Years back in 2010, Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia established an international network known as GKEN (Global Knowledge Exchange Network). This noble volunteer also created its academic wing EDMA (Ethiopian Doctoral and Masters Academy) in 2014. The GKEN and EDMA initiative was conceived by well-meaning Ethiopian volunteers residing in London, UK to genuinely contribute their share to address the challenges that Ethiopian higher education is facing. The initiative has taken the first step to facilitate the knowledge exchange and skills transfer with clear intentions of helping to build the research, training & strengthen the research capacity of Ethiopian academic institutions.
The GKEN-EDMA initiative, therefore, brings together Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopian academics, researchers, and practitioners with a clear aim to help and increase research capacity and knowledge production. Ultimately to prepare future generations of Ethiopian scholars by supporting doctoral and master’s level candidates across Ethiopia coming from various academic disciplines.
GKEN signed a memorandum of Understanding with Jimma University 10 years ago but began making an impactful contribution since the introduction and establishment of EDMA’s office at Jimma. One of the agreements made between GKEN-EDMA and its hub Jimma University was curriculum designing, and they made an immense contribution in designing a curriculum to the Department of Information Science.
EDMA volunteers were engaged in teaching, advising, and mentoring those admitted four students in the Department of Information System. For the past five years, they (GKEN-EDMA members) were with Ethiopian students advising, teaching, and mentoring their candidates; now, the time has come to harvest the fruit of their selfless efforts. Mr. Amanuel one of the four and the first batch of the department in Information System has defended his Ph.D. dissertation successfully. “Decades back, it was mind-boggling that everybody worries and thinks about Ethiopian youngsters. Only from 1980-91, Ethiopia lost over 70% of its skilled human capitals from universities, hospitals, and various other institutions”.
Professor Amare Desta the co-founder, chair, and director of GKEN-EDMA reminded us about the brain drain and what had been happening to Ethiopian professionals and also about the presence of a large number of Ethiopians all over the world. They have attained hallmarks of excellence in their respective fields of specialization and about the need for this valuable resource to be organised and harnessed in a systematic way in order to make a meaningful contribution to their country-of-origin capacity development efforts.
However, in the past 10 years, along with the establishment of GKEN-EDMA, JU began to help to reverse the brain drain into brain gain by mobilizing the Ethiopian volunteers residing abroad through the establishment of EDMA. To this end, JU’s staff member Amanuel Ayde has successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation with the closest help and supervision of the Global Knowledge Exchange Network (GKEN) and its academic wing EDMA’s (Ethiopian Doctoral & Masters Academy) volunteers.
“We therefore would like to congratulate the GKEN volunteers and the candidate on behalf of the University’s president Dr. Jemal Abafita,” said Dr. Tadesse Habtamu acknowledging and giving credit to all GKEN-EDMA’s volunteers on the successful completion of this doctoral journey. As to the vice president for academics, Dr. Tadesse Habtamu, the contribution is irreplaceable. “Achieving a degree, especially at Doctoral level, is always a significant accomplishment that reflects the dedication and hard work put forward by the candidate; by his supervisors/advisors, coordinators /facilitators, and by the hosting institution. Dr. Amanuel Ayde is the first Ph.D. candidate that has experienced earning his qualification from this program, which is the fruit of the combined effort of GKEN-EDMA & Jimma University.
Similarly the co-founder and chair of GKEN-EDMA, Professor Amare articulated what he felt about this success. “We at GKEN-EDMA wish Dr. Amanuel the very best as he utilizes his degree in his future career. Our hope is that Amanuel will become very successful, not only in his field of Information Science but also by being an ambassador for GKEN-EDMA to show the world the importance of positive spirit and collaboration in service of our pivotal nation.”
Prof. Amare added that “As Amanuel’s principal supervisor, it has been wonderful witnessing and watching him grow in Information Science discipline from the literature into the methodology; finding of empirical evidence; analysis of the data and to successfully write up research papers and present his thesis and then defend his work all leading up to the very special moment of earning a Ph.D. We also hope Dr. Amanuel will stay connected with GKEN and Jimma University because there are many academics, researchers and practitioners that respect and value him and very much hope he will also continue to lead by example and help others to achieve their dreams too.”
As an EDMA and GKEN lead coordinator in Jimma University, Dr. Demelash Mengistu also witnesses the contribution of these volunteers and stated, “Yes Dr. Amanuel Ayde is the first Ph.D. candidate that has experienced earning his qualification from this program, which is the fruit of the combined effort by GKEN and Jimma University and that is fully run by our volunteers from London, UK.”
In summary, volunteers at GKEN-EDMA, therefore, wish Dr. Amanuel the very best as he utilizes his degree in his future career. “Our hope is that Amanuel will become very successful, not only in his field of Information Science but also by being an ambassador for GKEN- EDMA to show the world the importance of positive spirit and collaboration in service of our pivotal nation.” Professor Amare summarised the spirit of the volunteers and wished a very successful career to Dr. Amanuel.