Author Archive for Tadias

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago to Mark 30th Anniversary

(Photographs courtesy The Ethiopian community Association of Chicago --ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Monday, April 14th, 2014

Chicago (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) will mark its 30th anniversary with a celebratory event scheduled on May 3rd, 2014.

The festivities will feature guest speakers, performances from the ECAC children’s dance troupe, an Ethiopian dinner, and live entertainment by local artist Esrael Yosseph. In addition, organizers have announced that the evening will include a recognition ceremony of individuals who have made “significant contributions” to the Chicago-area Ethiopian community over the past three decades. The special guest speaker is Jerome McDonnell, a native of Chicago and host of Worldview — a world affairs radio show on WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago that “provides in-depth conversations on international issues and their local impact.”

Since it was established in 1984 ECAC has served not only as “the cultural anchor of Chicago-area Ethiopian community,” but also as an “open door for refugee populations” from other African countries, including Asia, Middle East, and Eastern European nations seeking its services in areas of advocacy, education, employment, healthcare, and community outreach.

“This is a momentous occasion,” said the non-profit’s Executive Director, Dr. Erku Yimer, in a press release. “By building on what we have learned over the last thirty years, we continue to aim for a financially secure organization where we can expand our services and initiate new programs that will empower the community by addressing basic and emerging developmental needs.” The celebratory event will serve as a fundraiser for future projects.

If You Go:
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church
5649 N. Sheridan | Chicago, IL 60660
6:30pm – Midnight
Tickets: $100

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Fighting Displaces 7,000 in North CAR

(Getty Images)

VOA News

By Anne Look

DAKAR — In the north central Central African Republic, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says several thousand civilians have fled into the bush following fighting between anti-balaka militia and African Union peacekeepers.

Doctors Without Borders says 7,000 civilians fled the northern town of Boguila after fighting broke out there late Friday and continued into Saturday.

The aid agency, known by its French acronym MSF, says AU peacekeepers were escorting a convoy of 540 Muslims from Bossangoa to Chad. The convoy had just passed through Boguila when MSF says it appears it was attacked by anti-balaka militia.

The militia have been targeting Muslim civilians since inter-communal violence broke out in December and the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition pulled back to the north.

MSF says it treated at least three wounded at its hospitals in Boguila and nearby Paoua, but fears there may be more. Medical staff could not access the combat zone.

MSF spokesman in the C.A.R., Mathieu Fortoul, says they are worried civilians in the convoy were also hit. He says the convoy was headed to the refugee camp in Gore, Chad so they are working with their teams there to evaluate the situation.

MSF says Boguila is a “particularly unstable” part of the country and bouts of fighting between armed groups there regularly force civilians into the bush.

Fortoul says this raises a number of risks, in particular poor sanitation conditions. He says the rainy season is underway, when malaria cases typically spike. He says displaced people are very exposed to the disease, which is the number one cause of death in the country.

The 540 Muslims fleeing Bossangoa were the last Muslims in that town. They were being evacuated after months of living under constant threat from the anti-balaka.

The Chadian MISCA troops escorting them were also on their way out of the country.

During the past week, Chad has pulled its peacekeepers from northern towns like Bouca and Kaga Bandoro. Earlier this month Chad said it would be withdrawing from the AU peacekeeping force, after what it said was excessive criticism.

MISCA troops from Gabon and Congo have begun taking their place in some of those towns.

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The Africa Report: Ethiopia Slams Anti-dam Group’s Egypt ‘Proxy Campaign’

(Photo: Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia wallpapers)

The Africa Report

By Beyene Geda

Ethiopia has slammed a statement by a United States based group, International Rivers Network (IRN) that is campaigning against the construction of the country’s biggest dam project in history saying it is fighting a proxy war for Egypt.

In a statement released on March 31 the group called for the construction of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to stop immediately citing a number of reasons.

The report cited “a leaked report” of the International Panel of Experts or IPoE, which reviewed the impact of the 6000 MW hydroelectric dam.


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UK Slams Ethiopia’s Human Rights Record

Eskinder Nega, in prison since 2011, is among those jailed on terrorism charges. (Image: Amnesty Intl.)

The Reporter

By Neamin Ashenafi

Addis Ababa — The 2013 Human Rights report of the government of (UK) severely criticized the government of Ethiopia for its application of its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which hampers the activity of the opposition camp of the country.

The report says that the UK is concerned about continuing restrictions on opposition and dissent in Ethiopia through use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) and the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) .

Those detained under the ATP include members of opposition groups, journalists, peaceful protesters, and others seeking to express their rights to freedom of assembly and expression while the CSP has had a serious impact on Ethiopian civil society’s ability to operate effectively, according to the report.

Read more.

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Getu Feleke Wins Vienna Marathon in a Course-Record Time

Getu Feleke of Ethiopia won the Vienna City Marathon in a course-record time on Sunday. (AP photos)

Associated Press


VIENNA (AP) — Getu Feleke of Ethiopia overcame stomach problems in the closing kilometers of the Vienna City Marathon to win the event in a course-record time on Sunday.

Feleke accelerated and left behind a leading group after 30 kilometers. He finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 41 seconds and beat the best mark, set by Henry Sugut of Kenya two years ago, by 1:17.

“In the last two kilometers I had problems with my stomach. I could have been faster,” said Feleke, who earned his second career marathon victory after winning in Amsterdam in 2010. Feleke became the first non-Kenyan winner of the Vienna event since 2007.

Alfred Kering finished second in 2:08:28 and fellow Kenyan Philip Sanga came another 30 seconds behind in third.

Read more.

London Marathon 2014 In Pictures: Wilson Kipsang of Kenya wins the men’s elite race

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya won the men’s elite race – setting a new course record of 2:04.7. (Getty Images)

Associated Press

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

LONDON — The last of the elite runners to arrive in London but the first over the line, Wilson Kipsang’s week of travel chaos had no impact on his marathon running. The world record-holder saw off a strong field to capture his second London title by breaking the course record on Sunday.

Kipsang completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 29 seconds — 11 seconds inside the previous fastest run in London by Emmanuel Mutai in 2011 — at the end of a week that began with his passport and visa being stolen from a car at his training base in Kenya. Although he had a spare passport, Kipsang had to travel from the town of Iten to the capital Nairobi to obtain a replacement visa before arriving two days late in London on Thursday.

Little, though, was holding back the 32-year-old Kipsang on Sunday, when he pulled away from fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott in the final two miles.

Read more.
London Marathon 2014: In pictures (BBC)

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YEP: Young Ethiopian Professionals Named ‘Empower Player 2014′

Dr. Solomon Bililign speaking at Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) event in D.C. (Courtesy Photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias staff

Published: Saturday, April 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The online magazine emPower has selected Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) as one of the “emPower Player 2014″ award winners and a nominee for this year’s “Leader of Good” prize. YEP, founded in 2010, is a growing networking group in the DC area that has built a platform for Ethiopian professionals in various sectors to meet and share resources among each other. In addition, the organization’s Co-Founder and Executive Vice-President, Shimelse Mekonnen, says that YEP also provides mentoring programs for college and high school students.

“[We are] a non-profit organization with volunteers, such as myself, who strive to build a community of diverse professionals,” Shimelse told Tadias. “We offer free tutoring, educational workshops and inspirational events to our members.” He added: “This award is a recognition of our volunteers’ hard work and provides us more energy to go forward.”

Since it was established nearly four years ago, YEP has hosted over 30 events highlighting inspirational speakers from the Ethiopian community including Physicist Solomon Bililign, a recipient of the 2011 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering; Emmy Award-winning journalist Bofta Yimam; and the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Mimi Alemayehou.

“There is a famous African proverb that says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Shimelse said. “No one person can make it in life without the support and guidance of other people in their lives.” He shares that “Traditionally, support and guidance in the Ethiopian Diaspora come from an informal network of family and relatives. The fate of many people depends on the information they get from this informal network. However, figuring out how to navigate through a new country, new culture, new language and new system, can become very challenging as the traditional means of guidance and support are not enough.”

Shimelse points out that he and his friend, Mesfin Getaneh (the Co-founder and President of YEP), noticed such a gap in the Ethiopian community while participating in various member-based organizations pertaining to their careers. They were inspired by “the connections and opportunities created from these events and eagerly looking for a similar platform to meet and network with fellow Ethiopian professionals.” During the early stages of planning, they were joined by Lulit Ayne (Co-Founder & Vice President) whom Shimelse said brought “firsthand experience” in grassroots organizational development.

Today YEP, which enjoys a membership of over 600, continues to organize career fairs and other events designed to connect job seekers with working professionals in their field. Shimelse emphasizes that YEP’s goal is to “create opportunities for Ethiopian professionals to meet, network, and share resources among fellow professionals to succeed in their career and social endeavors by inviting successful mentors to speak about their experiences to our aspiring professionals, organizing workshops and panel discussions on various topics about professional development, and organizing learning excursions and field trips.”

Regarding the emPower magazine’s award nomination, Shimelse adds: “This recognition will also help us in our plans to expand to other cities where there’s a large concentration of Ethiopians such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland and San Jose. The more members we have, the easier it will be to achieve our vision to create a network where connections are made, resources are exchanged, and skills are enhanced. We want to give young Ethiopian professionals all the tools and resources at our disposal to empower them to create the next Microsoft, Apple, or Google.”

You can learn more about YEP at
Vote for them at

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‘Brown Condor’ Author Thomas E. Simmons Returns From Visit to Ethiopia

Thomas E. Simmons' book 'The Man Called Brown Condor' tells the story of Colonel John C. Robinson, commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935. (The Sun Herald)

Sun Herald


Gulfport resident Thomas E. Simmons has devoted many years to uncovering the true story of Gulfport native and pioneering war aviator Col. John C. Robinson.

Robinson, who was nicknamed the Brown Condor, played a pivotal role in defending Ethiopia during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935.

In late March, at the request of former Ethiopian president Girma Wolde Giorgis and Frederick Yaw Davis, director of the Pan African Technical Association, Simmons traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to speak at the American Embassy at the 60th memorial celebration for Robinson.

He also spoke at a luncheon at Giorgis’ home and at St. Joseph’s Academy for Boys.

Simmons flew on Ethiopian Air Lines, which was founded in 1945 by Robinson. During the Italian invasion, Robinson was commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps.

At his speaking engagements, Simmons met former pilots, many of whom were in their 90s, who served under Robinson.

Read more at the Sun Herald.

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Feedel Band Brings Ethio Jazz to NYC

(Photo: Feedel Band Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Saturday, April 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — OkayAfrica recently highlighted Feedel Band noting that “the ethio-jazz group have been making waves with their vintage Ethiopique sound” while Apropop Worldwide says the band ”keeps the funky experimentation of 70s Ethiopia alive.” Tonight they will be playing at Meridian 23, a live World Music venue in downtown NYC.

Feedel Band is currently working on a new album with producer and Gogol Bordello band member Thomas Gobena to be released by Electric Cowbell Records.

If You Go:
Showtime 9:30 PM
$10 at the door until 11:15 PM
161 West 23rd St
New York, New York 10011
(212) 645-0649
More info at

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South Africa’s ‘Born Free’ Generation Prepares to Vote

Members of the ANC youth league sing outside the hospital where the late former South African president, Nelson Mandela, was being treated in Pretoria, South Africa, July 17, 2013. (Associated Press)

VOA News

By Thuso Khumalo

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is set to hold national elections on May 7. In a country with more than 25 percent unemployment, the elections have generated a lot of interest among jobless young people – most of whom will be voting for the first time since the country established full democracy in 1994.

The vote comes 20 years after the nation shed the oppressive apartheid regime. It also marks the coming of age for South Africa’s so-called “Born Free” generation, born just after 1994. This is their first chance at the national polls, and many say they’re eager to participate.

The nation’s electoral commission says nearly half of the 25 million registered voters are younger than 40.

Reaching out

Election campaigns have reached out to young voters.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has promised to create 6 million jobs if given another mandate to rule. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has made a similar offer, and questioned the ANC’s promise and job creation plans. The youth-centered and populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF), a new party that is contesting elections for the first time, has promised to nationalize mines and expropriate land without compensation to ensure that unemployed youths own the means of production.

The harsh realities of South Africa’s poverty and inequality have long caused young voters to be disinterested in the country’s politics. But the high unemployment rate, and an increasing number of high-level corruption scandals, seems to be encouraging more young people to use their vote to change the status quo.

Daniel Phumutso Magidi, 22, says he will not miss this year’s vote for anything.

“My vote will make a change because I believe that as young people of South Africa, we are the active generation because we voice our things through the social networks and platforms that allow for the government to hear us,” Magidi said. “And they can respond to us apart from burning tires and all that so yah I believe that my vote will have a say.”

Ayanda Gumbi, 23, is disappointed with the ruling ANC for what she calls the party’s failure to deal with corruption and unemployment. She plans to vote for the EFF, which is led by expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema – who has been convicted of tax fraud and is also under investigation for corruption.

“EFF Malema, I just like the guy he is honest, he is truthful,” she said. “People have been voting for [the] ANC for years and years but still there is no change. So I think Malema is the guy to bring change.”

Sukiswa Thubeni, 22, is thrilled to be voting for the first time, but says new parties like the EFF cannot be trusted.

“I’m excited because it’s something that I have never done before,” Thubeni said. “I believe in ANC even though Jacob Zuma has his faults, but I know that ANC one day will make up something.”

And other young voters, like Nomvula Ndebele, say they are still undecided.

“You have got Julius Malema telling us you gonna get free education, free houses, because the ANC has not been delivering, but you have got the DA also telling us that you gonna be getting this and this so it’s a bit complicated for now,” Ndebele said.

Coming change?

Only around 30 percent of eligible new voters are registered this year, according to Prince Mashele, executive director at the Pretoria-based Centre for Politics and Research, but of those, he thinks the majority are likely to vote against the ANC – a sign the party is losing its 20-year dominance.

“The age group between say 23 and 30, I think that group is more likely to go with Malema because most of them have never worked, by the way, in their lives,” Mashele said. “They had hope that the ANC will change their economic lot, but the ANC has failed to do so.”

Twenty years ago, many of these voters’ parents watched as this nation transformed quickly from oppression to freedom. This year, more than a million first-time South African voters will get to experience that freedom – at the polling booth.

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New Book Highlights Seattle: Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest

'Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest' by Joseph W. Scott and Solomon A. Getahun. (Photos: Transaction Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, April 10th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Authors Joseph W. Scott, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Washington, and Solomon A. Getahun, professor of history at Central Michigan University, feature the Ethiopian community in Seattle in their book entitled Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest, which was published last year.

The book’s description by the publisher (Transaction Publishers) highlights that the Ethiopian “community began with approximately two dozen college students who came to the city during the Ethiopian revolution of 1974. These sojourning students earned college and university degrees, but were unable to return home to use them to modernize the developing nation. These stranded students became pioneers who built a micro-community in inner-city Seattle. Providing background with an analysis of Seattle’s geographic, demographic, social, and economic challenges, this volume studies the students who became asylum seekers; their falls in position, power, prestige; and the income of these elite and non-elite settlers. The authors analyze examples of those who became entrepreneurs and the ingenuity and determination they employed to start successful businesses. The authors examine the challenges imposed on them by a school system that assigned their children to grade levels according to age rather than knowledge. They explore how the American welfare system worked in practice and explain how and why Ethiopians die young in Seattle. This fascinating study will be of interest to sociologists, ethnographers, and regional analysts.”

Professor Getahun is the author of two additional books entitled The History of the City of Gondar and The History of Ethiopian Immigrants and Refugees in America. Professor Scott is the author of The Black Revolts.

Read more.

Being Ethiopian in Seattle (The Seattle Times)

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MWH Global Names Moghes Ayalew Mekonen Ethiopia Country Manager

Moghes Ayalew Mekonen, MWH Ethiopia Country Manager. (MWH Global)


MWH Global, provider of strategic consulting, environmental, engineering and construction services, has hired Moghes Ayalew Mekonen as the country manager for its operations in Ethiopia. Mekonen will lead the firm’s Addis Ababa office and manage MWH services and projects, continuing more than 50 years of infrastructure work in the region.

“Moghes’ leadership and engineering prowess will play an important role in our efforts to deliver renewable, reliable energy solutions to meet the needs of Ethiopia’s population,” said Joe Adams, president of energy and industry for MWH. “MWH has deep roots in Ethiopia, having worked on hydropower and dams projects since 1964. Moghes will continue our long-standing relationships with existing clients and extend our service offerings to new ones.”

Mekonen brings nearly 20 years of engineering experience, and is a licensed professional engineer in Ethiopia and Tanzania. He joins MWH after serving as dams and hydropower group coordinator for the Africa Region at SMEC International, where he focused on developing the dams and hydropower business in the continental Africa, excluding South Africa, managing on-going projects in terms of contract administration and resource allocation and participating in hydropower feasibility studies. He has a bachelor’s degree in construction science from the University of Oklahoma. He is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which opened in early 2013, has a current team of four engineers and consultants serving clients in the hydropower industry.

MWH Global Names Moghes Ayalew Mekonen as Ethiopia Country Manager (Press Release)

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Ethiopia: Where Conscience is Constantly On Trial

Currently 29 Muslim leaders are on trial in Ethiopia charged under its anti-terrorism law. (Getty Images)

Al Jazeera

By Awol K. Allo

A high profile trial against protest leaders – intellectuals, activists and elected members of “The Ethiopian Muslim Arbitration Committee” – is shaking the Ethiopian political landscape. The government argues that the accused harbour “extreme” Islamic ideologies. It accuses them of conspiracy with terrorist groups to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia.

The accused have professed their innocence and denied the charges. In the courtroom, they present the prosecution’s case as the continuation of repression by legal means, which resembles the totalitarian perversion of truth and justice of Stalinist and Apartheid regimes.

Read more.

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Africa’s Anti-Gay Movement Spreads to Ethiopia


Associated Press


Two groups in Ethiopia said Thursday that they will hold an anti-gay demonstration later this month, a move that puts Ethiopia in line to become the next African country to increase the public demonization of gays.

Although gay sex is already outlawed in Ethiopia, the rally set for April 26 comes as the parliament considers making homosexual acts ineligible for presidential pardons. New legislation in Uganda and Nigeria this year has increased penalties for homosexual acts in those two countries, sending many gays underground or out of the country.

The government-affiliated Addis Ababa Youth Forum and a religious group associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church told a news conference that an increasing rate of homosexual acts in the country has reached an alarming rate.

“Children are being raped by gay people in this country. Just yesterday we have met a woman whose boy was raped by two other men. All in all, gay acts are against health, the law, religion and our culture, so we should break the silence and create awareness about it,” said Dereje Negash, chairman of the church group, the Weyiniye Abune Tekelehaimanot Association.

The bill was sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and could be put to a vote this month. In Ethiopia, same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.

Though the organizers said that there is no specific reason for the timing of the planned demonstration, a prominent blogger and gay activist said that gay-bashing rhetoric is likely to increase in the run-up to elections for parliament next year. Ezana Solomon said the anti-gay movement is trying to invade personal privacy under the banner of child protection.

“I refuse to be labeled a rapist, molester or an abuser since I have never committed those things ever. I think the logical or right thing to do is when I have committed those crimes, I should put to justice. This campaign is not justifiable under any circumstance,” Ezana said.

“If someone thinks my being gay is a sin, in my opinion the only thing you are allowed or should be allowed to do is to pray for me and your boundary ends there,” Ezana said.

The demonstration organizers said the protest will be held under the theme “Keeping alien culture and homosexuality at bay.” They said they hope to see thousands of residents and some senior government officials come to the protest.

“Gay practices are not our culture so we wanted the society to be aware of the danger and protect itself,” said Tsegaye Gebretsadik, chairman of the Addis Ababa Youth Forum.

Read more.

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Audio: Ike Leggett’s Press Conference Hosted by The Ethiopian American Council

The following is an audio of Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett's press conference hosted by the Ethiopian American Council, held on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In the past few years the office of Maryland’s Montgomery County Executive, Ike Leggett, has forged a close working relationship with various Ethiopian organizations — earning him the recent backing of the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) in the upcoming election.

Last week EAC hosted a media teleconference with Mr. Leggett to announce their endorsement and introduce him to the larger Ethiopian community. At the press conference Leggett outlined his views on a number of issues ranging from immigration reform to education, healthcare, housing, and economic development as well as his commitment to see the creation of an Ethiopian community center in Maryland. Leggett also described his trip to Ethiopia in the Fall 2012 to sign a Sister City agreement between Gonder and Montgomery County.

Below are clips of the audio from the teleconference held on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014.

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The Award Night at 2nd Annual Colours of the Nile Film Festival in Ethiopia

At the 2014 Colours of the Nile Film Festival award night in Addis Ababa. (Photograph courtesy of CNIFF)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The winners at last month’s second annual Colours of the Nile International Film Festival (CNIFF) in Ethiopia — which highlighted 48 films from across the African continent — included Rumours of War by Soussaba Cisse from Mali (Best Feature, Best Cinematography and Original Soundtrack), President Dia by Ousmane William Mbaye from Senegal (Best Documentary), Adamt by Zelalem Woldemariam from Ethiopia (Best Short Film), Mugambi Nitenga in Nairobi Half Life from Kenya (Best Actor), Bertukan Befkadu in Nishan from Ethiopia (Best Actress), All is Well by Pocas Pascoal from Angola (Best Sound), and Virgin Margarida by Licinio Azevedo from Mozambique (Best Screenplay).

The event (From 24 – 31 March) was organized by the Blue Nile Film and Television Academy in partnership with the Ethiopian Filmmakers Association, was held at various locations in Addis Ababa such as the Alliance Ethio-Française, Italian Cultural Institute and the Ethiopian National Museum, while opening and award nights took place at the Ethiopian National Theater.

Below are photos from the closing ceremony courtesy of the Nile International Film Festival (CNIFF).

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Groundbreaking Program Improves Lives of Ethiopian Child Brides

Photo courtesy International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).


By Gillian Gaynair

A program that provided child brides in Ethiopia with unprecedented opportunities to learn about sexual and reproductive health as well as how to earn an income and save money proved to significantly enhance many aspects of the girls lives, according to new findings by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).

ICRW today releases “Improving the Lives of Married Adolescent Girls in Amhara, Ethiopia,” a summary of its evaluation of the groundbreaking program that took place over three years.

