Author Archive for Tadias

In U.S. Exhibit Tracks History of Fake News Dating Back to 1600s

The notion of fake news has been around for hundreds of years since the days of England's King Charles II who banned coffee in the 1600s in an effort to control the news. The king wanted to put a stop to the critiques of his reign coming from coffeehouses where people met to discuss politics & events. (Image: WSJ)

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A museum exhibit in Columbia, Missouri is unpacking how the concept of fake news has developed over time.

The Boone County History and Culture Center recently opened the exhibit, “The History of Fake News (and the Importance of the World’s Oldest School of Journalism),” the Columbia Missourian reported . Visitors can learn until January about how misinformation spreads.

Curator Clyde Bentley, a professor at University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, said fake news started long before President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“We’ve had this notion of fake news since the days of Charles II,” Bentley said.

England’s King Charles II banned coffee in the 1600s in an effort to control the news, Bentley said. Coffeehouses were places where politics and events were discussed. Charles II wanted to put a stop to the critiques of his reign coming from those establishments.

The exhibit outlines three types of fake news: error, hoax and real information that someone says isn’t true, according to Bentley. The museum also analyzes how bots on social media networks control conversations with misinformation.

Bentley said the goal of the exhibit is for visitors to leave knowing they should examine news more carefully.

“My real hope is people will come in here with an open mind and come out and say, ‘I better check this out a little better,’” Bentley said. “We should all do that.”


Related:
The Fake-News Fallacy (The New Yorker)

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Helen Show Hosts 2nd Empower the Community Event at DC Convention Center

Helen Mesfin of the Helen show on EBS TV. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Among the headliners later this week at the 2nd Annual Empower the Community event in Washington D.C. are Alexander Assefa, a Democrat elected to the 42nd district of the Nevada State Assembly, and Nina Ashenafi Richardson, the first Ethiopian-American judge who was re-elected to the Leon County bench in Florida in 2014 after first being elected to the judgeship in 2008.

The program, which was launched last year by the producers of the Helen Show on EBS TV, brings together leaders from diverse professional backgrounds for a day-long session of information sharing and networking. According to organizers the 2018 guest speakers also include Lulit Ejigu, Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase; Dr. Yared Tekabe, Research Scientist at Columbia University; immigration attorneys Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu as well as Almaz Negash, Founder & Executive Director of African Diaspora Network.

The family-friendly gathering combines the broadcast experience of the event’s founder Helen Mesfin, host of the Helen Show, with her professional work in the hospitality industry, and aims to create a space for community members to participate in panel discussions as well as provide resources and information for families. The event is scheduled to be held at the DC Convention Center on Saturday, August 18th.

Below is a summary of parts of the program on August 18th from 11am-8pm at the Washington Convention Center

The Power of Civic Engagement:
Amaha Kassa, Founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together
Semhar Araya, UNICEF USA’s Managing Director for Diaspora & Multicultural Partnership
Samuel Gebru, Director of Community Engagement and Partnership, Cambridge Community Center
Alexander Assefa, Democrat elected to the 42nd district of the Nevada State Assembly
Tebabu Assefa, Community Leader, Social Entrepreneur

Leadership Panel:
Dr. Senait Fisseha, MD,JD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director of International Programs at the Susan T. Buffett Foundation
Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson , Elected Leon County Judge 2008 & 2014
Almaz Negash, Founder & Executive Director of African Diaspora Network

Science & Technology:
Mark Gelfand, Founder STEM Synergy, STEM-minded financial systems pioneer
Yared Tekabe, Ph.D, Research Scientist at Columbia University
Solomon Mulugeta Kassa, Producer & Host of TechTalk with Solomon television (EBS), Author & Consultant at Deloitte
Tsegaye Legesse, CPA, MBA, Accounting Manager at National Institute of Health, Chief Financial Officer of OnePupil, and Board Member at STEM Synergy

Young Trailblazers:
Nate Araya, Brand Strategist, Story Teller at All Creative Degital
Melat Bekele, Founder Habesha Networks
Sam Kebede, Actor
Helen Fetaw, Actively Engaged in community service related to health care
Selamawit Bekele, Co-Founder, Africa Leads

Business Leaders Panel: Getting To The Top: Strategies for breaking through the
Glass Ceiling with successful Ethiopian American and Eritrean American business
leaders.
Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records, and President of Urban
Music/Co-Head of Creative at Universal Publishing Music Group
Michael Andeberhan, CFA, CAIA is Executive Director & Head of Investment
Consultant Coverage at MSCI in New York.
Lulit Ejigu, Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase
The Event will have the Following Pavilions

Health & Fitness Pavilion
Free Health Screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente, American Kindy Fund,
Med Star Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood
Glucose, Dental Screening, Fitness Consultants, ZUMBA, Resources for Families
with Special Needs, Giveaways and much more
Our partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, American Kidney
Fund, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles
as well as Ethiopian American doctors

Career Pavilion: Career Resources in the Community
Hear high energy career motivational speakers
Learn Career Advancement tips

Participate in Informational Interviews
Receive mini career coaching
Assess your career aptitudes
Partner Organizations: 21st Century Community, YEP – Your Ethiopian Professionals, Alexandria Workforce Development and MBC

Finance Pavilion will cover the following topics:
Raising Money Savvy Kids-Financial Responsibility
Creating Generational Wealth
Dealing with College Debt
Get Your Credit Right
Securing Your Families Financial Future
Home Buying 101
Partner Organization Primerica, CLRA group and Your DMV Team

Kids Corner
Reading Time/Games/Fun Exercises/ Art

Sessions 1
Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorney Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu
Fear NOT, Know Your Rights as Immigrants 11:00 am

Surviving the Stop – How to Engage with Law Enforcement 1:00pm
Teaching Kids & Young Men What to Expect and Know

Session 2
Warrior Moms- Special Needs Parenting
Minding Your Family Relationship
Alzheimer and Dementia and Support for Caregivers


If You Go:
Saturday August 18, 2018
11am -7pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

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The Great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie: Why I am Suddenly Optimistic About the Future of Ethiopia

In the following opinion article published on the TRUE Africa website on Friday, Joel Makonnen, the great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, explains why he feels suddenly optimistic about the future of Ethiopia. Makonnen lives in Washington and works as an attorney for a multinational pharmaceutical corporation. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed speaking in DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 28th, 2018/Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

TRUE Africa

By Joel Makonnen

On April 2, 2018, with Ethiopia on the edge of political collapse, more than 100 million Ethiopians witnessed something different. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, an energetic, visionary and unifying figure of mixed Muslim Oromo and Christian Amhara heritage, became Prime Minister. Dr. Abiy’s appointment marks the first time power was transferred peacefully in Ethiopia. But it is also significant because his rise to power can be seen as the manifestation of Ethiopians’ yearning for a dynamic agent of democratic change.

Dr. Abiy was an unlikely candidate. A soldier in the armed struggle against the oppressive Marxist Derg regime, he went on to earn a PhD in conflict resolution, entering politics quietly only a few years ago. As Prime Minister, he has been uncharacteristically outspoken about the problems facing government and strident in his pursuit of justice, both unusual for an official from the ruling coalition, not to mention for an African leader.

In his inauguration speech, Dr. Abiy announced sweeping reforms, which he is implementing at a thrilling speed. He negotiated changes that ended years of divisive protests. He lifted the state of emergency, ordered the release of thousands of political prisoners, denounced human rights violations and removed key figures responsible for perpetrating them.

Dr. Abiy also addressed governance issues for which Ethiopia had become notorious. He removed political opposition groups from a “terrorist” list established to shut down dissent, restored internet access and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels. He gave an historic speech on HIM Emperor Haile Selassie, recognizing the need for healing and reconciliation 40 years after the Ethiopian Revolution and the ensuing Red Terror. And critically, Dr. Abiy concluded a costly (human and financial) 20-year conflict with our brothers and sisters in neighboring Eritrea. He is being compared to historic leaders like Obama, Macron and Mandela – after only 100 days in office.

But as optimism dominates the headlines, there are murmurs of concern about Dr. Abiy’s alleged tendency to act unilaterally. Some also question whether things can be this good over the long-term and still others point to the need for consensus among the ruling coalition party.

We have to temper our expectations. One man cannot have all the answers, and in the haste of effecting significant change, he will make mistakes. For example, he is considering a pardon for former Derg officials, even the Chairman and dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam. I support efforts to unite the country. However, to equate the pardoning of Derg officials with pardoning unjustly accused political dissidents, releasing political prisoners and ending a needless war with Eritrea is a false moral equivalency.

Under the Red Terror – a wave of violence, arbitrary incarcerations, torture, and mass killings – an estimated half-million people died at the hands of Derg officials. The Ethiopian Diaspora itself is a result of it. I urge Dr. Abiy to consider Rwanda and South Africa, which teach us that dealing with such trauma is a years-long process that must be managed carefully. People who commit atrocities should not be forgiven until they have first sought forgiveness and made amends.

Despite mild fears and healthy skepticism, there is far more we celebrate – for Ethiopia, and Ethiopians, everywhere. And with such a bold agenda of reforms, Dr. Abiy will need all of our help to realize his vision. The United States is home to an estimated 500,000 Ethiopians and many of us stand ready to support the new administration. Several Ethiopian attorneys and I have organized a lawyers’ association. We avail ourselves to the new administration to help with legislative and institutional reforms, constitutional amendments, and any other legal counsel needed.

The Ethiopian community was joined by our countrymen from across the United States for Dr. Abiy’s historic visit which included trips to Washington, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles where he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. Every Ethiopian I’ve spoken with, including my family, delights at the prospect of rebooting a positive relationship with our government. And it is a great feeling to know the new administration wants to hear from the Diaspora, too. If this momentum and good faith can be harnessed to sustain a unified front with matching substantive reforms, great things can happen. Ethiopia is rising again and ushering in an era of peace, prosperity, and freedom. As we say in Amharic, Yichalal (We can succeed)!

You can read this and other great stories on culture, music, sports, lifestyle, politics, fashion and tech in Africa and the diaspora at trueafrica.co »


Related:
In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s DC Convention Center Gathering & Town Hall Meeting
10,000 Give PM Abiy Ahmed a Rock-Star Greeting at Target Center in Minneapolis
In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s Visit to LA
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at ConventionCenter
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Assab to Addis: Ethiopia & Eritrea to Build Oil Pipeline With Help From UAE – Reuters

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki during the Inauguration ceremony marking the reopening of the Eritrean Embassy in Addis Ababa on July 16, 2018. Photo: /Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

Reuters

UAE plans oil pipeline from Ethiopia to Eritrea in latest Horn of Africa move

The United Arab Emirates plans to build an oil pipeline connecting Eritrea and Ethiopia, the latest sign of the Gulf state’s increasing involvement in the Horn of Africa.

The pipeline will run from Eritrea’s port city of Assab to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, an Ethiopian official said.

Landlocked Ethiopia began extracting crude oil on a test basis from reserves in the country’s southeast in June and will need access through Eritrea in order to export it.

Ethiopian broadcaster Fana first reported the pipeline plan earlier on Friday following a meeting in Addis Ababa between Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE’s minister of state for international cooperation.

The UAE played a behind-the-scenes role in helping Ethiopia and Eritrea end a two-decade state of war last month, Reuters reported this week.

Hashimy, who last month publicly referred to herself as the UAE’s policy lead on sub-Saharan Africa, said after meeting Abiy that the UAE is keen to exploit investment opportunities in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people with the fastest growing economy in Africa, Fana reported.

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, told Reuters that the talks were largely on investment in “industries, agriculture, real estate, (the) oil pipeline, (and) resorts”.

“Most are under study,” Fitsum said in a text message.

Read more »


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President of Proposed Ethiopian Diaspora Bank Quits After Board Dispute

Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat announced that he has walked away from his position as President of Marathon International, a recently proposed Ethiopian Diaspora Bank, after a dispute with the Board's leadership. (Photo: Linkedin)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat, who was slated to become President of Marathon International, the proposed first ever Ethiopian Diaspora Bank, has resigned amid a heated Board dispute.

In a recent letter titled “Investor Alert” that was shared with Tadias Magazine Zekarias, who previously worked at PNC and Bank of America, said “for the past year and a half, I have been working as the president of Marathon International Bank, setting up the infrastructure, vendor identification, staff selection, feasibility study and worked on a business plan.” Zekarias noted: “So far FDIC sent our application back twice indicating ‘significantly incomplete.’”

According to the American Banker, “organizers did not include all of Marathon’s policies and procedures in their initial application, [Zekarias] said in the interview. The second time, the agency expressed concern that several directors lived in different states and would be unable to come in and run the bank.”

Zekarias reiterates that “there is still a chance to resubmit a new application. However, the FDIC numerously communicated to us that the current board members are not fit to serve. Knowing this would eventually resurface, the Board and its chairman decided to go forward.”

In his interview with the American Banker, Zekarias said that he still hopes the project could be revived, but insisted that the board has to be reorganized from scratch. Zekarias noted that “he would be open to rejoining the de novo if that happens.” The American Banker said it had also reached out to the current chairman of Marathon International, Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former managing director of the Development Bank of Ethiopia, but Tekalign was not immediately available for comment.

“The FDIC is not the problem,” Zekarias told the American Banker. “They are really helping us by asking us to correct our mistakes.”

Zekarias had initially been equally optimistic about the launching of the bank, expressing enthusiastically to the media that Marathon International would be a groundbreaking venture for the Diaspora. “Our vision is to help transform the Ethiopian community into a far more economically engaged, creative and vibrant member of the wider and diverse U.S. community,” Zekarias had said. The aim was “to become a differentiated provider of financial services by leveraging our understanding of the unique financial needs of the Ethiopian American Community.”

The American Banker further points out that “organizers filed an application with the FDIC in mid-January. They plan on raising $22 million to $25 million in initial capital” while “Gregory Garrett, who previously served as president and CEO of Platinum Bank in Lubbock, Texas, was identified in the application as the proposed bank’s CEO. Several prominent Ethiopian-Americans agreed to serve on Marathon’s board.”


Related:
Ethiopian American Community Bank to Open in DC

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NYC Medhanialem Church 35th Anniversary Celebration Sept 8th

Traditional Ethiopian Dance (photo courtesy: New York Medhanialem Church)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — One of New York City’s earliest established Ethiopian orthodox churches, Medhanialem, will be celebrating its 35th year anniversary on September 8th, 2018. The celebration includes traditional dance, fashion show, theatre as well as live entertainment from acclaimed Ethiopian comedian Meskerem Bekele. Organizers state that proceeds of the celebration will go towards the building of a multi-purpose center at their current Bronx location.

Medhanialem Church members purchased their current building five years ago in the Norwood section of the Bronx after having used a rental space in Riverside Church in Uptown Manhattan for the past three decades.


If You Go:
Medhanialem Church Anniversary Celebration
Date: Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Time: 6pm – 12am
Location: South Hall, Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Admission (with dinner)
Adults: $50 advance purchase $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID at the door)
Children under 12 get free entrance

Click here for ticket purchase
For further information please call 732-766-3895

Related:
Video & photos: Inauguration of the Historic NYC Medhanialem Church in the Bronx in 2014

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UN Women Features Rarely Told Stories of Female Farming Groups in Ethiopia

Through women’s cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving. (Photo: Tulule Knife uses the modern grain storage facility known as metallic silo that her village administration awarded her for successfully applying the line sowing approach to her wheat farm. It also keeps her grain safer. Courtesy UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

UN Women

Women’s cooperatives boost agriculture and savings in rural Ethiopia

In most parts of the Dodola district, 300 km south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, slow-moving oxen plowing opens stretches of farmland. But in one field, a red tractor is speedily tilling women’s cooperative owned farmland ahead of the rainy season.

For Kamso Bame, a widowed mother of 12 and owner of 2.5 acres of land, the tractor has shaved off days of grueling labour.

Bame is among more than 2,000 smallholder women farmers involved in a joint UN programme to boost sustainable agricultural production and rural women’s economic empowerment, through training and cooperatives.

After Bame joined the women’s cooperative in her village of Wabi Burkitu, she received a 7,000 Birr (259 USD) loan, which she used to start a cart-transport service. Bame uses her daily average income of 400 Birr (15 USD) to support her children, four of whom live independently. Her membership also enables her to cultivate the land using a tractor owned by the cooperative.

“Before the death of my husband, whenever the rainy season came, I remember him spending three to four days ploughing the family’s land with the pair of oxen we owned. Each day, he and the oxen used to come back home exhausted,” she recalls. “Today, it is different, as I am privileged to farm the same land with a tractor and it takes a maximum of three hours.”


Kamso Bame takes care of her sheep by her grass-roofed house. Among her long-term plans are to build a new roof with corrugated iron sheets. (Photo: UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

Fast facts on women in agriculture

Women comprise an average of 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, varying considerably across regions from 20 per cent or less in Latin America to 50 per cent or more in parts of Asia and Africa. Less than 20 per cent of landholders are women. Gender differences in access to land and credit affect the relative ability of female and male farmers and entrepreneurs to invest, operate to scale, and benefit from new economic opportunities. Learn more

The tractor is used to farm the land owned by the cooperative as a team, as well as each member’s own land. The cooperative also rents it out to other farmers in 26 villages across the district, whose population is more than 240,000. Charging up to 1,500 Birr (56 USD) per hectare, the cooperative currently earns over 6,000 Birr (222 USD) per day, on average.

Read more »


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Internet Shut Down in Eastern Ethiopia

Violence broke out on Saturday in Jijiga with mobs looting properties owned by ethnic minorities. Security officials shot dead four people, a witness told Reuters. (Photo via Twitter)

Reuters

Updated: AUGUST 8, 2018

Authorities have shut off Internet access in eastern Ethiopia amid an outbreak of violence there, residents said on Wednesday, a sign of the challenges facing reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in containing ethnic tensions in parts of the country.

The residents, one speaking from Oromia region and the other from the city of Harar, said the connection had been down for three days — the first time access has been cut off since parliament lifted a state of emergency in June.

Ethiopian government spokesman Ahmed Shide did not immediately respond to a phone call and a text message seeking comment on the shutdown, which was reported on Tuesday by digital rights group Access Now.

Violence broke out on Saturday in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, with mobs looting properties owned by ethnic minorities. Security officials shot dead four people, a witness told Reuters.

The government said unrest had been stoked by regional officials.

The residents in Oromia and Harar said they were concerned the violence could spread from the Somali region into other parts of eastern Ethiopia, in part because tit-for-tat ethnic reprisals were one part of the unrest that roiled the country for three years until the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Artist Aida Muluneh Directs Fatoumata Diawara’s Music Video

Still photo from Fatoumata Diawara's new music video for her single entitled Nterini, which was filmed in the Dallol, Afar region of Ethiopia. (photo courtesy: Aida Muluneh)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist and photographer Aida Muluneh — whose work was recently part of the “Being: New Photography 2018″ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York — recently collaborated with acclaimed Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara on her new album entitled Fenfo (“Something to Say”) and directed the video for her single entitled Nterini (“My Love”). Fatoumata’s first album was ranked #1 for 6 months on the world music charts in 2011.

Aida Muluneh is the founder of the annual Addis Foto Fest and her photography work is in the permanent collection of several museums in the U.S. including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Aida’s body painting photography was also featured earlier this year in March in W Magazine.

“In a world of 7 billion people there are 1 billion migrants. This is the story of one man’s journey,” says a statement in the opening of Fatoumata’s music video. The lyrics describe the heartache of two lovers who are separated from each other.

The music video for Nterini was filmed in the Dallol, Afar region in Ethiopia. “The location is a photographer’s dream. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I enjoyed directing it,” shared Aida on Instagram.

Below is the dynamic video for Fatoumata Diawara’s Nterini single:


Related:
Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine
Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018
Aida Muluneh’s First Solo Exhibition at David Krut Projects
Tadias Interview: Aida Muluneh on Her Ethiopia Exhibition ‘So Long a Letter’

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In US, Barack Obama Named 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. (@RFKHumanRights)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization announced that it will be honoring the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama with its 2018 Ripple of Hope award.

“My father believed; ‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” said Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy. “On the 50th anniversary of his historic campaign for the White House, we honor laureates who have sent forth countless ripples of hope to millions of people inspired by their example.”

The former U.S. President will share the accolade along with Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard.

“Laureates were selected for their exceptional work toward a more just and peaceful world,” the nonprofit said in a press release.

“Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights founder Ethel Kennedy will award the Laureates during the annual Ripple of Hope Gala at the New York Hilton Midtown on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.”

President Obama said: “Bobby Kennedy was one of my heroes. I first got into public service because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, believing that my own salvation was bound up with the salvation of others. That’s something he expressed far better than I ever could when he talked about the power that comes from acting on our ideals, those ripples of hope that can ‘sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’ That’s what I’m determined to help inspire and cultivate over the rest of my career – the idea that anybody can be one of the millions of acts of conscience and voices raised against injustice, the idea that anybody can be one of the ‘million different centers of energy and daring’ who, like Bobby Kennedy, have always changed the world for the better.”

The press release added: “2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. The Ripple of Hope Gala caps an incredible year of commemoration and activism by celebrating those who work to advance the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy in our challenging modern times.”

Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Bono, George Clooney, Robert Smith, Harry Belafonte, Howard Schultz, Joe Biden, Congressman John Lewis, Tim Cook, Tony Bennett, and Robert De Niro.

“Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States. Following his roles as a community organizer, constitutional law professor, and U.S. Senator, Obama was elected President in 2008, taking office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades. His leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the healthcare system to cover another twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage, Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership helped wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorists, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and unite humanity in coordinated action to combat a changing climate. In his post-presidency, President Obama remains committed to lifting up the next generation of leaders through his work with the Obama Foundation.”


Learn more and purchase tickets at rfkhumanrights.org.

Related:
Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

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WSJ Profiles the Late Semegnew Bekele

Engineer Semegnew Bekele devoted his life to Ethiopia’s ambitious dam. The project manager of what is expected to be Africa’s biggest dam was found shot dead in his car at 53. (Getty Images)

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal Profiles Ethiopia’s Nile Dam Engineer the Late Semegnew Bekele

Diminutive and agile, Semegnew Bekele usually wore a high-visibility vest and construction helmet while working on the banks of the Blue Nile on Ethiopia’s side of the border with Sudan, considered one of the world’s most inhospitable construction sites.

