Education (Selassie 1956 speech)

Education  (1956) 
by Haile Selassie, translated by Haile Selassie I Press

In all the countries we have visited, we have noted that education is the basis for the greatness, the power, the pride and prosperity of a nation. This impression, together with the satisfaction that we have had from the students of our own educational institutions, whom we consider the principal instruments for the progress and well-being of Ethiopia, renews and strengthens our belief in education. If, therefore, education is the factor of everlasting significance in the greatness of a nation, it becomes the duty of every Ethiopian to strive for education and progress. What we have seen wherever we went has convinced us that education is as vital as life itself.

The foreign technicians and specialists are only employed to provide us with temporary assistance and training. It is the duty of everyone to strive for self-sufficiency by acquiring knowledge and experience.

To live always in dependence upon the assistance of others not only prevents a people from attaining its ideal, but also deprives life of its true significance and achievement.

We have seen again during our visit that God has not been partial in His divine creation. The difference of colour is a notion which has no significance and the futility of asserting a difference has now become obvious. The way in which Ethiopian youth has assimilated the knowledge of modern art and science, and the high academic achievements of the young men and women we have sent for higher education abroad, justifies our efforts and expectations. Our whole history testifies to the heroic deeds of our gallant people.

The fact that we have sown on fertile ground strengthens our hope that we shall realize the plans we have prepared in order to achieve our high ideals. After all, Ethiopia is second to none in her agricultural tradition. We are proud to say that our plans and achievements compare favorably with those of others.

If we have been able to accomplish what we had in mind to do, it is because the love and prayers of our people have always sustained us.

In conclusion, we would leave with you the thought that Ethiopia belongs equally to each and every Ethiopian, and we rely on you all, young and old alike, to play your proper constructive part in the great common task of fructifying in Ethiopia the results of our visits abroad. Nor will you fail in furthering the success of the program of modernization and development that we have outlined for our beloved country.

The thing that harms a nation most and cripples its strength is lack of enthusiasm and zeal to strive through education to raise itself to the level that other nations have attained. There is nothing we desire more than to see the full development of the natural resources of our Empire and the raising of the standard of living of our people. May the Almighty and Everlasting God continue to protect our people and bless our efforts, so that in His good time we may see the fruits of our endeavours.

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