Search Results for 'tigist selam'

NYC Screening of “Left Unsaid” Featuring Tigist Selam

Above: Tigist Selam and Damon Dash at the New York public
screening of the film Left Unsaid. (Photo by Stephen Knight)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Friday, November 26, 2010

New York (Tadias) – The first public screening of the film Left Unsaid — whose characters utilize Facebook as the networking tool to explore hot-button social issues — took place at the Dash Gallery in Tribeca last week.

Written and directed by Nelson George, Executive Producer of “Good Hair,” Left Unsaid starts with a woman who uses Facebook to invite a group of online friends from her new neighborhood in Brooklyn to her apartment for Sunday brunch. The conversation that unfolds among this multi-cultural group highlights issues of online relationships, parenting, professional ambitions, marriage, sex, race, gentrification and comical relief by way of urban legends. The Huffington Post notes: “As for the roster of talented actresses who grease his web series script, they came into the project after George quaintly bumped into many of them in the neighborhood.”

The film features, among others, writer and actress Tigist Selam, host of Tadias TV, who plays an Ethiopian-German character named “Bethlehem” – a role that reflects the actress’ own cultural background as half-Ethiopian and half-German. “I met Nelson George at his book signing for his new book ‘City Kid’ last year, I had just moved from Los Angeles back to New York,” Tigist says. “It turned out we lived across the street from each other.” According to the actress, this chance encounter led to her role in the movie. “We started talking about our passion for film and travel, and he told me about the idea of Left Unsaid. I immediately was interested in participating and he started to write for my character ‘Bethlehem,’ which is vaguely based on my Ethiopian and German experience. Initially it was a really small project that somehow organically grew into something much bigger. We just went with the flow and saw it beautifully unfold during the summer. I have learned so much and look forward to many more years of collaboration with Nelson.”

The event at Dash Studios on November 15th was hosted by the venue’s owner, hip-hop and media mogul Damon Dash. The evening attracted an eclectic group of guests. “Some of the attendees were my friends for many, many years and it was so beautiful to have shared that experience with them,” Tigist said. “We hope to have a screening of Left Unsaid in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles next year.’

The online series, which garnered good review at the American Black Film Festival in Miami this past summer, is now live on the web at http://www.Leftunsaidseries.com. Tigist Selam is featured in chapters 3, 4, 8, 14 & 18.

Click here to view photos from the event at Essence magazine.

You can follow Tigist on Twitter: twitter/tigistselam, Facebook: facebook/tigistselam, or on her blog: tiggie.tumblr.com.

Watch here related Tadias Videos featuring Tigist Selam:

Video – Tigist Selam’s Interview with Meklit Hadero

Watch: Tigist Selam’s Interview With Model Maya Haile

Spotlight on Actress Tigist Selam

Above: Actress Tigist Selam’s role in Nelson George’s new web
series called “Left Unsaid” reflects her own cultural background.
The film is based on Facebook. – (Photo credit: by Louis Seigal)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Our own Tigist Selam, host of Tadias TV, is featured in a new film called Left Unsaid where she plays an Ethiopian-German character named “Bethlehem” – a role that reflects the actress’ own cultural background as half-Ethiopian and half-German.

Written and directed by Nelson George, Executive Producer of “Good Hair,” Left Unsaid begins with a woman using Facebook to invite a large group of women to her new Brooklyn apartment for Sunday brunch.

“Marisol, recently separated from her music executive husband, has just landed in the Fort Greene area from Manhattan and seeks out new friends in this trendy, rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Social networking is the engine that brings this multi-cultural group of women together and it is a thematic link that holds together the various conversations and confrontations that happen on one long afternoon. The women are brought together, pulled a part, and some quietly transformed by the opportunities for communication social networking makes possible,” states the synopsis posted on the film’s official website.

The online series, which was well received at the American Black Film Festival in Miami this month, is now live on the web at http://www.Leftunsaidseries.com. Tigist Selam is featured in chapters 3, 4, 8, 14 & 18.

About the Author:
Tseday Alehegn is the Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Watch Related Tadias Videos:
Watch: Tigist Selam’s Interview With Model Maya Haile

Tigist Selam interviewed Maya Haile at home in Harlem on Tuesday
June 15, 2010. (Video by Kidane Films)

Video – Tigist Selam’s Interview with Meklit Hadero

Selam Productions – Tigist Schmidt Curates Films for African Diaspora

Selam Productions founder Tigist Schmidt. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, April 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Last Spring Selam Productions organized a week-long film series at The New School in New York City called Beyond Us, which explored Afro-futuristic themes. The films included Sundance hits Oversimplification of her Beauty by Terence Nance and Afronauts by Frances Bodomo. In addition, a diverse selection of video art by Derrick Adams and Renee Cox was screened as well as music videos by Khalil Joseph, and documented live performances from Sanford Biggers band Moonmedicine. All film screenings were followed by an artist talk, discussion or Q+A with the director.The film series was well received by students, filmmakers and cinephiles alike.

A few months later Selam Productions founder, Tigist Helen Schmidt, was approached by Wangechi Mutu’s initiative Africa’s OUT! to pick a film, that followed the inaugural event. After screening God Loves Uganda by Roger Ross Williams at Studio Museum in Harlem, Tigist led a public discussion with the local community.

“The thing about screening films of Africa and its Diaspora is that often times programmers and film curators alike don’t know how to engage members of that particular community or the general audience in a meaningful way,” Tigist says. “Most of the time African films come to the city for a maximum of three screenings, during a film festival, and then it becomes really difficult to find these films again. Rarely do these films get distribution and if so, the distribution company runs into the same problems as the programmers and curators.”

Tigist, who lives and works in New York, knows firsthand what it means to be a Diaspora member. She was born in the United States to Ethiopian and German parents and grew up in Nigeria, Argentina and Germany. When she was sixteen she moved back to the United States for college, and briefly moved to the United Kingdom for graduate studies. She holds a Bachelors in International Relations from San Francisco State University and a Masters from Goldsmiths, University of London.

“Part of Selam Productions’ mission is to support films via Africa and the Diaspora as well as women filmmakers,” Tigist tells Tadias. “And what better tool than to simply screen their films?”

Most recently, Selam Productions screened Stories Of Our Lives by Jim Chuchu at Neue House, a film made possible by Kenyan based grass-root organization UHAI EASHRI. The film was followed by a brief Q+A with Tigist and the organization’s director, Wanja Muguongo.


Poster for Stories Of Our Lives. (Courtesy image)

Tigist is currently working on a monthly film series that focuses on women’s stories on both sides of the camera, an Ethiopian inspired film series, as well as taking her curated film series Beyond Us to Berlin.

—-
For more information on upcoming screenings subscribe at www.SelamProductions.com or email contact@selamproductions.com.

Related:
The Colors of Ethiopians: Where Are You From? (By Tigist Schmidt)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC

2015 Premiere of AfrikCan Festival in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
by Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC Kicks Off Sept 18-20th

New York (TADIAS) — Showcasing the African continent’s greatest musical talents as well as its diversity through food, music and the arts, the first annual AfrikCan Festival will take place at La Marina in New York City this week from September 18th – 20th.

“AfrikCan aims to highlight the exceptionalism and greatness of Africa and its people” says the festival’s Facebook page. The Pan-African event promises a stellar line-up of musicians including: top Nigerian artists Jidenna, Wizkid and Ayo; multi-platinum award-winning South African singer Lira; Grammy-nominated Francophone duo Les Nubians; Congolese musician Young Paris; Ghanaian singer Wiyaala who won ‘Songwriter of the Year’ and ‘Best Female Vocal Performance’ at this year’s Vodaphone Ghana Music Awards; and Brooklyn-based Afro-indie band Osekre.

Africology is a media partner helping to organize and facilitate the first AfrikCan Festival in New York City, and its Co-Founder, Ethiopian-born Sirak Getachew, who recently released an Africology Clothing line, will also be DJing at the festival. “We’re looking to book innovative and new Ethiopian and East African acts for the following yearly festival” DJ Sirak told Tadias.

The opening party organized by Africology and hosted by Tigist Selam of Goursha will take place at Studio 21 on Friday, September 18th.


If You Go:
Friday, September 18th
Opening Party at Studio 21
59 West 21st Street, NY, NY 10011
Doors open at 10pm
No Cover. RSVP info@africologymedia.com

AfrikCan Festival NYC
September 19th & 20th
Door 4pm
La Marina NYC
348 Dyckman Street, NY, NY 10034
AfrikCan.com

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

The late artist Asnaketch Worku in the new film "Asni," which chronicles her life. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – As we wrap up the year we wish our audience around the world a happy and safe holiday season. And, as always, we look back at some of the top arts & culture stories that captured our attention in 2014. The list is organized in no particular order. Enjoy and see you in 2015!

‘Asni’: A Documentary on the Legendary Ethiopian Performing Artist Asnaketch Worku

The movie Asni was, hands down, one of the best Ethiopian documentary films released in 2014. Directed by Rachel Samuel and edited & co-produced by Yemane Demissie (Associate Professor of Film & Television at New York University), the documentary features the life and times of legendary Ethiopian musician and actress Asnaketch Worku. The captivating narrative gives us a glimpse into the performer’s popular and controversial past through her own words as well as those of her peers. The interview was recorded inside her humble home in Addis Ababa, while she was in bed-rest, a few years before she passed away. After watching the film my first thoughts were “What a woman Asnaketch was!” Free spirited, talented, curious, stylish, beautiful, outspoken and a trailblazer on the stage. It’s moving that at the end Asni — whom in her younger age was in many ways ahead of her time from the rigid and conservative societal norms of her generation — left us a lasting legacy that was built on passion for her profession and pure labor-of-love instead of on feckless pursuit of money and fame. That’s why, I personally believe, that today as Ethiopians everywhere we should cherish and celebrate Asni for she is our cultural treasure and irreplaceable. They did not call her The Lady with the Kirar for nothing. Asnaketch Worku was a born Ethiopian star.

Watch the trailer here: Asni – Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia

Dinaw Mengistu’s New Novel ‘All Our Names’


Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new book ‘All Our Names.’ (Photograph credit: Michael Lionstar)

Dinaw Mengistu dropped another of his mesmerizing and culturally-transcending novels this year (his third), firmly establishing himself as one of the most important writers of our generation. His latest book All Our Names was published in 2014. The New York Times notes: “All three of Dinaw Mengestu’s novels are about people who, for various reasons, come to this country and fashion new lives…For while questions of race, ethnicity and point of origin do crop up repeatedly in Mengestu’s fiction, they are merely his raw materials, the fuel with which he so artfully — but never didactically — kindles disruptive, disturbing stories exploring the puzzles of identity, place and human connection.” In addition I would say that All Our Names is a great read so share it with friends and family.

Difret Wins Audience Awards at Two Major International Film Festivals: Sundance & Berlin


(Photos credit: Haile-Addis Pictures)

The year started off with a bang for Ethiopian cinema on international big screens with Difret by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari winning two audience awards — at Sundance and Berlin film festivals. And it ended with the feature drama becoming Ethiopia’s 2014 official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Although there could be no doubt that Difret was the most talked-about Ethiopian movie of the year, I hope the film continues to invite conversations about the inherent cruelty of child marriage. (Here is a great review by The Los Angeles Times).

Taitu Cultural and Educational Center Celebrates 14th Anniversary


(Photo courtesy: The Taitu Cultural and Educational Center)

The Taitu Cultural Center marked its 14th anniversary in 2014. Perhaps it speaks more to the vision and determination of Ethiopian actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo, the Founder & Director, that the organization survived for more than a decade without much resources in comparison to institutions of the same category in the Washington. D.C. metropolitan area. Over the last decade-and-half the center has become a staging-ground for established and aspiring Ethiopian artists, including poets, painters, musicians, comedians and Amharic book authors residing near the U.S. capital and beyond. The 14th anniversary celebration took place on November 2nd at Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington. The event’s program featured a play called Yasteyikal. A comedy and selected poems of the year were also recited by legendary performers, including Alemtsehay Wedajo herself and Tesfaye Sima. Wishing Taitu much success for many years to come!

Aida Muluneh’s Addis Photo Fest


Photo courtesy: Addis Foto Fest (AFF)

The Addis Photo Fest, founded by Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh, held its 4th exhibition in Addis Ababa this year. It’s not an easy task to curate an annual show not only because photography as an art form is still a complex subject, but also because choosing the right theme and artists is an even more daunting challenge. The reward, when done properly, is that photography exhibitions could actually be an effective medium to explore pertinent and timely social issues (both local and global) beyond the abstract and academic that are positive, as well as negative, and require the public’s attention. We congratulate Aida on her efforts and we look forward to the Addis Photo Fest continuing to receive the international recognition that it deserves.

Marcus Samuelsson’s Latest Book: “Marcus Off Duty”

Marcus Samuelsson never stops! And that’s not surprising given that he lives in a city that never sleeps either. The New York-based restaurateur and celebrity-chef, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, highlights in his latest book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, the eclectic tastes and cooking-sensibilities of the world’s most diverse ethnic communities found right here in the United States. The following video is our interview with Marcus during his book talk and signing event last month in Washington D.C. where he was hosted by Joe Yonan, the Food & Travel Editor of The Washington Post. His book is available at Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.com.

Ethiopia Habtemariam: Billboard Women In Music 2014


Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of Motown Records, President of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, and co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. (Photograph: Universal Music Group)

When it comes to climbing the corporate ladder in the American music industry, it almost can’t get any better than reaching the helm of the country’s historic label — Motown Records. In 2014 34-year-old Ethiopia Habtemariam was promoted to President of Motown Records following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group. It was announced over the summer that Ethiopia will also remain in her previous role as Head of Urban Music division at Universal Music Publishing Group. She was one of Billboard magazine’s “Women in Music 2014″ honored in New York this month along with Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift and many more. We congratulate Ethiopia on her accomplishments and wish her continued success!

Ethiopian American Painter Julie Mehretu at the Tate Modern in London


Julie Mehretu at her studio in New York. (Photograph: Tim Knox)

Ethiopian-born American painter Julie Mehretu, who was also one of the Executive Producers of the film Difret, was the featured guest speaker at the fifth American Artist Lecture Series at the Tate Modern in London on September 22, 2014. The program, a partnership between Art in Embassies, Tate Modern and US Embassy London, “bring the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK.” Julie, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977, is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States. She has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award. She had residencies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2003), and the American Academy in Berlin (2007). Julie is an inspiration for many young people around the world and we look forward to more brilliant work in the future.

The 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Ethiopia


The 3rd Hub of Africa Fashion Week was held in Addis Ababa in October 2014. (Courtesy photograph)

The 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 23rd and 24th at Galani Coffee and Gallery. The international runway show is getting bigger and stronger. The event this year was dubbed the “Editorial Edition” and included a special event at Monarch Hotel on October 25th targeting buyers and fashion industry players. The participating designers included Modanik (DRC); Ruald Rheeder (South Africa); Katungulu (Kenya) Yohannes Sisters (Ethiopia); Abugida (Ethiopia); Cepha Maina (Kenya); Mela (Ethiopia); Sandstorm (Kenya), Assi’s Collection (Ethiopia) Rooi (Nigeria/London): and Mataano (Somalia). (Click here to see some wonderful photos)

UNICEF Ethiopia Appoints Young Rap Star Abelone Melese as its New National Ambassador


Abelone Melese. (UNICEF video)

Last, but not least, in November 2014 UNICEF Ethiopia named young rap star Abelone Melese, a citizen of Norway with Ethiopian origin, as its new National Ambassador at a signing ceremony held at the UNICEF Ethiopia office in Addis Ababa. The organization notes that “the event was attended by Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Mrs. Tove Stub, Minister Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy, members of the media and UNICEF staff.” Big congratulations to Abelone Melese!
—-
Related:
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
Top 10 Stories of 2013

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for School Initiative in Nazret

New Yorkers for Seeds fundraiser at the Schomburg Center in NYC, Monday, Dec., 8th, 2014. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – During the “New Yorkers for Seeds” fundraising gala at the Schomburg Center in Harlem yesterday evening former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku, Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation, announced that their Dream School Initiative has raised 1.3 million to date to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Nazret/Adama in Ethiopia.

The Dream School Initiative was launched last month with a fundraising event in Dallas where 14 local chefs did a tasting menu that was inspired by Ethiopian cuisine. The New York event included a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer Wayna and music by Dj Sirak, Co-Founder of Africology Media. The event was hosted by Tigist Selam, and volunteers from the Ethiopian Student Association at Columbia University, Atti’s alma mater, assisted with a silent auction.

“The Dream School Initiative is a continuation of the work we’ve being doing so far,” Atti says. “The initiative is to expand our program to accommodate more students (from Pre-K through 12th grade) and also to increase our community development program.”

Since its inception the Seeds of Africa school has incorporated community development programs including providing literacy and health education courses as well as access to funding for local small businesses.

Below are photos from the “New Yorkers for Seeds” Event on Monday, December 8th, 2014



Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Q&A With ‘Difret’ Director Zeresenay Mehari & Producer Mehret Mandefro

Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro at Sundance Award ceremony on Jan. 25th, 2014. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Last month Difret, an Ethiopian film directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film is currently premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Difret, which was initially funded through Kickstarter — an online crowdfunding platform — chronicles the true story of a teenager, from a rural village in the Arsi region, whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the 90s unleashed a historic court battle that resulted in the girl’s acquittal on the grounds of self-defense and legally ended the traditional practice of child marriage by abduction in Ethiopia.

Below is an interview with the film’s Director, Zeresenay Mehari and Producer Mehret Mandefro.

TADIAS: You had been developing the script for quite some time. What inspired you initially and what kept you going?

ZM: When I found Meaza’s story I was completely enthralled. What she did to take on a legal system and entrenched tradition is truly inspiring to me. It is what pushed me to tell this particular story and what kept me going throughout.

TADIAS: It was wonderful to see both female characters portrayed in such an honest and complex way without victimization. How did you go about casting for such demanding roles?

ZM: The casting process took 8 months. The toughest role to find was that of the young girl. There aren’t many roles for child actors in Ethiopia so we had to go to the schools to try and find the young girl who would play Hirut. We printed out 6,000 flyers and went to all the elementary schools arranging transportation to and back from our audition studio. In the end, I finally found the girl I was looking for, Tizita Hagere. We heard that an old thespian was giving free acting workshops to kids at a local school. As luck would have it, the school was actually my old elementary school. And there in my old classroom was Tizita. I saw her and immediately knew she was Hirut.

Meron Getnet was easier to find. She is a very established actress in Ethiopia and during the audition process she stood out from her peers immediately. She is a truly talented actress with a very bright future ahead of her.

TADIAS: You were in the middle of the pre-production when the former PM Meles Zenawi passed away and the country was in a state of transition. Could you talk about some of the challenges that you had to face while shooting in Ethiopia, especially during that time?

ZM: It was a sad time for the country and the mood was somber but thankfully it did not affect anything we were doing. The production moved along smoothly despite this great loss.

TADIAS: Music is a big part of your film. The last song of the film, in particular, is very distinct. What led to your collaboration with David Schommer on the film?

ZM: I love the last song. It’s actually an old recording of Aster Demoz (Leelai Demoz’s mother) that Dave remixed. We considered quite a few composers for this film. However, none of them knew Ethiopia like Dave did. In the end that’s why we went with him. He also happened to be a good friend so there was a relationship in place that could nurture the creative partnership.

TADIAS: I love the fact that your crew is a mix of Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians. What was your process as a producer of the film?

MM: Putting together our team was a cool part of the process. I joined Zeresenay first and we spent a lot of time talking about the people we wanted to involve in this project. Some of this was conscious but sometimes choices also came down to timing and what worked with everyone’s schedule. In the end, I am very proud of the team we assembled, which pulled talent from all over the world but was predominantly an Ethiopian team with a majority of women in lead creative positions.

TADIAS: Speaking of your creative crew, Angelina Jolie recently joined you as an Executive Producer. In which ways did that help Difret?

MM: Angelina joined our project during the post-production phase about 5 months ago. We had a locked picture when she saw the film and she really loved it and wanted to support us in getting it out there. Given her high profile, having her name attached definitely increases the visibility of our project and we are totally grateful to her for that.

TADIAS: Congrats again on winning the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance. This was the first time an Ethiopian film was in competition at the film festival. How did that affect your career and perhaps even Ethiopian cinema?

ZM: Thanks. It was truly awesome to win this award because when we first embarked on making this film so many people told us that there was no audience for a film like ours. Funders told us that the subject was too tough and would not lend itself to commercial distribution. The award obviously says otherwise and is truly a testament to sticking to something you believe in for the long haul. Given this is our first feature narrative endeavor it’s hard to say how this may affect our career – we are just beginning. But I do think winning the audience award at Sundance adds yet another layer of visibility to the film because distributors and others alike pay attention to who wins at Sundance. As for Ethiopian cinema, we are thrilled to be able to contribute to Ethiopia’s cultural history, and more importantly, hopeful there will be many more fantastic Ethiopian films competing at Sundance from here on.

TADIAS: Difret is not only an exceptional film, but it also sends out a strong message. What are your hopes for Difret?

ZM: My hope is that Difret starts a conversation about the parts of our tradition that hold women back. I think change takes time but it always begins with untold stories that compel us to think differently about what we take for granted. Telefa is a tradition that many still take for granted and I hope Difret can start a dialogue about perhaps letting go of this tradition once and for all.