The program, called “Towards Economic and Sexual Reproductive Health Outcomes for Adolescent Girls” or TESFA, worked with 5,000 child brides ages 10 to 19, in Ethiopia’s rural Amhara region. Funded by the Nike Foundation and implemented by CARE-Ethiopia, TESFA sought to mitigate the effects of child marriage. It also provided opportunities for married adolescent girls – who are among the most marginalized members of society – to participate in the social, economic and political life of their families and communities.

For ICRW’s evaluation, led by Senior Social Demographer Jeffrey Edmeades, researchers employed innovative methodologies – including the Photovoice strategy – to understand not only if TESFA’s approach worked, but how and why. While a significant amount of research has explored the causes and consequences of child marriage in Ethiopia and elsewhere, little investigation and few programs have focused strictly on girls who are already married. TESFA – which means “hope” in Amharic – did. The program remains one of a few efforts globally that zeroed in on married girls and how best to support them as they transition to adulthood.

“Most global programming and policy efforts tend to center primarily on preventing child marriage, and ignore girls who are already married,” Edmeades said. “But it’s vitally important that we give more attention to this population. When their lives improve, so will their children’s, which can play a critical role in reaching global development targets to reduce intergenerational poverty and poor health.”

Launched in 2010, the TESFA program unfolded in several villages in the South Gondar region of Amhara. ICRW found that the girls’ economic and social lives as well as their health improved significantly. Among the changes ICRW recorded were:

  • Large gains in communication between the young wives and their husbands
  • Decreased levels of gender-based violence
  • Improved mental health among participating girls
  • Increased investment in productive economic assets, such as small businesses and agricultural supplies
  • Improved knowledge and use of sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning
  • TESFA built on CARE’s well-established Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model, where girls were organized into groups and program content was delivered primarily through peer educators. While this approach has been widely used with adults, it had not been used extensively with adolescent girls exclusively, or as a mechanism for delivering a health-related curriculum.

    The program divided participants into four groups that represented the type of education they received:

  • Economic Empowerment – Girls who received economic empowerment information and guidance, based on an adapted VSLA model.
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health – Girls who learned about issues related to their sexual and reproductive health.
  • Combined – Girls who received both EE and SRH programming.
  • Comparison – Girls who received a delayed version of the Combined curriculum and served as a comparison group.
  • It also directly engaged the community to a greater degree than is typical. In particular, community members, including village elders, religious leaders and health workers, were recruited as a part of Social Action and Analyses (SAA) groups – also called “gatekeepers.” These adults received training in areas related to the main project goals through a peer-education system similar to that used with the girls’ groups. They also acted as liaisons between the program and the community and were tasked with providing support to the girls’ groups.

    Such engagement proved crucial for the success of the project and resulted in a number of benefits well beyond what the project team initially expected. SAA members provided direct assistance to TESFA through identifying potentially eligible girls in the community. They visited households to further explain the program to family members. They talked to the participant girls to discuss any issues they were having with the program. And, they provided overall support to the group through regular meetings.

    “Fundamentally, these groups became agents for change in their own right,” Edmeades said, “actively engaging in child marriage prevention activities and promoting broader changes within their communities.”

    For the evaluation, Edmeades and independent research consultant Robin Hayes analyzed whether providing economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health programming together or individually was more effective. ICRW ultimately found little evidence indicating that combining both programs yielded even better outcomes than when offering the curricula separately. While the improvements in the economic outcomes were similar across the all project groups, there was no area where the combined arm consistently outperformed the economic group. This was also true when examining the sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

    However, the combined arm generally experienced changes in both the economic empowerment and health dimensions. These were greater than the comparison group and than groups receiving solely one type of intervention. “This suggests that while there was no evidence of a synergistic effect, girls who received the combined package may have experienced the greatest overall gains from program participation,” Edmeades said. “They, more than others, benefitted markedly in terms of both economic and health outcomes.”

    In other areas important to married girls’ lives, ICRW documented large and significant improvements in communication among couples, in the girls’ mental health and in the community’s support for the girls. “Each of these outcomes has a long-term impact on the girls’ health and economic behavior,” he said.

    TESFA’s presence in communities also yielded a few unexpected results. Among them, ICRW witnessed husbands taking on responsibilities traditionally reserved for wives, such as childcare and cooking. Some girls returned to school to continue their education. And most notably, community members in the villages where TESFA unfolded prevented more than 70 child marriages from taking place.

    “The project was not designed to reach any of these goals,” Edmeades stressed. “But these effects of TESFA’s presence in the communities are pretty powerful – they illustrated for us that the program’s messages, particularly about the consequences of child marriage, really resonated with communities.”

    In its summary of the evaluation, Edmeades and Hayes contend that although TESFA provided a much deeper understanding of the needs of child brides, much more is required for this often forgotten population of girls. This, they say, includes determining how to reach the most marginalized of these girls, including those who are divorced or widowed and how to better work with couples, among other areas of work.

    “While we should continue doing everything that we can to end child marriage everywhere, we should also not forget that this remains a widespread practice in a lot of places,” Edmeades said. “Even if we are very successful in fighting child marriage, we can realistically expect more than 100 million new child brides over the next ten years. These married girls will be among the most vulnerable members of their communities. They’ll also be critical to really achieving significant change in so many development objectives.

    Allowing them to stay in the shadows mustn’t be an option for any of us.”

    Read the full report.

    Gillian Gaynair owns Mallett Avenue Media, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that specializes in content that shows how foundations, nonprofits and corporations effect change globally.

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    The Divine Comedy by African Artists: Featuring Julie Mehretu & Aida Muluneh

    Art work by Aïda Muluneh, 'The 99 Series' (detail), 2013. (© Aïda Muluneh Courtesy: MMK)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Monday, April 7th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — The Museum of Modern Art (MMK) in Frankfurt, Germany is currently hosting an exhibition featuring several contemporary African artists including Ethiopian-American painter Julie Mehretu and Ethiopian photographer Aïda Muluneh.

    The show, which opened last month and remains on display through July 27th, 2014, is based on the 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s epic work entitled The Divine Comedy that highlights the author’s reflections on heaven, hell and purgatory. Per MMK: “His work forms the foundation for the exhibition developed by curator Simon Njami in cooperation with the MMK and to be presented subsequently at four further venues worldwide.”

    The announcement adds: “Against the background of the many Africa-related exhibitions of the past years, the MMK perceives the need to investigate the significance of African art not only in the post-colonial context but also with regard to aesthetics. The exhibition will accordingly not be limited to historical or political depictions; on the contrary, it will set its sights on poetry and art as expressive means of conveying and communicating the unspoken. The exhibition concept transports the universal issues of the Divine Comedy, an incunable of European literature, into the present and places them in a transnational contemporary context.”

    You can learn more about the exhibition at

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    London Marathon Preview: Ethiopia, Kenya Battle for Supremacy

    Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia was the winner of the men's London Marathon title last year. (Getty Images)

    The Sports Network

    April 7, 2014

    Philadelphia, PA – Defending champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and world record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya headline the elite men’s division field at the London Marathon on April 13.

    Kebede won the race in 2010, posting an impressive time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 4 seconds, more that 29 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya. Since 2004, Kebede is the sole non-Kenyan to win the race.

    Last year’s race will be best remembered by many of the runners wearing black ribbons to honor the bombing victims of the Boston Marathon, held one week earlier. A moment of silence was held before the start of the race, and security was extremely tight for the spectators and the 36,000 runners.

    Making his marathon debut will be Mo Farah of Great Britain. He won the gold medal in the men’s 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics.


    Kenenisa Bekele Smashes Paris Marathon Record (AP)

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    Kenenisa Smashes Paris Marathon Record

    Kenenisa Bekele broke the course record at the 2014 Paris Marathon on Sunday, April 6th. (Reuters)

    Associated Press

    Ethiopia’s three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele won the Paris marathon on his debut at the distance, completing the 42-kilometre race in 2:05:04.

    Bekele won the gold medal in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 metres at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Games.

    He has struggled with injuries over the past few years and hasn’t won a major title since the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

    “It was very tough. Anyway, I made the time I expected,” Bekele told French media.

    Bekele accelerated in the 27th kilometre to break up a small group, with only compatriot Tamirat Tola able to keep pace with him before dropping off.

    Bekele had a small scare eight kilometres from the finish as he felt a strain in his left thigh.

    “My hamstring muscle was not good. I was cramping and I was worried,” Bekele said.

    Bekele’s countryman, Limenih Getachew finished second, 1:45 minutes behind.

    Flomena Cheyech of Kenya dominated the women’s race in 2:22:44, more than three minutes ahead of Yebrgual Melese of Ethiopia.

    A field of about 42,000 runners started the 38th edition of the Paris race from the Champs Elysees Avenue.

    Video: Kenenisa Bekele – Debut Marathon (Paris 2014)

    Ethiopia’s Bekele wins Paris Marathon in record time (France 24 Video)

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    Update: Isiah Leggett’s Press Conference with Ethiopian Media

    The incumbent Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland Isiah "Ike" Leggett. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, April 5th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — How large is the Ethiopian community in Montgomery County, Maryland? “Well the county overall is 1.1 million residents and we have about 10% of that population from continental Africa,” answered Isiah ‘Ike’ Leggett, the County’s Executive, during a teleconference with Ethiopian media last week. “And from that ten percent, which is about 110,000, I think the best figure is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 directly in the county, but it overlaps with two other counties in our region and Washington, D.C.”

    In fact, Mr. Leggett said that he had a recent meeting with a group from Washington, D.C. that established an office in Montgomery County to help them with providing some support to issue micro-loans to the Ethiopian community, for small businesses, restaurants, and people who are interested in purchasing tax services.  He emphasized: “We are trying to be more engaged and support some of those organizations from the economic development standpoint. Of course, we are promoting Ethiopian culture through our libraries, recreational facilities and within our schools as well. We are trying to address it from a cultural perspective, from an educational perspective, a business approach as well as simply trying to remove some of the obstacles for people who want to reside and stay in Montgomery County and in this country — to help them facilitate that process as well.”

    Organized by the Ethiopian-American Council (EAC) the press conference, which took place on Tuesday, April 1st, was intended to introduce Mr. Leggett to the larger Ethiopian community and to announce EAC’s endorsement of his candidacy for a third term as Montgomery County Executive. Mr. Leggett took several questions from Ethiopian journalists on a range of issues that are pertinent to the Ethiopian-American community and residents of the county in general. Topics of discussion included immigration reform, jobs, education, business, access to health care, affordable housing, as well as his support for an Ethiopian community center and his trip to Ethiopia a year and a half ago to sign a sister city agreement between Montgomery County and the historic Ethiopian city of Gonder.

    “I carried a delegation of about 60 people with me to Ethiopia for about ten days,” Mr. Leggett said of his trip in the fall of 2012. “We had an opportunity to travel throughout the country with a signing ceremony in Gonder to establish our sister city relationship. The Ethiopian community in the county had expressed very strong views that they thought, and I believed them, that we should establish one of our sister city relationships with Gonder.” He added: “We have several other [such agreements] including China and South Korea. But we thought given the history of Ethiopia and the many residential Ethiopians that are here in Montgomery county from Ethiopia who are contributing to our local economy, whether its in education or various professions, we were delighted that we had the opportunity to visit and to host many follow-up meetings with people from Gonder, Ethiopia and Montgomery county.”

    Regarding his stand on immigration reform Mr. Leggett, who is also the current President of the County Executives of America (a position he assumed in August of 2013), said he feels strongly about the issue at a national level. “First of all we start with the general premise of the county that we treat people with dignity and respect and make certain that the resources that we have in the county are available to all people — that we do not discriminate or we do not have hard core kinds of restrictions as it relates to the immigrant population in Montgomery County,” he said. “That involves everything from health care to housing and to a variety of other resources that we provide in Montgomery County.” He added: “We have a very large number of Ethiopians that serve on boards and committees throughout Montgomery county and our county government. Thirdly, we try to promote all kinds of cultural, religious and educational activities, which the Ethiopian community is an active part of. And fourthly, it’s in the area of economic development that we’re reaching out [and] working with the Ethiopian [business] community.”

    In addition, Mr. Leggett pointed out that his staff is constantly in contact with members of the Ethiopian community in Montgomery County “to make certain that we respond to many of their concerns” and to assist in creating an Ethiopian community center. Mr. Leggett continued: “For example, there is a very large festival event that was held in Maryland this past summer and Montgomery County played a part as host. We are working on a variety of fronts trying to ensure that we support a community center whereby there will be a common place where Ethiopians can consistently gather. And they do so now, but often times it’s at different locations, its not as consistent, it’s not as focused as we would want it to be. With a community center Mr. Legett shared that they can provide activities ranging  ”from cultural events to religious events, or simply a meeting place that they would have as a common location within our county.” Mr. Leggett emphasized that “more importantly, my office is and has opened its doors so that we can be supportive of what the Ethiopian community wants. I think that’s the best response we can have. The more important side to this is to be receptive to the Ethiopian community and things that they would like to see us do and to have an ongoing dialogue. If you have that as a model and you are prepared to work aggressively with that, very positive things can happen.”

    According to his bio Leggett, who was initially elected as Montgomery County Executive in 2006 (and re-elected in 2010), was born in Deweyville, Texas in 1944. “Leggett attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and, after serving in the Vietnam War, earned a law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the county council in Montgomery County, Maryland and served on the council through 2002. He remains the only African-American ever elected to that body at-large.”

    At the press conference last Tuesday Mr. Leggett repeatedly urged Ethiopian- Americans to volunteer in his campaign and noted that on the 27th of April, his wife is having “a large event in Silver Spring,” an engagement, he stated, for women across the board “so she is encouraging Ethiopian women and others to come.” He added: “That involvement provides a number of things because many years ago when I first moved into Montgomery County and got involved, I started by assisting other candidates and learning from them about the elements of politics and public service and I was able to expand from that to run for office myself at a lower level and eventually worked my way up to County Executive.”

    Mr. Leggett said that he hopes to see Ethiopian-Americans vying for elected office in the United States in future years: “So that you are not looking at Iike Leggett who is running for Country Executive or some other office and representing the views of the Ethiopian community, but you have people from Ethiopia or people with strong background and connection with Ethiopia who are running themselves, that’s the progress that I want to see happen.”

    Below are clips of the audio from the teleconference.

    You can learn more about County Executive Isiah ‘Ike’ Leggett at

    Video: Leggett Leads a Delegation to Gonder Ethiopia, Montgomery County’s Sister City (2012)

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    Using Ethiopia’s Healthcare Gaps to Do Good and Make a Profit

    Patients waiting inside a hospital in Addis Ababa on the weekend. The capital has only four stationary MRI scanners, providing services to 30 government- and private-run hospitals. (Photograph Credit: IPS News)


    By James Jeffrey

    ADDIS ABABA — (IPS) – For a while now, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scanners have typically been a luxury that both government and private hospitals in Ethiopia have struggled to afford to purchase for in-house use.

    Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital with an ever-growing population of around 3.8 million, currently has only four stationary MRI scanners that provide services to 30 government and private hospitals, according to Zelalem Molla, a surgeon based in Addis Ababa.

    Outside of the capital, only two MRI scanners exist. But the six scanners — in this Horn of Africa nation of some 92 million people — are old fashioned and far behind the technological curve in the West.

    “It would be wrong to claim that the mobile MRI scanner would save lives,” says Zelalem, whose lunchtime chat with American entrepreneur Peter Burns III about the paucity of scanners sparked a business idea.

    “[In a developing economy] a government’s focus on financial market stability and security issues can result in healthcare issues remaining on the side-lines.” — Alayar Kangarlu, MRI research centre, Columbia University
    But, Zelalem notes, more MRI scanners — which use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the inside of the body that can be analysed on computers — would crucially allow more doctors to diagnose illnesses far earlier when they are operable and potentially curable.

    “Often it is not possible for doctors to diagnose illnesses such as tumours until they physically appear at a stage when the chances of saving a patient are slim — or it is too late,” Zelalem tells IPS.

    However, actual figures about the number of people directly affected here by the lack of MRI scanners do not exist.

    In the past, some Ethiopians have needed to travel to other African countries such as Kenya and South Africa, or to Europe to have scans. This even included Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia’s track runner, who used to go to Munich, Germany for scans to help diagnose running injuries.

    Read more.

    CEO Weekend: Ethiopia’s Hello Doctors Raises Funding From Africa Group

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    Documentary Examines Ethiopia’s Civil Code in the Past 50 Years

    (Photographs credit: World Economic Forum on Africa, Wikimedia Commons and

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — A new documentary by Leyou Tameru, Chasing Modernity: A Reflection on Legal History, will be screened on April 9th at Teachers College, Columbia University. The film highlights the evolution of Ethiopia’s legal system under three different authorities in the past five decades, paying particular attention to the Civil Code. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker and moderated by Professor Tseliso Thipanyane of Ramapo College.

    “In 1960 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia proclaimed five major laws, setting in place the building blocks of the contemporary legal system,” the event announcement stated. “More than 50 years and three governments later, this documentary re-examines the legal system with a focus on Civil Code, one of the few pieces of legislation to have remanded in effect throughout these major changes.”

    Leyou Tameru is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Addis Ababa Law School — where she has lectured on a part-time basis — and works as a legal consultant and researcher with law firms and international organizations in various African countries. Her documentary “tells the story from the perspective of actors in the legal community in Ethiopia from different generations.”

    If You Go:
    Wednesday, April 9th
    6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
    Teachers College (361 Grace Dodge Hall)
    525 West 120th Street
    New York, NY
    Institute of African Studies, Columbia University

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    Ethiopia Habtemariam: President of Motown

    Ethiopia Habtemariam has been named president of the historic music label "Motown Records." (UMG)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to president of Motown Records following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group. In a press release UMG announced that the company is reestablishing its three legendary brands: Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records as “stand-alone” business operations. Under the new arrangement Ethiopia, who was formerly a senior VP of Motown Records and head of urban music at Universal Music Publishing Group, will become president of the historic label.

    “Furthermore, Motown will return to Los Angeles, the label’s longest-serving home, where it was based for nearly 25 years beginning in 1972,” the news release added. “Motown will be a freestanding label within Capitol Music Group, alongside such iconic labels as Blue Note, Harvest and Virgin Records, among others. Capitol was recently acquired in connection with UMG’s purchase of EMI. Since becoming a part of UMG, Capitol has been revitalized and expanded to become one of the industry’s most powerful creative centers. Habtemariam will also continue in her current role as EVP/Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group.”

    Read the full press release at

    Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)
    Universal unbundles Def Jam, Island, Motown labels (The Wall Street Journal)

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    Preview: 21st New York African Film Festival

    The much-anticipated film "Half of a Yellow Sun" directed by Nigerian filmmaker Biyi Bandele. (Photo: AFF)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — At this year’s New York African Film Festival, which opens at Lincoln Center next month, audiences will be treated to the critically acclaimed Half of a Yellow Sun, adopted from the internationally best-selling novel of the same name by the Award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and directed by the U.K.-based Nigerian filmmaker Biyi Bandele-Thomas. It is fitting that the work of Adichie and Biyi Bandele is on display at the festival given that the 2014 event is also dedicated to the celebration of the centenary of Nigeria. Half of a Yellow Sun is also the “centerpiece selection” and featuring “twins navigating life, love and the turbulence of the Biafra (Nigerian Civil) war in 1960s Nigeria.”

    Organizers announced that the festival opens at Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center from May 7th to May 13th, the Maysles Cinema Institute from May 15th to May 18th, and at Brooklyn Academy of Music from May 23rd to May 26th 2014, under the theme ‘Revolution and Liberation in the Digital Age.’ The Centerpiece Gala will be held at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music at Cargy Hall (450 West 37th Street) immediately following the NYC premiere of Half of a Yellow Sun on Friday, May 9th.

    Now in its second decade, the annual New York African Film Festival is an opportunity for emerging and established filmmakers, hailing both from Africa and the Diaspora, to showcase their work and network with media scholars and each other.  The screenings at Lincoln Center (7th to 13th May, 2014) — jointly presented by The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) — highlights eleven feature films and eight shorts.

    “With a gracious nod to Nollywood, the world’s second largest film industry and the 100th centenary of Nigeria, the festival Opening Night Film will be Confusion Na Wa, the dark comedy by Kenneth Gyang,” AFF noted in a press release. “Winner of Best Picture at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards, the film stars OC Ukeje and Gold Ikponmwosa as two grifters whose decision to blackmail a straying husband (played by Ramsey Nouah) sets in motion a chain of events leading to a shocking conclusion.”

    A film about Queen Sarraounia will be featured on closing night. Sarraounia led the Azans of Niger in battle against French colonial powers. “The historical drama took first prize at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 1987. Regular festival pricing applies.”

    Additionally, writer Marguerite Abouet and illustrator Clément Oubrerie will present their animated feature Aya of Yop City, “which follows the adventures of a 19-year old girl and her girlfriends in Ivory Coast.”

    Video: HALF OF A YELLOW SUN Trailer

    Video: CONFUSION NA WA Trailer

    If You Go:
    Click here for tickets to the Opening Reception & Screening .
    Click here for tickets to the Centerpiece Gala & Screening.
    For details, visit African Film Festival online at

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    AP: Forbidden to Come to U.S, Says Ethiopia’s Blue Party Leader Yilikal Getnet

    Yilikal Getnet, chairman of the Blue Party. (Photo: Ethiotube)

    Associated Press

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – An Ethiopian opposition figure says his government won’t allow him to travel to the United States.

    Yilikal Getnet, the chairman of the opposition Blue Party, said Monday that security forces tore pages from his passport and refused to allow him to leave the country.

    Getnet said he had been invited by the U.S State Department’s Office of International Visitors to attend the Young African Leaders Program training course alongside nine others from the continent.

    Getnet, who said the incident at the airport happened March 21, said the denial to leave the country shows the “totalitarian” nature of Ethiopia’s government.

    Calls to two government spokespeople for comment went unanswered.

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    How Ethiopia Spies on Its Diaspora Abroad

    (Image: From's list of "10 Best Apps to Keep the Government From Spying on You")

    The Wall Street Journal

    March 31, 2014

    Many Europeans are upset over revelations that the United States government spies on them. But European companies are selling surveillance tools and know-how to other governments, allowing them to spy abroad. Their customers include some of the world’s most abusive governments and at least one of them—Ethiopia —is targeting its diaspora population in Europe. The results extend beyond outrage over privacy violations: They put people in danger.

