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As a part of concert effort to reach out Somalis in the Diaspora, Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) has been travelling and hosting forums throughout Europe, US, Canada, Australia and Malaysia. Saturday June 21, CRD held a forum in Toronto. The forum attracted the attention and the willing participation of a wide range of member of the community, influential personalities, religious organizations; Somali service provider's organizations, academics, and members of local media as well as non-Somali Canadians.

The overall objective of these forums is to share information, engage the Somalis in the Diaspora and encourage them to participate in the rebuilding Somalia. The forums focused on issues, challenges and opportunities in Somalia - particular emphases were given the impact of war on society.

The Center for Research & Dialogue (CRD) an affiliate of WSP International (in partnership with the United Nations) has traveled to various parts inside Somalia as a part of a research study on issues pertaining to the rebuilding of Somalia on: social, economic, gender and political reconstruction. The Center compiled a comprehensive research data to be released as a country profile on the spring 2003. The researchers of the Center met with over 10,000 people in many areas visited including faction and political leaders, international actors, local NGOs and civil society members, business groups and traditional elders in their respective regions.

CRD/WSP presented preliminary research findings to the Somalis in Toronto whose contribution is vital for the rebuilding of Somali. CRD/WSP offered a set of issues/themes for the Forum. Participants also viewed documentary films never shown to general public.

Participants echoed the need of such forums in other major cities where thousands of Somalis resides. Mohamed Ali, one of the participants said " we often see people coming from Somalia who represent specific groups or interest, this is the first Somali forum focus on our similarities rather than our differences"

"You can't watch these films and remind untouched" said Said Ahmed, one of former Somali civil servants living in Canada. " We will never move forward without looking inwards".

"These films and CRD research findings gave us hope that Somalis are still resilient enough to overcome these challenges and calamities" Said Said.

Chocking with emotion and holding back with tears, Ahmed Buubiye said " what CRD share with us today is quite disturbing and challenging! We have no time to talk, we need to act, and act quickly otherwise Somalia we know will be lost forever"

CRD/WSP has also conducted similar forum in Dubai where Somali Business Council affirmed its commitment to restoration of peace and stability in Somalia.

In the next two weeks, CRD/WSP will conduct similar forums in various cities around world, here are the schedules;

1) June 28, 03 - Virginia: 4975 Columbia Bike - Arlington Mill building Community Center

Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Contact: Hawo warsame 703-626-1513
Sacdio Sheikh 202-687-5146

2) July 3 & 4, 03 Columbus Ohio, Israaca
Contact: Abukar Osman 614-477-3244

3) July 11, 03, Ottawa, Canada -
Contact: Hiiraan Online - Ahmed Gure

4) June 28, 03 Sydney University - Australia
Contact: Jennifer Grover 612 9229 ext. 4111

5) July 5-6 Melbourne (La trobe Univ. African Studies Centre)
Contact: Abdullahi Aden - Phone no. 61438 954809

6) July 12 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Contact: Somali students
Somali University Students


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