Related:
Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
Horror of Ethiopian bride abduction shown at Berlin festival (Reuters)
Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

Yidnekachew Shumete in New York on December 8th, 2013. (Photo: By Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
Interview by Tigist Selam
Written by Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — “The stories that we project on the big screen have an influence on the audience, so it’s important how well you tell it,” says Ethiopian filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete, the director and writer of Nishan, which premiered in New York this past December at the African Diaspora International Film Festival. Released in 2013 Nishan is Yidnekachew’s second film following his successful 2007 drama Siryet. The former highlights a striking Ethiopian female character named Nishan, portrayed beautifully by his talented wife and actress Bertukan Befkadu, who is keen on obtaining a visa to live abroad, but gets ensnared in a series of dangerous events including a break-in at her family residence. In an effort to protect those she loves and honor the valor of a courageous patriot whose property has been stolen she also realizes that her desire for a better life should be started not overseas but at home.

“Filmmakers have to be one step ahead of the stories they are telling,” said Yidnekachew in an interview with Tadias after the NYC screening of Nishan on December 8th, 2013. “When I started working on Nishan’s script I stopped working as an instructor,” he recalled. “That was about was 3 or 4 years ago.”

Yidnekachew, who was born in 1981 in Addis Ababa came of age in the 1990′s when there was no film industry to speak of in Ethiopia. Fast-forward to 2014: today he is not only a trailblazer locally in the fledgling field, but also a former cinema teacher and founder of Kurat Pictures, plc, producing and distributing his films. “Luckily, my journey in making movies has come from the school and I have established a certain track record so it’s easier for me to find interested people to invest,” he said, adding that “it’s not the same for everyone.” He cautions “If you are beginning from scratch, it’s very difficult. The film industry in Ethiopia is in its infant stages.”

“Either the money comes from your own pocket or someone who can trust you, like a rich uncle, big brother, family member, or friend who is confident in your work,” he stated. And once in a blue moon an angel investor might pop up from Merkato. “People from Markato who have the money come and ask if they can hire a filmmaker because they have heard that film actually makes money,” he said. “There are a number of people who have succeeded in doing so. They don’t have any idea about the art, but they buy scripts and produce movies, I mean if the film does well, they will make another one, if not, they go home and do some other business. Other than that, there is no specific financing system.”

For Yidnekachew, however, even with the limited resources available for quality production, his objective is to raise the standard of filmmaking in Ethiopia — from script writing to soundmixing, and cinematography — to an international level. “If you noticed it took me six to seven years to make my second film,” he emphasized. “That’s partly because I could not find scripts that interested me.” Yidnekachew said it’s precisely the reason why he wrote the script for Nishan (Amharic with English subtitles) himself. “If I had very interesting scripts from other writers I wouldn’t force myself to write one,” he said. “As a filmmaker I feel responsible as to what kind of stories I am telling and how well I tell it.”

Below are photos from the festival and trailer of Nishan:



Related:
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2013

(File images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Kelela- Underground Queen

This past October, The Guardian dubbed Ethiopian-American musician Kelela Mizanekristos as “one to watch.” She recently released her first mixtape, Cut 4 Me, on the Los Angeles-based Fade to Mind record label. In her interview with Billboard Kelela shares that “with the mix tape I was presenting you with ideas. I presented the idea and then I let it go a little bit. I wasn’t trying to make every song an epic pop radio hit.” But for her upcoming album she says “I’d like to take it further. I want to make it so that every song is super, ultra epic and there are a million interludes.”


Kelela (Courtesy photo)

I was immediately drawn to Kelela’s music. Her sound is as effortless and distinct as her look. I can’t wait to see her music videos that will capture her beautiful face and will elevate her music. You can hear all of her songs here until then: https://soundcloud.com/kelelam.

Sheba Film & Arts Festival- 10 Years Strong


At the 10th anniversary celebration of the Sheba Film Festival on June 22, 2013. (Tadias Photographs)

That Sheba Film Festival has survived ten years in New York City where there are film festivals all year round bewilders me. It’s a testament to its uniqueness. The annual event also highlights works by local Ethiopian artists. Throughout the years, I have seen Ethiopian films at the festival that I would have never had a chance to see anywhere else on the big screen. As the Ethiopian film world continues to grow I look forward to the expansion of Sheba Film Festival throughout the U.S. More info here: www.binacf.org.

Nishan- A Young Woman’s Twisted Journey


Poster for the movie Nishan. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

When I sat down to ask Yidnekachew Shumete, the director of Nishan, about his inspiration for the film, I was surprised to find out that he didn’t have a woman in mind for the lead. However, it was inspiring to see a brave, complex female lead in an Ethiopian film. After being selected to participate in workshops during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Yidnekachew presented Nishan at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) – the largest film festival in the African continent – before screening it at various international locations including at the Seattle International Film Festival and in New York City. I truly enjoyed watching all of the multi-dimensional characters as the story slowly unfolded in great suspense. It was one of the most well-made Ethiopian films I’ve seen in a long time. Watch the trailer here.

Aida Muluneh – An Eye for Beauty

I’ve been following Aida’s work for many years. This past year her solo show So Long A Letter in Addis Ababa was based on the groundbreaking novel by the Senegalese writer, Mariama Ba and combined mixed media with photography. “In a sense it was my ‘So Long Letter’ to all the women in the country who often go unrecognized or are under-appreciated in our society,” Aida says. “I have always loved the book and the fact that it was written in a letter format.” You may get a glimpse of her work here.

Mizan Kidanu- Embodied Simplicity

Sometimes bluesy, sometimes jazzy and always soulful Mizan’s voice leaves you wanting more. There is a certain warmth that she brings to every song and an honesty in her lyrics that demands your attention. I look forward to what the future holds for this young songstress. I am mesmerized with the simplicity of this song and video.

Deseta- When Old Meets New


Design by Maro Haile. (Image courtesy of the artist)

I am hooked. For months, I’ve been sending cards with the recognizable Ethiopian imagery in bright colors for any possible occasion. Maro Haile’s paintings have been slowly flowing into her design work. “I am creating new and unique designs that touch on our rich Ethiopian design heritage but also with a universal appeal,” she says. “This process has been exciting, challenging, nerve-wracking and quite rewarding.” I am in love with Deseta, I can’t help it. Get hooked here: www.deseta.net.

Kenna- Gap #MakeLove


Ethiopian-American Musician Kenna & actress Beau Garrett Gap AD.

It feels great to see Kenna’s handsome face plastered all over New York City next to model and actress Beau Garrett. Both of them have been involved in making a difference in response to the global water crisis. Advertisement at its best.

Munit+Jörg – When Ethiopia meets Germany


Munit and Jorg performing live at Silvana in Harlem, NYC on July 12, 2013 (Photographs: Tadias)

Munit simply enjoys herself on stage and immediately pulls the audience into her music with her playfulness, but also her exceptional range. With the rather laid back and introverted Jörg, they make the best duo on stage singing in Amharic and English. Their long awaited album has something for everybody: http://munitandjorg.bandcamp.com.

Yityish Aynaw – Miss Israel in 2013 is Ethiopian!

It was so beautiful to see Yityish win Miss Israel 2013. To be recognized, to be seen and celebrated as a black woman in today’s world is a big deal. Hailing from Netanya, Yityish, or Titi as she is popularly known, is using her new fame to bring attention and resources to the children in her hometown, and building an arts community center that will help the children “learn what they shown interest in, whether it’s dance or music.”

Anthm – Handful of Goodness

Anthm cover 1
Anteneh Addisu aka ANTHM. (Photo: Supermegatrend)

For Anthm (aka Anteneh Addisu) 2013 was really a busy year, dropping two albums. Produced by Blu, A Handful Of Dust reminds me of what Hip-Hop used to be and is an instant classic. His second album The Fire Next Time, whose name derives from a James Baldwin book title, experiments with different styles. It shows you can’t put him in a box, and for that I salute him! Listen to his music here: https://soundcloud.com/amgesquires.

Related:
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
Top Ten Stories of 2013

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Celebrating Cultural Magnificence: The 3rd Annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring

(Photos courtesy of the promoters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian New Year is around the corner and so is the 3rd annual outdoor festival in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland marking Enkutatash. According to organizers, this year’s day-long celebration of Ethiopian culture and tradition will take place on September 15, 2013 in Veterans Plaza.

Last year the event featured traditional dance, music, food, vendors, fashion show, award ceremony and a live concert by Mahmoud Ahmed, transforming the venue into Little Ethiopia for the day.

“Some came to join family and friends and celebrate their heritage and home country. Other came to learn about the ancient but vibrant and magnificent Ethiopian cultures and traditions,” the event’s announcement said. “Whatever the reason, in the course of the day, more than 20,000 attendees were able to take part in the festivities.”

Organizers are hoping to build on this momentum and inviting all to join them next month in celebrating Ethiopia’s cultural magnificence. They are encouraging event goers to wear traditional attire.

If You Go:
Ethiopian Festival
September 15, 2013
Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, Maryland
Click here to learn more.

Photos from 2nd Annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland

WordPress plugin



Related:
Los Angeles’ Little Ethiopia Prepares for 2013 Cultural Street Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

New Book Highlights Stories of 70 Accomplished Ethiopian Women

A collection of stories and photographs of accomplished and inspiring Ethiopian women. (Book Project by Mary-Jane Wagle with photos by Aida Muluneh )

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – An upcoming coffee table book aims to inspire young girls in Ethiopia and elsewhere through a collection of stories and photographs highlighting 70 accomplished Ethiopian women. The book features female leaders from diverse backgrounds and professions including farming, business, the arts, activism, international diplomacy and more. According to a Kickstarter fundraising announcement the portraits are captured by award-winning photographer Aida Muluneh.

The author, Mary-Jane Wagle, a former community development and women’s health care specialist from Los Angeles, has lived in Ethiopia off and on since 2011 and works in partnership with the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Association.

“We never hear about accomplished Ethiopian women, even though Ethiopia is a country of nearly 90 million people,” she noted in the statement posted on kickstarter.com. “Not because there aren’t any, but because their stories haven’t been recorded and few outside their own circles know anything about them.” Mary added: “This project aims to change that by telling the stories of 70 remarkable Ethiopian women who are pioneers in their fields and have expanded opportunities for girls and women in their communities.”

Thus far a third of the honorees have been photographed for the book and nearly all have been interviewed with help from a team of female university student volunteers.

“In the first phase of our work, we created a website, Ethiopian Women Unleashed, where we are posting profiles of the more than 130 women we interviewed as we worked on making selections for the book, along with profiles of a few historical women,” Mary wrote.

You can learn more and support the project at kickstarter.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

AU to Mark World Humanitarian Day in Addis Ababa: Call for Film Submissions

The African Union will commemorate World Humanitarian Day on August 19th, 2013 in Addis Ababa. (AU)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – The African Union Commission is preparing to mark World Humanitarian Day on August 19th in Addis Ababa under the theme “Helping Hands.” In honor of the occasion, organizers have announced a challenge for journalists from the African Diaspora who have documented or featured stories on humanitarian related issues affecting the continent within the last year.

In a statement the AU Commission said it is currently accepting submissions until the end of August for short films (maximum 3-5 minutes), a visual photo map or an essay (max. 1000 words).

The top 26 selections receive continental recognition at the Africa Solidarity Launch on September 12th and 13th, 2013 and the top 6 will win a trip to New York to the General Assembly of the United Nations, organizers said.

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is a United Nations General Assembly-designated day dedicated to the recognition of humanitarian personnel worldwide. It was started following the 19th of August, 2003 bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad that killed the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, and twenty-one of his colleagues.

“Through the ‘Helping Hands’ Initiative, the African Union Commission and its partners seek to recognize the valiant efforts of African humanitarian heroes and heroines by providing a platform for illuminating their efforts,” the press release stated. “The campaign will recognize those who have made a difference in their local, national and regional communities.”

The AU statement pointed out that ‘Helping Hands’ speaks to the African tradition and humanist philosophy of Ubuntu — that one is because of others, and that responding to distress is not a duty but the natural reaction of human beings.

“Helping Hands will showcase stories and projects by Africans and the African Diaspora that have made great impact in their communities,” the statement noted. “It is an opportunity to give Africans the chance to tell their story – not only to raise awareness, but also to inspire future generations to emulate innovative and exciting approaches to making a difference.”

You can contact the organizers or send your submission via Facebook/African-Humanitarian-Hub.

Related:
Ethiopia Hosts 2013 African Growth and Opportunity Act AGOA Forum (TADIAS)
Photos: United Nations Marks OAU-AU 50th Anniversary (TADIAS)
At a Summit in Uganda, African Leaders Discuss AU Somalia Operations (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos From Sheba Film Festival & Art Show

At the closing event of the 2013 Sheba Film Festival & Art Show at the Harlem State Building in New York (Photo by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – The 10th anniversary celebration of the Sheba Film Festival in New York concluded on Saturday, June 22nd with a reception and an art exhibition held at The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Building in Harlem. The event entitled Children of Sheba Art Show featured works by local Ethiopian artists including paintings by Miku Girma, Ezra Wube, Maro Haile, Zebeeb Awalom, t-shirt designs by Beniam G. Asfaw, jewelry by Lydia Gobena (owner of Birabiro) and photographs by Tigist Selam.

Here are photos from the closing exhibition held on Saturday, June 22nd.



Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Meskerem Assefa Advocates for Ethiopian Women in the Middle East

Meskerem Assefa, seated center in Yellow dress, is an Ethiopian domestic workers rights advocate based in Beirut, Lebanon. (Photo: At a panel discussion in New York, March 2013 / Courtesy of ESAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – One year after the video-taped beating and eventual suicide of Alem Dechasa in Lebanon that shocked and galvanized the Ethiopian community worldwide, domestic workers rights advocate Meskerem Assefa of Beirut recently traveled to New York to highlight the continuing problem in the region. She was invited by the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee as one of the featured guest speakers at the organization’s annual Women’s History Month panel on March 23rd in Manhattan focusing on Ethiopian women in the Middle East.

“Every time I get the opportunity to speak to the media in Lebanon, I say stop abusing our girls,” Meskerem said in a follow-up interview. Meskerem, who moved to Beruit 11 years ago with her husband, is a Lebanese national by marriage.

“I have a bit more rights than most Ethiopian women in the country so I speak on their behalf whether they like it or not because silence and fear are the worst enemy,” she added. “And as an individual that’s the least that I can do.”

Meskerem said there are an estimated 80,000 Ethiopians living in Lebanon alone, half of them illegals operating under the radar of both the Ethiopian and Lebanese governments. She pointed out that this group is the one that is most exposed to abuse. Furthermore, there is a growing crisis of immigrant children that are born out of wedlock by domestic workers.

“These kids are not citizens of the country, they have no rights, no education, or access to medical insurance,” she said. “For me this is most heartbreaking.”

“Over time we are getting help from the Lebanese people and various local NGOs that working to change the law and improve the situation on the ground,” Meskerem said. “We can only get a solution by continuing to organize and speak out.”

“I wish that I could also do more to help the children,” she said. “I have tried to organize games, dance, and other activities for some of them; I know that’s not enough but there is no budget.”

Meskerem emphasized the necessity for more Ethiopians to step up and get involved. “I am asking that all those who can assist should contribute to solve this issue together,” she said. “Even those in Ethiopia with the intellect and resources must do their part. What’s the point of being Ethiopian if you do not feel this piercing your heart.”

“Stop sending these girls without basic training and their full knowledge of what they are getting into,” she asserted.

Meskerem noted that she had opened an information center in Addis Ababa a few years ago. “I paid rent for two years out of my own pocket and I had to close it because there was no help and interest,” she said.

Woizero Zewditu Fessehaa, chairperson of The Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee, who hosted Meskerem during her New York stay, agreed that lending a hand to activists like Meskerem and establishing an officially sanctioned certification center in Ethiopia ought be a priority. “The young women in Ethiopia need be told before they leave their country not to expect to be fed butter with a spoon when they reach their destination,” she said. “That requires collaborative efforts from each and everyone of us.”

Related:
Ethiopia Cancels 40,000 Work Visas for Saudi Arabia-bound Housemaids (Arab News)
Changing Ethiopia’s Media Image: The Case of People-Trafficking (TADIAS)
Photos: BBC Uncovers Untold People-Trafficking, Torture of Ethiopians in Yemen
In Memory of Alem Dechassa: Reporting & Mapping Domestic Migrant Worker Abuse
Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C.
The Plight of Ethiopian Women in the Middle East: Q & A With Rahel Zegeye

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Film ‘Migrations’ Nominated for Tribeca Film Institute’s Heineken Affinity Award

'Migrations' follows Helen, played by Tigist Selam, an Ethiopian/German woman, who is part of an international ring of art thieves. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Art Talk

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New York (TADIAS) – An upcoming movie called Migrations by author and filmmaker Nelson George is one of ten films nominated by Tribeca Film Institute’s Heineken Affinity Award, a new platform for celebrating and creating awareness and dialogue around the work of emerging and established African American filmmakers.

Migrations is an adventure thriller featuring an international ring of art thieves led by an Ethiopian-German woman named Helen (played by Tigist Selam), whose objective is to recover ancient African artifacts from European galleries and collectors.

Tigist Selam heads a varied cast of actors that includes Saul Williams, Chyna Layne, Chris Rock, Osas Ighodaro, Roger Guenvuer Smith, Samson Styles, Rachel Nicks, Carl Hancock Rux, Tilly Scott Pederson and Melvin Van Peebles.

According to the the film’s synopsis, “Helen is in Berlin, raising cash for a new deal and picking up a valuable stolen Ethiopian medallion, when a co-worker is arrested in Belgium and she is told to shut down operations. This incites a mad dash that takes us to Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and, finally, to Ethiopia as Helen is chased by Interpol. Helen knows where the last two medallions are located and that info puts her life in danger.”

The independent film was shot by Nelson George in several locations in the U.S., Europe and Africa using a Canon 60D camera in a documentary style and was self-financed.

All of the Affinity winners will receive an initial grant, but according to the Tribeca Film Institute, public vote will determine the selection of one of the filmmakers for an additional $20,000 cash award, as well as year-round project support and professional development from the institute.

The award will be announced during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

Click here to vote.

Watch: Migrations (post-production, 2013)


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Helen Getachew: Miss Universe Ethiopia 2012

22-year-old Helen Getachew represented Ethiopia at the 2012 Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 . (Photo credit: Miss Universe)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Friday, December 21, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – The new Miss Universe is Miss USA Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old beauty queen from Rhode Island and the first American to claim the coveted title since 1997. Olivia was crowned Miss Universe 2012 by Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola at the annual international event held on Wednesday night in Las Vegas and televised around the world. Over the next year Olivia will hit the road on behalf of her cause alliances, namely HIV/AIDS prevention as mentioned on her official pageant profile.

Women from over 80 countries participated in the 61st Miss Universe contest. After years of absence from the global competition, Ethiopia was also back on the stage this year represented by 22-year-old Helen Getachew.

A ‘welcome to NYC party’ is being organized for Helen this weekend when she arrives here for post-pageant activities. Organizers say the event at Lalibela Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday, December 22 will be a relaxing dinner affair that includes champagne, music and, of course, a chance to meet, chat and be photographed with Miss Universe Ethiopia 2012!

If You Go:
Date: Sat Dec 22nd
Time: 7pm
Lalibela Restaurant
37 East 29th St, Ny,Ny
Between Park & Madison Aves
$45 per person – Call to RSVP
Tel: 646.454.0913 or 646.454.1437

Related:
Meet Helen Getachew: Miss Universe 2012 Contestant From Ethiopia (TADIAS)
Photos: Miss Universe Ethiopia Fundraiser at Bati Restaurant in Brooklyn
Spark Communications Acquires License for Miss Universe Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Interview With Filmmaker Brenda Davis

Still photograph from the movie 'Sister," which tells the story of health workers in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti whose daily work is to help women give birth. (Photo: Family at a district hospital in Tigray, Ethiopia/Image credit: Swati Guild)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Sunday, December 16, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Earlier this month I attended one of the screenings of the documentary film Sister as part of the recently concluded African Diaspora International Film Festival here in New York.

An intimate portrait of a universal topic, the documentary frames maternal and newborn death as a human rights issue while shedding light on the faces behind the statistics. The film takes place in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti as it explores innovative ways to deliver healthcare to childbearing women in remote parts of the world. The main characters are a Haitian traditional birth attendant, an Ethiopian male health officer, and a rural midwife in Cambodia.

The filmmaker, who is a Canadian citizen and a resident of New York City for the past 20 years, said she chose to highlight Ethiopia because the country is trying “new strategies and local solutions” to tackle the issue. “I am especially fascinated by Ethiopian healthcare professionals who used to be field medics during the civil war in the North who have now been retrained with further skills for civilian work.”

“In 2008, I was documenting a heath record training for health workers from Africa and Asia,” Brenda said. “I spent 3 weeks with them and involved in several activities including filming lectures in the city. One of the attendees was a health-care officer from Ethiopia named Goitom Berhane. When I got home and started transcribing their stories I found myself just weeping. And I told myself I have to make a movie about this.” Berhane eventually ends up being prominently featured in the film.

“The subject has been floating around me my whole life,” she continued. “As a child, my grandmother Martha had 16 children and only 11 lived and one of them was my mom.” She added: “And I was born by an emergency cesarian. I was the last of eight children.”

Brenda said that she finds parallels to her own family story and what most young women face in developing countries today. “There is a great research paper called ‘Under the Shadow of Maternity’ about childbirth and women’s lives in North America at the turn of the last century and the issues were the same. My grandmother was giving birth to stillborn babies between 1919 and 1939. People did not have all the resources, all the information; they did not know, they did not ask the right questions. It was a mystery to them. They were poor, they did not have access to family planning.”

Brenda’s interest is to document “current and local solutions” to the age-old health problem.

For news and updates about the film follow @Sister_Doc on Twitter, SisterDocumentary on Facebook, or visit: sisterdocumentary.com.

