Author Archive for Tadias

Ethiopia Fest Chicago 2017 Ready for Enkutatash Celebration

(Image courtesy: The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Enkutatash is around the corner and so is the fourth annual Ethiopia Fest Chicago, a colorful September festival in the “Windy City” marking the Ethiopian New Year.

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), host of the weekend celebration scheduled for September 9th, announced that their holiday gathering this year features live music, food, fashion show, cultural performance and a gursha contest.

“We are really excited to see Ethiopia Fest continue to grow bigger and better each year,” said Dibora Berhanu, Events Director of the ECAC’s Auxiliary Board. “This year we have all five hours packed with great entertainment and an array of vendors.” She added: “It will be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon [celebrating] the beautiful Ethiopian culture.” The program also includes traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and poetry reading by up-and-coming artist, Tigist Dadi.

The non profit organization said it’s expecting up to a thousand people to attend. “This Festival is a wonderful opportunity for Ethiopians in Chicago and other members in the community to engage in festivities to celebrate the New Year,” the press release stated. “The attendees include the Greater Chicago Ethiopian community, adoptive communities, the African and African Diaspora communities, as well as many people who travel from all over the Midwest.”

The press release notes that the festival organizers have partnered with Ethiopian Airlines and offering a raffle of a round-trip ticket to any Ethiopian Airlines destination in Africa. “We also have many local sponsors including The Wild Hare, New City Moving, The African Life, The Meeting Point, Safari Lounge & Ethiopian Cuisine, Ian Sherwin Gallery, and Selam Ethiopian Kitchen” states the press release.


If You Go:
Admission is only $5 and free for children under 5. You can purchase your tickets online or with cash at the door. For more information on Ethiopia Fest Chicago, please visit ethiopiafestchicago.com.

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Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Names Yohannes Abraham 2017 Fellow

Yohannes Abraham served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama and as Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council. (Courtesy Photo).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Yohannes Abraham will be a 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School. The prestigious institution announced that Yohannes “will guide students through discussions on how White House staff develop and advocate for policy priorities, advance nominations, and manage crises.”

“I can’t think of a more important time to invest in the next generation of public servants,” Yohannes shared in a statement. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to join this community as a Fall Fellow.”

“Yohannes Abraham has not only had a front row seat, but was an active participant in the complex process of shaping national and international policy,” said Cong. Bill Delahunt, Acting Director of the Institute of Politics. “His willingness to share his White House experience with students will provide them a rare first-hand perspective on the challenges of governing.”

Yohannes served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

The press release states Yohannes’ White House experience put him “in the middle of many of the highest profile confirmation, legislative, and communications battles of President Obama’s second term.”

The announcement notes that “Abraham first began working for then-Senator Obama during his Iowa Caucus campaign in 2007. He went on to serve as Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director in the 2008 general election, helping turn Virginia blue for the first time in 44 years. During President Obama’s first term, Abraham served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda.”

The Institute of Politics at Harvard University was established in 1966 in honor John F. Kennedy, America’s youngest president to be elected. According to its website: “Since its founding half a century ago, the Institute has used its programming and activities to ignite passion, appreciation and respect for politics and public service.”

Yohannes added: ““If there is a subset of students that leave my study group more likely to pursue a career in public service, I will consider my time as a Fellow a success.”

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Related:
Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham

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Harlem’s Hubert (Black Eagle) Julian Soared to Glory in Ethiopia

Col. Hubert Julian beside a plane in Le Bourget. (New York Daily News)

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

From Italy’s standpoint, it was true, Italy had been fairly royally chiseled out of any substantive World War spoils. The Allies had promised the sun and moon and then left Italy with crumbs, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, nothing but barren desert. Some Roman Empire that was. Well, Italy had Albania, too, but of course Albania was worthless. So it was that Benito Mussolini cast Italian eyes again on the ancient cradle of the Kingdom of Abyssinia. Abyssinia was nothing but barren desert either, so far as that went, but at least there was more of it.

Italy was still relatively new to the world stage in the 1930s. Until 1870 Italy had been a medieval collection of poor duchies and poorer principalities, and its early attempts to expand across the Mediterranean into Tunis were contemptuously blocked by the older powers. The Italian armies were not particularly sophisticated, in any case: When in 1896 the dictator Francesco Crispi resolved to make a protectorate of Abyssinia, 8,000 Italian soldiers were slaughtered at Adowa by Abyssinians armed with sticks and spears. Great was this sting. Italy had been just mortified ever since.

Now, in 1935, Mussolini was determined both to avenge the old [Adwa] humiliation and to stake an emperor’s claim at last to Italy’s rightful colonial place in the sun. Now the Roman legions were mechanized, bristling with tanks and warplanes, and all the world knew that Italy would storm defenseless Ethiopia the day the September rains stopped. The great powers did not approve, but the slightest diplomatic misstep could easily mean another world war; now Haile Selassie, Ras Tafari, the Lion of Judah, came before the League of Nations to plead for deliverance, and the great powers all went deaf.

On Tuesday, the 1st of October, as Europe watched silently, Caproni bombers blasted [Adwa] into rubble and columns of troops poured across the border and destroyed the pathetic war-dancing spearmen who rose up to meet them. The sun had not set before the Italo-Ethiopian War came as well to the hundreds of thousands of Italians and the hundreds of thousands of blacks who sought to live together in the City of New York…

At this very moment, Col. Hubert Julian, the Black Eagle of Harlem, was in Addis Ababa, and it would have been his most glorious hour if he’d only had an airplane. Trinidad-born Hubert Fauntleroy Julian had been one of Harlem’s most flamboyant figures for years. One of the pioneer black fliers..and he frequently mesmerized citizens by parachuting, crimson-clad, onto 125th St.

Read the full article at nydailynews.com »


Related:
Prevail: New Film in the Making About Ethiopia’s Resistance Against Fascism (TADIAS)

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Prevail: New Film in the Making About Ethiopia’s Resistance Against Fascism

The amazing story of Ethiopia's resistance against Fascist Italy's invasion. It's an epic tale of courage, betrayal, faith, love and a proud nation that refused to back down. (Photo from the book Prevail)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The recent publication entitled Prevail — focusing on rarely told personal stories from Ethiopia’s victory over fascist Italy during World War II — is now being converted into a documentary film. Written by Toronto-based journalist and author, Jeff Pearce, Prevail features profiles of heroes including Jagama Kello, Ambassador Imru Zelleke, Lekelash Bayan, Lorenzo Taezaz, African-American pilot John Robinson and Emperor Haile Selassie.

“This is our story and unless we tell it no one else is going to do it for us,” says Bereket Kelile of Sacramento, California who is helping to fundraise for the film project. “It was above-the-fold front page news in the New York Times and other big newspapers at the time, but today it’s not a very well known event. The really urgent part is that there are still people alive from that era, so we are kind of racing against the clock to get them on tape. Unfortunately, we have already lost valuable people in recent years such as Jagama Kello and historian Richard Pankhurst.”

Bereket, who was born and raised in the U.S., first learned about the book after reading the Tadias interview with Jeff Pearce three years ago. He later purchased the book and wrote his own review for the website Medium that led to an introduction and friendship with Pearce.

“Jeff has done his homework,” Bereket says. “It’s a well-researched book. In addition to narrating the story from the Ethiopian point of view what I like about what Jeff says is that from the non-Ethiopian perspective it’s a story that’s very much relevant even here,” Bereket explains. “It had an impact in this country as well. African-Americans were concerned about it and there were thousands of people in Harlem, for example, lined up to volunteer to fight for Ethiopia.”

The online fundraising page for the Prevail film project (www.gofundme.com/ethiopiawins) notes some of the few astonishing facts about the war including that “everyone from Gandhi to Trotsky, from Josephine Baker and Langston Hughes to Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw, had an opinion about it; a Broadway play was shut down over it; Marconi, a Fascist, was trying to build a microwave weapon to fight the British because of Ethiopia; about 20,000 Black Americans marched on one day alone over it on August 3, 1935, and there were other massive protests in America and around the world; It inspired a 17-year-old Nelson Mandela.”

The war was full of atrocities including the massacre of “tens of thousands of Ethiopians over a three-day period, and thousands more taken to concentration camps, where about half of them died.” And finally “it ended with an astonishing rescue against overwhelming odds. A true tale of underdog victory.”

Bereket shares that their initial goal is to raise $50,000 to cover the interviews that will be conducted in Ethiopia, England and the United States as well as to pay for archival footage.


Click here to learn more and contribute towards the making of Ethiopia Prevails (a film).

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Denver Taste of Ethiopia Festival Features Food, Culture and Role Models

Youth from the Colorado Ethiopian Cultural Dance Group perform traditional Ethiopian dances at the Taste of Ethiopia festival in Denver at Parkfield Lane Park on Aug. 5, 2017. (The Denver Post)

The Denver Post

Taste of Ethiopia brings together food, culture and role models in the immigrant community

Denver isn’t in the dark about Ethiopian food.

In some cities, Ethiopian cuisines are a niche market for adventurous foodies. But Colorado has become a hub for African-inspired restaurants serving the country’s famous spicy-sour mix of injera bread and stews.

That why for the last five years, thousands of locals have flocked to the annual Taste of Ethiopia…

The food isn’t the only thing that draws people to the festival and keeps them coming back. The rich culture does as well.

“We’re bringing the community and culture to those who have left Ethiopia and it’s our way of passing our heritage to the next generation of kids who are born here in American society,” said. Neb Asfaw. “We want to preserve our heritage and also bring it to the local community.”

Most important to the festival and the Ethiopian community was to take the time to honor model citizens who are involved with and supporting the immigrant community.

Investment manager and business owner Mel Tewahade said he moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia 35 years ago with little more than $20 in his pocket.

“I help people in the community to get acclimated to American way of life and adjusting to cultural differences,” Tewahade said. “Making life easier for newcomers. How should they dress themselves and cut their nails and present themselves to have opportunity in labor market.

Tewhade said he sees a lack of role models in the black community and is trying to fill that void.

Read the full article at The Denver Post »


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Almaz Ayana Destroys Field to Win 10,000 Metres at World Championships

Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the World Athletics Championships Women's 10000 Metres final in London, August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Reuters

Ethiopian Almaz Ayana destroyed the field to win the 10,000 metres at the World Championships on Saturday, finishing around 300 metres clear of her rivals in her first race of an injury-plagued season.

The Olympic champion began pulling away from the field after 10 laps, sweeping past back markers who were made to look sluggish in comparison.

She finished in 30:16.32 seconds, well outside the world record she set when she won in Rio last year but still enough to win by an astonishing 46.37 seconds, by far the biggest margin in championship history.

Ayana’s compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the former world and Olympic champion, added to her impressive collection of medals when he took the silver with Kenya’s Agnes Tirop in third.

“I am very happy to win this title, much more than when I won the Olympic gold because I have been sick this year and didn’t expect it. In fact, this was my first race of 2017,” Ayana told reporters.

A repeat of her world record-breaking performance in Rio was never on the cards after a slow, tactical start to the race in which the field crawled around the first lap in 81 seconds.

But the last two thirds of the race was reminiscent of Ayana’s extraordinary run last year where she also blew away the field.


Almaz Ayana and Tirunesh Dibaba celebrate after winning gold and silver medals at World Athletics Championships – women’s 10000 metres final – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Read more at Reuters.com »


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Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist

Kelela (photo courtesy: Alice Chiche/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

The New York Times

By JON PARELES, JON CARAMANICA and GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The Playlist: Kelela Wants Answers

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. You can listen to this Playlist on Spotify.

Kelela sings about a potential one-night stand in “LMK,” the single preceding her official debut album, “Take Me Apart,” due Oct. 6, after four years of sporadic releases. “LMK” isn’t a flirtation — it’s a negotiation, close to an ultimatum. Her potential partner can’t expect romance, can’t say the wrong thing and has to “let me know” fast: “I ain’t gonna wait if you hesitate,” she announces. The encounter takes place in the subterranean ambience of a production by Jam City with wavery bass tones, chattery percussion and countless layers of Kelela’s nonchalant voice ricocheting through the haze. “It ain’t that deep,” she shrugs, but it’s not exactly casual, either. JON PARELES

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Julie Mehretu: Working on a New Towering Project in an Unused Harlem Church

Julie Mehretu was recently inducted in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. ((Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Julie Mehretu, a MacArthur Foundation “genius,” is executing a monumental new commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Harlem, New York — The artist Julie Mehretu has been flying awfully close to the sun.
Soaring midair on a mobile platform inside an unused Harlem church, she has been working and reworking two towering paintings taking shape on opposite walls, a monumental commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

For the last 14 months the vaulted neo-Gothic nave has served as Ms. Mehretu’s temporary studio as she executes the most physically demanding, politically charged and collaborative work of her career. Later this month, her paintings will be installed in the museum’s atrium, where they will remain on view for more than three years.

“These are my most American paintings,” said Ms. Mehretu, 46, running her hand through her crop of dark curls as she contemplated the two radiant and complex canvases, each stretching 27 feet by 32 feet.

Ms. Mehretu made her first marks on the canvases in the days right after the November election. It was her shock that moved her to rapid action and she said the current “miasma” informed her improvisational language of roiling calligraphic brush strokes and erasures. She is interested in what “gestural abstraction” — her intuitive and personal expression — ”can conjure in this political moment,” she said, adding that the works “are trying to make sense of where we are in our country right now.”

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at Modern Art Museum Gabre Kristos Desta Center

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Obama Nudging Deval Patrick to Run

The former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, would have powerful supporters if he chooses to run for the White House in 2020 including former President Barack Obama and many of his associates. (Politico)

Politico Magazine

The former Massachusetts governor would have powerful allies in 2020

BOSTON — Barack Obama is nudging him to run. His inner circle is actively encouraging it. Obama world’s clear and away 2020 favorite is sitting right here, on the 38th floor of the John Hancock Building, in a nicely decorated office at Bain Capital.

And Deval Patrick has many thoughts on what he says is Donald Trump’s governing by fear and a dishonest pitch for economic nostalgia, while encouraging a rise in casual racism and ditching any real commitment to civil rights.

Obama strategist David Axelrod has had several conversations with Patrick about running, and eagerly rattles off the early primary map logic: small-town campaign experience from his 2006 gubernatorial run that will jibe perfectly with Iowa, neighbor-state advantage in New Hampshire and the immediate bloc of votes he’d have as an African-American heading into South Carolina.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s close adviser and friend, says that a President Patrick is what “my heart desires.”

David Simas, Obama’s political director in the White House and now the CEO of his foundation, used to be Patrick’s deputy chief of staff and remains perhaps his biggest fan on the planet.

Obama himself—who is personally close to Patrick, and counts him among the very small group of people whom he thinks has actual political talent—has privately encouraged him to think about it, among others.

Obama veterans light up at the mention of Patrick’s name. In self-assurance, style and politics, they see the former Massachusetts governor as a perfect match, the natural continuation of Obama’s legacy.

“If you were to poll 100 notable Obama alumni, the only two people who would win that 2020 straw poll right now are [Joe] Biden and Patrick,” said one former senior White House aide.

Among operatives, “the center of gravity would really shift in his direction in Obama world if he were to decide to run,” said another former top Obama White House official.

Click here to listen to the interview with Deval Patrick on POLITICO’s Off Message podcast »


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Aminé: Joyful Rapper With Eye on Politics

Aminé’s parents moved to the United States from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, settling in Portland; his mother works for the post office, and his father has been a teacher and translator. (The New York Times)

The New York Times

Meet Aminé, a Joyful Rapper With an Eye on Politics

PORTLAND, ORE. — There is a door at Portland State University that doesn’t quite lock, and one afternoon in early April, the rapper Aminé walked up to it and gave it a hopeful tug. It popped open with an easy exhale, and he smiled. A couple of years ago, when he was still a student here studying marketing but plotting a music career, he would sneak into this building, make his way to a nondescript beige room on the second floor, and, in the quiet of night, accompanied by no one, work on his songs.

Striving to be a rapper in this city better known for indie rock, roots music and “Portlandia”-level whiteness was “super depressing,” he said. The scene was dead. No one replied to his entreaties to collaborate. He couldn’t afford to pay for a real studio.

But there was this unassuming room, where, in the fall of 2015, Aminé recorded onto his laptop the vocals for “Caroline,” the goofy flirtation — “great scenes might be great, but I love your bloopers/and perfect’s for the urgent/Baby, I want forever” — that became a surprise breakout hit last year, and took Aminé from frustrated college student to ascendant hip-hop star signed to a major label, Republic Records…


Aminé with family members in Portland, Ore. (Photo: The New York Times)

It was one of pop culture’s first powerful responses to the election, and it marked Aminé as someone unwilling to be pigeonholed. “I had people that didn’t even congratulate me for the success of ‘Caroline’ saying, ‘Thank you for doing that.’” he said. “Trump as the president doesn’t make sense to me. Someone talking about the country and the people who live in it that way when this country is made up of immigrants, I don’t get how that can even resonate with people.”

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Rolling Stone: Ethiopian American Aminé Among 10 New Artists You Need to Know

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Spotlight: Mahlet Mesfin New Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy

Mahlet Mesfin, the new Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy, previously worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). (Photo via AAAS)

AAAS

New Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy brings experience from academia, White House

About halfway through her PhD program in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Mahlet Mesfin started thinking about connections outside the micro world of proteins to the macro world of science-society issues. Several years later – and with stints as a AAAS Science and Technology (S&T) Policy Fellow at the Department of Defense and working at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) – Mesfin has come full circle from the academic and governmental spheres, joining the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy as its Deputy Director in May.

For Mesfin, the intersections of science, policy, and society stretch back to her time as a graduate student at Penn studying traumatic brain injury. For example, her PhD adviser had advised in safety standards for football helmet design, demonstrating the role that science can play in addressing societal problems – and, as importantly, proposing solutions.

“While doing my PhD, I started thinking about how S&T can help answer bigger questions, such as how it can be used in capacity building in low and middle income countries,” she said. “I also got more involved in my university community and advocating for the needs of underrepresented student groups, such as African-American students and women in science and engineering, which gave me my first experiences in policy.”

Her interest in policy led her to spending six months at the U.S. National Academies for Science (NAS) where she worked on projects related to advancing women in STEM in academia and girls in engineering. Her policy interests have been focused on the intersection of S&T and global issues. Mesfin was able to formally enter the science and diplomacy fields at the United States government level, beginning at the Department of Defense, which at the time was seeking to increase its coordination of international S&T efforts among each of its services. In this role, she interfaced with OSTP, which plays a key role in coordinating international S&T activities across the U.S. government. During Mesfin’s second year as a AAAS S&T Policy Fellow, she came on board at OSTP as a detail, and then stayed on to eventually become the Assistant Director for International Science and Technology.

During her time at OSTP she gained greater appreciation for how science, technology, and innovation (STI) make an impact in the world. “Other countries look to the U.S. STI ecosystem to try and model it to meet their national goals. In the current U.S. political environment, with potential cuts to S&T funding and disinterest in soft power, it is unclear how U.S. government leadership on these topics will change over time.”


PRESIDENTIAL SCIENCE ADVISOR JOHN HOLDREN AND MAHLET MESFIN LEARN ABOUT ANCIENT POLYNESIAN VOYAGING TRADITIONS ABOARD THE HŌKŪLEʻA AS PART OF THE U.S. DELEGATION TO THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES HELD IN 2014 IN SAMOA | CREDIT: U.S. EMBASSY NEW ZEALAND

However, Mesfin is confident that the role of STI and its role in diplomacy doesn’t have to be led from a governmental level.

“AAAS is in an excellent position to advance the conversation,” she said. “It is a well-respected organization with a convening power able to bring a number of governmental and non-governmental voices together.”

Mesfin sees a part of her role at the Center for Science Diplomacy as helping to continue to define science diplomacy in the context of current events. “It is paramount that scientists have a seat at the table in relevant matters of foreign policy. I am excited to be a part of a team that is focused on these types of conversations.”


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Meet the 2017 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows

From top left: Maceda Alemu, Saba Alemnew, Eden Mekonen and Meron Begashaw. (Courtesy Photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship (EDF) has announced its 2017 class of Fellows. Every year Ethiopian American youth are selected to participate in this leadership and creative storytelling program, and EDF, which runs the program, said that its third cohort of fellows will spend half a year in Ethiopia working at St. Paul Millennium Medical College, East Africa Gate, Selamta Family Project and International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia.

“EDF is an organization that connects young Ethiopian diaspora professionals with organizations in Ethiopia for 6-month impact focused fellowship opportunities,” the press release stated. “Fellows are trained on the program pillars of leadership, service, and storytelling throughout the fellowship.” EDF added: “Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship aims to identify and empower the next generation of young Ethiopian professionals.”

