“Bring Minds Together – Bridge the Gap”


Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa and has one of the youngest populations in the world with over half of its population under 30 years of age. With human capital being considered one of its abundant resources, it is important to invest in education and establish a knowledge transfer program. A country’s progress depends on the effective use of its human resources through creation, dissemination, use, and preservation of knowledge through its institutions. One of the methods for knowledge transfer is the use of professional knowledge exchange dialogues to share best practices, lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities.

In line with this, TASFA and EDSI have launched several projects to encourage knowledge exchange and support the country at the federal and regional government levels. These initiatives include developing a skills supply and demand mapping platform, organizing knowledge exchange sessions, working with institutions to improve efficiency and capacity building; and coordinating a knowledge exchange conference in collaboration with the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research Studies (ICIRS). 

This multidisciplinary International conference is designed to serve as a meeting place for scholar practitioners, academicians, researchers, policy makers, and students to exchange ideas on the challenges, opportunities, emerging trends, best practices, and innovative ideas in their fields. The theme for this year’s conference is “Bring Minds Together – Bridge the Gap”.


Conference Objectives

To promote a dialog on the current challenges, opportunities, and trends among scholars and practitioners around the world

•     Provide a venue for academicians, scholar practitioners, and policy makers to share their research findings, contributions, and discuss issues

•     Contribute to bridge the gap in knowledge and understanding between the academic, private, and public sectors

•     Foster collaboration and the development of ideas

The program will include a plenary session (August 1, 2019) as the official opening ceremony for the conference and the August service month events. In this one-day session the following activities will be performed:

•     Introduction and welcome

•     Keynote addresses

•     Report from TASFA’s leadership team

•     Executive summit

•     Discussion on government transformation (two parallel sessions)

Following the plenary session, there will be a two-day workshop on Supporting Government Efficiency through Knowledge Exchange organized into breakout sessions to allow for knowledge exchange and dialogue between local and Diaspora professionals in different disciplines. The breakout sessions will focus on the exchange of lessons learned, best practices, industry trends, and gap analysis in the respective areas. Participants in the breakout sessions will be comprised of:

•     Local Subject Matter Experts (SME) in different disciplines in Ethiopia. The Ministry/agency corresponding to the discipline will be responsible for proposing the local participating experts. 

•     Diaspora Subject Matter Experts engaged in different disciplines outside of Ethiopia. TASFA/EDSI  has got commitment from and is working to mobilize Diaspora SMEs from all over the world for each break-out session.

Each breakout session will be led by two professionals, one from Ethiopia (point of contact from the selected Ministry) and the other from the Diaspora (recommended professional in the field), to plan, select topics and panel members, and provide overall oversight for the session.

Breakout Sessions 


Session # 1 Peace Diplomacy, Regional Security

With the ongoing reform in Ethiopia, issues of peace, security, international relations, and development are at the forefront. Panel discussions in these breakout sessions will cover issues on educating the public, public awareness of the effects of polarizing views, maintaining law and order, effect of geo-political stability, regional partnerships, diplomacy, and public affairs.  Panel participants will exchange their views, experience, knowledge, lessons learned, best practices, and trends in their respective areas.

Topics of discussion include: 

•      Challenges of Diplomacy in the 21st Century

•      Peace, Economic and Security Integration among Regions

•      Geo-political stability, regional partnerships


Session # 2 Legal Affairs

This breakout session includes panel discussions with experienced panelists in the legal field. Topics of discussion include:

•      Constitutional Development

•      Constitutional Court, Legislation, Executive Decisions, and Checks and Balances

•      Criminal Justice

•      Commercial Law Reform


Session # 3 Culture, Youth, Community Development, and  Entrepreneurship

The majority of the population being young, Ethiopia has to do a lot more to create a conducive environment and engage the youth in community development and entrepreneurship. This session discusses the opportunities and challenges to cultivate a positive culture in society, reduce unemployment, and empower the youth. Topics of discussion include:

