Author Archive for Tadias

Ethiopia’s Yekatit 12 Remembrance Event to be Held in Harlem

Yekatit 12 Monument in memory of the 1937 Massacre, Siddist Kilo, Addis Ababa. (Photo: Focus on the Horn)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Justice, will host an event this weekend in Harlem in remembrance of Yekatit 12 and the Ethiopian lives lost at the Addis Ababa massacre on February 19, 1937.

According to Wikipedia, following an assassination attempt on Mussolini’s Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani by the Ethiopian resistance, the Italian occupation army retaliated by killing an estimated 20,000 people, which translated to approximately 20 percent of the population in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa.

The Yekatit 12 Remembrance event in New York City is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 17th at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. Speakers include Dr. Teshale Tibebu, Professor of History at Temple University; Dr. Girma Abebe, former United Nations and Ethiopian diplomat; as well as Dr. Shimelis Bonsa, Professor of History at Stony Brook University, and Human Rights Activist Mr. Nicola DeMarco. The program will also include select poetry readings.

——
If You Go:
“Yekatit 12th” Remembrance in Harlem
Sunday February 17, 2019
Doors open at 1:30 PM
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 West 125th Street, 2nd floor
New York, New York 10027

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US Invests $40m in Ethiopia Health Care

U.S. investing $40 million to support goal of universal health coverage in Ethiopia. (U.S. Embassy Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

Today the United States launched a new, five-year USD $40 million Health Financing Improvement Program to invest in expanding Ethiopia’s capacity to provide quality affordable healthcare to citizens across the country. Under the new program, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will work with the Ministry of Health to strengthen policy and financing reforms that enable public and private entities to better provide primary health services while reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Ethiopians.

USAID’s Health Financing Improvement Program builds upon the successes of earlier investments like USAID’s community-based health insurance initiative, which currently provides medical coverage to nearly 20 million Ethiopians nationwide. Over the next five years, the new program will focus on mobilizing increased domestic resources and streamlining medical insurance schemes to expand coverage to millions more people. The project will also work with public and private healthcare providers to better utilize resources and revenues to finance their services.

USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed remarked, “We look forward to continuing our joint work to tackle the challenges facing health financing as part of overall efforts to build a truly sustainable and resilient health system in Ethiopia. Together, we can show other developing countries around the world that with the right political will and commitment, it is possible to lay the promising foundation to a self-reliant healthcare system, capable of providing high-quality health services to all citizens in every corner of the country.”

U.S. development programs like the Health Financing Improvement program invest in the capacity of Ethiopian institutions and the Ethiopian people to address their own needs and become stronger partners. The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately USD $150 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided over $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.


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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Meet the Music Mogul Bringing Motown Back – InStyle

Ethiopia Habtemariam, a first-generation Ethiopian-American, is the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records. This year in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary Ethiopia is releasing a documentary on the legendary American record label. (InStyle)

InStyle

Ethiopia Habtemariam has been working in the music industry since she was a 14-year-old intern at LaFace Records in Atlanta. After turning that job into a full-time position right out of high school, the wunderkind shot straight to the top. Now, at 39, as the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records, she is one of the most powerful women in music. Habtemariam is respected for her ear (with an impressive roster of signed artists like Justin Bieber, Ciara, and J. Cole) and her resolve. “Anyone I’ve ever signed, I really believe in,” she says. “And either you get it or you catch on eventually.”

Most recently, she was responsible for bringing rap trio Migos to Motown, which helped lead to the label’s new awakening. For Motown’s 60th anniversary this year, she’s releasing a documentary on its soulful roots and building on innovative successes like Netflix’s animated series Motown Magic. “I’m bringing back f—ing Motown,” she says, smiling. “That’s badass. This is the most legendary label in music. When you think about what started in a small neighborhood in Detroit and all its superstars [e.g., the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes] who went on to touch the world with their music — I want to remind people of that.”

Leading lady: “The reality is there aren’t many women or women of color who have ever been presidents of a company,” she says. “Having my family’s support from the beginning was dope because that’s not common for immigrant parents, especially in the music space.” Today, the first-generation Ethiopian-American is determined to link arms with like-minded ladies. “If you’re the only woman in the room, that’s a problem,” she says. “Once you have power and people are listening to your voice, you have to include other women.”

Music to her ears: Corporate meetings play a large part in Habtemariam’s day-to-day schedule, but she still carves out time for what she loves most: finding and developing young artists. “I have to stay close to the music and do the things that feed me,” she says.

Read more »


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Jomo Design at Black Artists & Designers Guild Spring Preview

Jomo Tariku, owner of Jomo Furniture, in New York City on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 showcasing his work during the spring preview hosted by the Black Artist & Designers Guild. (Tadias photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: February 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — From the Nyala chair — inspired by the mountain antelope that is endemic to Ethiopia– to the Kebero and Mukecha stools as well as the Ashanti seats from Ghana and the Maasai chair from Kenya, there is nothing like Jomo design when it comes to contemporary furniture style representing a diverse array of African aesthetics.

Jomo Furniture, founded by Ethiopian American designer and entrepreneur Jomo Tariku, was featured in New York City at the spring preview of the Black Artist & Designers Guild (BADG), which was held on Tuesday, February 12th at Décor NYC in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

“BADG (Black Artists + Designers Guild) is a curated collective of Black Artists and Designers throughout the African diaspora,” states the organization’s website. “We create contemporary art, textiles, furniture, interiors, and architecture for bespoke residential, commercial and hospitality spaces.”

BADG’s site adds that their mission is to “create a global platform showcasing the works of Black Artists + Designers of the African diaspora who are passionate about creating art, home furnishings, interior and exterior spaces around the world.”

In addition to Jomo Furniture the spring preview also included works by Malene B. Atelier (ceramics), Lisa Hunt (fine art), Kelly Marshall (photography), Nasozi Kakembo (textiles), Marie Burgos (furniture), Livvy & Neva (pillows), Sheila Bridges Home (wallpaper), Da Brand (home accessories), and Studio Lani (Lighting).

In 2015 a book published by Thames & Hudson titled, Contemporary Design Africa — the first of its kind — dedicated a section for Jomo’s designs along with fifty artists from Africa and the Diaspora “all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors.”

Jomo tells us that his furniture is available for licensing, and the designs could be manufactured for any potential large orders including “pieces for lodges and hotels as well as any residences that want to create unique spaces.” We couldn’t agree more.


You can learn more about Jomo Furniture at www.jomofurniture.com.

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Q&A with Julie Mehretu – Brooklyn Rail

The following is an interview with Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu by The Brooklyn Rail magazine highlighting her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge, England. (Portrait of Julie Mehretu, pencil on paper by Phong Bui)

The Brooklyn Rail

On the occasion of her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Julie Mehretu spoke with me about her work from the past two decades. The images she has been creating during this time, in the form of paintings and drawings, consider the world we live in today through references to cities, architectural sites, geo-political events, and histories. She shows us an urban landscape that is dynamic and chaotic; constantly in motion. Simultaneously, Mehretu’s fascination with mark-making, and her commitment to drawing as an intuitive force, is vital to how she functions as an artist and to what she makes.

Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 to an Ethiopian father and an American mother. She grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, and now lives in New York.

Allie Biswas (Rail): I wanted to start by asking you about the role that drawing initially played in your work.

Julie Mehretu: When I started my MFA, I was making big, abstract oil paintings that looked gestural and expressionistic, even though I wasn’t interested in them looking like that. I would also include what I considered to be cultural indicators—things that might refer to an album or a part of a face, like a mask, for instance. Ultimately, they were super generic; I thought that I was making art, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was more like I was mimicking art, rather than really inventing something. A little later on, I began to think about my mark-making and realised that drawing was something that really generated my work and thinking.

Read more »


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Spotlight: Generation ‘Anbessa’ New Ethiopia Movie at Berlin Film Festival

'Anbessa' is making its world premier at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2019 Berlin Film Festival is underway this week and the Generation section of the program features a new film from Ethiopia titled Anbessa, which is executive produced by model and humanitarian Gelila Bekele. In the film a young boy from the Ethiopian countryside named Abisef recreates himself as a lionheart hero in response to the unsettling modernization and construction that is altering his life and community forever.

“You know, hyenas aren’t the bad ones,” his mother tells Abisef in one poignant conversation referring to the people from the city who want to buy her home so they can develop condos. “These days it’s humans you should fear.”

In a review titled ‘Anbessa’ Critiques a Country through the Eyes of a Child,’ Redmond Bacon points out that : Anbessa is the Ethiopian word for “Lion” — a creature accorded symbolic status in the country’s mythology. The Lion of Judah, for example, was used on their old imperial flags and currency, and can still be found around the streets of Addis Abeba today. It is also strongly related to Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s defining figure that Abisef often swears by. Thus, by dressing up as a lion and pretending to banish the hyenas — a metaphor for the land dealers who want to take his house — Abisef stands strong as a symbol of the country’s pride under such hardship.”

The website for the 2019 Berlin Film Festival adds: “Abisef and his mother defy the newly-built housing estate which is like all the other ones springing up all over Ethiopia and continue their life within the traditional village community: grazing their animals, tending their gardens and picking fruit off the trees. Abisef’s hut lacks electricity, but the windows of the surrounding high-rises outshine the moon at night. Abisef scours the new city’s streets for electro-junk and builds a spaceship with an engine. His mother recounts ancient legends. Real estate developers buy up more land. Abisef feels increasingly threatened, stalked by the invisible hyena that haunts the area. With a sensitive grasp of her protagonist’s emotional reality, the documentary filmmaker and camerawoman Mo Scarpelli traces Abisef’s transformation into Anbessa, the lion.”


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In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haileselassie

A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie was inaugurated at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo: Elias Mulugeta Hordofa @eluukoo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie is finally receiving his due recognition for his role in establishing the African Union (AU) – initially launched as the Organization of African Unity (OAU). On Sunday, February 10th, a majestic new statue in Haile Selassie’s likeness was inaugurated at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital in the presence of heads of state, family members, community leaders and international media.

Among those who attended the event included Ethiopian American social activist Nebyat Aklilu Demessie, who led a grassroots movement for over 6 years to help erect the statue honoring Ethiopia’s last emperor. Nebyat traveled to Ethiopia for the event at the invitation of Haile Selassie’s family.

As we wrote here previously: “On May 25, 1963 [two decades after Ethiopia fought and retained her independence from Italian military occupation] several Heads of State from 32 newly independent African countries gathered in Addis Ababa. The meeting brought together various factions from across the continent that held differing views on how to achieve union among the emerging, decolonized African countries – an issue that also preoccupied the continent’s press and academics at the time. One such promiment group, “The Casablanca bloc,” led by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, argued for the federation of all African states. A second group of countries called “The “Monrovian bloc”, led by Léopold Senghor of Senegal, preferred a more gradual economic cooperation. Emperor Haile Selassie offered a diplomatic solution and brokered the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now renamed the African Union (AU). The assembly settled its headquarters in Addis Ababa and entrusted Haile Selassie with the very first of its rotating chairmanships. Gamal Abdul Nassar of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana served as subsequent OAU leaders.”

The Associated press noted “Ethiopians have cheered the statue’s erection, the first on Ethiopian soil since Haile Selassie was mysteriously killed at the age of 83 in 1975 when a military junta called the Derg overthrew the imperial dynasty that existed in Ethiopia for 3,000 years.”


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UN: Ethiopian Chopper Crashes in Sudan

An Ethiopian military helicopter carrying 23 people has crashed inside the compound of the United Nations on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, killing three of its crew members. According to the UN the MI-8 helicopter crashed during a routine operation transporting Ethiopian troops from Kadugli to Abyei on Saturday. Ethiopia has about 4,500 personnel stationed in the region supporting the UN mission. (Photo: UN)

Press Release

United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei

An Ethiopian military helicopter registration Number UNO 379P with 23 passengers on board has crashed today at around 1310H inside the compound of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) killing three of its crew members.

The MI-8 helicopter was on routine operation carrying Ethiopian troops on rotation from Kadugli to Abyei when it crashed. Ten passengers were injured with three in critical condition. The three who are in critical condition have been conveyed to Kadugli en route to Addis Ababa while those not in critical condition are being stabilized at the UNISFA Level II hospital in Abyei.

The immediate cause of the crash is not yet known. UNISFA’s acting Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu said, “We are investigating the incident.”

“We are deeply saddened by what happened this afternoon. We are extending our condolences to the families of those who died in the crash,” Major General Woldezgu said.

General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu commended UNISFA personnel who responded promptly to the crash by assisting to evacuate passengers from the helicopter, stressing that the casualty figures could have been much higher. “This show of solidarity reflects the spirit of peacekeeping and must be applauded”, General Woldezgu said.

The helicopter flew from Kadugli for the Mission’s regular troop rotation. UNISFA’s sole troop contributing country Ethiopia is currently rotating its soldiers from Kadugli to different sites in the Abyei area.

Ethiopia has around 4,500 personnel on the ground to support UNISFA’s efforts of ensuring peace and security in Abyei.


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Meet Ethiopian American Tsion Yared: High School Runner of the Year in Florida

High School student-athlete Tsion Yared has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year. (Photo: Pine Crest School)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 9th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American student athlete Tsion Yared has won the most prestigious award in high school sports. Tsion, a student at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

“The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Yared as Florida’s best high school girls cross country runner,” the press release said. “Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award, Yared joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports.”

“Tsion had a remarkable track season last spring, and that propelled her into her best summer of training and her best cross country season ever,” said Paul Baur, Pine Crest Cross Country and Track & Field Program Head. “Her individual accomplishments are staggering, but how she brought the team together this season — despite our injuries — and to a finish on the podium for the seventh year in a row, will be something her teammates cherish forever.”

According to Pine Crest School, ‏Tsion is “one of only 15 girls to have won three or more Cross Country State Championships in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) history.” The press release added: “Earlier this year, Tsion was named Broward County Runner of the Year by South Florida The Sun Sentinel, and named the 2018 Class 2A Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association.”

The award website also notes that Tsion “has maintained a weighted 4.85 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her senior year of high school this fall.”


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Edelawit Hussien’s New Film Reflects on Her Generation in Ethiopia & Diaspora

Filmmaker Edelawit Hussien. (Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Edelawit Hussien, a 23-year-old Ethiopian filmmaker who is living between New York and Berlin recently shared her upcoming short film with Tadias, which follows three Addis Abeba-based teenagers on a road trip to Lake Langano.

“My work aims to explore dual identity and global exchange motivated by my Ethiopian upbringing within an American context,” Edelawit tells Tadias.

“After graduating from New York University where I studied politics, film, and African studies, I worked within the commercial and branded film sphere before relocating to Berlin to exclusively work on independent filmmaking.”

The film tilted Wallahi, I Will Be Somebody “takes inspiration from the energy of Ethiopia today, a time of excitement and change,” Edelawit adds. “With its growing art community, young people are looking to connect the traditional with the modern as well as build a bridge between Ethiopians within the nation and in the Diaspora. These endeavors have manifested into music, art, fashion, culture and cinema.”

In the short film the three teenagers — Tefera, Omar and Miki — are in an uncertain stage of their lives, “that youth all over the world experience,” explains Edelawit. The film’s Indiegogo page describes how “this uncertainty ranges from how they will make a living, and what kind of life they see for themselves, to how to maintain the joys of their youth.”

According to the project’s website, as the audience, we will also “see how their surrounding affects them as the city evolves and as do the residents. Through a series of vignettes, we are transported in time and space from an elderly couple drinking macchiatos at a Piazza cafe to kids selling toys at a busy roundabout. With poetic moving image chopped throughout the work, the film carries an experimental twist in its meditation on the changing notions of culture, city landscape and societal expectation through an honest look at the youth experience in this evolving time.”

Edelawit shares that the film’s producer is 28-year-old Ethiopian-Swedish Adelia Shiffraw who is currently working in commercial and film production sector in New York City. The filmmaker describes Adelia as an artist who “supports the amplification of minority voices and the preservation of their stories and experiences through film with particular interest in narratives exploring race and representation in a global context.”

Why are they making this particular film?

Edelawit quotes from a play by Suzan-Lori Parks’ noting: “You should write it down because if you don’t write it down then they will come along and tell the future that we did not exist.”


You can learn more about Edelawit Hussien’s new film and support her fundraising campaign at www.indiegogo.com.

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This Twitter Thread Clears Up Confusion on The Hague Teff Case (UPDATE)

The following Twitter thread started by legal consultant ልዩ - Leyou @anchihoye in Ethiopia clears up the confusion regarding The Hague Teff Case. (Photo: Preparing injera/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a great Twitter thread that clears up the confusion on The Hague Teff ruling. In fact the court case was between two companies. The patent holder was suing another company who wanted to use teff products. The second company argued that the patent was invalid to begin with because it failed to show how the patent was itself an innovation. The court then ruled against the patent holder. We can see how Fitsum Arega’s tweet was indicating the invalidation of the patent holder’s claim and how that is in essence a win for Ethiopia in general. But his tweet was also vague and implied that the Ethiopian government directly won an argument in court, which it hasn’t. So we’ll keep an eye on developments. In the meantime here is the Twitter thread started by Legal Consultant and journalist ልዩ – Leyou @anchihoye and a link to a comprehensive summary by the website Quartz Africa as well as The Washington Post.


Related:
How Ethiopia got its grain back
Ethiopia’s teff flour is no longer patented as a Dutch invention

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Ethiopia Reforms Mining Industry (Reuters)

A worker extracts salt from the desert in the Danakil Depression, northern Ethiopia. (Reuters Photo)

REUTERS

Ethiopia finalizing mining industry reforms: minister

Ethiopia will finalize reforms for its underdeveloped mining and oil sectors within the next two months as it seeks to encourage more foreign investors, its mines and petroleum minister said on Tuesday.

The country has already cut taxes for mining companies in recent years but the government wants to attract more foreign investment and ease a dollar shortage in the country.

Mines and petroleum minister Samuel Urkato said promoting the mining sector had become a priority and indicated that further tax incentives were on the cards.

“We are reforming all the laws, the national mining policy and the strategy that goes with that policy. These reforms include all fiscal regimes too in order to compete for global mining investments,” Samuel told Reuters on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

Newmont Mining is among a number of gold companies now prospecting in Ethiopia and Norwegian fertilizer maker Yara International plans to build a potash mine and a fertilizer factory in the country.

Other companies, however, have been put off by poor infrastructure, a shortage of skilled professionals in the sector, as well as a lack of transparency in licensing, industry consultants in Ethiopia say.

Australia’s BHP pulled out in 2012, while Israel Chemicals terminated a potash project in 2016 amid a tax dispute and claims the government had failed to provide infrastructure.

Since coming to office nearly a year ago, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced shake-ups across industries, including plans to open up the once closely guarded telecommunications, logistics and power monopolies.

Massive government investment in infrastructure has helped make Ethiopia one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, but exports of garments and other products have struggled to take off, meaning the economy is not generating enough dollars to pay for imports.

Encouraging the mining sector could help. Though still small, it brought in $3.5 billion in foreign direct investment in the past five years, helped by new incentives that included updating the country’s geological data, extending duty-free access to companies engaged in exploration and offering to build infrastructure to accommodate mining sites.

“Take a company working at a remote site. They shouldn’t construct roads. The government should do that. They shouldn’t work on railways. The government will provide that,” Samuel said.

The government reduced the corporate income tax rate for miners to 25 percent two years ago, from 35 percent, and more recently lowered the precious metals royalty rate to 7 percent, from 8 percent.

The current law guarantees the government a 5 percent minimum equity stake in projects – a lower share than many other African countries.

While the government is keen to reap its share of mining revenues, Samuel said it planned more incentives to jump-start the industry.

“We will see later how to improve these royalty and fiscal regimes. We will gradually improve the size of royalties,” he said.


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Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

Addisu Demissie will run the 2020 US Presidential Campaign of Senator Cory Booker. (Photo: 50+1 Strategies)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — U.S. Political Consultant Addisu Demissie has been hired to manage the 2020 presidential campaign of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who announced his candidacy for the White House on Friday, February 1st.

Addisu, an Ethiopian American, is a graduate of Yale University as well as the law school. This past November he managed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s winning campaign. In 2016 Addisu was the National Voter Outreach Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Prior to that he successfully led Cory Booker’s election in 2013 as he ran for Senator in New Jersey. Addisu started his campaign management and community mobilization career as the Ohio Get Out The Vote Director for Obama for America in 2008.

Addisu who currently lives in Oakland, California is also the Founding Principal of 50+1 Strategies, a national political consulting firm launched in 2012.

Below is Addisu’s bio courtesy of 50+1 Strategies:

“Addisu’s first love is developing and implementing sophisticated community organizing programs, which he has done during three presidential campaign cycles in 2004, 2008, and 2016. Following President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Addisu was selected as the first National Political Director for the President’s political organization Organizing for America. Later that year, the Washington Post named him one of the “Ten Young Black Aides To Watch” in the Obama Administration. At OFA, Demissie played a key role in mobilizing and coordinating grassroots support for the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federal student loan reform, and the Affordable Care Act. In the years since, Addisu served as Senior Advisor to California Assemblymember David Chiu’s 2011 mayoral campaign; as the general consultant for several California municipal, initiative, and independent expenditure campaigns during the 2012 campaign cycle, and as Campaign Manager for Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) successful special election campaign in 2013. Most recently, as the National Voter Outreach and Mobilization Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Addisu oversaw the development of organizing programs for Democratic base communities and state operations for 37 states. Addisu is a 2001 graduate of Yale University, 2008 graduate of Yale Law School, and a member of the state Bar of California.”


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DC: Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg to Attend the State of the Union Address

Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl, will attend the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of her state's senior U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our interview with Ethiopian children’s book author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, a mother of three boys and a software engineer who works and lives in North Dakota. This week Bethlehem, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl — a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage young girls to aim for careers in the high-tech industry — is in Washington, DC to attend the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, February 5th as a guest of the senior U.S. Senator from North Dakota John Hoeven.

“Bethlehem is doing tremendous work in the Fargo region, helping prepare young women to be the next generation of innovators and tech entrepreneurs,” Senator Hoeven said in a statement. “This aligns with
our efforts to bolster STEM education and continue advancing technology as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth.” The Senator added: “That’s why we featured Bethlehem’s work during our State of Tech conference in 2017 and why we’re so excited to have her in D.C. for this year’s State of the Union address.”

Bethlehem said that she is delighted by the invitation and the attention it will bring to her organization. “It is a great honor to be recognized at the national level for uCodeGirl,” Bethlehem told Tadias. “Our vision is to see a world where the people who create and build technology mirror the people and societies for which they build.”

Bethlehem shares that her organization “inspires and equips young women with leadership traits, computational design thinking skills, aka coding, and entrepreneurial mindset so that they can confidently chart their own pathways to economic independence and become creators of future tech innovations.” She sees this invitation as “a tribute to the young women we serve. They are the heart of our program as well as the coaching and support of women professionals in STEM as mentors.”

The press release from Senator Hoeven noted that “In addition to her work with uCodeGirl, Gronneberg serves on the Governor’s Innovative Education Task Force of North Dakota and as an adjunct instructor of
computer science at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She was recently named the 2018 YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, was honored by the Women Economic Forum, a global conference for women leaders and entrepreneurs, and was a recipient of the 2016 Bush Foundation Fellowship.”


You can learn more about uCodeGirl at www.ucodegirl.org.

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BBC: Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye’s TruLuv Granola in Ethiopia

Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Blayne Tesfaye, Co-Founder of TruLuv Granola, a health food small business based in Ethiopia. (Photo: BBC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — TruLuv Granola is a start-up in Ethiopia that makes and distributes healthy snacks to local businesses including cafes, supermarkets and hotels. Co-Founded by Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye the small venture epitomizes the creative and optimistic spirit of a new generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs who are part and parcel of Ethiopia’s present efforts to reform and revitalize its growing economy.

“Blayne Tesfaye is a woman who means business,” enthused a BBC World News broadcast, Newsday, in a recent highlight. “An Ethiopian-American, she recently quit her job to start a business selling healthy snacks to the people of Addis Ababa.” BBC added: “With her majority female staff, she is excited about the economic opportunities that the government of Abiy Ahmed is helping to create.”

Startup Mentoring — a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany that supports small companies in developing countries — described the idea behind TruLuv Granola noting that: they seek to be the world’s source for healthy, sustainable, and convenient snacks crafted with Ethiopian flavors” and adding that the snacks are designed for “Addis Ababans living busy and active lives, but lacking delicious and nutritious snacks to fuel their hard work and big adventures on-the-go.”

Blayne told BBC News that TruLuv Granola also aims to support the economy with their practice of sourcing “directly and transparently from Ethiopian small holders as much as possible.”

BBC asked Blayne: how does the ongoing reform play into her ambitions?

“I think the current political situation gives us a lot of hope for the future,” Blayne says, noting that if she was to ask PM Abiy to make one change it would be to create “a more transparent bureaucratic situation.”

As for her long-term goals for TruLuv Granola, Blayne says their vision is to become an international brand as “the world’s favorite healthy Ethiopian food.”

Click here to listen to the interview on Newsday (BBC World Service) »


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Volkswagen Eyes Ethiopian Assembly

The German automaker said: "As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry." (Photo: The 2020 Volkswagen Passat/VW)

Just Auto

Volkswagen has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia which should lead to local vehicle assembly using some locally made components.

Over the last decade, GDP growth in Ethiopia was above 8% – one of the highest worldwide, the automaker noted.

“Ethiopia is a priority and focus country for Germany under the G20 ‘Compact with Africa’ initiative,” the automaker said in a statement.

Volkswagen will focus on establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localisation of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training centre. It will also work closely with the Ethiopian higher education and training institutions for skills development and capacity building of local talent.

VW said: “As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry.”

Ethiopia becomes the third country in Sub-Saharan Africa to sign a MoU with Volkswagen. It follows Ghana and Nigeria who both signed MoUs in August 2018. In Ghana, Volkswagen will establish a vehicle assembly facility and conduct a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solutions concept. In Nigeria, Volkswagen implemented a phased approach of vehicle assembly with long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.

Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles in South Africa since 1951. In Africa, Volkswagen also has vehicle assembly operations in Algeria, Kenya and Rwanda.

“Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region has a bright outlook to develop into an automotive growth market of the future,” VW added.