Congratulations to the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows of 2017:

SABA ALEMNEW

Saba has provided revenue cycle review services for some of the largest health systems in the United States at Triage Consulting Group. Prior to that, Saba worked at the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center creating programs that highlighted key issues within the African Diaspora Community on-campus. Her programs led to institutional change including a mentorship program aimed at the retention of the African Diaspora Community on-campus. In addition, she is committed to public service as she has helped numerous refugees resettle in Northern California while working at Opening Doors Inc. Saba holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Communications from the University of California, Davis. She is excited to become an Ethiopian Diaspora Fellow and leverage her experiences to address economic development challenges in Ethiopia at East Africa Gate.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saba-alemnew-2a610939

MERON BEGASHAW

Meron held a number of health-related positions, including program assistant at The California Wellness Foundation working in women’s health and diversity in the health professions and an intern at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. She is deeply engaged in her Ethiopian community and serves in the young adult ministry at her local Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church. She is also an integral part of Habesha LA, a social media and events company highlighting Ethiopian and Eritrean creatives. She recently completed her Master of Public Health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is excited to learn from and share with a country that has given her so much as the Human Resource Strategies Fellow at St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meron-begashaw/

EDEN MEKONEN

Eden pursued a year of service with Public Allies Los Angeles where she served as the community engagement coordinator with the youth photography nonprofit, Las Fotos Project. Prior to this, Eden graduated from Occidental College where she majored in Critical Theory and Social Justice and minored in Interdisciplinary Writing. While at Occidental, Eden became passionate about equitable, multicultural education and diverse representations of underrepresented groups, through community-based learning classes where she applied identity-based theoretical frameworks to community social issues. Eden studied abroad in Durban, South Africa where she conducted oral histories with Ethiopian (im)migrant women and conducted community-based research on the political and gendered significance of Little Ethiopia to the diasporic community. Eden is excited to join the 2017 EDF cohort and contribute to Selamta Family Project’s knowledge and long-term capacity.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eden-mekonen-959714117/

MACEDA AFEWORK ALEMU

Maceda joined John Snow, Inc. as Program Officer with the firm’s International Division. As a Program Officer, she provided financial, administrative, and operations support to multi-million dollar public health projects in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through this role, Maceda refined her skills in program management, strategic partnership development, financial analysis, and donor communication. Prior to this she was Program Coordinator with the Center for Health Equity at the Geisel School of Medicine and an intern in the Resource Mobilization Division at UN Women. She graduated from Dartmouth College majoring in Geography with a focus on International Development, minored in International Relations and completed a certificate in Global Health Studies. She is excited to serve as an Ethiopian Diaspora Fellow and looks forward to collaborating with others in building the human capacity of Ethiopians and promoting positive social development throughout the country at St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/macedaalemu


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

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

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Harar Celebrates 1,010th Anniversary

As the UNESCO-recognized Ethiopian city of Harar marks its 1,010th anniversary, the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza explores its unique heritage.(Getty Images)

BBC News

Harar – a long history:

  • 7th Century: Part of Coptic Christian Kingdom of Axum, area adopted Islam
  • 1007: Harar city founded
  • 16th Century: Capital of Harari Kingdom, major centre of regional trade and Islamic learning
  • Said by some to be Islam’s fourth holiest site, after Mecca, Jerusalem and Medina
  • 1887: Becomes part of Ethiopia
  • 2006: Named UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Full Ethiopian Timeline

    One of Africa’s best kept secrets – its history

    The city’s fortified walls, built between the 13th and 16th Centuries, even have small holes in them to allow the hyenas to enter the city at night.

    The daily hyena feeding spectacle is just one example of this city’s unique heritage.

    “This is one of the world’s ancient civilisations,” local historian Abdulswamad Idris tells me.
    “Some of the mosques you see here were built in the 10th Century.”

    Early convert to Islam

    Harar is a city that goes by many names, from the city of saints to a living museum, while some consider it to be Islam’s fourth holiest city after Mecca, Jerusalem and Medina.

    It has even been called the city of peace, a name I spot on one huge neon sign as I enter the town.

    Read the full article at BBC.com »


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    Climate Change Threatens an Ancient Way of Life in Ethiopia

    Two seasons of failed rains have left millions in Ethiopia's Somali region dependent on food aid, calling into question how viable traditional forms of life still are in an era of changing climate. (The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Zeinab Taher once roamed through Ethiopia’s arid Somali region tending a vast herd of 350 sheep, goats and cattle with her nine children.

    Then the autumn rains failed and the grass that fed her animals didn’t grow. No rain came this spring, either, and the livestock began to die. Now, wrapped in her orange shawl, the 60-year-old huddles in a makeshift, windblown camp along with several thousand others, depending on food and water from international agencies.

    Another drought has seized the Horn of Africa, devastating the livestock herders in these already dry lands. Even as the government and aid agencies struggle to help them, there is a growing realization that with climate change, certain ways of life in certain parts of the world are becoming much more difficult to sustain.

    In Ethiopia, which unlike neighboring Somalia or South Sudan has a strong, functioning government, the emergency effort has kept people alive. Authorities and aid agencies are trying to get beyond the immediate humanitarian response and encourage a shift to livelihoods less vulnerable to drought and climate shocks.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia Warns Emergency Drought Aid to Run Out Next Month (AP)

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    Trump Fails to Repeal Obamacare

    In this March 23, 2010 file photo President Barack Obama signs the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo)

    The New York Times

    Trump Finds That Demolishing Obama’s Legacy Is Not So Simple

    WASHINGTON — President Trump’s demolition project just got shut down, at least for now.

    Determined to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy, Mr. Trump in the space of a couple of hours Monday night reluctantly agreed to preserve President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and failed in his effort to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care program.

    The back-to-back events underscored the challenge for a career developer whose main goal since taking office six months ago has been to raze what he sees as the poorly constructed edifices he inherited. Mr. Trump has gone a long way toward that objective through executive action, but as Tuesday dawned, he faced the reality that Mr. Obama’s most prominent domestic and international accomplishments both remained intact.

    In neither case has Mr. Trump given up. He instructed his national security team to keep rethinking the approach to Iran with a view toward either revising or scrapping the nuclear agreement. And he publicly called on Congress to simply repeal Mr. Obama’s health care program without trying to immediately pass a replacement.

    “We will return!” Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday morning about the collapse of his health care effort.

    Yet there is little appetite among America’s partners to revisit the Iran deal, nor is there much eagerness among lawmakers to cancel the existing health care program without a new system to install in its stead.

    Read more »


    Related:
    ‘How Trump and Republicans failed on their health-care bill (Washington Post)

    Trump’s Weird Obsession With Obama

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    Ethiopia as Case Study: Africa Talk With NYT’s Jeffrey Gettleman Moderated by Hiwot Nega

    Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times. (Photo via The New School)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 17th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — A well-timed discussion entitled How Should We Care About Africa will take place at The New School in New York City on July 27th featuring the award-winning New York Times journalist Jeffrey Gettleman. The event will be moderated by Hiwot Nega, founder and CEO of the NYC-based professional network company, Clewed, and will cover Ethiopia as a case study while highlighting the experience of The Times’s East Africa Bureau Chief.

    Jeffrey Gettleman, a long-standing Africa correspondent for The New York Times, is the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting and author of the new book Love, Africa. The upcoming event discussion is described in the announcement as focusing on his work as a journalist and changing the conversation about Africa.

    In addition to The New York Times Gettleman’s work has appeared in National Geographic, GQ, Foreign Policy and The New York Review of Books. “He studied philosophy at Cornell University before winning a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford.” Gettleman is currently based in Kenya.


    If You Go:
    How Should We Care About Africa: A Talk with Jeffrey Gettleman
    Thu, July 27, 2017
    6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDT
    The New School
    63 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10003
    Click here to RSVP

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    Spotlight: Wondwossen Dikran’s New Comedy ‘SNAP!’ Playing on YouTube Red

    Producer Wondwossen Dikran on the set of the new comedy special, SNAP!, from All Def Digital and Dormtainment currently showing on the online film platform YouTube Red. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 17th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American filmmaker Wondwossen Dikran is the producer of SNAP!, a new comedy special released last week by Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital (ADD) and Dormtainment. The latter is one of the first sketch comedy groups to launch their video content on YouTube. Wondwossen was previously featured as director of the independent film Journey to Lasta released in 2004.

    Speaking about his new venture, Wondwossen tell Tadias: “The Co-founder of Dormtainment, Amanuel Richards, is my first cousin and this brought back a lot of the JTL crew. Russell Simmons and All Def Digital are the Executive Producers.” SNAP! is directed by Olumide Odebunmi, Wondwossen’s business & creative partner.

    According to Dormtainment, the short comedy SNAP! is “about the hottest Atlanta Snap Rap Group of 2006 aka Stacks-4-Daze. Now the band members are all broke working dead-end-jobs in LA, but when they accidentally go viral on Worldstar they get a second chance at fame. Can they bring the stacks back?”

    Describing his cousin Amanuel of Dormtainment Wondwossen shares, “He is much younger than I am, and I have been kind of encouraging him to come out to this side of the coast.” Amanuel — who was born in the U.S. to parents hailing from Ethiopia and the Virgin Islands — is also the co-director and lead actor in SNAP!.

    “Once Amanuel came to LA several years ago Dormtainment began to get a lot of buzz. They had a show on Comedy Central, and they were doing a lot of work for LOL network,” says Wondwossen. “So when the opportunity came and they were approached by the multi-channel network, All Def Digital, they asked me to develop and produce this half hour pilot.”

    All Def’s Chief Executive, Sanjay Sharma, states: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Dormtainment, one of our earliest partners on the YouTube platform, to produce this unique, hilarious special. They have such a loyal fanbase, and their ability to create highly engaging short form content, long form premium content, and even sell-out, live stage experiences is truly special. We are excited to get this project out for our fans and theirs, and for the broader world to see, as we continue to expand and work with some of the brightest up-and-coming talent in the industry.”


    Wondwossen Dikran and Olumide Odebunmi working on set of ‘SNAP!’ (Courtesy photo)

    For Wondwossen the main focus has been developing and producing content for the digital space. “We have found opportunity because the business is shifting from traditional models to various digital platforms,” he says. “We’ve been working with several agencies in developing talent for feature films, music videos, as well as high-end commercials and other branded content.”

    In order to become a regular series the success of this pilot “basically depends on how much people respond to it based on the numbers and algorithms”, Wondwossen explains. “We encourage people to watch the pilot and give us your feedback, a like, a review, or whatever you think about it.” He added: “We would love as much eyeball as we can get.”


    Click here to watch SNAP! on YouTube Red (if you don’t have an account you can sign up for their 3-month free trial)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia at This Year’s SummerStage: Mulatu Astatke + DJ Sirak

    Mulatu Astatke will perform at SummerStage in New York for the first time on August 20th, 2017. (Time Out)

    Time Out New York

    In the mid-’60s, Mulatu Astatke began bending the rules of American jazz to fit the traditional music of his native Ethiopia and ended up launching an entire genre known as Ethio-jazz—a profoundly deep and funky style that hasn’t lost a shred of its cool over its 50-year run. The revered composer and multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with Duke Ellington and been sampled by Kanye West, and you certainly shouldn’t miss him when he hits SummerStage for the first time.


    If You Go:
    Mulatu Astatke at SummerStage
    Sunday, August 20th, 2017 at 6:00 pm
    Central Park, SummerStage
    Rumsey Playfield (enter at Fifth Ave and 72nd St)
    New York
    FreeEvent
    More info at http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage


    Related:
    Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

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    P2P Announces 2017 Ethiopian Health Care & Medical Education Conference

    (Photo: Courtesy of People to People -P2P)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 6th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S.-based non-profit organization for Ethiopian health care professionals in the Diaspora, People to People (P2P), announced that it will be hosting its 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference on September 23rd, 2017 at the Residence Inn, Pentagon City, just outside of Washington, D.C.

    “The central theme for this year will be ‘Cancer and Cancer Care,’ a topic you will agree, is gaining increasing importance in Ethiopia and beyond,” said Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of P2P in a statement.

    The conference will address the current status of cancer care in Ethiopia and participants will “brainstorm on ways to support clinical care, education and research in this field,” Dr. Enawgaw shared in his letter. “To this end, we have assembled an impressive roster of speakers with wide experience in academia, and building and supporting fellowship programs in Hematology and Oncology.”

    Dr. Enawgaw added: “P2P has been promoting the concept of triangular partnership since its inception in 2009. This model recognizes the pivotal role Diaspora Health Professionals can play in fostering partnerships between US and Ethiopian institutions of higher learning. The conference this September will provide further opportunity to network and meet Ethiopian and US institutions of higher learning who share the same mission and vision.”


    If You Go:
    P2P 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference
    September 23rd 2017
    The Residence Inn, Pentagon City
    Arlington, Virginia
    www.p2pbridge.org

    Related:
    Watch: 2015 People to People (P2P) Conference Award Ceremony

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    Economist on Addis Movie Bootleggers

    Ethiopia’s ingenious video pirates: Not even a slow internet can stop the bootleggers of Addis Ababa.

    The Economist

    DOWNLOADING a movie, legally or not, is prohibitively slow in Ethiopia, thanks to glacial internet speeds. Bootleg DVDs are everywhere, but even so it can be hard to find a reasonable-quality version of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Only one cinema in Addis Ababa, the capital, screens foreign hits. Resourceful pirates spy an opportunity.

    Last year yellow ATM-style kiosks began to spring up around Addis Ababa. The brainchild of three Ethiopian science graduates and their software company, Swift Media, the Chinese-built kiosks allow customers to transfer any of 6,000 pirated foreign movies or 500 music albums onto a USB stick they insert for as little as 10 cents per file. The kiosks are located in large malls in full view of authorities, who show no interest in shutting them down.

    This is just one manifestation of a general disregard for foreign intellectual-property (IP) rights in Ethiopia. Swift Media is breaking no local laws by selling plundered foreign films. Ethiopia is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Indeed, it is the largest country that has not yet signed any of the big international treaties governing IP, according to Seble Baraki, a local lawyer. Foreign trademarks are infringed with impunity. Kaldi’s, the country’s biggest coffee chain, has a logo suspiciously similar to that of Starbucks. Intercontinental Hotels Group, a British-owned hotel company, is suing a large hotel in central Addis Ababa with the same name. In-N-Out Burger, an American fast-food franchise, has a popular equivalent in Ethiopia that the American firm only learned about when tourists complained to it about poor standards.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia’s World Heritage Site in Photos

    The World Heritage site draws visitors and pilgrims with its monolithic churches carved into the ground. (Photo: AlJazeera)

    AlJazeera

    The 11 medieval churches hewn from solid, volcanic rock in the heart of Ethiopia were built on the orders of King Lalibela in the 12th century. Lalibela set out to construct a “New Jerusalem” in Africa after Muslims conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

    Legend has it that the design and layout of the churches mimic those observed by the king in Jerusalem, which he had visited as a youth. Many place names across the town are also said to originate from the king’s memories of the Biblical city.

    The churches were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978.

    The blocks were chiselled down, forming doors, windows, columns, various floors, trenches and ceremonial passages – some with openings to hermit caves and catacombs. Seven of the churches are organically embedded in the rock, while four are self-standing. The sacred site is a place of pilgrimage for those in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is said the churches were built in only 24 years.


    (Photo: AlJazeera)


    (Photo: AlJazeera)

    Read more and view the rest of the photos at Aljazeera.com »


    Related:
    On the Roof of Africa in Ethiopia, Amazing Portraits of a Christian Community

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    A Bone Marrow Drive Underway at Ethiopian Soccer Tournament

    (Photo: ESFNA Instagram)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 5th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — A timely bone marrow donor drive is being hosted by the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) at this year’s annual Ethiopian soccer tournament and cultural festival that’s taking place this week in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington.

    ESFNA announced that the bone marrow registry will be held in the vendor area of the tournament and festival in coordination with Be The Match organization, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

    “Our hope is to offer a cure for the thousands of people diagnosed with life-threatening cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma each year,” ESFNA said. “Many of these people are of Ethiopian descent.”

    Last month we featured Elsa, an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children, who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant, and who has not yet found a match in the current International Registry of 29 million individuals.

    “We encourage all interested parties to please visit the Bone Marrow Registry at Renton Memorial Stadium,” ESFNA added. “Through your donations, lives can be saved.”

    Related:
    Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

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    Have Women Shattered the Glass Ceiling in Tech? Betty Abera on Fargo INC

    Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg on the cover of the July 2017 issue of Fargo INC magazine. (Fargo INC)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 3rd, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Software Engineer turned Social Entrepreneur Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg she had just won the prestigious Bush Fellowship for her non-profit organization, uCodeGirl, whose mission is to encourage young girls to aim for careers in the high-tech industry.

    This month Betty, who works and lives in North Dakota, made the cover of her local business magazine, Fargo INC, as one of five women invited to discuss female representation in the technology sector.

    “It’s the question no one can seem to answer definitively: Why aren’t more girls going into high-tech fields?” asks Fargo INC introducing its July 2017 edition. “We assembled a panel of five FM-area women working in tech to try and figure out why.”


    (Photo: Fargo INC July 2017 issue)

    A mother of three boys, Betty is also the author of a children’s book entitled The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia. She was born and raised in Ethiopia and attended Addis Ababa University, later working at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) before immigrating to the United States.

    Regarding her non-profit, uCodeGirl, which strives to democratize “the technology sandbox with diverse voices as a result of increased participation of women,” Betty told Tadias that it was “inspired by the question — How can I see more people like me in the technology workforce?” She added: “I am engaging my vision and passion to create and foster an enrichment program that will inspire and empower young girls to be the driving force, the innovators of the technology they consume.”

    Click here to read the latest issue of Fargo INC »


    Related:
    Tadias Interview with Ethiopian Children’s Book Author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg

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    On the Roof of Africa in Ethiopia, Amazing Portraits of a Christian Community

    (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    July 2nd, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — The following amazing photographs were taken by the legendary Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado and appear in the July 2017 issue of The Smithsonian Magazine.

    The photographer was on “a 500-mile, 55-day hike through some of the most inaccessible passages in the Ethiopian highlands, a region known as the roof of Africa, where the elevations range from a few thousand feet to almost 15,000,” notes the Smithsonian Institution publication. “For him, the villages bespeak a continuity over millennia, and the landscape — with its blazing shafts of sunlight and a river-carved canyon deeper, at points, than the Grand Canyon — inspires a connection to eons past.”

    The magazine adds: “That river, the Tekezé, ultimately nourished the Blue Nile Delta, hundreds of miles away. All that fertile land energy came from there, eroded from there,” Salgado says, “and boy, me walking there, seeing this, doing my task inside the beginning of our history, was something amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.”


    The Simien Mountains. (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)


    The patch to the Yemerehana Kristos church. (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)


    (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)

    Read the full article and view the rest of the photos at smithsonianmag.com »


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    Trump’s Weird Obsession With Obama

    Trump’s strange obsession with Obama explained. (Photo: NYT)

    The New York Times

    Trump’s Obama Obsession

    Donald Trump has a thing about Barack Obama. Trump is obsessed with Obama. Obama haunts Trump’s dreams. One of Trump’s primary motivators is the absolute erasure of Obama — were it possible — not only from the political landscape but also from the history books.

    Trump is president because of Obama, or more precisely, because of his hostility to Obama. Trump came onto the political scene by attacking Obama.

    Trump has questioned not only Obama’s birthplace but also his academic and literary pedigree. He was head cheerleader of the racial “birther” lie and also cast doubt on whether Obama attended the schools he attended or even whether he wrote his acclaimed books.

    Trump has lied often about Obama: saying his inauguration crowd size exceeded Obama’s, saying that Obama tapped his phones and, just this week, saying that Obama colluded with the Russians.

    It’s like a 71-year-old male version of Jan from what I would call the Bratty Bunch: Obama, Obama, Obama.

    Trump wants to be Obama — held in high esteem. But, alas, Trump is Trump, and that is now and has always been trashy. Trump accrued financial wealth, but he never accrued cultural capital, at least not among the people from whom he most wanted it.

    Therefore, Trump is constantly whining about not being sufficiently applauded, commended, thanked, liked. His emotional injury is measured in his mind against Obama. How could Obama have been so celebrated while he is so reviled?

    The whole world seemed to love Obama — and by extension, held America in high regard — but the world loathes Trump. A Pew Research Center report issued this week found:

    Obama was a phenomenon. He was elegant and cerebral. He was devoid of personal scandal and drenched in personal erudition. He was a walking, talking rebuttal to white supremacy and the myths of black pathology and inferiority. He was the personification of the possible — a possible future in which legacy power and advantages are redistributed more broadly to all with the gift of talent and the discipline to excel.

    Read more »


    Related:
    U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership

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    In Australia, Grandson Marks 50th Anniversary of Haile Selassie’s State Visit

    Pictures of HIM Haile Selassie taken in Canberra & Melbourne during his State visit to Australia in 1968. (Photos: Pinterest)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 28th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie’s grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, began a major commemorative tour of Australia on June 16, 2017 to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s State Visit to Australia. The International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), where Prince Ermias is a Senior Fellow, is a major sponsor of the tour.

    Prince Ermias, who works with ISSA in conflict resolution issues around the world, is the co-Patron of the ISSA Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty. The association states that in Australia, Prince Ermias “was being accompanied on the visit by ISSA Pres. Gregory Copley and ISSA Executive Director Pamela von Gruber, and a number of ISSA Senior Fellows would participate in the visit in various parts of the trip.”

    “Prince Ermias’ Commemorative Tour embraces Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth, and will include similar activities to those undertaken by the Emperor in 1968,” said the announcement from the Washington, D.C.-based NGO. “Although the visit is a private one, Prince Ermias has been asked to address a significant number of groups in each city, including several black tie dinners.” The press release added that “a ministerial reception was scheduled for the Australian Parliament in Canberra, and a luncheon was to be held for him in the New South Wales Parliament. He will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, accompanied by the Memorial’s Director (and former Australian Defense Minister) Dr Brendan Nelson. Former Head-of-State Michael Jeffery will also host a dinner for him in Canberra.”


    Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie was quoted by the Financial Review Australia publication as stating: “People identify with Ethiopia – its resistance to colonialism, its long history, its sense of pride, sense of tolerance and the living together of all these different religions in peace.”

    According to The International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) “In Melbourne, Prince Ermias will plant a tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens, near the one planted by the Emperor in 1968. He will also meet with a number of Ethiopian-Australian community leaders.”

    Watch: HAILE SELASSIE IN AUSTRALIA (AP Video)

    Watch: Haile Selassie visits the Australian War Memorial – 14 May 1968 — No Sound


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s Prince Selassie. The exiled prince from the world’s oldest monarchy (FRA)
    Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica
    Tadias Interview With Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
    In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica
    Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
    New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Marcus Samuelsson Brings Red Rooster to London

    Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the new Red Rooster in London (Photo: Bloomberg)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 27th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Chef Marcus Samuelsson has expanded his popular Harlem restaurant business across the pond, opening a new Red Rooster in London late last month. The restaurant, which is housed inside the elegant Curtain Hotel in the East London neighborhood of Shoreditch, is the first Red Rooster location outside of New York City.

    As Bloomberg News points out: “Red Rooster became a hit in Harlem thanks to chef Marcus Samuelsson’s take on Southern comfort food — and became internationally famous because former President Barack Obama was a huge fan. He even held a fundraiser there. The first foreign outpost of Red Rooster opens at the new Curtain Hotel in London’s hip Shoreditch neighborhood. About half the menu will be the same as the New York location: There will still be chicken ’n waffles for £10 ($13), fried yard bird (£19) and the Obama short ribs (£33), a recipe fit for a president. But he’s using some local ingredients and adding dishes to reflect his background, such as Uncle T’s herring (£8). Plus, there will be a taqueria called Tienda Roosteria.”

    Why London?

    The Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised celebrity chef and author says that like New York he is attracted to London for it’s multiculturalism. “New York is a world city, and so is London, but London has a different kind of diversity than New York and I thrive off that,” Marcus told The Globe and Mail. “We wanted to find a neighbourhood that matched the excitement of Harlem, and felt that Shoreditch and London, as a town, really matches New York.” He added: “It has incredible mystique, funk and coolness. I’ve been asked to open a new Red Rooster every week for the past four and a half years, and I always say no. When you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you’ll see is a taqueria inspired by the barrio. We have a huge Latin community in east Harlem.”

    “Samuelsson, 46, became a star early in his career more than two decades ago, as he earned a three-star review from The New York Times as the chef at Aquavit. Now his brand and marketing empire has expanded to restaurants in Bermuda, Sweden, and Norway, and he’s a regular on shows such as Chopped and Iron Chef America.”

    —-
    Related:
    5 Things to Know About Marcus Samuelsson’s London Red Rooster

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    In Pictures: Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC

    Beteseb Painting Session at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2017. (Photo by Victor Mayeya Odori)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 26th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Last week the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. hosted an evening of painting and Ethiopian Jazz “under the summer skies” with Beteseb Center and Feedel Band.

    We featured the Beteseb art program when it was first launched two years ago as a weekly Saturday painting session for amateur artists in a rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

    Beteseb founders Solomon Asfaw and Aleme Tadesse envisioned providing a creative outlet for individuals as well as groups not only to create art, but to also jumpstart a movement for youth to spend their time in more rewarding ways. Indeed the movement is underway and growing. The most recent event at Smithsonian on June 17th was “attended by 529 people while 189 people painted,” Beteseb shared adding “Thanks for Feedel Band making the evening super nice.”

    Below are photos from the event:

    Beteseb announced that it will host its next event in August and September, closer to the Ethiopian New Year. They will also “be opening up more weekly paint sessions in Virginia in addition to the current one every Saturday in Adams Morgan.”


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

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    BBC: Ambassador Imru Zelleke on Italy’s Shame The Massacre in Ethiopia

    Yekatit 12 is a date in the Ethiopian calendar which is commonly used to refer to the indiscriminate massacre and imprisonment of Ethiopians by fascist Italian occupation forces following an attempted assassination of Rodolfo Graziani (The butcher of Ethiopia) on February 19, 1937. (Getty images)

    BBC

    Italy’s Shame: The Massacre in Ethiopia

    In 1937 Italian forces occupying the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa began a three day campaign of killings which left thousands of Ethiopian civilians dead. Alex Last has been speaking to Ambassador Imru Zelleke, who witnessed the massacre as a child. The violence began after a grenade attack wounded Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, the man appointed by Mussolini to govern Ethiopia. Italian forces had invaded the country in 1935 as Mussolini tried to expand Italian colonial territories in East Africa. Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia, was forced into exile. Ethiopia was a member of the League of Nations, but despite appeals, Western powers refused to intervene to stop the Italian invasion.

    The massacre is known in Ethiopia by it’s date in the Ethiopian calender,Yekatit 12.

    Listen to the program on BBC »


    Related:
    Ethiopian Hero Gen. Jagama Kello Who Fought Fascism Dies at 96
    Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia’s Exiled Prince Selassie of the World’s Oldest Monarchy — FR Australia

    Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie says "People identify with Ethiopia – its resistance to colonialism, its long history, its sense of pride, sense of tolerance and the living together of all these different religions in peace." (FRA)

    Financial Review Australia

    Ethiopia’s Prince Selassie. The exiled prince from the world’s oldest monarchy

    On the face of it, Australia and Ethiopia have little in common. A poor country of 100 million people on the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is scarred by coups, civil wars and famine.

    But links range from Australian mining investments to eucalyptus trees ringing the capital Addis Ababa; from Australian “Whaler” horses providing mounts for the ceremonial guard, to both countries’ soldiers fighting alongside in the Korean War. And then there is the Australian-founded, funded and run obstetric fistula hospital, the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.

    Promoting the ties, Prince Ermias, President of the Crown Council and putative successor to the oldest throne in the world, believes both are “gateway” countries – Australia to Asia, and Ethiopia to Africa.

    Australia is “a gateway to Asia and because of that to the world.” he says. Ethiopia is the oldest state in Africa with the oldest continuous Judeo-Christian bloodlines. It hosts the African Union, and ranks, after Brussels, as a major diplomatic capital, making it “the gateway for Africa”.

    Warming to his theme, Prince Ermias views Australia as “a microcosm of what the world may look like in the future because you have all types of people in this supposedly isolated and remote place”.

    Arriving in Sydney, “what struck me the most was the multicultural nature of Australia. I found it more visually stunning than New York.” The Big Apple “is supposed to be a melting pot of the world but when I came to Sydney Airport and I was watching all those faces I just could not believe the interaction of people.”

    Read more @FinancialReview »


    Related:
    Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica
    Tadias Interview With Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
    In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica
    Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
    New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Face2face Africa Honors Mimi Alemayehou

    Ethiopian-born Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, was Executive Vice president of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC) under the Obama administration. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 21st, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Face2Face Africa has officially announced the honorees for the 2017 annual FACE List Award — a prestigious celebration of pan-African achievement in the U.S. — and this year the list includes Ethiopian American Mimi Alemayehou who is the Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, an investment firm focused on the development and acquisitions of energy and infrastructure projects across Africa.

    “Ethiopian-born Mimi Alemayehou is one of the most influential and sought-after experts in African Business,” Face2face Africa said in a press release. She is Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, and also serves as an Executive Advisor and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure LP. Previously, she was Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), under the Obama administration, and was one of the architects of the Power Africa initiative to increase energy access across the continent.”

    Prior Ethiopian recipients of the Face2Face Africa award include Chef and Entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of soleRebels.

    Mimi is being honored along with Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network; Beverly Bond, Founder of Black Girls Rock!; and Tuma Basa, Global Programming Head of Hip-Hop at Spotify.

    “We are very proud of our 2017 honorees for their distinguished careers and achievements,” Face2Face Africa added in their media release. “Their impact and legacy will shape and influence the pan-African community for generations to come.”


    If You Go:
    2017 Pan-African Weekend
    New York City
    Thu, July 13 – Sun, July 16
    More info at face2faceafrica.com.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

    Because Elsa Nega is an Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the international registry is slim and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to help save her life by joining the registry at Match4Elsa.com

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 21st, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Elsa (Elizabeth) Nega is an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant. Her family is searching worldwide to find a match for Elsa. “Her brother and sister in Ethiopia were her best hope but are not matches,” states a recent press release. “Of the 29 million people in the International Registry, no matches have been found.”

    According to her family Elsa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia after she suddenly fell ill earlier this year. A statement from the family said she walked into her local ER on February 8 and was rushed into an intensive care unit. The following day she was diagnosed with the acute form of leukemia (or cancer of the white blood cells). “She started on chemo immediately,” the statement said. “Unlike 90% of patients who go into remission after the first round of chemo, Elsa did not. Now, after 3 rounds of chemo, a bone marrow transplant is her only hope of recovery.”


    Elsa Nega. (Courtesy photo)

    Because Elsa is Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the registry are slim, and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to join the registry to help save Elsa and so many others like her. “Specifically, there is a great need for young adults, ages 18-35, of African descent. The younger a person is, the healthier their marrow is, which means more possible matches for patients like Elsa.”


    You can learn more and join the match registry as potential marrow donors at Match4Elsa.com.

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    Tech Crunch: Interview with Yonas Beshawred, Founder & CEO of Stackshare

    Yonas Beshawred — an Ethiopian-American from Maryland -- is the founder and CEO of Stackshare, a developer-only community of engineers, CTOs, VPEs, and developers from some of the world's top startups and companies. (Photo: Techcrunch.com)

    Tech Crunch

    Why Stackshare is quietly becoming a secret weapon for developers and Silicon Valley CTOs

    On Stackshare, Airbnb lists over 50 services in its “stack,” Slack lists 24, and Spotify lists more than 31; these stacks are collections of different pieces of software that each company is using to run their operations, and range from infrastructure tools to communications tools to container tools to email services.

    Why are companies beginning to share the specific mix of apps that’s enabling their businesses to grow? Because they know it’s the missing piece of the puzzle for developers, many of whom struggle to learn which tools certain companies use and why, says Stackshare founder and CEO Yonas Beshawred.

    In fact, Stackshare is quietly becoming a go-to platform for numerous players in the startup ecosystem for a few reasons, Beshawred argues.

    The benefits are clearest for developers. “If you’re trying to build a new on-demand service,” he notes, “you can come to Stackshare and see all the tools that Instacart uses.” Stackshare also benefits companies; when big or small startups volunteer what tools they’re using, they have a better shot at attracting developers who are well-versed in those very same technologies.

    Meanwhile, Stackshare is attracting the attention of SaaS vendors, a small but growing number of which are beginning to sponsor sections of the platform and that now have a new place for their communities to evangelize their products.

    Certainly, something seems to be clicking. Stackshare, founded in San Francisco in 2014, currently features the “verified” tech stacks of 7,000 companies. More, it claims that more than 150,000 developers are now using the service, where they not only see which companies are using what but they’re also invited to (and do) comment on the tools, helping their peers understand what they should be using and avoiding.

    Investors like it, too. At least, today, Stackshare is announcing that it had raised $1.5 million in seed funding late last year, led by Cervin Ventures. Other participants include Precursor Ventures, Square exec Gokul Rajaman, and former VMWare and Facebook exec turned VC Jocelyn Goldfein. The round follows $300,000 in earlier seed funding from 500 Startups; MicroVentures; Airbnb’s first employee, Nick Grandy; Heroku’s former engineering manager Glenn Gillen, and others.

    Read more »


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    Meklit Releases New Ethio-Jazz Album, Set to Perform in DC and New York

    Meklit Hadero's album cover "When the People Move, the Music Moves Too" (courtesy image).

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 19th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American singer and composer Meklit Hadero will be performing in Washington DC on June 20th and in New York City on June 21st as Six Degrees Records releases her latest album entitled When the People Move, the Music Moves Too. This past May we shared her video single “I Want to Sing For Them All” as featured on Vibe Magazine.

    Meklit’s new album was composed after a chance meeting in Addis Ababa with Mulatu Astatke, the legendary Ethio-Jazz musician, composer and vibraphonist. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and.. it took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

    Having first launched her music career in the mid-2000s, Meklit has since released five records, been named a TED Global Fellow and was an artist-in-residence at De Young Museum, Red Poppy Art House and New York University. She is the Co-Founder of the popular international group, Nile Project, which brings together musicians from 11 countries in the Nile Basin to tour and perform. She is also Founder of the Arba Minch Collective composed of Diaspora-based Ethiopian artists looking to collaborate with colleagues residing in their native homeland. Meklit performed at the concert inaugurating the UN Campaign for Gender Equality in Africa, and currently sits on the Board of the San Francisco Chapter of The Recording Academy, the organization that puts together the annual Grammy awards ceremony.

    Meklit’s upcoming album, produced by Grammy-winner Dan Wilson, is also accompanied by the Ethiopian-born pianist Kibrom Birhane who is based in Los Angeles.

    “I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music,” Meklit says, speaking of her new work. “But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”


    If You Go:
    Album Release Concert (When the People Move, the Music Moves Too)
    June 20th, 2017
    Washington DC
    Tropicalia (click here for tickets)
    2001 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    June 21st, 2017
    New York City
    Nublu (click here for tickets)
    62 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Art in NYC This Week: Julie Mehretu ‘Uptown’ at the Wallach Art Gallery

    (Courtesy Image: The Wallach Art Gallery and Culture Mag)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 14th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Last month Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Academy, which is chartered by the U.S. Congress, was established in 1898 “as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers.” According to the organization’s website: “The Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.”

    This week Julie Mehretu and Jessica Rankin’s art works are also featured at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery. The exhibition, aptly titled “Uptown,” inaugurates the gallery’s new space in Harlem at 125th Street and Broadway.

    “Uptown showcases established and mid-career artists alongside emerging talent from Harlem, El Barrio, Washington Heights and all neighborhoods in between,” the gallery announced. “With this initiative, the Wallach Art Gallery joins northern Manhattan’s vibrant art scene. Uptown celebrates these neighborhoods long at the vanguard in nurturing vital, internationally recognized art.”


    If You Go:
    SPECIAL EVENTS AT THE WALLACH ART GALLERY
    615 W. 129th St
    (Enter on W. 125th street, just west of Broadway)

    Uptown exhibit is open from June 2 – August 20, 2017

    All programs are free and open to the public.

    More info at columbia.edu.


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Forbes: 5 Ethiopian Multi-Millionaires You Should Know

    Tewodros Ashenafi, co-owner of Ambo Mineral Water (top left), Akiko Seyoum Ambaye, founder of Orchid Business Group (pictured center), Buzuayehu T. Bizenu, chairman of East African Holding (top right), Belayneh Kindie, Import And Export BKIEA (bottom left), and Ketema Kebede, founder of KK PLC. (Forbes)

    Forbes Magazine

    A few Ethiopians have built multi-million and billion dollar empires in industries as diverse as agriculture, food, construction, energy and distribution and earned multi-million dollar fortunes to boot. Their names don’t ring with the African public, and you’ve probably never heard about them before, but they are very successful — and very wealthy. Meet 5 Ethiopian entrepreneurs, who own businesses with annual revenues of $50 million or more.

    See the list at Forbes.com »


    Related:
    Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It (Forbes)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It

    This story about The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) an Ethiopian-Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer appears in the June 29, 2017 issue of Forbes Magazine. (Photo: Jamel Toppin)

    Forbes Magazine

    Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It

    Five years ago, Spotify was a fledgling music-streaming service only months removed from its U.S. launch and YouTube had just started its push into original programming; Netflix was a year away from doing the same, starting with House of Cards. For the members of the Celebrity 100–our annual accounting of the top-earning entertainers on the planet–meaningful streaming income was a distant dream.

    But sometimes profound change happens quickly. Streaming is now the dominant platform for music consumption, and it’s growing rapidly–up 76% year-over-year, according to Nielsen. YouTube has birthed a whole new breed of celebrity: the YouTube star. And Netflix plans to spend hundreds of millions annually on original content.

    “It’s not just about music–it’s about every form of entertainment,” Nielsen’s David Bakula says. “You don’t really have to own anything anymore, because for $10 a month you can do this: You can have everything.”

    Full List: The World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities

    The indirect spoils of streaming can be even greater. Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye parlayed his play count–5.5 billion streams in the past two years–into an estimated $75 million touring advance. To him it’s all part of the model he’s been following throughout his rapid rise, one that applies to all sorts of businesses: Create an excellent product, make it widely available and flip the monetization switch when the timing is right.

    “I really wanted people who had no idea who I was to hear my project,” he says. “You don’t do that by asking for money.”

    Steve Jobs would have been the logical choice to headline the launch of Apple’s eponymous streaming service, but by the time the tech giant rolled out Apple Music two years ago, he was busy putting dents into faraway universes. In his place was a pair of young musicians who walk the line between hip-hop, pop and R&B: Drake and the Weeknd. The latter stunned the crowd with the first-ever live performance of his new single “I Can’t Feel My Face,” which premiered on Apple Music and has generated more than 1.5 billion spins across all streaming platforms.

    The Weeknd knows as well as anyone that streaming isn’t the future of music–it’s the present. As digital downloads and physical sales plummet, streaming is increasing overall music consumption–since their Apple appearances, Drake (No. 4 on our list at $94 million) and The Weeknd (No. 6, $92 million) have clocked a combined 17.5 billion streams–and that creates other kinds of monetization, including touring revenue.

    “We live in a world where artists don’t really make the money off the music like we did in the Golden Age,” says the Weeknd, 27. “It’s not really coming in until you hit the stage.


    Ready for the Weeknd: Boosted by the ubiquity of his music, he’s now grossing north of
    $1.1 million per stop on his Starboy: Legend of the Fall World Tour. (Forbes)

    Read more »


    Related:
    Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
    Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Warns Emergency Drought Aid to Run Out Next Month

    (AP photo by Elias Meseret)

    Associated Press

    By Elias Meseret

    WARDER, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s government is warning it will run out of emergency food aid starting next month as the number of drought victims in the East African country has reached 7.8 million.

    An international delegation visited one of the worst-affected areas Friday near the border with Somalia, which suffers from widespread drought as well. Several hundred people lined the dusty road to meet the officials at the remote airstrip, while rail-thin camels and goats roamed in the bushes. Animal carcasses littered the ground.

    “I came to this area after losing nearly all my goats and camels due to lack of rain,” 75-year-old Ader Ali Yusuf said quietly, wiping her cheek with her headscarf as she sat with other women observing the delegation from afar. The mother of 12 is just one of thousands of Ethiopians who have walked up to three days on foot to displacement camps for aid.

    Ethiopia’s disaster relief chief Mitiku Kassa told The Associated Press that the country needs more than $1 billion for emergency food assistance. Seasonal rains have been critically small and local cattle are dying. The number of drought victims has risen by two million people in the past four months.

    The risk of an acute food and nutritional disaster is “very high,” the disaster relief chief said.

    The International Organization for Migration said hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, with the problem compounded as people pour into Ethiopia from Somalia. — (AP)

    A United Nations humanitarian envoy said donor fatigue and similar crises elsewhere have hurt aid efforts. Both Somalia and neighboring South Sudan are among four countries recently singled out by the United Nations in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine. Already, famine has been declared for two counties in South Sudan.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia’s Civil Society Getting Squeezed

    People walk past the Federal High Court building in Addis Ababa. Observers say Ethiopian courts frequently use the country's anti-terrorism laws to restrict activities of government critics. (AP file photo)

    VOA News

    WASHINGTON — From an internet shutdown to convictions of journalists and opposition members, Ethiopia’s civil society has felt like it’s under attack in recent weeks.

    On May 24, Getachew Shiferaw, editor of the news website Negere Ethiopia, was convicted of “inciting violence” because of a private Facebook conversation. The Ethiopian Federal Court initially charged Shiferaw under the country’s anti-terrorism law, but later charged him under the criminal code and sentenced him to time served since his arrest in 2015.

    On May 25, a court sentenced Ethiopian opposition spokesman Yonatan Tesfaye to six-and-a-half years in prison on charges that he encouraged terrorism with comments on Facebook. Yeshiwas Assefa, newly elected president of the Semayawi (Blue) Party, called the verdict “disappointing and embarrassing.”

    “Yonatan is sentenced to six years and six months just because of what he wrote on Facebook as something that encourages terrorism. He was expressing his thoughts freely. This is what we fear would bring people to protest in our country,” he told VOA.

    The following day, May 26, two men, Tufa Melka and Kedir Bedasso, were charged with terrorism for their role in a stampede that occurred in October 2016 at a cultural festival in the Oromia region. The men are accused of yelling things into the microphone that led to chaos and the death of 55 people.

    Gemeda Wariyo, a protester who grabbed the microphone and admitted to chanting “down, down Woyane” is in exile now and wasn’t mentioned in the court documents. “Woyane” is a colloquial term used to describe the ruling party in Ethiopia.

    “I took the microphone in a peaceful protest,” he told VOA Amharic. “I was the one who protested and I don’t know the men blamed for grabbing the microphone.”


