A linguist by profession, Dr. Eyasu Hailu Tamene, has been working with the Deaf people; mostly with Ethiopian and South Sudan Deaf communities, and sign languages since 2005. As a co-founder of the launching team in the Department of Linguistics, in 2008, Ethiopia’s first BA program in Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf Culture has been enabling to enroll a number of Deaf students joining Addis Ababa University. Since then, he has been working as an instructor, advisor and program coordinator to run both regular and non-regular sign language programs. Apart from being a regular academician, he is also a skilled sign language interpreter both locally and internationally.
He did his PhD in 2015, specializing in sign language linguistics. The topic of his PhD, which is now published by the renowned Gallaudet University Press (2017), is The Sociolinguistics of Ethiopian Sign Language: the Use and Attitudes. To complete this dissertation, he had to travel to eleven (11) various sites throughout Ethiopia to meet various deaf communities and seek the basic factors that govern the sign language use and attitudes.
In 2021, he won Fulbright Research African Scholarship to develop an action plan for a new continental platform called African Sign Languages Resource Center (ASLRC). Hosted at the Center for Black Deaf Studies of Gallaudet University but he had the opportunity to research visit and make academic connections at the University of California in Davis and National Technical Institute for the Deaf of Rochester Institute of Technology.
Currently, he is Assistant Prof. of Sign Language and Deaf Studies at Addis Ababa University. Additionally, he is the Chair or Organizing Committee of the 15th Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR 15), which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2025, for the first time in Africa. He is also the member of the African Languages Week Coordination Committee, organized by the African Union’s African Academy of Languages.
To discharge his social responsibility, he volunteers at a local Deaf-led, non-profit organization called Deaf Development and Information Association (DDIA). As one of the founding members of DDIA, he volunteers as a sign language advisor.