The Association for Higher Education and Development (AHEAD) was founded in Ottawa in 1999 by a small group of Ethiopian-Canadian professionals united by their desire to give back to their country of origin for the education it provided them.Cognizant of the opportunities that the education they received in their home country has afforded them, AHEAD members dedicated themselves to support higher education and capacity development in Ethiopia with the aim of positively contributing to the efforts of newer generations to improve their material and intellectual life.

AHEAD is a not-for-profit organization with no political affiliations in Ethiopia or Canada.


To contribute to development efforts in Ethiopia by mobilizing, coordinating and channeling resources and expertise needed to improve higher education in Ethiopia.


In order to fulfill its mission, AHEAD focuses on:

Collecting and dispensing material resources to respond to the academic, infrastructure and resource needs of universities in Ethiopia, including organizing various fundraising events to raise funds to support students, collecting much needed books and equipment as well as collaborating with academic institutions for the realization of Open Access to academic articles and online journals by Ethiopian universities.

Mobilizing diaspora Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to use their knowledge and expertise to support development in Ethiopia and facilitating their contributions to the capacity building efforts of Ethiopian public universities and other partner organizations. In this regard, in addition to linking diaspora professionals with local institutions, AHEAD also conducts studies and pilot programs aimed at informing diaspora action based on sound research.

Building and facilitating partnerships between Ethiopian, Canadian and internationalacademic, governmental and non-governmentalorganizations, including arranging meetings, discussions and networking events to enhance the flow of resources and expertise among various stakeholders working in and on Ethiopia.

Generating and applying knowledge on diaspora engagement by conducting related research, project needs assessment and improved development strategies and disseminating the findings through various media.

Foundational Principles

AHEAD was founded on and continues to be governed by the following principles:

Be Both Process and Result Oriented. We seek to achieve concrete, measurable and meaningful results in all activities undertaken in the name of AHEAD. We are strong supporters of the integrity of both means and end and seek to establish AHEAD as a serious, credible and reliable organization committed to its stated objectives.

Take Time to Grow.Our slogan is “A book at a time and a student a year”. We advocate and practice organic growth largely led by the results we can achieve, not by the amount of activities we can undertake.

Foster and Maintain Partnerships. We cannot do it alone.  We are only one of many players. We must not only build but maintain partnerships based on shared objectives, mutual respect and understanding.

Have Accountability. As a beneficiary of voluntary time, resources and expertise, AHEAD will ensure transparency for each and every activity it embarks on.

Ensure Sustainability. AHEAD is a catalyst. Its interest is to facilitate institutional development and not to create dependency of institutions. It will, therefore, ensure that it is engaged in projects that are truly responsive to identified needs and are sustainable.