RVI is sad to announce the loss of our colleague Said Mohamed Dahir, who collapsed and died unexpectedly on 5 March 2016. Born in Hargeysa, Said’s childhood like many others of his generation was marked by civil war, which forced his family to flee their home in 1988 to Ethiopia. After the war Said was able to resume his studies to become one of the first graduates of the newly founded Amoud University, where he also taught. Before joining RVI, Said worked as a researcher with several international organizations and scholars. It was this experience that led him to join RVI in 2013 as a senior researcher on an influential study on the impact of war on Somali men. In 2015, Said led a team of Somali researchers on a study by RVI of land in Somaliland, travelling throughout the country. In January this year, he was appointed RVI’s Research Manager for the Somali Regions.
Said was rarely happier than when he was undertaking field research, listening to stories and collecting narratives. As one of his friends and fellow researchers noted, Said was passionate about 'addressing social and political issues in Somaliland through research, discussion and writing'. He was a good listener and a good analyst. As a team leader he was an inspiration to the younger researchers he worked with and mentored. He was hard-working, ambitious and hungry to learn as well as to share his knowledge and ideas. As one of his co-researchers remarked, 'he seemed to light up any discussion'. Dr Adan Abokor, Said’s closest colleague in RVI, remembered that the first time he met him he was struck by this 'exceptionally talented, kind and very intelligent young man'. He made friends everywhere, and the following are some of the many tributes received that attest to his popularity.
'I have no words—very sad, so young, so nice, so amazing.'
'He had a great personality and was a kind hearted person—he did all good deeds and efforts, not only for himself but for the interest and wellbeing of all.'
'I am deeply sad for Said, who was such a brilliant, generous and kind person, and a dear friend.'
'Said always shared his wonderful smile and ideas generously.'
'Said Mohamed was not only our friend, he was a mentor for the youth, a creative and talented person. Definitely, we will miss him.'
'I knew Said as a friend and great conversationalist as well as a dedicated professional… Most of all I knew him as a modern man in Somaliland, a loving husband and father and a progressive thinker on issues way beyond traditional expectations and roles.'
Said had a bright future that was sadly cut short. The Institute shall miss him, but his spirit will continue through the studies that bear his mark. Said leaves behind his wife, Marwo, and four young children.