As you all may know, the Oromo Studies Association is organizing its mid-year conference here in Chicago. The local organizing committee and OSA’s leadership is working diligently to make this conference successful and a memorable one.
I am very excited by the fact that the honorable professor Beyene Petros will be attending OSA’s mid year conference. He is a long time opposition politician and an ex-parliamentarian, and one of leaders of the main opposition coalition in Ethiopia. He is here in Chicago on a sabbatical leave.
We are also working very hard to have among us some of the Chicago/IL public servants/representatives. We are hoping that Senator Heather Steans will attend our conference. Cook County Election Coordinator, Befekadu Retta, is interested to talk on election process. He observed elections in Ethiopia twice and once in south Sudan, and run for Aldermanic position of the 46th ward in Chicago. Mr. Harry Fouche, former Haiti Consul General in New York (2003/2004) will also be attending.
We also have a speaker on HIV from the Hennepin County Medical Center, Dr. Rachel Prosser, sponsored by Gilead Sciences. She will be giving us her own experience of treating HIV patients from the horn of Africa and the epidemiology of HIV, diagnosis and linkage to care.
I am expecting a wonderful keynote speech from our two young professionals and leaders, Aadde Obse Lubo and Obbo Nagessa Oddo. We have the honor and privilege of hearing the Oromo resistance history from those who lived it and took part in the making of history. the giants of the 60’s struggle against oppression, heroes of the Dhombir war and subsequent protracted rebellion of Bale and other southern Oromiya regions. I personally consider hearing their stories more inspiring than reading several books. It is the stories that they tell us that inspires some of our scholars and academicians to pursue further research and right the wrong in the Oromo history as told by others.
From Canada, we have Dr. Begna Dugasa, forfmer OSA president, Mr. Garoma Wakessa, founder and Director of Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA), and Tesfaye Kumsa, the editor of the banned Urjii newspaper. Obbo Kumsa will also share with us some of his poetic writings…”Walaloo”
We also have panelists in several other panels…Dr. Guluma from Michigan, former OSA president and ex-board chairman of OSA, Dr. Tekleab S. Gala (Tennessee State University), Dr. Ahmed Bedasso, Kadiro Elemo, Ibrahim German, Fenta, Said, Engineer Abdul Dirre from Minnesota, Liiban Waaqoo, Adam Wario, Jarso Jianmario, and myself making presentations on the conflicts in Borana/ southern Oromiya, environmental issues and the need to form an umbrella organization of the Oromo community organizations.
I am also excited by the fact that the newly established Oromia Media Network will be broadcasting our conference to our bigger audience, the Oromo people back home and around the globe.
The Oromo community of Chicago’s fundraising cultural night is being organized by the Oromo youth of Chicago under the leadership of the Board of Directors. This is another event that I believe will contribute to the success of our much anticipated conference.
Please, talk to your friends and colleagues ( Oromos and non-Oromos) and encourage them to attend our conferences and cultural night. We should work towards equal participation of both men and women.
President, Oromo Studies Association