Ambassador Hailemichael and team visit British Library

15 Jul 2017

On 11th July, Ambassador Hailemichael and staff visited The British Library to view a sample of the Ethiopian manuscripts collection and hold discussions with senior management on ways of establishing links.

Ambassador Hailemichael is received by the Chief Executive of the British Library, Mr Roly Keating

The delegation was received by the Chief Executive of the British Library, Mr Roly Keating and the Head of Curations and Collections, Mr Kristian Jensen. Dr Dan Levene, Professor of Semitics and the History of Religion at the University of Southampton, and Professor David Phillips, also of Southampton University, accompanied the delegation.

Mr Eyob Derillo from the Library showed the manuscripts to the delegation. Professor Dan Levene of Southampton University commented on the ‘Miracles of Mary’ (ተአምረ-ማሪያም), which showcase the literal history and genius of Ethiopia.

During the visit, the team also met British Library curatorial staff and discussed possible areas of collaboration between the Library and Ethiopian institutions owing to the long and rich history of both countries.

The team also explored the possibility of involvement in one of the world’s biggest manuscript conservation projects. Ethiopia has over 200,000 manuscripts that exist in churches, monasteries and local private ownership. While a considerable effort goes into recording and conserving this heritage, the logistics are of such a magnitude that even producing a full inventory is challenging. The British Library’s reputation in this kind of work is valuable and would be of benefit to Ethiopia. 7

The Ambassador thanked the library for its support through the “Endangered Manuscript Preservation Project” and welcomed the initiative, by Mr Derllio and other partners, at providing equipment (Microfilm readers) to Ethiopian libraries in the future.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the second largest library in the world by number of items catalogued. It holds well over 150 million items from many countries.

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