School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Meet Abebe Alemu - Mastercard Scholar in Law 

PHD student in Law

by Catherine Andre May 2022

Abebe Alemu

Abebe Alemu came to Canada in January 2021 through the Mastercard Scholarship program to begin his Ph.D. in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University. The Mastercard program is run jointly by Queen’s University and the University of Gondar.

Abebe is exploring the communication gaps in the provision of procedural accommodations to deaf and hearing impaired clients in the Ethiopian criminal justice system and to seek comparative insights from Canadian legal frameworks and jurisprudence. . He explains, “Deaf and hearing impaired persons rely on different means of communication, other than spoken and/or written languages, to understand the process and effectively utilize their fundamental due process rights whenever they encounter them in the criminal justice system.” Contrary to this, the criminal justice system relies on spoken and written communications for its day-to-day operations, meaning that miscommunication with disabled persons is more likely and could result in harsh consequences to the extent of life imprisonment or  even harsher penalties.

While he works on his important doctoral work, Abebe is a happy father to two cute baby boys. When Abebe started his doctoral studies at Queen’s, his wife had to leave work to care for their children and their education. Abebe explains that while he works on his research, he must also financially support his family, which means he has no leisure time. He is also currently separated from his family because of pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions, which has been difficult for him. He reflects, “I have been always thinking about my family which sometimes distracts my attention from my study.” Despite these difficult and unpredictable times, Abebe says that fatherhood gives him the strength and determination to continue working hard to balance his two responsibilities, which he describes as “successfully completing my studies and leading my family in a responsible manner. I am always happy to shoulder these two huge responsibilities.” Abebe says that being a father keeps him well-prepared for each day and encourages him to approach his research with equal dedication and responsibility in order to conquer his goals that will serve the needs of his family.

For more details on the PhD program in Law, check out the Faculty of Law website.