Professor Masresha Fetene’s Speech

January 25th  2020


Speech on the Occasion of the Award  of Honorary Doctorate Degree to Mr Mark Gelfand by Bahir Dar University

Masresha Fetene (Prof.)


Dear Mr Mark Gelfand

            Founder of STEM POWER and HonoraryDoctorate Awardee

Dear DrFirewTegegne

            President of Bahir Dar University

Dear Members of Faculty and Students of Bahir Dar University

Invited Guests

Ladies and gentlemen


It gives me a particular honor and immense pleasure to be a guest of honor while Bahir Dar University bestows this great deserved and earned honor to Mark Gelfand – a person I admire for his love to science, engineering and innovation, and for his deep seated desire and passion to ignite the same love and passion in the children and youth of this country.


Universities award honorary degrees for three reasons, to recognize outstanding services and achievements, to inspire and encourage faculty and students through the award, and to elevate their own status as institutions that award excellence where it shines.


Few awards fulfill all three criteria at the same time.  Some may have earned it through long years of service, but they may fall short in inspiring faculty and students. Some may be marked by the perseverance and resilience of the awardee, but the award may not attract enough attention to leave a mark on the prestige of the university that is bestowing it.


The award of Mark Gelfand is unique in that it recognizes a huge and persistent effort in this country to educate the young. It inspires faculty, students and the community at large as the award is an accomplished innovator having won several awards for his innovations that have been turned to business ventures. And by awarding an engineer who has impacted the teaching of STEM in Ethiopia and beyond, Bahir Dar University harvests huge recognition. That is what makes this Award such a deserved acknowledgement.

Foreigners come to this country sometimes with sinister plans. Some come with their countries primary interests. Some spy on us to deliver us on silver plates to our enemies, while others may come for their business interests - often advising us – only to ensure we remain where we are- a dependent backward nation. But Mark Gelfand has come with a loving heart. He invests his money in the future of our children – to help us break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment. For as often said by many scholars and leaders, it is only through education – the great equalizer – that poverty and underdevelopment can be conquered.


Bahir Dar University is bestowing this award  toMark Gelfand by way of saying thank you to him. Thank you Bahir Dar University.  Thank you Mark for what you are doing and congratulations for the award.


Thank you



Wednesday 8, 2020
Bahir Dar University
February, 2020