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Open letter to President Obama

Open letter to President Obama


Robert Wise (PhD

Addis Ababa University, School of Psychology)


Please forward this email to the appropriate office within the State Department and/or US Federal Government.

My name is Robert Todd Wise. I am a US citizen working at Addis Ababa University. I am a licensed psychologist from America (SD LP #397) and have worked for over 8 years with the US Federal Government (GS-14 Step 2) through Indian Health Services (2001-2009). I am currently the chief Coordinator for the graduate program in clinical psychology at Addis Ababa University. I am writing regarding the upcoming visit of President Barack Obama to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has been suggested that the President may possibly visit Addis Ababa University. This note is regarding this possibility.

On behalf of the The School of Psychology of Addis Ababa University I would cordially like to invite the President to visit our department, if he indeed is to come the Sidist Kilo, main campus. The department is easily accessible and located on the main campus of Sidst Kilo. Please read through the following points, which explain the appropriateness of this request.

As you know, the field of clinical psychology originated within the United States of America. As an American trained psychologist, I have had the honor working beside Ethiopian colleagues, to play a central role in the establishment of clinical psychology here in Ethiopia. Our staff in the School of Psychology graduated the first class of clinical psychologists in Ethiopia two years ago now, following the creation of the first graduate program in the country. We have witnessed a number of other “firsts.” We established the first internship programs through hospitals in the area, the first university psychology clinic, we worked with the National Health Ministry to implement the first legal licensure process for clinical psychologists, and we are currently producing the first Psychology Journal in Ethiopia (Journal of Ethiopian Psychology). Clinical Psychology is now ranked at the highest level for future job prospects in the mental health profession in Ethiopia, by the National Health Ministry of Ethiopia. In short, the impetus of the clinical psychology profession will make a major impact in Ethiopia in the years to come on a number of fronts.

Historically, the establishment of clinical psychology is a rather important meeting of American and Ethiopian cultures which is not to be missed. There has been a fruitful “wedding” of sorts between an American tradition of clinical psychology and the traditional environment here. While we have introduced standards that parallel the profession in America, our department has also stressed an “indigenous” initiative, working to adapt the practice to psychology sources which spring from the Ethiopia context. I will attach two sources from our department for your reference.

In brief, a short visit from the President would obviously mean a great deal to staff and students who work diligently in applying American born practices here. Please consider walking up some stairs, greeting our staff, and returning back on course. Our School is located in the NCR, 3rd Floor of the Addis Ababa University main campus. We are very near the JFK University Library as well as the main administrative offices in the old Palace (Institute for Ethiopian Studies). A momentary stop to greet the staff and to take a picture in front of the School of Psychology seems to fit within the very purposes of the President’s visit to Ethiopia. A picture of the President at our School alone would inspire undergraduate students for over the next two decades to enter the profession.

Thank you for your consideration. People here are very much looking forward to your visit. God Bless America!


Robert Wise