Scholars Need to Meet Population, Layout Strategies to Realize Nat’l Dialogue: Ottawa University Professor


May 07, 2022 (ENA)  Ethiopian scholars need to clearly understand the issues put forward by the people at large and layout strategies to realize the historic national dialogue, University of Ottawa Sociology Professor Abdoulaye Gueye said.

Approached by ENA while he was in Addis Ababa to attending the 20th International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa and the Third HEFAALA Symposium, Professor Gueye stated that the role of the scholar is first of all to serve as critic of its society.  

Scholars must therefore be critical and not only listen to what politicians want but help to make the best decision for the benefit of their society, he added.  

The professor stressed that scholars must be very critical of what is happening, because it is through criticism that we can change and then improve the situation of a country.

As Ethiopia is preparing to undertake its first ever historic inclusive national dialogue by  establishing a national dialogue commission to pave the way for national consensus and keep the integrity of the country, the role of scholars is key, he noted.

In this regard, Professor Gueye said “I believe the very first step that scholars in Ethiopia must take in order to be useful in this national dialogue is first and foremost to get out and meet the population.”  

But many scholars are just discussing with among themselves and they do not really know what is happening in the remote villages or in the remote cities, he pointed out.

“They have to go there, spend time with the people who live there, understand what the needs are and the issues these people put forward.”  

According to the scholar, understanding the needs of the people at large is crucial in realizing the historic national dialogue.

Once the scholars understand these issues, they can lay out a strategy in order to bring people together, he underscored.

Professor Gueye emphasizes that only talking to students at the universities or to other scholars is not going to be the best road to bring the diverse groups together.      

Over the last 25 years, numerous national dialogues have taken place globally  in a multitude of political contexts and with a broad range of forms and sizes, aims and goals.