Watch the teaser trailer here


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

TEDx Video: Gabriel Teodros Does Hip Hop & Science Fiction

Seattle-based hip-hop musician Gabriel Teodros, right, with fellow Ethiopian-American artists Meklit Hadero, left, and Elias Fullmore, center, pictured in a promo image for their group CopperWire's space fiction album called "Earthbound," released in 2012. (Photo: CopperWire)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Monday, December 10th, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Last month musician Gabriel Teodros was highlighted at ‘TEDx Talks’ in Seattle. The artist was part of the Ethiopian American sci-fi trio CopperWire that earlier this year produced the futuristic album Earthbound. The hip-hop space opera takes place in the year 2089 featuring three renegades from another world who hijack a spacecraft and ride it to Earth, and eventually land in Ethiopia.

In the spirit of creative “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share their experiences. “To know that another world is possible, and to bring it to life through music; this has always been the mission of Gabriel Teodros,” the program announcement stated. “He made a mark with groups CopperWire, Abyssinian Creole and Air 2 A Bird, and reached an international audience with his critically-acclaimed solo debut Lovework.”

The following is a video from the event that took place at TEDxRainier in Seattle on November 10, 2012. Gabriel performed and told his personal story as an artist, culturally mixed heritage and his relationship with his parents — a mother who is an immigrant from Ethiopia and a father who is a Vietnam veteran from Duvall, Washington.

Watch: Hip Hop & Science Fiction — Gabriel Teodros at TEDxRainier


Related:
CopperWire: How Jam Sessions in Ethiopia Became a Hip-Hop Space Opera

Watch: CopperWire’s official video for the song ‘ET Phone Home’ from their ‘Earthbound’ album


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Meet Helen Getachew: Miss Universe 2012 Contestant From Ethiopia

Helen Getachew of Ethiopia, 22, is a contestant at the 2012 Miss Universe pageant. (Photo credit: Miss Universe)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Saturday, December 8, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – 22-year-old Helen Getachew will represent Ethiopia at the 2012 Miss Universe competition, which is scheduled to take place on December 19th at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where the welcome party for the candidates is already underway.

Helen arrived in the United States a week ago. And according to organizers she attended a reception thrown on her behalf in D.C. last weekend (her first overseas public event) and she is already off to Nevada where she is prepping for the big show.

Organizers said Helen was selected to participate in the international contest on October 12th following a runway exhibition held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa in front of a group of judges, representing both the local fashion industry and global modeling agencies. “The event was infused with a fashion show and live entertainment, with guests in attendance from the [diplomatic corps], media, and fashion industries,” the press release said, highlighting that Ethiopian Airlines is Helen’s official transport sponsor.

The statement added: “It’s very exciting to have Ethiopia back competing at this event since the country has not been represented for the past few years.”

Last year, more than one billion TV viewers from across 190 countries witnessed the crowning of Leila Lopes from Angola as Miss Universe 2011.

According to the pageant’s website, public voting has already begun for the 2012 competition at: www.missuniverse.com.

For latest updates, you can visit Miss Universe Ethiopia’s Facebook page.

Photos: Helen Getachew Represents Ethiopia at 2012 Miss Universe Contest in Las Vegas, NV

Helen Getachew in her own words: “I would enjoy working for a nonprofit organization, but my dream in life is to create one myself.” (Missuniverse.com)


Helen Getachew. (Courtesy photo)


22-year-old Helen Getachew will represent Ethiopia at the 2012 Miss Universe competition. (Courtesy photo)

Related:
Photos: Miss Universe Ethiopia Fundraiser at Bati Restaurant in Brooklyn
Spark Communications Acquires License for Miss Universe Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

West Coast Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads

File photograph from Ethiopia Reads fundraiser in New York on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Events News

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – December is here and that means the Holiday season is upon us! Last year, I hosted a fundraiser here in New York for the Colorado-based non-profit organization, Ethiopia Reads, which focuses on projects to build libraries and encourage the culture of reading among children in Ethiopia.

The 2012 event will take place on Saturday, December 8th in Seattle, Washington. The evening’s program at Kings Hall, located in the Mount Baker neighborhood of southeast Seattle, will include entertainment, food (Ethiopian buffet dinner), cash-bar, raffles and much more.
—-
If You Go
December 8, 2012
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Kings Hall, 2929 – 27th Ave S.
Mount Baker, Washington 98144
Click here to order tickets and tables.
—-
Related:
Below are photos from 2011 NYC fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Tigist Selam (right) hosted the NYC gathering on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Abate Sebsibe and Model Gelila Bekele at the Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown performing at the NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads held at the Dwyer Cultural Center on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo: By Hannah Newbery)


Singer Rachel Brown (center) with her parents, Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, at the NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads held at the Dwyer Cultural Center on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


A children’s book on sale at the Ethiopia Reads fundraiser in New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Thank you cards at Ethiopia Reads fundraiser in New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Catching Up With Singer & Songwriter Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown has announced the release of her new record entitled "Building Castles." (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Art Talk

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Up-and-coming singer and songwriter Rachel Brown has released an EP called Building Castles, which is currently available on iTunes. Rachel tells TADIAS that she had “an incredible time” working on the record and is enjoying her fans’ reaction on social media. “It’s been very cool,” she said. “I received a lot of instant responses on twitter, including from Wyclef who said amazing things. It is so great to have the support of musicians like him.”

The multicultural artist and Harvard graduate, who is the daughter of Ethiopian-born wedding-fashion designer Amsale Aberra, said her most recent concert was in Bermuda. “My dad is Bermudian so that was really special,” she said.

Rachel was invited to be part of a tribute to the life and music of John Lennon and the legend’s connection to Bermuda. “John Lennon had spent time on the island and wrote some of his last songs there in 1980,” she said. “Did I mention I was on the front page of the newspaper when I landed there? My dad emailed me from New York to tell me that someone told him that I was featured in The Royal Gazatte, which was really cool.”

Though she loves to travel Rachel said her “comfort zone” is in New York. “I love performing in New York because its my hometown and I have a lot of support and I feel comfortable here,” she said.

As to her own connection to Ethiopia, Rachel said she has not been there in 3 years but she had been going back almost every year since she was eighteen. “I absolutely love Ethiopia and I always have a hard time coming back.” She said: “The last time I was there I ended up playing some impromptu shows. This was before I had a band of my own and that was one of the first times that I had played with other musicians. They were really incredible. We actually ended up recording a song called Bahir Dar, which I wrote during a prior trip. One day I would love to collaborate again and do a recording in Ethiopia.”

Rachel said, “Being Ethiopian, Bermudian, Southern and growing up in New York has definitely influenced my music and even the eclectic nature of my band, which includes people from Mali, Madagascar, Haiti — most of whom I met on a Saturday night playing at St. Nick’s Pub in Harlem.” She added, “They all understand what I am trying to do but they also bring their own perspectives.”

Click here to learn more about Rachel Brown.
Click here to download the new EP on iTunes.

Photos: Miss Universe Ethiopia Fundraiser at Bati Restaurant in Brooklyn

A fundraising and promotion event for Miss Universe Ethiopia 2012 was held at Bati Ethiopian restaurant in Brooklyn on September 15, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Spark Communications Worldwide)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Events News

Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Organizers of Miss Universe Ethiopia held an intimate fundraiser last week at Bati Restaurant in Brooklyn attended by a diverse group of people who paid about $45 each for a fun afternoon that included yummy Ethiopian food, drink, and music accompanied by traditional dancing.

The event was hosted by Spark Communications Worldwide, a New York City based marketing and branding company that recently acquired the exclusive license for Miss Universe Ethiopia.

Miss Universe is an annual international contest which is run by the Miss Universe Organization – a joint venture between NBC Universal and Trump. Last year, more than one billion TV viewers from across 190 countries witnessed the crowning of Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, as Miss Universe 2011.

Organizers say the Ethiopia event will take place on October 12th, 2012 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa.

Here are photos from Brooklyn:

WordPress plugin


Interview: Daughter’s Portrait of a Divorced Taxi Driver Dad

Asmara Beraki's new film reflects her interpretation of her father's experience as a taxi driver in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Jan Vlnas – © 2012)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Events News

Updated Saturday, September 15, 2012

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is hosting a screening today of a short film by the district’s Artist Fellowship Grant recipient Asmara Beraki entitled Anywhere Else. The 45 minute movie, scheduled to premier from 6 to 8 pm at Goethe Institute in Washington D.C., follows a divorced taxi-driver and his relationship with his teenage daughters who are growing up in a culture vastly different than his.

“The short film was inspired by my father because he worked as a taxi driver in Washington, D.C. and it’s kind of based on his life experience,” the filmmaker said in an interview. “Because when I was young he used to be a teacher and at some point he stopped teaching. And at the time, when I was growing up, I always used to say to him “Why don’t you go back to teaching?” or do this and that, or do something else besides driving a taxi. So I guess it’s a portrait of what I imagine my father might have felt, like being an immigrant here, doing that job, being divorced, and trying to relate to his kids.”

Beraki, who grew up in D.C. but currently lives in Prague, Czech Republic with her husband and 6-year-old, acknowledged, however, that her mother, on the other hand, is noticeably absent from the movie. “There is a reason for that,” she said. “My mother’s story is more complicated in a way that I am not ready to tell it.”

As for her father, Beraki said he “loves” the film. “He was really pleased,” she said. “I am sympathetic to him now because I have grown. Had I written this ten years ago, I would have had a different perspective.”


The film’s poster for the D.C. screening.

If You Go:
The screening of Anywhere Else
Followed by Q & A with the filmmaker
Saturday, September 15, 2012
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Goethe Institute Cinema
812 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-3718
Tel: (202) 289-1200
info@washington.goethe.org

Photos: World Bank Africa Screening of “Town of Runners”

Town of Runners Producer Dan Demissie (left) and Town of Runners Director Jerry Rothwell discuss their film at the World Bank Africa Series panel in D.C. on Thursday, July 26, 2012. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Events News

Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Washington, DC (TADIAS) – As Ethiopia’s elite long-distance runners prepare for their leg of the competition at the 2012 London Olympics starting later this week, a new film entitled Town of Runners is also introducing a small Ethiopian town called “Bekoji” to the world, where Ethiopia’s greatest Olympians hail from. Four years ago, runners from Bekoji won all four gold medals in the long-distance track events.

The 86 minute documentary, co-produced by Dan Demissie and directed by noted filmmaker Jerry Rothwell, was screened at the World Bank Africa Film Series in Washington, D.C. last week to a sold-out audience of more than 300 people. The movie follows two girls over the course of three years as they try to become professional runners. It also spotlights their coach Mr. Sentayehu Eshetu, a former elementary school Physical Education teacher who discovered and trained several of the country’s top runners, most significantly Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Following the screening, a panel discussion with the filmmakers was held, which also featured other guests, including Donald Bundy of the Human Development Network at the World Bank, Greg Toulmin who is the World Bank Country Program Coordinator for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, and Patricia Ortman, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF).

Below are photos from the event.

WordPress plugin



Watch: Extended trailer – Town of Runners


Related:
Born to Run: Ethiopia’s Golden Girl Dibaba (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Maryland’s 2nd Ethiopian Festival in Pictures

The Second Annual Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland took place on Saturday, July 22, 2012. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Events News

Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Last weekend’s 2012 Ethiopian Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland featured traditional dance, music, food, vendors, award ceremony and a live concert by Mahmoud Ahmed, transforming the downtown Veterans Plaza into Little Ethiopia for the day.

According to organizers, the annual event is also designed to link Ethiopian-American businesses, artists, community leaders, and residents with policy makers, news media, and other private-sector organizations in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

For Tebabu Assefa, Founder of Blessed Coffee, and also one of the festival’s chief organizers, the celebration was more personal.

“The whole thing was inspired by the achievement gap. I got two kids, they’re going to school, and it all comes down to teaching our kids about their culture and identity,” Tebabu said. “It’s our obligation to make them aware and inspire confidence in them about who they are.” He added: “America is a great place, don’t get me wrong, but there are a lot of stereotypical issues underneath. In order for me to combat that I need to tell my children where they come from, a place called Ethiopia, a land of many faces, many cultures and many people. It is my obligation to give my kids a foundation in which they can embrace their American identity. Otherwise we are deforming them, we are displacing them, we are misinforming them.”

Tebabu said his efforts are also his way of responding to the wide-spread “victim narrative” when it comes to media coverage of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

“I am going to be very open, bold and straight,” he said. “On the flip side, for far too long I was offended by one-sided, sensationalized negative image of Ethiopia defined by Western media because we have not done our job.” Tebabu continued: “Of course, some of those stories are based on reality, but we are much more than that. It is our responsibility to fill that gap.”

Below is a slideshow from Maryland’s 2nd Annual Ethiopian Festival.

WordPress plugin



Comments:
Join the conversation on Facebook.

Conversations With Filmmakers of ‘Town of Runners’

Narrated by the athletes' friend Biruk - pictured above - the movie follows two girls over three years as they try to become professional runners. (Photo credit: Townofrunners.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – As the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games in London gets underway, a remote town in the Arsi region of Ethiopia called Bekoji is receiving international attention as the world’s capital of long-distance running. During the Beijing Olympics four years ago, runners from Bekoji won all four gold medals in the long-distance track events. The highland Arsi region is home to many of Ethiopia’s Olympic Champions, including Haile Gebrselassie, Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu Tulu.

A new film co-produced by British-Ethiopian Dan Demissie and directed by notable filmmaker Jerry Rothwell introduces us to the town of Bekoji through the eyes of two teenage female athletes as they progress from school track to national competitions. The 86 minute documentary is also part of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, which is currently underway in New York.

In a recent interview with Tadias Magazine, the film’s award-wining director said the movie was inspired by Dan Demissie’s interest in the Ethiopian town and its legendary coach. “Dan came across the coach’s work in Bekoji when doing research and we knew that’s where we wanted to focus,” Rothwell said. “The coach used to be a school teacher, he has an incredible passion for what he does and all the athletes trust him.”

The story centres on Mr. Sentayehu Eshetu, a former elementary school Physical Education instructor, who discovered and trained several of the country’s top runners, most significantly Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Narrated by their friend Biruk who runs a kiosk on the main road into town, the documentary follows two girls, Alemi and Hawii, over a three-year period from 2008 to 2011, as they strive to become professional runners. Through their struggle, the film gives a unique insight into the ambitions of young Ethiopians balancing their lives between the traditional and modern world.

Demissie proposed the idea of Town of Runners to Met Film Production back in 2008, while still a student at Met Film School. During his three years there he worked on the Bekoji project while fulfilling graduation requirements, and has now started graduate studies at the National Film and Television School in the U.K.

Demissie said working on the movie was personally rewarding for him. “It was my first time going to Ethiopia and I got to know the place where I was from,” Demissie told Tadias. “It sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s true I fell in love with Ethiopia.” He said: “It was the best experience of my life.”


Dan Demissie (left) and Jerry Rothwell. (Photo credit: Townofrunners.com)


The coach Mr. Sentayehu Eshetu. (Photo credit: Townofrunners.com)

“I always saw how Ethiopia was portrayed in the media,” Demissie continued. “It’s always famine and war and all of these kinds of negative stereotypes that wasn’t a fair representation.” He added: “I wanted to make a film that countered that image, give it more of a balance. It was my dream to make a film about Ethiopia. I read about this small town and I thought that it was a good story. It’s about people creating their own destiny. That’s what attracted to me it. Later on I found out that I had distant relatives in the region.”

For Rothwell, neither Africa nor running is new. “I’d spent 5 years of my childhood in Kenya and my hero at that age was Kip Keino [the retired Kenyan track and field athlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist] and then much later my daughter had taken up the sport seriously and so I was spending a lot of time by athletics tracks in the U.K.,” Rothwell said. “And Ethiopia is just such a beautiful place to shoot, it is such a rich country.”

“It was almost a coming-of-age film,” Rothwell added. “It was wonderful to see a teenager grow from being 14 years old grow to 17, and to have shared so much time with them.”

But Demissie pointed out that language was a problem for the mostly European film crew. “Back in England, I listened to my parents speak Amharic at home and I would respond in English. In Ethiopia, however, we were in a place where they talked Oromiffa and Amharic, so that was pretty challenging at times,” he said.

Rothwell quipped: “It was great to see Dan getting better at his Amharic.”

“Sometimes there is just so much bureaucracy,” Demissie added, speaking about other challenges of making a film in Ethiopia. Rothwell agreed: “Because there is control of the media, it was difficult at times to get permission to shoot.”

And where are Alemi and Hawii today? “Hawii is on her way back to the running club and she is building herself up there after her injuries,” Demissie said. “Alemi left her running club, but we are not so sure why. It just recently happened.” Rothwell shared: “When we first started to ask the coach about runners, we were interested in how achievement would affect the subjects. It wasn’t about who were the best runners. We followed the coach to one of his competitions and we saw how strong their friendship was.”

The Town Of Runners soundtrack features legendary band leader and father of Ethio Jazz, Mulatu Astatke, and additional recordings from Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou, as well as a score by the British composer Vincent Watts.

“It’s a great score and the pre-recorded music is amazing,” Demissie said. “I want to thank the project manager Samuel Tesfaye who was key on the ground. We couldn’t have done it without him.”

Town of Runners will screen at Tribeca Online Film Festival on Thursday, April 19, at 6:45 PM.

Watch: Extended trailer – Town of Runners

Watch the trailer – Town of Runners


Related:
Town of Runners – review (Guardian)
The Ethiopian town that’s home to the world’s greatest runners (Guardian)

Spotlight on Sahra Mellesse

New York-born Sahra Mellesse is an actress based in Los Angeles (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam | Art Talk

Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – As part of our Women’s History Month series, we spotlight Sahra Mellesse, an emerging actress based in Los Angeles. Sahra’s first major screen role was in the feature film Pariah – a contemporary drama about a Brooklyn teenager juggling conflicting identities. Pariah was released last December by Focus Features and was an official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Sahra is also a series regular on Speed Racer for the Nicktoons Network, and has appeared in guest roles on Law & Order. Having studied screenwriting at UCLA, Sahra has developed a television series pilot in which she plans to star.

Belwo is our Q & A with Sahra Mellesse.

TADIAS: What would you like to share about yourself with Tadias readers?

Sahra Mellesse: I was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York City to an Ethiopian father and a Ugandan mother. Growing up in New York City gave me access to groups of friends who are as ethnically and ethically diverse as Home Depot’s paint selection. It’s allowed me to interact with and connect to so many different types of people. But I’ve also been hindered by it in the sense that Hollywood isn’t as open minded as I am. My goal as a filmmaker is to expand the images of minorities in general, so that audiences aren’t just limited to the same stereotypical image of each group. I want to make visible the variety of images that I grew up with. No entire group of people is the same. And I want to explore that. There are so many people, and ideas unrepresented or under-represented on screen. So I’m working to bring those characters and those stories to light.

TADIAS: What do you most enjoy about acting?

SM: The part of acting that I most enjoy is being able to put myself on a hanger and try on someone else’s life for a little bit. To play a character with any type of authenticity you have to first understand them. And it’s so rare that people get to explore a culture outside of their own or a perspective that differs from theirs. But it’s my job to do that. It’s my job to put my beliefs, my experiences, and my perspective on a shelf, and inhabit someone else’s, so that I can live life through their eyes, within their skin. You learn so much. So every project has been a real growing experience and an education of sorts.

TADIAS: When did you know you wanted to be an actress? Was there a specific event that inspired it?

SM: I believe I was in middle school when I decided I wanted to become an actor. I honestly can’t pinpoint the moment I made the decision. I didn’t have an epiphany or anything. I think it started out with the combination of being a good liar and a class clown. I just liked to entertain. I liked making people laugh. It was fulfilling. The most gratifying feeling for me is creating something that people take with them in their day to day lives.

The other day someone told me they were from West Philly, and I followed with “born and raised, in the playground is where I spent most of my days!” It’s the theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It’s embedded into my psyche. I know whole episodes by heart. I also know the show Friends, verbatim. I have a VCR in my head, and when I need a laugh I just press play. The shows that I grew up with and the movies that I’ve seen have become a part of me. And I take them with me everywhere I go. And my hope is that people will take my performances and my projects with them as well. And maybe one day I can be responsible for someone breaking into song in the middle of a conversation. However, I’d settle for just making someone smile.

TADIAS: In celebration of Women’s History Month, who are your female role models?

SM: The main one would be my Mom. She’s my Mother Theresa. I don’t think there’s enough time in the day to explain why. I actually don’t think there’s enough time in the year. But she’s been really supportive. This isn’t the easiest business to crack into, but she’s always championed me regardless. And apart from being my mom, she’s also a philanthropist. She works for a non-profit organization that grants money to different causes they believe in. She’s a do-gooder!

In terms of role models in Hollywood, I have two. One would be Dee Rees, who wrote and directed Pariah. The amount of courage it took to put her struggle in theaters with the hope of making someone else feel less alone is by-far the bravest act I have ever witnessed. She’s the most genuine and most courageous person I know, hands down. My other role model is Meryl Streep. I’ve been a groupie since Music of the Heart in 1999 and have since seen damn-near everything she’s done. Not only is she talented but she carries herself with such class and such grace. And on top of that, there’s still room in her personality to be undeniably charismatic. I don’t think I’ve ever watched one of her performances or watched her in an interview and said, ‘well, I’m bored.’ Never.

TADIAS: Thank you Sahra and best wishes from all of us Tadias.

