The Nordic Somali Youth Summit in Stockholm June 7 was a success. The more than 180 delegates from all Nordic countries were treated to a full day of education, inspiration, networking and entertainment.
The Summit was opened with engaging talks by the Swedish Minister of Integration, Erik Ullenhag and the US Ambassador to Sweden, Mark Brzezinski, and with musical entertaiment by Swedish artist Timbuktu, Jason Diakité.
Minister Ullenhag emphasized the importance of bringing forward positive role models in the local communities in changing the image of Somalis in Sweden, and that municipal officials must realize that they have a have a great responsibility here.
Ambassador Brzezinski gave a personal speech about his background as child of two refugees from Poland and Czechoslovakia. Be proud of who you are and don't change your name, was his message to the auditorium.
Somali role models
In the morning the auditorium also listened to talks by Liban Abdi Abanur, on Youth Engagement, and Amina Jama on Academic Possibilities. After a short coffee break Zahra Hussein talked on Education; The successful design duo the Mohallim sisters, founders of the brand Mataano, talked about Employment/Entrepreneurship; Film maker Idil Ibrahim talked about Advocacy and Dahir Khalid about Community Resources.
The Swedish-Somali songer/songwriter Sherissa performed two moving songs "People of My Country" and "In That State".
During the afternoon workshop session the delegates could choose from several workshops such as Lobbying skills, Woman2Woman Diaspora Action Group, Somali Relief Development Project, Entrepreneurial Skills, etc, but also inspirational workshops such as Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim, founders of fashion brand Mataano, and artist Jason Diakité talking about growing up in Sweden with a minority background.
I Am A Star
The Summit's final part contained a presentation of the "I Am A Star" campaign, and a panel-audience dialogue about the Summit's Charter for Change (C4C) to be presented to Public Officials. The discussions were facilitated by Said Sheik-Abdi and Therese Gales from "I Am A Star" in Minnesota. The audience was very active and made several valuable remarks and comments.
The closing remarks were made by Lisa Cooper, from Leadership Foundation, Oslo, initiator and project leader of the Summit.
The Summit was covered by Swedish media Dagens Nyheter and Radio Sweden, Swedish and Somali edition, and was mentioned by TV4 News.
The Summit was held at Hotel Hilton-Slussen in Stockholm. The next Nordic Somali Youth Summit 2014, is planned to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Nordic Somali Youth Summit is a project that continues to strengthen and connect engaged youths across the Nordic boarders and promote cross-national cooperation on education, employment, social entrepreneurship and political participation. The 2013 Summit was held in Stockholm June 7. www.nordicsomaliyouthsummit.com