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The time that I spent at XXXX studying towards my LLM Degree, which I earned in 2009, were among the best years of my life so far, the vast intellectual stimulation, the sheer thrill of sharing ideas. I do not yet feel complete as either a professional or a human being in my work managing a law office here in America; I long to re-connect with my home, Africa, since I feel like I left my heart back in my native Ethiopia and that I want to recover it. I want to help my people and I am convinced that the best way to do so would be to earn the PHD Degree through XXXX University’s distinguished African Studies Department. I want to focus on development and public policy, in particular. Thus, I am especially excited about the prospect of studying under Dr. XXXX. We have spoken and he seemed pleased about the possibility of supervising my studies if I were to be admitted to your program.
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1971, I finished my undergraduate studies and earned the LLB from Addis Ababa University in 1994. This was followed by 9 years of service in Ethiopia’s public sector, including one year with a research institute where I was engaged in intensive research geared towards a harmonization of Ethiopian law with the need for modern development. I was similarly blessed here in America with the marvelous opportunity, immediately after I finishing my masters degree, to work for the XXXX Institute of XXXX University where I conducted a study concerning the land holding systems of West African states and how it affects development. This experience, in particular, has propelled me forward towards further graduate study in the African Studies Department. As a graduate student at XXXX, I was the recipient of the annual XXXX Award for excellent achievement in the study of the US Legal system which was a great honor and has also helped to inspire me toward the goal of doctoral study. Most recently, I have also taken various short term courses in both leadership and Airline Management which I think will serve me well in the future.
Here in America I began working as a legal assistant and worked my way up to office manager, during the course of which I have learned a great deal about how the American legal system works. Before coming to America in 2005, I was the Labor Relations Manager for Ethiopian Airlines. In addition to advising them on legal issues, I especially enjoyed participating in the development of the airline’s long term human resource strategic plan. Prior to that position, I worked as a researcher for our Justice and Legal System Research Institute (1998-2000), studying our criminal justice system in Ethiopia (police, prosecutor’s office and federal prison administration) in a search for ways to harmonize it and instill the values and principles of the current constitution. I especially enjoyed this position because I was actively involved in the preparation of policy, making recommendations for our code of civil procedure so as to bring it into full compliance with the constitution. My first position after graduating with my LLM was serving as a legal counsel to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (1994-1998).
I have greatly matured over the course of my many years as a legal professional. Now 42, my values have changed as I enter middle age and I want to grasp hold of the bigger picture. I long to throw myself into what I can do best in the service of those who are most in need back home in Africa, to serve and honor my roots, inheritance, my land, Africa. My short term professional dream is to become a University Professor in my country, Ethiopia. One of the principal reasons why I want so very much to focus on the areas of development and public policy is that there is a shortage of professors teaching and publishing in these areas in Ethiopia, despite their critical importance for our future generations. This is true of Africa, generally speaking, as well as Ethiopia in particular.
After teaching in universities in Ethiopia for a few years, my long term objective would be to work for a regional organization such as the African Union on development issues. I hope to lay the foundation in your program for decades to come of distinguished research in the areas of African poverty, especially with respect to land tenure laws and their impact on development and income inequality. I thank you for considering my application to your program.