Ethiopian Agri-business Legend Inducted Into Cooperative Hall of Fame

Above: Werqu Mekasha will be honored with the cooperative
community’s highest honor at Washington’s National Press
Club on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Saturday, April 24, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Ethiopian agribusiness legend Werqu Mekasha has been selected for the 2010 induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, the Cooperative Development Foundation announced.

Mr. Mekasha, who died last year, is one of four honorees scheduled to be recognized at the annual hall of fame’s dinner and induction ceremony at Washington’s National Press Club on Wednesday, May 5, 2010.

The three other inductees into the four-member class, receiving the cooperative community’s highest honor, include Credit union pioneer Larry Blanchard, rural utility icon Glenn English, and cooperative visionary David Thompson.

“These four individuals could not better exemplify the meaning of the term leadership in their work with cooperatives,” said Steven Thomas, Executive Director of CDF, which administers the Hall of Fame, noting Mr. Mekasha’s status as the foundation’s first international inductee. “The inclusion of three iconic US cooperative leaders is deeply satisfying, and the induction of the very first non-US citizen is an exciting development that will add to the character of the Cooperative Hall of Fame induction ceremony.”

According to CDF, Mr. Mekasha – who served as vice minister of agriculture under Emperor Haile Selassie and who spent nearly a decade as a political prisoner during the Mengistu era – is being acknowledged formally for his accomplishments in his later years.

“Revitalizer of agricultural cooperatives in Ethiopia – having held high government posts under the Haile Selassie regime and been jailed for eight years after the regime was overthrown, Mekasha devoted himself to improving the lives of his countrymen through agricultural cooperatives, forging government policy to assure cooperative independence,” highlights the 2010 Cooperative Hall of Fame’s sponsorship page. “Through his heroic efforts, Ethiopia’s cooperatives not only became businesses that increased farmers’ incomes but also set the stage for growth and trade, especially in the coffee sector.”

If You Go:
For dinner attendance or sponsorship information, contact CDF at 703-302-8097 or Individual seats are available at $275. Proceeds from the May 5 event, which is expected to sell out, go to benefit the Cooperative Development Foundation. Or, well wishers may honor Ato Werqu with a message of support in the Hall of Fame program. Full congratulatory ads are $1,250, but collective ads for those who contribute smaller amounts can also be arranged.

Read an article written by Mr. Werqu Mekasha:
Improving the Lives of Ethiopian Coffee Farmers

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10 Responses to “Ethiopian Agri-business Legend Inducted Into Cooperative Hall of Fame”

  1. 1 D man Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:11 am


    I need to push my game a little hardrer, it seems like most of our people are doing well.

  2. 2 Senait Tekola Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Big congratulations to the family of the late Werqu Mekasha. He may not be here to accept this honor in person, but he is smiling in haven knowing that his exemplary work is now internationally recognized and his personal history preserved for posterity. I am immensely proud of him!

  3. 3 Rahel Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Congratulations to Gash Werqu and family!!

  4. 4 Hirut Dubale Apr 25th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Congra! Wonderful.

  5. 5 zewdu Apr 25th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    well done Mr Werqu best wish to the family.

  6. 6 Shenkute Tessema Apr 26th, 2010 at 4:16 am

    I am very happy that Mr. Werqu Mekasha has now been finally recognized for his contributions to Ethiopian agricultural development even if it was done posthumously. In addition to his contributions to cooperative development work, perhaps more significantly, Mr. Werqu should as well be recognized for his pioneering work in starting formal agricultural research work in Ethiopia. After a lot of struggle with government bureaucracy and international agencies, Mr. Worqu was finally able to establish the first Institute of Agricultural Research in Ethiopia. This was done in the early 1960′s and this institution has now become a major developmental organ of the government. I was a part of this development as Mr. Worqu was my boss at that time. I have always been very sad that his contributions are not known and properly recognized by those that are in the Ethiopian agriculture sector of to-day. I am immensly happy that Mr. Worqu’s contributions to Ethiopian agricultural development have now been recognized internationaly. Those of us who worked with Mr. Worqu always remember his dedication to his work, his love of country, his good charm and his friendship to all. May God rest his soul in peace.

  7. 7 Abnet Apr 26th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Well said. I share the same sentiments. BIG Congratulations to Ato Werqu for his heroic work in Ethiopian agribusiness!

  8. 8 Debre Tabor Apr 27th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you Tadias for shining the light on a great Ethiopian of international stature. My congratulations is relayed to the late Ato. Werqu and his bereft family. Shenkute Tessema’s heart-felt elegy of this great man makes us feel sad for the loss of this great force of progress. I too lament the loss of a man previously unrecognizable to me, but now warmly familiar to my better wishes for Ethiopia. So to my new and lost mentor I reflect that posthumous awards are but small diamonds shallow-set into a deep and wide footprint. God bless his soul.

  9. 9 yeshitla Apr 29th, 2010 at 5:47 am

    I am very happy for Gash Werqu’s internationally recognition. Those of us who worked with him alwways remember his dedication and his charm!

  10. 10 Debesh Jun 2nd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    It is a victory not only to Ato Worku Mekasha, but also for those who have been working for the betterness of Ethiopian farmers through cooperatives. Congra, for his family and God bless his soul.

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