Haramaya University organized two public lectures on the themes: “Trajectories in the History of the Oromo since 1960s-1991” and “The Importance of Modern Education to Hararghe Oromo Community” from August 6-7, 2019 at University`s Resource Center and Afran Qallo Hall respectively. The two lectures were delivered by Professor Mohammed Hassen of the Georgia State University.

When he came to the university, Professor Mohammed was welcomed by Dr. Jemal Yousuf, President of Haramaya University and his colleagues. In his welcoming speech, Dr. Jemal Yousuf stated that the visit of Professor Mohammed is a source of confidence and inspiration for the Hararghe Oromo community as he is a life example of how a person can reach high level of intellectual performance by battling with all challenges and obstacles. Similarly, Professor Jeylan Wolyie reflected on the professional and personal profile of Professor Mohammed Hassen. He portrayed Professor Mohammed as a man of high professional integrity, intellectual humility and modesty.

After the welcoming addresses, Professor Mohammed delivered a one-and-half hour public lecture on “Trajectories in the History of the Oromo Since 1960s -1991” for University staff members and summer program students at the University Resource Center. He identified a number of historical turning points that shaped dynamics of the Oromo people’s politics and their quest for freedom from various systems of oppression. The scholar unequivocally argued that that the Oromo have had and will continue to have great influence in shaping the direction of the Ethiopian politics. The participants raised various questions and sought clarifications on the meanings and implications of the contentious history of Ethiopia and the impact of biases and unfairness that characterize the historiography of Ethiopia. Emphasis was made during question-answer session that peace and development cannot be ensured unless historical injustices and wrongs are rectified and unless progressive measures are taken that promote justice, democracy, equality, and integration.

On 2nd day Professor Mohammed made Inspirational Speech on “The Importance of Modern Education to Hararghe Oromo Community” at Afran Qallo Hall. The lecture participants were from different offices and districts of the Harari People’s Regional State, various districts of Eastern Haraghe Zone and the Haramaya University. In his lecture, Professor Mohammed underlined the fact that education plays a vital role in the national development endeavor of the country. He pointed out that education is the basis for all positive changes in the world and that the seed of development and change can grow only when it is supported by education. Based on this argument, he advised the community members that they cannot transform their life without education.

Professor Mohammed Hassen is a son of the Hararghe Oromo. He was born in East Hararghe Zone, around Bedenno, from a peasant parents. He received his PhD in African History from University of London (SOAS) and was the member of the union of Oromo Students in Europe (serving once as Secretary). He is currently a board member of & the current President of the Macha Tulama Association in USA. From 1985-1991, Prof. Mohammad taught at Atlanta University and Hunter College in the City of New York, and from1992 up to recently, he taught at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is the author of The Oromo and the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia1300-1700 (2015), The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570 to 1860 (1990), and the Co-author of the Macha – Tulama Association, 1963-2014: It’s Importance in Oromo History (2014). He has also published more than a hundred articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries in the field of Oromo studies and edited with his colleagues on several books including co-editing arrest Development in Ethiopia (2006) with Seyoum Hameso Goota Oromiyaa (2008) Daraaraa Maatii, and Ali Birra: A Fifty-year Journey for the Lguove of Music and His People (2013) with Lily Marcos.

The lecture was finalized with a colorful award ceremony where Professor Mohammed Hassen and his team were awarded various cultural materials from the community representatives and government offices including Haramaya University and East Hararghe Zone Administration.