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Genzebe Dibaba and USA’s Ashton Eaton Named World Athletes of the Year

Genzebe Dibaba and Ashton Eaton -- the female and male IAAF World Athletes of the Year for 2015. (Getty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and USA’s Ashton Eaton have been named the 2015 World Athletes of the Year.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) made the announcement on Thursday “after outstanding and memorable seasons which saw both athletes break world records and strike gold at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015,” IAAF News reports.

“Both athletes set world records during 2015, Eaton in the decathlon and Dibaba in the 1500m, and won gold medals in these events at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.”

“I am humbled and honoured to receive this award from the IAAF,” said Genzebe via Twitter. “It feels so good to be the World Athlete of the Year.”

Genzebe and eaton cover
Ashton Eaton of the United States and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2013. (Photo credit: IAAF)

Read more at IAAF.org »

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Ethiopia’s Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards

Soleyana S. Gebremichael and Endalk Chala of Zone 9 bloggers at CPJ's 25th International Press Freedom Awards ceremony in New York City on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015. (Photo credit: Jeffrey Phipps/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers were honored with the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards on Tuesday in New York City.

The Ethiopian blogging collective shared the prestigious CPJ award with other journalists from Malaysia, Paraguay and Syria.

The ceremony, which took place at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on November 24th, was hosted by ABC World News Anchor David Muir and chaired by Hearst CEO Steven R. Swartz.

Members of Zone9 include: Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, Befekadu Hailu, Soleyana S. Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye. At the NYC event on Tuesday, however, only Soleyana and Endalk were present to accept the awards.

The New York Times called the Zone 9 case “one of the world’s most widely followed press-freedom cases,” that began with their arrest in April 2014 under Ethiopia’s controversial anti-terrorism legislation.

Four of the bloggers were cleared of terrorism charges last month while the remaining were freed over the Summer just prior to President Obama’s historic visit to Ethiopia in July.

Ethiopia has released several journalists from prison this year including the Zone 9 bloggers and Reeyot Alemu, but CPJ says the country is still “holding around a dozen journalists in jail in relation to their work.”

Below are photos from the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards honoring Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers:

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

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

Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) has launched a new athletic scholarship project in Ethiopia's running mecca, Bekoji and Sodo towns with an aim to create running teams for teenage girls. (Photograph: GGRF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the past nine years the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) has been supporting running teams in Ethiopia, which allows young and vulnerable rural girls to stay in school while pursuing their dreams of becoming athletes.

GGRF recently rolled out a new program model in Sodo and Bekoji, Ethiopia based on a three-year athletic scholarship that includes “school tuition, participation on a running team, leadership & mentoring skills, entrepreneurship and extracurricular programming around building life skills,” explains the founder Dr. Patricia E. Ortman, a former Women’s Studies professor and artist, who established GGRF in 2006 after reading a 2005 Washington Post article that discussed the difficulties faced by poor young women in Ethiopia.

“Our pilot program is doing fantastically well in Sodo and we have added a second class there as we scale up to a total of 60 students in the program,” Ortman tells Tadias. “And we are in the process of establishing the program in Bekoji this fall with a first year class of 20.”

The scholarship targets girls between the ages of 10 and 14 before their entrance into high school. “The reason is because that’s the age when they get pulled out of school by parents,” Ortman says.

GGRF started implementing the 3-year scholarship project in Bekoji in Fall 2015. (Photograph: GGRF)

GGRF’s partners include Abba Pascal School for Girls in Sodo & Center for Creative Leadership. (Photo: GGRF)

In addition to school tuition coverage and leadership skills the scholarship covers fees for healthcare, daily meals, uniform, books, tutoring, access to school clubs and library, showers and space to wash clothes on the weekend, as well as running clothes, shoes, transportation to races, coaches and running mentors.

“The Girls Gotta Run Scholarship Program represents a major breakthrough for our organization because it is the first time that we are implementing a program that was designed by us,” says the non-profit’s Chairperson, Ashley Griffith Kollme. “GGRF spent its first several years supporting other education and running-related organizations and learning about what works and what doesn’t work.”

Kollme adds: “We spent a lot of time gathering information on the needs of vulnerable adolescent girls in Ethiopia and designed a culturally competent running and education program that we feel very confident about. I believe the scholarship program is making a real difference in the lives and futures of our girls and their families. In the short time that we have been running the program, I have found that donors are more engaged because they feel a connection to their sponsored athletes, which is facilitated by letters and reports from Kayla Nolan, our Executive Director.” Nolan, who oversees the project in Ethiopia, interviews the students and parents before making the final selection into the program.

Ortman notes that “$600 a year or $50 a month will pay all expenses for one student.”

“I can’t believe we’ve been going at this for almost 10 years now,” Ortman says. “I think we’ve really found our formula for success.” She adds: “I am happy we are making a big impact on the lives of the girls now in the program and I am looking forward to replicating the program all over the country.”

Watch: video about the GGRF Athletic Scholarship Program in Sodo

Rewriting motherhood from CCL Ethiopia on Vimeo.

You can learn more and support Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) at www.girlsgottarun.org.

Why Girls Gotta Run: Tadias Interview with Dr. Patricia E. Ortman

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The Weeknd First Winner at 2015 American Music Awards

Prince presenting the first award at the 43rd American Music Awards to Ethiopian-Canadian musician The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. (Photo: Twitter/@theweeknd)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-Canadian music star The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) was one of the early winners, for favorite album in Soul and R&B, at the 2015 American Music Awards on Sunday.

The Weeknd received the award for his newest album, Beauty Behind the Madness.

“Prince, who earned a rousing applause, presented the first award of the night to the Weeknd for favorite album,” AP reports. The ceremony, which was hosted by Jennifer Lopez. was held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Prince, right, presents The Weeknd with the award for favorite album – soul/R&B for “Beauty Behind the Madness” at the American Music Awards, Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. (Photo: AP)

The Unstoppable Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd): Rebel with Harmony
The Weeknd Interview: Abel Says Grew Up Listening to Aster Aweke & Mulatu Astatke
The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) to Guest Star in TV’s Hottest Hip-Hop Drama ‘Empire’
Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World? (NY Times)
Inspired by Michael Jackson, The Weeknd Goes from Rebellious Songwriter to Chorus Lover
The reclusive artist talks ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ (Radio.com)

With dark tales of sex and drugs, is the Weeknd the next face of R&B? (The Guardian)

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Tizita Project Announces Five Ethiopian Artists Featured at Miami Art Basel (Audio)

Artist Merid Tafesse and Curator Dr. Desta Meghoo during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 19th, 2015. (Photo: Malik Desta/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Five artists from Ethiopia will be featured for the first time at this year’s Miami Art Basel, one of the largest art events in the United States.

The Ethiopian artists include Desta Hagos, Daniel Taye and Merid Tafesse, as well as works by the late Ermias Mazengia and Mathias Lulu (who both passed away in 2013).

The 2015 Miami Art Basel takes place from December 3rd – 6th in Miami Beach, Florida.

“It is the first in the 13-year history of Miami Art Basel that Ethiopian art or African art in this context will be presented,” said the curator Dr. Desta Meghoo J.D, who was formerly Managing Director of the Bob Marley Foundation, during a press conference held on Thursday morning at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC.

“It is important to note that Miami gets over half a million visitors just for this particular event,” Dr. Desta said. “That’s a lot of eyes, ears, curiosity for art and a major opportunity for us to expose Ethiopia through contemporary fine art.” She added: “We are very happy to get the support that we’ve received especially from luminaries like the iconic painter Desta Hagos who is arriving here next Monday.

During the press conference Dr. Desta was joined by one of the featured artists Merid Tafesse who also spoke to reporters.

Below is an audio and photos from the press conference:

You can learn more at www.tizitaproject.com.

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Ethiopian-Belgian Artist Ermias Kifleyesus

Ermias Kifleyesus is an Ethiopian-born artists based in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo credit: © Paul Kusseneers)

The Culture Trip

By Joacim Nielsen

Tackling the difficult task of portraying concepts such as globalisation, inequality and the past into works of painting, sculpture and installation, Ethiopian-Belgian artist, Ermias Kifleyesus, is certainly not afraid of tackling tricky subjects. He creates works that are multifaceted – using materials he stumbles across in everyday life. We take a look at Kifleyesus’ latest works of art, creating art in standard phone booths.

Being a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and now based in Brussels, his art reflects the different cultures and the parted and fragmented world he knows: billboard commercials, retro film posters and old kitsch oil canvases melt together to show a globalised world with little coherence.

Gallery owner and Kifleyesus’ exhibitor Paul Kusseneers explains that the artist works in multifaceted ways. A rather odd method takes place in international telephone booths: ‘Kifleyesus curled some posters together and placed them in phone booths where people are calling family and friends across the globe…he placed a pen and people started drawing on it’. As he was explaining this, Kusseneers pulled out a poster cut in several pieces, brown-edged and full of all kinds of different alphabets, squiggles and drawings.

Ermias Kifleyesus | © Paul Kusseneers and the artist

The idea behind this project was to demonstrate that these phone booths in immigrant neighbourhoods across different cities in Europe were a link to the rest of the world. They create a gateway to greater understanding, where all manner of people can communicate and many languages can be spoken.

Kifleyesus calls it ‘an open source’, alluding to the collaborative nature of the project. The final result even involved the removal of the wooden shelves on which callers would lean, encrusted with dirt they made interesting additions to Kifleyesus’ later installation. For Ermias Kifleyesus, it is not necessarily essential to create an artwork from scratch, but rather to carefully gather together objects that represent moments in time, unique pieces of forgotten history to be unified by him into a single art-form.

An ideal recent example of this is Kifleyesus’ collection of several old canvases by unknown artists, purchased from a flea market in Amsterdam. When he had gathered a suitable selection, Kifleyesus duplicated, cut and drew on the canvases to create a piece portraying fractured and unique works of art.

Read more »

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Seeds of Africa NYC Fundraiser for Dream School Initiative in Adama, Ethiopia

Seeds of Africa foundation was established in 2006 by former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku. (Courtesy images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – Seeds of Africa Foundation has announced that it will host its annual New Yorkers for Seeds fundraiser event on Tuesday, December 8th in Manhattan. The non-profit, which was founded by Atti Worku (Miss Ethiopia 2005), shares that “the event will celebrate the organization’s mission to provide quality education and community development programs in Adama, Ethiopia through the Dream School Initiative.”

Launched in October 2014, the Dream School Initiative aims to raise $2.2 million in two years to fund “the creation of an Ethiopian academy and community center to serve up to 600 students, their families and the Adama community at large.”

“It will meet the most rigorous international academic standards and prepare its students to succeed in high school, college and beyond,” the press release said. “Featured in WABC, NBC, Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, D Magazine and more, Seeds of Africa is a leading organization offering a successful business model for assisting communities in Africa with the tools to accomplish educational and entrepreneurial development.”

Earlier this year Atti Worku was honored with the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award. The prize, which is given annually by the U.S.-based research and youth advocacy organization AYE, celebrates “the achievements of a dynamic young African leader in the Diaspora.” The former Miss Ethiopia, who graduated from Columbia University in 2014 focusing her studies on sustainable development, education and social movements, has raised over 1.3 million dollars so far to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Nazret/Adama in Ethiopia.

Tadias Magazine is a media partner for the December 8th fundraiser, which features a DJ performance by Questlove; Actor & Producer Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, The Following, 24, The Good Wife); Musician Cakes da Killa; and Alexander Soros, Founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation.

Cocktails will be served courtesy of Owl’s Brewery.

If you go:
New Yorkers for Seeds Annual Fundraiser
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
6PM – 7PM: VIP Reception with Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
7pm – 10PM: Evening Program
Studio 450
450 West 31st Street, NY, NY

You may purchase tickets for the Dec. 8th event here:


Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Receives Diaspora 2015 Youth Excellence Award
Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for School Initiative in Nazret
Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s Dream School Initiative in Nazret, Ethiopia
Interview with Atti Worku: Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation

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African Diaspora International Film Festival Features ‘Ethiopia – Past & Present’

Three Ethiopian films, Bilatena, If Only I Were That Warrior and Asni are part of the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival being held in NYC from November 27th to December 13th, 2015. (ADIFF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 13th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s African Diaspora International Film Festival, which kicks off on November 27th in New York City, features three recent Ethiopian films including Rachel Samuel’s Asni: Courage & Glamour in Ethiopia, Kinfe Banbu’s Bilatena, and the U.S. premier of Valerio Ciriaci’s If Only I Were That Warrior, a documentary about the Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian films are scheduled to be screened on Saturday, December 12th at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Organizers said the filmmakers will be present for a Q&A following the screenings of their films.

If You Go:

Below is the schedule and trailers:

Asni: Courage & Glamour in Ethiopia
December 12th at 4pm
Buy tickets

Asni Documentary from Samuel Overton Photography on Vimeo.

“It was a privilege for me to direct a documentary on this extraordinary artist who is as much a cultural icon to Ethiopians as Billie Holiday is to Americans and Edith Piaf to the French. Asnaketch lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. But to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia, particularly in 50’s and 60’s was impossible. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, “Azmari.” which the church deemed as, “…those not going to heaven.” So this doc is as much about my country, my music, my culture as it is about this original being, Asnaketch, who is a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.” – Rachel Samuel, Director. Directed by Rachel Samuel, Ethiopia, 2013, 80 min., documentary in Amharic with English subtitles

December 12th at 6pm
Buy tickets

Abi, a dynamic and resourceful twelve year old boy, lives with his mother Degua and his 26 years old university graduate unemployed brother Zelalem (Zele). Abi, who is a hard working boy with two jobs, supports his poor mother and his older unemployed brother through their day to day lives. But when their mother dies of Hepatitus B and Abi is also infected by the virus, Zele must face the big challenge of supporting his own life and keeping his younger brother alive by earning the 20,000 Ethiopian birr per month needed for his brother’s medication. Directed by Kinfe Banbu, 2014, Ethiopia, Drama, 105 min, Amharic w/ English subtitles.

If Only I Were That Warrior
December 12th at 8:30pm
Buy tickets

The stories of three characters, filmed in present day Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia — a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people. Directed by Valerio Ciriaci, 2015, 72min, USA | Italy | Ethiopia, documentary in English, Italian and Amharic with English subtitles.

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A Video-Art Exhibition at Ethiopian National Museum by Curator Meskerem Assegued

Curated by Meskerem Assegued the exhibition at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa (November 13th to December 4,th 2015) also features work by US-based Ethiopian artist Abel Tilahun. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — A video-art exhibition entitled “Curvature of Events” curated by Ethiopian anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Founder & Director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center, opens this week at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa.

Meskerem initiated the video art exhibition based on pieces “she selected from the permanent collections at the Old Masters Gallery, the New Masters Gallery and the Sculpture Collection [in Dresden, Germany] dating from the mid-1500s to the early 1900s, but excluding the last 100 years from 1914 – 2014.” The works were initially exhibited last year at Germany’s Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) — one of the oldest museums and cultural institutions in the world.

Curvature of Events is brought to Addis Ababa by the Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa in collaboration with the Ethiopian National Museum and Zoma Contemporary Art Center.

The featured video artists include Abel Tilahun (Ethiopian) who teaches at American University in Washington D.C., as well as Gunter Deller (German) and Barbara Lubich (Italian). The press release noted: “A dance video choreographed by Christian Canciani from Palucca Hochschule Fuer Tanz Dresden for the opening will be incorporated as part of the exhibition.”

“The exhibition is a window into the way Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic artists depicted their society and how artists of our time interpret that perception relating it to the present,” the press release says.

Meskerem, who is also behind the recent successful exhibit at James Cohan Gallery in New York by Ethiopian artist Elias Sime, has worked with several prestigious art festivals including Venice Biennale (2007), Dak-Art Biennale (2004), as well as organizations in the United States such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Santa Monica Museum of Art.

“Meskerem Assegued’s curatorial career goes back over twenty years,” adds the press release. “During the last sixteen years she has curated several exhibitions in Europe, Africa and North America. She is interested in contemporary artistic expressions that deal with historical and socio-cultural contexts. She believes all social issues are relevant everywhere regardless of socio-political, socio-economic and geographical differences.”

If You Go:
Video Art Exhibition at the Ethiopian National Museum
Curator: Meskerem Assegued
Nov. 13 Dec. 4, 2015

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Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch

This one-of-a-kind gold wristwatch, a Patek Philippe 1954, that once belonged to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was pulled from a Christie’s auction in Geneva on Monday, November 9th, 2015. (Photo: Hodinkee)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Christie’s Geneva skipped its planned auction of Haile Selassie’s personal wristwatch on Monday after a judge in Switzerland issued a freeze order siding with the family of Ethiopia’s former Emperor, led by his grandson Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie who argued that it was probably stolen property.

The family said their lawyers in Geneva were able to obtain the court order in time and served Christie’s prior to the scheduled auction on November 9th, 2015.

“This is just the beginning and we will not stop until we get to the bottom of it,” Prince Ermias said during a phone conference with Tadias Magazine. “Clearly there is a need for further due diligence in this case. Ultimately it’s about the truth and the reputation of Christie’s.”

According to Christie’s the watch, an 18k gold perpetual calendar Patek Philippe, was commissioned in 1954 “as a gift for Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and presented during his official visit to Switzerland in November that year.”

Christie’s claims that years later the Emperor gave the vintage, personal timepiece as a gift to “an eminent personality, whose descendant is now disclosing it to the world.” Today the watch is estimated to be worth between five hundred thousand and one million dollars.

Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie says he wants to know who that “eminent personality” might be?

Last week, in a letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Perazzi, Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department, Ermias wrote: “As it is well-known in Ethiopia’s sad history, my grandfather was treated with unspeakable indignities and his property confiscated without benefit of law. Included in the properties stolen was belongings and personal property.” He added: “Nothing was left.”

The family believes that the wristwatch was illegally confiscated from their grandfather during his confinement in the 1970′s. He was never given due process of law.

“I recognize that Christie’s-Geneva is a reputable auction house,” Ermias said. “I can only assume that Christie’s is unaware of the history of provenance of this watch, and that it is probably illegally taken property.” He warned the European art business institution stating: “I believe that Christie’s would not want to be a party to any furtherance of these illegal transactions.”

Haile Selassie’s wristwatch pulled from auction block (The Washington Post)
Ethiopian Emperor’s Patek Philippe Pulled From Christie’s Sale (Bloomberg)
Ethiopian-Americans irked at auction of Haile Selassie watch (The Denver Post)
Haile Selassie’s Grandson Seeks Halt of Christie’s Watch Auction (TADIAS)
Made for an Emperor — A one of a kind Patek Philippe Watch (Christie’s Geneva)
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Haile Selassie’s Grandson Seeks Halt of Christie’s Watch Auction

A unique watch especially made as a gift for Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1954 is being auctioned by Christie’s Geneva. (Photograph: Haile Selassie at Addis Ababa Palace in 1962. Credits: Christies.com/Alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, November 7th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The grandson of Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie and his extended family are calling for the indefinite postponement of an imminent Christie’s auction in Geneva involving a wristwatch that was their grandfather’s personal possession, and one that they believe was illegally confiscated from him.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Perazzi, Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department, Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie requested that the auction of the watch — presently scheduled for November 9th, 2015 — be “postponed indefinitely in order to allow time for a proper adjudication of the actual ownership of the watch.”

According to Christie’s the watch, an 18k gold perpetual calendar Patek Philippe 2497, was commissioned in 1954 “as a gift for Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and presented during his official visit to Switzerland in November that year.”

Christie’s claims that years later the Emperor gave the vintage, personal timepiece as a gift to “an eminent personality, whose descendant is now disclosing it to the world.” Today the watch is estimated to be worth between five hundred thousand and one million dollars.

In response to another family member’s request to halt the auction Christie’s insisted they will not disclose the name for “confidential reasons” maintaining that the auction is legitimate.

