The inaugural class of students and teaching staff of the Masters in Federal Studies program gather in front of the new Institute of Federalism at Addis Ababa University. At the centre is Shawn Houlihan, the Forum’s Director for Africa.
The Forum of Federations recently celebrated the launch of a new interdisciplinary Master of Arts program in Federal Studies at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
The university program is offered by the Institute of Federalism – an undertaking which the Forum and Addis Ababa University developed together over the last two years. Students in the course, which began last October, range from politicians and civil servants to journalists and recent graduates from other disciplines.
Shawn Houlihan, the Forum’s director for Africa, spoke to the institutee’s 35 students on Nov. 14, 2007. He said the Forum was proud to have played a role in what is a major watershed for the evolution of federalism in Ethiopia.
‘In ten or so years, when you are all in various positions — be it in politics, academia or other walks of life — you and others will look back at this moment and realize that you were at the birth of something exciting and important to the further development of federalism in your nation,’ Mr. Houlihan said.
Dr. Petra Zimmermann, an academic staff member of the institute and advisor to the Speaker of the House of the Federation, noted that ‘both the Institute and the MA (program) would not have been possible without the support of the Forum of Federations.’
While in Ethiopia, Mr. Houlihan met with university representatives to plan further collaboration between the Forum, the Institute and other partners in government, academia and civil society. Addis Ababa University is providing office space for the Forum on the premises of the Institute of Federalism.
Ethiopia has indicated its intention to be an active partner of the Forum. It recently announced it will co-host with the Forum, the 5th International Conference on Federalism, to be held in Addis Ababa in 2010.