Author Archive for Tadias

US: Seizing Children From Parents at the Border Is Immoral

A 2-year-old Honduran girl cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Tex. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

It may be hard to believe that this is happening in the United States in 2018, that hundreds of children are being snatched from their parents, frequently under false pretenses, often screaming, and placed in vast warehouselike centers like the former Walmart in Brownsville, Tex., where nearly 1,500 boys now spend their days. The parents often don’t know where their children are, or when they will see them again.

In 2014 the Obama administration detained hundreds of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border, a practice that the federal courts quickly curtailed. But separating families as a matter of unofficial policy is something new and malicious, a function of President Trump’s obsession with undocumented immigrants. This spring, the administration ordered that everyone caught crossing illegally into the United States be prosecuted. And since children cannot accompany grown-ups to jail, people who had crossed illegally with children had their children taken away. Hundreds upon hundreds of children, of all ages, creating a new industry in mass shelters.

The United Nations human rights office called this new practice a serious violation of the rights of children and demanded an immediate halt. Catholic bishops denounced it as immoral. The American Psychological Association warned that the separations threatened the mental and physical health of the children. All to no avail.

The administration has come back with a mix of just-following-orders and falsehoods. The Department of Homeland Security said it had no policy for separating families; it was just catching criminals. President Trump feigned sympathy for the separations but claimed he was the victim of “bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” which nobody could find. Only John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, offered what appeared to be a plausible, if shocking, explanation: that separating parents from their children could be a “tough deterrent.”

The heartlessness of that is mind-boggling. It seems to elude the administration and its cheerleaders that this is not about crime or security, but about the most elemental human values; that ordering armed border guards to cruelly and needlessly rip children from mothers — in one case, while she was breast-feeding the child — goes against fundamental American values and undercuts its standing in the world.

Read more »


Related:
Recording of crying children at border adds to outrage (AP)

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Ethiopian Entrepreneur Alexander Assefa Wins Nevada Election

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: June 16th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT ALEXANDER ASSEFA

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 14th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IF YOU GO:

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

Purchase tickets here


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Why Landlocked Ethiopia Wants to Launch a Navy (BBC)

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

BBC News

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

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

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

What is behind the move?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 13th, 2018

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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Futurists in Ethiopia Betting on Artificial Intelligence

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

Quartz Africa

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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After All the Hype, Trump’s NKorea Pact Falls Flat (AP Analysis)

The details of the pact signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un appear far weaker than advertised by the U.S. President, which leaves him "open to criticism that he has given Kim what he has long wanted — recognition, respect and legitimacy on the world stage — without getting anything substantive on nukes in return." -- AP. (AP photo)

AP

Analysis: By Trump’s own yardstick, NKorea pact falls flat

SINGAPORE (AP) — After all the hype, all the vows to tackle what’s perhaps the world’s most urgent crisis, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fell short of the kind of deal the U.S. president himself has long said is needed to settle the North’s decadeslong pursuit of nuclear weapons.

For months, Trump has been railing against presidents past, accusing them of an inexcusable failure to solve the nuclear threat emanating from the North. On Tuesday, he patted himself on the back for signing a “comprehensive” pact with Kim paving a path toward denuclearization, but the contours appeared far weaker than even his predecessors’ failed deals.

Rather than a detailed statement filled with concrete restraints on the North, the document seemed to amount mostly to a restatement of long-assumed principles and an agreement to keep talking. And Trump made dramatic on-the-spot concessions to Kim that his own advisers had urged him against, including a halt on “provocative” U.S.-South Korea military exercises and an admission he could be willing to withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea in the future.

“These are all things that Trump is putting on the table as concessions, all in exchange for some vague promises by the North Koreans,” said Paul Haenle, a former China director at the White House National Security Council in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. He called the language in the joint statement “weak, vague and worrisome.”

In the document, signed with great fanfare by Trump and Kim in Singapore, Kim committed to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Trump said that process would be starting very soon, adding that once it starts, “it’s pretty much over.”

Not so simple. Kim has made the denuclearization pledge before. In his April agreement with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the language was similar, with the two vowing to achieve “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization.”

To be sure, the fact the U.S. and North Korea are now on speaking terms, with a prominent display of nascent rapport among their leaders, augurs a lowering of tensions that likely reduces the chances of a nuclear confrontation in the short term. There will be many in Seoul and Tokyo who are relieved that Washington and Pyongyang are talking up friendship, not potential war.

To that end, there could be something to the notion that if two warring enemies can truly start dealing with each other in fundamentally different ways, then there could be future movement on the nuke issue. North Korea is a top-down nation, and Kim’s word is law. The North Koreans and Americans also decided to hold more talks and likely another leader-to-leader summit, Trump said, an acknowledgement that the issue won’t be resolved in a single day.

Yet line up all the bold claims Trump and his lieutenants made ahead of Tuesday’s summit, and it’s clear that the end result, at least where nukes are concerned, don’t hit the mark. That’s especially striking after last year’s exchange of threats and insults between Trump and Kim, just as North Korea’s torrid weapons testing had many fearing a renewal of the Korean War.

There was irony in the fact that Trump and Kim made direct reference in their agreement to the so-called Panmunjom Declaration between Moon and Kim, with its weak, reheated commitment to denuclearization that lacked specifics at how the rivals would get there. Similarly, there was nothing specific on nukes in Tuesday’s declaration — and no joint affirmation of the goal of “complete, verifiable and irreversible” dismantlement that Trump’s aides had previously made the litmus test for success.

Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly indicted his predecessors for their handling of North Korea, which launched its atomic program in the 1960s and began producing bomb fuel in the early 1990s. Past administrations have also used a combination of sanctions and diplomacy to seek denuclearization, and have yielded some results that failed to endure.

President Bill Clinton reached an aid-for-disarmament deal in 1994 that halted North Korea’s plutonium production for eight years, halting growth in what was then a very small atomic arsenal. In his final months in office, he also contemplated a summit with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il — Kim Jong Un’s father — as the two sides negotiated on also limiting the North’s missile program but ran out of time in office.

George W. Bush took a tougher stance toward North Korea, and the 1994 nuclear deal collapsed amid suspicions that the North was running a secret uranium program. But Bush, too, ultimately pursued negotiations. That led to a temporary disabling of some nuclear facilities, but talks collapsed because of differences over verification.

President Barack Obama made tentative efforts to resume those talks but made little headway. Independent experts estimate North Korea now has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs, and it has tested missiles that could potentially deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland.

Also missing from the document was something Trump signaled ahead of the summit that could be a major “get”: language committing to end the Korean War, which was stopped by an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically in a state of war. The closest Trump and Kim got was a vow to “join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

All this leaves Trump open to criticism that he has given Kim what he has long wanted — recognition, respect and legitimacy on the world stage as an equal — without getting anything substantive on nukes in return.


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Ethiopian Airlines Begins Flight to Chicago

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 11th, 2018

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

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


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

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

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

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


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Photos: Remembering Anthony Bourdain’s Visit to Ethiopia

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 9th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Worldwide outpouring of sympathy

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


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

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

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

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


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Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society

(Image via YouTube: Faces of Ethiopia)

Tadias Magazine
Editorial

June 8th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Economist

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

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

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

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

Read more »


Related:
Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

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Ethiopia Offers Eritrea Chance to End Africa’s Longest War

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

BBC

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

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

How genuine is this peace offer?

It seems pretty genuine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does Eritrea say?

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Ethiopia Lifts State of Emergency

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

Reuters

Updated: JUNE 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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


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Andy Tsege ‘Overjoyed’ to Return to UK

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

Sky News

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Theresa May has thanked her Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, for the release of Mr Tsege and other prisoners.


Related:
Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed (AP)

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The Aslan Project Fundraiser Hosting Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th

photo credit: The Aslan Project

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Aslan Project – an organization that focuses primarily on providing access to treatment for pediatric cancer patients in Ethiopia — will be holding their annual fundraiser this year in New York City at Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th, 2018.

A few years ago two children from Ethiopia, Temesgen Gamacho and Eyoel Fanta, were pediatric cancer patients at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. when the unthinkable happened for their parents and loved ones. Both children did not survive their illness. Eyoel had been diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, which was one of the most curable pediatric cancers. The loss of these two children drove their physician, Dr. Aziza Shad, who was Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Georgetown Hospital at the time, to launch The Aslan Project in Ethiopia in 2012 and jumpstart a large-scale commitment to set up a world-class cancer treatment program for children in Ethiopia.

Today the Aslan Project has built an innovative and large international network of volunteer pediatric cancer specialists in collaboration with parents of pediatric patients to support Ethiopia’s pediatric hematology/oncology programs at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa as well as at Jimma University Hospital. The program in Addis Ababa is now being managed by Dr. Daniel Hailu Kefeni, one of the first graduates of the pediatric cancer fellowship set up by The Aslan Project five years ago at Tikur Anbessa Hospital.

In a 2016 interview with Tadias from Washington, D.C. Julie Broas, Executive Director of The Aslan Project, shared that “in addition to giving children a chance to survive a curable cancer the organization’s mission was to provide equitable access for families in low-resource settings to high standard local treatment.” Broas added: “What we chose to do in Ethiopia is to focus on medical education and training of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, because that’s how you would build a comprehensive program that’s locally supported and sustainable.”


(Photo: Courtesy of the Aslan Project)

Dr. Tenagne Haile-Mariam, who works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital as well as a board member of the The Aslan Project, reiterated that “the key is to create a whole system that’s linked to locally existing initiatives, not a situation where you can just send a doctor and say ‘go at it’ because they will fail,” she said. “This is why The Aslan Project is a catalytic program, because in order to implement it you have to put into place not just the right people, but you have to put them in a system where they can work in order to ensure sustainability.”


You can learn more and supprt the The Aslan Project at www.aslanproject.org.

If You Go:
The Aslan Project Fundraiser
Date: Monday, June 4th, 2018
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Red Rooster Harlem
310 Lenox Ave, NY, NY 10027

To purchase tickets or an event sponsorship visit The Aslan Project site.

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‘Jember’: Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic Series Entertains & Empowers Fans with African History

Jember Series written and created by Beserat Debebe tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. (photo credit: Etan Comics Facebook)

Atlanta Black Star

ATLANTA — The first Ethiopian superhero comic is fusing the various parts of African history and culture into one contemporary and relatable story. “Jember” from Etan Comics was written and created by Beserat Debebe and tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. Amanuel Tilahun is transformed into Jember and readers can grab issue #1 to discover who the hero really is, where the powers came from and how they’ll transform Tilahun’s life.

“Amanuel’s story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities, Debebe told OkayAfrica Tuesday, May 15. “Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get.”

Setting the plot apart, Debebe used African history, culture and mythology to tell Jember’s story. The Kingdom of Punt, an ancient East African civilization, plays a major role in the book’s creation.

“Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present-day African countries,” Debebe explained. “We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers’ perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life.”

The first issue of “Jember” is on sale now and is available in English and Amharic.

Read more about the new comic series»


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Did Obama Come Too Early for America?

Former president Barack Obama walks by his presidential portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in February. (The Washington Post)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Did Obama Come Too Early for America? New Book Reveals He Wondered So

May 31st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election President Barack Obama was said to have wondered aloud if he had come a bit too early for America.

In response his advisors sought to uplift his spirits emphasizing that the vast majority of young people understood him better than the older generation; this was according to a new book by Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes.

“His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump,” the New York Times notes citing Rhodes’ book. “Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.”

As the Washington Post’s Eugene Scott reminds us “Obama’s vision of America was rooted in uniting those who often process politics and policy differently because of their different identities.” Obama famously articulated this during his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech in Boston that catapulted him to international stardom.

However, Scott also points out: “More than a decade later, as the first black president was ending his historic time in the White House, Obama was faced with acknowledging something that perhaps he had not previously — America was far more divided than many people realized. It’s fair to say, more than a year after President Trump entered the White House, Obama was wrong about one thing: just how many people bought into his vision of an inclusive America where diversity is fundamental to the country’s — and the world’s — success. Very often after a racist, sexist or other discriminatory comment or incident captures national headlines, some politicians and other cultural influencers head to Twitter to say: “This is not who we are.” The frequency with which these episodes happen is proof that that’s not true.”

Scott adds:

Obama often called on Americans “to appeal … to our better angels.” This is a line he borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, who had to challenge Americans to do the same thing more than a century and a half ago. While Obama may have underestimated just how tribalistic the country had become during his presidency, and the role he may have played in it, the idea that most people bought into the vision of America that Trump promoted is also unsupported by the data. A majority of the electorate voted against Trump.”

Indeed per the officially-certified votes from the 2016 presidential race Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, but lost the Electoral College.

Below are links to both articles:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/trumps-election-made-obama-wonder-if-america-was-ready-to-move-forward-from-its-past/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/us/politics/obama-reaction-trump-election-benjamin-rhodes.html


Related:
Millennials Take on Trump in 2018 Midterm Elections
Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

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How Ethiopia’s Social Safety-net Program is Setting an Example — The Economist

Extending the safety-net in Ethiopia: Ethiopia’s scheme to help the poor is setting an example.

The Economist

May 31st 2018 | ADDIS ABABA

TSIDE ZEWIDE has lived in the shadow of the national palace in Addis Ababa for more than 50 years. Since her husband died four years ago the 73-year-old has cared for three orphans, the grandchildren of her late sister, alone in a rundown government-owned shack. She has no pension and, until recently, had no income. “I relied on the kindness of my neighbours,” she sighs.

Last year Mrs Zewide’s fortunes changed. She and some 80 of her neighbours rise at dawn to sweep the streets of the Ethiopian capital for three hours a day. For this she is paid 1,200 Ethiopian birr ($44) a month, a fifth of which she is required to save. “It’s good for me psychologically,” she says. “It keeps me busy, and now at least I can tell people I have a job.” Her teammates nod in agreement.

They are participants in Ethiopia’s Urban Productive Safety Net Project, which was launched in 2017 and is among the largest social programmes in sub-Saharan Africa (outside South Africa) designed specifically for urban areas. About 400,000 poor Ethiopians in 11 cities are already enrolled. The government hopes it will eventually help 4.7m people in almost 1,000 towns. Beneficiaries are selected by a neighbourhood committee based on how poor and vulnerable they are. In addition to the paid work, they also receive training. Those who want to start their own businesses are given grants…

Ethiopia’s programme is a step towards building a national social-security system that will, in time, replace a hotch-potch of small ones. It builds on Ethiopia’s flagship rural safety-net, which is the largest of its kind on the continent and covers some 10m poor people in the countryside (out of a total population of about 102m). The government has committed $150m to fund the new scheme and the World Bank has stumped up the remaining $300m needed for the first five years. Ethiopia hopes that within ten years it will no longer need help financing the programme.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed

Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group, was previously sentenced to death. (Photo: NYT)

The Associated Press

An Ethiopian court has dropped charges against two U.S.-based media outlets once accused of coordinating anti-government protests, as well as a high-profile politician and opposition activist.

The developments reported by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate are the latest under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who since his installation in April has secured the release of several thousands of prisoners.

Charges were dropped against broadcasters ESAT and OMN and activist Jawar Mohammed.

Charges also were dropped against politician Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group and was previously sentenced to death.

Also Tuesday, Ethiopia-born British national Andgargachew Tsige walked free after being pardoned Saturday on “special circumstances.” He was secretary-general of Ginbot 7 and had been detained in Yemen in 2014 under Ethiopia’s infamous anti-terror law.


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Ethiopia: Abiy Indicates Visa Free Entry by All Africans Sparking Lively Tweets

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: EPA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — PM Abiy’s recent indication of a visa free entry to Ethiopia by all Africans has sparked a lively online conversation on the topic.

The PM made the comment while hosting the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in Addis Ababa this past weekend.

Rwanda is the first country in Africa to implement such a program.

“The President invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon,” Abyi said during a state banquet in honor of Kagame on Friday.

The website This is Africa pointed out: “While Prime Minister Abiy did not give specific details of the plan to allow all Africans to travel to Ethiopia without visas, the proposal is a laudable step to open Africa’s borders. The policy will open up the east African country to African visitors, and it will undoubtedly ease the free movement of African nationals and boost tourism.”

“The issuance of visa-on-arrival for all countries was widely celebrated by many across the continent, and on social media,” the website enthused. “The announcement by Prime Minister Abiy is indeed laudable and demonstrates that African countries are beginning to act on the implementation of the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders” to help facilitate the free movement of African citizens.”

Africa News added: “For a country that is widely seen as not open in respect of visa acquisition, the disclosure by the PM has been received with different reaction…Whiles most people expressed joy at the idea, others also had concerns with respect to security and for one commenter, the state of the capital Addis Ababa – stressing the incidence of street dwelling and lack of basic amenities.”


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Etenesh Wassié’ Gives Europe Ethio Blues

Etenesh Wassié, Mathieu Sourisseau and Sébastien Bacquias perform on RFI's Musiques du Monde. (RFI/Laurence Aloir)

RFI

Ethiopian vocalist Etenesh Wassié began her career in Addis aged just 15 singing in traditional music venues known as Azmari Bet. She’s now building a successful career in Europe singing azmari songs and working, notably, with French musicians. Her second album Yene Alem is out in June.

Wassié was introduced to European audiences thanks to Francis Falceto, producer of the influential Ethiopiques compilations of Ethiopian music.

“I met her in the 90s after the end of the revolution when the curfew was cancelled and nightlife was passable again,” says Falceto. “She was one of my favourite singers then and she still is very active. And mostly abroad, because she’s musical enough and talented enough to deal with musicians from all over the world and especially with French musicians.”

She began working with French band Le Tigre des Platanes about a decade ago.

“I was dreading the rehearsals,” she told RFI’s Musiques du Monde programme “but after four or five concerts it got easier.”

She now seems perfectly at ease performing live with bass player Mathieu Sourisseau – with whom she’s recorded Yene Alem – and cellist Sébastien Bacquias.

“She’s an incredibly talented vocalist,” says Falceto. “Her voice, her sense of fun, on stage she’s a hurricaine but she can also be an incredible blueswoman. For me she has a brilliant future if she goes ahead properly she can fly very high.”

Etenesh Wassié performs at Les Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon on 22 July with Mahmoud Ahmed and Girma Beyené.

Yene Alem is out on 8 June.


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Amnesty International USA Hosts Conference on Human Rights in Ethiopia

Soliyana Shimeles, Bekele Gerba, Andualem Aragie and Eskinder Nega are among the Ethiopian speakers at the upcoming Amnesty International USA conference regarding human rights in Ethiopia and its regional implications. (Photos via CPJ, NPR, YouTube and by Befekadu Hailu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is hosting a conference next month in New York City focusing on the state of human rights in Ethiopia. Among the main speakers are recently released former prisoners of conscience including journalist Eskinder Nega, opposition party leaders Bekele Gerba and Andualem Aragie as well as Zone 9 blogger Soliyana Shimeles and other civil society leaders.

The conference, which is set to take place on June 8th at the New York Ethical Society in Manhattan is organized by the Bronx chapter of Amnesty International USA in collaboration with a coalition of US-based Africa Diaspora associations.

“The conference will focus on the closing political space, human rights defenders in the region and building links among different Diaspora groups,” AIUSA said in a press release. “We have invited some of the leading voices of civil society working on these issues in the region as well as activists here in the United States who have been supporting efforts in the region to protect and expand political space, establish accountable governments and ensure respect for human rights.”

AIUSA has announced their invited speakers list as follows:

1. ESKINDER NEGA, recently released former prisoner of conscience and journalist.

2. Dr. BEKELE GERBA, recently released former prisoner of conscience, one of the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress, English Professor at Addis Ababa University.

3 ANDUALEM ARAGIE, recently released former prisoner of conscience, Vice President and Press Secretary for the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP).

4. Dr. AWOL ALLO, lecturer at Keele University in the UK. He also taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Dr. Awol has published many academic articles in reputable journals. He has been a frequent guest analyst on the mainstream media like the BBC and Al-Jazeera on issues related to Ethiopia and Horn of Africa.


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Andargachew Tsige to Be Released (AP)

Andargachew Tsege is a father of three from London. A prominent figure in Ethiopian politics, kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia in 2014. (Family photo via Twitter)

AP

Ethiopia releasing British national detained in 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia says it is releasing an Ethiopia-born British national detained in Yemen in 2014 under the country’s infamous anti-terror law.

Andargachew Tsige was secretary-general of the opposition group Ginbot 7 based mainly in Ethiopia’s arch- foe Eritrea.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports that Andargachew was pardoned under “special circumstances” with the intervention of the attorney general. The report says close to 600 people are being released in all.

Britain had been trying to secure Andargachew’s release since his arrest.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was installed in April and has since secured the release of several thousands of prisoners, including high-profile politicians and journalists.


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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 23rd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Six years ago this month when PEN America honored Eskinder Nega with the prestigious “Freedom to Write” award, the Ethiopian journalist was in prison serving an 18-year sentence for criticizing the government.

But on Tuesday evening Eskinder made a surprise appearance at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York City to personally thank the organization for the accolade that was bestowed on him in 2012.

Eskinder was released in February after spending nearly seven years behind bars.

“We live in an age of paradox,” Eskinder told the crowd that had gathered at the American Museum of Natural History. “On the one hand, we have countries, amongst them the U.S., home of the First Amendment, where freedom of expression has come to be taken for granted, and on the other, Ethiopia, my country, where the freedom to express oneself without restraint, without reprisal, is still an elusive ideal, still distant as the stars.”

Eskinder added: “And in this world of two realities, I ask whether those who are free have an obligation towards those of us who are unfree. I say they do…In the prize I received from PEN America, I see the solidarity of the free to the unfree. I see the triumph of our common humanity over our differences. I see our common destiny, which is that of freedom for all humanity.”

Among the eminent writers who attended the event included Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu.