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When Ethiopian Jews Tried to Save European Jews from Holocaust

In 1943 Ethiopian Jews approached Emperor Haile Selassie asking him to give refuge to Jews fleeing Nazism in Europe, the Jerusalem Post reports. The same year "1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia." (The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

August 1943, at the height of the Holocaust, Ethiopian Jewish leaders approached the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia with a daring proposal. They asked him to help Jews in Europe flee to Ethiopia and assist Jewish refugees by hosting them in Ethiopian Jewish villages.

Three months after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and two months after all four of the Auschwitz crematoria were functioning, The Palestine Post, as today’s Jerusalem Post was then called, published an article detailing Jewish immigration to Ethiopia. “Possibilities of Jewish immigration into Abyssinia were discussed by the Ethiopian Minister in London with Mr. Harry Goodman and Dr. Springer of Agudath Israel,” the August 8, 1943 article says. “A leading member of the Falasha (black Jewish) community expressed the desire to assist European Jewry and to welcome them in Falasha towns.” Falasha was the term used to describe Jews in Ethiopia at the time.

Discussions were ongoing in Addis Ababa where the emperor, who had returned to Ethiopia in May 1941 after it was liberated from Italy with British help, was showing support for the plan. 1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia in 1943, the article says.

Selassie had stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1936 and was familiar with the Jewish minority in his country. He also worked closely with Orde Wingate, the British officer who was a passionate Zionist and who led the Gideon Force, which defeated the Italian fascist army in Ethiopia. Ethiopian leaders and the Ethiopian Jewish community were therefore familiar with the local Jewish community and the plight of Jews worldwide at the time.

While Ethiopian Jews suffered under the Italian occupation, by 1943 they were able to reach out to the emperor to suggest hosting Jews fleeing Europe. By that time it was too late for many of the Jews of Europe ensnared in the Nazi noose.

Read more »


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Looking Ahead to Davos and Addis in 2020

As Ethiopia prepares to convene the 29th World Economic Forum on Africa for a second time next year, here is a timely CNBC article by the CEO of General Atlantic Bill Ford highlighting what everyone will be talking about at the Forum's 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which will be held in advance of the Ethiopia conference and may set the agenda for the Africa version of the gathering. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)

CNBC

Here’s what everyone will be talking about at Davos in 2020 and beyond

Understanding the state of our world and how we can shape that agenda is the primary purpose of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland.

The theme for this year’s gathering is Globalization 4.0 – how we’re handling the changes wrought on the world by the increasing interconnectedness of cultures and economies.

We must also reckon with the future. Digitization, Big Data, and the migration of IT services to the cloud are driving change now but we’re also starting to see the opportunities that will lead to Globalization 5.0.

These are the themes we believe will dominate the Davos gatherings of the future:

Read more »


Related:
The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)
Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Al Amoudi Released From Saudi Custody

Ethiopian-born Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi has been released from detention in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Mohammed Al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi, who has been in Saudi custody for more than a year, has been freed from detention. “Yes, Al Amoudi has been released and is on his way home to Jeddah. His flight was at 9 or 10 a.m. Saudi time. He called his family; his family told me,” Mesfin Regassa, a friend and close associate of the businessman, told Bloomberg.

According to Reuters “Two Saudi sources confirmed that Al Amoudi had been released on Sunday, nearly 15 months after he was detained with scores of princes, ministers and businessmen in the state-run anti-corruption campaign.”

The news was first reported by Ethiopian TV, which quoted the CEO of Al Amoudi’s MIDROC Group Arega Yirdaw as its source.

On social media PM Abiy Ahmed’s office expressed its best wishes to the billionaire business tycoon noting that Dr. Abiy had brought up Al Amoudi’s case with the authorities in Saudi Arabia during his official travel there last May. “One of the issues included the release of Mohammed Al Amoudi,” the office of the Prime Minister said on Twitter. “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his Millenium Hall address later in May 2018 further assured of his return. We wish Mohammed Al Amoudi a safe return to Ethiopia.”


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PM Abiy Ahmed Named Among Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2019

Foreign Policy Magazine's list of 100 global thinkers of 2019 include Ethiopia's dynamic prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. (Illustration by FP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — What do Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, former U.S. President Barack Obama and the newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City have in common besides being some of the most inspiring leaders of our time? They are all part of Foreign Policy magazine’s 10th annual special edition of global thinkers.

In announcing the list this month the magazine said: “A decade ago, in launching the series, FP’s then-editors wrote: In a year of worldwide economic crisis and dangerous wars, of radical innovation and newfound realpolitik, street revolution and blunt rhetoric, we could think of no better way to make sense of it than through the big ideas of those who shape our understanding of the world…So this year we decided that there was no better way to explicate our current, wildly complex moment — and peer into the year ahead — than to focus once more on the thinkers and doers who had a profound impact on the planet in the last 12 months. The idea is not to honor do-gooders (though we feature plenty of them) but to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential people in the world—for better or worse.”

Per Foreign Policy Magazines Highlight:


Illustrations by Foreign Policy

Abiy Ahmed
PRIME MINISTER OF ETHIOPIA

“In less than a year in office, Abiy Ahmed has already made history in Ethiopia by forging peace with its neighbor Eritrea. The move reunited families and reopened long-dormant trade networks. Now Abiy is focused on healing Ethiopia’s own divisions, and his status as the country’s first leader from the restive Oromia region has given many of his constituents hope that he’ll succeed.”

Barack Obama
FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

“Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House showed what an intellectual can and cannot achieve in the world’s most powerful office. His much-maligned but deeply deliberative approach to decision-making helped steer the global economy through its worst crisis since the Great Depression. His renewed emphasis on diplomacy secured a nuclear agreement with Iran, a global compact on climate change, and a fresh arms reduction treaty with Russia. To be sure, Obama’s presidency had many flaws — most notably its failure to adequately address the Syrian civil war. But the importance of Obama’s accomplishments, and of the eloquence and dignity with which he went about his day-to-day work, grows more evident every time his successor holds a press conference or types a tweet.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK


AP photo

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez channeled the rage triggered by Donald Trump’s presidency into something that was once almost unthinkable in the United States: victory by a 29-year-old Latina democrat over a white male Democratic Party machine politician. Now the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, she stands at the forefront of a newly resurgent progressive movement, whose candidates are winning elections on pledges of universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform.”

You can read the full list at foreignpolicy.com »


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Houston to Replace L.A. as New U.S. Destination for Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it's restructuring its entire U.S. network shifting its Los Angeles gateway to Houston and increasing frequency to Washington D.C. and Chicago. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This coming summer the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, will replace the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California as Ethiopian Airlines new destination in the United States. The airline said in a press release that the change is part of the company’s plan to restructure its entire American network in order to offer passengers “the best possible connectivity and shortest routes” between the U.S. and Africa.

The upcoming Houston flights, which will be served by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, will operate three times per week to Addis Ababa via West Africa. “The new Houston flights will be the only connection between Houston and Africa and will facilitate the travel of the huge African community in the Houston area, as well as oil and other companies doing business in the continent,” the announcement said.

The press release also highlights that flights out of Washington D.C. will be increased from current daily to ten weekly flights. “The new additional three flights will pass thru Abidjan with service continuing on to Addis Ababa,” the airline said. “The current three weekly flights to Chicago will be increased to five weekly flights. From the planned daily flights from the New York area to Addis Ababa, four will be served via Lomé from Newark and three will be via Abidjan from JFK Airport.”


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In US: Another Trump Confidant is Arrested

U.S. federal agents have arrested another longtime associate of President Donald Trump for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering in connection with the Russia investigation. Roger Stone (pictured above) was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.

The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.

It provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking to politically benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.

CNN aired video of the raid at Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home, showing FBI agents in body armor using large weapons and night-vision equipment, running up to the home and banging repeatedly on the door.

“FBI open the door!” one shouts. “FBI, warrant!” Stone could then be seen in the doorway in his sleepwear before he was led away. He is expected to appear in court later Friday.

Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall. The investigation has laid bare multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and efforts by several to conceal those communications.

Well-known for his political antics and hard ball tactics, Stone has reveled in being a Washington wheeler-dealer dating back to the Nixon administration. He has also pushed several conspiracy theories and was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

The case against Stone comes weeks after Trump’s former national security adviser was castigated by a judge in open court and just hours before Paul Manafort, his ex-campaign chairman , was due in court on allegations that he had lied to Mueller’s prosecutors.

Stone was one of Trump’s earliest political advisers, encouraging both his presidential runs. He briefly served on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but was pushed out amid infighting with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Stone continued communicating with Trump on occasion and stayed plugged into the circle of advisers — both formal and informal — who worked with and around Trump.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, told CNN Friday the charges brought against Stone “don’t have anything to do with the president.”

According to the indictment, many of those conversations involved WikiLeaks. The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by the group in the weeks before Trump, a Republican, beat Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

The document says that by June and July 2016, Stone had told senior Trump campaign officials that he had information indicating that WikiLeaks had obtained documents that could be damaging to Clinton’s campaign.

After the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, the indictment says a senior Trump campaign “was directed” to contact Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign.” The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.

Another Trump campaign official cited in the indictment is Steve Bannon, who later became Trump’s chief strategist in the White House. Bannon, referred to as a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official,” exchanged emails with Stone in October 2016 about WikiLeaks’ plans for releasing hacked material. The indictment quotes from those emails, which had previously been made public by news outlets.

While the indictment provides some new insight into the Trump campaign, it deals largely with what prosecutors say were Stone’s false statements about his conversations with conservative writer and conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, and New York radio host, Randy Credico. Corsi is referred to as Person 1 in the indictment, and Credico as Person 2.

The indictment accuses Stone of carrying out a “prolonged effort” to keep Credico from contradicting his testimony before the House intelligence committee. During that effort, prosecutors note that Stone repeatedly told Credico to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before a congressional committee.

Stone is also accused of threatening Credico. The indictment cites several messages, some of which have already been public, that Stone sent to Credico last year. On April 9, Stone called Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie” and accused him of backstabbing his friends. Stone also threatened to “take that dog away from you,” a reference to Credico’s dog, Bianca.

“I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive),” Stone also wrote to Credico.

The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was prepared to be charged, though he has denied any wrongdoing. A grand jury for months had heard from witnesses connected to Stone. And the intelligence committee last year voted to release a transcript of Stone’s testimony to Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.

Attorney Grant Smith, who represents Stone, did not return a phone message seeking comment Friday.

Stone has publicly denigrated the Mueller investigation and echoed the president’s descriptions of it as a witch hunt. But he has long attracted investigators’ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaks’ possession or the timing of when they’d be released.

Stone has said he learned from Credico that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has also spoken openly about his contacts with Corsi.

Credico hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. Last year, Mueller’s prosecutors offered a plea agreement to Corsi that would have required him to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks. But he rejected the offer and denied that he lied.

In a tweet Friday, Podesta wrote that it was now “Roger’s time in the barrel.” That was a play on Stone’s own words. Stone had tweeted cryptically before the Podesta emails were disclosed that it would soon be Podesta’s “time in the barrel.”

___
Read the indictment: http://apne.ws/1P23qpR

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The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)

This article has been updated to reflect that PM Abiy's office has clarified its initial announcement noting that Ethiopia will host next year's World Economic Forum on Africa, not the 2020 WEF, which is always held in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa, which brings together thousands of public and private sector leaders from around the globe, will be held in Ethiopia. The office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the announcement this past Wednesday following Abiy’s visit to Davos, Switzerland where he met with German Engineer and Economist Klaus Martin Schwab who founded the World Economic Forum in 1971 as an international institution for public-private cooperation.

“The PM & Prof Schwab discussed the importance of a collaborative approach among government, private sector, civil societies in addressing key global challenges,” PM Abiy Ahmed’s office shared via Twitter, adding that “they agreed that Ethiopia will host WEF in 2020.”

According to the WEF website, “The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.”

The event next year will mark the second time that the international forum is being held in Ethiopia. The country hosted the regional version of the gathering in 2012. The 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in September.


Related:
Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Spotlight: Addis Calling III Group Show at Addis Fine Art Gallery

Addis Fine Art Gallery prepares for new show, Addis Calling III, scheduled to open on January 29th, 2019 in Addis Ababa featuring up-and-coming artists Tizta Berhanu, Yohannes Tesfaye and Frew Kebede. (Photo: Addis Fine Art/Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Fine Art Gallery, which focuses on contemporary fine art collections from Ethiopia and the Diaspora, will host its third annual group exhibition next week titled “Addis Calling” featuring emerging local artists.

The gallery announced that this year they are presenting works by Frew Kebede, Tizta Berhanu and Yohannes Tesfaye. The show is set to open on January 29th and will be on display thorough March 23rd, 2019.

Below are preview images and descriptions of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery:

Yohannes Tesfaye (1978) focuses on two and three-dimensional paintings in acrylic, oil on canvas, wood, fiberglass and a variety of mixed media. His paintings reference African traditions and culture. Using contemporary materials and techniques, his current work examines the practice of ritual tribal scarification in a twenty-first century artistic and historical context.

Tizta Berhanu’s (1991) main inspiration is human emotion in all its facets, portraying her subjects expressing love, hate, sadness, loneliness etc. Trying to capture the true emotion underneath the surface of their skins. Her paintings are often ambiguous, almost unrecognizable, painted with broad confident brush strokes in deep intense colours. Blues, purples and deep-sea greens, dominate the canvasses creating an almost uncomfortable atmosphere wherein the viewer comes voyeuristically close to the emotions of the portrayed.

Frew Kebede (1982) is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums but his current focus is painting. As a musician, Jazz music plays an important part in his life and is one of his main inspirations. In his paintings, he is exploring the visual aspects of jazz music, transforming notes and rhythm into paint and brushstrokes creating colourful, vibrant canvasses, engaging the viewer into seeing things from different perspectives.


If You Go:
Addis Calling III Exhibition
January 29th – March 23rd, 2019
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

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National Geographic: Ethiopia’s ‘Church Forests’ Center of Hope for Conservation

Priests, scientists, and local communities are partnering to save the less than five percent of forests that remain in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: The Debre Mihret Arbiatu Ensesa church, which looks from above like a bright pinwheel, is surrounded by trees. But the hot, dry fields are only a few steps away/National Geographic)

National Geographic

When Alemayehu Wassie Eshete was a boy, he went to church each Sunday. He would make his way along the dry, dusty roads between the wheat fields in his home province in northern Ethiopia. At the end of the trip was the prize: a literal step into another world.

The churches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church—the dominant religious group in Ethiopia, with nearly 50 million members—were almost always nestled in patches of vibrant, shady forest. Forests, the church’s religious belief goes, were like the clothes surrounding the church at the center—as much a part of the religious space as the church building itself. Wassie would step out of the hot sun and into a beautiful, cool world filled with chattering birds and fragrant plants, a small hotspot of both biodiversity and spirituality.

“From an ecological perspective, it’s like going from hell to heaven,” he says. “You go from dry, hot fields into the beautiful forest. Anyone would see that as beautiful, but for me, the forest is more than that. It’s also a spiritual place where nature is perfect, and you pray to God.”

But when Wassie grew up and started studying biology and science, he realized that the forests he loved were few and far between. In school, he was learning about how important forests were for the ecological health of different parts of the world, and he asked himself: Where are our forests, here in northern Ethiopia? Why are there so few patches left?

Over the past century, nearly all of the native forests in the South Gonder province have disappeared, cleared to make way for wheat fields and grazing land—agricultural endeavors that support the region’s rapidly growing population. Many of the church forests, though, remain, protected by their religious stewards and the communities around them. They are tiny fragments of a lost past, and the center of hope for conservation and future restoration.

Read more and see photos at nationalgeographic.com »


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Kamala Harris jumps into presidential race

Today is MLK Day and one of our favorite U.S. senators, Kamala Harris of California, has just announced that she is running for President in 2020. The Associated Press notes that Senator Harris launched her presidential bid as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the senator sees herself as another leader in that fight. She would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds. (AP photo)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Vowing to “bring our voices together,” Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds.

Harris, who grew up in Oakland, California, and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field. She made her long anticipated announcement on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I am running for president of the United States,” she said. “And I’m very excited about it.”

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid. “They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” Harris says in the video . “The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”

On ABC, she cited her years as a prosecutor in asserting: “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else.”

Harris launched her presidential as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the California senator— who has joked that she had a “stroller’s-eye view” of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — sees herself as another leader in that fight.

She abandoned the formality of launching an exploratory committee, instead going all in on a presidential bid.

She plans a formal campaign launch in Oakland on Jan. 27. The campaign will be based in Baltimore, with a second office in Oakland.

Harris joins what is expected to be a wide-open race for the Democratic presidential nomination. There’s no apparent front-runner at this early stage and Harris will face off against several Senate colleagues.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both launched exploratory committees. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are also looking at the race.

If Booker enters the race, he and Harris could face a fierce competition for support from black voters.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, is also considering a campaign. Several other Democrats have already declared their intentions, including former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro.

Harris launches her campaign fresh off of a tour to promote her latest memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” which was widely seen as a stage-setter for a presidential bid.

She is already planning her first trip to an early primary state as a declared candidate. On Friday, Harris will travel to South Carolina to attend the Pink Ice Gala in Columbia, which is hosted by a South Carolina chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which Harris pledged as an undergraduate student at Howard University. The sorority, founded more than 100 years ago, is a stronghold in the African-American community.

South Carolina, where black voters make up a large share of the Democratic electorate, is likely to figure heavily into Harris’s prospects. And early voting in Harris’s home state of California will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests, which could give Harris a boost.

Harris’s campaign team is already taking shape and includes several veterans of Democratic politics.

Juan Rodriguez, who ran Harris’s 2016 Senate campaign, will manage her presidential bid. Her sister, Maya Harris, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton, will be the campaign chair. The veteran campaign finance lawyer Marc Elias will serve as the Harris campaign’s general counsel, and Angelique Cannon, who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, will serve as national finance director. David Huynh, who was Clinton’s director of delegate operations in 2016, will serve as a senior adviser. Lily Adams, a Clinton campaign alum who has worked as Harris’s spokeswoman, will be communications director.

Her staff says she plans to reject the assistance of a super PAC, as well as corporate PAC money. She’s invested heavily in cultivating a digital, small-dollar donor network before her presidential bid.

Before her 2016 victory in the Senate race, Harris made her career in law enforcement. She served as the district attorney in San Francisco before she was elected to serve as attorney general.

Harris is likely to face questions about her law enforcement record, particularly after the Black Lives Matter movement and activists across the country pushed for a criminal justice overhaul. Harris’s prosecutorial record has recently come under new scrutiny after a blistering opinion piece in The New York Times criticized her repeated claim that she was a “progressive prosecutor,” focused on changing a broken criminal justice system from within.

Harris addressed her law enforcement background in her book. She argued it was a “false choice” to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement.

She “knew that there was an important role on the inside, sitting at the table where the decisions were being made,” she wrote. “When activists came marching and banging on the doors, I wanted to be on the other side to let them in.”

Harris supported legislation that passed the Senate last year that overhauled the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sentencing rules.

Harris is framing her campaign through her courtroom experience. The theme of her nascent campaign is “Kamala Harris, for the people,” the same words she spoke as a prosecutor, trying a case in the courtroom.


Related:
How Kamala Harris Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary
Meet Julián Castro: The Young Texan Running for U.S. President in 2020

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Timket: Photos From Ethiopia

Timket celebration at Jan Meda in Addis Ababa. (Photo: BBC)

BBC

In pictures: Ethiopians celebrate the festival of Timket

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians have been celebrating the festival of Timket, or Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

In Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, thousands of worshippers marched through the streets on Friday, the eve of the festival, to the Jan Meda sports grounds.


Getty Images


BBC photo


BBC photo

See more photos at BBC.com »


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Spotlight: Ethiopia’s DJ Rophnan Nuri at Coke Studio Africa 2019

Ethiopian DJ, song writer, composer and producer Rophnan Nuri is among 25 of Africa’s talented artists chosen to participate at the 2019 Coke Studio Africa TV show. (Photo: Courtesy Rophnan Nuri Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In Ethiopia young people are in love with Rophnan Nuri — the Addis Ababa-born and raised DJ, song writer, composer and producer who has introduced his own version of a popular world music genre employing digital instruments to mix traditional beats from all corners of the country. His debut album Netsabraq, which was released last May, is one of the first records of electronic dance music issued in Ethiopia.

“My music speaks to my generation,” says Rophnan, who is affectionately known as Rophy, on Facebook. “As time travels us equally all together, we vibrate the same. Music is like our #1 language, which I’m blessed to speak.”

Next month the entire continent of Africa will get to know Rophnan Nuri when he performs at Coke Studio Africa 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. Coke Studio has announced that Rophnan is one of “25 of Africa’s talented artists” scheduled to appear on their annual television event that’s set to kick-off in February. “Rophnan will be making his big debut on the show, paired with Zambian rapper Chef 187,” the announcement said. “On top of lending his voice, lyrics, compositions and extraordinary mix of Ethiopian traditional sounds with electronic dance music (EDM) on the collaborations, Rophnan will also be producing all of the pairing’s music fusions.”

The media release adds that “celebrated for his distinct style of mashing up traditional Ethiopian music elements in music production, Rophnan is a pioneer in the genre of EDM and is today counted among the leading African acts creating innovative sounds while defining new frontiers for African music.”

The press release quotes Rophnan as stating that “technology allows you to be what you want to be” and that “electronic music is the new thing as it represents my generation. It’s like the new jazz.”

Other up-and-coming Ethiopian music artists selected to take part at this year’s Coke Studio Africa include Mahlet GebreGiyorgis, Bisrat, Abush Zekele and Yared Negu.


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Watch: Sara Menker on How Her Company is Filling US Data Gap Left by Shutdown

Sara Menker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gro Intelligence, discusses how the U.S. government shutdown is impacting the distribution of agriculture data and what her company is doing to alleviate the problem. (Photo: Bloomberg TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In the following Bloomberg interview aired on Thursday, January 10th, New York-based Ethiopian entrepreneur Sara Menker, Founder & CEO of Gro Intelligence, explains how the U.S. government shutdown is affecting the availability of official agriculture data and what her company is doing to fill the gap by providing traders, farmers and policymakers free access to their worldwide database.

“We are a data analytics company focused on all things agriculture globally,” Sara told Bloomberg News describing what her company does. According to the company’s website, “Gro Intelligence bridges the data gaps across the global agriculture sector, empowers decision makers, and creates a more connected, efficient, and productive global food industry. Gro’s leading edge software automatically harvests disparate data, transforms it into knowledge, and uses machine learning to make predictions.”

Right now during the U.S. government shutdown traders are not getting access to critical reports and forecasts and Gro is stepping up to the challenge of making that data accessible.

“What we have done is that we have built a data platform that at this point ingests over 40 million unique data sets that are related to global agriculture in any way, that have amassed over 500 trillion data points that’s linked to agriculture,” Sara says. “We basically leveraged that to build a predictive engine using a series of machine learning algorithms to build our own forecast model. So when the government shutdown occurred the first thing we did was to say “you know what? we should provide free access to data because a lot of databases were going down and some numbers were not updating.” And we knew that we have access to all sorts of data sets that were being reported from other parts of the world that can help to fill the gap.”

In a follow-up update on Facebook, Sara shared that at noon today Bloomberg was reporting Gro Intelligence estimates live on their platform in place of U.S. government data.

Watch: How Gro Intelligence Is Filling the USDA Data Gap Left by the Shutdown


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Spotlight: Design Week Addis Ababa 2019

(Photo: Courtesy of Design Week Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 10th, 2019

Addis Ababa (TADIAS) — This year’s Design Week Addis Ababa will kick off on February 11th for a one-week celebration of the best innovations in architecture, urban planning, industrial and interiors design, technology, fashion, food, art and multimedia.

“This biannual community event coordinates local and international designers, artists, artisans, workshops, galleries, showrooms, cultural institutions, hotels, companies, and entrepreneurs through a distinctly collaborative platform for creative, cultural, and commercial engagement,” the announcement notes.

Past participants of Design Week Addis Ababa include Jomo Design Furniture and Actuel Urban Living who were both selected to present at the highly regarded international Dubai Design Week.

Organizers of the 2019 Design Week Addis Ababa have also announced that the Nairobi Design Week will present a special installation produced in partnership with UK design firm NEON, which was made possible by the British Council’s New Art New Audiences (NANA) grant. Local partners include Tourism Ethiopia, Kana Television & Studio, Flawless Events, Zeleman Productions, and Hyatt Regency. They also have programming partnerships with the Alliance Ethio-Française and the Global Shapers Community-Addis Ababa.


If You Go:

You can learn more about Design Week Addis Ababa at designweekaa.org

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Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom – BBC

The reopening of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea has dramatically changed the towns near the frontier, BBC reports. (Photo: People come to Adigrat to stock up on all sorts of items. By GIRMAY GERBA)

BBC

Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom as Peace Takes Hold

The sun had just risen but the market in Adigrat was already coming alive when I went to visit.

Dozens of makeshift stalls lined the street where a group of women traders were sifting chickpeas.

In another place an elderly man was removing chickens from cages and placing them outside his shop.

You can buy almost anything at the market: spices, building materials, fridges and washing machines.

The market in this Ethiopian town, just 38km (24 miles) south of the border, has been transformed since the border opened four months ago after a peace deal ended the “state of war” between the two nations.

Many Eritreans now cross over to see what they can buy.

‘We love peace’

Mebrhit Gebrehans, a middle-aged woman with a big smile, is one of the traders whose business is booming.

She was busy opening a sack full of fresh spices and was calling over potential customers when I met her.

“What we fear is war. We love peace. When the Eritreans come to this market, I welcome them with a smiling face. They buy spices, honey, grains and even biscuits. And we buy different clothes from them,” she said.

“When the border reopened, we were worried there would be shortages of some things, but there hasn’t been. Everything is normal,” she added.

Just down the road, there was a section of shops selling plastic wares, from brightly coloured water tanks to jerry cans to plastic sandals.

Shop owner Haile Bisrat told me cheerfully that treating his Eritrean brothers well was not only about cementing peace. It also made good financial sense.

“We get to make a little more profit than before as the market is in a better state.

Read more »


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In Ethiopia, Historic Run Supports Girls

This week a historic athletic event is taking place in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia to raise funds for the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF). The 100-Mile Relay, which is set to start at the peaks of the Bale Mountains on January 10th, 2019 is the first-of-its-kind in the region. The running event is scheduled to conclude in the famous town of Bekoji that's home to some of the biggest names in Ethiopian athletics including Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba. (Photo: GIRLS GOTTA RUN/JASON SUAREZ)

Runners World

First-of-Its-Kind, 100-Mile Relay Seeks to Empower Ethiopian Girls Through Running

On Thursday morning, a history-making run will begin in the Oromia region of Ethiopia: Thirty women will work together to cover 100 miles in an ultra relay, the first of its kind in the area.

