Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies
Gojjam, where Debre Markos University is founded, has so far fostered several artists and still upholds the flair of distinguishing itself as the origin of great artistic elites. It has retained a nationwide acclaim as the source ground for both the young artists of the present and the veterans of the past. Great personalities of literature and art have sprung up from this region. Besides, ancient churches, historic places, heritages, indigenous material culture, cultural performance art and cultural practices are the hall mark of the area. All these potentials are great opportunities for the university to effectively undertake research and capitalize art of the region. Thus, Debre Markos University has opened Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies in late 2011. The institute is named after the distinguished, famous Ethiopian writer/social critic, patriot and diplomat, Haddis Alemayehu, who was born in Indodam Kidane Mihret in 1910, nearby area where Debre Markos University is founded. He had published eight fictions and had also poems yet not published. Thus, it is probably fair to conclude that he was one of the pioneers of Ethiopian writers who played preponderant role for the development of Ethiopian literary.
The institute was established with two principal missions. These are:-
- To undertake research on cultural issues so as to preserve, document and promote cultural values and practices of the society.
- To play preponderant role for the development of art.
So as to realize those missions, the institute was organized having department of literature, music, theater, Ge’ez language studies, cultural studies and archive center.
Beginning from its inauguration with joint collaboration of music and theater department, it has been organized many artistic platforms on different themes accompanied by poem, short stories, theater, music and qene’. It published pomes of amateurs in three subsequent proceedings, named Haddis…Addis volume 1 from number 1 to 3. Currently, it is working to publish volume 1 number 4 and 5. It also organized literary critics on Love unto Death Novel, Haddis…Addis Poem volume 1 from number 1 to 3, “techniques of literary criticism”, “psychological and social impacts of migration as disclosed in Jidanegn Novel, kenfam hilmoch short story, and Habasha lji poem.” Apart from this, it has done the following activities:
- It edited 1000 poems, ten short stories and one novel of amateurs.
- It collected oral poems of plowing, harvesting, and threshing from the local community.
- It gave technical support for two theater and literature association of amateurs which are found in Debre Markos town.
- It provided technical support for students who are gifted and talented in creative writing.
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The department has undertaken the following major activities:
- It held music and cultural dance competition among armatures in 2016.
- It conducted research on “lefo lefo cultural music and dance in East Gojjam Zone: With particular emphasis on Hulet Ejju Ense Woreda.”
- It provided technical support for armatures and institutions.
- It collected audio and visual evidences on cultural music of the local community during fire wood collection, cloth washing, cattle keeping and grinding of grains.
Mr. Tilahun Tsegaye
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It has undertaken the following major activities:
- It organized artistic events with drams,
- It trained Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies Literature, Music and Theater club amateurs about Gojjam culture through cultural music dram and presented it in higher institution sport festival held in 2013 and 2014.
- Ge`ez Language Studies
It has undertaken research on:
- Auto-biography of Ge’ez female scholar Hirut Debase
- Ge’ez language education in ancient church schools of Dima Giorgis, Mertule-Mariam, Debre Work Mariam and Debre Elias.
- Teaching delivery Church schools in Debre Markos town.
- Change and Continuity of Achaber Zema in East Gojjam
It also offers free teaching of Ge’ez language to the university and nearby community. Moreover, it prepared Ge’ez language teaching module.
Mr. Tegbaru Adane
Ge’ez language expert
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- Cultural Studies
It conducted research on:
- Gena cultural game practice in East Gojjam Administrative Zone.
- Hair treatment culture of rural females in East Gojjam Administrative Zone.
- Survey of debates on similar Amharic language alphabets.
- Feeding, dressing and saving culture of the people of East Gojjam Administrative Zone.
It also prepared compiled document of clothes, jewelers, house utensils, agricultural equipment, and traditional medicine of the people East Gojjam Administrative Zone.
Moreover, in collaboration with corporate and communication directorate, it has organized Nation, Nationalities and peoples day in the university for the past three years.
Ms. Dejytnu Alene
Cultural studies expert
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- Archive Center
The archive center was established in late 2012. Members of History and Heritage Management Department had great contribution for the establishment by coining the idea of establishing archive center, assessing the situation of archives and registering archives.
The Archive Center was established having the following objectives.
- Take care for the archives of the surrounding areas.
- Collect and preserve archives in order to use them as a testimony of the past.
- Arrange archives and access them for researchers.
The archive center had collected around 11365 folder archive of the former Gojjam Province which date back to 1930’s from East Gojjam Zone Business Office and East Gojjam Zone High Court Office. Geographically, most of the archives focused on East Gojjam Administrative Zone, West Gojjam Administrative Zone, Awi Administrative Zone of Amhara Region as well as Metekel Administrative Zone of Benishangul Gumuz region. Furthermore, there are archives about other provinces like Gondar, Tigray, Eritrea, Keffa, Wollega, and Wollo. Thematically, archives of the center deals with issues like agriculture, culture, finance, art, military, religion, patriotism, projects, infrastructure, land tenure, education, health, justice, politics and other issues. The center is providing services for post graduate and PhD researchers who come from different universities. It had got donation of more than 630 books and archives from Mr. Samuel Alemayehu.
