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ICES to be held in Addis

The 17th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES) will be held at the Addis Ababa University from November 2 to 6, 2009.Shiferaw Bekele, a teacher at Department of History and Heritage Management of Addis Ababa University, has written a long article about the event and its background in October 25th edition of the Ethiopian Herald.The article isn’t available online. So I am publishing an excerpt here.
The 17th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies will be held in the Akaki campus of Addis Ababa University from November 2 to 6, 2009.A few hundred scholars-Ethiopians and foreigners-are expected to take part in the proceedings: Scholars will come from Japan; Europe; the US, Israel, Russia and some other countries. Ethiopians will constitute a formidable presence. By any standard, this is a large gathering of scholars. The current congress marks the golden jubilee celebration because the first was held in Rome from 2 to 4 April 1959.Subsequent conferences were held in a number of countries in Europe (UK, Italy again, France, Sweden, Russia, France again and Norway), in the United States, in Israel and Japan. Ethiopia hosted the 3rd, the 8th, the 11th, the 14th and now the 17th congress. The number of participants had grown from a little over forty in 1959 to over three hundred attendants (including those who do not read papers). Indeed, the expansion –in terms of institutions, in the coverage of areas study and in the involvement of different disciplines of the humanities, social sciences and related disciplines- is very remarkable.
In the University in Addis the Institute of Ethiopian Studies was opened in 1963.This research institute has contributed immensely to the growth of Ethiopian studies in all fields. It has now emerged as the country’s premier institutions of research and as highly respected research center in Black Africa. It houses an excellent library on Ethiopia, Eritrea and also on Somali and Djibouti. Its collection of Ge’ez, Arabic and Amharic manuscripts is growing steadily.Its microfilm collections are very large housing Ethiopia-ralted archival materials from European, American, Egyptian and Sudanese archives as well as a large corpus of Ge’ez manuscripts. Its photographic collection continues which is expected soon to expand fast. Its galleries of art-mainly housing icons and related paintings from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Church-contains treasures that go back to the 13th and 124th centuries. It is a proud owner of the famous 15th century masterpiece by Fire Seyon. It also includes an impressive number of crosses covering all the centuries since the 12th.
Together with its ethnographic museum, the gallery continues to attract an increasing number of tourists from Europe and the United States as well as Ethiopians (a recent phenomenon) school children. Many heads of state and government have, over the years, visited it. Its journal, the Journal of Ethiopian Studies, founded in 1963, is still active and has served as one of the useful forums for the publication of research in Ethiopia studies.
There is indeed much to celebrate on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee anniversary of Ethiopia Studies Conferences.
The growth in the field is reflected in the increasing number of participants in the conferences. ICES is a very useful academic institution. it provides the forum for young scholars( particularly Ethiopians) to report –and to test-their (in many cases) first findings. It enables them to let their research topic known and, equally importantly, to network with other scholars. It is important to seasoned researchers because it would give them the opportunity to report the progress of their recent project, to meet fellow workers, fro mother countries and institutions, and to network. Ices also provide the opportunity to asses the state the art in the entire filed periodically. Therefore, all efforts must be exerted t o sustain into the future. Yet because of its (ever growing) size –funding is increasingly difficult to get-there is reluctance on the part of European and American scholars to organize it. In the light of this development, Ethiopian institutions of higher learning should pool together their resources to hold them every three years in the country.

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Categories: Rendez-vous
  1. tessema sebhat
    October 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    hallo ato Arefe !!!
    I have some photo collection. some was displayed hire in Europa
    and in Africa .is it possible to organize on your respektabel web
    virtual exhibition. thank you

  2. October 31, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Dear Ato Tessema Sebhat,
    Thanks reading my blog and taking the time to write to me. It would be a pleasure to post your photos in my web. I will reach you on your e-mail address to discuss the best way of doing it.

  3. Ayele Bekerie
    November 7, 2009 at 1:28 am

    While the announcement to name the Library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies after Professor Richard Pankhurst is commendable, it would have doubly been a master stroke by naming it after both Professor Richard Pankhurst and his wife, the distinguished librarian Rita J. Pankhurst.

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