Half of the runners will be young girls from Bekoji, the town where the team will finish, and the other half will be women from several different corners of the world. Most won’t know each other until they gather at the starting line, but together, they’ll be working for a greater purpose: to empower young women through running.

The 100-mile ultra relay is organized by the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), an Ethiopia-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of women since its inception in 2007. Through education, running, life skills, savings, and entrepreneurship, the foundation hopes to combat the many challenges—child marriage and access to education, in particular—facing young women.

The nonprofit’s executive director Kayla Nolan collaborated with the local community to create a new opportunity for these women to run a distance only achievable with a team.

“To be able to feel like they are running with and racing with the international athletes equally, across this new distance and achieving something together—I think that’s such a powerful experience, to have their running validated, shared, and understood,” Nolan told Runner’s World over the phone from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Starting in the peaks of the Bale Mountains on January 10, the team will travel through the Oromia region, finishing in the running mecca of Bekoji, the same town that produced distance running greats like Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba.

Read more »


Related:
Why Girls Gotta Run: Interview with Patricia Ortman

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The Guardian View on Ethiopia: Editorial

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

The Guardian

Editorial

The Guardian view on Ethiopia: change is welcome, but must be secured

Ethiopians could be forgiven for their scepticism when their new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised sweeping reforms last spring. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition which appointed him toyed with change in 2005 – only to revert to its usual autocratic form. Now wariness has been replaced by genuine enthusiasm; the transformation is happening at dizzying speed. But the obstacles and perils are also clearer.

Mr Abiy, 42, has followed symbolic shifts with more substantive action. His president, chief justice and half of his ministers are female. He freed thousands of political prisoners and journalists, before arresting senior officials for human rights abuses and corruption. He overturned bans on opposition groups and invited an exiled dissident home to head the election board. The next polls are scheduled for 2020. Last time, not one opposition MP was elected. Mr Abiy’s overtures to Eritrea led to the end of a long-running conflict. He oversaw the meeting of South Sudanese leaders that produced a fragile but desperately needed peace deal. This – along with Eritrea’s ensuing rapprochement with Somalia and Djibouti – led the UN secretary general António Guterres to speak of “a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa”.

Yet Ethiopia has seen an alarming rise in multi-faceted ethnic violence. Over a million citizens were displaced last year. State controls have loosened in a country with entrenched divisions and rivalries: the EPRDF has heavily promoted ethnic identity as the basis for mobilisation, including through the complex system of ethnic federalism it introduced. Some fear the security apparatus does not know how to tackle clashes by any means other than the old, brutal methods. This autumn, following criticism over its handling of unrest, the government detained over a thousand in military camps for “rehabilitation”. There are fears Mr Abiy’s plans for overhauling the economy, including privatising state enterprises, may enrich some but hinder progress on poverty reduction. Any perception some are profiting from the sell-off of state assets could be inflammatory.

Too much rests upon Mr Abiy at present. One concern is that charismatic leadership can slide into unchecked personal power. Another is that any leader seeking change must battle powerful interests. The EPRDF is riven by competition between its four ethnically based parties and institutional and personal rivalries. The chair of the Tigray party recently accused Mr Abiy of “seeking to bring Tigrayan people to their knees”. His premiership has seen a grenade attack on one of his rallies and the arrival of angry soldiers at his office; he says they wanted to kill him. His defusal of that situation hinted at his adroitness; his background in the military has also surely been useful to him. Given that the EPRDF had until last year been Tigray-dominated, his rise as an Oromo (with an Amhara mother), reflects his skills as a politician as well as the Oromo protests which triggered his predecessor’s resignation.

But with only a year until elections are due, there is still no proper political roadmap from the government. Swift progress is needed in reforming repressive laws. Some would like to see a new constitution dismantling ethnic federalism, though most suspect prudence will restrain Mr Abiy from such a wholesale change. His record to date is unquestionably impressive. But the developments he has set in train in Africa’s second most populous nation can only be secured by institutions.

Read more »


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IN PICTURES | Along the Banks of Ethiopia’s Blue Nile

More than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century are located on the peninsulas and islands of Ethiopia's Lake Tana. (Photo: Inside the 14th century Ura Kidane Mehret church/Forbes Africa)

Forbes

The Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana as a gentle bubbling stream. Around is an ancient land with life-giving waters.

If one needs to be transported to biblical times, the time machine to do so resides on the banks of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. This ancient land of many cultures and religions has resisted modernity, leaving many of its traditions intact, as I witnessed traveling through the historic Christian circuit of Ethiopia.

The mysterious Nile was long-hidden from Western geographers and explorers. It was not until the expeditions of such great travelers as Bruce, Burton, and Speke in the 18th century that the origins were confirmed: the White Nile originates in East Africa’s Lake Victoria, while the Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana.


Photos: Forbes

It merges with the smaller tributary, the White Nile, at Khartoum, Sudan, to form the mighty Nile River.

The Blue Nile was responsible for the annual floods that contributed to the fertility of the Nile Valley and subsequent rise of the Egyptian civilization. This ended with the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s in Egypt.

For my exploration, I started in Addis Ababa and flew into Bahir Dar, a clean, safe and well-maintained city (by African standards) and the closest approach to the Blue Nile.

It offers access to more than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century, located on the peninsulas and islands of Lake Tana. I hired a boat that regularly plies Lake Tana to visit many of its churches and small villages.

Read more »


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Essence Spotlights Salome Mulugeta’s Captivating New Film ‘Woven’

In cinematic history, stories from the African continent written by those who truly understand and care about getting it right are shamefully unacknowledged. This fiercely beautiful film deftly intertwines the music and language to provide an immediate relevance within today’s debates about our contributions and importance on the worlds’ stage. (Essence)

Essence

There is an Ethiopian proverb about the importance of perseverance that reads, ”Little by little an egg will walk.” The saying perfectly describes the journey that Ethiopian filmmaker Salome Mulugeta has taken to bring her first film, WOVEN, to the big screen.

Written by, co-directed by and starring Mulugeta while set in the tight-knit New York Ethiopian community where ancient traditions rub shoulders with the modern world, WOVEN is about two families searching for happiness. But when one tragedy connects their path, a web of secrets is revealed.

In the 15 years it took the director, writer, producer, actress and journalist to bring WOVEN to life, breaking into the film industry has proved a challenge. From conception to distribution and during her trial-by-fire period, the determined filmmaker realized the importance of her community and the need to bring stories from Mother Africa to life.

“The Ethiopian community supported our endeavor in so many ways,” Mulugeta tells ESSENCE. “It was more than just giving money.”

“In a way, the film was a love letter to my culture,” Muguleta stressed. “I’m very proud of my heritage; a country that has not been colonized apart from a five-year occupation by Italy, which Ethiopia won. We are a proud people and for this reason, I felt we had to show that pride in the Ethiopian mother in the film regardless of what she was going through in her life.”

Read more »


Related:
Woven: Film by Salome Mulugeta Makes NY Premiere at ADIFF 2017

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Trouble With Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism

Abiy can achieve real progress if Ethiopia embraces a different kind of federation — territorial and not ethnic — where rights in a federal unit are dispensed not on the basis of ethnicity but on residence. Such a federal arrangement will give Ethiopians an even chance of keeping an authoritarian dictatorship at bay. (Photo: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed/The New York Times)

The New York Times

The Trouble With Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism

Abiy Ahmed, the 42-year-old prime minister of Ethiopia, has dazzled Africa with a volley of political reforms since his appointment in April. Mr. Abiy ended the 20-year border war with Eritrea, released political prisoners, removed bans on dissident groups and allowed their members to return from exile, declared press freedom and granted diverse political groups the freedom to mobilize and organize.

Mr. Abiy has been celebrated as a reformer, but his transformative politics has come up against ethnic federalism enshrined in Ethiopia’s Constitution. The resulting clash threatens to exacerbate competitive ethnic politics further and push the country toward an interethnic conflict.

The 1994 Constitution, introduced by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front governing coalition, recast the country from a centrally unified republic to a federation of nine regional ethnic states and two federally administered city-states. It bases key rights — to land, government jobs, representation in local and federal bodies — not on Ethiopian citizenship but on being considered ethnically indigenous in constituent ethnic states.

The system of ethnic federalism was troubled with internal inconsistencies because ethnic groups do not live only in a discrete “homeland” territory but are also dispersed across the country. Nonnative ethnic minorities live within every ethnic homeland.

Ethiopia’s census lists more than 90 ethnic groups, but there are only nine ethnically defined regional assemblies with rights for the officially designated majority ethnic group. The nonnative minorities are given special districts and rights of self-administration. But no matter the number of minority regions, the fiction of an ethnic homeland creates endless minorities.

Ethnic mobilization comes from multiple groups, including Ethiopians without an ethnic homeland, and those disenfranchised as minorities in the region of their residence, even if their ethnic group has a homeland in another state.

Read more »


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Ethiopia’s AGOA Exports to U.S. Rise 62% in One Year

Ethiopia's duty free trade with the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) grew by 62 percent in one year totaling $137 million in exports, according to USAID. (Photo: AGOA.info)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia’s exports to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) rose by 62% from October 2017 to September 2018. According to the East Africa Hub of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ethiopia experienced the largest increase with a total of $137 million in exports in comparison to $84 million the previous year.

“If this growth continues, Ethiopia may quickly become the second or third largest exporter under AGOA in East Africa.” USAID said.

AGOA is an American trade program that gives selected African countries duty free access to U.S. market for a variety of locally produced goods including clothing, footwear, automobile parts, steel, crude petroleum and cut-flowers. AGOA was first signed into law by U.S. Congress in 2000 and was re-authorized for another ten years by the Obama administration three years ago. AGOA is set to expire in 2025.

The press release adds that to date, USAID Hub trade and investment support has contributed to $4.07 billion in AGOA exports from the region [covering eight countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar and Mauritius], with $491.5 million from USAID Hub-supported firms.”

Overall “East African countries supported by the USAID Hub reached nearly $1 billion in exports to the U.S. under AGOA between October 2017 and September 2018,” the announcement stated. “This was a 17 percent rise over figures from the previous year, and a 42 percent increase since the USAID Hub began.” It also noted that Kenya is currently ranked as the largest exporter in the region with a total of $454 million.

Watch: Ethiopian Footwear — AGOA Eligible and Export Ready


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Abiy Ahmed: The Ethiopian Prime Minister Who Captured Africa’s Imagination — CNN

In 2019, Abiy has one real job: to cement his position as the front-runner in Ethiopia's 2020 elections. (Photo: PM Abiy at a rally in Ambo on April 11, 2018. Photo credit: Zacharias Abubeker/Getty Images)

CNN

At the beginning of 2018, Africa watchers were still reeling from the departure of Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe leader’s 37-year tenure had been figuratively bayoneted by his own army in an apparent coup.

The question on everyone’s lips: Would this signal the end of strongman rule in Africa?
Zimbabweans were quick to remind us that the new Emmerson Mnangagwa presidency was simply a case of different feet in the same boots.

All across the continent, old men such as Cameroon’s Paul Biya were running again in elections despite having already served 36 years as President.

In Nigeria, the ailing Muhammadu Buhari was prepping for another election in 2019, while Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was at increasing loggerheads with a youthful population whose loyalty he could no longer command after scrapping the presidential age limit.

Yet one African leader’s 2018 story has gripped the continent’s imagination because of the heady pace of change his appointment has engineered.

Abiy Ahmed took over as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister in April. At 42, he carved a path through Ethiopia’s tense, ethnically divided landscape by becoming the first Oromo to lead his country.

The Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, had never been in prominent positions of power. Grievances of their economic and political exclusion drove anti-government protests across the country.

For years, Ethiopia had been engulfed in states of emergencies; protests were met with a government crackdown and thousands fled across the border into Kenya. Under public pressure, Hailemariam Desalegn dramatically and unexpectedly resigned.

Abiy joined the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation as a teenager. He stayed close to his people, even as he claimed victory in an internal Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front vote on March 27 to become chairman of the ruling party. That victory secured his place as Prime Minister of an East African powerhouse.

To understand just what kind of a place Ethiopia had been before his appointment, its recent history shows a nation riven by ethnic tensions among more than a dozen different ethnic groups. Serious conflicts had raged between the Oromo and the Somali region, for example.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 1.4 million people were displaced in the first six months of 2018 because of ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia.

This displacement issue has not gone away despite Abiy’s inclusive leadership style, which has brought in major groups, including many more women in the Cabinet.

Ethiopian state-affiliated broadcaster FANA reported that 21 people had been killed in “inter-communal violence” between Oromo and Somali communities in southern Ethiopia’s Moyale in mid-December.

Before the new Abiy era, rival politicians and unfavored journalists were either in exile or locked in Ethiopia’s jails, including Addis Ababa’s infamous Maekelawi prison, where many alleged abuses took place.

And to the north and east of the country is Eritrea, with which Ethiopia had fought a pointless war over disputed border territory at a huge financial and human cost.

As Abiy was sworn in, it soon became clear his agenda to change all that had come before was genuine. He shut down Maekelawi prison, freed journalists and invited all political exiles to return and stake their claim to a free and fair 2020 election.

Back in June, as prisoners were being released on Abiy’s orders, a legislator in the Ethiopian Parliament asked the Prime Minister if it was constitutional to release people who had been jailed for terrorism and corruption. Abiy reportedly responded: “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? Torturing, putting people in dark rooms, is our act of terrorism.”

This was a profound admission by a Prime Minister, unheard of in modern-day Africa.

Under Abiy, Ethiopia has gone from being one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists to for the first time in more than a decade of having no journalists in prison.

In May, CNN spoke to Eskinder Nega, one of the first journalists and high-profile dissidents to be released as part of the government’s promise to expand freedom of expression.

He was cautiously optimistic: “The Prime Minister should be given the benefit of the doubt, he deserves at least a hundred days — the famous American honeymoon period.”

December saw him back in Addis Ababa, editing a weekly newspaper. Is he happy with progress under Abiy?

“Even though 100 days (have) passed, the honeymoon period is still there. But ultimately our safety will come if we have a democratic system. Unfortunately, we don’t have the democratic framework that will ensure our independence.”

The style of leadership was different from anything seen before in Ethiopia’s ruling party. There were “listening rallies” attended by tens of thousands, town hall meetings in which the vision of true democracy and unity were re-emphasized.

By July, Abiy’s populist streak had turned to action on the international front when out of nowhere the long cold war with neighbor Eritrea was dismantled in a series of remarkable détente meetings and diplomacy.

Isaias Afwerki, the only leader Eritrea has ever known, rolled into the Ethiopian capital, and the two leaders declared 20 years of tension over.

It catapulted Abiy and Ethiopia into a different status — and redefined the Horn of Africa nation as a regional powerhouse.

The Arab Gulf states across the Red Sea took notice for their own reasons — primarily the Horn of Africa’s proximity to Yemen and the clear desire to be part of a fast-growing economy.

Kenya had been East Africa’s largest economy, but Ethiopia overtook it in 2017. Its gross domestic product is expected to reach about $100 billion by 2020.

Abiy has been in tune to the possibility of miraculous growth, and Ethiopia’s once state-controlled telecoms, electricity and even the national airline are all going to be opened up to foreign investors.

The tremors of these vast changes have been felt beyond Ethiopia. Eritrea and now Djibouti and Somalia are all feeling the Abiy effect. Ethiopian airlines landed in Mogadishu, Somalia, for the first time in 41 years. Djibouti is in talks to share access to its port to service Ethiopian needs. The idea of peace coming to this region at last is an exciting prospect.

But of course, as with all leaders who have come to power on a wave of popular acceptance, the flash of their initial lightning moves can be all too brief. After so many whose leadership became a cult of personality, Ethiopia must hope this is finally the man who can get the job done.

In 2019, Abiy has one real job: to cement his position as the front-runner in Ethiopia’s 2020 elections.


Related:
Ethiopia News in Review: 2018 in Pictures

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2018 in Pictures

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – As we close the year with our annual photo highlight of some the biggest stories featured on Tadias our 2018 spotlights include PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. last July; his appointment of a new gender balanced cabinet in October comprising of an unprecedented 50% women members; the recent naming of Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, a former senior United Nations official, as Ethiopia’s first female President; the selection of Meaza Ashenafi, a former women’s rights lawyer, as the President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court; and the appointment of Birtukan Mideksa; a former judge and opposition leader, as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board.

In all respects this has been nothing short of an incredible year in Ethiopian history. Who would have thought that in a matter of months Ethiopia would transform itself and inspire optimism for good governance, democracy and peace amid ongoing uncertainty and conflict around the world?

Imagine this for a moment: This is the first holiday season ever in our life time, and certainly since we launched Tadias in 2003, that we go to sleep knowing that not a single of our journalist colleagues are spending the night in prison in Ethiopia. That’s a remarkable change from our standpoint, and a much needed and timely recognition that an independent and professional media sector is the backbone of a free and democratic society. As the Washington Post’s new motto reminds us, without an independent media
“Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

2018 also marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of Tadias. As always, we look forward to many more years of service and wish you all a Happy New Year!

PM Abiy Ahmed’s U.S. Tour

PM Abiy Ahmed visited the United States in July 2018 meeting with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis. During his successful three-city tour PM Abiy also met with religious leaders and took part in the peace and reconciliation conference in DC between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation. Read more and see photos »

Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President


Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia’s first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Getty Images)

On October 25th, 2018 Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde was approved by parliament to become Ethiopia’s first female president. Previously Sahle-Work was Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. According to her bio Sahle-Work was born in Addis Ababa and educated at Lycée Guebre-Mariam. She later attended the University of Montpellier in France where she majored in natural science. She speaks fluent Amharic, French, and English. A former employee of the Ethiopian foreign service, Sahle-Work served as Ethiopia’s top diplomat in Senegal, Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Guinea, Djibouti and France before joining the United Nations. In remarks to Parliament after she took her oath of office as Ethiopia’s new President, Sahle-Work emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Ethiopia Swears In First Woman Supreme Court Chief


Meaza Ashenafi is Ethiopia’s first female Supreme Court chief appointed to senior government positions by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

Meaza Ashenafi, a former women’s rights lawyer, was sworn in as Ethiopia’s first female Supreme Court President on Thursday, November 1st, 2018. Formerly Meaza was a judge on the High Court from 1989 to 1992 and adviser for the UN Economic Commission for Africa. She was also the founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association as well Enat Bank, Ethiopia’s first women’s bank. Meaza’s work became best known in the international legal community following her successful court case in Ethiopia that resulted in an end to the tradition of kidnapping girls and forcing them to marry. Per NPR: “The case sparked debate over the issue throughout the country and became the subject of the 2014 film “Difret,” executive produced by Angelina Jolie. According to Reuters Abiy said that he nominated Meaza “with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind.” The nomination was unanimously approved by parliament.

Birtukan Mideksa Named New Head of Ethiopia’s Election Board


Birtukan Mideksa is sworn in as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board on November 22nd, 2018. (Photo: FBC)

Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge and leading opposition figure, was sworn in as the head of Ethiopia’s election board on November 22nd, 2018. “Birtukan is the most senior ex-opposition figure to assume a high government post in Ethiopia in recent history,” the Associated Press noted. “She is also the latest of several women appointed to high-profile posts in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new administration.” Birtukan was one of several former opposition leaders that had met with Abiy briefly during his U.S. tour over the past summer. “Conducting a democratic election comes first, then winning comes next,” Abiy told lawmakers as he appointed Birtukan as election board head. “Conducting free and fair elections is the cornerstone for a democratic system. We all have to stand firm so that the next election will not be rigged.”

In PM Abiy’s New Cabinet, Half the Ministers are Women


Ethiopia’s newly appointed ministers take their oath of office on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at the parliament in the capital Addis Ababa. (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, October 16th Ethiopia once again surprised the world when PM Abiy Ahmed presented to Parliament’s approval his newest set of government ministers made up of 50% women members, which is unheard of in many countries around the globe. The Washington Post’s Paul Schemm noted that the landmark announcement was “an unprecedented push for gender parity in Africa’s second-most-populous nation.” Schemm continued: “The new cabinet, which reduces ministerial positions from 28 to 20, has women in the top security posts for the first time in Ethiopia’s history. Aisha Mohammed will be in charge of defense, and Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will head the newly formed Ministry of Peace.” Read more »

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

Nothing signaled more clearly the dawning of a new era in Ethiopia than the return this past summer of Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s 4th Patriarch, to his home country after 27 years in exile. Abune Merkorios arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday August 1st, 2018 following a peace and reconciliation agreement that ended the nearly three-decade-old separation between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia. The exiled patriarch was welcomed home with a memorable state reception at Addis Ababa airport, which was televised live.

Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border for First Time in 20 Years

On Ethiopian New Year’s day on September 11, 2018 Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened their borders for the first time in two decades “cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports,” Reuters pointed out. “Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998.” The news report added: “Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV. “This is the happiest day of my life,” Ruta Haddis, an Eritrean from the town of Senafe just across the frontier, told reporters. “I never thought this would take place in my lifetime.” The war over their border and other issues killed an estimated 80,000 people before fighting ended in 2000 in a contested peace deal. Tensions burned on over the position of the frontier – until Abiy offered to end the military standoff this year as part of a package of reforms that have reshaped the political landscape in the Horn of Africa and beyond.”

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures


A gold crown and a gold chalice (both 1735-40) are among the many rare Ethiopian historical items looted from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros II following his death during the Battle of Meqdela with British forces in April 1868. (Photo: FBC)

In April an international controversy was ignited in the UK concerning Ethiopia’s looted Meqdela treasures when the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London announced an uncanny proposition to loan Ethiopia the items on a long term contract. V&A’s Director was quoted as saying: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.” The answer is “a quick no,” replied the Ethiopian Ambassador to England, emphasizing that Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the items. “My government is not interested in loans, it is interested in having those objects returned.” The announcement from V&A came in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition featuring its Meqdela collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle. According to The Art Newspaper, among the nearly two dozen objects featured at the V&A show included “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry” that were forcefully removed from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government is asking for restitution of the country’s looted treasures that are being held at various locations in the United Kingdom.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Launches Website for Donations


The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund holding a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) started accepting donations through its website on October 22nd, 2018. The fund’s advisory council members have been tasked to mobilize the nearly 3 million global Ethiopian Diaspora community to donate at least one dollar a day ($365/year) expected to generate about a billion dollars on a yearly basis to benefit economic and other development projects in Ethiopia. The fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions. You can learn more about EDTF and donate at ethiopiatrustfund.org »

Eskinder Nega Makes a Surprise Appearance at the 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in New York


Journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Getty Images/Yonas Tadesse)

Last but not least one of our favorite social justice advocates, journalist Eskinder Nega, who is a former prisoner of conscience, made a surprise appearance at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York City on May 22nd, 2018. Eskinder came to New York to personally thank the organization for the prestigious “Freedom to Write” award that was given to him in absentia six years ago when he was still serving an 18-year prison sentence in Ethiopia on wildly fabricated charges stemming from his work as a journalist. Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years behind bars. “In the prize I received from PEN America, I see the solidarity of the free to the unfree,” Eskinder said in brief remarks at the event, which was held at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. “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 well known writers who attended the event included Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu who was recently named by The New York Times among 32 black male writers of our time.


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Ethiopia: US Embassy Launches Program to Support Independent Media

In support of Ethiopia’s ongoing political reform process the independent media project aims to expand the capacity of Ethiopian independent media organizations to keep Ethiopian citizens informed through professional, fact-based, and unbiased reporting. (Photo via Horn Diplomat)

Press Release

US Embassy Addis Ababa

The Embassy of the United States of America in Addis Ababa announced the launch of a capacity-building project for independent media organizations operating in Ethiopia. The “Supporting Emerging Independent Media” project is part of ongoing U.S. investments in support of Ethiopia’s political reform process.

The U.S. Embassy is partnering with Free Press Unlimited, an international NGO, to run the program, which seeks to support the capacity of Ethiopian independent media organizations to keep Ethiopian citizens informed through professional, fact-based, and unbiased reporting.

Registered private Ethiopian media organizations currently operating including print, online, radio, and television are eligible to apply for funding to cover the cost of professional capacity building, purchase of equipment and technical support, and other services

The U.S. Embassy has allocated $77,150 for the program and funding will be allocated based on the strength of applications received in cooperation with Free Press Unlimited.

To qualify for funding, media organizations need to submit a proposal. Proposals present a clear plan showing how support will contribute to sustainable operations and the delivery of fact-based, unbiased reporting, as well as strong examples of current reporting.

Selected proposals will proceed to an interview phase, and if selected, recipients will participate in a consultative process to develop the full scope of support.

The “Supporting Emerging Independent Media” project is the latest investment by the U.S. embassy to advance professional journalism in Ethiopia. Recent projects include a national training program on development reporting, which reached over 160 journalists around the country; and a jointly funded program with the UK Embassy to build the capacity of more than 400 government communicators and journalists to work together to keep the public informed.


Interested independent media outlets can download the application and budget forms in the link https://bit.ly/2E3ZcWG and send it to PASAddisGrants@state.gov by January 6, 2019.

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Ethiopia Launches iGuide for Investment

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.” (Photo: EBC)

UNCTD

The iGuide provides investors with all they need to know to invest in the country. It also highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment and helps the government to understand investor needs.

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.”

The website covers topics such as the rules and procedures for starting a business, taxes, acquisition of land, skills and wage expectations of the local labour force, quality of infrastructure, investor rights and business sectors with exceptionally high investment potential.

Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that have been uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site also features extensive feedback collected among investors on the ground.

Officials at the Ethiopia Investment Commission developed the content of the guide, with the site designed to make the information easily updateable.

“The guides help countries attract better quality and greener foreign investment, and provide investors with information that is otherwise scattered across many different websites or outright not available,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said at the launch.

$2.5 trillion

“UNCTAD has estimated that annual private investment flows of $2.5 trillion are required between now and 2030 to meet the sustainable development goals,” Ms. Durant added.

“Productive and responsible investment, particularly in infrastructure, will also underpin regional integration of the type required to reap the benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area and take the region towards the ambitious targets of Agenda 2063.”

Also present was ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, who said that the online guide was a “demonstration of taking Africa to the digital age”.