    FILE – Ethiopian men read newspapers and drink coffee at a cafe in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct. 10, 2016. The Ethiopian government temporarily cut off internet access nationwide in early June, saying it was necessary to prevent students from cheating on final exams.

    And in early June, the government cut off internet access nationwide, stating that the measure was needed to prevent high school students from cheating on final exams by sharing answers on social media.

    In a press conference, Communications Minister Negeri Lencho denied the move was to control free communication.

    “The only reason is to help our students to concentrate on the exams because we know we are fighting poverty,” he said.

    As of June 8, internet access including social media sites was restored, according to published reports.

    ‘Under assault’

    In a new report, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an international think tank, concluded that the targeting of civil society and restrictions on free speech fit a pattern in Ethiopia. Over the past two decades the space for political opposition has been steadily constricted and civil liberties taken away, the report said.

    Two laws in particular, the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-terrorism Proclamation, both passed in 2009, have given the government wide latitude to imprison opposition members and journalists and shut down groups advocating for human rights, Carnegie found.

    Saskia Brechenmacher, an associate fellow at the Carnegie Endowment who worked on the report, said anti-terrorism laws have been used across Africa to stifle dissent.

    “Those laws have become very effective tools, especially in moments of crisis as we are seeing right now,” she said. “Ahead of elections or during moments of sustained protests, [they are used] to target selectively, particularly activists and journalists that are seen as particularly threatening.”


    FILE – Security personnel take action against protesters in Bishoftu town in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, Oct. 2, 2016. Critics say that ahead of elections or during moments of sustained protests the Ethiopian government has been known to resort to a self-serving interpretation of the country’s anti-terrorism laws to stifle dissent, selectively targeting activists and journalists.

    Brechenmacher said Ethiopia also cracks down on civil society groups through a provision in the charities law, which prevents organizations from receiving more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad.

    “Many organizations had to switch their mandate and activities and turn more toward developmental and civil liberties because they couldn’t carry out the kind of work they had been doing before,” she said.

    Brechenmacher said these restrictions represent an abrupt reversal for a country that was becoming more open prior to the crackdowns that followed the 2005 elections.

    “Ethiopia showcases what a dramatic effect this could have on independent civil society and the amount of information that is available in a country,” she said. “And also it really testifies the extent to which this does not really address the grievances that citizens have vis-a-vis the government and therefore those grievances will find another outlet.”


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    Congrats to Ezra Yoseph High School Student Offered $6 Million in Scholarships

    Ethiopian American high school student Ezra Yoseph of Las Vegas, Nevada was accepted to 24 of the top and prestigious universities in the United States this month with an offer of $6 Million in scholarships. (8 News)

    8 News LAS VEGAS

    LAS VEGAS – Later this month, thousands of local high school students will graduate and move on to college, including one spectacularly successful student who’s been offered more than $6 million in scholarships.

    [His] name is Ezra Yoseph and attends Clark High School with an impressive academic story.

    Ezra was accepted to 24 of the top and prestigious universities in the United States. He started thinking about what to write in his application essay when he was a freshman in a high school.

    “It’s amazing to watch him grow into such a fine young man,” says Mrs. Lonie Lim, Clark High School Counselor.

    “So, I wrote about a lot of things in my essay but mostly I wrote about something I’m really passionate about [which is] social liberation in Africa, and specifically I talked about literacy rates among Ethiopian women where my family came from; I spoke about basketball, I tied so many things I like and enjoy and passionate about,” says Ezra Yoseph.

    He is the first person in his immediate family to go to college and has a 4.73 GPA. Choosing the right school wasn’t easy and he visited several of them after narrowing it down to an impressive final four of Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Columbia Universities. Ezra finally felt more comfortable with Stanford University and plans to attend in the fall of 2017.

    Ezara Yoseph, who grew up in a single parent household, has his sights set on becoming a clinical neurosurgeon. He says, “I want to focus on studying Parkinson’s disease that really stems from my grandmother who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago.”

    “He is a remarkable kid and I’m telling you, in four years when he graduates, he’s going to do even bigger and better things.”


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Wayna Pays Tribute to Legendary Ethiopian Musician Bezunesh Bekele

    Grammy-nominated singer Wayna will perform a tribute to legendary Bezunesh Bekele at Bethesda Blues & Jazz club on June 9th. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    June 8th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Following her performance with the Stevie Wonder as a soloist and supporting vocalist, Ethiopian American singer Wayna is starting this summer with a one-of-a-kind tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele. Wayna’s upcoming concert is scheduled to be held at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Maryland on Friday, June 9th.

    As a Grammy-nominated musician Wayna has previously performed at the Kennedy Center, the White House, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note along with a 3-month performance residency in Ethiopia in 2016. Wayna also recently released a music video this past March in honor of Women’s History Month entitled You’re Not Alone, which featured images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the historic Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.


    If You Go:
    Friday, June 9th, 2017
    Door open at 6pm
    Show at 7:00PM
    Tickets $25 (click here to reserve seats)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Comey Accuses White House of ‘Lies’ and Says Trump Tried to Derail Inquiry

    “Those were lies, plain and simple,” James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Jun. 08, 2017 discussing White House explanations for his firing. (New York Times)

    The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — James B. Comey, the recently fired F.B.I. director, said Thursday in an extraordinary Senate hearing that he believed that President Trump had clearly tried to derail an F.B.I. investigation into his former national security adviser and that the president had lied and defamed him.

    Mr. Comey, no longer constrained by the formalities of a government job, offered a blunt, plain-spoken assessment of a president whose conversations unnerved him from the day they met, weeks before Mr. Trump took office. His testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee provided an unflattering back story to his abrupt dismissal and squarely raised the question of whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice.

    Answering that falls to the Justice Department special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Comey revealed that he gave all of the memos he wrote on his interactions with the president to Mr. Mueller’s investigators, the first suggestion that prosecutors would investigate Mr. Comey’s firing last month.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Comey says he was fired over Russia probe, blasts ‘lies’ (AP)
    Special Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate the Trump-Russia Case (AP)

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    Tedros Adhanom Elected Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General-Elect (center), with Dr Veronika Skvortsova, President of the 70th World Health Assembly (left), and Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. (UN photo)

    The Associated Press

    Published: May 23rd, 2017

    GENEVA — Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister of health, was elected as the next director-general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, becoming the first non-medical doctor and the first African tapped to lead the U.N. health agency.

    Delegates, health ministers and other high-level envoys chose Tedros over Britain’s Dr. David Nabarro, a U.N. veteran, in the third and final round of voting. Tedros had 133 votes to Nabarro’s 50, with two abstentions.

    The third candidate, Pakistan’s Dr. Sania Nishtar, was eliminated in the first round.

    Ethiopian delegates could be seen hugging and high-fiving each other after their countryman made it to the second round. Tedro succeeds China’s Dr. Margaret Chan, who is ending a 10-year tenure at the U.N. health agency on June 30.

    The director-general of WHO wields considerable power in setting medical priorities that affect billions of people and declaring when crises like disease outbreaks evolve into global emergencies.

    The agency has stumbled in recent years, most notably in its error-prone response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and all three candidates vowed to overhaul its organization to restore credibility.

    Of the U.N. health agency’s 194 member states, 185 were eligible to cast ballots; nine others either were in arrears on their dues or not represented at the gathering.

    Jean-Marie Ehouzou, the African Union’s top envoy in Geneva, expressed “happiness, happiness, happiness” at the result.

    “It’s not only a question of symbolism,” he said, referring to Tedros’ status as the first African to run WHO. “It shows when we are united, we can do everything.”

    Read more »

    —-
    News Release

    United Nations

    Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom elected to top UN health post

    GENEVA – The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the United Nations health agency, today elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    “Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017,” WHO said in a statement following the afternoon vote.

    Among his previous positions, Dr. Tedros was Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and, prior, Minister of Health.

    He also served as Chair of the Global Fund and of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board (RBM), where he secured “record funding” for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America, according to the UN agency.

    The incoming health chief was chosen from amongst three nominees presented to the World Health Assembly, along with David Nabarro from the UK, and Sania Nishtar from Pakistan, in a process that began before September 2016.

    Dr. Tedros will succeed Margaret Chan, who yesterday addressed the World Health Assembly for the final time after serving two consecutive five-year terms.


    Related:
    Ethiopian wins race to be next leader of UN health agency (The Associated Press)

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    Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

    Timnit Gebru, a Computer Science PhD Candidate at Stanford University emphasizes inclusion and diversity in the artificial intelligence field. (Photo: Stanford)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 22nd, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Last week Forbes Magazine featured Ethiopian-born Timnit Gebru among 21 incredible women behind artificial intelligence research that’s fueling new discoveries in the field. “You already know that artificial intelligence is transforming virtually every industry and function,” the business publication wrote. “But you might not have met the brilliant AI researchers and technologists driving the edge of innovation.”

    Timnit Gebru, who came to the United States when she was 16 years old and is currently a PhD candidate at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, states “my main research interest lies in data mining large scale publicly available images to gain sociological insight, and working on computer vision problems that arise as a result,” adding that her “research is supported by the NSF foundation GRFP fellowship and currently the Stanford DARE fellowship.”

    Forbes highlights that Timnit also “actively works to boost diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.” After noticing that she was the only black woman at a major AI conference, she co-founded the social community Black In AI to drive connection and participation in AI research. In addition Timnit returned to Ethiopia to co-teach AddisCoder, a programming bootcamp, to a diverse range of young students and to help them gain admissions into top U.S. colleges.

    “This is the most diverse/inclusive classroom I have ever been in,” says Timnit regarding her Ethiopia experience. “All regions of Ethiopia were represented with many religions and at least 10 languages (there were 85 students). There were different income levels ranging from students working as shoe shiners to put themselves through school to kids who went to private middle schools. Some kids had never touched a computer before while others have programmed in Java. But all of them currently understand the basics of recursion, dynamic programming, graphs etc. And they only took this class for one month. I hope to one day see a computer science classroom in the U.S. that is this diverse.”

    Forbes notes that “since AI affects all aspects of society, even being used to manipulate elections and identify criminals, Gebru cautions that “AI researchers should not be silent regarding the repercussions of their work. Only when technology creators tend to inclusion will the exponential benefits of artificial intelligence positively impact all.”


    Related:
    The Economist appluads Timnit Gebru’s recent work: A machine-learning census of America’s cities
    Spotlight: TADIAS Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

    (Photo: Mulatu Astatke's Facebook page)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 21st, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) – Mulatu Astatke’s seminal album Mulatu of Ethiopia was officially reissued on Friday, May 19th. The label, Strut Records, announced that the “official reissue of Mulatu Astatke landmark Ethio jazz album from 1972, including new interview and photographs, features previously unheard mono mix and session out-takes.”

    The New York Times featured Mulatu’s album this week on their playlist, and noted: “The Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke studied vibraphone and percussion at Berklee College of Music in the mid-1960s, and a small label gave him the chance to record Ethio-jazz fusions. He made his funky, forward-looking, newly reissued 1972 album, “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” in New York City with jazz and Latin musicians, combining his African and American elements differently for each track. The melody of “Mulatu,” named for the composer himself, uses an unmistakably Ethiopian mode, while the track also has a crunchy wah-wah guitar, a steadfastly riffing horn section, a bullish saxophone solo and Mr. Astatke’s own vibraphone shimmering in dark spaces.”

    Born in Jimma in 1943 the legendary artist is best known as the father of ethio-jazz. “At 73, Mulatu Astatke is as relevant as ever, and that goes for the music he made 45 years ago,” adds the music website Treble Zine in a recent highlight. “Mulatu of Ethiopia isn’t new, but every spin feels like a fresh discovery.”


    Related:
    Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia
    Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
    Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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    Carnegie Endowment Report Outlines Civil Society Under Assault in Ethiopia

    In Ethiopia the government has used court proceedings to selectively intimidate and silence high-profile activists, reporters, and civil society leaders. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

    Carnegie Endowment

    Civil Society Under Assault in Russia, Egypt, and Ethiopia

    The closing of civic space has become a defining feature of political life in an ever-increasing number of countries. Civil society organizations worldwide are facing systematic efforts to reduce their legitimacy and effectiveness. Russia, Egypt, and Ethiopia have been at the forefront of this global trend. In all three countries, governments’ sweeping assault on associational life has forced civic groups to reorient their activities, seek out new funding sources, and move toward more resilient organizational models. Competing security and geopolitical interests have muddled U.S. and European responses, with governments divided over the value of aggressive pushback versus continued engagement.

    Governments in Russia, Egypt, and Ethiopia have used a wide range of tactics to restrict civil society:

    Public vilification. Governments rely on aggressive smear campaigns to discredit independent civil society groups, building on suspicions of foreign political meddling, fears of violent extremism, and anti-elite attitudes within society.

    Sweeping legal measures. In addition to restrictive laws controlling nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), sweeping antiterror and antiprotest measures with vague legal definitions enable selective and unpredictable enforcement, which reinforces fear and self-censorship among activists.

    Civil society co-optation. Governments purposefully sow divisions between apolitical and politically oriented organizations and selectively disburse rewards to co-opt civic actors and promote pro-government mobilization.

    However, there are also differences among the three cases:

    In Ethiopia, authorities have pushed NGOs from rights-based efforts to service delivery activities and imposed onerous funding limitations. Targeted repression in the name of counterterrorism has further stifled civic activism, and the government is increasingly relying on emergency powers to suppress growing rural dissent.

    Click here to read the full report »


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    U.S. Senators Call on Ethiopia to Respect Human Rights, Open Democratic Space

    The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs.

    Press Release

    Cardin, Rubio Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Calling on Ethiopia to Respect Human Rights, Open Democratic Space

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a Senate resolution Wednesday condemning excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces that led to hundreds of deaths last year, and calling on the Ethiopian government to release all political opposition, dissidents, activists, and journalists and to respect the rights enshrined in its constitution.

    The Resolution notes that hundreds of people have been killed and thousands were arrested during the course of the protests. To date, there has not been a credible accounting for the excesses of security forces.

    Joining Senators Cardin and Rubio as original cosponsors of the resolution are U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

    “The Ethiopian government must make progress on respecting human rights and democratic freedoms. I am deeply troubled by the arrest and ongoing detention of a number of prominent opposition political figures. The fact that we have partnered with the Ethiopian government on counterterrorism does not mean that we will stay silent when it abuses its own people,” said Senator Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “On the contrary, our partnership means that we must speak out when innocent people are detained, and laws are used to stifle legitimate political dissent.”

    “As the Ethiopian government continues to stall on making progress on human rights and democratic reform, it is critical that the United States remains vocal in condemning Ethiopia’s human rights abuses against its own people,” said Senator Rubio, chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights and civilian security. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to urge the Ethiopian government to respect the rule of law and prioritize human rights and political reforms.”

    The text of the resolution is at this link.


    Related:
    EU Calls for Urgent UN Inquiry Into Protester Deaths & Detention in Ethiopia
    Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia

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    EU Calls for Urgent UN Inquiry Into Protester Deaths & Detention in Ethiopia

    European Parliament Demands Investigation Into Ethiopia Killings. (Photo: Reuters)

    Human Rights Watch

    May 18, 2017

    New York — Today, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for a United Nations-led independent investigation into the killing of protesters in Ethiopia. Between November 2015 and October 2016, Ethiopian security forces killed hundreds of protesters, and detained tens of thousands. An overly restrictive state of emergency has been in place for the past seven months, and tens of thousands more people have been detained under it. Today’s resolution echoes a previous European Union parliamentary resolution, resolutions by other countries, and last month’s request by the UN’s top human rights chief for access to investigate the abuses.

    Ethiopia’s government has always rejected outside scrutiny of its horrific rights record, insisting that it can investigate itself. Yet it has conspicuously failed to do so. Past investigations by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have not met basic standards of impartiality, including its June 2016 report into abuses during the protests’ first six months. In April 2017, the EHRC acknowledged that 669 people were killed in an oral report to parliament, but found that security forces had used excessive force in just a few situations. This stands in stark contrast to what Human Rights Watch and other organizations have found, drawing on evidence that includes a wealth of video and photographic material. The EHRC hasn’t publicly released a version of their findings, so it’s impossible to assess their methodology or learn how they reached their conclusions.

    International experts having access to areas where protests occurred and to people still in detention are important first steps towards meaningful investigations. But there are other obstacles too, like victims and witnesses being too afraid to speak out about government abuses. Thousands of Ethiopians have fled the country since the protests, seeking asylum in bordering countries. They too should be part of investigations into what happened, from locations where they may be more free to speak without fear.

    Today’s resolution specifically calls on Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top diplomat, to “mobilise EU Member States” to urgently pursue the setting up of the UN-led international inquiry, and they can take the first step towards this at the upcoming Human Rights Council session next month in Geneva.

    It’s hoped that implementing today’s timely resolution can help address the pervasive culture of impunity in Ethiopia. The resolution also reiterates the EU’s recognition of the importance of justice to ensure Ethiopia’s long-term stability. To the many victims of Ethiopia’s brutality, a UN-led inquiry could at least begin to answer pleas for justice that too often have gone unheard.


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    In Ethiopia Blue Party Leader Faces 20 Years in Jail for a Facebook Post

    Yonatan Tesfaye, who was a spokesperson for the opposition Blue Party, is due to be sentenced later this month and faces up to 20 years' imprisonment. (BBC News)

    BBC News

    Ethiopian opposition politician Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism for comments he made on Facebook.

    He was arrested in December 2015 as a wave of anti-government protests in the Oromia region was gathering momentum.

    The authorities objected to several posts including one in which he said the government used “force against the people instead of peaceful discussion”.

    Ethiopia has been criticised for using anti-terror laws to silence dissent.

    Amnesty International described the charges as “trumped up”, when they were confirmed in May 2016.

    A section of Ethiopia’s anti-terror law says that anyone who makes a statement that could be seen as encouraging people to commit an act of terror can be prosecuted.

    In a translation of the charge sheet by the Ethiopian Human Rights Project that details the Facebook comments, Mr Yonatan allegedly said: “I am telling you to destroy [the ruling party's] oppressive materials… Now is the time to make our killers lame.”

    Mr Yonatan, who was a spokesperson for the opposition Blue Party, is due to be sentenced later this month and faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

    Read more »


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    Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia

    Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra played two concerts together to an enthusiastic audience in Melbourne, Australia on May 14th, 2017. (Photographer – Mario De Bari)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 16th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) – This past weekend, Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra shared the stage for a rare and memorable concert held in front of a jubilant audience in Melbourne, Australia.

    The Ethiopian legends played two shows accompanied by a local band, The JAzmaris, “to ecstatically exuberant audiences” reported the website Australian Stage.

    And there was plenty of eskista and sing-along from Ethiopian concertgoers at the performance, which took place on Sunday, May 14th inside the Playhouse concert hall at Melbourne’s Arts Centre. According to the review by the Australian Stage: “the two most revered jazz singers of Ethiopia sang with the band at high voltage – the love in the room was immense with members of the audience leaping on stage to plaster money on the white-suited singers’ heads and in their pockets, sharing a moment of song with them.”

    The concert featured Mahmoud and Ali’s most popular songs, but Ali Birra also sang a few songs in Somali, along with the song that originally made him famous: Birraa dhaa Barihe.

    Both musicians who are in their seventies are considered Ethiopia’s cultural icons and two of the earliest voices of Ethio-Jazz.


    Related:
    Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
    Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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    UPDATE: Special Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate the Trump-Russia Case

    The U.S. Justice Dept. appointed former prosecutor and FBI director Robert Mueller to lead an investigation into the Trump-Russia case. The decision fulfilled lawmakers' demands for an independently probe. (AP)

    Associated Press

    Updated: May 17th, 2017

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department abruptly appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday night as a special counsel to lead a federal investigation into allegations that Donald Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election that put him in the White House. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.

    The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman with deep bipartisan respect, was a striking shift for Trump’s Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly loud calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor. It immediately escalated the legal stakes — and the potential political damage — for a president who has tried to dismiss the matter as partisan witch hunt and a “hoax.”

    The announcement, the latest in the shock-a-day Washington saga, was made by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The White House counsel’s office was alerted only after the order appointing Mueller was signed, said a senior White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly by name and commented only on condition of anonymity.

    In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russia.

    “A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” he declared. “I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”

    Mueller’s broad mandate gives him not only oversight of the Russia probe, but also “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That would surely include Trump’s firing last week of FBI Director James Comey.

    Mueller, a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, was confirmed as FBI director days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that would ultimately shape his tenure. The FBI’s counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the U.S. intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude. He was so valued that President Barack Obama asked him to stay on two years longer than his 10-year term.

    Comey succeeded him, appointed by Obama.

    Rosenstein said the appointment was “necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”

    Read more »


    Related:
    Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation (The New York Times)
    U.S. Lawmakers to Trump: Turn Over Transcript of Meeting With Russians (The Washington Post)
    Trump Shared Top US Secrets With Russia (The Washington Post)

    Political Chaos in Washington is a Return on Investment for Moscow (The Washington Post)
    Former director of US national intelligence says US institutions under assault by Trump & Russia (CNN)

    Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey (The Washington Post)

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    G7 & Africa: Dr. Lemma Senbet on Why Growth Should be More Inclusive

    Prof. Lemma W Senbet is the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium. (Photo: ISPI)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 15th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American financial economist Dr. Lemma Senbet, who is the Executive Director of the Pan African economic policy organization African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, was one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy last week comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. According to the announcement the conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility,” in preparation for the upcoming meeting of the G-7 Heads of State in Italy.