Watch: Eskinder Nega speaking at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala:

In a press release the organization said: “PEN America welcomed a broad cross-section of New York luminaries to the American Museum of Natural History Tuesday night for the at once celebratory and urgent 2018 PEN Literary Gala, held at a time when open discourse and press freedom—liberties that the organization has defended worldwide for nearly a century—are under threat in the U.S. as well as abroad. Provocative speeches from literary and activist leaders rallied the nearly 950 guests to redouble their efforts in defense of truth, facts, the role of the media, and open dialogue as foundations of democracy. In the dramatic setting of the Museum’s Millstein Hall of Ocean Life, under its famed, 94-foot-long blue whale, the literary community came together in a remarkable display of solidarity to advance the mission of PEN America, led by its recently elected President, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan.”


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U.S. Alumni of Ethiopia’s Historic TMS School to Gather in Virginia

Photo courtesy of the TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 22nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Tafari Makonnen School Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA) will hold its fourth biennial general assembly in Falls Church, Virginia.

Now renamed Entoto Technical & Vocational Education Training College, the Tafari Makonnen School that opened in 1925 was one of the premier modern educational institutions as well as the one of the most prestigious public schools in Ethiopia, graduating students who became the country’s first batch of diplomats, teachers, doctors, civil administrators, economists, senior military leaders, lawyers and professors.

The president of the TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA), Dr. Bisrat Aklilu — a retired United Nations official who graduated from the school in 1967 — points out that TMSAANA provides “financial support to 800 TMS students comprising of tuition support and payments to cover the monthly hygiene needs of 400 girls.”

In addition the upcoming event will feature a new book release by TMS Alumnus, Ermias Amare, Ye TMS Tezita, published by TMSAANA. “This is the second book that TMSAANA helped to publish; the first being Memoirs of a former TMS Teacher by the 95-year-old Roland Turenne, the only living Canadian Jesuit who taught at TMS for over 20 years and lived in Ethiopia for over 65 years,” shares Dr. Bisrat.

On its website TMSAANA highlights a quote from the school’s inaugural speech delivered on April 27, 1925 by its founder Emperor Haile Selassie who was then called Regent Ras Tafari Makonnen:

This school is an instrument which will operate on our country’s behalf through the knowledge which God gives to each of you according to your lot, once you have matured in wisdom and have become vigorous in intelligence. So I beg of you to help the school which nurtures you, give you the food of knowledge: to see that it does not shrink but expands, that it does not fall but grows in strength.”


If You Go:
TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA)
4th General Assembly — May 26th, 2018
Falls Church, Virginia.
For more info email: alumni@tmsaana.com
www.tmsaana.com

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Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

(Getty Images)

Reuters

LOS ANGELES – Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have struck a deal to produce films and series for Netflix Inc, the streaming service said on Monday, giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy.

Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas have the option to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix said in a statement.

The Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others, said a person familiar with the deal.

Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed and the first of the programming is not expected to reach viewers until about May 2019, the person said.

The agreement between the Obamas and Netflix, which boasts some 125 million subscribers worldwide, is a first for any occupant of the White House…

The Obamas gave no details of the topics they planned to cover but the content is not expected to be directly political.

Barack Obama in a statement recalled the “fascinating people” from all walks of life that he had met during his eight years in office, ending in January 2017.


Netflix Forming Storytelling Partnership With Barack and Michelle Obama

Press Release

Hollywood, Calif., May 21, 2018 — President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.

The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said Mrs. Obama. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

About Netflix:

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 125 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


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Ethiopia to Make Emperor Menelik’s Palace a Tourist Site

(Photo via Face2Face Africa)

Face2Face Africa

The palace of Minilik was built 100 years ago by King Menelik II and this year, Ethiopian government will make it a tourist site.

The Menelik Palace contains several residences, halls, chapels, and working buildings.

The palace’s mastermind, King Menelik II, reined from 1889 to his death in 1913.

He is known for his territorial expansion and creation of modern Ethiopia. Most notably, he is remembered for leading Ethiopian troops in a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa against forces of fascist Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War.

Emperor Haile Selassie also used the compound to preside over judicial issues. Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose party took over after Selassie was overthrown, used the palace grounds as a prison to house many notables of the imperial government including Selassie himself. Mengistu, who is now in exile, built his office within the compound.

The palace now serves as the seat of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed, the country’s recently installed Prime Minister, believes that opening the site will help to highlight Ethiopia’s history.

Read more »


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Al-Amoudi Will Be Released Soon, PM Says

Al Amoudi has been detained in Saudi Arabia since November 2017 as part of a high profile anti-corruption probe. The billionaire businessman will return to Ethiopia "soon," announced Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who recently traveled to the oil kingdom and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “One of the reasons we went to Saudi Arabia was to ask the Saudi government to release Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi,” Abiy said. “We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon.” (Photo: I-ARB Africa)

Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia will soon release Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, an Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire arrested in November during a crackdown on corruption, Ethiopia’s prime minister said.

Abiy Ahmed made the remarks late on Saturday after arriving from the Gulf kingdom, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a two-day visit.

Al Amoudi, a son of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother who has invested heavily in construction, agriculture and mining in the Horn of Africa country, was among 11 princes, four current ministers and top businessmen detained during the swoop by a new anti-corruption body.

“The incarceration of one Ethiopian is the incarceration of all Ethiopians. Sheikh Al Amoudi’s arrest is top in the agenda for all Ethiopians,” Abiy said in the capital Addis Ababa.

“We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon,” he added in a townhall-style gathering.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Lobbies for Release of Billionaire in Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg)

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Spotlight: Ethiopian-American Engineer Berhane Tadese Receives IEEE Award for Managerial Excellence

Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese at IEEE award ceremony earlier this month (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) — which is also known as “the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity” — has honored Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese for Managerial Excellence in an Engineering Organization at a ceremony held earlier this month on May 5 at the Midtown New York Hilton Hotel. The IEEE award cites Mr. Berhane’s “outstanding leadership and contributions to electrical engineering management in the design and construction of vital railroad signaling projects and teaching the next generation of signal engineers for the MTA New York City Transit.” 

Mr. Berhane was awarded as a Region 1 recipient representing IEEE members from the northeastern region of the United States, which includes professionals from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. IEEE currently has approximately 400,000 members and award recipients include scientists, professional engineers and engineering students. 

Mr. Berhane has over 33 years of engineering experience in the design and construction of railroad signaling capital projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit, which is “the largest public transit authority in the United States..carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide” according to Wikipedia. 

Currently serving as Program Manager, Mr. Berhane is primarily responsible for “replacing outdated signaling with state-of-the-art communications-based train control systems on the Queens Line corridor in New York City, and manages a team of signal engineers working on the design, test and commissioning of railroad signal systems.” In addition to his managerial work, Mr. Berhane has also been teaching fundamental and advanced signal design courses to young engineers who are starting their careers at the MTA-NYC Transit, and encouraging them to join professional development organizations such as the IEEE. 

“The award reflects not only my personal achievements, it also reflects my family’s and colleagues’ support,” Mr. Berhane told Tadias. “Nothing can be achieved without support from the communities and people around the individual. It also meant a lot to my home country, Ethiopia as I am her product and it taught me the value of hard work.”

Mr. Berhane earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and his Master’s degree in the same field from City University of New York’s School of Engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York and is currently a member of America Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) as well as Senior Member of the IEEE. Outside of his professional interests, Mr. Berhane is actively involved with the Ethiopian EDIR Mutual Assistance Association of New York (EEMAA) serving as its first Secretary as well as the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for the past 4 years. 

We congratulate Mr. Berhane on his IEEE award!


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Ethiopia Probes Killing of Dangote Cement Country Manager (Bloomberg)

Deep Kamra, the Ethiopia country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday along with his secretary and his driver near the factory north of Addis Ababa. The Company has faced opposition to its sourcing of raw materials. Kamra was an Indian national. The Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa said its providing all necessary assistance to return his body back home. (Photo: Reporter)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian authorities are investigating the murder of the country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, the manufacturer owned by Africa’s richest man, and two other staff.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Deep Kamra, his secretary and his driver on Wednesday, Tariku Alemayehu, deputy manager for sales and marketing in Ethiopia, said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa. The killings took place in broad daylight near Dangote’s factory in Mugher, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Addis Ababa, Group Executive Director Edwin Devakumar said by email from Lagos, Nigeria, where Dangote’s head office is based.

The assailants forced the driver to lose control by throwing a concrete block at the vehicle the three people were traveling in, before opening fire on the occupants, Devakumar said.

“Mr. Kamra tried to get out and escape,” he said. “They shot him in the leg. When he slumped into the jeep, they went near and shot him multiple times. Then they shot the driver and the secretary — also, each of them, multiple times. It was simply a massacre.”

Security forces are working to apprehend the suspects, according to a statement read on state-owned ETV.

Read more »


Related:
Gunmen kill Ethiopia country manager of Nigeria’s Dangote (Reuters)

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Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Agree to Study Filling of Nile Dam (AP)

Ethiopia's multi-billion dollar self-funded Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is currently under construction on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as one of the top 10 largest in the world. (Photo via Twitter)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Officials from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan early Wednesday announced progress in talks on what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan’s water resources minister said they will set up a scientific study group to consult on the filling of Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. They also confirmed that leaders from the three nations will meet every six months for consultations.

The latest talks came after a round of negotiations last week in Cairo failed. More high-level talks are set for July 3 in Cairo.

Egypt fears too much of the Nile’s waters could be retained each year, affecting its agriculture. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that it will help Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 million of its citizens don’t have access to electricity.

“We have charted a road map that, if successful, will be able to break difficulties that we have been facing,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters after the marathon talks.

“One step forward to Ethiopia,” the country’s foreign affairs spokesman, Meles Alem, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The mega-dam is now more than 63 percent complete. Once complete it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

According to a document obtained by the AP, the scientific group will discuss and develop “various scenarios related to the filling and operation rules in accordance with the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of shared water resources while taking all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of significant harm.”


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Reunited: Graduate From Ethiopia Relishes Mom’s Presence at Commencement

Roza Azene ‘18 graduated magna cum laude with honors after adjusting to life at Brandeis Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. (brandeis.edu)

Brandeis

Roza Muluken Azene ’18 was keenly aware of Commencement’s concurrence with Mother’s Day this year.

For Azene, a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduation marked just the third time in four years that she’s seen her mother, Muchit Reta, who made a 27-hour journey to Waltham last week to see her daughter receive a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics.

“The distance and time apart has been very hard and challenging for both of us. Getting my diploma this Sunday definitely feels more significant given that it’s also Mother’s Day. It’s such a great coincidence,” Azene said.

Muchit, who works as a math teacher in Ethiopia, encouraged her daughter to pursue educational opportunities in the United States after a family friend recommended Brandeis.

Azene heeded her mother’s encouragement and applied to Brandeis. She was subsequently accepted into the Class of 2018 and was named a Lawrence A. Wien International Scholar. The Wien Scholarship Program provides four years of free tuition to a select group of international students. Since its inception in 1958, the program has brought over 860 scholars from 112 countries to Brandeis.

Even so, Azene was hesitant to leave home and face a new country, language and culture on her own. Today, she remembers the moment her plane took off from Addis Ababa en route to a new adventure.

“I remember sitting on the plane, waiting on the tarmac to takeoff,” Azene said. “And I remember saying to myself ‘What are you doing? What have you done?’”

Azene credits Brandeis’ community for welcoming her on campus in the fall of 2014 and making her transition easier. She made friends and enjoyed new student orientation. That said, she also experienced homesickness and culture shock.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Airlines Adds Second U.K. Stop

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in DC, August 2012. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian Air to Add Manchester in Extension of Brussels Flights

Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise will start serving Manchester in northern England from December, adding a second U.K. destination months before Britain is due to quit the European Union and 45 years after the carrier began flying to London Heathrow.

The service from Addis Ababa will operate four times weekly using a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet in a two-class layout, initially as an extension of the carrier’s existing Brussels route, Ethiopian Air said in a statement Monday.

Ethiopian, Africa’s largest airline by passenger traffic, has developed a network that links 67 major global cities with almost 60 African destinations via its hub in the capital. About 400,000 people living within a two-hour drive of Manchester currently travel to Africa each year, according to the airport.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in an interview that the initial flights are being tacked on to the Brussels route in order to test the market and that direct services should begin some time next year.

The route will boost trade, investment and tourism in both directions, according to the CEO, who added that he has no concerns that Brexit will affect demand.

Read more »


Africa in the news: Ethiopian Airlines scale up expansion plans (Brookings)


In Pictures: Ethiopian airlines 787 Dreamliner. (Photos by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

This week, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would scale up its expansion plans and will increase its fleet to 150 aircrafts by 2025 from the earlier target of 120. The airline also confirmed an order for 10 Bombardier Q400 aircraft last week and intends to place orders for 13 additional Boeing 787s and 6 Airbus A350s soon. Ethiopian Airlines currently has 100 planes in its fleet and is the largest African carrier by revenue and profit. In the last few years, the airline has grown rapidly, tripling the number of passengers it flew between 2008 and 2017.

Ethiopian airlines has also invested in other African carriers as part of its growth strategy, buying a minority stake in Malawi Airlines in 2013 and announcing a deal with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways in January. According to its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline is negotiating with governments in Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea to set up new national carriers through joint ventures.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Launches Direct Flight From Addis Ababa to Chicago

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Land and Corruption in Ethiopia

Villagers, lured by new jobs and rich rewards for selling their land, now face poverty and heartbreak as claims of corruption engulf £25bn transport project. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

They promised us we would get jobs there,” says Tadele, nodding at the grand, almost baroque edifice at the bottom of the hill. Adama’s new railway station, yellow bricks golden in the afternoon sun, is still a symbol of hope for the 43-year-old who lives in a village overlooking it. But its promise is dimmer than it was.

A stint on the payroll of the Chinese firm that built Ethiopia’s new railway ended sourly. After six months he was fired, for reasons he disputes. Now, like many in his village and in small towns all along the railway from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to Djibouti, the tiny nation and synonymous Red Sea port that borders Ethiopia, he is frustrated, impatient – and unemployed.

Ethiopia’s new £2.5bn, 750km (466-mile) line began commercial operations at the start of the year, making it Africa’s first fully electrified cross-border railway. Built and financed by Chinese investors and contractors, and shadowing the route of an earlier French-built track, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway lies at the heart of Ethiopia’s development aspirations. By linking the landlocked country to the sea and lowering transport costs for imports and exports, the government hopes to kickstart industrialisation and transform a poor, agricultural nation of nearly 100 million people into a middle-income one by as early as 2025.

And it is much more than that. “The railway project is a transport project,” explains Dr Getachew Betru, former chief executive of the state-owned Ethiopia Railways Corporation (ERC). “But it is also a hinterland development project.” The plan is for eight railways to eventually crisscross this vast, diverse land, knitting together the relatively fertile highlands with the historically neglected lowlands that are mostly inhabited by nomadic people. New stations, some of which rise incongruously from seemingly empty expanses of barren bushland, are visualised as “transport-oriented development zones”: future temples of commerce boasting malls, hotels, and golf courses…

The railway embodies these contradictions. “It’s the physical manifestation of the country’s politics,” says Biruk Terrefe, a graduate researcher at Oxford University who has studied the project.

Read the full story at theguardian.com »


Related:
Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again — Media Round Up

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UN IOM Conducting a Study of the Ethiopian Diaspora

(IOM Logo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is conducting a study of the Ethiopian Diaspora.

According to IOM the goal of the study is “to identify potential opportunities to partner with the Ethiopian Diaspora to promote development in Ethiopia.”

The United Nations organization states that “to do this most effectively, IOM needs feedback from the Ethiopian community. This survey is part of a study designed to collect input and feedback from the Ethiopian Diaspora to shape future IOM diaspora engagement strategies” adding that “future successful IOM engagement with the Ethiopian diaspora relies on collecting as many diverse opinions from as many voices as possible.”


Please complete this survey by May 14th and encourage others that you know in the Ethiopian Diaspora to do so as well. All responses will remain anonymous and will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

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Abaynesh Asrat Honored by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York Chapter

Abaynesh Asrat. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking has been named one of the Champions of Change in 2018 and will be formally honored at an awards ceremony on Friday, May 18th by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York chapter.

The last time that we featured Abaynesh — whose prior achievements included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs — she was in Ethiopia hosting a workshop in collaboration with Addis Ababa University on solar energy as an alternative to women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel in remote and rural parts of the country.

The 2018 Champions of Change celebration honors women who worked in various areas including economic empowerment, peace & security, political participation, eliminating violence against women, media and advocacy.

“We are proud to recognize these women and men who make significant contributions to women’s empowerment and gender equality in their professional and personal lives” states the formal announcement for the event. “These diverse champions have made an impact on a wide range of issues including women’s economic and political empowerment, gender-based violence, peace and security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Born in Ethiopia, Abaynesh lives in New York holds a B.A. from Bennett College in North Carolina as well as an M.A. in Social Science from East Michigan University. Her non-profit, Nation to Nation Networking launched in 2004, bridges health, education and economic development programs for young children and their families in urban Ethiopia. The organization facilitates short term access to yearly eye examinations as well as financial support for uniforms, food, and school building rent, while visionary long-term aims include addressing early marriage issues, which affects adolescents’ access to full-time schooling. Nation to Nation Networking develops and implements results-oriented projects aimed at promoting culture and understanding to serve under-privileged communities, without fragmenting those cultures, through empowerment and enrichment.


(Courtesy photo)

As a former clinician and administrator at New York Medical College, Abaynesh also developed a program that trains medical students to see beyond the stethoscope and observe how social and economic issues affect their patients. She implemented interventions for families to end the cycle of violence while trained staff provided peaceful living awareness and conflict prevention training. Her contributions led to establishing an infant and toddler rehabilitation school, within a hospital setting, where early development challenges and parental behavior are addressed and corrected on-site.

Abaynesh describes her work as encompassing and “creating a world with equal access to resources and open conversation on topics that promote change at a global level.” She highlights that her passion and commitment to social change comes from a “devotion to empower women, families and underserved communities,” and she therefore diligently and successfully envisions and executes programs and conversations committed to justice and human rights. She has been a strong advocate for the empowerment of women and families, and in particular against organ trafficking affecting migrant domestic workers as well as disseminating key awareness training and workshops via speaking engagements and conferences hosted by Nation to Nation networking in African countries and beyond on various projects including use of solar power energy for households, maternal health & fistula education, and prevention of infant mortality. Abaynesh’s philanthropy and activism work has also been presented at UN NGO CSW parallel events, and her innovative programs have changed the way communities think and work, and helped open conversations that pioneer forward-thinking, thoughtful action.

As an activist Abaynesh has worked with international lawyers on issues such as “bill of rights of child marriage” and “child labor” with a goal towards incorporating legislation within the UN charters of protections. Abaynesh has been recognized and awarded for her work by organizations including the New York Metropolitan Museum, MLK Jr. Center for Non-Violence, the Association of Black Educators of New York, Africa Chamber of Commerce, the Fistula Foundation, National Council of Women of U.S., the New York Women’s Agenda (Galaxy Woman), and NBS radio talk host and W.F. Ambassador of Peace.

“If we have understanding, we can build peace” Abaynesh says.

Abaynesh is currently a Board member of UN Women’s National Committee, United States Metropolitan New York Chapter, and a member of the Planning Committee of UN NGO CSW, NY, CEDAW Task Force. In the past she served as a Board member for the Museum of Art and Design and New York Women’s Agenda as well as the Fistula Foundation, where she was also National Fundraising Chair for the foundation’s initiative to build a specialty hospital in Harar in 2002. Abaynesh continues to remain involved with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and their established Midwifery College, and has conducted speaking engagements with UNIFEM, UNICEF and the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) planning committee. She also previously served for two terms as President & CEO of the Coalition of Ethiopian Women in New York with the goal of aiding individuals in adjusting to a new adopted country and culture as well as providing resources for violence prevention against women.

We congratulate Abaynesh on her selection as a UN Women 2018 Champion of Change for Gender Equality!


IF YOU GO:
Champions of Change for Gender Equality
Friday, May 18, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd Street New York, NY, 10011United States
Purchase tickets at this link:
6pm Reception
7pm Awards Ceremony

Emcee Laura Brounstein from Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazines. Entertainment by Batalá New York, TrevMoMatic, and Emmy® Award-winner Mickela Mallozzi of PBS’s Bare Feetwith Mickela Mallozzi.

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Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (right) with daughters. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Abiy Ahmed is making Ethiopians feeling optimistic again.

Just this past week the new PM led successful negotiations with neighboring countries that allowed his land-locked country of 100 million people to take a stake in the Port of Djibouti and Port of Sudan.

Now there is even talk of possible peace with Eritrea. Who knows, but if there is success in rekindling formal Ethiopia-Eritrea dialogue it may also lead to Ethiopia’s potential use of Assab Port through a lease or similar business arrangement with Eritrea. Certainly, such a development would also allow the latter to jump-start its economy and reestablish relations with its one-time biggest trading partner that’s now ranked as Africa’s fastest growing economy.

In February when Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister announced his surprise resignation “there was little reason to think his successor would be an improvement,” notes The Washington Post in an article published on Sunday titled “After years of Unrest, Ethiopians are Riding an Unlikely Wave of Hope. Will it Last?

The newspaper adds:”The country was under a state of emergency that followed a years-long state crackdown on opposition political activity. Thousands of activists and dissident journalists had been detained, and hundreds had died in demonstrations crushed by government forces. Then came Abiy Ahmed, who at 42 is one of the youngest leaders on the continent. In his first month as Ethi­o­pia’s premier, he has ushered in an unlikely wave of hope and even optimism in this close U.S. ally that serves as something of a linchpin to the stability of East Africa.”

