Ethiopia is a world unto itself. The geographic isolation of much of the country, located on a high plateau, has created a distinct culture reflected by over three thousand years of literate civilization. Adding to the enigmatic nature of the country is the dramatic scenery of jagged mountain peaks and arid plains bisected by fields of grain and riven by deep gorges.
Our in-depth exploration takes in the full sweep of the historical northern part of the country, visiting its most intriguing locations; the spectacular rock-cut churches at Lalibela, the remote monolithic churches of Eastern Tigray, the ancient Temple of the Moon at Yeha, and the mysterious obelisks at Axum. The crenellated Crusader castles of Gondar reveal Ethiopia's limited contact with 18th century Europe, while the richly painted island monasteries of Lake Tana speak to a living and closely-guarded tradition of religious and artistic expression.
Throughout our trip we are surrounded by some of the most striking landscapes in Africa. A mountain walk in the Simien Mountains is an opportunity to commune with Gelada Baboons; another easy walk brings us to spectacular waterfalls of the Blue Nile.
Day 1: Meet in Addis Ababa
Day 2: Addis Ababa
Day 3: Fly to Mekele and drive to Gerhalta
Day 4: Gheralta
Day 5: Drive to Axum
Day 6: Axum
Day 7: Fly to Lalibela
Day 8: Lalibela
Day 9: Fly to Gondar and drive to
the Simien Mountains
Day 10: Simien Mountains Excursion
Day 11: Drive to Bahir Dar
Day 12: Bahir Dar
Day 13: Fly to Addis Ababa and depart
Susan Ackerman '80, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion, joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1990 after completing her graduate work at Harvard and after brief stints teaching at Winthrop College, in South Carolina, and the University of Arizona. Although she is a specialist in the religion of ancient Israel and the religions of Israel's eastern Mediterranean and ancient Near Eastern neighbors (Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Canaan), she is also very interested in Europe's religious heritage and has given lectures related to aspects of this heritage on several previous Dartmouth Alumni Continuing Education trips (e.g., Alumni Campus Abroad in Scotland in June 2002 and "From Lisbon to London" in May 2004). Professor Ackerman received the Faculty Award for Service to Alumni Continuing Education in 2006 in recognition for her work on these trips and in other alumni events.
Professor Ackerman's publications include several articles and three books, "Under Every Green Tree: Popular Religion in Sixth-Century Judah", about ancient Israelite ritual behaviors; "Warrior, Dancer, Seductress, Queen: Women in Judges and Biblical Israel", which examines the social roles described for women in the book of Judges and the analogs of these roles found elsewhere in biblical tradition and in eastern Mediterranean literature; and "When Heroes Love: The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David".