Board of Directors of Oromia Foundation
Dr. Ahmed Gelchu – Secretary: Dr. Ahmed Gelchu is a specialist in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies and has been working in hydroelectric development sector conducting environmental impact assessment studies associated with hydroelectric development projects in Canada for more than a decade. During his spare time, Dr. Gelchu actively engages and volunteers in and supports Oromo Organization and other charitable organizations. For instance, in recent past, Dr. Ahmed served as the Chairman of the reputed Oromo Media Network (OMN) Board of Trustee for 5 years and a member of Board of Directors of a Canadian NGO, Partners In The Horn of Africa.
Dr. Ahmed Gelchu holds PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from University of British Columbia, Canada, Master of Philosophy in Natural Resources Management from University of Bergen, Norway and Bachelor of Science in Biology from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
Dr. Bahiru Duguma – Chairman: Dr. Bahiru Duguma is an International Development and Diplomacy expert with 30+ years of successful career in government and international agricultural research and development organizations in Africa, Asia, and the US. Between 1980 and 1999, Duguma served with three International Agricultural Research Organizations (IITA, ILRI, and ICRAF) as a researcher and research program manager rising to the positions of Principal Scientist and a Coordinator of a regional research program. At ICRAF, Dr. Duguma pioneered the establishment of the Center’s first National Agroforestry Research and Development Program in Cameroon that he successfully transformed into a Regional Agroforestry R&D program for the Humid Lowlands of West Africa implemented in multiple countries in the region. In 1999, Duguma joined the United States Agency for International Development where he served as a Senior Adviser in USAID/Washington (6+ years), Foreign Service Officer and Team Leader in USAID/Kabul (1 year), and Food Security Office Director in USAID/New Delhi, India (4+ years). In Washington, he led the design, procurement, and management of multi-million dollar global agricultural research and development programs implemented through select U.S. Land Grant Universities and the CGIAR (Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) centers. Duguma holds Ph.D., M.Sc., and B.Sc. from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MBA from the University of Maryland University College, USA. He has authored/co authored two books and 50+ articles in peer reviewed international journals and conference proceedings.
Dr. Benti Ujulu Tesso: Dr. Benti began his career journey in theology at Mekane Yesus Theological Seminary in Addis Ababa. Following his graduation from the Seminary and having served in various management positions for more than 10 years, he was subsequently ordained as a pastor and elected as president (bishop) of the Western Wollaga Bethel Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (WWBS-EECMY) in Dembi Dollo where he served for five years. Dr. Benti then proceeded to South Africa, continued his theological studies at Natal University and obtained his Master of Theology degree. Then he returned to his hometown and served as a lecturer at Gidada Bible school for two years. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) sent Dr. Benti to serve as an ecumenical pastor in the evangelical Lutheran Church of Hannover Germany. In October 2002 Dr. Benti arrived in Germany together with his wife Yeshimebet Megersa and their four children (Dure, Abdi, Surra and Sena Benti). Having studied German language for one year, Dr. Benti served as ecumenical pastor in various Hannover churches as well as Evangelical Lutheran Mission (ELM) (from October 2003 to 2015). Dr Benti is a co-founder of the Hannover International Worship (HIW). Dr. Benti is human rights activist and one of the founders of Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization in German language known as Oromo Menschrechts -und Hilfsorganisation (OMRHO e.V). Since 2016, Dr. Benti is serving as a senior pastor at Titus Congregation of the Lutheran Church of Hannover. In addition to his pastoral service, Dr. Benti conducted a valuable research that sought to answer a pertinent question: “Oromo Indigenous Religion and Oromo Christianity Contradictory or Compatible? A comparative religious study from Theological Perspective” as a partial fulfillment for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from Hildesheim University. Since 2015 Dr. Banti is serving as a visiting lecturer of African religions and Philosophy at Fredrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany. He is an active volunteer in different organizations including human rights, social welfare and development organizations. Dr. Benti is fluent in speaking and writing four languages -Oromo, Amharic, English and German.
