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Interview with Dr. Richard Pankhurst


Senamirmir: What is the purpose and mission of The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES)?

Dr. Pankhurst: The Institute was established, im 1963, to assist, and encourage, Ethiopian studies, by:
  1. Operating a specialist Library, and publishing bibliographies thereto.
  2. Running an an Ethnological Museum, which later expanded additionally into a Historical Gallery of Ethiopian Art, a Music Centre, a Philatelic Museum, and a Museum of Currency. The Museum is concerned with the preservation of Ethiopian material culture, to save it for Ethiopia, and for scholarly study; the museum is also concerned and the publication of museum catalogues. See the fine Catalogue of Ethiopian Icons, by Professor Chojnacki recently published by Skira.
  3. The promotion of research, with the publication of a journal, the "Journal of Ethiopian Studies", and the holding of national and international conferences, seminars, exhibitions, etc., etc., etc.
    The Institute, and its Library and Museum, are supported by a special support organization: the Society of Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, known for short as SOFIES.
    For more information on the Institute see its publication "Silver Jubilee Anniversary of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies", edited by Richard Pankhurst and Taddese Beyene (Addis Ababa, 1990).

Senamirmir: Is there any plan to have IES's resources available in electronic form on Internet?

Dr. Pankhurst: Not yet: unless you can find us immediate funding! The computerization of the Institute's resources must, however, be carried out within the present decade, in which we must also build the Institute a new (and greatly expanded and modernized) Library. We would welcome the support (preferably financial!) of any reader in this culturally important task!.

Senamirmir: How is the participation of AAU's alumni in IES?

Dr. Pankhurst: Alumni should join SOFIES, the Society of Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. Annual subscription: US 50 dollars; life US 1,000 dollars; corporate, US 5,000 dollars a year.

But also we would like people who read this interview to help the Library acquire books on Ethiopia available where you may be, and to help the Museum by identifying Ethiopian artifacts whose owners (or their descendants) may be willing to repatriate them. And find us a generous big donor prepared to help us endow the Institute with its new Library!

Senamirmir: If people are interested to join IES, where they can get more information; specially, those who live out side of Ethiopia?

Dr. Pankhurst: See the new Institute Web Site, or e-mail me at:!
Senamirmir Project, 2001