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My Humble Reflection on the Tigrai Scholars Grand conference (July18th-22nd, 2018) Mekelle, Tigray (QUO VADIS TIGRAI?)

By Tsegai Berhane, PhD Mekelle University, School of Law
Tigrai Online, July 24, 2018

Tigrai International Scholars Conference Concluded in Mekelle, Tigrai State in Ethiopia

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To start with, in my view, the grand conference was very successful in mobilizing different Tigrean scholars with different academic backgrounds from all over the world. It is really very heartwarming to see that Tigray has such giant and reputed scholars dispersed all over the world. Forgive me if I am overwhelmed by the grand conference; I am tempted to call the grand conference as the first exhodus of Tigrean scholars back to their roots. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers (Global Society of Tigrean Scholars (GSTS), Mekelle University (my university), Axum University, Adigrat University, Raya University and the Regional Government for their dedication and efforts (energy, money and time) they invested on the grand conference. My hats off to the organizers and all participants.

As a participant, I observed that the grand conference critically interrogated the existing driving philosophy, value sytems and norms employed in different sectorial policies in Tigray (like in education, agriculture, health, manufacturing, business, media, history, language and governance). The grand conference, by underlying the fact that the current sectorial policy practices in Tigray are mostly based on imported philosophy and value system, it recommended, as Tigreans we have to concentrate on our indigenous philosophy, values and norms even if philosophy and value system transfer is inevitable.  

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As to me, the grand conference is an indicator of the Tigrean scholars’ commitment to search enlightenment from inside. I believe this is the right beginning for renaissance in Tigray. Self-reliance or inward looking as basic cardinal value for sustainable change in Tigray. Of course, this does not imply we do not have to look for collaborations rather we need to focus on our basic foundation and be smart to make use whatever opportunities are available to us. (In this regard, I have written a short article on: “Time to search enlightenment from inside” some time ago http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/editorial-view-point/item/11017-time-to-search-enlightenment-from-inside)    

In my humble observation, the implications of the grand conference are:

  • Every region should follow suit and call its scholars to contribute in the region’s development endeavors;
  • Every region should endorse the cardinal value that every region’s failure or success story depends on its politicians, academicians and constituents. I do not think externalizing problems will take us anywhere. Though, this does not mean there cannot be external problems. However, once every region tackles its internal problem, it will not be difficult to handle the external problems. So, the issue is regional states need to keep their houses in order and then collaborate; and
  • What is more, as Ethiopians, we need to establish a framework on how to make use of our scholars at national, inter-regional and regional levels. From my limited experience at the grand conference, I met very giant scholars who could make a difference at national, inter-regional and regional levels. I think what we lack is prudence on how to make use of this amazing wealth of knowledge. 

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Finally, it will not be fair to end my short article without complimenting Dr. Debretsion, our chief regional administrator for his wise remarks in the grand conference. Personally, I found him to be very inspiring. I believe as Tigreans we need to stand with him and do all our best to build knowledge based economy and society in Tigray - as the theme of the grand conference aspires.  

God bless Tigray!!!

God bless Ethiopia!!!

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