Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ethiopian Physicists meeting in DC-August 2 2008


I have opened up a blog on and about the Ethiopian Physical society
Please feel free to add your views and information on the community, on physics education and research issues in Ethiopia. The blog site is located at

On Friday August 1, 2008 a group of Ethiopian physicsts met to discuss the establishment of the Ethiopian Physical Society-North America. While I am very skeptical about the meeting and the need for such organization, the turn out was good. I met many young Ethiopians who are ready to meet the challenges of the future, and with plans to support physics education in Ethiopia, create a support network for themselves. I was given the opportunity to give a talk on "A viable Ethiopian Physical Society". I explained to the participants the activities that we have undertaken since 1987, and how we were able to market the Ethiopian Physical Society. I also informed them that there is already a registered society and that there is a lot of room for collaboration as long as there is a free will to do it. I will put the details of the talk in a paper format and post it on the web. At the meeting was the Executive Director of the American Physical Society, two faculty members from AAU, and there was even a poet and a person representing Hibret Le Limat. While the presentations are ordinary, and repetitions of a typical "Diaspora" for development meeting, there is absolutely nothing new that such organization can do different from already existing efforts. I anticipate a few problems with such organization. There are too many rules, the members are spread all over the country, and the organization does not have leverage on members, the services to members are unknown. It is formed based only national emotions... "We must help Ethiopia", which in my view are meaningless. Organizations such as this should be formed based on a serious business model, where attention is given to hard work instead of charity. This is not to criticize the formation, but this is to alert the organization on what is lying ahead.

I am particularly impressive to learn that most of the Ethiopian physicists are actually outside Ethiopia. In my talk I presented the case of Ethiopian physicists in Ethiopia. It turns out that for the 20 + universities in the country, there are not more than 20 PhD holding Ethiopian nationals working in the country. I also showed data that may indicate that most of the African Physicists in the US are Ethiopians. I estimated that there are 120 Ethiopians in the US with PhD in Physics. But less than 20 came to the meeting. I am pretty sure the next meeting will bring more people

Wisdom: Bread that fills the stomach is known while it is in the oven". Ye miategib injera kemitadu yastawikal

During the dinner time I shared a table with four individuals. We have great conversation. Being in the business of sending and receiving emails from thousands of people, and meeting people of all cultures I become armature social scientists with a hunch to understand perspective outside my own. For example one topic of conversation with about a geology professor I know of. It is absolutely unfortunate to hear that this professor was a thief and never cared for his students. The other discussion was about AAU professors who are supposed to work hard and they are not doing anything. This is a very sinister discussion in my view that the professors are still in Ethiopia giving their best to the future of Ethiopia. We are not in any position to judge hard working people. If such views will become prevalent, especially when you form an organization, then it is hard for any reasonable person to join and to help.

During the meeting there were rumblings about religion, and moderation of discussion, and fear of unknowns. For example during the end of the evening dinner one of the participants literally attacked me for my personal opinions on religion and how I must deal with people. I always assume humans are rational beings, as such I don't expect them crossed on casual arguments where religion is mentioned. If I don't make such assumption at the outset, the alternatives will be running around the bush, and leading the listeners to make his or he own judgment. I don't wish to be controversial. I don't think any one should wish to become controversial. People must accept you and I for who we are, not their mental designs of us, or by what they think we areu. The funny thing is this person was very drank. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to get drank and to become philosophical. You are probably telling the truth about your feelings (HOD YABWIN BIKIL YAWETAWAL). But you are not capable of receiving rational explanation. In fact this guy was a little physical.

In conclusion: As far as I am concerned I have decided to dedicate the next 20 years to organize the Ethiopian Educational. Cultural and Scientific communities to make Ethiopia and Ethiopians the best they can be. One such organization is the Ethiopian Physical Society. I will soon open a channel for the Ethiopian Educational Scintific and Cultural Network, that allows for every Ethiopian, young or Old, with dedicated to to the scientific and cultural development of Ethiopia. In my view this will be the final assult on ingnorance and poverty. I will soon send email to the whole world to join. This movement the "Ethiopian Physical Society" has been around since 1987. We would like to collaborate with anyone and anywhere to make this happen.


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