Prof. Girma Gebresenbet (PhD): Girma Gebresenbet is a Professor and Head of Automation and Logistics Division at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology. He obtained MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Design and Development in 1983 and a PhD is in Agricultural Engineering in 1991. Dr. Girma is a recipient of a special for outstanding doctoral dissertation from the Swedish Academy of Forestry and Agriculture. He became an Associate Professor in 1996 and Professor in 2000 in Logistics and Transport. He is also one of the founders and president of Oromo Society of Science and Technology incorporated in 2016.
Currently Gebresenbet coordinates and provides management oversight for multiple national and international research projects. Dr. Girma coordinates and leads several European Union funded projects involving researchers and industry partners from several countries. The research projects focus on Digitalization, Automation, Logistics, Supply and Value Chain Management with special emphasis on Food Production and Marketing Chain in relation to quality, safety (including animal welfare), security, and environment. Dr. Girma has published over 200 scientific publications, supervised 16 PhD and over 100 MSc students. Prof Girma has served as a visiting scientist at a) Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Technology, Ghana; b) Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; c) Ambo University, Ethiopia; and d) Wolaita Sodo University. Dr. Girma collaborates ion with more than 20 European research institution in Europe, and has experience and network with Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Colombia, and Thailand. Prof Girma Gebresenbet has provided consultancy service to several governmental and non-governmental institutions such as the Swedish Government, EU, Volkswagen Foundations, and United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), UNDP, EURO consultant, and CINOP Global. He serves on editorial board of 10+ scientific journals; thus regularly reviews scientific papers.
Dr. Haile Hirpa – Treasurer: Dr. Haile Hirpa is an adult education expert specializing in civil rights, employment laws and practices. He is a lifelong learner and teacher of adult education focusing on advance placement (AP) educational system. Dr. Hirpa graduated from Haromaya University majoring in Plant Science. He received his first master’s degree in Agricultural Education and International Extension systems. His second master’s degree was in Soils and Water conservation. His doctorate degree was in Occupational Adult Education from Utah State University. During his career, Dr. Hirpa has served as Trade school administrator, Vocational High school agricultural instructor, State Farm Manager, Extension Supervisor, World Bank Project Manager, Job Corps Vocational school instructor, Job Corps College coordinator, Department of Labor Compliance Officer, Department of Labor District Director, and Commercial Capital Leadership Consultant. Dr. Hirpa has been an active member and contributor to the Oromo diaspora community organizations, including but not limited to Oromo Study Association (OSA) where he once served as a president
Dr. Henok Gabisa: Dr. Henok Gabisa is a Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. He teaches Transnational Criminal Tribunal and Anti-Corruption & Global Good Governance Courses. Professor Gabisa is also a Legal Counsel before the Quasi-Judicial continental body, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), located in the Gambia, West Africa, where he represents individual and group victims of violations of civil rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Gabisa pursues multiple academic researches and transnational law projects related to the United Nations and the World Bank. Gabisa has been instrumental in the W&L’s recent special consultative status granted by the United Nations for select few academic initiations and non-governmental organizations in the world. He also leads a group of law students every year to attend the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (GFLJD) that takes place in Washington D.C every year. Dr. Gabisa has authored and/or co-authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings and opinion pieces for international media on subjects related to Judicial Reform in Post-Conflict nations of Africa; Land and Conflict; foreign investment protection & human rights; Historical Injustices in Ethiopia & contemporary legal remedies. Dr. Gabisa previously served as the President of Oromo Studies Association, Researcher and Trainer in Ethiopia’s Judicial Training and Legal Research Institute, held adjunct positions at various universities in Ethiopia, and as a consultant and regional advisor for a DFID-funded Joint human rights projects implemented in Ethiopia.
