Inauguration of High-Tech American Center for Ethiopians

People talking. (Embassy Image)Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2016: Today, U.S. Ambassador Patricia M. Haslach, and Minister of Culture and Tourism Engineer Aisha Mohammed officially inaugurated the new state-of-the-art Col. John C. Robinson American Center at the National Archives and Library Agency (NALA). Representatives of the Ethiopian government, university leaders, civil society, and hundreds of guests were in attendance.

The Center was named after African-American Col. John C. Robinson, who was a pioneer flight engineer and the father of Ethiopian modern aviation. The American Center is equipped with state-of-the-art resources and serves as innovation center for budding entrepreneurs, students and young professionals and offers multi-media resources and technology.

Visitors and members of the American Center at NALA will have free access to electronic resources which provide information about the United States; programs on English language learning; over 190,000 eBooks, 1.5 million graduate dissertations, academic databases and other high-quality content by registering with eLibraryUSA; internet access, including wi-fi; massive open online courses (MOOCs); sessions on how to study in the United States; and a vast array of cultural activities.

To establish the Center, the U.S. Embassy invested almost half a million dollars (ETB 10.75 million) in renovations, computers, internet infrastructure, iPads, Maker Space technology, and other digital resources. At the grand opening, Ambassador Haslach emphasized that “the American Center is a place for all Ethiopians to catalyze and empower the most dynamic and innovative parts of Ethiopian culture and spirit, with a particular focus on the youth.”

The Col. John C. Robinson American Center is a central part of the American Spaces Ethiopia platform. Currently, there are over 700 American Spaces in the world, over 100 of which are in Africa.  In Ethiopia, there are four other American Spaces located in Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Jimma, and at the U.S. Embassy compound.