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Welcome to the
 Anglo-Somali Society

Annual General Meeting, February 2023

As required by the Anglo-Somali Society Constitution the President, David Brooks, chaired the AGM. The Society’s Chair, Rhoda Ibrahim, fronted the inspirational talk given by the distinguished Somali archaeologist, Dr Sada Mire.

After a period of upheaval (not to mention Covid) the Society has now settled, with a potentially strong Council (see inside back cover) to take us into the future, led by Rhoda (Chair), Kinsi (Vice-Chair), Scott (Treasurer), Adil (Secretary), and Susan (Membership Secretary). Katherine (Kitty) after many years as Treasurer kindly acted temporarily as Secretary.

The latest excellent Journals have been in the strong hands of the recently formed Editorial Board led by Susan who feeds their submissions to our typesetter who, for a modest fee, prepares the Journal digitally for the printer who, in turn, for a modest fee, also posts the Journals to members. All seemed well until after Issue 72 was published late in 2022 when, due to a change of personal circumstances our typesetter, Lynette Maddock, caused consternation by having to resign. She carried out this role so well that her loss seemed a particularly serious setback for what is surely the very flagship of the Society. Thankfully, Lynne helped with advertising the post, and we were able to appoint, from a short list of four, an excellent candidate, Martin Payne, who was announced at the AGM.

The amount of voluntary work involved in producing the Journal should not be underestimated. In particular it is to be hoped that the Council will continue to find ways of reducing Susan’s workload. There is an urgent need for more Council members who can attend meetings, offer useful skills, and perform specific but limited tasks.

Financially the Society is also in a strong position. Scott made available a statement of the accounts (for the year ended 31 December 2022) at the meeting. It can be found towards the end of this Journal. In his absence Kitty responded to the very few questions raised. The Meeting unanimously accepted the statement as correct and also voted, without exception, to re-elect all the standing Council members. Rhoda expressed thanks to all for furthering the well-being of such a significant international friendship organisation. There was much evidence of friendship to be witnessed, there in front of our eyes.

The mood of the business side of the AGM was lightened somewhat by the auction of the last-remaining Society tie. Many dozens of these were crafted to the Society’s design, with its acacia tree motif, as long ago as the 1960s and 1970s, selling like hot cakes in those days. By 2000, when men’s ties were worn less often, sales slowed to a trickle. No new ties were ordered. On the occasion of this 2023 AGM, however, perhaps it was a sense of history which generated a keen competitive spirit, much to the entertainment, and even amazement of the onlookers who were not thus moved. It was overlooked that the Society’s historical decision was to adorn men with this item of clothing without organising an equivalent for women. In any case bids rose with awesome leaps but failed to reach the bid of £100 which had been submitted earlier by email, to the benefit of the Society’s funds.

However, any disappointment among the AGM attendees was immediately assuaged by the arrival of another tie! Richard Sills produced an older, narrower, second-hand Society tie. This raised the auction to fever pitch. It had been owned and worn by the late Richard Darlington, the legendary Secondary School headmaster of Borama and Sheikh during the 1950s and early 1960s who was a founder-member of the Anglo-Somali Society and who had also fought with Somalis in Burma during World War II. Excitement and bidding rocketed. The winner was a former pupil of the headmaster at a cost £125.

Yet, it took a third auction to bring proceedings to a conclusion. Dr Abdullahi Deria kindly donated a copy of his 2022 book on education in Somaliland from 1884 to 1960 to the Society. Again, with much merriment and laughter (for such a serious book), a further valuable £30 was raised.

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