Author Archive for Tadias

Ethiopian American Doctors Release Communiqué on Ebola Outbreak

U.S.-based NGO, People to People (P2P), is a global network of Ethiopian health care professionals. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 19, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – So far East Africa has been spared from the Ebola outbreak that’s ravaging western parts of the continent. But that’s no comfort says an association of Ethiopian doctors in the Diaspora, People to People (P2P), which issued a communiqué on Friday expressing its solidarity with fellow medical workers in West Africa. “We, as health care professionals of African descent, stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in those countries and ask for immediate action to alleviate and control this epidemic,” the U.S.-based NGO announced. P2P members are gathering in Washington, D.C. this weekend for the organization’s 6th annual conference on health care and medical education.

“[Let's] pause for a moment and ask why we got here in the first place,” P2P stated. “This epidemic, as deadly as it is, should not have come to such a proportion if the world community acted swiftly and with an urgency that it deserves.” The communiqué adds: “We want to emphasize that this is an opportunity to galvanize the momentum created to envision a center of excellence in infectious diseases in Africa. The creation and funding of African Centers for Disease Control must be given priority and be set in motion as soon as possible. From those not affected by this epidemic, we ask due attention to health care infrastructure and manpower development before emergency strikes. From the African Union, UN, major donors and the world at large we ask for an immediate financial, manpower and equipment assistance to those countries who are heavily affected by the epidemic.”

The P2P statement comes on the heels of a U.S. Congressional hearing on the crisis held this week (Wednesday, September 17th) by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, featuring testimony from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Ted Alemayhu, Founder & Executive Chairman of US Doctors for Africa; and Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, Director of the Secretariat at the Diaspora Liberian Emergency Response Task Force on the Ebola Crisis.

In his testimony Ted Alemayhu told members of Congress that in addition to a severe shortage of healthcare professionals in Ebola affected countries — in some cases averaging “one doctor for 50,000 people” — protective medical gear such as masks, gloves, and gowns, are badly needed. “Local healthcare workers have threatened to quit their services if their safety is not insured with delivery of these items,” he said. “And who could blame them.”

Video: U.S. House Hearing: Global Efforts to Fight Ebola

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

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Yegna: Meet the Spice Girls of Ethiopia

Women’s rights activists Yegna have established themselves as the Spice Girls of the Horn of Africa.

Mail & Guardian


“Women are sisters, women are mothers, women are wives. Let’s respect them. Tell that guy to respect girls and we will respect him.”

So go the lyrics of the song This House, sung by Yegna (pronounced Yen-ya, meaning “ours” in Amharic), an all-girl Ethiopian acting and pop group created in April 2013 by the internationally funded nongovernmental organisation Girl Hub.

The organisation’s country director for Ethiopia, Jillian Popkins, says that “52% of women aged 18 to 49 in the Amhara region are married by the age of 15. Once they marry it’s quite likely they will never have contact with their peer group or their family.”

The five-member band follows a tradition of media as a way for development across the continent. Their aim is to reach out to empower the young women of Ethiopia in ways that are accessible and relevant.

Each member of the group has a different stage persona and nickname. Melat (Teref Kassahun), the “city-girl princess”, dreams of becoming a singer, but her wealthy family has no time for her ambitions. Mimi (Lemlem Haile Michael) is the “tough, swaggering streetwise girl” who left the husband she was forced to marry at 13. “Steady maternal” Lemlem (Rahel Getu) is the only girl in her family, who takes care of her ill mother. Emuye (Zebiba Girma) is the “vivacious music-lover” whose father is a physically abusive alcoholic. Sara (Eyerusalem Kelemework), the “quiet, studious one”, comes from a well-educated family.

Yegna performs a biweekly radio drama and talk show broadcasting on Sheger FM in Addis Ababa, with a reach of 20-million listeners.

More than 500 girls were brought in as Yegna ambassadors with a mandate to organise listening parties, at which young people come together to listen to the drama and talk about what they’ve heard.

Their music is an upbeat mix of traditional Ethiopian music with pop and rock music references that appeal to Ethiopia’s youth.

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Ethiopia’s Agriculture Hotline Provides Growing Opportunities for Farmers

An Ethiopian farmer using a mobile phone. The country’s government relies on support in rural areas. (Photograph: Eric Lafforgue/Alamy)

The Guardian

By William Davison

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s farmers are flocking to a hotline that provides free agricultural advice about planting crops, using fertiliser and preparing land as part of a government initiative to turn subsistence farmers into surplus sellers.

The automated hotline has received nearly 1.5m calls from more than 300,000 farmers since it launched 12 weeks ago, according to Khalid Bomba, CEO of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), an internationally backed government initiative. The 90 lines are now taking an average of 35,000 calls a day.

Other African countries have used similar methods to get information to farmers, but Ethiopia’s initial success is unparalleled, Khalid said. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “It’s working and the farmers are finding it useful.”

The advice line is just one of 82 targets on the three-year-old agency’s agenda, which include devising “value chain” strategies for each key crop, increasing the use of higher-yielding seed and making credit more widely available for the nation’s approximately 70 million smallholder farmers. One of its most high-profile projects has been a soil-mapping exercise to understand which areas of the ecologically diverse country are suitable for particular crops and fertilisers.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Scotland Rejects Independence From Britain in a Close Vote

Ballots tumble at an Aberdeen counting center in Scotland. The outcome headed off the political, economic and military imponderables that would have accompanied a divorce from the UK. (NYT)

The New York Times


EDINBURGH — Voters in Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a referendum that had threatened to break up a 307-year union, according to projections by the BBC and Sky early Friday.

The outcome was a deep disappointment to the vocal, enthusiastic pro-independence movement led by the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who had seen an opportunity to turn a centuries-old nationalist dream into reality, and forced the three main British parties into panicked promises to grant substantial new power to the Scottish Parliament.

The decision spared Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain a shattering defeat that would have raised questions about his ability to continue in office and diminished his nation’s standing in the world.

Continue reading at The New York Times »

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Hamlin Fistula USA Hosts 90th Birthday Celebration for Dr. Catherine Hamlin

A celebration honoring Dr. Catherine Hamlin will be held in DC on Sept. 27th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 18th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Last January in Addis Ababa friends and supporters of Dr. Catherine Hamlin held a celebration marking her 90th birthday and 55 years of service in Ethiopia in the presence of invited guests from around the world and dignitaries including Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye. When it was her turn to take the microphone Dr. Hamlin joked: “Only Ethiopians can throw a party like this.”

Dr. Hamlin is about to receive another birthday bash, this time from the Diaspora, on Saturday, September 27th at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. Organizers announced that the program “will consist of a special message from Dr. Hamlin and several notable guests, all gathered to support Dr. Hamlin’s call to eradicate childbirth injuries.”

In his speech at the January celebration Martin Andrews, CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, noted that the Australian native and a gynecologist has treated over 40,000 fistula patients in her adopted country over the past five decades. “Through her love and her compassion for these patients, she has ensured that we have restored the dignity of those patients, and given them their lives back, which is far more than their medical treatment,” Andrews said. “We all know that Dr. Hamlin’s passion is to eradicate fistula in Ethiopia and she has started to fulfill that dream by establishing the midwifery college.”

Dr. Hamlin, who is the founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (along with her late husband Dr. Reginald Hamlin) has lived in Ethiopia since 1959 and has since built five additional regional Hamlin Fistula centers. In an interview with Tadias Magazine several years ago she described her first day in Ethiopia as love at first sight. “When we first arrived we were rather taken with the country because we saw our eucalyptus trees,” recalled Dr. Hamlin. She had a three-year government contract to establish a midwifery school at the Princess Tsehay Hospital. “I felt very much at home straight away because the scenery seemed very familiar to us,” she said. “We got a really warm welcome so we didn’t really have culture shock.”

But what shocked her was the lack of medical care for young mothers, especially in rural areas, that suffer from obstetric fistula – a preventable childbirth injury as old as humanity itself. “There is currency dug out of pyramids containing images of fistula,” Dr. Hamlin told us. “Yet in the 21st century it is the most neglected cause.” Fistula affects one out of every 12 women in Africa. In remote areas where access to hospitals are difficult to find, young women suffer from obstructive labor which can otherwise be successfully alleviated with adequate medical support, such as Caesarean section.

In an article published in The New York Times last February, marking her 90th birthday, Nicolas Kristof called Dr. Hamlin: “the 21st-century Mother Teresa.” And more recently Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom nominated her for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

If You Go:
Saturday, September 27, 2014
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C.
1150 22nd Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
$100 contribution per guest

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Gold for Genzebe Dibaba & Almaz Ayana at 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Morocco

Genzebe Dibaba won the women’s 3000m at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco this past weekend, while her fellow countrywoman Almaz Ayana was victorious in the 5000m race. (Getty)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian athletes Genzebe Dibaba and Almaz Ayana won their respective races in the women’s competition at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday.

“This weekend’s most dominant performance on the track came in the penultimate individual race courtesy of Almaz Ayana in the women’s 5000m,” reported Bob Ramsak for the IAAF. “Returning to the track where she claimed the African 5000m title last month, the 22-year-old Ethiopian won by nearly 25 seconds in a race she controlled from the midway point forward. ‘This is a lucky stadium for me,’” said Ayana, who reached the finish in 15:33.32.

Per IAAF: Genzebe Dibaba, who finished first in the 3000m, “took the lead with exactly two laps to go and held it firmly en route to her 8:57.53 victory – her first over the distance outdoors this year.”

“I expected to win and defend African colours,” said Dibaba, the fourth consecutive African winner of this title, “but the race was too slow for me. I don’t feel comfortable using such tactics, so that’s why I couldn’t wait for the last lap to make my final kick, and instead started to push 800 metres before the finish.”

Read more at »

Sum, Dibaba, Fredericks and Souleiman win for Africa – Day 1 IAAF Continental Cup

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CNN on King of Ethio-Jazz Mulatu Astatke

Ethio-jazz master Mulatu Astatke. (CNN)


By Teo Kermeliotis

Wed September 17, 2014

You’d expect a conversation with Mulatu Astake to be about music. He is, after all, the father of a musical genre: Ethio-jazz. But when he talks about the art form, he tends to focus on its scientific merits.

“When you start talking about jazz, they’re usually telling us that Africans contributed to the rhythm parts of jazz music, but it’s not only the rhythms. We have contributed to the science of jazz as well,” he says.

While innovators like Charlie Parker may get credit for the creation of modern jazz music by using diminished scales (as done in classical music by composers like Claude Debussy), Astake offers an alternative view:

“In southern Ethiopia, there are tribes called the Derashe — I call them the scientists of music. By cutting different size bamboos, [they] have been playing this diminished scale [for centuries]. So who first created it? Debussy, Charlie Parker, or the Derashe tribes?”

Unsurprisingly, I’m not the only one who’s been presented with such questions by Astatke, whose passion about Africa’s contribution to music extends back to the 1960s when he went on to fuse the traditional Ethiopian five-tone scales with western 12-note harmonies to give life to a whole new music genre: the hypnotizing and eerily seductive soundscape of ethio-jazz.

Read more at CNN »

Mulatu Astatke: The Man Who Created ‘Ethio jazz’

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Interview with Selam Bekele: Oakland’s Home Away from Home Art Project

Selam Bekele giving artist talk at the 'Home Away from Home' festival in Oakland, California last week. (Photo: Jon Teklai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In a short, experimental film entitled Prince of Nowhere Ethiopian-born filmmaker Selam Bekele reflects on the exiled life and death of Prince Alemayehu Tewodros, the son of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. Alemayehu was taken prisoner by the British army in 1868 after his father committed suicide following the infamous Battle of Magdala. The child was initially accompanied by his mother, Empress Tiruwork Wube, but she died halfway through the trip. In England, the orphaned Ethiopian prince received some education under various caretakers and even briefly attended officers’ training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He died of lung problems at the age of 18 on November 14th, 1879 and was buried outside Windsor Castle. Queen Victoria is quoted to have written in her diary noting the passing of Prince Alemayehu as “too sad.” Wiki adds: “She also mentioned how very unhappy the prince had been, and how conscious he was of people staring at him because of his colour.”

In her movie Selam holds an imaginary interview with Alemayehu before he dies in which she asks the prince about his feelings of being away from his family and country. “It’s mostly a conversation about displacement and how we continue to survive when we are away from home,” said Selam in an interview with Tadias Magazine. The aspiring filmmaker, who herself left Ethiopia at the age four in 1995, recently graduated in Communication & Film Studies from the University of California, Davis. “I was in London for the first half of this summer as part of my research and study abroad program and it was during this time that I rediscovered the amazing story of Prince Alemayehu,” she said. “I realized just how much I can relate to him as a person that left Ethiopia at a young age and kind of had to adopt to a new world. I kind of wanted to connect his story with the similarity of stories from the Diaspora today in regards to migration, relocation and adapting to a new society while maintaining our ties to our culture and history.”

Left: Prince Alamayou as a child – photo by Julia Margaret Cameron. Right: Alamayou in his teens in England – photo from Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.

Prince of Nowhere was screened last week in Oakland, California at the Home [away from] Home visual arts and music festival held in celebration of Enkutatash and featuring the works of several up-and-coming East African artists in Northern California including Ethiopian-born singer and songwriter Meklit Hadero, Eritrean American filmmaker Sephora Woldu, Ethiopian American musician Ellias Fullmore as well as a Ethiopian painter Wosene Kosrof. The centerpiece of the week-long festivities in Oakland was a pop-up art installation in the form of a Gojo that was built by the artists and set-up on Lake Merrit. “You walk inside and you see the commissioned arts on display. It had an entrance door and the exit door is your way to the festival,” Selam said. “It was something that basically took the whole summer to organize. She added: “We found taxi cab stories from Ethiopian and Eritrean cab drivers. Basically we interviewed them and got them to tell us a bit of their stories. Then, we sent the stories to the artists to help them find some sort of inspiration based on the kinds of things the taxi drivers had shared and we made art out of it and each artist had their own interpretation.”

The outdoor event was attended by a diverse crowd of 300 to 400 people. “We attracted kids, elders, Ethiopians, Eritreans and members of the larger Oakland community,” she said.

As to her own film project, Selam notes that as part of her research she visited Alemayehu’s burial site at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and the major museums in London housing any information on Alemayehu, Tewodoros, and the 1868 British expedition to Ethiopia. “I got to see some incredible photographs of Alemayehu that were taken of him both alone and with his caretaker,” Selam said. “I use some of those images in my film.” Selam continued: “I found out that Prince Alemayehu was extremely homesick. They could not figure out what was really wrong with him, he had breathing problems that caused him to die at such a young age. I believe that his sadness contributed to his death,” Selam stated. “I was thinking that sadness, that feeling of emptiness, is easily relatable by those of us living in the Diaspora.” She added: “And his name Alemayehu is kind of ironic too, if you break it down Alem ayehu it means “I saw the world,” but in his case when you are forced or taken away without choice and not exactly for the best reasons, it has that ironic undertone. So I wanted to capture that in a modern, bright, experimental and artistic way, but at the same time save a piece of history.”

The film project came out of Selam’s study abroad experience: “I felt that we were not discussing enough when it came to some of the greater effects of the British Empire has had on the rest of the world and that conversation was kind of being left out. And that’s why I started to dig a little bit into what exactly was the historical relationship between Britain and Ethiopia?”

In addition to carrying off Prince Alemayehu, the British army employed elephants and hundreds of mules to transport royal loot of priceless Ethiopian treasures that to date remain unreturned. In an article published in 2007, BBC reported that “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.” The same article adds that “Ethiopia’s president has sent Queen Elizabeth II a formal request for the remains of a prince who died in Britain more than a century ago. The royal household at Windsor Castle, where Prince Alemayehu was buried, is said to be considering the request.”

That was seven years ago, but today Selam said she will be bringing her 18-minutes film to the East Coast this Fall “to keep the story alive” and hopes to screen in DC in late October and in New York sometime in November.

Below are photos from Oakland’s Home Away from Home Arts & Culture Festival:

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NPR Highlights The Nile Music Project

The Nile Project started in a bar in Oakland. Egyptian-American Mina Girgis and his friend, Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero, were talking about the musical connections between their two countries.



Listen to the program:

In a quiet park in Kampala, Uganda, 14 musicians from seven East African countries sit together under a tree. They’re working on an idea from Ugandan musician Lawrence Okello.

“This is what I would suggest for this piece: That we have a conflict,” Okello says to the group. “And then all of us will keep on adding flavors from different cultures, but maintaining the water that flows.”

The musicians speak many languages, which means ideas and instructions have to get translated multiple times. They use different rhythms, even different tonal systems. And they play many instruments: Sudanese harps, Kenyan kettle drums, Ethiopian violins, Burundian thumb pianos, Egyptian flutes.

But under this tree, they’re listening for what’s shared: conflict that resolves into harmony.

This is the Nile Project — an education and development initiative that uses music to help find new ways to share an ancient resource.

“When we divert and go to your culture, give us that authentic touch of it,” Okello continues. “Ah, that is Egypt. Mm, that is Rwanda. And then we go back to the Nile, and continue. We have a journey to make.”

Read more at NPR »

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2015 Africa Cup of Nations: Ethiopia Yet to Get Off the Mark

So far the Ethiopian national team has lost the first two qualifying games against Algeria and Malawi for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations which will be held in Morocco early next year. (Getty Images)

BBC Sport

Nations Cup 2015 – Group B

Top ranked African nation Algeria left it late to beat visitors Mali 1-0.

The Eagles played the last 22 minutes with 10 men after Mahamadou Ndiaye was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

With just nine minutes left to play, a free-kick from Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez found Carl Medjani whose header earned his side all three points.

Atusaye Nayondo scored twice to help Malawi to a 3-2 home win against Ethiopia.

Nyondo struck the first goal of the game on 18 minutes but Malawi were pegged back by an equaliser from Getaneh Kebede.

However, a second-half effort from Frank Banda restored the hosts’ lead and Nyondo’s second goal rendered meaningless a stoppage strike from the visitors’ Yussuf Saleh.

Malawi Football Association president Walter Nyamilandu wrote on his Twitter page: “Three vital points in the bag. A deserved victory that keeps our dreams alive though earned the hard way.”

Algeria move to the top of the pool with a maximum six points while Mali and Malawi are on three and Ethiopia yet to get off the mark.

Read more at BBC News »

Malawi knock Ethiopia further back

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Colorado’s Ethiopian Community Celebrates New Year in Aurora

(Image credit: Video still/The Denver Post)

The Denver Post

By Jesse Paul

AURORA — Mulugeta Hailu moved from Ethiopia to Denver over two decades ago seeking an escape from political persecution.

The move meant leaving his homeland and rich culture behind as he left for greener pastures. But now, after all those years, he’s a part of a growing Ethiopian community in Colorado of more than 27,000 whose size and closeness was clear here Sunday at a festival celebrating the Ethiopian New Year.

In a way, a bit of the African nation moved to Colorado with Hailu.

“We’re trying to teach our kids,” said Hailu, who has three young children. “Some of them don’t even speak our language.”

Organizers expected about 1,000 people to attend the celebration at Del Mar Park where red, yellow and green Ethiopian flags hung from the trees. There was music, food and the happy shouts of playing children who danced around their parents, gathered in the shade and shielding themselves from the summer sun’s last rays.

“This is very important because this is not just a holiday for a specific church or mosque,” said Shifferan Hajito, who runs the Ethiopian Community of Colorado, which organized the event. “This is regardless of religion, regardless of color.”

Read more and watch video at The Denver Post »

Ethiopia Welcomes Year 2007
At Global Fest 2014 Aurora, Colorado Welcomes Adama (Nazret) as Sister City

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In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Thriving Art Market

Business and art are becoming increasingly entwined in the Ethiopian capital, but journalist James Jeffrey asks if this has come at a cost to creativity and true artistic experimentation. (BBC Africa)

BBC News

By James Jeffrey

Until recently the buying and selling of modern and contemporary art in Ethiopia was all but non-existent. The entrance to Makush Art Gallery & Restaurant in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, attests to how things have changed thanks to a burgeoning new art scene. Makush has about 70 artists on its books and a collection of more than 650 paintings from which customers can choose.

