Somalian Human Rights Activist Soffa Lecturer


DATE: Monday, September 18, 2006

CONTACT: Ronnie Hess, Director of Communications, Division of International Studies, UW-Madison, (608) 262-5590,


Please click here to download a pdf of the flier.

Madison, WI — The Honorable Asha Hagi Elmi will be this year’s J. Jobe Soffa and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Distinguished International Visitor, the Division of International Studies announced today.

AshaMs. Elmi, a member of Somalia’s transitional parliament, founder of Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), and chairperson of the Sixth Clan, a Somali women’s network, will give a public talk on “Women and Peace-making in Somalia,” Wednesday, October 4 at 4 p.m. in the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison. The talk is free and open to the public.

The J. Jobe Soffa and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Distinguished International Visitor Fund provides a regular public lecture on a contemporary issue of global significance by a distinguished woman in international life and is sponsored by the UW-Madison Division of International Studies.

Ms. Elmi has worked tirelessly to advance women’s political participation in Somalia. As Chair and co-founder of Save Somali Women and Children, she has unified women across entrenched clan and ethnic divides. When women were excluded from peace talks in Somalia, she united them across clan lines under the umbrella of the ‘Sixth Clan’ in order to give them a voice in local and national decision-making and, for the first time, a seat at the peace table. At the peace and reconciliation conference in 2000 she served as a vice-chair on behalf of the Sixth Clan and was the first woman to sign the peace accord in 2004. She has since been elected as a member of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Parliament and sworn in as a member of the Pan-African Parliament in Johannesburg in May 2006.

Ms. Elmi holds a Laureate of Arts in economics from the Somalia National University, and a Master’s in business administration and organizational development from the United States International University Africa in Nairobi. Because of her tireless human rights and peace-building work, she was honored with the Blue Ribbon Peace Award by the Women Leadership Board of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, the first award of “Women of Substance” by African Women Development Fund, and nominated among the “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

While in Madison, Ms. Elmi will participate in several other activities. On Thursday, October 5, at 3:15 p.m. she will be the keynote speaker at the 2006 Women’s Executive Leadership Summit, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business at the Fluno Center for Executive Education, 601 University Ave. Conference registration is required. For more information,

Ms. Elmi will also be the featured speaker at a special reception, Sunday, October 8 from 2:00-4:00 p.m., sponsored by TEMPO International and TEMPO International Foundation, in collaboration with the 2006 Women’s Executive Leadership Summit at the Fluno Center for Executive Education and the Division of International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tickets, $50 individual and $100 individual sponsor. For registration information,