Condolences Message

Professor Abiy Abraham Ford was a respected scholar in the field of Journalism and Visual Arts.

He served as the Dean of the School of Journalism (2006-2007). He came on a Fulbright scholarship from Howard University but continued as Dean of the school even after the Fulbright scholarship ended.

He also served as a member of the special counsel for the establishment of an arts college under AAU (2007-2008). He shared his enormous experience and actively participated in the process of shaping the nature of the new college, the College of Performing and Visual Arts (PVA), and the graduate program in Film Studies.

He served as the Head of the Academic delegation which was sent to Europe and USA to benchmark the formation of the college of PVA. During the time, he headed a delegation of four through Europe and the United States for about two weeks. He traveled tirelessly across several miles in the United States to visit different colleges, sometimes driving by himself during the night. Using his long time connection with universities like Columbia and Howard, he provided the AAU with valuable inputs needed for the structural adjustment that the university was implementing during those years.

He was a member of the Special task force committed to the establishment of the Film School at AAU (2011-2012). Giving his time and knowledge for free, he extensively served the committee to establish the first public film school and engaged in developing curriculum and offering theoretical and practical courses. He was also a respected member of the delegate of the bench marking visit to Canada. As a member of a task force committee for creating a film school, he was assigned to visit the facilities and overall system of the Canadian Film Institute in Quebec which later became AAU’s partner in establishing the Film School.

After the establishment of the college of Performing and Visual Arts at AAU, Professor Abiy served as a member of its management council (2011-12). His immense contribution at the time helped to consolidate the fundamental principles on which the three schools, Fine Arts, Music and Theatre, can function under the same umbrella college.

Following the formation of the college of PVA and the Film School, Professor Abiy, was engaged in searching for potential professors and instructors for the school. While the search took some time, Professor Abiy was always there to fill the gap serving as a Guest Professor for more than three years, giving lectures and workshops for free. Whenever Professor Abiy is in Addis, there is no chance that he misses to call and drop by the art school to check for activities and friends, always positive and ready to be part of any solution.

He was among the first few faculties during the early years of the Center for African and Oriental Studies (CAfOS) at AAU (2011-2014). He contributed in the designing of curriculum for the MA Program in African Studies. He served as a guest Professor at the Center where he taught ‘Popular Culture and Mass Communication’ and ‘Selected Readings of African Visual and Performing Arts’ until 2014 when he went on medical leave to the USA. During his tenure at the Center, he advised MA students of African Studies and initiated academic collaboration between CAfOS and Howard University. Based on this, he facilitated the donation of more than 100 books, written on Africa and African issues from Howard University and other sources, to the Center. This contributed to the organization of a resource Center at CAfOS.

Professor Abiy, who was an accomplished pianist and percussionist, played percussion at Jupiter Hotel almost every Thursday and sometimes at his home where his friends gathered to listen to his music.

Professor Abiy Abraham Ford passed away on May 09, 2018 at the age of 83. His death is a great loss to our Center, University and the country at large. May his soul rest in peace.