The idea of establishing a higher learning institution in the south-west of Somalia was originally conceived by Prof. Abdi Mohamed Kusow, who is also the principal founder of the University of Southern Somalia (USS). After a considerable period of planning, along with colleagues Engineer Ahmed Qasim Ali, Barlin Hassan Ali, Heikal Kenneded, and Sarmann Kenneded, the University of Southern Somalia was officially inaugurated at the old Eden Hotel building in Baidoa on May 5, 2007. Baidoa, which at the time was the regional capital of Bay region, and currently the seat of the administration of the South West State of Somalia (SWSS), was selected to host the main campus of the USS for a number of reasons related to economic, geographic, demographic, and social factors.
Economically, Baidoa is one of the most important commercial centers of Bay region and indeed of the country. Bay region is the largest producer of livestock, millet and sorghum, among other products that promise sustainable livelihood and make the region accessibly attractive to other trading communities and business entrepreneurs. Geographically, Bay borders several regions including Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Bakool, Gedo, Lower Jubba, and Hiiraan. Demographically, the region is located at the center of the most densely populated areas of the country such as Lower Shabelle. Socially, Baidoa is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, and has historically attracted Somalis from every corner of the country. Its status as a cosmopolitan city has been elevated after Bay region merged with the regions of Lower Shabelle and Bakool to form the South West State of Somalia and become a member of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
More important, Bay region has important historical and archeological sites. In the 1980s several archeological missions carried out by both Somali and Western archeologists found human remains that date back several thousand years—a fact that adds to the remarkable historical and archaeological significance of the other two regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle that now form the SWSS along with Bay. 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. It is governed by an administration of its own citizens that shares statehood alliance with Lower Shabelle and Bakool.
Based on needs assessment carried out by representatives of the University who were residents of the region, the USS planned to start with a couple of faculties and later increased them strategically according to the needs of the people. From very few departments and certificate and diploma courses, the USS has matured into the largest higher learning institution in the southwest of Somalia. It has developed several faculties and multiple departments whose programs are shaped and designed according to the manpower needs in the market, the region, the state and the country in general. Inaugurating its operation in August 2007, the USS has moved gradually from offering Certificate and Diploma courses to the teaching of Bachelor Degree programs in Health Sciences, Business Administration, Information Technology, Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences, Education, Sociology & Social Work, English Language, Literature, and Applied Linguistics, just to highlight a few.
In order to respond to the growing needs for higher education and specialized professional training, USS has in 2019/2020 embarked on a massive reform scheme that saw:
a. The launching of Hakaba Institute for Research & Training which focuses on research;
b. The establishment of the Institute of Languages & Literatures, which is aimed to cater for the improvement of our students’ language and cultural studies;
c. The creation of Society & Development International, the academic journal of the University of Southern Somalia, expected to make its debut publication before the end of this year; and
d. The launch of Huburow, the e-Magazine that represents the voice and vision of the students of the USS and the pride of the SWSS.
Affiliating with an international network of prominent academics and active researchers, the USS has created an unequalled academic collaboration with a number of universities and professional bodies across the continents that recognize its credentials, supervise its graduate students, and visit the university to teach on some the programs. Accordingly, the USS now offers higher degree programs at Master and Doctoral levels in a variety of disciplines—thus strengthening the motto to fulfill the objectives, goals and vision outlined upon the initiation of the institution.
Plans are underway to develop a permanent state-of-the-art campus in an ideal location in the city, after which branch campuses will be opened gradually in some of the other main cities of the SWSS so as to realize the ideals behind our objective, mission and vision for creating the USS.