Related Women’s History Month Stories:
Interview with Birtukan Midekssa
Interview with Artist Julie Mehretu
Interview With Model Maya Gate Haile
Interview with Nini Legesse
Interview with Lydia Gobena
Interview with Author Maaza Mengiste
Interview with Grammy-nominated singer Wayna
Interview with Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Interview with Journalist Fanna Haile-Selassie
Interview with Dr. Mehret Mandefro
New Book Highlights Stories of 70 Accomplished Ethiopian Women (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ten Arts and Entertainment Stories of 2011

21-year-old Abel Tesfaye, a Toronto-based R&B singer, better known by his stage name "The Weeknd," is one of the most talked about international musicians of 2011. He gained popularity last March after releasing his first album, House of Balloons. He is an artist to watch out for in 2012. Watch his video below.

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Monday, January 2, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – As we enter the new year and review last year’s contributions in the area of arts and entertainment, 2011 was a year of new beginnings from comedy, to music and fine arts, which should bode well for 2012.

Below are 10 favorite highlights. Happy New Year!

The Simpsons Eat in Little Ethiopia

I almost fell out of my chair when I watched the Simpsons episode in Little Ethiopia last November. Like many Ethiopians who tweeted and posted the video in social media, I was excited to share something funny that recognized Ethiopian culture – albeit in a respectful way. I laughed at every moment of the segment. Little did we know that the Simpsons (and Hollywood) would make 2011 the year of Gursha. My favorite part is when Bart and Lisa feed each other leftover injera at home and Homer Simpson telling his wife: “Marge, the kids are acting ethnic!” Hilarious! Watch it here, if you haven’t already.

Ethiopia Habtemariam: The New Boss at Motown

In 2011, a young Ethiopian American music executive was appointed as the new head of the legendary Motown label now owned by the Universal Music Group. The company named Ethiopia Habtemariam, 31, Senior Vice President of Universal Motown Records. The promotion makes Ms. Habtemariam one of the most prominent women, as well as one of the most influential blacks in the music industry.

Abel Tesfaye’s Rapid Rise to Fame

My 17-year old cousin introduced me to the new R&B/rapper sensation Abel Tesfaye, a 21-year old Ethiopian artist born in Canada who has taken the music industry by surprise. He exploded into the music scene in spring 2011 after releasing his first nine-song free album, House of Balloons, via the internet. Abel, who goes by his stage name The Weeknd, has already been highlighted by Rolling Stone magazine, MTV News, BET and more. John Norris of MTV has dubbed him “the best musical talent since Michael Jackson.” And his first album, House of Balloons, has been named one of The Best Albums of 2011. But The Guardian wasn’t so enthusiastic. “The singing and songwriting on House of Balloons aren’t especially strong by R&B standards,” noted the UK newspaper. “What’s getting the Weeknd so much attention is [his] command of mood.” While a review by the Frontier Psychiatrist declared that the songs are “brilliant, disturbing, and not safe for work.” As to the lyrics: “So unsafe it should come with a child-proof cap.” Nonetheless, TIME magazine says: “Tesfaye has explored some of the dankest, darkest corners of our world, and thus has crafted some of the most compelling and captivating music for its genre.” There could be no doubt that Abel is a gifted musician and endowed with a soulful voice. He is an artist to watch out for in 2012. The following video is entitled The Knowing, the last track from the House of Balloons album. The mysterious meanings in this futuristic video is open to interpretation but its Ethiopian influence is obvious.

Debo Band & The Fendika Dancers Rock New York

The event held on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 was attended by thousands of people. It was described by The New York Times as “generous, warm, high-spirited real entertainment for a big audience.” The Debo/Fendika collective was the second Ethiopian music ensemble to ever perform at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors event, following in the footsteps of Ethiopia’s leading musicians Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and legendary saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, who made a historic appearance here in 2008. Watch TADIAS’ video coverage of the 2011 Lincoln Center Out of Doors concert at the Damrosch Park Bandshell in New York.

Yemane Demissie’s Film on Haile Selassie

The 8th Annual Sheba Film Festival in 2011 featured the New York premiere of Yemane Demissie’s film Twilight Revelations: Episodes in the Life & Times of Emperor Haile Selassie. The screening took place at the Schomburg Center on Thursday, May 26th. The documentary, which features rare archival footage coupled with exclusive interviews and firsthand accounts, takes a fresh look at the mixed legacy of one of the most controversial African leaders in modern history. Check out the trailer here.

Zelalem Woldemariam Wins Focus Features’s Award for Short Films

I am a huge fan of NBC Universal’s Focus Features program and last year they named Ethiopian Filmmaker, Zelalem Woldemariam, as one of the recipients of its 2011 grant for short films from Africa. His upcoming film entitled Adamet (Listen) is about preserving culture. “My film is about an Ethiopian drummer who learns about his identity and traditional music in an unexpected way,” Zelalem said during an interview with Tadias Magazine. “I have always been fascinated by our music and I have wanted to do a film that showcases this rich and colorful part of our culture for a long time.” You can learn more about the self-taught filmmaker at www.zelemanproduction.com.

Music Video: Bole Bole directed by Liya Kebede

Like hip hop, house music is fast becoming a universal language among youth worldwide and so too among Ethiopians. A new music video called Bole Bole, which was staged at Studio 21 in New York and directed by Supermodel Liya Kebede, is getting a lot of buzz online. The lyrics are entertaining.
Click here to watch Bole Bole.

Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown

Ethiopian-American Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown is another artist to watch for in 2012. After graduating from Harvard, the up-and-coming musician has been carving a niche for herself both in New York and around the country. With her effortless style, self-confidence and beautiful voice, she is mesmerizing. We look forward to hearing more of her in 2012. Listen to Rachel at rachelbrownmusic.com.

Ezra Wube’s Hisab: The Hustle and Bustle of Addis

I’ve followed Ezra Wube’s work since 2004. I simply can’t take my eyes off some of his paintings. I continue to giggle at his recent short animation film Hisab (stop action animation painted on a single surface canvas). The video tells an urban folklore by bringing to life the sights and sounds inside Addis Ababa’s popular blue-and-white minibus (a cross between a bus and a taxi). The short film’s main characters are the city’s four-legged residents – donkeys, dogs and goats. Watch the video below.

Point Four: New Film Features Rarely Seen White House Photos

Some rarely seen historical images from the Kennedy White House years, with the President and First Lady hosting Emperor Haile Selassie, are part of an upcoming film entitled Point Four — a documentary about Haramaya University (previously known as Alemaya College). Haramaya University is an agricultural technical college that was established in 1956 in Ethiopia as a joint project between the two nations. Watch the trailer here.


The list was updated on Sunday, January 1, 2012 to include Ethiopia Habtemariam.

Video: Meet Ethiopian Model & Social Activist Gelila Bekele

Gelila Bekele, 26, is an Ethiopian model, humanitarian and social activist. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New York (TADIAS) – In a video interview Ethiopian-born Model and Social Activist Gelila Bekele recently discussed her career and humanitarian projects with Tadias Magazine.

Gelila is currently signed with Ford Models, appearing in ads for Levi’s, Pantene, L’Oreal and Colgate as well as being featured in various fashion magazines including Essence, Marie Claire, and Allure.

“I couldn’t take credit for being good at modeling, but of course you have to be a business woman to have longevity,” Gelila said, speaking about her modeling work. “It’s one of those situations where you say to yourself I have not changed but I am not the same.”

Regarding her humanitarian projects Gelila focuses on access to clean water, food, and education. “Those are the three things for me that are important as a human being,” she said. “Life is a perspective, but for me if a child…has basic access to clean water, food and school and proper health care, it’s one of those situations where you are not creating for people to wait for foreign aid.”

Watch Tigist Selam’s Interview with Model Gelila Bekele

Photos: NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads

Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown performing at the NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads held at the Dwyer Cultural Center on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo: By Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Updated: Thursday, December 22, 2011

New York (TADIAS) – Colorado-based non-profit organization, Ethiopia Reads, hosted its first fundraiser in New York on Thursday, December 15th. Ethiopia Reads focuses on projects to build libraries and encourage the culture of reading among children in Ethiopia.

The evening’s program at the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem included a special appearance by Ethiopian-American Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown who performed at the event, as well as food, drinks, and raffles.

Below are a few images from the event.


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Tigist Selam (right) hosted the NYC gathering on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Abate Sebsibe and Model Gelila Bekele at the Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown performing at the NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads held at the Dwyer Cultural Center on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo: By Hannah Newbery)


Singer Rachel Brown (center) with her parents, Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, at the NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads held at the Dwyer Cultural Center on Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


Ethiopia Reads fundraiser, New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Matt Andrea)


A children’s book on sale at the Ethiopia Reads fundraiser in New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)


Thank you cards at Ethiopia Reads fundraiser in New York, Thursday, December 15th, 2011. (Photo by Hannah Newbery)

Click here to view more photos on Facebook.

Click here to donate online in honor of “NYC”.

NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads: Thursday, December 15th

The event is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th , 2011, 8-10pm, at Dwyer Cultural Center in New York. Rachel Brown (top right) will perform.

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Update: Photos – NYC Fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads

Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New York (TADIAS) – Colorado-based non-profit organization, Ethiopia Reads, will be hosting its first fundraiser in New York on Thursday, December 15th. Ethiopia Reads focuses on projects to build libraries and encourage the culture of reading among children in Ethiopia.

The evening’s program at the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem will include music, food, drinks, and raffles. Ethiopian-American Singer/Songwriter Rachel Brown will also be making a special appearance and performing.

“This fundraiser is really important because it is the first NYC fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads,” said Tigist Selam, the host of the program.

Tigist chose to support Ethiopia Reads because her own grandmother did not have the opportunity to learn to read and write. “In Nazret, Ethiopia my grandmother was known as the kindest woman in town. She often took homeless people in from the street, bathed and fed them, housed them and sent them off with money,” Tigist shares. “She traveled miles and miles to visit the sick, and bless close relatives at their wedding. And no one would ever leave her house without eating, a prayer and a kiss. Many a time, I imagine how many more lives she would have touched, if she were only able to read and write.”

“Libraries are like rainbows. They give us hope,” Tigist quotes Maya Angelou. “It is my greatest honor to organize and host the first NYC fundraiser for Ethiopia Reads and I hope that many of you can join me.”
—-
If You Go:
Thursday, December 15th
8-10pm
Dwyer Cultural Center
258 St. Nicholas Ave
@ 123rd Street
NY, NY 10027
$50 suggested donation
at the door (cash only)
Or donate online in honor of: “NYC”.
For more info about the event email Tigist Selam at info@tigistselam.com
or follow on twitter @TigistSelam or facebook.com/tigistselam.

Tadias TV: Ethiopian Dance & Live Music at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Unforgettable performance by the Debo/Fendika collective on Thursday, August 11th in New York at the 41st annual Lincoln center summer music festival — one of the longest-running, free, outdoor festivals in the United States. (Photo by Tsedey Aragie)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New York (Tadias) – The following is our video coverage of the 2011 Lincoln Center Out of Doors concert at the Damrosch Park Bandshell in New York, which also featured Debo band and special guest Fendika. We had the opportunity to interview the band members, as well as the Director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center. The event was attended by thousands of people. It was described by The New York Times as “generous, warm, high-spirited real entertainment for a big audience. It was a delight to watch them.” The Debo/Fendika collective became only the second Ethiopian music ensemble to perform at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors event, following in the footsteps of Ethiopia’s leading musicians Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and legendary saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, who made a historic appearance here in 2008.

Watch:

Photos: Debo & Fendika New York Concert

Debo band was joined by the Ethiopian traditional dance and music troupe, Fendika in New York on Thursday, August 11th for an outdoors performance at the Lincoln Center. (Photo by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2011

New York (Tadias) – Debo band and special guest Fendika staged a memorable concert on Thursday, August 11th, in New York at the 41st annual Lincoln center summer music festival — one of the longest-running, free, outdoor festivals in the United States.

The Debo/Fendika collective became only the second Ethiopian music ensemble to perform at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors event, following in the footsteps of Ethiopia’s leading musicians Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and legendary saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, who made a historic appearance here in 2008.

“There were an estimated 4,500 people in attendance,” Marian Skokan, the event’s Senior Publicity Manager, told Tadias Magazine.

As The New York Times put it: “At the end of a day of perfect New York summer weather on Thursday, the mood established by the Lincoln Center Out of Doors two-part event of dance and live music at the Damrosch Park Bandshell was just right: generous, warm, high-spirited real entertainment for a big audience.”

Tadias crew was there and we had the opportunity to interview the band members, as well as the Director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center.

Below is Tadias TV’s coverage of the event. You can also check out photos from the show on our new and improved facebook page at Facebook/TadiasConnect – where you can also find our latest news, photos, and videos.
—-
Click here to view photos from Debo & Fendika’s NYC outdoor concert.

Watch:

Debo Band & Fendika Summer Tour Dates: L.A., Oakland, D.C., and NYC

Debo band will be joined by the Ethiopian traditional dance and music troupe, Fendika, on Friday August 5 in Los Angeles, on Saturday August 6th in Oakland, on Monday August 8th in D.C. and on Thursday August 11 in New York. (Photo courtesy of Debo band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New York (Tadias) – Debo band and Fendika dance group will perform near Los Angeles’s Little Ethiopia at Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts at MacArthur Park on Friday August 6.

The group is also expected to make its first appearance in Northern California this coming weekend when they perform live at the “Historic Sweets Ballroom” in Oakland. The Oakland event is being hosted by the Ethiopian Arts Forum of the Bay Area and will take place on Saturday, August 6th.

In the East Coast, “Ethiopian funk invades Washington as Debo welcomes Lounge Lizards to the Kennedy Center’s Atrium on the roof terrace level for an extraordinary happy hour,” reports The Washington Examiner. The D.C. concert is slated for August 8th.

The band will then head to New York for an outdoors performance at the Lincoln Center – Damrosch Park, scheduled for Thursday, August 11th.

Debo, the Boston-based Ethio-groove ensemble, and Fendika, the Addis Ababa-based cultural dance group, have been collaborating on joint international shows since 2009. “U.S. audiences went crazy for the traditional dancing of [Fendika],” said Debo’s band leader Danny Mekonnen in an interview with Tadias Magazine in regards to the group’s recent tour. “I think seeing the dance of a culture immediately creates a greater appreciation and understanding of the music.”

Watch: Debo Band Tour 2011 from Ashley Hodson on Vimeo

Debo Band Tour 2011 from Ashley Hodson on Vimeo.

Debo is an Ethiopian American band. And its unique instrumentation – including horns, strings and accordion – was inspired by the Golden Age of Ethiopian music in the late 1960s and early 70s, but its accomplished musicians are giving new voice to that sound.

The Ethiopian traditional dance and music troupe, Fendika, includes amazing young Azmari artists led by one of Ethiopia’s leading dancers Melaku Belay. Belay, who is one of the most active arts advocates in the Addis Ababa scene today, is an innovative and virtuoso interpreter of Eskista. Belay performed at the Lincoln outdoors concert in 2008 with legendary saxophonist Gétatchèw Mèkurya and The Ex band.

Regarding the collective’s upcoming NYC show – which will be held at the same venue where the historic concert featuring Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and Getachew Mekuria took place three years ago – Danny said he is eagerly anticipating his New York gig.

“I can’t tell you how I excited I am to present Debo Band with special guests Fendika at Lincoln Center Out of Doors!”, he said. “I was at the historic concert in 2008 with Getachew Mekuria, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Alemayehu Eshete.”

Danny adds: “I loved the collaborations with saxophonist and The Ex and vocalists and The Either/Orchestra. I think that audiences will remember Melaku as the dancer with Getachew and the Ex. I’m honored that my band is the next group to present Ethiopian music to Lincoln Center audiences. Also, I’m thrilled to have Melaku as the project’s co-leader. He is a visionary Ethiopian artist and his work with Fendika is second to none.”

Click here to read Tadias Magazine’s recent interview with Danny Mekonnen.

—-
If You Go:

Los Angeles Friday August 6 at 7PM
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts – MacArthur Park
230 West 6th Street Los Angeles, CA 90057
Info: FREE – call 213-384-5701
For more details: http://levittla.org/en/calendar.html

Oakland Saturday August 6th at 9PM
Historic Sweets Ballroom
1933 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Door: $20.00
Venue phone: 510-501-3413
More info at: ethiopianartsforum.org

Washington, D.C. Monday August 8th at 6pm
Where: Kennedy Center Atrium, Millennium Stage
Who: Debo Band / Fendika
When: Lounge opens at 5:30 p.m.
Info: Free, 202-467-4600 or kennedy-center.org

New York City Thursday August 11 at 7:00pm
Lincoln Center – Damrosch Park
Lincoln Center’s Plaza
B/N Broadway & Amsterdam Avenues
West 62nd Street to West 65th Street
Visit LCOutofDoors.org for complete schedule
Call 212-875-5766 to request a brochure.

Direction to Lincoln Center – Damrosch Park:
Take No.1 IRT to 66th Street/Lincoln Center Station)
OR the A, B, C, D and No. 1 trains to 59th St/Columbus Circle.

Video: Addis Ababa Bete – Debo Band with Fendika Dancers at Joe’s Pub, NYC, September 2010

Debo & Fendika to Perform at The Lincoln Center Out of Doors – August 11

Above: The Ethiopian traditional dance troupe Fendika, will join Debo band on Thursday August 11 for one of the nation's longest running summer outdoor concerts. (Photo courtesy of Debo Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Thursday, July 14, 2011

New York (Tadias) – The Boston-based Ethio-groove ensemble, Debo, and the Addis Ababa-based cultural dance group, Fendika, are set to collaborate on another exciting NYC summer concert. This time, the collective will perform on August 11 at The Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the same venue where the historic concert featuring Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and Getachew Mekuria took place in 2008.

Debo is an Ethiopian American band led by Danny Mekonnen. The band’s unique instrumentation – including horns, strings and accordion – was inspired by the Golden Age of Ethiopian music in the late 1960s and early 70s, but its accomplished musicians are giving new voice to that sound.

The Ethiopian traditional dance and music troupe, Fendika, includes amazing young Azmari artists led by one of Ethiopia’s leading dancers Melaku Belay. Belay, who is one of the most active artists and arts advocates on the Addis Ababa scene today, is an innovative and virtuoso interpreter of Eskista. Belay performed at the Lincoln outdoors concert in 2008 with legendary saxophonist Gétatchèw Mèkurya and The Ex band.

Below is our recent interview with Debo’s band leader Danny Mekonnen, standing front-right in the above photograph.

Tadias: The last time your band was in town, we danced all night. The lead singer makes it very easy.

Danny Mekonnen: Bruck is charismatic and humble, but he’s also a very serious musician! I definitely think having him as a front man makes it easy for audiences to get into our music, even if they don’t understand what he’s singing about. One of the things that inspires me is knowing that what we do is unique — there’s not a group anywhere in the world quite like us. Playing a diverse musical set is important to us because we love music from across the country and throughout Ethiopia’s musical history. To only play music from the 1970s would miss out on great contemporary artists like Gossaye and Tsehaye Yohaness; we’ve played and studied several arrangements by Abegaz Shiota, as well. And to play only Amharic music with a chic-chic-ca beat, would miss out get Tigrigna and Oromo music, too. Ethiopia has a reach musical landscape and we try hard to honor that.

Tadias: How was Fendika received by U.S. audiences?

DM: U.S. audiences went crazy for the traditional dancing of Melaku Belay and his partner Zinash Tsegaye. I think seeing the dance of a culture immediately creates a greater appreciation and understanding of the music. And Melaku and Zinash are the best at what they do! We started working with Fendika (Melaku’s group) in May 2009 on our first tour in Ethiopia. It helped that Debo Band’s members hung out at Melaku’s azmari bet – also called Fendika – every night that we weren’t playing! So the friendship and bond grew in a very organic way.

Tadias: How excited are you about your upcoming appearance in New York this summer?

DM: I can’t tell you how I excited I am to present Debo Band with special guests Fendika at Lincoln Center Out of Doors! I was at the historic concert in 2008 with Getachew Mekuria, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Alemayehu Eshete. I loved the collaborations with saxophonist and The Ex and vocalists and The Either/Orchestra. I think that audiences will remember Melaku as the dancer with Getachew and the Ex. I’m honored that my band is the next group to present Ethiopian music to Lincoln Center audiences. Also, I’m thrilled to have Melaku as the project’s co-leader. He is a visionary Ethiopian artist and his work with Fendika is second to none.

Tadias: Any plans to come out with a CD?

DM: I hope to do more touring with Debo — this summer we are going to California for the first time. And hopefully we’ll do our first European tour in 2012. Yes, we are planning to release a CD next year. I’m really excited about all that we have going on right now.

Tadias: On a personal note, we also hear that you recently became a father. Congratulations!

DM: Thanks so much. My daughter is a year and a half now. I’m not sure I have quite learned to balance work and family! It’s always a struggle, but it helps to have a wife who’s supportive of my band. It also helps that she’s an artist and business owner herself!

Tadias: What kind of music do you listen to at home?

DM: I listen to all kinds of music. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Fleet Foxes, a great indie-folk band. But I go through phases where I listen to nothing but hip hop or experimental or Ethiopian music. My inspiration comes from all over including from my friends who are great musicians.

Tadias: Is there anything that you would like to add?

DM: I just want to add that this summer’s tour with Fendika wouldn’t be possible without the support of Lincoln Center. New York is lucky to be home to one of the largest and most artist-friendly performing artists institutions in the world. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Bill Bragin, Director of Public Programming at Lincoln Center, who is a big fan and supporter of both Debo and Melaku.

