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Somali boy's peaceful dream takes flight on China's space station

Thursday September 14, 2023

The Chinese Embassy in Somalia on Wednesday awarded a six-year-old Somali boy whose painting was among the top 10 winners of the "My Dream" painting competition, which was co-hosted by the secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China Manned Space Engineering Office, and the Chinese missions in Africa.

The Somali boy, Kawkib Mohamud, won the first prize with his dove-themed painting, which is one of 10 paintings that was exhibited at China's Tiangong space station by the Shenzhou-16 taikonauts who are currently on a five-month exploration mission.

Somalia's State Minister for the Ministry of Education, Marwo Nuura Mutaf Guudow, congratulated the young boy on representing his country well and on winning the competition, saying that if children are motivated, they will produce good results.

"I am honored to be present at this inspiring event. The boy's painting won the contest and is displayed on China's space station. Our boys and girls will reach that space and that dream," she said.

She thanked the Chinese embassy for providing such opportunities to Somali teenagers and mentioned the latest scholarships that have been awarded to Somali students by the Chinese government.

The child's creativity and exhibition also attracted other officials to the event, including Ibrahim Noor Ahmed, adviser to Somalia's Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

"I believe that such events bring out the creativity of children and give them a platform to express what they want in the world. I am proud that his art is posted in the Chinese Space Station," said Omar Mohamud, the boy's father, saying that it is a success for all Somalis and all others of the same race.

"I cannot express my feelings in words. I am very happy to see my son's art of success and winning in the race and to be among the top ten winners of the painting competition held by China in March this year. Kawkib is very creative. He likes to be a pilot in the future," the father said.

Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Fei Shengchao congratulated the young boy on winning the painting competition, saying that his painting expressed the Somali people's dream of peace.

"The boy drew a dove, a symbol of peace and stability. Everyone on earth needs peace, and world peace is important to all humans," Fei said.

The event comes just two weeks after the Chinese embassy held a farewell ceremony for more than 30 students who received scholarship opportunities from Chinese universities and went to China for studies. The two nations have enjoyed a long-term friendship since they established diplomatic ties on Dec. 14, 1960, only six months after Somalia gained its independence from the colonial powers.


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