Professor Zewde is an eminent historian who now serves as emeritus professor of history at Addis Ababa University. He is a founding member of the Forum for Social Studies, whose board he chaired from 1998 to 2004,
and is active in the leadership of several pan-African and subregional associations and research networks. Professor Zewde also authored the seminal text A History of Modern Ethiopia 1885–1991 and Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia: The Reformist Intellectuals of the Early Twentieth Century. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.