This book is a collection of essays that cover a range of topics on law and politics, culled from a long and rich experience of writing and continual participation in public affairs. The essays were, for the most part, delivered as key-note lectures given at international meetings in different venues in Africa, America and Europe. The lead essay—crime and punishment in America—is concerned with a persistently recurring social (and legal) problem in the United States that has eluded satisfactory resolution for generations.
"Bereket Habte Selassie has been one of the wise voices of African politics and constitutional law for fifty years. Informed both by deep scholarship and his enormously rich experience, these essays offer crucial insights as Africa enters a new era. Why is democracy needed? How can nations co-exist with international cooperation? How can balance be found between freedom and order? These are essays for Africa, but they address themes of much wider significance."
—Craig Calhoun, President, Berggruen Institute, Los Angeles,
Centennial Professor at LSE
"Words that Govern offers illuminating perspectives and experiences of a scholar par excellence, who has been at the nodal points of transformative changes in the Horn of Africa. Professor Bereket Habte Selassie’s separate but well-crafted chapters seamlessly glide between delicate local concerns with global implications and daunting global challenges that continue to shape the local. He calls for the taming of the forces of globalization and the democratization of global institutions; rejects monolingualism in favor of diverse languages and preservation of endangered ones without overlooking the challenging policy implications of the latter, hence the need for a common language. He traces self-determination from its conception as a philosophical concept to a political idea and then a legal right, and differentiates between the demand for that right and the commission of genocides in purported pursuit of that noble ideal. This volume is a fascinating read by an author who has spent a lifetime grappling with and pursuing the many themes across the chapters."
—Awet T. Weldemichael, Queen’s University
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BEREKET HABTE SELASSIE is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of African Studies and Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is Fellow, African Academy of Sciences. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the chairman of the Constitutions Commission of Eritrea, and he also served as Ethiopia’s Attorney General in Emperor Haile Selassie’s government, as well as Associate Justice of the Federal Supreme Court. He is the author of several books on law and politics.
Law, Social Studies, Politics/AFRICA & AFRICAN AMERICAN