Mr. Solomon Ashagrige
Archive Center Officer
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Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies has provided the following trainings:
- It trained 66 amateurs about creative writing and theme and techniques of literature in 2013.
- It provided training for East Gojjam Administrative Zone culture experts about culture and development, folklore and traditional harmful practices in 2014.
- It delivered practical training about music for 18 primary school aesthetics teachers of East Gojjam Administrative Zone in 2014.
- It trained 60 heritage workers, museum curators, religious men and policemen of East Gojjam Administrative Zone about heritage protection, heritage registration and museum organization in 2015.
- The archive center offers every year practical training for third year History and Heritage Management Department students about archive and record management.
- Research Thematic Areas
According to higher institutions proclamation and the needs of Ethiopian government, research undertakings in universities are supposed to be demand driven, problem solving and aiming at technology transfer. Accordingly, Debre Markos University has established Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies to plan, organize, implement, direct and evaluate studies/researches related to culture. Thus, to effectively engage in demand-driven and problem-solving research undertakings, Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies has conducted community need assessment survey so as to identify its priority research thematic areas. The institute undertakes researches on the following identified priority research thematic areas:
- Ge’ez language study
- Material culture (traditional utensils, traditional housing, cultural dresses and jewelry, weaving, pottery, tannery, metal work, painting, traditional food, traditional music and instruments)
- discourse and mass media
- Cultural practices (festivals, traditional medicine, traditional entertainment, rituals)
- Cultural performance art (Traditional music, dance, dramas and theater)
- Literature and culture (long and short fiction, literary poem and theatre, oral literature )
- Amharic language study
- Awigna language study
- Museum and heritage conservation
- Historic documents (archives) preservation
- Patriotism and national feeling
- Tourism resource and development
- Traditional conflict resolution
- Social administration
- Religious culture
- Land tenure system
- Traditional medicine
- Agricultural culture of the society
- Social interaction and different ceremonies ( weeding, Ikub, Idir and Debo)
- Work culture
- Human trafficking and psychology
- Education and ethics
- Culture and corruption
- Child care culture and psychology
- Globalization and acculturation
- Culture and modern education
- Culture and modernization
- Traditional schools (Church or Mosque)
- Culture and gender
- Culture and disability
- Culture and children right
- Culture and philosophy
- cultural practices (female genital mutilation, blood feud, Intel mabuwatete, aqolquaye, wonfel, debo, social cooperation) and development
- Naming culture and psychology
- Social practices (weeding, mourning/funeral, etc) and psychology
- Research Conferences
The institute has organized four annual national research conferences on different thematic areas. Currently, it is working to organize its fifth annual national research conference to be held in February, 2017.
- Poem and short fiction
The institute published pomes of amateurs in three subsequent proceedings, named Haddis…Addis volume 1 from number 1 to 3. Currently, it is working to publish volume 1 number 4 and 5. Moreover, it is also attempting to publish poems of Haddis Alemayehu.
The institute published its inauguration ceremony in special bulletin. It published research papers of the first and the second annual national research conference in the form of proceedings. It is also in process to publish research papers of the third and the fourth annual national research conference.
It published the following audio-visuals:
- Documentary film entitled “Gojjam as a source of wisdom”
- Documentary film about three years progress of Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies
- Documentary film about the lives and deeds of well-known Ethiopian flutist Yohannes Afework entitled as “kings of Flute.” This is in recognition for his contribution to the development of art.
- External Relation
The institute established two links with local and international institutions. In this regard, the institute has signed memorandum of understanding with Wollega University found in Ethiopia and Hamburg University found in Germany. Yet, only Wollega University is working effectively with the institute as per the signed memorandum of understanding. With Wollega University the institute is conducting research on the relation between peoples of Gojjam and Wollega entitled as “Socio-cultural and Historical Interactions among the Peoples of Abay Basin: Gojjam and Wollega in Focus.”
Research is a power house of knowledge that enables us to solve societal problems, fill knowledge gaps, and to attest or refute assumptions and practices deep-seated in the society. That is why the institute is vested with research undertaking as its mission. To realize this, through community need assessment survey, the institute identified three major priority research thematic areas; language and art, history and tourism, and culture and development. As indicated in its strategic plan of 2015/16 – 2019/20, it will work many issues and undertake research on those identified thematic areas with researchers and partners. It has good material and expert composition to capitalize the art potential of the region. It invites amateurs to use this opportunity and other institutions to work with the institute in its endeavor for the development of art.
Director of Haddis Alemayehu Institute of Cultural Studies
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