“Eastern Ethiopia Matters”: National Conference Held on Socio-Economic History of Region


Eastern Ethiopia is historically known for its rich natural and human resources. Most likely due to its historical and geographical position; the region has accumulated rich socio-cultural values and economic practices that could accommodate the overall interests of many communities in the area. However, there is also a clear knowledge gap in understanding the region’s history and sober historical analysis.

Towards this end, College of Social Sciences and Humanities has conducted a national conference on the socio economic history of Eastern Ethiopia from June 23-24/ 2017.

President of Haramaya University (HU), Prof. Chemeda Fininsa, in his opening speech stated that deep knowledge and understanding of the region’s socio-economic history and detail analysis would assist the society, policy makers and researchers to tackle socio-economic problems wisely and knowledgably. Although the region’s socio-economic studies might have been done by individuals at different levels and scopes sparsely, they remained scattered and were not well-documented to be better used. In addition, little academic forums have been organized to discuss past socio-economic history of the region. Therefore, this conference can be taken as a renewed interest to deliberate on and cross fertilize experts’ ideas on the socio-economic history of eastern Ethiopia.

Prof. Chemeda also mentioned that this national conference is the first of its kind to be organized by the University. The conference is expected to indicate how indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms can be used and to identify cultural heritages that can be developed for tourism development and economic prosperity in the region.

Dr. Adinew Taddess, Dean of CSSH, in his welcoming remarks explained that the School of History and Heritage Management took the initiative in organizing this national conference. He said the conference brings scholars and expertise from across the country who can share their rich scholarly knowledge on the socio-economic history of Eastern Ethiopia. It can also serve as a forum to share ideas, methods, sources and identification of knowledge gap in the region. In addition, it can serve as a forum to start thinking on how to re-write peoples history from below.


In the two days, a total of eighteen research papers were presented by different researchers and

More than 100 participants attended from different concerned regional and federal government offices, organizations and institutions as well as individual researchers and professionals who made a research on the four conference themes: Social History, Economic History, Institutional History and Tourism and Heritage.

Dr. Mohammed Hassen, Assistant Professor in History and Heritage Management Program, indicated that in an attempt to address challenges in this area, the School strongly believes that one possible initial intervention would be to understand the social and economic history of the province through a symposium.

Conference attendees have also expressed the merits of having such conferences to unearth the socio-economic history of the region as well as its potential and actual tourism heritages. It has also been indicated that the University should make such activities its culture.

This national conference is expected to build the image of the University, as it is strategically located in the Eastern region of the country; and therefore, can build its image as a center of excellence in the field of social sciences as it did in other fields of studies. Moreover, as part of a project to write the history of Eastern Ethiopia with new sources, methods and perspectives it will initiate new interests in documenting and developing research endeavors and augmenting best practices in the socio-economic history of Ethiopia. Lastly, it will also serve as a document for policy briefing for decision makers on issues concerning Eastern Ethiopia.


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