“Our specialists have run all the checks on the piece (authenticity, provenance and history of the watch),” wrote Stephane Von Bueren, the International Business Director of Christie’s in Switzerland. “We own visual proof that the watch was given by his Highness to someone he knew very well at the time.”

But the grandson, Ermias S. Haile Selassie, says he wants to know who that “eminent personality” might be?

“As it is well-known in Ethiopia’s sad history, my grandfather was treated with unspeakable indignities and his property confiscated without benefit of law,” Prince Ermias wrote. “Included in the properties stolen was belongings and personal property.” He added: “Nothing was left.”

“I recognize that Christie’s-Geneva is a reputable auction house,” Ermias continued. “I can only assume that Christie’s is unaware of the history of provenance of this watch, and that it is probably illegally taken property.” He warned the European art business institution stating: “I believe that Christie’s would not want to be a party to any furtherance of these illegal transactions.”

The family, we are told, has also retained attorneys in Geneva and are weighing several legal options. They have also contacted the Swiss Police as well as INTERPOL seeking assistance in launching an investigation.

Made for an Emperor — A one of a kind Patek Philippe Watch (Christie’s Geneva)
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015

Abugida designs at the 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week, October 22nd, 2015. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The fourth edition of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week was held on October 22nd at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.

The annual runway event, which this year showcased the work of 17 African designers, was followed with a special private presentation at the Italian Embassy Ambassador’s residence on October 24th.

“This year’s event was extra special as we had Sara Maino, Senior Fashion Editor & Head of Talent at Vogue Italia, attending the event” organizers said in a statement.

Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week also arranged a panel discussion on promoting African fashion and designers to the international market. Panelists included Sara Maino (Vogue Italia); Marian Spadafora (Italian Designer); Anna Getaneh (Founder of African Mosaique); and Aurelia Calabro (UNIDO).

Below are photos from the 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week:

In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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National Museum of African Art Presents Haile Gerima’s Acclaimed Films

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in D.C. features screenings of and discussion with Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima, November 6th to November 14th, 2015. (Courtesy images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias staff

Published: Friday, November 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Opening tonight the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. is hosting week-long screenings of Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima’s most critically acclaimed films including Adwa: An African Victory, Bush Mama, Sankofa, and Teza .

“Each screening will be followed by a panel discussion with activists, actors, journalists, and scholars,” the museum announced.

The program, entitled Streams of a River African and African-American History and Identity in Haile Gerima’s Films, is presented in partnership with Positive Productions Inc., Minab Arts, Humanities D.C., and the Diverse City Fund.

In Adwa, which screens today, “Gerima uses paintings, rare historical photographs, music, recreations, and interviews with elders to tell the story of the 1896 battle in which the Ethiopian peoples united to defeat the Italian army.” Panelists include Kwasi Bonsou; Attorney Gabriel J. Christian and Associates, LLC & Founder of In-iversial Development of Ras Tafari; Greg Carr Professor of African Studies, Howard University, and Adjunct Faculty at Howard University School of Law; and Dagmawi Woubshet, Associate Professor of African American literature at Cornell University.

If you Go:
November 6
6–10 p.m.
Adwa: An African Victory
USA, Germany, 1997, 97 min., Amharic with English subtitles
Full information and RSVP

November 7
2–6 p.m.
Bush Mama
USA, 1979, 97 min., English
Full information and RSVP

November 11
6–10 p.m.
USA, Ghana, 1993, 125 min., English
Full information and RSVP

November 14
6–10 p.m.
Ethiopia, Germany, 2008, 140 min., Amharic and German with English subtitles
Full information and RSVP

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Meet Golf Player Aberon Michael Bauchau

Aberon Michael Bauchau, a golf player from Ethiopia, trains in New York. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Bethelhem T. Negash

Published: Monday, November 2nd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to New York is a long one and it gives one passenger, Aberon Michael Bauchau, a chance to consider his mixed emotions. On one hand, the 20-year-old Bauchau is leaving his Ethiopian family and friends and the place where he grew up. On the other hand, he is pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer.

With his family’s support and unmatched hope of finding sponsorships and scholarships, Bauchau landed in New York on May 10th, 2015. Ever since his arrival all he does involves golfing; what he eats, drinks, reads, plays and practices has mainly to do with golfing.

In golf terminology, Bauchau has a handicap score of three. His dream is to lower his handicap score and make a name for himself in the golf world. But for Bauchau, Ethiopia, can no longer cradle his dream with the limited access and resources for the game of golf. It was time to get out of his comfort zone and make his dreams come true.

Bauchau has been looking at his passport for hours now. It is an American passport. He was born in Orange County, California. However, his days of living in California are counted and his memory of it very faint. He has no distinctive recollection of the land he was born in, except images of it he collected from the stories told by his family,and movies and video clips he grew up watching. This is his first visit to the United States of America in eighteen years.

Bauchau didn’t think life in the U.S. would be easy. He is trying to fit in to the American lifestyle, yet still each step has its own challenges and obstacles to tackle down. Living with his aunt in a small apartment in Harlem, he is very much aware of his expenses, which he tries to minimize every chance he gets, even if it means walking over 50 blocks a day to cut the cost of the subway fare. Everyday, he trains by himself at Randall’s Island Golf Center after paying 14 dollars for a bucket of 110 golf balls. He monitors his swings and positions and scores through a video record of his phone. For Bauchau, the various phone applications on his phone are the only coaches and caddies he can afford right now.

It was during a summer trip to South Africa when he was six that he took his first swing to learn the game of golf. A family friend, Haile Ghebreezigabher, an Ethiopian club professional golf player, introduced him to the game. Bauchau, however, didn’t only want an introduction to the game; he wanted golf to be more than a hobby. He wanted a relationship with the game — a lasting one. He didn’t predict the love of this game would make him leave his parents, family and friends behind at one point in time.

What motivates Bauchau to pursue golf including during the weekends and while on vacation from school is the ‘feeling’ that overcomes him when he becomes one with the ball, which mutes the world outside. “When I went to play at St. Andrews in Scotland, I had a real exposure and broad view of the game, its rules and techniques. I fell even deeper in love with the game. Everyone in the tournament came to see me play. I guess it didn’t make sense to them to see an Ethiopian golf player among them.” He takes a long sip from his bottled water and adds, “But I kept my focus on the ball. After all, its all about me and the ball.”

Bauchau says he is often engulfed with nostalgic feelings of family, friends and his life in Addis. Sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming.

“My passport says this is my home. I used to dream a lot about this home of mine” he says, squinting his eyes over the recorded video of his shots for a few seconds and adds, “But when I got here, home wasn’t here.”

About the Author:
Bethelhem T. Negash is a student at Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.

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Yohannes Abraham to Give Keynote Address at YEP’s 5th Anniversary Gala

Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to President Obama, is the keynote speaker at the 2015 Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) annual event in Alexandria, Virginia on November 7th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, October 31st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) organization has announced that Yohannes Abraham will deliver the keynote address at their 5th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, November 7th in Alexandria, Virginia.

Abraham, who is a Special Assistant to President Obama, is also the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, he served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign.

This year’s event, which will be hosted by Master of Ceremonies Nunu Wako, will also feature comedian Meskerem Bekele, the Dankira Cultural Music Group, as well as music by Dj Rasta, and include an Ethiopian dinner and cash bar.

Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP), which was founded in 2010, is a networking group that has built a platform for Ethiopian professionals in various sectors to meet and share resources among each other. In an interview with Tadias Magazine last year YEP’s Co-Founder & Executive Vice-President Shimelse Mekonnen said that YEP also provides mentoring programs for college and high school students. YEP is “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.”

If You Go:
YEP’s 5th Anniversary Gala
Saturday, November 7, 2015
6:00 PM – 12AM
Beth El Hebrew Congregation
3830 Seminary Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22304

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Afripedia: A Creative Hub for African Visionary Artists

Afripedia founders Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe (top) at NYC's New Museum incubator. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 29th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Growing up in Stockholm, Sweden Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe, self-taught filmmakers, longed to diversify the creative scene in the West and to share the voices of musicians, fashion designers and artists from Africa and the African Diaspora. In the last five years Teddy and Senay have traveled to 10 African countries with Ethiopia as their first stop. The global trek culminated with the release of five documentary episodes last year featuring the work of “visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, and cultural activists” from 6 African countries: Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Earlier this year, in April 2015, the two filmmakers were presenting their work in Barcelona when they received an invitation for a one-year residency at the New Museum’s incubator (New Inc.) in New York City to further develop their new platform, Afripedia.

Teddy and Senay describe their project as “a documentary series about the creative forces reshaping the image of Africa and told by African visionary artists who are pushing the boundaries of visual self-expression.”

“We realized that the films we made weren’t going to represent the whole talent base in Africa,” Teddy tells Tadias Magazine. “And we asked ourselves, how can we build a better platform so that more people can come together and share their work and network?” They have now re-envisioned Afripedia as more than just a series of films, and transformed their idea into one that could be better described as social entrepreneurship.

“We want to build a hub, a destination, where we can find, connect and hire talents,” Teddy adds. “The vision would be that five years from now we’ve created thousands of jobs through this platform. Whether the New Museum wants to find a new artist or a film production company is seeking a new director they can hire new talent from this platform, which includes individuals from the African continent as well as African Diaspora.”

“I just want to emphasize that this is not something that we can do by ourselves,” says Senay Berhe. “This is really a collaboration between curators and creatives” and a way for Africans to know what other fellow Africans are doing creatively across the continent.

Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe at their workspace inside the New Museum’s incubator in New York. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine)

Senay was drawn to film at an early age, and remembers accompanying his uncle to weddings and being allowed to stand behind the camera while taping was in progress. He spent most of his days at his friend’s film school where he familiarized himself with editing tools in the multimedia labs and by age 14 he had decided that he wanted to be a filmmaker. Eventually he got an opportunity to work as a production assistant.

Teddy’s interest in film grew out of his work in photography and event production. In the late 90s he produced a music documentary series entitled Stocktown Underground after traveling to the United States, Australia, Japan and Brazil to document independent musicians and their efforts to remix music from different parts of the world. The series was released online in 2002 and broadcasted on TV in Sweden, Spain and Brazil. The DVDs are still selling in Japan as a collectors item.

“At the time Africa wasn’t on our radar,” Teddy says. “But after sharing Stocktown Underground with an online audience we saw the power of people connecting and discussing the creative work online, and we understood that there is a lot more content out there.”

The Afripedia film series and platform grew organically out of this initial experiment, and when YouTube was launched in 2005 Teddy and Senay realized that it would be an ideal platform to share film and moving pictures highlighting the African talent base.

“We were just a collective of artists trying to bring out new voices and we thought the Internet was the perfect way to do that. That’s actually when I got more interested in film and took it more seriously” Teddy shares.

With Afripedia, the co-founders chose to broaden their scope beyond music. “How about including the art scene, film, and what people are doing in the contemporary field in general?” they asked. They shared a Google document with fellow artists to get recommendations of individuals to network with. In 2010 they connected with a photographer who was documenting the fashion scene in Soweto and produced their first 30 minute pilot from South Africa. The pilot entitled Stocktown x South Africa was picked up by CNN and several online sites upon its release, and as interest in the film grew the project expanded to include additional series.

It’s an ambitious commitment to highlight the African creative marketplace, but the co-founders of Afripedia are inviting all Africans (both residing in the continent and in the Diaspora) to connect with each other. While in residence at New Inc. they are working on a business plan to identify funding and resources to develop and manage the platform, which they say will be curated in the first stage and transformed into an open-access site with minimal editorial control in the later stages.

“We want to change the perception that people have about Africa, and to make the creative scene more inclusive of these new voices” Senay says. Speaking of his friends in Sweden Senay adds, “A lot of my friends they have so little knowledge about what is happening on the continent.”

The Afripedia film series have been previously screened in Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris and Kigali as well as shown at the New York City Film Festival, Selam Festival in Addis Ababa, and at a cultural center in Lalibela, Ethiopia. They also recently launched the first virtual reality music video in Africa, which was shot in Addis Ababa for Ethiocolor Band and released on YouTube and via Android and Iphone apps.

The full version of Afripedia’s five episodes is scheduled to be released online on the new Afripedia platform in September 2016, and a few weeks from now, on November 15th, Afripedia’s co-founders will also be presenting the platform at a film and music festival at the National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York where artists featured in the series will be in attendance.

Watch: The first Virtual Reality music video in Africa, that was shot in Addis for Ethiocolor band

You can learn more about the project at Afripedia.com and the New Museum incubator program (New Inc) at www.newinc.org.

The Ethiocolor 360 mobile App can be downloaded for Android and iPhone.

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CNN on the Heartwarming Movie Lamb & the Challenges of Filmmaking in Ethiopia

'Lamb': Ethiopia's first Cannes-selected film. (Image: CNN video still)


By Colin Hancock and Daisy Carrington

Ethiopia is not a country known for its burgeoning film scene. Even the capital city, Addis Ababa, only boasts 20 cinemas.

It’s also not an easy place to make a movie, but that didn’t stop filmmaker Yared Zeleke, whose first feature film, “Lamb,” was also the first Ethiopian film ever to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Film is hard no matter where you are, but in a place like Ethiopia, what’s difficult becomes almost impossible,” admits Zeleke.

“There are so many difficulties facing young filmmakers in Ethiopia today. There aren’t proper support systems in the country. We have to work on that, and I hope Lamb will open the minds and hearts of all Ethiopians to nurture real storytelling and cinema in this country,” he adds.

Unique challenges

According to the country’s filmmakers, the biggest challenge facing the industry is that, well, there is no industry.

“I spend from my pocket… I have other businesses, that’s why I survived. There are a lot of filmmakers in Ethiopia who are really trying to do it without any profit,” admits Arsema Worku, whose film, Imnet, is one of the most popular in Ethiopia right now.

“There are no sponsors for filmmaking because most of the investors would rather spend on other aspects,” she says.

Despite the lack of funding, there are many still determined to nurture the talent that does exist in the country. Addis Ababa University, for one, has recently added a film program to its curriculum.

“(The film industry) is at graduate level, but it’s progressing,” says Behaila Wassie, a film student at the university.

“There are some entertaining, visionary filmmakers coming. Hopefully, we are going to give a lot to the world.”

Read more at CNN.com »

Director Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’ is Ethiopia’s Official Submission to Oscars
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Tadias Interview With Real-life Inspirations for Award-winning Film Difret

Difret producer Mehret Mandefro, telefa victim Aberash Bekele and lawyer Meaza Ashenafi. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 26th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Tadias Magazine caught up with the real-life inspirations for the award-winning Ethiopian film Difret — Aberash Bekele and her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi as well as Producer Mehret Mandefro — last week during the movie’s U.S. premiere in New York City.

Below is our conversation with three of the women behind Difret about the case that launched a global spotlight on the practice of abduction for marriage (telefa) and the educational efforts underway to end it.

Difret Coming to Theatres Near You (TADIAS)
Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)

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Difret: Petitioning US to End Child Marriage

Actress Tizita Hagere who plays Hirut Assefa and Meron Getnet as Meaza Ashenafi, her lawyer, in the Ethiopian film Difret, which is released in the United States on Friday, October 23rd, 2015. (Courtesy photo)


When Aberash was 14 years old, she was kidnapped for marriage. She was taken to a hut, locked up and assaulted by her would-be husband. She knew she had to fight back. When she received another visit from her abductor, she saw her chance. She grabbed the gun he had left leaning against the wall and ran out of the door. Chased by her husband and his friends, she shot him.

Aberash was accused of murder and, after 2 years in court, the judge ruled that she had acted in self-defence. Her trial set a precedent and made it possible to outlaw bride kidnapping in Ethiopia. The film ‘Difret’, which will open on October 23rd in the United States, tells her incredible story.

Difret – Official Trailer from Truth Aid on Vimeo.

Read more at GirlsNotBrides.Org »

Tadias Interview with the Women of Difret
Difret Coming to Theatres Near You (TADIAS)
Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)

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Photos: Advanced Screening of CNN’s “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson, Teddy Goitom, and Julie Mehretu at the advanced screening of "Parts Unknown: Ethiopia" at Ginny's Supper Club in Harlem, NYC on Monday on October 19th, 2015. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — This past Monday on October 19th, Marcus and Maya Samuelsson hosted a special advanced screening of CNN’s “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” episode at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The show, which is also scheduled to air on CNN this coming Sunday, October 25th, features the Ethiopian-born couple accompany their friend TV host Anthony Bourdain as he explores their birth country’s unique and diverse cuisine.

The advance screening was organized in partnership with CNN, Food Republic and Tadias Magazine, and followed by a conversation with Marcus about behind-the-scenes stories and experiences. In addition the event included a Q&A session and film trailer presentations by Julie Mehretu for the upcoming U.S. premiere of Difret and Teddy Goitom’s Afripedia.

The staff at Red Rooster prepared a special creative Ethiopian menu for the evening featuring doro wot, kitfo taqitos and fried shiro balls.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says.

Below are photos from the advanced screening at Ginny’s in New York on October 19th:

Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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Difret Coming to Theatres Near You

From left: Attorney Meaza Ashenafi, actress Tizita Hagere, Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari and Executive Producer Angelina Jolie-Pitt in Hollywood, California, December 9, 2014. (Credit: shesthefirst.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Difret is opening in several U.S. theatres this Fall kicking off with a screening at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York City on Friday, October 23rd.

The award-winning Ethiopian film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, also opens in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area at AFI Silver (Silver Spring, MD), and on the West Coast at San Diego’s Digital Gym on October 30th, 2015.

The NYC opening weekend includes Q&As with the real-life inspirations for Difret, Meaza Ashenafi and Aberash Bekele, as well as Tizita Hagere (the actress who plays Hirut), Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and Executive Producer Julie Mehretu in conversation with Marcus Samuelsson.

Difret is “based on the inspirational true story of a young Ethiopian girl and a tenacious lawyer embroiled in a life-or-death clash between cultural traditions and their country’s advancement of equal rights,” the press release states. “When 14-year-old Hirut is abducted in her rural village’s tradition of kidnapping women for marriage, she fights back, accidentally killing her captor and intended husband. Local law demands a death sentence for Hirut, but Meaza, a tough and passionate lawyer from a women’s legal aide practice, steps in to fight for her. With both Hirut’s life and the future of the practice at stake the two women must make their case for self-defense against one of Ethiopia’s oldest and most deeply-rooted traditions. DIFRET paints a portrait of a country in a time of great transformation and the brave individuals ready to help shape it.”

DIFRET release trailer from Tambay A Obenson on Vimeo.

If You Go:
Difret opens in NYC on 10/23
Lincoln Plaza Cinema
1886 Broadway New York, NY 10023
The Box Office opens 20 minutes before the first show.
For showtimes call 212 757-2280
Customer Service Information: (212) 757-0359
Buy tickets here.

Opening dates for other cities:
November 4, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Winchester, VA at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
November 6, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Hartford, CT at the Real Art Ways
November 9, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Anchorage, AK at the Bear Tooth Theaterpub (one night only)
November 13, 2015
DIFRET Opens in
Columbus, OH at the Gateway Film Center
Minneapolis, MN at the St. Anthony Main
Vancouver, WA at the Kiggins Theater
Hanover, NH at the Hopkins Film Center (one night only)
November 18, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Boulder, CO at the International Film Series (one night only)
November 20, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Denver, CO at the Sie FilmCenter
November 30, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Vicksburg, MO at the Strand Theater (one night only)

Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)

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World Premiere of Antu Yacob’s Play ‘Mourning Sun’ to Open in New York

Playwright and actress Antu Yacob's play 'Mourning Sun' opens in NYC November 6, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The world premiere of Antu Yacob’s Mourning Sun, a new play set in Ethiopia and New York, opens next month at the West End Theatre in Manhattan.