“Progress is just a miracle,” says Makush owner Tesfaye Hiwet, who began visiting his homeland after the 1991 revolution that brought down the Derg, Ethiopia’s communist-inspired military dictatorship. Mr Tesfaye remembers the sorry state of Ethiopia’s economy following 17 years of botched socialist economic policies: “After the Derg fell, there was not even toilet paper.” While living in the US, he opened a restaurant and nightclub in Washington DC, decorated with Ethiopian art sourced during his visits to Addis Ababa. After noticing the lack of galleries, he moved back 12 years ago.

Makush owner Tesfaye Hiwet. (BBC News)

Click here to see the rest of the photos at »

Ethiopia’s Emerging Art Scene Pits Creativity Against Profits

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The World Yawns as Ebola Takes Hold in West Africa

(Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Richard E. Besser (Chief health editor at ABC News)

In Monrovia, the blue steel gates guarding JFK Medical Center’s Ebola ward separate two worlds, each hopeless. On one side, three Liberians lie huddled on the ground under a UNICEF shelter, waiting to get in. On the other side, a flatbed truck loaded with 10 bodies in white plastic bags waits to drive out.

The truck belongs to one of four burial teams who pluck the dead from treatment wards — or worse, from homes where terrified families huddle around loved ones, desperate for one last touch. For many Liberians, giving a body to the burial team for cremation is unthinkable. Yet those last touches — part of Liberian funeral practices — are the very things that spread Ebola.

I follow the burial team to a home said to hold five bodies, all Ebola victims. As rain falls and a crowd gathers, the team members from the truck put on white suits and masks and set out down a narrow alley to the home. In 10 minutes, they are back. There were only two dead in the home, and the family told them to leave. “It isn’t Ebola,” they said. No time to find out if they were right — there are many more bodies to collect.

Read more at The Washington Post »

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The DC Mayor’s Office Announces 2015 African Community Grant

Mayor Vincent Gray with OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi, top right. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – For fiscal year 2015 the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) will be awarding 8 grants up to $25,000 for organizations based in the District and involved in economic and workforce development, health and human services, youth engagement and education, promotion of arts, culture and the humanities.

“The grant is intended to fund programs that provide targeted services and resources to the District’s African residents and/or business owners in areas of need in the community,” OAA’s announced. “For FY15, OAA’s African Community Grant will fund culturally and linguistically appropriate programs with demonstrated tie in to the Mayor’s priority areas and community needs.”

In an interview with Tadias Magazine last month the Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, Ngozi Nmezi, noted that Washington D.C. is home to immigrants from over 50 African countries. Ngozi also pointed out that four out of ten foreign-born Africans in DC are from Ethiopia. “In fact, the Ethiopian community makes up 39% of the foreign-born African community here in District of Columbia,” Ngozi stated. “That’s followed by Nigeria (16%), Cameroon, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Ghana.”

In order to qualify for the African Community Grant organizations seeking to apply must have a 501(c)(3) status, serve the District’s African residents or business owners and be located in the District of Columbia.

Requests for Applications (RFA) will be posted on September 19th at OAA’s website and on the District’s Grant Clearinghouse website.

Grant Orientation is scheduled for October 7th, 2014 (10am – 12pm) at the Franklin D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs (2000 14th Street, NW 2nd Floor, Edna Cromwell Community Room Washington, DC 20009).

You can learn more about the FY15 African Community Grant at

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PM Hailemariam Desalegn Seeks Win-Win Relations With Egypt

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is committed to relations between Egypt and Ethiopia. (World Bulletin)

World Bulletin/Turkey

News Desk

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Ethiopia is seeking a “win-win” relation with Egypt, saying that his country was seeking good relations with Cairo.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Desalegn said that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is committed to relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.

The Prime Minister also praised “excellent” relations between Ethiopia and Turkey, saying that relations between the two countries have been gathering momentum.

The Ethiopian Premier also addressed several issues during the interview, including the activities of the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab and South Sudan’s peace talks.

Read the interview at »

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Ethiopia Welcomes Year 2007

Addis Ababa. (Credit:

Daily Sabah

Published : 12.09.201

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia marked the arrival of 2007 on Thursday according to a unique calendar that reflects a blend of religious and seasonal/natural phenomena. “The Ethiopian calendar is ancient [and] takes its logic from lunar, solar and astrological considerations,”

Henok Yared, author of “Bahre Hasab,” a book which gives accounts of the origins of the Ethiopian calendar, told Anadolu Agency. “The four seasons also make up the basis for the composition of the Ethiopian calendar,” he said.

The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months, including twelve of 30 days each.

The 13th month consists of five days – although every fourth year it lasts for six days.

The Ethiopian New Year falls as the sun begins to make itself felt after three months of rain in most parts of the country.

The streets were packed with people shopping for live lambs, roosters, butter and eggs, among other things.

Lambs and roosters are traditionally slaughtered at home.

Some families pool their money to purchase bulls, sharing the meat between them.

Alazar Samuel, a renowned Ethiopian artist, sees the Ethiopian New Year as both real life and drama. “The real life is that it is one day added to the river of life, and [it's] drama due to all the rituals-slaughters, get-togethers, bonfires and all,” he told AA.

Emebet Tesfaye, a statistician, plans to welcome the New Year with joy and a sense of rejuvenation. “Our New Year is very expensive, though,” she told AA, noting that it coincided with the start of the new school year. “Costs have gone up by the day,” she added.

Read more »

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The Rastafarians’ Flawed African ‘Promised Land’ – BBC

(BBC News Magazine)

BBC News

By Chris Summers

Forty years ago Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was overthrown. It was a blow for all Rastafarians, who revere him as a god – and for those Rastafarians who had emigrated to Ethiopia, life suddenly got more difficult.

In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie gave 500 acres (200 hectares) of land at Shashamene, 150 miles (225km) south of Addis Ababa, to black people from the West who had supported him in his struggles with Mussolini’s Italy.

The first settlers to arrive were African-American Jews, but they soon moved on to Liberia or Israel. After them, in 1963, came a dozen Rastafarians, and the numbers swelled after Selassie made an emotional visit to Jamaica three years later.

The Rastafarians’ adoration of Selassie stems from the words of black consciousness leader Marcus Garvey, who said in 1920, “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand”. When Selassie was crowned emperor, 10 years later, many thought Garvey’s words had come true.

Another belief widely held by Rastafarians is that they will eventually return to Africa – the continent their ancestors left in slave ships long ago. And quite often, according to Erin MacLeod – author of Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land – “back to Africa” is treated as synonymous with “back to Ethiopia”.

Today there are up to 800 Rastafarians at Melka Oda, near Shashamene, as well as a few in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in the city of Bahir Dar. But how has life turned out for them in Ethiopia – and what do Ethiopians make of their Rastafarian neighbours?

Read more at BBC News »

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CIA: As Many as 31,000 Islamic State (IS) Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria, earlier this year. (AP photo)

VOA News

U.S. intelligence says the Islamic State militant group has between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

A Central Intelligence Agency spokesman said Thursday this is much higher than the previous estimate of 10,000.

He says the new estimate reflects stronger recruitment by the Islamic State since June following success on the battlefield and the declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Earlier Thursday, ministers from 10 Gulf and Arab nations said Thursday they are committed to joining the United States in a “coordinated military campaign” against Islamic State fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

After talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Saudi officials and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, said they are united against the threat from all terrorists, including Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The GCC countries represented in the Red Sea port city, the Saudi government’s summer home, included Saudi Arabia and its rival Qatar, along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

Non-Arab Sunni Turkey also attended the talks. But two other powerful regional powers, Shi’ite-ruled Iran and Syria, were excluded, a sign of how strong the Middle East’s sectarian divide remains.

The Arab states agreed in a written communique to take many of the steps U.S. President Barack Obama spelled out Wednesday in his newly articulated strategy for wiping out the militants – stopping the flow of foreign fighters, cutting off funds for Islamic State, providing humanitarian aid to those terrorized by the militants and rejecting what the ministers call their “hateful ideology.”

The ministers hailed the new Iraqi government and its pledge to advance the interests of all Iraqis, regardless of religion, nationality or sect.

Kerry and Obama have called the new unity government in Iraq a key to destroying IS.

Audio: VOA Correspondent Scott Stearns interviewed John Kerry Thursday in Saudi Arabia

Saudi clout

The Saudis, who are hosting a series of meetings with regional leaders, are key to the new coalition because of their country’s size, location and economic importance, “but also because of their religious significance with Sunnis,” according to a senior State Department official at the talks.

Saudi Arabia’s primary role in the Sunni world is a major element in the U.S. plan to create a broad coalition against the militant group.

U.S. officials also look to the Saudi kingdom to help bridge the Sunni-Shia divide, which is complicating efforts to confront Islamic State militants, specifically in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia has come to understand the Islamic State group is a serious threat to their country as well – that it isn’t a mainstream Sunni movement.

One element of Obama’s IS plan seeks to undermine the ideological and religious claims that the Islamic State militants make to Islam.

The administration hopes Riyadh will use its influence among Islamic religious leaders.

The coalition may need enhanced military basing and overflight rights for airstrikes against the Islamic State, the State Department official said. Saudi Arabia already has agreed to allow camps for training vetted moderate rebels to fight the IS insurgents.

The official said Kerry was asking Arab leaders to use nationally-owned media – including Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya – as well as their religious establishments to speak out against Islamic State extremism in hopes of undermining its appeal to young recruits.

In that push, Kerry echoed Obama’s denunciation of the IS (ISIL) group as not “Islamic” because no religion condones the killing of innocents.

“ISIL claims to be fighting on behalf of Islam, but the fact is that its hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam,” Kerry said.

“ISIL is a manifestation of evil, a vicious terrorist organization, and it is a organization that achieves its goals only through violence, repression and destruction, fed by illicit funding and a stream of foreign fighters,” he added. “It has seized territory and terrorized the people who live there regardless of their sect or ethnicity.”

Diplomatic push continues

The top U.S. diplomat will continue his coalition-building efforts Friday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, in meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Kerry will also stop in Egypt as part of the effort to line up international support against the Islamic State militants.

The Mideast diplomatic push comes ahead of a conference set for Monday in Paris on how to stabilize Iraq. That meeting will include officials from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China, and possibly other nations, even including Iran.

VOA’s Scott Stearns discusses his interview with John Kerry

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Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels

SoleRebels will open a new store in San Jose, California on October 1st, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – What better location in the U.S. than California’s famed Silicon Valley to sell comfortable and fashionable footwear that are made from recycled materials with the added value of being 100 percent vegan? That’s what the Addis Ababa-based environmental-friendly shoe brand SoleRebels is promising to bring to its newest international store in San Jose scheduled to open on October 1st.

SoleRebels’ footwear are produced using indigenous practices such as hand-spun organic cotton, artisan hand-loomed fabric and recycled tires for soles.

The San Jose location will be the Ethiopian brand’s first retail space in the United States. In a statement the company’s Founder & CEO Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu described the Bay Area as the “perfect place” adding that it “epitomized the creativity, innovation, craziness, disruption and the overall ‘Walk Naked’ ethos that SoleRebels is all about.”

“I am totally vibed to open our first US SoleRebels store in Silicon Valley,” she added. “Silicon Valley is the epicenter of all these things and so it’s the perfect place to launch our US retail store business and I imagine there are quite a few folks in and around Silicon Valley who can’t wait to be able to ‘walk naked.’”

The 1270 square foot store will be located at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair mall on the 2nd floor near the Men’s Macy’s department.

You can learn more about SoleRebels at

People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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Turkey Outdoes China in Terms of Ethiopia Investment

While Turkish investors had arrived later, they had since poured some $1.2 billion worth of investment into Ethiopia, senior Ethiopian Investment Agency official Debela Habte said. (World Bulletin)

World Bulletin Turkey

News Desk

Despite China’s outstanding record of development assistance to Ethiopia, the Asian giant’s investments in the African state lack volume, a senior Ethiopian Investment Agency official has said.

China has invested $836 million in Ethiopia over the past ten years, Debela Habte, a senior public relations expert at the agency told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

He added that, while Turkish investors had arrived later, they had since poured some $1.2 billion worth of investment into Ethiopia.

“Turks invest their money in large-scale projects, while the Chinese are more involved in both small- and large-scale projects,” Habte said

He said Turkish investors were largely engaged in the textile industry, which, he said, required significant capital.

This, Habte added, could explain why Turkey’s investment capital in Ethiopia had surpassed that of China.

Read more »

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Panel Discussion: Land Grabbing – Raising Awareness With Multimedia

(Images courtesy: Photoville)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – An upcoming panel discussion at Photoville in Brooklyn hopes to raise awareness about “land grabbing” as a complex international and environmental phenomenon. According to organizers the experts will address the subject “using land grabbing as a case study, photographer Alfredo Bini and media executive Greg Moyer meet with non-profit organizations and researchers to discuss the potential for issue-based multimedia storytelling.”

Presented by Blue Chalk Media & The University of Virginia, with the participation of Human Rights Watch, Grassroots International, and Why Hunger, the panel discussion scheduled for Sunday, September 21st, also features Iain Levine, program director at Human Rights Watch, Paolo D’Odorico, Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and Saulo Araujo, Director of the Global Movements Program at WhyHunger.

“Lately there have often been shortcomings in providing in depth coverage for stories like this because, due to space restrictions on the traditional media outlets, even more often the articles have focused only on specific aspects rather than the phenomenon as a whole,” states the announcement. “In spite of these limits, how can photography and multimedia be used as a tool for raising awareness? Conveying in-depth information and analysis about controversial issues requires time and long-term research in an age when the public’s attention level is dwindling and increasingly focused on breaking news and sound bytes.”

This presentation will take place in the Photoville Talk Area – located at the storefront of One Brooklyn Bridge Park at corner of Joralemon Street & Furman Street.

If You Go:
Land Grabbing: Raising Awareness with Multimedia
When: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT)
Where: Photoville
One Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park

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VOA Interview with Miss Africa USA Meron Wudneh (Video)

Meron Wudneh worked with boys and girls in Addis Ababa at the Mary Joy Foundation. (Courtesy photo)

VOA News

By Yeheyes Wuhib

September 10, 2014

When she was crowned Miss Africa USA at a national pageant on August 8 at the Music Center at Strathmore in the Washington area, the tall and striking model and youth recreation director Meron Wudneh paid tribute to the country where she was born.

“I am honored and delighted to represent Ethiopia,” she said. Wudneh described her homeland as “an ancient African country with amazing bio-diversity, people who take pride in preserving their diverse culture, its great warriors, kings and queens.”

Video: Voice of America Yeheyes Wuhib’s interview with Meron Wudneh

I love dancing our traditional dances Eskista, playing sports and bringing visibility to our culture through our fashion which inspired my greater love of modeling.” Wudneh currently works in New York as a model while she continues her career developing youth programs for Montgomery County in Maryland. She is represented by a Christian Ruart Fashion Group.

She wanted to build children’s futures

Wudneh was seven years old when her family emigrated to the United States. The family settled in the state of Maryland where she attended Wheaton High School. As she and her sister grew up, their parents wanted them to remember their African roots, so the girls had to always speak their native Amharic at home.

The six-foot tall student received an athletic scholarship to attend Bowie State University, where she played women’s basketball and earned a Bachelor’s degree with a major in biology.

Last year she spent six months in Ethiopia working with some non-government organizations supporting then needs of Ethiopian children. She volunteered with the Mary Joy Foundation in Addis Ababa serving destitute seniors, people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and disadvantaged Ethiopians.​

She witnessed the plight of the children first-hand, an experience that has energized Wudneh to further her cause for Ethiopia’s children.

“I learned how one person can truly change a child’s future,” she says.

“Since I was a child growing up in Ethiopia I always had the desire to help people, especially kids.” In high school in Maryland, Wudneh spent more than a thousand hours working with children in community service projects (athletic programs, health programs?) in her Maryland neighborhood.

She founded her own NGO

Two years ago she founded Kids First Ethiopia, to send school supplies, clothes and shoes to Ethiopian children who lost one or both parents to death from HIV/AIDS or are homeless.

Ethiopia has one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 per cent of children throughout a country of 96 million are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

After winning the Miss Africa USA competition, Wudneh wants to strengthen her Kids First Ethiopia project to develop strategies and funding to help needy children in Ethiopia to continue in school, graduate and become successful. She also hopes to expand these services to other countries in Africa.

“The pageant is not only about beauty but goes way more than that,” she says. “As contestants and goodwill ambassadors, the organizers demand that we constantly work for the betterment of Africa.”

Ethiopian Meron Wudneh Crowned Miss Africa USA 2014

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People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, shoe manufacturer. (BMW Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — “These people are driven by their passion. They are changing the world, each in their own way. They are People of our Time.”

The above quote opens the latest edition of BMW Magazine, a biannual lifestyle publication introducing international heroes of this generation, including Ethiopian shoe manufacturer Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, who rose from humble beginnings in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Addis Ababa to become Founder & CEO of one of the fastest growing footwear companies in the world. SoleRebels has earned Bethlehem the respect and admiration of many individuals and organizations globally.

“The best remedy for poverty? Creating world-class products,” Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, a mother of three, says. “SoleRebels is like hip-hop, something that started really small and today can be found in every country on the planet.”

“One thing Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is not lacking in is self-confidence,” notes BMW Magazine. “Is this overconfidence? Perhaps, but the last few years have given Alemu every reason to be bold and optimistic.”

The magazine adds: “Having grown up in a poor suburb of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, she soon realised that there was only one way to defeat poverty – with products that could compete in the global marketplace. Footwear, for example. Shoes are traditionally made in Ethiopia in a very special way: from indigenous jutes, recycled coffee sacks, organically tanned leather and the treads of car tyres for the soles. Alemu started off with five shoemakers. Today 70,000 pairs of shoes leave her factory in her native town every year. Forbes magazine voted the founder one of “Africa’s most successful women”. The colourful shoes are popular in the west, too, especially among a young, fashion-conscious, urban clientele where buzzwords like sustainability have the desired effect. For years now soleRebels has been expanding and today exports to no fewer than 45 countries. A small global brand – and the only one with its flagship store in Addis Ababa.”

Earlier this summer Bethlehem was also honored by The Oprah Magazine (South Africa) on its fourth annual O Power List featuring 21 inspiring female leaders from the African continent, as well as by pan-African media company Face2Face Africa, which bestowed on her the “Entrepreneur Award” during a ceremony held here in New York on July 26th for her pioneering work as a head of SoleRebels. More recently former President George W. Bush named her Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador for Ethiopia to serve as an advocate for a global health partnership founded by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

In addition to Bethlehem, BMW Magazine highlighted other modern heroes including German-Taiwanese race driver Vivianne Mainusch and Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou.

Read their profiles at BMW Magazine.

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Family, Friends Mourn Ethiopian Taxi Driver Killed in Atlanta Suburb (Video)

An Ethiopian taxi driver was shot to death in Atlanta on Sunday morning while trying to break up a fight between a customer (an Ethiopian woman, right) and her boyfriend Henok Basore, left. (Police photo)

11 Alive Atlanta

11Alive Staff

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A taxi driver was shot to death in a condominium complex in Lilburn Sunday morning while trying to break up a fight between a customer and her boyfriend.

It happened at around 6:15 a.m. in the Springs Condominiums at 1300 Branch Drive near South Norcross Tucker Road.

Monday morning, investigators identified the victim as 53-year-old Aidarous Abdella of Lilburn. Abdella has been driving a cab for eight years according to a friend. “He’s a nice guy, a family man, he supported his family,” said Khalid Yonis.

Yonis said he has known Abdella for 15 years. Yonis talked to 11Alive News in front of his friends house where he was consoling family members. He said Abdella supported a sister who is handicapped and a son who recently moved to his home from Ethiopia.