To-date UNCTAD has produced 16 investment guides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, of which seven, including Ethiopia, have been created in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa. UNCTAD is also working with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to develop guides for the Caribbean region.

UNCTAD’s data has shown that countries benefiting from investment guides have a stronger foreign direct investment performance when compared to the benchmark trends for all developing countries.


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Ethiopia Among Three Countries Where Democracy Staged a Comeback in 2018

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo on April 11. (Photo: Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

The Washington Post

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year came in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people and a solidly authoritarian past. Its jails teemed with political prisoners and journalists, and regime critics knew that the safest place was in exile. Since overthrowing a military regime in 1991, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) monopolized power, profited from corruption, crushed its critics and blatantly favored the privileged ethnic Tigray minority.

But then, in March, tensions within the EPRDF produced something of an internal coup, and the party chose Abiy Ahmed as its new chairman, making him prime minister and the first member of the oppressed Oromo minority to hold the post. His appointment ushered in changes that Ethiopians at home and abroad could hardly believe.

Abiy freed thousands of political prisoners. He released jailed journalists — not a single one remains in prison, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists — and ended a decades-old war with neighboring Eritrea. The euphoria that gripped Ethiopia, as opposition leaders started returning home, spread to the diaspora. Abiy met with a hero’s welcome during his travels to exiled Ethiopian communities. In a meeting with Ethiopian dissidents in the United States he explained his vision: The next step, he declared, is a “democratic election.”

Abiy and Ethiopia face enormous challenges. Economic turmoil and ethnic conflict could yet lie ahead. But the prime minister also enjoys an extraordinary amount of support. His push for fair elections, his tolerance of dissent, and his selection of women as cabinet officers, the head of the Supreme Court, and ceremonial president all signal a more democratic future.

Read more »


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CDC Partners with Ethiopia to Build Capacity for Public Health Emergency

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partners with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) to build capacity at public health emergency operation. (Photo: US Embassy Addis)

Press release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) facilitated a public health emergency management (PHEM) training in Bishoftu in coordination with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) from November 26 – December 7, 2018.

As part of Ethiopia’s growing capacity and leadership, the training was actually led by EPHI graduates of CDC’s four-month Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship, which provides advanced public health emergency management training.

The 5-day training provided an overview of foundational PHEM principles and skills and concluded with a scenario-based exercise where participants applied the concepts they learned and identified additional areas for future focus. Nearly 80 public health officials from the national and regional levels attended the training.

CDC also provided training to EPHI staff on managing virtual emergency operations centers (vEOC), which allow users to share data, track resources, maintain communication and provide reports in real time from on computers and mobile devices at any location. The platform can also store public health emergency management plans and standard operating procedures for easy access and implementation. EPHI will explore possible applications of this software and opportunities to enhance existing communications and data management systems based on the training.

The United States, through CDC, will continue working with EPHI and other partners to invest in strengthening the workforce, infrastructure, and systems required for a robust public health emergency management program in Ethiopia.


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Ways to Boost Donor Participation for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Advisory council members of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Under the ideal fundraising projection scenario if the majority of Ethiopians in the Diaspora, estimated to be around 2 million, were to be persuaded to give $1 a day ($365 a year) Ethiopia could easily bring in more than half a billion dollars annually to make a real and lasting impact in the country. Of course fundraising rarely works out according to the perfect predictions and expectations, but as the American author Norman Vincent Peale says it’s best to “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

So far the recently established Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), which officially started accepting donations this past October, has done an excellent job of setting up its basic organizational structure, which includes bylaws, an official website, guidance and information for the formation of local chapters, as well as work towards greater transparency when it comes to fund allocation and the fulfillment of other legally required obligations. In a short period of time, EDTF funds have reached the $500,000 threshold with donations from approximately 3,000 individuals, which is half of EDTF’s stated goal of raising one million by the end of 2018. Although their fundraising numbers are not as high as the initial predictions, there is plenty of room for greater civic engagement that is truly one-of-a-kind among the Ethiopian Diaspora.

We believe that the potential and capacity of the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community is waiting to be tapped and suggest that more grassroots efforts to engage individuals through civic engagement activities would help boost efforts to increase donor participation. There are excellent community-based examples of grassroots events that we can reflect on as EDTF moves forward in achieving its goals. In essence, individuals need to feel involved in more ways than one to feel more connected not just to a cause but to its successful implementation.

Below are a few from both the Ethiopian American Diaspora as well as from well-known global initiatives that may be worth learning from:

Tesfa Ineste Campaign – this grassroots campaign chaired by Ms. Abaynesh Asrat collaborated with the Hamlin Fistula USA Foundation to help raise $300,000 to fully finance the building and opening of a hospital in Harar as well as launch one of Ethiopia’s first program for midwife education to further prevent fistula cases. The Tesfa Ineste committee was instrumental in raising 66% of this funding from individual Ethiopians through a social media campaign and a dinner with committee members recruiting friends and supporters across the United States to participate.

Artists for Charity, which was launched by Ethiopian American Abezash Tamerat and until recently hosted annual art auctions, was an impressive social activism model that engaged artists, health experts, and community volunteers to help launch and run one of Ethiopia’s first home for children who were HIV-positive and orphaned.

On the global front, intimate gatherings with global social media outreach such as “Night of a Thousand Dinners” has helped fund programs from landmine removals to support for refugee education. The program entails hosting an intimate dinner for friends and family who donate funds that are then contributed to a campaign. It may sound like a small and simple concept, but when multiplied across the globe the impact is tremendous. Other human rights-focused non-profits like Amnesty International have always encouraged their donors to not only pay membership dues but likewise to be part of their urgent action network and write for rights campaigns where volunteers go off-line to volunteer their time and effort in initiatives that help them to connect to the individuals they are standing up for.

Providing a space for dialogue, events, mixers and forums is a great way to boost the Ethiopian Diaspora’s sense of ownership in the success of EDTF regardless of political or social affiliations. As Ethiopians in the Diaspora we can all agree that participation in causes that provide more access to clean water, education, and the empowerment of our peers is valuable and meaningful. EDTF has announced that they plan to start providing funds to social causes once they hit the 1 million dollar mark. Let’s increase civic engagement off-line to help us get beyond that number and more closer to the original prediction!


Related:
Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC
Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Update on Al Amoudi: He’s Alive and Well

The Ethiopian-born businessman has been in Saudi custody for more than a year with little official information about his status, while as Bloomberg reports "rumors spread among Saudi Arabia’s business elite that he had died. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment." Meanwhile, despite his incarceration Al Amoudi's international business is booming. Bloomberg notes that since his arrest last year "his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion." (Photo: Mohammed al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)

Bloomberg

More than a year ago, he vanished into the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, along with dozens of Saudi princes and businessmen.

Before long, rumors swirled: Was the billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi even alive?

Now, at last, comes the answer. Al Amoudi, is “still alive” and will stand trial at some point for corruption and bribery, according to a Saudi official, who asked not to be identified.

What’s remarkable about his situation is that despite his prolonged detainment, a result of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on graft in the Kingdom, the bulk of Al Amoudi’s global business empire has boomed.

Sales at his Sweden-based oil refiner Preem AB have surged more than 30 percent and his Stockholm office properties have risen in value. Since he was seized by security forces in Riyadh last year, his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

The situation highlights the contradictions and absurdities of being a wealthy Saudi under the de facto reign of the crown prince, whose embargo of Qatar, war in Yemen and alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have shocked the world but prompted little apparent change in his agenda.

A Saudi official who asked not to be identified confirmed Thursday that the billionaire is in custody, though no trial date has been set. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment.

Read more »


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21 Killed in Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale...On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported. (Photo: A refugee camp on the Ethiopian-Kenyan border near the town of Moyale, Kenya/Reuters)

AFP

At least 21 people have been killed in two days of fighting between ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported on Friday,

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale, on the border with Kenya, in a region claimed by both the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in the country, and the Somali ethnic group.

On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, Fana reported, citing the Oromia regional state communication office.

Many more were displaced by the fighting in the region which has regularly been the scene of intercommunal violence.

Last year fighting between members of the two ethnic groups left more than a million people displaced.

While Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received international praise for his reformist agenda, since coming to power in April, a wave of intercommunal violence in several parts of the country – mostly over land issues – has marred the first few months of his rule.

Three Ethiopian students were also killed and 34 others injured after a fight on a campus escalated into deadly ethnic clashes in the west of the Horn of Africa country, the government said on Wednesday.


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Ethiopia Sets 2022 for Nile Dam’s Completion Amid Delays

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation. Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. - The Associated Press. (Photo via VOA)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s controversial Nile River dam will not be completed until 2022, more than four years behind schedule, because of possible defects with the hydro-electrical plant’s equipment, an official said Thursday.

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation.

“We have a plan to generate power from the first two units within the coming two years and then probably the dam will be completed in the year 2022,” the dam’s construction manager, Kifle Hora, told The Associated Press on Thursday. Experts are assessing some electro-mechanical equipment for possible defects, he said. “Based on the assessment, we are going to devise a remedial solution which we may have to take,” he said.

The assessment came after the installation of the electro-mechanical works, described by officials as one of the most sophisticated parts of the dam, were taken away from the military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation and given to other contractors. The company’s former head, Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, and other senior officials were jailed recently on charges of corruption and embezzlement.

“We first noticed problems with the dam’s electro-mechanical and metal works two years ago but we only started taking detailed measurements in the past few months,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Sileshi Bekele, said.

“This (military) corporation has no prior experience and I highly doubt if some of the people have ever seen a hydropower plant. The government made a mistake in assigning a local contractor that has no knowledge and experience of such a complex project. In my opinion, it was a grave mistake and we are paying a price for that,” Kifle said, adding that construction of other parts of the dam is continuing.

The dam’s former manager, Semegnew Bekele, was found dead inside his car on July in the center of the capital, Addis Ababa. Police officials later said he committed suicide but some Ethiopians suspect foul play.

The dam’s construction has created controversy in the region as Egypt fears that its agriculture would be badly affected if too much of the Nile’s waters are retained each year by Ethiopia’s dam. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 percent of it 100 million citizens don’t have access to electricity.

Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. Once completed, it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.


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EDF Announces 2019 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows

Top from left: Meki Shewangizaw, Edom Wessenyeleh, Feven Abiy, Samrawit Tamyalew, Rebekah Tsadik. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Each year Tadias Magazine gets to introduce the latest class of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows, a talented group of young professionals from the U.S. who are selected to spend up to six months in Ethiopia to intern at various organizations. The internships also provide Fellows with an opportunity to reconnect and build a bridge with their ancestral home and culture through storytelling. EDF has announced the 2019 Fellows who will be working at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, GreenPath, International Institute for Primary Health Care- Ethiopia, and the Agricultural Transformation Agency.

“Every year we are more and more impressed and proud of the incredible achievements of all the applicants we get to read about during the selection process,” EDF stated.

The program is “designed to equip young diaspora professionals with leadership, service, and creative storytelling skills before sending fellows to Ethiopia for a transformative 6-month fellowship working with partner organizations in Ethiopia” notes the announcement. “To date, EDF has sent 14 Ethiopian Americans to Ethiopia and each have proved to make a difference on the ground, in our partner organizations, and back in our diaspora communities.” This year the fellows also have individual crowdfunding pages where you may read more about their story and donating for support.

Congratulations to the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows of 2019!

Samrawit Tamyalew

Samrawit Tamyalew is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point – she holds a degree in Mathematical Sciences and commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer. She served in the U.S. Army for five years and held various operational management roles, was at the forefront of the integration of women into combat arms, and served overseas in a combat deployment to Iraq. In Iraq, she was the Organizational Liaison Officer where she facilitated communications between senior stakeholders which allowed them to control operations and coordinate assets onto over 700 high-risk objectives. She has been working for the past year with the Hurricane Maria relief efforts, standardizing and overseeing the logistics coordination for all equipment that enters and leaves the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Her long-term career goal is to work in social impact and create a platform that will generate opportunities for the greater Ethiopian community in a for-profit space. Samrawit is enthusiastic to be an EDF Fellow and learn how she can serve her community.

LinkedIn
Samrawit’s Crowdfunding

Meki Shewangizaw

Meki was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to the U.S. with her family at the age of 4. A recent graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is currently involved in refugee resettlement in the United States. As a strong believer in the power of education, Meki and a group of close friends created Tesfa. Tesfa is a charity that helps primary age students in Ethiopia stay in school by alleviating education-related financial burdens. Tesfa’s mission is to become the bridge between education and underserved children across Ethiopia. Meki will be pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in the Fall of 2019. As an EDF fellow, Meki is looking forward to working in the public health field in Ethiopia, as well as expanding Tesfa’s network in Ethiopia.

LinkedIn

Edom Wessenyeleh

Edom is a graduate from Dartmouth College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Geography with a focus on Global Health. Edom’s academic and work experience has focused on issues related to health equity and development. After graduating, she moved to the UK to pursue an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where her coursework exposed her to a wide range of quantitative and qualitative epidemiological methods to analyze, design, and evaluate public health data and programs. Edom lived in India, where she worked on a project addressing treatment delivery models for tuberculosis. She has also lived in Zimbabwe, where she managed a project that investigated geographic access to HIV care. As an EDF fellow, Edom hopes strengthen health systems through research at the intersection of implementation and policy and foster relationships with local communities.

LinkedIn
Edom’s Crowdfunding

Rebekah Tsadik

Rebekah Tsadik has a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. In 2018, she engaged in a hands-on study of the global food system through visits to farmers and producers in Sicily, Spain, and Thailand. Prior to graduate school, Becky and her sister operated a business called Bereket, or “gift” in Amharic. They served modern Ethiopian cuisine throughout Los Angeles and donated a portion of proceeds to nonprofits in or servicing Ethiopia. This year Rebekah spoke on a panel about reducing food waste in San Francisco; managed volunteers for MAD, a symposium in Copenhagen about restaurant industry reform; and earned a scholarship to Eco Practicum, an independent study program on food, waterways, and inequality in upstate New York. As an EDF fellow, Becky will continue to advocate for underserved communities and small-scale farmers. She will bend the narrative about agricultural investment in Ethiopia to favor a system that not only sustains, but also thrives.

LinkedIn
Becky’s Crowdfunding

Feven Abiy

Feven is a recent graduate from Duke University where she earned a dual degree in Public Policy and Global Health. She is interested in working on issues surrounding international development, health, and policy. Through the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, she worked as an intern at the Department of State within the African Bureau. Upon graduation, Feven traveled to New Delhi, India to join the Political Section of Embassy New Delhi where she helped research and write the 2018 Human Rights Report for India. At Duke, Feven was on the executive board of DESTA, Duke’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Transnational Association, which fosters appreciation for Ethiopian/Eritrean culture. Feven is excited to return to Addis Ababa as an EDF Fellow and hopes to learn a great deal about initiatives related to Ethiopia’s rural development.

Feven’s Crowdfunding


You can learn more about the program at www.ethiopiandiasporafellowship.org.

Related:
Meet The 2017 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
EDF Announces 2016 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
EDF’s 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
Highlighting Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship

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In Ethiopia, Visual Storytelling From a Deeper Perspective: NYT Features Addis Foto Fest

Addis Foto Fest, founded by photographer Aida Muluneh, aims to give photographers from Africa a platform to capture the cultural complexities and diverse histories of the countries they call home. (Photo: Imaginary Trip #1, 2016. Credit: Gosette Lubondo)

The New York Times

In Ethiopia, Visual Storytelling From a Deeper Perspective

Aida Muluneh was a middle school student in Canada when local newspapers and magazines started running dramatic images of starving children in Ethiopia. The photos struck her as odd.

She was born in Ethiopia, and the pictures were nothing like the memories she had of the country she left when she was 5. They also didn’t match the stories her mother told her of life there.

“This is not to say the famine didn’t happen, but there are so many different stories in Ethiopia — it’s not just the story of famine or the priest with the cross,” Ms. Muluneh said. “There’s so many things that have yet to be documented.”

The memories of these photos didn’t just stay with Ms. Muluneh, they motivated her to become a photographer as well. She returned to Ethiopia in 2007, intent on teaching and establishing a photography community.

“We need to be more engaged,” she said, “because we need to be telling stories from our own perspective because obviously someone based in the country will provide deeper insight than someone flying in for a week.”

Her efforts led to Addis Foto Fest, a biennial event that unites photographers from Africa with those around the globe. The first edition — in 2010 — featured six photographers from Ethiopia. That number has grown to 35 in the current festival, which opens Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The exhibits also showcase the work of more than 100 photographers from six continents.

Ethiopian photographers this year include Mulugeta Ayene, whom Ms. Muluneh describes as a “strong photojournalist meticulously documenting all of the changes in the country,” and Aron Simeneh, who has also exhibited during Photoville 2017 in New York. The festival features a solo exhibit of pictures by Roger Ballen, an American artist living in South Africa, whose images range from the theatrical to the nightmarish. There is also a group show that highlights the work of photographers from around the world.

“I could have chosen to only do a festival for Africans only,” Ms. Muluneh said. “But I felt that we live in a global world, and we have to be engaged in a global way. The whole point is we shouldn’t be the best in Ethiopia or the best in Africa. We have to be the best in the world.”

Read more »


Related:
Aida Muluneh: Changing the Narrative on Ethiopia, One Photo at a Time (CNN)
Ethiopian Artist Aida Muluneh Directs Fatoumata Diawara’s Music Video
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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Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund held a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Last weekend at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC, Tadias Magazine participated in a press conference held by the recently established Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund where its advisory council members briefed the media on their organization’s objectives, current fundraising status as well as future plans to engage the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community.

One of the newsworthy moments came at the end of the event when leaders of a D.C.– metropolitan area organization called Ager Fiker were called to the stage. AgerFiker.com was one of several local initiatives that had been launched prior to EDTF’s formation, who answered PM Abiy’s challenge to the Diaspora for “a dollar a day” this past summer. However, the presence of multiple websites soliciting money for the same mission ended up creating confusion among donors. In an interview with Tadias last month EDTF advisory board member Dr. Bisrat Aklilu said that they were appealing to these organizations and websites to join them under “the big tent,” noting that they were run by “well-meaning people with good intentions.” At the press conference Ager Fiker responded by donating $60,000 dollars that they had collected through their website as well as from family and friends to EDTF, and further plan to transform themselves into a volunteer chapter.

EDTF advisors who took part in the press conference included Professor Alemayehu (Al) G. Mariam, Dr. Menna Demessie, Tamagne Beyene, Lulite Hailu Ejigu, Robsan Itana, Dr. Zaki Sherif and Tashitaa
Tufaa.

Professor Alemayehu, who is Chairman of EDTF, pointed out that they are also in the process of selecting Diaspora representatives (two people from the USA) to sit on the Fund’s newly forming Board of Directors in Ethiopia. He said they are currently looking for qualified candidates to fill the post and are developing a criteria for the position. He promised to make the process more transparent and engage the public in making recommendations.

While addressing the same question Tamagne Beyene broached the intriguing idea of using voting mechanisms, but quickly dismissed it as being impractical. (Although it’s worth mentioning that the proposition is not unusual in many Diaspora communities in the United States who do vote on a regular basis, including online, to select their representative leaders).

The current EDTF Advisory Council is made up of a diverse group of individuals including former human rights activists, former opposition members, business owners, academics, artists, economists, lawyers, medical doctors, financial advisors and a retired UN official.

During the press conference the group was asked why there were only two women on the stage who were totally outnumbered by their male colleagues; this stood in stark contrast to PM Abiy’s administration in Ethiopia. Prof. Al Mariam acknowledged that the gender gap was an “obvious weakness” that they are working to resolve, by appointing both women and youth ambassadors. To be more accurate the 18-member council has three women including Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director of Black Rhino Group & Executive Advisory and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure, who was not present at the media event.

Overall the press conference was an informative and much-needed event as EDTF continues to grow its mobilization efforts globally and increase donor participation.


Related:
Watch: Ethiopian TV report on EDTF Press Conference (Amharic)

Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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‘It Has Been A Dream’: Ethiopians Are Adjusting To Rapid Democratic Changes

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Ethiopia's capital, where many national heroes are buried. (Photo: NPR)

NPR

As the sun comes up, the white stone on the Holy Trinity Cathedral turns golden.

The church, in Ethiopia’s capital, is intimately tied to the country’s history. Many national heroes are buried in its gardens. The throne of last emperor, Haile Selassie, is still right next to the altar, and his and the empress’s remains are said to be buried here.

Ethiopians come before dawn to pray. Adanech Woldermariam, who is in her 70s, stands outside and sets her forehead against one of the cathedral’s stone walls. She looks up, her face framed by a white, cotton headscarf, and she begins to weep.

She is reminded of a brutal border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late 1990s that killed tens of thousands and eventually led to a two-decade cold war.

“When the war against Eritrea began,” she says, “I saw friends deported, their homes, their belongings, taken away forcefully. It was so unfair, because they had worked so hard.”

For decades, she says, she has wanted to speak that truth in public. And now, she finally can.

Over the past year, Ethiopia has gone through a historic transformation at breakneck speed. The country welcomed a new reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, in April. He forged peace with former enemy Eritrea, ended an almost four-month-long state of emergency and freed the country’s thousands of political prisoners. Seemingly overnight, the new leader opened up a democratic space — allowing foes, allies and regular Ethiopians a chance to speak their minds — after decades of authoritarian rule.

Outside the church, Teshale Abebe is praying among the trees and tombstones. At 65, he is old enough to remember that you couldn’t criticize the king. In the 1970s and ’80s, he lived through the communist regime, which massacred its political opponents in a period known as the Ethiopian Red Terror. And he saw what happened over the past three years as a government intent on squashing a protest movement threw tens of thousands in jail and killed at least 1,000 young people demonstrating in the streets.

He is happy about this year’s reforms and cherishes that he can talk openly about politics now. He says he came to pray that the changes continue. But history, he says, makes him feel that this is all tenuous.

Read more »


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In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Abai Schulze (center), founder of the Ethiopia-based brand ZAFF, greets customers at the company's store grand opening in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 4th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The award-winning Ethiopian fashion brand ZAFF officially opened its first U.S. store in Washington, D.C. this past weekend on Saturday, December 1st.

Founded by Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Abai Schulze, ZAFF produces a brand of premium leather products such as handbags, jackets, and travel accessories that are designed and handcrafted by
artisans in Ethiopia.

All ZAAF products are made by hand in Ethiopia using locally sourced high-quality leather and it can be customized for each client. Abai describes ZAAF, which translates as tree in Amharic, as being uniquely Ethiopian.

“Most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees…I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bringing out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality.”

Below are photos from the grand opening:


Related:
Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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Tackling Hate Speech in Ethiopia (HRW)

Internet café in Lalibela. © 2010 Hemis.fr/AFP Photo

HRW

Criminalizing Speech Won’t Solve Problem

Hate and dangerous speech is a serious and growing problem in Ethiopia, both online and offline. It has contributed to the growing ethnic tensions and conflicts across the country that have created more than 1.4 million new internally displaced people in the first half of 2018 alone. The government says it will pass a new law on hate speech to counter this. But around the world, laws criminalizing hate speech have been often and easily abused – and there are other options.

In the past year, speeches by government officials, activists and others in Ethiopia have disseminated quickly through social media and helped trigger or fuel violent conflicts in the country.

It is encouraging that Ethiopia’s government says hate speech must be addressed. But any law that limits freedom of expression by punishing hate speech must be narrowly drawn and enforced with restraint, so that it only targets speech that is likely to incite imminent violence or discrimination that cannot be prevented through other means. Many governments have tried and failed to strike the right balance, and Ethiopia’s own track record offers reason for alarm. In the past, the Ethiopian government has used vague legal definitions including in its anti-terrorism law, to crack down on peaceful expressions of dissent.

What Ethiopia needs is a comprehensive new strategy – one that even a carefully drawn hate speech law should only be one small part of. This could include public education campaigns, programs to improve digital literacy, and efforts to encourage self-regulation within and between communities. The prime minister and other public figures could also speak out regularly and openly about the dangers of hate speech. Donors, eager to support the reform process, could help support such a strategy. And social media companies should do more, including ensuring they have sufficient resources to respond quickly to reports that speech on their platform may lead to violence.

Ethiopians also need new platforms and opportunities to express their grievances and discuss critical issues, beyond social media. The growing list of independent media outlets, as well as universities, civil society organizations, political parties, and others could provide helpful environments for discussion.

Ethiopia is currently rewriting its civil society law and anti-terrorism law – both of which were used in the past to stifle dissent and limit freedom of expression. It should be careful not to undermine those efforts by drafting a new law that could be used for the same kinds of abuse.


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Ethiopian-American Dinaw Mengestu Among 32 Black Male Writers for Our Time

The New York Times features Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu (first row from right) among 32 black male writers of our time. (NYT)

The New York Times

The last decade has seen a burgeoning multiplicity in America’s literature, with gifted black men writing novels, poems and plays of great import. Some of them have even come to the attention of the literary establishment. Here follows a woefully incomplete roll call: Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer, 2015. Colson Whitehead, National Book Award, 2016; Pulitzer, 2017. Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer, 2017. Terrance Hayes, National Book Award, 2010. James McBride, National Book Award, 2013. Ross Gay, Danez Smith, Fred Moten and Yusef Komunyakaa, National Book Award finalists. The list goes on, and I have not touched on the writers who are not yet household names, whose arrival I await in the manner of James Baldwin’s loving anticipation of his nephew’s birth in his essay “A Letter to My Nephew” (1962), in which he wrote: “Here you were to be loved. To be loved … hard at once and forever to strengthen you against the loveless world.”

To be sure, there is much to celebrate, but these recent developments are not without complication. “I can’t help but think this comes out of the eight years of Barack Obama … and the backlash against him,” says Farah Griffin, an author and scholar of black literature at Columbia University.

It is safe to say that Barack Obama may be the most famous African-American man who has ever lived. He represents an erudite, sophisticated blackness that mainstream culture has historically derided or dismissed. But that omnipresent image of a powerful, untouchable black man reinvigorated a rage and fear of blackness as old as the nation itself… It is in this charged reality that the work of black male writers finds itself in the spotlight.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »


Related:
‘America Saw Him’: Black Journalists on Obama’s Victory, Ten Years Later [includes reflection by Ethiopian American Amdie Mengistu]

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PM Abiy Meets Opposition Parties, Promises Fair Elections

PM Abiy Ahmed's office said the meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all." (Reuters)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s prime minister met members of 81 opposition parties on Tuesday to discuss ways of reforming the electoral system, his office said, as he pressed on with promises to open up a political arena dominated by his coalition.

