The President: “To protect and promote our national identity, Somali government institutions must use Somali as official language of communication”
HE President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud today led celebrations to commemorate the adoption of the standard written form of the Somali language – first written down 42 years ago. Attending the celebrations in Mogadishu were the Speaker of the Federal Parliament Hon Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, interim Minister of Information, Hon Mustaf Sheikh Ali Dhuhulow, interim Minister for Higher Education Hon Duale Mohamed, parliamentarians, scholars, civil society members and other distinguished guests.
Speaking at the commemoration, the President said, “The writing down of the Somali language 42 years ago is one of the most important milestones in the history of Somalia. Our language links all Somali people in Somalia, across the Horn of Africa and throughout the world.
“Developing and continuing to use a mother tongue is very important. Nations like China and Japan have deliberately educated their people in their own languages, which has had a huge positive impact politically, economically and development-wise.”
The President underscored the importance of the Somali language by instructing all Somali institutions to use Somali as their official language of communication, saying, “We need to protect and promote our language. From this point on, all internal documentation should be drafted in Somali, rather than another foreign language.” The President said that the use of foreign languages in government offices should be used appropriately, for example, for external communication purposes with foreign institutions, countries and partners.
The President announced the creation of a regional language academy for preserving and progressing the Somali language: “Soon we will lay the foundation of the building of a new regional Somali language academy in Mogadishu to serve all the Somali people living in this region. I would like to thank President Ismail Omar Gelle of Djibouti for promoting the Somali, and supporting the establishment of the regional language academy to be opened in Somalia- acknowledging that our country is the mother of developing and promoting the Somali language.”
The President also urged the preparation and implementation of a national Somali language curriculum, adding that efforts to realize these initiatives are underway. “We need to have our own curriculum in Somali language. As you know, the program of developing and modernising our curriculum was affected by the civil war. Now the time has come to realise our dreams of having a national curriculum in our language; a curriculum that will prepare the next generation to support the Somali-led and owned development of our country.”
The President called for the re-building and celebration of historical and cultural monuments, including museums, libraries and national commemoration monuments destroyed during the civil war.