    The global trade in this powerful “spyware” is virtually unregulated and that needs to change. Using digital technology to monitor the Ethiopian diaspora in Europe, the regime in Addis Ababa has brought its abuses right into Europe’s midst. The EU needs to regulate the sale of such technology, at least to governments with such questionable human-rights records.

    Inside Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s government abuses mobile and Internet networks to monitor opposition groups and journalists, and to silence dissenting voices. Using Chinese-made telecom equipment, the Ethiopian security agencies have nearly unfettered access to civilians’ phone records and recorded calls. Taped calls have been played back to people being interrogated by security officials and used against them in trials under the government’s deeply flawed antiterrorism law.


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    Ethiopian Farmer Gets Legal Aid From UK to Sue UK Over Aid to Ethiopia

    If farmer is successful, Ministers [in UK] might have to review overseas donations. (Daily Mail Online)

    Daily Mail


    An Ethiopian farmer has been given legal aid in the UK to sue Britain – because he claims millions of pounds sent by the UK to his country is supporting a brutal regime that has ruined his life.

    He says UK taxpayers’ money – £1.3 billion over the five years of the coalition Government – is funding a despotic one-party state in his country that is forcing thousands of villagers such as him from their land using murder, torture and rape.

    The landmark case is highly embarrassing for the Government, which has poured vast amounts of extra cash into foreign aid despite belt-tightening austerity measures at home.

    Prime Minister David Cameron claims the donations are a mark of Britain’s compassion.

    But the farmer – whose case is set to cost tens of thousands of pounds – argues that huge sums handed to Ethiopia are breaching the Department for International Development’s (DFID) own human rights rules.

    Read more at Daily Mail.

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    A Panel Discussion in DC: Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa

    Speakers at the upcoming panel discussion in DC: "Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa." (WNDC)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Updated: Monday, March 31st, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Woman’s National Democratic Club is hosting a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. tomorrow entitled “Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa.”

    Topics to be discussed include US-Ethiopia relationships, such as the recent sister city agreements between Addis Ababa and Washington D.C., as well as Gonder and Montgomery County, Maryland. Ethiopia’s relationships with its regional neighbors and current state of development in the country will also be part of the dialogue. The event, which was originally planned for January 23rd, 2014 and rescheduled for Tuesday, April 1st, will “highlight internal political, social and economic issues, including how Ethiopians are uniting in a social justice movement.”

    Panelist include Naida Michel Saad, Retired Loan Officer and Project Manager, North Africa Development Programs; Obang Metho, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia; Bruce Adams, Director, Office of Community Partnerships, Montgomery County; Ngozi Nmezi, Director, DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs; Dr. Getachew Begashaw, Professor of Economics at W.R. Harper College, Chicago; and Greg Toulmin, Country Program Coordinator for Ethiopia at The World Bank Group.

    If You Go:
    Strategic Importance of Ethiopia in Africa Panel Discussion
    Tuesday, April 1, 2014
    TIME: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
    1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
    Washington DC 20036
    PRICE: $10 Members; $15 Non-members
    Reserve by telephone (202) 232-7363 ext. 3003
    Online at

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    Ethiopian-American Council Endorses Ike Leggett for Reelection

    EAC endorses Montgomery County MD County Executive Ike Leggett for reelection. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Updated: Monday, March 31st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian-American Council (EAC) announced their endorsement of Ike Leggett for reelection as Maryland’s Montgomery County Executive. Mr. Leggett, a Democrat, is running for a third term.

    In a statement EAC said the group is throwing “its full support [behind] the re-election of Isiah ‘Ike’ Leggett,” after sending a questionnaire to the incumbent candidate and receiving a reply regarding “issues of importance to Ethiopian-Americans and other immigrants living in Montgomery County.”

    “Encouraged by his compelling and thoughtful answers on questions ranging from immigration reform to government internships for students, and after much deliberation, the EAC decided to endorse Mr. Leggett,” the statement added.

    EAC said Leggett will be present at a press teleconference this week scheduled to announce the endorsement. “This is an excellent opportunity to introduce [him] to our community and to share with the media where Mr. Leggett stands regarding issues affecting Ethiopian-Americans and other immigrant communities,” EAC noted. “A question and answer period will follow.”

    Leggett, who is the first African-American to win a seat on the county council in Montgomery County, Maryland, was initially elected to his current position in 2006 and won reelection in 2010.

    Video: Leggett Leads a Delegation to Gonder Ethiopia, Montgomery County’s Sister City (2012)

    You can learn more about County Executive Isiah ‘Ike’ Leggett at

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    CEO Weekend: Ethiopia’s Hello Doctors Raises Funding From Africa Group



    By Sam Wakoba

    Telemed Medical Services (Telemed), an Ethiopian engineering consultancy specializing in health system design and implementation within the Ethiopian healthcare sector has today raised funding from The Africa Group (TAG), a US-based boutique advisor and venture capital investor.

    TAG will own a 25% stake in Telemed, which was founded in 2012 to reinforce limited health resources in Ethiopia, a country where the doctor-to-patient ratio is ~1:30,000 and 80% of the population lives over 5 kilometers from the nearest health center.

    In a statement, Dr. Yohans Wodaje, Founder of Telemed said, “Telemed provides a critical service to the Ethiopian public and it is important to make all necessary investments to ensure the scale-up of this transformative endeavor. Venture capital is a crucial source of financing for start-up business like ours, having the potential of catapulting them to reach greater markets; our partnership with TAG is the perfect match, enabling us access to the appropriate amount of capital with the right kind of technical support.”

    Read more.

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    Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center Opened


    Energy Live News

    A new climate innovation centre which aims to help jumpstart clean technology and climate-smart ventures has been launched in Ethiopia.

    Called the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC), it is expected to help more than 3.1 million people increase resilience to climate change and create more than 12,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

    ECIC will provide financing, mentorship and advisory services to local cleantech entrepreneurs working in energy efficiency, renewable energy, agribusiness and biofuels. A total of 28 SMEs and entrepreneurs have currently been selected to receive CIC support services.

    The initiative is also expected to improve access to energy for 265,000 Ethiopians and increase agricultural efficiency for 120,000 farmers.

    Read more.

    WarkaWater Towers: A Giant Basket That Uses Condensation to Gather Drinking Water

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    Music By DJ Sirak at Apollo Theater Africa Now Mainstage Concert

    Sirak Getachew will DJ at Apollo Theater in New York on Saturday April 5th, 2014. (Photograph: Tadias)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Sirak Getachew (DJ Sirak) will be heading to Ethiopia in May to participate in the upcoming Tizita Music Festival in Addis Ababa (where he was born and raised until age nine). Prior to that, on Saturday April 5th he is scheduled to DJ at this year’s “Africa Now!” concert at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.

    DJ Sirak, who hosts the FM/online radio show Africology Radio, said he is still choosing cultural dance performers for the Apollo show that he recently started incorporating into his live appearances. “I think what attracted them about my selection is the fact that not only do I maneuver easily into West and South African music, but I also understand East African music,” Sirak told Tadias.

    On its website Apollo Theater states: “DJ Sirak adds depth to hip hop and djing by making Afrobeat a prominent influence on his style. Sirak arrived in the Bronx at age nine and struggled to keep his culture alive while adopting the culture of the graffiti-filled streets around him. Later on, as he established himself in the New York hip hop underground, he used the inspiration of his native Ethiopia to add an urgent yet smooth rhythm to the Bronx beats he created.”

    The four day popular music festival, which is in its second year, is organized by The Apollo Theater in partnership with World Music Institute and showcases talents from the contemporary African music scene. According to Apollo: “The festival’s centerpiece event, a blow-out concert on the Apollo’s Mainstage, will showcase a griot trio from Senegal, a roots-reggae/Afrobeat collective from Sierra Leone, and a dynamo diva from Mali. Other festival events include special Family Showtime and Apollo Music Cafe performances, late night dance parties, a film screening and much more.”

    Sirak said he is also preparing for an event at The Bronx Museum in mid-April called “Ethiopian Family Day” to raise funds for elementary school students in East Harlem who are planning to take a musical field trip to Ethiopia. “They will visit places like Yared School of Music, and meet with kids of their age who have the same artistic interests,” he shared.

    The April 5th “Africa Now!” concert promises to highlight the “amazing talents” of Fatoumata Diawara, Les Frères Guissé and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.

    If You Go:
    Africa Now! Mainstage Concert
    Presented by the Apollo Theater and World Music Institute
    April 5, 2014 at 8pm
    Event Location: Apollo Theater
    Host: Wunmi
    Music By: DJ Sirak
    Tickets: $45, $35, $25
    In person at the Apollo Box Office
    By phone: 212.531.5305
    Online at

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    Japan Takes On China in Africa

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara on Jan. 10, 2014. (Getty Images)


    By Pete Guest

    In the courtyard of a small compound in Geta, 1.7 miles above sea level in southern Ethiopia, members of a local farming cooperative pound and sift barley, the chaff picked up by the vicious wind that blows across the mountains. Behind them, taped to the wall of their packing house, is a poster bearing two kanji characters, hand drawn in marker pen: Kai and Zen.

    Loosely translated as “changing for the better,” Kaizen refers to a Japanese management philosophy, pioneered by Toyota, that emphasizes constant innovation and improvement in business. It is an incongruous sight in a region dominated by small-scale agriculture, where incomes barely scrape above the $1.25-a-day poverty line.


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    Update From Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora

    At the 2014 International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora. (Photo: by Kebadu Belachew)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The lively and diverse crowd at the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora — that was held at the Sheraton in Silver Spring, Maryland this past weekend (Saturday, March 22nd) — featured several speakers (both women and men) discussing current issues affecting Ethiopian women globally. Some of the presenters participated via Internet from Colorado, Kentucky and California.

    The conference commenced with a motivational speech by Chereace Richards, a successful business woman and author of Faith, Focus, Action: The Journey to Becoming Who You Are, followed by a segment of Dagmawi Yimer’s movie Like a Man on Earth, a moving story of Ethiopian migrant workers in Libya. “We showed the clip of the film and Dagmawi gave a brief speech,” said Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, President of CREW (Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women) who organized the conference. “The movie and his speech left a lot of people in the audience sobbing.”

    Others presenters included data visualization expert Jomo Tariku, as well as the editor and senior researcher of the Bahrain-based Rima Kalush, an advocate for migrant rights in Middle Eastern countries. Dr. Maigenet shared that during her several previous communications with Rima, who joined the conference online from Caliofrnia, she never asked about her birth country. “To me, she is just a powerful and strong woman from the Middle East who is defying her own culture and works for migrant workers,” she said. “And at the conference, I asked where Rima was from originally and she said she is from Libya.” She added: “What a story to tell. Thank you, Rima, for all what you are doing. You are a role model to all.”

    In a letter to supporters and participants Dr. Maigenet added: “Our first session began at about 10:30 a.m. by bringing Drs. Minga Negash and Seid Hassan via Skype from Colorado and Kentucky, respectively. [The speakers] set the framework for the conference by explaining the push and pull factors of migration in general and Ethiopian outmigration in particular. ”

    Another panel was focused on the current situation of Ethiopian women migrant workers in the Middle East and about the returnees from Saudi Arabia. “Our moderator was the young and vibrant, Dr. Menna Demissie, who is senior policy analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation,” Dr. Maigenet said. “Speakers on this panel included filmmaker Dagmawi Yimer, technologist and designer Jomo Tariku,  Researcher Helen Afework, and our own Genet Derbe, a social worker and the treasurer of CREW.”

    Speaking of Helen Afework, a young researcher and a graduate student at the European Masters in Migration Studies in Germany who is currently in New York on a fellowship program at the National Domestic Workers Association to study domestic workers in the United States, Dr. Maigenet said she became the recipient of the 2014 CREW scholarship sponsored by Tsehai Publishers.

    “She read on Tadias Magazine the coverage about our upcoming 3rd conference and wrote us,” Dr. Maigenet recalled her conversation with Helen. “We contacted her and interviewed her. She was really God-send, and because of her extensive work on domestic workers in the Middle East, she became our 2014 CREW scholarship recipient.”  The scholarship is designed to encourage Ethiopian women researchers to present their papers and findings at CREW’s annual conferences. “With more sponsors we hope to invite at least two Ethiopian women researchers every year,” she said. “There are many who wrote us to sponsor them, but due to our limited resources, we were unable to do that.”

    Tadella Fanta, a gender specialist with many years of experience in Ethiopia and other countries, addressed “the gendered nature of migration” based on research she had conducted regarding Ethiopian migrant workers in Yemen and Sudan. “She is one of the founding members of CREW, which has provided her a platform to present her research papers,” Dr. Maigenet said.

    Dr. Maigenet noted that “a lot of people inquired later about how we brought all these dynamic young professionals and senior scholars [together],” Dr. Maigenet said. “It was through contacts from the National Press Club roundtable that was organized by Tadias Magazine in December 2013 where we were introduced to a number of the panelists.”  Dr. Maigenet also thanked additional media sponsor ESAT television and radio and CREW member Birtwait Girmay who is a producer, Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service, Netsanet LeEthiopia radio, Addis Dimtse Radio, and ECADForum.

    CREW looks forward to hosting a fundraising event in May.

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    Opinion: The Flaw in Bill Gates’ Approach to Ending Global Poverty

    Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2008. (Photograph: WEF)

    The Seattle Times

    By William Easterly

    SOMEHOW — probably my own fault — I have wound up on Bill Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists. Gates singled me out by name in his annual 2014 letter to his foundation as an “aid critic” spreading harmful myths about ineffective aid programs.

    I actually admire Gates for his generosity and advocacy for the fight against global poverty through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. We just disagree about how to end poverty throughout the world.

    Gates believes poverty will end by identifying technical solutions. My research shows that the first step is not identifying technical solutions, but ensuring poor people’s rights.

    Gates concentrates his foundation’s efforts on finding the right fixes to the problems of the world’s poor, such as bed nets to prevent malarial mosquito bites or drought-tolerant varieties of corn to prevent famine. Along with official aid donors, such as USAID and the World Bank, the foundation works together with local, generally autocratic, governments on these technical solutions.

    Read more at The Seattle Times.

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    Migrant Stories From Italy: NYU Presents a Talk with Director Dagmawi Yimer

    Dagmawi Yimer. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — As Reuters noted in a feature published this past December, Ethiopian filmmaker Dagmawi Yimer, who lives in Italy, “is part of the fast-growing immigrant population that is changing the face of Italy, just as it has transformed the populations of more northern European countries such as Britain, France or Germany. He is also one of many foreigners who are trying – through cultural initiatives such as films and books – to change the racist views of many Italians of the immigrants in their midst.”

    In his 58-minutes documentary entitled Va’ pensiero, Walking Stories, which will be screened on Thursday (March 27th) here in New York, Dagmawi reflects on the difficulties of being an immigrant in his adopted country. The film chronicles violent incidents against African immigrants and the victims’ lonely journey to overcome their traumatizing experience while the media ignores their perspective.

    Per the announcement: “Va’ pensiero, Walking Stories is an interwoven account of two racist attacks in Milan and Florence and the victims’ painful attempts to piece the fragments of their lives back together. In central Milan, Mohamed Ba, a 50 year old Senegalese griot (bard), actor and teacher and resident in Italy for 14 years, is knifed in broad daylight on May 31, 2009. In Florence, residents Mor and Cheikj, also immigrants from Senegal, are beaten on December 31, 2011 while working in the San Lorenzo market. This powerful account brings together the overlapping stories of the three protagonists’ ordeal and their enduring hope of building a life in Italy, despite the fear and uncertainty of suddenly being plunged back to the moment of the attacks by one look or gesture. The director Dagmawi Yimer, a refugee from Ethiopia, shows us what violence looks like through the eyes of the victim.”

    The screening organized by New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs, the Department of Film and Television, Cinema Studies and the Africana Studies Program  is part of NYU’s “New Directions in African Cinema” series that explores “recent, innovative and cutting edge documentary movies (experimental and narrative).” The director will participate in a dialogue following the screening.

    If You Go:
    A screening of “Va’ pensiero, Walking Stories” & dialogue w/ director Dagmawi Yimer
    Date: Thursday, March 27th, 2014
    Time: 6:30 pm
    Location: Cinema Studies Dept-Tisch-NYU
    721 Broadway, 6th floor Michelson Theater
    (Free and open to the public. Space is limited)

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    BBC: Ethiopia Uses Foreign Kit to Spy on Opponents – HRW

    The government is accused of installing spyware on dissidents' computers. (BBC News)


    25 March 2014

    Ethiopia’s government is using imported technology to spy on the phones and computers of its perceived opponents, a Human Rights Watch report says.

    The New York-based rights group accuses the government of trying to silence dissent, using software and kit sold by European and Chinese firms.

    The report says the firms may be guilty of colluding in oppression.

    An Ethiopian government spokesman, quoted by AFP, dismissed the report as a part of a smear campaign.

    Security officials have virtually unlimited access to the call records of all telephone users in Ethiopia”

    “There is nothing new to respond to,” Ethiopian Information Minister Redwan Hussein told the agency.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) says its report is based on more than 100 interviews with victims of abuses and former intelligence officials, conducted between September 2012 and February this year.

    Read more at BBC News.

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    Harlem Helps: Marcus Samuelsson Hosting A Benefit for The East Harlem Collapse

    (Image: Courtesy Ticketfly)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Monday, March 24th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Marcus Samuelsson will be hosting a fundraiser at Ginny’s Supper Club next week (Wednesday, April 2nd) to support those who have been affected by the recent tragedy in East Harlem.

    The event announcement states. “In light of the tragic East Harlem explosion at 116th St. / Park Ave on the morning of March 12, 2014, we at Red Rooster Harlem are responding with assistance for our neighbors. To that end, on the evening of April 2, we are hosting a fundraiser to aid these families and individuals in their hour of need.”

    “The evening will feature a cocktail party with live entertainment to celebrate the Harlem Community. Ticket proceeds will go directly to the victims of the collapse via American Red Cross in Greater NY: East Harlem Collapse Relief.”

    If You Go:
    Harlem Helps: A Benefit for The East Harlem Collapse
    Wednesday, April 2 · 8:00 PM
    Ginny’s Supper Club
    VIP Cocktail Hour — $350 -7 pm
    General Admission — $175 – 8pm
    Phone: 212.621.3821
    Tickets at

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    2nd Annual Colours of the Nile Film Festival Opens in Ethiopia

    Photograph courtesy Colours of the Nile International Film Festival (CONIFF).

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Updated: Monday, March 24th, 2014

    Addis Ababa (TADIAS) – The second annual Colours of the Nile International Film Festival (CNIFF) opened in Addis Ababa on Monday. Organizers say this year’s festival highlights 48 films from around the African continent.

    The event (From 24 – 31 March), which is organized by the Blue Nile Film and Television Academy in partnership with the Ethiopian Filmmakers Association, features three competitive categories for drama, documentaries and short films, as well as ten awards to be given out — including The Great Nile Prize for Best Director.

    “Our selection captures the shifting paradigm in African cinema that is brought forward by extremely talented young African filmmakers,” CNIFF founder and president, Abraham Haile Biru, said in a statement. “At the same time the festival upholds and celebrates the extraordinary work of established names of African cinema.”

    The opening and award nights will be held at the Ethiopian National theatre, while screenings are scheduled at Alliance Ethio-française, Italian Cultural Institute and the Ethiopian National Museum.

    Learn more and see the line-up at

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    Ethiopians Rule at 2014 St. Patrick’s Race

    Mengistu Nebsi and Askale Merachi of Ethiopia crossing the finishing line in the 39th St. Patrick's Road Race in Holyoke, Massachusetts Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Michael S. Gordon, The Republican/MassLive)

    Mass Live

    By Seth Roberts

    Askale Merachi of Ethiopia set a women’s course record Saturday at the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Road Race. Her time of 33:14 was 3 seconds faster than Leslie Lehane’s 1991 record.

    In the men’s race, 35-year-old Ethiopian Mengistu Nebsi beat fellow countryman Ayele Feyisa by 5 seconds to win the 10k road race in 29:42.

    Five minutes before the start of the race, St. Patrick opened up blue skies and stopped the rain for the 6800 starters on an early spring day. A pack of 9 runners, including winner Nebsi, checked out the competition in a relaxed 4:55 first mile.

    Read more and watch video at Masslive.

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    US First Lady Michelle Obama in China Hosts Discussion on Education

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama at Peking University Stanford Center in Beijing, China, March 22, 2014. (AP)

    VOA News

    March 23, 2014

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama says she would not have accomplished what she has if it were not for her parents’ investment in her education.

    Mrs. Obama, who is a Harvard-educated lawyer, made her comments in Beijing Sunday where she hosted a discussion on education.

    “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education. And my parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation. So the President and I have made education a key focus of our work over the coming years, because we want to make sure that as many young people in the United States, and around the world, quite frankly, have access to education.”

    Mrs. Obama held the discussion at the American embassy in the Chinese capital on the third day of her visit to the country.

    The U.S. first lady is also scheduled to visit the Great Wall and have lunch with her daughters and her mother at a restaurant in a former school near a section of the wall.

    On the second day of her trip, Mrs. Obama told American and other students that freedom of expression and worship, and having open access to information are universal rights.

    The first lady stopped short Saturday of calling on China’s ruling Communist Party to loosen constraints on those very rights.

    China is among the most repressive nations in the world concerning free speech, cracking down on dissent, blocking many news and online sites, and censoring Internet news that Beijing considers objectionable.

    White House officials have said Mrs. Obama’s trip will focus on education and will steer clear of more contentious issues between the United States and China, such as human rights and trade.

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    Russian Forces Storm Ukraine Bases

    Russian soldiers at the gate of the Belbek base near the port city of Sevastopol, Crimea, March 22, 2014. (Photo: AP)

    VOA News
    By Steve Herman

    March 22, 2014

    KYIV — Pro-Russian forces have stormed a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea, firing shots and smashing through gates and walls with armored vehicles.

    The troops broke into the Belbek air base facing no apparent resistance from Ukrainian troops, some of whom sang the Ukrainian national anthem during the incident.

    Ukrainian defense officials says at least one person was wounded.