Abiy Ahmed has turned national politics on its head since coming to power in April by welcoming back exiled opposition and separatist groups, releasing prisoners and appointing a formerly jailed dissident as head of the election board.

The meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all,” his office said on Twitter. There was no immediate comment from any of the opposition groups.

Abiy’s ruling EPRDF coalition has been in power in Ethiopia – a major Western ally in an unstable region – since 1991. The grouping and its affiliated parties currently hold all the seats in parliament.

Last week he appointed Birtukan Mideksa as head of the board preparing for the next national elections, scheduled for 2020.

Birtukan was one of dozens of opposition figures arrested in the violent aftermath of a 2005 vote – when an opposition coalition stood against the government across the country, then challenged the EPRDF’s victory.

Security forces opened fire on crowds who took to the streets accusing the government and the election board of rigging the 2005 vote. Dozens died.

Abiy – the first member of Ethiopia’s majority Oromo group to lead a coalition long dominated by ethnic Tigrayans – has promised to rein in the powerful security services and started consultations to rework an anti-terrorism law that critics said had criminalized dissent.


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Fact Check: Ethiopia Diaspora “Leaders” Wrong on Obama

It's been almost two years since President Obama has left the White House, but unfortunately our so called "Diaspora leaders" (unelected) are still obsessed with their own spin and propaganda about the former President of the United States (twice-elected), who has always enjoyed and continues to enjoy wide support and respect among the diverse Ethiopian American community. How true is the often repeated claim and suggestion that "Human Rights" was not on Obama's agenda during his landmark visit to the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia three years ago? Or, for that matter, during Obama's meeting with the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn? A quick internet search reveals that in fact the topic was high on the list. Below is how USA Today reported the American president's trip to Ethiopia in July of 2015. (Photo: Obama in Ethiopia greeting the catering staff at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, July 2015/by Pete Souza)

USA TODAY | Published July 27, 2015

Obama talks about security and human rights in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Obama pressed the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday to ease restrictions on free speech, the press and political opposition in the impoverished East African nation.

“When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Desalegn.

Later Monday, Obama and representatives from the 54-nation African Union, headquartered here, met to discuss terrorism, human rights and regional security issues.

The White House said most of the discussion focused on neighboring South Sudan, which has been embroiled in a bloody civil war since December 2013. Before the meeting, Obama said that “conditions on the ground (in South Sudan) are getting much, much worse.”

South Sudan, which became a nation in July 2011, has until Aug. 17 to accept a peace and power-sharing agreement between warring government factions. Most of the discussion Monday focused on how to get an agreement next month, and some participants talked about sanctions or military intervention if the warring parties fail to settle their differences, the White House said.

Obama’s visit to Ethiopia is a first by a sitting U.S. president, and the second country on a two-stop tour that began in neighboring Kenya, the nation where his late father was born.

Around this capital city, security was tight, with roadblocks on major thoroughfares and residents — as in Kenya — ordered to stay home and out of the downtown area. Even so, residents came out in force, hoping to take photos of Obama as he drove by.

“I’m heading to town on foot to try my luck if I can see President Obama passing,” said Aluka Kemal, 35, a businessman who lives in the neighborhood of Gulele.

Around a market area at the northern end of Churchill Avenue, hundreds of people lined the streets waving both American and Ethiopian flags. Some held posters of Obama, chanted his name and sang songs.

Ethiopia’s economy has been growing by nearly 10% annually in recent years but remains one of Africa’s poorest nations, with unemployment around 17%. It is the second-most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria, and faces a threat from al-Shabab militants based in neighboring Somalia. Ethiopia has taken part in regional military operations against the group.

President Obama is now the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia. He arrived at the National Palace to meet with that country’s Prime Minister on Monday. (July 27) AP

Human rights organizations say the government has used its war against terror to clamp down on political opposition groups and basic freedoms. Ethiopia is the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ahead of Obama’s arrival, the government released several journalists and bloggers it had been holding since April 2014 on charges of incitement and terrorism. Many others remain in detention.

Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Obama’s visit is not a sign of approval of Ethiopia’s human rights record.

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


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Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen
Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Interview with Dr. Elias Siraj on Ethiopia’s Alarming New Data on Diabetes

Dr. Elias S. Siraj, Professor of Medicine & Chief of Endocrinology as well as Director of Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. In the following interview he discusses research findings showing an alarmingly growing prevalence of diabetes in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – As Ethiopia’s population grew exponentially to over 100 million in the past few decades so did the number of public health problems associated with population growth, the migration of rural residents to big cities, and dramatic changes in ways of living.

According to two recent studies conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health respectively chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are on the rise throughout Ethiopia and are becoming a significant public health hazard. Such chronic diseases are essentially lifestyle-related health issues primarily caused by poor diet and lack of physical exercise.

The IDF currently ranks Ethiopia as being home to the largest diabetic population in Africa with a combined estimate of 20% of Ethiopian adults as likely to either have diabetes (5.2%) or be prediabetic (15%).

“That’s a huge number affecting millions of people,” says Dr. Elias S. Siraj, Professor of Medicine & Chief of Endocrinology as well as Director of Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. “It’s also important to note that about three fourth of them (76%) do not even know they have diabetes because they were never tested, or if they were tested they don’t have the proper knowledge to understand what it means and what the findings are.”

“Diabetes is basically diagnosed by measuring blood sugar levels,” Dr. Elias explains. “If the blood sugar level while fasting — meaning not eating for 8 hours in the morning — is above 126 it’s called diabetes. If the number is between 100 and 125 that’s prediabetes.” Dr. Elias added: “So prediabetes is basically knocking on the door. It is saying I am coming if you don’t do something. It does not mean that everyone will develop diabetes, but most of them will. A lot of people who are prediabetic over the years will transition into diabetes.”

Dr. Elias, who is also an alumni of the University of Gondar, the first medical college in Ethiopia, and a member of the Diaspora volunteer organization People To People (P2P), shared the findings with Tadias last week to mark World Diabetes Day, which took place on November 14th. He pointed out that 425 million people around the globe have diabetes and an additional 352 million are prediabetic. “If you add it up that’s 15% of adults in the world,” Dr. Elias told Tadias in an interview. “This is massive.”

“So to put it in context, for a country like Ethiopia to have twenty percent of its population as having either diabetes or prediabetes, that’s alarming and a wake-up call to policymakers,” Dr. Elias adds.

The second source of data on diabetes in Ethiopia, called the STEPS survey, comes from the nation’s Ministry of Health. “For the first time in Ethiopia a representative sample from the whole country was collected to study diabetes and other chronic conditions,” noted Dr. Elias. “For the first time, The Ministry of Health selected 10,000 individuals from both rural and urban areas. The STEPS survey shows that Diabetes is prevalent among 3.2% of the sample and prediabetes was present in 9.1%. That means close to 12% are diabetic or prediabetic. In addition, high blood pressure was seen in 16% while 15% were considered overweight or obese. What these numbers tell us is that there is no question that chronic diseases are on the rise in Ethiopia.”

“Irrespective of the slight difference both studies tell the same story and share the same message,” Dr. Elias argued. “The prevalence of diabetes is really big and actually increasing.”

What’s the Solution?

In their introduction to the results of the STEPS survey the Ethiopian researchers highlight that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2017 report, “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people” and “Chronic NCDs are rising fastest among lower–income countries.”

The reports adds: “The federal Ministry Health of Ethiopia established a National Strategic Action Plan for Non–Communicable Disease in Ethiopia (2014–2016), and developed national treatment guidelines and training materials on major NCDs like hypertension and diabetes. The national WHO STEPS survey was undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) as part of a situational analysis of NCD risk factors to provide baseline data for subsequent interventions.”

Dr Elias notes that there are adjustments being made to address the issue of chronic diseases but admits that most funding currently given to developing countries usually ends up financing programs that focus on infectious diseases. He emphasizes that the key is to “create public awareness” and “educate the public.”

Although the IDF results were released a year ago, Dr. Elias notes that “Ethiopia is being labeled as number one in the volume of diabetes in Africa and there was no press release on the topic from the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Medical Association, the Ethiopian Diabetes Association.” Dr. Elias added: “It seems trivial, but it’s very important from a public health standpoint. Everybody has to be aware, the media, the public, medical professionals and the authorities. Policymakers allocate budget if the society is aware, because awareness creates pressure.”


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Obama Alumni Return to Washington

Tom Malinowski of New Jersey who served President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor is one of several former Obama administration officials that were elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018. “This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.” (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen

WASHINGTON — Their previous jobs have taken them to the Oval Office, the Situation Room and the Senate floor. One met with a Saudi king and plotted strategy to fight the Islamic State. Another cracked down on human rights abuses in North Korea. Their Rolodexes are flush with former cabinet members and current Pentagon officials who are happy to take their calls.

Nearly a dozen members of the House’s incoming class are far from being gawky freshmen, stumbling wide-eyed through the strange corridors of Capitol Hill, but are instead experienced policymakers who have worked in previous presidential administrations — seven of them for former President Barack Obama. Their return to Washington is, in part, a way to undo what they see as the unspooling of the values and legacy of the nation’s 44th president…

“This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.”

A pair of them, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mr. Malinowski of New Jersey, have previously tussled with Congress. Ms. Slotkin, a former C.I.A. officer who served three tours of duty in Iraq and informed the nation’s strategy against the Islamic State, appeared before the Senate for her confirmation hearing as a nominee for assistant secretary of defense to Mr. Obama. (She also served under George W. Bush.)

Mr. Malinowski, who helped levy sanctions against North Korean officials for human rights abuses, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state after receiving lavish praise from Senator John McCain. Another incoming member, Haley Stevens of Michigan, was once in charge of Mr. Obama’s Senate confirmations and cabinet designations.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


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Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Birtukan Mideksa: New Head of Ethiopia’s Election Board

Birtukan Mideksa (right), a former judge and leading opposition figure, has been sworn in as the head of Ethiopia's election board. (Photo: FBC)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — An opposition figure who recently returned from exile was named Ethiopia’s election chief on Thursday as the country prepares for what the reformist prime minister vows will be “free and fair” elections in 2020.

Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge, is the most senior ex-opposition figure to assume a high government post in Ethiopia in recent history. She is also the latest of several women appointed to high-profile posts in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new administration.

Birtukan is among the Ethiopians who have returned to the country after years in exile, encouraged by the dramatic political reforms announced by Abiy since he took office in April. She was chosen by Abiy to lead the election board after the two met during his recent visit to the United States, where in a series of enthusiastic meetings he encouraged people frustrated by previous administrations to come home. Lawmakers approved the pick on Thursday.

“Conducting a democratic election comes first, then winning comes next,” Abiy told lawmakers. “Conducting free and fair elections is the cornerstone for a democratic system. We all have to stand firm so that the next election will not be rigged.”

Birtukan left Ethiopia after years of friction with the previous administration. She was detained shortly after the violent and controversial 2005 election that led to the deaths of several dozen people. Opposition leaders were jailed after they accused the administration of Meles Zenawi of rigging the vote.

She served an 18-month prison term before being pardoned in 2007 but was re-arrested in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison after officials accused her of violating the terms of her pardon. She left the country after being released again in 2010 and returned this month.

Also on Thursday, the prime minister in remarks to lawmakers said the country would need to build a new town to hold all suspected of corruption and rights abuses in previous administrations.

Abiy said that “the prison facilities that we have here in Ethiopia are not sufficient enough to handle the vast number of criminals … we have chosen to focus on major cases and leave the rest for a reconciliation commission that is in the making.”

Sixty-three intelligence officials, military personnel and businesspeople were arrested this month over allegations of abuses and corruption.


Related:
Birtukan Mideksa, the Right Person to Help Build Democratic Institutions in Ethiopia
Tadias Interview with Birtukan Mideksa: Women’s History Month 2012

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Ethiopia To Host 2019 World Press Day

UNESCO has selected Ethiopia to host the 2019 World Press Freedom Day. (Image: BBG)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 21st, 2018

Ethiopia To Host 2019 World Press Freedom Day

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is set to host the 2019 World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa. The event, which is organized by UNESCO and held annually on May 3rd, is an opportunity to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

According to Fana Broadcasting Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Markos Tekle, thanked UNESCO for choosing Ethiopia while meeting with Mrs. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso, UNESCO’s Liaison Office Director, and “emphasized that opening up the media was an essential part of the reforms now taking place in Ethiopia.”

For Ethiopia the announcement marks an impressive turnaround given that just less than a year ago the country was ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for independent media professionals to operate in. However, since Dr. Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April this year Ethiopia has been going through a remarkable change including the opening up of the media and political space as the nation prepares for a multi-party election season in 2020.


Dr Markos Tekle meeting with Mrs. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso, the Director of UNESCO’s Liaison Office in Addis Ababa on November 21st, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

The report added: “Mrs. Afonso commended the Government of Ethiopia for its unwavering support to UNESCO and welcomed the reforms taking place in the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”


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Facebook Shuts 20 Fake Ethiopia Pages

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country. (Photo: FBC)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

Facebook Shuts 20 Pages Claiming to be Ethiopian Broadcaster

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A major Ethiopian broadcaster says Facebook has shut 20 pages that falsely used its name.

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country.

“Based on our request, Facebook has shut down 13 fake pages in the past week alone. In recent weeks, a total of 20 fake Fana pages that were spreading fake news were shut down,” Mekoya Hailemariam, head editor of Fana’s online publications, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “The pages were using our official logo and mixing our authentic news items with fake ones to intentionally spread misinformation. Some of these fake pages used to have as high as 45,000 followers.”

Ethiopia has one of the lowest internet penetrations in the world with about 15 percent of its citizens having access to the net, according to Internet World Stats. The number of people using Facebook in Ethiopia, is estimated to be about 4.5 million of its 100 million inhabitants.

“There are only a few independent and free media outlets in Ethiopia,” said Befkadu Hailu, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia. “Hence, people are exposed to rumors, fake news and conspiracy theories. As such, they are exploited in many ways.”

Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has relaxed the government’s control of the media, freeing journalists and bloggers who were in jail and unlocking several dozen online media outlets. But Abiy has warned on several occasions that fabricated stories are jeopardizing the public’s peace and security.

“Youths should refrain from taking measures based on misinformation and fake news,” Abiy said in August. “This will only hamper our reform efforts and lead us to failure ultimately.”

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, also tweeted in August urging the public to “disregard falsehoods” and stay away from “fabricated stories.”

In recent months, Ethiopians were exposed to fake news reports that sometimes led to violent and deadly events. One video that circulated four months ago purported to show ethnic Oromos throwing dead bodies of ethnic Somalis into a grave. The video was blamed for instigating a violent confrontation.

In another example, fake news reports last week accused the country’s running great, Haile Gebrselassie, of renting the ground floor of one of his buildings in the capital Addis Ababa to security agencies that were torturing people inside. He later dismissed it as an “utter lie.”

This East African nation has cut off internet in several occasions to curb the flow of information, notably during its two recent emergency rules.


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Navigating Ethiopia’s Journey Towards Reconciliation & Justice: by Awol K Allo

Ethiopia needs both accountability and reconciliation to come to terms with its violent and divisive past, argues Awol K Allo, a Lecturer in Law at Keele University, UK, in the following timely article. (Photo: Reuters)

By Awol K Allo

Since November 9, the Ethiopian government has arrested more than 60 leading figures from the National Intelligence Service and Security (NISS) and the state-owned conglomerate Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC). They stand accused of committing egregious human rights and participating in organised corruption.

This is the biggest campaign of mass arrests targeting powerful figures from the security and military establishment since the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power seven months ago.

Days after the top leadership of two of the most powerful institutions in the country were charged, Ahmed’s cabinet approved draft legislation on the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission with the objective of healing the deep social wounds left by years of repression under previous Ethiopian governments. While Ethiopia certainly needs both accountability and reconciliation to come to terms with its violent and divisive past, it is not clear how the government aims to reconcile the two processes.

While legal accountability and reconciliation are not incompatible, they are nevertheless separate processes, with their own unique procedures and different goals. Prosecution emphasises punishment and vengeance, while reconciliation underscores healing.

Prosecution is governed by the strict rules of criminal procedure and focuses on an uncovering the truth about a particular crime and delivering individualised justice. Reconciliation, on the other hand, is not governed by strict legalistic procedures and its primary aim is to help the entire nation confront the past by producing as complete a picture of what happened as possible.

Pursuing prosecutorial justice while at the same time promoting reconciliation of a highly divided society, particularly in a highly fragile setting in which decades of state-sponsored acts of terror and violence resulted in the gradual rupture of the social fabric, requires a strategic and holistic integration of the processes, as well as careful planning…

As a country undergoing a complex period of transition, Ethiopia should hold to account those who perpetrated these detestable crimes which have torn apart the nation.

Under these conditions, the legal prosecution can be an integral part of a multipronged institutional response to state-sponsored acts of violence and organised plunder. It can contribute to the creation of a culture of accountability and strengthen the rule of law.

Reconciliation or justice?

However, the legal prosecution of these criminals would not heal the deep wounds and repair the social fabric ripped apart by decades of violence and antagonism. In her seminal book titled, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence, Martha Minow writes, “when the societal goals include restoring dignity to victims, offering a basis for individual healing, and promoting reconciliation across a divided nation, a truth commission again may be as or more powerful than prosecutions.”

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Nafkote Tamirat’s New Novel Among New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018

The debut novel by Ethiopian American author Nafkote Tamirat has been selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review among the 100 Notable Books of 2018. (NYT)

The New York Times

100 Notable Books of 2018

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

By NAFKOTE TAMIRAT. $26. Holt. Fiction.

An Ethiopian-American teenager living in a mysterious island commune narrates this impressive debut novel, recalling her childhood in Boston and her entanglement there with a charismatic parking-lot attendant and his possibly sinister schemes.

See the full list at NYtimes.com »


Book Review: Nafkote Tamirat’s ‘The Parking Lot Attendant’

The New York Times

The Mysterious ‘Parking Lot Attendant’ at the Center of a Web of Intrigue

At the start of Nafkote Tamirat’s debut novel, “The Parking Lot Attendant,” the narrator — a 17-year-old girl who is never named — has recently arrived with her father on the remote subtropical island of B—, where they’ve found uneasy refuge in a commune. They’ve fled some unspecified trouble in Boston, but the trouble seems to have followed them. The girl is more or less a pariah. She’s miserable and ill at ease, which seems reasonable under the circumstances. The commune’s managerial arrangements can only be described as sinister.

The colonists, as they call themselves, live by rigid rules set out by a group of anonymous leaders. The only book allowed is the Bible, in Amharic. (Fortunately, the narrator is fluent; although she was born in the United States, her parents emigrated from Ethiopia.) The commune on B— is by no means a permanent settlement; the colonists are preparing for a move to a promised land in Africa. They live in limbo and in a state of ever-increasing tension.

From here, Tamirat takes us back to the narrator’s life in Boston. If the girl had friends before she met Ayale, the titular parking lot attendant, they’re not mentioned. Although she dabbled in theater, her focus on school was otherwise absolute. She was raised by her parents, but never both at the same time: Her father walked out while her mother was pregnant, and didn’t return for six years. When he reappeared, her mother promptly abandoned her, and after that the narrator grew up in her father’s basement apartment.

Her father is pensive by nature and uncomfortable around other people, and while there’s good will on both sides, his rapport with his daughter is far from effortless. Still, he tries. After an awkward encounter with an irritating new monk at their church, he starts skipping services in favor of a weekly brunch with his daughter, and their conversations over eggs and pancakes take on a deep importance to her: “Only at brunch could I see him as someone who would stay. At all other times, I prepared myself for his inevitable departure, after which there would be no more parents: I would be alone.”

Read more »


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Ethiopia-based Zaaf Brand to Open Store in Washington D.C. December 1st

Abai Schulze, Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF, with her team in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abai Schulze, Founder of the award-winning handbag company ZAAF, may have left Ethiopia when she was almost eleven years old, but Ethiopia never left her.

Five years ago Abai returned to Ethiopia to launch her “community-oriented, fashion line” called ZAAF, which produces a brand of premium leather products such as handbags, jackets, and travel accessories that are designed and handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is the birthplace of ZAAF, and will serve as the foundation of a luxury lifestyle brand as we expand out to draw on the rich heritage and culture that can be found across the continent,” Abai had told Tadias in a feature interview two years ago. Explaining her long-term goal for her business Abai added: “In ten years we want to be a widely recognized and sought after brand that equates ‘Made in Africa’ with brilliance in craftsmanship, artistry, and deep cultural roots.”

“Real economic development is about producing top quality products using unique cultural, natural, and human resources that can find a place at the highest levels in the global marketplace,” Abai explained. “So the vision is really very big — it is about setting standards of excellence and innovation; it is about demonstrating and affirming that we can be a top fashion brand competing with the biggest names in the world in terms of both creative design and quality.”

Abai was born in Wollo and grew up in an orphanage in Addis Ababa before she was adopted by an American family in the late 1990s and returned to Ethiopia in 2013 to establish Zaaf. Since its launch ZAFF has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Forbes, Le Monde and Lucky magazines as well as showcased at New York Fashion Week.

On December 1st, 2018 Zaaf is set to inaugurate its first store in Washington, D.C. “We are super excited,” the company stated in their announcement. “The ZAAF Store is not going to be your ordinary boutique – you can come in and design your very own piece in our design lab.”

“We plan to fulfill the first 15 design lab orders placed on December 1st in time for Christmas,” Zaaf announced.

All Zaaf products are produced by hand in Ethiopia using locally sourced high-quality leather, “the best of best,” Abai says, and customized for each client. She describes Zaff, which means tree in Amharic, as being uniquely Ethiopian. “Most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees…I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bring out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality.”


If You Go:
ZAAF STORE GRAND OPENING – DEC. 1, 2018
Saturday, December1, 2018
2:00PM – 6:00PM
1409 Florida Ave. NW
Washington DC, 20009
Click here to RSVP

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Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, according to Anteneh Senbeta of the Ethiopian Investment Commission. (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors as Demand Surge Seen

Ethiopia is offering tax breaks and other incentives to lure foreign drugs manufacturers as the government forecasts demand will increase by almost a third by the end of the decade.

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, Anteneh Senbeta, the deputy commissioner for corporate affairs at the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said in an emailed response to queries.

Foreign companies have ploughed $213 million into the industry in the past two years, lured by government offers to facilitate exports and allow companies to repatriate profits, the agency said. The government has promised tax exemptions for factories at an export-processing facility on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, one of several established across the country.

Two Chinese companies, Humanwell Healthcare Group Co. and Sansheng Holdings Group Co., invested a total $100 million in another industrial park over the past two years, according to Kartik Akileswaran, a governance adviser at the EIC.

The latest investor to announce its entry into Ethiopia is Mumbai-based Kilitch Drugs India Ltd., which plans to build a plant to manufacture medicinal vials by mid-2019. United Arab Emirates drug-maker Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries has a hub in Ethiopia, from where its eyeing east and west African markets.

“There is a strong investment policy focused on pharmaceuticals, with tax exemptions, a one-stop shop for government services and a price preference in public procurement,” Senbeta said.

Read more »


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Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on EDTF

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, who is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund's Advisory Council. (Photo: UMD)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 15th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Last weekend in Alexandria, Virginia Dr. Lemma Senbet, renowned Ethiopian American economist and professor, attended the 8th year anniversary celebration dinner hosted by Your Ethiopian Professionals (YEP), a D.C.-based organization dedicated to promoting career networking and mentoring opportunities for members of the Ethiopian American community. Dr. Lemma was keen to share the current effort of the recently formed Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund to YEP’s program attendees as part of the Fund’s upcoming launch of a D.C. chapter to help accelerate the global donor campaign.

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, who is currently the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park and the former head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), is also one of the Advisory Council members for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

“We are in the process of forming a chapter,” Dr. Lemma said in a recent interview with Tadias, noting that several members of the Advisory Council from the D.C. area had recently met to discuss the effort and to come up with formal guidelines on the process of establishing a chapter. “In between, what we are doing is engaging in a number of retail activities piggybacking on and leveraging various events that are being held by the Ethiopian Diaspora, such as the YEP event.” Dr. Lemma added that chapters will be viewed as an extension of the Council. “So it’s important that it is done with care, so it will not engender any reputational risk” he shared. “We have some guidelines, but not too restrictive so it will not discourage chapter formation,” Dr. Lemma said, which has been reported back to the Council.

“It’s like knowing your customer,” Dr. Lemma emphasized. “We need to know the people, experience and areas of interest so we can also engage in appropriate monitoring, because any misdeed could actually hurt us.”

More importantly, the Fund has the responsibility of following U.S. laws governing charitable organizations for nonprofits designated under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which is how EDTF has been established.

One thing that EDTF has yet to do is engage in “systematic campaign activities,” Dr. Lemma told Tadias. This would include events such as “holding town hall meetings and press conferences not only in Washington D.C. but worldwide.” To that end in Washington a press conference on the Fund and mobilization of the process will be held later this month at the Ethiopian Embassy, and a major fundraising event is also in the works for early 2019.

“Due to the coming holiday season, however, the earliest we can hold the fundraiser is probably in February,” Dr. Lemma said. “We are also going to seek assistance from the Embassy in terms of accessing a database of organizations that we can try to reach out to.” Dr. Lemma noted they are attempting to “map existing Diaspora organizations” such as churches, professional associations and other community groups. “We don’t have an extensive database so we are going to work off whatever the Embassy has.”

As to the online fundraising effort, which as of this week has raised close to $300K, Dr. Lemma said: “Here is where we are now. Although this one dollar a day idea is a very nice and appealing vision, we also want to attract high net-worth individuals, which we have not done yet, not only from the Diaspora but also from the individuals who consider themselves friends of Ethiopia, such as former Peace Corps Volunteers for example.”

As part of the final implementation of projects Dr. Lemma said that they will host “a number of discussion forums” around the world.

“The input is going to come from all over the globe and we’ll have the mechanism to collect that feedback including via the established chapters, which are key in this process as well.”

“It’s also very important for people to understand the linkage between the Council and projects in Ethiopia, which is governed by a Board in Ethiopia,” Dr. Lemma said. “Our job is to advise on project identification and also to make sure that Diaspora voices are heard. We plan to also provide advice on final allocation of resources.”