“He’s 22 years old, he came from Ethiopia like a year ago,” Yonis said. “He’s a full-time student so we don’t have anyone supporting his family.”

Police said Abdella drove 29-year-old Elizabeth McKonnen to the location to meet her boyfriend, 34-year-old Henok Basore. When they arrived, the boyfriend began arguing with McKonnen.

Abdella tried to intervene, but Basore pulled out a gun and shot the victim, then ran. He was arrested several hours later and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.

Police said Basore pulled out a gun and Abdella tried to diffuse the situation. “I just heard a gunshot,” said neighbor Jermico Price. “I heard a lot of screaming and commotion.”

Abdella was shot in the head and died. Basore is charged with Murder and Aggravated Assault. MeKonnen is charged with Obstruction and False Statements.

Police said Abdella just wanted to make peace. “We think he was simply acting as a good Samaritan in this struggle between the other two,” said Cpl. Jake Smith.

Video: Family, Friends Mourn Ethiopian Taxi Cabbie Killed Breaking Up a Fight

Video: Cops: Taxi driver killed trying to stop man from shooting woman

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Dawit Seyoum, 29, Charged With Murdering D.C. Corrections Official

Dawit Seyoum, 29, has been arrested in connection with the Alexandria murder of a D.C. correctional office employee. (Photo: City of Alexandria PD)

By The Associated Press, ABC 7 News

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Alexandria man was arraigned Monday on charges of killing a high-ranking District of Columbia corrections official.

Dawit Seyoum, 29, appeared in court on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of 64-year-old Carolyn Cross, the deputy director of operations for the Department of Corrections.

Alexandria Police spokeswoman Ashley Hildebrandt said investigators do not believe Cross’ slaying was related to her work as a corrections official, or that Seyoum and Cross knew each other.

Police said they were called shortly after 8 a,m. Sunday to an apartment complex in the 4800 block of Kenmore Avenue, where they found Cross dead.

An autopsy was being conducted to determine the exact cause of death, authorities said.

During Seyoum’s arraignment, he was appointed a public defender and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for October.

Police said this was the fourth homicide in Alexandria in 2014.

Read more at WJLATV »

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Israel’s Ethiopian Immigrants Lose Connection With Folklore

Passport pictures for Ethiopians, who are awaiting immigration to Israel, lie on a table in Gondar, March 8, 2007. (photo by REUTERS/Eliana Aponte)


By Yuval Avivi

One Ethiopian folktale goes as follows: “A long time ago, Abba Gabra Hanna went to visit the village of Lalibla. Along the way, he met a jolly group. Someone in the group pointed at Abba Gabra Hanna’s large belly and said to his friends, ‘We have to thank this man for bringing with him a large, full bag of seeds. Our empty fields are waiting to be sown.’ The people in the group burst out laughing. Abba Gabra Hanna was insulted, but immediately had a thought. He pointed at the large, shiny bald head of the man and said, ‘I’m not sure if the amount of seeds I brought will be enough for this large, empty field.’ The people in the group burst out laughing. They knew that they had just met Abba Gabra Hanna, the famous joker.”

“For Ethiopian immigrants, Abba Gabra Hanna is the Ethiopian Hershele [a Hasidic joker in Ashkenazi folktales],” said Penina Tamanu-Shata, deputy chair of the Knesset and chair of the lobby for Ethiopians in Israel who came to Israel from Ethiopia when she was 3. “There’s a sense that Ethiopian culture is anemic, because our parents weren’t always literate, but the truth is that the literature of Ethiopian Jewry is developed — full of parables and complex and beautiful expressions. It’s simply a different kind of literature that is transmitted orally.”

While Israeli culture is based on reading books aloud to children, Ethiopian culture is based on telling folktales in Amharic. Abba Gabra Hanna is the hero of many of them, as seen in the collection of Ethiopian folktales, “A Web of Stories,” published in Israel in 2000.

As has happened many times in Israeli society when the collective has trampled on the unique character of immigrant communities, a large part of the cultural identity of Ethiopian Jewry has simply been erased. A 2013 study found that nearly half of Ethiopian households speak Hebrew only. The richness of Ethiopian folktales has thus been lost to them.

Read more at »

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Ethiopia: Measuring Women’s Rights and Roles

Konga, Ethiopia: Data on gender equality can highlight gaps and help monitor progress. (© Panos/A.)

Insights Magazine

By Sarah McMullan

What inequalities do women face in Ethiopia?

In rural Ethiopia, people say farming is a man’s job. In reality, women play a large role in agriculture from farm to table. Take a drive through the countryside, and you will see women planting, weeding, tending to gardens, and harvesting, among other farm activities. The markets are bustling with women selling produce and small livestock in addition to spices, honey, and shea butter.

Why, given their many contributions to agriculture, are women so often marginalized? To help shed more light on gender inequalities, researchers from IFPRI’s gender team and Research for Ethiopia’s Agriculture Policy (REAP) Program are analyzing national data to compare differences between male- and female-headed agricultural households, reviewing the literature on gender gaps in agriculture, and offering training on collecting sex-disaggregated data. Moving forward, the team will shift from comparing male- and female-headed households to showing other indicators that can lead to deeper analysis and understanding of women’s role in agriculture.

This work, says Seblewongel Deneke, director of the Gender Program at the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), will generate evidence to help design and implement agricultural policies and programs. “Gender equality,” she says, “is recognized as a critical development issue in Ethiopia.”

Slow Progress

Over the past two decades, the Ethiopian government has started to chip away at gender inequality. An overhaul to family law provided stronger rights for women in terms of land ownership, inheritance, and marriage. The government introduced a requirement that land certificates include the name and picture of both the husband and wife. According to Cheryl Doss of Yale University, who serves as the gender team leader of the IFPRI-led research program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets, “When men and women have secure property rights, they experience lower vulnerability and are better able to cope with shocks.”

Girls’ access to education has also improved. In 2000, Ethiopian schools enrolled 71 girls for every 100 boys; by 2007, the number of girls enrolled for every 100 boys had risen to 87. A recent World Bank study found that when women have access to education, the entire household experiences better health, nutrition, and education.

Read more »

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Ethiopian Immigrant to UK Reveals How She Overcame ‘Hostility’ and Stigma

(Image: flickr_lcars)

Mancunian Matters

By Heather McComb & April Curtin

08 Sep 2014

Jalene* is a young migrant from Ethiopia who, when offered a visitor visa to the UK, jumped at the chance to gain a good education in a Western country that would welcome her with open arms.

Or so she thought.

Four years on, Jalene has decided to reveal all to MM about her struggles, as she worked to achieve a dream and battle against the ultimate enemy: the British immigration system.

Set with an ambition to better herself and achieve a higher education at Manchester University, it was this aim which proved to be the first of many obstacles that she faced.

“Pursuing education was severely tough, the main reasons being that I have not been allowed to work and I’m not entitled to any state support except for a few months at the initial stage,” she told MM.

“A partial tuition fee waiver scholarship from the University of Manchester and the incredible support by some charity organisations and friends let me survive and finish my study – I graduated a couple of days ago in a master’s degree.”

In spite of her outstanding achievement, Jalene believes other people in her situation are not so lucky.

“My experience shows that such cases [as hers] are extremely rare, principally due to severe challenges and barriers,” she said.

However, Jalene also said that despite the challenges and stress, being in education helped her ‘to keep optimistic and positive’.

Read more »

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How Ethiopia Solved Its Abortion Problem

Zebiba waits for her abortion to be completed. (Photo: Heather Horn/GlobalPost

Global Post

By Heather Horn

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Zebiba, 28, sits in her purple headscarf in the small clinic room, the cramping already beginning. She took the tablets early this morning. She is three months pregnant.

By 2 p.m., her abortion should be complete. She will return to her two children, now at school. She is divorcing their father, who has taken a second wife.

Thus far, she has refused pain medications. Her relief at the ease of this termination is palpable. “She was nervous coming here,” says the nurse.

A generation ago, botched abortions were the single biggest contributor to Ethiopia’s sky-high maternal mortality rate. Doctors in the largest public hospital in Addis Ababa, where Zebiba lives, still remember the time when three-quarters of the beds in the maternal ward were reserved purely for complications from such procedures.

Then, in 2005, the country liberalized its abortion law.

Today, it’s hard to find a health provider who’s seen more than one abortion-related death in the past five years. Although access to safe procedures and high quality care could still be expanded, doctors say that, increasingly, those who need an abortion can get one safely.

But this success story has a catch: abortion is still illegal. Only under very limited circumstances is it allowed, and Zebiba’s case does not fall into one of the specified categories.

Many of the women whose lives doctors and NGOs have saved in the past few years have been ushered through a legal loophole — and it’s possible that’s what the government intended all along.

Read more at »

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African Union Meets in Ethiopia For Ebola Crisis Talks

African Union commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Credit: Standard Media)

Standard Media

Updated Monday, September 8th 2014

African Union chiefs held an emergency meeting Monday to hammer out a continent-wide strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic, which has killed over 2,000 people in west Africa.

“Fighting Ebola must be done in a manner that doesn’t fuel isolation or lead to the stigmatisation of victims, communities and countries,” AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, speaking at the opening of the meeting.

Dlamini-Zuma told the executive council of the 54-member body, meeting at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, of the urgent need to “craft a united, comprehensive and collective African response” to the outbreak.

The meeting came as hopes rose of a potential vaccine to provide temporary shield against Ebola.

A novel vaccine tested so far only on monkeys provided “completely short-term and partial long-term protection” from the deadly virus, researchers reported in the journal Nature Medicine.

The study endorsed approval for tests on humans, which would begin in early September, with first results by year’s end.

Read more »

Ebola’s Economic Toll on Africa Starts to Emerge (The Wall Street Journal)

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Meet Yirgalem Hadish: Miss World Ethiopia

Yirgalem Hadish, Miss World Ethiopia 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, September 7th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Yirgalem Hadish will represent Ethiopia at the 64th edition of the Miss World pageant on December 14th in London, England. The 23-year-old, who lives in Addis Ababa, was named Miss World Ethiopia 2014 last month by a combination of points both by a panel of celebrity judges and online public voting. Organizers revealed the winner via Facebook on August 20th. Yirgalem’s other competitors included top three finalists Mahilet Berhanu and Hiwot Bekele.

In London Yirgalem will face 130 contestants from around the globe. Last year Miss Philippines (Megan Lynne Young) won the Miss World 2013 title in Bali, Indonesia. Megan, who is the first woman from the Philippines to win the international pageant, will pass on the crown to the new Miss World.

Below are photos of Miss World Ethiopia 2014 Yirgalem Hadish:

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Bay Area Art Installation & Festival Featuring Ethiopian and Eritrean Artists

(Image courtesy:

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Press Release

Home [away from] Home is an experimental art installation featuring artists in the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities of the Bay Area, culminating in a weekend-long festival of visual arts, music, dance, poetry, & food, around next year’s Eritrean and Ethiopian Ge’ez New Year (Sept 11, 2014) wrapping up with the grand finale festival taking place on Lake Merrit Sunday 9/14/2014.

The mission of this project serves as a metaphor for African immigrants in the diaspora trying to build a home in America while maintaining and sharing their cultural identity in the USA. With a respect for the unique histories of the Ethiopian and Eritrean peoples, we intend to highlight the art, music, and culture that brings immigrants from these two communities together while exploring the theme of “Home (Away From) Home”.

Home [away from] Home is the brain child of Ethiopian American singer Meklit Hadero, Eritrean American filmmaker Sephora Woldu, and Ethiopian American musician Ellias Fullmore. The project is supported by YBCA In Community, a new initiative created by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).

YBCA , an arts and culture organization recognized locally, nationally, and globally for its dedication to artistic innovation, has a committed long-term vision to place contemporary art at the heart of community life around the world, making them a natural and powerful ally for such a project.

YBCA In Community is also made possible through the generous support of The James Irvine Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Abundance Foundation.

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In Pictures: Teddy Afro at Echo Stage in DC

Teddy Afro at Echo Stage in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 31st, 2014. (Photograph: Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – From SummerStage to Echo Stage this has been a busy year for Teddy Afro who also recently released a new single (Be 70 Dereja), and last Sunday the Ethiopian star performed in Washington, DC.

“Labor Day weekend concert in Washington DC was an incredible show,” Teddy Afro said in a statement. “Thanks for all our fans in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland areas for your support and making the show interesting night.”

Below are photos from the event:

Audio: Teddy Afro New Song Be 70 Dereja (በ70 ደረጃ)

Video: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage, B.B. King Blues Club
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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In Pictures: Only 10 Percent of Homes in Ethiopia Have Running Water (Aljazeera)

While 52 percent of Ethiopia's people have access to improved water, only 10 percent have water piped into their homes. (Photo: Aljazeera)


The World Health Organisation/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) estimates that 51 percent of improved water access is piped onto premises in urban areas, but the situation on the ground in the crowded slums on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital, looks different.

Thirty years after Ethiopia’s devastating famine, water is still as inaccessible as it is precious. While 52 percent of the people have access to improved water, only 10 percent have water piped into their homes. And in rural areas, this figure is as low as 1 percent. Only 24 percent have adequate sanitation.

The implications are extremely broad. In an agriculture-based country, water shortages largely affect not only the country’s economy, but also the basic life of people whose subsistence depends on each season’s crops. Often poor countries like Ethiopia, with high population growth, are the most vulnerable to water stress.

Not to mention that on a continent currently affected by major diseases, controlling outbreaks is also a question of access to water and sanitation.

There are a lot of factors contributing to the lack of access to water and sanitation, ranging from environmental degradation due to desertification and deforestation, natural disasters such as extreme drought and climate change resulting from global warming. Other factors include pollution, caused by massive congestions in urban areas. This has led to a vicious cycle: people are leaving rural areas due to poverty hoping to find better opportunities in the cities only to contribute to the depreciation of living conditions where they arrive by overpopulating the towns’ slums.

The government has expanded its social service delivery programmes; NGOs projects are improving life in some communities, but it is a long process and on the larger scale, the infrastructure handling Ethiopia’s water supply is still inadequate and the need for improved water and sanitation is still severe.

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In Celebration of Ethiopian New Year, Metro Los Angeles Presents Ethio-Jazz

Ethio Cali, a California based Ethio-jazz band, will perform at Union Station in Los Angeles on Friday, September 12th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Los Angeles (TADIAS) – In celebration of Ethiopian New Year, Metro Los Angeles is presenting an evening of Ethio-jazz on Friday, September 12th at the historic Union Station featuring the multicultural Ethio Cali band.

“We’re excited to present Ethio Cali, a Los Angeles based Ethio-Jazz ensemble, led by trumpeter, arranger, and composer Todd Simon,” Metro Los Angeles announced. “The ensemble’s sublime sound is inspired by the golden age of Ethiopian music of the 1960s and 70s, filtered through a lens that is uniquely Los Angeles. Acknowledging the diverse musical foundations of Ethio-Jazz, the ensemble also draws inspiration from the rhythmic and melodic textures of Sudan, Somalia, Ghana, and Colombia.”

The major operator of bus and rail service in L.A. County, California features a variety of free arts and cultural programs at Union Station — “one of the county’s busiest and most beautiful transit hubs.”

The Ethiopian New Year concert in the Fred Harvey Room also highlights DJ Jeremy Sole (KCRW / theLIFT) who will be spinning before and in between sets.

If You Go:
Metro Presents: Ethio Cali
Friday, September 12
7:45pm Doors open
8:15pm Ethio Cali – first set
9:15pm Ethio Cali – second set
LA Union Station, Fred Harvey Room
800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

New Year’s Eve in Addis: Orit Entertainment Presents Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse
Celebrate Ethiopian New Year at Historic Riverside Church in NYC on September 13th

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Miss Africa USA: Meron Wudneh Thanks Her Supporters

Miss Africa USA 2014 Meron Wudneh. (Image courtesy: Miss Africa USA)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – The reigning queen of the Miss Africa USA pageant, Meron Wudneh, will be hosting an event this weekend in Washington, D.C. to thank her supporters. The event to be held at Maraki Restaurant & Lounge (1930 9th Street NW) is free and open to the public.

Meron was crowned Miss Africa USA 2014 last month becoming the first Ethiopian to win the pageant since it was launched in 2005.

If You Go:
Maraki Restaurant & Loung
1930 9th Street NW
Washington, D.C.

Ethiopian Meron Wudneh Crowned Miss Africa USA 2014

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Mulatu Astatke: The Man Who Created ‘Ethio jazz’

Mulatu Astatke at 70: Ethiopian tuning, Latin rhythms, the wah-wah pedal – ahead of a festival of African culture, Richard Williams hails a composer who likes to mix it up. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

Richard Williams

Friday 5 September 2014

Everybody knows that Ethiopian jazz is the only kind worth listening to these days,” a bored Roman socialite remarks during one of the many party scenes in Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty. It sounds like an epitaph. How could something so special, so original, survive the embrace of people so devoted to superficiality, so quick to move on to the next sensation?

As a fashionable novelty, Ethiopian jazz may indeed have had its moment in the spotlight. As an evolving form, however, it demonstrates greater resilience. Its roots lie deep within the musical culture of a country that, with the exception of a brief period under Italian occupation between 1936 and 1941, has enjoyed 3,000 years of independence. The first to realise that its distinctive indigenous modes and textures could be blended with those of American jazz was Mulatu Astatke, the composer and bandleader whose early recordings began to attract a cult following 15 years ago, after being unearthed and reissued by an enthusiastic Frenchman.

Astatke, whose appearance in London on 13 September will be a highlight of the Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia festival, was supposed to devote his life to aeronautical engineering. Instead, he invented a musical genre and became the central figure in an enormously successful series of anthologies that dug deep into the origins of a fascinating but long-hidden world.

The 16-year-old Astatke had arrived in Britain in 1959, sent from Addis Ababa to North Wales by his wealthy parents, first to Lindisfarne College and then to Bangor University. But music got in the way of those initial career plans, and his gifts took him to Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied piano, clarinet and harmony, and to the Eric Gilder School of Music in Twickenham, whose pupils included the Ghanaian saxophonist Teddy Osei – later to found Osibisa, the pioneering Afro-rock group – and Labi Siffre, the singer-guitarist. He began playing vibraphone and piano in the clubs of Soho with expatriate African and Caribbean jazz musicians, and in dance halls with the popular Edmundo Ros orchestra.

Leaving London in 1963, he enrolled as the first African student at the jazz-oriented Berklee College in Boston, whose alumni include the vibraphonist Gary Burton and the pianist Keith Jarrett. Moving to New York, he pursued his interests in jazz and Latin music.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Ethiopia Premiere of Award-Winning Film ‘Difret’ Interrupted by Court Order

(Image courtesy: Haile-Addis Pictures and Truth Aid Media)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The much anticipated Ethiopia premiere of the award-wining film Difret took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when police informed the director and producers of the film that the screening must be halted due to a court order. Prior to the interruption, a video of Executive Producer Angelina Jolie thanking the Difret team was played to the audience.

In a recording of the interruption Director & Writer Zeresenay Berhane Mehari announced to the audience that they had received news of a court order barring the screening. Regarding the premiere at the National Theater, Zeresenay told the audience: “The Ministry of Culture was aware of it, the government was aware of it,” and added that the organizers had not received any information of pending issues. Details of the court order have not yet been released.

Difret, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, is based on a true story and chronicles the ordeal of a teenager who was a victim of telefa — a traditional custom of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia — and her attorney Meaza Ashenafi’s success, against all odds, in helping to free her client on the grounds of self-defense, and subsequently outlaw abduction for marriage in Ethiopia.

The film has since been screened in various U.S. cities including New York and Silver Spring as well as worldwide including at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland; Durban International Film Festival in South Africa; Jerusalem International Film Festival in Israel, and Sydney International Film Festival in Australia.

A Huffington Post article entitled “Difret: Building a Culture of Courage” was published today by producer Dr. Mehret Mandefro stating “Difret can be more than a film: we hope it will stimulate a global social action campaign that empowers people to build a culture of courage that supports and protects women and girls.”

