COMSATS hosted a reception on 8th December 2017 in order to celebrate the accession of Federal Republic of Somalia to COMSATS. Representing Somalia, the Honourable Ambassador of Somalia to Pakistan, Ms. Khadija Almakhzoumi graced the reception with her presence. The revered foreign diplomats in Pakistan, esteemed representatives from the Ministries of S&T and Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, representatives from Pakistan based and international organizations as well as officials from COMSATS were also present at the event.
Dr. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS welcomed Federal Republic of Somalia to COMSATS’ family. Speaking to the audience that included a number of diplomats from member and non-member states of COMSATS, Dr. Zaidi welcomed Somalia to COMSATS’ fraternity. Dr. Zaidi asserted the need to have stronger international collaborations to help overcome common challenges of the developing countries. Highlighting COMSATS’ functions and contributions of COMSATS towards member states, he mentioned COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) and COMSATS Internet Services (CIS) as two of its important flagship projects worth emulating in other member states. He noted that the organization has been working to uplift the members of COMSATS’ international Network of Centers of Excellence and a lot of its activities are in line with the SDGs. He also highlighted the importance of strengthening the triangular relationship so as to get the most out of South-South Cooperation for the developing countries. Possible collaborations with South Centre, Common Wealth Association, EU, and others were mentioned in this regard. He thanked the Institute for Policy and Development Studies for their efforts in helping expand COMSATS’ membership.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Ms. Khadija Almakhzoumi extended gratitude and expressed pleasure that being a member Somalia will now be able to benefit from a number of opportunities available with COMSATS and looked forward to the country being an active part of the organization’s international activities. She considered COMSATS an excellent platform for S&T South-South cooperation and considered CIIT a ‘sea of knowledge’.
There was also a ceremonious exchange of flags of Somalia and COMSATS between Her Excellency and Dr. Zaidi.
By virtue of this membership, Somalia will be represented at the Heads-of-State level Commission of COMSATS and the ministerial-level Consultative Committee. The country can now also have representation at COMSATS’ technical cooperation forum, the Coordinating Council. Somalia would now be able to benefit, inter alia, from COMSATS’ scholarships schemes to study at COMSATS’ Network Members including COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), as well as joint research under COMSATS International Thematic Research Groups.
On the sidelines of the reception ceremony, the Executive Director COMSATS held an informal meeting with the Ambassador of Somalia to Pakistan, Her Excellency Ms. Khadija Almakhzoumi, and Board Member, Somali-Swedish Researchers Association, Mr. Khalif Bile, in the presence of senior officials of COMSATS Secretariat.
During the meeting, Dr. Zaidi expressed his pleasure on having Somalia as a new member state of COMSATS and desired to initiate collaborations with Somali institutions based on a work plan. He suggested that the health services in Somalia can be improved with projects like Tele-Health, for which COMSATS can provide expertise as well as support. He also noted that a top notch university like COMSATS Institute of Information Technology can be established in Somalia as a collaborative project.
Dr. Bile was very receptive of the suggestions of Dr. Zaidi and agreed to the recommended areas of collaboration including E-Health, which he considered can be utilized for providing e-health services and enhancing research in Somalia. The Somali Ambassador nominated Councilor of the Embassy of Somalia, Mr. Abdullahi Haji Daud Warsame, as the focal person, while Mr. Nisar Ahmad, Deputy Director (Systems) was nominated from the COMSATS.
While discussing future endeavors with COMSATS, Dr. Bile mentioned that the designated focal persons should discuss provision of scholarships and possibilities of collaborative programmes between COMSATS and Somalia to start the exchange of information.
The Executive Director proposed that an official from Somalia should be placed at COMSATS Secretariat on secondment. For this he reuqested the Ambassador to take the case to concerned authorities. Dr. Zaidi also requested Dr. Bile to provide his expertise for designing collaborative projects.
COMSATS is set to further strengthen its South-South and North-South cooperation along with its efforts to expand the horizons of its membership. The Member States of COMSATS, now including Somalia, can benefit from the opportunities arising from new and broader international cooperation and collaborations.