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Cablegate: Somalia - American Corner Update

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OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2031 2711117
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281117Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1113
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002031

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/E AND AF/PD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM KPAO SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - American Corner Update

1. (SBU) Summary: The Somalia Unit has recently made tremendous
progress in implementing the long-awaited American Corner in
Mogadishu, Somalia. We recently arranged the delivery of a shipment
of material that had been sitting in Nairobi for several years. We
also organized the travel of our newly-appointed American Corner
Coordinator for training in Addis Ababa, with a stop in Nairobi for
consultations. He will gradually increase the visibility of the
American Corner as a vehicle for outreach and engagement with the
Somali populace. End summary.

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Setup
-----

2. (SBU) The Somalia Unit recently arranged the delivery of a
shipment of material, designated as the initial startup gear for an
American Corner in Mogadishu, which had been sitting in Nairobi for
several years. A recent International Visitor Leadership Program
(IVLP) alumnus provided support in Mogadishu, including meeting the
aircraft and arranging for its delivery to the university.

3. (SBU) Owing to the volatile situation in Mogadishu, the
university's classes are not being held at the main campus, but have
been dispersed around the city. However, with the September opening
of the academic year, the university plans to establish the
university library in a central location in Mogadishu. The American
Corner will be established at that location, with the understanding
that it can be moved as conditions allow classes to resume at the
main campus.

---------------------
Coordinator Training,
Implementation Plans
---------------------

4. (SBU) With the generous assistance of Embassy Addis Ababa, our
newly-appointed American Corner Coordinator, Adam Ahmed Hussein, was
able to attend a training session in Addis in mid-August. Hussein
learned the general workings of an American Corner, got ideas for
programs, and traded ideas with his Ethiopian counterparts. The
training coordinators informed us that Hussein was a significant
contributor during the sessions. Post thanks Embassy Addis Ababa
for allowing Hussein to participate in this training.

5. (SBU) Hussein requested that Post allow a slightly unorthodox
ramp-up of the American Corner, but one that we agree is necessary
in light of the volatile security situation in Mogadishu. Hussein
will set out the materials without significant fanfare at first, but
will monitor their usage and begin advising users that the materials
are from the American government and people. As the usage and
popularity increase, he will begin branding as appropriate, and
eventually label the area as an American Corner. We noted to
Hussein that we respect his awareness of the security situation, but
we need to lean as far forward as possible, given that this is in
fact an outreach mechanism.

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Way Forward
-----------

6. (SBU) The Somalia Unit will dedicate some FY09 program funds to
augmenting the material that was shipped to Mogadishu. Among the
items we will acquire immediately are computers with webcam
capability for possible video conferences, and select books and
educational materials. We are extremely optimistic about the
success of this American Corner.

RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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