Samuel Kifle (PhD)

Samuel Kifle (PhD), President, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Samuel Kifle (PhD) assumed the position of interim president of Addis Ababa University (AAU) on August 31, 2023.

Prior to his becoming the president of AAU, Dr. Samuel spent about five years in State Ministerial position for Higher Education and Development. The president was among the most significant figures in leading Ethiopian higher learning institutions in the course of policy, curricular, organizational and management reform processes. By default, Dr. Samuel was among the key personalities in the assessment and recommendations of AAU to be the first authorized public university in Ethiopia.

Dr. Samuel was also in higher education management position as State Minister for Science and Higher Education between November 2018 and September2021. The time was during the early years of the political reform in Ethiopia that demanded rethinking and examining the education roadmap of the nation and crafting the future of higher educational institutions with respect to educational philosophy, policy, structure, pedagogy, organization and management of the country. He demonstrated higher level of leadership qualities, analytical skills and transformational competency in managing the desired national educational reform.

The president spent most of his professional career in higher education leadership responsibilities. More specifically, he played worth mentioning roles during transformations, expansions, access and quality endeavors in higher education. For instance, Dr. Samuel took up his role as General Manager of Higher Education Expansion Program (MoE) between July 2015 and October 2016.

Actually, Dr. Samuel Kifle had been responsible for higher education leadership nationally since 2013 when was appointed as General Director for Higher Education Administration Affairs. In all these positions, he demonstrated visionary, transformational and strategic capacities, added to his unique skills of strategic planning, managing, coordinating and mobilizing human and material resources for better and realistic outputs.

Academically, the president owns PhD in Commerce and Management Studies from Andhra University, India, on October 2010. He earned MSc degree in Accounting and Finance and BA degree in Accounting from Addis Ababa University in 2006 and 2001 respectively. As finance and accounting professional, it gives him strength in the core skills of his current position, namely budget and financial management and fund-raising mechanisms.

Dr. Samuel also earned international scholarship and fellowship and won awards in his area of expertise and research interests. This scholar also won the ‘Best PhD Thesis Medal Award of Hindu’ on January 10, 2014. The president was a visiting professor for the International University College of Leuven, Belgium, in the years between 2012 and 2013.

In 2006 and 2007, he took part in diverse international collaborations for research and training such as at the Center for International Co-operation of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Hull, United Kingdom and Fulbright Senior Scholarship. The university president may bring similar collaborations and international scholarly networking experiences to his current appointment.

Dr. Samuel is not limited to leadership positions: prior to his leadership responsibilities, he served in diverse capacities of teaching in Jimma University (Ethiopia). He was employed as an Assistant Professor at the College of Business and Economics from November 2010 to August 2012. This experience was a continuation of his former role as Lecturer at the Department of Accounting and Finance (March 2004 to July 2007). He served as Assistant Lecturer between October 20002 and March 2004 in the same area.

As a result, this scholar knows the actual classroom challenges both at graduate and undergraduate levels. Obviously, effective presidents must know the inside and out of the education business. One should have experience and background in the field of education to completely understand the business side of the organization.

The president’s commitment often extended beyond the institutions he was employed for as part of community services and in responses to where his services were required. For instance, he was the member of external examiners of graduate programs for College of Business and Economics (AAU) which makes him an insider for the university. He also served as a management board member for Mizan Tepi University, Semara University, and Police University College in diverse times.

Dr. Samuel also acted as alternative member for Steering Committee Partnership for Applied Science and Technology (PASET), Africa, and board member for Oromia International Bank. In most of these institutions, the president is often cited as a man of integrity, collaboration and commitments especially during institutional transformation or crisis management situations.

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