Dr. Lemma credits PM Abiy Ahmed for helping to bring unity among the diverse voices of the global Ethiopian Diaspora. “I am one of them,” Dr. Lemma enthused. “As you know in the past I was not as involved, not because I was in the opposition, but rather I had some genuine differences of opinion with the previous administration especially when it came to the state of finance policy and the complete lack of privatization of finance, which had nothing to do with capacity.” Dr. Lemma added: “Today what we have here is an unparalleled opportunity to impart transfer of knowledge coming from the collective wisdom of the huge global Diaspora.”

For EDTF the most important thing is that there should be an “inclusivity of growth in Ethiopia,” Dr. Lemma said. “So we have agents of inclusivity among youth, women, and small farmers to foster entrepreneurship and also enhance agricultural productivity, which is really very consistent with the prime minister’s vision.”

Dr. Lemma considers it a good thing that the current Advisory Council is comprised of a “talented bunch” and that the members involved “are navigating together” a complex set of international regulations and rules spanning several continents.

On a personal level Dr. Lemma said that he sees his involvement with EDTF as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference in Ethiopia.

“In some sense you can think of it as being in unchartered territory,” he admits. “It’s a new concept and a new vision from what appears to be a highly transformational leadership in Ethiopia.” He added: “We need to seize this opportunity and we need to move fast because this momentum, who knows, it could slip by. That’s why I feel strongly that we need get this EDTF right. We need to get it right on a variety of ways, one of which is to move consistently with the pace of the Prime Minister.”

Related:
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Ethiopia to Host Social Enterprise World Forum 2019

Addis Ababa was announced as the event's next host city in an exuberant handover ceremony at the conclusion of the 2018 Forum in Edinburgh. (© Becky Duncan, Open Aye for CEIS, SEWF 2018)

British Council

The next edition of the Social Enterprise World Forum will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2019.

Addis Ababa was announced as the event’s next host city in an exuberant handover ceremony at the conclusion of the 2018 Forum in Edinburgh. This will be the 12th annual forum and will be the first time it is hosted by a lower income country.

The SEWF is the world’s leading forum for international exchange and collaboration in social entrepreneurship and social investment. In 2019, the aim is to catalyse the area’s dynamic social enterprise movement – both within Ethiopia and more widely across the Africa, and spur the further growth of social enterprise globally to help address social problems. Members of the social enterprise movement from all the other continents will be there too, learning from each other and sharing their experiences.

Kibret Abebe, Chair of Social Enterprise Ethiopia , a social enterprise support body which was created at the end of 2017, said he was delighted that Addis Ababa won the bid to host the forum.

With over 100 million inhabitants — it’s the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, Ethiopia already boasts an estimated 55,000 social enterprises, according to British Council research published last year . Some of the most well-known examples include Tebita Ambulance , founded by Abebe, and Whiz Kids Workshop , founded by Bruktawit Tigabu. Both Abebe and Tigabu were in Ediburgh where they spoke about their highly impactful work in a plenary devoted to the ‘Best of Social Enterprise’.

However, Abebe pointed out that the concept of social enterprise was not yet widely recognised and saw an enormous opportunity to raise awareness of business with a social purpose: ‘We want to really bring this idea into the minds of the public and more widely,’ he said.

The British Council has played a key role in recent years in helping to support the development of social enterprise in Ethiopia and is co-hosting the forum in 2019. Moses Anibaba, the British Council’s regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, pointed out that in the next 20 years, 50 per cent of the world’s working age population would be in Africa.

‘Harnessing this enormous population of entrepreneurs, innovators and talent is critical in order to spur the growth of social entrepreneurship globally, as it generates employment, reduces inequalities and addresses entrenched social problems,’ he said.

He added that hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Addis Ababa would support this growth. He said: ‘We will be celebrating the achievements of African social enterprises and hosting social enterprise leaders and supporters from around the world to share experiences, reconnect with our shared purpose and grow our global movement.’

Gerry Higgins, chief executive of CEIS and founder of the SEWF, said: ‘The Social Enterprise World Forum is looking forward to having a very rich dialogue with social enterprises from around the world in Ethiopia in 2019. We are excited to have our first forum in a developing country, engaging with inspirational social enterprise leaders in Ethiopia and throughout Africa and collaborating for a sustainable legacy.’

A delegation from Ethiopia attended this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh. As the forum drew to a close, Abebe said that he and his colleagues would return home and continue their preparations. “We don’t want to copy and paste what’s gone before,” he said. “We will approach it from our own cultural, political and economic perspective, which I hope will be very beautiful.”


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Ethiopia Corruption Crackdown (UPDATE)

Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, was arrested on corruption charges on November 13th, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET | Updated November 13, 2018

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has detained the former head of a large military-run industrial conglomerate, a day after the country’s attorney general disclosed that several hundred million dollars was embezzled from the firm.

The state broadcaster ETV reported that Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, former head of the Metal and Engineering Corporation, was arrested near the Sudanese border where he was trying to flee.

The arrest is viewed as a direct hit on Ethiopia’s military establishment, the latest of several major changes implemented by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 42, since he came to power in April.

Images of the former official in handcuffs arriving by helicopter in the capital, Addis Ababa, have been aired repeatedly by the state broadcaster. The news of Kinfe’s arrest has captured the attention of many in this East African nation as he was one of the most feared figures in the country until a few months ago.

“He was a dictator who was not willing to solve our problems,” Desalegn Kebede, who did business with him, told the Associated Press. “I’m very happy that he is now under custody. We hope that he will get what he deserves.”

Ethiopia’s Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye stated on Monday that 27 suspects were arrested from the military-run company on allegations of corruption. He alleged that an estimated $2 billion worth of procurements were made without an open tender.

In addition, a further 36 individuals were apprehended for alleged human rights violation.

The previous government of Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, was often accused of rights violations by international groups and activists. Abiy’s new government has carried out several reforms including releasing several thousand political prisoners, permitting opposition groups to return from exile, dropping terror charges against prominent opposition leaders and relaxing restrictions against the media.

But still ethnic-based clashes have broken out in some parts of the country and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of Ethiopia’s 100 million people.


Related:
Video: Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, who was taken into custody today, arrives in AddisAbaba (Fana Broadcasting)

Ethiopia Arrests 63 Suspected of Rights Abuses, Corruption

AP

By Elias Meseret 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has arrested 63 intelligence officials, military personnel and businesspeople on allegations of rights violations and corruption, the country’s attorney general announced Monday.

The sweeping high-profile arrests carried out in recent days are a result of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s order for a months-long investigation into misdoings under the previous government.

Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told the media that some of those arrested are suspected of abuses of prisoners including “beatings, forced confessions, sodomy, rape, electrocution and even killings.”

Some of those arrested are accused of mismanaging a state-owned military corporation, the Metal and Engineering Corporation, that was looted in a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme, he said.

Berhanu also said that Ethiopia’s former spy chief is suspected of involvement in an attempt to assassinate the new prime minster at a rally on June 23. While other officials implicated in the plot have fled the country, the former intelligence chief is now residing in northern Ethiopia and should turn himself in to authorities, he said.


Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told local journalists on Monday, November 12th the detention comes after five months of investigation. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Yilikal Getnet, an opposition figure, told The Associated Press the public had demanded the arrests of the former officials.

“These have been issues that we in the opposition have long been calling for, too,” he said, adding that Ethiopia needs a truth and reconciliation process to investigate past misdoings. “The ruling party alone can’t bring justice for all these atrocities committed in the past.”

Under the previous government, Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, used to be accused of rights violations by human rights activists. Since Abiy, 42, came to power in April his new government has released several thousand political prisoners, permitted exiled opposition groups to return home, dropped terror charges against prominent opposition politicians and permitted the media to operate more freely.

Despite the reforms, ethnic-based clashes are continuing in some parts of Ethiopia and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of this East African nation of 100 million people.

Amnesty International welcomed the arrests.

“These arrests are an important first step toward ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s East Africa Director. “Many of these officials were at the helm of government agencies infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations, such as torture and the arbitrary detention of people including in secret facilities. We urge the government of Prime Minister Abiy to take further steps to ensure justice and accountability for all past human rights violations and abuses, while at the same time ensuring all the individuals arrested receive fair trials.”


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Ras Nebyu, Ethiopian-American Rapper, Is D.C.’s ‘Uptown Lion Walkin’

OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss his new album and growing up uptown. (OkayAfrica)

OkayAfrica

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University’s homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn’t attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There’s a twoness to Nebyu’s identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn’t hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on “slizz” to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group’s inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn’t slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

Read the interview at okayafrica.com »


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New Play ‘The Assignment’ Starring Ethiopian-American Actress Antu Yacob

The Assignment, co-starring Antu Yacob, will run for two-weeks at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey, beginning on Thursday, November 29, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 12th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In an upcoming play exploring the themes of friendship, loss, and forgiveness Ethiopian-American actress Antu Yacob plays “a brilliant and reserved” English professor named Helen Payne who is recovering from tragedy related to gun violence, which is one of the top social and cultural issues in America today that’s generating heated debate among activists and politicians.

The play titled The Assignment opens on November 29th at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey, with co-star Rafael Poueriet as Julian J. Torres, who is “an ebullient 37-year old scholarship student who is trying to reframe his life after a troubled youth and time in prison.” Dr. Helen Payne (Antu) is eventually “won over by Julian’s intelligence and likability. The two unlikely friends connect through the power of great literature.”

According to the press release, the 90-minutes performance, written by Camilo Almonacid and directed by David Winitsky, is “inspired by real conversations with perpetrators of gun violence and families of victims.”

“Winitsky called The Assignment ‘a moving and human mediation on the ways that we seek to find meaning, forgive, and continue forward,’” the announcement states. “Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith chose this play for her inaugural season because Luna produces plays that engage the deepest challenges facing us as a culture.”


If You Go
The Assignment, a new play featuring Antu Yacob
At Luna Stage
555 Valley Street
West Orange, NJ
Phone: 973 395 5551
Performances: Thursday, November 29, Closes Sunday December 9
Schedule: Thursdays, 7:30pm | Fridays & Saturdays, 8pm | Sundays, 3pm & 7pm
Tickets: www.LunaStage.org/TheAssignment

Related:
In Pictures: Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival

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Thousands Run for Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace

People take part in the Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Run, which was started from the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 11, 2018. More than 10,000 people participated in the race. Teddy Afro was the guest of honor. (Photo: by Minasse Wondimu Hailu)

Anadolu Agency

By Addis Getachew

10,000 people run for Eritrea–Ethiopia newfound peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — More than 10,000 people participated in an Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Run in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The guest of honor was Ethiopia’s most celebrated singer and song writer Tedros Kassahun (aka Teddy Afro), whose numerous songs advocated for unity, peace and love between Eritrea and Ethiopia – an advocacy that began during the sad days of enmity between the two governments in the 1990s.

Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.

From 1998 – 2000, the two countries fought a war in which 70,000 people perished.

The runners filled Meskel Square in downtown Addis Ababa for the kick-off sporting t-shirts that feature the flags of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and it came as one of major events since the two countries began a fast-paced diplomatic thaw ending two decades of tense relations.

“It is a very happy day for the peoples of the two countries and I thank God for making me live to see this day,” Tilahun Masresha, 79, told Anadolu Agency.

Masresha said he worked as teacher in Embatikala in Eritrea for five years when the two countries were under one flag.

“We should never have been separated,” he said, pointing to his t-shirt that reads “We are one.”

On Thursday, Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki together with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed visited the Amhara regional state in Ethiopia where they met Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as a follow up to the Declaration of Comprehensive Cooperation the trio signed in September in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.


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Video: Tsehai Publishers’ Elias Wondimu Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu receiving the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Wondimu, Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers, was recognized with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Award at Loyola Marymount University on November 3rd, 2018. Elias was one of five honorees from the University’s community that were nominated for the award. As part of the award ceremony Elias’ life story, as written by David Johann Kim, was performed by actor Desean Terry in a drama narrative.

The Center for Reconciliation & Justice at Loyola Marymount University annually honors winners of the Hidden Heroes award by selecting “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives.”

“I was really happy that my dad saw it with me,” Elias said of the ceremony, which took place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University’s Murphy Hall.

Watch: Elias Wondimu, Founder of Tsehai Publishers, Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU


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Birtukan Mideksa, the Right Person to Help Build Democratic Institutions in Ethiopia

Former judge and opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa returned home to Ethiopia on November 8th, 2018 after seven years of exile in the U.S. ( Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Tadias Magazine
By Liben Eabisa

Published: November 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first time that Tadias featured an interview with Birtukan Mideksa six years ago we were celebrating the former judge, political leader, human rights activist and a mother of a young daughter, as one of our heroes for women’s history month; it had been less than a year after she had moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia as a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C.

This week Birtukan returned to her beloved homeland after seven years in exile. Prior to being forced to emigrate to the U.S. she had been twice imprisoned in Ethiopia as leader of an opposition party that won more than one-third of the seats during the tumultuous 2005 elections. In a public speech that year at the memorial tribute for Vaclav Havel — the former President of the Czech Republic who was also a playwright and poet — Birtukan described her second imprisonment for 19 months in solitary confinement as being “alone in every sense of the term.” She candidly shared that “after all the pain that was inflicted on me and my dear ones, I had to ask myself if the struggle was worth it.”

Indeed, in more ways than one, Birtukan has paid her dues to encourage democracy in Ethiopia and that’s why it was deeply moving for me personally to watch her from afar, from here in the U.S., as she received a well-deserved, warm reception back in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

I first met Birtukan in early May of 2012 when she came to New York to attend an award ceremony recognizing journalist Eskinder Nega, who was then still behind bars. Eskinder, her friend and former prisoner of conscience, was being honored with PEN America’s prestigious “Freedom to Write” award at the literary organization’s annual dinner held at the American Museum of Natural History. Later, I also had an opportunity to visit Birtukan at Harvard when she was a student there; we also attended civic leadership events together during the US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by the U.S government in D.C. four years ago. Birtukan is one of the most brilliant, inspiring and kindest individuals I had the privilege of meeting in my many years of work as Publisher of Tadias. In addition to her gracious, non-assuming personality and quiet humor the most memorable and contagious part of being around Birtukan was her heartfelt commitment to freedom of expression, human rights and advancing democratic principles in Ethiopia.

“What helps me most to survive the hurdles I faced is the depth and intensity of the ideal and vision I have with regard to the worth and dignity of the individual citizen and the way our society should be organized based on this universal ideal of human rights and the rule of law,” Birtukan told Tadias during our women’s history month interview. “My belief and conviction that we can and should change the status quo, though it appears to be daunting, has kept me going.” She added: “And my trust in the power of the individual to bring about change enables me to consider the price I paid as a sacrifice made for a worthy causes and purpose.”

Birtukan was born and raised in Addis Ababa and attended public school both for her elementary and high school education before she graduated from Addis Ababa University with a degree in law. “I believe my passion for politics has a strong correlation with the fact that I was brought up in a community whose members are strongly committed to maintaining healthy social relations and to looking after the well-being of individual members,” said Birtukan who grew up in the Ferensay Legacion neighborhood of Ethiopia’s capital. “My training as a lawyer later on gave me some coherent narrative and vision for this aspiration of mine.”

If it was up to Birtukan Mideksa Ethiopia by now would have had a fully functioning democracy consisting of equally powerful opposition parties that are credible, peaceful and loyal to the constitution. While living in exile, where she also managed to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Birtukan never ceased to speak up in defense of human rights and democracy in Ethiopia whenever the opportunity presented itself, albeit with her trademark respectful tone.

In an Op-Ed article titled “Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression,” published by Freedom-now.org in 2014 — shortly after the US-Africa Leaders Summit and while the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegen was still in charge – Birtukan urged the U.S. government and other Western countries to rethink their approach to Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. “The Ethiopian government has long relied on the same arguments to defend its actions — falsely claiming that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation copies equivalent European standards,” Birtukan wrote. “The international community can no longer tolerate these kinds of wholly inadequate explanations, especially when respect for human rights impacts the prospects for growth and security on the continent so greatly. If we are serious about development and peace in Africa, we need to hold the government accountable and reinforce the proposition that there can be no robust, sustainable growth without respect for the fundamental rights for all Africans.”

Before she departed for Ethiopia on Wednesday Birtukan told Voice of America’s Alula Kebede that she hopes to contribute in helping to build democratic institutions. And in my opinion there is no one more qualified than Birtukan Mideksa to help assist Ethiopia’s ongoing transformation into a more democratic and peaceful society. She has the passion, legal education and real-life experience to do the job and the scars to prove it.

It goes without saying that at whatever role and capacity that Birtukan wants to participate, there could be no doubt that she has earned the right to have a say in leading the future of Ethiopia.


Liben Eabisa is Co-Founder & Publisher of Tadias Magazine.

Related: Birtukan Mideksa in Pictures:

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Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History

Ethiopian American Alex Assefa (left) was elected as a state legislator in the Nevada State Assembly, Eritrean-American Joe Neguse (Center) was elected to U.S. Congress from Colorado, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first Somali-American to be elected to the U.S. Congress. (Photos: Getty Images and AP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Most people remember where they were ten years ago this November when they learned of the election of America’s first Black president, Barack Obama, blazing a trail for a future generation of leaders.

This week also saw another historic election season in the United States with the ascension of a record number of women to Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, who at 29-years-old became the youngest woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition, the 2018 Midterm U.S. election held on Tuesday, November 6th resulted in many new civic leaders from diverse immigrant communities across America including the first elected Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali-American representatives.

Ethiopian American entrepreneur Alex Assefa was elected as a state legislator in the Nevada State Assembly representing the state’s 42nd assembly district. Alex who was born and raised in Ethiopia came to the U.S. in 2000 as a refugee. He replaces Democratic Representative Irene Bustamante Adams and will serve in the Nevada State Assembly on a two-year term.

In Colorado Joe Neguse, the son of immigrants from Eritrea, made U.S. history by becoming the state’s first African-American member of Congress. According to 4CBS Denver, Neguse, who is an attorney and co-founder of a voter registration group, “defeated Republican Peter Yu in the 2nd Congressional District that includes Boulder, Fort Collins and parts of north-central Colorado.”

And in Minnesota Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American and one of the first two muslim woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Ilhan came to the United States as a teenager more than 20 years ago, and according to CNBC “In 2016, she became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the U.S. She was elected to serve in Minnesota’s House of Representatives in District 60B, according to her campaign website. In 2019, Omar will replace Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress.”


Related:
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump (Election Update)

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democrat from New York City, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. Tuesday’s result was a bitter outcome for Trump, a 72-year-old former reality TV star and businessman-turned-politician, after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership. (Reuters)

Reuters

Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday where they will seek to keep his agenda in check and open his administration to intense scrutiny.

In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans were set to maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.

With a House majority, Democrats will have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of interest, and challenge his overtures to Saudi Arabia, Russia and North Korea.

They also could force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package or carry out his hardline policies on trade.

A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Democrats in the House could be banking on launching an investigation using the results of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s already 18-month-old probe of allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election. Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies any collusion.

Tuesday’s result was a bitter outcome for Trump, a 72-year-old former reality TV star and businessman-turned-politician, after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership.

Related: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

Democrats turned out in droves to register disapproval of [Trump's] divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

A record number of women ran for office this election, many of them Democrats turned off by Trump’s policy agenda.

The election results mean Democrats will resume House control in January for the first time since the 2010 election, beginning a split-power arrangement with the Republican-led Senate that may force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions and focus on issues with bipartisan support, such as an infrastructure improvement package or protections against prescription drug price increases.

It also will test Trump’s ability to compromise, something he has shown little interest in over the last two years with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.

The loss of power will test Trump’s political hold on House Republicans, most of whom had pledged their support for him lest they face the wrath of the party’s core supporters, who remain in his corner.

Most Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign’s final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like keeping down healthcare costs, maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.

The final weeks before the election were marked by the mailing of pipe bombs to his top political rivals, with a political fan of Trump arrested and charged, and the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people died, sparking a debate about Trump’s biting rhetoric and whether it encouraged extremists.

In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map, ousting incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in suburban Virginia and sending Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton, to the House in south Florida.

In the Senate, where Republicans were heavily favored to keep control heading into Tuesday’s voting, Republican Mike Braun captured incumbent Joe Donnelly’s seat in Indiana and Republican Kevin Cramer beat incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling. Liberal House member Beto O’Rourke became a national sensation with his underdog U.S. Senate campaign but fell short in conservative Texas, and Andrew Gillum was trailing Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become the first African-American governor of the key swing state of Florida.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Manchin won a hotly contested race in conservative West Virginia, and conservative Marsha Blackburn held a Senate seat for Republicans.

Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee in 2016, easily won re-election, news networks projected. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was projected to hold his seat in Ohio.

All 435 seats in the House, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 of the 50 state governorships were up for grabs.


Related:
Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election

Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, youngest woman elected to Congress

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Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, a retired UN official, is a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund's Advisory Council. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund, which officially launched its website last month, is calling on Ethiopians worldwide to set up local chapters in order to increase and streamline its fundraising process.

“We are mobilizing the Ethiopian Diaspora community globally, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, Africa and Middle East,” says Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, a retired United Nations official who is a member of the trust fund’s Advisory Council, in a recent interview with Tadias. “The purpose moving forward is to establish as many chapters as possible wherever Ethiopians live.”

“The Advisory Council’s job is to mobilize the Diaspora globally so they may contribute to the fund,” Dr. Bisrat added noting the transparency of fund’s website in particular. “It’s a very clear indication of how the fund operates. As money comes in everyone can see who is contributing, big or small.”

As of this week the website has raised more than $200,000 and Bisrat said that he is hopeful that with the assistance of the chapters — which are empowered to explore creative fundraising mechanisms like soliciting matching grants and holding events — they will “surpass the million mark” before the end of the year.

“So our job is really to spearhead, but eventually the community has to accept it as their own. They can organize by profession, as a congregation, as family and friends, or they can join a chapter.”

Dr. Bisrat also acknowledged that due to complicated prior history Ethiopian Americans in general are rightfully weary of government sanctioned fundraising projects.

“We have to be honest that we have had a previous negative experience of people contributing and not knowing where the money went for the Renaissance Dam,” Dr. Bisrat told Tadias. “As noble and as important as it is there should have been really disclosure on how much money came. We have learned from that lesson and that’s why are making absolutely sure that we are completely transparent.” Dr. Bisrat also pointed out that in addition to being designed in line with “international standards of transparency and accountability” the EDTF online platform includes a “governance and fund flow chart.”

As someone who managed the U.N’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office with an estimated six billion dollar operation Dr. Bisrat shares that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to the EDTF chapters. “It depends really how the Ethiopian Diaspora communities are organized,” he said.

“For example, in New York, the initiative that was launched felt that for the Tri-State area (New Jersey, Connecticut and New York) we should have one chapter,” Dr. Bisrat noted. “There was a group that came together as kind of a welcoming and organizing committee for the visit of the Prime Minister to New York, which unfortunately did not take place. So we had a discussion with that group and felt that we should also broaden it and include a few more members and groups such as churches, mosques, community groups, and edirs.” On Sunday, November 4th, the group was scheduled to meet with the aim of establishing a chapter.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund came about this past Summer as a response to PM Abiy Ahmed’s invitation to all fellow Ethiopians who reside overseas to become part of the solution and to take a stake in the ongoing reform efforts in their homeland. “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 televised comment while defending Ethiopia’s 346.9 billion Ethiopian birr ($12.71 billion) budget last July.

Theoretically, of course, the idea of ‘a dollar a day’ could potentially generate millions of dollars on a daily basis given the sheer size and financial diversity of the global Ethiopian Diaspora community. The trick, however, lies in tailoring a unified message that could resonate with the silent majority. One problem faced by EDTF is that soon after PM Abiy’s speech several websites had quickly popped up in the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere promoting the tagline ‘a dollar day for Ethiopia,’ and creating confusion among donors. Dr. Bisrat told Tadias that EDTF is now appealing to these organizations and websites to join them in “the big tent.” Dr. Bisrat emphasized that the websites are run by “well-meaning people with good intentions,” while underscoring EDTF’s view that they should now coordinate their efforts together for better impact. “They can either work with a local chapter or transform themselves into an independent chapter.”

“One other thing that we want to tell the public is that we are not going to wait until all the money comes in order to start funding projects,” Dr. Bisrat noted. “We want to start the operation as soon as possible.” To that end there will be “a Secretariat of the Fund” in Ethiopia that will help the Board in identifying projects to support.

“Anyone can apply for funding, but we want to give priority to youth-oriented programs especially focusing on disadvantaged communities,” Dr. Bisrat said. “The Prime Minister has instructed that 100% of the funds raised be spent on projects.” Bisrat highlights that the Office of the Fund’s Secretariat in Ethiopia will be the only one to have paid positions. The salaries will be paid for the first year by the local UNDP office, which he helped facilitate during his recent trip to Ethiopia.

Furthermore, Dr. Bisrat shared that in conjunction with the Advisory Council that will be responsible for depositing the raised amount into an account at the Commercial Bank in Ethiopia, there is a Board of Directors for the fund in Addis Ababa.

“What we have agreed on is that the Board is made up of 11 members with the government comprising of 3 members as well as 3 other members from civil society as follows: one representing youth, one representing women, and a third one as a person of credibility with experience in this kind of work. An additional five will be Diaspora members.” Among the members of the Diaspora, Dr. Bisrat added that “two will be selected from North America and the other three will be coming from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Eventually one might be added from Australia. We expect the Board of Directors to be announced in the next two weeks.”


You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

Related:
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

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Lelisa Desisa Wins 2018 NYC Marathon

Lelisa Desisa crosses the finish line at the NYC Marathon in New York, Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2018. (Getty Images)

Associated Press

Ethiopia’s Desisa, Kenya’s Keitany win NYC Marathon

NEW YORK (AP) — Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia has won the New York City Marathon, holding off countryman Shura Kitata by 1.99 seconds.

Desisa finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 59 seconds. Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, finished third.

Mary Keitany of Kenya became the second woman to win the marathon four times, beating countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot by 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Keitany ran the race in 2:22:48, the second fastest in history. Margaret Okayo of Kenya holds the record of 2:22:31, which was set in 2003.

The victory was Keitany’s fourth in New York in the last five years. She won in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before coming in second last year to American Shalane Flanagan. Keitany joined Grete Waitz as the only women to win the marathon four times. Waitz, a Norwegian, won the marathon nine times between 1978-1988.

Flanagan finished third.