Mourning Sun tells a love story between Ethiopian teenagers, Biftu and Abdi, that gets crudely interrupted by a forced arranged marriage resulting in Biftu becoming a fistula patient. Abdi finds refuge from his loss by getting himself immersed in a new culture in New York City, trying in vain to forget the past.

The Ethiopian-born playwright and actress, Antu Yacob, says the theatrical production is inspired by stories of various women that her physician sister shared with her while volunteering at the Addis Ababa Fistula hospital. “It’s actually a hopeful story,” Antu says. “They will end up meeting later in life.”

Like many young people their age around the world the play’s main characters, Biftu and Abdi, were “obsessed with Michael Jackson,” says Antu, “and less about the cultural mores that would eventually change their lives forever. With a first act set in Ethiopia and the second in New York this play follows Biftu and Abdi as they navigate young love with the mental, emotional and spiritual effects of irreversible fistula.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University, grew up in California and Minnesota before moving to New Jersey where she currently lives. Her television and film credits include a co-starring role in NBC’s Law & Order as well as a lead role in Walking in Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and a supporting role in Inspiration (SVA Film/Kaelan Kelly-Sorderlet). She has presented Mourning Sun at Crossroads Theater Company’s Common Ground Festival and Project Y Theatre’s Racey Plays Series.

“Her writing is moving, deep, and raw,” says Michole Biancosino, Artistic Director of Project Y Theatre. “She manages to bring to light the simple and beautiful moments in a difficult life.”

In addition to Antu, who also acts in the play, the cast for the NYC premiere of Mourning Sun includes Arlene Chico-Lugo (The Jackson Heights Trilogy, Theatre 167), Shamsuddin Abdul-Hamid (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Charles Everett (Next, Here Arts Center), Fadoua Hanine (xoxo I.B. Singer, Target Margin), Kevis Hillocks (King Lear, Public Theatre), John P. Keller (Jackson Heights 3AM, Theatre 167).

If You Go:
Mourning Sun by Antu Yacob
directed by Ari Laura Kreith
November 6-December 6
at the West End Theatre
263 W. 86th St., 2nd Fl.

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Watch Meklit Hadero at TED Talk: The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds

Meklit Hadero. (Photo: Video still TED Talk 2015)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, October 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — In the following video TED Senior Fellow Meklit Hadero speaks about how everyday sounds (nature, language and silence) inspire her creativity. “As a singer/songwriter people often ask me about my influences or as I call them my sonic lineages,” says the Ethiopian American artist. “And I could easily tell you that I was shaped with the Jazz and Hip-Hop that I grew up with, by the Ethiopian heritage of my ancestors, or by the 1980s pop on my childhood radio stations, but there is another genre. How do the sounds that we hear everyday influence the music that we make?”

“The world is alive with musical expression,” she says as she explores popular Amharic interjections. “We are already immersed.”

Watch: Meklit Hadero: The unexpected beauty of everyday sounds | TED Talk

Meklit Hadero, The Nile Project at the Lincoln Center in New York
An Interview with Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero
Photos: Meklit Hadero at Artisphere in DC
Tadias Interview: The Irresistible Meklit Hadero Blends Ethiopia and San Francisco

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Zone 9 Bloggers Acquitted of Terrorism

The Zone 9 bloggers. (Photograph credit: Endalkachew H/Michael)


October 16, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the acquittal by an Ethiopian court today of four Zone 9 bloggers charged with terrorism. Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, and Natnail Feleke, jailed since April 2014, are scheduled to be released today, while exiled blogger Soleyana S. Gebremichael was acquitted in absentia, news reports said. A fifth Zone 9 blogger, Befekadu Hailu, was acquitted of terrorism charges but is being held on charges of inciting violence, the reports said. His bail hearing is set for Wednesday.

“We are elated that the terrorism charges against the Zone 9 bloggers are dropped and urge the court to dismiss the criminal charges against Befekadu Hailu,” said CPJ’s East Africa representative, Tom Rhodes. “Ethiopia should be listening to critical voices to strengthen democracy and development, not jailing them. We call on authorities to immediately release all other journalists imprisoned in relation to their work.”

In July, five other journalists and Zone 9 bloggers who were jailed in the same case — Editor Asmamaw Hailegiorgis; freelancers Edom Kassaye and Tesfalem Waldyes; and Zone 9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahum and Zelalem Kibret — were released from prison. In late 2014, Ethiopian authorities were holding at least 17 journalists in prison, including the Zone 9 bloggers, in relation to their work, according to CPJ’s prison census. Many have been released. Ethiopia is ranked fourth on CPJ’s list of the 10 most censored countries.

Read more »

Ethiopian Bloggers Cleared of Terrorism Charges
Zone 9 Bloggers Recognized With International Press Freedom Awards
International Press Freedom Awards Goes to Zone 9 Bloggers from Ethiopia

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UNICEF Appoints Musician Tommy T Gobena Ambassador to Ethiopia

Tommy T (Thomas Gobena), the Ethiopian-born bass player for the New York-based multi-ethnic gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, has been named a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia. (Photo: UNICEF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Following in the footsteps of Aster Aweke, Abelone Melesse and Hannah Godefa, U.S.-based Ethiopian musician Thomas Gobena (Tommy T) has been appointed as a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia.

At a signing ceremony held on Wednesday at the UNICEF office in Addis Ababa Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of UNICEF Ethiopia, said: “Tommy’s ambassadorship has come at a time when UNICEF Ethiopia is seeking to engage with a wide range of the diaspora groups to get their understanding and support for children’s issues in Ethiopia. Reaching out to this group is critical as they can relay information fast to their communities and have also a strong awareness raising capacity.”

“A U.S. Citizen of Ethiopian descent, Tommy moved to Washington D.C. at the age of sixteen, and is a bassist for Gogol Bordello, a Gypsy punk band, since 2006,” UNICEF said in a press release.

“Tommy T. has been an advocate for UNICEF’s work since 2014 and is keen on empowering youth. Thus, he has participated in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on HIV/AIDS awareness entitled “Your life; Your decision” produced by UNICEF in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and UNAIDS.”

“I hope I will be an Ambassador who will awaken hope, inspire action, and nurture kindness and respect to all,” Tommy added speaking of his new title. “I hope with all my heart that my modest contribution will be inspiring to as many youth as possible because inspiration fuels hope.”

Watch: Musician Thomas “Tommy T” Gobena — “My life My decision” campaign (UNICEF Ethiopia)

Tadias Interview with Tommy T (Thomas Gobena)

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3 Ethiopian CEOs Ranked Among Top 100 Emerging Business Leaders in Africa

Choiseul 100 Africa 2015: Economic Leaders for Tomorrow. (Image: Institut Choiseul)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the second year in a row the Paris-based Institut Choiseul has released its influential ranking of young African business leaders, the Choiseul 100 Africa, dedicated to identifying “those who carry the economic growth and development of Africa, and embody the renewal of the continent.”

The 2015 list includes three Ethiopian CEOs: Ermias Eshetu (Ethiopia Commodity Exchange); Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (SoleRebels); and Henok Teferra (ASKY Airlines).

Beyond those three Chief Executive Officers other young Ethiopian leaders appear in the Choiseul 200: Sara Menker (Gro Ventures); Adam Abate (Apposit); Rakeb Abebe (GAWT International Business); and Alpha Mengistu (Diageo Ethiopie).

“The Choiseul 100 Africa is an original annual study” says the press release from the French research institution that studies geoeconomics and international relations. “It identifies and ranks young African leaders of 40 years old and under who will play a major role in the development of Africa in the near future.” The list includes “growing business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, [and] investors” who “embody the dynamism and renewal of a whole continent and carry the hopes of an entire generation.”

In a statement the President of Institut Choiseul, Pascal Lorot, commented on the growing capital flows towards Africa, which last year reached an estimated 80 billion U.S. dollars. “The figure should rise up to 100 billion in 2015,” Lorot said. “This remarkable dynamic is linked to the emergence of a group of young economic leaders, well-trained, open to the world and connected to major economic and informal flows worldwide, grown out of globalization.”

The press release added: “In response to new needs new businesses emerge. Finance, NICT and service sector are among the most represented sectors.”

The emergence of women in influential positions is also another topic mentioned in the new list that names 60 female business leaders in the current edition of the Choiseul 100 Africa.

Click here to read the full list: Choiseul 100 Africa 2015 »

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Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus Samuelsson

(Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine will take center stage on CNN’s “Parts Unknown” episode this month as TV host Anthony Bourdain explores the country’s unique and diverse food heritage accompanied by his friends Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile.

Marcus and Maya will host a special advanced screening of the show on Monday, October 19th at 7pm at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The advance screening, which is organized in partnership with CNN, Food Republic and Tadias Magazine, will be followed by a conversation with Marcus about behind-the-scenes stories and experiences.

A DJ will be spinning Ethiopian tunes in between the screening which starts at 8pm. In addition, specialty cocktails and light bites will be provided and Ethiopian-focused small plates will be available for purchase as well as cash bar.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says. The episode featuring Ethiopia has been rescheduled to air on Sunday, October 25th, 2015.

If You Go:
Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus
Monday Oct 19, 2015
7:00 PM
Ginny’s Supper Club
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY
21 and over
$25 admission limited seats and table service available on a first-come, first-served basis
Click here to purchase tickets

Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015

Photo courtesy: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week (HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week will take place on October 22nd at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.

The 4th edition of the event will showcase the work of fifteen African designers. Organizers say that this year’s program partners include the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Development Cooperation and UNIDO.

“The objective is to create awareness in the fashion industry through capacity building and unite the industry with key players in Africa and abroad,” the press release said, noting that its presentations last year were highlighted in Vogue Italia and CNN, the latter of which featured an interview with Hub of Africa Fashion Week founder Mahlet Teklemariam.

If You Go:
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
October 22, 2015
Millennium Hall – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
More Info and Tickets:

In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Director Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’ is Ethiopia’s Official Submission to Oscars

Actors Kidist Siyum and Rediat Amare with director Yared Zeleke at the premiere for Lamb at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Director Yared Zeleke’s film Lamb is Ethiopia’s official submission to this year’s Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Feature category. Lamb won the Best Feature Film award at the Milan Film Festival in September and has received enthusiastic international reviews.

In May 2015 Lamb became the first Ethiopian feature to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The feature tells the story of an Ethiopian boy, Ephraïm, who bonds with a sheep as he is sent away from home following the death of his mother. Ephraïm soon learns that the sheep he befriended may have to be sacrificed for a feast and plots a way both to save the lamb and find his way home again.

Tadias Magazine recently interviewed Director Yared Zeleke following the premiere of Lamb at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa.

For the 88th Academy Awards “the total number of films submitted this year fell just shy of the record 83 films that were submitted in 2014,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. Other submissions from the African continent include Twilight of Shadows (Algeria), Run (Ivory Coast), Aida (Morocco), and The Two of Us (South Africa).

Prior Oscar submissions from Ethiopia include The Athlete directed by Rasselas Lakew & Davey Frankel for the 83rd Academy Awards, and Difret directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari for the 87th Academy Awards.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter »

Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Ethiopian Man’s 4,500-year-old DNA Reveals Surprise About African Ancestry

Mota cave in Ethiopia, where researchers found the body of a 4,500-year-old man whose DNA was still preserved. (Photo: Kathryn and John Arthur via LA Times)

Los Angeles Times

By Karen Kaplan

DNA from a man who lived in Ethiopia about 4,500 years ago is prompting scientists to rethink the history of human migration in Africa.

Until now, the conventional wisdom had been that the first groups of modern humans left Africa roughly 70,000 years ago, stopping in the Middle East en route to Europe, Asia and beyond. Then about 3,000 years ago, a group of farmers from the Middle East and present-day Turkey came back to the Horn of Africa (probably bringing crops like wheat, barley and lentils with them).

Population geneticists pieced this story together by comparing the DNA of distinct groups of people alive today. Since humans emerged in Africa, DNA from an ancient Africa could provide a valuable genetic baseline that would make it easier for scientists to track genome changes over time.

Unfortunately, such DNA has been hard to come by. DNA isn’t built to last for thousands of years. The samples of ancient DNA that have been sequenced to date were extracted from bodies in Europe and Asia that were naturally refrigerated in cooler climates.

That’s what makes the Ethiopian man so special. His body was found face-down in Mota cave, which is situated in the highlands in the southern part of the country. The cool, dry conditions in the cave preserved his DNA, and scientists extracted a sample from the petrous bone at the base of his skull. The resulting sequence is the first nuclear genome from an ancient African, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Science.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times »

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The Sci-Fi Romance Film From Ethiopia ‘Crumbs’ Opens in U.S. Theaters

Advertised as Ethiopia’s first science fiction film, 'Crumbs' is a futuristic romantic drama. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — A new Ethiopian short film Crumbs, which is being hailed as the country’s first “post-apocalyptic sci-fi romance” opens in several U.S. theaters this month including in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver.

In New York Crumbs is scheduled to run for one week at the Cinema Village in Manhattan from October 23rd to October 29th. The film’s Addis Ababa-based Spanish writer and director Miguel Llanso is expected to be in attendance for the NYC screenings on October 23rd and Oct. 24th.

The Hollywood Reporter calls Crumbs an “outlandish and imaginative sci-fi” noting that the 68-minute movie makes “potent use of spectacularly extraterrestrial locations in the country’s sunbaked far north town of Dallol; the film takes an exotic and sometimes surreal approach to what’s essentially a simple, touching love story.”

The movie also features talented Ethiopian actors including Daniel Tadesse and Selam Tesfaye. The producers of the film are Llansó (Lanzadera Films), Daniel Taye Workou and Meseret Argaw (Birabiro Films).

“Set in an unspecified epoch after a “big war” whose consequences have severely depopulated the planet, Crumbs posits a micro-civilization where the mass-produced tat of the late 20th century is revered as valuable, even holy.”

Watch: Crumbs trailer

‘Crumbs’: Rotterdam Review (The Hollywood Reporter)
Ethiopia’s first post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie looks beautiful and bizarre (The verge)

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Tadias Interview: Grammy-Nominated Ethiopian American Musician Kenna

Kenna is a Grammy® and Emmy Award®-nominated Ethiopian American artist. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 5th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) The last time that we featured Kenna (Née Kenna Zemedkun) in January of 2010 the Grammy and Emmy-nominated Ethiopian American singer was leading a team of celebrity friends to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s largest stratovolcanoes, in an effort to raise more awareness about the global clean water crisis — a personal initiative that Kenna says was inspired by his father’s story as a child survivor of a water-born disease. Kenna also served on the Arts & Policy Roundtable for Americans for the Arts as well as the UN Entrepreneurs Council and the brain trust for Fortune 500 Businesses on the economics of altruism.

Five years later Kenna, who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in the U.S., is combining social activism with the production of his upcoming third album Songs For Flight, which is expected to be released in 2016 featuring his latest single Sleep When We Die.

“I am in this for change in music,” Kenna tells Tadias. “Its time has come.”

“It’s difficult to convince a very greedy industry to be philanthropic with music,” Kenna says recently announcing the first One-For-One Artist campaign and promising to donate 50% of his profits to deserving causes and social issues around the world that he and his fans care about.

As a One-For-One Artist Kenna seeks “a social entrepreneurial slant to make a sustainable model that includes the fans and how they can contribute to the well-being of the artist and their world at the same time at a considerably significant level.”

Kenna lists three social causes that are close to his heart: Human Rights (Water), Equality (Women’s Rights) and Arts & Education. “My inheritance is my driver for the causes I have chosen,” he says. “Water (human right) for my father and his struggle as a child and the continued struggle of so many to have access to clean safe drinking water. Women’s rights because of my mother and sister. And the Arts because it has been the vehicle for me to be able to focus on the causes my family and I care about.”

Kenna is taking his campaign on the road with a sponsored worldwide tour that includes stops in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Chennai, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Paris, London, New York, Haiti and Mexico City.

Asked about artists from East Africa that have inspired him Kenna says, “Wayna is always inspiring. The Weeknd is great and has Ethiopia on his heart. Also Avi Wassa and Cabra in Israel are representing us as well. Very cool to be on the journey and learn so much from others.”

“I think it’s just my responsibility to lead by example,” Kenna tells Tadias. “Hopefully it’ll become an option for the many artists I know believe similarly to me. I have had a cool group of friends and allies who have been encouraging, but this is a very lonely path,” Kenna shares. “I can only hope that the people of my culture can be a part of the journey with me and support the mission that will help Ethiopia the most because it is my heart.”

Kenna | One For One Artist : Go to www.kenna.com to fund the music #SongsForFlight from Translator Labs on Vimeo.

Learn more about the campaign at kenna.com

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Beteseb Painting Sessions in DC Catching On with Ethiopian College Students

Beteseb Art painting session in Washington D.C., Saturday, September 26th, 2015. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 1st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the past nine months an organization called Beteseb Art has been hosting weekly Saturday painting sessions for amateur artists at a small rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington D.C. The program was launched by Ethiopian artists Aleme Tadesse and Solomon Asfaw.

“I stopped in there last night quite randomly while looking for a place to eat in DC” one participant shared on Facebook regarding her discovery of Beteseb’s program. “$30 pays for a canvas, paint, wine, beer, snacks, use of easel, brushes, and apron. With lots of love and encouragement from organizing artists it looks like everyone was having a great evening and making great art.”

And neither do you have to be an artist to take part in the program. One of the regulars is Nathaniel Abebe, a Computer Science student and former President of the Ethiopian Students Association (ESA) at the University of Maryland. “For me it’s the quality of time spent and the kind of people that you meet here,” says Nathaniel who recently completed his first artwork at the gallery. Not having any prior experience in painting, Nathaniel enjoys the social aspect of the gathering. “Initially I brought my 13-year-old sister, who was visiting from Ethiopia over the summer, but eventually I got involved and now I am in charge of publicity, website, reaching out to students and the larger community.”

Founders Solomon Asfaw and Aleme Tadesse envisioned providing a “creative environment for individuals as well as groups” not only to create art, but to also jumpstart a movement for youth to spend their time in more rewarding ways.

“We are trying to redefine weekend pastime,” says Aleme Tadesse who leads the social painting sessions over wine and music targeting young people in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. “You don’t necessarily have to go to a shisha bar to have a good time.”

The Beteseb evening program has become popular among local college students. When Tadias stopped by at last Saturday’s session the room was filled with University of Maryland Students including the current president of the Ethiopian Student Association at UM and her predecessor. Beteseb has likewise conducted more outreach and offered painting sessions at the annual Ethiopian soccer tournament. In the summer Beteseb offers two sessions from 11am to 2pm.

“The first painting session was held at the house of Nini Legesse, Founder of Wegene Foundation,” Aleme says. The program has now expanded to include weekend sessions from noon till 5pm for kids ranging in age between 3 to 18, and providing both supplies and “art-trained creative enablers” on hand to provide guidance and encouragement.

Below are photos from Beteseb Art’s painting sessions:

If You Go:
Beteseb Art Weekly Paint Session
Every Saturday: 7PM – 10PM
in Adams Morgan
2448A 18th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

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In Metema, Ethiopia Cracked Down on People Smugglers (BBC)

Metema, in Ethiopia's north-west, was once a people smuggler's paradise. (BBC News)

BBC Africa

By Emmanuel Igunza

Metema, Ethiopia – It was from here that Haimanot, aged just 16, gathered all her belongings, borrowed 3,000 Ethiopian birr ($140; £95) and crossed the border into Sudan in search of a better life.

She travelled at first on foot under cover of darkness and with the help of an Ethiopian smuggler, who had promised to take her first to Sudan’s capital Khartoum, then on to Libya.

“I was not in school and I could not find a job here in Ethiopia, so I decided to make the journey to Europe to try and make something out of myself,” she tells me.

But she never made it out of Sudan.