Most of his work as project manager of what is expected to be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam occurred at night, when the temperatures dropped below 100 degrees. The site teemed with thousands of workers.

Read the full story at wsj.com »


Related:
Construction manager of Ethiopia’s Nile River dam found dead (AP)

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US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

Jawar Mohammad (second from left) pictured with PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport last week has returned to Ethiopia after 13 years in exile. (Photo: Abiyu Tegegn @abiyu_b/Twitter)

AFP

ADDIS ABABA: Jawar Mohammad, an online activist and fierce critic of Ethiopia’s one-party government through his outlet Oromia Media Network, returned to the country on Sunday after 13 years in exile.

Jawar is the latest opponent of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to come home since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April and announced sweeping reforms.

“It’s good to be here! It’s good to be not a terrorist anymore!” Jawar told a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa.

Through his media outlet OMN, Jawar has promoted strikes and anti-government protests, particularly among the country’s largest ethnic group the Oromo.

Protests that began in late 2015 among the Oromo and then spread to the second-largest group the Amhara left hundreds dead and prompted the government to twice declare a nationwide state of emergency to halt the unrest.

It also played a role in the resignation last February of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who struggled to appease the protesters.

Hailemariam’s government banned the OMN and last year levied charges of inciting violence against Jawar, who lived in the United States.

Those charges were dropped after Abiy took office.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Jawar said he planned to stay in Ethiopia for good and would focus on expanding OMN’s operations and re-orienting its editorial policies.

“OMN was an activist media until now. We took clear sides with the Oromo protests,” Jawar said. “From now on, we’re going to move to the center.”

Since taking office, Abiy, himself an Oromo, has encouraged anti-government activists like Jawar to return to Ethiopia.

He has also freed jailed dissidents and removed several armed groups from Ethiopia’s list of terrorist organizations, while signing a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea that ended two decades of hostilities.

Through his work with OMN, Jawar has become a controversial household name in Ethiopia, but he swore off seeking elected office.

“I think I have done my share for this country,” he said. “I want to have an advisory role from now on.”


(Photo: Jawar_Mohammed greeting PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport for the final leg of a three-state diaspora tour, Jul 30th 2018/Mohammed Ademo @OPride on Twitter)


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From Janitor to Nurse: How an Ethiopian immigrant Seized His American Dream

Ethiopian immigrant Hakeem Abdulwahab is a nurse at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, a non-profit hospital, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

Star Tribune

Growing up in Ethiopia, Hakeem Abdulwahab thought only guys like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone could live the American dream.

“I’d watch Hollywood action movies and see that it’s clean here, it’s beautiful, everyone has cars,” he said. “But America was like a dream country … impossible to get to.”

With a little luck and a lot of perseverance, Abdulwahab at 36, has achieved his version of the American dream: Once he scrubbed toilets at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. Now he works there as a nurse.

“If it was cleaning a toilet, cleaning a floor, getting a towel or making a bed, whatever task he was assigned to do at any given moment, he did it with conviction and he did it with heart,” said Tammy Sinkfield-Morey, nursing supervisor at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.

“Now he’s progressed from one of our lower level positions to one of our most admired positions.”

One of eight children, Abdulwahab grew up in Jimma, Ethiopia, about 220 miles southwest of the capital city of Addis Ababa. Abdulwahab helped his father produce and sell coffee, one of the only ways to make money, he said. Business often was fickle, due to a cholera outbreak and the amount of time — 3 to 5 years — it took for Arabica trees to produce fruit.

“We were so poor then,” he said. “Some days I didn’t eat anything. Basic necessities like food and water were a luxury.”

As a teenager, Abdulwahab’s parents sent him to live with his older sister in Addis Ababa so that he could attend high school.

On his summer breaks, he learned English with the intention of going to college. When that time came, Abdulwahab couldn’t afford college, so he returned home to once again help his family with the coffee business.

“I always hoped to work and send money to my Mom and Dad,” he said. “I will sacrifice my life for them.”

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In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s Visit to LA

Ethiopians greeting Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 29th, 2018. (Photo: Courtesy Elias Wondimu/TSEHAI Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 3rd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Below are photographs from Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 29th, 2018.

The event took place at Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) where a cheerful crowed of thousands welcomed the Ethiopian prime minister to L.A.


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DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at ConventionCenter
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopia in Africa’s Week in Pictures: BBC

Ethiopian diaspora cheer Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during his visit to the US. (Reuters)

BBC News

Africa’s week in pictures: July 27 – August 2, 2018

August 3rd, 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week.


The arrival of the Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Bishop Merkorios, who’d been in exile for 27 years, is met with harp music and song in Addis Ababa. (Reuters)


Other members of the welcoming musical ensemble in the Ethiopian capital perform on ceremonial horns. (Reuters)

Read more and see the rest of the photos at BBC.com »


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Eskinder Nega: I’ve Spent a Fifth of my Life in Prison Just for Doing the Work of a Journalist

Ethiopian Journalist Eskinder Nega after being released from prison in Feb 2018. (Photo Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images/Yonas Tadesse)

Time

By Eskinder Nega

I became a journalist by accident. I was in my twenties. For the first time in Ethiopia’s history, we had independent magazines. I knew we had to venture into freedom of expression and push the boundaries, so I wrote articles criticizing the Ethiopian regime’s abuse of power. My newspaper became the first to be charged under the press law; my editor and I the first to be imprisoned.

I am 48 now. Since 1993, I’ve been imprisoned on nine separate occasions on various charges. I’ve spent almost one fifth of my life in prison—simply for doing the work of a journalist. This year I was released after spending more than six years in prison. Even though I am a peaceful person, the Ethiopian government convicted me on terrorist charges. Throughout the world, such charges are frequently leveled against dissident journalists like me who challenge their governments.

I’ve seen every side of prison life. I have been kept in dark cells, measuring less than two square meters. As I slept it was as though my head was touching the wall and my feet were touching the door. It was so dark I couldn’t see my hand. I was allowed to go to the bathroom twice a day. A shower was out of the question.

Once, when the state had locked me up for my journalism, the authorities tortured me. They beat me on the inside of my feet, the most common type of torture in the world. But I didn’t experience the worst of it.

My son was born in prison. The Ethiopian government had imprisoned my wife and I after the 2005 elections. He had to go and live with his grandmother because the conditions were so bad. My wife and I would meet during court sessions, but apart from that we were not allowed to see each other. My son is 11 now and lives in the United States. I haven’t seen him since I was imprisoned in 2012. The prospect of meeting him is both exciting and terrifying. I am not perfect and I am not the legend he thinks I am. I hope he won’t be too disappointed when he gets to know me.

Read more »


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Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Meet in Zimbabwe Setting Social Media Buzzing

Social media is buzzing about the surprise meeting between Ethiopia's ex-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Hailemariam in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday. (Photo via Twitter)

AP

By Elias Meseret 

Ex-Ethiopian dictator Mengistu meets former leader in Harare

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The former Ethiopian dictator Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam has met with Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Wednesday.

The surprise meeting between Hailemariam, who was Ethiopia’s Prime Minister until he resigned in April 2018, and Mengistu has stunned many in Ethiopia who had a rare glimpse of Mengistu since he fled the country in 1991 as rebels, who now make up the ruling coalition, approached the capital, Addis Ababa.

A photo of the meeting between Mengistu and Hailemariam, who was in Zimbabwe as head of the African Union’s election observers’ mission, was widely shared on social media and many Ethiopians expressed amusement at the former strongman’s appearance.

“Mengistu has gained weight and looks very old. I’m very surprised to see that photo,” Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia, wrote on Facebook.

Others said Mengistu should still face justice in Ethiopia. “Looks like he’s living comfortably in Zimbabwe when he really should be in an Ethiopian maximum security prison or at The Hague. I certainly wouldn’t have met him, let alone taken a photo,” another Facebook user, Samuel Gebru, wrote.

Mengistu was head of the military junta that overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor, Haileselassie, in 1974. He ruled the country in an iron grip for 17 years during which he implemented a crackdown named “Red Terror” in which tens of thousands of Ethiopians were allegedly killed. Some estimates put the number of killed in hundreds of thousands.

“Mengistu is a man with much blood on his hands,” tweeted Martin Plaut, a specialist on East African politics.

The ex-dictator fled to Zimbabwe after losing power and escaped an assassin’s bullet in 1995 while jogging near his Harare home. Former President Robert Mugabe refused Ethiopian government requests to extradite Mengistu, who supported Mugabe’s guerrilla fighters in the war against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then called.

Mengistu was put on trial in absentia in Ethiopia where he was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison for genocide.

Calls have been made for the current Ethiopian reformist leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to allow Mengistu to return home without having to go to jail following the release of several political prisoners.


(Photo via Twitter)


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Ethiopian Scientists Develop New Sorghum Variety

Ethiopia releases new, perennial sorghum variety. (Photo: Farmer examining heads of Sorghum/Copyright: Panos)

SciDev.Net

By: Biruktayet Bihon

[ADDIS ABABA] Ethiopian scientists have developed a new sorghum variety that could lead to multiple yields annually.

According to the National Statistics Agency in Ethiopia, the country has almost two million hectares of sorghum fields, and harvests about four million tonnes of sorghum grains every year.

The new sorghum variety is expected to produce yields two to three times a year with continuous water supply and at least once when there is water scarcity, said Gethaun Mekuriya, Ethiopia’s minister of science and technology, during the release of the new variety in Ethiopia last month (28 June).

“The benefit of this new variety is … that once you sow it, you don’t need to till the land for up to five years.” — Talegeta Loul, Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC

Talegeta Loul, general manager of Ethiopia-based Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC, said that the national average yield for sorghum is about 2,400 kilograms per hectare, but the new variety could increase yields fivefold.

One of the new variety’s unique characteristic, according to Loul, is that it can produce yields for seven to ten growing years without the need for ploughing.

Loul, who led the research team to produce the new sorghum variety, told SciDev.Net: “We have￿￿ struggled enough to give an output for this country where the majority of the people depend on agriculture for food and livelihoods.”

Read more »


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Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s 4th Patriarch, Returns Home After 27 Years in Exile

His Holiness Abune Merkorios arrives in Addis Ababa after 27 years in exile, Wednesday August 1st, 2018. (Photo courtesy Fana Broadcasting)

Anadolu Agency

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia The 4th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Merkorios, returned to his country on Wednesday after spending 27 years in exile in the U.S.

Merkorios arrived in the capital Addis Ababa together with the high-level Ethiopia delegation led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — who was on an unofficial visit to the U.S., where he achieved his target of unifying Ethiopians in the diaspora and turned their attention to social, political and economic activities in Ethiopia.

The patriarch was expelled during the 1991 change of government in what many perceive as an undue political intervention in the affairs of the church. An echelon of the clergy opposing the purge went out of the country and declared themselves as retaining a Synod in exile.

It was mainly the question of legitimacy and ensuing claims and blames that resulted in mutual excommunications of the two Synods.

In a fast-paced reconciliation spearheaded by the Ethiopian prime minister, the two Synods agreed to reunite and rescinded their mutual excommunications.

According to the agreement reached in Washington D.C., Patriarch Abune Mathias will serve as an administrative patriarch and Patriarch Abune Merkorios will serve the Church’s spiritual functions on equal authoritative footing.

Since coming to power on April 2, 2018, Ahmed has created a wider political space by releasing political prisoners and calling home exiled dissidents.

Higher government officials, the clergy, eminent personalities and artistes welcomed the prime minister Abiy and the homecoming patriarch.

Pictures: His Holiness Abune Merkorios arrives in Addis Ababa — FANA BROADCASTING


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)

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10,000 Give PM Abiy Ahmed a Rock-Star Greeting at Target Center in Minneapolis

Ten thousand people gathered at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota to welcome PM Abiy Ahmed on Monday, July 30th, 2018. (Photo via Twitter @OPride)

TwinCities.com

Ethiopia’s prime minister found a patient and exuberant audience of about 10,000 on Monday afternoon at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Abiy Ahmed, 41, took office in April and has moved quickly to promote peace and diplomacy in East Africa.

He has warmed relations with neighboring Eritrea, released thousands of political prisoners, ended a state of emergency in the country and moved to privatize Ethiopia’s state-owned enterprises.

A member of the Oromo ethnic group, which claims a third of Ethiopia’s residents and an estimated 40,000 in the Minnesota diaspora, Abiy received a rock star’s greeting in the third city of his bridge-building U.S. tour.

Four hours after the event was slated to begin, Abiy took the podium amid hundreds of waving flags of both Ethiopia and the Orono Liberation Front.

Dursito Roro, an Ethiopian citizen living in Fargo, N.D., said she had to be here for the event. She poured out praise for a leader who kept a low profile until earlier this year: He respects women. He is making peace with other countries. He wants to unify their nation of rival tribes.

“He smiles. That’s the most amazing thing,” she said. “African leaders don’t smile.”

College student Murkata Gata made the trip from Chicago to see Abiy speak.

“He is changing a lot of things in our country, so we’re trying to support the idea of what he’s doing,” he said. “He’s trying to unify everyone.”

Hours before the event began, young men waved a banner on the stage reading “Qeerroo rules,” celebrating the Oromo youth movement that pushed Abiy’s predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, out of office.

Abiy shared his speaking time with Jawar Mohammed, founder of Minnesota-based Oromia Media Network. A Qeerroo supporter, Mohammed faced terror-related charges in Ethiopia until Abiy had them dropped.


(Photo via Twitter @OPride)


(Photo via Twitter @OPride)


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Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs
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First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s DC Convention Center Gathering & Town Hall Meeting

Participants at PM Abiy Ahmed's public gathering at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 28th, 2018 (Photo: Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: July 30th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — With PM Abiy Ahmed’s tour in DC ending with a public gathering at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and a town hall meeting on Saturday, July 28th followed by a visit to Los Angeles, CA, he is now scheduled to greet the Ethiopian Diaspora community in Minneapolis, MN.

The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities,” Mayor Bowser said. Organizers of the Los Angeles event have also shared that an “Ethiopia Day” proclamation was presented on behalf of the City Council on July 29th, 2018.

Below are images from PM Abiy’s address at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, July 28th as well as the evening town hall meeting.


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Ethiopians From Around America Greet PM Abiy in DC (Washington Post)

Ethiopians from around the country wait to enter the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday to see their homeland’s newly minted prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

‘He’s a hugger . . . so I want to hug him’: Ethiopian exiles greet new prime minister

Hulgize Kassa, a 52-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., earned his spot at the front of the line.

The father of two camped outside Walter E. Washington Convention Center starting at midnight Friday, watching as Ethiopians from as far as Colorado and Texas arrived with boxes of food, speakers and selfie sticks. By 7  a.m. Saturday, thousands had gathered in the streets spanning Mount Vernon Place to N Street, honking car horns and sharing food. Most wore T-shirts emblazoned with the face of their homeland’s newly minted prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

In the three months since his rise to power, the 41-year-old politician has introduced sweeping changes to Ethiopia, lifting a state of emergency, brokering peace with neighboring Eritrea and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. These dramatic steps toward liberalization have sparked “Abiy-mania” within the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, which, for decades, stood among the fiercest critics of the ruling party’s autocratic regime.

Abiy is in the United States to visit and speak to members of the diaspora. The Washington area is home to some 300,000 Ethiopians, making it the largest community outside the African country.

“I want to hug him. He’s a hugger, I know, so I want to hug him,” said Kassa, a researcher at North Carolina State University. When Kassa first came to the United States in 2000, he never thought he would go back to his homeland. But Abiy’s ascension has changed his mind, he said. He plans to visit his home in the Amhara region next year, and bring his children, 12 and 14, with him.

Abede Yimenu, a former major in the Ethiopian army, said he is also thinking of going home after having been away for 17 years.

Read more »


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Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
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In LA, PM Abiy Ahmed to Address Ethiopian Diaspora Conference at USC

(Photo: Street sign in Los Angeles' Little Ethiopia neighborhood/Tadias file)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Wrapping up the first leg of his three-city U.S. tour that kicked off in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 26th, Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed is now headed to the West Coast to speak at the Ethiopian Diaspora Conference in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 29th.

The LA event is scheduled to take place at Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC).

Organizers say the City Council of Los Angeles will hand an ‘Ethiopia Day’ proclamation to the PM during the gathering.

The event is free and first-come-first-serve until it is filled to capacity.


If You Go:
Ethiopian Diaspora Conference with remarks by Ethiopian Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed
Sunday July 29th, 2018
Doors open at 12:00 PM (Noon)
Program begins at 2:00 PM
Galen Center at USC
A3400 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90089

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DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at Convention Center
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Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Why Ethiopia is Grieving ‘Hero’ Dam Engineer Simegnew Bekele

The death of Simegnew Bekele, the project manager of the multi-billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, has been met by an outpouring of grief in Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

BBC News

Condolences flooded social media from journalists, businessmen academics, ambassadors and even flag-carrying Ethiopian Airlines after it was reported that Mr Simegnew’s body was found in a car in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday.

The police are investigating the circumstances of his death. He died as a result of a bullet wound and a hand gun was found in his car, which was parked in Meskel Square in the city centre.

By the afternoon, hundreds had taken to the streets in the capital, as well as Mr Simegnew’s hometown of Gondar, with protesters demanding “justice” for the late engineer.

To understand why a project manager has managed to elicit such shock and widespread mourning – normally seen in other countries after the death of royalty, celebrities or politicians – one has to look at what the Grand Ethiopian Dam has come to represent.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian dam engineer Simegnew Bekele’s funeral draws thousands

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Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Friday, July 27th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — On Friday, July 27th Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed continued his U.S. tour and met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora business community as well as individuals representing political organizations in Washington D.C.

PM Abiy is culminating his East Coast visit with a free public address to greet the larger Ethiopian Diaspora in the D.C. metropolitan area later this afternoon at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Earlier in the week on Thursday, July 26th PM Abiy Ahmed had taken part in the peace and reconciliation event between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia upon his arrival in Washington DC. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation.

In addition, Dr. Abiy who is also scheduled to travel to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th, met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Friday, July 27th. Pence tweeted: “Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today at the @WhiteHouse. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea.”

The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of his visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. The Mayor said she will join Prime Minister Abiy at the Convention Center on Saturday. “The Ethiopian community is such a valued part of our city, and our Ethiopian neighbors have played a critical role in building the diverse, inclusive, and vibrant Washington, DC that we live in today,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities.” The Mayor’s proclamation highlights that “since assuming office in April of 2018, Dr. Abiy has focused on improving human rights, ending the war with Eritrea, pursuing political and economic reforms, and eliminating corruption, that will move Ethiopia toward a more democratic society.”

The Mayor added on Twitter: “We are honored to welcome @PMOEthiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, DC. I look forward to joining thousands of Ethiopians from across the region tomorrow as we proclaim July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC.”

In the meantime below are sounds and images from PM Abiy’s visit on Friday, July 27th as he engaged with the Diaspora business community and political leaders:


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DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Joins PM Abiy at Convention Center

In recognition of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC.” (Photo: Mayor Bowser Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.

Mayor Bowser said she will join Prime Minister Abiy at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday. Thousands are expected at the venue as PM Abiy holds his first public address greeting the Ethiopian community in the DC metropolitan area.

“The Ethiopian community is such a valued part of our city, and our Ethiopian neighbors have played a critical role in building the diverse, inclusive, and vibrant Washington, DC that we live in today,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities.” The Mayor’s proclamation highlights that “since assuming office in April of 2018, Dr. Abiy has focused on improving human rights, ending the war with Eritrea, pursuing political and economic reforms, and eliminating corruption, that will move Ethiopia toward a more democratic society.”

The Mayor added on Twitter: “We are honored to welcome @PMOEthiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, DC. I look forward to joining thousands of Ethiopians from across the region tomorrow as we proclaim July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC.”

Meanwhile, PM Abiy who is on three city tour of the United States, also met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Friday, July 27th.

Pence tweeted: “Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today at the @WhiteHouse. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea.”


Related:
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.

PM Abiy Ahmed arrives at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. for a private reception on Thursday, July 26th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — PM Abiy Ahmed met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community at a reception held at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday, July 26th as he started his three city tour of the United States this week that will take him to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th as well.

Earlier in the day PM Abiy met with religious leaders and took part in the peace and reconciliation event between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia during his visit to Washington DC. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation.

When PM Abiy arrived at the embassy there was a lone protester holding the Ethiopian flag. The prime minister approached the protestor, inquired about his concerns and insisted that he will not go inside unless he joins him. It’s not clear what the person was protesting, but he was later seen having a good time at the reception inside.

Ethiopia’s prime minister is further expected to encourage investment from the diverse Ethiopian Diaspora community to continue to boost Africa’s fastest-growing economy. As Bloomberg’s Samuel Gebre notes “Abiy Ahmed’s first U.S. trip since taking office in April comes as he shakes up orthodoxies at home, promising a multi-party democracy and to privatize state monopolies, while making peace with long-time foe and neighbor Eritrea. He will hold meetings in Washington D.C. with the Ethiopian business community, religious leaders, think tanks and the public until Saturday, before heading to Los Angeles and Minneapolis, according to Ethiopia’s embassy.”

Thousands are expected on Saturday, July 28th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. as PM Abiy hold his first public address greeting the larger Ethiopian community at a free event open to all individuals.

Below are photos of PM Abiy’s first meeting with the Ethiopian Diaspora in America:


Related:
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Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopian Nile Dam Manager is Found Dead

Investigators inspect the scene, where Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam Project Manager Simegnew Bekele was found dead in his car in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July, 26, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The project manager of a $4 billion Ethiopian dam was found shot dead in his vehicle in Addis Ababa on Thursday, police said, prompting scores of people to take to the streets in the capital and his home city calling for justice.

People in the crowds said they believed Simegnew Bekele had been murdered, though there was no immediate confirmation from the authorities, or details of any motive.

“We have confirmed that engineer Simegnew Bekele was shot dead … He had a bullet wound behind his right ear,” the head of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, Zeinu Jemal, told reporters.

Zeinu said a Colt pistol was found in the vehicle in the city’s Meskel Square – a massive road junction and open space usually packed with vehicles and pedestrians during daylight hours.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was “saddened and utterly shocked” by the death, his chief of staff said in tweet.