    Earlier Saturday, Russian forces issued an ultimatum for Ukrainian troops at the base to surrender. The Belbek base outside the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol has been one of the largest holdouts of Ukrainian military forces in Crimea.

    The Belbek air base shares facilities with Sevastopol’s international airport. Russia also has a large naval base in Sevastopol.

    Also Saturday, Ukrainian troops abandoned a military base in Novofedorovka, north of Sevastopol, after Russian soldiers forced their way into the facility. Witnesses say the Ukrainians tried to repel the Russians with smoke bombs before leaving the base.

    Russian forces have been seizing Ukrainian military bases and warships in Crimea as Russia finalizes its annexation of the strategic peninsula. Ukrainian troops have offered minimal resistance thus far.

    With Russia’s takeover of Crimea peninsula nearly complete, Reuters is reporting that westernn diplomats are converging on Kyiv, where, a day after the interim government leaders signed a political alignment pact with the European Union, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir accused Russian of attempting once again to divide Europe between East and West.

    “It contradicts what we have experienced for decades,” Steinmeir said. “We cannot accept this situation, cannot allow bloodshed again.”

    OSCE mission

    Russia’s Foreign Ministry has expressed the hope that dispatching to Ukraine a 200-member team of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will help ease tensions. However, the ministry rejects any talk of the monitors entering Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia has now annexed.

    The U.S. chief envoy to the OSCE, Daniel Baer, says the mission should have access to Crimea because the rest of the world still recognizes it as Ukrainian territory.

    Three months of anti-government rallies in Ukraine, in which more than 100 people died, prompted President Viktor Yanukovych to flee his country. An interim government has been appointed with elections scheduled for May 25th.

    The prime minister of that government, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, won praise Saturday from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for pushing reconciliation at a time many Ukrainians are feeling anger and frustration.

    “I’m confident that with such a strong support of international community which you are receiving and under your leadership, as well as courageous people, you will be able to overcome this difficult time,” he said.

    The secretary-general added that direct dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow is critical to reducing the current tensions.

    However, there is no indication of that occurring any time soon.

    In eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, thousands of residents of the city of Donetsk took to the streets Saturday, demanding a chance to vote, as people in Crimea did in a refendum a week ago (3/16), to break away from Ukraine and become part of Russia.

    Among those in the region who want to keep Ukrainian sovereignty, there are fears that at any time the Russian military could move across the border and occupy Ukrainian territory, as it did in Crimea.

    Not only is Ukraine losing territory to Russia; its eastward-dependent trade relationship with Moscow also is in danger.

    The interim government is moving quickly to work on a trade agreement with the European Union to transform Ukraine’s economy, which has been hobbled by decades of corruption and political upheaval.

    If such a pact with the EU is to become a reality, Ukraine’s commissioner for European integration, Valery Pyatnytsky, says there is a need for action on comprehensive economic changes, not just more promises from the country’s political leaders.

    “Not to declare the fight with corruption, not to declare the rules of law, not to declare the other values with European Union. Not declare [what] we would like to be, but to be,” said Pyatnytsky.

    Ukraine’s 45 million people live on rich agricultural land and the country has a large industrial base, yet the nation is considered the poorest in Eastern Europe.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Friday completing the annexation of Crimea. The law recognizes parliament’s approval of a referendum by Crimeans on breaking away from Ukraine.

    Obama going to Europe

    The U.S. says no one in the international community will recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

    White House officials say the situation in Ukraine will be “front and center” during President Barack Obama’s trip to Europe in the coming week.

    National Security Advisor Susan Rice told reporters Friday that the common theme to the president’s trip is the fundamental strength of U.S. partnerships and alliances, including NATO, the European Union and the G7.

    Rice said Ukraine and the Russian takeover of Crimea are prompting a fundamental reassessment of U.S.-Russian relations. She said the world will clearly see that Russia is more and more isolated.

    Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said a G-7 summit in The Hague – a meeting that probably would have included Russia as an eighth member – has been added to the president’s agenda as part of that isolation.

    Also on President Obama’s European schedule is a nuclear security summit with more than 50 other countries, including Russia.

    Rice says the United States has every interest in continuing to cooperate with Russia on this issue, which she calls a pillar of the Obama national security policy – making it harder for terrorists to get their hands on nuclear materials.

    Daniel Schearf contributed to this VOA report from Crimea.

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    Opinion: World According to Putin

    Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. (

    By Alexander J. Motyl

    Editor’s note: Alexander J. Motyl is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark. He was associate director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University from 1992 through 1998. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet Union, Motyl is the author of six academic books and several novels, including “The Jew Who Was Ukrainian,” “My Orchidia” and “Sweet Snow.” He writes a weekly blog on “Ukraine’s Orange Blues” for World Affairs Journal.

    Putin’s breathtaking lies about Russia

    (CNN) — Vladimir Putin’s gala address before Russian parliamentarians and officials Tuesday surprised no one when he announced Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The interesting part was his distorted view of Russian history, and his proclamation that a bizarre kind of simultaneously aggrieved and aggressive hyper-nationalism is now Russia’s official ideology.

    In discussing Ukraine, however, Putin seemed to go out of his way to suggest he had no aggressive intentions and was not planning to divide the rest of the country.

    Listening to Putin, one could easily forget that Russia is and for many centuries has been the largest country in the world and that it acquired its territories by imperialist expansion often accompanied by genocide and ethnic cleansing.

    Read more at CNN.

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    The High Museum of Art Atlanta Features Q & A With Julie Mehretu

    Julie Mehretu will speak at the High Museum in Atlanta on Monday, April 21, 2014. (Photo: By Teju Cole)

    The High Museum of Art Atlanta

    March 22nd, 2014

    Join MacArthur Foundation Award–winning artist Julie Mehretu as she discusses her career and work, including the High Museum of Art’s recent acquisition, Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts): Part II (2012). Mehretu, whose work is known for its dynamic formal complexity and multi-layered imagery, is interested in how the architecture of the public square, a site of social and political change, connects to the community.

    Alluding to the events of the Arab Spring, her Mogamma series – titled in reference to the government building just south of Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt – features detailed renderings of structures in Tripoli, Libya; Cairo; and other Middle Eastern cities where uprisings have occurred recently. Produced for the 2012 exhibition Documenta XIII in Germany, this series – including the High’s recent acquisition – exhibits Mehretu’s deft use of gestural marks, sweeping lines, and silkscreened patterns, suggesting the often urgent and always complex patterns of migrant peoples.

    The High is honored to bring Mehretu to Atlanta for this special event. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the artist and learn about her works.

    Learn more and buy tickets at

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    Miss Africa Utah Steps Down, Miss Ethiopia Takes Her Place

    Muluwerk Hale, Miss Ethiopia, in the Miss Africa Utah Pageant, March 8, 2014. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

    The Salt Lake Tribune

    By Sheena McFarland

    Miss Africa Utah reigned in the Beehive State for only about two weeks.

    Winnet Murahwa, who entered the March 8 competition as Miss Zimbabwe, beat out eight other contestants to win the African Chamber of Commerce’s beauty competition. However, she announced she was stepping down.

    “After carefully contemplating on my responsibilities as the queen, I realized that I cannot fulfill all the responsibilities expected of me due to personal reasons,” Murahwa said in a statement.

    Taking her place is second runner-up Miss Ethiopia, Muluwerk Hale. She was crowned because the first runner-up, Miss Sierra Leone, is moving to Britain.

    Miss Africa Utah is expected to make media and public appearances and pursue her platform.

    The crowning ceremony was Friday afternoon at One World Gifts in Salt Lake City.

    Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

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    Ethiopian Journalist Among Women’s Voices Silenced

    Courtesy Africa Media CPJ

    Storify by Africamedia CPJ

    Award-winning Ethiopian journalist, Reeyot Alemu is spending international women’s month in the same place she’s spent the last three years – Kality Prison outside Addis Ababa, where she is serving a five year prison sentence on trumped-up charges.

    On March 9th, as dozens of women took part in a 5K run in Addis Ababa organized by the authorities in honor of International Women’s Day, some participants used the occasion to express their ardent desires for freedom and justice in Ethiopia.


    Read more at Storify.

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    Dr. Segenet Kelemu’s Research Aims to Ensure Food Security

    Dr. Segenet Kelemu, head of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, is winner of the 2014 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. (Women's Daily Wear/UNESCO)


    Ethiopian scientist Segenet Kelemu is working to improve the resistance and productivity of forage grasses, which are used to feed the animals (and so to produce milk and meat). Born in a rural village and defying strong cultural norms, she managed to have an international career and return to Africa where she shared her much needed knowledge.

    The main food source for much of the world’s livestock, forage grasses are vitally important to meeting the increasing demand for meat and milk. Dr. Segenet Kelemu has been recognized for her research on how microbes living in symbiosis with these grasses influence their health, their capacity to adapt to environmental stress and their ability to resist disease.

    Read more.

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    Ethiopian Conference in Silver Spring to Mark Women’s History Month

    Photographs courtesy the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW).

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Friday, March 21st, 2014

    Washington,D.C. (TADIAS) — In celebration of Women’s History Month, Tadias Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora, which takes place on Saturday, March 22nd at the Sheraton in Silver Spring, Maryland. The conference, which is hosted by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), is designed to provide a forum to address topics affecting Ethiopian women in the Diaspora and in Ethiopia. Among the subjects to be covered include “Common issues, strategies, potential actions and networking” led by Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

    The theme this year is entitled “Migration of Ethiopian Women: Contemporary Issues.” The objective, organizers say, is to increase understanding of the “dynamics of migration, the push and pull factors of migration,” as well as the current situation of Ethiopians in Middle Eastern countries.”

    Conference presenters include Dr. Minga Negash, Metropolitan State University of Denver and Dr. Seid Hassan, Murray State University describing the ‘Ethiopian Emigration: Incentives or Constraints’; Tadella Demeke Fanta of CREW on ‘The Gendered Nature of Migration’; Jomo Tariku on ‘Advocacy in the Age of Digital & Social Media’; Helen Afework, graduate student in Migration Studies & Intercultural Relations, on ‘The Face of Slavery: Ethiopian Domestic Workers Across the Gulf Countries’; Genet Derebe, CREW, on ‘Testimonials – Voices of Repatriated Women’; Solomon Tilahun on ‘Conflict Handling Mechanisms & Implications for the Immigrant Community’; Rima Kalush from; and author Chereace Richards.

    If You Go:
    The 3rd International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora
    Saturday, March 22, 2014
    Sheraton Silver Spring
    Registration: $15
    Students with ID Free
    8777 Georgia Ave,
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    More info at

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    Ethiopia Regularly Records Phone Calls

    Human Rights Watch says most of the monitoring technology is provided by China's ZTE. (AP)

    By Associated Press

    NAIROBI, Kenya — A rights group says that Ethiopia’s government regularly listens to and records the phone calls of opposition activists and journalists using equipment provided by foreign technology companies.

    Human Rights Watch said in a report Friday that the foreign equipment aids the Ethiopian government’s surveillance of perceived political opponents inside and outside the country.

    Read more.

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    Book: ‘All Our Names’ by Dinaw Mengestu

    Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new book 'All Our Names.' (Photograph credit: Michael Lionstar)

    The New York Times Book Review


    All three of Dinaw Mengestu’s novels are about people who, for various reasons, come to this country and fashion new lives. But it would be a huge mistake — it would be an insult, in fact — to call him a novelist of “the immigrant experience” or a chronicler of “life on the hyphen” or any of the other shabby, summary clichés deployed to characterize (and too often diminish and even dismiss) authors whose birth certificates identify them as foreign-born. For while questions of race, ethnicity and point of origin do crop up repeatedly in Mengestu’s fiction, they are merely his raw materials, the fuel with which he so artfully — but never didactically — kindles disruptive, disturbing stories exploring the puzzles of identity, place and human connection.

    Mengestu began this exploration with his dazzling first novel, “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears,” and extended it in “How to Read the Air.” Good as they were, those books now look like warm-up acts. For with “All Our Names,” he has grounded his search in a story so straightforward but at the same time so mysterious that you can’t turn the pages fast enough, and when you’re done, your first impulse is to go back to the beginning and start over.

    Read more at NYT.

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    ‘Difret’: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival (Video)

    At the 2014 Annual New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Image courtesy: Tsedey Aragie)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — During the Q&A session at the 10th Annual New African Films Festival — that was held at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland this past weekend — filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari and producer Mehret Mandefro, fielded questions regarding their award winning movie Difret, including how they came across the epic story. Zeresenay shared that in 2005 he had met Meaza Ashenafi’s brother at a dinner where he heard about his sister.  Zeresenay recalled being told “you should make a movie about my sister.”

    “Yeah, I laughed about it and then I typed up her name and a thousand pages came up.” He added: “And what she was able to [do] in Ethiopia at that time blew me away. And I wanted to meet her and I asked to meet her, and a couple of months later we met. She was very skeptical that a man, an Ethiopian man at that, wanted to do a story about women’s issues.”

    Difret, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, narrates the true story of a teenager who was a victim of telefa (the archaic custom of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia) and later gained public attention when she was arrested and charged with murder for the killing of her abductor. The girl’s subsequent acquittal on the grounds of self defense is owing not in small part to the courageous and tireless effort of the now legendary lawyer Meaza Ashenafi.

    “Bringing this issue of gender to the surface and making a difference in Ethiopian law is really very important,” said Martha Negash, an audience member and a former law school classmate of Meaza, emphasizing that she’s proud her friend’s work.

    “I have a lot of respect for Mehret and Zeresenay for choosing to really talk and discuss in detail about women’s issues,” shared Dr. Menna Demessie. “Of all the films they could have made to make a film about the struggles of young women in Ethiopia, while also being very sensitive to the culture and tradition, I really respect them for that.”  Menna added: “First of all its based on a true story, so the fact that there is success or light at the end of the tunnel is key to the fact that there are women who against all odds are still fighting on behalf of other young women and willing to put themselves at the forefront of these issues that I find very empowering.”

    Among those who watched the film included Ambassador Imru Zelleke, “Very well done,” he noted. “Both from the technical point of view and the history reflects the present day Ethiopia with all its contradictions between the old and new. It was marvelous, a first class job.”

    Asked to name additional social subjects that he would like to explore in future cinema projects, Zeresenay told Tadias that he is interested in tackling immigration. “I want to talk about that,” he said. “I also have a story that I wanted to do about human trafficking and prostitution. That’s an issue that is affecting us a great deal.” He cautioned: “Of course, they are far away from being full conceptualized works.”

    Mwiza Munthhali, Public Outreach Director of Trans Africa, and one of the presenters of the New African Films Festival, stated that compared to when they first started showing at AFI Silver Theatre nearly a decade ago, the number of films shown at the annual festival has doubled with 18 African motion pictures curated from all parts of the continent making their debut in 2014. “The number of films to choose from has also expanded stupendously in the last ten years,” Munthhali said.

    Below is Tadias Magazine’s video coverage of the event by Tsedey Aragie.

    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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    Ethiopia’s Clothes Firms Aim to Fashion Global Sales

    Yefikr design created by Ethiopian designer Fikirte Addis is looking at increasing overseas sales. (BBC)

    BBC News

    By James Jeffrey

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Ethiopian fashion designer Fikirte Addis kneels down and wraps a tape measure around the waist of a customer, before scribbling on a piece of paper on which the outline of a flowing gown takes shape.

    The customer, Rihana Aman, owns a cafe in the capital, Addis Ababa, and went to Ms Fikirte’s shop in the city, Yefikir Design, for a wedding dress fitting.

    The dress, however, is actually for her sister, who lives and works in London, but will soon return to her homeland with her English fiance.

    Ms Rihana explains how she shares her sister’s figure, and that the cotton dress will be ready for when her sister arrives back for her “melse”, the Ethiopian wedding ceremony.

    “I love the traditional aspect of the clothing,” Ms Rihana says of why she chose Yefikir. “So many dresses now are too modern, and use fabrics that lose what it means to be Ethiopian.”

    Read more at BBC News.

    Ethiopia Sees Output From Africa’s Biggest Power Plant by 2015 (Bloomberg)

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    EITI Approves Ethiopia’s Candidacy



    JOHANNESBURG – The board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has approved Ethiopia’s candidacy to its global standard on transparent management of oil, gas and mineral resources, the organisation said on Wednesday.

    As a candidate, the East African country has three years to achieve compliance with the EITI standard, which is a global initiative to encourage governments to better manage natural resource revenues.

    At least one international rights group, New York-based Human Rights Watch, had asked the EITI board to reject Ethiopia’s bid for membership, saying the government needed to lift persisting restrictions on civil society.

    “In its discussions, the EITI Board stressed the importance of ensuring civil society engagement in Ethiopia’s efforts to comply with the EITI Standard,” the Oslo-based group said in a statement on its web site.

    It added that some members of the board argued that Ethiopia’s application should not be accepted, and requested that their reservations be noted.

    An earlier effort by Ethiopia to join the transparency group was rebuffed in 2010.


    Extractive Industries: Transparency Group Rewards Repression (HRW)
    HRW Says NGO Law Should Block Ethiopia From EITI Membership (Bloomberg)

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    Dr. Abraham Verghese Receives Heinz Foundation’s Arts and Humanities Award

    Dr. Abraham Verghese is the 2014 recipient of the Heinz Foundation’s Arts and Humanities Award, an honor he shares with 18 other Americans since 1993. (El Paso Newspaper Tree/Robert Ravindran)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Monday, March 17th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Abraham Verghese, a Stanford professor of medicine and the best-selling author of Cutting for Stone, an epic novel set in his birth country of Ethiopia, has won the $250,000 Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities. The Heinz Family Foundation noted that “Dr. Abraham Verghese brings a unique perspective to healing as an art and a calling in an era when the scientific details of medicine often overshadow the humanity of the patient.”

    “I was at home and I heard that Teresa Heinz wanted to speak to me,” Verghese told the El Paso Newspaper Tree. “I knew that she was Senator Kerry’s wife and the widow of Senator John Heinz. I had also read that she grew up in Africa and her father was a physician; I assumed that she was perhaps putting some event together and wanted me to speak. When the phone call came, it was truly a surprise at every level.”

    Dr. Verghese is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and the Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University. Dr. Verghese has written two books – My Own Country (a memoir) and Cutting for Stone. His writings have also been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and  The Wall Street Journal.

    Tadias Interview with Dr. Abraham Verghese (2009)
    Tadias Book Review: Verghese’s ‘Cutting for Stone’

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    New Bronx Home for NYC Medhanialem Church — Opening Ceremony May 3rd

    The new church at 302 East 206 Street in the Norwood Section of Bronx, New York. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Saturday, March 15th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — After three decades in Harlem one of the oldest Ethiopian churches in New York, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church, is moving into a newly purchased building in the Bronx this spring. The Church announced that it’s extending an invitation to the community at large to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new location scheduled for May 3rd, 2014.

    Since the mid 1980′s the congregation had met in a rental space inside the Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. “Our stay at the Riverside was meant to be very temporary,” the Church noted in a press release. “However that temporary period turned out to be a long 30 years due partly to the expensive real estate market of New York City. After so many years of saving nickels and dimes, we have now purchased a property in the Norwood Section of the Bronx.”

    As to the event on May 3rd, “This day will be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the Ethiopian immigrant population and supporters.” the statement added. “We plan a big display of our age old religious tradition, custom and procession. We also have an open house program on April 26th specifically for the neighborhood.”

    If You Go:
    የኢትዮዽያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ የመድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን
    Inauguration Ceremony
    Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
    302 East 206 St
    Bronx, NY 10467
    More info:

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    SWAT Team Arrests Man in Slaying of Ethiopian Immigrant in Columbus, Ohio

    19-year-old Dinkisra Mengistu, above, a 2012 graduate of Westerville South High School, was fatally shot while he sat inside his car in a hotel parking lot in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, March 9th, 2014. (NBC4)

    The Columbus Dispatch

    By Theodore Decker

    A Delaware County man charged with killing an Ethiopian immigrant on the Far North Side on Sunday was arrested by Columbus SWAT officers yesterday.

    Anthony M. Monaco, 19, of 3714 Perennial Lane in Liberty Township, was in the Franklin County jail last night pending an appearance in Franklin County Municipal Court this morning. He is charged with one count of murder in the death of Dinkisra Mengistu, 19.

    Mengistu, a 2012 graduate of Westerville South High School, was shot as he sat in a vehicle in the parking lot at 175 Hutchinson Ave., near the Sheraton Suites Columbus, early Sunday morning. A motive for the shooting hadn’t been determined, although police said the victim and the suspect might have attended the same party the night before.

    Read more at The Columbus Dispatch.

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    Is Ethiopia Ready for Fast Food and Name-Brand Soap?

    Shoppers and vendors make their way down a street in Merkato, in Addis Ababa. (Associated Press photo)

    Bloomberg/ Business Week

    By Carol Matlack

    Ethiopia is a largely agricultural nation of 94 million people that endures frequent droughts and famine, with a per-capita income of a bit more than $100 per month. Is it ready for Heineken beer and KFC chicken outlets?

    The companies behind these global brands think it may be. Amsterdam-based Heineken (HEIA:NA) is scheduled to open a $127 million brewery in mid-2014 on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Unilever (UN), the British-Dutch consumer-products giant, announced plans this month to open a factory near Addis Ababa that’s expected to produce detergents such as Omo. Louisville-based Yum! Brands (YUM), which owns KFC, is also considering a move into Ethiopia.

    As Africa’s second-most-populous country, behind Nigeria, “Ethiopia is the one that stands out,” Bruce Layzell, Yum’s general manager for new African markets, told Bloomberg News. “We don’t want to go to a country where we can only build four or five restaurants,” he said. “We want to go in and build 50, 100. Our business is the scale game.” Besides the size of its population, what attracts multinational consumer groups to Ethiopia is robust economic growth, averaging 9.3 percent over the past four years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

    Read more.

    Reykjavik Plans to Start $2 Billion Ethiopian Power Project (Bloomberg News)
    Tesco emphasises ethics as plans to buy clothes from Ethiopia (Reuters)
    Unilever Plans Manufacturing in Ethiopia to Emulate Vietnam (Bloomberg News)
    Yum Eyes Ethiopian Entry as KFC Restaurants Expand Across Africa (Bloomberg News)

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    3rd International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora – March 22

    (Courtesy photo: At the 2012 International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora held in D.C.)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Updated: Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — The month of March is dedicated to Women’s History Month worldwide and since 1975 the UN has marked International Women’s Day on March 8th; this year the theme was “Equality for Women is Progress for All.”

