About IOS


Jimma University (JU)’s Institute of Oromo Studies (IOS) is pioneer institute, first of its kind in founded in 2015 to coordinate the hitherto fragmented Oromo studies both inland and abroad. 

The Institute of Oromo Studies (IOS) at Jimma University is a nonprofit research organization with the mission of fostering awareness and appreciation of indigenous Oromo Knowledge System and Practices. IOS was founded in March 2015 at Jimma University to fulfill the Oromo people’s vision in conducting research and studying Oromo traditional and indigenous wisdom and preserving the studies for the development of Ethiopia in general and the Oromia Regional State in particular.

Consequently, the IOS reflected a commitment of Jimma University to teaching, research and community services through rigorous research and study Oromo indigenous knowledge system and practices in publishing and preserving to contribute to Oromia Regional state’s development   and enhance knowledge based economic, socio-cultural and political development of the region.

 Jimma University is committed to contribute to the national development through teaching, research and community services of which IOS is one in the Oromo research and studies in multidisciplinary research so as to contribute its share to development and Oromo’s cultural revival, preservations and documentation of the indigenous knowledge system and practices.

The Oromo is a largest ethno-national group in Ethiopia with rich culture, diversity and language that can facilitate the national development and Ethiopia cultural revival and renaissance.

The institute of Oromo Studies (IOS) at Jimma University (JU) is a central forum and resource for Oromo-centered academic research and Oromo studies program that develop Oromo language and culture and create a forum for critical Oromo studies at local, national and international level and initiate dialogue on Oromo knowledge system and practices both at home and in Diaspora. IOS conferences, seminars, films and lecture series bring together faculty and students with widely varying interests and disciplinary backgrounds together on Oromo studies.

It also collects and preserves scientific journals, books, e-books and e-journals, dissertations and thesis and articles published on Oromo studies for further reference for in depth studies.

Therefore, IOS partners with departments, centers, institutes, and student groups across Jimma University and in the country and across the globe to reach new audiences and facilitate an exchange of knowledge about Oromos gadaa systems, history and culture nationally and internationally. IOS works actively and proactively to solicit external grants for conducting various research on thematic areas of the institute. It also works on language technology to develop various software for Afan Oromo and work to develop Oromo lexicographic data base.

Through its research and center for creative arts and academic and research programs and extracurricular programs, IOS helps to prepare future Oromo scholars and practitioners for careers in development, arts, music, culture, governance, administration, law, human rights and academic research and teaching.

 IOS affiliated faculties are found in nearly all departments and schools on campus and universities across Oromia region and beyond. Its Oromo studies focus on multidisciplinary researches, cultural documentation and language studies, arts and cultural documentations. In addition to Oromo studies and research, IOS offers short term training and workshops on need based and tailor-made customized training when need arises in the future. It also works in close collaboration with Oromia regional bureau based on further studies to strengthen and solve the problems of the region. It also provides consultancy services to the region and other interested bodies on Oromo and Oromo related development projects.  

A significant strength of IOS; therefore, has been its navigation of the global turn and, through its various initiatives, engaging discussions of Oromo indigenous knowledge and practices and global issues and its impacts on Oromia at the center.

IOS seeks to introduce interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary and across disciplinary discussions and debated in ways that challenge the pre-existing assumptions and move the field in new and exciting directions. It further  seeks to facilitate the development of new terrains of academic discussion by brining non academics (policy makers, artists, activists, journalists and creative writers), film makers  and academics ( university professors, independent scholars) into dialogues about Oromo history, politics, culture and language, arts, music, film,  etc to be debated on. 

IOS is an essential centralizing forum for events and programs on Oromo studies that initiate critical conversations at Jimma University in the fields of Oromo studies.

IOS is an essential centralizing forum for events and programs on Oromo in Ethiopia and beyond to initiate critical conversations at Jimma University in Oromo Studies. The Oromo’s history, rich Gada system and culture and its extensive diasporic community continuously draw Oromo and non-Oromo local and international scholars and researchers in to Oromo studies global network.

 IOS toils to understand Oromo in a regional and global context and to insert an Oromo’s wisdom and practices into discussions and scientific research to contribute its share to civilization, conflict resolution and peace and human development and betterment. IOS organized its guiding priority research thematic areas Oromo Knowledge systems and practices under different subthemes for further rigorous studies.

While IOS is very much committed to Oromo studies, we remain convinced that the regional institutes are essential in preserving the indigenous culture and knowledge of the nation’s nationalities and peoples in the south western Ethiopia in addition to Oromo. Each nation, and nationalities and peoples in the south western regions bring a unique set of impulse, experiences and knowledge to bear on strong Ethiopian economic development and indigenous knowledge and practices. We believe that it is the role of IOS to bring Oromos wisdom and contribute to discussions, topics, and key concerns at local, regional and national, level to contribute to the regional development with eye on national and global critical understanding and concerns.

IOS aspires to be one of the leading community based Research Institutes in Africa and renowned globally. 

To undertake research, collect, document & catalogue Oromo indigenous knowledge systems & practices and make data pertaining to Oromo Studies easily accessible to benefit the people and the country. 


  • creating cooperative efforts to provide stronger focal voice for multidisciplinary scholarship on Oromo indigenous knowledge;
  • focusing on conducting quality & interdisciplinary research on Oromo indigenous wisdom;
  • leading discourses on Oromo indigenous knowledge by organizing discussion platforms (trainings, symposiums, workshops…)
  • publishing journal & other publications;
  • developing & operating Library & Archive and Ethnological Museum & Gallery;
  • raising Oromo studies profile and advancing understanding about the Oromo;
  • giving consultancy to inform public policy for decision makers and support development endeavors of Oromia