3RD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF ETHIOPIAN STUDIES
Ethiopia, as is well known, has a long tradition of recorded history running back to the inscriptions of Aksum. The country has also been fortunate in its scholarship centered on the age-old schools of our church (universities of the age) which has been the guardian of Our culture throughout the ages.
Ethiopia has been no less fortunate in attracting the interest of the international world of scholarship, as well as that of foreign well-wishers in far off lands.
Almost half a millenium ago, in 1513, the German Joh Potken, printed the first Ge'ez Psalter at the Vatican, and a few years later we find a Florentine trader, Andrea Corsali, contemplating the printing of Ge'ez books for the Emperor Lebna Dengel.
Some two hundred years later, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the Ethiopian monk Gregorius held his first meeting with the German scholar Job Ludolf. The friendship between these two learned men from the two ends of Christendom, Germany and Ethiopia, was most fruitful. Ludolf, who has justly been called the “Father of Ethiopian Studies” in Europe, proceeded to produce a number of significant works in the field of history and linguistics, among them his Historia Aethiopica, in Latin, which first appeared in 1681 and his Lexicon Aethiopico - Latinum of 1681 and his Grammatica Linguae Amharicae, the first Amharic grammar of 1698.
It is not necessary here to enumerate the many schools of quiné and zema; the schools of the Old and the New Testaments; the schools of the Church Fathers and the monks; the schools of history, art, and literature, but We would not pass them without mentioning the names of Yared and Afeworq, so well known to you all.
Of the foreign scholars of Ethiopia, We should like to mention the English Bruce; the German Dillmann; the French Halevy; the Italian Guidi; and the Russians Turaiev, and Kratchovsky.
The high traditions of learning set by these and other scholars, long deceased, have been continued by the Ethiopicists of Our own time, many of whom are now gathered in Our capital.
With a view to encouraging such research, We established the annual Haile Sellassie I Prize for Ethiopian Studies which was first awarded in 1964 to the distinguished French savant Marcel Cohen and in 1965 to the noted American scholar Wolf Leslau.
We are happy that the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Studies should be meeting in Our capital where the Institute of Ethiopian Studies has now been operating for three years as an integral part of Our University. We hope to see the Institute expand and make a substantial contribution to the growth of scholarship in Our beloved land.
April 3, 1966
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 622 –