    In honor of the global celebration the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora will be held in Silver Spring, Maryland on Saturday, March 22, 2014. The conference, which is hosted by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), will provide a forum for participants to freely and openly discuss issues affecting Ethiopian women in the Diaspora and in Ethiopia.

    The focus is “Migration of Ethiopian Women: Contemporary Issues,” CREW announced in statement. “Root causes for migration of Ethiopians will be discussed. The gendered nature of migration will be analyzed. Current situation of Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle Eastern countries will be addressed.” The statement added: “The [gathering] will also discuss how immigrant Ethiopians can transform conflicts that they face during their transition time [and] provide suggestions on the protection of the rights of Ethiopian migrant workers.”

    In her message posted on organization’s website, Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, President of CREW, notes: “Since its establishment on March 25th, 2012, CREW has addressed a number of critical issues that pertain to the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide. Soon after it was created, the organization focused on the plight of Ethiopian female domestic workers in Middle Eastern countries.”  CREW has launched a campaign to create awareness about the plight of Ethiopian domestic workers and encourage the international community to get involved in amelioration efforts.  Dr. Maigenet also shares that CREW members are committed to develop a credible and strong “independent women’s organization that will stand firmly for the respect of the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide.”

    If You Go:
    The Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora
    Saturday, March 22, 2014
    Sheraton Silver Spring
    8777 Georgia Ave,
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    More info at

    Video: UN commemorates International Women’s Day 2014 (Webcast)

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    Another Win for Genzebe Dibaba

    Genzebe Dibaba won the women’s 3000m final at the 2014 World Indoor Championship. (Getty Images)


    Four laps into the women’s 3000m final, the stadium announcer described the pace as “relatively sedate,” which was putting it very mildly.

    The 12-woman field passed 400m in 1:22 and 800m in 2:46, and many people wondered whether we were watching a Sunday afternoon stroll along Sopot Pier, the longest wooden pier in Europe, or a championship race.

    Any chance of Genzebe Dibaba troubling the record books – the championship record books, let alone the global one in which she had made three marks this season – had been blown out of the water. Elly van Hulst’s 8:33.82, already a quarter of a century old, would survive for at least another two years.

    Read more at IAAF.

    Video: Genzebe Dibaba wins Gold in Women’s 3000m – Universal Sports

    Mohammed Aman wins gold in 800m

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    Ethiopians Sweep LA Marathon

    Two runners from Ethiopia claimed top spots at the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 9th, 2014.

    By Associated Press

    SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Amane Gobena ran two marathons in two months, and after winning the second in Los Angeles, she’ll now have enough money for that dream home.

    The 31-year-old Ethiopian woman won the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 37 seconds after finishing sixth in Dubai on Jan. 25.

    She crossed the finish line 41 seconds ahead of men’s champion and fellow Ethiopian Gebo Burka and won a $50,000 bonus for being the first elite runner to finish. The women started 17:41 ahead of the men. She also won a $25,000 first prize as top woman.

    Read more.

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    Israel Offers to Mediate Ethiopia-Egypt Dam Row

    The Nile dam project under construction in Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia. (Photo: Ruptly TV)

    Turkish Press

    ADDIS ABABA – Israeli Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir has voiced Israel`s readiness to assist Egypt and Ethiopia reach agreement over the latter`s construction of a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Nile River.

    According to Ethiopia`s state-run news agency, Shamir made the remarks at a Thursday meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

    The agency did not specify how Israel intends to assist both countries in ironing out their differences over the dam.

    Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt soured last year over construction of Ethiopia`s Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Nile – Egypt`s main source of water.

    The controversial project raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world`s most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.

    Water distribution among Nile Basin states has long been based on a colonial-era agreement granting Egypt and Sudan the lion`s share of the river`s water.

    Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity thus generated.

    Ethiopia`s Foreign Ministry, for one, welcomed Israel`s offer.

    “Any country like Israel may raise such idea and Ethiopia appreciates this,” Jemal Beker, director of Middle East affairs at the ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

    Read more.

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    2014 African Economic Forum – April 4-5

    Wale Tinubu, Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Sub-Saharan Africa indigenous integrated energy group, is the keynote speaker at this year's African Economic Forum at Columbia University. (photos: Columbia AEF)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Friday, March 7th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — The 2014 African Economic Forum (AEF) at Columbia University, which is scheduled for April 4th and 5th, will include nine panel discussions on current African economic affairs, including: healthcare, corporate responsibility and governance, mobile and internet revolution, capital markets, microfinance, media, education, energy and power in Africa.

    The annual gathering brings together policy makers, entrepreneurs, scholars and students to engage each other in dialogue on various topics focused on economic development and business opportunities in Africa. This year’s theme is entitled  ”A Continent Ascends: Emerging Perspective from the Frontier” and organizers say the keynote speakers include Wale Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Sub-Saharan Africa indigenous integrated energy group, and Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of African Capacity Building Foundation.

    If You Go:
    Tickets to be released this week. For more information visit:

    Columbia University’s African Diplomatic Forum Explores New Frontier of Leadership

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    Bekoji, Ethiopia: Little Town of Champions

    The village of Bekoji, in the highlands of Ethiopia, has produced long-distance runners who’ve won 16 Olympic medals in 20 years. What explains this remarkable success? (Photograph: Parallelozero )

    The Atlantic

    By Nick Ashdown

    “Running is in my blood,” says Tolo Debele, feeding his 3-month-old boy Dawit in his gated compound in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. “It’s changed everything in my life.”

    The long-legged 32-year-old is wearing a pair of bright-blue running shoes with shock absorbers on the heels, provided by his sponsor, Nike. A competitive marathon runner, he’s raced in Asia, Europe, and America. But his wife Askale Tafa has him beat: Their massive dark-wood cabinet in the living room is packed with sparkling trophies, mostly hers. Fifth place, Boston; third place, Dubai; second place, Berlin.

    Not long ago, Tolo and Askale were living a very different life: herding cattle and farming in Bekoji, the pastoral, grain-producing town in central Ethiopia, several hours south of Addis, where they grew up. They moved to the capital to join a large urban running club, but they’ve maintained their ties to Bekoji, capitalizing on their athletic success by opening a hotel back home.

    Read more at The Atlantic.

    Video: The movie Town of Runners (Trailer)

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    Feedel Band at Silvana in Harlem March 7th

    Feedel Band. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – The Washington DC-based Ethio-Jazz group Feedel Band will perform in New York City this coming weekend at Silvana in Harlem on Friday, March 7th with saxophonist Moges Habte who was featured on Ethiopiques CD series volume 13. Feedel Band is currently working with Producer Thomas Gobena who previously produced Debo Band’s self-titled debut album.

    The event announcement noted: “Feedel Band’s sound can best be described as a merging of ’60s R&B and jazz with traditional Ethiopian songcraft. Feedel is by definition, the Amharic word for letter or alphabet. In all languages we learn to read one letter at a time, and from those letters we form words. Feedel Band is taking Ethiopian music and jazz, and blending it into a simmering stew of musical genre’s, textures and feeling. They are creating and in some cases re-creating the musical language of what has been called EthioJazz. The members of Feedel Band are acclaimed musicians in their own right. Individually, and as part of a larger group they’ve all performed with numerous well known musicians and artists. Since the bands inception, the reception that Feedel has received has been extraordinary. At FestAfrica 2011, the audience was enamored with their warm and engaging style. While their music is inspired by the sounds of legendary Ethiopian bands like Walias, Ibex and Roha Band. Feedel Band also composes and performs their own original music.”

    If You Go:
    Okayafrica Presents Feedel Band
    Silvana’s in Harlem
    Friday, March 7th, 2014 at Midnight
    300 West 116th St
    New York, NY 10026

    Rising Ethio-Jazz Singer Yeshi Demelash Prepares for U.S. Tour

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    Meron Gebru: My Experience as a Diaspora Volunteer in Ethiopia

    LIVE-Addis, a local NGO based in Addis Ababa, provides job training for the youth. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Meron Gebru

    Updated: Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    Washington, D.C. — There is nothing like firsthand experience. Recently I spent three months in Ethiopia as a Diaspora volunteer through Cuso International working as a Women’s Livelihood Promotion Officer at LIVE-Addis, a local charity based in the capital. LIVE-Addis is devoted to enabling poor households to improve their livelihoods. What a rewarding time it was!

    Aside from my sporadic visits to Ethiopia in the past few years, which often lasted for a couple of weeks, my idea of how things operated in Addis was very scant and was bound to be challenged. This opportunity gave me an intimate understanding of how the nonprofit community works, as well as how the different stakeholders in local economic development activities engage each other and what challenges they face on a regular basis.

    My role at LIVE-Addis was to assess the capacity of the organization and help build its gender programming. I led several projects included designing an employment training manual, facilitating training, and providing job readiness workshops, while spending time with the motivated and dedicated staff who run the organization. Established in 2005 the non-profit has been implementing projects that support vulnerable and unemployed youth and women by connecting beneficiaries to a variety of vocational trainings that last 2 to 10 months, providing life skills education, business development classes, networking with employers, and granting seed money for those who want to start small businesses.

    I also supported the organization in its annual friends’ day event where graduates are honored as well as asked to showcase their specific talents. I recognized this event as an important opportunity to invite potential employers so that the graduates could connect with them, demonstrate their expertise and learn about possible employment opportunities. To prepare, I trained candidates in job readiness aptitude, which included interviewing skills, job searching techniques, writing resumes, and initiating conversation with potential employers. After seeing its impact, the organization has institutionalized preparation of CVs and giving short coaching sessions to participants.

    I believe volunteering is not merely giving back, but it is also receiving, in equal amount if not more, in personal growth. After applying for the position with Cuso International’s Diasporas for Development (DfD) Initiative, which is funded by USAID and Accenture, I was given a thorough volunteer assessment and training before my departure. I gained a great deal of knowledge, however, on the ground during my time in Addis Ababa including the cultural competency that plays a paramount role in conducting any kind of business. I believe volunteering creates a healthy partnership between people who live in different continents and who aspire for the same goal. Volunteers are ambassadors who link two cultures, especially in these days of globalization. Volunteers can play a vital role in promoting fair trade whether it is in knowledge, skills or materials.

    If you are interested, Cuso International is currently recruiting skilled volunteers from members of the Ethiopian Diaspora as part their Diaspora for Development Project. You may apply directly on the Cuso International website.

    About the Author:
    Meron Gebru, who holds a graduate degree in Development Management, lives and works in Washington, D.C. area. Meron completed her undergraduate degree in Rural Development in Ethiopia before migrating to the U.S. seven years ago.

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    Q&A: Journalists Languish in Prison

    Government refuses to release award-winning journalists jailed under Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. (AJ)

    Al Jazeera

    As Al Jazeera presses ahead with its campaign to free its journalists detained in Egypt, nine Ethiopian journalists who are receiving less attention continue to languish in prison, held on trumped-up charges of terrorism, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

    To mark the 900th day of the imprisonment of award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, who is serving an 18-year jail term, and the 36th birthday of Woubshet Taye, jailed for 14 years, Al Jazeera speaks to Nani Jansen of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, a London-based NGO that helps journalists around the world defend their rights.

    Read more.

    John Kerry Highlights Eskinder Nega

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    Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa

    2014 marks the 118th anniversary of Ethiopia's victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896 and the following is a commemoration piece by historian Ayele Bekerie. (Courtesy Photograph: Adwa reenactment)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Ayele Bekerie, PhD


    Published: Saturday, March 1st, 2014

    Adwa, Ethiopia (TADIAS) — When historians recorded major world events of 1896 they included several headlines about the Battle of Adwa such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ In other words, Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).

    Adwa has generated a significant amount of discourse and prose from writers across the globe. To Raymond Jonas, Adwa is “the story of a world turned upside down.” As he further aptly puts it, “Ethiopia stunned the world.” Many writers made note of the fact that an African army defeated a European army. Donald Levine, the great Ethiopianist scholar, marked the historical event by highlighting its racial implications in reverse order: “a non-white nation has defeated a European power.” Levine’s perspective makes a whole lot of sense when one notices that it was also in 1896 that the US Supreme Court by seven-to-one majority vote affirmed racial segregation. And it took 58 years to overturn racial segregation in the United States.

    Encyclopedia Britannica narrated the following about the event of Adwa for posterity: “ The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy’s attempt to build an empire in Africa.” British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill penned the event in these words: “On the 1st of March 1896, the Battle of Adwa was fought and Italy, at the hands of Abyssinia, sustained a crushing defeat. Two results followed which affected other nations. First, a great blow had been struck at European prestige in north [east] Africa. Second, the value of Italy as a factor in European politics was depreciated.”

    In the context of world history, “the Battle of Adwa marked the largest military triumph of an African state over a European army in the nineteenth century and helped Ethiopia retain its independence during Europe’s Scramble for Africa,” writes Stanford University Historical Education Group. Ethiopia’s retention of its independence paved the way for global anti-colonial movements. Paul Henze describes it best when he states “the defeat at the Battle of Adwa as the beginning of the decline of Europe at the center of world politics.”

    Film Director and Producer Haile Gerima, framed the event as follows: “The victory ignited a lasting flame of hope, of freedom and of independence in the hearts of Africans throughout the world.” Bahru Zewde, a distinguished historian, understood Adwa’s global historical significance, for it “brought Ethiopia to the attention of the world.” The leading Afrocentrist, Molefi Kete Asante, further reiterates: “After the victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African state. After Adwa, Ethiopia became emblematic of African valor and resistance, the bastion of prestige and hope to thousands of Africans who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of African inferiority.”

    In fact, in 1896, outside of Adwa, there was no good news from the continent of Africa. European colonizers were almost on the verge completing their colonial agenda everywhere. In 1896, France dismissed Queen Ranvalona and later annexed Madagascar to its vast colonial empire. British troops defeated Zanzibar in a 38-minute war — A battle that started at 9:02am and ended at 9:40am, the record shows. It is equally important to note the resistance against colonialism in 1896 as evidenced by the uprising of the Matebeles in what is now the nation of Zimbabwe.

    When Adwa is studied and understood in the context of world history, we find Adwa as one of the most significant beacons of hope for all oppressed and colonized people of the world. It is a victory that shattered the myth of European supremacy. It is a global historic moment that should be remembered and its bigger story should be shared by young and old in the world. Adwa, we call again, for its inclusion in the World Heritage List.

    Ayele Bekerie is an Associate Professor at the Department of History and Heritage Management at Mekelle University.

    The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
    Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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    The Battle of Adwa Changed Ethiopia and the World

    "The Battle of Adwa" (Courtesy of A. Davey via Wikipedia)

    Abebe Hailu, Special to The Informer

    Ethiopia has a significant history reaching over 3,000 years into the past. The word “Ethiopia” has become a term for the idea of African solidarity and freedom, not just the name of a nation or a region. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus noted the region of Ethiopia as home to “people with burnt faces.” During the Greek and Roman eras, everything south of the Sahara Desert in Africa was generally referred to as Ethiopia or Abysinnia.

    Biblical references also label Ethiopia as Cush, Kesh, Ekosh and Shewa (Sheba) in the Hebrew language. These were the names used in Solomon’s courts when he received a visit from the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba. The biblical “Song of Solomon” praises her physical beauty. In modern times, especially since the battle of Adwa, Ethiopia has been seen as a de facto model of freedom for all black cultures and societies world-wide.

    Read more.

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    Tadias Interview With Bruktawit Tigabu: Her Amharic Classroom Library Project

    Bruktawit Tigabu, founder of Ethiopia's Whiz Kids Workshop. (Photo: ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: February 27th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — As a primary school teacher in Addis Ababa, Bruktawit Tigabu wanted to improve literacy skills not only for children in her classroom but also for those who had limited educational opportunities. In 2006 she launched Whiz Kids Workshop and developed Ethiopia’s first educational TV show for preschool kids entitled Tsehai Loves Learning, which is watched by approximately 5 million children and also broadcast in schools, refugee centers, and clinics. 25 million listeners also hear Tsehai Loves Learning via radio. The educational TV show is highly successful and has earned several international accolades including the Japan Prize International Contest for Education Media and Next Generation Prize at Prix Jeunesse International (2008) and Microsoft Education Award (2011). Bruktawit was named a Rolex Young Laureate in 2010.

    Following Tsehai Loves Learning Bruktawit released a TV series made by students called Involve Me in 2010. She was featured as one of the ‘Most Creative People of 2012′ by Fast Company and is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to launch her latest idea — building Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library Project and establishing 60 classroom-based libraries in several public elementary schools in Addis Ababa. Bruktawit’s dream is to have classroom libraries in schools across Ethiopia.

    Below is our interview with Bruktawit Tigabu:

    Bruktawit Tigabu. (Photograph credit: ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas)

    TADIAS: Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Whiz Kids Workshop. What inspired you to develop it?

    BRUKTAWIT: I began my career as a teacher in my hometown of Addis Ababa. After a few years as a classroom teacher, I noticed most children entered the school system as late as age seven. This is because Ethiopia lacks public kindergartens. At Whiz Kids, we call this the early education gap and it is one of the main contributing factors to the high illiteracy rate in Ethiopia. These early years between ages three and six are developmentally critical to a child’s educational success; I knew something had to be done to fill this education gap for so many children. Whiz Kids Workshop began as an idea of how the power of television could close the gap. My husband Shane and I started out by making short films using some of the low-cost media technology that was becoming available to us at the time. We tested our films in classrooms and then conceived of the character of Tsehai, a curious young giraffe who loves books and music. Her show, Tsehai Loves Learning (Tsehai Memare Tewedaletch), has become a national hit that reaches millions weekly throughout Ethiopia on public television. Although our television show continues to reach and impact more and more children, we decided, a few years ago, to increase this impact by going beyond television into radio programming. This season, Tsehai’s radio programs will be reaching up to 25 million young listeners. We have also created Tsehai classroom libraries, where children and teachers can have a rich experience of our reading materials that include storybooks, workbooks, classroom posters and flashcards, developed by a large team of literacy experts, writers and artists.

    TADIAS: Can you share some highlights of achievements and lessons learned from producing the Tsehai Loves Learning educational series?

    BRUKTAWIT: Since we began in 2005, we have produced over 60 episodes of Tsehai Loves Learning that are viewed regularly by over 5 million children across the country. We continue to be the longest standing children’s TV series in the country. We have also been recognized for our work with over six international awards including Japan Prize in 2008, 2009 & 2010, Prix Jeunesse International – Next Generation Prize in Germany, 2010 Rolex Young Laureate award in Switzerland, and Microsoft Education Award 2011 of The Tech Awards in the USA. We recently won All Children Reading grant which helped us produce 32 episodes of Tsehai Loves Learning television and radio series.

    We have learned many valuable lessons in this amazing journey of developing an educational series for children in Ethiopia. The three most meaningful are:

    First, we never compromise on quality. Despite the challenge of producing for children, we have learned that to ensure and maintain quality—children’s production must be educational, fun, culturally and age appropriate, and relevant. To guarantee that we meet this standard, we spend close to a thousand hours of work for each episode of Tsehai Loves Learning. Besides the labor of love, we also use research, music, beautiful artwork and animation to bring it to life.

    Second, dedication and persistence is a must to overcome the daily challenges of being a pioneer of such innovative work in Ethiopia. We face numerous challenges including financial, human resource capacity in the field, and bureaucratic hiccups on a daily basis. But we have learned that when we stay focused on our goal—reaching the millions of children who eagerly wait to see what we are producing and the vision of a better Ethiopia because we are providing children’s education– we are incredibly energized to persevere.

    Third, building community — We have learned that no development or growth is sustainable or successful without the involvement of its community. We believe that every child in Ethiopia deserves the very best educational materials, regardless of their economic background. That’s why we are so excited to be reaching out to Ethiopians across the world to make this campaign succeed.

    TADIAS: You recently announced the launch of an innovative crowdfunding campaign for an Amharic Classroom Library Project. Please tell us more about the initiative. Is this also in conjunction with the TV series?

    BRUKTAWIT: Reading is a foundational skill for all learning in school. In some regions of Ethiopia, according to the 2010 Early Grade Reading Assessment, a majority of children have 0% comprehension, even at the end of grade 2. The same research showed that having teachers who provide focused reading instruction and story books, are a promising approach for identifying and beginning to remedy this critical problem. This is the reason we are building Tsehai classroom libraries beyond our TV and radio programs; to ensure sustainable reading success, the reading materials must be in the children’s hands.

    Each classroom library revolves around a set of powerful elements that achieve reading success. Our classroom library materials includes 32 full-color, original storybooks that focus on one of the families of Ethiopian fidel; 32 beautiful classroom posters of all the fidels; 297 illustrated flashcards for learning the fidels; a wall-mounted sleeve used for teaching the fidels; five shelves for displaying the books, mounted at the right height for children to reach; and a mural featuring the beloved character Tsehai to create a special space for reading and exploration. We also include teacher training videos to demonstrate to teachers how to these materials in the classrooms most effectively.

    Our initial goal will be to establish 60 classroom libraries in public schools in Addis Ababa. But if we go beyond our initial $25,000 goal it means we will be able to reach more schools in the country.

    The new season of Tsehai Loves Learning is fully integrated into this initiative. Each of the 32 new episodes of the show features one of the books as an animated short within the show, with the characters reading them along with students and using the flashcards to learn the fidel. We will be including these episodes in each classroom library set on eight DVDs.

    TADIAS: What is one thing you absolutely enjoy about running Whiz Kids Workshop?

    BRUKTAWIT: I love to see people’s reactions to our work. It never gets old for me to see children sing along with Tsehai as they watch the show or to see a teacher’s reaction to the new classroom set we have developed for them. Most Ethiopian children know and love Tsehai; today’s teens grew up with her and adults keep telling me how much they wished for our materials to have been available when they were growing up.

    TADIAS: Where do you hope to take your organization in five years?