Tadias: Thank you Danny and good luck.
—-

If You Go:
All events are free and take place on Lincoln Center’s Plaza between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 62nd Street to West 65th Street (except where noted). Debo will perform on August 11th. Take No.1 IRT to 66th Street/Lincoln Center Station) OR the A, B, C, D and No. 1 trains to 59th St/Columbus Circle. Visit LCOutofDoors.org for complete schedule or call 212-875-5766 to request a brochure.

Photos courtesy of Debo band.

Video: Addis Ababa Bete – Debo Band with Fendika Dancers at Joe’s Pub, NYC, September 2010

NYC Concert Featuring Ethiopian, Sudanese, and North African Music

Above: Debo Band will stage a show at 92y Tribeca in NYC on
May 28, 2011. (Photograph courtesy of Amael Tesfaye, 2011)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Saturday, May 28, 2011

New York (Tadias) – The Ethio-jazz group Debo Band will return to NYC to perform at a special concert featuring Ethiopian, Sudanese, and North African music. The event is set to take place at the 92Y Tribeca tonight.

Led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, Debo’s performances bring together the best of the last forty years of Ethiopian music, with a reverence for the vintage sounds of the 1970s and a commitment to discovering contemporary gems, as well as developing new compositions.

At today’s show in New York, Debo will be joined by Nettle — a band that was founded by DJ/Rupture when he lived in Barcelona. Nettle will release their second album in Fall 2011 entitled El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai, a soundtrack to an imagined remake of The Shining, set in an abandoned luxury hotel in Dubai.

The other musical ensemble set to share the stage with Debo is Alsarah & The Nubatones. The band came together out of a collective love for Nubian music and a genuine belief that Soul transcends all cultural and linguistic barriers. Inspired by the pentatonic scale they blend a selection of Nubian ‘songs of return’ from the 1970s with original material and traditional music of central Sudan. Their set is a musical journey through the diaspora viewed through an urban lens.

“We’ve never done a show quite like this,” says Debo bandleader Danny Mekonnen, speaking about his team’s NYC gig. “We’re really interested in seeing how these different bands will compliment each other.”

Debo is also scheduled to make an appearance at The Lincoln Center Out of Doors this Summer, which is the same concert that featured Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and Getachew Mekuria in 2008.

“Very exciting time for us,” says Danny.

If You Go:
Saturday, May 28
8pm Doors, 9pm Show
$16 cover. All ages.
92YTribeca
200 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013
212.601.1000
www.92y.org/92ytribeca/

Video: Debo Band – “Lantchi Biye” Live: SXSW 2011 Showcasing Artist

NYC Concert Featuring Ethiopian, Sudanese, and North African Music

Above: Debo Band will stage a show at 92y Tribeca in NYC on
May 28, 2011. (Photograph courtesy of Amael Tesfaye, 2011)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New York (Tadias) – The Ethio-jazz group Debo Band will return to NYC later this month to perform at a special concert featuring Ethiopian, Sudanese, and North African music. The event is set to take place at the 92Y Tribeca on May 28th, 2011.

Led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, Debo’s performances bring together the best of the last forty years of Ethiopian music, with a reverence for the vintage sounds of the 1970s and a commitment to discovering contemporary gems, as well as developing new compositions.

At the upcoming show in New York, Debo will be joined by Nettle — a band that was founded by DJ/Rupture when he lived in Barcelona. Nettle will release their second album in Fall 2011 entitled El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai, a soundtrack to an imagined remake of The Shining, set in an abandoned luxury hotel in Dubai.

The other musical ensemble set to share the stage with Debo is Alsarah & The Nubatones. The band came together out of a collective love for Nubian music and a genuine belief that Soul transcends all cultural and linguistic barriers. Inspired by the pentatonic scale they blend a selection of Nubian ‘songs of return’ from the 1970s with original material and traditional music of central Sudan. Their set is a musical journey through the diaspora viewed through an urban lens.

“We’ve never done a show quite like this,” says Debo bandleader Danny Mekonnen, speaking about his team’s NYC gig. “We’re really interested in seeing how these different bands will compliment each other.”

Debo is also scheduled to make an appearance at The Lincoln Center Out of Doors this Summer, which is the same concert that featured Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, and Getachew Mekuria in 2008.

“Very exciting time for us,” says Danny.

If You Go:
Saturday, May 28
8pm Doors, 9pm Show
$16 cover. All ages.
92YTribeca
200 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013
212.601.1000
www.92y.org/92ytribeca/

Video: Debo Band – “Lantchi Biye” Live: SXSW 2011 Showcasing Artist

Diaspora Stories: Abeshas in Berlin

Above: Shusta, a shoes and accessories boutique in central
Berlin. The store is owned by Tedros Tewelde and Fidel Tesfa.

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011

New York (Tadias) – Every year I return to Germany to spend the holidays with my family. Having lived there for ten years before coming to America, I still consider it one of my many homes. During my most recent trip, I also enjoyed getting ready for Berlin fashion week, Berlinale International Film Festival, and getting back in touch with a few Abeshas in the city.

Tedros Tewelde & Fidel Tesfai

I was introduced to co-owners of Shusta, a shoes and accessories store located in central Berlin. After quitting his corporate job, Tedros Tewelde in partnership with his friend Fidel Tesfai opened up his dream store. And I’m so glad they did. I could have bought every single item in that store — it is such a chic boutique! The sales associates were also super friendly. Shusta has enjoyed several years of great business and is now expanding into design and this year it will be offering custom-made shoes for exclusive clients. Another intriguing Shusta collaboration is its ‘design-recycling’ work with Waste Barcelona, the Spanish company known for its durable and high quality products produced with social and environmental consciousness. Shusta designed 30 bags built entirely out of recycled materials such as discarded automotive upholstery and leather.

If you’re ever in Berlin stop by their store, and in the meantime check out Shusta’s online presence and shoe selections at: www.shusta.de

Sam Goitom owns Kitty Cheng

I also spent time with the multi-talented Sam Goitom, a gregarious Berliner who walks through life with a smile, no matter what might come; and no one can resist his charm. I met Sam at his Public Relations company, People People, established several years ago. After catching up over coffee, we drove to Kitty Cheng, his new business adventure. The bar/club/lounge is conveniently located in Berlin Mitte, only a few minutes away from Shusta. Kitty Cheng is known for its detailed décor as well as the extravagant parties. Sam told me about the extensive remodeling procedure that they went through to add character to the place. Although the music is heavily influenced by Berlin’s electronic music scene, each night features an eclactic and diverse sound and dancing. If you ever happened to be in Berlin, don’t miss out on his parties! You can learn more at: www.peoplepeople.de and www.kittycheng.de

A Musisican Named Fetsum

And headquartered in Berlin, not far from Shusta and Kitty Cheng, is the recording studio for an artist named Fetsum. I met Fetsum a few years ago in Cologne where he invited my brother and I for a private concert. Since then, I have been hooked on his music and the hope that it brings. I spent time with him this year in Berlin where he is recording his new album in between touring with internationally recognized artists such as Patrice and Estelle. His song ‘Meet You in Paradise’ remains my favorite song. Fetsum composed the lyrics reminiscing of the close relationship that he had with his late father. The images in the music video were shot in Brazil. (Watch Fetsum’s “Meet you in paradise” below). You can also check out more information about upcoming tour dates to the US here: www.fetsum.com.

I am extremely proud of Fetsum, Tedros & Fidel, and Sam for following their dreams in Berlin. I can’t wait to see what this year might bring, and catching up with them again sometime soon.

Video: Fetsum “Meet you in paradise” (Fetsum TV)

Photo Credit:
Cover image and store photos, courtesy of Shusta.
Tigist’s photograph by Ingrid Hertfelder.
Fetsum’s photo via Facebook.

10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2010

Highlights from the most popular Ethiopian Diaspora arts and popular culture stories of 2010 via Tadias Magazine.

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Updated: Monday, December 27, 2010

New York (Tadias) – As we wrap up the year and review the contributions in the area of literature, fine arts, film, music and enterprunership, I can’t help but notice that it has been a year of rejuvenation for arts and popular culture among the Ethiopian Diaspora — from the publication of Dinaw Mengestu’s How To Read The Air, to Julie Mehretu’s Grey Area, and from Kenna’s Summit on the Summit to Dawit Kebede’s Press Freedom Award, this year was packed with big achievements and new beginnings. As you may notice, there are many other great stories that are not noted here. It was a tough list to choose from. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Here are 10 favorite highlights:

1. Dinaw Mengestu’s ‘How To Read The Air’


Dinaw Mengestu (ExpressNightout.com)

The award-winning Ethiopian American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu, whose work has become a voice for his generation, has given us a new gem by way of his book entitled How To Read The Air. As The New York Times notes, the young writer – who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – populates his novels “by exiles, refugees, émigrés and children of the African diaspora…” This book, of course, goes far beyond the Ethiopian American experience, even though Dinaw does extremely well in this regard as well. As he put it succinctly during a recent interview, “It’s less about trying to figure out how you occupy these two cultural or racial boundaries and more about what it’s like when you are not particularly attached to either of these two communities.” The new book follows the author’s highly successful début novel The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, described by Bethonie Butler in the Washingtonian magazine as “a poignant novel set in DC about immigration, gentrification, and assimilating to the new amid memories of the past.” The reason why I love this New York Times bestseller is because the substance of the book mirrors my own feelings and reflection about my own generation.

2. Julie Mehretu’s ‘Grey Area’


Artist Julie Mehretu

I couldn’t help but lose and find myself in each of Julie’s Mehretu’s paintings at the Guggenheim Museum earlier this year. She is not only one of the most admired American female artists, but also the most high-priced Ethiopian born artists of all time. Her work ‘Untitled 1’ sold for $US1,0022,500 at Sotheby’s in 2010. Her collection of semiabstract works displayed at the Guggenheim was inspired by “a multitude of sources, including historical photographs, urban planning grids, modern art, and graffiti, and explores the intersections of power, history, dystopia, and the built environment, along with their impact on the formation of personal and communal identities.”

3. Davey and Rasselas’ Atletu (The Athlete)


Abebe Bikila (SBCC Film Reviews)

I have my fingers crossed this will be the first Ethiopian film that will win the Oscars. But either way, the story of Abebe Bekila – the barefooted Ethiopian man who stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in Marathon at the 1960 games in Rome – is one to be told and in this regard the movie is doing a superb job. I really hope it will get the recognition it deserves in the coming year.

4. Meklit Hadero’s ‘On A Day Like This’


(Meklit, Tsehai Poetry Jam – L.A.’s Little Ethiopia)

This sweet and amazingly talented singer/song-writer takes me on a musical journey to the heart of the Bay Area and Brooklyn, as well as to the countryside of Ethiopia. I have never heard such a sincere, poetic and soulful blend of American and Ethiopian music. Reviewers have compared Meklit’s voice to that of the legendary singer Nina Simone. “Once you hear her smooth and silky voice it will be hard to forget it,” NPR’s Allison Keyes reported. Meklit obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yale University before moving to San Francisco to pursue her true love – music. NPR’s guest host described Hadero’s sound as “a unique blend of jazz, Ethiopia, the San Francisco art scene and visceral poetry…It paints pictures in your head as you listen,” she said. I can’t agree more.

5. Haile Gerima’s Film ‘Teza’


Mypheduh Films

Haile Gerima’s award winning film ‘Teza’ continues to draw crowds at special screenings around the country. The most notable in 2010 was the film’s premiere in Los Angeles on Monday, September 13th, honoring the late Teshome H. Gabriel, a long serving Professor at UCLA and a leading international figure on third world and post-colonial cinema. The director himself is a professor of film studies in the East Coast. Per NYT: “Among the courses Haile Gerima teaches at Howard University is one called ‘Film and Social Change.’ But for Mr. Gerima, an Ethiopian director and screenwriter who has lived here since the 1970s in what he calls self-exile, that subject is not just an academic concern: it is also what motivates him to make films with African and African-American themes.” Personally for me though, there has never been such an accurate, honest, insightful and simply well-made film about the Ethiopian experience abroad and in the homeland. This film continues to influence my professional, but more importantly, personal life.

6. Marcus Samuelsson’s ‘Red Rooster’


Marcus Samuelsson at the Red Rooster Harlem

I hope Marcus’ long awaited restaurant brings together artists, musicians, writers, and alike from the Ethiopian Diaspora and beyond right into the heart of Harlem. From the menu to the décor, I am certain that I won’t have to drag my downtown friends to hangout uptown. But for Marcus, it is clear that the aim is much bigger than fine dining. In a way, it is a contribution to the revitalization of this historic neighbourhood and we salute him for that.

7. Mulatu Astatke Still on The Move


Mulatu Astatke (Source:Telegraph)

The father of Ethiopian Jazz doesn’t seem to stop. As Peter Culshaw wrote of him on the UK paper Telegraph earlier this year, “At the age of 66, Mulatu Astatke is having the time of his life. The jazz composer and performer from Ethiopia is in the midst of a full-blown Indian summer in his career. He received a huge boost when influential film-maker Jim Jarmusch used his music for his 2005 film Broken Flowers, and was also a key figure in the 2007 The Very Best of Ethiopiques compilation, one of the most unlikely best-sellers of the last decade. Once heard, Astatke’s music is not easily forgotten. His signature vibraphone playing style uses the distinctive five-note Ethiopian scale and is like jazz from a parallel universe, by turns haunting, romantic and a touch sleazy, as though the soundtrack to some seductive espionage B-movie.” Enjoy the following video.

8. First Addis Foto Fest


The Addis Foto Fest took place Dec. 7 to Dec. 11.

Curated by the exceptionally talented and award-winning photographer Aida Muluneh, this festival showcased works by notable visual artists from around the world at venues throughout Addis Ababa for the very first time. My hope is that, with events such as Addis Foto Fest, local artists continue to network with international artists from all disciplines. Here is an interview with Aida Muluneh about photography.

9. Dawit Kebede’s ‘Press Freedom Award


Dawit Kebede at CPJ Awards 2010, NYC

As the editor of Awramba Times, an independent and local Ethiopian newspaper, he spent almost two years in prison after reporting on the Ethiopian election in 2005. Five years later he receives an international award, encouraging others to write without fear. He is an inspiration to many around the world, particularly to those in our profession.

10. Kenna’s ‘Summit on the Summit’


Grammy-nominated musician Kenna

Inspired by his father’s water-borne disease, Ethiopian born Academy Award-nominated Hip Hop artist Kenna climbed the Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about the global water crisis. He was followed by an MTV crew. I salute Kenna on his artistry, as well as dedication to educate the youth on global issues affecting all of us. Watch Kenna talk about the project.


About the Author:
Tigist Selam is host of Tadias TV. She is a writer and actress based in New York and Germany.

(Tigist’s photograph by Ingrid Hertfelder).

Related:
Tadias.com’s Top 10 Most Viewed Stories of 2010

Top 10 Most Viewed Stories of 2010

Above: Images from the most popular stories of 2010 posted
on Tadias.com b/n January 1, 2010 and December 15, 2010.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Some of the top stories featured on Tadias.com this year include, among others, the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409, a violent arrest inside an Ethiopian church in Texas (caught on tape), the appointment of Captain Amsale Gualu as the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines, as well as our exclusive interviews with rising music star Meklit Hadero, international model Maya Gate Haile and Ethiopian legend Teshome Mitiku.

The stories are displayed in the order in which they were ranked by Google Analytics. We have included links to each article as well as videos when available.

Here’s a look at the 10 most-read stories of the year.

1. Names of Passengers Aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409

Above: Ethiopian women mourn the death of a relative killed aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409, which crashed into the Mediterranean sea minutes after taking off from Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport in the early hours of Monday, January 25, 2010. The 90 passengers and crew that perished hail from nine countries: Ethiopia, Lebanon, Britain, Canada, Russia, France, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. (Photo: Getty Images).

 

2. Tadias TV Interview with Meklit Hadero

Above: We caught up with rising music star Meklit Hadero during her summer concert at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on June 1st. The Manhattan appearance was a homecoming of sorts for Hadero, who spent part of her childhood in Brooklyn. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science before settling in San Francisco where she launched her music career in 2004. Her debut album, On A Day Like This, has garnered national attention with repeated highlights on NPR. Reviewers have compared her sound to that of Music legends Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell. Watch the video below.

 

3. Exclusive Interview With Model Maya Haile

Above: Earlier this year we also highlighted international model Maya Gate Haile. The Ethiopian-born model grew up in Holland before relocating to New York where her fashion modeling career has flourished. She is represented by the world’s top modeling agencies including IMG, Elite and Ford. Maya also works closely with UNICEF’s New Generation program. Her husband, Chef Entrepreneur and Author Marcus Samuelsson, introduced her to UNICEF and currently serves as Ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Here is Tigist Selam’s conversation with Model Maya Haile at home in Harlem.

4. Violent Arrest Inside Ethiopian Church Caught on Tape

Above: The incident happened at the Dallas Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Garland, Texas, on Sunday, May 2nd when a female congregate, Yeshi Zerihun, interrupted morning announcements to ask questions about church business, including about the presence of the unusually large number of police officers outside the church that day. She was told her questions were out of order, but other worshipers began shouting for answers. An amateur video shows the cops entering the church following a man in a suit and hysteria breaking out. Watch here the local news report.

5. Ethiopia Election Marred by Charges of Voter Intimidation

Above: Ethiopia's 2010 national election was marred by charges of fraud and voter Intimidation. The country's two largest opposition parties were crushed in parliamentary elections held on May 23, 2010. The nation's 31.9 million registered voters went to the polls to select 547 members of parliament and representatives to regional councils. The results showed the ruling party sweeping 99 percent of announced seats. Opposition leaders contested the results through the court system which they eventually lost. The election process was roundly criticized by international observers. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi dismissed outside criticism as foreign interference – violating the sovereignty of Ethiopia. (Photo credit: AP)

6. Ethiopian Airlines Appoints First Female Captain

Above: She may not be the first Ethiopian woman pilot, but Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew (right) is just as pioneering. She is the first female to become captain in the history of Ethiopian Airlines. “Captain Amsale proudly took off her first flight from the left hand seat of the flight deck of a Q-400 aircraft from Addis Ababa to Gondar then to Axum and finally returned back to Addis Ababa after a total of 3.6 flight hours,” the airline said following her historic flight on October 14, 2010. We don't have a video of Captain Amsale, but take a look below for a tour inside Ethiopian Airlines' latest Boeing jet. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines via Nazret.com.)

7. Ethiopian Community Mourns 5 Dead in Seattle Fire

Above: Nisreen Shamam (left), Yaseen Shamam (C) and Joseph Gebregiorgis (R). They were among those killed in an apartment fire in Seattle on Saturday, June 12, 2010. Thousands attended a public memorial service held on Saturday, June 19 at Seattle Center’s KeyArena. The service included an emotional visual tribute: One by one, the lives lost were celebrated on screen, a series of snapshots taken in happier times. The boy who dreamed of playing point guard for the Boston Celtics. The siblings who adored their older brother. The girl who liked to jump rope. And the young woman who could win any argument she set her mind to. Killed in the swift-moving fire at Helen Gebregiorgis’ apartment were three of her children — Joseph Gebregiorgis, 13, Nisreen Shamam, 6, and Yaseen Shamam, 5; her sister, Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, 22; and a niece, 7-year-old Nyella Smith, daughter of a third sister, Yordanos Gebregiorgis. (Seattle Times)

8. Simon Bahta Arrested in New York City

Above: New York City police arrested Simon Bahta Asfeha, the man wanted for the Virginia killings of his girlfriend – 27-year old Seble Tessema – and their 3-year-old daughter. Investigators in Alexandria had initially thought that Asfeha “may have sought refuge in the large Washington, D.C., area Ethiopian community or in a homeless shelter, ” according to America’s Most Wanted TV show. But he apparently had run away to New York City, where a witness alerted authorities on his location. He was captured without incident on Thursday, April 29 2010 in a coordinated effort between NYPD, the U.S. marshals, and Alexandria police. Watch below local media report of the crime.

9. The Nun Pianist: Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru

Above: Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru after performing for the first time in 35 years in Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2008 (File photo by Makeda Amha). The 85-year-old classical pianist and composer, whose music has been popularized in recent years by the Ethiopiques CD series, is attracting younger audiences. “Every time I have put this on at least three new conversions occur, where the listeners go on to permanently install this woman’s music on their stereo,” Meara O’Reilly notes in a recent highlight on Boing Boing. “My neighbor even stalked me once just so she could listen to it more, until I just gave her my extra copy.” Listen to the music here.

10. Exclusive Interview With Ethiopian Legend Teshome Mitiku

Above: Teshome Mitiku (second from right) has not returned to Ethiopia since his abrupt departure in 1970. In a recent exclusive interview with Tadias Magazine, the legendary artist who made a historic appearance accompanying the Either/Orchestra at the prestigious Chicago Jazz Festival in September, talked about his extensive music career, his memories of Ethiopia and his famous daughter, the Swedish pop star Emilia. Teshome burst into Ethiopia’s music scene during a period in the 1960′s known as the “Golden Era.” He was the leader of Soul Ekos Band, the first independent musical ensemble to be recorded in the country. The group is credited for popularizing Amharic classics such as Gara Sir New Betesh, Yezemed Yebada, Mot Adeladlogn and Hasabe – all of which were written by the artist. Prior to settling in the United States in the early 1990′s, Teshome spent over 20 years in Sweden, where he continued to hone his music skills, earn a graduate degree in Sociology, and witness his daughter grow up to become a Swedish ballad and pop music singer. We spoke with Teshome Mitiku over coffee on U street in Washington, D.C. The following sound features one of the artist's favorite songs, Gara Sir New Betesh.