Simegnew was the public face of the Grand Renaissance Dam project on the River Nile – the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Ethiopia has been pushing on with the project in the face of opposition from Egypt which fears it will affect the flow of the Nile, its main source of water. In June, the leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt vowed to iron out their differences peacefully.

Crowds in Addis Ababa marched to the state television station’s headquarters chanting “No to killings” and “Justice for Simegnew”.

Hundreds also packed the streets of his birthplace, the northern city of Gondar. “Amongst our requests is the repatriation of his body back to his own city,” said one protester, who only gave his name as Geremew.

A Reuters photographer saw blood stains along an arm rest inside his vehicle – a gold Toyota Land Cruiser – before an ambulance took away the body.

The dam is currently only half complete, but the government says it is designed to churn out 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power on completion.


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How Africa’s Youngest Leader Transformed Troubled Ethiopia in Just 100 Days

(Photo via Twitter)

Quartz Africa

The changes are nothing short of seismic, proof that nothing remains the same forever.

In just over 100 days, Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed has taken radical steps aimed at dismantling the country’s troubled past and paving the way for a new future. After years of protests, state killings, ethnic violence, internet shutdowns, and emergency rules, the Horn of Africa nation has made an astonishing and promising turnaround for the better.

Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader at 41, has overseen all this, taking a sledgehammer’s approach in order to establish quick and lasting change on both the local and foreign levels. Domestically, Abiy’s administration announced it would loosen its monopoly on several key economic sectors, including aviation and telecoms. This has reportedly prompted Kenya’s Safaricom to negotiate the entry of its dominant mobile money service M-Pesa in the country. Politically, in a nation where all parliament seats are held by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Abiy has urged the nation to pursue multiparty democracy.

Abiy’s administration also freed prominent opposition leaders and journalists, including Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen who was seized during a stopover in Yemen in 2014.

But it’s Abiy’s work across the east and Horn of Africa region that have brought a sharp focus to his reformist politics. In June, Abiy went to Egypt to assure president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi— in Arabic nonetheless — that Egypt won’t cut its share of the Nile waters. The hugs and smiles that followed the meeting showcased a significant step to breaking the deadlock over who controls the world’s longest river. On his flight home, Abiy brought with him 32 Ethiopian inmates freed from Egyptian prisons.

After decades of political and military impasse, Abiy also announced Ethiopia would accept a 2000 peace deal with Eritrea. That announcement cascaded in a series of events that ended the hostility between the two nations and captured the world and storytellers’ attention. These include the reopening of embassies, the resumption of trade, and the reunification of friends and family after the first commercial flight from Ethiopia crossed into Eritrean airspace this century last week.

Abiy also presided over the first meeting in two years between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his bitter rival, Riek Machar, in an effort to end the five-year civil war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.

With his youthful popularity, Abiy has also become a sort of consigliere of cool, appearing at a concert with Eritrean strongman Isaias Afwerki, and scheduling a dinner date with the famous humanoid robot, Sophia, some of whose software was developed in Ethiopia. He has also appeared at rallies wearing a t-shirt with a Nelson Mandela fist-clinched photo above a slogan that read, “No one is free until the last one is free.”

While many challenges await Abiy after this honeymoon period is over, the reformist politician is proving to be the bearer of good news for now, not only Ethiopia but the region and Africa at large. This week, he will take this message of hope and unity to the diaspora in the United States, where many, including marathoner Feyisa Lilesa, remain hopeful about the change of guard in their home nation.

See the photos at qz.com »


Related:
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Setaweet: Ethiopia’s Capital City is Home to a Burgeoning Women’s Movement

Although a language around women's rights is largely absent from national discussions, Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, is home to a burgeoning women's movement. The city is witnessing growing activity including the first openly declared feminist group called Setaweet. (Photo: Setaweet gathering in Addis by Hasabie Kidanu).

Tadias Magazine
By Hasabie Kidanu

Published: July 24th, 2018

Addis Ababa (TADIAS) – As one of the world’s oldest continuous nation states Ethiopia upkeeps and exports a particular image to the rest of the world — a never-colonized, cradle of life that remains superior to European dominance. The culture is ancient and native with its indigenous national language, music and dress traditions considered sacrosanct. Ethiopia grows at its own pace, and looks inward.

In 2018, Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing national economies in the world and is nested in global networks of wealth, yet the perceived influence of foreign ideas are regarded warily. In a guarded and proud culture social change at the national scale is slow and painstaking. And in spite of generations of evolving global discourses focused on women’s rights, the subordinate position still held by women remains largely undiscussed.

Within this cultural context, how do we make language for an Ethiopian women’s movement? What do we call it? What have we called it in the past? And how do we define, grow, and adapt it? A younger generation of women has grown unsatisfied with the culture’s precedent for male hegemony in both public and domestic spheres. How do we redefine the role of women with liberation, leadership and sisterhood in mind? The greatest challenge facing an Ethiopian women’s movement today is how to fashion a homegrown language, which catalyzes change. How do we elevate consciousness within culture so committed to its customs, traditions and social structures that tends to place women on its margins?

From political participation and property ownership to healthcare access and education the social and legal lag of gender equality is evident here. Most acts of daily violence and domestic abuse go legally unchecked and garner little public outcry. Openly sharing one’s story of gender-based violence remains a taboo. Only a very slim portion of cases of sexual assault in the home and/or workplace are reported and even fewer cases make it to the courts. Media continues to perpetuate and dictate stale ideologies of the Ethiopian woman’s image, responsibility, and behavior. The daily catcall is as common as ever, and can easily escalate to physical violence. How do we raise a generation of women and men who no longer internalize and normalize sexism and violence?

Although a language around women’s rights is largely absent from national discussions, Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is home to a burgeoning women’s movement. The city is witnessing growing activity including the first openly declared feminist group called Setaweet. Setaweet (the Amharic term for ‘of woman’) is the brainchild of Dr. Sehin Teferra, and it started essentially as a meeting, which later morphed into ‘The Setaweet Circle.’ It was, and still is, a safe space for Addis Ababa women to convene. Gathering together from all walks of life women involved with Setaweet speak candidly about their experiences in the workplace, home, city. From these gatherings the ‘Setaweet Open Sessions’ were born, and a free forum open to the public was developed to invite guest speakers, authors, and historians to tackle subjects concerning women’s issues. Here, everything is laid bare — even topics of Ethiopian culture that elsewhere are off limits. Topics such as the all-male clergy of  the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, patrilineal family structures, as well as male privilege and entitlement are discussed. In addition, the Setaweet PLC provides a variety of services and custom designed trainings for public schools, corporate offices, and agencies on women’s leadership, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence.

Setaweet has organized various campaigns throughout the city, often with the support of their partner groups such as the Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Association (EWLA), and The Yellow Movement — a group founded by Addis Ababa University law program faculty and students. Some of the projects include #AcidAttackEducationCampaign (2017); #PagumeActivism initiated by the Yellow Movement to create a platform for sharing incidences of everyday sexism on social media; #AriffAbbat (2017), a collaboration between the Embassy of Sweden and Setaweet to host a photo contest to celebrate and encourage engaged fatherhood; and #NothingforGranted (2018), a collaboration with the European Union Delegation to celebrate the contributions of Ethiopian women through photography.

However, it’s not so much ‘Setaweet,’ but the term ‘feminism’ that has become the trigger word. One of the greatest obstacles and complications of this particular word is that it signals a western import and a foreigner’s ethics onto Ethiopia. It pulls with it a connotation that it has ‘arrived’ to contaminate local customs and religious practices, and the ever-so-cherished Ethiopiawee Bahil. Even though the country has integrated many Western ideals in the past — from clothing, to architecture, to films, music, and food — feminism has not received an easy welcome. Surely, feminism is not new. Although Setaweet is the first to openly identify as a ‘feminist’ collective there have been organized women’s groups that have inched the needle forward for women’s health, legal reforms, social and economic participation.

Ethiopia has not generally witnessed waves of feminism (as we have seen in the West) or properly recorded or historicized organized women’s movements, however, Setaweet has had to sustain criticism that it is ‘too western, radical, hip’ or that the need to champion women as a culture pales in comparison to more nation-pressing issues of prosperity, security, and peace.

“Our goal is clear, it’s activism. The cultural specificity of a city like Addis Ababa is not lost on us,” says co-founder Sehin. “We have declared ourselves feminists. Perhaps other organizations who work to champion women’s rights may not use the word due to the stigma that is associated with the word here. We understand the banner of feminism originally responds to the challenges faced by women in the English speaking world. Yet, work needs to be done here, so fighting for gender equality at home means finding language specific to the challenges facing women in Ethiopia, and how we can raise consciousness to confront Ethiopia’s most closely held cultural ideals. Part of that includes teasing out when and where the Amharic language and media imaging are giving way to harmful and/or sexist attitudes towards the Ethiopian woman.”

Setaweet moves forward still growing and expanding its breadth. The role and need for it is undeniable. In four short years its following has increased while the responsibilities have broadened tremendously. Setaweet has become somewhat of a hotline for the city and community to share, unload, and call out injustices from all over the country – from sexist advertisements in pop-culture to cases of gender-based violence in universities and households. Anything and everything concerning women’s issues is circled through their main channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Perhaps, Setaweet’s most fundamental goal and achievement is that it is fostering an environment for conversation, and in return creating a space for language to evolve within the culture’s context. 


You can learn more about Setaweet on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/SetaweetMovement.

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Ethiopia & Eritrea Set to Play First Soccer Match in 20 years

Ethiopian coach Abraham Mebratu searching for a date to play Eritrea. (Photo Courtesy of Alkass)

BBC News

By Omna Taddele

Ethiopia and Eritrea set for first match in 20 years

Addis Ababa — The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) and its Eritrean counterpart have come to an agreement to stage an historic friendly game in August.

An exact date for the match is yet to be decided but looks set to be played in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

The two nations have been avoiding games against each since the start of a border war in 1998.

In recent weeks peace has returned to the area with diplomatic ties being resumed.

Ethiopia boycotted games against Eritrea in 2000 and refused to take part in the east and central African regional under-20 event organised by Cecafa.

For their part Eritrea have also failed to take part in the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and forfeited a 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Ethiopia.

Newly appointed Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebratu is looking into the best date for the game as he will use it to help prepare for September’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.


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Ethiopia Has ‘No Option’ But Multiparty Democracy, PM Says (AP)

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's reformist and outspoken new prime minister, says multi-party democracy is the only option for Ethiopia's future. (AP photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia has “no option” but to pursue multi-party democracy, the reformist new prime minister said Sunday, again shaking up Africa’s second most populous nation that for decades has been ruled by a single coalition.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff announced the remarks on Twitter, saying they were made during a meeting with leaders of more than 50 national and regional parties, including ones from overseas, who demanded reforms in election law.

A multiparty democracy would need strong institutions that respect human rights and rule of law, Abiy said, according to chief of staff Fitsum Arega.

The 42-year-old prime minister has announced sweeping reforms since taking office in April, including the release of opposition figures from prison and the embrace of a peace deal that led to the surprising restoration of diplomatic ties this month with longtime rival Eritrea.

Just months ago Ethiopia, a nation of more than 100 million people, faced widespread anti-government protests demanding wider freedoms, with the U.N. human rights chief and others expressing concern over hundreds of reported deaths and tens of thousands of people detained. The economy, one of Africa’s fastest-growing, suffered.

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, which has been in power since 1991 and along with affiliated parties holds every seat in parliament, came up with Abiy after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stepped aside early this year. Notably, Abiy doesn’t come from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a party in the ruling coalition that has been the dominant force in government for most of the past 27 years.

Since taking office the new prime minister has surprised Ethiopians by openly acknowledging past torture by security forces, announcing the opening-up of the state-run economy and suggesting that his own position should have term limits.

While the government in the past has called its elections democratic, election observers and human rights groups have reported alleged intimidation and vote-rigging.

“Electoral reform, yes. It must be the top priority. Only speedy transition to electoral democracy will save the country,” Jawar Mohammed, a prominent Ethiopian activist based in the U.S., said Sunday on Facebook.

The recent removal of three groups from Ethiopia’s terror list, yet another of the new reforms, means the Oromo Liberation Front and Ginbot 7 could challenge the ruling coalition in next year’s elections. Their delisting, Abiy’s chief of staff said at the time, “will encourage groups to use peaceful political discourse to achieve political ends.”

While many in Ethiopia have cheered the changes, the dramatic shifts in the country’s long-entrenched government have caused some unrest. A grenade attack last month on a huge rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, shortly after Abiy addressed the crowd killed two people and hurt more than 150.

The ruling coalition blamed “desperate anti-peace elements” and vowed to continue with the reforms.


Related:
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.

(Photos: Outside of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C. (Hannah Gebresilassie/Medill News Service)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 20th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. held a press conference yesterday evening to provide more details on the PM Abiy Ahmed’s upcoming visit to Washington D.C. on July 28th, 2018. The press conference was shared live on a newly launched official Facebook page (PM Abiy in DC #መደመር) designed to promote this event.

Details of the public event provided during the press conference include location and time information, transportation recommendations as well as security details for the gathering as follows:

PM Abiy will greet Ethiopians at a free event hosted at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. on Saturday, July 28th, 2018. There is no registration or payment requirement for the event.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE & LOCATION:

Walter E. Washington Convention Center 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001
9:00AM: Doors Open
1:00pm: Official Program Commence
5:00pm: Program Concludes

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & PARKING INFORMATION:

Metro information:
Yellow/Green line: Mt Vernon Sq/7th St-Convention Center
Red/Green Line: Gallery Place-Chinatown wmata.com for weekend schedule. It is recommended to use public transportation to arrive to the convention for this event.

Parking Information:
There are over 3,000 parking spaces in a three-block radius of the facility. These spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION & TRANSPORTATION:

Close to 500 volunteers in uniform will be assisting attendees with entrance into the venue. Three volunteer cab companies will be transporting attendees from various locations to the venue. Please pay attention for marked taxi vehicles.

SECURITY INFORMATION:

It is highly recommended that attendees do not bring large bags or metal objects. Everyone is subject to security protocol and metal detector screening. In addition, it was advised at the press conference that event participants refrain from bringing their children to the convention center.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS

In addition to the public event at the Walter E. Convention Center a smaller town hall event comprising of 1,500 individuals represented from various sectors and civic organizations have been invited to meet with PM Abiy Ahmed during his visit to Washington D.C.

PM Abiy Ahmed also plans to take part in the peace process event to be held among the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and the synods in Addis Ababa during his visit to Washington DC.

Following the Washington DC event PM Abiy Ahmed will travel to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th to meet with members of the Ethiopian community. The Minneapolis event is scheduled to be hosted at the Target Center (600 N 1st Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403).

Additional information for all events related to PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. can also be found on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrAbiyUSVisit/
Website: www.yemedemerguzo.org
Instagram: #MedemerUSA
Twitter: @MedemerUSA


Related:
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Reuters: Kenya’s Safaricom Taking M-Pesa to Ethiopia

Kenya's Safaricom is in talks with the government of Ethiopia to provide its mobile money service, M-Pesa. (Photo Courtesy: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI — Kenya’s Safaricom (SCOM.NR) is in advanced talks with the Ethiopian government to introduce its popular M-Pesa mobile money service, a major step towards establishing a toe-hold in the market of 100 million people, two sources said on Tuesday.

M-Pesa could transform Ethiopia’s economy, as it has done in Kenya, by allowing people to sidestep a decrepit and inefficient banking system and send each other money and make payments at the touch of a button.

As such, it could bolster the bold political and economic reform drive of new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against opposition from hardliners in the ruling EPRDF coalition.

Started in 2007, M-Pesa has around 20 million active users in Kenya and has become the principal driver of profit growth for the dominant telecoms provider in East Africa as revenue from traditional voice and text services has flattened off.

Over the last decade, it has evolved from a basic money transfer service to a financial platform offering savings, loans and insurance products in conjunction with local lenders.

The deal could also give Safaricom and its parent companies, South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L), a head-start when the Ethiopian government follows through on its stated intention to open up its telecoms sector to foreign companies.

“This is an important milestone for Safaricom,” said Eric Musau, head of research at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank.

Vodafone will license the use of the M-Pesa brand to an Ethiopia-based bank while Safaricom will host the servers in Nairobi, one Kenyan telecoms industry source told Reuters.

Ethiopia’s state telecommunications monopoly, Ethio Telecom, will carry the service, the source added.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Makes Historic Flight to Eritrea

Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights to Eritrean capital Asmara on July 17, 2018. (Photo: AFP)

BBC

Roses and champagne have been given to passengers on the first commercial flight between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 20 years.

Ethiopian Airlines said its “bird of peace” flew to Eritrea, after the end of the “state of war”.

“I am in cloud nine,” flight captain Yosef Hailu told the BBC.

Relatives and friends are expected to be reunited for the first time since a 1998-2000 border war between the two nations shut air and road travel.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has spearheaded a peace process with Eritrea since he took office in April.

He signed a “peace and friendship” agreement with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on 9 July, declaring that the “state of war” was over.

The deal was signed in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, during the first visit by an Ethiopian head of state to the country in 20 years.

Mr Isaias made a reciprocal visit to Ethiopia about a week later.

The two leaders agreed to restore diplomatic ties, and resume air and road travel.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was among the passengers on the historic flight.

He told the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza that he was emotional about making the trip.

“It’s a golden moment for the two countries and the two people,” he said.

Captain Yosef said he was looking forward to meeting friends in Eritrea.

“I’m going back to the place where I grew up. I’m really happy,” he told the BBC.

Ethiopia Airlines tweeted a picture of the pilots in the cockpit before take-off.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Young, New Leader Shakes Up One-Party System — Wall Street Journal
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Obama Speaks to Cheering Crowd on Mandela’s 100th Birthday in South Africa

Obama’s speech in South Africa is his highest-profile address since leaving office. He is marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth and giving an impassioned defense of the values held by the Nobel Peace Prize winner. (Photo: Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 17, 2018/AP)

AP

Obama decries ‘utter loss of shame among political leaders’ in high-profile Mandela address

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — In his highest profile speech since leaving office, former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday denounced the policies of President Donald Trump without mentioning his name, taking aim at the “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment,” and decrying leaders who are caught lying and “just double down and lie some more.”

Obama was cheered by thousands in Johannesburg’s Wanderers Stadium as he marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth by urging respect for human rights, the free press and other values he said were under threat.

He rallied people to keep alive the ideals that the anti-apartheid activist worked for as the first black president of South Africa, including democracy, diversity, gender equality and tolerance.

Obama opened by calling today’s times “strange and uncertain,” adding that “each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.”

“We see much of the world threatening to return to a more dangerous, more brutal, way of doing business,” he said.

A day after Trump met in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama criticized “strongman politics.”

The “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment” are on the move “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago,” Obama added.

“Those in power seek to undermine every institution … that gives democracy meaning,” he said.

The first African-American president of the United States spoke up for equality in all forms, adding: “I would have thought we had figured that out by now.”

Obama praised the diversity of the World Cup champion French team, and he said that those countries engaging in xenophobia “eventually … find themselves consumed by civil war.”

He noted the “utter loss of shame among political leaders when they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more,” warning that the denial of facts could be the undoing of democracy.

But Obama reminded the crowd that “we’ve been through darker times. We’ve been through lower valleys.”

He closed with a call to action: “I say if people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

The crowd gave him a standing ovation in the chilly South African winter.

“Just by standing on the stage honoring Nelson Mandela, Obama is delivering an eloquent rebuke to Trump,” said John Stremlau, professor of international relations at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.

He called the timing of Obama’s speech auspicious — one day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and said the commitments that defined Mandela’s life are “under assault.”

“Yesterday, we had Trump and Putin standing together; now we are seeing the opposing team: Obama and Mandela.”

This was Obama’s first trip to Africa since leaving office in 2017. Earlier this week, he stopped in Kenya, where he visited the rural birthplace of his late father.

Obama’s speech noted how Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, kept up his campaign against what appeared to be insurmountable odds to end apartheid, South Africa’s harsh system of white minority rule.

Mandela, who was released from prison in 1990 and became president four years later, died in 2013 at the age of 95. He left a powerful legacy of reconciliation and diversity along with a resistance to inequality — economic and otherwise.

Since leaving the White House, Obama has shied away from public comment on the Trump administration, which has reversed or attacked his notable achievements. The U.S. under Trump has withdrawn from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal while trying to undercut the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”

Obama’s speech drew on his great admiration for Mandela, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner whom America’s first black president saw as a mentor.

When Obama was a U.S. senator, he had his picture taken with Mandela. After Obama became president he sent a copy of the photo to Mandela, who kept it in his office. Obama also made a point of visiting Mandela’s prison cell and gave a moving eulogy at Mandela’s memorial service in 2013, saying the South African had inspired him.

Many South Africans view Obama as a successor to Mandela because of his groundbreaking role and his support for racial equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Stremlau, who attended the speech, called it “a tough, strong condemnation of Trump and all that he stands for.”

“Obama hit out at lying, insecurity and putting down others. Obama said he can’t believe it is necessary to once again speak up for equality and human rights,” Stremlau said. “He pulled it together in a carefully worded, measured speech, which urged all to live up to Mandela’s standards and values.”

___
Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

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Ethiopia’s Young, New Leader Shakes Up One-Party System — Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shatters political taboos, such as calling for national reconciliation amid violent ethnic discord. (Photo by HILINA ABEBE)

Wall Street Journal

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — In this strategically vital nation of 100 million, a charismatic young leader is delivering shock therapy to one of the world’s most entrenched one-party systems.

In the four months since Abiy Ahmed—a 42-year-old former army officer—emerged as prime minister from an opaque power struggle in Ethiopia’s ruling party, he has riveted this East African nation with announcements that have shattered political taboos.

The premier has smiled, hugged and glad-handed his way across the country, calling for national reconciliation in the midst of violent ethnic discord, ordering the release of thousands of political prisoners and legalizing opposition groups long classified as terrorists.

He has conceded that Ethiopia’s ruling EPDRF coalition—in power since overwhelming the communist junta in 1991—is tainted by corruption and accused the powerful security services of conducting “terrorism” against their own population. He has angered hard-liners by launching a fast-track end to the two-decade conflict with Eritrea, removing a barrier between neighbors that came to be known as Africa’s Berlin Wall. Mr. Ahmed recently visited Eritrea to sign a peace agreement and he hosted Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who formally reopened Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time in more than two decades.

