Profile picture of: Binyam Sisay Mendisu


UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa

International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa

Menilik Avenue, UNECA Compound, Congo Building, First Floor,

P.O.Box 2305, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: +251 11 544 5284 / 544 5435

Research Interests

Linguistics, humanities, teacher education, mother tongue education


Binyam received his Phd from University of Oslo in 2008 at the age of 29. Since September 2008 to July 2016, he has been teaching as an Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. In August 2016, he has been promoted to the academic rank of Associate Professor of Linguistics following the strong assessment he has received in teaching, research, academic leadership. He is currently employed at the UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa as a program officer for teacher education and curriculum development, but he still supervises Phd candidates at Addis Ababa University.

In recognition of his teaching and research excellence, Binyam has been selected as a founding fellow of the Ethiopian Young Academy of Science (EtYAS) and as inaugural fellow of the African Science Leadership Program (ASLP) organized by the University of Pretoria in 2015. Subsequently, he got invited again as a mentor to the second cohort of ASLP fellows in April 2016 and as a co-facilitator in March 2017. He is currently serving as a member of the Steering Committee of the African Science Leadership Program. He is also working with former and current GYA members who are ASLP fellows to develop a blue print of a science leadership program to be given to young and early-career scientists across Africa.

He has also assumed various administrative positions at Addis Ababa University. From 2008 to 2010, he served as a graduate program coordinator and V/Chairperson of the Department of Linguistics and from 2010 to 2012 he has worked as a Dean of the newly established Faculty of Humanities. Serving as a Dean, he has created strong collaborations with University of Cape Town and Brown University and co-organized series of conversations and an international conference in Cape Town in 2011. He is a founding member of the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) and member of other continental organizations such as CODESRIA and OSSREA.

He has a research track record with numerous field-specific and multidisciplinary publications. His recent publications include a co-edited volume entitled ‘Multilingual Ethiopia: Linguistic Challenges and Capacity Building Efforts’ which is published in Oslo Language Studies Series (OSLa) 2016. He also have another book on Koorete language published by RÜdiger Köppe Verlag in 2010. In addition to this, he has numerous collaborative and multidisciplinary publications including an article on political culture and revolutionary terminology (2013) and a study on the language of publication at higher education institutions in Africa (2014).  His joint-publications reflect his multidisciplinary scholarship and his keenness towards collaboration in research. His forthcoming publication includes an edited volume on various topics on the study of humanities in Ethiopia to be published by CODESRIA.

He is also active in designing and leading international projects. From 2013-2016, he led a multi-million dollar international project financed by the NORAD which is a collaboration of two Ethiopian and two Norwegian universities. One of the goals of the project is forming close collaboration with local educators and administration in order to develop writing systems to some disadvantaged languages and support their use in mother tongue education. For example, he has been closely involved in the designing of orthography for one of the languages called Aari and its introduction as a school subject in 88 primary schools. Moreover, Binyam is a coordinator of a book project supported by CODESRIA under the National Working Group (NWG) scheme. He has been a visiting researcher at different universities and served as an examiner of a Phd/MA thesis at the University of Oslo, Norway and Madras University, India.