Haimanot, 16: “It was the scariest period of my entire life”

Read more at BBC News »

Despite Border Crackdown in Ethiopia, Migrants Still Risk Lives to Leave (The Guardian)

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Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’

Yared Zeleke, Director of Lamb, premiered his film at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Following the premiere of the first Ethiopian film, Lamb, at this year’s Festival de Cannes, Director Yared Zeleke recently screened his feature at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa. Lamb tells the story of an Ethiopian boy, Ephraïm, who bonds with a sheep as he is sent away from home following the death of his mother. Ephraïm soon learns that the sheep he befriended may have to be sacrificed for a feast and plots a way both to save the lamb and find his way home again.

Zeleke’s film has received enthusiastic international reviews including being dubbed “sheer brilliance” by The Guardian, and won ‘Best Feature Film’ at the 2015 Milano Film Festival. Lamb is set to be released in theaters in France on September 30th, and while it was screened earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, Zeleke says the U.S. premiere is “yet to be determined.”

Below is Tadias Magazine’s Q&A with Director Yared Zeleke:

TADIAS: You mentioned having been raised by your grandmother and reminisce about her coffee ceremony and storytelling skills. How did the communal experience of narrating stories over Ethiopian coffee influence your own storytelling passion?

YZ: My grandmother, Tafesech Zeleke, raised me in Mesalemia, Addis Ababa with lots of love, good food and great stories. She was known in the neighborhood for her kindness as well as terets. I think had she lived and been educated in the U.S., like I was, she would’ve been a filmmaker herself. And a great one! She was just gifted at capturing your imagination about places and people within and outside of Ager-bet (homeland). This left an indelible impression on me.

TADIAS: Your prior short films including Housewarming — highlighting the experience of an Ethiopian refugee in New York City — explore the challenges of migration and identity formation. You’ve also shared that Lamb “is a semi-autobiographical drama,” which ties to your own “personal and inescapably political” journey. How has making films helped you to navigate these themes? How do you feel now that you live back in Addis?

YZ: For me, it’s not only about cinematic art but your point of view as a citizen of the modern world. I am a “cultural omnivore” of Ethiopian origin who tries to make sense of this vast, complicated world through the work I do. Film is a powerful medium to get your point across and/or engage in a dialogue with a wider audience.

(Still image from Lamb film)

I chose to make Lamb my first feature, for both personal and political reasons. Although the story is close to me, I was aware that one of its core themes being loss — especially during childhood — is something many souls can relate to. The connection that people (from all walks of life) have had so far with first the script and now the film is a testament to my dream realized.

In the perceptions of many Westerners, Ethiopia has become synonymous with famine. This story, on the other hand, shows a boy obsessed with cooking. This is because, along with the problems of population pressure and changing climate, the country continues its ancient and rich culinary culture. As another example, Ethiopia is perceived to be a desert. Having shot parts of the film in the world’s only Afro-alpine forest (in the Bale Mountain region), the audience is in for a surprise as most of the mountainous country is far from being a desert. The art of cinema should take and engage an audience into the unexpected, be it geographic or psychic. I hope to continue making films that are more about connections rather than clichés, while revealing rarely seen worlds and faces in the global cinema.

(Still image from Lamb film)

TADIAS: Prior to obtaining an MFA at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts you had embarked on studying farming/agriculture in Norway. Can you tell us more about your original interest in farming?

YZ: That is a good question. Prior to pursuing film I was a young idealist who wanted to give back to my country of origin by working on an issue that is paramount to Ethiopia — farming. As what it means to be an Ethiopian to this day is, for the most part, a farmer, I wanted to work with agriculture in order to help the country ensure food security as well as sustainable farming practices to help develop its economy. I was very passionate about this, and after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in International Development with a focus on natural resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa at Clark University in Massachusetts, I went to get a Master’s at the Agricultural University of Norway. Deep down, however, I wasn’t happy with my studies and wished to do something else — to tell a story. One day I thought to myself if Ethiopia was as prosperous, peaceful and progressive as Norway what would I do with my life? And it became clear to me that film was my calling as a medium to share our stories with the world.

TADIAS: Who were your primary role models when you shifted your career from agriculture to film directing? Which individuals inspire you in your craft?

YZ: I am not only inspired by film directors (Robert Bresson, Stephen Frears, or Shekhar Kapur), but by writers (Tolstoy), musicians (Muluken Melesse) and political activists (Mandela) as well.

TADIAS: What are the joys and challenges of participating in the film industry in Ethiopia?

YZ: The joys of filmmaking in Ethiopia are primarily that the country remains untouched culturally and untapped in potential talents. There are so many stories to be told in the country. And there are growing opportunities.

Like any film, each and every process was just an absolute challenge in every way. But the most difficult for me was the Ethiopian bureaucracy. One can control most factors of filmmaking, more or less, but a bureaucracy is beyond me. The ultimate threat being that your project is in a constant state of danger from being shut down over the smallest issue. The authorities did however allow us to make the film. We also obtained sponsorship from Ethiopian Airlines, which is government owned. The airline moreover provided an enormous amount of logistical support with the transportation of both crew and, especially, equipment to and within the country. Without this help, we certainly would not have been able to make the film on time.

What I learned from the experience can be summarized by one of the traditional female names in Amharic as well as the title of my first documentary project— “Tigist Means Patience”. To make a meaningful film in a place like Ethiopia, you will need an enormous amount of patience and time. Be prepared to invest years of your life there. Be prepared for a lot of explaining. Be prepared for a lot of suspicion. Both the government and people are sensitive about their image, and rightly so, after decades of bad publicity, which has been primarily about political upheavals, war and famine with nothing being told about the positive aspects of the country.

I also discovered many new things. It is a very interesting transitional period right now as the nation fast forwards into the future, leaving its traumatic past behind. The economy is booming and the Diaspora who once risked everything to escape are coming back to rebuild. There is an awakening taking place there, as in the rest of the continent. This homecoming is the time for Africans to redefine who we are for the world and, especially, us. Re-appropriating our memory and what it means to be a citizen. Being a filmmaker at this point in Ethiopia’s (3,000 year) history is, therefore, extremely important. The entire process of making LAMB was made within the conditions of a country trying desperately to pull out of poverty and transcend into something new. I am, of course, very proud to be part of that wave of change.

TADIAS: You recently successfully premiered Lamb in Ethiopia. What was the audience reaction? How did it feel to bring your journey back home?

YZ: At the world premier of Lamb in Ethiopia at the National Theater, about half of the audience were international while the other half were Habeshas. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was virtually no difference in the response and reaction to the film between both audiences. Ethiopians who approached me after the screening were just as appreciative and positive about the film as “Ferenges” have been around the world. And as an Ethiopian, the reaction of my people is much more significant to me. So it meant a lot that they were so encouraging.

Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Krar Collective Has Audience on its Feet at Lincoln Center

The UK-based Ethiopian traditional music group Krar Collective performing live at the Lincoln Center David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City on Thursday, September 24th, 2015. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 25th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — If you missed Krar Collective’s stellar show at Lincoln Center’s Atrium last night you have one more chance to join them at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan this evening.

The London-based Ethiopian traditional music trio’s performance had the crowd leaping to its feet with their final rendition of a traditional Guragigna song at Lincoln Center on Thursday night.

Led by Temesgen Zeleke, a former student of Mulatu Astatke, the father of Ethio-Jazz, Krar Collective uses a minimal band set consisting of traditional and electronic Krars (harps), Kebero (drums) and accompanied by soaring vocals to create sounds that blend traditional Azmari ambience with contemporary sounds of rock and jazz. Lincoln Center describes their sound as “a rootsy yet contemporary take on traditional music from Ethiopia based on other-worldly modes and driven by hypnotic rhythms.”

Below are photos from Krar Collective’s show at Lincoln Center on Thursday, September 24th, 2015.

If You Go:
Krar Collective at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)
Friday, September 25th at 10:30 PM
196 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Doors open at 10:15pm
Price $10 (Ages 21 and over)
Click here for tickets

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Benyam & Isaac Kinde Featured as “10 Scientists Who Are Making Their Mark”

Isaac Kinde (left) a Baltimore biotech star aims to detect cancer mutations early, while his younger brother Harvard Medical student, Benyam Kinde, explores how gene expression molds higher brain function. (S.N.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Science News magazine has named brothers Benyam and Isaac Kinde among the world’s ten up-and-coming scientists who are likely to make lasting impact in their fields.

“To identify some of the early-career scientists on their way to more widespread acclaim, Science News surveyed 30 Nobel Prize winners to learn whose work has caught their attention.” the magazine said announcing the list. “From those names, Science News editors chose 10 to feature in this special report. All have demonstrated high-caliber research leading to noteworthy achievements.”

The older brother Isaac Kinde, 31, who serves as Chief Scientific Officer at Baltimore-based biotechnology startup PapGene, “credits his supportive family and years of hard work for his scientific success,” Science News highlights. “His tenacity is probably fueled by his active lifestyle — he’s an avid biker — and his devotion to coffee, which he says is rooted in his family’s Ethiopian culture. ‘It’s almost in our blood. I can’t literally say that, because I’m a scientist,’ Kinde says. ‘But, almost.’” Science News adds: “PapGene’s sensitive technologies are based on tests Kinde helped develop as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with cancer researcher Bert Vogelstein. Spotting cancer early requires finding a few rare, cancer-associated genetic alterations among large amounts of normal DNA. That’s made more difficult by the DNA reader’s error rate. Kinde and colleagues created a way to chemically label and mass-copy sections of DNA to identify the real mutations.”

Benyam Kinde, 27, is studying how genetic modifications affect brain activity at the cellular level. “Many people view the brain as the last frontier of human health research. We still don’t know very much about how individual cells in the brain coordinate the activity of higher-level function that defines us as humans,” Benyam tells Science News. “This mystery is one that Kinde, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Harvard Medical School and MIT, aims to solve. He is interested in how chemical modifications of DNA affect brain function, focusing on a protein nicknamed MeCP2. When this protein is damaged or missing, it changes the activity of multiple genes and causes Rett syndrome, a disorder marked by developmental delays, seizures and autism-like behaviors.”

Read more at ScienceNews.com »

Benyam Kinde: Gene expression and Rett syndrome (Science News)
Isaac Kinde: Finding cancer via altered genes (Science News)

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University of Michigan Names Ethiopian Doctor Lia Tadesse Head of Center for International Reproductive Health

A former Addis Ababa hospital CEO and maternal health champion Lia Tadesse selected as executive director of University of Michigan's Center for International Reproductive Health Training. (Photograph: U-Michigan)

University of Michigan

Press release

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While an Obgyn resident in Ethiopia, Lia Tadesse saw too many women suffer and die simply because they didn’t have access to proper care. She vowed she’d pursue a path in Obgyn to help prevent such deaths in her home country.

Now, the former hospital executive will play a key role in improving maternal health in Ethiopia as the new executive director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) at the University of Michigan.

“I saw women die from preventable deaths and I knew I had to get involved with efforts to help stop it,” says Tadesse, M.D., M.H.A., who is known in Ethiopia as “Dr. Lia.”

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead a center that will play a critical role in saving lives and empowering women. Women are the anchors of their families and communities. Stronger, healthier women lead to more stable families and ultimately, a more productive country.”

CIRHT, based in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the U-M Health System, launched in 2014. In this first phase, the center is working with nine medical schools in Ethiopia to help integrate comprehensive reproductive health training for aspiring doctors, nurses and midwives. There are currently 5,922 medical students and interns, 266 Obgyn residents and 57 faculty under the program. This pre-service training helps to ensure that, even before graduation, providers have the knowledge, technical skills and insight to provide women with the full range of reproductive health services they need.

Women’s health continues to be a particularly urgent development issue in Ethiopia where the maternal mortality ratio is 420 for every 100,000 births, among the highest in the world. That compares to a maternal mortality ratio of 28 per 100,000 in the U.S., 8 per 100,000 in the U.K. and 3 per 100,000 in Norway.

During the next five years, the Center aims to expand the program to other countries in Africa and Asia. Globally, reproductive health issues are a leading cause of poor health and death of women of childbearing age. As a result, women in developing countries disproportionately experience unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections leading to disability or death.

Tadesse has an extensive background in work improving women’s health. Most recently, she served as project director of the country’s Maternal and Child Survival Program implemented by Jhpiego, where she oversaw programs to improve the capacity of health facilities and skilled birth attendants to provide high- quality care to women and newborns.

“Dr. Lia has devoted her entire career to improving the health and lives of women in Ethiopia,” says Timothy R. B. Johnson, M.D., Bates Professor and Chair of the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have someone with her rich expertise in the field help lead our efforts to ensure women have access to high quality comprehensive reproductive health services. She will play a critical role in our institution’s efforts to reduce maternal deaths across the globe.”

Tadesse also served as the CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa Ethiopia between 2007 and 2010 (when it was known as St Paul’s General Specialized Hospital). St. Paul’s Hospital was the first site to begin working with U-M in 2012, adopting an integrated medical curriculum that includes comprehensive reproductive health training and pioneering a new approach in Ethiopia. As CIRHT expands its comprehensive pre-service reproductive health training to the eight other medical schools throughout the country, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College is the Center of Excellence for this effort.

She was nominated for a “women of excellence” award by the Association of Women in Business in Ethiopia in 2014.

Dr. Lia Tadesse’s other posts at St. Paul have included vice provost for academic programs and research services, vice provost for medical services and assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology.

Prior to coming to St. Paul, Tadesse was a senior obstetrician and gynecologist at the Federal Police Referral Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was responsible for managing obstetric and gynecologic patients in maternity, labor and gynecology wards and providing family planning and other reproductive health services.

“There have been many efforts to improve women’s health in Ethiopia but there are still significant gaps,” Tadesse said. “CIRHT will help fill some of those gaps by preparing future doctors, nurses and midwives to care for girls and women and save lives.” Tadesse says.

“Maternal mortality is too high in Ethiopia and most deaths are preventable. Improving reproductive health services is a critical part of the foundation of our country. If we are able to integrate comprehensive reproductive health services for students so they can be skilled, competent and compassionate health givers, we can make a monumental impact on improving access to quality care throughout Ethiopia and the region.”

Learn more about CIRHT on its website: cirht.med.umich.edu

University of Michigan becomes a key partner in Ethiopia’s medical revolution
$25 M grant backs U-M project to curb maternal deaths in Ethiopia, other developing nations

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Taitu Cultural Center Kicks-Off 15th Anniversary Celebration in October

(Photographs courtesy of Taitu Cultural & Educational Center)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The Taitu Cultural and Educational Center (TCEC) announced that the first of multiple events planned to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year kicks-off on October 2nd in Washington, D.C. with an evening highlighting the center’s past accomplishments and future plans.

Since it was established in August 2000 the independent artists organization based in the U.S. capital has hosted over “176 monthly poetry nights in which over 2800 amateur and professional writers and poets participated,” says the founder, Ethiopian-born playwright and poet Alemtsehay Wedajo.

Alemtsehay shared that in addition the center has staged and financed “four poetry events in Ethiopia and ‘African Poetry Night’ in Swahili, Arabic, English and French.”

In 2013, the organization opened a library and research center in D.C. dedicated exclusively to Amharic publications — the first of its kind in the U.S. The original collection featured more than 900 Ethiopian books and rare periodicals, including newspapers, biographies, children’s books, fiction, political journals, comedy and poetry publications.

“As TCEC celebrates 15 years of community service, we embark on a journey of taking on even bigger challenges,” Alemtsehay says. “Starting with the 2015/16 academic year, TCEC will expand its tutoring and mentoring Program to Maryland and make this critical service available to an even larger number of students. TCEC is also working on a plan to acquire a building that will serve as its home and a hub for Ethiopian arts and culture in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and beyond.”

Alemtsehay notes that TCEC has planned three major programs for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons to celebrate its 15th year anniversary. The first event is scheduled on October 2nd in Washington, DC.

If You Go:
Taitu Cultural and Educational Center
15th Anniversary Celebration
October 2, 2015 at 7:00PM
2815 36th St NW, Washington, D.C.
(St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church)

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First Urban Rail Service Opens in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's new $475-Million China-Built tramway opened in Addis Abada on September 20, 2015. (BBC video)

BBC News

Ethiopia’s first modern urban commuter rail service has been launched in the capital Addis Ababa.
The $470M project, which was mostly funded by China’s Exim Bank, is the first fully electrified train service in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hundreds of people turned up for Sunday’s launch and enjoyed free rides on the trains, which are being touted as the solution to the city’s growing road transport problems.

Emmanuel Igunza attended the launch of the commuter train in Addis Ababa.

Read more and watch video at BBC News »

Modernizing Ethiopia Opens $475-Million, China-Built Urban Rail (Bloomberg News)
China in driving seat as Ethiopian capital gets new tramway (AFP)

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Post New Year Events in New York City

(Courtesy Photo: Ethiopian Community Association at the 2014 African Day Parade in Harlem, New York)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Post New Year Ethiopian Day Picnic & Cultural Exchange Day

New York (TADIAS) — There are two upcoming post Ethiopian New Year family-friendly events taking place in NYC: an Ethiopian Day Picnic on Sunday, September 20th and a Cultural Exchange Family Day on October 9th, 2015.

The Ethiopian Day picnic, which is hosted by the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA), will take place at Sakura Park, Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

“Come and relax at our family play day,” the ECMAA announcement says. “Bring your favorite games and picnic chairs.”

The Cultural Exchange Day scheduled later on October 9th is sponsored by the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) and takes place on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. ESAC’s Cultural Exchange Family Day also features food, a coffee ceremony and live music.

If You Go:
Ethiopian Day Picnic
Sunday, September 20th 2015
Time: 1:00 PM
Sakura Park, Riverside Drive
(Between 122nd and 123rd Streets)
Phone: 201.282.9898
Directions via Google Maps

ESAC Cultural Exchange Family Day
Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee
Friday, October 9, 2015 From 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
310 East 42nd street between 1st and 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10036
RSVP & Ticket at www.eventbrite.com

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Remembering Friend of Ethiopia Joan Kindell

Joan Kindell receiving a golden bracelet from Emperor Haile Selassie in 1965. (Photo courtesy: Mel Tewahade)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Last Friday morning at 10am on September 11th 2015, friends of Joan Kindell gathered at the Fisher Funeral Home Chapel in Denison, Texas to say goodbye to a great friend of Ethiopia who passed away at the age of 86 earlier this month.

Mrs. Kindell’s first job in Ethiopia from 1958 to 1960 was at the library at Jimma University, which was then called the Jimma Agricultural Technical School, where her husband Dr. Clyde Kindell was the Co-Director. Mrs. Kindell later gave birth to their daughter, Kay Kindell Neasbitt, in Jimma before the family moved to Harar, where Dr. Clyde Kindell served as the last American President of Alemaya (Haramaya) College from 1960 to 1966. The Kindells had arrived in Ethiopia in the late 1950s through the U.S. technical assistance program, Point Four, and an invitation from Ethiopia to help build the fledgling formal education system in the country.

Dr. Kindell recalled one of the couple’s many meetings with Emperor Haile Selassie who encouraged Dr. Kindell to learn Amharic. “So one day my wife and I had the Emperor over for dinner and all his family and other dignitaries were present,” he told Tadias in an interview conducted in 2013. “I finally managed the courage to say, ‘Your Majesty, Ene bizu amarigna memar alchalkum.’” Dr Kindell continued: “He sort of chuckled, and never bothered me about my language skills again.”

Since leaving Ethiopia in the summer of 1966 Mr. and Mrs. Kindell have kept their life-long ties to Ethiopia through their many students and family friends including Neamen Tewahade, who gave a eulogy at the funeral, and his brother Ethiopian filmmaker and businessman Bemelekot (Mel) Tewahade who just finished a documentary based on Dr. Clyde Kindell’s work in Ethiopia.

