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Horn of Africa Seminar – King of Kings: the triumph and the tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie 1 of Ethiopia

March 9, 2016 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Horn of Africa Seminar

Join Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate, author of King of Kings: The Triumph and Tragedy of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia for the launch of the book and a standing reception.

Convenor: Jason Mosley, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House and Research Associate, African Studies Centre, Oxford University

He was the scion of a dynasty that was reputed to descend from King Solomon, a pioneer of African unity and independence, a staunch confederate of the Allies in their fight against the fascist Axis powers and the messiah of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement. He was a reformer and an autocrat, whose rule was brought to a brutal and ignominious end when he was toppled and murdered by communist rebels. The impressive, dazzling and complex personality of Haile Selassie, King of Kings, is brilliantly conveyed in this biographical portrait by Asfa-Wossen Asserate, his great-nephew.
The author spent his childhood and early youth in Ethiopia, though he never held political office in his native country, where his father was the last president of the Imperial Crown Council. The background of the author, who knew Haile Selassie in person, afforded him intimate insights into life at the Ethiopian court and the increasingly controversial policies pursued by the emperor. Asfa-Wossen Asserate’s own experiences, augmented by intensive research in both family and public archives, combine to produce a uniquely detailed portrayal of the last King of Kings of Ethiopia and the turbulent and tragic history of the country over which he reigned supreme for much of the 20th century.

Asfa-Wossen Asserate was born in 1948 in Addis Ababa as a member of the Imperial House of Ethiopia. He read history and law at Cambridge and at the University of Tübingen, and received his PhD at the University of Frankfurt. He now lives in Frankfurt where he works as a consultant on African and Middle-Eastern Affairs, and as a political analyst. He is a bestselling author in Germany and has been awarded the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize and the Jacob Grimm Prize, two of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes.

Jason Mosley has been a Research Associate of the African Studies Centre since 2012. He is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Eastern African Studies and an Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House. His main geographical interests are in the greater Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes region and Nigeria. He is interested in the politics of ethnicity, and of religion — particularly of Islam — in these and other areas. Current research is focused on the impact of multilateral regional organisations on stability in the Horn of Africa, and on linkages between state-building, foreign investment and security in peripheral regions in East Africa and the Horn. Jason also serves on the board of Stakeholder Democracy Network, a non-profit working in the Niger Delta to bolster the capacity of communities affected by resource extraction to push for their interests in negotiation with governments and companies.
This event is free of charge and does not require registration. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
The African Studies Centre, within the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, acts as a focal point for graduate level work and faculty research on Africa. Alongside vibrant doctoral programmes, the MSc in African Studies, inaugurated in 2006, is already recognised as Europe’s most prestigious and successful training programme in its field.


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Free, no registration required
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Fellows Dining Room, St Antony’s College
62 Woodstock Road, University of Oxford
Oxford, OX2 6JF United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 613900