Mr. Ahmed has also pledged to liberalize Ethiopia’s tightly controlled economy and partly privatize state-owned enterprises, including Ethiopian Airlines, one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers. Market analysts expect him to tighten commercial and investment relations with the West over China, which has so far dominated the Ethiopian economy and owns most of the country’s massive debt load.

The outcome of Mr. Ahmed’s breakneck overhaul agenda could fundamentally reshape politics across the Horn of Africa, a strategic coastline perched on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and site of mounting geopolitical competition between the Gulf monarchies, Iran, China and the U.S. His agenda has been supported by U.S. policy makers hoping to move a crucial counterterrorism partner closer to Washington and away from Beijing.

Mr. Ahmed’s message—and his telegenic delivery—has won him adulation from young and marginalized voters in a country where the median age is 18. Taxi buses in this traffic-choked highland capital are plastered with stickers of the premier smiling or holding his arms aloft. Souvenir shops sell T-shirts bearing his image.

But his sharp rhetorical shift comes with significant risks, lifting the veil on Ethiopia’s existential challenges. “It’s difficult not to be carried away by the euphoria about Abiy,” said Rashid Abdi, an analyst with Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group. “But he’s still struggling with significant pockets of discontent internally, and the frenetic pace of reform is upsetting his conservative critics.”

Behind the headlines, Ethiopia’s challenges are immense. Lauded internationally for sky-high growth rates, the economy has amassed unsustainable debt to fund an infrastructure spree, while many of its people still face hunger and extreme poverty. A crippling shortage of foreign currency has slowed production in factories and marquee construction projects including the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, which has been only temporarily alleviated by a $1 billion cash infusion from the United Arab Emirates.

Analysts say Mr. Ahmed’s pledge to sell stakes in two of Ethiopia’s largest state-owned enterprises—Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines—has more to do with resolving the currency crisis than a damascene conversion to free market capitalism. Auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers are valuing the assets of EthioTel, and Deloitte, Ernst & Young and others will help advise on the share sale. McKinsey is advising Ethiopia’s government on regulatory overhaul in preparation.

Read more »


Related:
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Shelves Plane Deals, Maps Out Privatization Plan – Bloomberg

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian Airlines Group has shelved plans to establish a fleet of smaller jetliners as gains in demand suggest that the routes where they’d be deployed would be better served using larger planes.

Africa’s biggest airline had been looking at Bombardier Inc.’s C Series aircraft — since taken over by Airbus SE and renamed the A220 — together with Embraer SA’s E195. An order, which had been mooted as likely at this week’s Farnborough air show, is now off the agenda, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said in an interview.

“We have decided to suspend the evaluation of the 100-seater regional aircraft acquisition project, since the market size of the selected regional routes is growing faster than we expected,” he said. Boeing Co. 737 jets from the current fleet will instead be used while the airline studies passenger trends.

Tewolde also said there’s no prospect of an order for the Airbus A350-1000 wide-body or Boeing’s rival 777X at the Farnborough expo, with Ethiopian still evaluating the two planes for its latest long-haul requirements. A purchase of more of the U.S. company’s current-generation 777s or the 787 Dreamliner remains an alternative, he said.

The CEO said that privatization plans, sanctioned by Ethiopia’s ruling politburo last month, are more likely to see foreign involvement in various operating units than an outright stake sale, given that Ethiopian Air already makes a significant economic contribution to the nation while being efficient, competitive internationally and able to raise capital for growth.

Of the group’s seven or eight business units, some will be “very attractive” to investors and could also benefit from outside involvement, he said. He cited the airline’s hotel business, airports and aerospace manufacturing division where negotiations are underway with companies including Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier. The carrier’s logistics arm, which has a venture with Deutsche Post AG’s DHL brand, could be transformed into a joint holding giving the German company a 49 percent stake “within weeks.”

Read more »


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Ethiopia Hails Its Charismatic Young Leader as a Peacemaker

Dancers welcome Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, to Addis Ababa. (Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Guardian

The flags of the two nations flew bright and sharp. The two leaders waved at the happy crowds. The formal meetings overran, amid ostentatious displays of bonhomie. Even the hatchet-faced security officials appeared relaxed.

The meeting of Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s 41-year-old prime minister, and Isaias Afwerki, the 71-year-old president of Eritrea, in Addis Ababa on Saturday left seasoned Africa observers gasping for breath.

“The pace of this is simply astounding,” said Omar S Mahmood, of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia’s booming capital.

The meeting between Abiy and Isaias concluded an intense bout of diplomacy that appears to have ended one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. “Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now,” Isaias said, as he had lunch with Abiy. “We are one people. Whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Many Ethiopians expressed their exhilaration on social media. “The events of these past … days between Ethiopia and Eritrea are like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only amplified 1,000 times,” Samson Haileyesus wrote on Facebook. The reaction in Eritrea has been equally ecstatic.

Analysts say such hyperbole may be justified. The bid for peace with Eritrea is just the latest in a series of efforts that may bring revolutionary reform to Africa’s second most populous nation, transform a region and send shockwaves from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope.

Since coming to power in April, Abiy has electrified Ethiopia with his informal style, charisma and energy, earning comparisons with Nelson Mandela, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev. He has reshuffled his cabinet, fired a series of controversial and hitherto untouchable civil servants, including the head of Ethiopia’s prison service, lifted bans on websites and other media, freed thousands of political prisoners, ordered the partial privatisation of massive state-owned companies, ended a state of emergency imposed to quell widespread unrest and removed three opposition groups from a list of “terrorist” organisations.

Read more »


Related:
Eritrea’s President Arrives in Ethiopia for First Visit in More Than Two decades
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Eritrea’s President Arrives in Ethiopia for First Visit in More Than Two decades

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon arriving for a three-day visit, at the Bole international airport in Addis Ababa, July 14, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki said on Saturday history was being made as he started his first visit to Ethiopia in more than two decades, days after the two neighbors declared an end to their “state of war”.

Arriving for three days of meetings, Isaias was greeted warmly at the airport by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and thousands lined Addis Ababa’s main thoroughfare Bole Road, sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the pictures of both leaders.

The visit comes just days after Abiy visited Eritrea and signed a pact with Isaias on resuming ties, a move that ended a near 20-year military standoff after a border war.

“Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now. History is being made as we speak,” Isaias said during a lunch hosted by Abiy.

“Lives have perished but we are lucky to observe today … We are one people – whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Abiy introduced Isaias to guests attending the lunch as an “esteemed and missed guest”.

Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence, but the two went to war in 1998 over a border dispute. Though a peace deal was signed two years later, Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks.

Reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea could change politics and security in the volatile Horn of Africa region, which hundreds of thousands of young people have fled in search of safety and opportunities in Europe.

During the lunch, Abiy presented Isaias with a gold ring, while a painter handed Isaias a giant portrait of the Eritrean leader.

Ethiopia’s government spokesman said Isaias and his delegation would visit an industrial park in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa later on Saturday. Isaias was also due to give a speech in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have so far agreed to open embassies, develop ports and restart flights.

Eritrea is due to reopen its embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time since 1998.

Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said on Twitter Isaias was accompanied by several ministers and other senior government officials.

Abiy, who is also trying to bring stability to a country that has been torn by protests since 2015, survived a grenade attack last month.


Related:
PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Q&A: How Timnit Gebru Brought Diversity to Artificial Intelligence (Forbes)

Timnit Gebru. (Forbes)

Forbes

Meet Timnit Gebru. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gebru immigrated to the US at 16 to earn her PhD from Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and just finished her year as a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research in New York. While she was still a PhD student, she co-founded Black in AI, an organization fostering collaboration and discussing initiatives to increase the representation of Black people in the field.

Was there a moment where you questioned your path?

All the time. I mean, when I first did analog circuit design, I was very much into hardware and that was my main focus while at Apple. Then, I went back to school to get my master’s in hardware. After I took many classes in device physics and did research with device physics for over a year I ultimately decided that device physics wasn’t for me. At first, I was a bit hesitant to change paths, but I was trying to see what I was interested in.

Do you follow your passion with everything?

Sort of. When I was doing research, I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on. I changed from device physics to a completely different thing, optics. It was still applied physics, but I didn’t know as much about optics. Learning something new like optics or image processing sparked a new interest in how my research could change the world for the better — for instance, how could I think of new ways of doing low-cost image processing from a phone for developing countries, because I am also from a developing country. I’m always thinking about that in whatever I do. I found myself really interested in computer vision. At the end of the one year in research, I decided, you know what? This is not for me. I’m just not going to do a PhD. So, I left, and worked on a startup instead. Eventually, I left that too, pursued Hacker School just for fun, and eventually asked myself, what am I doing with my life?

I had to do a lot of soul searching. I really enjoyed computer vision, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to spend my time doing something I wouldn’t still be passionate about. I was so confused. Am I a software person or am I a hardware person? Should I go back to Apple? Should I interview for jobs? What should I do?

If you work so hard on something and you put so much investment in your education, to not feel like you have a path can feel very defeating.

I think it’s important for people to understand that you have difficult times. Even successful people. In Ethiopian culture, not 100% of your identity is based on your achievement or work. I think it’s dangerous when that’s the case, and I think at that point too much of my identity was tied to what sort of career I was doing.

Read more »


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PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will meet the Ethiopian Diaspora community at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. on July 28th, 2018. (photo: Wikipedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 14th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian community in Washington D.C. and metropolitan area in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy has announced a public gathering on July 28th to greet PM Abiy Ahmed at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public and is scheduled to take place in the afternoon from 1pm-4pm.

Dr. Abiy will also be traveling to Los Angeles, California on July 29th and Minnesota on July 30th to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora community.


Artwork by Solomon Asfaw

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia the trip is “aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.” Organizers emphasize that all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.”

PM Abiy Ahmed’s upcoming trip to the United States, follows in the heels of a successful and long-awaited peace summit between Eritrea and Ethiopia that officially ended the decades-long protracted border war between the two nations. PM Abiy Ahmed has also called for the formation of a Diaspora Trust Fund encouraging Ethiopians abroad to invest a dollar a day to support current reform initiatives, assist in development projects, and support innovative ideas in all fields to help Ethiopia accelerate its mission of becoming a more peaceful, democratic, united and free society.


If You Go:
Public Convention to Meet PM Abiy Ahmed
Date: Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001

This event is free and open to the public.


Related:
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy

A rally in Bahir Dar to support the reform measures that are currently being implemented in Ethiopia by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on July 1st, 2018. (Photo via Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
Editorial

Updated: July 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — “Diaspora, here is a call to you. A dollar a day to help children get an education, our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers get health service, and above all, consider this as ‘paying back’ to your people who gave you future while they had no one,” said PM Abiy Ahmed in a recent comment while defending Ethiopia’s 346.9 billion Ethiopian birr ($12.71 billion) budget and inviting fellow Ethiopians who reside overseas to become part of the solution.

As we prepare to welcome Dr Abiy here in the United States in a couple of weeks we encourage our readers not only to heed his call to establish a “Diaspora Trust Fund” to support the ongoing reform initiatives to take root and to assist in other development projects, but also to think outside the box and offer fresh and innovative ideas in all fields to help the country accelerate its mission of becoming a more peaceful, democratic, united and free society with a prosperous economy that respects the natural human rights of all its citizens.

It’s remarkable that so much has changed in Ethiopia in such a short time that it almost feels like we are living through one of those rare moments that take place once in a blue moon in Ethiopia’s ancient and mystical history, such as the building of Lalibela in the 13th century; the founding of the cities of Harar in 1216 and Gondar in 1635. Or for that matter the victory at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 and the triumphant return of Emperor Haile Selassie to Addis Ababa in 1941 from exile to reclaim Ethiopia’s throne after the defeat of the occupying fascist Italian forces during World War II. And we can’t be more happier than to be part of this incredible time in 2018.

Just barely five month ago — during a desperate period in Ethiopia amid relentless unrest, a deafening chorus of skepticism, talk of civil war and gloomy predictions of an imminent collapse of the Ethiopian state — we wrote a brief and hopeful editorial titled Seize the Moment Ethiopia in hopes of encouraging our generation to rise to the occasion and “assure the continuity of Ethiopia’s long history as well as our shared and sovereign culture” and noting that “building a true democracy requires transparency, a responsible and free press, and the maturity to think about the common good, beyond our own selves and group interests, both at the grassroots and leadership levels.”

Today, thanks to Dr. Abiy and his team, events of the past three months have exceeded our wildest imagination. As President Obama would say: “We are the generation we have been waiting for!”

We are delighted that Ethiopia has a confident, good-hearted and educated leader who fully understands that he serves at the will of the people and for the people. More importantly Dr. Abiy is open to new ideas, open dialogue, free press, constructive criticism and debate, which are all the basic foundations of a working democracy. Now we are optimistic that “Ethiopia is on the right track to a more democratic society.”

Below is a media round up of the latest developments from Ethiopia including the historic peace deal with Eritrea and the announcement that Ethiopian Airlines is preparing to resume flights to Asmara next week.

Ethiopia and Eritrea Declare End of War (BBC)
The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a declaration saying that the state of war between the two countries is over. A peace deal ending the 1998-2000 border conflict has never been fully implemented and there has been tension between the neighbours ever since. The countries have also agreed to re-establish trade and diplomatic ties. The declaration came at a landmark meeting between the two countries’ leaders in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara. The summit between Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed marked the first time the neighbours’ heads of state had met for nearly two decades. Read more »

Ethiopian to Resume Flights to Asmara Next Week (FANA)
Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to Eritrean capital Asmara next week. Ethiopian will also purchase a 20 percent stake in Eritrean Airlines, Dr Workneh Gebeyeu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, told journalists today, following Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Eritrea. During the visit the two countries have signed a number of agreements to resume diplomatic relations. According to the Foreign Minister, the two countries have established a technical committee tasked to follow up on the implementation of the agreements reached between them, including use of ports and air links. Flights to Asmara are scheduled to resume next week. Read more »

Ethiopia Fires Prison Officials Over Human Rights Abuses Amid Torture Report (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, hours before the Thursday release of a Human Rights Watch report on torture in one regional prison. Berhanu Tsegaye said the top prison officials “were relieved of their post for failing to discharge the responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights,” according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late Wednesday. The announcement came hours before the release of a harrowing report by Human Rights Watch describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region. Read more »

PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 28th and Los Angeles, California on July 29th, 2018 to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States. “The objective of his trip is to hold face-to-face meetings with Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,” reports Fana Broadcasting Corp. “It is also aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.” According to the announcement all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.” Read more »


Related:
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Is This the Ethiopian Spring? An Interview With Eskinder Nega (Washington Post)

Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Befekadu Hailu)

The Washington Post

Just a few months ago, Ethiopia — a vast country of 100 million people — was still mired in dictatorship and war. But dramatic shifts are taking hold and they appear to be moving the country in the right direction: toward freedom.

This week, Ethiopia’s democratically elected prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, signed a peace treaty with Eritrea, its long-standing enemy. The news was one more sign that the change promised by the new government is real.

Ethiopia still has a long way to go. But Eskinder Nega, a leading Ethiopian journalist and former political prisoner, recently told me that he sees democracy as the inevitable destiny of his homeland. Now, he said, it’s “Ethiopia’s turn.”

He doesn’t make such claims lightly. Nega has spent a total of nine years in prison, most recently serving a 6½-year stint on a terrorism conviction for supposedly inciting violence against the government and having ties with the West. In reality, of course, the government targeted him because he was a vocal advocate for democracy, demanding an end to years of one-party rule.

Amid growing protests, he and several other political prisoners were released in April in a bid to “foster national reconciliation,” authorities said at the time.

In the months since, Ethiopia has been undergoing rapid reform, with Ahmed promising greater freedoms. For Nega, though, the only acceptable outcome is a representative democracy respecting the rights of all people.

Read the interview at washingtonpost.com »


Related:
Eskinder Nega Makes Surprise Appearance at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in NYC

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People in Ethiopia Are Calling Strangers in Eritrea as Phone Lines are Opened After 20 Years — CNN

In this grab taken from video provided by ERITV, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is welcomed by Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki as he disembarks the plane in Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (CNN)

CNN

Frehiwot Negash picked up the phone and called a random number.

The Ethiopian finance manager was trying to test if indeed she could now place a call to Eritrea after 20 long years of being cut off from the neighboring country in the aftermath of a bloody border war.

The person on the other line answered. It was a hotel.

Negash, 33, told CNN: “The receptionist picked up. So I said ‘I’m calling from Ethiopia.’ Then I passed the congratulations message to her, and I told her that I am very happy and she also said ‘I am happy too.”

Negash says she now plans to visit Eritrea later this year.

After it was announced on Monday that phone lines would be restored between both countries, Ethiopia’s telecoms company, Ethios, sent text messages to its 57 million subscribers, saying they could now call Eritrea.

Negash was one of the people who quickly picked their phones to check if it was true. She and others in Ethiopia spent the day placing calls to friends and long-lost family members in Eritrea.

And the occasional stranger too.

“Oh gosh, I am so excited over this EthioEritrea thingy, I just called on a random number in Asmara and had a nice chat with a lady named Frtuna and she speaks Amharic,” Twitter user Henok Karvonen posted.

It has been 20 years since a war led to a shutdown of communication between the two countries.

But a diplomatic breakthrough was reached this week following a two-day summit between Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, 41, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 71, in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara.

The two leaders delighted their citizens after declaring an end to the war between both nations on Monday.

Read more »


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Make America More Like New Zealand, Costa Rica and Ethiopia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand with her new baby girl (left), President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica (center) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

Boston Globe

FOR DECADES, AMERICANS have accepted rule by a mendacious and meretricious elite. Today we have reason to believe that our situation is worse than ever. Our president is a hate-mongering bully who promotes foreign wars, the destruction of our natural environment, the further enrichment of the rich, and the impoverishment of everyone else. Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress are cynical money-grubbers who grovel before corporate power. The Supreme Court twists the Constitution to promote the most anti-democratic forces in our society. Founders of our republic would howl in anguished rage if they could see how fully our political leaders have defiled their liberating vision.

The decline of democracy in the United States might logically lead us to conclude that our political system has failed — that democracy is intrinsically unable to resist the power of those who profit from undermining it. That view, however, is contradicted by what other democracies have recently achieved. With hardly any notice in the American press, three very different countries have recently produced leaders who are unapologetically pursuing policies that benefit their people and the world. They are magnificent examples for the United States — unless they lead us to weep in envy…

Just one day after Alvarado was inaugurated in Costa Rica on April 1, another exemplar of democratic will became prime minister of Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed, 41, comes from the country’s Muslim minority and also from a persecuted ethnic group, the Oromo. He took over a country that has long been ruled by repressive tyrants, is divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines, and has been in constant conflict with neighboring Eritrea. “Expect a different rhetoric from us,” he said upon taking office. “If there is to be political progress in Ethiopia, we have to debate the issues openly and respectfully.”

In just three months as prime minister, Abiy has cut a radical swath through Ethiopian politics. He fired five senior officials who were known for corruption and brutality. Then he announced that he would accept the ruling of a border commission as a way of making peace with Eritrea, even though it requires handing over territory that many Ethiopians consider theirs. He ordered the release of more than 1,000 political prisoners. When a member of Parliament protested that his order was unconstitutional, he replied: “Jailing and torturing, which we did, are not constitutional either. . . Does the Constitution say anyone who was sentenced by a court can be tortured, put in a dark room? It doesn’t. Torturing, putting people in dark rooms, is our act of terrorism.” On June 25 Abiy’s enemies tried to kill him in a grenade attack. “The people who did this are anti-peace forces,” he said afterward. “You weren’t successful in the past and you won’t be successful in the future.”

Over the brief history of the United States, Americans have shown ourselves ready to seize anything we covet, anywhere in the world. If we could maintain that tradition, we might now arrange an “extraordinary rendition” operation to kidnap Jacinda Ardern, Carlos Alvarado, or Abiy Ahmed so one of them could be installed in the White House. Lamentably, that is impossible. The alternative is to concentrate on encouraging homegrown leaders who share their humanistic vision. Americans once believed that we could inspire and lead the world. Now we can only hope to catch up with New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia.

Read the full article at bostonglobe.com »


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With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is welcomed by Erirea’s President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @fanatelevision)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — With laughter and hugs, the leaders of longtime adversaries Ethiopia and Eritrea met for the first time in nearly two decades Sunday amid a rapid and dramatic diplomatic thaw aimed at ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.

Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Eritrea’s capital and a live broadcast by Eritrean state television showed President Isaias Afwerki greeting him at the airport in scenes unthinkable just months ago.

“A brotherly embrace,” Eritrea’s information minister said on Twitter, sharing photos .

Crowds danced and sang for the leaders, and Asmara’s streets were hung with Ethiopian and Eritrean flags. Abiy and Afwerki traveled across the capital in a large motorcade as people wearing T-shirts with the images of the leaders cheered. The leaders then met one-on-one, with a smiling Abiy leaning toward Afwerki under a wall hung with their portraits.

The visit comes a month after Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal that ended a two-year border war between the two East African nations that killed tens of thousands. Ethiopia and Eritrea have not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself fighting in a town that remains contested today, and the countries have skirmished since then.

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said on Twitter that the visit aims to “further deepen efforts to bring about lasting peace.” He shared photos of the leaders’ meeting and said Abiy, 42, was “very warmly received” by the 72-year-old Afwerki.

“Our two nations share a history and bond like no other,” he said. “We can now overcome two decades of mistrust and move in a new direction.”

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry called the visit “part of efforts to normalize relations with Eritrea” and said Abiy was expected to talk with Eritrea’s leadership about “how to mend fences.”

One Eritrean diplomat, the ambassador to Japan Estifanos Afeworki, said on Twitter that “no leader has received such a warm welcome like today in Asmara in the history of Eritrea.”

Ethiopians expressed a welcome shock at the meeting, which was shown live by Ethiopia’s state TV.

“Historic … the beginning of the end. The glass ceiling has been broken,” one resident, Shewit Wudassie, wrote on Facebook. Another Facebook user, Djphat Su, wrote: “Am I dreaming or what?”

The decision to fully accept the peace deal was the biggest and most surprising reform yet announced by Ethiopia’s prime minister, who took office in April and quickly set off a wave of reforms, freeing journalists and opposition figures from prison, opening up the state-run economy and unblocking hundreds of websites after years of anti-government protests demanding more freedoms.

