Forum for Ethiopian Scholars & Professionals
(FESP) 12th Conference
The 12th conference of the Forum for Ethiopian Scholars and Professionals (FESP) which was organized virtually, in partnership with the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) of Addis Ababa University, and Abbay Television, was completed on December 3, 2022. Seven papers were presented by established academics and professionals. The eighth paper was not presented because of internet connection problems. Speakers were selected after two rounds of calls for papers and invitations. The papers/abstracts were reviewed. The call for paper was issued months before the Pretoria and Nairobi peace agreements between the Government of Ethiopia and the TPLF. To reach the wider Ethiopian public, the presentations were made in the Amharic language and transmitted via Facebook. The full videos are available on Facebook (see links below). The YouTube version will be posted as soon as the technical work is completed.
The speakers came from diverse disciplines and experiences, including economics, Ethiopian studies, peace and security studies, refugee and resettlement, development banking, sociology, and political science. The sessions were chaired by scholars and practitioners from architecture, archaeology, linguistics and relief and rehabilitation, and heritage management. The theme of the colloquium was peacemaking and peacebuilding in Ethiopia. The guest of honor was H.E. Dejazmatch Wolde Semayat Gebrewold, Author, former Governor of Provinces, and Member of the Senate, in the Imperial Government of Ethiopia. The peacemaking and peace-building process is moving at an accelerated speed and at the time of releasing this report, a high-level delegation led by the Speaker of the House of Peoples Representative has traveled to Mekelle, the African Union’s handling of the matter is demonstrating continental capacity, events that are consistent with the general spirit of the colloquium.
At the age of 98 the former Senator, Dejazmatch Wolde Semayat reflected how the novice leftist student movement misunderstood the then problems of the country, which led to the military coup of 1975, the dismemberment and creation of a landlocked country, and the promotion of ethnicity in 1991 and shared his views about the ways and means of overcoming the ills of the nation. The opening remarks were provided by Dr. Takele Merid, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, and Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES), Addis Ababa University, and Professor Minga Negash, Professor of Accounting, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Visiting Professor, University of the Witwatersrand. Ato Kone Fisseha made a remark representing Abbay Television and promised that the videos will be available on time.
Dr. Takele Merid who is on a research visit at a University in Japan indicated the need for the continued engagement of Ethiopian scholars and professionals in public policy crafting and noted that the IES will continue to cooperate and facilitate such conferences as it is within the purviews of the institute’s mission. Professor Minga in turn explained the purpose of this colloquium and the link between this and the 11th colloquium. He underscored that national dialogue and peace agreements with armed groups go hand in hand and urged that there should be a formal interface between the two processes. Citing Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s piece of November 19, 2022, expressing that “close to one million” lives were lost and the cost of the war could be close to $25 billion, he urged that the opportunity for peace brought by the African Union led peace agreement should not be missed. Citing the academic and practice literature he underscored that the peace agreements in ethnoreligious conflicts and DDRs are fragile, and efforts should be made to move from cease-fire to building peace. He reminded the audience about the latest news of the gruesome atrocity crimes that are occurring in Western parts of the country.
The sub-themes of the colloquium and the summary of each speaker’s presentation are provided below.
Editor’s note : The report was initially shared on P2P forum on December 30th, 2022
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