Professor Anghesom Honored by the City of Chicago

In a ceremony attended by government and business leaders, educators, and community organizers, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley presented Dr. Anghesom Atsbaha with the 2010 Kathy Osterman Award for Superior Public Service.

“Several local government agencies submitted many impressive nominations,” said George H. Arteaga, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services and President of the Kathy Osterman Awards Program. “However, the selection committee determined that you are most deserving of this special award.”

“You join a distinguished list of recipients of this award for dedication and service to education in the city of Chicago,” said State Representative Harry Osterman. “I am proud that my legislative district is home to your great work.”

Dr. Atsbaha holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Political History from DePaul University and a doctorate in Education with a concentration in History from National Louis University.

“Dr. Atsbaha is a student favorite at Truman, known for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, engaging teaching style, and for his unflagging support for his students,” said Truman President Lynn Walker. “His compassion and commitment to a cause inspires each of us who come to work with or for him.”

Dr. Atsbaha is an assistant professor of Political Science, History, and the Sociology of Race and Ethnic Relations. He is assistant chairman of the Department of Social Science, chairman of the Global Studies Initiative Core Group, deputy chairman of the Truman College Council, and member of the Faculty Council.

“This prestigious and much-deserved award is bestowed to government employees in professional careers such as public safety, clerical, educational, supervisory, general service, and executive roles,” said City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. “The City of Colleges of Chicago is very proud of the achievement and the honor your hard work as brought to us. Thank you for your motivation, inspiration, and contribution to our students’ success and for bringing this mark of distinction to the City Colleges of Chicago, especially to Harry S. Truman College.”

“We (in the Eritrean community) should have presented such an award, and much earlier, in recognition of his longtime service to our Eritrean community,” said Tekle W.Gabriel, founding member of the American Forum for Democracy in Eritrea.

In 2008, Dr. Atsbaha received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his work in outreach and mentoring diverse adult students. More than 100 have earned baccalaureate degrees due to his inspirational and motivational leadership. In 2010, he was chosen to receive Truman College’s annual Distinguished Professor award. Dr. Atsbaha is perhaps best known for founding the Truman-DePaul Adult Bridge Program, a partnership between the Truman and DePaul University’s School for New Learning. He has been the heart and soul of this program since its beginning. In Lifelong Learning at Its Best (1999), the program was called one of the best practices of collaborative models in the nation. The Bridge has been presented as a model at academic conferences in Kenya, Australia, and Germany and won numerous state and private grants supporting its work. Dr. Atsbaha has opened doors for hundreds of adults who may never have participated in a BA program, indeed may never have seriously considered higher education a possibility. Some of the graduates of the Truman-DePaul Bridge Program have earned their master’s and law degrees at DePaul and other institutions.

For the City Colleges of Chicago, Dr. Atsbaha took part in an episode of The Professors, a discussion series featuring City Colleges professors that is aired regularly on WYCC, the District’s television station. He served as a panelist for the District’s televised Town Hall Meetings on racism in 2004, on globalization in 2006, and on U.S. foreign policy in 2008. He has also been a member of the advisory board for WYCC. Recently, Dr. Atsbaha represented Truman College as a member of the District’s 2011 Strategic Planning Committee.

Ever since he arrived in this country in 1984, Dr. Atsbaha has worked to extend the promise of America to young men and women from Chicago’s African communities. Though he is Eritrean, he works closely with Ethiopians, Kenyans, Somalis, Sudanese, and Nigerians. He was instrumental in helping Sudanese refugees, the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” settle in northeast Chicago and succeed at Truman College. When several of them became unintentionally embroiled in a street fight with members of the Latin Kings gang, Dr. Atsbaha brought together members of the Sudanese community, local lawmakers and community leaders, police, and public service agencies to defuse the situation and prevent further violence. He led a similarly organized meeting between police, lawmakers, community leaders, and members of the Eritrean community after two young Eritrean men were shot in an apparent gang attack. In the late 1980s, Dr. Atsbaha helped organize Chicago’s Eritrean community and served as president of its board of directors for two terms.

Dr. Atsbaha is a member of the Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on African Affairs, appointed by Mayor Daley, and each fall works with the commission to organize a series of events on unity and diversity. He serves on several advisory boards, including those for the Eritrean Orthodox Church of St. Mary and the Association of Ogoni in North America. He has also served a member of the African advisory group for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. On May 21, 2010, Dr. Atsbaha presented a paper at a conference in London sponsored by Eritrean Citizens for Peace in the Horn of Africa. In 2006 and 2010, at the invitation of the Eritrean Democratic Association, he presented papers in Frankfurt, Germany on political pluralism and the search for peace and stability in Eritrea. On November 15, 2008 at Truman College, he organized a forum, “Prospects for Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa with Emphasis on Eritrea and Ethiopia.” In October of 2009, he took part in a roundtable meeting in the Netherlands organized by Press Now, a nonprofit organization working to promote the development of independent media in war zones, countries with repressive regimes, and countries en route to democracy. Dr. Atsbaha has taught courses in Kenya, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, organized and moderated panel discussions, including a 2000 United Nations video conference with African ambassadors, and has been a commentator for CBS on the genocide in Rwanda. Here in Chicago, he has been a contributing editor to Afrique magazine, writing profiles on Africa.

“In moments like this, it is hard to come up with the right words, a speech that could fit the occasion,” Dr. Atsbaha said. “I never would have dreamed of a day like this when I came to this great nation and the great city of Chicago. As a refugee forced to flee his home, I am among the most fortunate few, one of the lucky ones. What makes this day so special, in addition to the award and the good wishes of so many people, is the presence of my family, my colleagues from Truman College and the City Colleges of Chicago, DePaul University, and the Commission on Human Relations. I am also honored by the presence of those whose communities I serve, the Lost Boys of Sudan, the Ogoni of Nigeria, and my own Eritrean community. Your presence and support have always inspired me to reach so far. This is truly a privilege, a powerful message about what it means to serve, to serve the people of this great city that has given me so much.”

Short URL:

Posted by on Dec 21 2010 Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Photo Gallery

Log in |2011