Eritrea’s Afwerki days after the announcement noted “positive signals” from Ethiopia and sent the first official delegation in two decades to “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. Ethiopia used the visit to announce that the flagship Ethiopian Airlines would soon begin flights to Eritrea, and already Abiy has expressed interest in landlocked Ethiopia having access to Eritrean ports.

While Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation, with more than 100 million people, and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, tiny Eritrea, with 5 million people, is one of the world’s most closed-off nations, ruled by Afwerki since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after years of rebel warfare. But the two countries share close cultural ties.

Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Observers of the diplomatic thaw have asked whether peace with Ethiopia would lead Eritrea to loosen up and drop its long defensive stance.

“Reconciliation would deprive President Isaias of an excuse for maintaining his country in a permanent state of military readiness” that has blocked Eritrea from developing any form of democracy, said Martin Plaut, author of “Understanding Eritrea” and a senior research fellow with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

Abiy’s move broke a long stalemate between Afwerki and the long-dominant Tigrayan party in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition. “Abiy represents the majority of Ethiopians rather than the Tigrayan ethnic group” and is not beholden to it, Plaut said, adding that Afwerki accepted the peace gesture “since it allowed him to portray it as a triumph over his Tigrayan rivals.”

Not everyone has welcomed Ethiopia’s embrace of the peace deal, with some residents in the northern Tigray region bordering Eritrea holding protests.


Related:
Pictures: PM Abiy arrives in Asmara


A warm welcome to Ethiopian Premier in Asmara, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)


(Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)


Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)

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Interview: Meklit Talks Music, Ecology and Collaborating With Andrew Bird

Meklit. (Courtesy of John Nilsen)

Seven Days

“It is possible that the human auditory system actually evolved to hear music, because it is so much more complex than it needs to be for language alone,” said Ethiopian American musician Meklit Hadero during her 2015 talk at a TED Fellows retreat. A senior TED Fellow, she was paraphrasing a theory from California neuroscientist and musician Charles Limb. “And if that’s true,” she continued, “it means that we’re hardwired for music, that we can find it anywhere.”

Professionally known simply as Meklit, the Ethiopia-born artist has a career that goes far beyond cutting albums and touring. Now based in San Francisco, she’s a cofounder of the Nile Project, a multifaceted organization focused on East African society. It seeks ways to use music to answer questions related to cultural identity, resource sharing and the trajectory of human existence.

and pan-global styles. Her latest album, When the People Move the Music Moves Too, features collaborations with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and acclaimed singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. The album’s Grammy Award-winning producer, Dan Wilson, made those connections.

Meklit will perform on Thursday, July 12, at ArtsRiot in Burlington. Seven Days caught up with her by phone.

Read the interview at sevendaysvt.com


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PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, is traveling to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S. this month (Photo Courtesy: Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The government affiliated media organization Fana Broadcasting Corporation has announced on July 4th that Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 28th and Los Angeles, California on July 29th, 2018 to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States.

“The objective of his trip is to hold face-to-face meetings with Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,” reports Fana Broadcasting Corp. “It is also aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.”

According to the announcement all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.”

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Related:
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopia Fires Prison Officials Over Human Rights Abuses Amid Torture Report

Human Rights Watch has released a report on torture in prisons in Ethiopia's Ogaden region (photo courtesy: HRW)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA (The Washington Post) — Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, hours before the Thursday release of a Human Rights Watch report on torture in one regional prison.

Berhanu Tsegaye said the top prison officials “were relieved of their post for failing to discharge the responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights,” according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late Wednesday.

The announcement came hours before the release of a harrowing report by Human Rights Watch describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Report author Felix Horne said federal and regional authorities never responded to letters in April and May conveying the group’s findings. The report calls for a probe into the alleged abuses as well as criminal charges against those responsible.

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3-Year-Old Girl From Ethiopia Killed at Her Birthday Party in Idaho Mass Stabbing

Photo of girl identified by International Rescue Committee as Ruya Kadir, 3, is seen at July 2, 2018 vigil in Boise, Idaho for 9 victims of stabbing at her birthday party two days before; Ruya succumbed to her wounds. Ruya and her mother are Ethiopian refugees. They arrived in the U.S. in December 2015 and settled in Boise. (KBOI-TV)

CBS News

Girl slain in Boise stabbing “loved pink and Disney princesses”

BOISE, Idaho — The three-year-old Idaho girl who died from her wounds two days after a mass stabbing at her birthday party Saturday has been identified as an Ethiopian refugee “who loved pink and Disney princesses.” CBS Boise affiliate KBOI-TV reports Ruya Kadir is the victim who lost her battle to survive.

The station cites The International Rescue Committee, an organization providing support for the families involved in the stabbing.

IRC President and CEO David Hillbrand said in a statement, “Our caseworkers describe Ruya as a child who always sparkled when she walked into a room. She was her mother’s princess, always the center of attention, and loved pink and Disney princesses. She had just turned three years old Saturday, and according to our IRC colleagues in Boise, was the epitome of sweetness.

“Ruya and her mother are Ethiopian refugees. They arrived in the U.S. in December 2015 and settled in Boise. Her father is in Turkey. Ruya’s parents are enduring every parent’s worst nightmare, which is made doubly cruel by the fact that they fled to America to escape conflict in Ethiopia. IRC had resettled the Kadir family in Boise. Our local team is doing everything possible to support the family – and the other refugees injured on Saturday – in this moment of extreme distress and fear.”

Authorities say a man invaded the birthday celebration and attacked nine people with a knife.

Timmy Kinner is accused of stabbing a group of children and the adults who tried to protect them at the party at an apartment complex that is home to many refugee families.

Word of the child’s death came at Kinner’s first court appearance, where Ada County Magistrate Judge Russell Comstock told him that he was charged with first-degree murder and other felonies in connection with the attack.

Comstock told Kinner he was “an extreme danger to the community” and ordered him held without bond.

Kinner is American, and the victims are members of refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia. Boise Police Chief William Bones said the evidence doesn’t suggest the attack was a hate crime.

The suspect had recently stayed at the apartment complex but was asked to leave Friday over bad behavior, Bones said.

Three of the stabbing victims were adults, the others children: the 3-year-old girl who died, two 4-year-olds, a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old…

Monday evening roughly 1,500 people turned out at a vigil honoring members of refugee families targeted in the stabbing.

People wept, sang and shouted their support for the refugee community, and many brought bouquets of white flowers intended to symbolize peace. By the end of the rally, hundreds of bouquets filled dozens of baskets on the steps of Boise’s City Hall.

But community leaders told the crowd that what the survivors really need is money to cover rapidly growing medical bills and space at home to try to overcome the constant sense of unease they’ve experienced since the attack. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and others urged community members to do what they can to help.

Signs were dotted throughout the crowd, some reading “love wins” and “we are all immigrants.”

Younis Kamel, a 16-year-old who moved to Boise from Iraq, and his 23-year-old sister Zuzu Kamel held up a more poignant sign:

“I will never forget seeing my friend getting stabbed in front of me,” the sign read. Younis Kamel was at the apartment complex the night of the attack.

Another woman held a sign reading “Justice for Teeba,” with a photo of a young child in a hospital bed, a breathing tube obscuring part of his face with half a dozen other tubes and medical devices connected to his body.


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Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ to Premiere July 10th

Marcus Samuelsson (Photo Courtesy: PBS No Passport Required)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 2nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, will premiere Marcus Samuelsson’s new show No Passport Required on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018.

As host of No Passport Required Restaurateur, Chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson will be highlighting food, art and culture in immigrant communities across America — from the vibrant Ethiopian restaurant scene in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to Little Kabul in Fremont, California and the Vietnamese shrimpers in Louisiana.

“Chasing flavors has been my lifelong passion,” shared Samuelsson in recent press release. “To now be able to bring viewers on that journey with me to these amazing communities in cities across the U.S. is truly a dream come true. We get to go deep into the markets, pull up to the roadside stands, and be welcomed into homes — all the places where people share and celebrate food together.”

No Passport Required is produced by Vox Media in collaboration with PBS.

The press release adds: “Chef Samuelsson — co-owner of New York’s critically acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem — embodies America’s extraordinarily rich cultural diversity. Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and a proud resident of Harlem, he’s inspired by this global background to infuse his culinary experiences with diverse elements of music, history, culture, and the arts. Today, he is a celebrated award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and food activist. Samuelsson’s accolades include earning five James Beard Awards, being named the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star review from The New York Times, and having the honor of cooking for the Obama administration’s first state dinner. He is an ambassador for UNICEF, co-founder of the Harlem EatUp! Festival, and the co-chair of the board of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).”

Watch conversation with Marcus Samuelsson about No Passport Required below:

Learn more about Marcus Samuelsson’s new PBS show No Passports Required here.


Related:
PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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Dutchman Claims He Owns Teff Since 2003, But Ethiopians Have Been Eating Injera for Millennia

The European Patent Office lists a Dutch national as the “inventor” of teff flour and associated food products since 2003. Now Ethiopia wants its intellectual property back. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office announced that it would do everything in its power to reclaim the teff patents, including legal and diplomatic action. (Mail & Guardian Online)

Mail & Guardian

Whose injera is it anyway?

Injera, Ethiopia’s staple food, was invented by a Dutchman in 2003.

That’s according to the European Patent Office, which lists the Netherlands’ Jans Roosjen as the “inventor” of teff flour and associated food products. Teff is a plant endemic to Ethiopia, and the grain is used to make [injera] that Ethiopians eat with their meals.

Roosjen also has a patent for the “invention” in the United States — though he is patently not the inventor of a product that has been around for millennia.

Ethiopians are nonplussed.

“For someone from Europe, from across the ocean, in a different continent, to come and say we patented teff and the copyright is ours …” Kassahun Gebrehana, owner of the Little Addis Café in Maboneng, Johannesburg, shakes his head…

Superfood

The story of how Ethiopia lost the intellectual property for teff and its associated products in Europe began in the early 2000s, with a bright idea: If Ethiopians love teff so much, why wouldn’t the rest of the world? The tiny grain — the world’s smallest grain, in fact — is gluten-free and rich in nutrients, beloved by hipsters and dieticians alike. It was, and remains, perfectly poised to take advantage of the global health food trend. Teff could be the next kale or quinoa.

Dutch researchers formed a company, which eventually became Health and Performance Food International, to explore options to market teff in Europe. Roosjen was a director. After many negotiations with different government entities, the company reached a deal with Ethiopia to plant and distribute teff in Europe. In return, it would send a hefty slice of the profits back to Addis Ababa.

These details are all courtesy of researchers Regine Andersen and Tone Winge, who in 2012 published a comprehensive paper on the subject for the Fridtjof Nansen Institute.

At the time, the deal was hailed as ground-breaking: for once, an African country was actually going to benefit from its precious natural resources. But not everyone was impressed: in 2004 the Coalition Against Biopiracy gave the Dutch company its award for the “most outrageous” deal: “The company appears to be oblivious to the fact that they are seeking to monopolise teff varieties that were developed over millennia by Ethiopian farmers and community plant breeders,” reads the citation.

In 2003, Ethiopian officials boxed up 1 440kg of teff seeds and shipped them off to the Netherlands. From there, it was supposed to find its way into kitchens all over Europe. Ninety-one Dutch agrarian entrepreneurs started growing teff, and that year 620 hectares were harvested.

But things did not go according to plan. The demand for teff never materialised, and the much-lauded deal earned the Ethiopian government a mere pittance: just €4 000 in total. In 2009 the Dutch company went bankrupt, meaning in effect that the contract was terminated.

But Health and Performance Food International had already applied for and been granted patents for the production and distribution of teff in Europe, and these did not lapse when the company went bankrupt. These patents are incredibly broad, covering most forms of teff flour, as well as all products that result from mixing teff flour with liquids. These include bread, pancakes, shortcake, cookies, cakes and, of course, injera.

Read the full article at Mail & Guardian »


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The New York Times Reviews Makina Cafe

Makina Cafe. (Photo: Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first Ethiopian food truck in New York City aptly named Makina Cafe is owned by Eritrean-American entrepreneur Eden G. Egziabher who was born in Ethiopia from parents of Eritrean descent and was raised “amidst a vibrant mix of Ethiopian, Eritrean and Italian cultures.”

“At the bright yellow Makina Cafe truck, which has been plying the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens since last summer, the injera is..delivered fresh every morning to the truck before it sets out for lunch service,” The New York Times highlights in a review published today. “The identity of its maker is a prized secret. Eden Gebre Egziabher, the truck’s owner and chef, said simply, ‘I have a lady. She’s the best.’”

During the height of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late 1990s, Eden’s mother who was visiting friends in the U.S. at the time was prevented from returning to Ethiopia. Eden told NYT: “One minute everyone was living together. The next, families were ripped apart.”

The newspaper adds: “While she fled with her father and older sister to Kenya, her mother applied for asylum in the United States. A year later, they were reunited in Charlotte, N.C.”

“Now, Ms. Gebre Egziabher hopes to turn the food of her childhood into an American staple — “to bring my culture to Main Street,” she said…For her menu, she intentionally chose dishes whose ingredients would not be intimidating to diners unfamiliar with the cuisine.. as in fossolia, a gingery simmer of string beans and carrots, and tikel gomen, cabbage gently broken down with carrots and potatoes — although not too much, so it keeps a memory of crunch.”

Read the full review at NYTimes.com »


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Dr. Getachew Metaferia: Morgan Professor Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Dr. Getachew Metaferia is a professor of political science at Morgan State University in Maryland. (Courtesy photo)

Morgan State University

Adding to Morgan’s growing number of Fulbright Scholarship recipients representing the University, Getachew Metaferia, Ph.D., a professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts, will be next to engage in learning abroad. Dr. Metaferia will serve as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University in Israel. His research will focus on the Bete Israel community of Ethiopian Jews. During his time in the country, Metaferia will examine the community’s fast-growing population and its contributions to Israel’s social, economic, and political spheres.

This will not be Dr. Metaferia’s first visit to Israel. In 2017, he traveled to the country as a member of Academic Partner for Peace: Conflict, Peacemaking, and Peacebuilding in the Context of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Dr. Metaferia will be taking a sabbatical leave for the Fall 2018 semester and during his upcoming teaching stint in Israel, he will look to establish collaboration between Morgan and Tel Aviv University.

Morgan is among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars and the leader among HBCUs. To-date, 140 students and 70 faculty/administrators have received scholarships to study and teach abroad in more than 41 countries, including India, China, Brazil, and Jordan. Recently, Dr. Omar J. Khan, an associate professor of Marketing and International Business in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management was awarded the Fulbright to teach and perform research at the University of Jordan.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. government, is the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program designed to increase mutual understanding between American scholars and people of other countries. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. The Fulbright Program at Morgan was instituted when Dr. Sandye Jean McIntyre, II (Distinguished Professor of Foreign Languages and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Senegal) was appointed campus Fulbright Program Director in 1951. Dr. McIntyre was the longest serving Fulbright advisor in history. In 1968, Dr. Carleen S. Leggett, who would go on to become Morgan’s Fulbright program director, joined him in his efforts to aid student applicants.


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Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 (Photo Courtesy: Matt Andrea/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Following the historic, large rally in Ethiopia in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed this past weekend, the Ethiopian Diaspora in Washington DC and metropolitan area held a support rally on Tuesday, June 26th in front of the State Department.

Shortly after becoming Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed had told the nation in his inaugural address that “Democracy is unthinkable without freedom. Freedom is not a gift doled out to people by a government. Rather a gift of nature to everyone that emanates from our human dignity.”

Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s message of peace, love, forgiveness and unity has resonated with Ethiopians both at home and abroad, and in a televised address on Saturday the prime minister vowed to continue his agenda for democracy in Ethiopia.

Below are photos and videos shared on Facebook from the Washington DC support rally:


At Washington DC Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Facebook. Artwork by Solomon Asfaw).


Event poster for Washington DC Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Facebook).




Below are additional images and artwork by artists made for the rallies:

(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(By Assegid Gessesse)


(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(Anonymous from Addis)

—-
Related:

In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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Ethiopia Habtemariam: The Highest-Ranking Black Woman at Universal Music

Ethiopia Habtemariam photographed on June 1, 2018 at Line 204 in Los Angeles. (By Sami Drasin)

Billboard

How Ethiopia Habtemariam Became Universal Music Group’s Most Powerful African-American Woman: ‘I Love Proving People Wrong’

The highest-ranking African-American women at Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are, respectively, Motown Records president Ethiopia Habtemariam, Epic Records president Sylvia Rhone and Atlantic executive vp Juliette Jones. Here’s how Habtemariam got to where she is today. (Find links to the other women’s stories below.)

When, at age 16, Ethiopia Habtemariam wrote her first fan letter, it wasn’t to one of her favorite artists.

She was trying to connect with Sylvia Rhone, then Elektra Entertainment Group chairman/CEO (and today, president of Epic Records). “I wanted to introduce myself because it was incredible to hear that the label’s chairman was a black woman. I’d never heard of anything like that before,” recalls Habtemariam. Back then, she was interning at Elektra’s Atlanta office. Today, she’s president of Motown Records, and she recently received a fan letter of her own. It was written by a female student attending Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., and participating in the inaugural Bonus Tracks program this spring. Designed to introduce students to career opportunities in the music industry, the after-school program is a partnership among Capitol Music Group, Dominguez and the Compton Unified School District.

“I was in awe of how much you are a boss,” the student wrote to Habtemariam — who also recently served as president of urban and creative affairs for Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) — after meeting her at a Bonus Tracks session. “It was exciting to be in the presence of a BLACK WOMAN of your status. Coming from where I come from, I rarely get to see that.”

That’s something Habtemariam is intent on changing from her Capitol Tower office. “It’s on [music executives] to be vocal and active in creating opportunities,” she says. “Real initiatives need to be put in place. If the people working on a project don’t look like the people you’re trying to touch with your records, there’s a problem.”

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Ethiopia Welcomes Peace Delegation From Eritrea

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomes an Eritrean peace delegation at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 . The high level delegation from Eritrea includes Yemane Ghebreab, an adviser to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Foreign Minister Osman Saleh. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Bloomberg

Eritrean, Ethiopian Officials Hold Landmark Talks on Peace Deal

Eritrean and Ethiopian government officials held talks about a stalled peace deal for the first time since a conflict between the two countries ended almost two decades ago.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is seeking to normalize relations with neighboring Eritrea as part of a broader program of reforms he’s initiated since taking office two months ago. He’s also announced plans to open up the Africa’s fastest-growing economy to foreign investors and also lifted a state of emergency imposed after the snap resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, in February.

“The new developments in Ethiopia augur well for the resolution of the frozen boundary conflict and durable peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia,” Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, a former member of Eritrea’s ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice and now an independent analyst, said by phone from Brussels. “At the same time, the winds of change blowing in Ethiopia could also cross over and usher in a new democratic dispensation in Eritrea.”

Officials including Yemane Ghebreab, an adviser to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, and Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday afternoon, Shamble Tillahun, a spokesman for the Ethiopian government communications office, said by phone from the city. Images published by the Fana Broadcasting Corp. showed the officials holding talks with Abiy.

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US: Obama Returns to Kenya and S. Africa

In this photo taken three years ago, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stands next to President Barack Obama as he signs a guest book at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. (Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama will return to his father’s homeland of Kenya next month on his way to South Africa, where he is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday anniversary.

“Obama will visit Kenya from July 15-16, where he’ll attend the inauguration of a youth sports center founded by his sister, Auma Obama,” CNN reports. “The vocational center in Siaya County aims to provide educational and economic opportunities to help young people serve their communities, and shares a similar mission as President Obama’s foundation.”

“Given that his own mission under the Obama Foundation is to inspire and empower people to change the world, his attendance at this event at our ancestral home, where our father was laid to rest, is of great significance to me,” Auma Obama said.

In Kenya, Obama will also meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Since leaving office America’s ex-President has purposefully kept himself out of the limelight and away from the tumultuous political environment in the United States, which seems to have been further exasperated in recent days due to the fallout from his successor’s tragic family separation policy.

In a much talked about article published this week titled Where Is Barack Obama?, New York Magazine notes that “the most popular American…has, for now, virtually disappeared from public life.” Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says: “He’s recognizing that the party and our country will benefit from other voices having an opportunity to weigh in, and that opportunity would be all but completely obscured if he were regularly sharing his opinion on these issues.”

Obama, who is also a talented writer, has been working on his upcoming memoir. Per New York Magazine: “No one close to Obama expects the finished product to look anything like other White House memoirs, given his history as a writer. “He is engaged in reflection, and he also cares about writing,” says Tim Kaine, the Virginia senator and an Obama friend. “I would be surprised if it’s just a standard chronological accounting of his last eight years.”

In addition Barack & Michelle Obama have partnered with Netflix to produce media content including films and documentary series for the online streaming service giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy. “Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others,” a person familiar with the deal told Reuters last month.”


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In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

Support Rally for Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa (Photo Courtesy: Facebook).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In a television address, shortly after a grenade attack aimed at the Prime Minister during a large support rally in Addis Ababa on Saturday, Dr. Abiy Ahmed vowed to continue his agenda for democracy in Ethiopia.

Dr. Abiy addressed the nation stating “Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded” reports The Guardian. According to AP Ethiopia’s Health Minister Amir Aman also confirmed that 1 person has died with 153 injured and 10 in critical condition.

The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia tweeted: “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the explosion in Meskel Square and their families and wish the injured a quick recovery. Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms.”

And the European Union said via Facebook: “Heartfelt condolences from the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia to the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian Government for the victims of today’s cowardly attack in Addis Ababa.”

Prior to the explosion scenes of jubilation pervaded the large support rally for Ethiopia’s new and popular prime minister who addressed the crowd wearing a t-shirt with the image of Nelson Mandela and the words “No one is free until the last one is free.”

In his inaugural address shortly after becoming Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed had told the nation: “Democracy is unthinkable without freedom. Freedom is not a gift doled out to people by a government. Rather a gift of nature to everyone that emanates from our human dignity.”

Another rally in support of Dr. Abiy Ahmed is scheduled on Monday, June 25th in Washington D.C.

Below are a few photos shared on Facebook:


At Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook).


(Photo: Facebook).


