Ethiopian Presidents’ Academic Qualifications: 1974 Till Date

The history of Ethiopia is not just only interesting, it can as well be described as a tale of courage and bravery, starting from its emergence as an empire under the Aksumites to its current form as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The country has been led by educated men, here you will know all about Ethiopian Presidents’ Academic Qualifications.

The journey has not been all that easy, considering the years of Egyptian invasion and their heroic defeat, the Italian first and second invasion and their repeated defeat of the Italians, the military coup and lots of bloodshed that took place in different eras before the emergence of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1991.

No doubt, very many people know about Ethiopian history, but it appears most people know little or nothing about the men who fought with their blood and also took it upon themselves to save the country’s neck many years ago.

In this article, we’ll bring to light lesser-known facts and academic qualifications of past Ethiopian presidents, starting from the first military president to the current president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Presidents’ Academic Qualifications

Aman Mikael Andom (Sep – Nov 1974)

General Aman Mikael Adom was Ethiopia’s first post-imperial acting Head of State. He was born to parents Ato Andom Michael and Woizero Ghidey Reda, on June 21, 1924, Khartoum, Sudan. He was originally from the village of Tsazega in Hamassien province of Eritrea, which makes him Eritrean by origin.

He attended Comboni College and later St. George’s Military School in Khartoum.
Aman acquired a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in May 1964, when he was assigned as military attaché to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

General Adom served as the head of state from September 12, 1974, to November 17, 1974. He died November 23, 1974, in Addis Abeba, in a shootout with troops deployed to his home to arrest him, at the age of 50.

Former President Mengistu Haile Mariam (1977 -1987)

Mengistu Haile Mariam is an Ethiopian politician born on September 10, 1987, in Addis Ababa. He rose to the position of the president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1987 and served till 1991.

Prior to his ascension to the number one position, he was the leader of the Derg, the Communist military junta that ruled Ethiopia from 1977 to 1987.

Mengistu graduated from the prestigious Holetta Military Academy, where he received advanced military training in the United States, in the late 1960s.

Former Head Of State Teferi Benti (1921–1977)

Like interim president Mengistu, Teferi Benti also graduated from Holetta Military Academy. He was born in October 1921, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire.

Benti, a one-time chairman of Dreg, served as the Head of State of Ethiopia from November 28, 1974, to February 3, 1977. He died at the age of 55 on February 3, 1977.

Former Acting President Tesfaye Gebre Kidan (1991)

Best known as Ethiopia’s president to have spent the shortest time in office, Tesfaye Gebre Kidan served as Ethiopia’s president for one week.

Like his predecessors, Kidan was also a member of the Derg and a graduate of Holetta Military Academy. He served as the president of Ethiopia from May 21, 1991, to May 27, 1991. He died at Menelik II Hospital, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 2, 2004.

Transitional Government of Ethiopia

Former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (1955–2012)

Meles was born as Legesse Meles Asres on May 9, 1955, in Adwa, Ethiopia. He was sworn-in as the 10th Prime Minister of Ethiopia on August 23, 1995.

He, however, served as the acting president of the East African country between May 8, 1991, and  August 22, 1995.

Zenawi had his elementary education at Queen of Sheba Junior School, in Adwa and his high school in prestigious General Wingate High school in Addis Ababa on a full scholarship, graduating in 1972.

After high school, Meles proceeded to study medicine at Addis Ababa University (formerly Haile Selassie University) for two years. He dropped out of the University in 1974 to join other students to form the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

In 1995, Meles was awarded an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the Open University of the United Kingdom. He was also awarded a Master of Science in Economics from the Erasmus University of the Netherlands in 2004.

In July 2002, Zenawi received an honorary doctoral degree in political science from the Hannam University in South Korea.

Meles Zenawi died from an infection he contracted in Belgium, on August 20, 2012, bringing his 21 years of leadership to an abrupt end.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Former President Negasso Gidada (1995 – 2001)

Dr Negasso Gidada Solon assumed the office of the President of Ethiopia on August 22, 1995. He left office at the expiration of his term on October 8, 2001.

Solon, born on September 3, 1943, holds a doctorate in social history from the Goethe University in Frankfurt-am-Main. He currently works as a part-time lecturer of history at Addis Ababa University.

He was the first president to assume office following the founding of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in 1995.

Former President Girma Wolde-Giorgis (2001– 2013)

Born on December 28, 1924, Girma Wolde-Giorgis is the former President of Ethiopia. He ascended to the prestigious position on October 8, 2001, and served until October 7, 2013.

He attended The Ethiopian Orthodox Church school and later joined the Teferi Mekonnen School in Addis Ababa where he continued his education until the Italian invasion. The school was then renamed “Scuola Principe di Piemonte” (Prince of Piedmont School) for the Crown Prince of Italy, in Addis Ababa.

In 1944, Wolde-Giorgis proceeded to the Genet Military School in Holeta, Ethiopia, from where he graduated as a sub-lieutenant.

Between 1950 and 1952, he earned certificates in Management in the Netherlands, in Air Traffic Management in Sweden and Air Traffic Control in Canada through a training programme sponsored by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

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Mulatu Teshome (Assumed Office In 2013)

Mulatu Teshome, Ethiopia’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development assumed office as the president of the country on October 7, 2013.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in philosophy of political economy and doctorate in international law from Peking University, Beijing, China.

He subsequently got admitted to  The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, from where he received his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in 1990.

He was born on January 1, 1955, at Arjo, Ethiopia, and has only one son.