Upcoming Conference:

የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራንና ባለሙያዎች መድረክ ፲፫ኛ ጉባኤ
Forum for Ethiopian Scholars & Professionals (FESP)

13th Conference

Colloquium on political culture and the challenges of transition

Second & final call for abstracts and papers

                    June 28, 2024

The Board of the Forum for Ethiopian Scholars and Professionals (FESP) is pleased to announce that its 13th conference will be held virtually on August 3 & 4, 2024. It will run concurrently with Taste of Ethiopia’s 10th annual cultural festival in Denver Colorado. The main theme of the conference / colloquium is the contextual reexamination of the link between political culture and transition.

The literature states that “the building blocks of political culture are the beliefs, opinions, and emotions of the citizens toward their form of government.” The term transition in turn means different things to different people. In this call for papers, we retain the thesaurus meaning of “a change or shift from one state, subject, place, to another.” The United Nations documents that national dialogue as an instrument for resolving “political crises and lead countries into political transitions.”

Terms like ሽግግር and/or ጊዜያዊ , respectively transition and provisional, are not new in the Ethiopian political lexicon. Furthermore, since our establishment in 2015, over 250 notable scholars, professionals, social critics, activists, religious leaders, representatives of youth and women, former cabinet ministers, and the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, have used our forum to share their viewpoints on transition. A careful review of the themes of the twelve conferences, especially the last three, indicates that no transition agenda, including the Ethiopian National Dialogue, has been unexplored. Notwithstanding these and other efforts, the size and complexity of the conflicts have increased. Between April 2018 and now over one million people have died in the Tigray war, the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA) is fragile, new armed conflict has emerged in second most populous region (Amhara region) and the conflict in Oromia region has persisted. Cross country economic and public governance indices are showing deteriorating trends. The United Nations, U.S., donor agencies and rights organizations have continued to document that the country is facing crisis in multiple (climate, economy, governance, humanitarian, peace, and security) fronts. Added to the domestic problems is the emerging geopolitical dynamics in the Greater Horn of Africa Region.

FESP is looking for manuscripts that would contextually and dispassionately re-examine the role of political culture in transition. Authors need to ground their work on policy literature and generate a focused/actionable policy response. The forum is for a new policy dialogue at national level, not intended for advocacy and/or activism, however important the cause may be. Authors must make a dispassionate analysis of the stubborn issues of transition in the much touted HDP (humanitarian, development and peace) nexus.

There is abundant literature on ethnoreligious conflicts in the Sub Sahara Africa (SSA)
region and elsewhere. In his lecture on “Macro-political Approaches to Ethnic Conflict
Resolution,” Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania documented that many countries have tried to eliminate and/or mend ethnonational differences using
various methods. Using O’Leary’s and/or similar framework papers that reexamine the
political culture of “ruling elites” in resolving ethnoreligious conflicts in contemporary
Ethiopia are welcome.
• Explaining why the promises of change (ሽግግር/ጊዜያዊ) fail to materialize. Using a tried and
tested analytical framework authors need to outline the ways and means of disrupting
autocratization to enhance the resilience of the institutions of accountability.
• If change is imminent, in “big bang” or in “gradual” form, succinctly outline the main policy anchors of transition, stating under each scenario and millstones, the time limit, and the key actors/stakeholders. Beyond discontents, the rights (individual versus group) advocacy, protests and populism, papers that contextually find mitigation for “the
scourge” of ethnicity and patrimonialism and, enhance the resilience of institutions of
accountability and democracy are welcome.
• Should Ethiopia ban ethnic parties like most of post-colonial Africa? What is the
• Is there a trade-off between United Nations Genocide Convention and the sovereignty of
countries? What is the standard practice/environment in dispensing transition &
restorative justice? How does one create the enabling environment?
• Papers that re-examine Ethiopia’s appropriate place in the Horn of Africa/Red Sea Region.
Are the Jeddah & Algiers peace agreements with Eritrea and the MOU with Somaliland
still alive? What is the way out? What are the emerging geopolitical alliances in the new
“multipolar” power structure?
• Papers that reexamine the management of the national economy. Using reliable data and
econometric methods papers that examine the macroeconomic statistics in the HDP nexus.
• Papers that re-examine the push and pull factors in recent Ethiopian outmigration, refugee
repatriation programs, size & shape of the diaspora, diaspora’s effectiveness in advocating
for itself, and in influencing change in Ethiopia.
• Papers that re-examine the capital city issue, the size, shape & status of Addis Ababa, its gentrification projects, evictions & wealth transfer, sustainability & heritage extinction.

Authors should realize that their manuscripts are for public consumption and presented at a
scholars and professionals forum. The selection of a manuscript depends on its depth, relevance, dispassionate and nonpartisan analysis of the problems, and ease of being understandable to the public. The presentations will be transmitted live. Media owners and individuals may transmit the proceedings “as is.” Every effort is made to ensure that information presented at our conferences are accurate and consistent with generally accepted standards. We also plan to open space for community/civil society organizations and, like our most recent conferences, we will invite speakers. Please note that FESP, the authors, editors, publishers, media owners and/or any sponsoring partners do not accept responsibility, whatsoever, for errors or omissions, or misuse of the forum or for the consequences of application of information.

Speakers are expected to use a language that is understood by most Ethiopians. Papers and panel proposals will go through a review process. Speakers at panels and community /civil society forums must avoid the use of anecdotal evidence, “selection bias,” ethnic & religious bigotry, pseudoscience, antagonistic and /or offensive language. Authors and speakers must use the formal names of individuals and organizations and refrain from illogical classification/ labelling/taxonomy of population and/or political-social groups. Use of AI may be useful for study purposes, but speakers must have the experience and requisite competency in the subject matter.

Final acceptance of a paper or panel or forum proposal is at the sole discretion of the conference committee. Completed papers or extended abstracts not exceeding 3000 words should be sent to forumforethiopianscholars.profe@gmail.com on or before Monday, July 22, 2024. Rights advocacy groups and community associations wishing to get a slot should send their inquiries to the same email address.