“They are an incredibly beautiful couple,” Mel. said. “After the funeral in Denison, Texas we drove 3 hours north to central Oklahoma, her birthplace, to lay her in her final resting place.”

Below are a few images courtesy of Mel Tewahade:

Emperor Haile Selassie and Dr. Clyde Kindell. (Photo courtesy of Mel Tewahade)

Saying goodbye to Mrs. Kindell. Dr. Clyde Kindell (second from right) along with the Tewahade family at the funeral in Dennison, Texas on Friday, September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Bemelekot Tewahade at her funeral in Denison, Texas on Friday, September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Neamen Tewahade giving a eulogy at the funeral of Mrs. Joan Kindell in Denison, Texas on September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Joan Kindell. (Family photo)

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Zone 9 Bloggers Recognized With International Press Freedom Awards

(Photograph credit: Endalkachew H/Michael)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) awarded this year’s International Press Freedom prize to members of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 blogging collective: Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, Befekadu Hailu, Soleyana S Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye. Six of the nine bloggers were arrested in April 2014 in connection with their online advocacy work.

“By awarding the Zone 9 bloggers with its International Press Freedom Award, CPJ recognizes the important role that bloggers play in environments where traditional media are weak or have been all but shuttered by financial hardship and direct or indirect state attacks,” CPJ said in a press release.

Two of the six imprisoned bloggers, Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kiberet, have since been released from prison after spending over a year behind bars.

CPJ also highlights that Soleyana S Gebremichael, Endalk Chala and Jomanex Kasaye remain in exile. “Soleyana has been charged in absentia.”

“The Zone 9 blogging collective was formed in May 2012 in response to the evisceration of the independent press and the narrowing of space for free expression,” CPJ said. “The name, “Zone 9,” is derived from the zones in Kality Prison, the main jail where Ethiopia’s political prisoners, including several journalists, are held. While Kality Prison is organized into eight different zones, the bloggers refer to the entire country as “Zone 9” because of Ethiopia’s lack of democratic freedoms,” one of the bloggers told CPJ.

The press release noted: “In July 2015, weeks before U.S. President Barack Obama visited the country, Ethiopian authorities released Mahlet and Zelalem.”

CPJ added that Ethiopia has released “at least six journalists from prison in 2015, but is still holding around a dozen journalists in jail in relation to their work.”

Journalists From 4 Countries to Get Press Freedom Awards
International Press Freedom Awards Goes to Zone 9 Bloggers from Ethiopia

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First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC

2015 Premiere of AfrikCan Festival in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
by Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC Kicks Off Sept 18-20th

New York (TADIAS) — Showcasing the African continent’s greatest musical talents as well as its diversity through food, music and the arts, the first annual AfrikCan Festival will take place at La Marina in New York City this week from September 18th – 20th.

“AfrikCan aims to highlight the exceptionalism and greatness of Africa and its people” says the festival’s Facebook page. The Pan-African event promises a stellar line-up of musicians including: top Nigerian artists Jidenna, Wizkid and Ayo; multi-platinum award-winning South African singer Lira; Grammy-nominated Francophone duo Les Nubians; Congolese musician Young Paris; Ghanaian singer Wiyaala who won ‘Songwriter of the Year’ and ‘Best Female Vocal Performance’ at this year’s Vodaphone Ghana Music Awards; and Brooklyn-based Afro-indie band Osekre.

Africology is a media partner helping to organize and facilitate the first AfrikCan Festival in New York City, and its Co-Founder, Ethiopian-born Sirak Getachew, who recently released an Africology Clothing line, will also be DJing at the festival. “We’re looking to book innovative and new Ethiopian and East African acts for the following yearly festival” DJ Sirak told Tadias.

The opening party organized by Africology and hosted by Tigist Selam of Goursha will take place at Studio 21 on Friday, September 18th.

If You Go:
Friday, September 18th
Opening Party at Studio 21
59 West 21st Street, NY, NY 10011
Doors open at 10pm
No Cover. RSVP info@africologymedia.com

AfrikCan Festival NYC
September 19th & 20th
Door 4pm
La Marina NYC
348 Dyckman Street, NY, NY 10034

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Interview with Ethiopian Children’s Book Author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg

Bethlehem A. Gronneberg, author of "The Alphabet Takes a Journey...Destination Ethiopia." (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — When Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, a mother of three boys and a Software Engineering Manager who works and lives in North Dakota, returned to Ethiopia on a family vacation in 2008 an idea for a children’s book based on her birth country was already percolating in her head.

Eight years later some of the photos that were taken during the trip, mostly by her husband and sister-in-law, became part of a new book that Bethlehem released this year called The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia.

Bethlehem’s superbly illustrated book takes children on a playful and educational journey to Ethiopia as the Amharic alphabet plays host to their guests, the latin letters. “At the airport, letter A was greeted by the first Feedel family,” Bethlehem writes. “Then, all at once, the seven forms of A lined up in a row to be sounded out: uh, oo, ee, ah, ay, eh, oh.”

“I love to tell a story in a way that’s understandable to children,” Bethlehem tells Tadias. “I grew up watching Ababa Tesfaye and his manner of transmitting information to young kids is something that has remained with me to this day.”

Bethlehem says that her book is designed to be enjoyed both by children and parents. “It is multi-layered in that both adults and kids of all ages and from different backgrounds can use it and enjoy it because they can learn the Amharic language and words,” she says. “For example, ‘D’ is for ‘Drum’ and that’s kebero and the D family has the sounds of ‘duh, doo, dee, dah, day, deh, doh,’ so the book captures the symbols along with images.”

She adds: “And for kids of Ethiopian origin they can relate to it and take pride in the rich culture and the beautiful landscape that we have in Ethiopia while others get to learn about a unique and interesting place while diversifying their perspective about the world.”

Earlier this summer Bethlehem’s family traveled to Ethiopia once again and hiked up 13,500 feet above sea level in the Simien mountains. “It was so gorgeous, so fresh, you feel very proud. My husband and my sister-in-law took the majority of the pictures in the book,” Bethlehem says. “Including the one of the Blue Nile Falls.” Some of the remaining images were derived from an eclectic collection retrieved from friends who had visited Ethiopia as well as from Ethiopian Airlines.

Bethlehem was born and raised in Addis Ababa and attended Addis Ababa University prior to working at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) office in the capital. She now resides in Fargo, North Dakota and overseas projects and manages teams working on healthcare related software at Intelligent InSites, a Fargo based software company. Her children’s book, The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia is catalogued at the Library of Congress.

You can learn more and purchase the book at www.bethlehemgronneberg.com.

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Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year With Mahmoud Ahmed — The Washington Post

At 74, Mahmoud Ahmed still has a command presence onstage. (Courtesy of Mahmoud Ahmed)

The Washington Post

By Chris Richards

When Mahmoud Ahmed opens his mouth to sing, his voice trembles. This isn’t some stylish affectation and it certainly isn’t stage fright. That lovely wobble you’re hearing is one of Ethiopia’s brightest and longest-burning stars attempting to wrangle an entire spectrum of human emotion into his vowels. It’s the sound of a national hero who, at 74, still sounds as stately as he does emotive.

On Friday, Ahmed will ring in the Ethiopian New Year at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. It’s a large but relatively cozy venue for the singer, especially considering that the District boasts the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ahmed’s native Addis Ababa.

Read more at The Washington Post »

NYC Enkutatash Celebrations at Bunna, Queen of Sheba Restaurant & Tsion Cafe
Little Ethiopia Street Festival & Enkutatash Celebration in Los Angeles
Enkutatash in Chicago: Ethiopia Fest to Celebrate New Year
San Jose’s Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Ethiopian New Year

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Ethiopia’s Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu: One of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators

Quartz magazine names ​Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu as one of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators. (Image: Quartz)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 10th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder of the footwear company SoleRebels, has been named one of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators by the U.S.-based business news publication Quartz magazine.

Quartz announced that it launched the list this year to showcase “Africa’s stories through a lens of innovation.” The magazine says the winners were selected “for their groundbreaking work, thought-leading initiatives, creative approaches to local problems and yes, for being African innovators.”

Bethlehem, 35, founded SoleRebels ten years ago in her hometown of Addis Ababa. “The shoe company, which works with local artisans, is now a global brand with exports to over 30 countries,” Quartz says. “A huge part of the attraction is that SoleRebels uses old rubber from truck tires to make its shoe giving it a unique eco-friendly twist on fashion.”

“We selected shoes because we saw that footwear was an excellent platform to begin to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible craft heritage and artisan talents that we have here in Ethiopia with the world,” Bethlehem says.

The magazine adds: “Alemu is re-imagining style in Africa. But more importantly, she is having an impact on the local economy by channeling the talents of artisans into job opportunities.”

The 30 African innovators on Quartz inaugural list are from 15 countries. (Images: Quartz magazine)

Click here to see the full list »

International Women’s Day: Interview With Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store
People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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Little Ethiopia Street Festival & Enkutatash Celebration in Los Angeles

The Little Ethiopia neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph: Little Ethiopia Business Association)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival and Enkutatash celebration in Los Angeles will take place this coming weekend featuring live music, standup comedy, fashion show, food, and cultural dance performances.

“The cultural festival, which marks its 14th anniversary this year, is an officially designated city event that celebrates the diversity of LA,” says Berhanu Asfaw, President of the Little Ethiopia Business Association.

Little Ethiopia, which lies on the stretch of Fairfax Avenue in the Pico­ Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, has a high concentration of Ethiopian businesses and restaurants as well as a significant number of residents of East African ancestry.

Berhanu told Tadias that the city’s Attorney, Mike Feuer, will attend the 2015 festival on Sunday, September 13th. “We also expect other officials from the City Council and perhaps the Mayor if his schedules allows,” Berhanu adds. “We have sent the invitation.”

Little Ethiopia area businesses in Los Angeles. (Photograph: Courtesy of Little Ethiopia Business Association)

(Image: Courtesy of Little Ethiopia Business Association)

If You Go:
The 14th Annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival
Sunday, September 13th, 2015
Fairfax Avenue (Between Olympic & Whitworth)
Los Angeles, California
For more info call: 323.360.4431 or 310.877.3530

Enkutatash in Chicago: Ethiopia Fest to Celebrate New Year
San Jose’s Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Ethiopian New Year

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The Ethiopian Prince Kidnapped by Britain

Seven-year-old Prince Alemayehu was captured – along with many national treasures – in 1868. His remains are held in Windsor Castle but pleas for their return have been rebuffed. (Photo: Northwestern University)

The Guardian

By Maaza Mengiste

This Ethiopian Prince Was Kidnapped by Britain – Now it Must Release Him

You see him first as he was soon after his father’s death: a seven-year-old boy staring, stunned, into the camera. He sits on a cloth-covered bench, next to a shield and a strip of animal hide. Around his shoulders, a long shamma drapes and gathers at his folded ankles. You note his bare feet, the way one toe, curled upward and tense, hints at the emotions he is keeping guarded. He wears the silver-baubled necklace that will travel with him from Ethiopia to England, the one also seen in pictures where he is made to sit for Julia Margaret Cameron and other photographers. His mother, if still alive, will soon die unexpectedly, leaving him in the hands of the same British men who came to confront his father. But for now, he has not lost everything.

This photograph of Prince Alemayehu was taken during the 1868 Napier expedition, a British military incursion into Maqdala, Ethiopia, to rescue three dozen European prisoners. His father, Emperor Tewodros, took captives when his letters to Queen Victoria were ignored. Led by Sir Robert Napier, the punitive mission was extravagant: 13,000 soldiers, 8,000 auxiliary workers, and thousands of followers in search of adventure or a story. Several, like Richard Holmes of the British Museum, also came in search of loot.

In the end, Emperor Tewodros released the prisoners unharmed, then committed suicide rather than surrender. What happened next would be described as a “deluge of fire” and one of the greatest looting orgies ever undertaken in the name of the British empire. Alemayehu, by now an orphan, was put on board the Feroze, the same ship as Holmes, who was taking back to Britain the largest haul of stolen artefacts in Ethiopia’s history. The objects went into British museums and libraries. Alemayehu became a ward of Queen Victoria and, despite his continual pleas to be returned to his homeland, he died aged 18 in England. He was buried at Windsor Castle, where he remains. A plaque, “When I was a stranger, ye took me in,” marks his vault.

Today, we can recognise Napier and his forces for the marauders that they were. We can acknowledge the imperialist arrogance that would kidnap a young boy and trumpet the achievement through newspapers and photographs. The generosity of hindsight might even explain why Alemayehu’s pleas to return home were refused. But there is no longer any excuse for that same refusal and arrogance. There is no viable reason to continue to hold his remains hostage. He has become, like the sacred and valuable objects still in British museums and libraries, a possession.

Read more at The Guardian »

Photo of Prince Alemayehu Among Astonishing Portraits Unseen for 120 Years
Interview with Selam Bekele: Her Short Film on Exiled Life and Death of Prince Alemayehu Tewodros

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2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education in DC

(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, September 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — During a 2012 gathering of experts convened by Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) Department of Global Health & Population and Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI), Ethiopia’s Health Minister, Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, had described the challenges of brain drain that his nation faces and how that impacts access to health care stating: “There are currently more Ethiopian doctors working in Chicago than in Ethiopia.

In recent years, however, the growing collaboration in knowledge sharing initiatives between Ethiopian-born health professionals residing in North America and their colleagues working in Ethiopia has increasingly changed the medical services and health care delivery landscape.

Some of the best ideas come from the Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education that’s held annually in the Washington, D.C. area, which this year is scheduled to take place in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday September 26th.

Key topics that will be highlighted at the upcoming conference include “disaster management and response with a special focus on the Ebola epidemic, injury and trauma in the Ethiopian setting, new licensure exam and requirements for medical school graduates and physicians in Ethiopia, Diaspora partnership projects as well as abstract and poster presentations on health-related topics relevant to Ethiopia,” People to People Inc. (P2P), the U.S.-based Ethiopian American non-profit organization that puts together the yearly professional gathering, said in a statement. Additional subjects that will be discussed include “overcoming cultural barriers to better advocate for autistic kids in the Ethiopian community in the D.C. metropolitan area” as well as “setting up Cardiology training programs in Ethiopia.”

P2P announced that the association has partnered with the Network of Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare Professionals (NEDHP), to host the “7th Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education.”

“We are hoping that this conference will follow and build on the success of the previous ones,” the press release stated. “We would like to invite all Ethiopian health care professionals and educators in the Diaspora as well as others who work in related fields to attend the conference.” P2P added: “In order to widen the scope and reach of this conference, we have invited several partner organizations working with Ethiopian healthcare professionals in the Diaspora as well as Alumni Associations of the older medical schools in Ethiopia to participate and invite their membership to attend our conference.”

The conference will also feature presentations entitled “Bahir Dar University Medical School and its International Collaborations” by Getachew Muluken, MD; “Collaborative Agreement for Research and Training: An institutional collaboration between Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Belgium and University of Gondar” by Dr. Ermias Diro; and “My Experience at an Ethiopian Emergency Department” by Dr. Tsion Firew.

A Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Professor Demisse Habte, President of Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Pediatrician and former Dean of AAU Faculty of Medicine,” the press release said. The “Young Rising Star Award” will be given to Pediatrician and Associate Professor Dr. Sisay Yifru, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at University of Gondar (Ethiopia’s first public health institution) and a “Community Service Award” will be presented to Woizero Marta Wolde-Tsadik and Ato Demeke Tekle-Wold of Project Mercy.

P2P said this year it will also give out two special awards to Professor Dennis Carlson, Former Dean of Gondar Public Health College (1964-67) and to Tadias Magazine.

We are honored and grateful to receive the award!

Below are photos from past conferences as well as registration information for the upcoming conference.

(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

If You Go:
Date: Saturday September 26th, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sheraton Pentagon City
900 S. Orme Street, Arlington, VA 22204
Telephone: (703) 521-1900
On Site Registration Fee:
Physicians and all other Professionals: $75.00
Residents, Fellows and Students: $25.00
(Fee will cover cost of food and refreshments)
More info and update at www.p2pbridge.org

University of Gondar Med School Re-graduates 500 Alumni at 60th Anniversary
Tadias Interview: Dr. Enawgaw Mehari on Pan-African Health Conference

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Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the upcoming sixth season of Parts Unknown episode on CNN this Fall, Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile join TV host Anthony Bourdain in his travels and exploration of Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says.

On his CNN show “the world-renowned chef, bestselling author and multiple-Emmy winning television personality travels across the globe to uncover little-known destinations and diverse cultures.”

The episode featuring Ethiopia is scheduled to air on Sunday, October 25th, 2015. For updates, please visit Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN.

Below are a few images courtesy of Maya Haile:

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

(Courtesy photo)

Skateboarding in Addis. (Courtesy of Maya Haile)

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The First Trailer for Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’

Actors Kidist Siyum and Rediat Amare with director Yared Zeleke at the premiere for Lamb at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. (Getty Images)


By Tambay A. Obenson

It made its World Premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, marking the very first time in Cannes Film Festival history that an Ethiopian film has screened as an “Official Selection.” Yared Zeleke’s “Lamb” hails from Slum Kid Films, an Ethiopia-based film production company co-founded by Ama Ampadu, which aims to discover and nurture emerging talent in Ethiopia, as well as to support the development of Ethiopian filmmaking.

“Lamb” tells the tale of nine-year-old Ephraim and his constant companion, a sheep named Chuni. Ephraim’s affection for Chuni deepens after he loses his mother to famine. Consequently, his beloved father sends him and Chuni far away from their drought-stricken homeland, to live with distant relatives in a greener part of the country. Ephraim soon becomes a homesick outcast who is always getting into trouble. When his uncle orders him to slaughter Chuni for the upcoming holiday feast, Ephraim devises a scheme to save the sheep and return to his father’s home.

Director Yared Zeleke holds an MFA in Writing and Directing from NYU. He has written, produced, directed and edited several short documentary and fiction films, and worked under director Joshua Litle on his award-winning documentary “The Furious Force of Rhymes,” which was also profiled on this blog, last year.

“Lamb” was selected to screen in the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the 2015 Cannes festival – a program created to recognize young, promising talent and to encourage innovative and daring storytelling on film.

A first trailer for the film has surfaced and is embedded below; however, it’s for the film’s French release, meaning it’s subtitled in French, not English.

Read more at Indiewire »

Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie (L) and the author Asfa-Wossen Asserate, his grandnephew. (Photos: Haus Publishing)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 31st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The world does not seem to want to forget Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s last Emperor who has been gone for more than forty years, continuing the debate regarding his complicated legacy as both a reformer and an autocrat. And in November 2015 a new book from Haile Selassie’s grandnephew, Asfa-Wossen Asserate, is slated to be released by Haus Publishing and distributed in the U.S. by the University of Chicago Press.

Asserate’s book entitled King of Kings: Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia provides an authoritative, insider’s perspective and a refreshingly balanced look at this fascinating international figure who was the global face of Ethiopia for most of the 20th century.

To be sure Haile Selassie governed a much different Ethiopia than today with a population three times less and a country dominated by a handful of politically connected feudal landlords that were either related to or favored by the royal palace. From his vantage point as a close family member the author — who is the grandson of Ras Kassa Haile Darge and the son of Ras Asserate Kassa– shares his personal memories of the Emperor as well as a rarely told and candid behind-the-scenes account of palace politics, family feuds and coup d’etats that eventually led to the coronation of Haile Selassie in 1930, and forty four years later, his swift downfall and unceremonious removal from power.

No challenging event in Ethiopian history, however, could better encapsulate the triumph and tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie than his historic appearance before the General Assembly of the League of Nations in 1936 — only six years after he took power. Asserate, who currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany, notes: “The forces of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy had invaded Ethiopia and the exiled monarch made a moving appeal to the world’s conscience. The words he spoke that day have gone down in history: ‘Catastrophe is inevitable if the great states stand by and watch the rape of a small country.’” Five years later in 1941, after Mussolini’s Blackshirts were driven out of Ethiopia by British and Ethiopian forces “he returned in triumph to reclaim the Ethiopian throne.”

