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Dr. Kebede Michael
Dr. Kebede Michael was one of the great thinkers in the field of education and literature in Ethiopia. He wrote a total of 26 books including a wide range of translations from various languages. From 1940 to 1970, he wrote Amharic school textbooks in which he provided generations of Ethiopian students with literature filled with knowledge and information about a wide range of issues and disciplines. His writings are in both prose and poetry and his poems follow rhyming and writing styles of his own.
He translated, among many others, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth of William Shakespeare. Kebede Michael’s literary works reflect on the many shades of character and behaviour of the Ethiopian society. The contents of many of his books are on history, education, development, philosophy, religion, science and so on.
He worked as an inspector in the Ministry of Education, as Deputy Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1942), as Director of the National Library (1944), Director-General of the Ministry of Education, and as a Cabinet Minister in the Imperial Palace. He was a regular Ethiopian delegate to many international conferences at the United Nations in New York. He received the first Prize for Literature from the late Emperor Haileselassie. He also received awards from the governments of France, Germany, Italy, USSR and Mexico. In 1990, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Addis Ababa University for his unparalleled excellence in literature as well as for inspiring generations of Ethiopian authors and writers.
Dr. Kebede Michael died on 12 November 1998 at the age of 82. No other Ethiopian in the country’s history so far has been able to write as extensively on a wide variety of disciplines as did Kebede Michael. His contributions are enormous to the development of education and literature in Ethiopia.