Swedish pop singer Emilia (Teshome Mitiku’s daughter)

Conversation with Dr. Patricia E. Ortman About ‘Girls Gotta Run’

Tigist Selam speaks with Patricia E. Ortman, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

New York (TADIAS) – Early last month we attended a fundraiser for the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Organizers had hoped long-distance legend Haile Gebrselassie would be the featured guest speaker. Haile, who had injured himself a day earler at the New York City Marathon, had flown directly home from NYC following the race and could not attend the gathering. The event, co-sponsored and hosted by the Chevy Chase Running Company, took place on Monday, November 8th, 2010 at the Chevy Chase Running Company store.

According to GGRF, portions of the proceeds from the event will help to “subsidize scholarships for girls to attend training at the Yaya Africa Athletics Village, an athletic center in Sululta, Ethiopia, which is presently under construction and in which Mr.Gebrselassie is a partner.” GGRF was established in 2006 to provide funds for athletic shoes, clothes, meals, coach subsidies, and other training-related expenses for disadvantaged Ethiopian girls who are training to be professional runners. One of its sponsored athletes, Dinknesh Mekash Tefer of Running Across Borders, recently broke the women’s course record for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland, winning her first international race.

The following video features Tigist Selam’s conversation with Dr. Patricia E. Ortman, Executive Director of the foundation, as well as footage of additional speakers at the event.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Injera In Harlem: Black Atlas Spotlights Zoma

Above: Nelson George shares Ethiopian food with Tigist Selam
at Zoma in Harlem as part of a travel piece for BlackAtlas.com.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New York (Tadias) – In a video posted on BlackAtlas.com, the website’s travel expert-at-large Nelson George visits Harlem, highlighting the historic neighborhood’s evolving culture. Near the end of the segment, the filmmaker stops by Zoma restaurant, located on 113th & Frederick Douglas Boulevard, for a taste of Ethiopian food. He was accompanied by his friend actress Tigist Selam, host of Tadias TV.

“Growing up mainly in Germany, I always romanticized Harlem for it’s political and cultural significance, and when I moved to New York from London in 2005, I already knew that I wanted to live in Harlem,” says Tigist. “What I didn’t know about was the existing and rapidly growing Ethiopian community in Harlem.”

She says: “These days, I am happy to claim Harlem as my home. Thank you for allowing me to share my favorite dish with Nelson George and Black Atlas!”

Watch

Watch: Interview With Maya Haile

Model Maya Gate Haile is represented by the world's top modeling agencies including IMG, Elite and Ford. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010

New York (Tadias) – This week Tadias TV highlights international model Maya Gate Haile. The Ethiopian-born model grew up in Holland before relocating to New York where her fashion modeling career has flourished. She is represented by the world’s top modeling agencies including IMG, Elite and Ford.

The choice to become a model as a teenager was a tough, personal decision for Maya. Her parents, who migrated to the Netherlands when Maya was 13, pushed their daughter to focus on learning a new language, excelling in school, and perhaps consider becoming a doctor or a nurse.

“For a long time I had [modeling] on my mind, but I could not bring it home,” Maya says. And those who saw the tall, somewhat shy, and elegant girl with an infectious smile would often remark “Are you a model?” At 20 Maya finally decided to tell her decision to her family.

Maya recalls “My brother was really shocked: ‘You’re going to be a model? Are you kidding me?’” But Maya took the opportunities before her and delved into the world of fashion. As much as she loves her work, Maya points out that modeling for her is not “a final destination.”

“I love modeling because from modeling you can become something else,” she says with enthusiasm. She points out that one can grow from the networking opportunities modeling affords and get involved in other entrepreneurial or humanitarian ventures. “You could take advantage of modeling and you could be activists, film-makers, photographers. It is not only about modeling,” she emphasizes.

Which leads us to ask her what other projects she has been working on.

“I have several projects in mind but one that I am currently working on is to provide opportunities for girls in Ethiopia to get access to my world. I would like to give those who aspire to become models an opportunity to come to Europe and to get a taste of what fashion and modeling career is all about. I want to provide access and mentoring, so that they can see that it’s possible to be successful and to go after their dreams. I want to share what I have learned.”

Maya also works closely with UNICEF’s New Generation program. Her husband, Chef Entrepreneur and Author Marcus Samuelsson, introduced her to UNICEF and currently serves as Ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Both Maya and her husband are particularly committed to supporting the organization’s immunization programs and its efforts to deliver clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world. Maya also focuses on providing entrepreneurial opportunities for youth aged 18-34 who are residing in developing countries.

Asked how her work with UNICEF has enriched her personal life, the model says it helps her to put her own life in perspective. “I could be one of the kids in Ethiopia,” she says. “I compare it to myself and my husband Marcus. Everyday we think about those kids in Ethiopia.”

On a lighter note, we asked Maya about her hobbies including basketball. “Who wins when the two of you play?” “I always win,” Maya says with a smile, “but you have to ask [Marcus]. He should tell you about it.” In the couples interview last summer Marcus confirmed her side of the story. “She kicks my ass in basketball!” Marcus told Glamour magazine. “Also, Maya translates so much for me—not just words, but culturally. When my sisters call with a problem, she takes the phone. I can’t give advice—unless it’s about cooking. Before Maya, my primary relationship was with food. Luckily, she loves to eat!”

Below is part of Tigist Selam’s conversation with Model Maya Haile at home in Harlem.

Watch: Tadias’ Interview With Model Maya Haile

Tigist Selam interviewed Maya Haile at home in Harlem on Tuesday
June 15, 2010. (Video by Kidane Films)


About the Author:
Tseday Alehegn is the Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Watch Related Tadias Video:
Video – Tadias’ Interview with Meklit Hadero

Watch: Interview with Meklit Hadero

Tadias spoke with Meklit Hadero last week following her recent performance at Le Poisson Rouge in New York.

Tadias Magazine
By Kidane Mariam and Tigist Selam

Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Tadias TV caught up with Meklit Hadero during her recent concert at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on June 1st.

The Manhattan appearance was a homecoming of sorts for Hadero, who spent part of her childhood in Brooklyn. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science before settling in San Francisco where she launched her music career in 2004.

The Ethiopian native, who left Addis Ababa as a toddler, tells Tadias she plans to return to Addis later this year to perform at an Afro-Roots concert. Her debut album On A Day Like This has garnered national attention with repeated highlights on NPR. Reviewers have compared her sound to that of Music legends Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell.

WATCH:
Video: Tadias’ Interview with Meklit Hadero

Tigist Selam interviewed Hadero at Le Poisson Rouge after her concert
with The Olatuja Project on June 1, 2010. (Video by Kidane Films)

RELATED
Listen: NPR Revisits Conversation With Meklit Hadero

Meklit Hadero “Leaving Soon” music video from Salvatore Fullmore on Vimeo.

Tadias TV: Haile Gerima On The Challenges Of Independent Filmmaking

Above: Haile Gerima discusses the difficulties of independent
film production at an event designed to mark TEZA’s New York
debut. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for Tadias.com)

Tadias TV
By Kidane Mariam

Monday, April 12, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Haile Gerima, the internationally acclaimed director of Teza, Adwa, Bush Mama and Sankofa, hosted a discussion on the challenges of independent film-making here in New York.

The public discourse was part of a series of events designed to promote the release of Gerima’s latest film Teza.

The Q & A session, moderated by Tigist Selam, was held on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.

Teza opened in Manhattan on Friday, April 2, at Lincoln Plaza Cinema.

The award-winning film uses the power of memory and flashbacks to recount the historical circumstances that have framed the context in which contemporary Ethiopia exists.

Tadias TV attended the event. Here are video highlights.

Watch: Haile Gerima On The Challenges of Independent Filmmaking

Video: Watch the Trailer

Related:
Lacking Shelter at Home and Abroad (NYT Movie Review)
A Conversation with Haile Gerima (Tadias Magazine)
For Filmmaker, Ethiopia’s Struggle Is His Own (The New York Times)
Teza, Portrait of an Ethiopian Exile (The Village Voice)

————-
NEW:
Follow Tadias Magazine on Twitter
Join us on Facebook
Subscribe to our E-Newsletter!

————–

Photos: Danny Glover Hosts Reception For Teza’s New York Premiere

Above: An evening with Danny Glover and Haile Gerima was held at Dwyer Cultural Center on April 1, 2010 to mark TEZA's New York debut. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for Tadias.com)

Tadias Magazine
Events News
Photos by Kidane Mariam

Published: Friday, April 2, 2010

New York (Tadias) – “Lethal Weapon” actor Danny Glover hosted a reception on Thursday, April 1, 2010, celebrating the New York premiere of Teza.

The gathering at the Dwyer Cultural Center, which also featured the director Haile Gerima, is the first in a series of events designed to promote the film’s release.

Teza uses the power of memory and flashbacks to recount the historical circumstances that have framed the context in which contemporary Ethiopia exists.

The critically acclaimed film opened in Manhattan on Friday, April 2, at Lincoln Plaza Cinema.

The reception was sponsored by Sheba Tej, Tsion Enterprises LLC, Africalling.com and Settepani.

Tadias Magazine’s contributing photographer Kidane Mariam attended the event. Here is a slideshow of photos.

Slideshow: An Evening with Danny Glover and Haile Gerima

More Local Events Surrounding TEZA’s NYC Premiere:

Friday, April 2, 2010
Teza starts playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas
Showtimes: 11:05 AM, 1:35 PM, 4:15 PM, 7:05 PM, and 9:55 PM
Buy tickets online at: www.lincolnplazacinema.com

Friday, April 2, 2010
Opening Night Mix and Mingle
At Settepani
196 Lenox Avenue (at 120th Street)
’till 2 am | Friday 4/2/10

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Q&A: Haile Gerima Discusses the Challenges of Independent Film-Making.
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
408 West 58th Street (on 9th Avenue)
Moderator: Tigist Selam
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Wednesday 4/7/10
www.cccadi.org
RSVP – slewis@cccadi.org or call 212.307.7420 ext. 3008 for more info.

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Reception
Skoto Gallery
529 West 20th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue)
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Thursday 4/8/10
www.skotogallery.com
Sponsors: Bati Restaurant; Sheba Tej/Tsion Enterprises LLC; Settepani

Friday, April 9, 2010
Panel Discussion: Making Teza: Narrative, Cinematography, and Music
Schomburg Library
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Moderator: Dagmawi Woubshet | Panelists: Haile Gerima, Yemane Demissie, Danny Mekonnen
7:00pm – 9:00pm | Friday 4/9/10
www.nypl.org
RSVP@tezathemovie.com
Sponsors: In memory of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin; Queen of Sheba Restaurant; Assegid Gessesse; abesha.com; TsehaiNY; Africalling.com

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Panel Discussion: Owning Cultural Property — Telling Our Own Stories
Dwyer Cultural Center
258 Saint Nicholas Avenue (at 123rd Street)
Moderator: Dagmawi Woubshet | Panelists: Haile Gerima, Chester Higgins, Skoto Aghahowa
7:30pm – 9:30pm | Saturday 4/10/10
www.dwyercc.org
RSVP to info@dwyercc.org or call 212-222-3060

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Q&A: Haile Gerima Discusses Cultural Contexts of Teza
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
408 West 58th Street (on 9th Avenue)
Moderator: Kassahun Checole
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Wednesday 4/14/10
www.cccadi.org
RSVP – slewis@cccadi.org or call 212.307.7420 ext. 3008 for more info.

Video: Watch the Trailer

Related:
Lacking Shelter at Home and Abroad (NYT Movie Review)
A Conversation with Haile Gerima (Tadias Magazine)
For Filmmaker, Ethiopia’s Struggle Is His Own (The New York Times)
Teza, Portrait of an Ethiopian Exile (The Village Voice)

The movie focuses on the tumultuous years of the Mengistu era, as told by an idealistic Ethiopian doctor who recounts dreams and nightmares.

Teza follows the personal narrative of Anberber, who after leaving Ethiopia for Germany to become a doctor, is led to return to his home village by lingering spirits and haunting visions from his childhood. Using the power of memory as its primary device, Gerima recounts the historical circumstances that have framed the context in which contemporary Ethiopia exists.

The film has already earned some prestigious awards including the Oscella Award for Best Screenplay, the Leoncino d’oro Award, SIGNIS Award, and Special Jury Prize conferred at the 2009 Venice Film Festival; the Golden Unicorn Award for Best Feature Film; the UN-World Bank Special Prize; and Golden Stallion award for Best Picture presented at the 2009 FESPACO Pan-African Film Festival.

TEZA in NYC: Showtimes and Events

Above: Teza opens in New York today at Lincoln Plaza Cinema and there are several local events lined-up surrounding the film's NYC release (See the list below).

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Updated: Friday, April 2, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Haile Gerima’s latest movie Teza will make its New York debut today.

Here are a few local events lined-up surrounding the film’s NYC premiere:

Friday, April 2, 2010
Teza starts playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas
Showtimes: 11:05 AM, 1:35 PM, 4:15 PM, 7:05 PM, and 9:55 PM
Buy tickets online at: www.lincolnplazacinema.com

Friday, April 2, 2010
Opening Night Mix and Mingle
At Settepani
196 Lenox Avenue (at 120th Street)
’till 2 am | Friday 4/2/10

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Q&A: Haile Gerima Discusses the Challenges of Independent Film-Making.
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
408 West 58th Street (on 9th Avenue)
Moderator: Tigist Selam
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Wednesday 4/7/10
www.cccadi.org
RSVP – slewis@cccadi.org or call 212.307.7420 ext. 3008 for more info.

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Reception
Skoto Gallery
529 West 20th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue)
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Thursday 4/8/10
www.skotogallery.com
Sponsors: Bati Restaurant; Sheba Tej/Tsion Enterprises LLC; Settepani

Friday, April 9, 2010
Panel Discussion: Making Teza: Narrative, Cinematography, and Music
Schomburg Library
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Moderator: Dagmawi Woubshet | Panelists: Haile Gerima, Yemane Demissie, Danny Mekonnen
7:00pm – 9:00pm | Friday 4/9/10
www.nypl.org
RSVP@tezathemovie.com
Sponsors: In memory of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin; Queen of Sheba Restaurant; Assegid Gessesse; abesha.com; TsehaiNY; Africalling.com

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Panel Discussion: Owning Cultural Property — Telling Our Own Stories
Dwyer Cultural Center
258 Saint Nicholas Avenue (at 123rd Street)
Moderator: Dagmawi Woubshet | Panelists: Haile Gerima, Chester Higgins, Skoto Aghahowa
7:30pm – 9:30pm | Saturday 4/10/10
www.dwyercc.org
RSVP to info@dwyercc.org or call 212-222-3060

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Q&A: Haile Gerima Discusses Cultural Contexts of Teza
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
408 West 58th Street (on 9th Avenue)
Moderator: Kassahun Checole
6:30pm – 8:30pm | Wednesday 4/14/10
www.cccadi.org
RSVP – slewis@cccadi.org or call 212.307.7420 ext. 3008 for more info.

Video: Watch the Trailer

Related:
Lacking Shelter at Home and Abroad (NYT Movie Review)
A Conversation with Haile Gerima (Tadias Magazine)
For Filmmaker, Ethiopia’s Struggle Is His Own (The New York Times)
Teza, Portrait of an Ethiopian Exile (The Village Voice)

The critically acclaimed film focuses on the tumultuous years of the Mengistu era, as told by an idealistic Ethiopian doctor who recounts dreams and nightmares.

Teza follows the personal narrative of Anberber, who after leaving Ethiopia for Germany to become a doctor, is led to return to his home village by lingering spirits and haunting visions from his childhood. Using the power of memory as its primary device, Gerima recounts the historical circumstances that have framed the context in which contemporary Ethiopia exists.

The film has already earned some prestigious awards including the Oscella Award for Best Screenplay, the Leoncino d’oro Award, SIGNIS Award, and Special Jury Prize conferred at the 2009 Venice Film Festival; the Golden Unicorn Award for Best Feature Film; the UN-World Bank Special Prize; and Golden Stallion award for Best Picture presented at the 2009 FESPACO Pan-African Film Festival.

About Tadias Magazine

Tadias is a New York-based news & profiles magazine tailored towards the Ethiopian-American community.

Established in 2003, Tadias Magazine’s combination of journalistic excellence and engaged readership offers an exciting gateway to one of the fastest-growing, most educated and wealthiest African Diaspora populations in the United States.

Tadias magazine’s original content features breaking-news, events, videos, interviews, sports, arts, entertainment, personality profiles, celebrity highlights, as well as opinions and editorials. We also provide content from major news networks that are pertinent to our audience.

Tadias also serves as a medium of communication for those who have academic, business, professional or personal interest in the Ethiopian-American community.

The word Tadias is a popular casual greeting among Ethiopians. It means “hi,” “what’s up?” or “how are you?”

Staff
Liben Eabisa – Founder & Publisher
Tseday Alehegn – Founder & Editor
Yohannes Mesfin – Co-President & Secretary
Rekik Scholler Mekonnen – Editorial Advisor
Aidomias Eabisa – Marketing & Advertising
Yonas Maru – Business Advisor
Jill Vexler, Ph.D. – Advisor
Adam Saunders – Marketing Strategy & Web Design

Contributing Photographers & Videographers
Tsedey Aragie – Videographer
Kidane Mariam – Videographer
Jeffrey Phipps – Photographer

Contributing Writers
Heran Abate – Ethiopian Millennials in the Diaspora
Kassahun Addis – Features
Tigist Selam – Tadias TV
Ayele Bekerie, Ph.D. – History
Shahnaz Habib – Arts & Letters
Asqual Getaneh, MD MPH – Health & Wellness
Jason Jett – Sports
Martha Z. Tegegn – Profiles
Sabrina Yohannes – Sports


Site Map

Tadias in the News
DC to Africa: Mayor’s Office on African Affairs Scores Big with Conference (Examiner)
On Friday, and estimated 200 people were in attendance at the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) forum entitled, From DC to Africa, Growing Local and Going Local: Expanding your Business through Local, Federal and International Opportunities which was held at the 11th Floor Conference Room at 441 4th Street NW, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ethiopia’s Tadias Magazine reported on the event by saying, The program’s topic highlights include what you need to know to do business in DC, accessing capital both for local and international business, as well as contracting and procurement opportunities with the District and the Federal Government. “The purpose of this seminar is to connect businesses and entrepreneurs directly to the people, information and resources that can help them expand their businesses through both local and U.S-Africa opportunities,” DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s office said in an announcement. OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi echoed the mayor’s comment. Continue reading at Examiner.com.

Tadias Magazine Honored With Nation to Nation Networking Award
TADIAS is proud to have been one of the award recipients during NNN’s Fourth Annual International Diaspora Gala, and we celebrate the accomplishments of fellow honorees.

Washington Post: “Tadias, an Ethiopian American magazine, profiles Haile.”
Mike DeBonis on his Local Politics column ( Feb. 17, 2011) highlights our profile of Arkan Haile, a candidate for at-large D.C. council seat election set for April 25, 2011.

Tadias Magazine Featured on VOA
Tadias Magazine was featured on Washington D.C. based Voice of America’s weekly Amharic radio program on Sunday, October 5, 2008. Click here and enjoy!

Tadias Added to Index for Google News
Tadias Magazine has been added to the index for Google News. The Ethiopian-American publication, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, joins Google’s global network of original content and news publishers — including some of the top news agencies in the world, such as the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, UK Press Association and the Canadian Press.

Ethiopian-American Artists Make Their Mark (NPR)
“In her huge paintings, Mehretu layers together fragments of maps and architectural drawings into a shattered whole with shapes and markings that seem to have a meaning of their own, says Mik Awake, who covers arts and letters for an Ethiopian-American magazine called Tadias.” (by Neda Ulaby Morning Edition, March 13, 2007). Click here to listen.

The Long Road Home (The Valley Advocate)
“I arrived to find an unfamiliar Ethiopia,” Asfaw wrote in Tadias, an online magazine for the Ethiopian-American community. ” Read the story at The Valley Advocate.

Brian Lehrer Live: Liben Eabisa and Josh Ruxin
TV & Radio host Brian Lehrer talks to newsmakers and community leaders about New York City issues and takes viewer phone calls live in the CUNY TV Studio. Watch Mr. Lehrer’s interview with Josh Ruxin, Assistant Professor, Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Mailman School of Public Health, director of the Access Project in Rwanda and Liben Eabisa, Founder & Publisher of Tadias. Click here to watch the video.

Tadias Magazine Fusing Past and Present for Ethiopian Americans – (NAM)
The First & Largest Collaboration of Ethnic News Organizations … at a party hosted by Tadias Magazine and NCM at Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant in San Jose. …

Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia

Some of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia. (Courtesy: Mandela Washington Fellowship)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s class of Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia includes a diverse group of 50 young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 hailing from various regions of Ethiopia. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, filmmakers, human rights activists (including Zone9 blogger Zelalem Kibret), social workers, Ethiopian sign language & deaf culture experts, non-profit directors, public health employees, entrepreneurs, engineers, software developers, and human resource managers are among some of the sectors represented by the new Fellows.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), which is conducted annually as a merit-based open competition by U.S. Embassies across the African continent, was launched by President Obama in 2014. “Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management,” states the announcement from YALI. “The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 76 percent of Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.”

In addition, Fellows will receive the opportunity to meet and interact with President Obama as well as other U.S. leaders during a town hall session. Furthermore, the announcement notes that “100 selected Fellows will remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.”

Below are the names and biographies of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia.

Aklile Solomon Abate

Aklile Solomon Abate has been working as a women’s rights activist for more than five years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Law from Addis Ababa University. Aklile is a co-founder of a youth-led initiative called The Yellow Movement AAU, which works on women’s rights advocacy and empowerment. She is responsible for managing campaigns, coordinating events, handling partnerships, and raising awareness about gender-based violence. Aklile also volunteers at a public elementary school by tutoring young children and creates awareness on gender inequality in her community. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Aklile plans on continuing her work on women’s rights by focusing on young children in order to reshape the future generation.

