is showing , with reconstruction under way.

Egal spent 24 years in the United States, before returning to his birthplace Mogadishu to open First Somali Bank earlier this week, the first commercial bank to open in southern Somalia since the government collapsed in 1991.

"Security challenges remain, but there is hope in Somalia, and international investors are exploring opportunities," Egal added.

The Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conferences began 30 years ago in California as an annual haven where elite got together to explore life from challenging or unusual perspectives.

The main conference allows one-off gatherings elsewhere using a "TEDx" label.

Speakers in Mogadishu include entrepreneurs, , , academics, all but one of whom are Somalis.

Around 100 people are due to attend the series of talks in a conference hall in Mogadishu, but it is hoped many more will watch the meeting via the Internet at tedxmogadishu.com/ .

"It is aimed at the Somali diaspora to show them the opportunities here and how security has improved, as well as to a wider international audience," Egal added.

Fighting erupted in Somalia in the late 1980s, escalating into a brutal civil war following a 1991 coup, with rival militias, warlords and Islamist fighters battling ever since for control of the lawless nation.

Somali forces and an 11,000-strong African Union force have made significant gains in recent months against Shebab militants, but the hardline fighters are still able to carry out deadly attacks in Mogadishu.

In recent months, the international community has revamped efforts to resolve the protracted unrest that has resulted in the country being carved up by warlords, extremist militia and pirates ruling vast regions.

Explore further: Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kept in chains: Mental illness rampant in Somalia

May 20, 2011

(AP) -- Hassan Qasim lies shackled to a wall in a hallway with 25 other patients at a clinic for the mentally ill. He whispers under his breath and spits at his neighbors. Torn and dirty clothes hang off ...

UN says cholera epidemic in Somalia

Aug 12, 2011

(AP) -- World Health Organization officials said Friday that famine-hit Somalia faces a cholera epidemic as dirty water and poor sanitation are leading to an increase in outbreaks of the disease.

Elite conference series to land in Baghdad

Nov 02, 2011

TED, a decades-old conference series that aims to bring together experts in a variety of fields, will open its inaugural Baghdad gathering in 10 days, organisers said on Wednesday.

Somalia free of polio once again

Mar 26, 2008

The World Health Organization said Somalia is once again polio-free thanks to the efforts of 10,000 health workers and volunteers.

Recommended for you

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

20 hours ago

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.