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Addis Ababa University is a university in Ethiopiamarker. It was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa" at its founding, then renamed for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1962, receiving its current name in 1975.

Although the university has six of its seven campuses within Addis Ababamarker (the seventh is located in Debre Zeit, about 45 kilometers away), it also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia, leading to the claim of being "the largest university in Africa." The government assigns qualified students to these universities upon completion of secondary school. Students also attend other private colleges, such as Unity University. The writer and theorist Richard Cummings served as a member of the Faculty of Law.

Associated institutions include the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, founded by Richard Pankhurst.


Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa University was founded in 1950 at the request of Haile Selassie by a Canadianmarker Jesuit, Dr Lucien Matte s.j. as a two-year college, and began operations the next year. Over the following two years an affiliation with the University of London was developed.

As part of their sweeping changes, the Derg ordered Addis Ababa University temporarily closed March 4, 1975 and dispatched its 50,000 students to the countryside to help build support for the new regime. Ironically, it was a group of former college students in Tigray Provincemarker who founded the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front to resist the Derg government, which later joined a number of other groups to become the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.

The university offered its first master's programs in 1979 and its first PhD programs in 1987.

Three top university administrators resigned their posts December 2002 in protest against increasing government interference in internal university matters. Government officials wanted the University to change its system of student evaluations to conform to a "gemgema" (self-criticism) system favored by the ruling party.

Notable alumni


  1. "Ethiopia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: 2002 report", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US State Department (accessed 9 July 2009)

Further reading

  • Teshome G. Wagaw. The Development of Higher Education and Social Change, an Ethiopian Experience. East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State University Press. 1990.

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