Ethiopia Trip Report: Events organized at the University of Gondar

Since I returned from Ethiopia, I’ve been reporting about my trip. If in case you missed my previous two reporting, you may check out the links below:

  1. Ethiopia Trip Report: Media Appearances

2. Ethiopia Trip Report: Workshops for media institutions

In this report, I’d like to share with you the highlights of my visit to the University of Gondar (UoG). By the way, the President of the UoG and I shared the same dormitory for over four years when we were studying at AAU, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. I’m so happy to see Dr. Desalgn- President of the UoG, after so many years. Most importantly, I was proud of his outstanding achievements as he leads one of the fastest growing and impactful learning institutions in Ethiopia.

Presenting my books to the President of UoG in his office

By taking his precious time, Desu gave me a tour and explained to me the various undertakings that were going on at the UoG. I was impressed by the expansion of the university. When I was invited by the student leaders of the then Gondar College of Medical Sciences, 20 years ago and while I was the leader of AAU students, the campus was tiny. Look at it now (the pic below is just a partial view of one of its campuses)! The UoG is now a mega-university which has dozens of faculties and thousands of students plus many regional and global partnerships around the world.

The beautiful campus of UoG

By the way, more than the growth and expansion of the UoG, I was impressed by the corporate culture, which is priceless. If you’re wondering about the external manifestations and successes of the university, look no farther. It’s because of the direct and indirect results of the internal working environment and culture of the university. During my two days stay, I witnessed the culture of the UoG in action. For instance, while in the office of the President and having informal chat with the top leadership, I closely watched how they were interacting among themselves. They were interacting like peers. I felt like we were close friends having fun in a coffee shop. We had so much fun and the conversation was full of laughter.

The tower at the UoG Presidents of Ethiopia, Eritrea & Somalia used to view the whole city

I also paid close attention to the way students were interacting with the President and his team. Students were waving their hands and greeting him with happy faces while we were walking and driving around. Some students with issues stopped him and chatted with him like they were talking to one of their peers. I was standing there and comparing what was going on right there with our student years. Let alone to talk to the president like that, we weren’t having decent interactions with our lecturers. In short, if you would like to duplicate the extraordinary successes of the UoG, study its culture, customize it to your objective conditions on the ground, and then, you would replicate its successes.

At the UoG, I had three opportunities:

  1. With the UoG Leadership. I shared the critical roles certain soft skills play and the importance of incorporating these soft skills into the curriculum like the other mainstream courses to the university’s President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, and other leaders of the UoG. The insights, stories, models, and tools were taken from my book ‘Soft Skills That Make or Break Your Success‘. By the way, the university has a dedicated Deliverology and Career Development team working hard to empower students while they are on campus so that they may become ready to serve their communities with excellence when they leave the university after graduation. My presentation was received well. As a result, the university’s administration and the relevant team are eager to work with me to implement some of the suggestions put forward in my presentation.
With the UoG leadership

2. With Student Leaders. I shared my journey on why I decided to serve the AAU community as student leader 20 years ago, the preparation I did to position myself to get elected as president from a faculty that was neglected and isolated, and the resilience it took to succeed in that very demanding position. I encouraged these young leaders to elevate their vision from preoccupying themselves in just focusing on immediate concerns of student needs such as food and academic issues. I shared with them what we did 2 decades ago. I told them that we actively engaged at national and continental issues such as traveling to visit other university students in the country to form a national students’ union, requesting to be represented in the parliament, proactively involving in the then national issues using media outlets, and traveling in some African countries to contribute our fair share in using intercultural dialogue to bring peace in the continent and so on. I inspired these future leaders of our country to engage the student body and create synergy with the university administration not only to address campus-wide issues but also to play proactive roles in other socio-economic, civic, and nation-building affairs in the regional state and beyond.

UoG student leaders

I also reminded these young leaders the fact that we have now a young PM and the nation is in transformation. Accordingly, I encouraged them to work on their personal development, have the right mindset, envision high, and develop certain leadership and soft skills to lead the student body with excellence and also to fulfill their national civic responsibilities while they are still students. They engaged with me and asked million dollar questions. They also asked me to continue empowering the leadership and I said I will try my best!

3. Spoke at Global Entrepreneurship Week Event. On this important occasion, I talked about the mindset necessary, some of the key decisions to make, and soft skills necessary to succeed in any business.

Thank you very much Drs. Desalegn and Asrat (President and Vice-President, respectively), and the leadership team of the UoG for inviting me to share my stories and expertise to the university’s community and your hospitality. I’m proud of you and your accomplishments! Way to go!!!

Will continue to report the remaining aspects of my Ethiopia Trip. Stay tuned!

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