The three papers published in this volume were originally presented at the First International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy held here in Addis Ababa on 3-5 January 2003 and organized by the Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA). The conference, which attracted a large audience, including a number of Ethiopians from the Diaspora community, heard over seventy papers and oral presentations delivered by academics, researchers, public servants and professionals from a wide diversity of institutions and backgrounds. Following the request of EEA, FSS hosted a special panel on poverty at the Conference in which the three papers and an oral presentation by Prof. Bahru were delivered for discussion. Prof. Bahru's presentation, which was warmly received by the audience, was on poverty in historical perspective but unfortunately, due to the pressure of work, he has been unable to prepare a paper for publication.
FSS has identified poverty as one of its priorities areas around which it has undertaken a broad set of activities including research and publication, policy debates, advocacy work and public awareness programs. Its Poverty Dialogue Forum, an extended program which run from the end of 2000 to the middle of 2002, provided an open forum for wide ranging public discussions on the nature of poverty in this country and what must be done to address it following the government's poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) initiative. One of the end results of this program was a series of seven publications in which concerned individuals from civil society organizations, the private sector, government agencies, donor organizations, academics and the poor themselves discuss poverty and poverty reduction from their own particular perspectives. This special publication is part of FSS on-going concern about poverty and we hope to present other discussions on the subject in this or other format in the future.