    Prof. Lemma Senbet Says Africa’s Economic Renaissance Should Be More Inclusive and Sustainable

    In the past few years “Africa has actually witnessed a growth syndrome,” says Prof. Lemma Senbet, who is currently on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park where he holds the William E. Mayer Chaired Professorship of Finance. “Some people call that growth renaissance and so moving forward growth has to be inclusive… and agents of those inclusivity are small farmers, women, youth and medium enterprises.”

    Prof. Lemma added: “Technology and innovation is really key to leapfrogging and empowering these individuals and institutions. You need innovation not only in agriculture but also in finance. For instance in the area of agricultural innovation, which is actually linked to finance, is the idea of making our small farmers insurable and bankable so they will have access to credit because that’s a big constraint.”

    Below is the full video of Prof. Lemma Senbet explaining his presentation at the G7 & Africa panel held in Rome on May 5th:


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    Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

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    Report: Trump Gave Top Secrets to Russia

    President Trump with the Russian foreign minister, left, and the Russian ambassador at the White House on May 10th 2017. (The photo was taken by a Russian photographer. American journalists were not allowed)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: May 16th, 2017

    U.S. Lawmakers to Trump: Turn Over Transcript of Meeting With Russians

    A growing number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling on President Trump to hand over the transcript of the White House meeting last week in which he revealed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador, according to current and former U.S. officials.

    Members of Congress — primarily Democrats — have spent several days demanding that Trump turn over tapes of White House meetings after he suggested, while defending his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey, that he records his conversations.

    But the calls intensified Tuesday morning after Trump seemed to acknowledge on Twitter that he had shared sensitive information during his meeting with the Russians.

    “We want to know what took place in that meeting, and my understanding is there may be recordings or transcripts,” Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “Obviously, we’d like to see that with appropriate redactions.”

    Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump should release the alleged transcript “if [he] has nothing to hide.”

    “Until the administration fully explains the facts of this case, the American people will rightly doubt if their president can handle our nation’s most closely kept secrets,” Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor. And a former Marine intelligence officer now serving in the House said transparency demands the release of the transcript, if it exists.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Hill Republicans alarmed by Trump disclosure to Russians (Politico)
    Trump Shared Top US Secrets With Russia (The Washington Post)

    Political Chaos in Washington is a Return on Investment for Moscow (The Washington Post)
    Former director of US national intelligence says US institutions under assault by Trump & Russia (CNN)

    Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey (The Washington Post)

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    Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard

    Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Photo by Tsedey Aragie)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 13th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) – Teddy Afro’s new album, Ethiopia, made the number one spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart this week as “the highest ranking debut” based on Nielsen Music’s tabulation of sales that measure weekly popularity of singles or albums worldwide.

    I am “overwhelmed with your response,” Teddy Afro said on Facebook following Billboard magazine’s announcement. “Grateful for all the love and support.”

    The 40-year-old pop star’s latest release, which so far has sold over half a million copies, builds on his previous record smashing albums including Tikur Sew (2012) as well as Abugida (2001), Yasteseryal (2005) and Yasteseryal Edition 2 (2005).

    Teddy who has dominated the Ethiopian music scene for over fifteen years produces socially conscious lyrics emphasizing “reconciliation, unity, history, justice, and equality,” notes the online independent music distributor CD Baby. “These subjects have gained him the hearts and ears of millions of adoring fans.”

    Later this month the iconic singer will also be honored with an award by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) in Maryland. The the non-profit organization recognizes that Teddy Afro (Tewodros Kassahun) “is an accomplished and distinguished singer and songwriter who has endeared himself to the Global Ethiopian Community in general and to the Diaspora Ethiopians in particular.” The 2017 SEED award will be given to Teddy Afro on May 28th “in appreciation of his tireless efforts to preserve our history and culture through his thoughtful and meaningful musical composition and lyrics that make us feel proud as Ethiopians and inspire the new generation of Ethiopians around the world, in acknowledgement of his inspiring humanitarian support to the less fortunate among us as well as in recognition of his talent as a rising star that is loved and admired by countless Ethiopians.”


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s star singer Teddy Afro makes plea for openness (AP)

    Watch: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage and B.B. King Blues Club — 2014 (TADIAS Video)

    Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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    Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku Presents at Venice Design 2017

    Jomo Design's 'The Birth Chair II.' (Photos by Bemnet Yemesgen @Elasticreative)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 11th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku’s latest work, The Birth Chair II, was featured at Venice Design 2017 in Venice, Italy this week as as part of Venice Design’s Time, Space Existence exhibition. In addition, the exhibit highlighted four new designs by Jomo Furniture including “the incorporation of African textiles into modular backrests.”

    According to Jomo “The Birth Chair II is inspired by African birthing chairs, which are still used in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Like most home furnishings in African countries, it is both utilitarian and decorative as well as a functional furniture that is also a work of art. Jomo original model is modular, with swappable backrests featuring various designs. Spare backrests can be displayed as decor. The ultimate design is modern, though rooted in African history.”

    The press release adds: “Jomo’s unique exhibition ushers in a new era of mainstreaming African design. Africa has been severely underrepresented in events such as Venice Biennale due in part to the ethnic, rather than nation-based identity among many in African countries. Mainstream events are typically organized around national representation.”

    —-
    Related:
    Contemporary Design Africa Book Features Jomo Tariku’s Ethiopia Furniture

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    US Announces Success of USAID-DuPont Partnership in Ethiopia Farm Project

    The Trump administration announced a successful public-private partnership in Ethiopia between USAID and DuPont to advance the agricultural development and food security goals set by Ethiopia. (U.S. Embassy Addis)

    Press release

    U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

    USAID-DuPont Partnership helps hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian farmers transform production and livelihoods

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and DuPont announced that the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), a public-private partnership between USAID, DuPont and the Government of Ethiopia, exceeded its goal by 150 percent to boost maize productivity among smallholder farmers and increase food production for Ethiopian communities.

    As part of America’s Feed the Future initiative, the program’s objective was to sustainably increase more than 100,000 smallholder farmers’ yields and enhance income potential, while also improving nutrition outcomes in 16 districts over three regions across Ethiopia. The program has already helped 250,000 smallholder farmers in 53 districts to adopt new technology and implement smarter agricultural practices, far surpassing its 2018 target goal.

    This public-private partnership was made possible through a dollar for dollar matching program that runs from 2015 to 2018 and leveraged a $2 million contribution from DuPont. Prior to this program, farmers were harvesting 2.2 metric tons per hectare. In districts where AMSAP was administered, they now harvest 7.5 metric tons per hectare. Since its launch four years ago, participating farmers have achieved an almost 300 percent increase, on average, in their maize yield productivity. They are also more efficiently connected to markets, which has helped boost incomes as much as $1500 per farmer, per year.

    “We’re thrilled to see that we have more than doubled our goal with nearly two years left in our partnership,” said Dr. Beth Dunford, Deputy Coordinator for Feed the Future and USAID Assistant Administrator for Food Security. “It’s these kinds of partnerships that demonstrate the outsized impact we can have when the U.S. development community teams up with America’s leading companies.”

    AMSAP provides increased access to training, improved inputs such as hybrid seeds, and provides other technical support.

    ###

    Feed the Future is America’s initiative to combat global hunger and poverty. It brings partners together to help some of the world’s poorest countries harness the power of agriculture and entrepreneurship to jumpstart their economies and create new opportunities. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov

    —-
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    Tibeb Girls Children’s Animated Series

    From the creators of the award-winning Ethiopian educational children's series Tsehai Loves Learning comes a new action-drama about three young girls who use their superpowers to tackle big issues. (VOA News)

    VOA News

    ADDIS ABABA — Three young Ethiopian girls use their superpowers to stop harmful practices against girls in rural areas and to promote access to school. That is the story behind “Tibeb Girls,” a new animated series developed in Ethiopia.

    “Tibeb Girls” is the first animated cartoon in which Ethiopian girls play not only the lead characters, but are also portrayed as superheroes. “Tibeb” means wisdom in Amharic.

    “For me, it was very important to have girls who look like me and who look like my child to be on the screen playing very good role models,” said Bruktawit Tigabu, who created “Tibeb Girls.”


    (Screenshot from ‘Tibeb Girls’)

    Representing and empowering girls is a big responsibility. Therefore the writers, such as Mahlet Haileyesus, put a lot of preparation into an episode.

    “We try to include everybody, like the relevant stakeholders, government bureaus, specific target groups,” said Mahlet Haileyesus, one of the show’s writers. “And then once the synopsis is developed, we do prototyping, which means we go to the field and test it.”


    Meaza Takele reads the ‘Tibeb Girls’ comis strip to her young children. (VOA photo)

    “Tibeb Girls” is also published as a comic strip that Meaza Takele reads to her young children each night before they go to bed.

    “When I ask my children why they love the cartoon, they say it’s because now they have a cartoon that is Ethiopian and where their own language is spoken,” she said.

    Creator Bruktawit hopes to raise funds to further develop the TV show, as she tries to sell the first season to broadcasters in Ethiopia and other African countries where young girls face the same issues.


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    Spotlight: Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

    Solomon Mulugeta Kassa is the Producer and Host of the 'TechTalk with Solomon' television show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS). (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 8th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Long before Solomon Mulugeta Kassa launched his popular TechTalk televised show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS) highlighting Ethiopian scientists, his friends used to tease him about his nonstop enthusiasm for the newest robot, space exploration, or digital gadgets. “I am always excited about the most recent human innovations in science and technology that impact our lives,” Solomon said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine, noting that it was one of his buddies who suggested that he become a TV personality so he can free them from his constant obsession. “It was a jokester friend of mine who inspired me to do it,” Solomon recalled with laughter. “So I eventually contacted EBS and made a proposal for the show. They loved it. They said when can you start? That was in 2012.”

    Fast forward five years later and Solomon — who works full time as a Senior Technology Consultant for Deloitte — has so far taped over 130 episodes of his show featuring 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.

    Solomon said his only requirement for the show was that the DC-based program conducted interviews in Amharic so as to avoid “any language barrier” for his target audience especially in Ethiopia. “We know that even in this age of the Internet there is a huge information gap that exists in Ethiopia,” Solomon said. “That knowledge gap has always felt like a burden to me, so this is my way of sharing a little bit of what I know with people who are both younger, older and much smarter than I am.” Over the years Solomon has won an enthusiastic following both in Ethiopia and abroad. He has even appeared as a guest on various national Ethiopian TV shows, and last year received the SEED award from the US-based Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora.

    SEED said they recognized Solomon for “his extraordinary commitment in promoting the use and teaching of technology through his “Tech Talk” initiative on EBS, reaching millions in the Ethiopian community and doing so in our native language.” And his alma mater, The George Washington University, where he received his Master of Science degree in Information Systems Technology Management in 2011, was equally enthusiastic in a recent feature on their website profiling their former student as trailblazer in the Ethiopian community. In his episodes, “Solomon interviews subject matter experts who enlighten viewers on recent science and technology developments, applications, and uncharted areas of exploration,” the university wrote. “The more than 100 weekly sessions have covered such diverse topics as robotics, space exploration, industrial design, transportation technology, construction engineering, aviation, and futuristic innovations.”


    TechTalk with Solomon on EBS. (Courtesy photo)

    Like many immigrants Solomon shared that adjusting to life in the United States wasn’t necessarily a smooth ride for him. “It was more like a roller coaster,” he said. “I arrived in Washington in late 2003 (on December 31st to be exact) on a scholarship to attend the University of Jamestown, a private liberal arts college, located in Jamestown, North Dakota.” Solomon, however, never made it past the D.C. area. “When I came here I had only $120 in my pocket,” he recalled. “The scholarship I had was not 100%. It covered about 65% of my expenses. So it became immediately clear to me that I had to find a way to support myself and get my papers straight in order to finish school.” That included crashing at a friend’s studio and working for a while at a convenience store “shelving beers and mopping the floor.” After a while he found a job at a hotel as a front desk supervisor from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, which he said allowed him to attend school during the day, starting at Northern Virginia Community College where he earned another technology associate degree (his first associate degree equivalency was from a private software engineering school in Ethiopia). He also briefly attended George Mason University, but had to withdraw because “working full time, supporting family and going to school was not working out.” At the end Solomon, who is a father of one, graduated from DC’s Strayer University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2008. Soon he landed a new professional job as a software developer working at the American Society of Clinical Oncology for five years prior to continuing his graduate studies at George Washington University and moving on to join his current position at Deloitte in 2011. And less than a year later Tech-talk with Solomon’ was born on EBS.

    In addition, Solomon announced that he is putting the final touches on an upcoming new book aptly titled Science and Technology: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which he says is “the first Amharic publication of its kind both in content and detail. “It will cover major science moments in history, its effect on the world and its relations to Ethiopia from the industrial revolution to the information age.” Solomon says. “The book will also contain a reflection about 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.”

    Asked about the ongoing debate on social media about Ethiopia’s fledgling space program Solomon said he is not as skeptical as some people although he has his own cautious opinions about what the priorities of the orbiters should be such as to “improve agriculture or provide useful weather data as opposed to focusing solely on communication,” he said. “Actually right now technology is the only solution to leapfrog and address some of our most pressing issues.”

    “For example in the 1990′s people used to mock our entire continent saying what good is the Internet for Africa?” Solomon emphasized. “Well, look where we are now. So it’s not a luxury. Why should we be the last adopters? Why?”


    You can learn more about the show at www.techtalkwithsolomon.com.

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    McCain Blasts Trump on Human Rights

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain published an op-ed for the New York Times on Monday, May 8th 2017 criticizing Trump on lack of human rights focus in his foreign policy. (AP photo)

    VOA News

    Senator McCain Blasts Trump on Lack of Human Rights Focus

    U.S. Senator John McCain is criticizing the foreign policy of the Trump administration, saying it is not focused enough on human rights abuses around the world.

    In an op-ed article for the New York Times, the Republican senator said the United States has an obligation to speak out for human rights as a country that was created from “an ideal that liberty is the inalienable right of mankind.”

    He criticized recent comments made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said conditioning U.S. foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance U.S. national interests.

    “With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope … We make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values,” McCain wrote.

    McCain said some will credit Tillerson’s point of view with realism, but he said “if by realism they mean policy that is rooted in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be, they couldn’t be more wrong.” He said it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible. McCain said the demand by people for human rights is reality, and said that by denying them these rights, we “invite their enduring resentment.”

    “To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize,” he wrote. “Our values are our greatest strength and treasure.”

    McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, has criticized the Trump administration on a range of issues, including the president’s immigration orders and wish to have better relations with Russia. McCain has also sparred with the president about comments he made on the possible legality of torture and gave only a lukewarm endorsement of Tillerson during his confirmation process.


    Related:
    John McCain: Why We Must Support Human Rights (NYT)
    Donald Trump’s dangerous flattery of foreign dictators shows how little he cares about human rights
    How Trump’s Uncertainty on Africa Could be China’s Gain
    George W. Bush: PEPFAR Saves Millions of Lives in Africa. Keep it Fully Funded.
    Ethiopia: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation
    Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
    Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
    Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
    U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
    Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz

    Meklit pays homage to her Ethiopian influences on “I Want to Sing For Them All.” (Image: Meklit H. video)

    VIBE

    Ethiopian Jazz musician Meklit Hadero gives us an amazing tune that shows love to her musical roots, titled “I Want to Sing for Them All,” it features violinist and whistler Andrew Bird. The track is the latest single from her forthcoming album, When The People Move, The Music Moves Too.

    “I Want to Sing for Them All” is a beautiful medley of lush and rich sounds from the African diaspora that inspired the song…Meklit’s beautiful visuals pay homage to every sound and artist that crossed her path since she was a child. Her soulful melody shows all of her cultural influences — from hip-hop, soul, and American pop music to Ethiopian jazz music, which shapes her stylistic range. The former TED fellow explains how “I Want to Sing For Them All” is her musical manifesto, and how she intertwines both of the music of American and Ethiopian heritages

    She adds, “We came to this country when I was about two. I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music. But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”

    Read the full article at Vibe.com »


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    U.N. Human Rights Chief Pushes for Inquiry into Ethiopia Unrest

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein requested that UN officials be given access to affected regions: "We may then perhaps provide a list for specific releases," he said. (UN)

    Reuters | ADDIS ABABA

    The United Nations human rights chief said on Thursday he would push Ethiopia to allow his agency to investigate rights abuses during months of unrest in 2015 and 2016 in which hundreds of people were killed.

    The Horn of Africa country declared six months of emergency rule in October after more than a year of violent protests in its Oromiya and Amhara regions. Demonstrators in the areas say the government has trampled on their political rights. The state of emergency has since been extended by four months.

    Last month, a government-sanctioned investigation said 669 people had been killed in the violence.

    Speaking to journalists during a three-day visit, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said there was a “clear need for a much wider and freer civic space” in Ethiopia.

    “Although I benefited greatly from the briefings provided to me by the Attorney General’s office, the extremely large number of arrests – over 26,000 – suggests it is unlikely rule of law guarantees have been observed in every case,” he said.

    “I believe my staff ought to be given access to the affected areas, and I renew my request, so we can assess the situation and ascertain what further support can be given to the authorities, including justice officials.”

    Read more »


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    Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Among 2017 Most Influential Africans Worldwide

    Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu named Most Influential Person of African Descent. (Twitter@BethlehemAlemu)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 4th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) -- Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has been named one of the 2017 Most Influential People of African Descent -- in recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237 to be observed from 2015 to 2024.

    The awards dinner for ‘MIPAD Class of 2017’ will take place on September 26th, 2017 in New York City subsequently after the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly closes. The press statement notes that "former U.S. President Barack Obama and current UN Secretary-General António Guterres are expected to attend as keynote speakers."

    The 2017 honorees were announced during the World Economic Forum on Africa, which is being held in South Africa this week. The individuals are selected from the following categories: Politics & Governance; Business & Entrepreneurship; Media & Culture; as well as Religious & Humanitarian. Bethlehem joins Beyonce, Usain Bolt, Trevor Noah, Didier Drogba, Tiger Woods and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the 2017 list.

    "It is with great honor we unveil the 2017 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) global list to recognize the positive contributions made by people of African descent in public and private sectors worldwide," the press release stated. "MIPAD is a unique global list that identifies, in total, 200 outstanding individuals under 40, with 100 inside Africa, 100 outside Africa in the Diaspora."

    MIPAD described their mission as aiming "to build a progressive network of civil society actors to join together and support the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015 – 2024, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/237."

    ---
    Related:
    Spotlight: SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu's New Coffee Brand

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    Icons of Ethiopia US Exhibit at Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts

    Ethiopia's ancient and storied history is explored in this exhibition at the Museum of Russian Icons, a non-profit art US museum located in Clinton, Massachusetts. (Image: Courtesy of Museum of Russian Icons)

    Press release

    The Museum of Russian Icons

    The Museum of Russian Icons is opening a new mini-exhibit, From the Vault: Icons of Ethiopia, on Saturday, May 20, with a special members-only reception on Thursday, May 18. This exhibit, which will run through August 13, features a mix of Ethiopian icons, silver hand crosses, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection dating from the 19th and 20th century. Many of the icons were purchased from Ikon Gallery in Berlin, Germany between 2011 and 2014 including a Mother of God fresco, from the late 18th century that had been removed from the wall and transferred to canvas. “This very rare icon is one of the great treasures of the Museum’s collection,” notes Museum Curator Kent Russell.

    Ethiopian iconography, which didn’t appear until the 16th century, is easily recognized by the stylized and graphically bold figures with large, almond-shaped eyes painted in bright and vivid colors. These icons could be found in monasteries, churches, and the homes of the wealthy.

    A newly acquired “magic scroll” will also be on view in the exhibit. This traditional Ethiopian art form is based on ancient beliefs that illnesses and other crises were the work of demons. A cleric of the Ethiopian Church would create the scroll, customized to the height of the patron and inscribed with healing prayers, and stories of saints and angels triumphing over Satan. They were written in Ge’ez, the liturgical language of Ethiopia. The scrolls were believed to have protective and healing powers, and were always carried by the owner. Russell says, “The practice of creating and using magic scrolls continues today, despite attempts by Church officials to eliminate what they see as a superstitious tradition.”


    If You Go:
    Thursday, May 18, 7:00-9:00PM
    Free for members and their guests.
    Please RSVP by May 12 to (978) 598-5000 x121
    http://www.museumofrussianicons.org

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    US Budget Pays for Security in Ethiopia

    The $1 trillion U.S. spending package for the rest of 2017 that was approved this week by the U.S. congress includes money to cover "border security and counterterrorism programs" in Ethiopia. (Photo: Townhall)

    Townhall

    Bill Funds Border Security — in Libya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Egypt…

    The 1,665-page spending bill the Republican-controlled Congress is planning to pass this week includes multiple measures that seemingly demonstrate a commitment to securing the border — in Libya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

    It does not include the $1.4 billion President Donald Trump requested to begin building the wall he promised to build along the U.S.-Mexico border…

    Under the terms of the funding bill, U.S. taxpayer money will also go to Ethiopia “for border security and counterterrorism programs.”

