The 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES) will, for the first time, be held outside of Addis Ababa. The city of Dire Dawa has been selected as the venue and it will be held from October 29th to November 2nd of this year.
The conference is organized by the French Center for Ethiopian Studies and The Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University with the primary sponsor being the French Embassy. The conference will attract 300 scholars both from Ethiopia and abroad, some of whom will be making presentations on research papers, and they will also exchange views on the past and present of Ethiopia.
The conference’s theme this year will be “Movements in Ethiopia/ Ethiopia in Movement.” Delegates from different countries will take stock of the recent and ongoing development of the country. They will also bring attention to long term historical dynamics, and the social, economic, and cultural factors that have and still are contributing to the making of Ethiopian identity and diversity.
Dire Dawa was chosen to host the conference this year because, along with Harar, it is a city that is considered to be at the crossroads of regional and international trade and migration networks. These cities are promoters of modernity and change apart from being the inheritors of ancient cultural and religious traditions.
“It is fitting that Dire Dawa is to host this very important conference because the city has a very rich culture, and it is one of the regions that is going through a resilient economic and social renovation,” said Andreas Eshete, honorary chairman of the 18th ICES Conference.
It was stated at a press conference held at the French Center for Ethiopian Studies that the aim of the ICES taking place in that regional setting is not only to account for these recent developments, but also to move the focus of attention towards the long term historical and social dynamics that have contributed to the creation of the current Ethiopia.
“The development that is happening in Ethiopia is not a centered development; it is happening in all regions. An easy example of this is the opening of universities in all the regions of Ethiopia; there were only Haramaya (formerly Alemaya) and Addis Ababa Universities a few years ago, but now there are a lot of universities that have opened,” said Eloi Ficquet, Former Director of the French Center for Ethiopian Studies, and Chairman of the 18th ICES.
During the conference there will be a total of 325 papers presented, and 41 panel sessions in all fields of the social sciences and humanities. The papers presented will be on topics such as, archeology and ancient history, relations between the Ottoman Empire and Ethiopia from the 16th to the 19th century, the history and social dynamics of contemporary religious movements, and many others.