New Somali President is Civic Activist, Teacher

Posted September 10th, 2012 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, entered politics only recently after a career in academics and as a civic activist.

The largely unknown candidate became a strong contender for the presidency after receiving support from lawmakers who were not content with the incumbent administration led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Lawmakers elected Mr. Mohamud Monday by a comfortable margin, 190-79, after several rounds of voting narrowed down the field of candidates.

The new president is the leader of the Peace and Development Party which he founded last year.

Before entering politics, the 56-year-old spent most of his life working as a civil society activist and also as a teacher and administer at Somali Technical Teachers' Training College.

After Somalia's government collapsed in the early 1990s, Mr. Mohamud worked with the United Nations Children's Fund in the central and southern parts of the country.

He was also a member of a team that negotiated the dismantling the so-called “greenline” that divided Somali's capital, Mogadishu, into north and south.

Later, he became a founding member of the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development — a university, research and training center.

In 2005, Mr. Mohamud became the program coordinator at the Center for Research and Dialogue – a civil society organization in Somalia.