With immigration and asylum seekers high on the agenda of governments throughout Europe, the life story of Dr Teame Mebrahtu is a timely reminder of a positive side of what has become a contentious and potentially divisive issue. It is a truly remarkable and inspiring story.Dr Mebrahtu, born in the village of Adi Ghehad in the Eritrean Highlands, was a leading teacher trainer in his country but was forced to leave when his life was in danger in the 1970s. The book first traces his early life in Eritrea, then part of Ethiopia, his efforts to get an education - the first in his family to do so - his involvement in student demonstrations against the government of Emperor Haile Selassie, resulting in imprisonment, and his rise to become Director of the Asmara Teacher Training Institute amidst the political unrest and bloodshed of the Eritrean liberation struggle. He was an eyewitness to the moment Haile Selassie was deposed.During this time he had been developing his philosophy of teaching, first as a teacher then a teacher trainer, which was to mark the rest of his career. He firmly believes the welfare of students is an essential precursor to academic success.When his life came under threat, he managed to leave the country to study for a PhD at Bristol.
Within a year of arriving he was ordered back to Addis Ababa by the Mengistu regime. Sensing his life was again in danger, he refused and applied for and was granted asylum. Although entitled to state benefits, he declined saying he had not earned them. Instead, he persuaded local schools to let him talk to pupils about Africa and the Africans bringing new understanding of those with a different culture. His popular talks won him a grant from the Rowntree Trust. While the Eritrean liberation war raged, he raised support for refugees fleeing the fighting and living in camps in Sudan. He visited the camps advising on schooling for the refugee children. Later he went to train teachers in the Zero School set up in caves in liberated parts of Eritrea, braving the Ethiopian MiGs. After obtaining his PhD, he joined the staff of the Bristol Graduate School of Education where, for 24 years, he became a respected senior academic and adviser to international students - many of whom went on to have leading roles in the education system of their countries. He has become a valued member of his local community.An acknowledged expert on multicultural education and the problems of refugees, he has provided advice and valuable insights from his own experience during the troubled history of Eritrea and whilst establishing a new life in Britain.
Stan Hazell's career spanned 40 years as a print and broadcast journalist, first as a newspaper reporter in South Wales, and later producing regional news and current affairs programmes for ITV in the West of England.
List of Plates; Foreword by Professor Malcolm Johnson; Introduction; Eritrea Maps; PART ONE: Early Life; Mule Journey; The Village; Back to School Prison; Tutoring -Teacher Training Teaching; Teaching Teachers Beirut Annexation; Malcolm X; Teacher Training Institute; Student Strike; Marriage and Family; Bristol Masters Director; Mengistu Coup; Student Death; The Academy; University and the Death of a Friend; Leaving the Country; PART TWO: Return to Bristol Refugee; Rowntree Trust; PhD and University; Sudan and Refugee Schools University Teaching; Student Adviser; South-North Conference Extracurricular Development Education Multicultural; Zero School; Working with Refugees; Community Independence Beckons Independence; Building Anew; Badme War; Father's Funeral; Living with a Difference; Dreams of a Global Educator; Acknowledgements; Index
"Stories of outstanding people, who overcome great adversity, encounter almost impossible odds in rising from humble beginnings in remote villages to become noteworthy citizens of the world, form part of the most uplifting areas of literature. Such individuals and their life experiences in following a powerful mission to improve human-kind, provide exemplars of how to live a truly good life. This account of the life of Teame Mebrahtu is undoubtedly part of that pantheon of biographies." Professor Malcolm Johnson, University of Bristol