Starting from October 2011, Alpha Abebe is pursuing a DPhil in Development Studies at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID). The working title for her research is ‘Intersections of Diasporas and Development: Young Ethiopian Diasporans from the West and Their Relationships to Development in Ethiopia’. She is supervised by Oliver Bakewell.
Alpha’s research will explore the intersection of diasporas and development, through the experiences of ‘the young Ethiopian diaspora’ in the West. Specifically, it will involve understanding the ways in which people of Ethiopian descent born and/or raised in Canada and the US build a diasporic identity and engage with Ethiopian development initiatives through a mutually constitutive process.
Alpha holds an MA from York University in Interdisciplinary Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies, and an Honours BA from the University of Toronto, majoring in Political Science and Criminology. She has spent several years as an international and community development practitioner, and her advocacy, research and professional efforts have been largely devoted to youth, migration issues, and East Africa.
Prior to starting her doctoral degree, Alpha worked as an Associate Program Manger with The MasterCard Foundation, a $3 billion global private foundation. She supported the strategic development and launch of the Foundation's Youth Learning Program, which supports initiatives focused on skills and workforce development for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa. She also led the development of a Youth Engagement Strategy at the Foundation, and managed a portfolio of projects worth over $60 million. Alpha co-founded Young Diplomats, a youth-led community organization in Toronto that serves Ethiopian youth. She is also an avid photographer.