July 25, 2013
A new book on Ethiopian Calendar, authored by Ato Fassil Tasew, Department Head, Economics, College of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Unity University, was launched on July 20, 2013, at Gerji Campus. The 200-page book, which was printed at the Banawi Printing Press, mainly focuses on “Pagumen”, which is the five or six-day “thirteenth month” of the Ethiopian Calendar year. It is an outcome of thorough research.
Announcing the purpose of the gathering, which brought together invited guests as well as family and friends of the Author in the presence of Dr. Arega Yirdaw, President of Unity University, Wzo. Tegest Hiruy, Administrative Assistant to the President, noted that Unity University organized the launching event, which is the first of its kind, in collaboration with the Author. She congratulated the Author and requested Dr. Seltene Seyoum, Director of the Research and Publications Office (RPO), Unity University, to chair the launching procedure.
Dr. Seltene underlined that the book is an outcome of scientific research on the Ethiopian Calendar. He went on to note that foreign scholars depict Ethiopia as “a country of diversities”. This diversity, he said, is not only in landscape or topography; but also in culture and tradition. Within the diversity, there is a uniting factor, he said, adding that the foreign scholars also call Ethiopia “the home of humanoids”.
Going into further details, Dr. Seltene stated that Ethiopia has its own alphabets and “this gives the country a unique position in history”. He went on to note that Ethiopia also has its own calendar. The RPO Director stressed that Ethiopia is not only a country that staunchly fought for the independence of Africa. It is also a country that has never been colonized by an external force, except for the five years of occupation by Fascist Italian forces. This is also another feature that gives Ethiopia a unique position in history, Dr. Seltene stressed.
Following this, DR. Seltene gave a brief account of the education and work experiences of Ato Fassil and touched on highlights of the book. He underlined, “Whereas we just call ‘Pagumen’ the ‘thirteenth month’ of the Ethiopian Calendar year, the book gives the issue a scientific analysis based on research findings.” Having said this, the Chairperson invited two scholars to present their reviews of the book. Ato Terfasa Digga, Dean, Students’ Affairs, Unity University, and Dr. Girma Gizaw, owner and General Manager of the Training and Consultancy Services Centre and former Lecturer at Unity University, delivered their presentations.
Ato Terfasa presented his review, which focused on seven points, that is, the overall formatting, the objective of the book, main findings of the research, sources of data, glossary of words, readability of the book, editorial works and proofreading. He went through the strengths and flaws of the book and concluded that Ato Fassil’s work is a pioneer in the University; and “since there are many scholars in the University, many such works are expected to come forward”. Speaking on his part, Dr. Girma pointed out, “Ato Fassil’s work is something that calls for a lot of courage. Since it is an original work, it invites critics from not only local but also international scholars. It involves a lot of challenging ideas.”
Following the reviews presented by the two scholars, the floor was open for discussion. Highlights among the issues raised during the discussion focused on the originality of the work and the need to translate the book into English. It was also noted that Ato Fassil’s work is an ice-breaker for those scholars who have the capacity but are not daring enough or are reluctant to publish such research works. One speaker said, “The work is clear indication of the fact that if we have the courage to write, there are numerous unique features that we could write on.”
In his closing remark, Dr. Arega Yirdaw said that it is because Unity wanted to develop the culture and encourage scholars to write books that the University intervened in organizing the launching event. “Had the University been fully involved in the publication of the book, we could have further scrutinized the work. We are fully behind the publication of books by our scholars”, he said. The President further noted that the culture of reading has diminished. “It is the responsibility of the scholars of the University to revive this culture”, he underlined.
Dr. Arega reminded the scholars that the research works and publications should give practical answers to the problems of development in the country. He reiterated that the launching event had provided the University with the opportunity to arouse the interests of those scholars who hesitate to do research works and publish their findings into books. Dr. Arega granted a sum of money to Ato Fassil, as a token of the University’s support to his work. He also ordered the purchase of 50 of the newly-published book for the Library. Unity University is prepared to meaningfully support such works in the future, Dr. Arega promised.
In conclusion, Ato Fassil expressed his sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the success of his work and his special thanks to Unity University for the assistance accorded him. He also thanked all in attendance for coming to the event and expressed his appreciation for the interventions made and comments forwarded during the discussion.