Bereket Habte Selassie

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Bereket Habte Selassie is a leading scholar on African law and government. He is William E. Leuchtenburg Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he also instructs at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Dr. Selassie is an activist for reform in Eritrea and a supporter of pan-Africanism.


Professor Selassie graduated from the University of Perugia, he studied for his LL.B. at the University of Hull and received a Ph.D from the University of London.[1] Dr. Selassie subsequently held numerous high-profile positions within Ethiopia, serving as Attorney General, Associate Justice of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court, Vice Minister of Interior, and Mayor of Harar.

However, Dr. Selassie resigned from the government in 1964 out of dissatisfaction with Imperial policies.[2] Several years later he left Ethiopia, narrowly escaping capture by the military, to join armed guerrillas fighting for Eritrean independence.[3] After spending time on the battlefield, Dr. Selassie left the war zone to serve as the representative of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front to the United Nations in New York City.[2]

After Eritrea gained independence, Selassie served as the constitutional commission chair and was the principal author of Eritrea's constitution. He has also served as senior advisor on constitutional reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Iraq, among others.[4][5]

Dr. Selassie taught at Howard University and Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work in Eritrea has been well-chronicled through a number of books he has authored, including "The Making of the Eritrean Constitution: The Dialectic of Process and Substance" (2003), "The Crown and The Pen: The Memoirs of a Lawyer Turned Rebel" (2007), and "Wounded Nation: How a Once Promising Eritrea Was Betrayed and Its Future Compromised" (2010).

Among several Eritrean opposition groups, Dr. Selassie is viewed as a force for progressive change, free speech, and an alternative to the government of Isaias Afewerki in Eritrea. However he is still considered a controversial figure among supporters of the Eritrean government. Those describe him as an opportunist, an Ethiopian loyalist, and being without affection for Eritrea.[6]


  1. ^ Selassie, B. H., (2007) The crown and the pen: the memoirs of a lawyer turned rebel, The Red Sea Press, pp. 98-99 - Hull became an independent university in 1954, Selassie may have received his LLB degree from the University of London in 1956, as Hull had been an external college of the University of London when he started his course
  2. ^ a b "February 2005 - Bereket Habte Selassie". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  3. ^ "The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill". Archived from the original on January 2, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-02-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Welcome Professor Bereket and Participants - Mass Media and Free Press in Eritrea". Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  6. ^ "Bereket Habte Selassie-Head of Eritrea's Quisling League". American Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-02-19.