On the 2nd week of September, 2011, the leadership of the Institutive for Horn of Africa Studies and Affairs (IHASA) has embarked on a week-long historical trip to Washington DC to participate a conference co-organized by IHASA, the Woodrow Wilson International Center (WWC) for Scholars and the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AFP). The Conference, Webs of Conflict and Pathways to Peace in the Horn of Africa, primarily focused on in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions for the protracted conflicts in the Horn of Africa region. The IHASA leaders have partnered with the Woodrow Wilson Center and Alliance for Peace-building to map out a regional strategy and possible pathways to peace in the Horn of African region The conference started with the assumption that the status quo is miserably failing the entire people of the Horn of Africa and the most recent international policies pursued as conflict resolution pathways for the Horn have not only terribly failed but rather became counter-productive
From the aforementioned premise, the Institute for Horn of Africa Studies and Affairs (IHASA) was established in envisioning, researching, studying, proposing and advocating pragmatic and long-lasting alternative conflict resolutions for the entire Horn of Africa region and its multi-ethnic and multi-faith peoples.In pursued of this alternative pathways, IHASA has recently released its first and much awaited academic conference proceedings(Looking Back and Looking Forward: the Ogaden region in the 21st century).
At the conference, senior-level representatives from US lawmakers, the US State Department, European Union, the World Bank, African Union, and several thank-tanks interested in international conflict resolutions contributed to the discussion in creating blueprint for successful conflict resolution mechanisms.
The second part of the conference focused in seeking inputs from the Horn of Africa Diasporas and academic institutions to help the co-hosting organizations (WWC, AFP, & IHASA) with the formulation of joint recommendations that will be submitted to the Obama Administration who initially requested WWC’s recommendation.
Among the key issues that were addressed in the conference is the long simmering conflict in the Ogaden region. Number of participants highlighted the fact that the Ogaden region’s conflict is central and fundamental component to ending the instability and the political crisis in the Horn of Africa, especially regions populated by ethnic Somalis. Participants reminded that it was US State Department assessment for the past 60 years that peace in the Horn of Africa is not possible without finding a lasting solution to the Somali Ogaden problem. IHASA’s leadership in this historic trip, have also succeeded to hold multiple private meetings with US lawmakers, EU delegation in DC and number of relevant individuals .
IHASA leadership is committed to build relations and partnership in the foreign policy arenas in the United States and that of the entire Horn of African community to advance and promote the interests of the people of Ogaden and that of the peoples of the entire region. However, IHASA could only realize its mission and vision with the support of its constituents and IHASA is blessed and thankful for the unwavering support of its members both in the Diasporas and in the region in general.