60 Minutes: Jonathan Starr Sends Somaliland Students To Harvard, MIT

Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland

Abaarso School of Science and Technology is a high school in Somaliland, the war-torn, deeply conservative Islamic country which is often referred to as the world’s #1 failed state. Abaarso School, where the boys and girls don’t mix outside of class (unless they are chaperoned) was founded by American Jonathan Starr. The former hedge fund manager , who is not Muslim, founded the school at the bequest of his uncle (who married Starr’s aunt) who is from Somaliland. Starr, who doesn’t know Arabic or anything about education (other than being educated, Emory University) admits to Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes: “I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

[Left: Starr wrote It Takes a School: The Extraordinary Story of an American School in the World’s #1 Failed State]

Starr is the founder of Flagg Street Capital (named after his public elementary school) which he closed in 2009 in order to open Abaarso which has placed 40 graduates and counting in American universities including Harvard and MIT. Anderson Cooper interviews Starr and some of the students of Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland for his 60 Minutes report. 60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7pm on CBS.