    Read the full article at Townhall.com »


    Related:
    Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia
    Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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    Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica

    Mel Tewahade and Gabe Christian, Emissaries of Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie, presented a check in the sum of $700,000 to Haile Selassie High School in Jamaica, April 27th, 2017. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: May 2nd, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) -- Family of the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie has made a donation of $700,000 to a high school in Kingston, Jamaica. The school was established by Haile Selassie as a gift to the people of Jamaica during his historic trip to the island nation more than fifty years ago. The financial contribution to Haile Selassie High School last week fulfilled a commitment announced last year by the former Emperor's grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, during his official visit to the country that included a stop at the institution.

    The $700K donation was presented on April 27th to the school's administration through representatives of Prince Ermias led by Gabe Christian and Mel Tewahade.

    Prince Ermias described his visit to Haile Selassie High School a year ago as the highlight of his trip and personally moving. "It was emotional and overwhelming to visit the school that was donated by my grandfather," Prince Ermias told Tadias in an interview following his travel to Jamaica. "The school has been in existence since the late sixties," he said. "Many have graduated and many have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, government leaders, pastors. Some have migrated abroad and are serving their adopted home well." Ermias added: "My grandfather believed in education. Education enlightens and enriches one’s life and for society there is no better security than to educate its citizens."


    Haile Selassie High School in Kingston, Jamaica. (Courtesy photo)

    ---
    Related:
    In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie's Historic Visit to Jamaica

    Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
    Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
    New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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    Millions Hope to Win What Could Be the Last U.S. Green-card Lottery

    The days of the U.S. green-card lottery program, which has been around for 30-years, may be numbered as it appears to conflict with Trump’s immigration policy. (The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    On Tuesday, more than 14 million people around the world, including anxious applicants in the Washington area, will begin checking computers and smartphones in one of the strangest rituals of the U.S. immigration system. When the clock strikes noon in the nation’s capital, they will be able to visit a State Department website, enter their names, years of birth and 16-digit identification numbers. Then they will press “submit” to learn whether they have won one of the world’s most coveted contests: the U.S. green-card lottery.

    Each year, the Diversity Visa Lottery, as it is officially known, provides up to 50,000 randomly selected foreigners — fewer than 1 percent of those who enter the drawing — with permanent residency in the United States.

    The current lottery coincides with an intense debate over immigration and comes amid policy changes that have made the country less welcoming to new arrivals. President Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration and pressed forward with plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico. He has issued executive orders targeting foreign workers, refugees and travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries.

    But he hasn’t said a word about the green-card lottery.

    Its days may be numbered, nonetheless. The lottery appears to conflict with the president’s call for a “merit-based” immigration system. And at least two bills in the Republican-controlled Congress seek to eliminate the program.

    Read more at the Washington Post »


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    Feyisa Lilesa: A Runner In Exile (ESPN)

    After his dramatic protest at the Rio Olympics, Ethiopian marathoner Feyisa Lilesa didn't feel safe returning home. But even in his new life in America, he can't be sure what waits for him around the corner. (ESPN)

    ESPN

    He runs on a slender dirt road the color of rust. His legs churn with an easy rhythm as he passes clumps of snow, then thorn trees and sage swaying in the winter wind. Out here on the Arizona desert, he is easy prey.

    It’s January, and there’s a stillness about Feyisa Lilesa, even in the 12th mile of a workout. He is with another runner because it’s riskier to train alone. With every compact stride, Lilesa lands on the balls of his feet and then flicks his size 9 Nikes, creating a soft shushing sound. The stillness surrounding him belies the feelings in his heart.

    Until late last summer, the 27-year-old called Ethiopia, not Arizona, home. But since the Rio Olympics, when he won a silver medal in the marathon and engaged in a dramatic finish-line protest against the Ethiopian government, Lilesa has been in exile and does not dare go home again.


    At the Rio Olympics, Feyisa Lilesa won a silver medal in the marathon and engaged in a dramatic, finish-line protest against the Ethiopian government. (GETTY IMAGES)

    Read more at ESPN.com »


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    Addis Fine Art US Show Preview

    Abiy Solomon, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela I, 2014. (Courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery)

    Press release

    Addis Fine Art

    Ethiopia — Addis Fine Art is pleased to present Girma Berta, Leikun Nahusenay and Abiy Solomon at the 19th edition of Salon Zurcher, New York.

    Girma Berta is an award winning young artist based in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, whose work fuses street photography with fine art. Born in 1990, Berta is a self-taught photographer. In his Moving Shadows series, solitary figures are juxtaposed against vibrant backgrounds, creating truly unique artworks which exemplify the contrasting colours and personalities on the street of his home town

    Leikun Nahusenay’s multidiscipline practice is based in Addis Ababa, where he works from the Nas Gedame studio creating exquisite mixed media works.

    Abiy Solomon’s photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches.

    Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


    If You Go:
    Zurcher Gallery
    33 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012
    www.galeriezurcher.com

    Tuesday 2 May: Preview Day
    Wednesday 3 May: 12 – 8pm
    Thursday 4 May: 12 – 8pm
    Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
    Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm
    Sunday 7 May: 2 – 5pm

    Related:
    Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs, New York | 4 – 14 May 2017


    Girma Berta, Moving Shadow Series II, II 2017

    Addis Fine Art is pleased to announce the launch of Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs and Nataal’s second co-organized group exhibition: New African Photography II.

    Girma will be joined by seven contemporary artists, whose work engages with present-day Africa. The selected artists are both emerging and internationally recognized, and will be showing new, personal bodies of work addressing issues of representation and celebrating fresh perspectives on the continent. Spanning documentary, fashion and portrait photography, as well as video and performance, the exhibition hopes to tell modern narratives that surprise, captivate and inspire.

    New African Photography II follows the success of the inaugural curatorial collaboration between Red Hook Labs and Nataal in 2016. US Vogue called the exhibition “a journey into the rich visual culture of Africa” while i-D hailed the line-up as “the new generation of talent changing the face of African photography.” This latest show hopes to build upon these achievements by supporting a larger and more diverse roll call of exceptional image-makers.

    Opening of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be held concurrently, and open to the public from May 5 – 7, 2017

    Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


    If You Go:
    Red Hook Labs
    133-135 Imlay Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11231
    https://redhooklabs.com
    http://nataal.com

    Thursday 4 May: Preview 6-9pm
    Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
    Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm – Artists’ talk moderated by Sara Jennings: 2-4pm
    Sunday 7 May: 12 – 8pm
    Mon 8 – Sun 14 May: 10am-6pm (daily)


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    UN Human Rights Chief to Visit Ethiopia

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. (UN Photo)

    By Associated Press

    UN rights chief to visit Ethiopia after deadly protests

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The United Nations says the U.N. human rights chief will visit Ethiopia next month at the invitation of the government, which has rejected U.N. and other outside offers to investigate months of deadly protests.

    Ethiopia remains under a state of emergency declared in October after hundreds were killed amid anti-government protests demanding wider political freedoms.

    A U.N. statement Friday says Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will visit the East African nation on May 2-4 and meet the prime minister and other officials along with civil society groups.

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn this month rejected U.N. and European Union requests to investigate the protests in which the government says at least 669 people died.

    Zeid also will meet with officials from the African Union continental body, which is based in Ethiopia’s capital.


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    Controversy Brews Over British Designer’s Velvet Jacket Almost Identical to ‘Kaba’

    British fashion designer Alexander McQueen's £4,895 black velvet jacket looks very similar to Kaba. (DM)

    Daily Mail

    Alexander McQueen has been accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ for designing a jacket that looks remarkably similar to a ceremonial gown from the Horn of Africa.

    Hundreds of people from the Habesha community – who come from Eritrea and northern Ethiopia – have reacted in fury on social media after the fashion house posted a picture of a £4,895 black velvet jacket covered in gold embroidery on Instagram.


    An Ethiopian priests wearing the ceremonial kaba gown. (Flickr)

    Read more at the Daily Mail »


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    Editing Tadias While Pursuing Her Doctorate Degree: Meet Dr. Tseday Alehegn

    Dr. Tseday Alehegn is the Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April, 27th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Most readers of Tadias Magazine know Tseday Alehegn for her profiles of inspiring Ethiopians from around the world. But very few people knew that in addition to her tasks at Tadias she was simultaneously juggling many other responsibilities, one of which was pursuing her doctorate degree in Health Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, which she successfully defended this week. In addition, Tseday also holds a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from Columbia as well as her BA and MA from Stanford University in Human Biology and Education respectively.

    Dr. Tseday Alehegn’s research topic for the Doctor of Education focused on mobile-health best practices and an analysis of programs using mobile technologies for chronic disease management, disease prevention and health promotion that she hopes will become a book some time soon.

    Tseday who also gave birth only a few weeks ago to her first daughter (Naomi Liben-Eabisa), says she will continue to edit Tadias for the foreseeable future “motivating the younger generation to follow their own dreams.”

    We congratulate Tseday on her accomplishments.


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    Elias Sime Returns for Second Solo Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In NYC

    Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa. . (Photos: James Cohan Gallery, NYC)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April, 26th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist Elias Sime’s second solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In New York opens this week. The exhibition entitled Twisted & Hidden features Elias’ latest works of “large-scale artworks constructed from a grid-like arrangement of panels encrusted with electronic parts.” The show will be on view from April 28 through June 17 at James Cohan’s Chelsea location.

    Similar to his previous show in Fall 2015 Elias’ new works also employ components of scrapped modern gadgets most of which he buys from Merkato. The press release adds that his “work is a meditation on connectivity and transformation. His unorthodox materials include reclaimed cell phone bodies, Soviet-era transistors, computer motherboards, brightly colored electrical wires, sections of plastic keyboards with other e-waste that has been discarded and sent to trash heaps across the African continent. This technological flotsam eventually washes up in the open-air markets of Addis Ababa, where Sime repurposes it into artworks.”

    The New York Times described Elias’ work as being “culturally specific,” and “universalist” adding that “although never without critical thrust — no one knows better the horrors visited on Africa by shipments of toxic Western e-waste — it is utopian.”

    According to James Cohan Gallery the current exhibition is “part of an ongoing series entitled “Tightrope,” which refers to the contemporary balancing act between technology and tradition, humanity and the environment. Elias Sime achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. Some works recall pure color-field painting while others refer to architectonic geometries, textile patterns and information flows. Figurative moments emerge in some – a human face, a bird wing, a frog leaping from a tree branch. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded objects as poetic stand-ins for individual lives and instead finds renewal everywhere, taking the greatest interest in new ways that objects and ideas connect. The emphasis is on the transformative power of human creativity.”

    About Elias Sime

    Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. With the full cooperation of curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime founded and designed the Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2014 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” His work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to North Dakota Museum of Art. Sime designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence and London. An upcoming performance of the opera will be staged in Stockholm.

    Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; North Dakota Museum of Art; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, NY.

    Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa.

    —-
    If You Go:
    Elias Sime
    April 28 through June 17, 2017
    Opening Reception: Friday, April 28th, 6 – 8 PM
    JAMES COHAN GALLERY
    533 WEST 26TH STREET NEW YORK NY 10001
    TEL 212.714.9500 FAX 212.714.9510
    HOURS TUESDAY – SATURDAY, 10 – 6PM
    www.jamescohan.com

    Elias Sime Eye of the Needle, Eye of the Heart at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) from James Cohan Gallery on Vimeo.

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    Chicago Man Raises $11.7K for Michelle Obama Mural He Copied from Ethiopian Art Student Gelila Mesfin

    This portrait of Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen was painted by Gelila Mesfin, an Ethiopian art student in New York. (@thick_east_african_girl/Instagram)

    CBC Radio

    When Gelila Mesfin first saw that her portrait of Michelle Obama had been made into a mural on Chicago’s south side, she was flattered.

    “I thought it was pretty cool. I didn’t know anyone had taken credit for it. I figured someone was just inspired and put it up there,” Mesfin, a New York art student from Ethiopia, told As It Happens host Carol Off. “It was kinda cool to see your art work displayed in such a huge manner.”

    The mural of Obama decked out as an Egyptian queen was unveiled Friday two blocks from the former first lady’s childhood home.

    It bears a striking resemblance to a digital portrait that Mesfin made and shared on her own Instagram account in October 2016, based on a photograph by the New York Times’ Collier Schorr, whom Mesfin credits in her post.

    “I just wanted to portray her as a queen,” Mesfin said. “She was just such a class act and she inspired a lot of black women, black girls, and women in general to be strong, be educated and to stand their ground, and you know, to fight for what they love.”

    But her feelings of flattery quickly wore off when she read an article about the mural on the website DNA Info, in which the man who painted it appears to take credit for the concept.

    “I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate,” Chris Devins, a city planner known for his Chicago portrait-style murals, told DNA Info on Friday.

    What’s more, she learned Devins had crowdfunded more than $11,700 US to make the mural, and offered up signed prints to donors.

    “I realized that, ‘Wait a minute, this person is not giving me credit,’” Mesfin said. “I was very disheartened and I just felt like it was disrespectful.”

    So Mesfin went back on Instagram to call Devins out. “How can you just steal someone’s artwork,” she wrote in a post that has since been liked more than 5,000 times.


    Portrait of Michelle Obama by Gelila Mesfin. (Instagram)

    Read more »


    Related:
    ‘So, What’s Been Going On While I’ve Been Gone?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

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    Eskinder Nega: 2017 Press Freedom Hero

    IPI, which is a global network of journalists, editors and media executives, has named Ethiopia’s Eskinder Nega the 2017 World Press Freedom Hero. (Image: IPI)

    International Press Institute

    Eskinder Nega named IPI Press Freedom Hero

    Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who has been imprisoned since 2011 after criticising his country’s abuse of anti-terror laws to silence the press, has been named the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 69th World Press Freedom Hero.

    IPI also announced today the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee as the recipient of the 2017 Free Media Pioneer Award in recognition of the group’s courageous and trailblazing work to prevent, combat and monitor attacks on journalists in one of the world’s most dangerous media environments.

    Both awards, which for the past three years have been given in partnership with Copenhagen-based International Media Support (IMS), will be presented during a special ceremony on May 18 in Hamburg, Germany during IPI’s annual World Congress and General Assembly.

    Press Freedom Hero

    IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero Award honours journalists who have made significant contributions to the promotion of press freedom, particularly in the face of great personal risk.

    Nega has spent over 2,000 days behind bars since his arrest on Sept. 14, 2011, when Ethiopian authorities accused him of “leading a plan to throw the country into serious political chaos through a series of terrorist acts” and linked him to a banned opposition group. His jailing came shortly after Nega, a persistent critic of Ethiopia’s former long-time ruler and then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, published a column questioning the government’s abuse of anti-terror laws to punish journalistic scrutiny.

    Nega’s comments were preceded by a wave of detentions under Ethiopia’s broad 2009 anti-terror law, including those of journalists Woubshet Taye and Reeyot Alemu – the 2013 recipient of the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize – as well as Swedish correspondents Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.

    An Ethiopian court convicted Nega in June 2012 of “participation in a terrorist organization” and “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of (a) terrorist act”. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison the following month, a decision the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention later said violated international law.

    IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said the award was a recognition of Nega’s “unflinching dedication to the free exchange of ideas and information and his determination – at the expense of his freedom and separation from his family – not to remain silent in the face of the Ethiopian government’s cynical attempt to use the fight against terrorism to crush legitimate dissent”.

    She continued: “This award sends the message that Eskinder Nega’s bravery in relentlessly scrutinising power despite years of intense retaliation has not been forgotten. We renew our call on Ethiopia to free Eskinder and all journalists jailed for doing their jobs or expressing their opinions, and we urge the international community not to ignore Ethiopia’s continued flouting of its international human rights obligations”.

    Nega faced frequent official pressure and harassment due to his writing beginning in the early 1990s. In 2005, he and his wife, journalist Serkalem Fasil, were jailed on treason charges for their coverage of a mass government crackdown on popular protests following disputed parliamentary elections won by Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Fasil would later give birth to a son behind bars. Authorities released the couple in April 2007 but shuttered their publishing company and banned Nega from practicing journalism.

    Fasil, who now lives in exile in the United States with their son, said of IPI and IMS’ recognition of her husband that it was “absolutely heart-warming to know that all his sacrifices and valuable contribution to press freedom are not wasted in vain, but continue to shine a spotlight [on his plight] on the global stage”.

    She added: ”Although, it remains a bittersweet moment for me (knowing where he is now), it is important to uphold such recognition for the tremendous impact it’s having to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps. … I truly hope it also expedites his release from imprisonment and brings an end to his suffering.”

    IPI and its members have previously called for Nega’s release, including during a November 2013 joint mission to Ethiopia with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The Ethiopian government on that occasion denied IPI and WAN-IFRA’s requests to visit Nega and other jailed journalists.

    The following year, WAN-IFRA honoured Nega with its Golden Pen of Freedom Award. In 2012, he also received the PEN American Center/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

    In early September 2011, commenting on the arrests of Taye and Alemu, and just days before his own detention, Nega wrote to IPI: “Their arrest has more to do with calculated cultivation of fear. Fear is what dictatorships ultimately rely on to survive.”

    Free Media Pioneer

    The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was established by IPI in 1996 to recognise news or media organisations that have made innovations that have promoted news access or quality, or benefitted journalists and the media community, thereby ensuring freer and more independent media in their country or region.

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    Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora Announces 2017 Honorees

    From top: Mahamoud Ahmed, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ted Alemayehu, Dr. Zaki Sherif, Lemn Sissay, Abba Kefyalew Abera, Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw. (Photos courtesy of SEED)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April 24th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) marks its 25th anniversary this year with its annual awards dinners ceremony scheduled to take place in Hyattsville, Maryland on May 28th. The line-up of the 2017 honorees include social entrepreneurs, physicians and celebrity artists.

    The U.S.-based non-profit organization, which aims to empower the Ethiopian American Diaspora in the areas of “academic excellence, professional development, and community service,” announced that its 25th anniversary award recipients include Ted Alemayehu, Founder and Chairman of U.S Doctors for Africa (USDFA); physicians Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Zaki Sherif, author and poet Lemn Sissay, as well as the founder of Sewasewe Genet Charity and Development Organization (SGCDO), Abba Kefyalew Abera, and musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro).

    In addition SEED said it will posthumously recognize the late Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw, founder of the Ethiopian women for Peace, Democracy and Development (EWPD) and co-founder and President of the Center for The Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “as a distinguished scholar, author and our venerated teacher; in appreciation of her lifelong dedication and struggle for human rights and women’s rights; in acknowledgement of the rich and positive contributions she has made in the Diaspora Community and legacy she has left behind by exemplifying the highest ideals and standards of our community; in recognition of her inspiring academic excellence and many other positive attributes.”

    The 2017 SEED Student Honorees are Kirubel Aklilu, Rackeb D. Mered, Teferi D. Tadesse, Yeabesiera D. Tadesse and Ms. Rahel Boghossian (Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Class of 2017).


    If You Go:
    25th ANNUAL SEED AWARDS DINNER
    Date: May 28, 2017
    College Park Marriot Hotel
    3501 University Blvd. E.
    Hyattsville, MD 20783
    ​301-985-7300
    www.ethioseed.com

    Video: Tilahun Gessesse SEED Award Acceptance Speech — May 28, 2000

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    Spotlight: NYC Designer Hana Getachew

    Hana Getachew, whose family left Addis Ababa when she was three years old, had an inspiring homecoming 18 years later. (Photo by Steve Koepp)

    The Bridge

    Bolé Road Textiles weaves modern ideas with traditional craftsmanship, to vibrant effect

    After more than a decade at a major architectural firm, designer Hana Getachew knew that she wanted to break out on her own. The turning point came in planning her wedding in 2014. “I wanted to have an element of Ethiopian design for my table linens” to reflect the vibrant patterns and colors of her native land. Her family had left Ethiopia when she was a child, but she still felt intensely connected to the culture. Her journey back home to source her table linens became the spark for a new business.

    In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, Getachew went looking for weavers. “I went to one location where one of my family friends sent me. I showed them my designs. It was kind of hilarious because I didn’t know about weaving, and they said it couldn’t be done. It took me a while to understand,” she said, that their traditional looms had their limitations. But the weavers offered their own version of her design that was even more pleasing, in such colors as pink, red, and fuchsia. The linens were a success. “The napkins were beige, with fuchsia and red diamond-shape patterning all around.”

    What started with wedding planning is now Getachew’s own housewares firm, Bolé Road Textiles, based in Brooklyn and named after a bustling thoroughfare near her childhood home in Addis Ababa. Getachew designs the patterns in her home studio, then turns them into textiles for pillows, rugs, curtains, towels, and other products in a running conversation with master artisans in Addis Ababa. She sells about half her merchandise through e-commerce on her website and the rest through retailers, including Home of the Brave in Greenpoint and Collyer’s Mansion in Brooklyn Heights.

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    Africa’s House of Cards: Ethiopia Enters Its Seventh Month of Emergency Rule

    (Getty Images)

    The Economist

    The old model persists: development now, democracy later

    AMBO — THE three-hour bus-ride to Ambo from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, offers a glimpse into the country’s future. The road is well paved; irrigation ditches and polytunnels criss-cross commercial farmland; electricity lines leap over forested hills. The signal granting access to mobile internet is clear and constant. As the bus pulls into Ambo, a trading centre in Oromia, the largest and most populous of Ethiopia’s nine ethnically based regions, the street is bustling.

