On Wednesday, October 29, 1958, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I received in audience at the Guenet Leul Palace a group of African students. 24 out of 26 students were studying in Ethiopian higher institutions of learning under the Haile Selassie I Scholarship Scheme. Below is His Imperial Majesty’s speech on this occasion:
We have brought you to Our Palace today in token of the sincere sentiments of goodwill which We feel for you and in order to become acquainted with you, so that you will not feel as strangers and outlanders during your stay in Our country.
It is likely that your knowledge of the nations of Africa is limited in the main to the countries in which you have lived. We created the scholarships which have brought you to Ethiopia because We realize fully well that the African people cannot come to know and understand one another simply through the use of maps, and because We know that there is no better way of enabling you, the children of the rest of Africa, to become acquainted with your Ethiopian brethren and for them to know you in turn.
We hope that during your period of study here, you will be enabled to observe Our people at first hand, and to come to know that you are of their same African blood. We shall not fail to send Ethiopian students to schools in other parts of Africa, so that the programme of cultural and educational exchange which We have initiated will extend yet more widely.
We rely heavily upon and pursue tenaciously Our programme of education. We believe that education is the hope which shall assure the progress of Our people, and it is Our wish to assure the spread of education among all African peoples as much as among Our own subjects.
We would remind you that Our scholarship programme, although in its early stages, will be extended further in the future, and that Our thoughts are still concentrated on this programme. Ethiopian economy is not now well developed. However, it has started to grow, and, proud of the resources which will contribute to Our country’s economic growth, We intend that the aid which We shall extend to other African peoples will keep pace with this growth.
Students are the leaders of the future and are not bound by the past. We urge you to work hard and to study in recognition of the responsibility which has been imposed on you as the pioneers of the coming generation. We shall speak to those who come after you the same words which We have just addressed to you. We wish you all success in your studies.