Associate Professor of African Languages and Linguistics

Associate Professor of African Languages and Linguistics

Binyam Sisay Mendisu completed his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Oslo in 2008. Between 2008 and 2016, he taught full-time at Addis Ababa University (AAU) as an Assistant and later associate professor. As a founding Dean of Humanities (2010-2012) at AAU, Mendisu initiated and ran a series of multidisciplinary and critical discussions dubbed ‘Conversations on Humanities’.

As an education specialist at UNESCO-IICBA, his work focused on providing technical backstopping for teacher policy development in Uganda, the Seychelles, Burundi, Malawi and Mozambique, and leading projects and initiatives on mother tongue and early childhood education.

He has initiated and served as a project leader of an international project ‘Linguistic Capacity Building: Tools for Inclusive Development of Ethiopia’ (2014-2016), which was supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). Mendisu is a member of the Global Young Academy (GYA) since 2017 and he is an inaugural fellow of the African Science Leadership Program (ASLP) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Currently, he sits on the Steering Committee of ASLP and serves as one of the facilitators of the program. Moreover, he is a member of the 2021 Letten Prize Committee that recognizes the contribution of one early career researcher globally who is able to exemplify how global human development challenges can be solved through research.


Mendisu’s research considers language as an archive of local knowledge and memory.


  • Mendisu, Binyam S., Janne Bondi Johannessen. Multilingual Ethiopia: Linguistic Challenges and Capacity Building Efforts (University of Oslo, 2016)
  • “Ethiopian Linguistics at the Dawn of the 21st Century.” Journal of Ethiopian Studies, vol. 42, no. ½ (June-December 2009), pp. 69 – 83.
  • Binyam Sisay Mendisu & Moges Yigezu(2014) Restoring African studies to its linguistic identity: reflections on Ethiopian studies, Social Dynamics, 40:2, 289-307
  • “What is in a Term? A Historical and Linguistic Examination of the Revolutionary Terminology – yiwdem ‘let it be demolished’ in Amharic 1974-1977.” Journal of Northeast African Studies, (2013), 13(1): 53 – 70.
  • Mendisu, Binyam S., Abdu Ahmed Ali & Aquilina Mawadza. Amharic-English/English-Amharic Dictionary and Phrasebook (New York: Hippocrene Books, 2018)
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