Addis Ababa University

Addis Ababa University
Former names
University College of Addis Ababa (1950–1962)
Haile Selassie I University (1962–1975)
Type State university
Established 1950
President Dr. Admasu Tsegaye
Students 48,673 (2013/14)[1]
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Campus Addis Ababa (6 campus, including main)
Debre Zeit campus
Language English

Addis Ababa University (Amharic: አዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ?) is a state university in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Originally called the University College of Addis Ababa at its establishment in 1950, it was later renamed Haile Selassie I University in 1962 after the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I. The institution received its current name in 1975.


Front entrance to Addis Ababa University.

Addis Ababa University was founded as a two-year college in 1950 by a Canadian Jesuit, Dr Lucien Matte, S.J., at the request of Haile Selassie. It began operations the following year. Over the following two years an affiliation with the University of London was developed. The writer and theorist Richard Cummings served as a member of the Faculty of Law in the 1960s.

Emperor Haile Selassie (center) and French Canadian Jesuit, Fr. Lucien Matte, SJ (right) at the University, 1951

As part of their sweeping changes, the Derg ordered Addis Ababa University temporarily closed on March 4, 1975 and dispatched its 50,000 students to the countryside to help build support for the new regime. The university offered its first Master's programs in 1979 and its first PhD programs in 1987.

Three top university administrators resigned their posts in December 2002 in protest against increasing government interference in internal university matters. Government officials wanted the University to change its system of student evaluations to conform to a "gemgema" (self-criticism) system favored by the ruling party.[2]

In 2013/2014, there were 33,940 enrolled undergraduate students, 13,000 graduate students and 1733 PhD students, making a total student body of 48,673.[1]

Campuses and Colleges

Addis Ababa University has thirteen campuses. Twelve of these are situated in Addis Ababa, and one is located in Bishoftu, about 45 kilometers away. It also maintains branches in many cities throughout Ethiopia. The government assigns qualified students to these universities upon completion of secondary school.

Associated institutions include the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, founded by Richard Pankhurst.

Notable alumni


  1. 1 2 "AAU at a glance". Addis Ababa University. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  2. "Ethiopia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: 2002 report", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US State Department. Retrieved 9 July 2009.

Further reading

External links

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Coordinates: 9°2′48″N 38°45′33″E / 9.04667°N 38.75917°E / 9.04667; 38.75917

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