German-Ethiopian Scholarship Initiative


The Centre for Transcultural Studies / Perthes Collection is participating in the Gerda Henkel Foundation's funding initiative for early-career researchers at the University of Mekelle in Northern Ethiopia (ResScholarGE), which was approved in Autumn 2021. In view of the ongoing difficulties in Ethiopia, this will enable us to continue our long-standing cooperation as well as our joint research activities, especially regarding the holdings of the Perthes Collection.

Thanks to the generous support of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, four Ethiopian doctoral candidates are currently working at the Centre for Transcultural Studies: Samuel Kidane Haile (Mekelle University) is conducting research on his dissertation project "Historical Sources, Oral Traditions and Interpretations on the Period of Ras Sihul Mikael 1692-1780". Zegeye Woldemariam Ambo (Mekelle University/ Bonga Teacher's College) is continuing work on his dissertation on "The Kingdom of Kafa: An Ecological and Political Ethnohistory from the late 14th to the early 20th centuries". In Autumn 2022, Fesseha Berhe Gebregergis (Mekelle University) also returned to Gotha to complete his ethnohistorical dissertation on the "Dobᶜa of Ethiopia". They are all former scholarship holders of the Gotha Herzog Ernst Scholarship Programme. With the support of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Bereket Hasen Beddecha (Mekelle University) is also associated with the Centre for Transcultural Studies as a visiting scholar. His dissertation on "Political Communication Strategy and Diplomacy: The Ethiopian War and the Country's Communication and Diplomatic Crisis" is based at the University of Erfurt in the field of Media and Communication Studies.

The initiative of the new scholarship programme goes back to Wolbert Smidt (Friedrich Schiller University Jena/ Mekelle University), a former Herzog Ernst Fellow . It aims to support early-career researchers and research assistants working within existing German-Ethiopian cooperation projects. At the same time, the programme also has an impact on research and teaching at the University of Erfurt through involvement in ongoing cooperation projects that began with an initial Memorandum of Understanding in 2014. Accordingly, the scholarship holders are actively involved in joint research activities and working groups, such as the early-career researchers’ network "Historical Africa Research" and the working group "Territoriality and Cartographic Knowledge", which are closely linked to the project "Cartographies of Africa and Asia (1800–1945): A Project for the Digitization of Maps of the Perthes Collection Gotha (KarAfAs)".

Pictures: Summer party of the GothAdua e.V. association. © Otto Eismann; Ethiopian coffee ceremony at the Centre for Transcultural Studies; opening plenary of the 1st annual conference of the German-Ethiopian Scholarship Initiative in Gotha.

Gruppenbild Sommerfest GothAdua
Äthiopische Kaffeezeremonie am Pagenhaus
Eröffnungsplenum der Jahrestagung
Gerda Henkel Stiftung