Asserate’s book is also timely not only because there is a renewed interest in Haile Selassie by a new generation of artists, researchers and historians, but also because this year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, which was created in 1945 with the active participation from the Ethiopian leader.

Asserate’s description of the Emperor’s attempt at modernization, especially the fast-paced changes that were taking place in the capital Addis Ababa in the 1950′s, reminds one of today’s much publicized development projects in the city than activities taking place six decades ago: “Gradually, an urban infrastructure arose –with metalled roads, wide boulevards, shops, factories and warehouses, hotels and guest houses, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, plus a handful of cinemas. In addition, this period saw construction of new administrative blocks, schools and hospitals, as well as embassy buildings. The city’s growth attracted entrepreneurs and businessmen, advisors, educators and adventurers from all four corners of the world.”

Asserate adds: “And yet in many respects the center of Addis Ababa continued to resemble the residential seat of some 19th-centurey German provincial ruler rather than an international capital in the mid-20th century. The heart of the city was occupied by the imperial palaces: the Genete -Leul Palace, the emperor’s own residence at the time, and the Menelik Palace complex, also known as “the big Gebbi‘, with its numerous buildings, including the palace ministry. This was also the site of the Aderash, the cavernous hall that hosted regular state banquets, and which could accommodate up to three thousand people.”

King of Kings: Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is full of captivating details that only an insider could share; it is written with great poise and warmth for the enigmatic leader while at the same time cognizant of the swelling unhappiness and criticism the Emperor faced from his own people impatient with the pace of change.

Haile Selasse still Debated 40 Years After his Death (RFI)
From The Guardian Archive, 24 August 1974 Ethiopia’s Fallen Aristocrats
Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia
Review of ‘Long Ago and Far Away’: A Novel Set In Ethiopia by John Coyne

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Mare Dibaba Wins Ethiopia’s 1st Women’s Marathon at 2015 World Championships

Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia after crossing the finish line to win gold in the women's marathon final during Day 9 of the 2015 IAAF world track and field championships in Beijing, China on Sunday. (Getty Images)

The Associated Press

By Pat Graham

Mare Dibaba won the first women’s marathon title for Ethiopia at the IAAF world track and field championships Sunday, holding off Helah Kiprop of Kenya in a sprint to the finish.

Dibaba finished in two hours 27 minutes 35 seconds in Beijing, but needed to pick up the pace after entering the stadium to beat Kiprop, who finished one second behind. Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain earned the bronze.

Two-time champion Edna Kiplagat was in contention until the end but faded to fifth place.

With the stadium in sight, Dibaba kept checking her watch, waiting to make her move. Just after entering the tunnel, she took control and raised her arms after crossing the line.

She certainly has a fitting name for a champion. However, she’s not related to Ethiopian long-distance greats Tirunesh and Genzebe Dibaba.

Read more »

Photos: Mare Dibaba Wins Women’s Marathon – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

Genzebe Storms to 1500m World Title (Video)

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Elias Sime to Exhibit Latest Work at James Cohan Gallery in New York

Elias Sime, from The Ants and Ceramicists, 2009-2014, mixed media on canvas. (Photo: Adam Reich)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August, 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist and sculptor Elias Sime’s New York exhibition opens on September 10th at James Cohan Gallery in Manhattan.

“Sime’s most recent works from the series Tightrope are made from the discarded innards of computers and machines,” the gallery announced in a press release noting that Sime collects most of his materials from the “Addis Ababa open-air market, Merkato, specifically the Menalesh Tera section.”

“For Sime, the objects he uses are not trash” the press release adds. “Once struck by an object, Sime will tirelessly collect his chosen material in pursuit of an idea: “The size of my art is determined by the idea behind the composition. If the idea overwhelms me, the size of the work keeps growing until I have said enough.”

Elias Sime graduated from Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts in 1990 and has since been dubbed “a driving force in the East African art scene.” The Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC) in Ethiopia’s capital, a gallery space offering an international residence program, was designed and built by Sime in 2002. Together with the founding director of ZCAC, Meskerem Assegued, Sime has traveled extensively throughout Ethiopia to study diverse indigenous ritual practices.

The Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa. (Photo: ZCAC)

Sime’s work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2008, and he has participated in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit entitled “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End”; a piece titled Selechas is now part of the permanent collection at the museum. Sime has also exhibited his art at Santa Monica Museum of Art and Dakota Museum of Art in the United States, the Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal, and at the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna.

In his upcoming exhibition at James Cohan Gallery, “Sime’s work is a history of use and disposal, desire and disregard. While some emphasize the power and spiritual intensity felt when viewing Sime’s works, others note the figurative and abstract traditions of Ethiopia’s modern history, evident in the objects Sime creates. From social realism — a remnant of Soviet involvement in Ethiopia following the 1974 revolution — to mid-century abstract avant-garde movements imported from the west in the 1950s and 1960s, Sime’s art recycles forms as much as objects.”

If You Go:
Elias Sime
September 10 – October 17, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 10, 6 – 8 PM
TEL 212.714.9500 FAX 212.714.9510

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

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Lalibela Needs Moisture Damage Repair

Bete Giyorgis, one of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia's UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Selamta)


27 Aug 2015

Archaeologists face a race against time to save 800-year-old structures crumbling away from moisture damage.

Conservationists are facing a race against time to prevent one of Ethiopia’s most sacred religious site from crumbling away.

The ancient churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia have been a place of pilgrimage for local Christians since they were constructed 800 years ago.

However, moisture is eating away at the structures and the sacred site is literally crumbling away.

The geological properties of the sites mean traditional tools and materials used to restore sites cannot be used. Instead, conservation experts are using improvised techniques to hold the structure together until they can strengthen it.

Read the full article at Aljazeera.com »

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

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Genzebe Storms to 1500m World Title

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 1500 metres final at IAAF World Athletics Championships at Beijing National Stadium on August 25, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Getty Images)


Ethiopian favourite Genzebe Dibaba stormed to the women’s world 1500m title as she stamped her authority with a sumptuous display of controlled running in Beijing on Tuesday.

The world record-holder strolled through a pedestrian first lap before taking the front, tracked by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon and Dawit Seyaum, also of Ethiopia.

But a second kick 200m from the line saw Dibaba stretch away to win in 4min 08.09sec, Kipyegon taking silver in 4:09.96 and fast-finishing Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan third in 4:09.34.

Dibaba last month ran 3:50.07 to shatter the world 1500m record set in 1993 by China’s Yunxia Qu, who competed under the guidance of controversial coach Ma Junren.

She also holds the world records for the indoor 1500, 3000 and 5000m events, continuing a family tradition that includes elder sister Tirunesh holding the world record in the outdoor 5000m.

Watch: Genzebe Dibaba become 1500m World Champ (Universal Sports)

Genzebe Dibaba Dominates Women’s 1500 at World Championships (Runners World)

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Despite Border Crackdown in Ethiopia, Migrants Still Risk Lives to Leave

A checkpoint in Metema, Ethiopia next to the border with Sudan. The town is now a centre of a booming trade in migrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. (Photograph: Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

The Guardian

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Metema, Ethiopia — The mood in the border town of Metema these days is quiet and watchful.

Dozens of houses on the hot, dusty main road that stretches from Ethiopia into Sudan look as if they have been closed in haste. Guards grimly patrol the border, stopping anyone who looks as if they are trying to cross illegally. The nightclubs and bars are emptier than usual, although they still attract Sudanese who cannot drink alcohol in their own country under sharia law.

Metema, with a population of some 100,000 people, is one of a handful of towns across the region that serve as feeders for a booming trade in migrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, with many hoping to make their way to Europe. Life has become a cat-and-mouse game: the authorities are cracking down, yet the migrants just keep coming, often risking death.

Since 30 Ethiopian Christians who passed through Metema were killed by the Islamic State (Isis) group in Libya a few months ago, the Ethiopian government has become much more vigilant. It claims to have detained 200 smugglers across the country, and police say about 28 of them are from Metema.

In Metema, the effect of the crackdown is clear. But while the flow of migrants has dropped from about 250 a day, it’s still strong at 100 to 150, according to Teshome Agmas, the mayor. “It’s just a pity that people choose to endanger their lives in an effort to move out of their country and work in inhumane conditions abroad,” he said.

Getachew Merah, a 30-year-old migrant from Ethiopia, stands by a tree near Metema, June 2015. Photograph: Mulugeta Ayene/AP

Getachew Merah, a rail-thin 30-year-old aspiring migrant from Ethiopia, has made three unsuccessful attempts to cross into Sudan, and is now trying again. He said his father is dead and his mother lives in extreme poverty in a rural village in the Amhara region.

Merah has tried just about every job in Ethiopia. He’s worked as a butcher, a guard, an assistant in a heavy-duty truck, a labourer carrying oil back and forth from between Sudan and Ethiopia and more. But he simply can’t get enough money to change his life or his family’s. He hopes to earn money in Libya to send back to his family, and eventually return to start his own business.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Addis Ababa: Esubalew Meaza’s New Photo Book Explores Ethiopia’s Capital

Photos from the book "Addis Ababa: The New Flower of Africa" by Esubalew Meaza. (Courtesy of the author)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Esubalew Meaza, the author of Inspiring Journey (2012) and his latest photo book Addis Ababa: The New Flower of Africa (2015), is scheduled to make a presentation at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on September 24th discussing his travels through Ethiopia.

After many years residing abroad, amateur photographer Esubalew returned to Ethiopia, and his rediscovery of Addis Ababa — the place where he was born and raised — led him to his most recent project, which he calls “a labor of love.”

“When I went abroad, my experience and knowledge of my homeland could only be described as embryonic,” writes Esubalew, who currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia and works for the U.S. Department of Defense in Information Technology, a field that he has been practicing since 1996.

Esubalew’s latest book Addis Ababa is a beautifully organized collection of both original and archival photographs combined with historical and statistical data gathered from various sources including the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, the city government of Addis Ababa, and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

“It was a hobby with determination” Esubalew said regarding his photo book in an interview with Tadias. “People often joke that there is nothing to see in Addis except at night.” Esu added: “My book proves that’s not the case.”

Indeed his book highlights Addis Ababa’s hidden treasures including the city’s monuments, museums, parks and religious sites. Esubalew also includes maps and population data for each of Addis Ababa’s ten sub-cities whose combined population number exceeds three million: Addis Ketema (271,644), Akaki Kaliti (195,273), Arada (225,999), Bole (328,900), Gulele (284,865), Kirkos (235,441), Kolfe Keranyo (546,219), Lideta (214,769), Nefas Silk Lafto (335,740), Yeka (314,000).

Image from page 10 the book “Addis Ababa: the new flower of Africa” (Photograph: Courtesy of the author)

In his review of Addis Ababa Zewde Retta, former Ethiopian Ambassador to Italy and Tunisia (from 1972 to 1975) who is also an author, historian and journalist, says Esubalew’s book is a “lively, insightful and comprehensive representation of the city of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia’s diverse tourist attractions. The author showcases the culture, history, landscape and people of Ethiopia through infectious enthusiasm, clarity, and style.”

Hapte-Selassie Tafesse, the ‘Father of Ethiopian Tourism,’ adds that the book is a “faithful rendering of our country’s cultural and physical features.” While Abebe Worku, who served as Ethiopia’s Tourism Commissioner from 1979 to 1982 states that the book’s “descriptions are all personal and all first-hand. The result is a very impressive piece of work.”

Some of the photographed locations include the National Palace, St. Mary of Entoto church, Saint Raguel and Selassie churches, Legehar train terminal, the post office, the National Museum of Ethiopia, the Netsa Art Village in Ferensay Park near the French Embassy, a statue of marathon legend Abebe Bikila at Saint Joseph’s cemetery and the iconic Taitu Hotel, which earlier this year was badly damaged by fire. Esubalew said he was in Ethiopia during the tragic incident last January and had a chance to document the aftermath, but he said it was too late to include it in the book. “It was a sad day in Addis,” he said. “People felt as if their own house had burned down.”

Photograph of Taitu hotel from the book “Addis Ababa” by Esubalew Meaza. (Courtesy of the author)

“I traveled throughout Ethiopia, and I noticed that, in addition to their diverse culture and rich history, the people of Ethiopia unite through their own long-held, common values,” Esubalew wrote in his introduction of Addis Ababa. “My study of Ethiopia…informed me about events I had once dismissed as irrelevant, by exposing me to new ways of looking at the human spirit.”

If You Go:
The Library of Congress
Presentation by Esubalew Meaza
Thursday, September 24, 2015
12 noon – 1:00 p.m.
African and Middle Eastern Division
Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ 220
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington D.C. 20540
Free and open to the public
202-707-4163 OR EMAIL: ftir@loc.gov
Request ADA accommodation 5 days in advance @202-707-6362
Voice TTY OR EAMIL ada@loc.gov
Following the power-point presentation: A book signing session and a modest reception will be severed in the AMED conference room.

A separate, but official book launch event hosted by Meshcart will take place on September 18, 2015 at 901 S Highland St Arlington, VA 22204. More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/1606252199634485/

‘Ethiopia: Inspiring Journey’ A Coffee Table Book by Esubalew Meaza

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Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Receives Diaspora 2015 Youth Excellence Award

Atti worku after receiving the honorary Award from African Youth Excellence Inc. in Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday August 8th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku, Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation, has been honored with the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award. The prize, which is given annually by the U.S.-based research and youth advocacy organization AYE, celebrates “the achievements of a dynamic young African leader in the Diaspora.”

Atti, who graduated from Columbia University in 2014 focusing her studies on sustainable development, education and social movements, has raised over 1.3 million dollars so far to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Nazret/Adama in Ethiopia.

In her keynote address during the AYE award ceremony held in Worcester, Massachusetts on August 8th Atti (Miss Ethiopia 2005) shared with the audience that her dream of building a school started years ago in her mom’s backyard. ”My dream was so big that it scared me but if I did not dream big, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Atti said in her speech. “You are your own biggest asset, and people will help and support you when you show them what you are willing to do yourself.”

Atti was born and raised in Adama as the youngest sibling in her family and attended St. Joseph’s school in Adama from kindergarten to twelfth grade. After graduating from high school she moved to Addis Ababa where she attended HiLCoE school of computer science and technology. After college she started a modeling career, traveling internationally, and ultimately moving to the U.S. “Take the first step” she says. “Do not fear failure because it is inevitable. Be open-minded because the world has more in store for you than what you can imagine. Finally, be kind to others — pay it forward — I know I wouldn’t be here today if several people did not take a chance on me.”

Below are more photos from the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award:

Atti Worku speaking at the African Youth Excellence Award in Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday August 8th, 2015. (Photo: Courtesy of Seeds of Africa Foundation)

Atti Worku (Center) at the African Youth Excellence Award in Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday August 8th, 2015. (Photo: Courtesy of Seeds of Africa Foundation)

At the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award. (Photo: Courtesy of Seeds of Africa Foundation)

Join Seeds of Africa Foundation in their #BackToSchool Campaign to cover students’ books, uniforms, food and medical expenses for the first month of the 2015/16 academic year.

Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for School Initiative in Nazret
Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s Dream School Initiative in Nazret, Ethiopia
Interview with Atti Worku: Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation

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Kidist Assafa: Former Radiology Student Finds Her Passion in Baking & Pastry

Kidist Assefa, Chef & Owner of Flavor Cake and Pastry in Falls Church, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
by Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August, 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Kidist Assafa’s first stop in the United States in the mid-1990s was a small town in Montana near the U.S.-Canadian border called East Glacier Park (population 363). It was quite a geographical and cultural change for someone who came from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Population over 3.5 million) where Kidist grew up before emigrating to the United States.

“I can truly say it was in the middle of nowhere,” Kidist laughs, recalling the time she spent in East Glacier Park pursuing a degree in Radiology before abruptly deciding to relocate to the Washington, D.C. area the following year.

Today Kidist is the proud owner and chef of Flavor Cake & Pastry, a quaint bakery and coffee shop located in Falls Church, Virginia.

“I stayed in Montana for a year attending college and went to the East Coast for vacation to visit family and friends and I never went back,” Kidist said in a recent interview with Tadias.

Upon arriving in Washington, D.C. Kidist got a job at a French pastry shop, Palais Du Chocolat, while still continuing her education in radiology at a local university. It was at the pastry shop, however, where Kidist fell in love with her current profession as a baker. “That’s where I found my passion,” she enthused. “They made really great pastry. The owner was a well-known chef at the time and once in a while I used to assist him when he gave classes and I used to be fascinated by the process of making these beautiful pastries and seeing the finished product.”

Eventually Kidist changed her major and formally studied Baking and Pastry at Baltimore International College graduating in 1999. She worked as Pastry Sous Chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Tyson’s Corner for four years prior to opening her own business in 2006 (Bethesda Pastry Shop in Maryland), which became Flavor Cake & Pastry after the owner moved the venture to Falls Church, Virginia in late 2007.

Below are images of Flavor Cake & Pastry and some of chef Kidist’s scrumptious desserts:

You can learn more about the bakery at www.flavorpastry.com.

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Awol Erizku’s NYC Exhibit New Flower

The FLAG Art Foundation in New York City presents a photo exhibition by Awol Erizku "New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus" from September 17 – December 12, 2015. (Photo: WideWalls.ch)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The photography work of conceptual artist, Awol Erizku, entitled New Flower — the English translation of Addis Ababa — will be on exhibit at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York City from September 17 – December 12, 2015. Funded through the Alice Kimball Fellowship Award Erizku captures scenes from his birth country, Ethiopia, in his work subtitled ‘Images of the Reclining Venus,’ which according to FLAG Art’s press release depict “humanized portraits of women operating in narrow circumstances, stripped of everything except their self-preservation.”

The Bronx-raised artist describes New Flower as a means to create “a dialogue between something that is overlooked within a given society and popular culture; it also strives to bring social awareness to issues that may otherwise be over-looked..not only raise social awareness about a poignant issue, but would also be an opportunity for me to investigate and contribute to the culture from which I come.”

Erizku obtained his BFA in 2010 from The Cooper Union in NYC and his MFA in Photography from Yale University in 2014. His previous NYC exhibit at the Hasted Kraeutler Gallery featured famous portraits in the art world with an urban twist, including the use of an African American model in a piece entitled ‘Girl with a Bamboo Earring,’ replacing Johanes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring.’ As in his 2012 exhibit the question of black representation, both models and artists, in Western painting is revisited as he focuses on ‘Images of the Reclining Venus.’

More recently Erizku exhibited his short film entitled ‘Serendipity’ at The Museum of Modern Art’s PopRally program and subsequently released a mixtape about the event.

If You Go:
The FLAG Art Foundation Presents
Awol Erizku: New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus
from September 17 – December 12, 2015
545 West 25th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel (212) 206-0220

Interview with Vulture.com: Meet Awol Erizku, the Art World’s New It Boy

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Mystery of Missing Ethiopian-Israeli

Agernsh Mengistu, left, and Ayalin Mengistu, the parents of Avera Mengistu, who disappeared about a year ago in Gaza. His condition and whereabouts remain mostly a mystery. (Credit Uriel Sinai for The Times)

The New York Times

ASHKELON, Israel — In the grainy security camera footage, Avera Mengistu walks along the beach on the Israeli side of the border, marked by a wall and netting. Then, suddenly, he appears on the other side, in Gaza.

“You don’t see how he got there,” said his mother, Agernsh, describing the video from the security services that she and other relatives saw, as tears rolled down her face. Filmed from a particular angle and possibly edited, the family said, the video left them with as many questions as answers.