The film’s other producers include Leelai Demoz, Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.

Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro
‘Difret’ Wins Panorama at Berlin Film Festival
Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival
Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

Video: ‘Difret’: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland

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University of Gondar Re-graduates 500 Alumni During 60th Anniversary

The University of Gondar 60th year Diamond Jubilee Celebrations was held from July 4- July 7th, 2014. During the event about 500 alumni from around the world were formally re-graduated. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – This past July the University of Gondar, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding this year, “re-graduated” about 500 alumni along with over 4000 students. The alumni had gathered for the three-day occasion (July 5-7th, 2014) from across Ethiopia as well as from other African nations, the United States, and Europe. The University’s Alumni Steering Committee in the U.S. estimates that there were about 100 former graduates in attendance from the Diaspora. The University of Gondar is the first public health institution in Ethiopia, and was established in 1954 as a Public Health College in response to a malaria epidemic to help train nurses, health officers, sanitarians, laboratory technicians and other professionals that would eventually form the backbone of the country’s modern public health structure. It was transformed into a medical college in 1978 and a full university in 2004.

Among the alumni residing in the U.S. who took part in the program include Dr. Elias Said Siraj, Professor of Medicine and Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Program and Clinical Endocrinology at Temple University in Philadelphia. “This was the first time in Ethiopia that alumni from a major university were organized in such a fashion and took an undertaking that others could emulate,” said Dr. Elias in an interview with Tadias Magazine. Dr. Elias graduated from Gondar College of Medical Sciences in 1988 and is one the founding members of the Alumni Steering Committee in the United States. “We also used the occasion to launch a publication, The Alumni Voice magazine, in conjunction with an ‘Alumni Clinical Symposium’ covering a range of subjects in medicine and highlighting expert presentations — including topics in surgery, women & children’s health, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases — that was attended by students, medical doctors, public health officials, and policymakers from Gondar and beyond.” Dr. Elias stated: “The feedback from students, teachers and others was very positive and encouraging. They were touched and delighted by the physical presence of the alumni, as well as by the contents of the magazine and the symposium.”

The Alumni Steering Committee in the U.S. includes six graduates of the historic Ethiopian institution: In addition to Dr. Elias, they are Dr. Anteneh Habte (1984), Founding Member, Clinical Assistant Professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine; Dr. Mulugeta Zerabruk Fissha (1998), Founding Member, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Newman Regional Health, Emporia, Kansas; Dr. Nuru Abseno Robi (1988), Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.; Dr Yared Aytaged Gebreyesus (1988), Consultant in Internal Medicine at the Blue Nile Clinic in Alexandria, Viginia; and Dr Yared Wondimkun Endailalu (1986), Consultant in Internal Medicine at the Mary Washington Health Group in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Professor Yared Wondimkun, also former Dean of Gondar College of Medical Sciences and former President of the University of Gondar, notes in an interview with Tadias that the alumni-led symposium was designed not only as “an educational platform,” but also as a “networking opportunity for alumni, faculty, students and researchers to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s expertise as well as discuses way of strengthening the relationship between alumni members and the University of Gondar.”

Dr. Yared, who now lives in Northern Virginia, also received his MD degree from the Gondar College of Medical Sciences in 1986 before serving as the institution’s last Dean (2002-2004) and first President (2004-2007). He pointed out that the limited-edition of The Alumni Voice journal contains 26 important articles authored by alumni from the school’s various stages including graduates of the public health college, first graduates of the medical school, four previous Deans, and several alumni reflecting on the past and offering their perspectives for the future.” Dr. Yared adds that further contributions to the publication came from “key historical figures who played leading roles in the era of the Public Health College as well as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences.”

Dr. Elias shared his opinion that in general alumni and their potential resources are not effectively utilized in Ethiopia, and it was with this in mind that the University of Gondar Alumni Steering Committee in the US was established. “In close collaboration with the University of Gondar senior leadership, and with its president Professor Mengesha Admassu in particular, the Gondar Alumni Steering Committee worked hard in various areas to set an example so that other Ethiopian Universities will give the necessary attention to alumni activities and strengthen their alumni offices with appropriate manpower and resources” he said. Dr. Yared likewise added that based on the feedback received so far, the effort of the steering committee has paid off and the University of Gondar is being seen in Ethiopia as a “pioneer” in effectively collaborating with its alumni. Both Dr. Elias and Dr. Yared also thanked the leadership of the University of Gondar for believing in the power of alumni and for supporting all the activities of the steering committee.

The University of Gondar’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee was marked by year-long activities that culminated in early July not only with the “re-graduation’ of its alumni, but also the inauguration of a Comprehensive Outpatient Center at the University of Gondar Hospital “designed to provide an integrated program that will enhance patient-centered experience and increase the hospital’s capacity to accommodate an ever increasing number of patients.” The facility was built in partnership with the U.S. government that provided USD $9.1 million through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with technical assistance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Patricia M. Haslach, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, said, “This newly constructed facility is part of the U.S. Government’s commitment to strengthening the national capacity of health facilities to provide comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS health care services throughout Ethiopia.”

Below are photos from the event courtesy of the University of Gondar Alumni Steering Committee in the USA:

For more coverage on Gondar University and its journey to its 60th anniversary, you may listen to People To People’s broadcast on More information on The Alumni Voice can be found at:

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Influx of African Immigrants Shifting National and New York Demographics

In Concourse Village in the Bronx, Sylvester Donkor, left, and Ataa Serwaa, immigrants from Ghana, waiting for a cab to church. (Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times)

The New York Times


Threatened with arrest in 2009, Lamin F. Bojang fled Gambia after publicly contradicting its president’s claims that he could cure AIDS. Now 31, Mr. Bojang lives in Concourse Village in the Bronx with his wife and 2-year-old son and works as a receptionist at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, while working toward a bachelor’s degree in political science at City College.

With educational and professional opportunities in Gambia scarce for his generation, “the rest will have to find ways of leaving,” he said, “and African migrants here, just as previous migrants, are likely not going to return to their countries of origin.”

Niat Amare, 28, graduated from law school in Ethiopia where she grew up, she recalled, “watching the media portray the U.S. as the land of opportunities.” She arrived here in 2010, lives in Harlem and said she felt welcome in New York. “Anyone would find one’s countryman here, which eases the strange feeling we all have the first time we leave home,” said Ms. Amare, a legal advocate for the African Services Committee, a nonprofit organization that assists new immigrants.

Read more at NYT »

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Lalibela Puts Ethiopia Back on Tourist Map

The rock church of St George at Lalibela, Ethiopia, one of 11 carved out of the hillside in the 13th century and among the first to be designated world heritage sites by Unesco in 1978. (Photograph: Alamy)

The Guardian

David Smith

Monday 1 September 2014

Lalibela – Kiya Gezahegne joined an unruly, jostling throng surrounding a priest who wielded a 12th-century gold and bronze cross, one of the most sacred artefacts in Ethiopia. A young man shut his eyes and trembled from head to toe as he was blessed. Finally, Gezahegne stepped forward and stooped so the priest could tap the cross all over her body. “I felt close to God,” she said.

Steeped in ancient ritual, this was the scene revealed by dawn’s first light in the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The cool morning air was filled with the smell of incense and the drumbeat and chanting of hundreds of pilgrims swathed in white robes, some kissing the walls. A sprinkling of foreign visitors groped through narrow crevices and labyrinthine tunnels. Earlier this year they included George W Bush and family and Evgeny Lebedev, the newspaper proprietor.

Lalibela – described by Hilary Bradt, the travel guide author, as “the number one sight in Ethiopia and perhaps the most astonishing man-made site in sub-Saharan Africa” – is crucial to a drive by officials to banish images of famine and conflict, and turn the east African country into a fashionable destination. A “tourism master plan” is being finalised to boost visitor numbers, which are already growing by 10% a year.

Gezahegne, 22, an academic at Addis Ababa University, was making her first pilgrimage to Lalibela one recent Sunday and was in no doubt about its potential to attract Christians and non-believers alike. “Most people know about the famine but not the historic sites,” she said. “If the tourism bureau can advertise it, it can be a good source of income.”

Read more at The Guardian »

Lalibela One of The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime
Ethiopia’s Lalibela Among 19 Most Stunning Sacred Places in the World

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A Thriving Ethiopian Community in Texas: Spotlight on Birhan Mekonnen

Birhan “Mac” Mekonnen who owns 23 Domino’s Pizza franchise locations in Texas at his home in Heath, Texas which is modeled after the Fasilides' Castle from his hometown of Gondar in Ethiopia. (D Magazine)

D Magazine


Birhan “Mac” Mekonnen is standing on his balcony, surveying acres of land, reflecting on what he’s built. The balcony rests just below the most unique architectural feature of his home in Heath—a dome modeled after Fasil Castle in Gondar, Ethiopia. Gondar is Mekonnen’s hometown, the hometown he fled in 1977, three years after war erupted.

Along with his future wife, the 18-year-old walked for days, finding refuge in Sudan, where their first child would be born. The young family of three relocated to North Dakota 18 months later, where Mekonnen’s sponsors suggested he seek employment at a grocery store. He refused and went on to receive a degree in electrical engineering. And with that, the Mekonnens set out again, this time to Dallas, where a network of relatives and friends was rapidly developing. That was 28 years ago.

Today, an estimated 35,000 Ethiopians call North Texas home. One of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in Dallas, they’ve gravitated toward Rowlett, Wylie, and Garland, where the Ethiopian community association that Mekonnen heads hopes to build a community center.

“It was designed to bring Ethiopians together and keep the tradition and culture,” Mekonnen says of the association, “to teach our children, making sure they know their roots.”

Read more at »

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‘Difret’ Film to Premiere in Ethiopia on September 3rd

(Image courtesy: Haile-Addis Pictures and Truth Aid Media)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 30th, 2014

New York ( TADIAS) – The award-wining Ethiopian film ‘Difret’ will premiere at the National Theater in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, September 3rd. Directed by Zeresenay Mehari the film narrates the true story of a teenager who was a victim of telefa — a traditional custom of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia — who gained public attention when she was arrested and charged for the murder of her abductor. The girl’s subsequent acquittal on the grounds of self-defense was led by a courageous lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who also worked to outlaw the practice of abduction for marriage.

Difret won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. It has since been screened in various U.S. cities including New York and Silver Spring as well as worldwide including at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland; Durban International Film Festival in South Africa; Jerusalem International Film Festival in Israel, and Sydney International Film Festival in Australia.

The upcoming screening in Ethiopia is the most exciting moment the director and producers have been waiting for. “We are thrilled to be premiering the film in Ethiopia and releasing it in theaters there next week,” producer Mehret Mandefro told Tadias Magazine. “Difret has been a 7-year labor of love for Zeresenay and a 5-year labor of love for me. So to finally be able to share the film in Ethiopia is truly a dream come true. We can’t wait,” she added.

The film’s other producers include Leelai Demoz, Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.

If You Go:
The Ethiopia Premier of Difret
Wednesday, September 3rd
6:30: Screening
8:15: Presentation of cast and crew
9:00: Celebratory Dinner and party
National Theater
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Video: ‘Difret’: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro
‘Difret’ Wins Panorama at Berlin Film Festival
Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival
Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

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New Year’s Eve: Orit Entertainment Presents Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse

(Image courtesy: Orit Entertainment Group and Evangadi Production)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Jacky Gosee and Teddy Taddesse are scheduled to perform at this year’s Ethiopian New Year’s Eve celebration at Millenium Hall in Addis Ababa. The show is being organized by some of the best Ethiopian promoters in the business: Mickey Dread (Michael Gizaw), DJ Mengie NYC (Mengistu Melesse) and Delish Lemma who recently launched an international concert promotion and artist management company, Orit Entertainment Group, based in New York. The long-time friends and business partners have been behind almost all of the biggest Ethiopian concerts in the United States for the past two decades.

“Orit Entertainment Group, as the name suggests, is a pioneer company, a trend-setter bringing new experiences to its clients and audiences alike,” says the company statement. “While Orit Entertainment Group is headquartered in New York it serves a vast clientele list globally operating out of its offices in Europe, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and UAE.”

Mickey Dread, a resident of New York City, has worked as an events manager and concert promoter as well as producer and nightclub manager for over 20 years. He is also the proprietor of successful high-end entertainment venues in NYC frequented by celebrities such as Jay Z, P Diddy, Akon, Snoop Dog, Rev Run of Run DMC, and Paris Hilton. Mickey’s club and lounge is home not only to celebrities but industry locals and underground followers as well. “Mickey’s passion in the industry and his approachable demeanor has led him to produce some larger-than-life collaborations with entities such as MTV, VH1, Entertainment TV, Motorola, Sony, EA Sport, Sport Illustrated, NBA, NFL, GQ Magazine, NY Times, Google, Bravo TV, The 2008 Obama Campaign, and Mayor Bloomberg’s Office,” notes a statement from Orit Entertainment. “Mickey’s experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry is vast.” The statement adds: “His exciting endeavors include working with the world-renowned Reggae star Alpha Blondie as his stage manager, producing a series of concerts for Reggae icon Israel Vibration, and his long-standing involvement with the record label Tuff Gong (founded by Jamaican Superstar Bob Marley) in various capacities.”

DJ Mengie, founder of Massinko Entertainment, who is also a New Yorker has likewise been an organizer in the North American music and entertainment scene for over 20 years. From the annual North America Ethiopian Soccer Tournament to the most prestigious concert venues in America, if an Ethiopian star is performing (legend or up-and-coming), chances are DJ Mengie is involved. “While you often find him behind the turntables at many of the large concerts showcasing well-known Ethiopian artists from across the globe, his promotion skills and talent as a producer are evident by the scale of the events,” the statement from Orit noted. DJ Mengie was the lead promoter of the historic Howard Theater concert in Washington, D.C. showcasing Mahmoud Ahmed and Gosaye, as well as Central Park’s SummerStage in New York presenting Aster Aweke and Teddy Afro. But what is less known is his impressive resume as a music producer that includes four successful remix albums through his label Masenko Remix. His latest project is an upcoming album called Reggaetopia featuring remixes of traditional Ethiopian sounds with Dub Reggae and Dancehall beats all performed with traditional Ethiopian musical instruments. “The ideology behind Masenko Remix is to combine the deep soul of Ethiopia’s traditional music with the more contemporary Dub Reggae sound,” DJ Mengie says.

Orit’s third partner, Delish Lemma, similarly has an extensive promotion experience that started during his college years at Virginia Tech where he led monthly dance parties highlighting celebrity DJs such as DJ Supreme who tours with Lauryn Hill, DJ LS1 who works with Hip Hop Artist DMX, and DJ Trini of Washington DC area Radio Station 93.9, DJ 6 Senses. Orit Entertainment’s bio of Delish notes that “While at Virginia Tech, Delish was successful in organizing post-concert events for many live acts such as Busta Rhymes and Outkast, and joined the promotional team for the ‘Hard Knock Life’ Tour, on the Washington DC and Charlotte N.C. leg, which consisted of concerts by Eve, Jay-Z, Method Man, & Redman.” For several years Delish was a key promoter of ‘All Star Weekend’ events in several cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Delish, who is the founder of Delish Massinko Ent., has also worked with notable Ethiopian singers including Teddy Afro, Evangadi, Gosaye, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Aster Aweke. In addition he is credited for introducing the Ethiopian born singer Abby Lakew, who resides in the United States, and organized her concert at the Tropical Gardens in Addis Ababa. Delish also spent a few years in Ethiopia “shaping the entertainment industry.” His latest endeavor is “the production of the talented Jacky Gosee.”

If You Go:
New Year’s Eve: Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Millennium Hall
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Info: +251-911 031875
Presented by Orit Entertainment & Evangadi Production

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Ethiopia to Bid for 2017 African Cup

(Getty Images)

The Associated Press

August 28, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia will bid to host the 2017 African Cup of Nations after Libya pulled out citing security concerns, the president of the national football federation said, a tough task for a country with only basic sports infrastructure.

There is government backing for the bid, Ethiopia football federation president Junedin Basha said.

“We are both willing and able to host the games,” Junedin said, adding new facilities are being planned and built across the country. “We see no problem in hosting.”

Ethiopia will lodge its bid with the Confederation of African Football by the end of the week, Junedin said.

CAF is racing to find a new venue after Libya’s withdrawal and has given countries until the end of September to register bids. Countries normally have four years to prepare for the African Cup but the winning bid will have just over two to prepare for 2017.

Ghana and Kenya have also shown interest in bidding.

Read more »

Ethiopia, Kenya & Ghana Bid to Host 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (BBC News)

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Uneven Coverage of Suppressed Ethiopian Journalists

Serkalem Fasil accepts the 2012 PEN American's "Freedom to Write Award" for her husband Eskinder Nega, imprisoned Ethiopian writer, in New York, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

August 28, 2014

ADDIS ABABA— This month, Ethiopian officials shut down five magazines — the latest in a series of shutdowns — but the move got little attention from outside the country. The East African country is well known for suppressing the media, but some cases seem to get celebrity status while others are ignored.

Twelve Ethiopian journalists and publishers left the country in August after the magazines they worked for were forced by the government to shut down. International media gave little attention to the self-chosen exile of these media practitioners.

In contrast, the cases of Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and more recently the Zone9 bloggers have been covered by outlets such as al-Jazeera and the BBC, as well as VOA.

Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, says it can be partly explained why some cases get more attention.

“In the case of the Zone9 bloggers and Eskinder, they were quite well known in the diaspora, the Ethiopian diaspora, and had a lot of international contacts and backers. While other cases unfortunately are not so well known. I think of Solomon Kebede for example who is still waiting for trial,” he said.

Forty-one human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and CPJ released a joint statement calling for the release of the Zone9 bloggers and journalists, who are charged with terrorism.

Amaha Mekonnen, lawyer for the Zone9 bloggers and journalists, said there was a small chance the international attention would have an impact.

“As we have the experience, there may be a chance to settle the matter out of court, in which case, this information, all deliberations and analysis the case of this bloggers and journalist may be used to speed up and finally get a successful results,” said Mekonnen.

Both Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu have been detained under Ethiopia’s controversial Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Human rights group said the 2009 law was overly vague and allowed authorities to arrest anyone who criticized or opposed the government.

Eskinder won the 2012 PEN American’s Freedom to Write Award while serving an 18-year prison sentence and Reeyot won the UNESCO World Press Freedom Award in 2013 while serving an ongoing five-year prison term.

Reeyot is not allowed to see anyone else besides her parents, for 20 minutes a day.

Her father Alemu Gobebo said the attention was good for the morale of his imprisoned daughter:

“The international media is also encouraging the family of Reeyot, and Reeyot herself. The international media coverage disclosing her strength on freedom of speech or freedom of press, and by that way she was awarded, I think, international prizes. In that case we are very delighted,” he said.

There was always a worry when giving exposure to a case, said Rhodes of CPJ. But he also believed that it was crucial to inform people about what was going on.

“I think it both has a positive and a negative affect,” he said. “Positive in the sense that we let the international community know what’s going on and we’re letting the Ethiopian press know what’s going on. But it’s also negative in the sense that some authorities simply do not like criticism whether its local or international. And may react badly to it.”

Ethiopia ranks 143 out of 180 countries on the most recent World Press Freedom index. A 2014 Human Rights Watch report says Ethiopia is one of the three top countries in the world in terms of the number of exiled journalists.

The trial of the Zone 9 bloggers and journalists will resume October 15.

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Celebrate Ethiopian New Year at Historic Riverside Church in NYC on September 13th


Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Enkutatash, one of the most festive days in the Ethiopian calendar is being celebrated this year on September 13th at the Manhattan-based Riverside Church. The church, which is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places and renowned for its decades-long history of social justice, was also the former home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church in New York.

According to the online magazine InCultureParentEnkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, marks the end of the rainy reason and the beginning of the spring sunshine. While Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, the holiday falls on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar, except for leap years, when it occurs on September 12th. Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.”

