Having been a practicing journalist and a media trainer, I developed a passion to deeply understand freedom of the press and so was keen to study human rights in general at a higher level. So, I joined a PhD program at Addis Ababa University, Center for Human Rights, a campus that demonstrates a very high quality of teaching.
It is true that choosing the right university for a higher education is both exciting and frightening for anyone. However, my prior experience of obtaining MA degree from the same Center helped me consider most essential qualities that were valuable to me such as reputation, quality of teaching and location. Thus, I was keen to pick a PhD in Human Rights program at Addis Ababa University that was comprehensive and interdisciplinary. The program covers all the relevant requirements at a standard far above my expectations. The courses provide quality and caliber expected of a higher education. I knew the Center for Human Rights has a good reputation of its MA program but did not expect such a high-quality PhD program facilitated by world-class instructors with deeper understanding and practical experiences in the field of human rights. The professors here are friendly, extremely intelligent and passionate about what they do. I have really appreciated seminars, which have allowed me to really get under the skin of the courses I have been taking. It is clear from the time and personal interest demonstrated by each of my lecturers and instructors that they are committed to helping me succeed, both scholastically and in my future research career.
The Center for Human Rights provides opportunities that a PhD student may need, from academic supervisions to conference opportunities! I believe studying should not only be about doing well and spending hours in the library. That is why I appreciate the opportunities I am given to attend various public lectures, dissertation defenses and Colloquiums that have expanded my perspectives in human rights education and research. On the 24th of April 2018, I had the chance to attend a lecture by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein, at Addis Ababa University. The Commissioner gave a captivating speech on diverse issues of human rights in Ethiopia- from the recent public disobedience to freedom of expression and of association. The lecture rather brought an insight for me for areas of research engagement. I also have had the opportunity to converse with lots of human rights experts about media freedom. The major discussion point was the statement by the Commissioner that his office offered assistance in revising Ethiopia’s Charities and Societies Proclamation, the Anti-Terrorism legislation and the Mass Media Laws, which he underscore are in desperate need of reform. For me, as a PhD student who aspires to understand freedom of information and of expression as a touchstone of all the freedoms, Al Hussein’s lecture was a reminder that a lot is expected from academic institutions to produce competent human rights experts who will work to advance and protect rights and freedoms.
Undoubtedly, Center for Human Rights is one of the best in the country! The Center, in my opinion, will play its part in changing the human rights dynamics in Ethiopia and beyond. The time will not be far that the Center for Human Rights in Addis Ababa University will serve as an excellence center where outstanding human rights defenders who are highly committed to formulating, interpreting and implementing human rights instruments emerge from. And this makes me feel celebrate the opportunity to have best PhD colleagues who are from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. We share our thoughts and feelings about all sorts of aspects of the PhD process, which makes the study very enjoyable and interesting. We are here at Ethiopia’s oldest university to challenge ourselves, to change ourselves and our country, to learn, to share and care through our research. I am deeply grateful for this life changing opportunity at the Center for Human Rights, Addis Ababa University!