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Good morning, this is Pip. Ilwad Elman has spearheaded peacebuilding efforts in Somalia, with her work rehabilitating child soldiers and helping survivors of sexual violence lauded both inside and outside the country. We spoke to the daughter of the “Somali father of peace” about what drives her and her hopes for the future.

Also this morning, to mark World Tuberculosis Day, we’re hearing from an expert who argues that one of the best ways to prepare for future pandemics is to turbocharge the fight against the disease.

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Pip Cook


Paving the way to peace in Somalia

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Ilwad Elman is one of Somalia’s leading human rights activists. (Paolo Spallasso/Right Livelihood)

For over a decade, Ilwad Elman has been at the forefront of Somalia's peace process. Her work with survivors of sexual violence and former child soldiers in the country has led her around the world, from her home town of Mogadishu to the United Nations headquarters in New York and the White House in Washington DC.

Alongside her mother, with whom she runs their organisation Elman Peace in the Somali capital, she has been honoured with more than a dozen international humanitarian awards, including the Right Livelihood and the Aurora prize. She has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize no fewer than three times.

As the daughter of Elman Ali Ahmed, known as the “Somali father of peace”, her career path may not come as a surprise. She was born in Mogadishu during the early 1990s, a tumultuous period when Somalia was teetering on the brink of civil war. Her father rapidly became the country’s best-known peace activist, renowned for his work disarming and rehabilitating child soldiers. His slogan “drop the gun, pick up the pen” can still be found written on walls in the capital.

After war erupted in 1991, Ilwad’s mother, Fartuun Adan, made the difficult decision to leave the country with her three young daughters. Her father remained in Mogadishu to continue the work he had dedicated his life to.

Read the full story on Geneva Solutions

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Opinion of the day

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People wait their turn for screening for tuberculosis by health volunteers in Jakharda village, in western Himalayan region, India, 23 August 2020. (Keystone/EPA/Sanjay Baid)

💭Fighting tuberculosis will protect us from the next global health threat. As a young doctor working in Mwanza, Tanzania, in the 1990s, Eliud Wandwalo came face-to-face with the desperation of people affected by HIV and tuberculosis in his country. Now head of TB at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, he argues why fighting TB is essential if we want to prepare for the next pandemic. Geneva Solutions

Geneva Solutions (EN)

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Russia-Ukraine war: what are the risks of escalation? One year since Russia invaded Ukraine, could the war extend beyond the country’s borders and should Vladimir Putin’s threats of using nuclear weapons be taken seriously? What does the future look like for Ukrainians who have fled the violence?

Geneva Solutions, in partnership with Le Temps and the Geneva Press Club, will debate these questions with Ukrainian ambassador to Switzerland Iryna Venediktova, the assistant high commissioner for protection with the UN Refugge Agency Gillian Triggs and other high-level experts and civil society actors at a panel on 4 April at Domaine de Penthes in Geneva.

Register for the event (EN)

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