Featured Program: The Horn of Africa Initiative
In 2018, the unexpected popularity of a University of Washington course in Ge’ez — an ancient Ethiopic language still used in Christian and Jewish liturgies today — sparked the Horn of Africa Initiative, a collaboration between UW faculty, students, and local communities.
The Horn of Africa region embraces the modern countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, and is home to a rich array of cultural, literary, and spiritual traditions, with deep historical roots and dynamic contemporary practices. Despite the region’s importance, it remains poorly understood and understudied in the American academy. Few American universities possess experts on the region, and fewer still offer courses devoted to its languages, history, and cultures.
The University of Washington’s Horn of Africa Initiative seeks to fill this gap by:
- Building new curriculum on the history, languages, and cultures of the Horn of Africa.
- Creating new knowledge about the region through research and dialogue.
- Expanding the university’s connections to the Horn heritage communities of the Pacific Northwest.