||A New Library for Ethiopias Heritage
Ethiopia has one of the richest and best-documented histories in the world. Ethiopians are justifiably proud of this heritage. It is, however, in danger. Many national treasures are poorly looked after, and many are being taken out of the country. Every day more is lost.
The Society of Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (SOFIES) is dedicated to preserving Ethiopias social and cultural heritage for its citizens, visitors and scholars.
What is the Institute of Ethiopian Studies?
The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES), housed in Emperor Haile Selassie's former palace, on the main campus of Addis Ababa University. For almost forty years the IES has facilitated scholarship and spread knowledge on Ethiopia through its conferences, lectures, publications and, most significantly, through its museum and library.
The IES possesses the worlds largest and most important collection on Ethiopia.
Innumerable students, teachers, foreign researchers, citizens and travellers visit the museum regularly. Its collections include unique anthropological exhibits, works of art, icons, crosses, musical instruments and objects of daily life.
The growing collection of the Library is consulted by scholars and research students from all over the world. It contains extensive collections of books, periodicals, and articles about Ethiopia, as well as rare manuscripts, archives, microfilms, and photographs.
The IES building now faces a crisis. With the steady growth of both the museum and library, the structure is coming under increasing strain. Designed for receptions, not for heavily- laden bookshelves, the building is in danger of collapse.
The Museum is also acutely short of space, and can exhibit only a fraction of its present holdings. While the elegance and historical associations of the building are appropriate for a museum, the facilities are inadequate for a modern library.
The Society of Friends of the IES is therefore undertaking an ambitious and critical mission to construct a purpose-built, computerized library, with lecture hall, exhibition space, and laboratory for the conservation of rare books, photographs, and manuscripts.
The establishment of the new library will at the same time make space available in the old palace building for a vastly expanded and improved museum.
With your help, we can succeed in creating both a brand-new library and a magnificent museum. This is a one-time effort to preserve Ethiopias cultural heritage for future generations.
The New IES Building
The new library will provide rapid and detailed access to the wealth of information in the librarys collections, and open a new era in Ethiopian Studies.
Addis Ababa University has allocated the land, architects' plans have been developed, costs estimated, and seed money donated for the fund-raising campaign.
All we need now is your support.
What Needs to be Done
The fund-raising target for the new library, fully equipped and automated, is US$5 million. Donations are being sought from individuals, corporations, and relevant organizations both at home and abroad.
Major donations are being sought to sponsor lecture halls and rooms in the new library. Large donations will be recognized by certificates and on plaques. All donations are welcome.
How Can You Help
You can send your donation directly to the fundraising campaign SOFIES fundraising account at the Bank of Abysinnia, Filwiha Branch, Addis Ababa, account number 186.
SOFIES branches in the United States and the United Kingdom will also accept your donations and your help. To get details by contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This includes tax deductible status in the United States.
All donations will be managed by SOFIES, an independent organization, and will be used exclusively for the construction, furnishing, and catalogue automation of the new IES Library building.
Donationing in the US
Your donation to the American Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies is an official charitable donation which entitles you to the normal tax deduction.
The American Friends of the IES is led by Former Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn and writer Paul Henze amongst others. The funds will be retained in the US until they are needed for the building of the library.
Your donations can be made out and mailed by cheque to the American Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, PO Box 15438, Washington, DC, 20003-9998.
SOFIES, an independent organisation was founded in 1968 to support the work of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies.
SOFIES raises funds for the library and museum. Recent purchases include a collection of over 200 photographs from the Haile Selassie period, a dozen rare eighteenth and early nineteenth century manuscripts, and three late fifteenth and early sixteenth century icons.
The Society also encourages donations of documents and artifacts of historical or cultural interest, holds lectures, and organizes exhibitions.
Patrons of the SOFIES Library Fundraising Campaign include:
Haddis Alemayehu, renowned Ethiopian author
Haile Gebre Selassie, internationally acclaimed Ethiopian athlete
Taffara Deguefe, former General Manager, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
Tekalign Gedamu, President of the Bank of Abyssinia
Richard Pankhurst, former IES Director, and historian of Ethiopia
Rita Pankhurst, former Librarian of Addis Ababa University
Chair of the Fundraising Committee - John Graham, Country Programme Director, Save the Children (UK)