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Seeds of Africa 2018 Benefit in NYC

The Seeds of Africa Foundation operates an elementary school in Adama, Ethiopia alongside community-based programs for families. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 3rd, 2018

Seeds of Africa Benefit Helps Innovative School Program in Adama, Ethiopia

New York (TADIAS) — The Seeds of Africa Foundation has announced that it will hold its fifth Annual Benefit on November 7th in New York City. The foundation, which was established ten years ago by former Miss Ethiopia, Atti Worku, runs a school with hundreds of students alongside community-based programs for their families in Atti’s hometown of Adama, Ethiopia.

“We began in 2008 as an after-school program, and have since grown into a full-time school that serves Pre-K to 4th grade students, and a community development program that serves their mothers and other female guardians,” Seeds of Africa notes on its website. “We move beyond the traditional aid model by shifting from mere relief efforts, to providing students, families, and communities with the resources and skills they need to support themselves and find local solutions to fight poverty, increase civic participation, and enhance community re-investment.”

According to the press release the 2018 benefit will feature their #FixTheFacts campaign demonstrating “how Seeds of Africa is addressing and meeting global development goals at a local level in Ethiopia.”

“This year’s Seeds of Africa Annual Benefit is themed “Cocktail and Cloth” in celebration of the richness and diversity of African textiles,” the press release adds. “Join us and over 250 Seeds of Africa supporters for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by DJ mOma, DJ AQ and the Asase Yaa School of the Arts, and special presentations of our work and its impact in Ethiopia. Some notable guests from last year include fashion designer Maxwell Osborne, supermodel Aamito Lagum, and Monaco royal Pauline Ducruet, who are all members of our host committee this year. Watch the 2017 Annual Benefit video here.”


If You Go:
Seeds of Africa Annual Benefit
November 7, 2018 from 7:00 pm – 10:00
Town Stages
221 W. Broadway
New York, NY 10013

You may purchase tickets for the event here.

Learn more about Seeds of Africa Foundation

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Meaza Ashenafi Named Head of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court

Meaza Ashenafi attends a screening of the movie “Difret” on Dec. 9, 2014, in Hollywood. The women’s rights activist was appointed Thursday as Ethiopia’s new Supreme Court president. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Paul Schemm

Women’s rights activist named to head Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in new reform

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — In Ethiopia’s latest move to empower women, the country’s parliament on Thursday installed as Supreme Court president a women’s rights activist whose achievements were championed in a movie promoted by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.

Meaza Ashenafi was a judge on Ethiopia’s High Court from 1989 to 1992 and then an adviser to a commission writing up its new constitution. She also founded the Ethio­pian Women Lawyers Association and helped start the first women’s bank in the country, Enat Bank.

Her most famous case, however, was turned into the 2014 Ethio­pian film “Difret,” which was promoted by Jolie as executive producer and went on to win the World Cinematic Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The film is based on a court case, tried by Meaza, that resulted in outlawing the tradition of kidnapping child brides in Ethio­pia.

In 1996, Aberash Bekele, 14, was kidnapped on her way home from school by a man who intended to marry her. She escaped with a rifle and shot her kidnapper. She was then charged with murder.

Meaza succeeded in getting the charges dropped and set off a public debate over Ethiopia’s age-old tradition of kidnapping girls as brides.

Meaza was selected to head the court by Ethiopia’s new reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has taken a series of measures to increase the role of women in what is widely described as a patriarchal society.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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2019 SEED Awards to Honor Women

Painting by artist Tadesse Mesfin. Courtesy of Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 30th, 2018

SEED Dedicates 2019 Award to Honor Ethiopian Women

New York (TADIAS) — The Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) is dedicating its 2019 annual award to women leaders and pioneers.

Since the 1990s SEED has been recognizing Ethiopian professionals, artists, students, elders and historical personalities for their “productive roles in society, their communities, and families.”

The 2019 award ceremony, which is set to take place on May 26th at College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland, “is dedicated to celebrating women with outstanding achievements in their field, providing exemplary leadership and distinguished service positively impacting our community and country,” the organization said in a press release. “Women can be nominated for their achievements in the fields of academia, arts, business, humanitarian efforts, music, public policy, sports, or science & technology.”

Previous recipients of the SEED award include the late scholar of Ethiopian studies Professor Donald N. Levine; Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia Obang Metho; philanthropist and advocate against domestic violence Menbere Aklilu; the late Ambassador Zewde Retta; humanitarian Rachel Beckwith; the late women rights activist ​Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw; actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo, Economist and Professor Lemma Senbet, founder and president of the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation Nini Legesse; artist and educator Achamyeleh Debela; as well as legendary musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Teddy Afro.

Last year SEED paid tribute to the universal impact of Ethiopia’s ancient and independent history on the Pan-African world posthumously celebrating the past five Emperors of Ethiopia: Emperor Tewodros II (1818 – 1868), Emperor Yohannes IV (1837 – 1889), Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), Empress Zewditu (1876 – 1930), and Emperor Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975).

Organizers say the deadline to nominate a person for the 2019 award is December 3, 2018. If you know a woman who leads and inspires, you can send them your recommendation here.


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YEP Celebrates 8th Year anniversary of Connecting Ethiopian Professionals

YEP will hold its eight year anniversary gala in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday, November 10th, 2018. (Event poster courtesy of YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — YEP celebrates its 8th year anniversary this year with a timely and fitting theme, “The Power of Change: Building Tomorrow Through Innovation, Creativity and Leadership.”

The professional networking association announced its 2018 annual anniversary gala will be held on Saturday, November 10th at USPTO Madison Auditorium in Alexandria, Virginia.

According to the program, the event will feature guest speakers, music, dinner and a range of activities hosting over 300 diverse professionals. Bofta Yimam, an Emmy award-winning journalist, former TV anchor, and storytelling coach, will serve as the Master of Ceremony. The keynote speaker is Dr Mehret Debebe, a board certified Psychiatrist and Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, an author, and motivational speaker.

The lineup also includes Dr Senait Fisseha, Director of International Programs for the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School; and Kenna Zemedkun, an Ethiopian–American musician, philanthropist and technology creative. Kenna’s track “Say Goodbye to Love” was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 2009 Grammy Awards, and he is the Founder & Producer of the Summit on the Summit clean water initiative in partnership with Justin Timberlake.

“YEP is a community of diverse professionals who strive for growth, excellence and success,” the organization notes on its website. “The mission of YEP is to inspire, educate and empower the Ethiopian professional community to make a positive impact in the world and envisions a strong community that shares ideas, skills and resources to enrich lives. Founded by Ethiopians in 2010, YEP is a non-partisan and non-religious organization, that began by featuring inspirational speakers, hosting educational sessions and providing networking opportunities to support our mission.”

The announcement adds: “Proceeds from the 8th Year Anniversary Celebration will go directly to support YEP’s mission of supporting newcomers, providing mentoring to high school and college students, creating a platform for professionals to connect.”


If You Go:
YEP Eight Year Anniversary Dinner
Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 12:00
US Patent and Trademark Office
600 Dulany Street
Madison Auditorium
Alexandria, VA 22304
Click here to buy tickets
More info at www.yepnetwork.org

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‘Congratulations Madam President’: Reactions to Ethiopia’s Historic Week

Ethiopia's new president Sahle-Work Zewde. (Photo twitted by Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff, PM's office)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — “Congratulations Madam President,” many tweeted and posted on social media around the world to express their praise and good wishes to Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, a former senior United Nations official, who became Ethiopia’s first female president last week.

“It represents me, it represents young woman and my mom and my sisters,” a young lady tells BBC News Africa as the news agency gathered street reactions on Friday in Ethiopia’s capital.

The news of Zewde’s appointment was announced early Thursday morning in a series of tweets by PM Abiy Ahmed’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, generating immediate global media interest. Fitsum tweeted: “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life.”

Ethiopia’s parliamentary approval of President Sahle-Work Zewde on October 25th also came on the heels of the previous week’s equally stunning appointment of a cabinet comprising of 50% female MPs, including at the Ministry of Peace, which controls the country’s intelligence agency and security forces.

In her acceptance speech to Parliament President Sahle-Work highlighted the need to uplift women and to shape a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She stated: “I am a product of people who fought for equality and political freedom in this country, and I will work hard to serve them.” She added: “If you thought I spoke a lot about women already, know that I am just getting started.”

Global reactions on social media shared the enthusiasm of Ethiopians. “Congratulations to Sahle-Work Zewde & to Ethiopians, on your first woman president & new cabinet in which women ministers head key departments,” said the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, in his own Twitter post. “The African continent is leading the way in showcasing that women’s engagement and leadership are crucial to lasting peace.”

UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May noted: “Congratulations to President Sahle-Work Zewde on being elected the first female President of Ethiopia – a strong symbol of growing female empowerment in Africa.”

And U.S. Embassy Addis chimed in: “Congratulations to Ambassador Sahelwork Zewde on her selection as Ethiopia’s first woman President. We welcome her appointment not because of her gender but in recognition of her many years of experience and leadership in public service. No society succeeds by excluding people from participation. We see the Ethiopian government focus on including women in leadership roles as a strong signal of commitment to build an inclusive political system where leaders attain their positions based on their ability to lead.”

Yohannes Gedamu, an Ethiopian-American lecturer of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA, pointed out:

With this appointment, Zewde also became the second woman in the country’s modern history to serve as head of state. Ethiopia’s last female leader before Zewde was Empress Zewditu, who had governed the country between 1916-1930.”…This appointment is unquestionably momentous and groundbreaking…Anyone who serves in that role gets the opportunity to build a personal legacy, and leave their mark in the country’s history. The head of state also presides over special parliamentary sessions and delivers speeches on the parliament opening sessions where he or she presents what the priorities of the government should be. Having a woman take over such a revered office is undoubtedly going to inspire millions of Ethiopian women.

Yohannes, whose article is titled ‘Ethiopia’s First Female President Can Be a Force for Reform,’ also emphasized Sahle-Work’s final role at the UN as being arguably the most important. “She was the first woman to be appointed by the international body as special representative to the African Union and head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, a role she served at the level of Under-Secretary-General.”

Below are photos and related news links:


Related:
Who is Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia’s first female president? (By Elias Gebreselassie)
Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President
The Power of Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet
In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women (The Washington Post)

Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)


The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women
and motherhood. The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is
a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, & Tseday Alehegn,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. ‘

Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President

Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia's first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Paul Schemm

Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps.

The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle. Half the ministers are now women in Africa’s second-most populous country.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff and de facto government spokesman.

Parliament accepted the resignation of Mulatu Teshome, who had served as president since 2013.

In remarks to Parliament after she took her oath of office, Sahle-Work emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Read more »


Related:
‘Congratulations Madam President’: Reactions & Pictures to Ethiopia’s Historic Week
The Power of Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet
In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women (The Washington Post)

Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)


The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women
and motherhood. The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is
a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, & Tseday Alehegn,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Publisher Elias Wondimu to Receive Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Elias Wondimu, who is a Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA is one of five awardees who will be honored on November 3rd with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu has been named the recipient of the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in California. The annual award is given by the university’s Center for Reconciliation & Justice to “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives” LMU stated. “Each awardee will be honored through the telling of their story in a dramatic performance.”

Elias, who is Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture, and the Arts at LMU, is one of five honorees chosen from the nominated faculty, staff, alumni, and students from Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School.

“This year’s theme for the Hidden Heroes Recognition is ‘reconciliation,’” the announcement said. “The awardees selected are those who work mostly ‘under the radar’ to build bridges for justice and repair broken human relationships, similar to the life of St. Joseph, patron saint of the CSJ Community and its LMU Center for Reconciliation and Justice.”

Tsehai Publishers celebrated its 20th anniversary last October alongside the launch of its first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press, entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux. Tsehai Publishers is the only African/African-American owned press that is housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011).

Elias told Tadias that he is on his way back to the U.S. from Ethiopia to accept the award after having recently returned in September to his homeland for the first time in almost 25 years following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s invitation to exiled Ethiopians to come home. Elias is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the recently launched Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

LMU’s press release added that “as part of the recognition award, Wondimu’s life story will be enacted on stage as a dramatized narrative as written by David Johann Kim and acted by Desean Terry. The award ceremony and performances will take place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University at Murphy Hall.”


If You Go:
To RSVP click here. This event is free and open to the public.

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In Ethiopia U.S. Ambassador Holds a Round Table With Journalists

Ambassador Mike Raynor & Negussie Mengesha, Voice of America Africa Division Head, led a round table discussion with journalists at U.S. Embassy Addis on October 24, 2018. (@USEmbassyAddis)

Press Release

Michael Raynor
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at a round table with VOA team and journalists
U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa
October 24, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon everyone.

I’d like to thank our friends from Voice of America for organizing this roundtable, and especially to thank all of you for your commitment to your profession.

Professional journalism is hard work.

It takes effort, commitment, and in today’s world, courage.

But it’s also incredibly important.

As Ethiopia pursues its unprecedented democratic and economic reforms, thoughtful, impactful, and high-quality journalism is more important than ever before.

Ethiopia needs you.

Ethiopia needs you because having access to credible and unbiased information, and being able to use that information to make wise decisions, is a fundamental requirement of any democracy.

Democracies simply don’t survive if information flows only from the government to the governed; rather, democracies must sustain, and benefit from, conversations in all directions.

And the better-informed those conversation are, the stronger the democracy.

That’s where everyone in this room comes in.

As Ethiopia’s reform efforts continue, both the government and the people will need credible and responsible media outlets.

Journalism must ensure that people are informed about what the government, opposition groups, and civil society are saying and doing.

No less important, journalism must also scrutinize these actors and their actions, provide context, research the facts, and present a range of views to help people understand the options before them and reach well-informed conclusions.

Journalism best meets these needs when it objectively reflects a range of views, provides a platform for discussion that is open to all voices, welcomes constructive dissent, and is as inclusive as possible.

For journalism to play its essential role, certain principles are fundamentally important.

First, the media must trade in facts, not speculation.

Second, the media must avoid bias by creating space for diverse views.

Third, the media must not only present diverse views, but exercise judgement and provide context when reporting on those views.

This is essential in helping people sort opinion from fact to assess the credibility of various voices.

While featuring diverse voices is important, journalists need to track down the facts and help the Ethiopian people sort through the tremendous volume of information, and mis-information, that inundates us all in these complicated times.

And finally, journalists must remember that journalism and activism are not the same things.

Both are important in a democracy, and no democracy can survive without them both, but confusing the two harms the integrity and credibility of the journalist, while doing a disservice to the audience as well.

As I said earlier, professional journalism is hard work.

We at the U.S. Embassy know and appreciate this, and we’re committed to improving your access to the tools, learning opportunities, and space for you to do your jobs.

Back in August, we held our annual dialogue with the Ethiopian government on democracy, human rights, and governance here in Addis.

One of the key outcomes of this dialogue was an agreement to explore ways the United States can help support professional journalism in Ethiopia.

We welcome His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy’s prioritization of media freedom and reform, and look forward to supporting these positive developments.

But it will take more than changing the law to advance the profession of journalism.

The United States is committed to doing our part.

Our Embassy recently concluded a program that trained over 260 journalists, in every region of Ethiopia, on investigative reporting focused on exploring the impact that development projects have on the country.

We’ve brought Fulbright Scholars and Specialists, and Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars, to work with journalists and journalism students, as part of our ongoing collaboration with Ethiopian universities to strengthen the next generation of Ethiopian journalists.

Next week, we’ll begin another training program, in partnership with the British Embassy, that will increase transparency and the flow of information between journalists and government officials.

We’re launching a fund to support the sustainability and professionalism of new independent media houses.

And we continue to send Ethiopian government officials on exchange programs to the United States, to share our experience in creating an enabling environment for broadcast media.

Such programs are intended to invest in you, Ethiopia’s professional journalists, and the important work that you do.

All we ask in return is that you do your best.

Do your best to take your stories a step further, to ask the hard questions, to track down additional sources, to question what you think you know, and, most importantly, to be forthright about what you don’t know.

And then to share that information with the public in a way that leaves them well-informed, while leaving it up to them to form their own opinions and conclusions.

As Ethiopia approaches upcoming local and national elections, journalists like you can play a tremendous role in focusing public discourse on the issues that matter to people.

How will various parties and candidates create jobs; support an inclusive political environment; provide security without infringing on rights; and improve education, health care, and other citizens’ services?

By asking such questions, and by providing factual context to the answers, you can help your fellow citizens make informed decisions when they cast their ballots.

But remember that elections are just one part of the democratic process.

In many ways, the real work starts after the results are tallied.

In a democracy, journalists play an essential role in holding elected officials accountable for their promises, and must ensure that the public is informed about what their elected officials are doing.

Democracy, like journalism, takes hard work, and journalism and democracy are inextricably linked.

In the end, neither one can thrive without the other.

As Ethiopia embarks upon a fundamentally new era of democracy, the work you do is more important than ever.

I hope that in your discussion today, you will consider what steps are needed to empower the media in Ethiopia.

And if you identify areas where the United States can help, please let us know.

Thank you again for your commitment to your noble and essential profession, and know that you have the full support of the United States every step of the way.


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Wegene Foundation’s 18th Anniversary

The U.S.-based nonprofit Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will celebrate its 18th anniversary with a dinner ceremony in Springfield, Virginia on Saturday, October 27th, 2018. (Photo: From Wegene 2018 Oldies Night fundraiser/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 23rd, 2018

Wegene Ethiopian Foundation Celebrates 18th Anniversary

New York (TADIAS) — For almost two decades the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation, a grassroots Ethiopian American nonprofit organization, has been providing financial assistance to youth and education-related projects in various parts of Ethiopia.

The Wegene Ethiopian Foundation is led by a quiet hero named Nini Legesse, a hardworking mother of three children, who came to our attention six years ago when she was honored at the White House as one of fourteen civil society leaders representing the East African Diaspora as “Champions of Change.” At the ceremony a statement from the White House noted that the work of Wegene and other honorees helped “to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.” Nini’s organization provided, among other services, financial support to build an elementary school in Jimma, Ethiopia.

Among Wegene’s main objectives is “to improve the daily lives of the less fortunate and disadvantaged children and their families in Ethiopia by overcoming three critical barriers in the poverty cycle: poor or no education, poor housing, and family instability.” In addition, close to home here in the U.S. the 501(c)(3) organization, which was founded in 2000 by a group of like-minded individuals in the Washington, D.C. area, also runs a kids club that raises funds through “bake sales, movie nights, crafting, and various other activities in order to create awareness and reach out to Ethiopian American youth.”

“My work for Wegene is more of a mission and it’s something that I’m very passionate about,” Nini told Tadias in an interview after she won the “Champions of Change” award in 2012. Nini came to the U.S. when she was 17 years old and says “I’m grateful that Wegene has created an opportunity to cultivate social ties to my home country and to make a difference in someone’s life at a personal level.” She added: “This work offers me fulfillment and civic satisfaction beyond imagination. I think we each have to realize our human potential for compassion and love.”


(Photo from past Wegene Ethiopian Foundation annual fundraising event/Tadias Magazine)


Wegene (WEF) at ESFNA Soccer Tournament, 2015. (Photo: Twitter @WegeneEF)

Nini shared that among her many role models is Dr. Catherine Hamlin. “I admire her lifetime devotion and mission to treating childbirth-related injures of disadvantaged women in Ethiopia,” she said. “I’m amazed at how humble and loving she is. Her book, The Hospital by the River, is one of my favorite books.” She continued: “My other role model is Mrs. Marta Gebre-Tsadick, the Founder of Project Mercy. Marta is a remarkable woman. It is incredible what she and her husband have created. They built a school and hospital and established agricultural development programs. To me, she is a woman who has become a force of nature. Lastly, but equally as important, my mother and each of my six sisters have been my role models especially because I am the youngest child in my family.”

This week the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will celebrate its 18th anniversary with a dinner ceremony at the Waterford in Springfield, Virginia on Saturday, October 27th. “Come out for a night of dinner, dancing, entertainment, and philanthropy,” the announcement said. “We cannot wait to share with you all the milestones we have surpassed this year and our goals for the future year.”


If You Go:
Wegene Ethiopian Foundation’s 18th Year Anniversary
Sat, Oct 27, 2018, 7:00 PM –
The Waterford Reception Center
6715 Commerce Street
Springfield, VA 22150
www.wegene.org
Click here to buy tickets

Watch: Wegene Promotional CFC Video

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ethiopia’s GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Through a deal with Suzhou Reyto trading company, Garden of Coffee (GOC) says it will ship 12 tons of hand-roasted coffee to China in the first year. The company has also launched advertisement and marketing on the multi-purpose messaging and social media app WeChat, will soon place its product on the shopping site Taobao. But it’s big plan is to open over 100 café roasteries across China by 2022. (Quartz)

Quartz Africa

Ethiopia’s Homegrown Coffee Brand GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has a dream: that everyone should one day taste hand-roasted Ethiopian coffee.

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest coffee bean producers and Africa’s top grower of the plant. Coffee is also brewed and drank in the Horn of Africa nation in elaborate ceremonies, often using crafting techniques passed down from generations over centuries. As an entrepreneur, Alemu always wanted to replicate this dynamic experience—what she calls “the magical process”—to coffee lovers worldwide.

And so was born in 2016 the idea for Garden of Coffee, a brand that uses artisanal methods to source, process, roast, and package Ethiopia’s legendary beans. Twenty workers at the company’s atelier in Addis Ababa currently oversee this activity, roasting five types of coffee beans only for individual orders and shipping them to over 20 countries including Russia, Sweden, Germany, and the United States.

China-bound

Alemu is now venturing out of Ethiopia. In August, Garden of Coffee launched in China, a tea-loving market that is increasingly turning towards coffee. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, e-commerce giant Alibaba, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, and local Chinese start-up Luckin Coffee have in recent years all bet big on China’s nascent coffee scene. Java House, East Africa’s largest chain of coffee shops, also said in August it would capitalize on this increased demand for specialty coffee to supply the Chinese market.

Read more »


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Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet

Ethiopia's gender balanced cabinet is sending women around the country a clear message: the patriarchy can be beaten...PM Abiy's new cabinet has a tremendous transformative potential to end Ethiopian women's experience of invisibility and the silencing of their voice and capacity, writes Awol K Allo, a Lecturer in Law at Keele University, UK. (Photo: Reuters)

By Awol K Allo

The Power of Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is drawing admiration from all corners for his transformative leadership. Since coming to power six months ago, he has released political prisoners, widened the democratic space, ended the military stalemate with Eritrea, and averted a looming financial crisis. In short, his dynamic leadership, energy, and enthusiasm have pulled off what a Washington Post editorial described as an “astonishing turnaround” for the country.

Ahmed’s latest decision to fill 50 percent of his cabinet with female ministers is an integral part of the transformative agenda he has set out during his inaugural speech on April 2. It is easy to dismiss this move as a token gesture or a mere publicity stunt, but in a highly patriarchal society such as Ethiopia where public discourse about gender equality is non-existent or confined to the margins, the mere existence of a gender-balanced cabinet can have a transformative effect.

Ethiopia’s prime minister brought youthful vigour and bold confidence to the masculine, patriarchal, and archaic traditions of the Ethiopian state. During his inaugural address, he broke with tradition and acknowledged his mother and wife. Towards the end of his speech, he said, “in a manner that is not customary in this house, … I would like to politely ask you to thank one Ethiopian mother who … planted this distant and deep and elaborate vision in me, who raised me, and brought me to fruition.” He went on to say that “My mother is counted among the many kind, innocent, and hardworking Ethiopian mothers … In thanking my mother, I consider it equivalent to extending thanks to all Ethiopian mothers.” Given his numerous policy statements and his commitment to liberal ideas of equality, fairness, and representation visible in these policies, there is no reason to believe that these announcements had ulterior motives.

Read more »


Related:
In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women (The Washington Post)

Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)


The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women
and motherhood. The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is
a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, & Tseday Alehegn,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Diaspora Trust Fund Launches Website

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. (Image: YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 21st, 2018

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund to Accept Donations Online

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund will start accepting donations through its website, ethiopiatrustfund.org, beginning Monday October 22nd, 2018.

The fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions.

Below is the official announcement:

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

The primary objective of the Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to finance people-focused social and economic development projects.

Our Mission:

The EDTF aims to finance projects that meet critical needs selected based on their potential to make the highest positive impact on groups and communities in Ethiopia in areas such as:

★ health
★ education
★ water and sanitation facilities
★ habilitation and rehabilitation of persons with disability
★ agricultural development
★ technology
★ small scale entrepreneurship
★ other income and employment generating projects

The EDTF will give priority attention to projects focusing on youth, women, small holder farmers, small enterprises and entrepreneurs who can be agents of inclusive social and economic development.

Background:

Responding to Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call for action and in support of his message of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and peace, the Ethiopian Diaspora has enthusiastically accepted his challenge and is ready to contribute at least 1 US dollar a day to fund vital unmet inclusive economic and social development projects in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Diaspora supports the bold peaceful political democratization reform launched by the Prime Minister and his government with the goal of achieving a durable solution to Ethiopia’s socio-political and economic challenges that meets the legitimate aspirations of all of Ethiopians — irrespective of ethnicity, language, religion, and gender — including:

★ A life of dignity, freedom, equality, justice and economic opportunity
★ Equitable and inclusive social and economic development
★ National unity based on peaceful cooperation among Ethiopia’s diverse communities

The EDTF Terms of Reference provides the rationale, guiding principles and operating procedures, including the EDTF’s governance, project approval, implementation, reporting monitoring and evaluation. The EDTF responds to the Prime Minster’s call for action through a funding facility that will enable the Ethiopian Diaspora world-wide to contribute to the improvement of their fellow citizens.


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Feyisa Lilesa Returns From Exile

FILE - In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 file photo, Feyisa Lilesa, right, and Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia stand in front of the Tower Bridge in London. The Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio Olympics finish line has returned from exile, after sports officials assured him he will not face prosecution. Feyisa Lilesa's return from the United States on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018 comes several months after a reformist new prime minister took office and announced sweeping reforms. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Ethiopian Marathoner Who Made Rio Protest Returns From Exile

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio Olympics finish line returned from exile on Sunday after sports officials assured him he will not face prosecution.

Feyisa Lilesa’s return from the United States came several months after a reformist prime minister took office and announced sweeping political reforms. He received a warm welcome at the airport from the foreign minister and other senior officials.

Feyisa said the new government is “a result of the struggle by the people” and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression in Africa’s second most populous nation.

The silver medalist crossed his wrists at the finish line in 2016 in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia, who like many across Ethiopia were demanding wider freedoms.

Feyisa later said he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home. But he became a symbol of resistance for many youth until the pressure on the government led to a change of power, with 42-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office in April.