The family-friendly Ethiopian New Year program in New York features music, food, traditional coffee ceremony and live entertainment including the first time NYC appearance of musicians Yohannes (Jonny) Alemu and Eleni Tekeste.

If You Go:
Saturday, September 13th, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm – 12:30 am
Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID)
Dinner & Music included
Complimentary champagne and cake
The Riverside Church (Assembly Hall)
91 Claremont Avenue
New York, NY 10027

To purchase tickets in advance please contact Rahel at or call 646-515-6551.

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Ethiopia Considers Devaluing Currency

A Commercial Bank of Ethiopia building in Addis Ababa. (Wikimedia commons)


ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia says it’s considering the World Bank’s suggestion to devalue its currency, the Birr, but government says it want to minimise the impact on the wider economy.

In July, the World Bank released its third economic report on Ethiopia and advised the country to devalue its currency.

The global lender argues that Ethiopia’s Birr is overvalued and that the country would benefit from making the move, but it wouldn’t be the first time for Ethiopia.

In 2010, the government devalued the Birr by ten percent – and by 20 percent the year after; all in line with the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan.

But since then the Birr has strengthened in real terms, by more than 50 percent, currently standing at 19 to the US dollar.

Read more and watch video »

Ethiopia should consider currency devaluation, says World Bank (Reuters)

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Egypt, Sudan Agree to Six-Month Study of Ethiopia Hydropower Dam

Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Reuters)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Aug 27, 2014

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to complete studies within six months on the impact of an Ethiopian hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile river after Egypt raised concern about water shortages.

A committee of four experts from each nation will investigate the hydrological, social and environmental effects of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website today. International consultants will implement the findings, it said. Foreign experts will help settle any disputes. The dam is scheduled to be finished in 2017.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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The Face2Face Africa Awards Gold Carpet Presentation (Video)

At the 2014 Face2Face Africa Awards ceremony in New York on Saturday, July 26th. (Photograph: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

August 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Below is a full video coverage of the FACE List Awards Gold Carpet presentation at the 2014 Face2Face Africa awards ceremony held in New York last month honoring six trailblazers from the African continent in business, fashion, entertainment, social innovation and democratic governance — including Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti, Dr Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim, Masai Ujiri, and Dr. Boachie-Adjei.

The pan-African achievement awards were given out on Saturday, July 26th at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Below are photos from the event:

Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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UPDATE: Center for Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) Fundraising Kickoff Event

(Photos courtesy: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women - CREW)


Press Release

CREW held a successful fund raising kickoff event on August 2, 2014 at Howard University, Washington, DC. Friends and supporters of CREW attended the event that included dinner (sponsored by local Ethiopian businesses), live band, a fundraising game and speeches.

The program started with a welcoming address and a short video about CREW’s activities since its establishment in March 2012. Dinner was served while the live band was playing classical Ethiopian music. After dinner, the guest speakers spoke. They were: Maria G. Moreno, External Relations Liaison in IOM’s Washington, D.C. office and the Operations Officer at the U.S Association for International Migration (USAIM) and Ms Yalemzewd Bekele. Human rights activist and former human rights lawyer. Ms Mareno spoke about IOM’s role in supporting Ethiopian domestic worker deportees in Ethiopia and Ethiopians who are currently in the Yemen border. Ms Yalemzewd spoke on The impact of the Charities and Societies Law on the development of civil society organizations (CSO) in Ethiopia. Two Young activists, Mahlet Negatu and Soliyana Gebremicheal were given few minutes to speak about the candlelight vigil that was scheduled to be held later that evening in protest of the imprisonment of the Zone 9 bloggers by the Ethiopian government. Soliyana, one of the founding members of the Zone 9 group, explained to the audience how Zone 9 Bloggers started their group and how it was a non-partisan group comprised of young democracy activists who tried to promote dialogue and discussion regarding the development of democracy in their country. Guests participated at the discussions after the presentations.

Kumera Genet with his guitar and his friend playing the base and Kende with his keyboard played Ethiopian classical music. Assefu Debalke, a known Ethiopian singer, entertained the audience singing traditional Ethiopian songs. Ms Lucy Murphy, an activist and musician, sang a couple of progressive songs. A fundraising game played by the audience, raised hundreds of dollars for CREW. The program ended at 10:00 p.m.

Read the full press release at »

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Ethiopia, Kenya & Ghana Bid to Host 2017 Africa Cup of Nations

(Getty Images)

BBC News

26 August 2014

Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana have announced their interest in bidding to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following Libya’s withdrawal as the host nation.

Libya pulled out last week because of ongoing fighting in the country that has delayed plans to build new stadiums for the 16-team tournament.

Ethiopia, who hosted the tournament in 1962, 1968 and 1976, say they will submit their proposal immediately.

Ethiopia Football Federation president Junedin Basha told BBC Sport: “We already have two ready venues, the Addis Ababa and the Bahir Dar stadiums, and the construction of the other venues has also reached to a good level.

“Our government is ready and interested to do everything it can to bring the tournament back to Ethiopia.”

Kenya said in a statement that they are also considering a joint bid with Tanzania or Uganda or Rwanda.

Read more at BBC News »

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African Water Ministers Meet to Discuss Studies of Ethiopian Dam – Bloomberg

Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Reuters)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Aug 26, 2014

Water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan began discussing studies to determine what impact an Ethiopian hydropower dam being built on the main tributary of the Nile River will have on the two downstream countries.

A panel of experts from the three nations may be formed at the meeting in Sudan to oversee investigations into the hydrological, social and environmental effects of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website yesterday, citing Water, Energy and Irrigation Minister Alemayehu Tegenu.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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Slain Missouri Teen’s Funeral Draws Thousands

Lesley McSpadden reacts at the casket of her son Michael Brown during the funeral services at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 25, 2014. (Reuters)

VOA News

August 25, 2014

Mourners sang, clapped and danced on Monday at funeral services for Michael Brown, remembering the slain black teenager with words of goodwill and joy rather than the violence and outrage that followed his killing by a white police officer.

“The mood is festive inside the church as funeral goers celebrate the life of Michael Brown,” a VOA reporter at the scene said. “Brown’s parents said they feel blessed by the support of th ecommunity who have turned out at their son’s funeral. [There were] no demonstrations and calm prevails in Ferguson. ”

Unarmed Brown, 18, was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in a confrontation on August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Brown’s body lay at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in a black and gold casket, topped with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was wearing when he was killed on Aug. 9.

Monday’s service was held under heavy police surveillance to guard against renewed violence. Ferguson has been mostly calm in recent days following nearly two weeks of unrest.

A number of national civil rights leaders, politicians and celebrities attended the service at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy, said Michael Brown legacy should not be about rioting, but that he should be remembered as the one who made America face how policing is conducted in the United States.

“This is about justice. This is about fairness,” Sharpton told the audience. “And America is going to have to come to terms, when there’s something wrong that we have money to give military equipment to police forces, but we don’t have money for training, and money for public education and money to train our children.”

Sharpton said the movement for fair policing cannot be shortsighted.

“We can’t have a fit, we’ve got to have a movement,” he said. “A fit you get mad and run out for a couple of nights. A movement means we’ve got to be here for the long haul. And turn our chance into change, our demonstration into legislation. We have got to stay on this, so we can stop this.”

In addition to Sharpton, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was also on hand for the funeral.

Three White House officials were also in attendance, including Broderick Johnson, head of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, and Marlon Marshall and Heather Foster from the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Appeal for calm

Before the funeral, Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., appealed for calm – asking for protests to stop during the service.

“All I want is peace while my son is laid to rest. Please, please. I’d like a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest. Please. That’s all I ask. And, thank you,” Brown said.

Despite a heavy police presence, many demonstrators who have kept steady vigils in Ferguson, where the August 9 incident occurred, honored that request.

Brown, 18, was just days from starting college when he was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson.

Accounts of the incident differ. Police say Brown was the aggressor during a struggle with Wilson, but witnesses say the shooting was unprovoked and that Brown was trying to surrender.

No goodbyes

Before the funeral, as hundreds of people filed into the modern red-brick church on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis, Brown’s coffin was surrounded by photos of him as a child, graduating from school and smiling in his Cardinals cap.

“There are no goodbyes for us, wherever you are you will always be in our hearts,” read a sign accompanying one of the photos.

Gospel music filled the sanctuary as hundreds of people stood inside the church, many dancing, singing and clapping.

Outside, gatherers sang the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome,” in a scene markedly different from the violent protests that rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after Brown was shot to death on Aug. 9.

Among the hundreds of people waiting outside the church was Travis Jackson, a black, 25-year-old retail store employee who said he took the day off from work to pay his respects.

“I had to be here. After all the emotions and pain of the past two weeks, this is an important moment for this community,” he said. “Today I am focused on peace for Michael Brown. Tomorrow I can think about justice,” he added.

Protests, arrests

More than 150 people have been arrested in Ferguson since the protests began – most of them for failing to disperse at the request of police.

Many have complained that the police response to the protests has been heavy-handed, while the shooting itself has raised allegations of institutionalized racism and excessive use of force.

The incident has highlighted the racial divide in the mostly black town of Ferguson, where almost all police and local politicians are white.

A grand jury began hearing evidence on Wednesday, a process the county prosecutor said could take until mid-October.

Chris Simkins contributed to this report from Ferguson, Missouri, some information for this report provided by Reuters.

A Funeral in Ferguson (Opinion – NYT)
In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police (NYT)
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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US Racial Tensions Story Ripples Abroad: Some Using Ferguson for Propaganda

A crowd of protesters inside a Ferguson, Missouri church last week. (Getty Images)

Voice of America

By Cecily Hilleary

The racial tensions story in Ferguson, Mo. is not only making international headlines. It’s being used by some foreign governments to spread an anti-American message.

For countries whose rights records Washington has criticized, Ferguson offers an opportunity to even the score.

Some governments and media are using some of the same language Washington has used against repressive police tactics in their countries.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it was closely monitoring events in Ferguson and called for “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.”

“USA used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a protest in Ferguson,” Alexei Pushkov, head of Russia’s State Duma Committee for International Affairs, tweeted August 15. “Is it not a sign of dictatorship and excessive use of force?”

“It is regrettable that countries which claim to [defend] human rights are pursuing such [racist] approaches,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Iranian deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi as saying.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also weighed in on Twitter: “Today the world is a world of tyranny and lies. The flag of #HumanRights is borne by enemies of human rights w/US leading them! #Ferguson.”

China’s Xinhua news agency suggests it is time for America to stop focusing on “human rights flaws” in other countries and clean its own house.

“In its annual human rights report issued in February, the United States assaulted almost 200 countries across the world for their so-called poor human rights records,” Xinhua said this week.

“However, the U.S. human rights flaws extend far beyond racial issues….What’s more, Uncle Sam has witnessed numerous shooting sprees on its own land and launched incessant drone attacks on foreign soil, resulting in heavy civilian casualties,” the news service said.

Europe weighs in

In countries where a more free press flourishes, Ferguson has served as a lens for viewing America’s complex social and economic tapestry.

In Europe, the media coverage has drawn questions about America’s racial divide.

“How can this be happening in an America that has elected a black president?” asks Tim Stanley, a British historian of the United States, in the Telegraph, who concludes that change isn’t likely to come from the White House, but at the street level.

France’s Le Monde calls Ferguson “a cruel metaphor for contemporary America, its tensions, its fractures and its old demons.”

Some coverage has focused on the militarization of U.S. police.

“…the police response to a series of protests over his [Michal Brown’s] death has been something more akin to the deployment of an army in a miniature war zone,” U.K.’s Guardian newspaper comments.

In a lengthy and scathing account of his arrest by Ferguson police, Die Welt reporter Ansgar Graw says he has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere.

“To be captured by police, yelled at and be treated rudely by police and to see the inside of a prison, I had to travel to Missouri in the United States of America,” he writes.

Among U.S. allies worldwide, there are critics.

“Australians tend to think the United States is too heavily armed, and that shootings of all kinds are symptomatic of the power and availability of heavy weaponry,” said David Smith, lecturer in American politics and foreign Policy at the University of Sydney.

He said that Australians believe that the U.S. criminal justice system discriminates against African Americans “at all levels.”

That said, Smith admits that Australia has struggled with its own racial divide.

“Like the United States, Australia has a problem with black deaths in custody, which has also caused race riots in relatively recent times. Around the world, white people everywhere deplore racism in the United States, but unfortunately I think this helps us turn a blind eye to our own structures of white supremacy,” Smith said.

Still, for some Americans – and the Obama administration – international criticism is a bitter pill to swallow.

The State Department Tuesday rejected Egypt’s criticism, as well as comparison of Ferguson to situations in Egypt, China or Zimbabwe.

“People are free to say whatever they want. That’s something we believe in very deeply here, is freedom of expression,” Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at Tuesday’s daily press briefing.

“We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and openly and honestly up against anyone else’s in the world…” she said, “and we would call on other countries to do the same.”

For others, like Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ferguson gives the U.S. an opportunity to demonstrate America’s ability to self-correct.

“Every country has human rights abuses,” Dunne tweeted to VOA Tuesday, “[especially] police brutality. Question is whether there is [accountability] & redress.”

A Funeral in Ferguson (Opinion)
In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police (NYT)
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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‘Made in China’ Now Being Made in Africa

The cost of labor in China is going up, so Chinese manufacturers are moving to Africa, and they’re playing all the angles. (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The Daily Beast

By Brendon Hong

HONG KONG — Sun Qiaoming is a trader from Jiangsu. He operates his import-export business on the Eastern coast of China, where there is plenty of space for a man with his drive and skills to prosper. Already fairly successful, he recently set his sights beyond his country’s borders. “There’s been much talk about the Chinese Dream in the past few years, but I have an African Dream.” he said. “African gold will fill my next bucket of gold.”

He wasn’t referring to the natural resources that President Obama recently hinted as the reason for China’s presence on the African continent. After all, Sun is a private entrepreneur, and receives no direct support from the government in his business endeavors. His “gold” is the labor in Africa—cheap, trainable, abundant, and ready to work. They may not have the decades of know-how that the Chinese developed during their meteoric rise in global production, but Sun is confident that with time and proper training, they will be able to match the efficiency and productivity of workers in China…

In the early 2000s, an acquaintance told Sun about the possibility of doing business in Ethiopia. At the time, Ethiopians still relied on imports from Western Europe for many commodities, most of which were costlier than goods produced in China. As a test, Sun shipped over a container stuffed with apparel made in his home province. After it reached Ethiopia, the contents were distributed and sold out in under two weeks. That marked the beginning of a fruitful long-term relationship with his Ethiopian clients. By utilizing those existing connections, and partnering with another entrepreneur from his hometown, he is in the final stages of planning for a new textile factory near Addis Ababa, joining other Chinese industrialists who have made the move.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast »

Obama suggests US is better partner than China to African leaders (The Guardian)
Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression (By Birtukan Mideksa)
Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Leaders Summit
Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum
African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit
Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC
US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington
First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at YALI Presidential Summit
Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit
Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Video: President Obama Post U.S.-Africa Summit Press Conference

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At Global Fest 2014 Aurora, Colorado Welcomes Adama (Nazret) as Sister City

Officials from Aurora, Colorado and Adama, Ethiopia sign Sister Cities agreement at the Aurora Municipal Center in Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014. (Photo: Aurora Sister Cities International)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – A delegation from Adama, Ethiopia (also known as Nazret) was festively welcomed to Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd at the annual Global Fest celebration where representatives of the Ethiopian and American municipalities signed a Sister Cities agreement. According to the Denver Post, the Aurora-Denver border area is home to an Ethiopian population of approximately 30,000. The event featured music, dance, and food by Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, one of the several restaurants highlighted at this year’s Global Fest.

“It’s intentional,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the Denver Post. “Aurora is really the most international city in Colorado. Others may claim it, but we are, and it’s events like this that are making that happen, that celebrate that international flavor.” It’s hoped that the pact between Aurora and Adama will “open up trade between the cities, boost economic development and give citizens in both locations a better sense of who each other is.”

According to Wiki Adama city “is situated along the road that connects Addis Ababa with Dire Dawa. Additionally, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad runs through Adama. The city name Adama may have been derived from the Oromo word adaamii, which means a cactus or a cactus-like tree. More specifically, adaamii means Euphorbia candelabrum, a tree of the spurge family, while hadaamii would mean Indian fig. Following World War II, Emperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used for the remainder of the twentieth century. In 2000, the city officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama, though “Nazareth” is still widely used.”

Below are photos from the event courtesy of Aurora Sister Cities International.

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In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police

President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference after delivering a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Aug. 18, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Jolted by images of protesters clashing with heavily armed police officers in Missouri, President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the government’s decade-old strategy of outfitting local police departments with military-grade body armor, mine-resistant trucks, silencers and automatic rifles, senior officials say.

The White House-led review will consider whether the government should continue providing such equipment and, if so, whether local authorities have sufficient training to use it appropriately, said senior administration and law enforcement officials. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used.

The review, coupled with proposed legislation and planned congressional hearings, opens the possibility for significant changes in Washington’s approach to arming local law enforcement agencies. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government regarded the police as the frontline forces in a new war. While that role for local law enforcement is expected to remain, changes may be ordered to the system under which federal grants and a military surplus program have sent gear and money to police departments, often with no strings attached, to prepare for a terrorist attack.

Read more at NYT »

Video: How to turn a moment into a movement (MSNBC)

Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge to Team Up at Chicago Marathon

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya will target 2:03:45 course record at the 2014 Chicago Marathon on October 12th. (Image by PhotoRun)

Runners World

By Peter Gambaccini

If Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the best distance runner in track and cross country history, achieves his goal of breaking the Chicago Marathon course record of 2:03:45 on October 12, he’ll have an old rival and friend to thank for contributing to the effort.

Bekele, Ethiopia’s world record holder for 5000 and 10,000 meters and the winner in his marathon debut in Paris on April 6 in 2:05:04, will be joined in Chicago by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. Kipchoge’s 2:04:05 in Berlin last fall made him the runner-up to Wilson Kipsang, who set the world record of 2:03:23 in that race.

“Kipchoge is an experienced athlete,” Bekele told Runner’s World Newswire by phone from Ethiopia. “For many long years, we raced together.”

At the 2003 World Championships, the then mostly unknown Kipchoge was the surprise winner of the 5000 meters over Bekele and 1500-meter world record holder Hicham el Guerrouj of Morocco. When Bekele won the 5000-meter gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, Kipchoge won the silver. “We know each other, we’ll help each other, we’ll fight together,” Bekele said about their race in Chicago on October 12.

Read more at Runners World »

Photos: Legendary long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele

Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

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UNDP Ethiopia Announces Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship

(Photo courtesy: United Nations Development Programme - UNDP)


Press Release

The United Nations Development Programme in Ethiopia announced the appointment of its Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship at a high profile event held in Addis Ababa drawing members of the government, private sector and development partners.

Ms. Bethlehem Tilahun, owner of the globally recognized and feted eco-friendly Sole Rebel shoe, was selected by UNDP Ethiopia in recognition of her inspirational role for budding entrepreneurs in the country.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors are at the top of their field and share a deep concern for the world’s poor and a commitment to making the planet a better place for all, ridding it of poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, and empowering women. Goodwill Ambassadors use their fame to help amplify the urgent and universal message of human development. They also strongly articulate the UNDP development philosophy and programmes of self-reliant opportunities and motivate people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

In a special message read at the event, Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye reflected that, “Empowering Ethiopians, especially women and girls, is an issue close to my heart. And there is no one who better to serve as a role model for them than Bethlehem.”

UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, noted Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan sets a bold vision for Ethiopia to become a middle income country by 2025. Fundamental to achieving this vision, is the rapid growth of local industries, including micro and small businesses, and the promotion of the private sector as an engine of growth.

Speaking on the nomination of Bethlehem, Mr. Owusu said,”…she is not just helping to create jobs for members of her community; she is helping to place Ethiopia at the forefront of a growing export industry.”