    BRUKTAWIT: Over the next five years we will continue to produce more innovative episodes of Tsehai Loves Learning that help children develop capacities in literacy, science, math, the arts, and moral values. We are going to keep building our library of books and supplementary materials, not only in Amharic, but in other Ethiopian languages. We want to create a nationwide movement based upon an appreciation of the importance of reading as the foundation of success in education and in life! This campaign is the beginning of raising awareness among parents, teachers, and school administrators to elevate the importance of helping children fall in love with books and learning to read by putting the right kind of learning materials into their hands. I can also see the Tsehai brand expanding beyond the borders of Ethiopia to develop curriculum in other African languages.

    TADIAS: Is there anything in particular that you want to share with Tadias readers?

    BRUKTAWIT: Having lived in the U.S. for a few years with my children, I know how hard it can be to maintain our language and culture while we are away from Ethiopia. We all know how important it is for us to help our children stay connected to our people and our heritage while we are far away, but it isn’t an easy task when they are immersed in another culture and strongly influenced by it.

    With this new campaign, we are reaching out specifically to Ethiopians living abroad and giving them two important ways to meaningfully strengthen their connection with their country and people. By becoming contributors to our campaign, they will be the very first to get access to our new set of books, videos flashcards and posters to enjoy with their family. At the same time, they are making a direct contribution to the improvement of quality education in Ethiopia – critical to the development of our country.

    To participate in the crowdfunding campaign to build Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library Project please visit:

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    John Kerry Highlights Eskinder Nega

    Secretary of State John Kerry. (Photo: AP)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: February 27th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega on Thursday during a press briefing in Washington while unveiling the latest U.S. reports on Human Rights. “The truth is that some of the greatest accomplishments in expanding the cause of human rights have come not because of legislative decree or judicial fiat, but they came through the awesomely courageous acts of individuals, whether it is Xu Zhiyong fighting the government transparency that he desires to see in China, or Ales Byalyatski, who is demanding justice and transparency and accountability in Belarus, whether it is Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, who is rapping for greater political freedom in Cuba, or Eskinder Nega, who is writing for freedom of expression in Ethiopia,” Kerry said. “Every single one of these people are demonstrating a brand of moral courage that we need now more than ever.”

    Below is a video and text of John Kerry’s full speech.

    Kerry Remarks on the Release of Country Reports on Human Rights

    Remarks on the Release of the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights

    John Kerry
    Secretary of State
    Press Briefing Room
    Washington, DC

    February 27, 2014

    Well, good morning, everybody. Excuse me. I’ve got a little allergies this morning, I think. I’m delighted to be here this morning for the second Human Rights report that I have issued as Secretary, and I’m particularly pleased to be here with our Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Uzra Zeya, who as I think all of you know, is performing these responsibilities in the capacity as an interim assistant secretary but who has done just a spectacular job and has led the Department in a year-long process to track and make the assessments that are reflected here. So I thank her for a job particularly well done on this year’s Human Rights Report.

    The fundamental struggle for dignity, for decency in the treatment of human beings between each other and between states and citizens, is a driving force in all of human history. And from our own nation’s journey, we know that this is a work in progress. Slavery was written into our Constitution before it was written out. And we know that the struggle for equal rights, for women, for others – for LGBT community and others – is an ongoing struggle. And it’s because of the courage and commitment of citizens in each generation that the United States has come closer to living up to our own ideals.

    Even as we come together today to issue a report on other nations, we hold ourselves to a high standard, and we expect accountability here at home too. And we know that we’re not perfect. We don’t speak with any arrogance whatsoever, but with a concern for the human condition.

    Our own journey has not been without great difficulty, and at times, contradiction. But even as we remain humble about the challenges of our own history, we are proud that no country has more opportunity to advance the cause of democracy and no country is as committed to the cause of human rights as we are.

    This year’s report, we think, is especially timely. It comes on the heels of one of the most momentous years in the struggle for greater rights and freedoms in modern history.

    In Syria, hundreds were murdered in the dead of night when a disaster occurred at the hands of a dictator who decided to infect the air of Damascus with poisonous gas, and many more have been, unfortunately, confined to die under a barrage of barrel bombs, Scud missiles, artillery, and other conventional weapons.

    In Bangladesh, thousands of workers perished in the greatest workplace safety disaster in history.

    And from Nigeria to Russia to Iran, indeed in some 80 countries the world over, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack their basic human dignity and undermine their safety. We are seeing new laws like the Anti-Homosexuality Bill enacted by Uganda and signed into law by President Museveni earlier this week, which not only makes criminals of people for who they are, but punishes those who defend the human rights that are our universal birthright.

    These laws contribute to a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons and their supporters, and they are an affront to every reasonable conscience, and the United States will continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters as we stand up for freedom, for justice, for equal rights for all people around the world.

    And so with this year’s report, we join with many other nations in reaffirming our commitment to a world where speaking one’s mind does not lead to persecution, a world where practicing or changing one’s faith does not lead to imprisonment, and where marching peacefully in the street does not get you beaten up in a blind alley or even killed in plain sight.

    So let me be clear. This is not just some high-minded exercise. This is the most comprehensive, authoritative, dispassionate, and factual review of the state of human rights globally, and every American should be proud of it. That’s why Acting Assistant Secretary Zeya of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and our embassies and consulates around the world have spent countless hours researching and writing these reports, engaging activists, talking to governments, and analyzing NGO and media reports. And that’s why they capture the attention of dictatorships and democracies alike.

    This is about accountability. It’s about ending impunity. And it’s about a fight that has gone on for centuries, as long as human beings have been able to think and write and speak and act on their own. The struggle for rights and dignity couldn’t be more relevant to what we are seeing transpire across the globe. The places where we face some of the greatest national security challenges today are also places where governments deny basic human rights to their nations’ people, and that is no coincidence. And it is particularly no coincidence in an age where people have access and want access to more information and the freedom to be able to act – to access information and to be able to act on the basis of that information. That is what has always characterized democracies and free people.

    It’s no coincidence that in North Korea, a UN commission of inquiry recently found clear and compelling evidence of wholesale torture and crimes against humanity, reports of people who have been executed summarily and fired at by artillery, fired at by anti-aircraft weapons, 122 millimeter aircraft weapons that literally obliterate human beings, and this has occurred with people in the masses being forced to watch, a form of gross and utter intimidation and oppression.

    It’s no coincidence that the first use of a weapon of mass destruction anywhere in the last quarter century came from a dictatorship in Syria in trying to suppress a popular uprising, in trying to suppress the aspirations of young people who simply wanted jobs and education and opportunity.

    It’s no coincidence that the brutal violence that we’ve seen recently in South Sudan and the Central African Republic is rooted in cycles of violence stemming from past abuses, marginalization, discrimination, and unwillingness to listen.

    And so the United States of America will continue to speak out, without a hint of arrogance or apology, on behalf of people who stand up for their universal rights. And we will stand up in many cases for those who are deprived of the opportunity to be able to stand up for themselves.

    We will do so in Venezuela, where the government has confronted peaceful protestors by deploying armed vigilantes, by imprisoning students, and by severely limiting freedoms of expression and assembly. The solution to Venezuela’s problems are not found through violence, and they will not be found through violence, but only through dialogue with all Venezuelans in a climate of mutual respect.

    We will do it in Sri Lanka, where the government still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation, where attacks on civil society activists, journalists, and religious minorities, sadly, still continue. Our concern about this ongoing situation has led the United States to support another UN Human Rights Council resolution at the March session. We will do so because we know countries that deny human rights and human dignity challenge our interests as well as human interests. But we also know countries that advance those values, those countries that embrace these rights are countries that actually create opportunities.

    From Yemen to Tunisia, which I just visited last month, we have seen how national dialogue and democratic progress can make countries more stable and make them stronger partners for peace and prosperity. In Ukraine, as we all just saw in real time in the last days, tens of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the power – to demonstrate again the power of people to be able to demand a more democratic and accountable governance, and to stand up even against those who would sniper from roofs and take their lives in the effort to have their voices heard.

    In Burma, we continue to see a country that was isolated for so many years slowly moving away not just from dictatorship, but toward a more productive partnering with the United States and the international community.

    So there are plenty of examples, folks, of places that choose a different road, and that strive to make it work. As today’s report makes clear, Burma still faces the normal challenges, from reforming an undemocratic constitution to ending discrimination and violence against religious and ethnic minorities, but we must continue to encourage progress even as we speak honestly about the problems that persist.

    In my first year as Secretary of State, I have been very fortunate to see with my own eyes what we can accomplish when we see our power and use our power and influence to empower others to be able to change things for the better. I’m truly inspired by the civil society activists that I’ve met with in many of the countries I’ve been to – in Hanoi, for instance – people who are standing up for their fundamental rights to speak out and to associate freely. I’m inspired by the 86-year-old human rights pioneer I met in Moscow who has spent a lifetime fighting for the basic rights that we take for granted here in the United States. I’m inspired by a group of young southeast-Asian land rights advocates that I met at the ASEAN regional forum last year who understand that societal problems are best solved when the government works with civil society, not against it.

    The truth is that some of the greatest accomplishments in expanding the cause of human rights have come not because of legislative decree or judicial fiat, but they came through the awesomely courageous acts of individuals, whether it is Xu Zhiyong fighting the government transparency that he desires to see in China, or Ales Byalyatski, who is demanding justice and transparency and accountability in Belarus, whether it is Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, who is rapping for greater political freedom in Cuba, or Eskinder Nega, who is writing for freedom of expression in Ethiopia. Every single one of these people are demonstrating a brand of moral courage that we need now more than ever.

    This year there is actually another name on all of our minds, and that is, of course, the first Human Rights Report since the passing of one of the most courageous individuals of all time, Nelson Mandela. Mandela was more than an inspiration; he was a model. All over the world, I have been in homes and offices where his unmistakable face was on posters and prints. I’ve met so many young kids named Nelson in Africa, but in so many other places where people are aspiring for real change. His influence was just that powerful. Even in his absence, the example that he set will long endure. We carry on his work for those who are walking picket lines, who are sitting in prison cells sometimes unknown to anybody except their family, who are protesting from Cairo to Caracas to Kyiv.

    And we have to ask ourselves, as we do this: If we don’t stand with these brave men and women, then what do we stand for and who will stand with them? And if we don’t give voice to those who are voiceless, then who do we speak for and who will give voice to them? The demand for human dignity I believe, President Obama believes – I think all of us believe in this country – is unstoppable. And today we reaffirm our commitment to stand with the many who seek dignity and against the few who deny it.

    That’s how we live up to our ideals. That’s how we will meet the demands of this moment. That’s how we will build a more stable and peaceful world.

    And before I turn things over to Uzra, let me leave you with one final thought. We obviously have a big agenda. You can see that. And that means we need our full team on the field so that we can get to work. Frankly, it’s unacceptable that so many of our nominees – countless numbers of ambassadors to very important countries are awaiting confirmation. Our national security is not served by keeping many professionals, people who have waited patiently, in a perpetual limbo. Neither is our ability to support democratic rights and aspirations of people all over the world enhanced by what is happening.

    Let me give you an example, for instance, of what is happening to Tom Malinowski. Tom is a human rights champion whom the President has picked as his nominee to be the next Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Tom has strong bipartisan support. We know of no objection to his nomination – none – and yet, he has been waiting more than 220 days to be confirmed.

    So now is the time to send a strong signal that we are not content to sit on the sidelines. I ask and I hope that our colleagues in the Senate will help Tom Malinowski get on the job so that we can continue to lead in these very kinds of issues that I have just laid out here today. We are ready to lead, and that’s when America is at its best, and that’s the vision that has always inspired people. And it always will. And it’s with that understanding that we are committed to continue this important work to defend the rights of people all around the world. That’s how we became a nation, and that’s how we will stay the nation that we want to be.

    With that I thank you very much, and I will leave it in the good hands of Uzra. Thank you.

    Q&A: Ethiopian journalists languish in prison

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    Meklit Takes Things ‘Slow’ On New Song

    Meklit Hadero performing at Artisphere in Washington DC on January 18, 2014. (Courtesy Malik photo)

    The Wall Street Journal

    Singer and songwriter Meklit Hadero covers a lot of ground, geographically and musically. Born in Ethiopia, Meklit (who goes by her first name) now lives in San Francisco, where she makes music that lands somewhere in the intersection of jazz, sultry pop, the traditional music of her homeland and Police covers. All of them are in evidence on “We Are Alive,” her second full-length album. Speakeasy today premieres “Slow,” one of 11 original tunes on the album.

    It’s a captivating song that frames Meklit’s silky voice with rich, low horns and an easy-rolling bassline that ties the whole thing together. The song, like the album, reflects the singer’s belief that life is worth embracing, bumps and all.

    Read more at WSJ.COM.

    Photos: Meklit Hadero at Artisphere in DC (TADIAS)

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    Rising Ethio-Jazz Singer Yeshi Demelash Prepares for U.S. Tour

    (Photo: Cover image from Yeshi Demelash's album "Qene.")

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday February 26th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Musician Yeshi Demelash has been called “arguably the most talented contemporary female Ethiopian jazz singer.” Yeshi, who was born in 1984 in Gojam, is a former Ethiopian Idol judge and a graduate of Addis Abeba University’s Yared School of Arts where she majored in flute and minored in piano. She established her reputation as an Ethio-jazz singer two years ago with the release of her debut album entitled Qene, an ode to Ethiopia’s ancient literary and oral traditions.

    Now Yeshi’s voice has captured the attention of New York-based producer Bill Laswell — the person behind the records of Jano and Gigi — and he is currently remixing one of her songs entitled Fano. Yeshi plans to work on a new album with Laswell when she arrives here this Spring to begin her first American tour.

    Organizers say Yeshi will perform at SOB’s in New York on April 26th accompanied by her band, also named ‘Qene.’ Stay tuned for updates.

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    World Championships in Poland: Spotlight on Genzebe Dibaba & Mohammed Aman

    Mohammed Aman and Genzebe Dibaba. (Getty Images)


    Ethiopia will send 11 athletes, including two reserves, to the IAAF World Indoor Championships next month in the Polish city of Sopot.

    The outstanding gold medal favourite – not just for the Ethiopian team, but arguably of the whole championships – is Genzebe Dibaba.

    The reigning world indoor 1500m champion has been in incredible form this year, setting world indoor records* in each of her three outings.

    At the start of this month she smashed the world indoor 1500m record with 3:55.17 in Karlsruhe. Five days later, she took six seconds off the world indoor 3000m record with 8:16.60 in Stockholm. Little more than a week later, she set a world indoor best for two miles with a storming 9:00.48 run in Birmingham.

    She will not defend her 1500m title in Sopot. Instead, she will focus on just the 3000m as she seeks to add another gold medal to her collection.

    Ethiopia’s other reigning world indoor champion, Mohammed Aman, is also on the team. The world 800m champion indoors and outdoors is undefeated this year and leads the 2014 world indoor lists with his African record of 1:44.52.


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    ‘Difret’ to Premier in D.C. Area – March 15th

    Lawyer Meaza Ashenafi & Difret Actress Meron Getnet at 2014 Berlin Film Festival. (Photograph: Berlinale)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian film ‘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, will premiere in Washington, D.C. area next month during the 10th annual New African Films Festival at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

    According to organizers “This year’s festival — the biggest yet — showcases the vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the continent.” Difret will be screened on March 15th in Silver Spring, Maryland — co-presented by AFI, TransAfrica and Afrikafé — followed by a Q&A session with filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari and producer Mehret Mandefro.

    Based on a true story “first-time filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari has crafted a beautiful and important film, capturing Ethiopia in flux, grappling with traditions and looking towards the future,” the press release added. The character “Meaza [played by Meron Getnet] is an empowered lawyer who provides free legal-aid services to poor women and children in need. Her life changes forever when she takes on the case of Hirut, a 14-year-old girl charged with the murder of her abductor and would-be husband. Inspired by this young girl’s courage, Meaza embarks on a long, tenacious battle to save Hirut’s life.”

    If You Go:
    2014 New African Films Festival
    ‘Difret’ Premier: Sat. March 15th at 7:00 p.m.
    AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural center
    8633 Colesville Road
    Silver Spring, MD 20910

    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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    Tadias Interview: Dr. Enawgaw Mehari on Pan-African Health Conference

    Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of People to People - P2P. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, February 24th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born Neurologist Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of People to People (P2P), keeps a busy schedule at his job as a consultant at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and Neurology Course Director for University of Kentucky, but he always finds time to form global partnerships on healthcare related projects in Ethiopia. P2P, an Ethiopian doctors association that he founded in 1999, has a worldwide membership of over 55,000 as well as close ties with medical institutions in Ethiopia and the United States. Recently the California-based non-profit organization, US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), announced that it has partnered with P2P as its “Strategic Co-host” of the upcoming Pan-African Medical Doctors and Healthcare Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 21st through 23rd, 2014.

    “It is so natural these two organizations have agreed to come together to host such a high level conference,” Dr. Enawgaw said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. Dr. Enawgaw noted that the gathering will highlight what he calls a “Triangular Partnership,” a term used by People to People — which also runs a free clinic in Kentucky for the working poor — to describe the relationship of three global groups: Diaspora, developing countries and Western institutions. “For so long the donor communities have given huge amount of money to Africa but have not invested sufficiently in capacity building,” he added. “People to People believes in a pragmatic vision that Triangular Partnership is the new paradigm.”

    Dr. Enawgaw pointed out that Ethio American Medical Group (EDAG) and Global Ethiopian Medical Enterprise, both members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, have merged together to build a state of the art hospital in Addis Ababa. “The goal is to mitigate the migration of Ethiopians to other countries for their high caliber healthcare,” he said. “The group believes we are where we are and we have what we have and it is therefore natural to give back to the people who made our dreams a reality.”

    Dr. Enawgaw emphasized that there are many distinguished Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopians who are making a difference in many ways “such as Dr. Girma Tefera from University of Wisconsin coordinating the emergency medicine program, Dr. Senait Fisseha from Michigan University helping St. Paul University with its post graduate training, Dr. Elias Siraj from Temple University supporting the Endocrinology program, Dr. Dawd Siraj and Dr. Makeda Semret from McGill University in Canada supporting the infectious disease program at Black Lion hospital, Dr. Kassa Darge supporting the radiology program at Black Lion, Dr. Zelalem Temesgen from Mayo Clinic developing HIV/AIDS online education program for Ethiopia, and Dr. Anteneh Habte supporting the palliative and hospice educational effort to be added to medical school curriculums. In addition, Dr. Fikre Girma from McMaster University in Canada has played a significant role in introducing CME for emergency medicine in Ethiopia. The Hakim Workneh and Melaku Beyan society has been playing important roles in medical education and the health care system in Ethiopia. The list is huge and I hope I am not in trouble for forgetting important names.”

    The upcoming conference at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa, Dr. Enawgaw said, is open to medical students, medical doctors, health care specialists, policy makers and any one interested both at home and abroad. He said some of the topics at the conference will include “Technology, education, infrastructure, social media, medical ethics, mental health, brain drain, brain circulation, brain gain, women’s health, burden of diseases, and non-infectious emerging chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, heart attack and stroke.”

    You can learn more about the conference at

    Ted Alemayehu Prepares for Pan-African Healthcare Conference in Ethiopia

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    Sexual Crime & Punishment In Sudan: The Ordeal of an Ethiopian Rape Victim

    (Photo: Creative Commons)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: February 23rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — It sounds like a scene straight out of a bad horror movie — imagine yourself as an 18-year-old woman, 3-months pregnant, a refugee in a foreign land, house hunting, when you’re lured into an empty home, assaulted by seven men, gang-raped (on camera) and after being discovered by a policeman, arrested, charged and convicted of an “indecent act.”

    Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened in Khartoum, Sudan six months ago to a young Ethiopian woman who last week was sentenced to one month in prison (now suspended) and a fine of 5,000 Sudanese Pounds. Thankfully the Ethiopian woman was spared from being killed by stoning, which is the standard penalty for such accusations under Sudan’s adultery law. In a press statement, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) noted: “The conviction of indecent acts against the woman seeks to place culpability upon the part of the victim, but is also notable in that the conviction of adultery was dropped as a verdict of adultery rests upon a demonstration of consent on her part, which could not be proven.”

    The victim (who is now nine-months pregnant) still faces additional immigration-related charges for allegedly staying in the country illegally. And, if found guilty, could face up to two years in jail. According to SIHA: “The case has raised multiple challenges regarding the treatment of rape survivors and their capacity to pursue justice and exacerbates the risk that those who have been raped and victimized already maybe re-victimized by the judicial system and subject to imprisonment, fines or at worst corporal punishment.”

    Hala Elkarib, SIHA Network’s Regional Director stated that, “This verdict reflects the substantial challenges in enabling victims of sexual violence to pursue justice. It will also serve to prevent future victims from speaking out and seeking assistance and entrenches a culture of impunity for perpetrators.” Elkarib added: “Women migrants and IDPs are some of the most marginalized people in Sudan and most vulnerable to violence, abuse and persecution. The Sudanese judiciary today has demonstrated its incapacity to protect the most vulnerable in society and instead attempt to delegitimize those that experience abuse at the hands of its citizens. The leveling of immigration charges against the victim further denies her protection by the state and protracts the punishment and emotional stress against her whilst she has been subjected to the most brutal of crimes.”

    The statement from SIHA points out that “the victim has now further been threatened by the court with Article 30-A of the passports and immigration law (of 1994) translated as ‘punishment for illegal entry: anyone who enters Sudan illegally and stays in the country illegally, faces a jail sentence not less than one year and not more than two years or faces a fine or both sentences.’”

    As for her attackers, apparently an online posting in January of the incident filmed by the perpetrators themselves led to their arrests and investigation. “Three were convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes, whilst a further two were convicted of indecent acts and sentenced to 40 lashes, one with an added 3000SDG (577USD approx) fine and the other with an added 2000SDG (385USD approx) fine. A sixth person involved with incident was set free due to insufficient evidence against him. A further man was convicted of Article 153, distributing indecent material, and was sentenced to 40 lashes and a fine of 10,000 SDG (1,923USD approx). Those subject to lashings had their sentences carried out immediately afterwards in a closed court setting.”

    Sudan Court Convicts Teenage Gang-Rape Victim Of ‘Indecent Acts’ (The Guardian)

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    Ethiopian Government Accused of Using Spyware Against Citizens Abroad

    Ethiopian refugee Tadesse Kersmo talks to the media at the London offices of Privacy International Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. (AP)

    VOA News

    By Peter Heinlein

    February 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Several Ethiopians living abroad are accusing their home government of using sophisticated computer spyware to hack into their computers and monitor their private communications. One Washington area man has filed a federal suit against the Ethiopian government, and another has filed a complaint with British police.