Gebeyehu Begashaw

Gebeyehu Begashaw has been working as a lecturer at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia, for seven years. His work focuses on teaching graduate and undergraduate students, conducting research projects, and rendering community services. He also currently serves as research officer at the College of Social Sciences, where he oversees research projects undertaken by the faculty and students. His research interests center on different public health issues such as mental health, maternal health, health economics, and health systems. He advocates protecting the human rights of the mentally ill, which includes the right to appropriate mental health care, and the right to education and employment. Gebeyehu has a master’s degree in Social Psychology from Addis Ababa University and in Organizational Behavior from Paris V Descartes University. After the Fellowship, Gebeyehu plans to continue his work in the public health arena with a focus on improving the mental health care system through evidence-based decisions.

Molalign Belay

Molalign Belay has approximately eight years of experience working for an academic institution in Ethiopia. Born and raised in a rural village of Ethiopia, he used to be engaged in farming activities and local tour guiding. Currently, Molalign is a lecturer of Sociology. As director of the Alumni Relation and Partnership Office of University of Gondar, he initiates communications and strategic team work, organizes events and alumni workshops, seeks opportunities and networks for alumni/students, and undertakes alumni and employers surveys, to name a few. Molalign has an MA in Sociology (Health and Well-being) from Addis Ababa University. He works for local organizations as a volunteer trainer, project designer and trustee. He is a Rotarian, an educator and a social analyst on the local FM radio program. Upon the completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Molalign plans to create a scholars community through establishing community-based youth centers to engage and empower students.

Alemseged Woretaw

Alemseged Woretaw has almost 12 years experience as an educator in the health professions, contributing greatly towards a competent health workforce development. Currently, he is a technical advisor for the National Board of Examinations at the Ministry of Health. He also works closely with universities to improve student assessment and learning by synchronizing licensure exam preparation with faculty development efforts. Alemseged is a medical doctor with a master’s degree in Medical Biochemistry, and is passionate about educating and training future health professionals. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alemseged plans to continue his work with the exam board, impacting the teaching-learning process, especially student assessment. He will also help to fill the gap in academic leadership skills in medical schools, and plans to design high-impact academic leadership training, promoting mentorship and partnership among academic leaders.

Girum Assefa Akriso

Girum Assefa Akriso realized very early that he wanted to become a storyteller. Everyday life dragged him far from his boyhood dream, and he pursued studies in computer and information systems to earn his BSc. Having found himself drifting from his life’s purpose, three years ago he decided that enough was enough! Enena Bete, a film written by Girum was produced and then selected as the opening film in the 9th Ethiopian International film Festival. Girum regrouped, starting Rusty Town Films with three talented young men, and started writing serial radio dramas on migration, stag plays on religion and culture, and several documentaries on community services. They also work on commercials and music videos. Girum’s skill set is best described as a mixture of creativity, storytelling, education, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Abraham Mekonnen Alemu

Abraham Mekonnen Alemu has over six years experience in human capital management in different sectors. Currently, Abraham is a human resources manager responsible for HR activities and operations such as planning, acquisition, talent development, performance management, and staff compensation. In doing so, he ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of the HR and organizational systems. He also volunteers in his local community’s fundraising activities to build school facilities, and teaches management at different colleges. Abraham holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with distinction, and an International Management award with distinction from The Institute of Leadership and Management, London. He is currently doing a master’s program in Human Resources and Organizational Development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Abraham plans to continue creating job opportunities for the youth, people with disabilities, and women by filling the gap between industry needs and university curricula.

Tigist Getachew

Tigist Getachew has seven years experience in business strategy and related fields. In parallel with the UN job where she worked for four years, she also provided pro bono services to several local startups on financing, strategic planning, and business plans, while also managing the first fast-moving consumer goods industry analysis for Ethiopia for Euromonitor International. In 2013 she returned full time to the business world to co-found and lead East Africa Gate (EAGate), a boutique foreign investment and business advisory firm. She also works in youth entrepreneurship by mentoring Ethiopian entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to life. She is also a mentor for Ethiopian applicants to the African Entrepreneurship Award – an initiative powered by BMCE Bank of Africa. Tigist holds a BA in Economics from the University of Toulouse, France, and a Master’s in International Management from IAE Toulouse, Graduate School of Management with business strategy as her major.

Zemdena Abebe

A pan-Africanist, Zemdena Abebe is a visionary Political Science and International Relations graduate, activist, and budding writer engaged in women rights in particular and social justice in general. Zemdena volunteers for the African Union at the Academy of African Languages, Mali, as a marketing and research assistant. She consulted for UNICEF Ethiopia for six years in their ‘Speak Africa’ initiative (youth advocacy), as well as in environmental education, hygiene, and sanitation. She chaired the Addis Ababa Girls’ Forum, which facilitates discussion on issues regarding girls’ vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and lays the foundation for legislative intervention against sexual abuse. Zemdena was President of Addis Ababa Students’ Union, and was among 22 young African women writers selected for ’Writing for Social Change’, organized by AWDF and FEMRITE, Uganda. After completing the Fellowship, she will continue writing about social justice and aims to influence society’s behavior towards women by using multimedia platforms and research.

Addis Abera

Addis Abera has a decade-long experience in different public enterprises operating in areas of agro-industry, maritime and logistics services, commodity exchanges, and agricultural transformation. Addis’ professional experiences and skills primarily include market research, product development, strategic planning, and project management. Currently, he is a project officer of the Rural Financial Services Program at the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), which focuses on the strategic issues of strengthening rural financial institutions and ensuring liquidity in the rural sector. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Addis will return to the ATA and be part of the national endeavors of agricultural transformation in his country, Ethiopia. Addis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Haramaya University.

Kalkidan Ayele

Kalkidan Ayele has over three years experience in disabled and deaf women’s empowerment and HIV/AIDS prevention. Currently, Kalkidan is a manager for the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf where she focuses on promoting sign language and advocates for a better life for the deaf in Ethiopia. She manages different projects and monitors the overall work of the association. Kalkidan holds a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Addis Ababa University, where she focuses on gender and disability issues and their impact on the employment opportunities of deaf women and youth. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Kalkidan plans to continue her work with the association by focusing on the challenges of the deaf in Ethiopian society. She aims to find solutions through different projects, advocacy works and networking with similar organizations for the better life of the deaf in Ethiopia.

Zelalem Kibret

Zelalem Kibret has over six years of experience in various legal and communal affairs. Currently, Zelalem is trying to build his own virtual law office to help the poor. Moreover, Zelalem is an activist and a blogger who regularly campaigns and writes on the issues of constitutionalism and good governance. He volunteers on the university teaching Law and organizing debates, and has established a dialogue platform. Zelalem holds a master’s degree in Public International Law from Addis Ababa University, with a focus on individual responsibility in International Law. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Zelalem plans to establish a nationwide legal office in Ethiopia that helps peoples who can’t afford to pay for legal services.

Tinbit Daniel

Tinbit Daniel is a law graduate, dedicated to contributing to the improvement of the lives of children, especially young girls. She is now the Girls Empowerment programs director, leading a new innovative project to launch the new African animation series called Tibeb Girls. This series is intended to change the way girls are seen by society and by themselves. Tinbit is also wrapping up another project on the education of girls. She is challenging herself with the hope to work on much more progressive programs on the upliftment of females. She received the Youth Champion award by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Public Health Institute. She was selected as one of 18 youth champions. This award recognized Tinbit for being a leader and doing innovative and excellent work on the empowerment of girls, such as education and sexual and reproductive health rights.

Abrhame Butta

Abrhame Butta has more than nine years of experience working in academics and entrepreneurship. He focuses on agripreneurship, rural innovation, and smallholder livelihoods. Currently, Abrhame owns and manages his own company, Green Agro Mechanization, which offers services including mechanization, crop chemical and pesticide supplies, a farm credit service, and financial-literacy training. It aims to provide a one-stop farming solution and introduce a farm credit service in which poor farmers pay 40% in cash, with 60% paid without interest after the harvest. Abrhame received an MBA from Addis Ababa University and engaged in various consultancy, community, and entrepreneurship programs. Upon his return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he will expand on the farm service center project, with a focus on harmonizing all company services and reaching out to more young and women smallholders.

Linda Lapiso

Linda Lapiso is an electrical engineer and construction consultant with over eight years of work experience in the sector. Currently, Linda is a freelance consultant, who specializes in designing electrical building services for residential, commercial, and industrial developments. She also volunteers in community-development programs and speaks against the sidelining of women in society. Linda has received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hopes to implement lessons learned from the program in her day-to-day consulting services and share newly acquired business skill in order to explore opportunities and inspire growth in her community.

Mehret Amsalu

Mehret Amsalu has over five years experience leading multiple maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) projects. Currently, Mehret is a PhD candidate in Public Health and Water at Addis Ababa University, where she is researching feasible solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene-related public health challenges among Ethiopian mothers and children. Mehret collaborates with international volunteers to end preventable maternal and child death in Ethiopia. She is focused on initiating, designing and implementing cost-effective MNCH units in her role as a project manager for Voluntary-Service-Overseas. She is also a volunteer mentor in a girls’ public school. Mehret holds a master’s degree in Public Health from University of Gondar, where she focused on public health challenges and their impact on development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mehret plans to continue her work in public health with an emphasis on access to quality health services for pregnant women, mothers, and children.

Enque Deresse Endeshaw

Enque Deresse Endeshaw has worked as medical doctor for over five years in different capacities, mostly in mental health. Enque did her specialization in psychiatry at Addis Ababa University. Currently, she is working at Lebeza Psychiatry Consultation PLC, where her main focus will be organizing training and treatment for Ethiopian migrant workers living in the Middle East and refugees. Enque has worked as the clinical head at a substance rehabilitation center, which was the first of its kind in Ethiopia. In her tenure as a clinical head, she trained and supervised other staff members. She was involved in the management aspect of the center, in addition to carrying out clinical work. So as to give back to society, she was involved in an outreach program that provided free mental health care to patients. Enque plans to apply and share the experiences she has acquired with both governmental and non-governmental institutions.

Lulayn Awgichew

Lulayn Awgichew is an entrepreneur who co-founded an agribusiness company. She is a deputy general manager of Bislet Agritech PLC, where she carries out the duties of setting strategies, marketing, and the management of company activities. She built on her extensive experience in development work to become an entrepreneur. Currently, she volunteers for several nonprofit organizations to support women and children and help them have better lives. She has vast experience in and passion for advocacy and child protection. Upon returning from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lulayn plans to continue her work to achieve her company goal of making food affordable to everyone in Ethiopia.

Minase Tamrat

Minase Tamrat has over 12 years of experience in software development, technologies, finance and sustainable development. Currently Minase is a general manager of a software development firm which he founded, where he also works as a systems architect and project manager. He has two startups underway which focus on an open financial framework and on integrated sustainable agriculture. Minase is a computer science graduate from HiLCoE School of Computer Science and Technologies. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Minase plans to continue to create a seamless, transparent, integrated and stakeholder-inclusive financial system framework for his country, Ethiopia.

Fanaye Feleke

Fanaye Feleke has 10 years of experience in law and development with a focus on gender. Currently, Fanaye is partnerships manager for Girl Effect Ethiopia, which works to positively reframe the image of Ethiopian girls. She focuses on identifying, initiating, building, and managing partnerships. She is also a partner in Setaweet, a feminist establishment which aims to bring about a positive change in the social positioning of women. Setaweet activism takes the form of public forums, women-only study groups, media engagement, and ‘Arif Wond’, an exciting program working with men to challenge patriarchy. Setaweet also delivers high-quality, tailor-made training and research. Fanaye holds a master’s degree in Law in Development from the University of Warwick, where she focused on gender and development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fanaye intends to focus full time on her Setaweet work in feminist activism.

Mekbib Ayalew

Mekbib Ayalew is a social work and development-management professional. He has worked for the past three years in various NGOs, focused particularly on human subject protection and social development. Currently, he is working in the Africa Union Commission as a culture officer focused on assisting and managing the Campaign for African Cultural Renaissance and promoting the spirit of pan-Africanism and shared values on the continent. He also volunteers at the Addis Ababa Correctional and Rehabilitation Center of Juvenile Offenders (Remand Home), where he is responsible for coordinating social reintegration and rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mekbib plans to engage in increasing youth involvement in the promotion and protection of African world heritage, both nationally and within the African Union system.

Fregenet Zekiewos Gichamo

Fregenet Zekiewos Gichamo has over two years experience in a government university working mainly as a dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. As such, he is the chief executive officer directing and coordinating activities of the department and other units of the faculty. In addition, Fregenet works on youth development in her community by organizing a program called ‘Generation Empowerment Program’. She is also a volunteer in blood-donation campaigns in her local community and schools. Fregenet is a medical doctor working as a general practitioner in a hospital. She wants to study obstetrics and gynecology in order to strength her contribution against the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fregenet plans to continue her work on faculty development and against traditional harmful practices.

Yitemgeta Fantu Golla

Yitemgeta Fantu Golla has over four years experience in the energy sector, mostly in project design and management. Having graduated with his master’s degree in Energy Engineering from the Engineering School in France, he has been exposed to the production, optimal distribution and rational use of conventional and renewable energy in buildings, civil engineering, transportation, manufacturing, and the transformation industries. With his specialization in electrical energy, he is knowledgeable in the monitoring and control of electrical energy, as well as the design of projects that include generation, distribution, and renewable energy. In his most recent roles, he has obtained the title of procurement head and energy adviser at Herfazy Consult. He also leads the design and development of innovative acoustic panels and local solar food dryers. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Yitemgeta plans to strengthen his involvement in the energy sector in Ethiopia and East Africa.

Rigbe Hagos

Rigbe Hagos has over five years experience working on the inclusion of persons with disabilities. She has worked as a volunteer legal-aid counselor for women seeking free legal aid services. Rigbe is currently involved in her own private practice carrying out social consultancy for vulnerable groups. She focuses on awareness raising and disability mainstreaming training, counseling on self-esteem development, technical assistance on accessibility, and mainstreaming disability, and conducts research on related issues. She also works as a manager for a private limited company. Furthermore, Rigbe serves a board member and volunteer for the Association for Women with Disabilities Living with HIV, and takes part in other community-service projects. Rigbe holds a master’s degree in Social Work and an LLB. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work towards promoting the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Bethlehem Haileselassie

Bethlehem Haileselassie has four years experience coordinating a street-child rehabilitation project in her home city, Addis Ababa. Currently, she works as a freelance writer but she also volunteers in two organizations that work on child care and education. In addition, she is in the process of establishing a social enterprise that produces leather handicrafts to create jobs for impoverished single mothers. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Bethlehem plans to launch the social enterprise and establish its social wing, which will initially comprise a community day care and after-school program for children of the single mothers who are trained and hired by the business. Eventually, the project will reach out to other children in the community who live in difficult circumstances.

Masresha Hirabo

Masresha has over six years experience in software development, especially in the area of machine learning. Currently, she works as a deputy general manager for eNet ICT Solutions, a software company that she co-founded. As deputy general manager, her responsibilities include administering the everyday operations of the organization, preparing schedules, and providing both managerial and technical support to all projects. In addition, she oversees the progress of projects and coordinates with managers, clients, and supervisors to evaluate approvals. She also works as a part-time research programmer, where she is responsible for the research and development of advanced systems. Masresha holds an MSc in Computer Science from University of Kerala, India, where she focused on Machine Learning and Image Processing. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Masresha plans to lead and expand the company to work on the development of more advanced systems that can solve daily problems.

Maryamawit Kassa

Maryamawit Kassa has four years of experience in various fields especially law, human rights, leadership, and peacebuilding. Currently, Maryamawit works with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in relation to preparation for the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa. Maryamawit works at the Center for African Leadership Studies, as a part-time research coordinator focusing on legal research and organizational assessment for leadership training. She also did volunteer work with the African Union Youth Volunteer Program and is now a member of Global Shapers, Addis Ababa hub, where she dedicates her spare time to shaping and effecting change in the community. Maryamawit holds a master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies from Addis Ababa University, which focused on African solutions for African problems. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Maryamawit plans to focus on homegrown leadership as a means for conflict prevention.

Muluken Nega

Muluken Nega is the founder and managing partner of Zana Landscape Design and Contractor PLC. Before starting Zana he worked with local and international businesses in the area of market research, business management, and entrepreneurship. This helped him develop the entrepreneurial and leadership skills necessary to start Zana. In addition to that, he has been taking online landscaping classes since 2009 from experts on landscape design, landscape planning, and planting. More than eight years of work with nonprofits that focus on youth development in Ethiopia has given him the awareness and passion to work in youth empowerment, mentoring, and social entrepreneurship. He volunteers in his community street-boys’ programs, and leads an informal network that inspires ideas, facilitates conversation, and stimulates positive action for changemakers in the community. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Muluken wants to focus on growing Zana into a leading landscape and social business in Ethiopia and Africa.

Selam Kebede

Selam Kebede graduated from Aalto University, Finland, with a master’s degree in Communications Ecosystem. Originally from Ethiopia, she also holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. During her college days, she was actively involved in organizing events related to startups, technology, and entrepreneurship, including the Slush event. She passionately believes in the potential of technology to change lives in emerging countries. She loves the ‘Africa-rising’ narrative and holds a black belt in World Taekwondo from Kukkiwon. She is currently working as a senior associate for Africa at Seedstars, and has traveled to more than 20 countries finding the best tech-based startups and bringing them to the world stage. When she isn’t working, she spends her time researching Ethiopian history and contemplating quantum physics.

Admasu Lokaley

Admasu Lokaley is a young peace practitioner who has worked for over eight years in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Admasu currently works as field facilitator for CEWARN/IGAD, with a work station in Nyangatom district. His work focuses on collecting and discussing information regarding the outburst and elevation of violent conflict among pastoralists. By analyzing and processing the gathered data, he comes up with alternative routes of local response. Admasu is the co-founder of a community-based organization called Atowoykisi-Ekisil Pastoralists’ Development Association (AEPDA), where he served as program coordinator and executive director. Admasu earned his MA in Peace and Security Studies from Addis Ababa University of Ethiopia, where he focused on the complex inter-ethnic interactions along a disputed piece of land called the Ilemi Triangle. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Admasu is inspired to continue his work on peacebuilding and advocacy for pastoralists’ rights to land.

Mesay Barekew

Mesay Barekew has been a lecturer at Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) for the last 10 years and teaches business management courses. He is a founding member of ASTU’s entrepreneurship development center. Mesay has been involved in volunteering activities in his local community where he helps children in need to get access to education and required materials. Mesay holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Addis Ababa University, focusing on business development strategies. After completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mesay plans to continue with his business development activities. He will work on establishing an incubation center for business startups in ASTU. He also plans to establish his own primary school with a special focus on creativity, science, and math. At his school, he intends to support children in need through a fee waiver and, depending on their situation, monthly subsistence allowances to support their living expenses.

Amanuel Lomencho

Amanuel Lomencho has over four years experience in community development and medical education apart from his work as a physician. He is the founder and general manager of Emerald Medical, a firm engaged in medical education, public education and promoting healthy and environmentally friendly cities through bike diplomacy. He volunteers in Educate Underprivileged Students of Ethiopia, a non-profit organization supporting education for Ethiopian students. Amanuel holds a doctorate degree in Medicine from University of Gondar. Following the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work in promoting healthy and eco-friendly cities, linking cities with a shared culture of biking, upgrading the quality of medical education through software based medical education, and serving as a bridge between Ethiopian medical schools and their counterparts overseas.

Mizan Welderufael

Mizan Welderufael has over eight years of experience in the electrical power sector. She currently serves as automated meter-reading lead at the Ethiopian Electric Utility, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program management office, where she manages the installation of automated energy meters on the outgoing feeders of substations. Prior to her ERP office, she worked in the Energy Management department as energy portfolio and logistics manager. She also worked for about four years as a system operation engineer at the National Load Dispatch Center of Ethiopia. Mizan received her degree in Electrical Engineering from Addis Ababa University, and is currently doing the thesis for her post-grad in Electrical Power Engineering. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, she plans to open her own business that fills the gaps related to power quality and reliability, energy efficiency, energy audit, and micro-grids that can improve access to electricity in Ethiopia.

Anteneh Asefa

Anteneh Asefa has more than nine years experience in the field of public health. Anteneh was a fellow of the Maternal Health Young Champion fellowship of the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he mainly focused on promoting respectful childbirth services in Ethiopia. Anteneh has also been part of the Emerging Voices for Global Health Fellowship, in addition to being featured in New Voices in Global Health during the World Health Summit, 2013. Anteneh is currently an assistant professor at Hawassa University, Ethiopia, where he provides academic service, research, and technical support to various organisations. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he strongly aspires to be one among the committed young leaders who will be shaping the future of African health systems by responding to the health needs of communities, especially women’s and children’s health.

Milha Desta Mohammed

Milha Desta Mohammed was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She has worked in the development policy field for over eight years, particularly in the climate change, water security, and agriculture sectors. She has worked at local level with nonprofit organizations and at regional level in intergovernmental organizations, namely the African Union Commission and the United Nations. Milha graduated from Addis Ababa University with a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences, and from the University of East Anglia with a master’s degree in Climate Change and International Development, focusing on water security. She currently serves as chair of the board for a youth environmental rehabilitation organization, where she promotes sustainable transportation and river rehabilitation. Upon her return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she will continue to advocate for a greener urban environment by promoting cycling in the city and river rehabilitation through sustainable waste management.