Furthermore, it is worth repeating that since taking office barely five weeks ago Ethiopia’s charismatic new PM has made an unprecedented outreach to opposition parties and rival leaders calling on them to prepare for peaceful dialogue and negotiations, has conducted well-received visits to cities that were the epicenter of years of anti-government protests, and restored Internet services for the entire country.

In addition, Dr. Abiy is keeping his promise to eliminate “favoritism” toward security forces by undertaking a review of past business contracts awarded to military-industrial conglomerates.

Above all, last month Abiy undertook a much needed national peace tour across the country to foster unity and calm ethnic tensions. Likewise, all indications are that Dr. Abiy will also move soon to lift the unpopular current State of Emergency imposed by his predecessor.

In the end the credit goes to all Ethiopians, both in the homeland and abroad, who have finally put their country on the right path to democracy through courageous demonstrations and years of persistent calls for accountable leaders.


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Captain Alemayehu Abebe, First African Pilot to Command Commercial Aircraft

In 1957, Captain Alemayehu Abebe (center) became the first African pilot to command commercial aircraft making his solo flight as captain of an Ethiopian Airlines DC‑3/C-47 aircraft. This week, Captain Alemayehu who passed away in January 2018 is featured by the Pan-African website Face2Face Africa for his trailblazing role in African aviation. Below is excerpt from the story. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Face2Face Africa

This determined Ethiopian became Africa’s first commercial aircraft captain

Perseverance was his hallmark. At a time when management and flight operations at Ethiopian Airlines were dominated by Americans, who felt black people had no business flying, Alemayehu Abebe was determined to prove them wrong. Through hard work, he became the first Ethiopian captain in 1957, making his solo flight on DC-3/c-47 at the age of 32.

Ethiopian Airlines had in 1946 began commercial operation with an all-American aircrew.

In 1951, the airline trained four Ethiopian pilots, and Abebe was one of them.

He and the others did tremendously well. He was further set apart from the rest by becoming the first African to fly the Atlantic solo in 1962, with Boeing 720Bs.

Read more »


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D.C.-based Nonprofit Supports Young Female Ethiopian Runners

(Photo: GGRF)

Runwashington

The Girls Gotta Run Foundation started out with an effort to get running shoes to girls in Ethiopia.

Now, more than a decade later, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is working with 100 girls and 40 mothers in the African country.

And the Girls Gotta Run Foundation provides more than just shoes. Three-year scholarship programs in Sodo and Bekoji, Ethiopia, allow girls to stay in school while also running, receiving coaching and running gear, and learning life skills, according to the nonprofit’s website.

In a place where child marriage is not uncommon, running provides an opportunity for Ethiopian girls to have more control over their futures — even if they don’t become professional runners. Education is key in the scholarship programs.

“After working closely with the communities we collaborate with, we shaped our program around the challenges and opportunities facing girls and women in these unique environments,” Executive Director Kayla Nolan wrote in an email from Bekoji, Ethiopia. “This led to a focus on education, early marriage prevention and recreational running.”

The Girls Gotta Run Foundation has worked with 210 people in total, she wrote.

Founder Pat Ortman, a retired women’s studies professor at Mount Vernon College, said the organization has grown much more than she imagined.

“I’m awestruck,” Ortman said.

In late 2005, Ortman read a Washington Post article titled “Facing Servitude, Ethiopian Girls Run for a Better Life.” She said she was impressed by the determination of the Ethiopian girls despite their tough circumstances. One runner featured in the story spoke of how she had to either run barefoot or in her brothers’ shoes because she didn’t have her own.

“They were just so optimistic,” she said.

Read more »


Related:
In Sodo & Bekoji, New GGRF Athletic Scholarship Keeps Girls in School

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

The following is a New York Times review of Ethiopian American writer Nafkote Tamirat’s new novel 'The Parking Lot Attendant.' (Image via NYT)

The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Can Ethiopia and Eritrea Make Peace?

Twenty years after a pointless war over a town no one had heard of, Ethiopia ponders rapprochement. (AFP)

The Economist

New premier, new hope: Can Ethiopia and Eritrea make peace?

“LIKE Sarajevo, 1914,” said the late Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, of the first gunshots fired on May 6th 1998. “An accident waiting to happen.” Neither he nor his counterpart in neighbouring Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, imagined that a light skirmish at Badme, a border village of which few had heard, could spiral into full-scale war. But two years later about 80,000 lives had been lost and more than half a million people forced from their homes.

No land changed hands. Two decades on, Ethiopia still occupies the disputed territories, including Badme, having refused to accept the findings of a UN boundary commission. But the conflict’s miserable legacy persists. Thousands of troops still patrol the frontier. Centuries of trade and intermarriage abruptly ceased. Ethiopia lost access to Eritrea’s ports. Eritrea lost its biggest trading partner and retreated into isolationism. It has been on a war footing ever since.

But it is not so lonely these days. On April 22nd Donald Yamamoto, America’s most senior diplomat in Africa, visited Asmara, the capital—the first such visit in over a decade. Eritrea has been sanctioned by the UN since 2009, in part for allegedly arming jihadists in neighbouring Somalia. But a panel of experts appointed by the UN Security Council found no evidence of arms transfers and advocates lifting the embargo. America sounds open to the idea. Some reckon sanctions could be removed this year.

Many in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, are also mulling a change of course. With the appointment last month of a new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, there is an opportunity for fresh thinking. Abiy, who was an intelligence officer during the war, promised in his inaugural speech to make peace with Eritrea.

Read more at Economist.com »


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Ethiopia Takes Stake in Djibouti Port

(Getty Images)

Bloomberg

Updated: May 2, 2018

Ethiopia and Djibouti agreed to swap stakes in strategic public enterprises including airlines, ports and telecommunications companies, as the Horn of Africa neighbors pursue deeper economic integration.

The deal would include exchanges of shares in Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, Africa’s biggest carrier by revenue, Djiboutian Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh said in an interview. Shareholdings in companies such as Djibouti’s Horizon Oil Terminal and the Doraleh Container Terminal, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp. and Djibouti Telecom SA will also be swapped, he said.

While the deal has been politically “endorsed,” the two countries will form a committee to work out the details, Dawaleh said by phone April 30. Ethiopian Information Minister Ahmed Shide confirmed the agreement in a text message.

The pact came as Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, made his first foreign visit at the weekend to Djibouti, the tiny state located where the Indian Ocean meets the Red Sea and that’s become a strategic hub for the U.S. and China. Landlocked Ethiopia — which the International Monetary Fund ranks as the fastest-growing economy on the continent — is trying to boost its export-oriented manufacturing, making it reliant on neighboring nations with ports.

Read more »


Ethiopia to take stake in Port of Djibouti, its trade gateway -state media


Sunset over the port of Djibouti. (Stock Image)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will take a stake in the Port of Djibouti, its main gateway for trade, under a deal reached between the two countries, state media outlets said on Tuesday.

Djibouti had been seeking investors for its port since it terminated Dubai’s state-owned DP World’s concession to run the port two months ago, citing a failure to resolve a six-year contractual dispute.

The port is a key asset for Djibouti, a tiny state along the Red Sea whose location is of strategic value to countries such as the United States, China, Japan and former colonial power France, all of whom have military bases there.

The size of Addis Ababa’s stake was unclear.

State-owned Ethiopian News Agency said the agreement, reached at the weekend during a visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Djibouti, involved the joint development of facilities. In return, Djibouti would have the option of taking stakes in state-owned Ethiopian firms.

“A joint committee of ministers would meet to thrash out details,” Ethiopian New Agency said.

The government had previously said that the port would remain “in the hands of our country” until it found new investors.

Djibouti handles roughly 95 percent of all inbound trade for landlocked Ethiopia, Africa’s second most-populous nation and an economic power in East Africa.

The deal with Djibouti follows Ethiopia’s agreement to acquire a 19 percent stake in the Port of Berbera in the breakaway Somali region of Somaliland. DP World retains a 51 percent stake there, while the government holds the rest.

Ethiopian state companies that Djibouti may look to invest in following the bilateral agreement could include Ethiopian Electric Power and Ethio Telecom – one of Africa’s last remaining telecoms monopolies.


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Comedian Defends Controversial Jokes

At this year's White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday night comedian Michelle Wolf ripped into Washington’s media and government establishment with hard-hitting jokes garnering international attention. But, as the Washington Post's Molly Roberts points out the city's "tuxedo-clad intelligentsia" was not so pleased. We guess they prefer being called "very, very dishonest people" and "fake news" by The Dear Leader while at the same time being used as an echo chamber for official lies and propaganda. What a time in America. Below are excerpts from Molly Roberts' great piece. (Reuters photo)

The Washington Post

“Thank you!”

That’s how comedian Michelle Wolf answered Sean Spicer’s declaration that her headlining stand-up set at the the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was “a disgrace.” Her response is instructive: To Wolf, an insult from Spicer is an accolade – and accolades, surely, would be an insult. She’s right.

Wolf managed Saturday night to scandalize the majority of Washington’s tuxedo-clad intelligentsia with a barrage of bon mots that, in the eyes of much of the press and political establishment, weren’t really so bon at all. The speech, these pundits have argued, wasn’t amusing; it was lewd, and worse than that, it was mean…

That Wolf’s performance was not “normal” for the correspondents’ dinner is a testament to its timeliness and necessity — nothing is “normal” right now, and pretending otherwise out of a false sense of the fourth estate’s friendship with the executive would have been the real disgrace. Wolf called the Trump administration out for tearing down democracy. Then, the people who are supposed to care most about holding autocrats to account called her out in turn for, essentially, not being chummy enough.

Read more »


Related:
How Michelle Wolf Blasted Open the Fictions of Journalism in the Age of Trump
Wath: WHCD comedian defends her controversial jokes (CNN)

Shut up about Michelle Wolf if you’ve been silent on Trump’s offenses (By Jonathan Capehart)

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Teddy Afro Returns to DC for Live Concert on May 5th

Courtesy photo

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Teddy Afro is back in the U.S. and set to perform live in Washington D.C. on May 5th.

This is the singer’s first U.S. concert tour since his latest album, Ethiopia, made the number one spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart last year.

In addition to his album Ethiopia, the 41-year-old pop star’s previous hit records include Abugida (2001), Yasteseryal(2005), and Tikur Sew (2012).

Teddy Afro is known for his socially conscious lyrics emphasizing reconciliation, unity, history, justice, and equality. Last May he was honored with an award by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) “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.”


If You Go:
TEDDY AFRO
Sat, May 5, 2018 Doors: 6:00 pm
Show: 8:00 pm
THE ANTHEM
Washington, DC
Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

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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Reflections on Tana Forum 2018 and Ethiopia’s New PM Abiy Ahmed

Dr. Abiy Ahmed delivering the keynote address at the Tana High Level Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, an annual event held in the resort city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia [Tana Forum/Twitter]

Aljazeera

“This new guy – he’s a good guy. Very good brain. Now everything in Ethiopia is going to be OK”.

My taxi driver Daniel offers up this unprompted insight as we zip through the streets of Addis Ababa, letting me in on the sentiment around the unprecedented year Ethiopia had.

The “new guy” is Dr Abiy Ahmed, the recently selected chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF), the coalition that has been ruling Africa’s second-most populous country for 27 years. At 42 years old, Dr Ahmed is not just the youngest Ethiopian prime minster ever, but also the first from the Oromo community, the largest ethnic group in the country. For Daniel and others who offered their unprompted opinions, Dr Ahmed not only offers respite from nearly two years of political and social upheaval that threatened to undo Ethiopia altogether, but the hope of a more inclusive and democratic Ethiopia.

Earlier in the week, Dr Ahmed offered the keynote address at the Tana High Level Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, an annual event held in the resort city of Bahir Dar, the State Capital of the Amhara region. Similar to the Davos World Economic Forum, the event brings together current and former political and academic leaders on the continent for an informal dialogue on enhancing peace and security on the continent. At the margins of the summit, hundreds of bilateral meetings between regional politicians, Addis Ababa’s vast diplomatic corps and numerous international organisations make this one of the more significant networking events at the continent.

Bahir Dar was a stopover for Dr Ahmed in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Ethiopia, uneasily calm after years of intensifying unrest that implicated three of the country’s largest regions – Amhara, Oromia and the Somali region. The prime minister arrived at the forum after visiting Gondar, a historical town known for its 15th and 16th century churches and distinct orthodox Christian crosses that was the epicentre of many protests in the previous two years. By the time Ahmed arrived in Bahir Dar, internet access in the town had only just been restored after a nearly two year shut down.

The air in Bahir Dar was electric with anticipation of Ahmed’s arrival, with everyone waiting to hear what he has to say. “He’s very young,” said one driver, “but he’s very clever. He is [a] doctor, you know?”

At the summit and beyond, expectations on Ahmed’s shoulders are high…

In contrast to earlier speeches in parliament and at various stops on his tour, at the summit Dr Ahmed’s speech did not touch on Ethiopia’s political flux, but the symbolism of his visit is unmissable for Ethiopian watchers.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Shows Knack for Balancing Reform and Continuity
In Defense of Ethiopia: New PM is Fixing the Broken System
PM Abiy Visits Gondar & Bahir Dar as Part of National Tour
PM Abiy Names Cabinet (Reuters)
Ethiopia: Prime Minister Sidelines Military On Development Project (Stratfor)
No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM
Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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North & South Korea Agree to End the Korean War in Historic Accord

In a historic accord the two Koreas have agreed to formally end the Korean War and possibly reunite their countries. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 27th, 2018

After more than six decades of hostilities leaders of the two Koreas have agreed to officially end the Korean War.

The historic joint announcement was made on Friday after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un, signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.”

Ethiopian soldiers in Korea

When the two countries went to war in the 1950s, Ethiopia sent 3,158 troops from the Kagnew Battalions as part of the United Nations forces in the Korean War. Per wiki: “Even after the armistice, a token Ethiopian force remained in the country until 1965.”


The Ethiopian Kagnew (ቃኘው) Battalions were three successive battalions sent by Ethiopia between June 1951 and April 1954 as part of the UN forces in the Korean War. (Photos: Wikimedia)

According to CNN the declaration also included: ​

  • Quadrilateral meetings to be held with the Koreas, the US and China “with a view to declaring and end to the War.”
  • All hostile acts will be ceased, and the demilitarization zone will be turned into a “peace zone.”
  • A commitment to reunite families separated by the war with family reunion programs to resume on August 15 this year.
  • The establishment of a joint liaison office in Kaeseong, a shared economic zone near the border.
  • Closer diplomatic relations between the two countries, at all levels of government.
  • Joint teams to be sent to international events, starting with the 2018 Asian Games.

    CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DECLARATION


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  • Ethiopia is Now Africa’s Fastest Growing Economy (CNN)

    A view of the capital Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has experienced fast economic growth in the past decade, averaging around 10% a year. Economists cite the country's manufacturing industry as the key element in the country's success. (CNN)

    CNN

    Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populated country, is forecast to be the fastest growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa this year, according to new data from the IMF.

    Ethiopia’s economy is predicted to grow by 8.5% this year. The figures signal continued economic expansion following a long period of impressive growth. In the last decade, Ethiopia has averaged around 10% economic growth, according to the IMF.

    To boost the economy, the country is pursuing a number of large-scale infrastructure projects, including the Grand Renaissance Dam and a railway network.

    “(Ethiopia) has had a very high growth rate and I think that’s a result in large part of a very concentrated effort by the government to boost industrial production and manufacturing,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, an economist at the American think tank Center for Global Development (CGD).

    Ramachandran, along with three academics, released a report suggesting Ethiopia can follow in China’s footsteps, and become a destination for low-wage manufacturing jobs.

    Read more »


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    Obama to Speak at Mandela’s 100th Birthday Anniversary in South Africa

    Former President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote speech at the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth this coming July in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP photo)

    The New York Times

    Obama Will Speak in South Africa on Tolerance

    WASHINGTON — He’s been photographed kite-surfing with Richard Branson off Necker Island, relaxing on David Geffen’s yacht in French Polynesia with Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey, river-rafting with his family in Bali and posing with a celebrity chef in Tuscany.

    To those who have paid only casual attention to former President Barack Obama’s foreign travels since he left the White House in January 2017, it can seem as if Mr. Obama has been on an extended vacation of the kind only the very rich can afford.

    But the former president has also met quietly with groups of young people in New Zealand, Brazil, Indonesia and Singapore, as well as paying calls on foreign leaders, including Xi Jinping of China, Emmanuel Macron of France, Justin Trudeau of Canada and Malcolm Turnbull of Australia.

    Now, Mr. Obama is inaugurating his most significant international project as an ex-president, with an announcement on Monday that the Obama Foundation plans to convene 200 young people this July in Johannesburg for five days of meetings, workshops and technical training.

    At the same time, Mr. Obama will deliver a lecture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, whom he eulogized after his death five years ago by saying he “makes me want to be a better man.”

    “It gives him an opportunity to lift up a message of tolerance, inclusivity and democracy at a time when there are obviously challenges to Mandela’s legacy around the world,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a former speechwriter for Mr. Obama who still advises him.

    Read more »


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    In Defense of Ethiopia: New PM is Fixing the Broken System

    In the following article published on Sunday by the Lawfare blog, Yale PhD student Hilary Matfess argues that "fixing Ethiopia requires more than a new prime minister." Perhaps. But, in our opinion, electing Dr. Abiy was the first step in the right direction for Ethiopia. Since the charismatic young leader was inaugurated on April 2nd, he has already made a rare outreach to the opposition, has visited towns that were center of anti-government protests, sidelined the military from a civilian development project and ended the internet blackout. In addition, and most importantly, Abiy has embarked on a national peace tour across the country to foster unity and calm ethnic tensions. And we hope PM Abiy will also push to lift the draconian State of Emergency sooner than later. As the proverb goes: "Rome wasn't built in a day." In any case, you may read below Hilary Matfess' foreign policy essay and follow the link for it serves as a reminder of the herculean task that awaits Ethiopia's new leadership with respect to improving the country's dismal human rights record and global standing. (Photo via firstpost.com)

    Lawfare

    Fixing Ethiopia Requires More Than a New Prime Minister

    Ethiopia’s current State of Emergency, implemented on February 16 after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalign stepped down from power, is the second time since October 2016 that the government has declared martial law. According to Human Rights Watch, “some of Ethiopia’s staunch Western allies, fearful of what a destabilized Ethiopia would mean for their interests, have spoken openly of their concerns and urged a change in tactics.” What these allies fail to appreciate is that these tactics are not a bug in the system of governance in Ethiopia—they are a feature. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the hegemonic party that’s been in power since 1991, has tightly controlled the country’s political system, stifling civil society and criminalizing dissent. The selection of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister—marking the first time in 27 years that the EPRDF has had an Oromo has occupied the office, despite the fact that the Oromo is the country’s largest ethnic group—is insufficient to stabilize the country.

    Michael O’Hanlon, the co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, has described the country as “one of the most important countries on the continent by almost any measure.” The measure most pressing for U.S. interests, however, is the country’s role as a strategic regional counterterrorism partner. Ethiopia’s contributions to AMISOM, in particular, have endeared it to the U.S. national security community. Terrence Lyons, a professor at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, considers the country an “irreplaceable center of gravity” for the Horn of Africa. As a long-standing U.S. partner in counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa, the effects of Ethiopia’s stability extends well beyond the country’s borders. Without legislative overhauls that promote democratic accountability, the country will continue to be beset by instability. Unfortunately, the country’s history suggests that the party will respond to the current crisis with more repression…

    Read more »


    Related:
    PM Abiy Visits Gondar & Bahir Dar as Part of National Tour
    PM Abiy Names Cabinet (Reuters)
    Ethiopia: Prime Minister Sidelines Military On Development Project (Stratfor)
    No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM
    Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
    Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
    Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
    In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
    Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
    Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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    The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up

    One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 22nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.K., Hailemichael Aberra Afework, is renewing his country’s call for the unconditional return of cultural and religious treasures that were looted by British troops at the Battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

    More than a decade ago Ethiopia had officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures, that are being held at various locations in England. Unfortunately the request was rejected.

    According to Thomas Ofcansky and David Shinn’s book entitled Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia, the British army had employed approximately 15 elephants and 200 mules to transport the bounty seized from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros II and several Ethiopian Orthodox Christian churches.

    Speaking on how attitudes about the looted treasures have changed, Ambassador Hailemichael told The Art Newspaper in a recent podcast interview that “many people in Britain — the public at large, media, higher education, [those] interested in culture — are all sympathetic to Ethiopia’s demand for the return of these objects” and further hoped that individuals “would understand, the government would understand, the institutions will understand and accept this demand for the objects to be returned to Ethiopia.”

    This month the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the U.K. helped to reignite a public dialogue on the topic of the Mekdela treasures when it made an offer to loan Ethiopia the items on a long term contract. V&A’s Director Tristram Hunt was quoted as saying: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

    “My answer is a quick no,” replied the Ethiopian Ambassador, emphasizing that Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the items. “My government is not interested in loans, it is interested in having those objects returned.”

    The gesture from V&A was made on the eve of the museum’s current exhibition that opened on April 5th showcasing its Meqdela collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

    According to The Art Newspaper, among the nearly two dozen objects featured at the V&A show include “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry” that were forcefully removed from Ethiopia.

    Hailemichael, who attended the opening, indicated that he appreciated the public awareness value of the V&A exhibition. “When you have something that was hidden away and locked in the room displayed, that in itself is something that we appreciate,” said the Ethiopian diplomat.

    The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between the British army led by General Robert Napier while Emperor Tewodros II led the Ethiopian warriors. The primary goal of the British invasion, which has been called “history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation,” was to free a group of European missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros. The Ethiopian king had become upset after he failed to receive a reply to a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria proposing to establish diplomatic and military alliance with his European counterpart. In the end, Emperor Tewodros took his own life and avoided being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

    The British rescue operation is estimated to have cost the British military some $9 million sterling, which converts to billion of dollars today.

