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OSU Prof First American Chosen for International Professorship

Friday, May 27, 2005

Theodore Vestal, professor of political science, is the first American honored with the Hiob Ludolf Endowed Professorship, which improves Ethiopian education on current issues, including their influences on the oil industry. Ethiopia holds a valuable geographic position to transport oil from the Middle East to the United States.

The professorship takes place at the Institute for Asian and African Studies of Hamburg University. A number of qualified scholars for this professorship were considered, including many American Ethiopianist.

“I am humbled to be included in their ranks as a candidate for this position,” said Vestal.

Vestal’s summer professorship takes place in Hamburg, Germany. He will teach a graduate course, and give a public address on the diplomacy of Emperor Selassie in the United States.

Vestal will also lend some time to working on cultural and social factors that underlie the present political situations in the Ethio-Eritrean area in the Ethiopian Studies Research Unit at Hamburg University. His work, along with other professorship collaborations, will be included in the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica.

“This honor is simply part of a string of international marks of distinction garnered by OSU faculty during the past few years,” said Vestal. “Too often these honors do not receive the recognition they deserve on campus and off campus.”

Vestal’s professorship continues the partnership with OSU and Ethiopia to improve education, as they did 51 years ago with the establishment of Alemaya University in eastern Ethiopia.

“Given the long history of OSU’s connections to Ethiopia, I am honored to be a part of this grand tradition,” said Vestal. “OSU continues to be represented at the highest levels of research and instruction in Ethiopian Studies—all part of the university’s rich heritage in this field.”

Professor Vestal has served as the associate director of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia and in the African regional office of Peace Corps in Washington D.C. He has been a consultant to the Ethiopian parliament and testified before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, subcommittee on Africa, U.S. House of Representatives on the changes ahead for Ethiopia. As a Yale, Stanford and Harvard alumnus, Vestal joined OSU in 1988.

The Hiob Ludolf Professorship was created in 2003 and founded by the Foundation for the Support of Ethiopian Studies of Hamburg University.

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