Ali Iman Sharmarke is the recipient of the Tara Singh Hayer Award, which recognizes Canadians for courage in journalism.
Ali Sharmarke returned to his homeland of Somalia in 1999 to help rebuild the media in the war-shattered country. Along with Mohamed Elmi and Ahmed Abdisalam Adan, he was one of three founding members of one of Africa's great media success stories, HornAfrik.
He was killed on August 11, 2007, when his car drove over a remote-controlled landmine as he was returning from the funeral of another journalist, Mahad Ahmed Elmi.
Ali Sharmarke came to Canada in the 1990s and built a new life here. He became a Canadian citizen, completed a Masters in Public Administration at Carleton University and got a job in the federal Finance Department in Ottawa. But he responded to the need he saw in Somalia to have a radio station that would provide the people of Somalia with access to information and the ability to tell their stories.
Although Ali Sharmarke learned the profession of journalism on the job, he earned the respect of all who worked with him for his vision of what a radio station could achieve. Under his watch HornAfrik became known for its fair and objective coverage.
In the documentary film, "A World of Difference" Sharmarke is quoted "We see the media as a means to do a social change, and probably I can say now Horn Afrik is one of the best instruments for social change in Somalia," Sharmarke says. It is a legacy that he will be long remembered for.
Ali Sharmarke's friend and colleague, Sahal Abdulle was in the car with him when it was bombed, and survived. His 11-year old son Liban, wrote this about his 'Uncle' Ali Sharmarke.