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) was launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February 2013 as a partnership between the UNDP and Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction. The EDP helps Ethiopia tap into the creative drive of the country’s entrepreneurs, particularly the youth and women to bring about transformational change. In 2014, the programme, through the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) partnered with the Office of the First Lady and the Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) and Federal Micro and Small Enterprise Development Agency (FeMSEDA) to help connect 1,500 women to the export market.

Minister of the Urban Development, Housing and Constructions H.E. Mekuria Haile said, “It is my firm belief that in line with the strategic direction set in the Growth and Transformation Plan, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme will significantly contribute to the development of a private sector led manufacturing and service industries.”

“My mission is to encourage the amazing and wonderful entrepreneurial energies we have in Ethiopia, so we generate a new wave of entrepreneurs,” the new UNDP Ethiopia Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship Bethlehem Tilahun said upon recieving her letter of appointment.

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is currently budgeted for 26 million USD and has recently brought on board a number of partners including Canada, Italy and Microsoft East Africa to target 200,000 Ethiopians who will receive training and access to business development services. A newly established Innovation Financing Facility will help address critical challenge of micro and small enterprises’ access to finance through facilitating the availability of soft loans, grants, private equity and venture capital.

President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti
Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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Pictures of the Week: Ethiopia’s Little-known Churches

(Photo: BBC travel slideshow)


By Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll

With their sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires, northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains recall stretches of the southwestern United States’ red desert landscape. The primary difference: perched high and tucked away into these mountain cliffs are some of the country’s least visited rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches, some of which are more than 1,000 years old.

The Gheralta cluster, located in Tigray Province, includes more than 30 structures. Although local legend claims that these churches date to between the 4th and 6th Centuries, historians believe that they were more likely built from the 9th to 12th Centuries. That, and its location, makes the Gheralta cluster the geographic and artistic midpoint between the early Ethiopian Orthodox centres of Aksum, built from the 4th to 10th Centuries in the north, and Lalibela, from the 12th to 13th Centuries, further south. (Daniel Noll)

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Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri

Ferguson, Missouri resident John West (L) hands a rose to a police officer. (Getty Images)



Ferguson gained the attention of the entire nation over the past two weeks, following the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Watch: Ed Schultz helps to recap the past events (MSNBC Video)

Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Ebola Travel: South Africa Bans Incomers From West Africa

(Photo: EPA)

BBC News

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.


South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Read more at BBC News »

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Ethiopia Festival In Chicago – September 13

(Photos courtesy: Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Press release | By ECAC

CHICAGO – The Auxiliary Board of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) officially welcomes the entire greater Chicago area to participate in a celebration of rich culture in Edgewater’s Senn High School on Saturday, September 13, 2014. The event helps commemorate the ECAC’s 30th anniversary, and occurs the day after Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash) celebrations.

“This festival is a continued celebration of the ECAC’s thirty years of service to Ethiopians in the Chicago community,” said Sergut Dejene, President of the ECAC Auxiliary Board and co-founder of the festival. “Our aim is to unite all generations of Ethiopians in the area for a day of cultural enrichment and family bonding, while showcasing our culture for the greater Chicago community.”

Local vendors will offer traditional Ethiopian food, arts and crafts, and more for purchase. The event will also feature music, live traditional dance performances, and interactive cultural displays. Kids will also enjoy many fun filled activities, so the entire family is invited.

For 30 years, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) has empowered over 20,000 refugees and immigrants from countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. The ECAC is a not-for-profit, non-political, tax-exempt organization committed to serving the educational, cultural, psychological, and socio-economic needs of Ethiopians in Chicago land and the surrounding areas.

If You Go:
For tickets please visit More information is also available at

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New Charges Against Ethiopian Publications Further Diminish Critical Voices – CPJ

Addis Guday magazine is among the publications charged. (Addis Guday)


By Tom Rhodes

Five independent magazines and a weekly newspaper have been charged by Ethiopia’s Justice Ministry, a move that may add to the long lists of shuttered publications and Ethiopian journalists in exile. In a press release issued August 4, the ministry accused the journals of publishing false information, inciting violence, and undermining public confidence in the government, news reports said.

The ministry said it pressed charges after running out of patience with the publications for “encouraging radicalism and terrorism.” The state broadcaster aired the ministry’s announcement, but none of the publications received the charge sheet, local journalists told me. The six independent publications are Afro Times, a weekly newspaper, and magazines Addis Guday, Enku, Fact, Jano, and Lomi. All are popular alternatives to the state-run press, which espouses an increasingly positive narrative. Local journalists and news reports said the charges could be a way for the ruling party to silence critics ahead of elections expected in May 2015.

Repeated calls to the Justice Ministry and a government spokesman went unanswered.

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Ethiopia’s Impressive Economic Growth

Ethiopia has made great strides to become one of Africa's fastest growing economies and continues to record impressive economic growth. (CNBC Africa)

CNBC Africa

By: Elayne Wangalwa

The country which is sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth biggest economy is at the focal point of emerging economies’ interest with various delegations of foreign investors seeking investment opportunities in the largest landlocked country in the continent.

“If you look at it [Ethiopia] from an economic stand point, I think Ethiopia is one of the countries that has become the quint essential embodiment of the Africa rising narrative,” Julians Amboko, research analyst at Stratlink Africa from CNBC Africa.

The country’s economic growth is principally attributed to intense government projects aimed at achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the country aims at becoming a middle income status by 2025.

Read more at »

Video: Investment opportunities in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia Coffee Export Earnings May Rise 25% on World Supply – Bloomberg News

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. (Credit: John Humphrey)


By William Davison

Aug 21, 2014

Ethiopia’s arabica coffee export earnings are forecast to climb 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-15 because of higher prices after a drought damaged plants in the biggest grower of the bean, Brazil, an industry group said.

Arabica prices on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange could average $2 a pound if supplies of the crop in the world market are tight, Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association General Manager Alemseged Assefa said in the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest producer of the crop and the origin of the arabica plant.

“Prices are favorable this year because of the Brazilian coffee drought,” Alemseged said in an interview on Aug. 18. “We presume that price will continue because of the drought.”

Arabica has surged 71 percent in New York since January after a drought hurt plantings in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of the beans, fueling speculation that consumption may outstrip supply. The Brazilian woes come as plantings in Central America, Mexico and Peru struggle to recover from a crop disease called leaf rust that has cut yields across the region over the past two years.

Arabica coffee for December delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1.89 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. yesterday, tumbling 12 percent from a two-year high in April.

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Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers Denied Bail – Reporters Without Borders

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – Atnaf, Mahlet, Befekadu, Abel, Natnail and Zelalem.

Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)

21 AUGUST 2014

Three journalists and six bloggers who have been held for the past five months were denied bail by a federal court in Addis Ababa yesterday after the prosecution argued that article 3 of the 2009 anti-terrorism law, under which they are detained, precludes release on bail.

The defence said article 3’s bail prohibition does not apply because none of them has been individually charged with a specific crime under the anti-terrorism law. The defence also argued that article 3 violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to release on bail.

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – are Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabella, Natnail Feleke and Zelalem Kibret. One of the collective’s co-founders, Soliyana Shimelis, is being prosecuted in absentia.

“The Ethiopian government is clearly trying to gag the media,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “These three journalists and nine bloggers have been held for nearly five months without being given the least guarantee of due process. The prosecution still has not said what precisely they are supposed to have done to justify the charges. We call for their immediate release because they have no place being in prison.”

The prosecution accused them on 17 July of “organizing themselves into covert sub-groups to overthrow the government by contacting and receiving finance and training from two designated terrorist groups” – the US-based opposition group Ginbot 7 and the separatist Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). They are facing up to 15 years in prison under the anti-terrorism law.

Restrictions on freedom of information have grown in recent months in Ethiopia, where at least six journalists are currently detained in connection with their work. A state broadcaster fired 20 employees because of their political views on 25 June, and the justice ministry announced on 5 August that it intended to bring criminal charges against six news publications for “encouraging terrorism and endangering national security.”

Ethiopia is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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There’s a Brother Fighting in Gaza and a Sister Waiting in Ethiopia – Jerusalem Post

Aregawi Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. (Photo courtesy Uri Perednik)

The Jerusalem Post


During Operation Protective Edge, Aregawi Tesfa was not sure he would live to see the day after the war.

Tesfa fought on the front line in the most dangerous parts of the Gaza Strip, captured Hamas fighters and unfortunately also carried the bodies of young Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

But through it all, he knew that if he survived, his own battle was still far from over.

“All through the war I didn’t forget for one minute that when I’m done fighting Hamas, I will have to get back to the struggle to bring my sister to Israel.”

Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. A few days before the war, Tesfa presented his story to the Knesset internal affairs committee. The MKs of the committee were shocked to hear that all of Tesfa’s family lives in Israel while his sister was left behind.

Even though Tesfa’s sister received approval to make aliya from the previous interior minister, MK Eli Yishai, a senior ministry clerk named Mazal Cohen, together with the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, prohibited Tesfa’s sister from doing so.

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From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

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Julie Mehretu Nominated for Smithsonian Contemporary Artist Prize

Julie Mehretu. (Photo: British Museum org)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Julie Mehretu has been nominated for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize. The Ethiopian-born artist is one of 13 “leading figures and visionary talents” selected from a diverse range including painters, sculptors, photographers, and filmmakers. The nominees include Njideka Akunyili, Cory Arcangel, Trisha Baga, Paul Chan, Barnaby Furnas, Theaster Gates, KAWS (Brian Donnelly), Josiah McElheny, Dave McKenzie, Frances Stark, Swoon (Caledonia Curry) and Mickalene Thomas.

Previously known as the Lucelia Artist Award, the prize was launched in 2001 “to recognize an artist younger than 50 who consistently demonstrates exceptional creativity.” The announcement from the Smithsonian American Art Museum adds: “Recipients must…stand apart as leading figures and visionary talents. The $25,000 award is intended to encourage the artist’s future development and experimentation.”

According to the Smithsonian “Joanna Marsh, The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is coordinating the jury panel selection and the nomination and jurying process. Five distinguished jurors, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary American art, were selected from across the United States. The panel nominated the artists and will determine the award winner in a day of discussion and review, remaining anonymous until the winner is announced. Past jurors have included John Baldessari, Nicholas Baume, Lynne Cooke, Anne Ellegood, Richard Flood, Allan McCollum, John Ravenal, Jerry Saltz, Rochelle Steiner, Nancy Spector and Robert Storr, among others.”

The Smithsonian American Art Museum “celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station.”

American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London
Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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Electronic Frontier to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

(Image credit: CDN)


EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

In February 2014, EFF filed suit against the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on behalf of our client, Mr. Kidane, an Ethiopian by birth who has been a U.S. citizen over a decade. Mr. Kidane discovered traces of Gamma International’s FinSpy, a sophisticated spyware product which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement, on his laptop at his home in suburban Maryland. A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished using spyware that captured his activities and then reported them back to a command and control server in Ethiopia controlled by the government. The infection was active from October 2012, through March 2013, and was stopped just days after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab released a report exposing Ethiopia’s use of FinSpy. The report specifically referenced the very IP address of the Ethiopian government server responsible for the command and control of the spyware on Mr. Kidane’s laptop.

The Ethiopian government responded to the suit with the troubling claim that it—and every other foreign government—should be completely immune from suit for wiretapping American citizens on American soil. Ethiopia’s filing rests on several logic-challenged premises. Ethiopia claims that the recording of Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls and Internet activity at his home in Maryland actually took place in Ethiopia, and is therefore beyond the reach of any U.S. court. Worse still, Ethiopia claims that it had the “discretion” to violate U.S. law, reducing the Wiretap Act to something more like a traffic violation than a serious felony. Interestingly, Ethiopia does not actually deny that it wiretapped Mr. Kidane.

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Ethiopia Seeks to Brand, Trademark Signature Coffee

Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee grower, is set to continue talks with global buyers in hopes of branding and trademarking its world-renowned coffee and boosting national revenue. (World Bulletin)

World Bulletin News

20 August 2014

“The objective of the negotiations is to prevent illegal coffee trade, unfair price fixing and profiteering involving Ethiopian coffee brands in the world market,” Teshome Sileshi of Ethiopia’s Intellectual Property Office told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

He said 15 million Ethiopians directly or indirectly involved in coffee production receive less than 10 percent of the retail price from coffee sales while the rest goes to international middle men and distributors.

“So far, 34 countries have recognized and registered brands and trademarks for globally popular and on-demand varieties… grown in south and eastern Ethiopia,” he said.

“Twenty-seven of the stated countries are members of the European Union, while the rest include India, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, China and South Africa,” he added.

According to Sileshi, applications have been submitted to Australia and Brazil to brand and trademark Ethiopian coffee products, but, he said, “They haven’t responded yet.”

“The negotiation will continue drawing experiences from two consultant companies: Light Years IP and Arnold & Porter LLP,” Sileshi said.

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Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal

Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, 25, right, following his meeting Wednesday with students at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo)


By Kevin Johnson

FERGUSON, MO. — Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer leading an investigation into a police shooting.

He also arrived as an African-American who said he understands the racial tensions that have fueled days of protests that have been marred by violence and mass arrests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

“I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man,” Holder told Ferguson residents at a community meeting. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

Holder was here primarily for briefings on the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into possible civil rights violations related to the fatal shooting. He offered perhaps his most forceful and personal assessment yet of how the 18-year-old man’s shooting has reignited a long history of racial “mistrust and mutual suspicion.”

Read more »

Video: Holder on Ferguson: I understand mistrust (MSNBC)

‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting

The self-righteous pundits in the blogosphere are at it again embellishing the truth of a tragic situation in Ferguson, Missouri with misleading and irrelevant information, as Talking Points Memo reports. (AP photo)



Far Right Says Michael Brown’s Raps Show He Was ‘A Criminal And A Thug’

Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot on Aug. 9 by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, was an aspiring hip-hop artist. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday on Brown’s SoundCloud page, a collection of amateur rap songs that Brown had posted before his death.

They contained much of the imagery and language common to so-called gangster rap. Pictures of Brown flashing alleged gang signs have also circulated in the conservative blogosphere.

FrontPage magazine, the online home of David Horowitz, whose self-described mission is to battle the radical left, labeled Brown “a criminal and a thug” in its summary of his character, which featured the rap lyrics.

“The fact that Brown liked performing thug music obviously doesn’t by itself make him a thug, but it does provide insight into his state of mind,” the site said. “The same can be said for the photographs that have surfaced of Brown posing like a tough guy, making gestures with his hands that some say are gang signs.”

FrontPage magazine, and others, connected Brown’s rap lyrics with the police report released Friday that said he was the “primary suspect” in a convenience store robbery that occurred minutes before he was shot. That report’s release, which was reportedly opposed by the Justice Department, has been criticized by Brown’s family and public officials as an attempt to paint a negative public image of Brown.

Read more »

CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson, Missouri

Getty Images photographer Scott Olson, who has been documenting the Ferguson, Mo., unrest since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, was arrested Monday. Olson has since been released. (Getty Images)


Press Release

New York –The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the continued harassment and detentions of journalists covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. At least 11 journalists have been detained and released without charge since Saturday, two of them on Wednesday, according to CNN. Some journalists reported being threatened by the police and hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, while other reporters have said they were intimidated by local residents, according to news reports.

“Ferguson is an international story and journalists are going to cover it. They have a right to do so without fearing for their safety or liberty,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The harassment and detention of reporters must stop. From senior commanders on down, the word must go out to security forces to let journalists do their job.”

Read more at »

Video: Rachel Maddow – the flight ban over Ferguson prevents needed perspective (MSNBC)

What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Protesters March Again Following Missouri Teen Shooting (Video & Photos)

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 19, 2014. (MSNBC)

VOA News

August 19, 2014

Protesters gathered again on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri late Tuesday to voice anger about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

The marches appeared to be peaceful, following a night of violent protests during which police arrested 78 people, including several journalists.

Ferguson, a community populated mainly by blacks, has been hit by street protests punctuated by looting and clashes with police every night since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed on August 9.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised the people of Ferguson a “full, fair and independent” investigation into the shooting of Brown. Holder will be in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday to meet with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal civil rights officials.

A grand jury is expected to begin hearing evidence in the case on Wednesday.

In a videotaped message Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said a “vigorous prosecution” must now be pursued. He called for justice for Brown’s family.

In a message published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, Holder said the full resources of the Justice Department are committed to the investigation.

He said, however, the town must see an end to violence and that the riots and looting in reaction to the shooting undermine justice.

The mayor of a U.S. town where police and protesters have clashed for 10 days following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman says there “is not a racial divide in the city of Ferguson.”

Mayor James Knowles told U.S. TV channel MSNBC on Tuesday that the town of 22,000 people in the state of Missouri has been a “model for the region” as it changed from a majority white population to predominantly black.

The comments come after a third tumultuous night on the streets of Ferguson, which has seen ongoing protests since a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.

Seventy-eight civilians – including protesters and members of the press – were arrested Monday night and Tuesday morning in Ferguson after a day of peaceful protests. Initial reports indicated 31 arrests had been made.

St. Louis shooting

Meanwhile, police in St. Louis, Missouri have shot dead a man armed with a knife near the site of violent protests against the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager August 9.

Police say the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting allegedly stole merchandise from a food store.

He apparently challenged officers to shoot him and approached them with a knife. Police fired when he refused to drop it.

In Ferguson, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents the town in the Missouri legislature, told CNN on Tuesday that peaceful protests would continue until charges were filed against the shooter.

“The demonstrations are going to continue until there’s an arrest, until this officer is on leave without pay,” said the state senator.

Nearly all of those arrested in the last day are charged with failing to disperse when police requested a crowd of roughly 200 people leave.

Outside agitators blamed

Most are not Ferguson residents, but many are from the area. Officials repeatedly have blamed protesters from out of state for violent acts during nighttime demonstrations.

Brown’s death has sparked allegations of systemic discrimination against minorities and a nationwide debate on race in the U.S.

A poll conducted over the weekend and released Monday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center shows 80 percent of African-Americans believe Brown’s death raises important issues about race, compared to 37 percent of whites.

The survey also found that while 65 percent of black respondents believe the police went too far in responding to the shooting, that number plummets to 33 percent among the white population.

Police fired stun grenades and tear gas at crowds, as demonstrators lobbed firebombs and bottles at heavily armored police.

Officers say they came under heavy attack, but did not shoot their weapons. Two people were reported wounded by shots from within the crowd. Many people appeared to be defying orders from police to disperse.

National Guard troops that arrived earlier Monday to strengthen police forces could be seen on the fringes of the gathering.

President weighs in

Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the actions of a “small minority” of demonstrators engaging in violence on the town’s streets was heightening tensions.

He also said there was no justification for the use of excessive force by police, or any action that denies the rights of peaceful protesters.

An independent autopsy requested by Brown’s family showed he was shot at least six times, including two bullets to his head.

Attorneys for Brown’s family said the autopsy shows the unarmed black teen was “trying to surrender” when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him. Two other autopsies have been commissioned.

Wilson is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Video: Student protesters offer their perspective (MSNBC)

How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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U.N. Says Ethiopia Hosts More Refugees Than Any African Country

A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014. (AFP)

VOA News

By Lisa Schlein

August 19, 2014

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND— The U.N. refugee agency reports Ethiopia now hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, supplanting its neighbor, Kenya. The UNHCR says the main factor is the huge influx of refugees from conflict-ridden South Sudan.

UNHCR reports by the end of July, Ethiopia was sheltering almost 630,000 registered refugees, including nearly one-quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan. The agency says most of them, nearly 190,000, have fled into Ethiopia since war erupted in their country in mid-December.

Besides the South Sudanese, the UNHCR reports Ethiopia also is hosting 245,000 Somalis and nearly 100,000 Eritreans.

Kenya, in comparison, is hosting about 575,000 registered refugees, the majority of them Somalis.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards said the UNHCR, partner agencies and the Ethiopian government were providing protection and humanitarian aid at 23 refugee camps and five transit sites across Ethiopia.

He said camps were overcrowded due to the ongoing influx of refugees — about 25,000 new arrivals each month. He noted three camps opened early this year have reached their limit, so two new camps were being established.

