in the New Millennium
(Culture and Higher Education in Ethiopia)
Janetius, S T
Mini, T CAlemayehu Tibebe
Ethiopia is a vast highland of rugged mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley. Traversing through those highlands and mountain folds, one could encounter communities so vibrant that captures the attention of any person. It further develops and turns into a fanatic curiosity in the psyche to explore and understand more. This inquisitiveness turns into a deep regard and appreciation for the culture as one realizes that it has impacted so much on the lives of people for centuries. This was my first impression as I visited Ethiopia few years ago.
Abyssinia, Habesha, Ethiopia or Ithiopia and, in many more names these people and country are known to the outside world and historians. Often clouded by the repeated famines and the related poverty, the dignified history that dates back to the time of Biblical Old Testament and King Solomon is not known to the non-elite population of the world.
Learning the worldview of this unique people demands a discovery as well as deeper understanding of the manifold culture and diverse customs. Only then, a valid, substantial and reasonable description can be put forward. In this book, as the readers would observe, Dr. Janetius and his colleagues analyse their experiential cultural encounters as well as the unique cultural impact on the life and living of the Ethiopian people themselves in a panoramic view and scholarly analysis. And, I must say that delving into the folds of Ethiopian culture is no easy task as it demands the authors to go through almost all facets of life in Ethiopia. It is only through practical living in the society that one can understand and appreciate the vibrancy of this ancient yet advancing to be a modern society and the authors prove that.
The book traverses through diverse topics, from lighter to deeper, from generic to serious specific concerns: takeoff from the local culture and customary practices and trek through aspects of higher education today and plunges into indigenizing knowledge base and psychology. The authors approach these topics with a psychosocial as well as diagnostic way. As the title of the book tells the tale, the editors have done a magnificent job of stitching together the various bits and pieces of research knowledge in to a wonderful compilation.