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Peace Makers or Peace Wreckers? Understanding the Somali Diaspora

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Since the twentieth century, several exogenous and endogenous changes have shifted the political landscape for diasporas, especially in war-prone countries like Somalia. As such, this has resulted in multiple resources investigating the nature of diasporas, the role they play in homeland situations and the nexus with the conflict. Nevertheless, diasporas are often depicted as conflict-generated transnational communities and homogeneous groups, an approach which leads to flawed and skewed perspective of the phenomenon. 


This paper will critically analyze the diversified political engagement of Somali diasporas that interact in distinctive ways and at different levels within their home countries, due to their fragmentation in space, time and goals. Specifically, it takes into consideration the different activities endorsed by the Somali diaspora — distinguished between financial contributions and military and political involvement — to underline that Somali diasporic groups are highly heterogeneous and can contribute both to conflict perpetuation as well as post-conflict reconstruction. 


Keywords: Somalia, diaspora, social movements, al-Shabaab, post-conflict reconstruction, transnationalization




Ms. Claudia Annovi graduated with honourable mention from the Master’s degree in International Relations (MENA Politics) of the University of Turin in April 2020 with a thesis analyzing the relation between jihadi and Islamist groups in Tunisia after the Arab spring. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Languages, Cultures and Societies of the Middle East and North Africa from Ca’ Foscari University (Venice) and had several experiences studying abroad.


Her research interests include Islamic radicalization, political Islam, diasporas and political violence furthered by non-state actors in the MENA region. She is currently a Junior Fellow (Terrorism and Radicalization) at Centro Studi Internazionali (Rome) and an Author Contributor for Il Caffé Geopolitico.

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