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Somaliland Central Bank Governor Received an Honorary Doctorate from a Fake University

On July 29th, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Somaliland Mr. Ali Abdilahi Dahir, posted on social media that he has received an Honorable Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership (PhD) after attending an Dubai Leadership Conference 2022 organized by Masterminds Business School in coordination UAE University and European Digital University. Mr. Dahir stated that the doctorate was awarded following an exhaustive review of his educational and professional experience.

The Central Bank has also congratulated Mr. Dahir on his achievement of being conferred a doctorate, addressed the Governor as a Doctor in their congratulatory press release, and followed up with a lavish welcome party upon his return, complete with a new plaque to celebrate the Chairman’s new status as a doctor.

According to the brochure of the event held in Dubai by Masterminds Business School, the conference outline includes topics such as wealth creation, how to build a million-dollar company, social media, digital marketing for executives and CEOs, and blockchain among others but all indications are that this is nothing more than an ordinary seminar with a tinge of Tony Robbin’s wildly popular motivational seminars with a twist of conferring honorary degrees to those who have purchased the 3,500 US dollar VIP ticket to the event.

Honorary degrees are an old tradition where prestigious and ordinary academic institutions have granted them to individuals they deemed worthy for various reasons, including athletes, celebrities and at times generous wealthy benefactors since the middle ages. However, it is important to note that these types of symbolic degrees do not entitle the recipients to use the title of doctor or claim to hold the actual degree.

In the case of Mr. Dahir Abdillahi Ali, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Somaliland, his honorary doctorate, which for some reason he opted to call “honorable doctorate” instead of honorary is granted European Digital University which is registered in the state of Delaware and shares domicile with a construction material supplier. In addition, aside from conferring honorary degrees on people from mostly third world countries, there is no indication that the University is engaged in any educational or academic activities of any sort. In addition, there is no indication that the European Digital University is accredited in the state of Delaware or any any other state.

European Digital University is founded by Professor Sidhic A Muhammed who happens to be one of the faculty of Masterminds Business School.

Although other entities such as the UAE University were mentioned by Mr. Dahir and the Central Bank to have taken part in the vetting of his academic and professional background and conferment of his doctorate degree, besides few photos where the founder of European Digital University is at a podium with the logo of various universities, we were unable to ascertain of an actual relationship between European Digital University, the Master Minds Business School and the UAE University.

Another school that is mentioned in the literature of Master Minds Business School and Digital University is the University of Dubai, a rather prestigious school in the Emirates and despite the use of its logo in their promotional material, neither entity is listed on the university’s partner institutions.

Although many academic institutions award credits for work and life experience, it is unusual that someone is awarded a degree let alone a doctorate on those basis. It is unclear if the Central Bank Governor confused the two and assumed that he has genuinely earned a doctorate.

Mr. Dahir, who was appointed as the Governor of Somaliland Central Bank in September 2021, has faced an uphill battle in his parliamentary confirmation as he lacked banking experience as required by Central Bank Law No. 54/2012. Before his appointment to the Central Bank, he served as the Director General of the Ministry of Technology and Telecommunications Dr. Abdiweli Soufi Abdillahi, who holds a doctorate in technology from the Open University of Sudan.

The Governor of Central Bank did not respond to questions about his honorary degree, the European Digital University and if he plans to use the Doctor title and if the expenses were charged to the taxpayers.

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