|| Abdulrahim Abby Farah, Undersecretary General of the UN from 1979-1990 || Once described as the “Barry Boy that helped free Mandela”, Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah died at home in New York aged 98 last month.
The early 20th century was not the easiest time to be born a Somali Welshman, but Abdulrahim Abby Farah’s family stood out as high achievers as Wales struggled in the aftermath of World War One. Racism and poverty were issues for many in the community, but from the small local primary he attended Abdulrahim used education to change his destiny and that of others far beyond Wales.
As a pupil at Gladstone Primary, Abdulrahim did well and passed the 11-plus to attend Barry Grammar. From there he went on to study at Exeter College and Oxford before forging a career as a diplomat for Somalia in the United Nations.
When Somalia declared independence in 1960, Farah became ambassador to Ethiopia before moving to the UN as permanent representative of Somalia. He also served as Somalia’s representative within the League of Arab States From 1979 to 1990 during which time he led several peace envoys.
The Barry-born diplomat was appointed chairman of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, presiding over a special session of the United Nations Security Council in 1972. As Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN he was an influential figure in peace envoys to the middle east and worked to end apartheid.
Abdulrahim Farah was very humble and straight forward and was always trying to encourage people. In his job as a diplomat you do keep a low profile but he went all over the world on peace envoys as a anti apartheid campaigner. May Allah bestow endless blessings on him.