    Given that the issue is bigger than one museum, would Ethiopia bring up the matter with U.K.’s Foreign Office?

    The Ethiopian Ambassador did not rule out the possibility. “I hope that the two governments will, down the road, begin to talk about these things,” he stated. “Not only government to government, but institution to institution…so there is quite a lot of understanding among the British public.”

    Ambassador Hailemichael also dismissed the long-held myth that Ethiopia does not have the capability to properly store the objects should they be permanently returned. He mentioned the national museum in Addis Ababa along with other modern museums such as the ones in Lalibela, Axum, Gondar, and Harar as well as universities with active programs on cultural heritage management.

    “The whole of Ethiopia is a museum of its cultural heritage,” Hailemichael said at one point during the interview.

    “The Ethiopian churches have been custodians of such religious objects for centuries,” Hailemichael added. “And therefore the will is there, the capacity is there, the capability is also there, and it should not be an argument at all for not responding positively to the demand of the people of Ethiopia because we can take care of it.”


    Photos: Although Tewodros turned the gun on himself in order to avoid being captured alive, the British soldiers took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain).


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    PM Abiy Visits Gondar & Bahir Dar as Part of National Tour

    Since taking office earlier this month PM Abiy, pictured above in the historic city of Gondar on Friday, has embarked on a national tour across Ethiopia to promote unity. So far he has travelled to Jijiga, Ambo, Mekelle and Gondar. He is expected in Bahir Dar on Saturday. (Photo via Africa News)

    Africa News

    Updated: April 20th, 2018

    Ethiopia Premier Abiy Ahmed on Friday morning arrived in the city of Gondar in the northern Amhara region. The trip forms part of his nationwide tour that started two weeks ago.

    The state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate (FBC) reported that Abiy was received by head of the region, Gedu Andargachew and other top officials of the state.

    As part of his itinerary, he is expected to address residents at the Gondar stadium. “Today’s meeting is parts of his plan to send messages of unity to the public across the country,” the FBC report added.

    He will also deliver an address during the TANA Forum gathering to be held in Bahir Dar on Saturday.

    Read more »


    Related:
    PM Abiy Names Cabinet (Reuters)
    Ethiopia: Prime Minister Sidelines Military On Development Project (Stratfor)
    No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM
    Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
    Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
    Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
    In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
    Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
    Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian Student in NYC Awarded Prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

    2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar Samuel Kebede. (Photo credit: Adam Sahilu)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 17th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Samuel Kebede, a third year medical student in New York City has been awarded the highly regarded Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, which is the most prestigious scholarship program for international postgraduate students from the University of Cambridge.

    “I am proud to be representing my country Ethiopia,” Samuel told Tadias. He is currently enrolled at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

    According to Gates-Cambridge: “Funded through a $210 million donation by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the largest ever single donation to a UK university, around 90 scholars are selected each year from a pool of the most academically outstanding applicants to the University. The Scholarship also places an emphasis on selecting those with a proven interest in improving the lives of others by helping address the numerous challenges we face locally, regionally and globally.”

    Professor Stephen Toope, Chair of the Trustees of Gates Cambridge and Vice-Chancellor of the University, explained in a statement that: “The Gates Cambridge scholarships are a perfect fit with the mission of the University – to make a real and significant contribution to society. They attract some of the best students from all over the world and from the most diverse backgrounds, and sustain a global network of leaders who will integrate the university’s values into everything they do. The class of 2018, including bright scholars from 28 nationalities, is a perfect example of the commitment to excellence and to leadership in the service of society that Gates Cambridge scholars exemplify.”

    In his biography posted on the Gates Cambridge website Samuel shared:

    I am originally from Ethiopia but also grew up in Zimbabwe and the Congo. Through my experience living in these different settings, the role of diseases, health disparities and environment made a lasting impact. This realization influenced my decision to gain the knowledge and research skills to prevent and control public health challenges in Africa. I came to the U.S. in 10th grade attending Mercersburg Academy before completing my BA in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate, I devoted much of my time to service in the Baltimore community and was involved in infectious disease projects in Ethiopia, Congo and Baltimore. As a current third-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, I’ve continued to learn more about HIV through a research project in Ethiopia. My time living in the U.S. also peaked my interest in preventable illnesses related to chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease). Delving deeper, I learned more about the growing burden of chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as they relate to the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases on the continent. I hope to be part of efforts for continued policy, practice and research development related to chronic diseases in Africa as a public health physician. I will study the MPhil in Public Health at Cambridge and am excited to be part of the diverse and passionate Gates Cambridge community!”

    Congratulations Samuel! We wish you all the best in your studies as a Gates-Cambridge scholar!

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    No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM

    Abiy’s remarks on Monday were his first substantive public comments on the economy since taking office. According to the latest IMF World Economic Outlook data Ethiopia now has surpassed Ghana as the fastest-growing economy in Africa. But as Reuters reports "foreign investors and local businesses complain that the severe hard currency shortages are stifling the private sector." (Reuters photo)

    Reuters

    By Aaron Maasho

    Ethiopian foreign exchange shortage will last years: new premier

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s new prime minister said on Monday that a foreign exchange shortage will last for years and more cooperation with the private sector is essential to solve it, state television reported.

    Abiy Ahmed, who was sworn in on April 2, addressed the local business community at a session of more than two hours in a hotel in the Ethiopian capital. His paraphrased remarks were later broadcast by state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.

    “The crisis with hard currency will not be solved today, nor will it in the next 15 or 20 years. There is an urgent need for more cooperation with the private sector to find a solution,” Abiy was reported as saying, adding that remittances from Ethiopia’s diaspora communities had also fallen for political reasons.

    Ethiopia has recorded average annual economic growth of about 10 percent for the past decade, the fastest in Africa. But foreign investors and local businesses complain that the severe hard currency shortages are stifling the private sector.

    The International Monetary Fund said in January that Ethiopia’s foreign reserves at the end of the 2016/17 fiscal year stood at $3.2 billion, less than what it spends on imports in two months. The government does not regularly release foreign reserves figures.

    The IMF flagged inadequate reserves as a downside risk to economic growth for 2017/18, which it forecast at 8.5 percent.

    Despite high economic growth, the landlocked country of 100 million people is heavily dependent on imports. The IMF said export revenues last year were largely unchanged despite volume growth as global agricultural commodity prices remained low and exports from manufacturing, following the start of an industrialization push, are just beginning.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
    Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
    Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
    In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
    Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
    Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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    Special Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Runway Show

    A special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra, spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show, was held at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City on Friday, April 14th, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 14th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The Amsale Spring 2019 Runway Show was held on Friday, April 13 at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City as a special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra.

    The acclaimed Ethiopian-American fashion designer passed away on April 1st surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

    The deeply moving tribute on Friday, which was held on the terrace of Gramercy Park Hotel, featured a new launch of the Nouvelle Amsale collection and closed with a beautiful Ethiopian model wearing Amsale’s first bridal fashion design eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd.

    Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the Founder and Creative Director of the fashion design house, AMSALE, one of the industry’s leading brands in the United States.

    “For over 30 years, Amsale has been an icon for designs that are powerful in their simplicity. Drama, she believed, emerges when a single, striking detail is offset by a clean silhouette,” the company said in a statement.

    Photos: Special Tribute to the Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show

    Regarding the Nouvelle Amsale Spring 2019 Collection the company added: “Designed for the modern and effortless bride who understands fashion but stays true to her personal style, the Spring 2019 NOUVELLE AMSALE collection reflects Amsale’s sense of timeless simplicity and understated glamour. Mikado and crepe fabrics highlight Amsale’s signature tailoring and clean lines. With her remarkable style comes a softer attitude shown in delicate layers of tulle and embroidered lace. Balancing chic and statement-making, the Spring 2019 collection also features dramatic taffeta ball gowns with low backs and ample volume.”

    Amsale Spring 2019 Collection

    “Inspired by cathedral elegance, this collection is expressed through dresses that are grand yet modern, designed for each individual bride in mind. Femininity is translated in form-fitting silhouettes, open backs and gently scooped necklines. Texture is shown with non-traditional lace and layered fabrication. AMSALE BLUE LABEL makes a statement with upscale ball gowns, pearl and crystal beading and draped bows. Unmistakably AMSALE, the Spring 2019 collection has stunning details, accentuating individuality with effortless elegance.”

    A look back at the Tadias interview with Amsale Aberra

    We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

    “When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

    In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

    Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

    Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

    Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

    Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

    In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

    Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


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    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years

    Poet Lemn Sissay has joined the campaign to repatriate Prince Alemayehu’s remains. (The Guardian)

    The Guardian

    For 150 years, Ethiopians have been asking when Prince Alemayehu will come home. The orphan prince, a descendant of Solomon, was taken to England – some say “stolen” – after British soldiers looted his father’s imperial citadel following the Battle of [Meqdela] in 1868.

    He died at the age of 18, after an unhappy childhood, and was buried at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at the request of Queen Victoria. Now, as discussions take place with the Victoria & Albert Museum about the return of royal treasures taken by British forces during the battle, the Ethiopian government told the Observer it is “redoubling” its efforts to finally bring back the prince’s remains. Last week there were celebrations in Addis Ababa to commemorate the life of the prince’s father, Tewodros II, on the 150th anniversary of his death in the battle. A selection of the objects in the V&A’s possession went on display last week.

    Lemn Sissay, the poet and author, has joined the campaign to repatriate the young prince’s remains. Sissay, whose birth mother was Ethiopian, has been invited to speak about Alemayehu by the Ethiopian goverment in June.

    “It’s my goal, my sincere hope that in my lifetime [Alemayehu] will go back to Ethiopia,” Sissay told the Observer. “This isn’t going away because I’m not going away.”

    Read more »


    Related:
    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    At Oklahoma State University Dr. Clyde Kindell Honored for Service to Ethiopia

    In this photo taken in the 1960s, Dr. Clyde Kindell, President of Alemaya College [now Haramaya University], hosts Emperor Haile Selassie at the agricultural school in Harar. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 12th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) – One of the oldest higher education institutions in Ethiopia, Haramaya University, which used to be called Alemaya College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, was established in collaboration with Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 1954. And this month Dr. Clyde R. Kindell, the last American President of the university, will be honored for his service to Ethiopia.

    In 1954, during his much publicized first state visit to the United States, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia “made a singular stop in his 7,000 mile tour of the country to thank the people of Oklahoma for assisting in modernizing agriculture and education in his nation,” wrote Theodore M. Vestal, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at OSU in an OPED article published in Tadias four years ago. “The Emperor was honored with a reception and dinner in Stillwater that was described as ‘the social event of the century’ in Oklahoma.”

    Now, the late emperor’s grandson Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie will return the favor by presenting the award to Dr. Kindell at a recognition ceremony on April 17th in Wes Watkins Center at OSU campus. The event, which will be attended by former Congressman Wes Watkins, is being organized in cooperation with the School of Global Studies and Partnerships at Oklahoma State University.

    Arriving in Ethiopia as a 31-year-old Dr. Kindell first served as the Director of Instruction and Research at the Jimma Agriculture Technical School for two years before taking the helm at Alemaya in Harar.

    “I have fond memories of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people,” Dr. Kindell told Tadias in an interview published in 2013. “My daughter was born in Jimma.”

    Dr. Kindell traveled to Ethiopia under Oklahoma State University’s Point Four agricultural program in the late 1950s.

    “OSU’s involvement in the Point Four program in Ethiopia remains an important milestone in the university’s emergence as a truly global institution,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, Dean of the School of Global Studies and Partnerships. “The entire OSU Family greatly appreciates Dr. Kindell for his leadership.”

    The press release added: “The event will also mark the 64th anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s first visit to Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1954. To date, the former emperor’s visit was the only one of a serving head of state to the OSU campus.”

    Photos: Emperor Haile Selassie visiting Oklahoma in 1954:


    Professor Ted Vestal notes: “Only one month before the U.S. Supreme Court had handed down its landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, ending racial segregation in public schools. The Emperor and his entourage were honored at a racially integrated event in an officially segregated state. (Photos courtesy OSU)

    Following next week’s ceremony there will be a public showing of the fourth documentary in the Point Four series, directed by Filmmaker and Producer Mel Tewahade.


    Related:
    Photos: Dr. Clyde Kindell Gives Emperor Haile Selassie Tour of Alemaya College

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    Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees

    Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste is the author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze and winner of the 2018 NEA Fellowship. Maaza is also a contributor in the newly released collection of essays edited by the Pulitzer-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen -- himself a Vietnamese refugee to America. (Photo: @MaazaMengiste)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 11th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste is one of 17 writers featured in a newly released book by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen entitled The Displaced, which presents a collection of essays by fellow refugee writers from around the globe.

    Maaza Mengiste who is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Maaza is also the “writer for the Ethiopia segment of GIRL RISING,” a feature film that tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 developing countries around the world. Maaza’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International.

    According to the press release The Displaced is “a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC), brings together writers originally from Mexico, Bosnia, Iran, Afghanistan, Soviet Ukraine, Hungary, Chile, Ethiopia, and others to make their stories heard.”

    The announcement describes the contributing writers as being “formidable in their own right — MacArthur Genius grant recipients, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalists, filmmakers, speakers, lawyers, professors, and New Yorker contributors —- and they are all refugees, many as children arriving in London and Toronto, Oklahoma and Minnesota, South Africa and Germany. Their 17 contributions are as diverse as their own lives have been, and yet hold just as many themes in common.”

    The press release added: “These essays reveal moments of uncertainty, resilience in the face of trauma, and a re-imagining of identity, forming a compelling look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge.”

    In a recent book review The Economist praised Maaza’s essay in the book noting: “The outstanding piece is by Maaza Mengiste, an Ethiopian-American who gives a lyrical, erudite and unsettling reflection on refugees as Lazarus figures whose existence is forever defined by a single miracle.”

    In 2016 Maaza Mengiste was also one of the featured speakers at PEN World Voices Festival panel discussion in NYC hosted by PEN America highlighting “the responsibility of writers in humanitarian crises” such as what’s taking in many parts of the world today.


    Related:
    The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (Amazon)
    Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste

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    Spotlight: The Last Greeks of Addis Ababa

    Ethiopia and Greece's relationship dates back to ancient times, and a small community is keeping both cultures alive. (Photo: The Greek Club in Addis Ababa/Al Jazeera)

    Aljazeera.com

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – “Did you know that Ethiopia gets its name from the Greek word Aethiopia, first used by Homer?” Greek Ambassador to Ethiopia Nikolaos Patakias says proudly.

    Sitting in his office in the capital Addis Ababa, Patakias shows an ancient Greek romantic novel, The Aethiopica. It’s a love story about the relationship between the daughter of the queen of Ethiopia and a Greek descendant of Achilles.

    Also in his possession are photographs of relics from the ancient Ethiopian Kingdom of Axum. These include the famous Ezana Stone and some gold coins, both of which have ancient Greek scripture written on them.

    “Tradition counts for a lot in Ethiopia and Greece, we follow it by the book,” says businessman Odysseas Parris, 57, sitting in a Greek restaurant close to the ambassador’s residence.

    “We’re very lucky because we get to enjoy festivities from both cultures.”

    As he sips his frappe – Greek iced coffee – and his wife Anastasia Mitsopoulou smokes and talks expressively with friends, they are unmistakably Mediterranean.

    Yet Parris and Mitsopoulou are two of Addis Ababa’s second generation Ethio-Greeks. Both of Parris’ grandfathers were Greek and grandmothers Ethiopian. He, and his parents before him, were born in Ethiopia.

    Read more »


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    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing

    Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Chris Smith along with Ethiopian American activists hold a press conference on H. Res. 128 on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @RepMikeCoffman)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: April 10th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 128 on Tuesday condemning Ethiopia’s human rights and governance record.

    The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch welcomed the approval of H. Res. 128 stating that “The non-binding resolution, combined with recent statements from the U.S. Embassy in Addis, sends a strong signal to Ethiopia’s new prime minister that the U.S. expects significant reforms ahead.”

    However, some U.S. lawmakers had expressed objection regarding the timing of the vote given that Ethiopia has just inaugurated a new prime minister who has made a commitment to the public to implement democratic reforms.

    In an opinion article published on Tuesday in The Hill newspaper the senior Senator from Oklahoma, Republican James Inhofe, wrote: ‘Just one week ago, Dr. Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Ethiopia’s new prime minister on a mandate to improve these exact issues… We should give Prime Minister Abiy the opportunity to prove himself as a national leader before having the full weight of the United States House of Representatives tossed against him. A heavy-handed, strongly-worded resolution condemning his government, so soon after being sworn in, will severely curtail Abiy’s ability to enact needed reforms.”

    The resolution calls on the U.S. government to base its future partnership with Ethiopia on the nation’s “demonstrated commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.” The resolution also calls on the U.S. State Department, in coordination with the Department of the Treasury, “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

    The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. “to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.”

    Tuesday’s vote marked the first time in over 100 years of U.S.-Ethiopia relations that U.S. lawmakers had agreed to take up such a bill regarding Ethiopia.

    HRW pointed out: “Resolution 128 was passed in large part because of Ethiopian-American voters concerned with the Ethiopian government’s rights record, who worked together to make themselves an important constituency. Their persistent efforts despite the efforts of the Ethiopian embassy and their Washington lobbyists led to an impressive 108 Congressional representatives from 32 states co-sponsoring this resolution. Hopefully they can build on this success and advocate for binding legislation on Ethiopia.”


    Related:
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II

    Emperor Tewodros II who died during the battle of Meqdela in April 1868 [150 years ago this month], was born in 1818, marking his 200th birthday this year. (Image: Mereja.com)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 9th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This month Ethiopia will commemorate the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros II with planned events in Gondar, Debre Tabor and Addis Ababa.

    The government affiliated Fana Broadcasting cited Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam as stating that the program, which is set to take place from April 10th to 16th, will include panel discussions and exhibitions.

    Emperor Tewodros has been making international news lately as the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK made an offer last week to loan Ethiopia the treasures that were looted by British troops following the battle of Meqdela in 1868.

    The British campaign was waged 150 years ago this month to free a group of missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros at his Meḳdela fortress after he failed to receive a reply for his diplomatic overtures and a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria requesting military assistance and British experts.

    Although Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive, the British took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain). They also left with a large loot of irreplaceable Ethiopian treasures that are currently housed at various locations in England.

    Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

    In 2007 Ethiopia’s president sent Queen Elizabeth II a formal request for the remains of Prince Alemayehu. As the BBC noted at the time: “The young prince was not the only thing the British took from [Meqdela] – they reportedly needed 15 elephants and nearly 200 mules to carry away the treasures that Tewodros had accumulated. Many of them are still in Britain and the Queen has some of them – notably six of the very finest illuminated manuscripts, which are part of the royal collection in Windsor Castle.”

    Some of the loot is currently on display at the V&A museum in London including “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry,” The Art Newspaper noted quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt who said: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

    According to Fana Broadcasting the Ethiopian government has rejected claims that it is negotiating with the Victoria and Albert Museum of the UK to bring the Meqdela treasures, looted 150 years ago, on long-term loan to the country. “On the contrary we have intensified our efforts for the restitution of all our treasures taken after the battle of Maqdala,” Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam said. Fana adds: “The minister insisted that Ethiopia will further strengthen its demands for the return of treasures from museums and libraries and individuals. There were no discussions about the treasure coming through loan as Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the treasures.”

    Regarding the commemoration of the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros Hirut said: “Emperor Tewodros has played significant role in trying to unite the country and modernizing the country as well as establishing and organizing libraries.”


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    Miss Ethiopia Becomes Miss Africa

    Miss Ethiopia won the maiden Africa Beauty Pageant held in Lagos, Nigeria last week. (Photo: LNN)

    Leadership Nigeria Newspaper

    Against all odds, tall and gorgeous Miss Ethiopia won the maiden Africa Beauty Pageant defeating Miss Mali, Miss Ghana and Miss Somalia in the Top 5 finalist contest.

    The beauty queens are drawn from Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cape Verde, Burundi, Cameroun, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Gambia and Mali. These 15 contestants are the finalists who emerged from the original 54, representing each of the African countries. Alas, Miss Nigeria did not even make it to the top 5.

    The soft spoken queen, Zika (her abbreviated name), stated that she was overwhelmed on hearing her name at the event held at the Grand Ball Room of Oriental Hotel last Friday, March 30.

    She noted that her greatest rivals were Miss Ghana and Miss Somalia. Speaking at media parley midweek, “Winning this crown has been the most defining moment for me. Winning the Africa Beauty Pageant is my greatest achievement coming from Ethiopia, a country not so known for pageants. It is not about me, it was about my country. I really enjoyed every moment of the two weeks we stayed in Nigeria including the jollof rice. Africa Beauty Pageant is not just about beauty but brains, intelligence as we were groomed on different things,” said the queen. She added that she would use the platform to voice out the plight of the girl child and speak against child abuse and violence against women.

    According to the organisers, the winner takes home a brand new Kia Sportage, Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), a fully furnished apartment in Nigeria, because Nigeria is the operating base for this year’s event and cash prize of $5,000. Creative Director of the pageant, Mr. Chike Mordi, noted that the pageant was themed ‘Beauty, Peace and Unity’.

    Read more »


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    How Ethiopic Script Was Introduced to Modern Computers: Interview with Fesseha Atlaw

    Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 6th , 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Just a couple of decades ago it was unthinkable to see Amharic and other Ethiopian languages on our phones, computers, and other electronic devices. Today, however, Ethiopic script is ubiquitous and is used in many applications including in our communication via text messages and on social media.

    We were curious to find out when and how Ethiopic Script was introduced to modern computers, so we reached out to Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script.