The crowd at the support rally for PM Abiy Ahmed at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)


Dr. Abiy Ahmed at the rally at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)


Aerial view of the crowd at the support rally for PM Abiy Ahmed at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)

Below are images and artwork by artists made for the rally:


(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(By Assegid Gessesse)


(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(Anonymous from Addis)

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Related:
Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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UPDATE: U.S. to Send FBI Experts to Investigate Ethiopia Blast

Ethiopians react after an explosion during a rally in support of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia June 23, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Reuters

Updated: Monday, JUNE 25, 2018

ADDIS ABABA – The United States will send FBI experts to Ethiopia to help investigate a grenade attack at a rally for new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, state-affiliated media said on Monday.

A grenade exploded on Saturday moments after Abiy had finished addressing the crowds, who had turned out to back his push for radical political and economic reforms, including a peace deal with arch-enemy Eritrea.

Thirty people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack that killed two and wounded 156 in Addis Ababa’s packed Meskel Square. Nine police officers have also been detained over the security lapse, officials said.

“The U.S. government said it is sending FBI experts,” the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Gilbert Kaplan made the offer while talking to Ethiopia’s minister of foreign affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, on Monday, Fana added.

There was no immediate confirmation from the U.S. embassy in Addis, or from Washington. Ethiopia is one of Washington’s main allies in the region, particularly in the fight against militants in neighboring Somalia.

Security officials have not said publicly who might be responsible for the attack.

Abiy took office in April, pledging to bring more transparency to government and reconciliation to a country that has been wracked by political unrest since 2015.

Ethiopia has released thousands of jailed dissidents since the beginning of the year. Major policy shifts include the partial privatisation of Ethiopia’s state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, loosening the government’s grip on the economy.


Related:
In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

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Olympic Marathon Athlete Feyisa Lilesa Shows Support for PM Abiy Ahmed

Olympic marathoner Feyisa Lilesa stands with his family in support of Ethiopia's new PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed (photo courtesy Facebook).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — At the 2016 Olympics in Brazil Ethiopian marathoner, Feyisa Lilesa, was thrust into the spotlight as he crossed the finish line in second place while holding his arms over his head in a political gesture of solidarity with non-violent protestors back home. He boldly repeated the protest on the podium as well as during a subsequent press conference. The gesture forced him to seek refuge unable to return home without fear of repercussions.


(Photo credit: Eshetu Homa Keno)

Now settled in the United States in Arizona with his family, Feyisa is showing his strong support of Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who has taken radical steps to enhance the nation’s political stability, free political prisoners, encourage telecom privatization and free press, and address issues of government corruption.

In a recently posted photo via his Facebook page, Feyisa states “We Support Our Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed!” as he stands holding up signs with his family. Back in April Quartz Media had shared the Olympian’s thoughts on the change in leadership, and like many Ethiopians at home and abroad Feyisa responded that he’s following Abiy’s actions adding that he is “hopeful that he will change things,” and “at least some things will be better than the past. However, this won’t happen overnight. I think it is better to give him some time and see what he does.”

On Monday, June 25th supporters of Dr. Abiy Ahmed in the United States have organized a rally in Washington D.C. in front of the State Department.

—-
Related:
Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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Ethiopia Unblocks 264 Websites and TV Channels, Ginbot 7 Suspends Armed Resistance (BBC)

ESAT was among the banned TV stations. In a related news Ginbot 7 also announced that it has suspended armed resistance against the Ethiopian government. (Photo: YouTube)

BBC

Ethiopia has unblocked 264 websites and TV broadcasters, a senior official has announced.

Fitsum Arega, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff, announced the move on Twitter, saying “freedom of expression is a foundational right”.

Since coming to office in April, Mr Abiy has embarked on sweeping reforms.

The previous administration was accused of restricting access to foreign-based media platforms during the height of anti-government protests.

The government was accused of human rights violations – including torture and extrajudicial killing of political dissidents.

US-based television stations, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network (OMN), were among the outlets barred and charged in absentia for inciting violence and promoting acts of terror by the government, BBC Amharic editor Ashagre Hailu reports.

Many journalists were given prison sentences for stories they had written, while others fled the country.

This environment seems to be changing under Prime Minister Abiy, our correspondent says.

When he took office in April, Mr Abiy pledged to open up the airwaves, even calling on foreign-based opposition TV broadcasters to open offices in Ethiopia.

A few weeks ago, charges were dropped against ESAT and OMN.

Mr Abiy has also announced the part-privatisation of state-owned enterprises, is attempting to stabilise Ethiopia’s rocky relationship with neighbouring Eritrea, and ended a state of emergency put in place by the previous administration.


Related:
Ginbot 7 suspends armed resistance

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Eritrea Sending Delegation to Ethiopia

Eritrea’s longtime President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photos: Madote and EPA)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Eritrea Sending Peace Delegation to Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Eritrea’s president announced Wednesday he is sending a rare delegation to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks, days after Ethiopia’s new prime minister took a major step toward calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival.

This is the first such delegation since 1998, when a border war erupted between the countries.

Eritrea’s longtime President Isaias Afwerki noted “positive signals” in recent days from Ethiopia and said the delegation will “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. He spoke during a Martyrs Day celebration in the capital, Asmara.

Ethiopia early this month announced it will fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Eritrea signed in 2000 to end the two-year border war that killed tens of thousands. The countries have skirmished a number of times since then. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal’s handing of key locations, including Badme, to Eritrea and continues to control that town.

The decision to fully accept the peace deal was the biggest and most surprising reform yet announced by Ethiopia’s young new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked. This must change for the sake of our common good,” Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said at the time.

Eritrea shortly after the announcement replied that it had always accepted the peace deal.

On Wednesday, Fitsum on Twitter said Abiy had “thanked and congratulated” Eritrea’s president for the positive response and “expressed his readiness to welcome warmly and with considerable goodwill” the Eritrean delegation.

Eritrea’s ambassador to Japan, Estifanos Afeworki, on Twitter said the delegation will pursue “constructive engagement.” Eritrea’s ambassador to Kenya, Byene Russom, called it a “new chapter of peace and reconciliation between the Eritrean and Ethiopian people.”

Tiny Eritrea is one of the world’s most closed-off nations, ruled by Afwerki since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after years of rebel warfare. Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws.


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Ethiopian Entrepreneur Alexander Assefa Wins Nevada Election

Small business owner and Ethiopian refugee Alexander Assefa will become an Assemblyman in the Nevada state legislature next year, after he defeated two primary challengers on Tuesday. (Photo: Alexander Assefa's campaign)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: June 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Alexander Assefa has won a primary election on his way to become a state legislator representing Nevada’s 42nd assembly district.

“Thank you everyone who came out to celebrate my election with us,” Alexander said via Facebook. “It’s been quite a road.” He added: “Now it’s time to get to work and build a community that is inclusive and one that capitalizes on the richness of our diversity. Stay with me, fight with me & help me. Let’s do this TOGETHER, as one people.”

Alexander is set to replace Democratic Representative Irene Bustamante Adams after the 2018 November elections. Members of the Nevada State Assembly serve two-year terms.

According to the Nevada Independent “the small business owner and Ethiopian refugee who defeated two primary challengers was endorsed by the Assembly Democratic caucus, and received 55.3 percent of the vote. Assefa is the only candidate who will appear on the November ballot since no Republicans or third-party candidates filed to run for the seat.”

Below is Alexander Assefa’s bio courtesy of his campaign website:

ABOUT ALEXANDER ASSEFA

Alexander Assefa is a Democrat running for the Nevada State Assembly from the 42nd district. Alex was born and grew up in Ethiopia. While still a teenager, he was subject to life as a refugee in Kenya. In Nairobi, he had the opportunity to root himself in the Christian faith while he lived where refugees are not necessarily welcomed, often faced persecution and intolerance. Harbored in his church family, he avidly studied the bible. He then went on to serve his fellow refugees in various roles in the church, including in the choir and as a bible study leader at several locations in Nairobi.

In the year 2000, Alex immigrated to the United States and was resettled in Alexandria, VA. He learned English as his 3rd language and attended TC Williams High School. He then moved to Columbus, OH, where he graduated from high school. Alex attended flight school at Averett University in Danville, VA and became a pilot. He continued his education to earn a Political Science degree.

Alex moved and permanently settled in Las Vegas in 2006, where he met his wife Zenash. He is a small business owner, who has created jobs for many working families in the Las Vegas area. He is actively involved in his community, serves in his church and is a strong participant in the Clark County Democratic Party. Alex is a member of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce.

Alexander Assefa is the founder and Chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party, Transport and Tourism Workers Caucus. In his role as a leader, he tirelessly advocates for working families and relentlessly fights for those who are marginalized and left voiceless in the political system. His participation in politics took root while he was in college, where he founded the college’s first Democratic Club. Alex also served as a Treasurer and Senator in the Student Government Association. He went on to serve as a volunteer during every presidential election since 2004 and various other local campaigns.

Alexander Assefa currently serves on the Board of Advisors at the ECDC African Community Center, in the organization’s mission to impact lives by resettling refugees from every part of the world. Prior to joining the Board of Advisors, Alex volunteered in this important organization by helping with job placement of newly arriving refugees in Southern Nevada. He is also community organizer in the East African community of southern Nevada, advocating for greater participation in the electoral system and active engagement in the affairs of his community.


You can learn more about Alexander Assefa at http://www.assefa4thepeople.com/assefa.html.

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Ethiopian Hip-Hop Sensation Teddy Yo to Perform in NYC Saturday, June 16th

Teddy Yo's blends of traditional Ethiopian folk music and dance with hip-hop has gained him wide popularity (photo credit: Alegntaye Official Music Video).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 14th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian hip-hop artist Teddy Yo is performing for the first time in New York City this weekend.

Teddy Yo is being hosted by the music & entertainment company Africology in collaboration with Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 16th, 2018.

The evening includes music by DJ Sirak and Sierra Leonean beats from Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew.

Teddy Yo is one of the first artists in Ethiopia who successfully gained widespread popularity for his fusion of hip-hop and Ethiopian folk music. The blending is not just in the sounds but mixing traditional dance movements with hip-hop as well.

Around 2009 Teddy Yo made a name for himself by creating a new sound no one had tried before,” states the Africology Facebook site. “He had created a local Hip-Hop genre called Guraggetone, a Hip-Hop style of music that embodied a Gurage (an Ethnic group in Southern Ethiopia) style beat with witty Amharic rhymes and modern dance moves. Today, he has reached new levels of popularity in the Horn, and has helped spawn a budding hip hop movement in the country.”

In 2016, Africology produced and released Teddy Yo’s music video entitled Alegntaye, which continues to garner the artist wide acclaim.

Teddy Yo released his second album, Arada, Vol.2 earlier this year.


IF YOU GO:

Date: Saturday, June 16th, 2018
Time: 11pm to 4am
Location: Bunna Cafe, 1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Purchase tickets here


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Why Ethiopia Wants to Launch a Navy

H H Commodore Prince Alexander Desta was Deputy Commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Navy in 1971. (Photo: IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM)

BBC News

When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, Ethiopia suddenly found itself without a coastline and so it took the logical step of disbanding its navy. Now, it is reconsidering its decision and its latest manoeuvres in the region suggest it could be shopping around its neighbourhood to find a naval base it can use.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently said on state TV: “We built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa… we should build our naval force capacity in the future.”

His comments revealed the country’s naval ambitions but his plans for how to achieve this goal have not been made public. However, Ethiopia’s latest push to enter into deals with its coastal neighbours signals something is afoot.

What is behind the move?

State-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted Mr Abiy as saying the military reforms should “take into account current fast changing world, socio-economic and political situation in Ethiopia”.

After Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war from 1998-2000, there was little chance that Ethiopia could carry on using Eritrea’s ports as it had done previously. So it had to find alternatives.

Ethiopia recently signed a deal to take a stake in the port of Djibouti, which now handles roughly 95% of all its exports and imports.

It is also connected to its small neighbour by a new 472 mile (759 km) railway line – opened last year – which links the capital Addis Ababa to the port of Doraleh, an extension of the port of Djibouti.

The railway line has increased the movement of cargo volumes to and from the port to such an extent that at least 70% of all its activity is now Ethiopian trade.

Roba Megerssa Akawak, head of the state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), told Bloomberg that Ethiopia was concerned that Djibouti was controlled by foreign naval forces. US, China, Japan and France all have military bases there.

“We are afraid perhaps in the future that even Djibouti may not have its own say to really decide on its own fate. This is quite a threat to Ethiopia,” Mr Roba said.

He added that a navy would also help protect the 11 Ethiopia commercial ships in a “very volatile” Red Sea area where Ethiopia has other economic interests “and there are conflicting political interests”.

Read more »


Related
Ethiopia Offers Eritrea Chance to End Africa’s Longest War

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Futurists in Ethiopia Betting on AI

Young Ethiopians are increasingly seeing artificial intelligence as a promising profession. Some stakeholders think Ethiopia should skip the manufacturing stage of development and invest instead in a high-tech workforce. (Photo by Thomas Lewton for Undark)

Quartz Africa

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

“I don’t think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. “Slowly the biological species will disappear and then we will become a fully synthetic species,” Assefa says.

“Perception, memory, emotion, intelligence, dreams—everything that we value now—will not be there,” he adds.

Assefa is a computer scientist, a futurist, and a utopian—but a pragmatic one at that. He is founder and chief executive of iCog, the first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Ethiopia, and a stone’s throw from the home of Lucy. iCog Labs launched in 2013 with $50,000 and just four programmers. Today, halfway up an unassuming tower block, dozens of software developers type in silence. Their desks are cluttered with electronic components and dismembered robot body parts, from a soccer-playing bot called Abebe to a miniature robo-Einstein. An earlier prototype of Sophia, a widely recognized humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics (she appeared with late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon last year) is here too. Arguably the world’s most famous robot of her kind, Sophia’s software was partly developed here in Ethiopia’s capital.

In stark contrast to the famine-stricken images that linger in the minds of many Westerners, Addis Ababa has, in recent years, become a hub for international business and diplomacy. Glitzy new office blocks and hotels continue to rise across the sprawling capital, and while Ethiopia is still ranked among the world’s poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, it is also among the fastest growing.

Assefa hopes to place artificial intelligence at the heart of Ethiopia’s rapid development, but he receives little backing from the government, which has been encouraging investment in the manufacturing sector. “They think that advanced technologies are a luxury,” he sighs, as we sit in the Lucy-themed restaurant next door to the museum. “It’s not a luxury, it is crucial.”

Read more »


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DC: Smithsonian & Beteseb Center Host Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day

Beteseb Painting event at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — There’s no better way to spend a summer evening outdoors than to paint or learn how to paint while listening to great music. Last year we featured such as an event at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. hosted by Beteseb Center and Feedel Band.

For a second year in a row Beteseb Center is once again collaborating with the Smithsonian African Art Museum to organize an “evening of painting and Malian music under the summer skies” on Saturday, June 16th. The theme for this year’s gathering is “Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day.”

The Beteseb art program was launched by two Ethiopian artists in DC three years ago as an alternative venue for young people in the area to create art while spending quality time and a night out with friends and family.

“Start by getting inspired during a guided tour of World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean,” the Smithsonian announced. “This exhibition particularly highlights the personal, including home architecture and gorgeous articles of adornment. A wide range of fun studio photography demonstrates the cross-cultural influences in Swahili cultures and the incredible diversity of the Indian Ocean region. Then, head out to the Enid A. Haupt Garden to make your very own portrait! Use your portrait to consider questions of identities, nationalities, and how we represent ourselves to the world.”


If You Go:
Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day
Sat, June 16, 2018
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue Southwest
Washington, DC 20560
Click here to RSVP


Related:
In Pictures: Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC — June 2017

More information can be found at facebook.com/BetesebCenter.

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Ethiopian Airlines Begins Flight to Chicago

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines launched a new flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago this past weekend on June 9th. The three-times-per-week flight aboard a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner departs Chicago on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while the flights out of Addis Ababa en route to Chicago make a stop in Dublin, Ireland.

Chicago is Ethiopian Airlines’ fourth destination in the United States after Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey.


US Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor attended the innaguration ceremony. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

“Day by day we are witnessing new successes at Ethiopian Airlines. Two days back, we celebrated the 100th aircraft milestone of Ethiopian Airlines and today we are inaugurating flights to Chicago,” said Michael Raynor, Ambassador of the United States to Ethiopia. “The US Government and the American Embassy in Addis Ababa will continue to support the growth of the airline.”

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam added: “Chicago is the main hub of our Star Alliance partner, United Airlines and the flight will be operated together with United to avail the best product for travelers from all over the US connecting to 58 destinations in Africa. The flight will further boost the growing economic and people-to-people relations between the US and Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular by enabling greater flow of trade, investment and tourism.”

Ethiopian Airlines is the largest Aviation Holding Company in Africa and a SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline.


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Photos: Remembering Anthony Bourdain’s Visit to Ethiopia

The host of CNN's travel and food show "Parts Unknown" Chef Anthony Bourdain (L) enjoys tej at a restaurant in Addis Ababa, where he traveled in 2015 with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — CNN’s internationally renowned TV host Anthony Bourdain had visited Ethiopia three years ago as host of the acclaimed television program, Parts Unknown.

“Ethiopia is a big, diverse place,” he wrote at the time while traveling and exploring Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine. “I learned a lot about a beautiful country while making this episode, and enjoyed doing it.”

CNN announced yesterday that Bourdain had died on Friday, June 8th with the cause attributed to suicide. He was 61. The company said Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode when his friend discovered him unresponsive in his hotel room.

“On his award-winning series, Parts Unknown, Bourdain brought the world home to CNN viewers,” the network said. “Through the simple act of sharing meals, he showcased both the extraordinary diversity of cultures and cuisines, yet how much we all have in common.”

During his 2015 visit to Ethiopia Bourdain was accompanied by his friends Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain had said. “Marcus and Maya come from two very different, distinct regions: different topography, different cuisine, different languages. They both left Ethiopia at different times in their lives — and under very different circumstances. So, watching the two of them experience Ethiopia in their own ways, and yet also together, was fascinating.”

On twitter Marcus Samuelsson said: “Maya and I are so sad to hear the news of our dear friend today. You will be missed terribly.”

Below are photos from Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Ethiopia courtesy of Maya Haile:


CNN’s Anthony Bourdain in Addis Ababa with Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile. (Courtesy photo)


Image from the Bourdain’s Ethiopia episode showing food preparation. (Courtesy photo)


Anthony Bourdain also highlighted the burgeoning skateboarding scene in Addis as part of his Ethiopia segment. (Courtesy of Maya Haile)

Worldwide outpouring of sympathy

Bourdain’s tragic death generated a worldwide outpouring of sympathy on social media. Former President Barack Obama shared a photo via Twitter with Bourdain in Vietnam while Obama was on a trip through Asia in 2016. According to CNN the encounter was “captured in a Parts Unknown episode that year.”


“He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.” — Barack Obama. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Journalist Christiane Amanpour tweeted: “My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain. May he rest in peace now. He was a friend, a collaborator, and family. A huge personality, a giant talent, a unique voice, and deeply, deeply human. My heart goes out to his daughter and family, and his longtime partners and friends at ZPZ.”

CNN added: “The news of Bourdain’s death was met by profound sadness within CNN, where Parts Unknown has aired for the past five years. In an email to employees, the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, remembered him as an “exceptional talent.”

“Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it,” Zucker wrote.


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Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society

(Image via YouTube: Faces of Ethiopia)

Tadias Magazine
Editorial

June 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week, Ethiopia’s parliament voted to lift a six-month state of emergency two months in advance than scheduled.

We were not surprised. It is a continuation of a series of positive major policy changes that have taken place in Ethiopia in the past few weeks fueling optimism both at home and abroad since the new PM Abiy Ahmed took office in early April.

The lifting of the State of Emergency follows the government’s recent announcement that it has dropped charges against two Ethiopian media associations based in the United States, ESAT and OMN, as well as granting pardons to several high-profile opposition leaders, journalists and political activists – some whom are set to speak in New York today (June 8th) at an Amnesty International USA conference focusing on the state of human rights in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is undergoing remarkable political transformation never seen in the country’s recent history,” says Awol K. Allo, a lecturer at Keele University School of Law in England, writing in a recent opinion article featured on CNN. “Since coming to power just over two months ago, the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has taken a series of radical steps that are transforming the political map and restoring trust in public authority.”

Awol adds: “On Tuesday (June 5), the government made three major and politically consequential announcements. It lifted the state of emergency imposed shortly after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned, announced plans to liberalize the economy and declared it was ready to fully comply with and implement the Algiers Agreement that ended Africa’s most deadly conflict [with neighboring Eritrea].” Awol then asks: “Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?”

The Economist, which has dubbed Abiy ‘the Reformer-in-Chief,’ notes : “The exiled opponents have been invited home. Representatives of dissident media outlets based abroad have been encouraged to set up shop in Addis Ababa, the capital. Terrorism charges against dozens of activists have been dropped, including against a British citizen, Andargachew Tsige, who had been on death row.”

The question still remains, will Ethiopia likewise pull off its first ever truly multi-party election in 2020? The answer might as well be PM Abiy’s long lasting legacy.

In the last questionable election, which was held in 2015, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia declared a 100% vote victory for the ruling party. The unrealistic results certainly contributed to the resentment that ignited the three-year popular unrest leading to the abrupt resignation of the former prime minister.

The next election season in 2020 is not that far away, but given what has already been accomplished in a mere 8 weeks under PM Abiy who knows how Ethiopia may yet again surprise the world. In the end, however, what is not in doubt today is that this generation has answered the call of our time and has seized the moment to assure the continuity of Ethiopia’s long history and culture, while at the same time placing the country on the right path to a more peaceful and democratic society.


Related:
Abiy Ahmed pulls off an astonishing turnaround for Ethiopia (Washington Post Editorial)
Momentous days in Ethiopia as new PM pledges major reforms (The Associated Press)

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Reformer-in-chief: Abiy Ahmed Has Made an Impressive Start

Ethiopia’s new prime minister wants peace and privatisation. (Getty Images)

The Economist

THE speed of events caught Ethiopians off guard. When Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister on April 2nd he did so as the head of a deeply divided ruling coalition. The inexperienced 42-year-old, who came from the Oromo wing of the ethnically based coalition, was viewed with deep suspicion by many of his establishment colleagues. He was taking charge of a country under a state of emergency after more than three years of anti-government protests and ethnic unrest. Few expected him to achieve much soon.