Almost a year after the disappearance of Mr. Mengistu, a 29-year-old Israeli Jew of Ethiopian descent, his family remains mostly in the dark about his whereabouts or condition. The Israeli authorities say they believe he is alive and being held hostage by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian enclave.

Shifting gears, the family was planning its first public protest to be held Monday outside an Israeli prison where relatives of Palestinian prisoners were expected to visit. The demonstration would be one of a series of protest actions focusing on the humanitarian aspect of the case, according to representatives of the family.

Until now the family had called on the public to act with restraint and to give the Israeli authorities more time to work behind the scenes, fearing that a noisy public campaign may only raise the value of Mr. Mengistu in Hamas’s eyes, and increase the price for his return. Israel said last month that Mr. Mengistu had crossed the border into Gaza independently, lifting an official gag order on the case and touching off a flurry of media attention.

But a haze of official secrecy continues to hover over the episode. The Mengistu family says it has received no new information on the case for the past month. Hamas has spread ambiguous hints and contradictory messages about Mr. Mengistu, demanding a price for any firm information and intentionally adding to the uncertainty.

Read more at The New York Times »

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San Jose’s Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Ethiopian New Year

(Photo: Crowd watches performance during the Ethiopian new year celebration at Guadalupe River Park Arena Green West in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. Credit: Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 14th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The city of San Jose, California will host the 11th annual Ethiopian heritage flag raising ceremony next month kicking off a week-long festival in celebration of Ethiopian New Year.

The Ethiopian American Council (EAC) announced that the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the new City Hall on Wednesday, September 9th, will be attended by city officials including the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and City Council members.

“The Ethiopian-American community of San Jose, under the auspices of the Ethiopian American Council will use this event to acknowledge and praise those that have made significant contributions to the Ethiopian community of San Jose,” EAC said.

The organization is “encouraging all Ethiopians, Ethiopian Americans, and their friends and families to join” in the celebration. In a press release EAC added: “San Jose is the only city in the nation to have established this traditional, annual acknowledgment of the heritage and history of Ethiopian Americans. The EAC especially wants to thank the citizens of San Jose for their recognition of the diversity that has made this country so great and offering the Ethiopian American community a time and a place to come together and take pride in their heritage.”

The San Jose Masonic Center is among those that will be acknowledged. “For the last 25 years, the center has provided the use of its facilities for many events, both large and small, that have been extremely important to the Ethiopian American community,” EAC stated. “Debre Yibaba Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is yet another organization. The church has proved to be a guiding beacon and a source of traditional strength for the San Jose Ethiopian American community.”

The Young Ethiopian Professionals in Action (YEPA) group will also receive recognition in partnership with Ethiopian Community Services and Abyssinia Cultural Dancers. In addition, EAC will share its appreciation of retired teacher Mekebeb Siamergne. “For the last 30 years, this retired teacher has dedicated his time and energy to the Ethiopian community in San Jose. He teaches youngsters Amharic, and he offers tutoring in Math, English, and other core disciplines. He offers these services at no cost – as service to his community.”

If You Go:
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 5:00 p.m
New City Hall (200 East Santa Clara Street)
San Jose, California

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An Interview With Singer Meklit Hadero

Ethiopian American singer Meklit Hadero. (Photo: roomsmagazine online)

Rooms Magazine

By Bunmi Akpata-Ohohe

Here comes a delightful music superstar with substance – simply known as Meklit

I’ll admit, I didn’t get Meklit Hadero, the Ethiopian-born, San Francisco-based singer and songwriter when she burst onto the music scene some six years ago. But then one of her songs from her most innovative album to date, “We Are Alive” (Six Degrees Records), implanted in my brain. (The title track, ‘We Are Alive,’ with Meklit’s silky voice floating effortlessly above the guitar-driven song) quaked my foundation and my girl crush was born. As a-matter-of-fact I love the raw ambition of the “We Are Alive” album – the preposterousness, the simplicity and also the fundamental intelligence. But, witnessing her live-in-concert was mind-blowing. Meklit Hadero is the business. She performed songs from her second solo full length album to a packed audience and critics alike at Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, London. This singer, musician, and cultural activist simply known as Meklit took us on a musical odyssey of Ethiopian traditional tunes and more besides: American-Jazz, Hip Hop, street-level Jazz, Rock, East African Folk and Ethiopian classics – the lyricist practice of her auditory mother country.

Born in Ethiopia, from Ethiopian parents, she feels deeply African and deeply American and her records are deeply inspired by Mulatu Astatke, the Godfather of Ethio-Jazz. Her work builds upon the concepts pioneered by Astatke as part of the late 60s and early 70s Golden Age of Ethiopian music. Taking these principal elements of her heritage as introductory building blocks, she explores the cultural dreams happening as part of the arrival of the Ethiopian Migration en masse to North America. In spite of this, it must be celebrated that this artist’s voice makes for compelling listening. Her performance on stage makes for compelling seeing. Her voice is earthy and soulful, supple and freed, and exudes all four. If champagne were a person it would be Meklit Hadero. She is stunning. In an alternate life, one where talent was spread out differently, this is the kind of music I would like to make. It’s subtle, contemporary and one of its kind, while being massively emotional. Oh well, fair enough! What is more? There’s more to this woman. We also find this touring performer, and a political science Yale University graduate, is a committed activist extraordinaire.

In 2011 she launched the UN Women’s campaign for gender equality in Africa, and co-founded the “Nile Project” with dear friend Mina Girgis, an Egyptian ethnomusicologist, with background in hospitality experience, curating and producing innovative musical collaborations across diverse styles. The Nile Project brings together artists from the eleven Nile countries that borders the River Nile, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, to make music that combines the region’s diverse instruments, languages and traditions. Meklit Hadero may not yet be your household one and you may not have heard Meklit Hadero’s music before, but once you do, I promise it’ll be tough to get it out of your head.

Read the Q & A with Meklit at Rooms Magazine »

To This Ethiopian American Singer, ‘Home is Always in Flux’

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NAACP Announces Launch of Inquiry Into Death of Attorney Abe Dabela

NAACP and Dabela family hold a press conference in Redding, Connecticut on Wednesday Aug. 5, 2015 to announce plans to investigate the April 2014 death of Ethiopian American Attorney Abe Dabela. (Photo: NT)

News Times Connecticut

By Katrina Koerting

REDDING — Launching its investigation into the death of a Redding man [Ethiopian American Attorney Abe Dabela] last year, the Connecticut NAACP announced Wednesday it had a lot of questions concerning the incident and the investigation, including whether the Redding Police Department rushed to judgment.

Gugsa Abraham “Abe” Dabela, 35, was found in his overturned car on April 5, 2014, around 1:40 a.m. with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. The medical examiner’s office ruled it a suicide, but members of the NAACP and Dabela’s family consider it suspicious and said they doubt he killed himself.

Presidents of the state NAACP and the Norwalk branch held a press conference Wednesday evening on the town green, with Dabela’s two sisters and parents, to announce their own formal investigation into Dabela’s death. The family has hired forensic professionals and attorneys to look into Dabela’s death. The case is still under investigation by the state’s attorney’s office in Danbury.

“For 16 months, we have been trapped in this nightmare, bereft of answers and besieged by questions,” said one of Dabela’s sisters who didn’t want to be named. “We know Abe, and as Abe would, we believe the truth will be revealed through facts, forensic evidence and rigorous analysis.”

She said he moved to Redding in 2011 to open his own law practice and was excited about life, his family, friends and clients. He grew up in Bethesda, Md.

As residents and media look on, representatives from various NAACP branches in Southwest Connecticut and members of the Dabela family, in back, hold a press conference held on the Redding Green next to the police department in Redding, Conn., on Wednesday Aug. 5, 2015. (Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Media)

The NAACP held the conference to announce thier plans to investigate the April 2014 death of Redding resident Gugsa Abraham “Abe” Dabela, which was ruled a suicide by the police. (Photo: Christian Abraham)

“He enjoyed life to the fullest, whether embarking on a journey to every state by motorcycle, which he enthusiastically shared with friends and family on social media, or starting a spirited debate on hot topics such as the importance of the Second Amendment to maintain peace and order,” she said.

Before he died, he had distributed business cards for his new firm and had been happily mingling with friends, she said.

After the conference, Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton said it was clear that Dabela’s family was still grieving.

“We are hopeful any further investigation along with the state attorney’s investigation can finally put this very tragic incident to bed so the family can find peace,” she said.

Pemberton said she and Police Chief Doug Fuchs were happy to cooperate with the investigation and welcomed the NAACP to town.

“We absolutely believe the family deserves answers to what happened to their son and their brother,” she said.

Read more »

Family Seeks Answers in 2014 Death of Gugsa Abraham Dabela
NAACP Wants Investigation Into Ethiopian American Attorney Abe Dabela’s Death

The NAACP and the Dabela family has asked the public to offer any information they have that could assist in the investigation by e-mailing info@justice4abe.com or to call the Connecticut NAACP at 860-523-9962.

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The Unstoppable Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd): Rebel with Harmony

Abel Tesfaye (the Weeknd) performs on NBC's "Today" show on May 7, 2015, in New York. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Recently the New York Times highlighted The Weeknd — an Ethiopian-Canadian music star (née Abel Tesfaye) — in a profile entitled “Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World?” and described his newest album, Beauty Behind the Madness, as “full of swaggeringly confident music indebted to the arena-­size ambition of the 1980s, from Guns N’ Roses to Phil Collins to Michael Jackson.” Indeed The Weeknd is inspired by Michael Jackson and has his own phenomenal rendition of “Dirty Diana” but the New York Times article also notes that he “attributes some of his signature vocal gestures to the Ethiopian influences of his childhood” such as Ethiopian pop legend Aster Aweke. The Weeknd’s new album is scheduled to be released on August 28th.

Often labeled as an R&B singer his style nonetheless remains uncategorizable — a mix of ecstatic techno, high pitch mellow croons and lyrics with no holds barred. Posting on YouTube and Facebook The Weeknd first entered the music scene by dropping three self-produced albums online in a single year. “I like making music. I’ll always be making music. I’ll always reinvent myself and do things and say things other artists wouldn’t do or say” he asserts, calling his writing as “more or less an evolution” and admitting that it’s loosely inspired by personal life experiences.

News outlets including the Guardian and Mic have jumped on the wagon dubbing The Weeknd as the “next face of R&B” and citing how he has “accomplished something no other R&B artist has ever done — claiming the three top spots on Billboard’s Hot R&B songs chart.” But Abel isn’t as enamored with the press as they are with him. “I try to shy away from press because it’s never about the art for them, and I totally respect that,” he says in an MTV documentary that he wrote and directed following the release of his first studio album Kiss Land. “But the only thing I rely on is good music..Once I feel like the world knows me for anything else but my music then I feel like I have failed. The world didn’t have a face to put to the music until recently, and that’s how I want to be remembered.”

The Weeknd Interview: Abel Says Grew Up Listening to Aster Aweke & Mulatu Astatke
The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) to Guest Star in TV’s Hottest Hip-Hop Drama ‘Empire’
Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World? (NY Times)
Inspired by Michael Jackson, The Weeknd Goes from Rebellious Songwriter to Chorus Lover
The reclusive artist talks ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ (Radio.com)

With dark tales of sex and drugs, is the Weeknd the next face of R&B? (The Guardian)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos: Denver Taste of Ethiopia Festival

Sossena Dagne roasts the coffee beans as Ethiopian families gather at a home in Aurora to fix their traditional foods on Tuesday July 28, 2015. (The Denver Post)


There was a celebration in Denver of a culture more than 8,000 miles away on Sunday — it was the annual Taste of Ethiopia event.

Denver is popular destination for Ethiopian immigrants because of the climate similarities.

“The altitude of our capital is 9,000 feet and it’s very dry weather, so I’d say that the weather is attractive, and we also have a lot of mountains in Ethiopia, so that’s attractive,” said Dr. Amen Sergew, a pulmonologist from Ethiopia. “But I’d say the people of Colorado are very friendly and that’s always enticing.”

Click here for PHOTO GALLERY: Taste Of Ethiopia »

Taste of Ethiopia in Denver Features Food, Music and Culture

The Denver Post

By Colleen O’Connor

At 8 a.m. Saturday morning, a volunteer team of Ethiopian cooks will gather in a commercial kitchen to make eight dishes traditional to their East African culture, enough to feed about 2,500 people.

Surrounded by mounds of ingredients — including 300 pounds of onions, 300 pounds of beef and 400 chicken drumsticks — they’ll cook throughout the day and into the evening.

“We want everything to be fresh,” said Sophia Belew, who heads the cooking team for the Taste of Ethiopia, which takes place Sunday. “It tastes as close as possible to what we eat at home.”

Crowds at the Taste of Ethiopia rapidly multiplied each year since it started in 2013, and this year a new global audience gets a chance to try such classic dishes as doro wot, a chicken stew, and tibs key wot, a beef stew with red chili pepper.

For the first time, the Taste of Ethiopia will host the most American of ceremonies, in which immigrants from 18 countries — ranging from Nepal and Bulgaria to Guatemala and China — will take the oath of allegiance and become U.S. citizens.

“It makes me feel so warm-hearted that people are taking an interest in our culture,” said Menna Tarekegne, 13. “More people are accepting it and wanting to learn more about our food, our culture and how we live life.”

On a recent afternoon, a group from the Ethiopian community gathered for a traditional three-cup coffee ceremony, which will also be part of the upcoming festival.

Sosena Dagne roasted coffee beans in a pan over a hot flame, then ground the beans and made a strong, rich coffee. Coffea arabica — the coffee species savored by most of the world’s population — originated in Ethiopia, and the coffee ceremony is centuries old.

“In Ethiopia, you never make coffee just by yourself,” said Dagne. “Our parents, our neighbors would gather together and talk about their lives, the kids and their everyday problems. Drinking coffee has a lot of meaning, and the most valued thing is discussion.”

These pieces of Ethiopian culture are eagerly shared by people like Dagne, who came up with the idea for a festival celebrating her native country, which is located in the Horn of Africa.

Read more at The Denver Post »

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Watch: CBS News Interview With Reeyot Alemu, Zelalem Kibret and Edom Kassaye

Ethiopian Journalists Reeyot Alemu, Zelalem Kibret and Edom Kassaye were released from prison just prior to President Obama's arrival in Ethiopia. (CBS News)

CBS News

The three Ethiopian journalists were released from prison three weeks ago, ahead of President Obama’s visit to the African nation. They are just some of the victims who dared to criticize their government and went to prison for it, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.

“I was in prison for four years and 17 days,” Reeyot Alemu said.

“For one year, two months and 14 days,” Zelalem Kibret said.

“One year, two months and 15 days,” Edom Kassaye said.

WATCH: Freed Ethiopian journalist risks it all to speak out (CBS News)

Obama, in Ethiopia, Calls Its Government ‘Democratically Elected’
With Landmark AU Address Obama Concludes Historic Ethiopia Visit

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With Landmark AU Address Obama Concludes Historic Ethiopia Visit

President Barack Obama concludes his historic trip to Ethiopia and Kenya with an address at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015. (Photo credit: Pete Souza)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — When President Obama flew to Kenya, his father’s birth country, late last week President Uhuru Kenyatta warmly welcomed him stating memorably that he had “arrived riding on the wings of history.” Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit both Kenya and Ethiopia, and Tuesday Obama became the first American President to address the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa.

According to the White House, prior to his historic appearance at the African Union Obama also met privately with Ethiopian civil society leaders and human rights activists. In his subsequent speech at the AU Obama spoke about the dangers and risks posed to African countries by leaders who feel entitled to a permanent hold on power: “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi,” Obama said. “And this is often just a first step down a perilous path. And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”

Obama told the AU audience: “I stand before you as a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of an African. Africa and its people helped to shape America and allowed it to become the great nation that it is. And Africa and its people have helped shape who I am and how I see the world.” Obama added: “In the villages in Kenya where my father was born, I learned of my ancestors, and the life of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, the bonds of family that connect us all as Africans and Americans.”

Regarding Ethiopia’s lack of free press and opposition political space Obama said: “I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can’t participate in the campaign process.”

WATCH: Obama — Africa’s Progress Depends on Development, Democracy

Click here for the full transcript of Obama’s speech at www.whitehouse.gov.

US Hopes AGOA 10-Year Extension Helps Africa’s Trade Supply Side Gaps
Obama Caps Africa Trip With Accent on Democracy, Progress
In Ethiopia, Obama Praises Contributions of Ethiopian Americans
President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia
Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
Obama’s Visit to Africa Draws Fire From Human Rights Groups
President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
Obama’s Ethiopia visit legitimizes authoritarian government, critical expatriates say
A Conversation on President Obama’s Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

View more details on Brookings.edu

Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
D.C.-area Ethiopians say Obama trip will send wrong signal to repressive regime in homeland
Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia, Obama Praises Contributions of Ethiopian Americans

U.S. President Barack Obama gets tour of Lucy's 3.2 million-year-old bones from Ethiopian American paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged in Addis Ababa on Monday, July 27th, 2015. (Getty Images)

President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia
Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
Obama’s Visit to Africa Draws Fire From Human Rights Groups
President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
Obama’s Ethiopia visit legitimizes authoritarian government, critical expatriates say
A Conversation on President Obama’s Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

View more details on Brookings.edu

Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
D.C.-area Ethiopians say Obama trip will send wrong signal to repressive regime in homeland
Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Heritage & Culture Camp 2015

(Photograph courtesy: Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp, Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 26th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Mekdes Bekele launched the Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp in July 2009 to connect like-minded parents raising Ethiopian American children. A mother herself Mekdes says “Whether adoptive or biological, we have the common goal of raising first generation Ethiopian Americans.” The summer camp celebrates its seventh anniversary this year and it “is designed for the entire family,” Mekdes adds. “There are age-appropriate activities that will appeal to both parents and their youngsters.”

Adoptive mother Julie Caran agrees. She says that each summer she and her husband come with their son to the Massaneta Springs camp and conference center in Harrisonburg, Virginia because they want their Ethiopian-born child to remain connected to his heritage and culture. “Ethiopian American volunteers come to camp because they wish they had something like this when they were our children’s age,” she wrote. “We all want these children to know who they are, and what it means to be Ethiopian.” Caran adds: “Yes, we get to attend excellent workshops to learn about everything from history to hair and art to Amharic, but something more important occurs at camp: We gain perspective. We interact inter-generationally and converse with children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults, and grandparents.”

This year the camp program includes special guest Menlik Zergabachew. “Menlik, an Ethiopian-American singer and leader of the Reggae band The Relics, will join us at camp to perform with his band,” Mekdes said in a statement. “Menlik competed and had a successful run on NBC’s THE VOICE this last season.” In addition, the camp director points out that a “cooking lesson is being provided by Simret Hunt — noteworthy because Simret was a young 14-year-old when she attended our first heritage camp back in 2009. She is now a rising sophomore in college and we are fortunate to have her join us as a volunteer handling the cooking lessons.”

You can learn more about the Ethiopian Heritage and Culture camp at www.heritageandculturecamp.org.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Sunday, July 26th, 2015 becoming the first-ever sitting President of the United States to visit Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

Associated Press

By Julie Pace 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Barack Obama is making the first-ever visit by an American president to Ethiopia.

Obama arrived in the capital of Addis Ababa from Kenya, where he made a historic return to the country of his father’s birth. He’ll meet with Ethiopian leaders and speak at the African Union.

The president has faced criticism for visiting Ethiopia from human rights groups that accuse the government of cracking down on dissent by arresting journalists, opposition party supporters and others.

The White House says Obama will raise human rights while in Ethiopia. Officials have defended the decision to travel to there, noting U.S. counterterrorism cooperation with the East African nation.

While in Ethiopia, Obama will also meet with regional leaders to discuss the crisis in South Sudan.

WATCH: Obama — Africa’s Progress Depends on Development, Democracy

Click here for the full transcript of Obama’s speech at www.whitehouse.gov.