    Fesseha was among those profiled here some 25 years ago in an article titled “Legends of Ethiopic Computing” for his role as the producer of the first usable Ethiopic word processor. The article noted: “Ato Fesseha is best known in the field of Ethiopic computing for providing the genesis for the concept of computerizing the Ethiopian alphabet.”

    “The Ethiopian script has come a long way since it was first applied to a computer program in the early 1980s,” Fesseha says. “We have made a lot of progress in the last three and a half decades, and I get emotional when I think of how far we have come in just 30 years.”

    While working with the Unicode Technical Consortium in the early 90s (where he was the only African participant for 30 years) Fesseha was also responsible for proposing and pushing Ethiopic script to be the computer name instead of Geez or Amharic. “This I did consulting with Ethiopian linguists,” Fesseha explains. “The implication for this name selection was huge. It not only permanently codifies the computer reference to the language to be associated with Ethiopia but also correctly credits that the alphabet origination or development belongs to all Ethiopians.”

    “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

    For Fesseha it was his passion for writing in Amharic rather than his profession in the tech industry that initially inspired him to design the first known Ethiopic Script Software. “I loved writing in Amharic as far back as I remember,” recalls Fesseha in an interview with Tadias.

    In fact he was barely 15 years old when a high school play that he wrote got the attention of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin and was staged at the National Theater garnering him a “thumbs up” review in the Ethiopian Herald and a full page interview on Ethiopia Dimts (የኢትዮጵያ ድምፅ).

    Years later, after Fesseha moved to the United States and became an engineer working for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the heart of Silicon Valley, he still wanted to continue his writing and had contacted people in Ethiopia to send him an Amharic typewriter. But there was one huge problem.

    “I discovered that it was a capital crime to smuggle an Amharic typewriter out of Ethiopia,” Fesseha says. “It was a political punishment to discourage free expression and dissemination of pamphlets and other material by opponents of the military government of Mengistu Hailemariam. As the saying goes ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ so they did not want anybody to have this writing machine.” He adds: “I even contacted Olivetti in Italy that manufactured Amharic typewriters for the Ethiopian market. They told me that they had a contractual obligation with the Ethiopian government not to sell the typewriters outside of Ethiopia.”

    “Necessity is the mother of invention” Fesseha says, explaining that he decided instead to develop a software using the Ethiopic alphabet. Of course there was no such thing as Windows Operating System at the time and personal computers were at very early development stages — home computers were not even in the radar — and buying one was an expensive endeavor. Fesseha rented the cheapest IBM computer (8086 Micro processor) and a “noisy” DOT Matrix printer for $380 per month.

    “It was very crude process,” he recalls. “I had to design screen font and printer font separately for each letter pixel by pixel and grid by grid.”

    Fesseha held his first major demonstration at Stanford University in the mid-1980s. “It was a well attended event,” Fesseha shares. “Many people came including the touring Ethiopian delegation to the U.S.” Shortly thereafter in 1986/87 Fesseha gave his first interview to Voice of America’s Amharic service.

    The touring Ethiopian delegation eventually extended an invitation to him to do a similar demonstration in Ethiopia, which ended up with him hosting a workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. “It was a dramatic day because Mengistu showed up unannounced,” Fesseha chuckles remembering the moment. “All of a sudden they cleared out the room and a whole bunch of military people with machine guns came in. I kind of sensed that it might be Mengistu and he was not my favorite guy. I had demonstrated against him, I used to write articles in U.S. newspapers about the atrocities and killings at that time, so I was a bit nervous to meet him face-to-face.”

    Just as Fesseha guessed, after a few hours of waiting, Mengistu strolled right into the room with his entourage heading straight to the demo table to meet Fesseha. “So I quickly wrote on the screen his favorite slogan: “Hulum Neger Wede Tor Ginbar,” (“ሁሉም ነገር ወደ ጦር ግንባር”), Fesseha says. “To my relief Mengistu found it humorous and smiled from afar.” Although Mengistu was impressed and asked a lot of questions there “was not much productive follow-up afterwards,” Fesseha notes. He returned to California and continued on improving on it and making it available to the public “without any help from the Ethiopian government.”


    Fesseha Atlaw hosting the first Ethiopic software workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa in the mid 1980s. (Courtesy photos)

    What were the most significant milestones in digitizing Ethiopic Script?

    “The most important development in the history of Ethiopic software came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Voice of America (VOA) international service gave Xerox a contract to develop multilingual computers and one of the languages they requested was Amharic,” Fesseha says. “Collaborating with Joe Becker from Xerox I pushed for “Ethiopic” to be the unicode name in the Unicode list of languages,” Fesseha emphasizes. “I am proud of that struggle and I consider it to be my biggest contribution. Now the computer knows our alphabet as ‘Ethiopic’ and even a brand new computer will be able to display and allow you to write Ethiopic characters without having to download or install fonts or programs.”

    What is Unicode?

    “Unicode is an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different computer platforms and software programs. Ethiopic was included in the Unicode standard in 1990. I feel honored to have had a part in the inclusion of Ethiopic in the Unicode standard working with the founder of the Unicode Consortium himself, Dr. Joe Becker of Xerox Corporation. I have been working with Dr. Becker and others in proposing improvements and additions to the set of Ethiopic characters. Members come from high tech companies including IBM, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. While I was at Hewlett Packard and Dashen Engineering I participated representing the two companies, now I am an individual member since I no longer work at HP. I am still the only member from Africa.”

    What is the state of Ethiopic in 2018?

    “The state of Ethiopic is thriving as never before,” says Fisseha enthusiastically. “Now almost all, I would say 90%, of software applications can easily be done in Ethiopic.” Some of these include Amharic Translation such as in Google browser, as well as Amharic OCR and Amharic Natural Language Processing.

    “Regarding the Amharic OCR (Optical Character Recognition), it’s a relatively new technology even for English language users,” Fesseha explains. “The way it works is, the computer takes a picture of a character and matches it with a UNICODE equivalent. The implication is huge. We can now search for a sentence or a word in old scanned books or Amharic documents that were written long time ago before the advent of Ethiopic Software. It also means you can now edit old books and scans as the OCR engine converts any written Ethiopic into editable format after it has been scanned as PDF.”

    As for Amharic Natural Language Processing, “this is where a computer can actually read a book for you (in a synthesized voice) and one can also give instructions to the computer via natural spoken language,” Fesseha adds. “Again the implication is immense. You can speak to the computer or mobile device in Amharic and it will start writing your words. You can do this within an application or cut and paste the written words into any application like Facebook or Twitter or Excel etc. This natural Language processing AI is also allowing us to have our own robot that takes instructions and provides an answer in Amharic (Much the same way as Alexa of Amazon and Siri of Apple). One young developer has called his robot “Meron.” An actual sample conversation looks like this:

    ጤና ይስጥልኝ
    ጤና ይስጥልኝ ስሞትን ማን ልበል?
    ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ
    ሰላም ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ ፣ ሜሮን እባላለሁ
    አማርኛ ትችያለሽ ?
    አዎ
    ጎበዝ

    Fesseha points out that modern graphics design and animation can likewise easily be done in Amharic and cites examples such as TV program graphics, neon signs and animated words and phrases.

    “The sky is the limit,” Fisseha enthuses. “The basis for all this was the foundation that was set some 30 years ago to include Ethiopic in the globalized world language ranks.” Now many young Ethiopians such as MetaAppz, Ethiocloud, Agerigna and many many more have taken it to the next level and are developing applications at a very fast rate.”

    There have been some recent discussions and debates about whether or not Ethiopic should be used to write Afaan Oromo, and Fesseha who also advises the Oromo community in helping to standardize Qube writing system, adds that he does not believe in imposing Ethiopic on anyone.

    “That’s a political issue that Oromos must decide on their own as to the value of using Ethiopic script for Afan Oromo” he says. “As you know Oromiffa has several dialects so Qube is not standardized yet and there are some related technical issues that we are working to resolve at the moment.”

    “Some 40 years ago, Oromo intellectuals felt that Ethiopic/Geez script was too cumbersome to computerize and developed the Qube system,” shares Fesseha. “Now in 2018, Ethiopic can do everything a Latin script can do and in my humble opinion, if Afaan Oromo started using Ethiopic, it would be easier to have Google translate and other technological advances include Afaan Oromo and the rich Oromo language can benefit from the technology sooner than later. I will continue to do my best to help in this regard. I call on Oromo scholars to consider using Ethiopic to write Afaan Oromo not for political reason but for simple technical reasons. Ethiopic script belongs to all Ethiopians like Adwa belongs to all of us.”


    Cover of an old Afaan Oromo Bible መጫፈ ቁልቁሉ reprinted from the 1800′s version.

    Ethiopic Unicode has had characters that represent unique Afaan Oromo sounds such as “በዻኔ” “ዻባ” “ዼሬሳ” … These are not new developments but have been incorporated in the Unicode some 30 years ago as shown in this chart.

    Fesseha emphasizes that the development of Ethiopic Script incorporated the participation of many individuals over the years in helping to fine-tune the process. He notes: “From the beginning it was a community-based effort and the credit goes to lots of people and especially the young engineers who are continuously refining the use of Ethiopic in various technology platforms.”


    You can learn more about the history of Ethiopic Software and contact Fesseha Atlaw at fesseha@optmax.com or through www.ethiopicsoftware.org.

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    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission

    Mobile internet service has been restored in Ethiopia, adding to the list of positive news coming out of the country since the inauguration of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on Monday, April 2nd. In addition The Associated Press reports that Ethiopia has now officially closed the notorious Maekelawi prison. And Reuters notes that on Saturday, Abiy arrived in Jijiga - the capital of the Somali region - in a bid to tackle the problems [that displaced nearly a million people]. Below are links to these and other related stories. (Photo: Reuters)

    Xinhua

    Joyous mood as mobile internet restored in Ethiopia

    ADDIS ABABA, April 6 (Xinhua) — Ethiopians residing outside the capital Addis Ababa woke up to find mobile internet back working as the service restored on Friday after five months of blackout.

    The East African country on Friday restored mobile internet service after it was terminated across the country for the past five months, leaving majority of the country’s population to search rare wi-fi and broadband internet services.

    Ashenafi Yenew, a young Ethiopian in Bahir Dar city, told Xinhua that the reopening of mobile internet service on Friday morning “was a great surprise” for him and residents of the city…

    The block on mobile internet service was a major concern since the majority of Ethiopians use their mobile handsets to access the internet.

    Ethiopia’s state-owned EthioTelecom recently announced that it has more than 57 million mobile subscribers, accounting to more than half of the country’s total population.

    Maereg Sahlu, a tourist guide in Lalibe town, also told Xinhua that the block on mobile internet was a major inconvenience for many tourists.

    “Tourists need mobile internet for various purposes mainly to check maps and also communicate with their relatives back home,” Sahlu said.

    “Most of the time they were not happy when we tell them to use other options instead of mobile internet service,” Sahlu added.

    According to Sahlu, the restoration of mobile internet service is “a great news for us and also tourists who come from different parts of the world.”

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia closes notorious prison as internet service returns (AP)
    Ethiopia’s PM seeks end to violence that displaced nearly a million (Reuters)
    Ethiopia Closes Infamous Prison, But Activists Await Deeper Reforms (VOA)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia (The Economist)
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia

    In his inaugural speech PM Abiy Ahmed called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital. (EPA)

    The Economist

    IN ITS three decades of existence, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has gone through only two leaders. Neither came to power through a competitive vote. So it was with a sense of novelty that Ethiopians awaited the outcome of a secret ballot held on March 27th to determine the new chairman of the coalition and, by extension, the country’s prime minister.

    The result was also historic. Abiy Ahmed (pictured) won the backing of 108 party bigwigs, while 59 went for Shiferaw Shigute, his closest rival. On April 2nd Mr Abiy was sworn in as prime minister, making the 42-year-old Africa’s youngest leader. He will also be the first in modern Ethiopian history to identify as Oromo—from the largest, and lately the most rebellious, of the country’s ethnic groups…

    He takes office on a wave of goodwill. Taxis across Oromia are emblazoned with his photo. Activists abroad tweeted their support. Even in Addis Ababa, the capital, where locals are wary of his ethnic nationalism, there is optimism. In his inaugural speech Mr Abiy apologised for the government’s killing of protesters. He called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s long-standing enemy. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital.

    Read more »


    Related:
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
    Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
    Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
    Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

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    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists

    Jounalist Eskinder Nega is among those released once again. (Photo: By Yonas Tadesse/Getty Images)

    Associated Press

    By Elias Meseret

    April 5

    Ethiopia Releases 11 Journalists, Politicians Once Again

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Eleven journalists, politicians and bloggers in Ethiopia who were detained last month for allegedly displaying an outlawed flag and gathering in violation of a state of emergency have been released, a lawyer said Thursday.

    Amha Mekonnen, who represented most of the detained journalists, told The Associated Press that no charges were filed.

    Most of the 11 had been released from prison earlier this year with dozens of others as the former prime minister tried to open up political space after months of the worst anti-government protests in a quarter-century. They were detained again late last month as they gathered for a social event outside the capital, Addis Ababa, with family and friends.

    Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, was sworn in on Monday, vowing to solve “lots of problems,” amid hopes that he will be able to quell the sustained unrest that has rocked Africa’s second most populous nation.

    Among those now freed again are journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, politician Andualem Aragie and prominent blogger Befekadu Hailu.

    Under Ethiopia’s latest state of emergency declared earlier this year, people are prohibited from such gatherings without authorities’ prior knowledge. And a proclamation regarding the use of the Ethiopian flag prohibits the display of the flag without the emblem at its center. Those contravening the law could face up to a year and a half in prison.

    Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most prominent economies and a key security ally of the West but is often accused by rights groups and opposition groups of stifling dissent and arresting opposition party members, journalists, activists and bloggers.


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    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

    One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 4th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK is offering to loan Ethiopia its own treasures that were looted by British troops at the battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

    Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures that are being held at various locations in England more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

    It’s also worth noting that the latest noncommittal gesture from V&A comes on the eve of the Museum’s exhibition due to open on April 5th showcasing its Meqdelā collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

    “On show will be 20 items, including a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewellery,” The Art Newspaper noted. “The formal opening will be attended by Ethiopia’s minister of culture and tourism, Hirut Woldemariam, and the ambassador to the UK, Hailemichael Aberra Afework.”

    “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum,” the publication stated quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt. “This offer is likely to put pressure on other UK institutions that hold seized Ethiopian material, including the British Museum and the British Library.”

    In a related story The Guardian argued: “The offer is significant given the pledge by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the return of African artefacts would be a “top priority” for his administration.”

    The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between British soldiers led by Robert Napier and Ethiopians led by Emperor Tewodros II. Per Wiki: “In March 1866 a British envoy had been dispatched to secure the release of a group of missionaries who had first been seized when a letter Tewodros II had sent to Queen Victoria requesting munitions and military experts from the British, delivered by an envoy, Captain Cameron, had gone unanswered. They were released; however Tewodros II changed his mind and sent a force after them and they were returned to the fortress and imprisoned again, along with Captain Cameron.” In the end, Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

    The Guardian added: “The loan proposal has been welcomed by the Ethiopian state and campaigners, but Hunt said it was a complex debate and it was important not to extrapolate a “blanket policy”. He told the Guardian: “You have to take it item by item and you have to take it history by history. Once you unpick the histories of the collections it becomes a great deal more complicated and challenging.”

    We’re not exactly sure why returning looted property to its rightful owners is complicated and challenging, but you can read both articles at the following links:

    V&A opens dialogue on looted Ethiopian treasures (The Art Newspaper)

    Looted Ethiopian treasures in UK could be returned on loan (The Guardian)


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    The Day Martin Luther King Jr. Died (Video)

    Fifty years ago today, the civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. Riots broke out across the country, but in Indianapolis, there was peace. (WASHINGTONPOST.COM)

    The Washington Post

    After King’s assassination, RFK calmed an angry crowd with an unforgettable speech

    As darkness took hold on April 4, 1968, newly declared presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy stepped in front of a microphone atop a flatbed truck in a poor, predominantly black neighborhood in Indianapolis.

    Looking out onto the crowd, Kennedy turned and quietly asked a city official, “Do they know about Martin Luther King?”

    The civil rights leader had been shot a few hours earlier, though the news that he was dead hadn’t reached everyone yet.

    Robert F. Kennedy gave what turned out to be an iconic speech following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968.

    Listen: The day Martin Luther King Jr. died (Washington Post Audio)

    Read more »


    Related:
    MLK’s final speech — delivered 50 years ago — was full of timely and timeless teachings.


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    MLK’s Final Speech 50 Years Ago: Analysis

    MLK’s final speech — delivered 50 years ago [this week] — was full of timely and timeless teachings. (WASHINGTONPOST.COM)

    The Washington Post

    Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech, delivered 50 years ago tonight [April 3rd] in Memphis, is well remembered for its prophetic musings on mortality. “I’ve seen the Promised Land,” he said on a stormy night at the Mason Temple. “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

    The reverend’s declaration that he was not worried about anything and did not fear any man followed more than 40 minutes of reflection on the cause that brought him to Memphis — and martyrdom.

    Slain at just 39, the extemporaneous oratory on the eve of his assassination ensured that King would be remembered as a sort of American Moses. But the meat of his larger message is also worth revisiting on this dreadful half-century anniversary. His case for the virtue of nonviolent protest, boycotts and pushing the country to live up to our shared ideals is timely. His paeans to unity, economic justice and the moral obligation to look out for the least among us are timeless.

    Read the full article at The Washington Post »


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    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

    Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delivered a well-received and hopeful speech after taking the oath of office on Monday appealing for unity, pledging democracy and improved relations with Eritrea. Abiy said: "Democracy cannot be realized in the absence of rights, be it civil or economic rights. We all need to have a platform to voice our concerns." (Getty Images)

    Africa News

    By Daniel Mumbere

    Ethiopia PM appeals for unity, pledges democracy and improved relations with Eritrea

    Ethiopia’s parliament swore in Abiy Ahmed as prime minister on Monday with a mandate to implement democratic reforms aimed partly at defusing ethnic tensions in the Oromiya province from which the former army lieutenant general hails.

    The ruling coalition picked Abiy last week to replace Hailemariam Desalegn who quit to clear the way for reforms.

    Abiy, 42, took the oath of office in a ceremony at the House of People’s Representatives in Addis Ababa.

    Addressing a parliament session attended by 478 members of parliament, the new prime minister gave an impassioned speech on the need for unity and reform in the Eastern Africa nation.

    “Today is a historic day. We bear witness to a peaceful transfer of power. Today our situation presents us with opportunities and threats. Today we are in the midst of uncertain times,” Abiy said in a speech to parliament.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
    Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
    Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
    Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

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    Ethiopian American Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra Passes Away

    Acclaimed Ethiopian American wedding fashion designer Amsale Aberra has passed away at the age of 64. Born in Addis Ababa in 1954, Amsale who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the founder and creative director of the bridal label Amsale, one of the industry's leading brands in the United States. (Photo: WE tv)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 2nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — We are deeply saddened to report that Amsale Aberra, Ethiopian-American Founder and Creative Director of the bridal and fashion design house, AMSALE, passed away yesterday (April 1st). A statement from the company shares that Amsale “was surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital” where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

    We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

    “When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

    In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

    Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

    Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

    Amsale had shared the design process that her team undertakes as incorporating inspiration and keeping in mind that everyone won’t fit the same style.

    “I really am very practical,” Amsale had said when speaking about her bridal designs. “I mean does it work? Is it something not just only beautiful but is it functional? Brides will look beautiful if they are comfortable. The point of the whole day is for the bride to have fun after she looks amazingly beautiful.”

    Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, also shared her enthusiasm and admiration for the current generation of youth who are pursuing their dreams as designers, and offered a few words of wisdom for them: “What I really want to say to anyone is basically believe in yourself and don’t ever think it’s easy. It is hard and you have to keep that passion. You have to find a way to show it without quitting. Eventually things will happen. And that’s what I would say to all designers.”

    Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

    In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

    Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

    Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


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    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia

    Ethopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali with the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn after taking his oath of office on Monday, April 2, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @povonewsafrica)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: APRIL 2nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is welcoming a new Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, this week to fill the vacated position by the former PM Hailemariam Desalegn. This month, Ethiopia is also facing an unprecedented vote in the United States Congress denouncing its human rights record.

    Resolution H. RES. 128, which is scheduled for a vote next week, calls on the U.S. State Department in coordination with the Department of the Treasury “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

    Whether the measure passes or not, the fact that such a proposal is being debated on the floor of the U.S. Congress should give pause to current Ethiopian government officials of all ranks who may be otherwise inclined to ignore their citizens’ constitutional rights.

    According to Human Rights Watch the Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. “to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption. The act received widespread bipartisan support. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, introduced a version of the bill, and five Republican senators and five Democratic senators signed on as co-sponsors. President Barack Obama signed the law on December 23, 2016.”

    “I’m happy to announce that after months of hard work (by all involved) #HRes128 is scheduled for a vote the week of April 9,” announced Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, one of the main backers of the bill via Twitter on March 21st. “The fight for respect of human rights & inclusive governance in #Ethiopia continues.”

    Most importantly, we hope Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister shares the vision of the vast majority of Ethiopians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to finally set Ethiopia on a peaceful road to genuinely free and fair elections as well as create the much needed democratic political space for all opposing views, including those who want to organize on the basis of common ideas and not necessarily based on ethnic politics and tribal affiliations.

    As the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia stressed in a strongly worded press release in February: “The challenges facing Ethiopia, whether to democratic reform, economic growth, or lasting stability, are best addressed through inclusive discourse and political processes, rather than through the imposition of restrictions…We strongly urge the government to rethink this approach and identify other means to protect lives and property while preserving, and indeed expanding, the space for meaningful dialogue and political participation that can pave the way to a lasting democracy.”

