Mr. Sileshi Hirko, a PhD candidate in the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa, has won the Civil Society Scholars Award (CSSA). CSSA is a research grant from the Open Society Foundations, and it is awarded to PhD students for field research and to scholars for a research project.

With significant financial support from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR), Mr. Hirko has been working on a PhD thesis under the supervision of Profs. Jeremy de Beer and Chidi Oguamanam from the Center for Law, Technology and Society. His research focuses on the interplay between copyright protection and the human right to education in Ethiopia. In particular, the research explores the interplay between the two regimes in the context of access to copyrighted learning materials for tertiary education in the country. Adopting a human development approach, the research analyzes the roles of copyright and tertiary education to promote socio-economic development in Ethiopia.

Situated within the broad research areas of the Open AIR project in Africa, which promotes access to IP-related knowledge for development, the research is a timely and an original contribution in support of Ethiopia’s development priorities such as education and innovation. In this regard, the CSSA award is an important addition to his existing research grants from Open AIR and CIGI for the successful completion of his ongoing research.  As the award is intended for a field study in Ethiopia, Mr. Hirko is thankful to the Open Society Foundations for the grant and to Profs. de Beer and Oguamanam for their invaluable support and guidance.