Edwards said bad weather has complicated the situation for 18,000 refugees who are living in three temporary sites in the western region of Gambella.

“In recent weeks, heavy rain has, however, flooded three of the low-lying sites in this areas as well as Leitchuor Camp, where the situation is most serious. Some 10,000 refugees, about one-fifth of Leitchuor’s population of 47,500 have been hit by flooding. Many tents and shelters are under water and latrines have collapsed,” he said.

Edwards said the flooding was causing health concerns. He said the heavy rains were threatening to undermine gains made in preventing the outbreak of waterborne diseases.

“Much of the refugee population arriving in neighboring countries has been children throughout this crisis. They have particular vulnerabilities. We have stepped up measures to contain Hepatitis E among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. The disease has spread across South Sudan over the last two years and it has now appeared in the border camps in Ethiopia,” he said.

Edwards said since April, 12 refugees have died from Hepatitis E, a viral disease that causes liver failure and is spread by fecal contamination of water supplies or food.

The UNHCR was working with the Ethiopian government, WHO and other partners to try to contain the disease, Edwards said. Improvement to sanitation in the camps is also in the works after latrines were flooded he said, adding that this was adding to the increased risk of water-borne disease outbreaks.

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Mehereta Baruch-Ron: From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv. (Photo by


August 18th, 2014

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv municipality. Originally from Ethiopia, she embarked on a long journey to Israel via Sudan with two of her sisters when she was just 10 years old. Her parents bought her first pair of shoes for her in preparation for the trip to Israel.

She joins Rogel Alpher to share stories from her incredible transformation: From a child growing up in an African village with no electricity or running water, to a successful theatre-actress-turned-politician in Israel.

Read more and listen to the program at TLV1 »

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Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression By Birtukan Mideksa

Birtukan Mideksa is former federal judge, political leader, and prisoner of conscience in Ethiopia. She is a member of Freedom Now’s Board of Advisors. (Courtesy photo)

By Birtukan Mideksa

Last week, Washington D.C. hosted the US-Africa Leaders Summit, where over 50 African heads of state discussed important issues ranging from public health to trade and development. I was honored to participate in a parallel civil society conference that highlighted the challenges faced by civic leaders on the continent, including the all too prevalent crack-down on free expression.

During the summit, participants repeatedly noted that respect for fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is critical for sustainable economic growth. The press is a vital component of society, allowing diverse voices to be heard and balancing the power between the government and the people. The independent media also plays a particularly important role in combating corruption as it oversees how governments spend development and aid money.

In his post-summit address, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments, noting that “even though leaders don’t always like it, the media plays a crucial role in assuring people that they have the proper information to evaluate the policies that their leaders are pursuing” and that “nations that uphold these rights and principles will ultimately be more prosperous and more economically successful.” Secretary of State John Kerry—who spoke at the civil society forum—reiterated the belief that “when people can trust their government and rely on its accountability and transparency on justice, that society flourishes and is more prosperous and more stable than others.”

According to Secretary Kerry, the U.S. “will continue to support press freedom, including for journalists charged with terrorism or imprisoned on arbitrary grounds.” However, one of the United States’ most important security and development allies in Africa, my home country of Ethiopia, is also one of the continent’s worst jailers of the press.

On April 25 and 26, less than three months before President Obama highlighted the importance of a free press, three independent journalists and six bloggers were arrested and eventually charged under Ethiopia’s widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. The journalists were known to write on a wide range of topics, including corruption. The bloggers, for their part, were part of group called “Zone 9,” which had a large following on social media and were known for their campaign to promote the rights provided under Ethiopia’s constitution. They were all arrested shortly after Zone 9 posted an announcement on Facebook indicating that the group would begin blogging again after a seven month hiatus.

The six bloggers and three journalists were held without any formal charges against them for over two and a half months and were finally charged on July 18. In response, 41 NGOs sent a letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling on his government to immediately release the detainees and revise the law. The U.S. government has also condemned such an abuse of anti-terror legislation. Secretary Kerry publicly expressed his concern about the arrests during a visit to Addis Ababa just days after the they were detained. He specifically mentioned blogger Natnail Feleke, with whom he had met on a previous visit, and adamantly insisted that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation should not be used as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas.

Unfortunately, what happened to these independent journalists and bloggers is neither new nor surprising.

On September 14, 2011, Eskinder Nega, a prominent journalist and human rights defender, was arrested and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Ten months later, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. While the Ethiopian government asserts that Mr. Nega’s prosecution is unrelated to his work as a journalist, an independent inquiry found otherwise. In Opinion No. 62/2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held that Mr. Nega’s imprisonment violated Ethiopia’s obligations under international law. In addition to procedural violations, the Working Group found Mr. Nega’s detention resulted directly from his exercise of free expression. They concluded that the overly broad offenses established by the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation constituted “an unjustified restriction on expression rights and on fair trial rights.” Thus far, however, the government has ignored the Working Group’s call to release and compensate Mr. Nega. It also continues to imprison journalists Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye on similar grounds.

Other international bodies have also criticized the use of anti-terror laws against journalist, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and five United Nations special procedure mandate holders. During Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review earlier this year, a number of countries, including the United States, raised similar concerns. Most recently, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, denounced the arrests of journalists and bloggers declaring that “the fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And working with foreign human rights organisations cannot be considered a crime.”

The Ethiopian government has long relied on the same arguments to defend its actions—falsely claiming that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation copies equivalent European standards. The international community can no longer tolerate these kinds of wholly inadequate explanations, especially when respect for human rights impacts the prospects for growth and security on the continent so greatly. If we are serious about development and peace in Africa, we need to hold the Ethiopian government accountable and reinforce the proposition that there can be no robust, sustainable growth without respect for the fundamental rights for all Africans.

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How the Rest of the World Sees Ferguson

Tear gas and smoke wafts around the site of a protest of the death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Adam Taylor and Rick Noack

August 18th, 2014

In many ways, the chaotic situation in Ferguson, Mo., seems like something that shouldn’t happen in America. As WorldViews has noted, many of the hallmarks of the conflict are reminiscent of scenes from the Arab Spring and the Ukraine crisis – our former colleague Max Fisher has even wondered how American journalists would cover Ferguson, if only it weren’t happening “here.”

There are plenty of foreign journalists reporting on Ferguson, however, and for them, Ferguson is international news. Their coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent unrest can offer a refreshing viewpoint on America’s many problems. They can also reveal a lot about how such disturbances are viewed at home.

For most Americans, the most familiar foreign news outlets covering Ferguson will probably be the British ones: Not only is there a shared language, but some British outlets, most obviously the Guardian but also the BBC and the Daily Mail, have made big pushes into the U.S. news market. Notably, some publications are treating the conflict as they might a war zone — the Telegraph has sent its Afghanistan correspondent, Rob Crilly, to cover the protests, for example (he was arrested while reporting this weekend).

Read more at The Washington Post »

National Guard Enters Ferguson Streets as Protests Turn Tense (LA Times)
Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times (NYT)

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UNICEF Report: Africa’s Population Could Hit 4 Billion By 2100

Seun Dupe sits with her newborn twins in a maternity hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with more than 160 million people. It's estimated that number will be 1 billion by 2100.



“The future of humanity is increasingly African.”

That’s the prediction in a new UNICEF report, which estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world’s people will be African — up from 15 percent now. The continent’s population currently sits at roughly 1.2 billion but will soar to more than 4 billion by 2100. Nearly 1 billion will live in Nigeria alone.

In a report released Wednesday, UNICEF projected the growth of Africa’s child population within the next century. And the numbers are staggering.

An estimated 1.8 billion births will take place in Africa in the next 35 years, the authors predict. By 2050, Africa will have almost 1 billion children under 18, making up nearly 40 percent of kids worldwide.

Lead author David Anthony tells NPR’s Melissa Block on All Things Considered that even the researchers were surprised by the findings. “[We] knew that the world’s population was swinging toward Africa,” he says. “But there have been new estimates released by the U.N. population division … that shows an even stronger swing than we have anticipated.”

Fertility rates have fallen in Africa but remain high compared with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the number of women of reproductive age has grown enormously and is set to more than double in the next 35 years.

Read more at NPR »

Listen to the story on NPR’s All Things Considered

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UPDATE: All Four Ethiopian Athletes Planned to Seek Asylum, Police Report Says

(Photo: Clockwise from top left: The four athletes are Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17; Meaza Kebede, 18; Zeyituna Mohammed, 18. Dureti Edao, 18; (Oregon Live)

The Register-Guard

By Josephine Woolington

AUG. 17, 2014

One of four Ethiopian athletes who went missing after an international track meet last month in Eugene told a University of Oregon police officer that all the athletes plan to seek asylum in the United States, according to a newly released UO police report.

Amanuel Abebe, 17, told the officer that he and the three other athletes — Dureti Edao, Meaza Kebede, Zeyituna Mohammed, all 18 — planned to start the asylum application process at a U.S. immigration service office in Portland on July 28, three days after the runners were reported missing, according to the police report, which was supplemental to the main police report. It was released to The Register-Guard on Friday after University of Oregon police reviewed the information.

When the UO officer told Amanuel that their case was getting lots of media coverage, the runner said that the athletes would go to the immigration office first thing the next morning. However, when the police officer checked in with several federal agencies on July 28 to see if the athletes had inquired about the asylum process, none said they did.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Citizen and Immigrations Services said the agency does not release the names of individuals applying for any immigration services, including asylum, due to federal privacy law.

The four athletes went missing after last month’s World Junior Champion­ships at Hayward Field — the first time the meet was held in the United States. All four athletes were found safe with acquaintances in Beaverton and Washington.

Read More »

Police Confirm Athletes Defected
Two of the Runners Signed Contracts With Nike and Adidas Hours Before Disappearing
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Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Voting Open for Miss World Ethiopia 2014

Genet Tsegay - Miss World Ethiopia 2013. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The final selection for Miss World Ethiopia 2014 will be made next week by a combination of voting both by a panel of international judges and online public voting. The winner will be revealed on the organizer’s Facebook page. The victor from Ethiopia will compete at this year’s Miss World competition in London on December 14th.

The 64th edition of the international pageant features over 130 contestants from around the globe. Miss Philippines will pass on the crown to the new Miss World.

The Miss World Ethiopia 2014 judges include Yordanos Teshager (International Top Model), Jason Gardener (CEO JG Models), Whitney Carter (Model and Beauty Queen), Matewos Yilma (Former Mister Ethiopia and Top Model), Genet Tsegay (Miss World Ethiopia 2013), Robert Anderson (VP Konjo International), Dr. Jennifer Hobson (International Fashion & Fine Arts Event Producer), and Meron Wudneh (Miss Africa USA 2014). Organizers note the the public vote will be equivalent to one vote by the judges.

You can learn more at

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In Pictures: Grammy-nominated Ethiopian Singer Wayna at Ginny’s in Harlem

Wayna live at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York on Thursday, August 14th, 2014. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Singer and songwriter Wayna told her audience that she had her second baby only four months ago, and is blessed to have the support of her family so she can continue to do what she loves most – sing. Her energetic show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on August 14th highlighted new songs from her latest album, The Expats, and previous hits. Wayna also made a tribute to her mother, Tidenekialesh Emagnu.

The Ethiopian-born artist was nominated for a Grammy award for her song Loving You on her first album Moments of Clarity.

Below are a few photos from Wayna’s Concert at Ginny’s Supper Club:

Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda

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Ethiopia Braces for Ebola Treatment

A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

The Reporter

By Berhanu Fekade

Addis Ababa - A new Ebola treatment hospital with ten beds, and with the possible expansion to 50 beds, has already been set and equipped with medical staffs, Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health told reporters on Thursday.

The facility is designed to treat Ebola – for which there are no observed cases in Ethiopia to date – in isolation.

He noted that for contingency purposes, some 20 doctors and nurses are on standby and some are stationed at the airports to examine suspicious cases of Ebola. However, the minister said that Ebola is not at a state of emergency for Ethiopia currently and banning flights to and from West Africa is unnecessary. The minister also denied reports of two suspicious Ebola cases (one Chinese and the other Nigerian) as they were verified to be malaria patients.

So far, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has killed more than 1,000 in West Africa and the spiraling spread of the virus alerted the African Union Commission (AUC) into approving the use of what is dubbed “investigational medical interventions” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in affected countries.

During a press conference held on Wednesday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, representatives of the AU and WHO told reporters that drugs and experimental vaccines so far have not yet been fully evaluated for safety and efficacy on human beings. However, the large number of people affected by the outbreak in West Africa and the high case fatality rate, promoted to use investigational medical interventions to save lives and curb the epidemic, they said. It was confirmed that ZMAPP – the experimental drug still being tested by institutes in the US – is heading to those affected in West Africa.

Read more at »

No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

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Finally, A Continent Gets Recognized: US-Africa Summit Begins History Anew

DeWayne Wickham, dean of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication, writes for USA TODAY. (President Obama at US-Africa White House dinner on August 6th/Getty Images)


By DeWayne Wickham

The dinner President Obama hosted last week for leaders of more than 50 African nations should be seen by journalists, and the historians who follow in their wake, as a significant moment.

Not because of its mammoth size: A quarter of the member states of the United Nations were represented. Nor for its grand setting: This wasn’t the first time a large presidential dinner was moved to a sprawling tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

This gathering was both a symbolic and substantive final curtain to the 1884 Berlin Conference that sanctioned the partitioning of Africa by European powers. As author Adam Hochschild points out in his book King Leopold’s Ghost, which chronicles the brutal intrigue that led up to that conference: “Not a single African was at the table in Berlin.”

Africa was then seen as a plentiful source of natural resources and a marketplace for European goods. “The Berlin Conference was the ultimate expression of an age whose newfound enthusiasm for democracy has clear limits,” Hochschild writes.

While Europe’s colonial occupation of Africa has long been broken, the continent became a geopolitical football during the Cold War, a status that continues today as an East-West struggle for economic hegemony over Africa rages. China has pumped billions of dollars into the continent. But according to a recent report in The New York Times, the former governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Lamido Sanusi, said, “China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism.”

As American and European companies struggle to keep pace with China’s economic advances in Africa, activists in the United States and Africa complain that some U.S. businesses are blocking the publication of federal regulations that will make the money they pay to do business in Africa more transparent. Bribes and under-the-table payments made by Western nations are believed to divert hundreds of millions of dollars out of the treasuries of African governments.

“Widespread corruption is an affront to the dignity” of African nations and “siphons off resources that should be used to lift people out of poverty,” Vice President Biden said last week in an address to the African leaders.

Speaking at the business forum portion of the summit, Obama, too, signaled the need for a new economic relationship with Africa.

“We don’t look to Africa simply for its natural resources; we recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential,” the president said. “We don’t simply want to extract minerals from the ground for our growth; we want to build genuine partnerships that create jobs and opportunity for all our peoples and that unleash the next era of African growth. That’s the kind of partnership America offers.”

That’s the truly history-making part of this summit, which — unlike the Berlin Conference — made African leaders major participants in a discussion of their continent’s future. And it happened on the watch of America’s first black president.

“I stand before you as the president of the United States and a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa,” Obama said to African leaders at the White House dinner last Tuesday. “The tides of history … bring us together this week.”

And in giving Africans leaders a collective seat at the table with the world’s greatest superpower to discuss the continent’s fate, Obama’s move demands that those who chronicle the history of these times give special notice to his treatment of the African people and their leaders.

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Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch, Ethiopia

(Poster courtesy organizers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 15, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The city of Arba Minch, one of Ethiopia’s secret destinations for nature enthusiasts from around the world, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding with a two-day festival scheduled on September 4-5, 2014. According to organizers the entertainment line-up at the “Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch” includes musicians Neway Debebe, Aregahegn Werash, Fikreadis Nekeatibeb, as well as comedians, dancers and various other performing artists.

The program will highlight speeches by local and high federal officials as well as invited guests both from Ethiopia and abroad including family members and relatives of the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe, who was then known by the title Dejazmach and was the governor of the region.

“Arba Minch is one of the most beautiful and densely forested areas in Ethiopia where fruits grow naturally,” says Denver-based Ethiopian-American businessman and documentary filmmaker Mel Tewahade who is one of the guest speakers from the United States who will be in attendance. Mel points out that Lake Chamo, home to diverse wildlife such as the Nile perch, hippos, and crocodiles, is only a five minute drive south of the city. “Ethiopians call it Azo gebeya, says Mel. “Because it really looks like an outdoor market except those gathered are crocodiles.”

According to Wiki: “Arba Minch {‘አርባ ምንጭ’} (Amharic, “forty springs”) is a city and separate woreda in southern Ethiopia; the first common name for this city called Ganta Garo. Located in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region about 500 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, at an elevation of 1285 meters above sea level. It is the largest town in Gamo Gofa Zone and the second town in SNNPR next to Awassa. It is surrounded by Arba Minch Zuria woreda.”

Mel notes that the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe had initially faced stiff opposition from “the local business elite” who argued the relocation of the capital of what used to be called “the province of Gemu Gofa” from Chincha to Arba Minch was a deterrent to trade. “They even sued him and took their suit to the Emperor,” says Mel. “To be fair to those who were against the move, I think they were also scared of the mosquitoes.” Mel adds: “Mosquitoes love lowlands and these people lived up in the mountains. Nestled between two major lakes, Chamo and Abiyata. Arba Minch is a key location for water, rail, air and ground transportation.”

Arba Minch – also home to Arba Minch University – was founded in 1964 (1956 Ethiopian calendar) and as to the founder Amero Sellasie, he was unfortunately executed by the Derg regime a decade later. “He was one of the first sixty to go,” Mel says. “He was the only guy that Mengistu is said to have regretted killing.” Mel emphasizes that Amero Sellasie is survived by “several amazing children” including Abebe Aemro Selassie, Deputy Director at IMF’s African Department.

Below are images of Arba Minch today courtesy Mel Tewahade:

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Take a Hike Across Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains: Once you've been up on the Roof of Africa in the Ethiopian Highlands, you won't want to come down. (Alamy)

The Wall Street Journal


Updated Aug. 14, 2014

HAULING MYSELF UP a stony path, the air thins with every breath. Ribbons of mist weave past me and a vulture circles overhead. Just when I think my legs can’t take it anymore, I reach the top.

My guide, Mulat Gezahegn, warns me not to step any closer to the edge. Totally ignoring him, I bound forth out of blind curiosity. It is the most terrifying sensation I have experienced—and one of the most rewarding. I look over the edge of a precipice. All around me similar hills rise like turrets in the valley below, with sheer drops for sides, and it is hard to take in the scale. With these majestic cathedrals of rock—and not another soul as far as the eye can see—it’s obvious why they call this the Roof of Africa.

I spent my first few days in Ethiopia exploring the capital, Addis Ababa, then caught a flight to Gondar in the north, where I met Mulat and our driver, Melsie Nuru, and started preparing for our four-day, 50-kilometer trek across the Simien Mountains.

Read more at »

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CEO Magazine: Zemedeneh Negatu Among Africa’s ‘Titans Building Nations’

Zemedeneh Negatu receiving the 2014 'Titans Building Nations' award in Nairobi, Kenya on August 9th. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia (EY), Zemedeneh Negatu, has been recognized by CEO Communications as one of Africa’s contemporary “Titans Building Nations.”

The continental-wide accolade “aims to celebrate the achievements of men who are advancing African economies and communities,” the publication announced. “Since the founding of the company in 2000, [CEO Communications] has promoted initiatives to recognize women. Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government program, is one such initiative and has been a flagship program for many years in South Africa. It is long overdue that we extend this celebration and recognition of influential men across the borders of Africa.”

The awards were given out on Saturday evening (August 9th) during a gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. “The inaugural Titans event in Nairobi was a major success,” organizers of the ‘Titans 2014 East African Regional Event’ said via Facebook. “We enjoyed meeting such influential men.”