    The Ethiopian native, who is a U.S. citizen, charges that agents used a program called FinSpy to monitor his emails, Skype calls and his web browsing history. A suit filed in Federal District Court in Washington Tuesday asks that Ethiopia be named as being behind the cyber-attacks and pay damages of $10,000.

    The suit includes an affidavit asking that the plaintiff’s name be kept secret.

    Attorney Richard Martinez of the law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Cirese helped to prepare the suit. Martinez told VOA the unusual request for anonymity was made because the individual fears that he and family members still in Ethiopia could be in danger if he is identified.

    “We have petitioned the court to proceed anonymously because this individual is very active within the Ethiopian diaspora community and we think the action taken by the Ethiopian government against him illustrates exactly the attention they’ve placed on him and the danger that exists for him,” said Martinez.

    The suit is the latest in a series of cyber spying accusations against the Addis Ababa government. In another case, an Ethiopian refugee in London is asking British police to investigate evidence that FinSpy software known as “FinFisher” was used to hack his computer.

    Tadesse Kersmo, who identified himself as a member of the executive committee of the Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7, filed a complaint Monday asking for a probe of Gamma Group, a Britain-based company that produces the FinFisher software.

    Kersmo told a news conference he became suspicious after files from his computer began appearing on the Internet, and found evidence it had been infected with FinSpy.

    Much of the evidence linking Ethiopia to cyberspying has been developed by a Canadian organization called Citizen Lab. Bill Marczak, a researcher for Citizen Lab, told VOA that investigators first linked Ethiopia to cyber spyware nearly a year ago.

    “Ethiopia first came across our radar at Citizen Lab in March/April 2013, when we were doing a global study looking at the proliferation of FinFisher, the commercial espionage software which is sold exclusively to governments by a German company called FinFisher GMBH. This technology is spyware that can be installed on a targeted computer giving governments operating it full access to a computer so they can make files, record passwords and keystrokes, and even turn on the computer’s webcam and microphone,” said Marczak.

    Marczak said Citizen Lab’s investigation has also led it to an Italian firm called Hacking Team, which has been labeled by the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders on a list of what are called “Corporate Enemies.” A Citizen Lab report released this month suggests that Hacking Team software has been used to spy on U.S.-based journalists from Ethiopia.

    Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told VOA his government does not engage in computer hacking.

    “There is freedom of speech, everyone is entitled to his opinion, and that is something that is at the core of our rules and procedures. There is freedom of expression, and the hacking business is not our business. As for the allegation that the journalists are coming up with, I cannot say anything now,” said Mufti.

    Marczak said companies like Hacking Team and FinSpy offer confidentiality to their clients, leaving cyber detectives the difficult task of sorting out who is spying on who.

    However, he maintained that it is clear someone is spying on journalists of Ethiopian origin and others identified with the country’s opposition, and despite its denial, the government is the most likely suspect.

    “This is part of a pattern we’ve seen whenever we’ve exposed activists or journalists being targeted… The government is always the first to deny it and say ‘Oh we didn’t do that. It could have been anyone, we have no reason to use these products.’ The fact is, the Ethiopian government does have reason to be using these products. There’s a very strong and robust diaspora movement in Ethiopia, and the government is blind and clueless in the movement so they’re desperately looking for informants, eyes and ears in the movement, and to unmask people’s contacts and infiltrate these social networks,” said Marczak.

    Marczak also said evidence has been found linking software supplied by Hacking Team and FinSpy to more than a dozen countries, including Ethiopia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain.

    A Hacking Team policy statement posted on the Internet said the company understands the potential for abuse of the surveillance technologies they produce, and takes precautions to limit that potential. The lengthy statement said Hacking Team has established an outside panel of technical experts and legal advisers to review potential sales. The company does not sell its products to any country blacklisted by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations or NATO. Ethiopia is not named on those blacklists.

    US Man Sues Ethiopia for Cyber Snooping (AFP)
    Ethiopian Refugee Wants UK Action Over Hacking (AP)
    U.S. Citizen Sues Ethiopia for Using Computer Spyware Against Him (Washington Post)
    Ethiopian Government Hacking Ethiopian Journalists in U.S. (The Washington Post)
    Report: Ethiopian Government Hacks Journalists in U.S. and Europe (Mashable)

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    NYC St. Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church to Host Black Tie Fundraiser

    Poster courtesy: The New York St. Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — This coming Saturday The New York St. Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church will be hosting its first annual “Ethiopian Cultural Black Tie Fundraising Night.”

    Organizers announced that “The primary goal of this event is to raise funds for the creation of a ‘Youth Community Room,’ which will be used for classes and social events.”

    “The evening will include an art exhibit by Ezra Wube, a fashion show by Eyerusalem Dirma, music by Kuri Wolde from People to People, and will be hosted by the Voice of America’s Addisu Abebe. There will also be dinner, dessert, drinks and some surprises for our guests.”

    If You Go:
    Ethiopian Cultural Black Tie Fundraising Night
    Host: The New York St. Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church
    February 22, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
    630 2nd Ave
    New York, NY 10016
    (212) 686-0710
    Entrance: $150
    For more info: (973) 997 0142 or (631) 671 6090

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    US Man Sues Ethiopia for Cyber Snooping

    The Skype internet phone program is seen in New York City, on September 1, 2009. (Getty Images/File)


    February 18th, 2014

    San Francisco — A lawsuit filed on Tuesday accuses Ethiopia of infecting a US man’s computer with “spyware” as part of a campaign to gather intelligence about those critical of the government.

    “We have clear evidence of a foreign government secretly infiltrating an American’s computer in America, listening to his calls and obtaining access to a wide swath of his private life,” said attorney Nate Cardozo of Internet rights group Electronic Freedom Foundation.

    “The current Ethiopian government has a well-documented history of human rights violations against anyone it sees as political opponents.”

    The computer of a US citizen living in the state of Maryland was targeted with malicious software that monitored use and snooped on calls made using Internet telephone service Skype, the suit charges.

    Read more.

    Ethiopian Refugee Wants UK Action Over Hacking (AP)
    U.S. Citizen Sues Ethiopia for Using Computer Spyware Against Him (Washington Post)
    Ethiopian Government Hacking Ethiopian Journalists in U.S. (The Washington Post)
    Report: Ethiopian Government Hacks Journalists in U.S. and Europe (Mashable)

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    Hear Cockpit Audio From ET-702 Hijacking

    Swiss authorities have detained 31-year-old Hailemedehin Abera Tegegn, the co-pilot and hijacker of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was forced to land at Geneva's international airport, Feb. 17, 2014. (Reuters)

    The Associated Press

    GENEVA — It seemed like a routine overnight flight until the Ethiopian Airlines jetliner went into a dive and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Only then did the terrified passengers — bound for Italy from Addis Ababa — realize something was terribly wrong.

    The co-pilot had locked his captain from the cockpit, commandeered the plane, and headed for Geneva, where he used a rope to lower himself out of a window, then asked for political asylum.

    Authorities say a prison cell is more likely.

    Read more.

    Hear Cockpit Audio from Hijacking (CNN Video)

    Ethiopia Denies ‘Hijacker’ Co-pilot Faced Persecution (VOA)
    Why Co-pilot Might Have Taken Extreme Steps to Leave (The Telegraph)
    Co-Pilot Hijacks Ethiopian Airlines Plane and Requests Asylum in Geneva (NYT)
    Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacked by co-pilot (AP)

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    Hailemedhin Abera: Ethiopia Pilot Was Distraught Over Death in Family

    The co-pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET-702 who hijacked the plane on Monday and diverted it to Geneva, where he sought political asylum, has been identified as 31-year-old Hailemedehin Abera Tegegn.

    Associated Press


    Updated: February 18, 2014

    ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian pilot who hijacked a flight to Rome and took it to Geneva recently lost his uncle, a relative said Tuesday, suggesting anguish over the death may have left him on edge.

    Alemu Asmamaw, another uncle, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that 31-year-old co-pilot Hailemedhin Abera was in emotional distress over the past month following the sudden death of “a very close” uncle.

    The pilot used to call family members before his international trips, but had since stopped doing so and appeared to distance himself from his relatives, Alemu said.

    “I fear that the death of his uncle…has put a strain on his life,” he said. He named the deceased uncle as Emiru Seyoum and said he taught at Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University. He did not say how Hailemedhin’s uncle died.

    An obituary for Emiru on the Addis Ababa University website said the associate professor in the university’s department of zoological sciences died suddenly on Jan. 1 while going from his home to the university.

    That obituary said his “unfortunate and untimely death was very much shocking and incomprehensible” to his colleagues at work. It gave no details about how he died.

    Hailemedhin, who had worked for Ethiopian Airlines for five years, on Monday locked the pilot of a Rome-bound flight out of the cockpit and then as co-pilot diverted the plane to Geneva, where he used a rope to lower himself out of a window and then asked for political asylum.

    The jetliner carrying 200 passengers and crew took off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on a flight to Milan and then Rome, but sent a distress message over Sudan that it had been hijacked, an Ethiopian official said. Once the plane was over Europe, two Italian fighter jets and later French jets were scrambled to accompany it.

    One passenger said the hijacker threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn’t stop pounding on the locked door. Another said he was terrified “for hours” Monday as the plane careened across the sky.

    The family was “extremely shocked” that Hailemedhin hijacked a plane, Alemu said, describing his nephew as “too proud of Ethiopian Airlines.” He said the pilot was a devoted Christian who “even used to ask his father to pray for him to return safe” from international flights.

    “They never imagined that he would do such things ever,” he said of the hijacking.

    After he was arrested by Swiss authorities, police said Hailemedhin told them he felt “threatened” in Ethiopia. Police did not specify why or by whom he claimed to feel threatened.

    Ethiopian Airlines is owned by Ethiopia’s government, which has faced persistent criticism over its rights record and its alleged intolerance of political dissent.

    Redwan Hussein, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s government, told reporters on Monday that Hailemedhin had no prior criminal record. Redwan said the government would seek Hailemedhin’s extradition from Switzerland, where he is now in custody.

    It wasn’t immediately clear why he chose Switzerland, where Swiss voters recently demanded curbs on immigration. However, Italy has a reputation among many Africans as not being hospitable to asylum seekers.

    Geneva prosecutor Olivier Jornot said the co-pilot will be charged with taking hostages, a crime punishable by up to 20 years.

    Why Co-pilot Might Have Taken Extreme Steps to Leave (The Telegraph)
    Co-Pilot Hijacks Ethiopian Airlines Plane and Requests Asylum in Geneva (NYT)
    Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacked by co-pilot (AP)

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    Evacuation of Hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Plane ‘Went Well’ (Video)

    The plane from Ethiopia to Italy was hijacked Monday and diverted to Geneva by its co-pilot, who Swiss officials said locked the pilot out of the cockpit after he went to the bathroom. (Photo: Associated Press)

    BBC News

    February 17th, 2014

    The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane flying from Addis Ababa to Rome hijacked the aircraft before it landed safely in Geneva, according to Swiss authorities.

    The man – who has been arrested – apparently waited for the pilot to go to the toilet before locking himself in the cockpit.

    Geneva airport chief executive Robert Deillon said that the hijacker had handed himself over to police and that the evacuation of the passengers on board had taken place in an orderly fashion.

    Read more and watch video at BBC News.

    Co-Pilot Hijacks Ethiopian Airlines Plane and Requests Asylum in Geneva (NYT)
    Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacked by co-pilot (AP)

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    Co-Pilot Hijacks Ethiopian Airlines Plane and Requests Asylum in Geneva

    Passengers evacuated from Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET-702 on Monday in Geneva after it was hijacked by its co-pilot and diverted there. The Boeing 767 jet landed safely with 202 people aboard. (Getty Images)

    The New York Times

    By Nick Cumming-Bruce

    February 17th, 2014

    GENEVA — The co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet en route to Rome from Ethiopia seized control of the Boeing 767-300 early on Monday and flew it to Geneva, where he asked for asylum, a spokesman for the Geneva police said.

    The plane landed safely, and none of the 202 passengers and crew members on Flight ET-702, which originated in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, were injured, the police spokesman, Eric Grandjean, said. “Everybody was safe from beginning to end — no problem,” he added. Other officials said passengers were unaware of the hijacking until the plane landed in Switzerland.

    The plane was in Italian airspace when the co-pilot, an Ethiopian national who was not immediately identified, took the controls after the pilot left the cockpit to use the restroom. After locking the cockpit door, he initially told Italian air controllers that he needed fuel, but then activated a transponder to signal that the plane was being hijacked, Mr. Grandjean said. Italian fighter jets were scrambled, and they escorted the aircraft out of Italian airspace.

    The plane landed in Geneva at 6:02 a.m. and continued to a taxiway, where the co-pilot turned off the engines, opened the cockpit window and lowered himself to the tarmac with a rope, officials said. He then ran toward security officers and identified himself as the hijacker, declared that he was in danger in Ethiopia and requested asylum, the officials added.

    Read more at The New York Times.

    Ethiopia Pilot Was Distraught Over Death in Family (AP)
    Hear Cockpit Audio From ET-702 Hijacking (CNN Video)
    Evacuation of Ethiopian Airlines plane ‘went well’ (BBC News)
    Rome-bound Ethiopian flight hijacked by co-pilot (AP)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Is Harlem ‘Good’ Now? By Marcus Samuelsson

    The following piece by Marcus Samuelsson reflects the changes in modern Harlem. (NYT Sunday Review)

    The New York Times

    By Marcus Samuelsson

    WHEN I was walking to work one day last summer, I noticed that Crab Man Mike was gone from his usual post at 125th Street and Fifth Avenue. Mike has been cooking shellfish in his special pot on the streets of Harlem for 23 years. Concerned, I began asking the other street vendors where he went. Johnny Portland, one of the Jamaican guys who also sets up some days at 125th and Fifth, told me Crab Mike had moved.

    I found him a few blocks farther uptown — 132nd Street and Seventh Avenue, where he had set up his pot in front of Doug E.’s Fresh Chicken and Waffles. He was serving up shellfish to his neighbors and friends. When I asked him why he switched locations, he told me it was because he could no longer recognize his customers at 125th and Fifth. There were too many crowds, too many new faces and businesses. He may have made more sales there, but on this quieter corner he felt more comfortable. The people he served here were people he had known for years. He knew their families, their troubles, their joys.

    Read more at The New York Times.

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    Ethiopian Drama ‘Difret’ Wins Best Film Screening at Berlin Festival

    Still image from the Ethiopian film 'Difret.' (Courtesy photograph)

    The Hollywood Reporter

    By Scott Roxborough

    Difret, the debut feature from Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, has won the prize for best fiction film screening in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival.

    Angelina Jolie was an executive producer on the drama, which looks at the kidnapping of a young girl in rural Ethiopia. Difret had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It won the top prize at the Panorama Audience Awards, which are voted on by ordinary Berlinale cinema-goers.

    Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.

    Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
    Horror of Ethiopian bride abduction shown at Berlin festival (Reuters)
    Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Mehari and Mehret Mandefro
    Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete
    ‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival

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    Genzebe Dibaba Sets Third Record of the Month

    Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba set her third world best in 15 days by shattering the indoor two-mile record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix. (BBC News)

    BBC Sport

    The 23-year-old’s time of nine minutes and 0.48 seconds eclipsed Meseret Defar’s mark by almost six seconds.

    Dibaba, sister of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh, already owns the world 3,000m and 1500m indoor records.

    Elsewhere, British indoor champion James Dasaolu won the men’s 60m despite suffering an injury during the race.

    The 26-year-old Londoner posted the quickest time of the year in the heats, clocking 6.47 seconds, but his 6.50-second victory in the final was marred by an injury sustained in the final 10m.

    Read more at BBC News.

    Genzebe Dibaba Smashes World Indoor 1500M Record

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    Aster Aweke’s NYC Show Postponed Due to Inclement Weather

    (Photo: Massinko Entertainment)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Saturday, February 15th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Tonight’s concert by Aster Aweke at Gramercy Theatre in New York has been postponed because of inclement weather, and organizers say they are rescheduling the event for a later date. “We regret to announce that due to bad weather we postponed Aster Aweke’s show in NYC,” the promoters said in a statement. “Pre-purchased tickets are fully refundable.”

    Aster is currently on a U.S. tour promoting her 24th album entitled Ewedihalehu.

    For more info call: 201.220.3442, 917.821.9213, or 917.664.4607.

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    Ted Alemayehu Prepares for Pan-African Healthcare Conference

    Ted Alemayehu, Founder and President of US Doctors for Africa. (Photograph courtesy USDFA)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Aida B. Solomon

    Published: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — The California-based non-profit organization, US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), is gearing up to host its largest healthcare summit to date — The Pan-African Medical Doctors and Healthcare Conference — to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from May 21-23, 2014.

    In an interview with Tadias Magazine, Ted Alemayehu, Founder and President of USDFA said that the gathering, the first of its kind, is intended to mobilize solutions to common concerns that healthcare professionals from across Africa share. “We have invited almost every medical association from the continent,” Alemayehu said, pointing out the conference will also include “a ministerial panel” in which the Ethiopian, South African, Ugandan, Zambian and Nigerian Ministers of Health will be participating. Invited dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Chairperson of the African Union Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma will also be in attendance.

    The three-day conference will be held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa. The theme of the conference, Alemayehu said, is “Africa’s healthcare challenges of the 21st century.” Some of the topics to be raised include healthcare infrastructure, investment opportunities, women’s health, and the controversial issue of “brain drain” in regards to African healthcare professionals.

    “One of the main reasons why our African doctors are leaving the continent is because of economic reasons; so how do we deal with that?” Alemayehu asks. “One of the ideas that we’re going to introduce is the launch of a Pan-African Doctors Fund.” He added: “The fund would match a healthcare professional’s salary in their native country. For example, instead of an Ethiopian doctor making 5,000 birr per month, the fund would help him earn 12,000 birr a month, a difference that would help retain much-needed doctors in the country. The fund will also support the training of African doctors and provision of up-to-date technologies.”

    Alemayehu said his team is “extremely excited” about the conference. Fourteen years ago Alemayhu launched USDFA after coming across a shocking statistic in the LA Times: “In some countries there is one doctor for every 100,000 people.”

    “That’s what really got me,” Alemayhu says. With a professional background in hospitality management and consulting, Alemayhu decided to sponsor five doctors on a four-week mission to South Africa, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The American doctors were able to establish partnerships and perform operations, and came back to Los Angeles with “tons of stories to share.” A nationwide profile on the Tavis Smiley Show jumpstarted USDFA, and the rest, as Alemayehu says, “is history.”

    Tadias Magazine first sat down with Ted Alemayehu in 2003 as the non-profit was gearing up to launch several high-profile partnerships to expand their mission of providing training and assistance to doctors working in African countries. In 2006, USDFA was approached by the Clinton Foundation in conjunction with the Clinton Health Access Initiative campaign to increase low-cost quality treatment to those afflicted with HIV/AIDS. In 2009, USDFA organized the first ever African First Lady’s Health Summit in Los Angeles with over 25 participating countries and 19 First Ladies flown in from across the continent.

    In regards to the upcoming conference in Addis Ababa, Alemayhu says he expects NGOs, foundations, corporations, and mobile clinic manufacturers to also be in attendance.

    You can learn more about the conference at

    Tadias Interview: Dr. Enawgaw Mehari on Pan-African Health Conference in Ethiopia

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    Digital Watchdog Group: Government Hacking Ethiopian Journalists in U.S.

    Digital watchdog group, The Citizen Lab, says the Ethiopian government is hacking the computers of Ethiopian journalists in the D.C. area. (Photograph: At the Ethiopian Satellite Television ESAT/The Post)

    The Washington Post

    By Craig Timberg

    Mesay Mekonnen was at his desk, at a news service based in Northern Virginia, when gibberish suddenly exploded across his computer screen one day in December. A sophisticated cyber­attack was underway.

    But this wasn’t the Chinese army or the Russian mafia at work.

    Instead, a nonprofit research lab has fingered government hackers in a much less technically advanced nation, Ethi­o­pia, as the likely culprits, saying they apparently used commercial spyware, essentially bought off the shelf. This burgeoning industry is making surveillance capabilities that once were the exclusive province of the most elite spy agencies, such as National Security Agency, available to governments worldwide.

    The targets of such attacks often are political activists, human rights workers and journalists, who have learned that the Internet allows authoritarian governments to surveil and intimidate them even after they have fled to supposed safety.

    Read more at The Washington Post.

    Report: Ethiopian Government Hacks Journalists in U.S. and Europe

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    Yared Tekabe’s Research Shows Promising Results in Treatment of Diabetes

    Dr. Yared Tekabe in his office at Columbia University's William Black building in New York. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Yared Tekabe, a research scientist at Columbia University, has been working on groundbreaking non-invasive detection of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis — the building up of plaque in your arteries — which can lead to heart attack or stroke. After developing a tracer that could show the presence of a receptor called RAGE in areas where tissues were inflamed, Tekabe and his colleagues have now moved from detection and diagnostics to applying anti-RAGE antibodies for therapeutic purposes.

    “Until now we were focusing on early diagnosis of heart diseases using our anti-RAGE antibody to detect diseases such as atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy — a condition where muscle tissue of the heart becomes enlarged or rigid leading to irregular heartbeat or heart failure,” says Tekabe in a recent interview with Tadias. “At the time we didn’t realize the therapeutic potential for the antibody.”

    Now anti-RAGE antibodies have become a game-changer as RAGE has been implicated in up to 12 diseases including diabetes, cancer, metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation.

    Tekabe initially sent anti-RAGE antibody to his former advisor at Northeastern University who conducts research on human cancer cells and asked him to study the effect of the antibody on human tissue culture. His advisor had used three cell lines including those for human prostate cancer, sensitive ovarian cancer, and multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer.

    “One of the problems in cancer treatment is that there is drug resistance, and we wanted to use the antibody on these cells. We found that 70% of the multi-drug resistant ovarian cancer cells died!” Yared exclaims. “So the antibody has brought really good results. If you ask what is the next step, I would say that we would like to study its therapeutic possibility on animal models.”