    We hope that Ethiopia’s new PM will have the courage to act swiftly to lift the draconian State of Emergency proclamation and bring an end to this vicious cycle of arrests, pardons and re-arrests of journalists, academics and opposition activists.


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)

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    Model Gelila Bekele on OkayAfrica 100 List

    The OkayAfrica website features Ethiopian Model and activist Gelila Bekele on their 00 Women 2018 list—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. (Photo: OkayAfrica)

    OkayAfrica

    100 Women: Gelila Bekele Is the Ethiopian Activist Building Solutions to Help Her Community Thrive

    The Ethiopian model and activist wants to make sure that “Africa isn’t a dumping ground for foreign aid”—here’s how she’s doing it.

    Gelila Bekele, is an Ethiopian model, activist, filmmaker and self-proclaimed “village girl” who is fiercely advocating for the people of her community.

    Bekele is dedicated to fostering growth and long-term sustainability in Ethiopia’s rural areas—places where she proudly calls home. For her, it’s all about supporting her local community and addressing the barriers that young people face to receiving education, clean water and more. “It all starts from your home,” says Bekele.”

    When it comes to seeing her community thrive, Bekele believes that It’s all about intention and follow through. One of her primary goals is to “make sure Africa isn’t a dumping ground for foreign aid, and really making sure that we are apart of the conversation in every level.”

    She emphasizes the need for Africans to be in control of our own destinies—this message is wholly reflected in the work she does.

    Learn more about Bekele and her work as a community builder in the video below.


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    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)

    Abiy Ahmed, the newly elected chair of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is sworn in as the country's Prime Minister, Monday, April 2, 2018. Ethiopia's legislature has elected young and outspoken Abiy Amhed as prime minister, amid hopes that he will be able to quell sustained anti-government protests in Africa's second most populous nation. (AP photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    Associated Press

    BY ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: Monday, April 2, 2018

    New prime minister takes office in Ethiopia amid hopes he can quell ongoing protests

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Young and outspoken Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in Monday as Ethiopia’s prime minister, amid hopes he will be able to quell the sustained anti-government protests that have rocked Africa’s second most populous nation.

    Abiy was elected by Ethiopia’s parliament, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned in mid-February as a result of widespread protests that have taken the lives of several hundred people, mainly in the restive Oromia and Amhara regions.

    “This is a historic moment,” said Abiy in his inaugural address to Ethiopian lawmakers. “This is high time for us to learn from our past mistakes and make up for all the wrongs done in the past . we understand there are a lots of problems that need to be solved with great urgency.”

    Abiy apologized for the deaths of civilians in the violent protests. He said his administration will strive to solve grievances by discussion rather than by force, provide more space for opposition parties, fight corruption and focus on respect for rule of law.

    The new leader said he aims to open up a fresh dialogue with arch-foe Eritrea and called upon Ethiopia’s diaspora to more actively take part in the country’s affairs.

    Abiy is the first Oromo politician to become Ethiopia’s prime minister since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power in 1991. It is hoped he will be able to bring an end to the protests that have been raging since late 2015 to press for wider political freedoms and the release of opposition figures. The Oromo people, the largest ethnic group of Ethiopia’s 100 million people, have long felt marginalized both politically and economically.

    A former Lieutenant Colonel in the army and head of Ethiopia’s Science and Technology ministry, Abiy, 42, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.

    Many welcomed the new leader.

    “I think this is a very important step toward the overall democratization and stability of the country,” said Kiya Tsegaye, a lawyer and political analyst. “But he needs the support of the people around him, especially top party officials to implement his reform measures.”

    Prominent opposition leader Merara Gudina expressed cautious optimism over Abiy’s election, saying the future of Ethiopia’s peace and stability depends on the policies of the incoming leader and his party.

    “What he aims to achieve depends on what his party allows him to do,” Merara said, adding that Abiy was elected by Ethiopia’s ruling party and not directly by the population through a general election. “But still it goes without saying that a change in personalities within the leadership may bring changes in terms of bringing better ideas that may ultimately lead to national reconciliation.”

    Ethiopia’s Olympic gold medalist runner, Haile Gebrselassie, said the peaceful transfer of power is a win-win situation for all Ethiopians.

    “The new leader’s election has answered many Ethiopians’ questions,” Haile told The Associated Press, saying that Abiy should implement his pledges without delay. “His inaugural address today has the ability to bring together not only Ethiopians, but countries in the region as well.”

    Abiy will be Ethiopia’s third prime minister since the former military junta, the Derg, was overthrown in 1991.

    Ethiopia in February declared its second state of emergency in two years amid the ongoing protests that effectively crippled transportation networks and forced the closure of businesses. On Saturday, Ethiopian officials said that more than 1,000 people have been detained since the latest emergency rule was put in place.

    The U.S. Embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa, commended the peaceful transfer of power, saying it is the first time a living leader has handed over power in Ethiopia’s recent history.

    “We stand ready to support the government’s rapid implementation of democratic and economic reforms and look forward to the lifting of the state of emergency,” the U.S. embassy said in an email sent to The Associated Press.


    Related:
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
    Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
    Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
    Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

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    11-year-old Naomi Wadler’s Eloquent Speech at Our Lives Rally in DC

    Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old from Alexandria, Va. delivered a speech at the March for Our Lives rally in D.C. on March 24. Naomi was born in Ethiopia. (Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    The story behind 11-year-old Naomi Wadler and her March for Our Lives speech

    The youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives rally Saturday made one of the biggest splashes with an eloquent speech urging the nation not to forget black women, who are disproportionately represented among the victims of gun violence.

    Naomi Wadler, an Alexandria fifth-grader, became a hashtag, a meme shared around the world, praised by celebrities who included actress Lupita Nyong’o and comedian Eddie Griffin. The 11-year-old was heralded as future presidential material.

    But Wadler hasn’t seen any of that: She’s not on social media.

    “I have been accustomed to not Google myself, so I haven’t seen everything,” Wadler said Sunday in a phone interview during her spring break beach trip. “My speech might not have caused a giant impact on society, but I do hope all the black girls and women realize there’s a growing value for them.”

    That was the focus of her 3-minute, 30-second speech, which was repeatedly interrupted by roars of applause.

    “I am here to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Wadler said. “I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”

    Wadler was born in Ethi­o­pia and attends a school where nearly six in 10 students are white, a third are Hispanic and 6 percent are black. Her mom is white, and her dad, a recreational hunter, is black.

    Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


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    Ethiopia Arrests a Dozen Opposition Activists Over Flag Display (Bloomberg)

    Jounalist Eskinder Nega. (Photographer: Yonas Tadesse/AFP via Getty Images)

    Bloomberg

    Ethiopian police arrested 12 opposition activists, including previously freed detainees, after they displayed a flag that differs from the official national banner.

    Those arrested include four members of the opposition Blue Party, two journalists including Eskinder Nega, the former vice chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party Andualem Aragie, and three members of the Zone 9 blogging collective, according to the chairmen of the two opposition parties.

    The arrests took place Sunday at a private house in Lebu on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, Blue Party Chairman Yeshawas Assefa said by phone. About 70 activists had met separately earlier Sunday at a Blue Party lunch in the city to celebrate the recent release of prisoners from across Ethiopia, Yeshawas and UDJP Chairman Tigistu Awelu said.

    “The only thing they tell the prisoners, the comrades, is why are you using this flag?” Yeshawas said. “They said nobody can enter into the police station, and we will tell you after we investigate them.”

    Read more »


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    Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine

    Photographer Aida Muluneh from Ethiopia is featured in the "Being: New Photography 2018" exhibition, which is the current edition of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)'s New Photography series in New York. The group show, which opened on March 18th, will be on display through August 19, 2018. (Photo: By Aida Muluneh, Local Understanding, 2016/Courtesy of the artist via W)

    W Magazine

    Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh’s Body Painting Pictures Will Stop You In Your Tracks

    Aida Muluneh’s photographs are showstoppers—quite literally. Combining the shocks of color and crisp geometries of abstract painters like Frank Stella and the disturbing micro-thrills of Man Ray’s fashion pictures (see: the mysterious extra pair of hands in slide 2, or the unlikely angle and skin color of the model’s reflection in slide 4) with the body painting, materials, and traditions of her native Africa, Muluneh’s pictures are designed to short-circuit your eye. They always stand out in a crowd, even in a group exhibition like “Being: New Photography 2018,” MoMA’s current survey of the photographic landscape where Muluneh’s work is featured. Although she was born in Ethiopia in 1974, as a child Muluneh lived in Yemen, Cyprus, England, Canada, and the U.S.—and therefore, as she has said before, felt like an outsider everywhere. After working as a photojournalist with the Washington Post, she returned to Ethiopia to explore her heritage through her photography. Now, after founding the Addis Foto Fest in 2010, Muluneh creates African images that speak to the world.

    Read more and see the pictures at wmagazine.com »


    Related:
    Tadias Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018

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    Ethiopia Faces US Human Rights Bill Vote

    Rep. Mike Coffman (center) is one of the sponsors HR128. (Photo: Ethio-American Civic Council/Twitter)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 24th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Next month the U.S. Congress is scheduled to vote on a resolution condemning the continuing violations of constitutionally guaranteed human rights in Ethiopia.

    Among other issues the resolution denounces “excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces; the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists, and political leaders who exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression and the abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle political and civil dissent and journalistic freedoms.”

    The resolution entitled H. RES. 128 has gained momentum and urgency in recent days picking up nearly 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives as Ethiopia has devolved into another round of political turmoil and state of emergency.

    Ethio-American Civic Council, a community advocacy group based in Colorado, stated via social media that they “now have 98 co-sponsors in the House and 25 co-sponsors in the Senate.”

    “I’m happy to announce that after months of hard work (by all involved) #HRes128 is scheduled for a vote the week of April 9,” Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, one of the main backers of the bill twitted this week. “The fight for respect of human rights & inclusive governance in #Ethiopia continues.”

    The resolution calls on the U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act; and stand by the people of Ethiopia and support their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.”


    Related:
    Diaspora’s Role in Helping to Shape Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Ethiopia

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    Mulatu Astatke Always in Motion

    Mulatu Astatke is revered for being the father of Ethio-jazz. (Music in Africa)

    Music in Africa

    Mulatu Astatke remains a musician in motion

    Ethiopian jazz master Mulatu Astatke will be taking a break from his extensive 2018 European concert tour to play at the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival in South Africa. This should come as no surprise given that he has been in global motion ever since his parents sent him to study aeronautical engineering in North Wales in 1956.

    But Mulatu soon began trumpet lessons instead – he enrolled in London’s Trinity School of Music. While in London he heard performances by Caribbean and West African musicians that evoked his memories of the big bands he had enjoyed back home in Ethiopia. These performances pushed him to consider new a direction.

    Mulatu was the first African student to enrol at what would soon become the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1958. There he traded in his trumpet for the vibraphone. In 1960 he lived in New York City, where he spent more than six years taking part in the world of American jazz, interacting with Latin musicians, making records and performing in concerts.

    By the time Mulatu returned to Ethiopia later that decade, he had developed the concept of Ethio-jazz and was actively experimenting with this hybrid musical style. Ethio-jazz draws on multiple trends from the American jazz scene, including bebop and modal jazz combined with melodies and harmonies in the Ethiopian modal system.

    Melding of sounds

    Mulatu’s innovations were anchored by his childhood memories of traditional Ethiopian secular and church music. It was further inflected by harmony classes at the Berklee School and welded by the experience of hearing and playing jazz in London, Boston and New York City.

    Mulatu’s pieces over the course of his career retain these early musical influences and a highly original mixture of sounds from places experienced on his lifelong itinerary.

    An example is Mulatu’s signature piece ‘Yekermo Sew’ (A Man of Experience and Wisdom) which was featured in the soundtrack of American independent filmmaker and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch‘s 2005 film Broken Flowers and then circulated across the world. Composed following Mulatu’s return to Ethiopia in the late 1960s, ‘Yekermo Sew’ takes its title from a traditional Ethiopian Christian New Year’s blessing in Amharic, the national Ethiopian language.

    Read more »


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    Spotlight: The Universal Language of Artist Fikru Gebre Mariam’s Ethiopia Paintings

    The graphic theme of Fikru Gebre Mariam's art, which he has totally embraced, is a genre of contemporary Ethiopian painting representing a motif of Ethiopian women engaged in daily tasks. (EDGIC)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 22th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The first time that we featured Fikru Gebre Mariam in Tadias Magazine in 2009 he was an up-and-coming artist commuting between his studios in Paris and Addis Ababa. The Tadias profile, which was written by the late American sociologist and scholar of Ethiopian culture and history Donald Levine, described Fikru’s works as expressed in geometric abstraction. “They convey a blend of rich hues, emotional intensity, immediacy of impact, and a touch of austerity,” Levine wrote. “Even so, there is no mistaking the deeply Ethiopian flavor of these paintings. They display hints of Ethiopian miniatures and church paintings. They are imbued with African earth tones. They use the colored garments of Harari women. They capture the somber mood of much Ethiopian life.”

    Fast forward to 2018, Fikru Gebre who is now based in Ethiopia full time is an internationally acclaimed artist and sought after by art lovers from around the world.

    This week, the Arts Division of EDGIC Fine Art, Luxury & Media Corporation that caters to high-end global art collectors highlighted Fikru in a press release as their “STOP Times UP” feature saying: “The vision of selected Ethiopian EDGIC Artist Fikru Gebre Mariam saw the uprising of emotive influences that sought creation as “At the Red Light” original Art. He appreciates that the way of NOW is to subjugate oppression with the voice of what was once the voiceless through the veracity of experiences to power awareness in embracing unity for equality to be the order of the day.”

    EDGIC added: “To this end, Fikru Gebre Mariam brings forward the feminine consciousness to stand as a red light against the atrocities of misused male power. EDGIC Art Division recognizes the value that this great artist brings to the table of mankind and the current climate that has seen the upsurge of Times UP movement to accept that the art of this millennium defines people for peace to be the known reality of mankind. International acclaim has followed Fikru Gebre Mariam over the years, yet his humility is ever present as he acknowledges the power of preserving his art for generations of people to follow the integrity of standing tall in the very nature of their truth.”

    Fikru is a graduate of the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts — founded by prominent artist Ale Felege Selam — where he was a protégé of instructor Tadesse Mesfin, who Levine said “not only taught him painterly skills but gave him a graphic theme which he would embrace, struggle with, and grow through, ever since.”


    You can learn more about Fikru Gebre Mariam and his work at http://fikrugebremariam.edgic.eu/ and you can view some of his paintings at https://www.pinterest.com/fikru-gebremariam-paintings/.

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    Solution to Ethiopia’s Population Explosion

    Ethiopia's population has tripled over the past few decades [from 30 million to over 100 million since the 1970s]. Millions of farmers are leaving the fields only to end up living in the slums of huge cities. City planners believe they have found a solution -- in the remote countryside. (Photo: Spiegel Online)

    Spiegel Online

    The Plan to Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide

    Stories about people embarking on their future usually start with a departure. But the story of farmer Birhan Abegaz is different. He plans to stay put right where he is in his quest for happiness — a treeless wasteland in northern Ethiopia.

    The crooked huts of his village, Bura, are surrounded by solitary thorn bushes and acacias. Birhan is cultivating rice on a patch of leased land behind his hut, at least during the rainy season. A few months have passed since the harvest. The dry season is here, and the earth is dusty. The Shine River, Bura’s lifeblood, is nothing but a trickle.

    Married with three children, Birhan is only 28 years old, but the hardness of rural life has taken its toll on him and he looks much older. He fetches the family’s water for drinking, cooking and washing from about a kilometer away. The nearest well is on the other side of the highway leading to the provincial capital of Bahir Dar, a two-hour drive away. In the past, many people from Bura and the nearby villages took this road, turning their backs on the countryside in search of a better life in the city.

    What Can Keep the Farmers in the Countryside?

    Since the 1970s, Ethiopia’s population has more than tripled, going from 30 million to over 100 million. In the countryside, overpopulation is leading to the overuse and overgrazing of fields and deforestation. More and more people are moving to the big cities, which are growing faster than the rest of the country. The provincial capital of Bahir Dar had about 60,000 inhabitants 30 years ago, but today it has 350,000. “Apartment buildings, streets, the drinking-water supply and the entire infrastructure can’t keep up with this tempo,” says Ethiopian city planner and architect Zegeye Cherenet.

    As a result, new arrivals end up living on the streets or in slums. In the early mornings in Bahir Dar, dozens of ragged young men stand at the intersections in the hope of picking up work as day laborers. In the evenings, their sisters and mothers go to the square and wait for johns.

    Read more »


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    NYC Students Help to Connect Young Ethiopian Professionals

    Michael Andeberhan, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), model and filmmaker Gelila Bekele, fashion designer Tizita Balemlay and attorney Lydia Gobena are speakers at the "Network to Networth" event that will take place in New York City on March 28th, 2018. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 20th, 2018

    NYC Students Create Network Event Platform for Young Ethiopian Professionals

    New York (TADIAS) — A student-led initiative in New York is helping to create a greater platform for young Ethiopian professionals to network with established business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Diaspora.

    This month an event called “Network to Networth” is scheduled in New York City for March 28th at Doux Supper Club in midtown Manhattan featuring panelists from Wall Street, as well as the legal, film and fashion industries.

    Noel Daniel, a finance major at Pace University in NYC who is organizing the event, told Tadias that the purpose is “to foster meaningful connections that could lead to mentorships, partnerships, internships and even leads for jobs and career opportunities.” Noel added that they aim to establish “a relaxed and entertaining” environment as an alternative to “clubbing and bar-hopping” that could actually result in “real opportunities and valuable information.” Noel’s team has already held similar gatherings in Washington, D.C. and Addis Ababa with success while highlighting managers of multinational corporations as well as owners of both small, medium and large private companies.

    Panelists at the New York event include attorney Lydia Gobena, Partner at the top intellectual property law firm Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu. Lydia is also owner and designer of the jewelry line, Birabiro. Additional panelists include Michael Andeberhan, Executive Director at MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) and a member of the Global Asset Owner and Consultant team; model and filmmaker Gelila Bekele who is featured in several beauty campaigns including those for Diesel, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Pantene and L’Oreal; as well as Tizita Balemlay, Founder & Creative Director of @pluggednycstore whose merchandise and designs have garnered support from stars like Rihanna, Jhene Aiko & Lil Yachty.

    “Our goal is to build efficient networking with long lasting benefits,” Noel shares, promising an inspiring evening for young professionals to network within their Diaspora community. Tadias is proud to be a media sponsor for the March 28th Q&A panel/mixer.


    If You Go:
    Network to Networth – NYC
    Wed, March 28, 2018
    5:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
    Doux Supper Club
    59 W 21st Street
    New York,
    Click here to RSVP and buy tickets

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    Watch: The Talented Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia on NBC’s “Little Big Shots”

    The Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia on NBC's television show "Little Big Shots" on Sunday, March 18th, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 19th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The talented Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia were featured on NBC’s hit series “Little Big Shots” on Sunday, March 18th, with host Steve Harvey declaring: “This is the greatest act I’ve ever seen on Little Big Shots!”

    Little Big Shots is an American variety television show that highlights children demonstrating talents and participating in conversation with Harvey.

    “Steve Harvey couldn’t believe what was happening on the Little Big Shots stage when Ethiopian duo, The Kiriku Brothers, brought their high-flying act to the show,” Yahoo News enthused. “The kids, apparently, met at circus camp, as kids do, and practice their routine for four hours every day. Which is necessary if you’re going to be pulling off the crazy stunts these kids were performing.”

    The culture editor of the 2Paragraphs website added: “One of the most memorable and unique performances on Season 3 of Little Big Shots is delivered by the Kiriku Brothers. The foot juggling Kiriku Brothers have all kinds of tricks, including where one of the older ones uses his bare feet to juggle a younger brother with nothing else but his feet. (Note: the Kiriku Brothers aren’t all related.) The Kiriku Brothers troupe hails from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This isn’t the Kiriku Brothers first time on television. Two of the brothers were just on Spain’s Got Talent in February. Spanish singer/actress and Spain’s Got Talent judge Edurne Garcia hit her Golden Buzzer for the Kiriku Brothers.”

    Watch: Little Big Shots – The Kiriku Brothers (Episode Highlight)


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    Children Of Immigrants Are Top U.S. High School Science Performers (Forbes)

    An impressive 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, the leading science competition for U.S. high school students, were the children of immigrants, according to a new study by the National Foundation for American Policy. (Photo: Society for Science & the Public)

    Forbes

    What would we lose if immigrants could no longer come to America? Surprisingly, one of the most important things America would lose is the contributions made by their children.

    A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy found a remarkable 83% (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. The competition organized each year by the Society for Science & the Public is the leading science competition for U.S. high school students. In 2017, the talent search competition was renamed the Regeneron Science Talent Search, after its new sponsor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals,and a new group of 40 finalists – America’s next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians – are competing in Washington, D.C., from March 9 to 15, 2017.

    Both family-based and employment-based immigrants were parents of finalists in 2016. In fact, 75% – 30 out of 40 – of the finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas and later became green card holders and U.S. citizens. That compares to seven children who had both parents born in the United States.

    To put that in perspective, even though former H-1B visa holders represent less than 1% of the U.S. population, they were four times more likely to have a child as a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search than were parents who were both born in the United States.

