In an exclusive interview with Somalilandpress, Mohammed Ibrahim had the pleasure to ask questions Jonathan Starr, the co-founder and Managing Director of Abaarso Tech, a non-profit organization and boarding school in Somaliland.

Mr. Jonathan, an Economics graduate from Emory University, is also the founder of Flagg Street Capital, a private investment company that manages more than $170 million of investor assets. Before he found Flagg Street, Mr. Jonathan worked as an analyst at SAB Capital and Blavin & Company.

Jonathan says the aim of Abaarso Tech is to offer world class education to people of the Horn of Africa not only to those in Hargeisa.

The following is the full audio of the
interview: [audio: starr.mp3]

Photo: Daniel teaching physics (Abaarso Tech)

Somalilandpress, 13 April 2010


  1. I forgot to add that it's also important for Abaarso Tech to sign a contract with some of the leading primary schools in Somaliland because as you understand by now many of the students lack the basic foundations because of their earlier years of education or not having education at all.

    I think like all thing it's important to build good strong foundations and Somalis need to understand the importance of prep and primary school education because its that time when kids develop the pillars needed for future education and learning. Somali kids lack this so this leads to lack of deciplines and by deciplines i dont mean just sitting at school quietly but also developing ethics and rotines to do homework unsupervisized…team work, etc.

    If its going to be just boarding school (properly minimum age 13+), they going to need strong schools that provide them with the right people.

    This is huge challenge and it will not be solved any time soon but this is good start.

  2. Very good news, I am optimistic about Abaarso and I think it could be one of the best things that happened to Somaliland thanks to men like Ahmed and Jonathan.

    I think it will bring something new and the old education system needs to be reformed. There are a lot of things that are failing the education system and students in Somaliland and I believe Abaarso is good solution to many of those.

    If I was to ask Abaarso management for one thing, I do say they should also include sport scholarship school to develop the future atheletes in this region. This would encourage well being and healthy lifestyle because many young men spend their time chewing narcotic called Khaat and by establishing sport school within Abaarso, would be fantastic.

    Healthy students can only achieve your dream for the elite and educated class that you wish to establish.

    I suggest marathons (Somalis could properly run as well as our neighbours), cycling (Tour de Abaarso), and soccer.

    Abaarso could get the fund raising it needs by establishing such school because they would be able to get sponsors from Somaliland firms as well as American ones who are interested in the region or events. When the competition event is held once a year for instance, a lot of companies in Somaliland would love their name on player’s jerseys or bikes, billboards etc.

      • He doesn't have to say that, him supporting the development of Somaliland by establishing an institution that will give fruits to tomorrow's leaders is enough.

        Talk is cheap, Mr. Starr did noble thing and if this school succeeds which I'm sure it will, it will become part of Somaliland and the Horn for good.

  3. I think we need to mobilize the Somaliland communities in the Diaspora to support this sort of program and institution.

    We need to develop a strategy rather than asking them directly for donations Somalis aint good at that.

    Somalis are indeed generous but many of them live in a life of struggle, if they wont generous they wouldnt be sending more than $1 billion through remmitance every year back to their relatives.

    So when so many are supporting so many its also hard to support other programmes.

    Americans have every thing within their reach, Somalis are nomads, we are on the move and it's going to take at least 150 years to reach where America is today. Real talk.

  4. I fail to understand why wearing this unSomaliland uniform will accomplish? This is not Islamic dress code its wahabisim in the heart of Somaliland.

  5. I'm a Somali graduate student (Doctorate) here in the States.I'm really impressed with Jonathan Star work! The universal voice of equal quality education is what we all should strive to support.I will watch this school closely and hopefully support with all my resources one day! Keep up the good work.

  6. I dont study at Abaarso Tech but i do take a certain program. On the first days that I visited the campus, I was very impressed at the professionalism of the staff, the high quality of the education they provide (as opposed to the other educational institutions in S/L) and the tutoring programs they have where senior students pass on their knowledge to their juniors. Whatever Abaarso Tech's objective is, I say take the opportunity to get a proper education. To me, the glass is not half empty but half full; I am sure the batch of students studying at ATU can fill the other half!