The past few weeks have pleasantly surprised. After an inaugural address in which he called for unity and apologised for the government’s killing of protesters, the former army officer toured the country to muster support. At mass rallies and town-hall meetings he adopted a strikingly different tone from that of his two most recent predecessors. Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February, was timid and aloof. Meles Zenawi, who ruled as a strongman from 1995 to 2012, was stern and cerebral. Mr Abiy, by contrast, presents himself as a friend of the country’s young protesters. “We want to work hand-in-hand with you,” he told cheering crowds in Oromia, the centre of unrest.

Exiled opponents have been invited home. Representatives of dissident media outlets based abroad have been encouraged to set up shop in Addis Ababa, the capital. Terrorism charges against dozens of activists have been dropped, including against a British citizen, Andargachew Tsige, who had been on death row.

Mr Abiy says he plans to amend the constitution and introduce term limits for his position. On June 2nd his cabinet said the state of emergency would be lifted two months earlier than planned. Then, on June 5th, the politburo of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), said it would at last implement a peace agreement, signed in 2000, that would hand over disputed territories to Eritrea and put a formal end to the war the two countries fought (and Ethiopia won) from 1998 to 2000. That could pave the way for reconciliation and, perhaps, give Ethiopia renewed access to Eritrea’s ports.

Read more »


Related:
Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

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Ethiopia Offers Eritrea Chance to End Africa’s Longest War

Ethiopia says it will withdraw its troops from the Badme region, as Eritrea has long demanded. (Getty Images)

BBC

Ethiopia’s surprise announcement that it will abide by a 2002 border ruling raises the prospect of a final end to what was Africa’s deadliest border war and peace with its long-time rival, Eritrea.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in the two-year conflict and Eritrea remains on a war footing, demanding that Ethiopia withdraws from the “occupied territory”.

How genuine is this peace offer?

It seems pretty genuine.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signalled in his inauguration speech in April that a major policy shift could be in the offing – he called on Eritrea to resolve their differences, saying the two neighbours were “not only intertwined in interests but also in blood”.

Now, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has announced it will fully accept and implement the peace deal that ended the war.

Mr Abiy said soldiers deployed to the contested town of Badme had experienced “psychological effects”, according to the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

“We should end this suffering, and fully return to peace,” the prime minister is quoted as saying.

Ethiopia’s previous leaders always said they accepted the 2002 ruling but they never actually implemented it.

Mr Abiy’s announcement is especially significant as it comes after the release of thousands of jailed politicians, activists and protesters, including British citizen Andargachew Tsege who was being held on death row, and the promise of wider reforms.

What does Eritrea say?

Eritrea has not commented on Ethiopia’s announcement but Information Minister Yemane Gebre Meskel had previously told the BBC that relations could not be resolved until Ethiopia withdrew “from the occupied territories”.

“The ball is now in Eritrea’s court,” Tesfalem Araia from the BBC’s Tigrinya service says.

“Eritrea has been on a war footing and the justification for forced conscription into the army has been the conflict with Ethiopia,” he adds.

That forced conscription is the reason given by most of the thousands of Eritreans who flee the country, making the perilous journey to Europe.


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The Future is African — and the United States is not Prepared

Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., the chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command, at the Pentagon on May 10. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Beginning in 2035, the number of young people reaching working age in Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined, and will continue every year for the rest of the century. By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population will be African. Yet, instead of preparing to build a relationship that can grow with the continent, based upon diplomatic cooperation, the United States is doubling down on more than a decade of reliance on its military as the primary vehicle of engaging with Africa. The consequences, as one might expect, are overwhelmingly negative.

The impending demographic dividend will only add to Africa’s economic importance. Since 2000, at least half of the countries in the world with the highest annual growth rate have been in Africa. By 2030, 43 percent of all Africans are projected to join the ranks of the global middle and upper classes. By that same year, household consumption in Africa is expected to reach $2.5 trillion, more than double the $1.1 trillion of 2015, and combined consumer and business spending will total $6.7 trillion.

Africa’s rapid change also presents challenges that will not be contained within the continent. Indeed, the persistently high absolute number of people in poverty, the underdevelopment of infrastructure, ongoing conflicts, and continuing problems with democratic governance are already combining to make Africa the world’s largest source of emigrants.

Many other countries have taken note of both the potential and the challenges in Africa’s anticipated transformation, and have mostly decided to increase their engagement. Plenty has been written about China’s growing presence, and the European Union has also been deepening its links to the continent. But there is also a growing list of other countries pursuing stronger ties — including India, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, and the Gulf states.

In contrast, the United States’ relationship with the continent has, since 9/11, been increasingly defined by the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. In 2003, the George W. Bush administration established the first permanent U.S. base on the continent in Djibouti. In 2007, the U.S. Africa Command was created.

The Barack Obama administration solidified this policy approach by increasing military spending and deploying more troops. President Trump is following the lead of his predecessors; over the past year, the number of U.S. forces in Africa has increased by nearly 1,500, bringing the total to around 7,500, not including Special Operations forces. The United States now has 34 status of forces agreements (or similar treaties) with African countries — 14 of which were signed or upgraded in the last decade. U.S. Special Operations forces are also often deployed in countries without such agreements. In 2017 alone, U.S. troops were deployed to 50 out of Africa’s 54 countries, many on clandestine missions.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Lifts State of Emergency

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Reuters Photo/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

Updated: JUNE 5, 2018

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s parliament approved on Tuesday the government’s decision to lift a six-month state of emergency two months earlier than planned, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported.

The government imposed emergency rule in February to clamp down on unrest sparked by a planned development scheme for the capital Addis Ababa which some fear will lead to land seizures in the nearby Oromiya region. The matter led to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to step down.

On Saturday, Ethiopia’s cabinet had met to assess the security situation and “noted that law and order has been restored”, setting the stage for Tuesday’s vote in parliament.

Abiy Ahmed, a former army officer who replaced Hailemariam as premier, has travelled around Ethiopia, promising to address grievances strengthen a range of political and civil rights.

Authorities have pledged to push through a raft of reforms that have included the release of thousands of prisoners.


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Andy Tsege ‘Overjoyed’ to Return to UK

Andy Tsege was warmly greeted at Heathrow Airport. (Sky News)

Sky News

British national Andy Tsege ‘overjoyed’ to return to UK after years on death row in Ethiopia

A British national who spent four years on death row in Ethiopia has arrived back in the UK after being pardoned last month.

Supporters surrounded Andargachew Tsege, known as Andy, as he walked through arrivals at Heathrow Airport.

He told Sky News he was “overjoyed” to be home and “overwhelmed” by the reception he received.

Mr Tsege said he did not think the campaign to free him and the welcome he got would be “as large, as emotional, as effective as this”.


Andy Tsege’s family were waiting for him at Heathrow (Sky News)

Being away had been “terrible”, he added, and very hard on his family.

Missing four years of his children growing up had been the “most painful thing”.

“The price they paid, the kids, that’s very painful,” he said.

Were he not a father, Mr Tsege said he would not have minded dying in prison for a “cause I believed in”.

While in detention, he said he was “completely sealed off” from any information.


Mr Tsege said being away from his children was the ‘most painful thing’ (Sky News)

Mr Tsege was kidnapped in Yemen in 2014 and taken to Ethiopia, which he left in the 1970s after criticising the country’s ruling party.

The father-of-three sought asylum in the UK in 1979.

In 2009, he was accused by the Ethiopian authorities of being a terrorist, tried with others in his absence and sentenced to death.

After being taken back to Ethiopia, he was held in secret detention and solitary confinement for a year.

Theresa May has thanked her Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, for the release of Mr Tsege and other prisoners.


Related:
Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed (AP)

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The Aslan Project Fundraiser Hosting Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th

photo credit: The Aslan Project

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Aslan Project – an organization that focuses primarily on providing access to treatment for pediatric cancer patients in Ethiopia — will be holding their annual fundraiser this year in New York City at Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th, 2018.

A few years ago two children from Ethiopia, Temesgen Gamacho and Eyoel Fanta, were pediatric cancer patients at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. when the unthinkable happened for their parents and loved ones. Both children did not survive their illness. Eyoel had been diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, which was one of the most curable pediatric cancers. The loss of these two children drove their physician, Dr. Aziza Shad, who was Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Georgetown Hospital at the time, to launch The Aslan Project in Ethiopia in 2012 and jumpstart a large-scale commitment to set up a world-class cancer treatment program for children in Ethiopia.

Today the Aslan Project has built an innovative and large international network of volunteer pediatric cancer specialists in collaboration with parents of pediatric patients to support Ethiopia’s pediatric hematology/oncology programs at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa as well as at Jimma University Hospital. The program in Addis Ababa is now being managed by Dr. Daniel Hailu Kefeni, one of the first graduates of the pediatric cancer fellowship set up by The Aslan Project five years ago at Tikur Anbessa Hospital.

In a 2016 interview with Tadias from Washington, D.C. Julie Broas, Executive Director of The Aslan Project, shared that “in addition to giving children a chance to survive a curable cancer the organization’s mission was to provide equitable access for families in low-resource settings to high standard local treatment.” Broas added: “What we chose to do in Ethiopia is to focus on medical education and training of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, because that’s how you would build a comprehensive program that’s locally supported and sustainable.”


(Photo: Courtesy of the Aslan Project)

Dr. Tenagne Haile-Mariam, who works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital as well as a board member of the The Aslan Project, reiterated that “the key is to create a whole system that’s linked to locally existing initiatives, not a situation where you can just send a doctor and say ‘go at it’ because they will fail,” she said. “This is why The Aslan Project is a catalytic program, because in order to implement it you have to put into place not just the right people, but you have to put them in a system where they can work in order to ensure sustainability.”


You can learn more and supprt the The Aslan Project at www.aslanproject.org.

If You Go:
The Aslan Project Fundraiser
Date: Monday, June 4th, 2018
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Red Rooster Harlem
310 Lenox Ave, NY, NY 10027

To purchase tickets or an event sponsorship visit The Aslan Project site.

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‘Jember’: Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic Series Entertains & Empowers Fans with African History

Jember Series written and created by Beserat Debebe tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. (photo credit: Etan Comics Facebook)

Atlanta Black Star

ATLANTA — The first Ethiopian superhero comic is fusing the various parts of African history and culture into one contemporary and relatable story. “Jember” from Etan Comics was written and created by Beserat Debebe and tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. Amanuel Tilahun is transformed into Jember and readers can grab issue #1 to discover who the hero really is, where the powers came from and how they’ll transform Tilahun’s life.

“Amanuel’s story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities, Debebe told OkayAfrica Tuesday, May 15. “Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get.”

Setting the plot apart, Debebe used African history, culture and mythology to tell Jember’s story. The Kingdom of Punt, an ancient East African civilization, plays a major role in the book’s creation.

“Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present-day African countries,” Debebe explained. “We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers’ perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life.”

The first issue of “Jember” is on sale now and is available in English and Amharic.

Read more about the new comic series»


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Did Obama Come Too Early for America?

Former president Barack Obama walks by his presidential portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in February. (The Washington Post)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Did Obama Come Too Early for America? New Book Reveals He Wondered So

May 31st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election President Barack Obama was said to have wondered aloud if he had come a bit too early for America.

In response his advisors sought to uplift his spirits emphasizing that the vast majority of young people understood him better than the older generation; this was according to a new book by Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes.

“His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump,” the New York Times notes citing Rhodes’ book. “Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.”

As the Washington Post’s Eugene Scott reminds us “Obama’s vision of America was rooted in uniting those who often process politics and policy differently because of their different identities.” Obama famously articulated this during his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech in Boston that catapulted him to international stardom.

However, Scott also points out: “More than a decade later, as the first black president was ending his historic time in the White House, Obama was faced with acknowledging something that perhaps he had not previously — America was far more divided than many people realized. It’s fair to say, more than a year after President Trump entered the White House, Obama was wrong about one thing: just how many people bought into his vision of an inclusive America where diversity is fundamental to the country’s — and the world’s — success. Very often after a racist, sexist or other discriminatory comment or incident captures national headlines, some politicians and other cultural influencers head to Twitter to say: “This is not who we are.” The frequency with which these episodes happen is proof that that’s not true.”

Scott adds:

Obama often called on Americans “to appeal … to our better angels.” This is a line he borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, who had to challenge Americans to do the same thing more than a century and a half ago. While Obama may have underestimated just how tribalistic the country had become during his presidency, and the role he may have played in it, the idea that most people bought into the vision of America that Trump promoted is also unsupported by the data. A majority of the electorate voted against Trump.”

Indeed per the officially-certified votes from the 2016 presidential race Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, but lost the Electoral College.

Below are links to both articles:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/trumps-election-made-obama-wonder-if-america-was-ready-to-move-forward-from-its-past/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/us/politics/obama-reaction-trump-election-benjamin-rhodes.html


Related:
Millennials Take on Trump in 2018 Midterm Elections
Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

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How Ethiopia’s Social Safety-net Program is Setting an Example — The Economist

Extending the safety-net in Ethiopia: Ethiopia’s scheme to help the poor is setting an example.

The Economist

May 31st 2018 | ADDIS ABABA

TSIDE ZEWIDE has lived in the shadow of the national palace in Addis Ababa for more than 50 years. Since her husband died four years ago the 73-year-old has cared for three orphans, the grandchildren of her late sister, alone in a rundown government-owned shack. She has no pension and, until recently, had no income. “I relied on the kindness of my neighbours,” she sighs.

Last year Mrs Zewide’s fortunes changed. She and some 80 of her neighbours rise at dawn to sweep the streets of the Ethiopian capital for three hours a day. For this she is paid 1,200 Ethiopian birr ($44) a month, a fifth of which she is required to save. “It’s good for me psychologically,” she says. “It keeps me busy, and now at least I can tell people I have a job.” Her teammates nod in agreement.

They are participants in Ethiopia’s Urban Productive Safety Net Project, which was launched in 2017 and is among the largest social programmes in sub-Saharan Africa (outside South Africa) designed specifically for urban areas. About 400,000 poor Ethiopians in 11 cities are already enrolled. The government hopes it will eventually help 4.7m people in almost 1,000 towns. Beneficiaries are selected by a neighbourhood committee based on how poor and vulnerable they are. In addition to the paid work, they also receive training. Those who want to start their own businesses are given grants…

Ethiopia’s programme is a step towards building a national social-security system that will, in time, replace a hotch-potch of small ones. It builds on Ethiopia’s flagship rural safety-net, which is the largest of its kind on the continent and covers some 10m poor people in the countryside (out of a total population of about 102m). The government has committed $150m to fund the new scheme and the World Bank has stumped up the remaining $300m needed for the first five years. Ethiopia hopes that within ten years it will no longer need help financing the programme.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed

Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group, was previously sentenced to death. (Photo: NYT)

The Associated Press

An Ethiopian court has dropped charges against two U.S.-based media outlets once accused of coordinating anti-government protests, as well as a high-profile politician and opposition activist.

The developments reported by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate are the latest under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who since his installation in April has secured the release of several thousands of prisoners.

Charges were dropped against broadcasters ESAT and OMN and activist Jawar Mohammed.

Charges also were dropped against politician Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group and was previously sentenced to death.

Also Tuesday, Ethiopia-born British national Andgargachew Tsige walked free after being pardoned Saturday on “special circumstances.” He was secretary-general of Ginbot 7 and had been detained in Yemen in 2014 under Ethiopia’s infamous anti-terror law.


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Ethiopia: Abiy Indicates Visa Free Entry by All Africans Sparking Lively Tweets

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: EPA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — PM Abiy’s recent indication of a visa free entry to Ethiopia by all Africans has sparked a lively online conversation on the topic.

The PM made the comment while hosting the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in Addis Ababa this past weekend.

Rwanda is the first country in Africa to implement such a program.

“The President invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon,” Abyi said during a state banquet in honor of Kagame on Friday.

The website This is Africa pointed out: “While Prime Minister Abiy did not give specific details of the plan to allow all Africans to travel to Ethiopia without visas, the proposal is a laudable step to open Africa’s borders. The policy will open up the east African country to African visitors, and it will undoubtedly ease the free movement of African nationals and boost tourism.”

“The issuance of visa-on-arrival for all countries was widely celebrated by many across the continent, and on social media,” the website enthused. “The announcement by Prime Minister Abiy is indeed laudable and demonstrates that African countries are beginning to act on the implementation of the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders” to help facilitate the free movement of African citizens.”

Africa News added: “For a country that is widely seen as not open in respect of visa acquisition, the disclosure by the PM has been received with different reaction…Whiles most people expressed joy at the idea, others also had concerns with respect to security and for one commenter, the state of the capital Addis Ababa – stressing the incidence of street dwelling and lack of basic amenities.”


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Etenesh Wassié’ Gives Europe Ethio Blues

Etenesh Wassié, Mathieu Sourisseau and Sébastien Bacquias perform on RFI's Musiques du Monde. (RFI/Laurence Aloir)

RFI

Ethiopian vocalist Etenesh Wassié began her career in Addis aged just 15 singing in traditional music venues known as Azmari Bet. She’s now building a successful career in Europe singing azmari songs and working, notably, with French musicians. Her second album Yene Alem is out in June.

Wassié was introduced to European audiences thanks to Francis Falceto, producer of the influential Ethiopiques compilations of Ethiopian music.

“I met her in the 90s after the end of the revolution when the curfew was cancelled and nightlife was passable again,” says Falceto. “She was one of my favourite singers then and she still is very active. And mostly abroad, because she’s musical enough and talented enough to deal with musicians from all over the world and especially with French musicians.”

She began working with French band Le Tigre des Platanes about a decade ago.

“I was dreading the rehearsals,” she told RFI’s Musiques du Monde programme “but after four or five concerts it got easier.”

She now seems perfectly at ease performing live with bass player Mathieu Sourisseau – with whom she’s recorded Yene Alem – and cellist Sébastien Bacquias.

“She’s an incredibly talented vocalist,” says Falceto. “Her voice, her sense of fun, on stage she’s a hurricaine but she can also be an incredible blueswoman. For me she has a brilliant future if she goes ahead properly she can fly very high.”

Etenesh Wassié performs at Les Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon on 22 July with Mahmoud Ahmed and Girma Beyené.

Yene Alem is out on 8 June.


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Amnesty International USA Hosts Conference on Human Rights in Ethiopia

Soliyana Shimeles, Bekele Gerba, Andualem Aragie and Eskinder Nega are among the Ethiopian speakers at the upcoming Amnesty International USA conference regarding human rights in Ethiopia and its regional implications. (Photos via CPJ, NPR, YouTube and by Befekadu Hailu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is hosting a conference next month in New York City focusing on the state of human rights in Ethiopia. Among the main speakers are recently released former prisoners of conscience including journalist Eskinder Nega, opposition party leaders Bekele Gerba and Andualem Aragie as well as Zone 9 blogger Soliyana Shimeles and other civil society leaders.

The conference, which is set to take place on June 8th at the New York Ethical Society in Manhattan is organized by the Bronx chapter of Amnesty International USA in collaboration with a coalition of US-based Africa Diaspora associations.

“The conference will focus on the closing political space, human rights defenders in the region and building links among different Diaspora groups,” AIUSA said in a press release. “We have invited some of the leading voices of civil society working on these issues in the region as well as activists here in the United States who have been supporting efforts in the region to protect and expand political space, establish accountable governments and ensure respect for human rights.”

AIUSA has announced their invited speakers list as follows:

1. ESKINDER NEGA, recently released former prisoner of conscience and journalist.

2. Dr. BEKELE GERBA, recently released former prisoner of conscience, one of the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress, English Professor at Addis Ababa University.

3 ANDUALEM ARAGIE, recently released former prisoner of conscience, Vice President and Press Secretary for the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP).

4. Dr. AWOL ALLO, lecturer at Keele University in the UK. He also taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Dr. Awol has published many academic articles in reputable journals. He has been a frequent guest analyst on the mainstream media like the BBC and Al-Jazeera on issues related to Ethiopia and Horn of Africa.


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Andargachew Tsige to Be Released (AP)

Andargachew Tsege is a father of three from London. A prominent figure in Ethiopian politics, kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia in 2014. (Family photo via Twitter)

AP

Ethiopia releasing British national detained in 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia says it is releasing an Ethiopia-born British national detained in Yemen in 2014 under the country’s infamous anti-terror law.

Andargachew Tsige was secretary-general of the opposition group Ginbot 7 based mainly in Ethiopia’s arch- foe Eritrea.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports that Andargachew was pardoned under “special circumstances” with the intervention of the attorney general. The report says close to 600 people are being released in all.

Britain had been trying to secure Andargachew’s release since his arrest.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was installed in April and has since secured the release of several thousands of prisoners, including high-profile politicians and journalists.


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Eskinder Nega Makes Surprise Appearance at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in NYC

Journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Befekadu Hailu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 23rd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Six years ago this month when PEN America honored Eskinder Nega with the prestigious “Freedom to Write” award, the Ethiopian journalist was in prison serving an 18-year sentence for criticizing the government.

But on Tuesday evening Eskinder made a surprise appearance at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York City to personally thank the organization for the accolade that was bestowed on him in 2012.

Eskinder was released in February after spending nearly seven years behind bars.

“We live in an age of paradox,” Eskinder told the crowd that had gathered at the American Museum of Natural History. “On the one hand, we have countries, amongst them the U.S., home of the First Amendment, where freedom of expression has come to be taken for granted, and on the other, Ethiopia, my country, where the freedom to express oneself without restraint, without reprisal, is still an elusive ideal, still distant as the stars.”

Eskinder added: “And in this world of two realities, I ask whether those who are free have an obligation towards those of us who are unfree. I say they do…In the prize I received from PEN America, I see the solidarity of the free to the unfree. I see the triumph of our common humanity over our differences. I see our common destiny, which is that of freedom for all humanity.”

Among the eminent writers who attended the event included Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu.

