Celebrating Exceptional Achievements: Highlights from ISA23
The International Somali Awards (ISA) is an annual event that celebrates the exceptional achievements of Somalis worldwide. It serves as a unique and distinguished platform to recognize Somali successes across various fields, including business, social work, sports, education, and entertainment. Established in 2016, the ISA aims to counter the negative portrayal of Somalis in the media and shed light on their valuable contributions to society. Over the years, it has grown into a highly anticipated event within the Somali community. Most recently, the ISA23 took place in Turkey, a country that holds great cultural and historical significance for Somalis.
ISA23 commenced with a thought-provoking panel discussion held at the Otteperla Hotel on March 15th, 2023. Distinguished panelists, including influential figures like Fatima Jibreel, a pioneering humanitarian activist, Degan Ali internationally renowned humanitarian leader and Executive Director of Adeso. and Representative Ilhan Omar, engaged in insightful conversations covering a wide range of topics. These discussions encompassed accountability, aid system reform, climate security, and resilience. The event’s objective was to explore Somalia’s path towards sustainability while emphasising the crucial aspects of climate security and resilience.
The second panel discussion centered around representation in the sports and creative industries. Esteemed panelists, such as Iqra Ismail, the founder of Hilltop Women FC, Ayan Ahmed, a talented actress, and Ikran Dahir, an internet culture journalist at BuzzFeed, deliberated on the significance of diversity and inclusion within their respective domains. They shared personal experiences and perspectives, highlighting the pivotal role of representation in dismantling barriers and creating opportunities for marginalised communities.
The ISA23 program concluded with an engaging conversation between Nuruddin Farah and Christina Ali Farah, exploring Nuruddin Farah’s creative journey and the profound impact of his work on contemporary culture. Nuruddin Farah provided insights into his creative process, influences, and experiences, while emphasising the importance of embracing one’s voice and cultural heritage. He encouraged young people to pursue their passions relentlessly and never give up on their dreams.
The awards ceremony of the ISA23 event, held on the evening of March 16, 2023, was a highly anticipated and unforgettable occasion. Attended by 250 guests, including community leaders, celebrities, political officials, entrepreneurs, and creatives, the event featured spectacular performances by well-known Somali artists, such as Lafoole and Hanad Bandz. Motivational speeches from Ilhan Omar and Sabrina Dhowre inspired the audience. The night concluded with a farewell dinner, providing additional networking opportunities. One of the highlights was presenting the ISA23 Lifetime Achievement Award to Fatima Jibrell, a prominent environmental activist from Somalia and the founder of Adeso Africa, in recognition of her tireless efforts towards environmental conservation. Abdirahman Warsame, the founder of Generation Hope, was also honored with the Special Recognition Award. Here is the complete list of winners from the night of March 16, 2023:
- Sports Person of the Year: Macalin Nur
- Innovation Award: Mariam Noor (Mariam was not present to receive her award – the award was presented by Ubah Cristina Ali Farah ).
- Outstanding Educational Achievement Award: Ismail Ibrahim Warsame
- Arts and Entertainment Award: Asad Hagio (Asad was not present to receive her award – the award was presented by Sagal Mohamed).
- Outstanding Community Contribution Award: Dr. Mohammed Faisal
- Business of the Year Award: Enza Home
- The Special Recognition Award for 2023 – Abdirahman Warsame
- Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 2023: Fatima Jibrell
In conclusion, the ISA serves as a pioneering platform that celebrates the exceptional achievements of Somalis worldwide while challenging negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media. The ISA23 event was a remarkable gathering that highlighted the pivotal role of representation in fostering more diverse and inclusive industries. The ISA team extends heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees and winners for their remarkable accomplishments, hoping that they will inspire future generations of Somalis.
We appreciate your readership and engagement with our blog post. We are excited to share with you some highlights from the event. To immerse yourself in the excitement and energy of the night, please click on the following link: