Early life and education
Abiy Ahmed was born in the town of Beshasha  in the historic Kaffa Province (in modern times Jimma Zone, Oromia Region), Ethiopia, on 15 August 1976. His father, Ahmed Ali, is a Muslim Oromo; while Abiy's deceased mother, Tezeta Wolde, was an Orthodox Christian Amhara from Burayu just outside Addis Ababa who converted to Islam when she married Abiy's father as his fourth wife. While Abiy was very interested in reading the Quran in his youth according to his father, he became a Protestant later in his life.
Abiy is the thirteenth child to his father and was the sixth and youngest child of his mother. His childhood name was Abiyot, meaning Revolution, in Amharic, a name that was sometimes given to children in the aftermath of the Derg revolution of 1974. The then Abiyot went to the local primary school and later continued his studies at secondary schools in Agaro town. Abiy, according to several personal reports, was always very interested in his own education and later in his life also encouraged others to learn and to improve.
While serving in the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Abiy received his first degree, a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the Microlink Information Technology College in Addis Ababa in 2001. In 2005, Abiy earned a post-graduate certificate in Cryptography at Machine Dynamics in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa (AES encryption based on block cipher).
Abiy holds a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership and Change with Merit, earned from the Business School at Greenwich University, London, in collaboration with the International Leadership Institute, Addis Ababa, in 2011. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Leadstar College of Management and Leadership in Addis Ababa in partnership with Ashland University in 2013.
Abiy, who had started his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) work several years ago as a regular student, completed his PhD in 2017 at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University. He did his PhD work on the Agaro constituency with the PhD thesis entitled “Social Capital and its Role in Traditional Conflict Resolution in Ethiopia: The Case of Inter-Religious Conflict In Jimma Zone state”. As a follow-up to his PhD thesis, he published a research article on de-escalation strategies in the Horn of Africa Bulletin in a special journal issue dedicated to countering violent extremism.