Junior Fellowship: Hannah Messaye


Printed with permission of Hannah Messaye

Hannah Messaye ’23 interviews an Ethiopian woman who helps lead the Ethiopian Community in Britain.

William Liu

Hannah Messaye ’23 studied the Ethiopian diaspora in London and Rome this summer as a participant in the Kutler Center Junior Fellowship Program.

Her project, titled “Out the Cradle of Civilization,” focused on the experiences of Ethiopian people in communities outside of the U.S.

Messaye said her family heritage inspired her to explore the culture and expansion of the Ethiopian diaspora. .

“My dad is Ethiopian, which got me interested in exploring this subject in the first place, ” Messaye said. “I also decided to target this idea because of how much I liked history.”

Messaye said she wanted to explore London and Rome because they have beentwo popular destinations for Ethiopian migrants throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. She visited various embassies, community centers and spoke with groups of Ethiopian background. Messaye said she valued learning about the experiences of different Ethiopian people.

“I think one of the biggest lessons that I learned from interviewing people of various ages and backgrounds is that being Ethiopian is unique for each and every person,” Messaye said. “It was also cool to see how Ethiopians connected with their communities and with each other. For example, I spoke with a mom who deliberately created an Ethiopian community around her that she and her kids could reach out to and be a part of.”

Messaye said she felt an immediate connection to the Ethiopian communities she visited and enjoyed speaking with them about their cultures.

“Seeing so many Ethiopian people outside of my neighborhood and family was really cool,” Messaye said. “It was empowering to recognize the sheer number of Ethiopians abroad.”

Messaye said she appreciated the opportunity to broaden both her academic and cultural horizons through her research.

“The Junior Fellowship program does not have to be related or tied to your academic interests,” Messaye said. “It provides an amazing opportunity to share other areas of interest with the school community and for me to explore subjects beyond what is taught in the classroom.”

Messaye will present a collection of photos and information she assembled throughout her research to school board members, faculty and parents at the beginning of the school year. She said there may be an open house featuring her project later in the academic year.