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2020 International conference on indigenous and homegrown knowledges in Ethiopia


This conference aims at inviting concerned persons to reflect on the fate of Ethiopian indigenous and homegrown knowledges in the making of the future. It will bring together not just western educated experts but more importantly local scholars and traditional leaders who are rarely give a chance to narrate the future. As much as possible, we will bring participants and speakers from diverse backgrounds: farmers, women, healers, councillors, scribes and elders. We will also ensure that policy makers and relevant agencies from the government will take part in the conference. We aim to encourage all of us to reimagine the future through the best of what exists in Ethiopia.
It is envisaged that the conference will be largely in Amharic, with some panels or talks in English or other languages, depending on the speakers and participants involved. We will announce further details including a call for papers soon.

Support to Indigenous School Students


IIEE believes that students who attend their studies through the indigenous education system in Ethiopia have the same right as those attending the westernised schools. They have the right to resources necessary to support their education. The current system that discriminates against the study of indigenous knowledges is unfair. We are working towards addressing this injustice by working with relevant stakeholders in a variety of projects. In addition to research, advocacy and other efforts, we currently support a limited number of indigenous school students through purchasing text books such as Deggwa, Andimta, Sewasewu and other manuscripts. If you wish to contribute for the purchase of text books, you may write us directly.

Zikre Geez (2017-2022)


Zikre Geez is the study of the legacy of the Geez literature. The Geez language is one of Ethiopia’s vulnerable languages despite its importance in the spiritual life of Ethiopians both past and present. It is one of the ancient languages in which the Bible was first translated and was the lingua franca of the Axumite, Zagwe and Solomonic Dynasties of Ethiopia. According to Harvard Professor Ephraim Isaac, more than one million Geez manuscripts were written in Ethiopia on a variety of philosophical, political, spiritual and secular topics. From teret teret (story telling) to the satire and elegance of Wax and Gold poetry, Ethiopian literature is as vast as it is unstudied. Currently, we are inviting researchers who want to become part of the publication of a series on (An Introduction to Ethiopian Literature) that introduces the rich literary heritage of Ethiopia to researchers and the general public. If you want to be part of this project or know someone who might, please let us know.

Research collaboration and support


IIEE invites individuals, researchers or organisations to inquire or suggest a research topic relevant to Ethiopian indigenous knowledges. We also encourage networking, research collaboration and knowledge sharing among individuals conducting research on Ethiopian indigenous and home grown knowledges.

The study of The Gada System


The Gada tradition is an indigenous worldview on life, society and nature. It embodies the rich legacy of Oromo wisdom in Ethiopia. IIEE supports research, publication and education based on Gada and other Ethiopian indigenous traditions. We seek to form collaboration with researchers on this field and bring their knowledge to the benefit of the people through incorporation into a curriculum that we envision for the future.

Tirguamme: Indigenous Methodology of Knowledge Production in Ethiopia (2017-2020)


Research is being conducted on one of the Ethiopia’s indigenous methods of knowledge production, Tirguamme. Ethiopian scholars of the past used this indigenous methodology to creatively incorporate foreign ideas, concepts and theories into local contexts. The study also analyses the method of producing local knowledge through Qine, Wax and Gold (satirical poetry) and Hatata (philosophical meditation). The research aims to contribute an Ethiopian/African epistemology that could guide the process of education and knowledge production.
For more information, read What is Tirguamme?

Teaching, Training and Advocacy


IIE is a new organisation. Until it establishes its own academic institution with long-term education and training for young and mature students, we plan to provide short-term virtual and one-to-one training for individuals and groups interested in a specialised study of indigenous Ethiopian knowledges from 2020 onwards. We are also developing introductory courses on indigenous issues and challenges, indigenous philosophy and ecology, indigenous life, economy and language. We aim to enhance individuals and groups’ capacities to understand and stand with indigenous people in their struggle for a better future.

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