    Another primary study conducted by Tekabe using anti-RAGE antibody focuses on complications of late stage diabetes such as ischemia. “In individuals that have diabetes they often undergo hand and leg amputations due to poor blood circulation,” Tekabe explains. “So what I did was to make mice have high blood glucose and induce diabetes and ligated or bound their femoral artery to restrict circulation.” The mice were then treated with anti-RAGE antibody and compared to a control group that didn’t receive the antibody treatment. Tekabe and his colleagues were surprised to find that the treated mice showed new blood vessels were forming in their hindlimb. In effect the ischemia caused by late stage diabetes was being reversed.

    “We looked to see if this antibody treatment also reversed the high blood glucose level or affected body weight of the diabetic mice, but we didn’t find any significant changes in these two factors,” Tekabe adds. However, the formation of new blood vessels is a significant finding that points to the possible therapeutic use of the antibody for human diabetic patients, a promising therapy for those who may otherwise have to undergo amputations.

    Tekabe’s research was recently published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. “Moving forward we hope to continue the research and advance to human diabetic treatment, after humanizing the antibody first” he says. “We are also looking at possible therapeutic uses of the antibody for other conditions including kidney failure and heart failure, which are also often diagnosed in late stage diabetic patients.”

    Tekabe and his colleagues are currently securing additional funds to get a second patent for this research and focus on using the antibody for theranostics — both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

    Yared Tekabe Uses Molecular Imaging for Early Detection of Heart Disease
    Yared Tekabe’s Groundbreaking Research in Heart Disease

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    Q&A With ‘Difret’ Director Zeresenay Mehari & Producer Mehret Mandefro

    Zeresenay Mehari & Mehret Mandefro at Sundance Award ceremony on Jan. 25th, 2014. (Getty Images)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tigist Selam

    Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Last month Difret, an Ethiopian film directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film is currently premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival.

    Difret, which was initially funded through Kickstarter — an online crowdfunding platform — chronicles the true story of a teenager, from a rural village in the Arsi region, whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the 90s unleashed a historic court battle that resulted in the girl’s acquittal on the grounds of self-defense and legally ended the traditional practice of child marriage by abduction in Ethiopia.

    Below is an interview with the film’s Director, Zeresenay Mehari and Producer Mehret Mandefro.

    TADIAS: You had been developing the script for quite some time. What inspired you initially and what kept you going?

    ZM: When I found Meaza’s story I was completely enthralled. What she did to take on a legal system and entrenched tradition is truly inspiring to me. It is what pushed me to tell this particular story and what kept me going throughout.

    TADIAS: It was wonderful to see both female characters portrayed in such an honest and complex way without victimization. How did you go about casting for such demanding roles?

    ZM: The casting process took 8 months. The toughest role to find was that of the young girl. There aren’t many roles for child actors in Ethiopia so we had to go to the schools to try and find the young girl who would play Hirut. We printed out 6,000 flyers and went to all the elementary schools arranging transportation to and back from our audition studio. In the end, I finally found the girl I was looking for, Tizita Hagere. We heard that an old thespian was giving free acting workshops to kids at a local school. As luck would have it, the school was actually my old elementary school. And there in my old classroom was Tizita. I saw her and immediately knew she was Hirut.

    Meron Getnet was easier to find. She is a very established actress in Ethiopia and during the audition process she stood out from her peers immediately. She is a truly talented actress with a very bright future ahead of her.

    TADIAS: You were in the middle of the pre-production when the former PM Meles Zenawi passed away and the country was in a state of transition. Could you talk about some of the challenges that you had to face while shooting in Ethiopia, especially during that time?

    ZM: It was a sad time for the country and the mood was somber but thankfully it did not affect anything we were doing. The production moved along smoothly despite this great loss.

    TADIAS: Music is a big part of your film. The last song of the film, in particular, is very distinct. What led to your collaboration with David Schommer on the film?

    ZM: I love the last song. It’s actually an old recording of Aster Demoz (Leelai Demoz’s mother) that Dave remixed. We considered quite a few composers for this film. However, none of them knew Ethiopia like Dave did. In the end that’s why we went with him. He also happened to be a good friend so there was a relationship in place that could nurture the creative partnership.

    TADIAS: I love the fact that your crew is a mix of Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians. What was your process as a producer of the film?

    MM: Putting together our team was a cool part of the process. I joined Zeresenay first and we spent a lot of time talking about the people we wanted to involve in this project. Some of this was conscious but sometimes choices also came down to timing and what worked with everyone’s schedule. In the end, I am very proud of the team we assembled, which pulled talent from all over the world but was predominantly an Ethiopian team with a majority of women in lead creative positions.

    TADIAS: Speaking of your creative crew, Angelina Jolie recently joined you as an Executive Producer. In which ways did that help Difret?

    MM: Angelina joined our project during the post-production phase about 5 months ago. We had a locked picture when she saw the film and she really loved it and wanted to support us in getting it out there. Given her high profile, having her name attached definitely increases the visibility of our project and we are totally grateful to her for that.

    TADIAS: Congrats again on winning the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance. This was the first time an Ethiopian film was in competition at the film festival. How did that affect your career and perhaps even Ethiopian cinema?

    ZM: Thanks. It was truly awesome to win this award because when we first embarked on making this film so many people told us that there was no audience for a film like ours. Funders told us that the subject was too tough and would not lend itself to commercial distribution. The award obviously says otherwise and is truly a testament to sticking to something you believe in for the long haul. Given this is our first feature narrative endeavor it’s hard to say how this may affect our career – we are just beginning. But I do think winning the audience award at Sundance adds yet another layer of visibility to the film because distributors and others alike pay attention to who wins at Sundance. As for Ethiopian cinema, we are thrilled to be able to contribute to Ethiopia’s cultural history, and more importantly, hopeful there will be many more fantastic Ethiopian films competing at Sundance from here on.

    TADIAS: Difret is not only an exceptional film, but it also sends out a strong message. What are your hopes for Difret?

    ZM: My hope is that Difret starts a conversation about the parts of our tradition that hold women back. I think change takes time but it always begins with untold stories that compel us to think differently about what we take for granted. Telefa is a tradition that many still take for granted and I hope Difret can start a dialogue about perhaps letting go of this tradition once and for all.

    Ethiopian film confronts marriage by abduction (BBC)
    Horror of Ethiopian bride abduction shown at Berlin festival (Reuters)
    Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete
    ‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival

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    Charles Sutton Named Envoy for Yessera Organization

    Orchestra Ethiopia 1967. (Photograph: Courtesy Charles Sutton)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, February 10th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — As a teenager growing up in Ethiopia in the 1960′s Aklilu Gebrewold, now Executive Director of the U.S.-based non-profit organization, Yessera, remembers rushing to join the long queue to watch musical shows at his high school that sometimes included Charles Sutton playing the Massinko. More than four decades later Aklilu said he was more than pleasantly surprised to receive a message from “Mr. Charles” (as Sutton is popularly known among Ethiopians) wanting to support Yessera, which provides vocational training to young adults in Ethiopia. Sutton, who had served in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer and music performer in the late 1960′s still keeps close ties with many friends in the country. And recently he dedicated part of the proceeds from his latest album Zoro Gettem to Yessera. In an interview with Tadias Magazine — following last week’s announcement that Yessera has named Charles Sutton as its envoy to help promote its programs — Aklilu warmly recalled: “For my generation he was a delightful presence, his deep respect and knowledge of Ethiopian culture, language, music and customs.” Aklilu added: “If there is anyone who embodies a true global citizen in today’s age of globalization, it has to be Mr. Charles.”

    Established in 2001 by a group of friends who spent time in the West Coast in the 70′s and 80′s, Yessera is mostly funded by contributions from its founding members that now reside scattered across the United States. “Whenever we gathered in coffee shops or at our residences, just like many Ethiopians, we talked about home and what we can do to make a difference,” said Kassahun Maru, owner of Zelalem Injera, who has supported the organization from the beginning. “Yessera is a result of that, its few friends finding a way to give back through, small, manageable and meaningful projects that can bring lasting benefits.”

    “I first became acquainted with Yessera a few years ago, when I was introduced via email to its Executive Director, Ato Aklilu Gebrewold, and to a Yessera Board member, Ato Negesse Gutema, by Ato Dan Close, a fellow Returned Peace Corps volunteer,” Sutton told Tadias. “I had the pleasure at that time of cooperating with Ato Negesse in the sale of the Zoro Gettem – Reunion CD that I had recorded with former colleagues Tesfaye Lemma, Getamesay Abebbe, and Melaku Gelaw for the benefit of this most worthwhile organization.”

    The non-profit covers tuition, room and board, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs for an average of 10 to 12 students per year. Each student travels from various locations in Ethiopia to attend a vocational school in Addis Ababa. “We require that they must have at least a 10th grade education, demonstrate financial need, and most importantly, have the inner drive to succeed” Aklilu added. “Our goal is not only to equip them with industrial vocational skills, but also the ability to start and run their own small enterprises, such as in the construction field, that they can use to employ each other and thereby contribute to the larger community.”

    Aklilu also gives credit to their Ethiopia representative, Solomon Retta, general manager of Discovery Consultancy Services (DCS), for overseeing the candidate selection process. He noted that so far participants have hailed from Awassa, Debre Birhan, Bekoji, Assosa, Ebinat, Metu, Bonga and this year from Addis Ababa.

    For me, Sutton continued, “this opportunity, and honor, is the culmination of an association going back nearly 50 years with Ethiopia, its music, and its people, that has brought great joy to me and enriched my life more than I can possibly say. Now, as Yessera’s Ambassador, I am looking forward to carrying our cooperation a step further by bringing Yessera’s mission and message, to the best of my ability, before a wider audience both in Ethiopia and in the U.S.A.”

    You can Learn more about Yessera at

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    Ethiopian Heritage Society to Honor Menelik & Taytu at 118th Adwa Anniversary

    Poster by Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA).

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Sunday, February 9th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA) will host a celebration next month in Silver Spring, Maryland marking the 118th anniversary of the historic Battle of Adwa. The event, which is scheduled for Sunday March 2nd, 2014 at Silver Spring Civic Center, will highlight the leadership of Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu in assuring Ethiopia’s independence from European colonization.

    “One-hundred and eighteen years ago a well-organized army under the command of Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taytu decimated the Italian force that was seeking to colonize one of Africa’s most ancient nations – Ethiopia,” EHSNA stated in a press release. “As a leader ahead of his time, Emperor Menelik II was able to organize and structure an army within a short period of time to confront the Italians at Adwa. With his swift victory over the Italians, Menilik II solidified Ethiopia’s independence by putting Ethiopia among the very few states in the world that have never been colonized.”

    Guest speakers include the executive of Maryland’s Montgomery County Isiah Leggett (Keynote), as well as historian Raymond Jonas, who teaches at University of Washington in Seattle; Dr. Fikre Tolossa, professor at Lincoln University in Oakland, California; and Dr. Benjamin Talton, an Assistant Professor of History at Temple University in Philadelphia.

    EHSNA is a non-profit, charitable organization (501c) “that encourages young members of the Ethiopian diaspora, and their families and friends, to remember and celebrate Ethiopia’s cultural heritage, such as the significance of the Battle of Adwa.”

    If You Go:
    118th Adawa Anniversary
    Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
    Events Starts at 2:00 PM
    Sliver Spring Civic center
    1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Learn more at

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    Dr. Catherine Hamlin Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

    Dr. Catherine Hamlin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Photo courtesy:

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Saturday, February 8th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian-born, honorary Ethiopian citizen, recently celebrated her 90th birthday surrounded by the women whose lives she changed for the better at the fistula hospital she established with her husband in Addis Ababa in 1974.

    According to the World Health Organization, up to 100,000 women are affected worldwide by obstetric fistula — an injury during the birthing process that women with obstructive labor suffer from when they have inadequate access to medical support.

    Earlier this month the Ethiopian government sent a letter nominating Hamlin for the Nobel Peace Prize, and over the years Dr. Hamlin’s work has received global support and financial assistance from organizations such as Hamlin Fistula USA, Fistula Foundation, and Tesfa Ineste – an Ethiopian Diaspora initiative that helped establish the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center.

    In 2014 the Hamlin College of Midwives enrolled 21 Ethiopian students for the Bachelor of Science degree, making the total count of midwifery students up to 89. “The opening of the Hamlin College of Midwives, about 12 kilometers from Addis Ababa, is the key to tackle, and even eradicate completely, this devasting childbirth injury” says Abaynesh Asrat, Board Member of Hamlin Fistula USA. “I think, as we did a phenomenal job collectively to build the Harar Center, we can once again use our intellect and our financial support, individually and collectively, three-fold, toward the education of more students to graduate from the Hamlin Midwifery College.”

    Still working as a surgeon Dr. Hamlin recently told World News Australia Radio that she plans to continue her lifelong dedication to women suffering from obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. Several of her former patients now also work by her side performing some of the most challenging fistula repairs, which is a testament to her legacy of training the next generation of reproductive rights champions and being a beacon of light to many more thousands of women around the world.

    At 90 this doctor is still calling by Nicholas kristof (NYT)
    90 Year Old Surgeon Keeps a Steady Hand in Ethiopia (Australia Radio)

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    Ethiopia Football Federation Fires Coach Sewnet Bishaw

    Coach Sewnet Bishaw. (Getty Images)

    BBC Sport

    By Betemariam Hailu

    Addis Ababa – The Ethiopia Football Federation has sacked head coach Sewnet Bishaw after a disastrous performance at the recent African Nations Championship in South Africa.

    Ethiopia lost all three of their group games at the tournament for locally-based players and failed to score a single goal.

    The EFF president Juniedin Basha told BBC Sport that the national team’s recent results do not match the nation’s current image.

    “Sewnet is a hero for our football; he brought us back to the international scene, we recognise his success in the last two years but things must continue to grow,” he said.

    “They don’t need to stay stuck somewhere.”

    Bishaw led Ethiopia to a first Africa Cup of Nations in 31 years when they qualified for the finals in South Africa last year.

    Under his guidance the team also did well in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers as they reached the play-offs, losing 4-1 on aggregate to Nigeria for a place in Brazil.

    But results in recent months have cost Bishaw his job.

    Read more.

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    The Ethiopian Approach to Food Security

    Authors of the following article are Khalid Bomba, CEO of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, and Dan Glickman, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program. (Photo: ATA)

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

    By Khalid Bomba & Dan Glickman

    Last year, a bipartisan group of 23 members of Congress, hosted by the Aspen Institute, travelled to Ethiopia to get a firsthand view of the progress the country was making in modernizing agriculture and smallholder farming. This was the largest congressional delegation to visit sub-Saharan Africa in decades—maybe ever. This trip served to brief the congressmen on how a unique Ethiopian government agency, dedicated to agricultural transformation, is emerging as a model for bureaucratic collaboration and helping to feed millions of Ethiopians.

    Ethiopia is one of many African countries deeply affected by food insecurity—estimates of the portion of Ethiopia’s population without secure access to food exceeds 3 million in some seasons. That means that in a given year, almost 1 in 10 Ethiopians will struggle to have access to “sufficient, safe, and nutritious food” for themselves and for their families. Yet, in 2013, the World Food Prize—an organization that highlights individuals and groups who have increased the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world—recognized Ethiopia for demonstrating some of the greatest progress measured in the Economist magazine’s Global Food Security Index. As we look ahead at global food security planning for the next century, Ethiopia is an important example of how leaders in government and other sectors can successfully align their food systems planning.

    Fighting an uphill battle against the challenges of food insecurity; climate; and systemic gaps in the quality of infrastructure, education, capital finance, and nutrition, Ethiopia has successfully brought the percentage of its population living under the global poverty line down from 77.6 percent in 2012 to 66 percent in 2013, with the average food supply improving by 117 kcals per day during the same period. That means enough food for another small meal for everyone in Ethiopia. And to put it in perspective, in 2007 the United States had enough food supplies to support more than 3,700 kcals per capita.


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    How Community Health Workers Dramatically Improve Healthcare

    Hani Wondwesen is waiting with two children at a clinic in Addis Ababa where they will have pediatric appointments (Ankita Rao/Kaiser Health News)

    The Atlantic

    Hermon Girma is stirring bean stew over a wood-fed stove when she hears someone at the gate. She sends her 3-year-old son to slide open the piece of corrugated metal that separates her home and others from the cobblestone street in Kirkos, a neighborhood in Ethiopia’s burgeoning capital city, Addis Ababa.

    Tigist Seyoum, a sturdy 35-year-old woman with a large black purse and cornrowed braids, leans down to kiss the boy’s cheek as she enters. The community health worker and the boy’s mother sit on a sofa in the Girmas’ home—two tidy, small rooms crammed with furniture. They chat about neighborhood gossip and the family’s health, including checking on birth control prescriptions.

    Community health workers like Seyoum have helped Ethiopia reduce child mortality by two-thirds since 1990 and death from malaria, a common disease, by 55 percent. Since their deployment, contraception use among women—from longer-lasting injections to daily birth control pills—has doubled from 15 to almost 30 percent in six years.

    Read more at The Atlantic.

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    Betelhem Seleshi’s Mobile Ultrasound Brings Home the News to Expecting Parents

    Betelhem Seleshi (right), owner of the Maryland-based Baby Joy 3D/4D Mobile Ultrasound, finds out the sex of Deisy Izquierdo’s fetus during a baby shower in Silver Spring on Sunday, Jan 26th, 2014. (Gazette)

    The Gazette

    By Aline Barros Staff Writer

    Baby Joy 3-D/4-D Mobile Ultrasound promises expecting mothers and fathers a personal and intimate experience — finding out their in utero baby’s sex — away from a doctor’s office.

    Baby Joy 3D/4D Ultrasound, a Silver Spring business, was an idea that grew from a mother of two who believes seeing a baby in the womb is a special bonding moment.

    “I see pregnant women every day. … Some of them want to show the pictures to their husbands that couldn’t make it to the doctor’s office … or they want to show the pictures to the grandparents who were watching the kids at home,” Betelhem Seleshi said.

    And that’s when Seleshi thought: Why not bring the experience to people’s homes?

    Read more at The Gazette.

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    Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

    Yidnekachew Shumete in New York on December 8th, 2013. (Photo: By Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine
    Interview by Tigist Selam
    Written by Tadias Staff

    Published: Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — “The stories that we project on the big screen have an influence on the audience, so it’s important how well you tell it,” says Ethiopian filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete, the director and writer of Nishan, which premiered in New York this past December at the African Diaspora International Film Festival. Released in 2013 Nishan is Yidnekachew’s second film following his successful 2007 drama Siryet. The former highlights a striking Ethiopian female character named Nishan, portrayed beautifully by his talented wife and actress Bertukan Befkadu, who is keen on obtaining a visa to live abroad, but gets ensnared in a series of dangerous events including a break-in at her family residence. In an effort to protect those she loves and honor the valor of a courageous patriot whose property has been stolen she also realizes that her desire for a better life should be started not overseas but at home.

    “Filmmakers have to be one step ahead of the stories they are telling,” said Yidnekachew in an interview with Tadias after the NYC screening of Nishan on December 8th, 2013. “When I started working on Nishan’s script I stopped working as an instructor,” he recalled. “That was about was 3 or 4 years ago.”

    Yidnekachew, who was born in 1981 in Addis Ababa came of age in the 1990′s when there was no film industry to speak of in Ethiopia. Fast-forward to 2014: today he is not only a trailblazer locally in the fledgling field, but also a former cinema teacher and founder of Kurat Pictures, plc, producing and distributing his films. “Luckily, my journey in making movies has come from the school and I have established a certain track record so it’s easier for me to find interested people to invest,” he said, adding that “it’s not the same for everyone.” He cautions “If you are beginning from scratch, it’s very difficult. The film industry in Ethiopia is in its infant stages.”

    “Either the money comes from your own pocket or someone who can trust you, like a rich uncle, big brother, family member, or friend who is confident in your work,” he stated. And once in a blue moon an angel investor might pop up from Merkato. “People from Markato who have the money come and ask if they can hire a filmmaker because they have heard that film actually makes money,” he said. “There are a number of people who have succeeded in doing so. They don’t have any idea about the art, but they buy scripts and produce movies, I mean if the film does well, they will make another one, if not, they go home and do some other business. Other than that, there is no specific financing system.”

    For Yidnekachew, however, even with the limited resources available for quality production, his objective is to raise the standard of filmmaking in Ethiopia — from script writing to soundmixing, and cinematography — to an international level. “If you noticed it took me six to seven years to make my second film,” he emphasized. “That’s partly because I could not find scripts that interested me.” Yidnekachew said it’s precisely the reason why he wrote the script for Nishan (Amharic with English subtitles) himself. “If I had very interesting scripts from other writers I wouldn’t force myself to write one,” he said. “As a filmmaker I feel responsible as to what kind of stories I am telling and how well I tell it.”

    Below are photos from the festival and trailer of Nishan:

    ‘Difret’ Wins World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance Festival

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    Genzebe Dibaba Smashes World Indoor 1500M Record

    Genzebe Dibaba. (Photo: Athletics weekly)


    Her big sister Tirunesh has twice been a world record breaker indoors and it was the turn Genzebe Dibaba to make her own mark on the under cover record books when she smashed the women’s world indoor 1500m record * by more than three seconds with a run of 3:55.17 at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Saturday (1).

    The previous best had been 3:58.28, set by Russia’s Yelena Soboleva in 2006, and Dibaba’s own previous indoor best was 4:00.13. Her time was also more than a second faster than Abeba Aregawi’s Ethiopian outdoor record of 3:56.54 and the outdoor African record of 3:55.30, set by Hassiba Boulmerka.

    Slovenia’s Sonja Roman took Dibaba through 400m in 1:02.39 and then 800m in 2:08.96, just under a second faster than Soboleva at this stage in proceedings on her world-record run with the Russian having clocked 2:09.7 after four laps of the track. But soon afterwards the Ethiopian hit the front and then it was just a race between her and the clock.

    Dibaba, still only 22, went through 1200m in a sizzling 3:10.47, compared to Soboleva’s 3:13.1. After a third 400m of just over 61 seconds, she kept up the tempo all the way to the line.

    “I felt I was ready for a world record,” said the world indoor 1500m champion who is set to defend her title at this year’s edition in the Polish city of Sopot next month. “But I didn’t think I would run 3:55. I was well prepared for tonight, though. I’m extremely happy.”

    Read more at IAAF.

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