Ethiopia has over 80 languages which contribute to its national diversity. For a long period of time now Ethiopia has been one of the most unique countries in this aspect. Among these languages Geez is one of them. The ancient language of Geez has been forgotten for some time by the government and the people of Ethiopia. Nonetheless though it has considerable influence in the Ethiopian Orthodox church in the form of poems (Qine). Many spiritual scholars teach aspiring spiritual students from their local school in the church (Beta-Gubae) which makes this ancient tradition one of a kind.
UoG’s social work department conducted its 5th monthly seminar series concerning the wealth of the Geez language on 11 May 2018 at Maraki Campus’s Aluminum Hall. In the Seminar UoG’s Administrative vice president, Dr. Muluken Adane, the Social Sciences and Humanities Dean Dr. Kasahun Tegegne, Qine scholar Tibebu Eshete and various other deans, directors and students were present.
Dr. Mersha Alehenge who is from Addis Ababa University gave a well prepared and informative presentation entitled “The Ethiopian Written Heritage: The Enormous Wealth of the Not Wealthy nation which portrayed the prosperity, benefits and influence of Geez. Many questions were raised by the participants in attendance. Just some of the questions posed were concerned with preservation, accountability and ownership.
Currently, the Geez language is being noticed by Ethiopians and as well as certain universities. Therefore this pivot back to this ancient language says something about its hidden wealth. As it is known, many European countries have opened Geez language departments at various levels up to PhD status. Following the lead of outside universities, Ethiopia has now started opening departments concentrating on Geez. Addis Ababa University and Bahar Dar University are among those forward thinking universities which are offering such teachings. The University of Gondar also, in the near future, will open a center of research focusing on Geez and a subsequent department is in the works.
Reporter Belay Mesfin
Editor Samuel Malede