If I were the President of Somalia, I’d do the following for peace.

  1. Learning from the nearly 30 years of war, civil unrest and bloodshed, I’d help build communities based on honesty, respect and compassion for one another.
  2. I would appoint a Minister for Peace.
  3. I would teach my people that conflict is necessary in life. It doesn’t always have to be negative and disastrous. We have to face conflict creatively not violently.
  4. I would educate my people and make them understand, through examples that speak a visual language, that nowhere in the world is conflict absent. It is not the lack of conflict which measures peace, but the ability to resolve conflict non-violently.
  5. I would build on the ability of my people to resolve conflict non-violently through training in peace building, non-violence and conflict transformation. I would design the training tools myself and do it in such a way that even the most illiterate of Somalis would follow and understand.
  6. I would achieve this by making lessons in peace building skills, non-violence and conflict transformation compulsory in the national curriculum from kindergarten to tertiary education.
  7. I would remind my people that as Somalis we are good in the use of poetry and humor. We should use these to our benefit for peace.
  8. I would lead by example. I would encourage my people to read and write. To express themselves through the power of the written word and through expressive art.
  9. I would elaborate that just as conflict cannot be resolved with violence, peace cannot be kept by force. An eye for an eye will not always make you a winner. It would leave many of our people blind and impaired.
  10. I would encourage (academic) research in peace and conflict in Somalia. What is working for us in peace? I would reward the most innovative peace researchers and research programs.
  11. I would create a National Love and Forgiveness Day to encourage my people to annually commemorate peace in the Somali way.
  12. I would appoint Peace Ambassadors in our communities and have monthly meetings with local communities about how we can increase the peace together. I would call them Community Peace Dialogues.
  13. I would burn down all fire arms – small, medium and big. They are not needed.
  14. I would create National Peace Awards to honor and reward the best Somali Peace builders/journalists for their peaceful activism/coverage.
  15. I would appoint a Minister for Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation.
  16. I would discourage tribalism and encourage brotherhood and sisterhood. I’d emphasize on our commonalities. I would re-introduce Somali concepts such as walaaltinimo. Somaalinimo. Gobannimo. Waddaninimo. Kalgacal. Kal iyo laab. Jaceyl. Tixgelin.
  17. I would encourage women to take up key leadership positions and appoint them as Ministers, Vice Ministers and Ambassadors.
  18. I would reach out to the youth and keep them busy with cultural programs/activities that encourage learning, reflection, growth, patriotism and civic engagement. I’d encourage regional exchange programs/study tour/ visits.
  19. I’d ask communities to build trees of peace. A peace tree outside every house providing public shade, a free public space, and more.
  20. I would emphasize and re-emphasize on national reading of The Holy Quran, especially chapters that encourage brotherhood, peace building and compassion, love, gender equity, justice and peaceful co-existence.
  21. I would make conflict transformation a compulsory crosscutting topic in all development/humanitarian projects.
  22. I would appoint a Minister for Compassion and Love.
  23. I would encourage neighbors to reach out to each other and to work together for common purpose because love liberates. Love empowers. Love is all we need.
  24. I would teach my people to listen carefully to others before making judgments.
  25. I would demonstrate how to compassionately listen to one another and how to communicate respect to one another.
  26. I would advise my people to base their positions on truth and not on clan favoritism/tribalism. I would encourage my people to not side with their brother whom they know is wrong. And to be willing to experience discomfort for standing up for what is important and right.
  27. I would reiterate that a position based on truth will give freedom and would bring people closer to each other and closer to God.
  28. I would advice my people to learn to trust their brothers and to be less suspicious, less fearing. To be patient and persistent in doing good.
  29. I would support cultural programs and literary festivals. I would have posters and murals on public places displaying Somali art and poetry of peace and love. I would have regular radio peace programs.
  30. I would regularly tell my people that I love them.

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