Oromo Studies Association Annual Conference
When: August 2 – 3
Where: Howard University College of Medicine
520 W St NW, Washington, DC 20059
Background: As with the MTA, the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) is steeped in history. It is the first scholarly organization dedicated to the study of Oromo people and Oromia. Founded in 1986, OSA has been instrumental in debunking statist Ethiopian historiography. It has been said that the existence of the Ethiopian state was predicated on oppressing the Oromo through various tactics. For example, Ethiopian history was written in a way that is so demeaning of Oromo at times portraying them as migrants to the land.
OSA’s nearly 30 decades of scholarship challenges Ethiopia’s historical officialdom. Over the years, OSA pioneers and scholars have written books and journal articles highlighting not only the Oromo story but also long repressed Oromo cultural heritage. As such, it’s so fitting that the 28th annual OSA conference features three Gadaa leaders along with professor Asmarom Legesse, the foremost authority on the Gadaa system.
Other notable speakers at the conference include Dr. Gudata Sado Hinika, a trauma surgeon in Southern California, and author and journalist Tesfaye Gebreab. Dr. Hinika is a philanthropist whose life-saving medical mission and scholarship have already touch the lives of so many young Oromos in Oromia (read OPride’s review of his boom here: http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3628-healer-s-light-achieving-the-impossible)
Tesfaye Gebreab is the author of many books including the most recent “the immigrant’s notebook.” Tesfaye is a prolific Amharic novelist who earned notoriety among the Oromo after writing his masterpiece first novel: Ye Burqa Zimita. He’s one of the few contemporary non-Oromo Ethiopian writers who have managed to deviate from the accepted Ethiopianist storyline to address the Oromo question. While he is widely admired among the Oromo, there are few more controversial fiction writers in and outside of Ethiopia. (See OPride’s write-up of his chapter on “Chaltu as Helen” here: http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3718-chaltu-as-helen-an-everyday-story-of-oromos-traumatic-identity-change)
Details here: http://bit.ly/1pnhmDp