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Haile Selassie I - Life and Works

The Official Logo of Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa

The Official Logo of Haile Selassie I University.
“YeQedamawi Hayle Sellasie Yuniversti”
This is the first original name of that Institution, that was changed after the comunist rebellion and turned by the following governments into the modern day “Addis Ababa University”.
Indeed, His Majesty was the first to introduce the academic level of education in Ethiopia – the third educational stage – although He has never personally attended any course of that kind. Nevertheless, He was the Chancellor and spiritual guide of the University until 1975, earning a guinness score of honoris causa degrees from all the most important universities of the world, from all the continents of the earth and in all the main subjects of study. He said about:
“With the help of the Almighty Who guides the destiny of mankind, the educational system has moved from the elementary level through the secondary and has now reached higher education given in our colleges.” (Speeches on Various Occasions, p. 11)
On both sides, Star of David (Mosaic Law – Elementary) and Cross (Christianity – Secondary) are the Cultural Foundation for this modern-time Rasta knowledge, the Fruit that is linked with the Roots through the Trunk in perfect troditional continuity. In fact, as His Majesty has said:
“Nor can we ignore the importance of the spiritual in this academic life. Learning and technical training must be nurtured by faith in God, reverence for the human soul, and respect for the reasoning mind. There is no safer anchorage for our learning, our lives, and our public actions than that provided by Divine teachings coupled with the best in human understanding. Leadership developed here should be guided by the fundamental values and the moral power which have for centuries constituted the essence of our religious teachings.” (Selected Speeches p.22)
On the background, the Gennete Leul Palace, the building that the King has inherited from His Father Ras Makonnen, and that has been His personal residence until 1955, when He moved to the “Jubilee Palace“, built on occasion of the 25th year of His Kingdom.
In 1961, the date written in the logo both in ethiopic and western numbers, He has given His Own Family House to the people as a free gift, so that it could guest the headquarters of the University. A shining example of generosity and devotion to the welfare of the nation, reminding that knowledge is not an end in itself, but a principle that should make flesh and be translated in actual service for humanity. His Majesty said about:
“….In the field of education, We take great pleasure in the fact that the opening of Ethiopia’s first University is near at hand. Henceforth, students who have demonstrated their capacity and ability will no longer leave their homeland to pursue higher education. The University’s faculty is being recruited and its physical plant is being established. We Ourself have presented Our Guennete Leul Palace and its grounds, inherited from Our beloved father, as a free gift to the nation, to serve as the nucleus of the University’s physical facilities…” (Selected Speeches p. 1)
2 Torches of Wisdom burning on both the sides, allegory of Ganjah Fyah and powers of mental enlightenment. Fire is the first element that has been created by Egziabhier, the beginning of His creation as it is for human life and creations, the first scientific and technical knowledge of man. It is also associated to the Eye of Mind and His Focus: through it we can understand the past and foresee the future. That’s why the King said:
“…will be able to call for assistance upon the training he has received in this institution, which, like a torch shedding light both forward and behind, will guide him in his work.” (Selected Speeches p. 53)
The motto of the University is written in the central part of the logo. It is a Ge’ez biblical quotation from the Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, emphasizing the scientific value of Ge’ez and biblical knowledge. It is from Paul, that constitutes the most accultured and theoretically complex speech of the Bible, reflecting the spiritual state of higher education.
ኵሎ አመክሩ ወዘሠናየ አጽንዑ
Kw(e)lo Ammek(e)ru WeZeShenay Atz(e)n’u.
“Examine all and hold that which is good.”
The King said to this University:
“Your guide should therefore be the apostolic saying: study and examine all but choose and follow the good. Our forefathers have succeeded in passing down a free and independent people determined to safeguard its liberty by shedding its blood. Ethiopia is the country in Africa which has kept Ge’ez and Amharic with an alphabet of its own.” (Selected Speeches p. 80)
This should be the accepted standard of any form of higher education among I&I.