    Parents who were international students were more likely to have a child as a finalist than native-born parents. A total of 27 of the 40 children – 68% – had a parent who came to America as an international student. That means if international students cannot remain in America after graduation (through Optional Practical Training and improved visa policies) it will also deprive America of the potentially substantial contributions of their children.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia: Diaspora Reacts to Firing of Tillerson and What It Means for Africa

    The recently fired US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is greeted by Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu as he arrives at Addis Ababa airport on March 7th, 2018. (Photo: EPA)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: March 18th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — It was supposed to be Rex Tillerson’s first trip to Africa as America’s top diplomat, but it turned out to be his last one.

    “So what was the point of it all?,” asked a poignant article published by the Washington Post following Trump’s unceremonious firing of Tillerson last week. “Couldn’t he have just stayed home and sent Africa an email?”

    From a public relations point of view, as Reuters points out: “Tillerson’s main aim appeared to be clearing up the mess left by President Donald Trump’s reported dismissal of some African nations as ‘shithole countries’ in addition to promising “$533 million in humanitarian aid and some pat remarks about security and not getting too cozy with China.”

    The Washington Post piece adds: “the administration no doubt needed to do something to soften the blow of President Trump’s “shithole countries” remarks (though Tillerson sidestepped the issue at news conferences)… Ultimately, many Africans in the countries he visited were unimpressed.”

    In a follow-up story featured on Sunday, March 18th titled “In Africa, Trump’s firing of Tillerson a New Sign of Neglect,” The Associated Press highlights the perspective of Africans as well as members of the African Diaspora including Ethiopian Americans.

    Befekadu Hailu, a prominent Ethiopian blogger, told The Associated Press that “Africans have nothing to take Trump seriously. He already proved himself ethno-centrist and exclusivist, no friend to Africa.”

    Regarding the removal of Tillerson while making his inaugural visit to the continent, Ted Alemayhu, an Ethiopian-born American who is running for Congress to represent California’s 39th District, told AP: “That, in my opinion, is adding insult to injury.”

    The Associated Press notes: “While in Africa, Tillerson tried to project a more positive image of the continent, saying its rapid economic growth and fast-growing populations mean its future is increasingly linked to America’s. He visited some of Africa’s most prominent economies in Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia and highlighted U.S. security issues with stops in Chad and Djibouti… Tillerson also sought to reassure African nations that aid would continue even as the Trump administration pursues deep cuts in foreign assistance.”

    AP states “unlike Trump, recent U.S. leaders engaged substantially with Africa. Bill Clinton created a signature trade program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and George W. Bush launched an HIV treatment program, PEPFAR, that has boosted the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients across Africa. Barack Obama enjoyed goodwill throughout the continent, even though some in Africa felt he fell short of expectations as the son of a Kenyan man. Trump has not indicated any possible initiatives for Africa.”

    Read the full article at the washingtonpost.com »


    Related:
    Diaspora’s Role in Helping to Shape Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Ethiopia
    Trump Fires Tillerson (UPDATE)
    In the end, no one was more surprised that Tillerson was fired than Tillerson
    Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up
    Tillerson Calls Ethiopia ‘A Young Democracy’
    A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Pictures: Yirgacheffe Coffee for Tillerson, Ethiopic Script Tie for Lavrov
    Tillerson, in Africa, Dodges Questions on Vulgarity and Trolling (NYT)
    Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
    Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
    Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
    Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
    Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
    Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
    Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
    Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

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    NYT Update on Al Amoudi’s Imprisonment

    Al Amoudi’s vast business empire employs some 70,000 people and includes an agriculture venture, a fuel company and a chain of gas stations. (NYT)

    The New York Times

    He Owns Much of Ethiopia. The Saudis Won’t Say Where They’re Keeping Him.

    He supplies coffee to Starbucks. He owns much of Ethiopia. And he is known as “Sheikh Mo” in the Clintons’ circle.

    But the gilded life of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi took a sharp turn in November. Mr. Amoudi, the gregarious 71-year-old son of a Yemeni businessman and his Ethiopian wife, was swept up with hundreds of billionaires, princes and other well-connected figures in what the Saudi government says is an anti-corruption campaign that has seized more than $100 billion in assets.

    Many other detainees, who were initially kept at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, have been released, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the well-known international investor. Mr. Amoudi’s cousin, Mohammed Aboud Al Amoudi, a property developer, was also let go.

    But Mr. Amoudi, once called the world’s richest black person by Forbes, has not been freed, leaving a vast empire that employs more than 70,000 people in limbo. He controls businesses from Ethiopia, where he is the largest private employer and the most prominent backer of the authoritarian government, to Sweden, where he owns a large fuel company, to London, which he has used as a base to set up a number of companies.

    “He was in the Ritz-Carlton but we have been told by his family members that he was moved, along with others, to another hotel,” Mr. Amoudi’s press office said in an email responding to questions. “Unfortunately we do not know where. He is in regular contact with his family and is being treated well.”

    While Mr. Amoudi lacks a princely pedigree, he is in other ways an archetype of those entangled in the kingdom’s power play: a billionaire with assets stretching across the world who had close ties to previous governments.

    The late King Abdullah was a supporter of Mr. Amoudi’s Saudi Star Agricultural Development, a sprawling farming venture in Ethiopia established to supply rice to Saudi Arabia. Such ventures are seen as strategic assets in a desert kingdom keenly aware of its agricultural limitations. While Saudi Star has had a tough time getting going, it is said to be a particular focus of the new government’s interest.

    Saudi officials have declined to comment on the charges against individual detainees as well as their status, citing privacy laws.

    Read more »


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    Scientist Sossina Haile Creates Another Groundbreaking Fuel Cell

    Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile developed the first solid acid fuel cells. Her team's new discovery presents a significant step toward lower fuel cell costs and more sustainable energy, according to a study published last month in the journal Nature Energy. (Photo: (Northwestern University)

    Northwestern University

    New Fuel Cell has Exceptional Power Density and Stability

    A team of researchers led by Northwestern Engineering professor and fuel cell pioneer Sossina Haile has created a new fuel cell offering both exceptional power densities and long-term stability at optimal temperatures, a discovery that heightens the viability of incorporating fuel cells into a sustainable energy future.

    “For years, industry has told us that the holy grail is getting fuel cells to work at 500-degrees Celsius and with high power density, which means a longer life and less expensive components,” said Haile, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of applied physics at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “With this research, we can now envision a path to making cost-effective fuel cells and transforming the energy landscape.”

    The study, titled “Exceptional power density and stability at intermediate temperatures in protonic ceramic fuel cells,” was published February 12 in the journal Nature Energy. Sihyuk Choi, a postdoctoral fellow in Haile’s laboratory, served as the paper’s first author.

    Though recent research had demonstrated the potential of some protonic ceramic fuel cells to offer environmentally sustainable and cost-effective electric power generation, those cells’ high electrolyte conductivities failed to produce anticipated power outputs.

    “While it was known that some electrolytes have high conductivity at 500-degrees Celsius, somehow the electrodes were not working well in the complete fuel cell,” Haile said.

    “It’s exciting to think about where we are now and where we can go.”

    Read more »


    Related:
    Spotlight: Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation
    Outstanding Women in Science: Tadias Interview with Professor Sossina Haile

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    FT on Chicken Business in Rural Ethiopia

    Rearing chickens with high yields of eggs and meat is giving many Ethiopians the chance to tap into a market with growth potential — the country’s meat consumption is about a quarter of the average for sub-Saharan Africa. (Financial Times)

    Financial Times

    EthioChicken: Ethiopia’s well-hatched idea

    Six months ago Abdurazak Tariku hadn’t heard of EthioChicken. The 24-year-old civil engineering student had expected his career path to involve bridges and roads rather than poultry vaccines and animal feed.

    “I’d never really thought about chickens before,” he says. “But a friend explained how [he was] making decent money from rearing and selling chickens, and I could see the birds in my neighbourhood. They were bigger and looked healthier than ordinary chickens.”

    Abdurazak convinced his parents to let him take over a shed they owned in Fikadu, a village 160km south-west of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, and become an EthioChicken agent. He is rearing his first batch of 1,500 chicks bought from EthioChicken and is busy looking for customers while continuing his studies at the nearby Wolkite University.

    “I’m planning to go full-time after I graduate,” he says. “I shall employ some people when I get busier. Three or four friends are already saying they want to do it too.”

    Abdurazak’s story sounds like suspiciously positive corporate public relations — the poster boy with well-rehearsed lines brought out to impress foreign visitors. But after random stops at homesteads where EthioChicken poultry can be seen pecking at the dusty ground, his tale and the seven-year story of the company’s evolution from aid worker’s dream to multinational enterprise becomes completely credible. rural

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia on Capitol Hill’s New Hype Cafe

    Samuel Mengistu and Hanna Tesfamikael, owners of Hype Cafe on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Laura Hayes)

    Washington City Paper

    Ethiopian Traditions Come Alive at Capitol Hill’s New Hype Cafe

    The meaning behind the name Hype Cafe doesn’t make itself known until about an hour after you leave the welcoming spot on Capitol Hill that opened this month. That’s when the rush of caffeine from your cup of electrifying Ethiopian coffee practically smacks you.

    Hype Cafe is from engaged couple Samuel Mengistu, who is from Ethiopia, and Hanna Tesfamikael, who is from Eritrea but grew up in Ethiopia. “I came up with the name,” Tesfamikael says. “You drink coffee in order to get energy. You get hyper. Let’s just call it hype.”

    At their coffee shop in the former Il Capo di Capitol Hill space, the owners will bring traditions from home to D.C., including coffee ceremonies on Saturdays and Sundays.

    “Since we were kids, coffee is basically a part of life,” Mengistu says. “I tasted my first coffee when I was six. In Ethiopia there’s a way of doing coffee. There’s a first round, second round, and third round. The third round is very light. The grown-ups don’t drink it, they just taste it and the kids come in. As long as they put a lot of sugar, we can drink it.”

    If you’re judging, think about how much caffeine is in childhood elixir Mountain Dew.

    Beyond being strong, Ethiopian coffee is well known for its intense smell. Mengistu and Tesfamikael explain that coffee grown at high altitudes, as it is in Ethiopia, releases the best aroma. They exclusively brew Arkibuna coffees.

    Right now pastries are served along side coffee and espresso drinks but the couple will debut a menu of sandwiches and Ethiopian veggie sampler platters after the grand opening in early April. There are about 50 seats inside and once the weather warms up, they’ll add tables outside.

    For now Hype Cafe is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. It may stay open later once it offers food. Tesfamikael points out that there aren’t too many places in the neighborhood that stay open late.

    Hype Cafe, 1129 Pennsylvania Ave. SE


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    UPDATE: Women & Children Make Up 80% of Displaced People From Moyale, Ethiopia

    The Kenya Red Cross says 80 percent of those displaced persons from Ethiopia are women and children. Ethiopia admits that the unrest in the Moyale area following a bungled government military operation last week that killed several civilians has rendered nearly 40,000 people homeless. So far about 9, 000 have crossed the border into neighboring Kenya seeking asylum. The Red Cross warns the number of refugees from Ethiopia is likely to rise in the coming days. The Ethiopian authorities blame "rumors of war" for the displacement. (Photos: Twitter @KenyaRedCross)

    Number of Ethiopian refugees in Kenya rises to over 9,000

    Humanitarian agencies are warning of refugee crisis in Moyale following an influx of refugees from Ethiopia.

    The number which stood at only 8,500 has now almost hit the 10-thousand mark as members of the Oromo community from the neighboring country flee what they claim is a crackdown by the Ethiopian military.

    Makeshift camps have been established at Dambala and in Sololo to provide temporary shelter for the displaced.

    The influx of refugees from Ethiopia now has area leaders concerned.

    The number said to be increasing by the day with average of over 500 people crossing the border to the Kenyan side every day in the last three days.

    Read more »

    The Associated Press

    The Kenya Red Cross says more than 8,500 Ethiopians have crossed the border into Kenyan territory seeking asylum from conflict after government troops mistakenly killed civilians.

    The Red Cross said in a statement Wednesday that the number may keep increasing in the coming days.

    The civilians fled after Ethiopian security forces mistakenly killed nine civilians in Moyale, located on the country’s southern border with Kenya, according to a command post established to oversee Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Ethiopia imposed the state of emergency following months of unrest in some parts of the country that tarnished the country’s image as one of Africa’s best performing economies.


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    Ethiopia Bus Crash Kills 38 Students (AP)

    Road accident in south Wollo zone claims 38 lives. (Photo: Twitter @fanatelevision)

    The Associated Press

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s state-affiliated broadcaster says that a bus plunged into a ditch, killing 38 people in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region.

    Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported on Tuesday that the bus veered off the road and went into the trench. It said an additional 10 people were injured.

    The broadcaster reported that most of the victims were university students. It said the accident happened in the south Wollo area.

    Ethiopia is upgrading its road system but dilapidated roads, inadequate driving skills and poor conditions of vehicles contribute to road traffic deaths. According to a report in Ethiopia last year, traffic accidents claimed the lives of more than 16,000 people in the country between 2014 and 2017.


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    Trump Fires Tillerson (UPDATE)

    Trump has fired U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo. (Photo: Tillerson with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa last week/AP)

    Fired via Twitter: How Trump soured on Tillerson as his leading diplomat

    When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly warned Rex Tillerson to possibly expect a pejorative tweet from President Trump over the weekend, the secretary of state failed to fully understand that it was a gentle signal to him that he was about to be fired.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asleep in his Nairobi hotel room early Saturday morning fighting a stomach bug when White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called to wake him around 2 a.m. to relay a terse message from President Trump: The boss was not happy.

    The president was so eager to fire Tillerson that he wanted to do so in a tweet on Friday, but Kelly persuaded Trump to wait until his secretary of state was back in the United States from Africa, two people familiar with the conversation said. It was Tillerson’s first trip there since Trump disparaged parts of the continent as “shithole countries.”

    But Kelly had also warned Tillerson to possibly expect a pejorative tweet from Trump over the weekend, a State Department official said. Tillerson failed to fully understand that the chief of staff was gently signaling to him that he was about to be fired.

    And so, just over four hours after Tillerson’s government plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday morning, the secretary of state learned of his dismissal from a tweet Trump issued just minutes after The Washington Post first reported the news.

    Read more »

    Reuters

    Trump ousts Secretary of State Tillerson, taps CIA director Pompeo

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

    “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!” Trump said on Twitter.


    Related:
    In the end, no one was more surprised that Tillerson was fired than Tillerson
    Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up
    Tillerson Calls Ethiopia ‘A Young Democracy’
    A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Pictures: Yirgacheffe Coffee for Tillerson, Ethiopic Script Tie for Lavrov
    Tillerson, in Africa, Dodges Questions on Vulgarity and Trolling (NYT)
    Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
    Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
    Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
    Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
    Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
    Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
    Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
    Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

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    Diaspora’s Role in Helping to Shape Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Ethiopia

    Tadias Magazine is announcing an upcoming opinion series on the role of the Ethiopian Diaspora in helping to shape a better U.S. foreign policy towards Ethiopia. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 13th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — There has never been a better time to start a more constructive dialogue in the Diaspora regarding our role in helping to shape a better informed U.S. policy towards Ethiopia that is based on real data, research and facts.

    Tadias Magazine is announcing an upcoming opinion series on the subject and extending invitations to our readers and the general public to help us elevate the discourse to bring about meaningful change by participating in the discussion through a series of Op-ED articles that we plan to publish later this year.

    We especially encourage foreign affairs experts, former Ethiopian American government officials, diplomats, academics, journalists as well as students, community leaders and other professionals to contribute to the discourse.

    We warmly welcome your submissions and note that articles need not solely be concerned with politics. We are sure that there is a wide range of untapped aspects of Diaspora engagement that is waiting to be explored including people-to-people, business-to-business, investment, education, health, science, technology, arts, culture and historical topics.


    You can send your article to info@tadias.com.

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    Ethiopian Lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie Receives Prestigious Helen Keller Award

    Ethiopian lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie is being honored with the Spirit of Helen Keller Award. It's named for an American who promoted the rights of women and people with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of Light for the World)

    VOA News

    By Salem Solomon

    Ethiopian Disability Rights Advocate Champions Opportunities for Women

    Yetnebersh Nigussie had opportunities other girls in rural Ethiopia can only dream of.

    Unlike her peers growing up in Wollo province, Nigussie wasn’t married off as a young girl or forced to work at home.

    Instead, she devoted herself to learning.

    Nigussie moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, and pursued an education, eventually earning a law degree and founding the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development, a group that advocates for the rights of disabled people in her home country.

    What makes Nigussie’s accomplishments especially noteworthy are the challenges she overcame.

    Nigussie lost her sight at age 5 after contracting meningitis. But where some see obstacles, Nigussie, now 36, sees potential.

    “I believe challenges are opportunities. So we human beings are created to change challenges into opportunities,” she told VOA’s Amharic Service in a phone interview last week. “That’s why I always tell [people] that, when I turned blind at the age of 5, that brought a new opportunity. I would have never been educated had I not been blind. All my siblings and the children in my area, in my age [group] — none of them have gotten educational opportunities.”

    Advocacy

    Nigussie has built her career on advocating for people with disabilities. In recognition of her accomplishments, she will receive the prestigious Spirit of Helen Keller Award, presented by the nongovernmental organization Helen Keller International, at a May 2 gala in New York.

    First presented in 1959, the award is named for an American activist who was deaf and blind. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Keller gained fame for her lectures, writings and advocacy work promoting the rights of women and the disabled.

    “Receiving the Spirit of Helen Keller Award is a great thing because Helen Keller has been my source of inspiration that I am living. We believe in the same thing: telling people not to focus on our disabilities, [but] rather on our abilities,” Nigussie said. “Helen was always saying that ‘I don’t know what darkness is, but I know there is a light.’ So it’s a great thing to be associated with such a fantastic hero who has been always my inspiration in life.”

    Recognizing contributions

    Now, Nigussie wants to honor women making an impact across the globe with a separate award: Her Abilities, which she will give out annually in partnership with Light for the World. Nigussie is an adviser to the Austria-based organization.

    The award will recognize women making an impact in the areas of health and education, rights, and sport and culture. It is open to women with disabilities worldwide.

    “The reason we decided to focus on women with disabilities is that we believe they face double, and sometimes triple, discrimination,” Nigussie said. “We need to spotlight their work and make sure that they are visible to the world. … So it’s very much in line with my personal motto: I have one disability and 99 abilities. So we’re not going to focus on the one disability. We’re going to talk about their 99 abilities — or more — and we’re going to celebrate their achievements, their greatness.”

    Nominations for the award will open July 2, and winners will be announced in December.

    Overcoming barriers

    An estimated 15 million people in Ethiopia live with disabilities, and they often lack access to resources and protections while facing stigmatization and a heightened risk of poverty and social isolation. According to the World Health Organization, Africans with disabilities face significant gaps in their access to welfare, education, vocational training and counseling services.

    Nigussie’s organization, the Ethiopian Center, has sought to address these barriers through job training and publications. For example, it offers an online guide to Ethiopian hotels, restaurants and offices that are accessible to people with disabilities.

    The activist also hopes to continue advocating for legal changes, including overturning a restriction that makes it illegal for deaf people in Ethiopia to drive.

    Nigussie said she is humbled by the recognition and motivated to do more.

    “I believe all these challenges would lead people with disabilities, in particular in Africa, to make sure that they overcome the challenge,” she said. “No challenges are coming to stop us. They are coming as a puzzle for us to solve.”


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    Spotlight: Emahoy Tsegue Mariam Guebru’s New CD and Last Recordings

    (Photo courtesy of The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation) )

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 11th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — The renowned classical pianist and composer Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru has released her last recordings, a CD of new compositions called The Visionary.

    The Ethiopian nun, who turns 95 years old this year, lives inside the Ethiopian monastery in Jerusalem. She gained international following after her solo compositions were published in the Ethiopiques 21 CD series by the French label Buda Musique ten years ago.

    The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation announced that her latest album, which was issued in February, is self published in limited edition and only a few hundred copies are available via the foundation’s website.

    Born as Yewubdar Gebru in Addis Abeba on December 12, 1923 Emahoy Tsege Mariam fled communist Ethiopia in the 1980′s for a solitary life in Jerusalem playing piano everyday, seven days a week. Her greatest compositions include the “Homeless Wanderer,” a beautiful and pensive piece that is reflective of all her other works.

    Some of the tracks in her new CD, “The Visionary,” include: Have you seen Assayehegn?, Extract from Rainbow Sonata, Woigaye, don’t cry anymore, Farewell Eve, Famine Disaster 1974 , Homage to Ludwig Beethoven, Jerusalem, The Phantom, Reverie, Quo Vadis, Ave Maria and Quand la Mer Furieuse.

    Regarding her fascinating life story it is fair to say that Emahoy has seen it all when it comes to the ups and downs of the turbulent history of modern Ethiopia in the past nine decades. As a teenager in the late 1930′s her family “was taken as prisoners of war by the Italians and deported to the island of Asinara, north of Sardinia, and later to Mercogliano near Naples,” shares The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation. “After the war, Yewubdar resumed her musical studies in Cairo, under a Polish violinist named Alexander Kontorowicz. Yewubdar returned to Ethiopia accompanied by Kontorowicz and she served as an administrative assistant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later in the Imperial Body Guard where Kontorowicz was appointed by Emperor Haile Selassie as music director of the band.”

    Later, young Yewubdar, who grew up in a privileged family (her father was Kentiba Gebru) and studied violin in Switzerland as a young girl, “secretly fled Addis Abeba at the age of 19 to enter the Guishen Mariam monastery in the Wello region where she had once before visited with her mother,” the foundation adds. “She served two years in the monastery and was ordained a nun at the age of 21. She took on the title Emahoy and her name was changed to Tsege Mariam.”

    Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam – The Homeless Wanderer from aloido on Vimeo.

    In the 1960s Emahoy had studied Saint Yared’s 6th-century music in Gondar. And barely a decade later she would survive the mayhem following the 1970′s communist revolution. Emahoy’s first record was released in 1967 in Germany through the assistance of Emperor Haile Selassie with subsequent piano compositions released in 1973, the proceeds of which were used to assist orphanages.

