Somali civic leadership programme

swfKayd Somali Arts and Culture and partners would like to invite you to the launch of Somali Week Festival 2012 which will take place on Friday 19th at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, Derbyshire Street, E2 6HG.

Somali Week Festival 2012 will take place from Friday 19th to 28th October 2012 and will be launched by Hon Rushanara Ali, MP for Tower Hamlets.

This year, the festival will focus on the theme of ‘COURAGE’. Our understanding of ‘courage’ is not one of gun-toting aggression, but a belief in peace and tolerance as essential principles; about dreaming the seemingly impossible, challenging the status quo in the name of collaboration and fruitful coexistence. In that sense it emphasises empathy, tolerance and personal integrity in a context of uncertainty. The acceptance that this kind of courage must necessarily exist without the security of knowing that ‘everything will be all right in the end’ is paramount. Tolerance and empathy in the certain knowledge of a positive outcome do not require courage.

We are honoured to have Said Saleh, great playwright, educationalist and poet, to introduce the theme of the year. Saleh has bravely written about Somali peace and his work has garnered several awards; his song, ‘Midwife’, was voted one of the top four in the United Nations International Year of the Child Children’s Song Contest, and in 2005, he was awarded the Virginia McKnight Binger award for Human Service.

At the launch, some of our visiting artists from Somalia and Somaliland together with UK based poets, such as Muse Ali Faruur, Hassan Qawdhan, Abdidhuuh Yusuf and Abdillahi Bootaan will recite some of their poetry and the English translations will be provided by James Byrne, poet and editor of Wolf Poetry Magazine, Clare Pollard, poet from Poetry Translation Centre and Rob Inglis.

The evening will conclude with a talk by award winning poet and thinker, Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame ‘Hadraawi’. Hadraawi, the great and most admired Somali poet, has just been awarded the prestigious Prince’s Claus Award of 2012. The news of this remarkable achievement was received with high jubilation by Somalis living in the Horn of Africa and in the far corners of the world. The Prince’s Claus Awards honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. Expressing their motivations for their choice of Hadraawi, the Award Committee stated, ‘Hadraawi is honoured for creating profound and beautiful poems that enrich and expand the centuries-old oral poetry traditions that is central to contemporary Somali culture and identity, for sustaining shared historical awareness and include discourse in divisive times, for his life long commitment to community development and social justice, and for building bridges, providing inspiration and promoting peace through poetry.’

We are especially looking forward to welcome our international guests, including Mahamed Ibrahim Warsame “Hadraawi”, Said Saleh Ahmed, Hussein Sheikh Ahmed ‘Kaddare’, Hassan Qawdhan, Musse Ali Faruur, Abdidhuh Yusuf, Giorgio Banti, Abdallah Mansur, Mohamed Daahir Afrah, Evan Christopher, Iara Lee, Farah Gamuute, Ali Hasan ‘Banfas’, Abdilahi Awad, Ismail Abdi Ibrahim ‘Basbaas’, Roland Marchal and more.

The launch will be conducted in a mix of Somali and English and open to all. The entrance fee is £10 and will be on first come first served.

All Somali Week Festival events take place in Oxford House, Bethnal Green, except two panel discussions on Friday 26th October which will take place in SOAS University, Russell Square.

If you would like to obtain your discounted weekly pass for £30, or wish to have more information please email or call 07903712949. For the full programme please see attachment or visit or

We look forward to welcoming you to Somali Week Festival 2012!

Supported by Tower Hamlets Council.

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