The New School for Social Research Graduation Ceremony 2006

The New School for Social Research is proud to present the 2006Distinguished Alumnus Award to Berhanu Nega (PhD in Economics, 1991) atthe 2006 Graduation Ceremony on May 19, 2006. Founded as the University in Exile in the 1930s, The New School forSocial Research created a safe haven for leading European scholars underthreat at home. Their progressive ideas and quest for justice and equalityinspired a tradition of probing democratic dialogue that continues in ourclassrooms today and is brought by our students to the wider world in oftendifficult and dangerous environments. It is in this spirit that we recognize BerhanuNega, a leading proponent of democracy in his native Ethiopia, who received hisPhD in economics in 1991. A respected economist and politician, Nega has taught at the University of Addis Ababa and in 2005 was the first elected mayor of Addis Ababain the country's history. He has served as president of the EthiopianEconomic Association, founded and served as director of the Ethiopian EconomicPolicy Research Institute, and was a consultant for the UN Economic Commissionfor Africa. Prior to his work in Ethiopia, Nega served as an assistant professor at Bucknell University.
On November 1, 2005, Nega was arrested along with several prominent members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), Ethiopia'sleading opposition party. These arrests followed protests over recent Ethiopianelection irregularities in which more than 80 people were killed and hundredswounded. Nega and his political allies are being held on charges of treason-anoffense punishable by death under Ethiopian law. Amnesty International regardsthem as "prisoners of conscience, arrested solely for the non-violent expression ofpolitical beliefs."
At The New School for Social Research, world peace and global justiceare not theoretical ideals; they are the central, practical goals of everycourse of study. We salute the eloquence and courage with which Berhanu Nega isstriving for human rights and democracy in Ethiopia, and we hope that hisfreedom will soon be won. For more information, visit

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