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"So when I came here, I wrote back that experience of Law and Development as an important subject... We have to study the actual realities of a country, their culture, their geography, their history, their economic conditions, their social conditions before you propose some kind of recommendation to them." -- Alemante Gebre-Selassie


The interview starts with Professor Gebre-Selassie’s background and family. He was educated first as a law student at University of Haile Selassie in the 1960s, followed by a J.D. in UW-Madison. He discusses life prior to teaching at W&M and about his home country.

Professor Gebre-Selassie emphasizes that the single most important value for the legal profession is dedication. He also stresses the importance of U.S legal scholars to respect regional differences and traditions of other countries before applying “universal” legal doctrines.

Professor Gebre-Selassie stresses several times the importance of a closely-knit community of faculty members, which he believes has been diminished, possibly as a result of the global pandemic, during his years as emeritus faculty.

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A transcript and guide to the oral history are available as additional files, above.


Center for Legal and Court Technology, Ethiopia Ministry of Land Reform, Institute of Bill of Rights Law, International law, Law and development, Law school community, Teaching--Law school, United States Agency for International Development, Davison M. Douglas, John Levy, James S. Heller, Rodney A. Smolla

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An Interview with Alemante Gebre-Selassie