•      Community development

•      Entrepreneurship

•      Culture and Society


Session #4 Public Affairs and Communication Strategies

Allowing citizens to express their individual rights requires knowledge and understanding of the role of government in a society. Recognizing the need to inform the public of the workings of government and thata mature media plays an important role through following and monitoring the government’s actions goes a long way towards transparency and public trust. This breakout session covers a range of issues including policies that can help the government reach out to its citizens. Topics of discussion include:

•      The role of media in the society

•      Ethics in media and communication strategies

•      Public Affairs– Challenges and opportunities


Session # 5 Engineering

Every aspect or our life is supported by some form of engineering feat, whether it is the roads we ride on,  the bridges we cross, or the gadgetsand utilities we use in our day to day lives including water, electricity , communication,  and more.  The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of specialized fields affecting a wide range of sectors. This breakout session will engage engineering professionals from both sides to come together and share their specialized experiences.  Major areas of discussion will include:

•      Smart City - Smart transportation, housing, traffic, and integrated utility services

•      Infrastructure design and supervision - geotechnical, construction, zoning, permit and inspection.

•      Alternative power sources - hydro, wind, solar, thermal, nuclear

•      Communication, Mechanical and chemical engineering


Session # 6 Transportation

As the core foundation of the national economy, the transportation sector plays a critical role in creating jobs and labor market access, connecting regions, and enhancing supply chain and logistic efficiencies.  With the increase in population and the increasing demand for faster access to goods and services, the country is challenged to address the basic needs of the economy, keep up with the advancement in technology, and adopt new tools and techniques.

This breakout session cover the following topics:

•      Efficiency in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management

•      Accountability and compliance in Global Logistics

•      Challenges in improving the efficiency of road, rail, air, and maritime transportation


Session # 7 Agriculture and Natural Resources

With over 90% of the population earning its livelihood from farming, agriculture plays a critical role. Transforming this sector to achieve food security and sustainability requires an integrated approach. Exploration, extraction, and prudent use of the country’s rich natural resources can also transform Ethiopia’s economic growth. This breakout session creates a platform for sharing lessons learned, best practices, trends, and opportunitiesin the two sectors. Topics covered in this session include

•      Food Security

•      Sustainability

•      Agricultural economy and farming systems

•      Exploration of natural resources including fossil fuels, natural gas, and coal.


Session # 8 Hospitality, Tourism, and Travel

The Ethiopian Hospitality Industry has grown significantly over the past few years but compared to the country’s tourism potential and expectations, their remains a lot of untapped potential. Developing these opportunities with the help of new technologies and hospitality service providers is imperative. The Hospitality and Tourism Management session will provide a unique dialog between government, industry, and other organization’s representatives to actively exchange knowledge and share their perspectives, experiences, and review opportunities and challenges in the industry. Topics covered in this session include

•      The role of service culture in the hospitality industry

•      Hospitality management systems

•      Capacity building in the hospitality industry

  • Socially responsible tourism

Session # 9 Finance Investment

Fiscal and monetary policies, financial regulations, foreign direct investment and similar topics will be covered in this breakout session. Professionals from the Ethiopian government responsible for managing the financial sector will discuss issues, lessons learned, opportunities, and challenges with their counterpart professionals from the Diaspora. Topics included in this section are

•      Foreign Direct investment vs. Foreign loan

•      Fiscal policy

•      Investment opportunities and challenges of specific markets


Session # 10 Education

As Ethiopia faces a rising demand for quality education due to the increase in the school-age population, there needs to be a transformation in the current education policy and strategy to ensure a productive up-and-coming workforce. This session provides a platform to discuss the lessons-learned and best practices of local and the Diaspora professionals from K-12 and higher education systems. Topics to be covered are:

•      Challenges of producing competent teachers 

•      Educational delivery system

•      STEM

•      TASFA’s Skill supply and demand platform


Session 11: Capital Planning and Investment Control

For the government to meet its policy, budget, management, and regulatory objectives, it needs a comprehensive planning, management, and oversight program. The panel discussions in this breakout session will cover:

•      Insights and experiences around oversight of agency performance

•      Human capital, procurement, financial management, and information technology at the federal level.

