The idea of the University of Southern Somalia (USS) was originally conceived in 2002 by a group of Somali scholars and intellectuals in Somalia. After considerable planning, the university was inaugurated at Eden Hotel in Baidoa on May 5, 2007. Baidoa is selected as the main campus of the University for a Number of economic, geographic, demographic, and social reasons. Economically, Baidoa is one of the most important commercial centers of the country. The region is also the largest producer of Live Stock, Millet and Sorghum. Geographically, the Bay region borders several regions including the Lower and Middle Shabelle, Bakool and Gedo, Lower Jubba, and Hiiraan. Demographically, the region is located at the center of the most densely populated areas of the country. Socially, Baidoa is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, and has historically attracted Somalis from every corner of the country.
More important, the region has important historical and archeological sites. In the 1980s several archeological missions carried by both Somali and western Archeologists found human remains that date back several thousand years. Despite experiencing one of the most horrible human tragedies during the early years of the Somali civil war, the region, once known as the “Triangle of Death,” has rebounded, and is now one of the most stable regions of the country.
Based on needs assessment carried by the representative of the university in the region, the university plans to develop colleges and an institute of social research: the College of Science, Agriculture, and Engineering, the College of Social Science, the College of Education, the College of Health and Environmental Sciences, the College of Jurisprudence, and the Institute of Social Research. Initially, the university will start with two colleges, the College of Education, and the College of Health and Environmental Sciences. There is a large high school which graduates about 100 students each year and several high schools are in the development stages in Baidoa alone. High Schools are being developed in Afgoye, Buur Hakaba, Diinsoor, Hudur, Merka, and Barrawe, to mention only a few. The university is currently housed in a college approved by the Southwest government. Plans are underway to develop a permanent main campus about 15 Kilometers of north of Biadoa, and two branch campuses in two other main cities of the region. The inaugural class started in August, 2007.