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Hassan Mohamud becomes Somalia's first sitting president to earn PhD

Tuesday October 25, 2022

President Sheikh attending one of his PhD classes.

Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is on his way to becoming the country's first head of state with a doctorate Degree.

President Sheikh has successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in Peace, Governance, and Development at United Nations University for Peace.

Sheikh will take part in the graduation ceremony this year as the first sitting head of state to graduate from UPEACE.

In 2018, when UPEACE began offering its program in Mogadishu, President Hassan Sheikh was one of the first students to enrol in the university's doctoral program.

"I successfully defended my dissertation at UPEACE and got my Ph.D. in Peace, Governance, and Development," said President Hassan after undertaking extensive courses, comprehensive and independent research.

As an industry veteran of thirty years, he asserts, "Education can reconstruct our nation and government."

He said, “We wish to simplify and reduce the cost of education.”

According to Somalia's Minister of Education, Culture, and Higher Education, Farah Abdulkadir Mohamed, the President's actions "serve as an example for youth, seniors, and the entire Somali community."

Hussein Sheikh Mohamud, the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Somalia, who is also a graduate with a doctorate from UPEACE, reflected on the manner in which he has balanced work and academics.

Hussein added that education is at the heart of the president’s agenda and has taken it upon himself to demonstrate the centrality of education and, in particular, higher education.

“A long with his other commitments to accelerate reforms in the security, judiciary, and socioeconomic sectors, His Excellency Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will commission and launch several initiatives impacting and transforming the education sector as a whole, particularly higher education,” he said.

Before entering politics, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud taught at SIMAD University in Mogadishu, Somalia, and was one of its founding members. He also worked in community development and peace making.

As part of putting together the new government in Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh has taken important steps toward education and development.

The University for Peace was established through UN General Assembly resolution 35/55 of December 5, 1980, globally to lessen the obstacles to peace as enshrined by the United Nations Charter.

President Hassan Sheikh signed the instrument of accession during the 77th session of the United Nation General Assembly. Thus, Somalia became the 42nd nation to sign the UPEACE charter.

There are over 2,000 alumni from 120 countries who have graduated with Master's and doctoral degree programs at UPEACE.

In late 2018, UPEACE expanded its operations to Somalia and aims to build a full-fledged campus in Mogadishu to aid Somalia's post-conflict recovery.

In 2021, on International Peace Day, September, 76 master's degree students from UPEACE in Mogadishu graduated in the presence of James Swan, the Special Representative of secretary general of the United Nations for Somalia.

As Somalia recovers from decades of civil strife, UPEACE has become the only international institution with a physical presence in Somalia to offer a PhD in Peace, Governance, and Development.


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