•      Program and project management


Session # 12 Health

Health is a critical aspect of every nation, and Ethiopia is not an exception. From healthcare policy to food and drug administration, from public health awareness initiatives to access to quality health care, and more, issues affecting this sector warrant a discussion among local and the Diaspora health professionals. Topics covered in this breakout session are:

•      Leveraging developments in the pharmaceutical industry

•      Public Health

•      Food and drug administration policies

•      Health Informatics, electronic medical recording


Session # 13: Information and Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is recognized as an important enabler in the day-to-day operation of the government. This breakout session will cover the following topics in addition to mini-workshops that will facilitate sharing hands-on experience and best practices to IT practitioners. Some of the topics are:

•           eGovernance strategy and policy

•           Infrastructure and enterprise architecture

•           Cyber security and information assurance

•           Business continuity and disaster recovery

•           Cloud for Government - strategy and policy

•           Data analytics and business process improvement

•           Software development and government system automation

•           Disaster recovery and business continuity


Session  # 14 Special Topics

In this breakout session topics of special interest will be covered. Some of these topics include:

•           Women in the Workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

•           Business Correspondence


Session # 15 Engineering Education and Engineering Pedagogy 

The 5th Engineering Education conference and hands-on workshop sessions will be held on the campus of AAiT. The 4th conference that was conducted in April 18-21 at Jimma University was a success. The 100+ engineering faculty members who participated from 29 different universities returned to their respective campuses after receiving hands-on training using the latest ECE portable laboratory instrumentation, and SCL pedagogy training that improves the way they teach engineering courses.


Session #16: African Conference on Information Systems and Technology

The 2019 (5th) proceedings of ACIST focuses on how African societies are leveraging and can leverage the smart capabilities in digital technologies to address organizational and societal challenges. Technology-enabled solutions offer solutions to many of these challenges. Digital technologies are increasingly becoming integral to and interdependent with the African society.


Conference Organizers

Ministry of Innovation and Technology 
Innovation and Technology Institute
Ethiopian Diaspora Agency
International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research Studies (ICIRS)
Teach and Serve for Africa/Ethiopian Diaspora Service Initiative (TASFA/EDSI)


Expected Conference Participants 

TASFA is currently working with the following government and private sector organizations in identifying session leads, moderators, panelists, and participants for the breakout sessions and securing sponsorship.  

Ethiopian Diaspora Agency | Ethiopian Civil Service Commission | Ethiopian Embassy Washington DC | Ministry of Innovation and Technology | Innovation and Technology Institute | Ministry of Transport | Ministry of Irrigation, Water, and Electricity | Ministry of Peace | Ministry of Health | Ministry of Urban Development and Construction | Ministry of Science and Higher Education | Ethiopian Construction Design and Supervision Corporation | Ethiopian Airlines | Addis Ababa City Government | Amhara Regional Government | Oromia Regional Government. The list is expected to grow as more federal agencies and private organizations commit.   


Proposed Venue

African Union (AU)

Conference Website


The conference is open to all professionals who would like to participate. Registration is required. Use the conference link to register. 

Conference Sponsors Management 

Please contact us at info@tasfa.org for detailed information on different levels of sponsorship. 

Conference Organization

Conference Co‐chairs:  Mr. Sandokan Debebe, Dr. Yacob Astatke, Dr. Dereje Tessema, Dr. Seble Mengesha, Mr. Samson Teferra. 

The conference organization team is led by Mr. Sandokan Debebe with Ms. Martha Abera serving as the Project Manager. The conference organization team will consist of representatives from the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency and Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions. 

Contact Information 

For more information please contact info@tasfa.org