Sunday, June 5, 2011

The passing of Paul Henze

Paul Henze made a major contribution to scholarship about Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa and several other regions of the world.

Source: Washington Post
His interest in Ethiopia began in the late 1960s when he was assigned to the American embassy in Addis Ababa. I first met Paul at the embassy in 1970. He continued his professional involvement with Ethiopia and the Horn when he served as Africa director in the National Security Council during the Carter administration.

I still use some of the declassified documents that Paul drafted on the Horn during that period for a course that I teach at George Washington University. Following retirement from the U.S. government, Paul pursued a second career with the Rand Corporation, where he wrote prolifically about Ethiopia and the Horn.

After leaving Rand, Paul made regular visits to Ethiopia, often with his wife Martie, who was an expert on ancient fabrics found in Ethiopia and who preceded him in death in 2009. Paul was an irrepressible traveller, hiking long distances in mountainous Ethiopia when he was well into his seventies. Paul has left an impressive body of literature on Ethiopia, including one of the best histories of the country.

Paul also assembled one of the most impressive archives on Ethiopian material. He carefully stored his collection of books, monographs, pamphlets, clippings and, especially, photographs at their home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Paul was an excellent photographer. Many of the photographs in his own work and even in the scholarship of others were taken by Paul.

His passing is a personal loss to my wife and me. He also leaves a huge void among those scholars who have been analyzing and writing about Ethiopia for nearly half a century.

No comments:

Post a Comment