His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, held a special reception for the country’s presidential envoy for the Somaliland-Somalia talks and the founder of Edna Adan Hospital and its Edna Adan University Hospital, at the presidency at noon today.
Edna, who earlier in the month received the coveted 1.4 million US Dollar Templeton Prize of the year, returned to the capital, Hargeisa, to a national reception waiting for her at the airport government ministers, the former First Lady – Amina-Weris, lawmakers, top leading army and police officers and tens of thousands of flag-waving adoring fans awaited her.
“I cannot express how proud I am, on behalf of the whole country present and absent, of the unique achievements of the indefatigable Dr Edna Adan Ismail,” the President stated at the reception.
Edna, 85, he pointed out, had continuously proven that she had the drive, the energy and the commitment of a score of younger politicians and activists.
“Edna won international accolade not because any of us supported her up the ladder but because of her unique stamina and resilience,” the president said.
A rarely emotional Edna could not hold back tears of joy and gratitude at the reception and honor the national accorded her there at the Presidency and at the airport and all along the streets of Hargeisa on her way to the Presidency.
“Whoever I am is a product of how my people see me,” she said at the podium.
“The love and adulation you have all shown me today is a mark of your love not only to me but to Somaliland,” Dr Edna said, profusely and heartily thanking the milling crowds, officials and MPs who left all their cares and responsibilities behind to give her a heroine’s welcome at the Presidency, Egal International Airport, lining the streets, and the capital, in general.
Edna received the Templeton Prize earlier during the month ‘in recognition of her contributions to women’s health in her native Somaliland’.
The annual prize established by the late philanthropist Sir John Templeton, valued at nearly $1.4 million, is awarded to honor those who harness the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe.
As Somaliland’s first trained midwife, Adan Ismail transformed the landscape of maternal and infant health in the independent region of northern Somalia and helped lower infant mortality rates by 75 percent. Her life glitters with firsts: First Somali woman to study in England, first woman to drive a car in Somaliland, the country’s first female cabinet minister, a former First Lady, and the first African woman to win the Templeton Prize.