Heran Sereke-Brhan

Post-Doctoral Fellow (2009-2010)


BA, Mills College; MA, Michigan State University; PhD, Michigan State University


Cultural intellectual property and development in Africa


heransereke-brhan1Heran Sereke-Brhan is the Deputy Director of the Washington, D.C. Mayor’s Office of African Affairs. She joined the Pardee Center after a hiatus in Ethiopia where she worked on a range of academic and cultural projects. She received a BA at Mills College in Oakland, California then went on to graduate school in African History at Michigan State University, working with Harold Marcus, a distinguished professor in Ethiopian Studies. Her research interests include social and political history, African art history and material culture as well as African-American and Caribbean history. She was part of two important art exhibition projects on Ethiopia, one at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian (2003) and the other at the University of Florida (2007), both of which contributed greatly to introducing Ethiopian art and artists and educating US audiences on the rich diversity of creativity in contemporary culture. At the Pardee Center, her current research interests will draw on her experiences in the arts, exploring issues of intellectual property and African cultural production, situating the expressive arts in a rapidly globalizing world with migrant communities and competitive markets.


“Coffee, Culture, and Intellectual Property: Lessons for Africa from the Ethiopian Fine Coffee Initiative,” The Pardee Papers, No. 11, July 2010.

Editor. Journal of Ethiopian Studies Special Issue dedicated to Richard and Rita Pankhurst. (November 2009).

Book Review. Solomon Addis, History of Gondar. In African Studies Review, September Issue 51 No. 2 2008.

“Foreword” in Empress Taitu, a historical play (in Amharic) by renowned Ethiopian poet/playwright Getinet Eniyew. (Addis Ababa University Press, 2008).

Heran Sereke-Brhan and Shiferaw Bekele. “Fluorescence of the Arts in the “New Flower” (Addis Ababa) before 1974.” In Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists. (Gainseville: Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida, 2007).

Editor (with renderings in English), Gebre Kristos Desta – Expansive Pathway… Lifetime Traveler – An anthology of poetry, (Germany: Engelhardt & Bauer, 2006).

“Gebre Kristos Desta: The Painter’s Eye, the Poet’s Hand,” in Gebre Kristos Desta – The Painter-Poet, edited by Elizabeth W. Giorgis, Yonas Admassu, Birhanu Teferra, (Germany: Engelhardt & Bauer, 2006).

“”Like Adding Water to Milk”: Marriage and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Ethiopia,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 38, 1 (2005), 49-77.

“Ethiopia: A Historical Consideration of Amhara Ethnicity,” New Trends in Ethiopian Studies – Proceedings of the XII International Conference of Ethiopian Studies,Vol. 1, edited by Harold G. Marcus, (Red Sea Press: Lawrenceville, NJ, 1994), 742-774.