Africa seminar: Understanding Ethiopia’s Political Crisis Contested identities, territories and economy

Ethiopiansk flag - rødt, gult og grønt med national emblem
On 4 November 2020, the central Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in Tigray against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), with the support of militia fighters from the Amhara region and Eritrean troops. There had been years of mounting tensions between the TPLF – the former ruling party dislodged in 2018 partly through public protests – and the new ruling Prosperity Party led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The resulting ongoing war in Tigray has taken a devastating toll on the region with thousands killed and additional reports of massacres, sexual assault and ethnic cleansing. Some two million have been displaced and hundreds of thousands face famine conditions. In recent months the conflict has spread into other regions and there appears to be little prospect at present for any substantial de-escalation.

This seminar – jointly hosted by the Centre of African Studies, Copenhagen University, and the Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University – brings together Ethiopian scholars and European scholars of Ethiopia with understandings of the complex factors that precipitated the wider crisis in Ethiopia, first-hand knowledge of the current war in the Tigray region and its effects, and unique insights into the still-unfolding political crisis.

Guest Speakers
Visiting Ethiopian senior social science academic: Root causes of the conflict in Tigray-Ethiopia: A socio-economic perspective

Visiting Ethiopian senior social science academic: Nine Months of Nightmare: A personal Reflection on the Tigray Conflict

Dr. Mehdi Labzaé, French Centre for Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa: Amhara Nationalism and Irredentism

Dr. Tobias Hagmann, Director of Public Culture Lab Ltd, Switzerland/ Fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, London and Nairobi: The empire strikes back: Ethiopia’s derailed political transition