The legacy of the powerful student movement in Ethiopia


During the year of 1965, students flooded the streets of Addis Ababa, calling for an end to the old feudal land ownership structure and seeking improvements for the impoverished farming class under the Emperor’s regime. A couple of years later, the issues of land reform were broadened to include “The National Question”, which encompassed the rights of nationalities and citizenship in this multi-ethnic country.

Over 300 students took up the invitation to this public lecture, jointly organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Mekelle University on March 17, with one of the leading Ethiopian historians, Professor Bahru Zwede.

In his comprehensive presentation, Professor Zewde detailed the significant role of the Ethiopian student movement before and after the revolution. He described how a source of progressive political – Marxist-Leninist – gave fruit to ideas for the country’s future as well as legacies in the current political structures of Ethiopia.

The presentation was followed by questions from the audience. In his closing remarks, Dr. Kindeya Gebrehiwot, President of the Mekelle University, confirmed the University’s commitment to continue the lecture series on important past and current national developments in continued collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.