P4P large Grant 

“Unheard Voices and Contestations over Representation in Contemporary Ethiopia

Professor Kassahun Berhanu (PI), Dr Asnake Kefale (Co-I), Dr Elisabeth Woldegiorgis (Co-I), Dr Fekade Terefe (Co-I), Dr Sarah Vaughan (Co-I), Dr Yonas Ashine (Co-I)

This project examines the manner in which formal and informal institutions of political representation are unfolding in contemporary Ethiopia, with reference to the legitimacy and efficacy with which they are discharging their mandates as stipulated in the constitution and other pertinent legal frameworks. The story of Ethiopia’s emergent and contested transition to democracy is also brought out through an exploration of (1) the history and evolution of political representative institutions in the country, (2) citizen perceptions of federal government, (3) cultural, ethnic, and native/non-native contestations over, and protest around, political representation, (4) donor reviews of the federal government’s capacity building efforts, and (5) the role of creative arts in articulating and shaping ideas about representation and democracy.

About the research team

Kassahun Berhanu is professor of political science and international relations. He served Addis Ababa University in different administrative and academic capacities during his tenure as a researcher and faculty member spanning over the last 30 years. In addition to his affiliation with different professional societies associated with his career, Kassahun is widely published on different issues pertaining to the broader disciplines of social sciences in general and political science in particular. These include: decentralization and governance, state-society relations, peace building and conflict, higher education management, political economy of agricultural policy, elections and electoral systems, migration and relocation, diasporic remittances, and constitutionalism and party systems. In addition, Professor Kassahun participates in the training of Ethiopian diplomats on pertinent foreign policy issues and engaged in the revision of the country’s foreign policy document. He also partakes in organizing regional and international conferences and symposia on themes related to the broader fields of political science and international relations, comparative politics and political economy. Kassahun’s research findings on governance, democracy, decentralization, party and electoral politics, and conflict resolution in Ethiopia and Africa are published in reputable international journals and edited volumes. He also currently serves as a member of the Administrative Boundary and Identity Affairs Commission of the Ethiopian Government. Professor Kassahun will be responsible for spearheading the overall implementation of the project.

Asnake Kefale received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. In 2013/14, he was awarded the Swiss Excellence Scholarship for post-doctoral research at the University of Fribourg. Dr. Asnake Kefale is currently  associate professor of Political Science at Addis Ababa University. His research interests include, federalism, conflict management, political economy, and migration. He has authored a book and co-edited four books. He has also published articles in peer-reviewed journals and contributed book chapters to edited volumes. In addition to his university appointment, Dr. Asnake served as senior adjunct researcher at the Addis Ababa based policy think-tank, Forum for Social Studies (FSS). In addition to carrying out a thematic research in the P4P project, Dr Asnake will coordinate the project . 

Elizabeth W. Giorgis is Associate Professor of Art History, Criticism and Theory in the College of Performing and Visual Art and the Center for African and Asian Studies at Addis Ababa University. She is also the Curator of the Modern Art Museum: Gebre Kristos Desta Center at Addis Ababa University. She served as the Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art and as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University. Dr Elizabeth will lead the art component of the P4P project and write a report on the protest and representation from the view point of art.

Fekade Terefe holds a PhD in Political Science and is now Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He teaches and supervises undergraduate and graduate level students. Fekade has undertaken researches individually and jointly with colleagues in the areas of conflict, civil society, the media and politics, foreign policy and migration. In the P4P project, Fekade will be responsible for the thematic research on “representation, contestation and protest in the Amhara region”.

Sarah Vaughan, PhD, has worked in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa since the late 1980s, assisting a series of governmental, multilateral, academic and non-governmental bodies, with social and political economy analysis. She has taught African politics and social theory in Scotland and Ethiopia. Dr Vaughan in the P4P project will be responsible for a thematic research on the capacity development support that was provided to the Ethiopian federal parliament since 1995.

Yonas Ashine is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University. He earned his PhD in interdisciplinary Social Studies from Makerere Institute of Social Studies, Makerere University, Uganda. His research interest includes International Relations, and politics and political economy of state-society relations in Africa. Yonas is now serving as an associate dean for undergraduate program at the CSS, and editor of the Ethiopian Journal of Social Science and Humanities (EJOSSAH) AAU . In the P4P project he is researching on “Politics of Representation and Contestation in Ethiopia: National Expert Panel Survey.”