Ethiopia: The challenge of democracy from below

Ethiopia: The challenge of democracy from below

Author: 
Bahru Zewde
Place: 
Uppsala
Publisher: 
The Nordic Africa Institute
Phys descriptions: 
215 p., tables, charts
Date published: 
2002
Record type: 
Corporate Author: 
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
Editor: 
Pauseruang, Siegfried
ISBN: 
9171065016
Call No: 
321.7(63) ETH
Abstract: 

The Forum for Social Studies (FSS) is an independent, non-profit policy research in situation formally established in 1998. It is the first institution in Ethiopia actively engaged in promoting public awareness about the development challenges facing the country and the need for the democratization of public making. Its main activities consist of organizing public debates, undertaking policy making. Its main activities consist of organizing public debates, undertaking, policy analysis, conducting research on development and related issues and disseminating widely the findings of such research. FSS is part of the growing body of civil society institutions that, since the fall of the Derg, the military government that ruled the country until 1991, has been actively engaged in grassroots development, advocacy, and public education and consciousness raising. In the short time since it was established, it has published a number of works on rural development, public access to information, the independent press, the environment and natural resource management, food security and poverty reduction. This book is the result of a collaborative venture, launched in the second half of 1998, between FSS and the Chr. Michelsen Institute with funding from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. It was the first joint effort for FSS and since then we have had several successful ventures with overseas institutions. At that time, FSS was struggling due to lack of funding and recognition, and the proposal for a collaborative project, which was brought to us by Siegfried Pausewang, seemed to be a vote of confidence in the young organization. The initial agreement was for FSS to commission a number of research undertakings on the broad theme of democratization in Ethiopia and to use the findings of the research as a basis for a public debate involving government officials, civil society groups, the business community, professionals and the media. As it turned out, the workshop, which was held in January 2000, brought together a much wider diversity of papers than originally anticipated, stimulating more critical debate and keen interest. In a way, the book is a collaboration not only between two institutions but between Ethiopian researchers on the one hand and Norwegian students of Ethiopia on the other. It is interesting that while the subjects addressed by many of the researchers on the one hand and Norwegian students of Ethiopia on the other. It is interesting that while the subjects addressed by many of the researchers are different, the careful reader of the book will not fail to notice an underlying consensus running through all of the chapters. FSS is fortunate to have played an important role in bringing together Norweigian and Ethiopian researchers and providing them an open forum for discussion. FSS hopes the book will stimulate further research and debate on the democratization process in Ethiopia where, as Bahru has aptly noted in the introduction, the burden of history lies so heavy and where the basic institutions of democratic order are struggling to emerge. The book will be useful to a wide reading audience, and in Ethiopia in particular, professionals, development practitioners, readers with interest in the emerging civic institutions, and students in institutions of higher education will find it interesting and challenging. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Siegfried Pausewang who initiated the original collaborative idea, Oyvind Aadland who was instrumental in activating the project when it was flagging, and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for providing the funds.

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CITATION: Bahru ZewdeNordiska Afrikainstitutet. Ethiopia: The challenge of democracy from below edited by Pauseruang, Siegfried . Uppsala : The Nordic Africa Institute , 2002. - Available at: http://library.au.int/ethiopia-challenge-democracy-below-3