Pretoria, 12 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) – University of Pretoria awards Dr. Edna Adan Ismail from Somaliland the Chancellor’s Medal for her outstanding contribution to humanity.
“You cannot make progress unless you stick your neck out but with due caution”. Dr. Edna Adan, recipient of University of Pretoria’s Chancellor’s Medal.
“Edna Adan Maternity Hospital is the best hospital in Africa”. Mr. Martin Nsibirwa, University of Pretoria’s LLM Programme Manager introduced Dr. Edna profile to the audience.
The recognition that Centre for Human right at the University of Pretoria is bestowing upon me belongs to all who speak out for the voiceless and will hopefully encourage those who are concerned about human rights but who keep silent out of fear of repercussions. Perhaps we should learn from the tortoise whose motto is “You cannot make progress unless you stick your neck out but with due caution” Says Dr. Edna Adan former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Somaliland, the founder of Edna Adan Maternity Hospital (http://www.ednahospital.org/), Hargeisa, Somaliland.
Dr. Edna Adan was speaking at the University of Pretoria’s graduation ceremony yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 10th Dec 09), where by government officials, European Union in South Africa (EU), ambassadors, UN high officials, academia, alumni’s who had returned to celebrate 10th anniversary of the LLM programe, international journalists, members of the Community of Somaliland in Southern Africa and hundreds of other guests gathered to celebrate 29 law students from 20 countries who have just completed a Master of Laws (LLM) in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa who received their degrees at the graduation ceremony. A number of prizes were also awarded to deserving students.
The theme of Dr. Edna’s keynote address was “Promoting Human Rights in Somaliland and Africa in general”. The 10th December is the International Human Rights Day. On this day, some sixty years ago, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of Human Rights, while in 1420 years ago, Islam has laid the principles of Human Rights.
“Today, with profound humility, and knowing full well that there are many who are far more deserving than I am, I accept this award on behalf of those individuals and groups both in Somaliland and elsewhere who have taken great personal risk to ensure that others may live in peace and dignity. This includes the quarter million war genocide victims in Somaliland who gave their lives to fight oppression during our civil war from 1982 to 1991. I wish to reconise them as the martyrs who praved the way for the peace, freedom and stability that we (Somalilanders) enjoy today”. Said in a moving address in which she accepted Chancellor’s Medal for her outstanding contribution to humanity Somaliland, in particular with regard to helping the under-privileged realize their right to health.
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Dr. Edna further emphased in her moving speech about women empowerment in both Somaliland and Africa in general.
“I accept this award on behalf of the women of Somaliland and Africa who have the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and who die because they are poor. Our women die because they lack care from well trained health care providers in health facilities that are properly equipped. Our women also die because the lack the education that would have raised their status and given them access to skills and employment” Dr. Edna attaches her caring emotions; she further highlights that women die because of female genital cutting.
“I know there is no magic wand that can resolve all our problems but I am confident that if we join hands and concentrate on just one effort which is that of training more midwives in our community, we will prevent the death of many women and children. I therefore appeal for support in this major undertaking which my hospital (Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, Hargeisa Somaliland) is pionnering in Somaliland and where such training is in progress right now” says Dr. Edna, with lots of applauds and support from hundreds of attendees.
She concludes that she profoundly touched by the genorisity of University of Pretoria. “Thank you both for this special recognition and also for the warm hospitality of your people and your country (South Africa). Concludes Dr. Edna
According to the center’s website, the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, which was awarded the 2006 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, presents the one-year full-time LLM in partnership with eight other universities in Africa representing all the sub-regions. The students were drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including the civil service, the judiciary, academia, and some recent graduates.
Since its inception in 2000, 291 students from 35 African countries including Somaliland, have graduated from the programme, and gone back to their respective countries to hold various positions in government, academia, and the NGO sector. Thirty-four students from 19 countries have already been selected to participate in the programme next year.
The students who graduated this week will return to their respective countries where they will use their expertise to further an awareness of human rights and influence general human rights polity in international and national NGOs, government and academia.
Dr. Edna has publicized her hospitals services and the struggle of Somaliland to integrate the international community.
The community of Somaliland in Southern Africa (COSSA) has also awarded merit certificate to Dr. Edna for her dedicated contribution and support for the people of Somaliland.
More of Dr. Edna’s speech analysis, stay tuned on Saeed Furaa’s next articles/analysis from this corner of Africa.
By: Saeed Furaa,