The two days Conference collaboratively organized by the Institute of Oromoo Studies (IOS) in Jimma University and Institute of Oromoo and Afro-Asiatic Studies in Wollega University is the third of its kind hosted successively for the last three years. The participants of the conference included Abbaa Gadaas from all over Oromia, distinguished Oromoo scholars from the country and abroad, seasoned Oromoo Artists and writers, dignitaries, stakeholders from various offices, academics and students.
The theme of the 3rd International Oromoo Studies conference was “Afaan Oromoo, Arts, Custom and History: Challenges and Opportunities”, and about forty papers focusing on key themes of Language, Arts, History and Custom were presented. The event began with the blessing of Abbaa Gadaas, Dr. Eba Mijena’s welcoming address and Prof. Fikre Lemessa’s opening speech, followed by a brief note from Mr. Berhanu Bekele, administrator of Eastern Wollega and the keynote address from Dr. Gemechu Megersa.
In his opening speech Professor Fikre Lemessa, president of Jimma University, indicated that the Institute of Oromoo Studies’ mission of widening its scope and drawing collaborative efforts from other higher institutions is being materialized sooner than expected upon its establishment in 2015. The bold step Jimma University has taken three years back in establishing the Institute of Oromo Studies to act as the hub of Oromo scholarship, he stressed, is now pulling joint ventures such as the third International Oromo Studies Conference. He thanked Wollega University for its efforts in materializing the hosting of the conference, which symbolizes an exemplar partnership for the same cause. In his address, Prof. Fikre emphasized that critical appraisals focusing on Oromo arts, language, custom and history need to get attention so as to move Oromo scholarship a step forward.
In his keynote address, one of the seasoned Oromo scholars Dr. Gemetchu Megersa spoke about the sacrifices paid to develop Afaan Oromoo and its arts through addressing the contributions of Sheik Bakri Saphalo, Dr. Muhammad Rashad Abdulle, Abubaker Musa, Dr. Haile Fida and others.
Three papers focusing on history, language and power of language, culture and arts were presented at the plenary session. The titles were ‘Exploring Religious Interactions and Political Transformation in Wallaga’ by Prof. Tessema Ta’a, ‘The Place of Oromo Language in Afro-Asiatic Pronomial and Verbal Samples’ by Prof. Ephrem Yishak and ‘The Power of Language, Culture and Arts in building Oromo Identity’. Following the plenary session, the participants went to the three parallel sessions categorized as Afaan Oromoo, History and Arts, and Custom. Papers at these sessions were summarized during the second day session at the conference hall for all participants.
The conference also involved a panel discussion on key issues derived from the grand theme of the conference in which the participants of the conference shared views with concerned stakeholders to deliberate on future plan of actions.
The conference was concluded with the blessing of elders after certificates were awarded to paper presenters.