Mr. Melese Duressa – Director: Mr. Melese Duressa is a senior information technology expert with several years of service as information system analyst/programmer. Melese holds a B.Sc. in plant science from Haromaya University, Ethiopia; B.Sc in Medical Technology from Howard University, USA.; an associate degree in pharmacy from Addis Ababa University School of pharmacy, Ethiopia; M.Sc. in Applied Genetics from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; and M.Sc. in Information Technology from University of Maryland University College, MD, USA. Over the years, Mr. Melese has held several technical and managerial positions with various organizations such as a researcher at Ethiopia Agricultural Research Institute, Laboratory Information System manager at Howard University Hospital and Pharmacy Informatics Integration analyst at Kaiser Permanente. Simultaneously, Mr. Melese also has been an active participant in various Oromo related activities and Oromoa diaspora groups, including the establishment of Oromia Foundation.
Ms. Million T. Gobena: Ms. Million T. Gobena is a nationally renowned Journalist, with several years of distinguished service in radio and TV programing and broadcasting, standing tall for her passionate love for her profession. Ms. Million holds MA in Transformational Leadership and Change from Greenwich University and BA in Leadership Development from WYMLC. Having started her journalistic career in radio programing, Ms. Million earned national recognition as permanent face on primetime newscast on Ethiopian Television for more than three decades. Ms. Million currently serves on Boards of several public and private organizations.
Dr. Teferi Nigussie Tafa: Dr. Teferi Nigussie Tafa is a visiting Professor at Norwich University. He is a prominent Oromo novelist, scholar, and movie maker. In addition to publishing the first (and so far only) scholarly analysis of Oromo-language novels, he has also published several of his own novels in the Oromo and English languages, including the Award winning Jaalala Dhuga, by Macmillan Publishers in London and produced Qondalticha, a satire film. His research interests range from social identity, indigenous, nationalism, literature, and film studies.
Dr. Tesfaye Negeri – Secretary: Dr. Tesfaye Negeri is a Senior Mineral Processing Engineer/Scientist working at the prestigious mining, mineral processing and environmental research branch of the Canadian Federal Government Department (Ministry of Natural Resources) for the last 30+ years. During these years, he initiated and led several scientific and revenue generating projects that helped Canadian mining companies save tens of millions of dollars in investment and operating costs. His consulting service for mineral production process improvement and optimization is very sought after. He served as a Manager of Mineralogy and Metallurgical Processing Program for over five years. In 2015 he initiated and proposed a multi-million project for research on production of critically sought-after technology metals of the lanthanide series that resulted in $18 million government grant. The impact was immediate; for instance, the process he developed has enabled a mining company to save C$ 46 million in capital and C$ 6.5 million in operating costs. Dr. Tesfaye Negeri has received several organizational recognition, has presented his research results at many international conferences and has published several articles.
Dr. Tesfaye Tesso: Dr. Tesfaye Tesso B.Sc. and and M.Sc. degrees from Alemaya University of Agriculture, Alemaya, Ethiopia and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University, Kansa, USA, In Ethiopia, .Dr. Tesfaye served as a lecturer at Alemaya University and as a leader of the national sorghum and millet improvement program in the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute.
Currently he is a Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Kansas State University. In this position, Dr. Tesfaye collaborates with multiple national and international agricultural research and development institutions in emerging and developed economies around the world. As part of such international collaborative agricultural research and development activities undertaking, Dr. Tesfaye just conculded a year long sabbatical assignment at Haramaya University; lecturing, supervising and advising postgraduate students and leading collaborative field research activities at the University.
Prior to joining Natural Resources Canada, Dr. Tesfaye Negeri served as Head of Research and Design Sector at the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy from October 1983 to December 1987 and headed or led mineral/metals extraction process development projects including the Lega Dembi Gold, Soda Ash, platinum, tantalum, etc., and training of process technologists for gold ore processing. Upon graduation from the University of Slovenia in Mining in 1998 he worked for the Metallurgical Institute of Slovenia for a year on several mineral extraction projects. After he obtained his Ph.D. in Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy in 1983 he held a Post-Doctoral Fellow position at the same university for six months. Dr. Negeri is a member of a Pre Competitive Research Committee for the prestigious Mineral Processing Research Organization COREM (Qubec, Canada) for the last 12 years. He is a cofounder of the Oromia Society of Science and Technology (OSST) and serving as a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.