Ernst & Young Ethiopia is one of the leading business consulting firms in Africa. “We are pleased that CEO magazine recognized “influential Africans” as Titans – Building Nations and our Managing Partner Zemedeneh Negatu was a winner in the Financial Services sector,” EY Ethiopia said in a statement.

Zemedene, who permanently relocated from the U.S. to Ethiopia fifteen years ago, is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC — where he studied business and finance before becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Later he landed a job with the global professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for whom he worked in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990′s. In an interview with Tadias Magazine earlier this year Zemedeneh noted that it is in Latin America where he gained his appreciation for emerging markets: “I have gained a great deal of experience by working in South America where the business and investment environment in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990s was similar to what’s taking place today in Africa, where some of the fastest growing economies are located.”

Per CEO Magazine: “Titans Building Nations aims to recognize the significant role men play in the sustainable development and growth of our continent.” The annual award highlights businessmen, civil society activists, and government leaders across the African continent.

Tadias Interview With Zemedeneh Negatu

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NPR: A Not-So-Grand Tour Of Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa (Audio)

Family members sit in the waiting room for the neonatal unit at Black Lion hospital in Addis Ababa. (NPR)



August 14, 2014

Listen to the Story on NPR’s Morning Edition

When you sign up for a reporting fellowship to learn about the health of newborns in Ethiopia, you expect things to be a little different from what you’re used to in the U.S. To be perfectly honest, a little worse. But Ethiopia actually surprised me, even before I took off.

I did my research, and it turns out that Ethiopia’s health care system is getting better — significantly better. It’s meeting international goals, winning awards from the United States and, more important, babies are living longer and fewer mothers are dying in childbirth.

This is great news. Maybe Ethiopia would be better than I expected. I got some shots in the arm, popped a few anti-malaria pills and hoped for the best.

It was worse. Now, to be fair, all those things I said before are true. More babies are living through childbirth. Infant mortality has decreased by 39 percent in the past 15 years. But one in every 17 Ethiopian children still dies before turning 1, and one in every 11 children dies before age 5. There’s a ways to go.

Once I arrived, it took me awhile to figure out what was actually happening with Ethiopia’s health care. I was more involved in recovering from the jet lag that woke me up at 1 a.m. every day and avoiding mosquitoes like the plague. I was honestly a little mosquito obsessive. I covered myself and each of my belongings with every repellent known to man: cream, spray, patches, bracelets, small mechanized devices. I needed all the help I could get — the little critters are hopelessly attracted to me.

Read more at NPR »

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I AM ETHIOPIA: Photographer Mintwab Zemeadim (Video)

“I AM ETHIOPIA” is a three part series that focuses on Ethiopian Americans in Seattle who are subverting misconceptions of Ethiopia and its people, and forming their own colorful and groundbreaking identities.

Seattle Globalist

By Aida Solomon

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, Mintwab Zemeadim was exposed to two vastly different portrayals of Ethiopia during her upbringing — the way the country was depicted in western media, and the way she heard it described by her family.

She recently returned to Ethiopia for the first time in 15 years, and was inspired to combat the stereotypes of famine and poverty by photographing the beautiful country and people she saw with her own eyes.

Through the creative layering of these photographs of modern Ethiopian people against traditional patterns and East African art, Zemeadim emphasizes the beauty of Ethiopia and the deep history, familial traditions and colorful individuals that she believes get lost in translation via western media.

Zemeadim shares her work through an online gallery at

Read more »

Video: The Cross-Cultural Vision of Photographer Mintwab Zemeadim

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No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish Press

By Abebech Tamene

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has denied reports of the spread of Ebola in the country, saying steps were being taken to raise awareness about the deadly virus.

“So far no Ebola case was reported in Ethiopia,” Abel Yeshaneh, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Yeshaneh said the Ethiopian authorities had adopted measures aimed at enhancing their ability to detect Ebola infections, adding that health workers were being trained to combat a possible outbreak.

“So far 300 health workers drawn from different health institutions in Addis Ababa have already received training and they will in turn give training to others,” Yeshaneh said.

According to the spokesperson, the training focuses on the causes and symptoms of Ebola, along with methods of prevention.

“Health professionals working in different health facilities in regional states will arrive here next week to undergo similar training,” he said.

He added that a special committee had already set guidelines aimed at preventing a possible outbreak of the virus.

Ebola, a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure, has claimed more than 1000 lives across West African states including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

Read more at Turkish Press »

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Ethiopia’s “Terrorist” Journalists and Bloggers – Huffington Post

(Image: Zone9 Tumblr)

The Huffington Post

By Adam Bemma


NAIROBI, Kenya – A cursory glance at the headlines shows that Ethiopia has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. But the noise generated by the hyperbolic international media is drowning out the critical voices.

Political opposition is being strangled by the authorities as activists and journalists are arrested and thrown into jail at a dizzying pace.

On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. Setting a dangerous precedent for other governments in the region and beyond, authorities are now targeting youth online.

The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media. The six bloggers are members of the online collective known as Zone 9. The moniker was chosen to represent the inalienable right to freedom of expression: journalists are often held in the section of Addis Ababa’s Kality prison known as Zone 8.

“The government claims [those detained] are conspiring with foreign non-governmental organizations, human rights groups,” said journalist Araya Getachew. “It also claims that they are also working for banned terrorist organizations trying to overthrow the state. This is totally false.”

State crackdown online

Araya Getachew, 29, along with Mastewal Birhanu, 27, and Fasil Girma, 29, all sought refuge in Kenya following a state crackdown on media in Ethiopia. Some veteran journalists were not so fortunate: Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu have all been recently sentenced under a new media law.

Human Rights Watch is monitoring the situation. HRW stated: “Since Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law was adopted in 2009, the independent media have been decimated by politically motivated prosecutions under the law. The government has systematically thwarted attempts by journalists to establish new publications.”

Critical blogs and websites are regularly blocked, says HRW. In 2012, even publishers which printed publications that criticized authorities ended up being shut down.

Read more at the Huffington Post »

The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
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Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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In conversation: Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Eleni Gabre-Madhin. (African Business Magazine)

African Business Magazine

By James Jeffrey

With her new company, Eleni Gabre-Madhin aims to take the commodity exchange momentum that started with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, to the rest of Africa.

The offices of commodity exchange company, eleni, occupy the top two floors of Tracon Tower, where one can gaze north and south along the teeming wide thoroughfare that is Churchill Avenue in the heart of Addis Ababa. Construction cranes can be seen silhouetted against the Ethiopian capital’s skyline, hovering over a landscape and an economy very much in transition.

Eleni, which specialises in building and supporting the operations of exchanges for frontier markets in Africa, also has possession of the tower’s roof space, where the plan is to open a gym and maybe even a cafeteria.

Currently there are only about 10 employees within this wide-open sprawling office space, and employees admit the premises moved into a month ago are a little cavernous presently. But that’s all part of the plan.

“I learnt from my experience with ECX, where we ended up bursting at the seams,” says Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive of eleni, launched in February 2013, and former chief executive of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). “So when we moved in here I went for a little extra room. Which we are going to need – we’re ramping up.”

Gabre-Madhin is credited as being one of the key founders behind the success of ECX, which, since its launch against the odds in 2008, has grown to handling spot trades amounting to more than $1.2bn annually in coffee, wheat, maize, haricot beans and sesame.

Read more at African Business Magazine.

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Seattle’s Drowning Victims ID’d as College Students Abenezer Getachew & Euel Desta

Abenezer Getachew and Euel Desta. (Photos: Komo 4 News Seattle)

Komo 4 News

By Lindsay Cohen

SEATTLE — Authorities have identified the two men who drowned in Seattle’s Green Lake as 23-year old Abenezer Getachew of Snohomish County and 21-year old Euel Desta of Shoreline. Both men were students at Shoreline Community College, according to a spokesman there.

Desta was studying engineering and loved sports, friends said Monday. He moved from Ethiopia to the United States as a child to live with his grandmother, who “wanted to give him a better life.”

“It was just devastating. It was just heartbreaking to hear her (react to the news),” said Amina Shah, who has known Desta for about eight years. “”Even though I couldn’t understand her, I knew that there was pain her voice. It just broke my heart.”

Desta and Getachew were playing soccer with friends at Green Lake Thursday night when they decided to go for a swim, police said. The men were last seen chasing after a ball on the east side of the lake before struggling to stay afloat and disappearing under the surface.

Read more »

Video: Seattle Green Lake drowning victims ID’d as local college students

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Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele wins his 11th - and last - senior world cross-country title in 2008. (Getty Images)

Chicago Tribune

By Philip Hersh

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the greatest track distance runner of the 21st Century, will compete compete in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, race officials announced Tuesday.

It will be Bekele’s second marathon. He won April’s Paris Marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds, fastest debut for a runner older than 30. Bekele, 32, was bothered by hamstring cramps near the finish.

“After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better, and I will bring that experience to Chicago,” Bekele said in a statement. “I know Chicago has a very fast course and, therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that, everything is possible.”

The Chicago Marathon never has had a runner with a track record as distinguished as Bekele’s.

He holds the world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He won both those events at the 2008 Olympics after having won gold in the 10,000 and silver in the 5,000 at the 2004 Olympics. He won four straight world titles at 10,000 meters from 2003 through 2009, adding the 5,000 title in 2009. He also won both the long and short world cross-country titles five straight times from 2002 through 2006.

Read more at Chicago Tribune »

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Interview with Dr. Gezahegne Bekele: AGOA Renewal in 2015

Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the U.S. Accountability Office. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In 2015, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) — which was signed into law in 2000 and is a trade program allowing eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to export goods to the United States duty free — will be up for review and renewal. Tadias recently interviewed Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the United States Government Accountability Office who has worked extensively on AGOA.

Dr. Gezahegne joined the US Government Accountability Office in 1989 after having taught for over two decades at several institutions including the University of Miami, University of Oklahoma and Florida International University. He has authored papers focusing on food security, and today he is an international trade specialist who has worked on issues including the cost of remittances. Dr. Gezahegne has provided economic research reports to US Congress and Senate. In addition to his expertise on AGOA, his economic development work has enabled him to travel to numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and the former Soviet Union.

“To promote free markets, stimulate economic growth, and to facilitate Sub-Saharan integration into the world economy, US Congress signed AGOA into law on May 18th, 2000,” says Dr. Gezahegne. AGOA allows approximately 5,200 types of goods to be duty-free. Although crude petroleum is the largest import from AGOA countries, other items include automobile parts, steel, and cut-flowers.

In 2004 US Congress further amended AGOA to allow certain eligible countries to use fabric for garment production sourced from foreign nations. Through this amendment, Dr. Gezahegne notes that “If Ethiopia produces textiles made out of its own cotton and yarn, or imported from other foreign countries, it can still export the final product duty-free to the United States.” In the case of Ethiopia approximately 83% of items it exports to the United States are duty-free. Since Ethiopia was declared eligible on October 2nd, 2000 as one of the original member nations, Dr. Gezahegne shares that “AGOA has increased Ethiopia’s export to the United States by about 25%.”

Sub-Saharan countries are reviewed every year for AGOA eligibility. “Countries cannot have non-democratic practices such as coups,” says Dr. Gezahegne. Other requirements stated in the eligibility requirements include “a system to combat corruption and bribery as well as a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimizes government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets.”

Yet, in spite of being so beneficial AGOA’s uptake rate is not as great as it should be. In an initial request by US Congress to examine AGOA’s contribution to trade expansion between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan African countries, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) used US Census data on imports from 40 African countries and reported that AGOA countries’ imports remain small with 2% market share.

“Preference is a discriminatory process,” says Dr. Gezahegne. “If you extend it to others the value becomes less and this is known as preference erosion.” He adds: “There is also the issue of program uncertainty. The one thing you would want for a trade development process is stability.” Taking this into account after 2015, the President is trying to lengthen the period between renewals so that AGOA will be in place for another 15 years.

A press release from The White House on August 4, 2014 — during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit — acknowledges that AGOA needs to be revised and expanded. The press release notes that the Administration’s “recent review of AGOA has revealed that, while the tariff preferences provided under AGOA are important, they alone are not sufficient to promote transformational growth in trade and investment.” Subsequently, President Obama’s administration has launched two major initiatives — Trade Africa and Power Africa.

Dr. Gezahegne describes Trade Africa initiative as “one that allows East African nations to trade more with each other,” while Power Africa “is an initiative that GE lobbied extensively in an attempt to provide more electricity to African nations, increase livelihoods and at the same time sell American know-how.” Dr. Gezahegne also adds: “Ethiopia views itself as a growing hydro-electric power producer. Americans view Ethiopia as a potential exporter of thermal power as well.” In addition to textiles and garments, Dr. Gezahegne likewise sees a potential for Ethiopia to be a possible producer of organic cotton provided that the organic certification processes are in place.

The White House August 4th press release also notes the establishment of a Steering Group on Africa Trade and Investment Capacity Building. Members from seventeen departments including the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are tasked with presenting the President with “clearly defined goals and benchmarks for increasing trade and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and appropriate and transparent criteria for identifying priority countries, regions, and sectors that have the greatest potential to contribute toward meeting these goals and benchmarks.” The steering committee is also tasked with recommending “an outline of how to utilize programs across agencies to achieve these goals.”

Dr. Gezahegne is a strong supporter of trade versus aid. “Trade has been a known engine of economic development and poverty reduction in the world,” he states. “AGOA countries trade even more and are in better shape, and it’s not because of aid. Countries that are open have growth rates that are three to six times higher than those with closed economies. I don’t know any country in the world that has achieved transition status from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’ due to economic assistance.”

You can learn more about the African Growth and Opportunity Act at

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Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of the historic music label "Motown Records." (Photo: Radio facts)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia Habtemariam, who was promoted to President of Motown Records this past Spring following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Heroes and Legends (HAL) Foundation, at the 25th Annual HAL Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Other honorees include the legendary music group New Edition, the Mary Jane Girls, Warner Music Group’s Ryan Press, and Eddie Floyd.

Organizers note: “This year’s event will also feature a new finale: The Year of the Hits, Motown Reigns Supreme –saluting the hits of 1964. Motown was churning out hit after hit and dominated the charts with songs like, My Girl (The Temptations), Come See About Me and Baby Love (The Supremes), How Sweet It Is (Marvin Gaye) and Every Little Bit Hurts (Brenda Holloway) and many more. The tribute will feature performances by Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards and Brenda Holloway.”

“The 2014 HAL Awards’ star-studded event honors a select group of individuals who have brought honor and dignity to the arts. An additional highlight will be the awarding of scholarships to deserving students of the arts from the Southern California area. The HAL Awards are the brainchild of famed songwriter and Motown Alumna, Janie Bradford. Bradford has written such classic hits as Marvin Gaye’s Too Busy Thinkin’ About My Baby, Barrett Strong’s Money. That’s What I Want and countless others.”

“Our goal is to help talented young people in the community realize their lofty–but-attainable dreams of shaping careers for themselves in one of the many performing arts,” explains Bradford. “We do this by providing much needed scholarship funds. Each year our scholarship honorees are selected from a diverse group of candidates who have earned a consistent grade point average of 2.0 or better and who exhibit an extraordinary amount of talent, drive and determination.”

Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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DIY Beauty Secrets from Ethiopia

(Photo: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu)

Yahoo News

By Sara Bliss

Aug 12, 2014

A native of Ethiopia, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the founder of soleRebels, a line of colorful footwear that pairs Ethiopian craftsmanship with western design. The handmade, fair-trade shoes are made entirely in her native country and sold in 55 others. Alemu, who was recently named a Forbes Woman to Watch, takes pride in spreading her Ethiopian culture and style across the globe. The globetrotting entrepreneur says that one of the greatest lessons she learned growing up in her small village was actually a pretty global ideal: beauty comes from within, and is in large part determined by how you treat others. “Truly beautiful people have incredibly beautiful spirits that allow them to radiate a special kind of physical beauty,” Amelu says. “It is in our actions. Doing beautiful things to uplift and empower other people is the ultimate expression of beauty.”

Unlike the United States, Amelu’s native country doesn’t celebrate stress, and that laid back attitude encourages a positive outlook that she says contributes greatly to overall wellness and health. She also comes from a rich tradition of do-it-yourself beauty. “We have so many local beauty secrets,” she says. “Ethiopians are well known for having gorgeous hair.” Their amazing locks are thanks to a specialized hair butter called KIBE that women make themselves. “Almost every family has their own special recipe that they have passed on from generation to generation,” she says. “It is truly a skilled craft.”

Read more »

President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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Ninth Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and Awards Dinner Held in DC (Video)

The 9th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum held in Washington, D.C. on August 2nd, 2014. (Photos by Matt Andrea)

The Ethiopian American

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The 9th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and the 4th Pioneer Diaspora Business Person Award Dinner were successfully held in Washington, D.C. on August 2 and 3, respectively.

The annual event held under the theme “Investing in Ethiopia’s Emerging Technology Sector”, recognized three Diaspora entrepreneurs and inventors for their pioneering work in Diaspora investment in Ethiopia.

With various speakers drawn from the Ethiopian Diaspora community and beyond engaged in the technology business both in Ethiopia and in the U.S., this year’s Forum was marked by extensive discussions on the opportunities, challenges and potential partnership possibilities in the technology sector in Ethiopia.

Organized by The Ethiopian American – a U.S-based Ethiopian Diaspora business and investment group – the Forum and the Awards Dinner held at the George Washington University and Grand Hyatt Washington (Hotel), respectively, attracted record hundreds of Ethiopian Diasporas from Ethiopia and America as well as non-Ethiopians interested in business and investment in Ethiopia.

A unique feature this year’s event was a Private Equity Pitch Session for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) that are looking for early stage and expansion capital. The Ethiopian American has recruited Private Equity firms that are interested in investing in SMEs in Africa and potentially in the U.S. The session was held privately at The George Washington University Business School on the morning of August 2 where several Ethiopian Diaspora-owned businesses presented debt and equity investment opportunities for U.S. private equity firms whose representatives raised various questions after listening to the presentations.

“This year’s Forum raised the bar for excellence in terms of the quality of programs, speakers and the record turnout,” said Yohannes Assefa, Executive Director of the Forum. “We are really encouraged by the success of our first Private Equity Pitch Session and we hope to scale up this important financing avenue for our members with bigger and better Private Equity firms next year and beyond”.

Another element of the Forum which has been growing more popular every year since its introduction in 2011, the Pioneer Ethiopian Diaspora Business Person Award, was this time given to two diaspora entrepreneurs who have introduced innovations in business that have significantly and positively affected business practices with long-term results in Ethiopia.

Munir Duri, Founder and CEO of Kifiya Financial Technology PLC, and Daniel Gizaw, CEO of dVentus Technology PLC, have jointly won the 2014 Pioneer Diaspora Business Person of the Year Award.

Kifiya ( is an innovative financial solution that has made financial and non-financial services in Ethiopia simple, affordable and within reach while dVentus Technology ( is a unique venture in Ethiopia focusing on state of the art technology ranging from system integration to energy efficiency solutions for renewable energy and advanced transportation.

The juries selected Munir and Daniel among several nominees through series of screening stages and procedures that took several weeks ahead of the event.

Another unique feature at the 2014 Forum was the Diaspora Business Champion Award, which was given to Addis Alemayehou, Founder and Managing Partner of 251 Communications, for his outstanding contributions in strengthening diaspora businesses through various supports.

“The successful conclusion of this year’s edition of the Forum and the Award Award is yet another milestone in the growth of the Forum,” said Yohannes Assefa, Managing Director of the Virginia-based The Ethiopian American LLC. “As we successfully conclude the 9th edition, we are embarking on major preparations for the 10th Anniversary of the Forum coming in 2015, which will see a new level of engagement by the Ethiopian Diaspora.”

Jointly sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Airlines, The George Washington University Business School, Fairfax Africa Fund, AltourTech, Kabu Coffee, Info Mind Solutions, among others, the Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and its annual magazine – The Ethiopian American – have for the past nine years served the diaspora as reliable platforms to discuss opportunities and challenges of doing business in Ethiopia.

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