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Ministry of Culture and Tourism- Historical Background


Beginning from the dawn of the 19th century, ‘modern European civilization gradually started taking momentum and grip in Ethiopia under the circumstances where power centralization of the central government was dominantly rampant in the country’, in which case modern management of culture has been addressed through the indirect management or administration of various Ministries and any other government agencies during the pre-and post-Fascist Italian Occupation, particularly in the post-independence/victory period.

The disentanglement of multifaceted cultural activities from the existing traditional and customary cultural management patterns as well as the association of such cultural activities with the modern cultural management processes were unsystematic and disorganized until the end of the Hailesellasie/Imperial Regime. Accordingly, the current National Archives and Libraries Agency, which was established in 1943 under the official name of “Public Library-Wemzeker”, was proven to have been a pioneer in this respect; this Agency, which underlies the initiatives to undertake contemporary heritage research and preservation activities, includes the Ethiopian Ancient Heritages Administration. The relevant historical accounts reveal that the “Ministry of Education and Arts” was subsequently established to have comprised ‘Addis Ababa Art School’, ‘Etege Handcrafts School’, ‘Tegbared School’ and ‘Yared Musical School’ thereby establishing and managing Amharic Linguistics/ Yeamargna Merhalisan/ apart from carrying out its formal education programs.

The Ministry of Information was established to, apart from conducting regular activities of information, set up and manage the Ethiopian Hager Fiker Theater, Haileselassie I Theater, National Theater of Ethiopia and various cinemas.

In spite of the fact that the commencement and subsequent activities of modern cultural institutions and management patterns were initiated in disorganized manners, the required level of advancement regarding this sector has not been realized as symbiotic interactions among multi-dimensional were not provided with favorable conditions. As such, the pertinent historical accounts witness that different scholars, including local and African minds, who were interested in admiring and honoring the peoples and cultures of Ethiopia, have come up with various concepts concerning modern cultural management.

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