    At Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru’s request both her published and unpublished compositions have been donated to her foundation to continue to provide disadvantaged children with the opportunities to study classical and jazz musical genres.

    “Her life is full of teaching moments for young people, artists and students,” said her niece Hanna M. Kebbede, who resides in Falls Church, Virginia. “She has endured a lot. It is a uniquely Ethiopian story, but at the same time the lessons are universal.”


    You can learn more and buy the new CD at www.emahoymusicfoundation.org.

    Related:
    From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

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    A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia

    U.S. President Barack Obama gets tour of Lucy's 3.2 million-year-old bones from Ethiopian American paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged in Addis Ababa on Monday, July 27th, 2015. (Getty Images)

    In pictures: Obama in Ethiopia July 2015


    Related:
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    Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
    President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
    Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
    Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
    Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
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    In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
    Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
    Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
    Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

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    Ethiopia Pictures: Yirgacheffe Coffee for Tillerson, Ethiopic Script Tie for Lavrov

    Last week Ethiopia attracted global media attention when it simultaneously hosted some of the world's top diplomats including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (pictured right sipping Yirgacheffe Coffee) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured left sporting an Ethiopic script tie). They both stayed at the posh Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa, but officials are quick to note that they neither met nor run into each other in Ethiopia's capital. (Photo: Twitter via Africa News)

    Africa News

    Ethiopia over the past week hosted three top diplomats to Addis Ababa. Foreign Affairs chiefs of the United States, Russia and the United Arab Emirates were all in town for meetings.

    The visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and Serge Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Affairs chief, however, did get some traction on social media for different reasons.

    Tillerson who started an African tour in Ethiopia must have heard of Ethiopian coffee and was bent on having his share whiles there. The U.S. Embassy shared a series of photos showing him in “active contact” with coffee.


    In Ethiopia Secretary Tillerson met the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, started with USAID assistance 16 years ago. The U.S. assisted 120,000+ smallholders coffee growers in Ethiopia to increase production, sales, & exports worth nearly $28 million @USAIDEthiopia. (@USEmbassyAddis)

    In the case of Lavrov, his choice of dressing on arrival at the Bole International airport got Ethiopia’s social media space buzzing, as he chose a more casual outlook. He arrived from Zimbabwe wearing blue jeans.

    Long before that could subside, he got into official groove for meetings throughout Friday. His tie apparently was decorated with the ge’ez alphabets unique to Ethiopia, the Addis Standard portal observed.

    Lavrov wore the tie during meetings with the African Union Commission chair through his meetings with Ethiopian President and Prime Minister and for a press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister, Workneh Ghebeyehu.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up
    A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia

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    Ethiopia Update: Ethiothinktank Editor Arrested, Guardian Journalist Expelled

    Publisher of the Ethiothinktank website Seyoum Teshome. (Photo: VOA)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    March 10th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian authorities have arrested the publisher of the Ethiothinktank website Seyoum Teshome. According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia the reason for Seyoum’s arrest and his whereabouts are not known. The Ethiopian blogger was reportedly taken into custody on March 8th by security forces at his home near the Woliso campus of Ambo University, where he lectures, people with knowledge of the incident told Voice of America and Deutsche Welle.

    “Seyoum has been critical in his blog of a six-month state of emergency Ethiopia declared in February,” the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement. “Under the state of emergency, authorities can carry out arrests and searches without warrant and close down media stations, according to a report by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency.” CPJ’S Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney added: “Ethiopia cannot again use the cloak of a national emergency to round up journalists and stifle critical voices. This is the second time that authorities ignored due process to detain Seyoum Teshome. He should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    In a related news, Ethiopia has deported Guardian journalist William Davison because of media accreditation problems. Davison who is a British citizen was a former Bloomberg reporter based in Ethiopia.

    The Associated Press reports: “Davison said he was expelled from Ethiopia on Wednesday after being detained at a police station for a day. “Officials from Ethiopia’s Immigration department deported me and I am now back in the U.K,” Davison posted on Facebook, saying the Ethiopian government failed to grant him accreditation to report for The Guardian after he stopped working for Bloomberg. “What my treatment demonstrates once again is a lack of appreciation of professional journalism and a failure of various government institutions and officials to follow established procedure in anything like a transparent manner.”

    Per AP: “The journalist, who was chairman of the Ethiopian Foreign Correspondents Association, said he was not given a specific reason for his deportation but an official at the Ethiopian spokesman office said the journalist was deported because had no foreign media affiliation. “We have been treating him like all the other reporters when he was a Bloomberg reporter but now he has no accreditation with any other media outlet or whatsoever so he can’t produce reports from within Ethiopia now,” said Mohammed Seid, an official at the Ethiopian spokesman’s office. “I’m not aware that he has submitted a new accreditation with The Guardian.”


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    How Ethiopia Influenced British-Ethiopian Singer Izzy Bizu’s Music

    23-years-old, British-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Isobel Beardshaw, better known as Izzy Bizu, tells Okay Africa about the millions of plays on her debut album, A Moment of Madness, and how she's been influenced by her Ethiopian roots. (Image courtesy of RED Music)

    Okay Africa

    How Ethiopia Influenced Izzy Bizu’s Viral Pop Hits

    At just 23-years-old, British-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Isobel Beardshaw, better known as Izzy Bizu, has already shared the stage with music’s finest including Sam Smith and Coldplay.

    While her talents behind the mic seemingly fell on her lap, it was through her Ethiopian roots that she fully discovered her unique, acoustic sound. What started as a mere outlet to escape the struggles of boarding school has now become a dream come true.

    But music wasn’t always the goal. Izzy Bizu’s career goals first began with animals. Although she wanted to be a vet, she soon learned the difference between hobbies and passions. At the age of 15, she auditioned for a teenage girl-band, singing “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. Just one week later, she was in the recording studio.

    Fast forward to 2018, Izzy’s debut album, A Moment of Madness, has clocked in over 225 million global streams and her hit single “Diamonds” sits at the #11 spot at Urban AC radio. If that’s not enough, she still manages to find time to travel back home and give back to the communities in Ethiopia.

    How would you describe your sound?

    Soulful, raw, rhythmical, reminiscent.

    Tell us about your Ethiopian background and how it plays into your music.

    My mum is Ethiopian, and we often spent holidays there when I was younger. The country is incredibly beautiful and spending time outside of the city allowed me to escape into another world. And I’m sure this played a part in my love of poetry and writing.

    Ethiopians also love to dance. There was always music everywhere, which also had an impact in my love and appreciation of music. I also feel because of my mixed heritage that I am a bit of a world traveler, and this also plays an important part in my lyrics and how I see the world.

    Who are your biggest musical influences?

    Read more »


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    Tillerson: Ethiopia is ‘A Young Democracy’

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, pictured above with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018, described Ethiopia as "a young democracy" during a press conference on Thursday in Ethiopia's capital. Tillerson explained: "We recognize the transition that is underway in Ethiopia, the first-ever voluntary transfer of power. And I view this as a very positive symbol of the strength of this very young democracy in Ethiopia, a peaceful transition of power." He added: "As I indicated, democracies are challenging. It’s not easy to take a country forward as a democracy. And so we’re here also to support Ethiopia’s journey towards a democratic society and institutions. (Reuters photo)

    U.S. Department of State

    Press Availability
    Rex W. Tillerson
    Secretary of State
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    March 8, 2018

    MODERATOR: Would you join me to welcome the two foreign ministers. May we rise, please? I thank you very much. Ameseginalehu. Your Excellency Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, foreign minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Your Excellency Rex Wayne Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State; ambassadors, ministers, all protocol observed, welcome to Addis Ababa, the political and diplomatic hub of Africa.

    As His Excellency Minister Tillerson said during his speech at George Mason University, Africa is part of the future. It’s a continent in which 70 percent of its population is youth. This population, Your Excellency, is an opportunity and, again, a challenge. Ethiopia, as a UN-U.S. partner and longer in the continent, I believe this extraordinary visit will further deepen the ties of Ethiopia and the United States, one of the oldest diplomatic ties.

    According to our program, His Excellency Dr. Workneh and His Excellency Rex Tillerson will highlight the gist of their discussions to the media, and that will be followed by questions from media houses. Media houses, make sure that you have one questions. If it is more than one, the two principals will ask – will respond to one question only.

    I thank you very much. Excellency Dr. Workneh.

    FOREIGN MINISTER WORKNEH: Thank you very much. Thank you. Good afternoon. The house is full. Your Excellency Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States of America, we are delighted to have you here in your visit to Africa as a first stop here in Addis Ababa. United States and Ethiopia have a century-old relationship, a relationship which, time-tested, always a relationship.

    So Your Excellency, your coming here is a testament for this strong relationship. I and Excellency Secretary discussed extensive issues bilaterally. We discussed about our regional issues – the regional security, international issues, international politics – at the same time, how to boost our economic ties and investment between the United States of America and Ethiopia.

    We touched about the issue of South Sudan and Somalia, which we are working very closely together. And also, we discussed other very important security concerns that we have in common. And also, I explained to Excellency about our situation, the country’s situation, the transition that we are in the process, and we are very thankful that the United States of America is a close friend, which – working with us in all aspects, especially in economic areas. So it was very cordial, candid, and very fruitful discussion. And thank you so much, Your Excellency.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, thank you as well, Excellency, for the warm welcome and hospitality. And we just had a very enjoyable lunch where we were able to continue our discussion with a number of members of both of our delegations, which is always useful to gain a greater understanding of each other. I also want to welcome both the local press and the foreign media as well to this event. And we do appreciate our partnership, and particularly at such a critical time for Ethiopia. I also look forward to my meeting later today with the prime minister.

    And I’m quite excited to be in Ethiopia. This is my first visit, and certainly this was an important place to start my trip as Secretary of State to the continent, in large measure because of the more than 100-year diplomatic relationship between Ethiopia and the United States. And it’s been an enduring relationship; as the foreign minister described it, an all-weather relationship, that even when storm clouds gather we remain friends and have always worked through challenges together.

    I also want to acknowledge again today this being International Women’s Day and an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the world, and note the role of women in Ethiopia in promoting economic growth as well. It’s quite evident the prominence that women already occupy in government, but in economics as well, strengthening the rule of law, the important role they play in human rights and building and strengthening a civil society that will thrive.

    As I indicated, the United States and Ethiopia are longstanding partners. I was glad to have the opportunity to exchange views with the foreign minister on many areas of mutual interest that we share. We recognize and share concerns expressed by the government about incidents of violence and loss of life. We do firmly believe the answer is greater freedom for people, not less. We recognize the transition that is underway in Ethiopia, the first-ever voluntary transfer of power. And I view this as a very positive symbol of the strength of this very young democracy in Ethiopia, a peaceful transition of power.

    Given recent events, the United States has expressed our concerns with the government’s decision to impose another state of emergency, because it does put restrictions on fundamental rights like assembly and expression. We also discussed in our exchange the importance of ensuring that security forces remain disciplined in maintaining law and order, preventing violence. They have a very difficult challenge on their hand. This is – this tests their own discipline as well.

    We firmly believe that democratic reform, economic growth, and lasting stability are best addressed through an inclusive political process, rather than through the imposition of restrictions. And we encourage the Ethiopian people as well to maintain patience, maintain support for your government through this change, through this transition, but also in pursuing this journey of democracy, which takes time and effort. Democracy is not easy. It takes a lot of work. But staying with it, lasting change will come about, and to not resort to violence. Violence is simply never a solution.

    I was able to raise these concerns because of this very, very strong relationship that exists between Ethiopia and the United States, and we share so many values as partners. We want Ethiopia as a country to succeed and prosper, and we’re confident that they will succeed and prosper, providing many, many economic benefits not just for the Ethiopian people, but for the neighboring countries in Africa, and ultimately for U.S. business interest as well.

    We welcome the proactive steps that have already been taken with the release of thousands of prisoners, including journalists and political leaders, and we encourage additional concrete measures to allow greater political freedom of expression. As the seat of the African Union, Ethiopia plays a critical and significant role in leadership in the region throughout the continent and the world, and we appreciate its efforts for – to further our mutual goals of peace and prosperity on the continent. This is especially true of our shared security interests. As the largest contributor – Ethiopia is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations – they play a vital role in AMISOM in Somalia, as well as peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and South Sudan. We have shared treasure together in trying to advance the cause of peace, and we have shared blood together in this advance for the cause of peace, and we acknowledge that.

    Ethiopia’s influence in supporting the security of Somalia and Djibouti are particularly important at this time to keep global commerce routes open. These routes through the Red Sea affect billions of people around the world in terms of their economic stability. And we discussed the United States is eager to help Ethiopia liberalize its economy. We think it’s going to bring great opportunity and attract many business interests as they continue the process of reform and liberalization, strengthen its judicial and commercial institutions, and assist in humanitarian emergencies here and throughout the region, including the almost one million refugees that currently reside in Ethiopia. And we need to reside – recognize Ethiopia’s generosity in hosting those refugees.

    The United States is a long-term friend and partner of Ethiopia. We look forward to working with you as the people of Ethiopia seek greater peace, democracy and prosperity, all of which we know you will succeed at achieving. Thank you.

    MODERATOR: Thank you so much, excellencies. Now, back to the media. Tibebu Yared from EBC.

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. I am Tibebu from EBC. My question goes to Your Excellency Mr. Tillerson. What is the purpose and, of course, the implication of your visit to Ethiopia at this particular time? Thank you.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, as I indicated, this is a very, very longstanding relationship, more than 100 years. Ethiopia is a large-population country, they are an important security partner in areas that I’ve already touched upon, and we also see Ethiopia’s journey towards democracy – I think 27 years now, which is a long time, but it’s a young democracy, and as I indicated, democracies are challenging. It’s not easy to take a country forward as a democracy. And so we’re here also to support Ethiopia’s journey towards a democratic society and institutions.

    But importantly, also, to have an exchange on additional steps that could be taken, what else can the U.S. do to be supportive and helpful of Ethiopia’s economic development. Ethiopia has a vibrant economy, but there’s a lot of potential that has yet to be realized in Ethiopia’s economy, and we think there are great opportunities for U.S. private sector engagement in supporting economic growth, creating jobs for these many, many millions of young people who are working hard at getting an education in school; now they want to have their opportunity for a future themselves. And so we would like – we want to be a part of that and hope to be a part of that.

    So there are so many touch points where we share a common interest of security, stability for the region, which affects our security but also affects global security, and then opportunities for economic prosperity. And that’s the purpose of the trip, is to – for us to better understand how do we work together as partners to achieve what are really common aspirations.

    MODERATOR: Next question, Sisay Woubeshet, Afro FM. I am trying to meet gender parity. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. My question also goes to Secretary Tillerson. You came during the time of the second state of emergency here in Ethiopia, and what is your opinion towards the state of emergency, as many nations are opining on that? And how is the U.S. following the current political situation in Ethiopia and what role does it want to play? Thank you very much.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, as I indicated, first and foremost, I want to acknowledge this voluntary transfer of power. We think that’s a very powerful symbol to the strength of the democratic process here in Ethiopia, and we think it’s important that the parliament, which has been elected by the Ethiopian people, decide who the next leadership be. That’s the way democracies should perform.

    So I want to first acknowledge the very positive aspects of what is happening. I know it’s challenging for the country. It creates uncertainty. And that is the hard part of democracy. But we support this peaceful transfer of power.

    As to the state of emergency, as I indicated, we believe ultimately giving people greater freedom gives them a greater investment in this democracy as well. And so while we appreciate the government’s responsibility to maintain control and not allow violence to break out and harm innocent people as well who may become victims of violence, it is important that that – that the country move on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible. We hope that that can occur. As I said, we’re encouraged that a number of steps have been taken to release large numbers of people who have been detained. That’s an important step. But the citizens of Ethiopia have a responsibility as well to behave in a nonviolent way, and we hope the government allows that nonviolent expression to take place. This is all part of understanding how to best serve the citizens of Ethiopia.

    MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Girum Chala from CGTN, international correspondent based in Addis.

    QUESTION: Thank you very much. I’m from CGTN. Mr. Minister, thank you very much, as well as Mr. Secretary. Ethiopian Airlines over the past few years has spent about $20 billion – that’s Ethiopian money – invested in the United States, in Boeing Company, to be particularly straightforward. Now, when it comes to those – the money spent, 100,000-plus jobs were created in the United States. When it comes to the investments of the United States to Africa, Ethiopia particularly, we don’t see much. Policy-wise, what’s the next move in this country and particularly also in the African continent to expedite investment? And how do you view, Mr. Minister, the expectation from Ethiopia’s side, the U.S. involvement in helping the country industrialize and even more trade internationally? Thank you very much.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, we had a very robust discussion of economic opportunities and the potential economic opportunities that we see within Ethiopia. And because you mentioned the aviation connection, Ethiopia is becoming a critical hub for intercontinental traffic for people traveling from the United States, with more and more nonstop connections for Americans to travel to Addis Ababa and then make connections to other parts of the continent. I think this is going to promote a great deal of interest in Africa and in Ethiopia. There are still economic reform measures that are necessary, not just in Ethiopia, but in other parts of Africa as well, to lower some of the barriers to investment, create greater certainty to outside business investors, strong rule of law, good regulatory processes. The more privatization of holdings as possible creates opportunities. But we understand this is all part of governments in transitions, economies in transitions, but that’s what we encourage, is what are the areas of opportunity where we believe there will be strong interest in U.S. companies to participate.

    I commented on, in our discussions, the what we understand soon-to-be-completed continental free trade agreement, and we believe stimulating intra-continental economic activity and trade from countries on the continent is actually going to create even more opportunity for inbound foreign investment, and certainly U.S. business interest, in wanting to be a part of the intra-continental trading system as well. Similarly, with the civil aviation agreement that’s being negotiated through the African Union. That once again is going to just tie the continent more closely together, more efficiently.

    All of these are very positive conditions for outside businesses to want to participate and be a part of. So I think a number of very positive steps are being taken, and I think it’s really ensuring that American businessmen and investors understand what are the opportunities here. And we had discussions about how to do that as well. Recently creating an American Chamber of Commerce-Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce partnership is going to be very important to exposing American businesses to the opportunities here.

    So I think there’s a lot of it in front of us yet to come, and as the conditions are created and some of these pieces come into place, I think American business and private sector interest is going to grow in Ethiopia.

    FOREIGN MINISTER WORKNEH: Yeah. As Secretary has said, the issue of investment and trade is also one of the agendas that we have discussed with Secretary Tillerson. Africa is a future continent, as Secretary said, and Africa is a population who have more than 70 percent of users and skilled labor. So coming to Africa is, by all measurements, will benefit the business, the investment of America. So we are expecting more investors to come to Ethiopia and Africa; we are expecting more business from here to United States of America and from America to Ethiopia. Ethiopian Airlines is one of the largest airline who have the largest passengers from here, from Africa to United States of America and vice versa. This trade relationship will continue, and we hope that this visit also assists a lot to this – boosting this investment in trade.

    MODERATOR: Last question. Kylie Atwood, CBS.

    QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Tillerson, I want to pivot to North Korea for a minute with you. South Korea now says that Kim Jong-un is willing to negotiate with the U.S. on abandoning his nuclear program. You’ve said that you are listening to North Korea, and you said that the message from them will come very explicitly. Is this the message that you needed to hear? And are you worried that the South Koreans are overeager? Can the U.S. now commit to negotiations with North Korea? And I have to ask you one more question about Russia.

    MODERATOR: Only one question.

    QUESTION: I got cut off last time. Can I ask one more? Thank you. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is said to be here in Ethiopia at the same time as you, and the Russian embassy says he’s actually staying at this same hotel. He says there have been talks of you and he meeting. Do you plan to meet with him while you’re here? And if not, what does that say about U.S. diplomacy, that you refuse an opportunity to meet face to face to express U.S. frustrations over Russia’s continued military campaign in Syria? Thank you.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think there’s five or six questions in there. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: I’m sorry, but we had to do it.

    SECRETARY TILLERSON: First, with respect to North Korea, I think, as President Trump has indicated, potentially positive signals coming from North Korea by way of their intra-Korean dialogue with South Korea. We maintain very, very close communication with President Moon of the Republic of Korea. They are keeping us well informed of their meetings, the content of those meetings and the nature of those meetings, and we’re providing them input as well.

    In terms of direct talks with the United States – and you asked negotiations, and we’re a long ways from negotiations. I think it’s – we just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it. I think the first step – and I’ve said this before – is to have talks, have some kind of talks about talks, because I don’t know yet, until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea, whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations. And that’s kind of the current state of play.

    With respect to my meeting Foreign Minister Lavrov, I’ve lost track of how many meetings he and I had last year. So any notion of us rejecting diplomatic engagement is really silly. That’s just silly. We have had extensive negotiations, contact, dialogue. We have strategic dialogues. We have a number of mechanisms by which we talk to one another. I was unaware Foreign Minister Lavrov was going to be here at the same time I was until a couple of days ago, and I’m unaware of any outreach to want to meet until I was on my way over here. My schedule’s largely set, so if it doesn’t work out here, he and I see each other often around the world, and we have each other’s telephone numbers, and we do use them.

    MODERATOR: Thank you. I thank you, excellencies. Thank you, media houses. Your Excellency Tillerson said that this is his first visit, but I hope this will not be his last visit to Ethiopia. Thank you very much. Thank you.


    Related:
    Tillerson in Ethiopia: China, Security, Peace Media Round Up
    Tillerson, in Africa, Dodges Questions on Vulgarity and Trolling (NYT)
    Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
    Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
    Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
    Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
    Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
    Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
    Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
    Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up
    Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
    Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
    Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
    Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
    Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
    Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

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