King's University College Students Visit Ethiopia as part of Experiential Learning Course
February 18, 2016
Photography by Aaron Brown, Intern, Communications & Media Relations
It is about the halfway point in the Political Science department’s trip to Ethiopia, and the group has engaged in a wide variety of learning experiences, both in boardrooms and in the unique cultural places of Ethiopia.
The first excursion the students took was to a place outside of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Abbaba. The student group spent its first two days in Debre Libanos and the Blue Nile Gorge. These locations represent a better understanding of the spiritual and cultural history of Ethiopia, as well as the great geographical wonders that the storied country provides.
Debre Libanos is considered a holy place, with a beautiful and important monastery positioned at the break of the Gorge. Here there is a small museum, where the students learned about hundreds of years of spiritual history from a monk at the Monastery.
The view from the accommodations at the Ethio-German hostel (above) speaks for itself. The Blue Nile Gorge is truly a remarkable place, despite the effects of a considerable drought and absence of the Blue Nile River.
When the group returned to Addis Ababa, the students and faculty visited two historic museums: the National Museum of Ethiopia; and the Haille Selassie I museum at Addis Ababa University. At the National Museum, important historical artifacts and information is held, including the famous remains of the oldest known humanoid ever discovered, Lucy (Dinkanesh in Amharic), who is approximately 3.2 million years old. This was a great lesson, not just about Ethiopian history, but human history as a whole.
At Haille Selassie I Museum, students took a comprehensive guided tour that divulged information about cultural and tribal Ethiopia of the past several centuries, as well as stories about the last monarch of Ethiopia, Haille Selassie I himself.
At the beginning of the week, the students began visiting Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), to gain perspective on the work that they do on the continent, as well as their visions for all African nations in the future. On Monday, February 15, 2016, visits took place to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Oxfam International.
On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, visits to the Canadian and United States embassies took place. These involved engaging discussions about Western involvement on the African continent, ways to be a part of it, and specific information about their various research projects.
Following trips to the embassies, students had the chance to visit a third NGO named IPSS: The Institute for Peace and Security Studies, located in Addis Ababa University. Here students had the opportunity to discuss with academics a number of issues, including Foreign Direct Investment, human rights, peacekeeping, and the burden of unemployment on young professionals in Africa. Truly, the visit to the IPSS was a vital component of the student’s research.
The coming days will include visits to the African Union, European Union, and United Nations, where there will be a briefing on many important subjects, by the most significant thinkers and actors on the continent. Stay tuned for more information about these meetings.