Abiy is the country’s first leader from the Oromo ethnic group since the ruling coalition came to power 27 years ago.

Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment Sunday on the runner’s return.

Asked by The Associated Press if he has any political ambitions, Feyisa said: “I don’t have any ambition in politics! Actually I didn’t get close to politics, politics gets close to me.”

Feyisa broke down in tears while speaking about youth who lost their lives during the years of protests. “I will continue to remember those who lost their lives for the cause. Many people lost their lives for it.”

Turning his attention to running, he said his next race will be the Dubai Marathon in January.

“My training while I was in exile was not good, so it has affected my performance,” Feyisa said. He missed two races in recent weeks as he prepared to return to Ethiopia. “I will resume my regular training after a week.”


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

P2P Diaspora Healthcare Conference

(Photo from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 20th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Since its founding in 1999 People to People Inc. (P2P), a U.S.-based network of Ethiopian Diaspora healthcare professionals, has been the prime example of how “the Diaspora can be the bridge to transfer knowledge, technology and experience.”

This weekend in Arlington, Virginia P2P is hosting its 10th global conference on health care & medical education in Ethiopia. The theme of this year’s conference is “the growing burden of cardiovascular diseases in Ethiopia.”

Speakers include Ethiopia’s new Minister of Health, Dr. Amir Aman. “Dr. Aman is a physician by training, and a dedicated public health official,” the announcement notes. “He has served as a medical practitioner for many years in rural Ethiopia. Prior to his current position, Dr. Aman served as the Director of Human Resources and Development Directorate, Plan and Policy. In addition, he played a major role as a Finance Director General of MOH.”

Below are additional featured speakers courtesy of the conference website:

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph. is the Provost of Howard University. He previously served in various roles at the University including as Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Assistant Provost for International Programs. Dr. Wutoh has also served as Director for the Center for Minority Health Services Research, and the Center of Excellence.

Anteneh Habte, MD

Dr. Anteneh Habte is currently serving as Chairman of People to People’s (P2P) Board of Directors. He is the Medical Director of the Community Living Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV and clinical faculty at both the West Virginia School of Medicine and the Lewisburg School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Anteneh is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and a certified educator of palliative and end-of-life care (EPEC). He coordinates People to People (P2P)’s effort to promote the training of medical personnel and provision of clinical services in hospice and palliative care in Ethiopia. Dr. Anteneh is one of the editors of a series of web-based modules in hospice and palliative care for Ethiopia prepared under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Global HIV Initiative. He is also a contributor to P2P’s recently published ‘Triangular Partnership’ manuscript.

Asefa Mekonnnen, M.D., F.C.C.P

Dr. Mekonnen is a pulmonologist and sleep specialist currently practicing in Maryland. He attended Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia for medical school. He completed his internal medicine residency training at the University of Illinois, and pulmonary and critical care fellowship training at Northwestern University. He then pursued post-doctoral studies in Clinical and Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. His current focus is in the field of sleep medicine. Dr. Mekonnen is Founder and Director of the Premier Sleep Disorders Center, an AASM accredited center. He has managed and supervised more than 10,000 sleep studies. A frequent speaker in the area of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Disorders, he has delivered more than 100 invited lectures.

Ayalew Tefferi, M.D

Dr. Tefferi is a Professor of medicine, and world renowned hematologist currently practicing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He went to medical school at the University of Athens in Greece. He completed his internal medicine residency training at St. Joseph’s hospital in Chicago and hematology fellowship training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. His research involves clinical and laboratory research in myeloid disorders. He has had over 1000 publications in peer reviewed journals and serves as the associate or section editor for the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Leukemia, American Journal of Hematology, European Journal of Hematology, and Hematological Oncology. He is also in the editorial board of several other journals. Dr Tefferi has given more than 700 national and international invited lectureships and serves as faculty for the annual Hematology and Oncology Board review courses at George Washington University in Washington DC, Cancer Medicine and Hematology offered by Harvard institutes in Boston MA, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX.

Bisrat Hailemeskel, MSc., Pharm.D., R.Ph.

Dr. Bisrat Hailemeskel is a full-time faculty at the rank of Associate Professor, Vice Chair, & Co-Director of International Grants in the College of Pharmacy, Howard University (HU). He received his B.Pharm, MSc (Addis Ababa University (AAU)), and Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (University of Toledo, Ohio). Dr. Hailemeskel was the recipient of 2007 -2008 Fulbright Scholarship as teacher/research fellow, a distinguished Award from the US Department of States, to teach and conduct research in Ethiopia. In 2010, he was also received the “Outstanding Faculty” Award from HU Alumni Association. As a principle Investigator, he has also received a multi-year grant for the “HU-AAU Twinning Partnership” project to promote pharmaceutical care education in Ethiopia from the American International Health Alliance and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Dr. Hailemeskel awarded to become a Fulbright Visiting Professor by the US State Department since 2014. Dr. Hailemeskel is well published with over 50 research papers

Dawd S. Siraj, M.D., MPH&TM, FIDSA

Dr. Dawd S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine, and an infectious disease physician at the University of Wisconsin. He received his medical degree from Jimma University in Ethiopia. He completed his internal medicine residency training at St. Barnabas Hospital Bronx, NY. He subsequently completed an Infectious Diseases fellowship and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.. He currently serves as the Vice President and Board Member of Ethio- American Doctors Group, Inc and People to People (P2P). He has actively participated in numerous Infectious Diseases and HIV activities in Ethiopia.

Elias S. Siraj, M.D., Dr. Med., FACP, FACE

Dr Siraj is currently Professor and Chief of Division of Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Norfolk, VA. He is also David L. Bernd Distinguished Chair for Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research, Director of Strelitz Diabetes Center and Director of the EVMS-Sentara Cardiovascular Diabetes Center. Dr. Siraj started as a Faculty first at the Cleveland Clinic and later moved to Temple University in Philadelphia where for many years he carried various leadership roles including Director of Diabetes Program and Director of Endocrine Fellowship Program. Over the years, Dr. Siraj has been involved in Global Medicine activities and has been traveling to Ethiopia every year as a Visiting Professor, teaching residents, fellows and medical students as well as conducting collaborative clinical research projects. In collaboration with others, he was instrumental in successfully establishing the first Endocrine Fellowship training program in Ethiopia. In addition, Dr Siraj has served in various leadership roles at “People to People”, a US based NGO established by Ethiopian Physicians to support Ethiopian Healthcare and Medical Education. For his active role in Ethiopia, he received the prestigious Outstanding Service Award for the Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology in 2014.

Enawgaw Mehari, MD.

Dr. Enawgaw Mehari is a Senior Neurologist at Kings Daughter Medical Center in Kentucky and founder of People to People USA (P2P). He founded P2P at the end of his residency training and has since expanded the services of P2P, including opening the People’s Free Clinic in Morehead, KY, in 2005 for the working poor who have no health insurance.

Jignesh Shah, M.D

Dr. Jignesh Shah is a cardiologist with sub-specialty training in cardiac electrophysiology from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His interests include arrhythmia care, pacemaker implant and cardiac ablations. Dr. Shah is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases and clinical cardiac electrophysiology. He is currently overseeing cardiology fellowship training in several medical schools in Ethiopia.

Melaku Demede M.D., MHSc, FACC, FSCAI

Dr. Melaku Demede graduated from AAU faculty of Medicine in 1995 and completed internship, residency and fellowship from SUNY Downstate Health Science Center Brooklyn, NY. Had done Post graduation from Victoria University of Manchester in MHSc Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Currently, He is Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of Cardiac Cath Lab in ARH Beckley, WV. Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine West Virginia University School of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine UK community Faculty, WVU DO School and Lincoln Memorial University School of Medicine. Board Certified in Intervention Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Internal Medicine, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.

Mulugeta Gebregziabher, M.D

Dr. Mulugeta Gebregziabher is Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Public Health Sciences at MUSC. His research expertise is in longitudinal data analysis, multiple outcomes research, and analysis of very large datasets from electronic medical records. He is secretary of ED-REAP (501(c3)) and has served as President of the Statistical Society of Ethiopians in North America and President of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Statistical Association.

Henock G. Zabher, M.D., MPH, FACC, FSCAI

Dr. Henock G. Zabher is an associate Professor of Medicine/ Interventional Cardiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. He received his medical degree from Jimma University in Ethiopia. He subsequently obtained his Masters of Public health (MPH) from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He completed internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). He completed subspecialty training in Interventional Cardiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is the First Cardiologist to perform percutaneous coronary intervention in Mekelle hospital, Ethiopia and help to initiate a coronary intervention services in the hospital.

Kebede H. Begna, M.D., Msc.

Dr. Kebede H. Begna an assistant professor and consultant haematologist, practicing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He received his medical degree from Gondar University in Ethiopia. . He finished internal medicine residency at St. Vincent Medical College, an affiliate of New York Medical College, where he was the Chief Resident. He completed hematology and medical oncology fellowship and obtained Masters in clinical research at the University of Minnesota, and later joined the Mayo Clinic, Division of Hematology in Rochester, Minnesota. He authored and co-authored many publications and book chapter. He currently serves on the board of Ethio-American Doctors Group, Inc.

Lekidelu Taddesse-Heath, MD

Dr. Taddesse-Heath is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Howard University Hospital and Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. She has led medical student missions to Gondar University Hospital, Ethiopia since 2013.

Lydia Tesfa, PhD

Dr. Lydia Tesfa is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is the Assistant Operations Director of Flow Cytometry and actively engages in research, education and health care. Dr. Lydia is a Board member of People to People (P2P) and has volunteered her expertise in several projects in Ethiopia.

Meraf Wolle, M.D

Dr. Meraf A. Wolle is an assistant Professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. She specializes in corneal and external disease, including cataracts, corneal transplants, and refractive surgery. Dr. Wolle received her M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine and her M.P.H. degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Following an internship in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, she completed her residency in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Dr. Wolle completed a fellowship in Cornea and External Diseases at the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor prior to joining the Wilmer faculty.

Salahadin Abdi, M.D., PhD

Dr. Salahadin Abdi, is a tenured Professor of Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine and Chair of Department of Pain Medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He completed medical school, his PhD in pharmacology/toxicology, and clinical residency in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at University of Münster Medical Center in Germany. After relocating to the United States, he then completed his residency training Anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. He is the author and/or co-author of more than 200 manuscripts and abstracts, book chapters and review articles. He is a reviewer for multiple journals. His primary research interests include stem cell and gene therapy for degenerative spine disease and chemotherapy induced painful peripheral neuropathy. His main clinical interest includes low back pain, complex regional pain syndrome, cancer pain, myofascial pain and whiplash injury.

Teferi Y. Mitiku, M.D., FACC

Dr. Mitiku earned his medical degree at UCLA, and he then completed his residency at Stanford University, followed by a fellowship in cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology at Yale New Haven Hospital. He has served as the Director of the Complex Ablation Program at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Currently he is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Director of Electrophysiology at University of California Irvine in Orange County, CA.

Tinsay A. Woreta, M.D., M.P.H

Dr. Tinsay A. Woreta is an assistant professor of medicine and a gastroenterologist/hepatologist at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.. She received her medical degree, internal medicine residency, and gastroenterology/transplant hepatology fellowship from Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in acute and chronic liver diseases, and has authored many publications and book chapters.

Yonas E. Geda, M.D.

Dr. Yonas E. Geda is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry. He is a Consultant in the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, and Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic. Following a formal search process, Dr. Geda was recently named Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for all the 5 colleges/ schools at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Geda earned his doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree from Addis Ababa (Haile Selassie) University, and subsequently pursued his trainings in Psychiatry, Behavioral Neurology, and a Master’s of Science (MSc) degree in biomedical sciences at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research examines the impact of lifestyle factors and neuropsychiatric symptoms on brain aging and mild cognitive impairment. He has published over 115 peer reviewed papers in major journals including in Neurology, JAMA Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry and American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Geda has several institutional, national and international leadership roles. He is a member of the Science Committee of the French Alzheimer’s research group (Groupe de Recherche sur la maladie d’Alzheimer; GRAL). He is the current chair of the award committee of the Neuropsychiatric syndromes professional interest area (PIA) of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). He is a recipient of many awards, including a medal from the City of Marseille, France in 2003, and from the City of La Ciotat, France in 2016 for his contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s research. As a resident, he won the prestigious Mayo Brother’s Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Keith Martin, M.D

Dr. Keith Martin is the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) based in Washington, DC. The Consortium is a rapidly growing organization of over 170 academic institutions from around the world. It harnesses the capabilities of these institutions across research, education, advocacy and service to address global challenges. It is particularly focused on improving health outcomes for the global poor and strengthening academic global health programs. Dr. Martin is the author of more than 150 editorial pieces published in Canada’s major newspapers and has appeared frequently as a political and social commentator on television and radio. He is currently a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute, editorial board member for the Annals of Global Health and an advisor for the International Cancer Expert Corps. He has contributed to the Lancet Commission on the Global Surgery Deficit, is a current commissioner on the Lancet-ISMMS Commission on Pollution, Health and Development and is a member of the Global Sepsis Alliance.


If You Go:
P2P 10th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference
Saturday, October 20th, 2018
Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City
550 Army Navy Drive Arlington, VA 2220
www.p2pbridge.org

Related:
Watch: 2015 People to People (P2P) Conference Award Ceremony

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America’s Iconic Former First Lady Michelle Obama Prepares for Rock Star Book Tour

The iconic former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is preparing for a rock star book tour next month starting in her hometown of Chicago on November 13th, 2018. Her memoir "Becoming" is set to be translated in 28 languages worldwide. The following is a highlight by publisher Penguin Random House. (Photo: The cover image from the book released by Crown Publishing Group)

Press Release

IN A LIFE filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

The full tour schedule is below:

Nov. 13: Chicago — United Center
Nov. 15: Los Angeles — The Forum
Nov. 17: Washington — Capital One Arena
Nov. 24: Boston — TD Garden
Nov. 29: Philadelphia — Wells Fargo Center
Dec. 1: Brooklyn — Barclays Center
Dec. 11: Detroit — Little Caesars Arena
Dec. 13: Denver — Pepsi Center
Dec. 14: San Jose — SAP Center
Dec. 17: Dallas — American Airlines Center


Learn more and buy tickets at https://becomingmichelleobama.com.

Related:
Michelle Obama is claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Spotlight: Solomon Kassa’s New Book ‘Girimte Scitech’

Solomon Kassa, author of 'Girimte Scitech,' will hold a book signing event in Arlington, VA on November 1st, 2018. (Photo: Solomon speaking at his book launch party at Sheraton Addis in Ethiopia on June 28th, 2018/Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Last year Solomon Mulugeta Kassa, host of TechTalk on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS), had shared with Tadias that he was putting the final touches on his new Amharic book focusing on science and technology. It covers “major science moments in history, its effect on the world and its relations to Ethiopia from the industrial revolution to the information age.” Solomon said.

The book, which is titled Girimte Scitech, was released this past summer with a successful book launch party at the Sheraton Addis in Ethiopia on June 28th.

This week Solomon announced a book signing event in Arlington, VA on November 1st along with guest speaker Samuel Alemayehu, Managing Director at Cambridge Industries.

On his EBS TV show Solomon, who works full time as a Senior Technology Consultant for Deloitte, presents fascinating guests including NASA scientist Dr. Brook Lakew, who is an Associate Director for Planning, Research and Development, Solar System Exploration Division at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University and one of the leading green energy researchers in the world.

Photos: Solomon Kassa’s Book launch at Sheraton Addis, June 28th, 2018:

In his interview with Tadias Solomon added. “The book also contains a reflection on the future. Where are we headed and what is our role? I am talking here about Africans in general and Ethiopians in particular. The fact of the matter is that we started civilization, but when it comes to modern technology we are still playing catch up.”


If You Go:
Book Signing and Happy Hour by Solomon Kassa
Thu, November 1, 2018
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
SPACES The Artisphere
1101 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209
Click here for more info

Related:
Tadias Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

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Obama: ‘Let’s Make History’ on Nov. 6th

The following is a message from former U.S. President Barack Obama urging young Americans to vote on Nov. 6 midterm elections. (Photo: @barackobama/Facebook)

Organizing for Action

By Barack Obama

In 19 days, we have the opportunity of a lifetime — the opportunity to help decide this country’s course.

See, the story of America is a story of progress. Sometimes slow, sometimes frustrating, but always forward.

But our progress isn’t inevitable. And it wasn’t achieved by a handful of famous leaders. It was won because of countless quiet acts of heroism and dedication by citizens like you who refused to be bystanders. Instead, they marched and mobilized and voted to make history.

Now I don’t have to tell you that we face extraordinary times. But here’s the good news: In 19 days, we have the chance to restore some sanity to our politics and bend the arc of history toward justice once again.

Because there is only one real guardrail when Washington veers off course, and that’s you. You and your vote. And your friends’ and families’ and neighbors’ votes.

The antidote to government by a powerful few is government by the organized, energized many.

In 19 days, you can make history. In 19 days, you can put America back on track. In 19 days, you can set the stage for all kinds of progress. But it won’t happen by itself. It won’t happen if we decide to be bystanders instead of change-makers.

We’ve got to do the work.

So I’m asking you: If you haven’t already voted, make a plan right now. Make sure everybody you know is doing the same.

Grab a friend and go knock doors or make phone calls for candidates you believe in — because there are only 19 days left. Don’t wake up disappointed on November 7th, thinking, “I could’ve done more.” Let’s give this country all we’ve got.

If you’re ready to take me up on that — ready to play your critical role in shaping our democracy — say you’re in.


Related:
Barack Obama Launches Video Urging Young Americans to Vote

Variety

Former President Barack Obama is using digital-media to reach millennials — with a new video aimed at getting young Americans to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“Look, a lot of our elected officials are misinformed,” Obama says in the video.

At another point, Obama ribs Republican senators who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “like they’d never used the internet before… because they haven’t.”

“Here’s your chance to vote for people who actually know what the internet is,” Obama says. “You wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist. Why would you let them pick your representative who’s going to determine your future?”

The full Obama get-out-the-vote video is available on ATTN:’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel, with a shorter version available on Instagram.

Watch: President Obama Doesn’t Have Time For These 7 Excuses Not To Vote


Related:
Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)

Mimi Hailegiorghis, Department Head Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine, on Helen Show. (EBS TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women and motherhood.

The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Watch: HELEN SHOW SEASON 15 EPISODE 5 PROFESSIONAL WOMEN AND MOTHERHOOD (AMHARIC)


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Nate Araya’s Film ‘Growing Up In America’

The director of 'Sincerely, Ethiopia,' Nate Araya, is back with another movie series, this time exploring the state of mental health in the U.S. in his new film entitled 'Growing Up In America.' (Photo: Nate Araya)

Konbini

In 2011, budding filmmaker and Ethiopian-American, Nate Araya made waves when he tackled the public’s negative perceptions of his homeland, Ethiopia, by making a documentary — Sincerely, Ethiopia — that displayed a more positive portrayal of Ethiopian life and culture.

The documentary was released in 2013, and since then Nate has gone on to make many impactful documentaries, championing the realities of Africans in the diaspora.

His latest work, Growing Up In America is a travel-based documentary series exploring different parts of American cities, cultures and conversations surrounding the underrepresented communities in America.

Nate describes the series as a “purpose project”, saying:

“This project is an extension of my life work to become a solution to the problems I see within my culture and community today.

We can either complain about the problems or contribute towards a solution. This is small contribution. A purpose project.

[I hope] that it can become a voice for the silent issues we face and a light for the many solutions ahead.”

The first episode of the series focuses on mental health in minority communities. Nate visits a local barbershop in Austin, Texas to better understand the views of mental health from the minds of young game changers, artists and professionals.

The episode includes a featured interview from National Institute of Mental Health Psychiatric Nurse, Ledet Muleta, who discusses the state of mental health within the black, immigrant and first-generation community. The series is set to be released on Nate’s website and his YouTube page.

Watch the trailer for the first episode below:


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Photos: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week

Sebeatu by designer Muse Legesse and Roots in Style by Tigist Seife. (courtesy of HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – The 2018 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week took place in Ethiopia’s capital city last week. This year’s runway show, which was held on October 3rd at Millennium Hall, highlighted a diverse collection of local and international designers.

Below are photos courtesy of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week:

Samra Leather by Samrawit Mersiehazen:

Ayni’s by Aynalem Ayele:

Roots in Style by Tigist Seife:

Precious design by Nasra Mustofa:

Meron Addis Ababa by Meron Seid:

Lali by Lemlem Haile Michael:

ZAAF by Abai Schulze:

Wuwi Couture by Egla Negusse:

Sebeatu by Muse Legesse:

Aleph Design by Meseret Teferra:

Yefikir by Fikerte Addis:

Tseday Design by Tseday Kebede:

Komtare by Dawit Ketema:

Kahindo (Democratic Republic of the Congo):

Basse (Senegal ):

ArtC (Morocco):

Alaoui M’hammdi Amina (Morocco):


Related:
2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week in Pictures
Photos: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2016
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Professor Lemma Senbet Focuses on Ethiopian Diaspora After Successfully Leading AERC

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park has returned to the United States after five years leading the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), based in Nairobi, Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 12th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – After a successful five-year term as the head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) — a Kenya-based non-profit organization that conducts independent research concerning the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa – Professor Lemma W. Senbet, an internationally recognized leader in finance studies has returned to continue teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“I am now back in Washington from an incredibly satisfying five-year Africa journey in the service of the Motherland,” Professor Lemma told Tadias. Before leaving the U.S. to lead AERC Lemma had shared with us in an interview that he “will be embarking on strategies for full global integration of AERC and its visibility beyond Africa as an organization that is at the cutting edge of best policy research practices.”

In 2015 under his leadership AERC received the highest possible rating as the most transparent think tank in the world. According to a report released by Transparify AERC was one of 31 major centers of research worldwide, out of 169 examined, that was given a five-star rating. The list included several American policy research establishments such as the Center for Global Development, Pew Research Center, Stimson Center, Woodrow Wilson Center and the World Resources Institute.

Last year Dr. Lemma was also one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. The conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility.”

Now back in the U.S. Professor Lemma shares that his next steps involve working with the recently formed Diaspora committee that will help to raise funds for Ethiopia. His background as an economist as well as his non-political, non-partisan and fact-based approach to complex issues will certainly bring a much-needed skill set to the group — which also includes several highly qualified individuals whose work we have previously featured in Tadias such as Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, retired United Nations official; Elias Wondimu, Publisher of Tsehai Publishers; Dr. Menna Demissie, Vice President of Police Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director of Black Rhino Group & Executive Advisory and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure; and Obang Metho, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and a noted human rights activist.

In his departing speech to his colleagues at AERC, Professor Lemma told his audience that he will continue to advocate for Africa once he returns to the U.S. and he has already hit the ground running.

Watch: Closing Remarks – AERC Executive Director Prof Lemma Senbet


Related:
Professor Lemma Senbet Leads AERC to Top Global Index Ranking
Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

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Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

Former first lady Michelle Obama prepares to take the stage during a When We All Vote rally at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. Obama, the founder and co-chairwoman of the organization, spoke at the September rally with over 2,000 volunteers and eligible voters present. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Twenty-one months after she left the White House, Michelle Obama is returning to public life feeling purposeful and invigorated. She launched, within weeks, high-profile social initiatives on voting and girls education while preparing for a mega-book tour unlike any book tour, well, ever.

Fans already have purchased tens of thousands of tickets to hear Obama share stories from her memoir, “Becoming,” in basketball arenas in 10 cities. Combined with the celebrity-laden rollouts of her latest projects, the former first lady is demonstrating a mix of uncommon star-power and bankability while advancing themes that have long mattered to her.

Obama, 54, feels liberated after a decade in an unrelenting political spotlight where she was tethered to her husband’s career and a White House role marked by both opportunities and constraints alike, say those who know her well. They say she is reveling in the chance to develop meaningful pursuits entirely her own.

“The possibilities are infinite,” said longtime friend and former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, who describes Obama as fired-up and happy. “Now she’s able to lead her best life and to create and own it in her own image.”

Today on a New York television stage, Obama unveiled a project intended to help educate tens of millions of adolescent girls denied the chance to finish high school. The Global Girls Alliance, developed quietly over the past year, scored an hour of coverage on NBC’s “Today Show,” ending with a concert by Jennifer Hudson, Meghan Trainor and Kelly Clarkson.

Read more »


Related:
Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

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Celebrating International Day of the Girl with Girls Gotta Run Foundation

Girls Gotta Run Foundation celebrates International Day of the Girl with Virtual Relay (Photo Courtesy: GGRF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — October 11th is International Day of the Girl, and Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), which works in Bekoji and Soddo in Ethiopia, is joining the global celebration with the launch of their Day of the Girl Virtual Relay to raise funds for GGRF athletic scholars set to run an ultra relay in January 2019.

“RUN anywhere you are in the world on October 11th in honor of International Day of the Girl and join runners across the globe by logging your miles on Strava or with Ragnar Relay,” states the event announcement. “CELEBRATE girl changemakers in Ethiopia by sharing your run on social media using #DayoftheGirlRelay, making a donation to GGRF in honor of the inspiring women in your life, or joining us in Ethiopia for the first ever GGRF Bekoji Ultra Relay in January 2019.”

In London, GGRF is co-hosting a panel discussion with the Tate Modern focusing on the power of collaboration among organizations “to empower girls and women around the world.
” Panel speakers include: Daniel Demissie, Filmmaker of Town of Runners documentary; Dora Atim and Jessie Zapotechne, Girl Effect Run Leaders, and Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation. The London event also features photography and artwork by GGRF athletic scholars.

Since 2007 GGRF has been working at the grassroots level in four key areas to improve the lives of girls, ages 11-18, in Ethiopia by providing athletic scholarships and increasing access to education, while creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and savings for mothers.

The organization’s vision statement notes: “Girls Gotta Run envisions a world that empowers and invests in the exceptional initiative of young women who are working to establish their place in the world as competitive runners and leaders in their communities, who are finding strength, courage and power in their pursuit of excellence, and who are achieving their fullest potential in running and society.”

GGRF programs in Ethiopia have included the provision of athletic scholarships in Sodo and Bekoji, a Running Across Borders project in Addis Ababa, the Simien Girls Runners program and a one year scholarship program for young Ethiopian women runners in collaboration with the YaYa Village in preparation for professional athlete careers.

Click here to register for the virtual relay.


Related:
Why Girls Gotta Run: Interview with Patricia Ortman

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