Watch: Eskinder Nega speaking at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala:

In a press release the organization said: “PEN America welcomed a broad cross-section of New York luminaries to the American Museum of Natural History Tuesday night for the at once celebratory and urgent 2018 PEN Literary Gala, held at a time when open discourse and press freedom—liberties that the organization has defended worldwide for nearly a century—are under threat in the U.S. as well as abroad. Provocative speeches from literary and activist leaders rallied the nearly 950 guests to redouble their efforts in defense of truth, facts, the role of the media, and open dialogue as foundations of democracy. In the dramatic setting of the Museum’s Millstein Hall of Ocean Life, under its famed, 94-foot-long blue whale, the literary community came together in a remarkable display of solidarity to advance the mission of PEN America, led by its recently elected President, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan.”


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U.S. Alumni of Ethiopia’s Historic TMS School to Gather in Virginia

Photo courtesy of the TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 22nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Tafari Makonnen School Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA) will hold its fourth biennial general assembly in Falls Church, Virginia.

Now renamed Entoto Technical & Vocational Education Training College, the Tafari Makonnen School that opened in 1925 was one of the premier modern educational institutions as well as the one of the most prestigious public schools in Ethiopia, graduating students who became the country’s first batch of diplomats, teachers, doctors, civil administrators, economists, senior military leaders, lawyers and professors.

The president of the TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA), Dr. Bisrat Aklilu — a retired United Nations official who graduated from the school in 1967 — points out that TMSAANA provides “financial support to 800 TMS students comprising of tuition support and payments to cover the monthly hygiene needs of 400 girls.”

In addition the upcoming event will feature a new book release by TMS Alumnus, Ermias Amare, Ye TMS Tezita, published by TMSAANA. “This is the second book that TMSAANA helped to publish; the first being Memoirs of a former TMS Teacher by the 95-year-old Roland Turenne, the only living Canadian Jesuit who taught at TMS for over 20 years and lived in Ethiopia for over 65 years,” shares Dr. Bisrat.

On its website TMSAANA highlights a quote from the school’s inaugural speech delivered on April 27, 1925 by its founder Emperor Haile Selassie who was then called Regent Ras Tafari Makonnen:

This school is an instrument which will operate on our country’s behalf through the knowledge which God gives to each of you according to your lot, once you have matured in wisdom and have become vigorous in intelligence. So I beg of you to help the school which nurtures you, give you the food of knowledge: to see that it does not shrink but expands, that it does not fall but grows in strength.”


If You Go:
TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA)
4th General Assembly — May 26th, 2018
Falls Church, Virginia.
For more info email: alumni@tmsaana.com
www.tmsaana.com

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Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

(Getty Images)

Reuters

LOS ANGELES – Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have struck a deal to produce films and series for Netflix Inc, the streaming service said on Monday, giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy.

Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas have the option to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix said in a statement.

The Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others, said a person familiar with the deal.

Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed and the first of the programming is not expected to reach viewers until about May 2019, the person said.

The agreement between the Obamas and Netflix, which boasts some 125 million subscribers worldwide, is a first for any occupant of the White House…

The Obamas gave no details of the topics they planned to cover but the content is not expected to be directly political.

Barack Obama in a statement recalled the “fascinating people” from all walks of life that he had met during his eight years in office, ending in January 2017.


Netflix Forming Storytelling Partnership With Barack and Michelle Obama

Press Release

Hollywood, Calif., May 21, 2018 — President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.

The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said Mrs. Obama. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

About Netflix:

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 125 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


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Ethiopia to Make Emperor Menelik’s Palace a Tourist Site

(Photo via Face2Face Africa)

Face2Face Africa

The palace of Minilik was built 100 years ago by King Menelik II and this year, Ethiopian government will make it a tourist site.

The Menelik Palace contains several residences, halls, chapels, and working buildings.

The palace’s mastermind, King Menelik II, reined from 1889 to his death in 1913.

He is known for his territorial expansion and creation of modern Ethiopia. Most notably, he is remembered for leading Ethiopian troops in a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa against forces of fascist Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War.

Emperor Haile Selassie also used the compound to preside over judicial issues. Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose party took over after Selassie was overthrown, used the palace grounds as a prison to house many notables of the imperial government including Selassie himself. Mengistu, who is now in exile, built his office within the compound.

The palace now serves as the seat of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed, the country’s recently installed Prime Minister, believes that opening the site will help to highlight Ethiopia’s history.

Read more »


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Al-Amoudi Will Be Released Soon, PM Says

Al Amoudi has been detained in Saudi Arabia since November 2017 as part of a high profile anti-corruption probe. The billionaire businessman will return to Ethiopia "soon," announced Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who recently traveled to the oil kingdom and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “One of the reasons we went to Saudi Arabia was to ask the Saudi government to release Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi,” Abiy said. “We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon.” (Photo: I-ARB Africa)

Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia will soon release Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, an Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire arrested in November during a crackdown on corruption, Ethiopia’s prime minister said.

Abiy Ahmed made the remarks late on Saturday after arriving from the Gulf kingdom, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a two-day visit.

Al Amoudi, a son of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother who has invested heavily in construction, agriculture and mining in the Horn of Africa country, was among 11 princes, four current ministers and top businessmen detained during the swoop by a new anti-corruption body.

“The incarceration of one Ethiopian is the incarceration of all Ethiopians. Sheikh Al Amoudi’s arrest is top in the agenda for all Ethiopians,” Abiy said in the capital Addis Ababa.

“We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon,” he added in a townhall-style gathering.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Lobbies for Release of Billionaire in Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg)

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Spotlight: Ethiopian-American Engineer Berhane Tadese Receives IEEE Award for Managerial Excellence

Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese at IEEE award ceremony earlier this month (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) — which is also known as “the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity” — has honored Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese for Managerial Excellence in an Engineering Organization at a ceremony held earlier this month on May 5 at the Midtown New York Hilton Hotel. The IEEE award cites Mr. Berhane’s “outstanding leadership and contributions to electrical engineering management in the design and construction of vital railroad signaling projects and teaching the next generation of signal engineers for the MTA New York City Transit.” 

Mr. Berhane was awarded as a Region 1 recipient representing IEEE members from the northeastern region of the United States, which includes professionals from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. IEEE currently has approximately 400,000 members and award recipients include scientists, professional engineers and engineering students. 

Mr. Berhane has over 33 years of engineering experience in the design and construction of railroad signaling capital projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit, which is “the largest public transit authority in the United States..carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide” according to Wikipedia. 

Currently serving as Program Manager, Mr. Berhane is primarily responsible for “replacing outdated signaling with state-of-the-art communications-based train control systems on the Queens Line corridor in New York City, and manages a team of signal engineers working on the design, test and commissioning of railroad signal systems.” In addition to his managerial work, Mr. Berhane has also been teaching fundamental and advanced signal design courses to young engineers who are starting their careers at the MTA-NYC Transit, and encouraging them to join professional development organizations such as the IEEE. 

“The award reflects not only my personal achievements, it also reflects my family’s and colleagues’ support,” Mr. Berhane told Tadias. “Nothing can be achieved without support from the communities and people around the individual. It also meant a lot to my home country, Ethiopia as I am her product and it taught me the value of hard work.”

Mr. Berhane earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and his Master’s degree in the same field from City University of New York’s School of Engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York and is currently a member of America Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) as well as Senior Member of the IEEE. Outside of his professional interests, Mr. Berhane is actively involved with the Ethiopian EDIR Mutual Assistance Association of New York (EEMAA) serving as its first Secretary as well as the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for the past 4 years. 

We congratulate Mr. Berhane on his IEEE award!


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Ethiopia Probes Killing of Dangote Cement Country Manager (Bloomberg)

Deep Kamra, the Ethiopia country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday along with his secretary and his driver near the factory north of Addis Ababa. The Company has faced opposition to its sourcing of raw materials. Kamra was an Indian national. The Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa said its providing all necessary assistance to return his body back home. (Photo: Reporter)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian authorities are investigating the murder of the country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, the manufacturer owned by Africa’s richest man, and two other staff.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Deep Kamra, his secretary and his driver on Wednesday, Tariku Alemayehu, deputy manager for sales and marketing in Ethiopia, said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa. The killings took place in broad daylight near Dangote’s factory in Mugher, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Addis Ababa, Group Executive Director Edwin Devakumar said by email from Lagos, Nigeria, where Dangote’s head office is based.

The assailants forced the driver to lose control by throwing a concrete block at the vehicle the three people were traveling in, before opening fire on the occupants, Devakumar said.

“Mr. Kamra tried to get out and escape,” he said. “They shot him in the leg. When he slumped into the jeep, they went near and shot him multiple times. Then they shot the driver and the secretary — also, each of them, multiple times. It was simply a massacre.”

Security forces are working to apprehend the suspects, according to a statement read on state-owned ETV.

Read more »


Related:
Gunmen kill Ethiopia country manager of Nigeria’s Dangote (Reuters)

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Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Agree to Study Filling of Nile Dam (AP)

Ethiopia's multi-billion dollar self-funded Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is currently under construction on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as one of the top 10 largest in the world. (Photo via Twitter)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Officials from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan early Wednesday announced progress in talks on what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan’s water resources minister said they will set up a scientific study group to consult on the filling of Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. They also confirmed that leaders from the three nations will meet every six months for consultations.

The latest talks came after a round of negotiations last week in Cairo failed. More high-level talks are set for July 3 in Cairo.

Egypt fears too much of the Nile’s waters could be retained each year, affecting its agriculture. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that it will help Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 million of its citizens don’t have access to electricity.

“We have charted a road map that, if successful, will be able to break difficulties that we have been facing,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters after the marathon talks.

“One step forward to Ethiopia,” the country’s foreign affairs spokesman, Meles Alem, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The mega-dam is now more than 63 percent complete. Once complete it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

According to a document obtained by the AP, the scientific group will discuss and develop “various scenarios related to the filling and operation rules in accordance with the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of shared water resources while taking all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of significant harm.”


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Reunited: Graduate From Ethiopia Relishes Mom’s Presence at Commencement

Roza Azene ‘18 graduated magna cum laude with honors after adjusting to life at Brandeis Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. (brandeis.edu)

Brandeis

Roza Muluken Azene ’18 was keenly aware of Commencement’s concurrence with Mother’s Day this year.

For Azene, a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduation marked just the third time in four years that she’s seen her mother, Muchit Reta, who made a 27-hour journey to Waltham last week to see her daughter receive a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics.

“The distance and time apart has been very hard and challenging for both of us. Getting my diploma this Sunday definitely feels more significant given that it’s also Mother’s Day. It’s such a great coincidence,” Azene said.

Muchit, who works as a math teacher in Ethiopia, encouraged her daughter to pursue educational opportunities in the United States after a family friend recommended Brandeis.

Azene heeded her mother’s encouragement and applied to Brandeis. She was subsequently accepted into the Class of 2018 and was named a Lawrence A. Wien International Scholar. The Wien Scholarship Program provides four years of free tuition to a select group of international students. Since its inception in 1958, the program has brought over 860 scholars from 112 countries to Brandeis.

Even so, Azene was hesitant to leave home and face a new country, language and culture on her own. Today, she remembers the moment her plane took off from Addis Ababa en route to a new adventure.

“I remember sitting on the plane, waiting on the tarmac to takeoff,” Azene said. “And I remember saying to myself ‘What are you doing? What have you done?’”

Azene credits Brandeis’ community for welcoming her on campus in the fall of 2014 and making her transition easier. She made friends and enjoyed new student orientation. That said, she also experienced homesickness and culture shock.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Airlines Adds Second U.K. Stop

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in DC, August 2012. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian Air to Add Manchester in Extension of Brussels Flights

Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise will start serving Manchester in northern England from December, adding a second U.K. destination months before Britain is due to quit the European Union and 45 years after the carrier began flying to London Heathrow.

The service from Addis Ababa will operate four times weekly using a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet in a two-class layout, initially as an extension of the carrier’s existing Brussels route, Ethiopian Air said in a statement Monday.

Ethiopian, Africa’s largest airline by passenger traffic, has developed a network that links 67 major global cities with almost 60 African destinations via its hub in the capital. About 400,000 people living within a two-hour drive of Manchester currently travel to Africa each year, according to the airport.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in an interview that the initial flights are being tacked on to the Brussels route in order to test the market and that direct services should begin some time next year.

The route will boost trade, investment and tourism in both directions, according to the CEO, who added that he has no concerns that Brexit will affect demand.

Read more »


Africa in the news: Ethiopian Airlines scale up expansion plans (Brookings)


In Pictures: Ethiopian airlines 787 Dreamliner. (Photos by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

This week, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would scale up its expansion plans and will increase its fleet to 150 aircrafts by 2025 from the earlier target of 120. The airline also confirmed an order for 10 Bombardier Q400 aircraft last week and intends to place orders for 13 additional Boeing 787s and 6 Airbus A350s soon. Ethiopian Airlines currently has 100 planes in its fleet and is the largest African carrier by revenue and profit. In the last few years, the airline has grown rapidly, tripling the number of passengers it flew between 2008 and 2017.

Ethiopian airlines has also invested in other African carriers as part of its growth strategy, buying a minority stake in Malawi Airlines in 2013 and announcing a deal with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways in January. According to its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline is negotiating with governments in Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea to set up new national carriers through joint ventures.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Launches Direct Flight From Addis Ababa to Chicago

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Land and Corruption in Ethiopia

Villagers, lured by new jobs and rich rewards for selling their land, now face poverty and heartbreak as claims of corruption engulf £25bn transport project. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

They promised us we would get jobs there,” says Tadele, nodding at the grand, almost baroque edifice at the bottom of the hill. Adama’s new railway station, yellow bricks golden in the afternoon sun, is still a symbol of hope for the 43-year-old who lives in a village overlooking it. But its promise is dimmer than it was.

A stint on the payroll of the Chinese firm that built Ethiopia’s new railway ended sourly. After six months he was fired, for reasons he disputes. Now, like many in his village and in small towns all along the railway from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to Djibouti, the tiny nation and synonymous Red Sea port that borders Ethiopia, he is frustrated, impatient – and unemployed.

Ethiopia’s new £2.5bn, 750km (466-mile) line began commercial operations at the start of the year, making it Africa’s first fully electrified cross-border railway. Built and financed by Chinese investors and contractors, and shadowing the route of an earlier French-built track, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway lies at the heart of Ethiopia’s development aspirations. By linking the landlocked country to the sea and lowering transport costs for imports and exports, the government hopes to kickstart industrialisation and transform a poor, agricultural nation of nearly 100 million people into a middle-income one by as early as 2025.

And it is much more than that. “The railway project is a transport project,” explains Dr Getachew Betru, former chief executive of the state-owned Ethiopia Railways Corporation (ERC). “But it is also a hinterland development project.” The plan is for eight railways to eventually crisscross this vast, diverse land, knitting together the relatively fertile highlands with the historically neglected lowlands that are mostly inhabited by nomadic people. New stations, some of which rise incongruously from seemingly empty expanses of barren bushland, are visualised as “transport-oriented development zones”: future temples of commerce boasting malls, hotels, and golf courses…

The railway embodies these contradictions. “It’s the physical manifestation of the country’s politics,” says Biruk Terrefe, a graduate researcher at Oxford University who has studied the project.

Read the full story at theguardian.com »


Related:
Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again — Media Round Up

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UN IOM Conducting a Study of the Ethiopian Diaspora

(IOM Logo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is conducting a study of the Ethiopian Diaspora.

According to IOM the goal of the study is “to identify potential opportunities to partner with the Ethiopian Diaspora to promote development in Ethiopia.”

The United Nations organization states that “to do this most effectively, IOM needs feedback from the Ethiopian community. This survey is part of a study designed to collect input and feedback from the Ethiopian Diaspora to shape future IOM diaspora engagement strategies” adding that “future successful IOM engagement with the Ethiopian diaspora relies on collecting as many diverse opinions from as many voices as possible.”


Please complete this survey by May 14th and encourage others that you know in the Ethiopian Diaspora to do so as well. All responses will remain anonymous and will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

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Abaynesh Asrat Honored by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York Chapter

Abaynesh Asrat. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking has been named one of the Champions of Change in 2018 and will be formally honored at an awards ceremony on Friday, May 18th by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York chapter.

The last time that we featured Abaynesh — whose prior achievements included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs — she was in Ethiopia hosting a workshop in collaboration with Addis Ababa University on solar energy as an alternative to women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel in remote and rural parts of the country.

The 2018 Champions of Change celebration honors women who worked in various areas including economic empowerment, peace & security, political participation, eliminating violence against women, media and advocacy.

“We are proud to recognize these women and men who make significant contributions to women’s empowerment and gender equality in their professional and personal lives” states the formal announcement for the event. “These diverse champions have made an impact on a wide range of issues including women’s economic and political empowerment, gender-based violence, peace and security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Born in Ethiopia, Abaynesh lives in New York holds a B.A. from Bennett College in North Carolina as well as an M.A. in Social Science from East Michigan University. Her non-profit, Nation to Nation Networking launched in 2004, bridges health, education and economic development programs for young children and their families in urban Ethiopia. The organization facilitates short term access to yearly eye examinations as well as financial support for uniforms, food, and school building rent, while visionary long-term aims include addressing early marriage issues, which affects adolescents’ access to full-time schooling. Nation to Nation Networking develops and implements results-oriented projects aimed at promoting culture and understanding to serve under-privileged communities, without fragmenting those cultures, through empowerment and enrichment.


(Courtesy photo)

As a former clinician and administrator at New York Medical College, Abaynesh also developed a program that trains medical students to see beyond the stethoscope and observe how social and economic issues affect their patients. She implemented interventions for families to end the cycle of violence while trained staff provided peaceful living awareness and conflict prevention training. Her contributions led to establishing an infant and toddler rehabilitation school, within a hospital setting, where early development challenges and parental behavior are addressed and corrected on-site.

Abaynesh describes her work as encompassing and “creating a world with equal access to resources and open conversation on topics that promote change at a global level.” She highlights that her passion and commitment to social change comes from a “devotion to empower women, families and underserved communities,” and she therefore diligently and successfully envisions and executes programs and conversations committed to justice and human rights. She has been a strong advocate for the empowerment of women and families, and in particular against organ trafficking affecting migrant domestic workers as well as disseminating key awareness training and workshops via speaking engagements and conferences hosted by Nation to Nation networking in African countries and beyond on various projects including use of solar power energy for households, maternal health & fistula education, and prevention of infant mortality. Abaynesh’s philanthropy and activism work has also been presented at UN NGO CSW parallel events, and her innovative programs have changed the way communities think and work, and helped open conversations that pioneer forward-thinking, thoughtful action.

As an activist Abaynesh has worked with international lawyers on issues such as “bill of rights of child marriage” and “child labor” with a goal towards incorporating legislation within the UN charters of protections. Abaynesh has been recognized and awarded for her work by organizations including the New York Metropolitan Museum, MLK Jr. Center for Non-Violence, the Association of Black Educators of New York, Africa Chamber of Commerce, the Fistula Foundation, National Council of Women of U.S., the New York Women’s Agenda (Galaxy Woman), and NBS radio talk host and W.F. Ambassador of Peace.

“If we have understanding, we can build peace” Abaynesh says.

Abaynesh is currently a Board member of UN Women’s National Committee, United States Metropolitan New York Chapter, and a member of the Planning Committee of UN NGO CSW, NY, CEDAW Task Force. In the past she served as a Board member for the Museum of Art and Design and New York Women’s Agenda as well as the Fistula Foundation, where she was also National Fundraising Chair for the foundation’s initiative to build a specialty hospital in Harar in 2002. Abaynesh continues to remain involved with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and their established Midwifery College, and has conducted speaking engagements with UNIFEM, UNICEF and the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) planning committee. She also previously served for two terms as President & CEO of the Coalition of Ethiopian Women in New York with the goal of aiding individuals in adjusting to a new adopted country and culture as well as providing resources for violence prevention against women.

We congratulate Abaynesh on her selection as a UN Women 2018 Champion of Change for Gender Equality!


IF YOU GO:
Champions of Change for Gender Equality
Friday, May 18, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd Street New York, NY, 10011United States
Purchase tickets at this link:
6pm Reception
7pm Awards Ceremony

Emcee Laura Brounstein from Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazines. Entertainment by Batalá New York, TrevMoMatic, and Emmy® Award-winner Mickela Mallozzi of PBS’s Bare Feetwith Mickela Mallozzi.

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Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (right) with daughters. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Abiy Ahmed is making Ethiopians feeling optimistic again.

Just this past week the new PM led successful negotiations with neighboring countries that allowed his land-locked country of 100 million people to take a stake in the Port of Djibouti and Port of Sudan.

Now there is even talk of possible peace with Eritrea. Who knows, but if there is success in rekindling formal Ethiopia-Eritrea dialogue it may also lead to Ethiopia’s potential use of Assab Port through a lease or similar business arrangement with Eritrea. Certainly, such a development would also allow the latter to jump-start its economy and reestablish relations with its one-time biggest trading partner that’s now ranked as Africa’s fastest growing economy.

In February when Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister announced his surprise resignation “there was little reason to think his successor would be an improvement,” notes The Washington Post in an article published on Sunday titled “After years of Unrest, Ethiopians are Riding an Unlikely Wave of Hope. Will it Last?

The newspaper adds:”The country was under a state of emergency that followed a years-long state crackdown on opposition political activity. Thousands of activists and dissident journalists had been detained, and hundreds had died in demonstrations crushed by government forces. Then came Abiy Ahmed, who at 42 is one of the youngest leaders on the continent. In his first month as Ethi­o­pia’s premier, he has ushered in an unlikely wave of hope and even optimism in this close U.S. ally that serves as something of a linchpin to the stability of East Africa.”

Furthermore, it is worth repeating that since taking office barely five weeks ago Ethiopia’s charismatic new PM has made an unprecedented outreach to opposition parties and rival leaders calling on them to prepare for peaceful dialogue and negotiations, has conducted well-received visits to cities that were the epicenter of years of anti-government protests, and restored Internet services for the entire country.

In addition, Dr. Abiy is keeping his promise to eliminate “favoritism” toward security forces by undertaking a review of past business contracts awarded to military-industrial conglomerates.

Above all, last month Abiy undertook a much needed national peace tour across the country to foster unity and calm ethnic tensions. Likewise, all indications are that Dr. Abiy will also move soon to lift the unpopular current State of Emergency imposed by his predecessor.

In the end the credit goes to all Ethiopians, both in the homeland and abroad, who have finally put their country on the right path to democracy through courageous demonstrations and years of persistent calls for accountable leaders.


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