Addis Ababa University
አዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ
Gate of the university
Latin: Universitas Neanthopolitensis
Former names
University College of Addis Ababa (1950–1962)
Haile Selassie I University (1962–1975)
Mottoኵሎ አመክሩ ወዘሠናየ አጽንዑ
(1 ተሰሎንቄ 5:21) (Geʽez)
Motto in English
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good"
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)
TypeNational university
PresidentTassew Woldehanna[1]
Students48,673 (2013/14)[2]
9°2′48″N 38°45′33″E / 9.04667°N 38.75917°E / 9.04667; 38.75917
CampusAddis Ababa (14 campus, including main)

Addis Ababa University (AAU) (Amharic: አዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ) is a national university located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is the oldest university in Ethiopia. AAU has thirteen campuses. Twelve of these are situated in Addis Ababa, and one is located in Bishoftu, about 45 kilometres (28 mi) away. AAU has several associated research institutions including the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. The Ministry of Education admits qualified students to AAU based on their score on the Ethiopian University Entrance Examination (EUEE).


J. F. Kenedy Library of Addis Ababa University.

The origins of AAU was a two-year college in 1950 by the Jesuit Lucien Matte, at the appeal of His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I.[3] It began operations the following year. Over the following two years an affiliation with the University of London, and University of Oxford was developed. Africans from various parts of the continent would receive free scholarships through programs subsidized by the Organisation of African Unity for higher learning. AAU was also known for sending its students abroad for an extended interpersonal educational experience, and having those students return with the exemplary standards of the international community.

The nucleus of AAU was formed with the establishment of the University College of Addis Ababa (UCAA) in 1950.[4] UCAA, which initially consisted of the Faculties of Arts and Science, became a fully fledged college when it was chartered in 1954. In 1955, the Building College was opened. In February 1961, these various colleges and the Theological College were brought together to form the Haile Selassie University. Emperor Haile Selassie I gave his Guenete Leul Palace to serve as the administration building and main campus. He had abandoned the palace, where a number of his ministers and favorites were killed in the wake of the abortive Coup d'état in 1960, in favor of the new Jubilee Palace.[5] Following the 1974 revolution, the university was briefly renamed University of Ethiopia (National University) before it came to assume its present designation, AAU, in 1975.[6] In the wake of the revolution, AAU was closed for two years and students and staff were drafted into what was known as the Development through Cooperation Campaign (zemecha), designed to arise the awareness of the rural population in the spirit of the revolution.[7] The university offered its first Master's programs in 1979 and its first PhD programs in 1987.[8]


Emperor Haile Selassie (center) and French Canadian Jesuit, Fr. Lucien Matte, SJ (right) at the university, 1951

Until 1974 the charter provided for a governance structure in the following descending order or authority: Chancellor (the Emperor himself); the Board of Governors, composed of ministers and members of the royal family; and the Faculty Council, made up of the university officers, deans, directors and elected members. The Faculty later became the Senate. In 1977, Duri Mohammed was appointed president of AAU, the AAU lost its relative autonomy when it was brought under the Commission for Higher Education, which came to exercise administrative jurisdiction over all institutions of higher learning.[5][9] In 1993, AAU was placed under the Ministry of Education by a government proclamation. The incoming transitional government appointed Duri Mohammed as president once again, a purging of 42 staff members which included Asrat Woldeyes and former president Alemayehu Teferra ensued.[10][11]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[12]601–700 (2023)
QS World[13]851–900 (2024)
USNWR Global[14]=573 (2023)

Over and above their academic pursuits, AAU students have been actively engaged in community service (such as conducting literacy programs) and political struggle, particularly in the years before the 1974 revolution. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, students were required to do a year of national service under the Ethiopia University Service program. University teachers and students were instrumental in exposing the hidden 1973 famine and launching the first famine relief program.[5] The Ethiopian Student Movement, of which the university was the birthplace and main venue, played a pivotal role in bringing about the revolution.[7] Almost all leaders of the political organizations that were active in the revolutionary years or are in power now had their political formation inside the university.[8] In 2013/2014, there were 33,940 undergraduate students, 13,000 graduate students, and 1,733 PhD students, making a total student body of 48,673.

Campuses and colleges


Research and teaching institutes


Notable dropouts

Notable alumni

Prime Ministers[edit]


Vice presidents[edit]
















  1. ^ "AAU History of the Presidency". Addis Ababa University. 2018. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  2. ^ "AAU at a glance". Addis Ababa University. 28 December 2013. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ Trudeau, Eduard (1964). Higher Education in Ethiopia. Montreal.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ Three Decades of University Education. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University. 1980.
  5. ^ a b c Haile, Fisseha. "Addis Ababa University: a Study of an Institution 1961–1981". PICES. 1: 491–507.
  6. ^ Semru, Mulugeta. "The Development of Higher Education in Ethioipa". PICES. 1: 215–231.
  7. ^ a b Balsvik, Randi Rønning (2009). "Addis Ababa University in the Shadow of the Derg, 1974-1991". Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies: 265.
  8. ^ a b Wagaw, Teshome (1990). The Development of Higher Education and Social Change, an Ethiopian Experience. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
  9. ^ "AAU Leadership". Addis Ababa University.
  10. ^ Taye Assefa. Academic Freedom in Ethiopia Perspectives of Teaching Personnel. Forum for Social Studies. p. 47.
  11. ^ 42 University instructors dismissed on political grounds to be reinstated. borkena.
  12. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2023". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  13. ^ "QS World University Rankings: Addis Ababa University". Top Universities. 29 June 2023. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  14. ^ U.S. News. "Addis Ababa University". Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  15. ^ "ISAIAS AFWERKI (1946- )". Blackpast. 8 March 2022. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  16. ^ "I Am Overwhelmed By the Appointment, Says Banda".
  17. ^ "Aklillu Eleni". The African Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.