    But there are signs, too, that not all is well. An army truck rolls down the main road. Federal police surround the entrance to the local university. Unemployed young men playing snooker in bar point at a building across the road: it used to be a bank, but it was burnt down. Three years ago 17 local boys were shot dead by security guards as they protested on the doorstep, the young men say.

    Ambo has a reputation for dissent. It was on these streets that protests against authoritarian rule started in 2014 before sweeping across the country. They culminated in the declaration of a six-month state of emergency on October 9th last year.

    Students from Ambo University led the charge in opposing a since-shelved plan to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland. Oromo identity is especially powerful here: locals speak angrily about being pushed aside by ethnic Tigrayans, who they say dominate the government despite making up less than 6% of the population.

    The country’s leading opposition politician, Merera Gudina—who was charged with inciting terrorism in February and was scheduled to appear in the dock on April 24th—comes from this area. When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) extended the emergency law for another four months (albeit after watering down its most draconian provisions) on March 30th, it was because of places like Ambo. Hundreds of its citizens have been arrested and subjected to months of “re-education” in military camps. Although stability has more or less returned to Ethiopia there are still young men across Oromia and Amhara, the second-largest region, who talk of protesting once more when the state of emergency is eventually lifted.

    Not everyone feels this way. There may have been plenty of raised eyebrows when the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, told Parliament on March 15th that 82% of Ethiopians wanted the state of emergency extended.

    Read more »


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    ‘So, What’s Been Going On?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

    In his first public event since leaving the White House former President Barack Obama held a conversation with young leaders at the University of Chicago on Monday, April 24th, 2017. (Photo: CNN video)

    The Hill

    Former President Barack Obama on Monday kicked off his first public appearance since leaving office by jokingly asking if he’s missed anything important.

    “So uh, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?” Obama asked with a smile.

    “It is wonderful to be home, it is wonderful to be at the University of Chicago, it is wonderful to be on the South Side of Chicago and it is wonderful to be with these young people here.”

    Obama has kept a low profile since leaving office earlier this year. His appearance Monday comes as President Trump approaches his 100th day in office.

    On Sunday, the former president met with at-risk youth in Chicago ahead of his first post-presidency speech.

    He joined a group of young men and boys for a discussion sponsored by the Cred program in the same South Side Chicago neighborhood where he started as a community organizer.

    Obama “listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up,” spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a release.

    “He expressed that he was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program.”

    Watch: Obama ‘What’s been going on while I’ve been gone’


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    Meklit to Release New Album ‘When The People Move, The Music Moves Too’

    Meklit Hadero. (Photo: @meklitmusic/Twitter) )

    Broadway Music world

    Ethiopian-American artist Meklit will release her new album When the People Move, the Music Moves Too on June 23rd with Six Degrees Records. The record was produced by Dan Wilson, whose previous work with artists including Adele, Taylor Swift and John Legend – as well as fronting the band Semisonic – has earned multiple Grammy awards. The album also includes Andrew Bird on violin and whistling, as well as New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns. A vibrant and inspired mix of Ethio-Jazz roots along with American pop, R&B and folk influences, Meklit’s upcoming record crosses both musical and generational borders to create a unified artistic vision, united behind her unique and unmistakable voice.

    When the People Move, the Music Moves Too is the result of a fateful encounter Meklit experienced in Addis Ababa with the legendary vibraphonist/composer Mulatu Astatke, who helped spark Ethiopia’s 1960s musical renaissance. She was deeply engaged with his music at the time, but he pushed her to think about how to bring her own experiences into her songs. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and he tasked me. It took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

    Meklit has embodied multiplicity since she first started performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House in the mid-2000′s. Born in Ethiopia, she moved with her family to Iowa at the age of two, and spent much of her adolescence in Brooklyn, soaking up the sounds of hip hop on the street. After studying political science at Yale she spent several years in Seattle before moving to San Francisco, looking to immerse herself in the city’s thriving arts scene.

    “I’m always thinking about America and Ethiopia, about how the hybridization is going to work in both places,” she observes. The lapidary orchestrations on her new record were created by Meklit herself, with the help of her bassist Sam Bevan. But Meklit is quick to credit Dan Wilson’s lithe musical mind with a major role in shaping the ultimate sound of the record, in addition to his contribution of co-writing two songs. A prolific songwriter, arranger and producer, Wilson seemed to know exactly which player to place where to accentuate Meklit’s sound. He brought in Ethio-Cali’s tenor saxophonist Randall Fisher, who plays a perfectly calibrated Ethio-jazz intro on “You Got Me.” And Ethiopian-born, LA-based keyboardist Kibrome Birhane’s spare piano work levitates “Yesterday is a Tizita.” Meklit describes how Wilson’s songwriting precision, and razor sharp, generous feedback helped to weave a remarkable clarity into the music, enhancing Meklit’s already vivid hues.

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    Family Seeks Answers in Police Shooting of Young Ethiopian Engineer in LA

    Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu, who was shot and killed by police in LA last week, came to the US 8-years-ago on a scholarship to University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.

    OkayAfrica

    Last Wednesday, 28-year-old Ethiopian engineer, Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu was shot and killed by police in Los Angeles, California.

    The details of his death are conveniently murky. According to the LAPD, officers were responding to a burglary when they found Ewnetu sitting in his car. Officers approached him after smelling marijuana coming from his vehicle. He reportedly refused to exit his car when asked. Authorities say that when they tried to remove him from the car, Ewnetu brandished a gun and aimed it at the officers.

    The deputies then fired at Ewentu, shooting him in the torso and killing him on-site.

    A statement from the victim’s family, says that the initial account of the incident varied from what’s been reported by authorities. Following the shooting, the detective on the case, mentioned that they gun was found in the back seat, says the press statement. A photo of the vehicle, published in the LA Times, shows what appears to be two bullet holes in the back windshield.

    Cases like this are, sadly, all too familiar and the varying accounts of what took place, certainly raise suspicion. Ewentu’s family is currently seeking answer and have started a Gofundme to help with funeral and attorney costs.

    Ewnetu came to the United States eight years ago on a scholarship to the University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.


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    Ethiopia Unrest Killed 669: Report

    (Photo: Reuters)

    Reuters

    ADDIS ABABA — A total of 669 people were killed in unrest that gripped Ethiopia for several months until authorities imposed a state of emergency last October, according to an investigation report presented to parliament on Tuesday.

    The Horn of Africa country declared six months of emergency rule after more than a year of violent protests in its Oromiya, Amhara and SNNP regions. Demonstrators in the three areas say the government has trampled on their political rights.

    Ethiopia has faced criticism from abroad as well as at home over its authoritarian approach to economic development, though the government has also presided over stellar rates of growth.

    The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – a body mandated by parliament to investigate the violence – presented its findings on Tuesday and acknowledged that security forces had taken disproportionate measures in some areas.

    The report said 462 protesters and 33 security personnel had been killed in the unrest that engulfed 91 towns in the Oromiya region alone. The protesters opposed having their land incorporated into the boundaries of the capital Addis Ababa.

    Commission head Addisu Gebregziabher told parliament that security forces had been “negligent” when firing teargas at protesters during a religious festival, triggering a stampede that killed scores.

    In the Amhara region, 110 demonstrators and 30 security officials were killed in clashes sparked by the arrest of activists campaigning over disputed territory, the report said.

    Tensions there have simmered for around 25 years over the status of Wolkayt district, which the protesters say was illegally incorporated into the neighboring Tigray region to the north.

    That dispute is particularly sensitive because it runs counter to a division of Ethiopia along ethnic and linguistic lines, imposed by the core of the current ruling EPRDF coalition when it came to power in 1991.

    The report said another 34 people died in the SNNP region which lies to the south of Addis Ababa.

    Ethiopia is an important Western ally against Islamist militants in neighboring Somalia as well as an increasingly important economic player in a fragile region.

    In October Ethiopia accused “elements” in neighboring Eritrea, in Egypt and elsewhere of being behind the wave of disturbances. It has since extended the nationwide state of emergency by four months.


    Related:
    Ethiopia rejects UN investigation over protest deaths (BBC)

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    Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

    She sang for Haile Selassie then retreated from the world, living barefoot in a hilltop monastery, perfecting her bluesy, freewheeling sound. (Photograph: Gali Tibbon)

    The Guardian

    The Extraordinary Life of Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

    I’m no great singer, but Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou only really trusted me after I had sung to her. “Something from your country,” she instructed. So I found myself in the tiny bedroom of this 93-year-old Ethiopian composer-pianist-nun, croaking my way through the verses of a Robert Burns song.

    Given she does not agree to most interviews, I felt I should do what I was told. The room, at the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, was cramped and sweltering. In it was a small bed, an upright piano draped in Ethiopian flags, stacks of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, and a jumble of handwritten manuscripts. On the walls were portraits of Emperor Haile Selassie – Emahoy knew him in the 1930s – and her own paintings of religious icons. The door was propped open and, from the courtyard, came smells of food and the sound of monks chanting.

    Emahoy is fluent in seven languages, but when I finished the Burns song (Ae Fond Kiss) she admitted the old Scots lyrics had been tricky to decipher. I gave her a potted translation – lovers meet, lovers part, lovers feel brokenhearted – and she gripped my arm and fixed me with one of her deep stares. “We can’t always choose what life brings,” she said. “But we can choose how to respond.”

    If anyone is qualified to dish out such wisdom, it’s a woman whose choices were determined by religious self-exile, maverick gender struggles and Ethiopia’s dramatic 20th-century political history – and who became a singular artist in the process.

    Most people familiar with Emahoy’s music come across it via her solo piano album released in 2006, as part of the Éthiopiques collection. That series put her poised, bluesy, freewheeling waltzes together with the Ethio-jazz that emerged out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s – and although she smiles fondly at the mention of fellow Éthiopiques musicians such as Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, she insists she’s not a jazz artist. Her training is purely western classical; her inspiration comes from the ancient modal chants of the Orthodox church. It’s a unique fusion and it sounds like nothing else.

    Read more »


    Related:
    TADIAS Interview With Hanna M. Kebbede, CEO of Emahoy Music Foundation
    From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

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    Watch: Ethiopian Food Truck Helps Adopted Ethiopian-Americans to Give Back

    Pay it Forward Ethiopia food truck in Green Bay, Wisconsin is run by adopted Ethiopian-Americans. (WBAY)

    WBAY

    GREEN BAY, Wis. – A food truck that makes stops around the Green Bay area is on a mission to help kids in Ethiopia.

    A dad, his kids, and some friends pair Ethiopian slow cooking and exotic spices with familiar American dishes for a Taste of Ethiopia. The food has rave reviews on Facebook.

    Tesfaye Joyce lived in Ethiopia most of his life. While in an orphanage, he met some people involved in the project called Pay It Forward Ethiopia.

    “My hope for this to collect, especially Ethiopian Americans that came in through adoption, to be able to come together and pretty much give back the help the people back home, they need,” Joyce says.

    Joyce say he’s grateful for his life in Wisconsin.

    “We’re here because someone helped us, and we want to give back,” Joyce says.

    Tesfaye, his brother, and his sister live with their adoptive father, Pat Joyce.

    “As they are growing up, they’re–we’re realizing how important it is to keep their cultural connection, so they’re starting to go back to Ethiopia, and rekindle some of the long-lost relationships they’ve had,” says Pat Joyce.

    Read more »

    Watch: Taste of Ethiopia Food Truck funding mission to help kids


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    Instead of a Wall, an Open Door: Why Ethiopia Welcomes an Enemy’s Refugees

    Cultural similarities have helped Ethiopia absorb more than 160,000 refugees from Eritrea, despite a still-bitter border dispute. But it's also a strategy at a time when other countries are doing the opposite. (CSM)

    CS Monitor

    BADME, ALONG THE ERITREAN-ETHIOPIAN BORDER —When Yordanos and her two young children slipped safely across the Mereb riverbed between Eritrea and Ethiopia late one recent night, they thought the worst of their journey into exile was over. The smuggler had done his job, and they were safely over the border.

    Then they heard the hyenas.

    Yordanos and her children began to yell for help, their panicked calls fading into the solid darkness. Suddenly, she saw a group of Ethiopian soldiers coming towards them. The men comforted the young families, and then escorted them to the nearby town of Badme. “They were like brothers to us,” says Yordanos, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of reprisals from the Eritrean government against her relatives at home.

    In some regards, Ethiopia – and in particular this sliver of Ethiopia’s arid north – is the last place you might expect an Eritrean refugee like Yordanos to receive a warm welcome. In 1998, after all, an Eritrean invasion of this sleepy border town touched off a two-year war between the two countries that cost tens of thousands of lives and more than $4.5 billion, along with destroying most of the then-flourishing network of trade between the two countries. And before that conflict, Eritreans fought a 30-year civil war for independence from Ethiopia, which ended only in 1991.

    Even today, the ashes of those conflicts still smolder. The internationally-brokered peace settlement ending the 1998-2000 war decreed that Ethiopia should give this region of the country back to Eritrea, which claims it as historical land. But Ethiopia never did, and border clashes between the two countries’ militaries continue into the present.

    Still, Yordanos’ story is not uncommon. Fleeing enforced, indefinite military service, illegal imprisonment, and torture, about 165,000 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers currently live in Ethiopia, according to the United Nations. Upon arrival and registration, they are automatically granted refugee status, and the country continues to welcome more. In February of this year alone, 3,367 new Eritrean refugees arrived in the country, according to Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

    Read more »


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    Buzunesh Deba Inherits 2014 Boston Win, But Not the Prize

    Buzunesh Deba during a Boston Marathon media availability Friday, April 14, 2017. (AP Photo)

    AP

    BOSTON – Buzunesh Deba will leave the Boston Marathon with one champion’s medal this week.
    She would like to make it two.

    The 29-year-old Ethiopian inherited the 2014 title this December when Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her victory for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Jeptoo joins Rosie Ruiz, who was caught cutting the course in 1980, as the only people to be disqualified from the Boston Marathon after breaking the tape on Boylston Street.

    “She took my chance,” Deba said this week after returning to Boston, where she has also finished third and seventh. “I lost so many things.”

    When Ruiz took a shortcut to the finish line, she deprived Jacqueline Gareau of the thrill of breaking the tape , being crowned with the traditional olive wreath and hearing the Canadian national anthem waft over Copley Square. Race officials, who were immediately skeptical of the unknown and unseen Ruiz, made it up to Gareau with a substitute victory ceremony and even had her cross the finish line again – this time in street clothes.

    But Gareau’s victory was in the race’s amateur era, so there was no cash to recover.

    Jeptoo, whose 2006 and 2013 victories remain unchallenged, claimed $150,000 for the victory and an additional $25,000 for setting a course record. Both legally belong to Deba, whose time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, 59 seconds remains the fastest in Boston Marathon history, but the Boston Athletic Association would have to claw it back from Jeptoo.

    “We are trying,” CEO Tom Grilk said.

    In the year after the finish line explosions that killed three people and wounded hundreds more, Jeptoo herself was already an afterthought, coming in just minutes before Meb Keflezighi claimed the first American victory in the men’s race since 1983 . As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played over Boylston Street, Jeptoo’s third win – even in a course-record time – drew less attention than normal.

    But for Deba, it was costly. All the after-the-fact ceremonies, medals and even the prize money – if she ever gets it – wouldn’t make up for the opportunities lost when she wasn’t able to capitalize on being a returning champion.

    “When you are the champion, the next year, the appearance fees, the contracts, everything” is more lucrative, the two-time New York City Marathon runner-up said this week. “My happiness is that day. But she took it from me.”

    Deba’s husband and coach, Worku Beyi, said they are talking to B.A.A. officials about the prize money, “but it is not 100 percent.” They are hoping Jeptoo will return the money.

    “She knows herself she is not champion,” Beyi said.

    Deba has a chance to steal back the spotlight on Monday, when she joins a field of more than 30,000 in Hopkinton for the 121st edition of the race. Among them are defending champion Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia; Kenya’s Gladys Cherono, who has the fastest time in the field; and two-time Olympian Desi Linden, who is trying to become the first American woman to win in Boston since 1985.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu Hayle Seeks a Boston Marathon Repeat

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    Ethiopia’s Berhanu Hayle Seeks a Boston Marathon Repeat

    Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia pictured during the 2016 Rio Olympics final Men's Marathon in Brazil. (REUTERS)

    Reuters

    BOSTON — Ethiopian runner Lemi Berhanu Hayle will defend his Boston Marathon title in a wide open race on Monday against a men’s field that includes the first American champion in three decades and no clear favorite.

    Berhanu Hayle won last year’s race in two hours 12 minutes 44 seconds after pulling away from twice champion and countryman Lelisa Desisa, who is not competing this year.

    The last men’s repeat winner was five-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, who completed a triple in 2008.

    An Ethiopian woman, Atsede Baysa, will also be defending her title after winning in 2:29:19.

    Berhanu Hayle’s main challengers will include countryman Sisay Lemma, who ran 2:05:16 in Dubai last year, and Kenyans Geoffrey Kirui who ran 2:06:27 in Amsterdam last year and Emmanuel Mutai, who was second in New York and Chicago, and has the field’s fastest personal best of 2:03:13.

    The hilly Boston course usually leads to slower times than other major marathons.

    “Any move (Berhanu Hayle) makes will be taken seriously by the others,” said Scott Douglas, a contributing editor at Runner’s World. “With no clear standouts this year, Boston will be a very interesting race to watch.”

    Read more »


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    Spotlight: Genet Lakew Sets Up Scholarship for Diaspora Students

    Meet Genet Lakew, founder of the Mekonnen Family Scholarship for Diaspora students. (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April 14th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Genet Lakew knows first hand the value of scholarships when it comes to completing your higher education in the United States. The Ethiopian-American student finished her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Journalism and a master’s degree from New York University focusing on Africana-Studies without incurring any debt. The 27-year-old who now works for the National Urban League as a digital communications professional has launched a personal initiative to establish the Mekonnen Family Scholarship that she says “will benefit college-bound students at Washington-Lee High School (W-L), a public high school in Arlington, Virginia,” her alma mater.

    “I’m an Ethiopian American millennial woman passionate about empowering the next generation of changemakers,” Genet says on her online campaign page, explaining the purpose of the funds. “The scholarship is named in honor of the humble, hardworking immigrant family I come from, who poured their hopes and dreams into me. I want the names and memories of the souls who are no longer on earth to live on through this scholarship.”

    Genet adds: “My working class Ethiopian immigrant mother emphasized education as a gateway to opportunity and success. But she did not have the economic and social access to help me apply to colleges, visit campuses, pay for application fees, tuition, and housing. And that’s where my community stepped in. The Minority Achievement Coordinator at W-L (Mr. James Sample) sent scholarships my way and I was able to start my freshman year at Howard University with a total of $8,000 in scholarships.”

    Genet’s efforts are also attracting national media attention. In a recent interview with Vibe magazine Genet explained what inspired her to set up the scholarship. “I actually had this idea for a few years now. I’ve been out of college for six years this May,” she said. “So I’m kind of going through these milestones; I’m in my late twenties, and I was reflecting on my educational journey.” She added: “But it wasn’t something I really thought I could pursue. I just realized how lucky I am to not have that financial burden. So I kind of felt it was my responsibility to give back in any way that I can. I felt this was a great time to offer something that shows support to immigrant students, and their families — to let them know not only do you belong in this country, but there is support out there for you to make sure that you have a good quality of life.”

    Click here to learn more and support the Mekonnen Family Scholarship »


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    Curated by Henone Girma Art in FLUX Harlem Exhibition Opens April 19th

    Liberty on Ice, Ben Ponté, Oil and mixed media on paper, 2015, 25” x 30”. (Courtesy of Art in FLUX Harlem)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April 13th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Next week an Art in FLUX exhibition, curated by Henone Girma, will open at ALOFT Harlem as part of the New York organization’s mentoring initiative. The exhibition entitled Woe-nderland features five NYC-based artists including emerging Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw whose work we highlighted here last year. Additional participants include Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson and JaSon Auguste. Tariku’s work is currently part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

    The show, which opens on Wednesday, April 19th, “presents works that evoke a collective feeling of world-weariness that saturates the current climate and paints an honest picture of lamentation apt for recent events,” states Art in FLUX.

    According to the press release “the title Woe-nderland takes as its point of departure the 1996 single ‘If I Ruled the World’ by recording artist Nas that begins with “Life, I wonder, will it take me under, I don’t know” – a simultaneous testimony to the ills of society and contemplation of its potentials.”

    The press release adds: The exhibition offers a rather satirical lens through which we may reimagine our current social construct – this perhaps creating a timely opportunity for relating and purging.

    About the Curator:

    Henone Girma has been a gallery assistant at Art in FLUX since September 2016. She also works as a Research Associate for the Arts of Global Africa department at Newark Museum in New Jersey. She is a recent graduate from New York University with an MA in Visual Arts Administration. Henone wrote her final thesis on contemporary Ethiopian art as it relates to the art market. She hopes Woe-nderland will be the first of many exhibitions she will have the opportunity to curate as she continues her career as an arts advocate and professional.


