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University and Act for Somalia to co-host UK Ambassador to Somalia’s visit to Bristol Somali community

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13 May 2015

The United Kingdom’s Ambassador-designate to the Federal Republic of Somalia, Harriet Mathews OBE, is to visit Bristol on 15 May to meet with the city’s Somali community, at an event organised by Act for Somalia and facilitated by the University.

Ms Mathews succeeds Mr Neil Wigan and will take up her appointment in June. She joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1997 and most recently headed the Ebola Task Force. Ms Mathews is an Africa specialist and has held three other FCO positions related to Africa. She was awarded the OBE in 2005 for her work on West Africa.

Ms Mathews will meet with representatives from Bristol’s Somali community. Event organiser Mohamed Cantoobo, chair of Act for Somalia (a Somali advisory and awareness-raising organisation and a partner in the Somali First initiative, an ongoing project to promote Somali-led development), said: ‘It is a privilege for Act for Somalia to organise the first visit to Bristol of the new British Ambassador to Somalia and we thank the University for its support and warm hospitality.’

Dr Eric Herring, Reader in International Politics in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, and Co-Director of Somali First, said: ‘It is a great honour to help Act for Somalia to host this visit. The UK is playing a very important role in Somalia and Bristol’s Somali community is the UK’s third largest. Act for Somalia does excellent work on behalf of Somalis in Bristol and far beyond it. The University is committed to supporting the promotion of Somali-led development through the Somali First initiative and the University’s strategic partnership with Transparency Solutions. In hosting this event, we are aiming to help promote co-operation between the UK and the Somali people.’

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