Rania Ibrahim

Rania Ibrahim, the service development director for Telemed Medical Services, is responsible for planning, supervising, organizing, and managing product development activities. At Telemed, a startup company that aims to increase access to health care for Ethiopians, she honed her skills of forging creative working partnerships with different organizations and individuals. She was a co-developer of the first TB/HIV patient-tracking system that helps patients adhere to their medication, and she is also the strategic and networking advisor for St Paul’s Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in the country. Rania also volunteers with Berhan Yehun, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve living conditions for impoverished children. As a Mandela Washington Fellow, she intends to further develop her skills in business development, aiming to expand access to medical technology and to learn ways to fully develop different possibilities of public-private partnerships to improve the health care system in her country.

Nurhassen Mensur Mudesir

Nurhassen Mensur Mudesir has over seven years experience in business development and community organizing. He is an electrical engineer by training, an entrepreneur and business development professional by practice. Nurhassen is a founding member and managing partner of the first online payment platform company in Ethiopia: www.yenepay.com. He coaches and consults startup and ongoing businesses under the Entrepreneurship Development Center, Ethiopia. He is a certified project management professional and business development adviser as well as a certified trainer and technical adviser for businesses and community organizations. Nurhassen provides professional and life skills training to business professionals and business owners. As a volunteer, he is passionately engaged in the designing and implementation of development programs that empower women and youth. Upon his return, he wishes to establish renowned international business leadership training, and a consultancy center and a venture capital firm that will enhance entrepreneurship and innovative leadership across multiple sectors.

Selamawit Wondimu

Selamawit Wondimu has over six years of experience in urban planning. Currently, Selamawit is a senior analyst at the Ethiopian Industrial Park Development Corporation, which is driving the country’s large-scale industrialization initiative. She works closely on a daily basis with her counterparts on the development of guidelines and standards for industrial-park developments, supporting capacity building, and supporting the operations of the parks. She owns and runs a maker space in Addis, where she provides cutting and engraving services for young entrepreneurs and makers. Selamawit holds a Master of Science degree in Human Settlements from the University of Leuven, Belgium, where she focused on spatial planning and networked governance and how it can enhance coordination in regional and urban development in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Selamawit plans to continue to expand her business while supporting the country’s industrialization and studying its impact on Ethiopian cities.

Loza Ruga

A graduate of Haramaya University College of Law, Loza Ruga has proven herself to be a person gifted with passion and multiple talents. In her early career, she has had an outstanding record of engagement in various sectors, including advocating for women’s empowerment, and volunteering in organizations working for the well-being of disadvantaged and disabled communities in sub-Saharan Africa. She was part of a team at African Union Headquarters that conducted extensive research on accessibility assessment for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Currently, Loza is launching the Ethiopian Association of Girls Guides and Girls Scouts, the first of its kind in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to establish an inclusive community-based platform aimed at enabling and capacitating vulnerable segments in Addis Ababa and then in the whole of East Africa.

Liyuwork A Shiferaw

Liyuwork A Shiferaw has over seven years of work experience. Currently, she is the director of the Maritime Administration Directorate, where she oversees the registration of ships and seafarers; the training, assessment, and certification of seafarers; the follow-up of inland water transportation; and the implementation of international maritime conventions at the Ethiopian Maritime Authority. She also headed the Policy and Legal Department, where she participated in the preparation of national policy, strategy, and legislation. Liyuwork received an LLM degree in International Maritime Law from IMLI, Malta, and an LLB degree from Addis Ababa University. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue empowering women in the maritime sector and using best practices to strengthen the maritime sector in Ethiopia.

Alem Gebru

Alem Gebru has over eight years of experience in diverse fields within the community-development sector, specifically on changing attitudes on disability issues. At present, Alem is an executive director in Women with Disabilities for Change, where she focuses on capacity building and creating awareness about women and children with disabilities in the community. She also volunteers in similar organizations by offering life-skills training and empowering women with disabilities. Alem holds a master’s degree in Special Needs Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Addis Ababa, where she focused on disability inequality and gender disparity within the education sector and their impact on development in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alem plans to carry on her work in disability equality with a focus on encouraging the rights of and equal opportunities for the disabled.

Asmeret Tesfahunegn

Asmeret is an experienced computer programmer, and a pragmatic and visionary entrepreneur with passion for problem solving and technology revolution in Africa and beyond. Self-disciplined and passionate about what she does, she is a talented, ambitious, and self-motivated web and mobile developer with a strong technical background. Asmeret graduated from USIU – Africa with a CGPA 4.0 in Information Systems and Technology. Having been involved in a couple of ventures, she has hands-on experience in business and product development in a typical startup business environment with extensive sales and marketing experience. Currently, Asmeret is the co-founder of IntellSync Ltd. In the company she is instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous IT projects, innovation, and strategic partnership management. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Asmeret plans to continue her work in IT to bring about sustainable, innovative, value- and technology-driven economic growth in Africa.

Dina B Tsehay

Dina B Tsehay is a Sociology graduate from the University of Mumbai, and has over four years’ experience in various fields of community development. Dina currently works as a project officer at a local NGO called MLWDA, where she primarily focuses on designing economic empowerment projects for marginalized women. Dina has also done various volunteer work in fighting against leprosy, child abuse, and violence against women in India, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Dina plans to continue her work in women’s economic empowerment and create a network for women to participate in cross-border business trade in the East African region.

Wachemo Akiber Chufo

Wachemo Akiber Chufo has over nine years of experience in different positions in Arba Minch University, Ethiopia. Currently, he teaches various courses in the field of Environmental Engineering and advises undergraduate and postgraduate students at Arba Minch University, Ethiopia. Akiber Chufo holds PhD degree in Environmental Engineering from Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China. His research areas are production and optimization of renewable energy from biomass wastes and development of solid-waste management methods. Additionally, he works in mitigation of climate change in the community using locally available resources. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Akiber Chufo plans to develop green energy-generation strategies for the community from locally available biomass wastes.

Kibrom Aregawi

Kibrom Aregawi is an assistant professor with over 10 years experience in teaching, research, and consultancy services in the Department of Management at Mekelle University, Ethiopia. Currently, he is the coordinator of the Center for Entrepreneurship Development. He is tasked with promoting an entrepreneurial culture and climate in the university community and beyond by organizing entrepreneurship training and providing support services. Kibrom volunteers in training, mentoring, and extending business-development support services to small and medium enterprise operators and students. Kibrom has also assumed various university leadership positions, including coordinator of the management program and head of quality assurance of the College of Business and Economics. Kibrom holds an MBA and an MPP from Mekelle University, and KDIS, South Korea, respectively. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Kibrom plans to continue and scale up efforts to expand community outreach in ways that will impact the lives of millions in the region.

Seifu Yilma

Seifu Yilma is Ethiopian and communicates in Ethiopian sign language. At the age of six he became deaf due to meningitis. He attended regular hearing schools and finished his master’s degree in Special Needs Education. He did his Bachelor of Arts in Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf Culture. He has been serving in several public service activities voluntarily, that benefits the deaf communities in Ethiopia. Seifu served as chairman of the Deaf Association at the Addis Ababa branch of the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf. He’s also been serving as a board member for the Federation of National Association of Persons with Disabilities. In these commitments, he effectively discharges his responsibilities on advocating the rights of deaf people in getting decent employment, education and social welfare. He was also chairman of a committee at the Addis Ababa University representing deaf students. He is currently a guidance counselor.

Tirsit Retta

Tirsit Retta has over 10 years of experience in leadership and public mobilization in the community, and academia and charity organizations. She engages herself in humanitarian services through the Red Cross, Family Guidance Association and Missionaries of Charity to deliver medical services and health education to the poor and destitute. In academia she plans, organizes, directs, and monitors medical professionals who deliver health services to the public. Her unwavering interest in research led her to initiate the largest epidemiological study in Ethiopia, which examines 500,000 patient records to determine skin disease trajectories. Tirsit earned her medical doctorate degree from Jimma University and her postgraduate specialty certificate from Addis Ababa University. Her plan after attending the Mandela Washington Fellowship is to establish an evidence synthesis center in Ethiopia to produce high-quality research, and then inspire women and physicians in the areas of science, environment, and education.

Yilkal Yilkal-Wudneh

Yilkal has over three years of experience in various community service activities. Currently, Yilkal is an active participant in Debre Berhan University’s free legal aid center, which advocates cases for vulnerable sections of the society. Yilkal is also manager of the Northern Shoa Zone Blind Teachers’ and Students’ Professional Development and Cooperation Association. In these roles he follows up the legal aspects of its activities and designs and implements its various projects. Yilkal also volunteers in his association and trains blind members of the association on how to use computers with a screen reader program called Jaws. Yilkal has got his LLM from the Ethiopian Civil Service University. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Yilkal plans to continue his work in ensuring the right of access to information for the blind and to advocate for vulnerable sections of the society.

Amel Yimer

Amel is an executive radio producer for a popular and reputable radio station – 702, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Amel has worked in the field of family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/Aids on behalf of key players such as Pathfinder International and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. With over 10 years of experience in public heath communication and training, design, and facilitation, she now uses her media skills to produce a breakfast show that emphasizes the importance of positive leadership, accountability and dialogue about national affairs. Although a sociologist and filmmaker by trade, Amel, enjoys transcending the boundaries of traditional media to create new means of communication that can reach those in need of inspiration, empowerment and most importantly, a platform.

Tawetu Abreha

Tawetu Abreha has over five years of experience in various fields in the educational sector. She has been assistant professor at Mekelle University, system division officer at Meles Aerospace Science and Engineering Dynamics, and gender office head focusing on gender mainstreaming at the Ethiopian Institute of Technology-Mekelle (EiT-M). Currently, Tawetu is head of the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering at EiT-M, where she is responsible for the overall management of the school, including teaching and learning activities, research and community service, and local and international collaborations. She also volunteers in the Tigray Science and Technology Agency to coordinate the Girl’s Camp program. Tawetu holds a master’s degree in Communication Engineering from Addis Ababa University. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Tawetu plans to continue her work as a school head with a focus on school-to-industry and international university linkages, and girl’s empowerment.

Mahlet Tesfaye

Mahlet Tesfaye has over four years of public management experience in higher academic institutions and diplomacy. Her major areas of interest include gender issues and education policy reform advocacy, where she focuses on designing, implementing and researching on learning schemes. Mahlet worked as an educator and researcher signifying the importance of formal and informal education. She also volunteered in a book and database project that documents stories of hundreds of accomplished Ethiopian women, and served as a motivational speaker on different platforms focusing on education and youth. Mahlet currently works in the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Addis Ababa University. Upon return, she aspires to work on education diplomacy, education advocacy and the global initiative on education. Her long-term career plan includes working on influential research that could become recommendations to effectively address the challenges in the Ethiopian education system.


Related:
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Names of Passengers Aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409

Ethiopian women mourn the death of a relative killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The plane reportedly veered off course before crashing in flames. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 25, 2010

New York (Tadias) – The Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star has published the names of passengers aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409, which crashed into the Mediterranean sea minutes after taking off from Beirut in stormy weather on Monday.

The 90 passengers and crew that perished hail from nine countries: Ethiopia, Lebanon, Britain, Canada, Russia, France, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

According to the newspaper, the list was released by the The National News Agency of Lebanon.

Here are the names of passengers aboard flight 409:

1) Addis Abera Demise (Ethiopia)

2) Bahrnesh Megersa (Ethiopia)

3) Kidist Wolde Mariam (Ethiopia)

4) Elisabeth Tilhum Habtermariam (Ethiopia)

5) Rahel Tadese (Ethiopia)

6) Etenesh Admasie (Ethiopia)

7) Woinshet Meugistu Melaku (Ethiopia)

8 Azeb Betre Kebede (Ethiopia)

9) Tigist Shikur Hajana (Ethiopia)

10) Hani Gebre Gembezo (Ethiopia)

11) Alunesh Tkele (Ethiopia)

12) Shitu Nuri (Ethiopia)

13) Selam Zigdaya (Ethiopia)

14) Yikma Mohamed (Ethiopia)

15) Seble Agezc (Ethiopia)

16) Aynalem Tessema (Ethiopia)

17) Eyerus Alem Desta (Ethiopia)

18) Mekiya Sirur (Ethiopia)

19) Lakesh Zeleke (Ethiopia)

20) Tigist Anura (Ethiopia)

21) Askalesh Soboka (Ethiopia)

22) Meselu Beshah (Ethiopia)

23) Kevin Graingur (UK)

24) Marla Sanchez Pietton (France)

25) Akram Jassem Mohammad (Iraq)

26) Mohammad Abdel-Rahman Saii (Syria)

Names of Lebanese nationals:

1) Hanna Nakhoul Kreidy, born on 26/6/1987

2) Haidar Hassan Marji, born on 7/11/1976

3) Ali Youssef Jaber, born on 2/4/1967

4) Ali Ahmad Jaber, born on 5/8/1969

5) Abbas Mohammad Jaber, born on 13/7/1977

6) Mohammad Mustapha Badawi, born on 5/9/1970

7) Khalil Ibrahim Salah, born on 5/9/1961

8 Hassan Adnan Kreik, born on 25/1/1984

9) Saeed Abdel-Hassan Zahr, born on 5/10/1984

10) Hussein Ali Farhat, born on 25/1/1966

11) Mohammad Hassan Kreik, born on 14/10/2006

12) Ali Souheil Yaghi, born on 28/6/1973

13) Rawan Hassan Wazni, born on 27/6/1990

14) Bassem Qassem Khazaal, born on 10/3/1974

15) Haifa Ahmad Wazni, born on 25/10/1967

16) Ali Ahmad Tajeddine, born on 3/4/1979

17) Tanal Abdallah Fardoun, born on 1/2/1952

18) Mustapha Haitham Arnaout, born on 16/9/1986

19) Fouad Mahmoud Lakiss, born on 25/8/1946

20) Mohammad Kamal Akkoush, born on 23/12/1983

21) Toni Elias Zakhem, born on 18/6/1976

22) Hamzah Ali Jaafar, born on 31/5/1985

23) Hassan Mohammad Issaoui, born on 22/11/1951

24) Hassan Kamal Ibrahim, born on 13/12/1973

25) Ghassan Ibrahim Katerji, born on 15/12/1964

26) Haifa Ibrahim Farran, born on 25/9/1965

27) Hussein Youssef Hajj Ali, born on 26/7/1968

28) Fares Rashid Zebian, born on 28/9/1955

29) Farid Saad Moussa, born on 3/6/1966

30) Mohammad Ali Khatibi, born on 27/12/1989

31) Yasser Youssef Mahdi, born on 25/8/1985

32) Anis Mustapha Safa, born in 1941

33) Hussein Moussa Barakat, born on 16/12/1983

34) Antoine Toufic Hayek, born on 30/5/1965

35) Elias Antonios Rafih, born on 29/5/1959

36) Tarek George Barakat, born on 21/10/1971

37) Khalil Naji Khazen, born on 20/6/1967

38) Rana Youssef Harakeh, born on 1/2/1980

39) Mohammad Abdel-Hussein Hajj, born on 24/1/1957

40) Julia Mohammad Hajj, born on 2/8/2007

41) Hussein Kamal Hayek, born on 15/11/1977

42) Assaad Massoud Feghali, born on 22/4/1965

43) Ziad Naeem Ksaifi, born on 5/10/1974

44) Reda Ali Mastoukirdi, born on 31/3/1968

45) Albert Jerji Assal, born on 4/11/1959

46) Imad Ahmad Hather, born on 13/5/1980

47) Fouad Mohammad Jaber, born on 6/5/1957

48) Khalil Mohammad Madani, born on 1/12/1968

49) Hasan Mohammad Abdel- Hassan Tajeddine, born on 15/8/1960

50) Yasser Abedel-Hussein Ismail, born on 1/4/1973

51) Jamal Ali Khatoun, born on 5/11/1973

52) Afif Krisht (Lebanese British), born on 29/4/1954

53) Abbas Hawili (Lebanese Canadian), born on 2/11/1945

54) Anna Mohammad Abbs (Lebanese Russian), born on 23/1/1973

Video: 90 perish in Ethiopian jetliner crash (ntvkenya)

Video: Ethiopian Airlines Crashes into the Mediterranean (CBS)

Video: Ethiopian Plane Crashes Off Lebanon (AP)

Raw Video: Lebanon Plane Crashes After Takeoff (AP)

Ethiopian Airliner Crashes Near Beirut

Video: History of Ethiopian Airlines crashes

Raw Video From The Ethiopian Airlines Crash Site Off Beirut:

ET-409 Update: Thursday, February 18, 2010
(Watch Videos Below The Headlines)

Second aircraft involved in Lebanon ET409 crash (Airlines/Airport Examiner)

Crashed Ethiopian plane cockpit recorder recovered (AP)

Ethiopian Air Says Too Soon to Rule Out Sabotage in Crash Prob (BusinessWeek)

Lebanese minister rules out bomb on Ethiopian jet (AP)

Lebanon confirms 45 bodies retrieved from Ethiopian jet crash (Earth Times)

Ethiopian jet’s 2nd black box retrieved from sea (The Associated Press)

Ethiopian plane ‘exploded’ after take-off: Lebanon minister (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)


Lebanese airport safety employees near the crash
site. Credit: REUTERS

Ethiopian Airliner’s flight recorders sent to France (Daily Star – Lebanon)

Ethiopian Jetliner’s Recorders Found ( Reuters)

Main parts of crashed Ethiopian jet found off Lebanon (Reuters)

Ethiopian air crash shines light on lives of migrant workers (LATimes)

Lebanon gets relatives’ DNA in Ethiopian jet crash (AP)

Wreckage from Ethiopian plane found in Syrian waters (Earth Times)

Sub to help search for crashed Ethiopian jet (AP)

Salvage crews hunt for Ethiopian airliner black boxes (AFP)

Racism in Lebanon? Commenters Respond to Ethiopian Airline 409 Tragedy

British investigators say Ethiopian Airlines plane crash ‘similar’ to earlier disaster

Ethiopian Airlines plane makes emergency landing (AFP)

Navy sends second ship to aid Ethiopian flight salvage
(By Stars and Stripes, daily newspaper published for the U.S. military)

Ethiopian crash jet flight recorders found off Lebanon (BBC)

Army says black boxes located from Ethiopian crash (The Associated Press)

The Latest Press Release from Ethiopian Airlines

Terrorism cannot be ruled out in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 (Canada Free Press)

Ethiopian plane black box found, toll reaches 32 (Indo Asian News Service)

Flight ET409 Exposes Lebanon’s Racist Underbelly (Huffington Post)

Ethiopian Air #409 Crashes near Beirut — The Coverage So Far

Boats scour ocean for Beirut crash black boxes (AP)

Was The Doomed Ethiopian Plane Formerly Owned by Ryanair?

The United States Extends Its Deepest Sympathies

Ethiopian Airlines plane veered off course before sea crash

Ethiopian Airlines CEO on search for plane’s black box

Search widened for victims of Ethiopian jet crash

Names of Passengers Aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409

White House saddened by deaths in Lebanon crash

Storms or sabotage? The mystery of Flight 409

The Colors of Ethiopians: Where Are You From?

(Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tigist Schmidt

Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New York (TADIAS) – “Where are you from?” I am so over it. I am tired of explaining myself over and over again. But what am I supposed to do? Ignore the question? Let them assume?

And once I tell them where I’m from I get responses like: “Oh, really?” “Interesting.” “That’s different. I would have never guessed.” And the list goes on. Now, what can I say to that?

No, not really how the heck am I interesting when you don’t even know me…different from who?”

Killis, Killis, Killis!” That’s what cheeky children would yell in the rural areas of Ethiopia, pointing their finger at me with great laughter. All I do is smile, too shy to respond in my broken Amharic. When I am introduced to other Ethiopians, the majority are uncertain whether they should speak to me in English or in Amharic. I introduce myself as Tigist and it confuses them more.

“Oh, are you Ethiopian?” they ask with a surprise look. Often it is assumed that I am of a different race and people sometimes talk to me in languages I don’t understand.

Once in London a five year old Ethiopian boy, Yohannes, asked me in his posh British accent:

“Tigist, are you black or are you white?”

“I am grey”, I answered.

I am Ethiopian and German. I was born in the United States. I grew up in Nigeria, Argentina and Germany. When I was sixteen I moved to the United States and later on to the United Kingdom. At the moment I am back in the United States, unsure of where I am going next. But no matter where I go, I always get the same question:

Where are you from?
Where did your parents meet?
Where are they living now?
What languages do you speak?
Where did you grow up?

Basically, I have to give them my life story before I can even ask them a question. Usually it’s just out of genuine curiosity, and in those instances I’m willing to share my story. Sometimes it’s even fun to let them guess where I’m from. Depending on where I am at that very moment, I get the most bizarre answers. I have heard everything but Asian as a guess.

No one has ever reckoned I would be Ethiopian and German. Sometimes I just agree to whatever they say and see how far I can take it. Other times, they are just shocked and look at me saying, “But you look like…” As if I don’t know what I look like.

There is seriously nothing that can shock me anymore. I’ve heard it all before, and take it with humor. I try to use my ambiguity to my advantage. I constantly walk in and out of cultures, capable of fooling, perhaps anyone, at least for a while. It’s not always funny though. There are times when I get real ignorant questions such as:

“Has Ethiopia been colonized by Germans?” or even “Is Ethiopia in Africa?”

Most of my friends refer to me as “My Ethiopian-German friend.”

Once people get to know me, however, they get over the fact that I am Ethiopian and German. But still, they find it really amusing when I have to explain myself to others.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories


Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.