This fall semester of 2017, Wagner’s English Department welcomed two visitors from Ethiopia, Professor Aboneh Ashagrie and Professor Teferi Nigussie Tafa.
Aboneh Ashagrie, a professor of theater and film at Addis Ababa University, received a Civil Society Scholar fellowship from Open Society Foundations (OSF) to study how colleges and universities in America teach theater and film. He stayed at Wagner from September 22 to November 6 and experienced the famous Wagner curriculum, met with faculty and students, participated in classes, and attended the theater department’s production of 1776.
By a wonderful coincidence, Wagner had another visitor from Ethiopia at the same time. Teferi Nigussie Tafa is currently a visiting scholar in the English department at Norwich University in Vermont on a fellowship from the Institute of International Education/Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE/SRF). He visited Wagner for two days, was a guest lecturer in two classes, and then gave his formal scholarly presentation on “Oromo Literature and Culture and Ethiopian Sustainable Development” on September 28.
The two scholars had already known each other for many years at Addis Ababa University and did not expect to happily encounter each other in New York where they could catch up with each other on their intellectual endeavors. The following day, both of them also had a chance to join a first-year learning community (LC8) with Dr. Laura Morowitz and Dr. Steven Thomas on its field trip to the Schomburg Center in Harlem to see a special exhibition on the Black Power movement.
Aboneh returned to Wagner in November 29, after continuing some of his research in Maryland and Washington DC, to give a presentation reflecting on his experiences at Wagner entitled “Comparison of Film and Theater Studies at American and Ethiopian Colleges .” His interview with students was also published in The Wagnerian newspaper.