Celebrating Women’s History Month 2012: Tadias Q&A with Dr. Mehret Mandefro

Physician Mehret Mandefro is co-founder of Truth Aid, an organization that produces multimedia content about social issues affecting vulnerable populations around the world. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – In celebration of Women’s History Month, Tadias is interviewing extraordinary Ethiopian women who are blazing trails in various fields including science, art, philanthropy, and business. We launch our series with a Q&A with Dr. Mehret Mandefro, physician, film producer, anthropologist and social change activist. She is a former White House Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and currently teaches at the Department of Health Policy at George Washington School of Public Health & Health Services.

Mehret is also the co-founder of Truth Aid, an organization that produces visual ethnographies of health and social issues. Their current film project entitled Oblivion is based on a true story about a legal precedent-setting case that outlawed abduction for marriage in Ethiopia.

Below is our Q&A with Dr. Mehret Mandefro:

TADIAS: What do you most enjoy about your work?

Mehret Mandefro: I love teaching and working with students. I find the next generation to be very inspiring. I also like having the time to think, write, and create new forms of knowledge that will challenge audiences to think different about health and human rights.

TADIAS: Who are your female role models?

Mehret: My mother, Tsedale K. Mandefro, Abebech Gobena, Sister Zebider, Meaza Ashenafi.

Tadias: What challenges have you faced as a leader and how did you overcome those hurdles at work or life in general?

Mehret: In some work environments where I have been the youngest and happen to be the only woman sometimes it was a challenge to have my voice heard. So I went to great lengths to be very clear about what I thought. Learning to express your opinions in forums that are not necessarily friendly is an important skill for women to develop.

TADIAS: What are some practical tips you can give for young women who want to follow in your footsteps?

Mehret: You have to believe in your vision above all and be willing to put in hard work to execute. You also have to surround yourself with a support network that can nurture your growth. That’s very important.

TADIAS: Please tell us more about yourself (where you were born, grew up, school and how you developed your passion for your work?)

Mehret: I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and I grew up in Alexandria, VA. I attended Harvard for college and medical school. I also received a Masters in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My passion for public health and medicine emerged out of a study abroad trip I took to Kenya as a junior in college.

TADIAS: What would like to share on Women’s History Month with Tadias readers that we have not asked you about?

Mehret: Dream big. Work hard. But most of all never be afraid to do something different.

Thank you Dr. Mehret and best wishes with your endeavors.

Stay tuned for highlights celebrating Ethiopian women role models and change agents.

Related
Interview with Birtukan Midekssa
Interview with Artist Julie Mehretu
Interview With Model Maya Gate Haile
Interview with Nini Legesse
Interview with Sahra Mellesse
Interview with Lydia Gobena
Interview with Maaza Mengiste
Interview with Grammy-nominated Singer Wayna
Interview with Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Interview with Journalist Fanna Haile-Selassie
New Book Highlights Stories of 70 Accomplished Ethiopian Women (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

13 Responses to “Celebrating Women’s History Month 2012: Tadias Q&A with Dr. Mehret Mandefro”


  1. 1 mimi Mar 19th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Meheret you are my hero. You are amazing. As an undergrad global health major with interest in HIV and AIDS your work and effort has inspired me. I have seen your documentary and it was amazing. I love your work. Thankyou

  2. 2 Addis Mar 19th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Dr Meheret, I like what you are doing with Truth Aid. You are a very talented, smart woman with a vision for positive change! Go Girl!!

  1. 1 Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora: ‘Empowering Ethiopian Women and Advancing Their Rights’ at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 8th, 2012 at 1:17 pm
  2. 2 Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora: ‘Empowering Ethiopian Women’ | ethiopianteam.com Pingback on Mar 8th, 2012 at 7:06 pm
  3. 3 Interview with Journalist Fanna Haile-Selassie: Women’s History Month at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 12th, 2012 at 12:36 am
  4. 4 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 19th, 2012 at 12:37 am
  5. 5 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Wayna at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 20th, 2012 at 3:00 am
  6. 6 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Lydia Gobena at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:06 am
  7. 7 Spotlight on Sahra Mellesse: Women’s History Month at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 25th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
  8. 8 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Nini Legesse at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 26th, 2012 at 12:54 am
  9. 9 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview With Model Maya Gate Haile at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 29th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
  10. 10 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Birtukan Midekssa at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 30th, 2012 at 4:30 am
  11. 11 Celebrating Women’s History Month: Interview with Julie Mehretu at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 30th, 2012 at 4:50 am
Comments are currently closed.

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.