Meet Fitwi Tesfahunei

This is part of a Columbia News series introducing members of the University's Scholarship for Displaced Students, a program administered by Columbia Global Centers. 

April 14, 2021

Fitwi Amanuel Tesfahunei is a student at Columbia’s Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science. He is from Asmara, Eritrea. We checked in with him to learn more about Eritrea, his studies, and what he hopes to accomplish with his mechanical engineering degree.

What are you studying?

I am currently doing my MSc. in Mechanical Engineering. I am specializing in robotics and control.

Where are you living currently?

I am currently residing in Germany. I recently moved here from Ethiopia.

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?

With my degree, I hope to accomplish the luxury of convenience and time for my people and others living in developing countries. One of the main reasons for poverty in underdeveloped nations is the lack of access to what is deemed basic and taken for granted in the developed world. Too many people live in survival mode. Kids have to walk hours to get to school, sometimes they have to cut class in order to help their parents with farming.

I want to be able to address these types of issues with technology. With my knowledge and expertise, I would like to dedicate my time and effort to finding solutions that can allow people in developing countries to spend enough time acquiring knowledge and realizing their potential.  

What do you wish more people knew about Eritrea?

It is a tiny country that resembles a key. It is found in the north-east of Africa. It has amazing weather and beautiful sceneries. It’s filled with beautiful, joyful, and kind people with rich culture and values.

I was born and raised in the capital city of Asmara, where you can find various exotic buildings built during the Italian colonization. It is an old and small city, but beautiful, nonetheless.