    If You Go:
    Exhibition: Woe-nderland
    Artists: Tariku Shiferaw, Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson, and JaSon Auguste
    Opening: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
    Dates: April 19 through August 31, 2017
    Location: Aloft Harlem, 2296 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between 123 and 124th Streets, NYC
    Hours: Daily 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
    Info: www.artinfluxharlem.com

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    He Took Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Photos, Now Awol Erizku Takes on Trump Era

    Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Awol Erizku grew up in the South Bronx, New York. (The New York Times)

    The New York Times

    Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Photographer Is Opening an ‘Anti-Trump’ Art Show

    LOS ANGELES — By one measure of success, the 28-year-old artist Awol Erizku has possibly already peaked. In February he was revealed to be the photographer behind Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement, which quickly became the most popular Instagram post ever with over 10 million likes.

    The image shows her kneeling in front of a floral wreath so large it looks like a throne.

    But Mr. Erizku, who landed his first New York gallery show before he earned his M.F.A. from Yale, said that sort of record-breaking is not the attention he craves.

    “It would have meant so much more if I had gotten recognition from the Whitney this year,” he said, speaking of the Whitney Biennial — “this thing that every great artist I admire has had.”

    This is just one sign of how thoroughly the artist operates within the traditional biennial-obsessed art world, even as he manages through social media and other platforms to reach a much broader public. He D.J.s here and there and makes mixtapes to play during gallery shows to “make my peers feel welcome.” At his Los Angeles studio recently, Mr. Erizku showed his new artwork while listening to Jim James, Future and Kodak Black.

    That new work is heading to Europe for his first gallery exhibitions there: His defiantly anti-Trump show “Make America Great Again,” at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London, opens on April 20, and his more playful “Purple Reign,” at Stems in Brussels, opens a day later…

    You can also see a Trump-era development: the image of a black panther, which he has lifted straight from the logo of the Black Panther Party, now roams throughout his work, climbing an American flag or clawing a bed of roses. It also appears atop the slogan “Make America Great Again” on a red baseball cap that the artist is selling “to have something affordable in the show.”


    Works for Awol Erizku’s coming exhibitions in his studio. (The New York Times)

    As for the use of the panther image, “I don’t want to take something so powerful and cheapen it by using it too much, like wallpaper. I want to give it more power,” said Mr. Erizku, who speaks rapidly, enthusiastically. “I’m putting it out there because I’m black and I’m Muslim and this is everything Trump has tried to stand against.”

    “I don’t think this show is anti-American, but it is definitely anti-Trump,” he added. “All the people he’s hating on do make America great.”

    Read more at NYTimes.com »


    Related:
    Shaken & Stirred by Beauty: Review of Awol Erizku’s New Flower (Addis Ababa) Exhibit (TADIAS)

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    Zekarias Mesfin’s New Film Tells His Refugee Journey From Ethiopia to Canada

    Zekarias Mesfin's biographical documentary "Ewir Amora Kelabi" will premieres at the 2017 African Film Festival in New York City next month. (Photo: Metro News Canada)

    Metro News

    Like many new immigrants, Zekarias Mesfin came to Canada with hope for a better life.

    But the road to get here was long, and included violence, hunger, but hope too, he said. So this year he travelled back to his native Ethiopia, where he partnered with a film company to create Ewir Amora Kelabi, a new film getting some high profile attention.

    Mesfin wrote, produced and stared the film, which premieres next month at the African Film Festival in New York City.

    Mesfin’s story of resilience is not that uncommon among fellow refugees—he left Ethopia as an orphaned 14 year-old boy, he said, and crossed the Sahara Desert to Sudan on foot. He eventually made it to Egypt, where he said spent two years in prison for illegal border crossing.

    Finally, he made it to Canada nearly a decade ago, arriving in Vancouver first become moving to Edmonton.

    But what is unique is Mesfin’s determination to archive his journey, along with the struggle for survival faced by thousands of fellow African migrants.

    “My dream has come true, and now the cup is overflowing,” said 32-year-old Mesfin, now married with two young sons, Christian, 2, and Yeab, four months, and working at a barber shop on 118 Ave.

    The entire family will attend the prestigious U.S. festival, “with hotel, limousine, meals—it’s unbelievable,” he said.

    “I made this film because it’s important for the new generation of Africans to know what is happening, and for my children and the world to know too.

    Read more at Metronews.ca »


    Related
    Watch: Ethiopian Canadian Movie Ewir Amora Kelabi Trailer
    Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

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    Spotlight on Ethiopia’s Jano Band

    The Jano band -- a rare rock band in Ethiopia -- has been playing locally and touring in Europe for the past five years. (Photo: AFP)

    AFP

    Ethiopian band wins fans by melding rock with African sounds

    At a hotel in Addis Ababa well-known for hosting jazz greats, thousands of fans lined up on a Saturday night to headbang along with what is still a rarity in Ethiopia’s diverse music scene — a rock band.

    Jano, named after a popular item of traditional clothing, has made a name for itself in Africa’s second most populous country, as well as abroad, by blending local styles of music with Western rock and roll.

    “We’re trying to make something very, very different,” said Hailu Amerga, one of four vocalists in the eight-piece, mixed ensemble, that also features a drummer, keyboard player, guitarist and bassist.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Watch: JANO Band performing at Howard Theatre in DC on July 4th, 2013 (TADIAS Interview)

    Watch: The Ethiopian Rock Band Jano – Interview with Producer Bill Laswell (TADIAS)

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    Ethiopian Hero Gen. Jagama Kello Who Fought Fascism Dies at 96

    Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders. (Photo via BBC News)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April 8th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) – General Jagama Kello, who passed away this week at the age of 96, was among the Ethiopian heroes whose unimaginable bravery and resistance helped to defeat the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

    His daughter Yetmwork Jagema Kello made the announcement on Facebook Friday noting that her father will be laid to rest at the Kidist Selassie Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo cathedral in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

    Jagama Kello’s remarkable story, which has been shared by various Ethiopian media outlets as well as through national literary works, was also featured in the 2009 BBC documentary entitled Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers highlighting “firsthand account of African troops including the Ethiopian guerrilla forces, known as the Patriots (Arbegnoch).”

    “Jagama Kello, was at that time no more than a young man. He was the son of a wealthy landlord, who owned 900 acres of farms with his uncle, in [Ginchi], not far from Addis Ababa,” writes Journalist Martin Plaut who worked on the documentary. “Jagama had heard tales of his brave ancestors as a boy and hoped to emulate them. When the Italian invasion took place Jagama saw his chance. With his elder brother and uncle, he took to the bush, determined to resist. At first he had no gun – only his elder brother had one. But they ambushed Italian troops and gradually armed themselves. Peasants joined the struggle and by the end of the war they had over 3,000 fighters under their command.”

    Jagama remembers the battle at Seyoum Mariam in the outskirts of Addis Ababa as the biggest of his many deadly encounters with Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts,’ as they were called. Jagama told Plaut “they were told by a woman fighter where to find the Italians and in a surprise attack broke through their lines. They killed 72 Italians in the engagement, capturing some 3,000 rifles.”


    Jagama Kello as a Colonel (left) and Jagama and his brother. (Martinplaut.files.wordpress)


    General Jagama Kello. (Photo: Facebook)

    According to Plaut: “On 5th May 1941, after years in exile in Britain, the Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital. Jagama, who had received no British help during the 5 years of the war, refused to go to Addis Ababa for the ceremony. In the end the Emperor came to [Ginchi]. Jagama says he put his 3,500 troops on parade, to greet Haile Selassie. He was then driven in the Emperor’s own car to his palace, where he was awarded a gabardine coat and a gold watch. But the war was not yet over. Jimma was still under Italian control. The Emperor asked Jagama for help and he says he led his forces into battle. Reports suggest the area was ‘swarming with Patriots’ – many of whom may have been loyal to Jagama. He told the BBC that his forces captured some 500 Italian soldiers, whom he handed over to the British.”


    Related:
    Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

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    George W. Bush: PEPFAR Saves Millions of Lives in Africa. Keep it Fully Funded.

    Former president George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana. (Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    By George W. Bush

    George W. Bush served as 43rd president of the United States and founded the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.

    Last week in Gaborone, Botswana, Laura and I sat in a small room in Tlokweng Main Clinic, a facility that recently started screening and treating women for cervical cancer. Seated with us was Leithailwe Wale, a 40-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the disease. Thanks to early detection and access to treatment, she told us, today she is alive, healthy and able to raise her son.

    Good news like Leithailwe’s is becoming increasingly common in five African countries where Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is operating. Since leaving the White House, Laura and I have been heartbroken to learn that because women with HIV are more likely to have cervical cancer, people who had been saved from AIDS were needlessly dying from another treatable, preventable disease. So at the Bush Institute, we formed this global public-private partnership to fight women’s cancers.

    In the past six years, more than 370,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer and 24,000 for breast cancer through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. More than 119,000 girls have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical and other cancers. Nearly 1,000 health workers have been trained. With the proper resources and international commitment, we could end cervical cancer deaths on the continent in 30 years.

    Critical to this effort is our Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa…As the executive and legislative branches review the federal budget, they will have vigorous debates about how best to spend taxpayers’ money — and they should. Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn’t spend money overseas. I argue that we shouldn’t spend money on programs that don’t work, whether at home or abroad. But they should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented. Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.

    Read the full article at The Washington Post »


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    Ethiopia: Do the Right Thing, Drop All Prosecution of Zone 9 Bloggers (CPJ)

    (Photo: Zoneniners.com)

    CPJ

    Court says two Zone 9 bloggers should face incitement charges

    New York — Ethiopia’s Supreme Court today ruled that two bloggers from the Zone 9 collective, previously acquitted of terrorism charges, should be tried instead on charges of inciting violence through their writing. If convicted of the charge, Atnaf Berhane and Natnail Feleke would face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, according to the Addis Standard newspaper.

    The court upheld the lower court’s acquittal of two other Zone 9 bloggers, Soleyana S Gebremichael and Abel Wabella. Today’s actions by the Supreme Court were a response to prosecutors’ appeal of the October 2015 acquittal of all four.

    “We urge Ethiopian authorities to do the right thing and drop any further prosecution of Atnaf Behane and Natnail Feleke on charges relating to their work,” said Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “Today’s acquittal of two Zone 9 bloggers is a positive step, but there can be no celebration until this exhibition of legal harassment ends once and for all.”

    Ethiopia ranked fourth on CPJ’s 2015 list of the 10 Most Censored Countries and is the fifth worst jailer of journalists worldwide, according to CPJ’s 2016 prison census. CPJ awarded Zone 9 an International Press Freedom Award in 2015.

    For more data and analysis on Ethiopia, visit CPJ’s Ethiopia page.


    Related:
    Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards

    Audio: Interview With Zone 9 Bloggers Soleyana S. Gebremichael & Endalk Chala

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    The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago Marks 33 Years of Service

    (Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: April 5th, 2017

    Chicago (TADIAS) — The Chicago area is home to one of the earliest Ethiopian immigrant communities in North America. And so is the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), which marks its 33rd anniversary next month, as one of the oldest Ethiopian American organizations in the country “serving as a cultural anchor of the Chicago-area Ethiopian community” for more than three decades.

    The non-profit was established after “the tragedy of a car accident in 1984 which took the life of an Ethiopian immigrant in Chicago,” which “sparked ECAC’s founding members to establish the association.”


    (Photo: Courtesy of ECAC)

    Since 1984 ECAC has also served as an “open door for refugee populations” including from Asia, Middle East, and Eastern European nations “seeking its services in areas of advocacy, education, employment, healthcare, and community outreach.” Today ECAC is also home to the only Ethiopian museum in North America “with more than two thousand Ethiopian artifacts in its collection – made possible by the generous donation of the late musician, composer, choreographer, conductor and cultural expert, Tesfaye Lemma. This one-of-a-kind collection has not only impressed but educated hundreds of visitors on Ethiopian culture, history, and tradition.”

    The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago will host its 33rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at ECAC’s Community Center (1730 E Greenleaf Ave). Organizers share that the festivities will feature guest speakers, live entertainment and an Ethiopian dinner.


    If You Go:

    More info at www.ecachicago.org

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    Is it Worth the Money? The Economist Looks at Ethiopia’s Space Program

    Reaching for the sky: Why Ethiopia is building a space program and why critics think it an odd use of scarce resources. (Getty Images)

    The Economist

    THE ancient holy town of Lalibela, perched some 2,500 metres above sea-level in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, boasts some of the clearest night skies imaginable. Ethiopian stargazers dream that the mountains around Lalibela may one day host a world-class observatory to rival the big ones in Chile and Hawaii. And in time Ethiopia hopes to do more than just gaze at the stars. It would like to launch its own satellites, too.

    In January the government said it would launch a Chinese-built civilian satellite from an overseas rocket pad within the next five years. It would be designed to Ethiopian specifications and used to monitor crops and the weather, and doubtless to spy on neighbours, too. The government also wants to reduce reliance on foreign telecoms by launching its own communications satellite.

    In putting its own satellites into orbit Ethiopia would join the select club of African nations that have already done so. Nigeria has paid for the launch of five since 2003, some of which it says have helped fight terrorism. South Africa has also put several home-built satellites into space. Egypt launched two earth-observation ones, both of which have since failed; a private company, Nilesat, successfully operates communications ones. Kenya, Angola and Ghana are eager to join them.

    Being able to beam communications or take photos from space offers some economic benefits. Ethiopia’s government hopes that mapping the country to help resolve land disputes, for instance, could boost agricultural productivity. And it could help with planning cities better. Investment in space science might also help speed up industrialisation, the government hopes.

    Read more at Economist.com »


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    Attempt to Escape: Sadly Ethiopian Maid’s Horrifying Kuwait Video is Not the First

    A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City. (Magnum Photos)

    HRW

    Last week, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media report as the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral. The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the woman dangling outside the window. The employer tells the woman to come back inside. The panicked woman calls out for her to grab her, but within 12 seconds of the recording starting, the dangling woman loses her grip and falls.

    The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported that the domestic worker is being treated at a hospital for a broken hand, as well as nose and ear bleeding. Al-Seyassah also reported that the authorities arrested her employer, on Wednesday, and charged her for failing to assist her worker. The employer contends she tried to help. Another daily, Kuwait Times, reported on Saturday that members of the Ethiopian embassy visited the worker at the hospital.

    This is not the first time a domestic worker – someone hired to clean, cook, and care for a household – attempted a dangerous escape or suicide. The Kuwaiti press often report such stories as “attempted suicides,” as with this recent incident. They don’t usually question whether these were suicide attempts or, rather, attempts to escape. In 2009, Human Rights Watch spoke to eight women who were reported as having “attempted suicide,” but who said they had really fallen from buildings trying to escape abuse or were pushed by their employers. No one has suggested that the employer in this incident was responsible for such abuse.

    I have interviewed hundreds of domestic workers in the Gulf region. Many said their employers locked them inside, forced them to work excessive hours, and beat them. Some scrambled down or jumped off buildings to escape.

    In 2015, Kuwait took steps to provide migrant domestic workers with labor rights, but it has not reformed the notorious kafala system, under which migrant workers cannot leave or change their employer without the employer’s permission. As a result, while domestic workers now have rights to a weekly day off, daily limits to their working hours, and overtime compensation – they can still be arrested for “absconding” if they escape from their employers, even abusive ones.

    Kuwaiti authorities should investigate the working conditions that lead to all such attempted escapes or suicides and refrain from charging employees with “absconding.” No one should have to resort to climbing out of tall buildings to escape their workplace.


    Related:
    Kuwaiti woman ‘investigated over Ethiopian maid’s window fall’ (BBC)

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    In Rome, Ethiopian Runners Rule Marathon

    The 2017 Rome marathon was won by Ethiopia's Shura Kitata Tola on Sunday in record time, while the women's race was also won by his compatriot Rahma Tusa who finished in 2hr 27min 21sec. (Photos: IAAF)

    International Association of Athletics Federations

    Shura Kitata clocks second-fastest time in Rome while Rahma Tusa retains title

    Shura Kitata recorded the second-fastest time ever witnessed at the Acea Rome Marathon while fellow Ethiopian and training partner Rahma Tusa successfully defended her title at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race on Sunday (2).

    With rain falling heavily in the Italian capital, the men’s race set off at a quick pace. A quartet of pacemakers led the field through 5km in 14:49, 10km in 29:39 and 15km in 44:47 with the splits suggesting a sub-2:06 finishing time.

    Seven men, not including the pacemakers, went through the half-way point in 1:03:25 and it appeared as though they still had a good chance of breaking the course record of 2:07:17 set in 2009 by Benjamin Kiptoo.

    But the pace slipped after the last of the pacemakers dropped out at 30km. Four men – Kitata, fellow Ethiopians Werkunesh Seyoum and Solomon Lema, plus Kenya’s Dominic Ruto – were left in the lead pack at that point.

    Lema was the next to drop behind while the three other men ran together for another five kilometres and reached 35km in 1:46:03, 2:07:51 pace. Kitata knew that if he was to break the course record, he couldn’t hang around any longer.

    The 21-year-old Ethiopian pushed the pace and dropped his two remaining rivals, opening a gap of almost one minute over the course of five kilometres. Kitata saw the course record figures come and go on the clock before he reached the finish line but he still finished strongly to win in 2:07:30, taking more than a minute off the PB he set on his marathon debut in Shanghai in 2015.

    “I am very happy with this victory, I was well trained and confident,” said Kitata, who trains alongside world marathon champion Mare Dibaba. “My coach Haji Adilo had told me that I could even run under 2:07, but my manager Hussein Makke told me that it was important to win…The pace was very fast until after the first half, then it is a bit slow,” he added. “At one point I decided to accelerate and it went well. In the end I tried to run as fast as possible to achieve the best time. It was not easy running in the rain.”

    Read more at IAAF.org »


    Related:

    LEADING RESULTS
    Men
    1 Shura Kitata (ETH) 2:07:30
    2 Dominic Ruto (KEN) 2:09:10
    3 Benjamin Bitok (KEN) 2:09:16
    4 Mathew Kisaat (KEN) 2:09:19
    5 Werkunesh Seyoum (ETH) 2:09:27
    6 Solomon Lema (ETH) 2:12:18
    7 Ahmed Nasef (ITA) 2:16:42
    8 Carmine Buccilli (ITA) 2:19:35

    Women
    1 Rahma Tusa (ETH) 2:27:23
    2 Mestawot Tadesse (ETH) 2:31:41
    3 Abebe Tekulu (ETH) 2:32:08
    4 Beatrice Cherop (KEN) 2:32:21
    5 Halima Hussen (ETH) 2:35:01
    6 Konjit Tilahun (ETH) 2:35:38
    7 Wude Ayalew (ETH) 2:36:04
    8 Meskerem Abera (ETH) 2:37:56


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    BBC Radio on Haile Selassie’s Life & Legacy With Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate

    BBC interviews political analyst and author Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate about the life and legacy of his great-uncle Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

    BBC

    Sun 2 Apr 2017

    Emperor Haile Selassie was the last in the line of Ethiopia’s ancient monarchy. During his long rule he was revered as an international statesman and reformer, demonised as a dictator, and even worshipped as a God incarnate by the Rastafarians of Jamaica. He was without doubt a controversial figure, but achieved a status in the global arena previously unheard of for an African ruler.

    Bridget Kendall discusses Haile Selassie’s life and legacy with Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, political analyst and author of ‘King of Kings: The Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia’, who is also the great-nephew of Haile Selassie; Gerard Prunier, Independent Consultant on Eastern and Central African affairs, and former Director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis-Ababa; and Laura Hammond, an anthropologist specialising in Ethiopia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

    Read more and listen to the program at BBC.com »


    Related:
    New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie
    Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
    In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica
    Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch

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    Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia

    The letter was written by U.S. Representative Mike Coffman of Denver, Colorado on behalf of his Ethiopian American constituents to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: April 2nd, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — This week in a letter to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Program, Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, whose district includes the vibrant Denver-area Ethiopian community, urged his colleagues to review the more than $500 million American taxpayers dollars for Fiscal Year 2017 in US aid program to Ethiopia. The letter comes the same week as the Ethiopian government announced the four-month extension of its strict emergency ban.

    “I write to you today at the request of many of the Ethiopian-Americans whom I represent in Congress,” Coffman said in the March 30th, 2017 letter addressed to the subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking member, Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. “These constituents have brought to my attention what they view as an ongoing campaign of human rights violations in their homeland of Ethiopia.” The Congressman continued: “They are convinced that these serious human rights violations are the result of an organized and concerted effort perpetrated by the Ethiopian government.”

    The letter, which was shared with us by members of the Ethiopian American community, goes on to highlight the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders. Congressman Coffman noted that currently the amount of money that the United States gives to Ethiopia annually totals $514 million most of it allocated for “economic development, humanitarian assistance, health, education and social services.” Congressman Coffman pointed out: “While the goal of this aid is noble, numerous constituents and experts on the Sub-Saharan region tell me that this assistance may not be reaching those in Ethiopia who needed most, and maybe providing support and legitimacy to this regime”

    “In light of these abuses and the United States’ stated strategy of strengthening democratic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, I believe it is important for you to review the current aid program to Ethiopia to ensure that the aid provided is not subsidizing a government apparently committed to the systematic abuse of its own citizens and reduction of the democratic space within its borders,” the letter said. “I respectfully request that the subcommittee include language ensuring the suspension of appropriations FY2018 foreign assistance for Ethiopia pending its government’s implementation of real, concrete and measurable humanitarian reforms as outlined in H.Res. 128.” Rep. Coffman added: I believe that doing so will communicate to the Ethiopian government how seriously the United States views these human rights violations.”

    Click here to read the letter »


    Related:
    Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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