With Landmark AU Address Obama Concludes Historic Ethiopia Visit
Obama Caps Africa Trip With Accent on Democracy, Progress
In Ethiopia, Obama Praises Contributions of Ethiopian Americans
US Hopes AGOA 10-Year Extension Helps Africa’s Trade Supply Side Gaps
Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
Presidential history: Obama opens first-ever visit to Ethiopia by U.S. president (PBS Newshour)

Obama’s Visit to Africa Draws Fire From Human Rights Groups
President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
Obama’s Ethiopia visit legitimizes authoritarian government, critical expatriates say
Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
D.C.-area Ethiopians say Obama trip will send wrong signal to repressive regime in homeland
Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Obama Brings $1B Gift to Kenya Summit

President Barack Obama, left, takes part in a panel discussion at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the United Nations Compound in Nairobi, Kenya on July 25th, 2015. (AP photo)

VOA News

By Gabe Joselow

Last updated on: July 25, 2015

NAIROBI — President Barack Obama co-hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya Saturday, where he is making his first visit as U.S. president.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced the U.S. president, whom he described as a great friend to the African continent.

Obama greeted the summit saying “Niaje Wasee,” Kenyan urban slang for “how are you.”

“It is wonderful to be back in Kenya. I am proud to be the first U.S. president to visit Kenya,” Obama said in his opening remarks. “This is a personal thing for me, my family came from these parts and I have relatives and family here.”

He then quickly got down to business, announcing to the gathering of entrepreneurs and investors that the U.S. had secured more than $1 billion in investment for new businesses around the world, following up on a promise made at last year’s summit in Morocco.

Obama noted that Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents in the world where people are being lifted out of poverty and the middle class is expanding.

“This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth,” he said.

WATCH: President Obama’s remarks at GES Summit

In his remarks, Kenyatta spoke of Kenya’s security struggles and its swiftly growing economy. He told his audience to tell friends back at home and around the world that “Africa is open and ready for business.”

“You all know that for a decade now the economies of Africa have been the fastest growing in the world. Behind these statistics is a story of a new generation of Africans committed to the African renaissance,” he said.

After a discussion onstage with several young entrepreneurs, Obama closed the session exhorting audience members to pursue their business ventures. “Go out there and start something,” he said. “We’re excited about it. We expect great things out of you.”

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers, White House officials and American business leaders is accompanying the president to the summit, a move the U.S. embassy in Nairobi says underscores the importance the United States places on supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs.

The streets of Nairobi have been painted and polished as the city has spared no expense to welcome Obama for what Kenyans have called his “homecoming.”

But security is high for the U.S. president’s visit, with at least 10,000 police officers deployed in Nairobi. The U.S. embassy has warned that the summit Obama is hosting could be “a target for terrorists.”

Obama then visited the U.S. embassy, where a large crowd had gathered outside to see him. Later Saturday, he met with Kenyatta for talks expected to center on building trade ties, countering violent extremism in Kenya and across the region, boosting government transparency and curbing the poaching of Kenya’s wildlife.

ON THE SCENE: VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports from Nairobi

Kenya Rolls Out Red Carpet for President Obama “Homecoming” Amid Tight Security
Photos: President Obama Arrives in Kenya
Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
Obama’s Visit to Africa Draws Fire From Human Rights Groups
President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
Obama’s Ethiopia visit legitimizes authoritarian government, critical expatriates say
A Conversation on President Obama’s Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

View more details on Brookings.edu

Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
D.C.-area Ethiopians say Obama trip will send wrong signal to repressive regime in homeland
Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Kenya Rolls Out Red Carpet for Obama “Homecoming”

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stands next to President Barack Obama as he signs a guest book at Nairobi Airport on July 24, 2015. The U.S. President is on two-country state visit to Kenya & Ethiopia. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

By Gabe Joselow

Last updated on: July 24, 2015

NAIROBI — U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Kenya, amid extremely tight security, for the start of a landmark two-day visit.

Obama touched down in Nairobi Friday evening and was greeted on the tarmac by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The U.S. president shook hands with Kenyan dignitaries and signed what appeared to be a guest book before climbing into a limousine.

The streets of Nairobi have been painted and polished as the city has spared no expense to welcome Obama for what Kenyans have called his “homecoming.”

The big headline for the visit is a Global Entrepreneurship Summit — the first time it is being held in Africa. President Obama — as co-host — will address the gathering on Saturday.

Kenya also has special significance for the U.S. president. His father was born and is buried in rural western Kenya and served in the government of Kenya’s first president.

Obama last visited in 2006 as a U.S. senator, but, this is his first trip as president — and that, says Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, means a lot to his country.

“President Obama is not just any other American president,” Ruto told VOA. “He has African roots, and more specifically Kenyan roots, and so it is significant in a very different way.”

WATCH:: Kenya Rolls Out Red Carpet for President Obama

Video: Voice of America White House correspondent Aru Pande report from Nairobi

Security concerns

While much of the visit will focus on boosting trade, the other big issue on the agenda will be security when Obama meets President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday.

Kenyan Foreign Secretary Amina Mohamed told VOA it is a common top concern.

“Our collaboration, especially on security, is historic. It’s always been there, but of course we’ve enhanced it a lot in the last few years because of the threat — the global threat actually — that we all face,” Mohamed said.

Kenya has been targeted repeatedly by the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The deadliest attack took place at Garissa University College in April, when 148 people, most of them students, were slaughtered on campus.

Ethiopia stop

After two days in Kenya, Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Ethiopia.

Ahead of his arrival in Africa, human rights groups urged the president to use his trip to call for fundamental human rights reforms in both countries.

In a letter to Obama, a group of 14 nongovernmental organizations and individual experts said the governments of Kenya and Ethiopia “face real security threats, but we are concerned by the way in which each government has responded, often with abusive security measures and increased efforts to stifle civil society and independent media.”

Trade with Africa

Late Wednesday, President Obama spoke about trade with Africa at a White House reception marking the signing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. He said despite Africa’s challenges, the continent is a dynamic place with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. He said it has the potential to be the next center of global economic opportunity.

He said the trade law will continue to encourage good governance, labor rights and human rights in Africa.

Obama last month signed a 10-year extension of the country’s main trade authority with Africa — a 15-year effort that boosted U.S.-Africa trade to $73 billion last year, with U.S. exports accounting for slightly more than half of that total.

More than 40 sub-Saharan countries are eligible for trade benefits under the law, through which most imports from Africa enter the United States duty free. Two of the main beneficiaries are oil exporters Angola and Nigeria.

Even as U.S. trade with Africa has grown rapidly, it trails resource hungry China, now with $200 billion in annual African trade, and the 28-nation European Union with $140 billion.

Obama has made a concerted effort to increase U.S. ties with Africa. Last August, he staged the inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

The U.S. says the Africa trade measure supports an estimated 350,000 jobs. As the trade extension advanced in Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and National Security Advisor Susan Rice said it has “provided vital economic opportunities,” helping African companies become more competitive and opening the path for more investments in them.

Photos: President Obama Arrives in Kenya
Obama’s Historic Visit to Ethiopia: A Larger Perspective
Obama’s Visit to Africa Draws Fire From Human Rights Groups
President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia
Obama’s Ethiopia visit legitimizes authoritarian government, critical expatriates say
A Conversation on President Obama’s Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

View more details on Brookings.edu

Open Letter to The Washington Post Regarding Ethiopia
Harassing VOA Reporter is Not Your First Amendment Right
D.C.-area Ethiopians say Obama trip will send wrong signal to repressive regime in homeland
Obama Visit to Ethiopia Brings Fresh Eyes to the Country, Say Seattle Ethiopians
Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Support Haile Gerima Make His Next Film

YETUT LIJ: A film by Haile Gerima Indiegogo Campaign. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The crowdfunding campaign for the feature film, Yetut Lij, by award-winning Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima ends this week. Although this is Gerima’s first online campaign, the independent filmmaker insists: “Crowd-funding is not new to me. None of my past films would have been possible without the community.”

Supporters of Gerima’s current campaign include Ava DuVernay, Danny Glover, Meaza Mengiste, Gabriel Theodros, Common, Kamasi Washington, Bradford Young, Greg Carr, Meklit Hadero, and Dream Hampton.

Gerima, who is a UCLA film school alumni and distinguished professor of film at Howard University, has made several influential films including Sankofa, Teza, Harvest: 3000 Years, Adwa: An African Victory, and the upcoming Children of Adwa.

Video: YETUT LIJ: A film by Haile Gerima [Indiegogo Campaign]

You can support Haile by donating any amount you like at Indiegogo.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Artist Abel Tilahun at ICI Curatorial Hub

Image by Abel Tilahun, Torn, 2014. (Photo Courtesy ICI).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Animator and Artist Abel Tilahun will give a talk at the Independent Curators International hub in New York City on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015. Abel teaches at American University in Washington D.C. and his recent exhibition entitled “Curvature of Events” was featured at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden New Master’s Gallery in Germany. In 2013 Abel submitted a commercial for Dorritos ‘Crash the Superbowl’ contest.

“By bringing classical training in drawing and sculpture into the digital realm, Abel Tilahun’s work explores the space between traditional and emerging art forms in different cultures and contexts,” states the ICI Curatorial Hub announcement of the upcoming talk. “Tilahun will discuss the transnational nature of his work with ICI’s Renaud Proch and present his practice through recent and upcoming exhibitions and projects.”

Abel is a graduate of the School of Fine Art & Design at Addis Ababa University and obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from Adams State College in Colorado in 2010.

If You Go:
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
6:30pm to 8pm
Location: ICI Curatorial Hub
401 Broadway, Suite 1620, NYC

This event is free and open to the public. To attend please RSVP to rsvp@curatorsintl.org with ABEL in the subject line.

More info and update at Independent Curators International

Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Multimedia Artist and Animator Abel Tilahun
Three Ethiopian Animators Vie For Doritos Superbowl AD Grand Prize

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Genzebe Smashes 1500m World Record

Genzebe Dibaba shatters world record in 1500 meters. (Photo Courtesy: iaaf.org)

The Wall Street Journal

By Sara Germano

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia broke the world record in the women’s 1500 meters on Friday, running 3:50.07 in Monaco that saw perhaps the single best day of metric mile races among both men and women in recent history.

Friday’s world record came at the Meeting Herculis in Monaco, the tenth leg of track-and field’s elite Diamond League meet series. Among the 28 men and women who raced respective 1500-meter races, 20 ran personal bests, including at least four regional records.

Dibaba, age 24, shattered the previous world record of 3:50.46 set by China’s Yunxia Qu in 1993, a time so fast that many in track and field believed it to be untouchable. No woman had broken 3 minutes and 55 seconds in 18 years, until Dibaba herself ran 3:54.11 just a week ago in Barcelona.

Dibaba is the younger sister of Tirunesh Dibaba, the world-record holder in the 5,000 meters, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. The elder Dibaba is skipping the 2015 track and field season after the birth of her first child earlier this year.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

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Interview: Journalist Tesfalem Waldyes

"I'm still scared that I might go back to prison" says journalist Tesfalem Waldyes. (BBC News)

BBC News

By Andrew Harding

It’s never an easy decision: Should I interview someone who wants to talk in public, but who knows that a word out of line could mean arrest and imprisonment?

I’ve wrestled with the issue before in Myanmar, also known as Burma, Zimbabwe, Iraq and elsewhere.
Ethiopian journalist Tesfalem Waldyes sat in a hotel in Addis Ababa last weekend, and decided it was necessary to speak out.

“I’m afraid. I’m still scared that I might go back to prison… Maybe today, maybe this afternoon.
“[Journalism here] is a very dangerous job, because there’s this red line that was marked by the government, and we don’t know when we crossed that red line,” he said.

‘Totally absurd’

Last week Mr Tesfalem was unexpectedly released from a remand prison outside the capital, along with four colleagues.

He and eight other bloggers and journalists had been imprisoned for well over a year, facing trial under Ethiopian anti-terrorism legislation – accused of working with forces seeking to overthrow the state.

“It’s totally absurd…. Our work has appeared in newspapers, magazines.

“We are only doing our jobs,” he said, declining to speculate on whether the timing of his release was linked to a big UN development summit being hosted in Ethiopia this week, or President Barack Obama’s visit later in the month.

Mr Tesfalem said he did not want to talk about prison conditions, for fear of provoking Ethiopia’s government, but he was motivated to speak out on behalf of the four journalists still in detention.

Read more at BBC News »

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How Ethiopia Lost Access to Hacking Tools Used Against Journalists

(Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

The Washington Post

By Andrea Peterson

Now we know what it takes to get your hacking tools taken away if you’re a repressive government.

It’s not enough to get caught spying on U.S.-based journalists — or even to have the story plastered on the front page of a major U.S. newspaper. But if you get caught doing it again because of your own sloppiness, that may just be enough to shame your vendor into cutting you off.

That’s what the public is now learning from a massive trove of e-mails and documents released online this week from Italian company Hacking Team, which was itself hacked.

Hacking Team is part of a burgeoning commercial surveillance industry that critics allege sells hacking tools once reserved for the most advanced intelligence agencies to any country that can pay. The company has long had a policy of not identifying its customers and has responded to previous reports of abuse by saying it has an internal process for responding to allegations of human rights abuses.

The e-mail cache, now archived by WikiLeaks, appears to show that the company relied on a biannual report from an international law firm to determine which countries it can legally sell its products and faced pressure from the United Nations and the Italian government over business relationships with repressive regimes. Last fall, the company briefly faced a ban on the export of its products by the Italian government, according to the e-mails. Around the same time, the company’s chief operating officer wrote in an e-mail that it had suspended Sudan as a client and that it was a “sensitive” time for the company.

But e-mails sent in the aftermath of a March report about Hacking Team tools being used by the Ethiopian government to target journalists based in the United States appear to show that the sloppiness of their Ethiopian customers, which exposed the use of the company’s technology, was a bigger concern for the company than potential human rights violations. And later, the company tried to secure a new contract with the country.

Researchers with Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs discovered traces of Hacking Team’s tools on the computers of U.S.-based Ethiopian journalists, as reported in a front-page story by The Post in February of 2014. The Ethiopian government has a notoriously poor track record on freedom of the press, and Ethiopians living abroad play a significant role in providing independent news coverage of the country’s domestic situation.

Read more at The Washington Post »

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Reeyot Alemu Free at Last

Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu who has been jailed since 2011 was released today. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, July 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Reeyot Alemu, winner of the 2013 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and the 2012 Courage in Journalism Award, has been released from prison after serving 4 years of a 5-year prison term under Ethiopia’s controversial terrorism law.

Reeyot is the sixth journalist to be released from jail this week. Yesterday the authorities freed five of the Zone 9 bloggers includeing Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Zelalem Kiberet, Edom Kassaye and Mahlet Fantahun.

“We are elated that Reeyot Alemu has been released, but she should never have been jailed in the first place. She served more than four years while in poor health and under often restrictive conditions,” said Sue Valentine, the Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We call on Ethiopian authorities to free all journalists imprisoned in relation to their work.”

The development follows last month’s election results in Ethiopia announced by the National Electoral Board where 100% of the seats were won by the ruling party.

President Obama’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia has subsequently been heavily criticized by human rights and press organizations citing that it is ill-timed and appears to reward undemocratic practices. The trip would be the first instance that a sitting American president will visit the nation despite a 100-year history of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that “Reeyot told CPJ today that she was happy to be free and that her health was okay, but that she was still taking painkillers. The journalist suffered from breast tumors while in prison.”

Reeyot Alemu after being released from prison. (Photo via Twitter)

(Photo via Twitter)

Charges Dropped Against 5 Members of Zone9: Focus on Abel Wabela Still Jailed

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Charges Dropped Against 5 Members of Zone9: Focus on Abel Wabela Still Jailed

Charges have been dropped against five of the nine Zone 9 bloggers -- Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Zelalem Kiberet, Edom Kassaye and Mahlet Fantahun. (Photograph credit : Endalk Chala)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Three members of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers and journalists, whose arrest last year generated a global outcry, have been released from prison after spending over a year behind bars.

The journalists and bloggers were arrested in April 2014 as part of a sweep against their online group, which reported and debated on issues including human rights in Ethiopia. Their release comes a few weeks in advance of President Obama’s scheduled visit to the country.

Those freed today include “Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis and Zelalem Kiberet,” according BBC News. Other news outlets report that charges have also been dropped against Edom Kassaye and Mahlet Fantahun.

“We welcome the release of three of the nine journalists and bloggers– Tesfalem Waldeyes, Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and Zelalem Kibret,” said Vukasin Petrovic, Director of Africa programs at Freedom House. “They were imprisoned for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Freedom House urges the Ethiopian government to drop all charges and release the remaining six journalists and bloggers.”

The Zone 9 members that still remain incarcerated are Abel Wabella, Natnael Feleke, Befekadu Hailu and Atinaf Berhane. Another associate of the group, Soliana Shimelis, was charged in absentia.

“The release of these five journalists is a welcome turn of events in Ethiopia, where the number of journalists in prison has steadily increased in recent years,” the East Africa Representative for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Tom Rhodes, said. “We call on authorities to release the remaining Zone 9 bloggers and all the journalists in jail for their work, and to drop all charges against them.”

CPJ added: “With at least 12 journalists remaining in prison, Ethiopia is the second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Eritrea, according to CPJ research. Most of the journalists face terrorism charges. The country is ranked fourth on CPJ’s list of the 10 Most Censored Countries.”

In a separate, but related report in their ongoing online series called They Have Names the Global Voices website recently featured Abel Wabela who says his mission in life is “to fight bystander apathy.”

Focus on Zone 9′s Abel Wabela

Abel Wabela. (Photo courtesy of family)

Global Voices Online

This marks the sixth post in our series – “They Have Names” – that seeks to highlight the individual bloggers who are currently in jail. We wish to humanize them, to tell their particular and peculiar stories. This week, Swedish blogger and artist Melody Sundberg writes about Abel Wabela, a member of Zone9 and the manager of Global Voices’ Amharic site.

I have never been to Ethiopia, but I have followed the never-ending trials of the bloggers closely through social media and conversations. A name often mentioned is that of Abel Wabela, a 28-year-old blogger, author and translator for Global Voices. During the first three months of the bloggers’ detention in Maekelawi*, Abel refused to sign a prepared confession paper in which he, together with the other bloggers, were incriminated. For this, Abel underwent extreme torture. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Project (EHRP), he was beaten by a person using a stick, and his feet were whipped by someone using a computer plug cable. He was forced to lay on the floor while interrogators stomped on his back, neck and face. Since then, he has had to use a hearing aid as a result of worsened hearing impairment.

According to Endalk Chala, co-founder of the blogging group, Abel had suffered poor treatment even before his arrest. One day, three weeks before the arrest, Abel was beaten as he was walking home from work. Several people appeared and beat him so severely that he lost his consciousness, and they took his cell phone and laptop. He feared beating was a threat, intended to make him stop blogging. But Abel continued his work.

Abel Wabela. (Drawing by Melody Sundberg)

I wanted to know more about Abel, so I asked some of those close to him to describe their friend. Endalk Chala describes Abel as the most kindhearted and wonderful soul. Abel is a man of knowledge and a great conversationalist, and he believes in open and honest discussions. Jomanex Kasaye describes Abel as being straight forward and knowing what he stands for. At the same time, he is very humble. Abel is always hungry for more knowledge. He likes to spend his time in discussions with historians, university lecturers and authors. His faith is important to him. He loves attending in church. He often visited prisoners, having the country and its people in his heart. He always thinks of others rather than himself.

Read more at Global Voices Online »

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EDF’s 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows

Top five winners of the 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship. (Photographs courtesy of EDF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — A few weeks ago we published an article highlighting the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship (EDF), a program founded by first generation Ethiopian American Rediate Tekeste that “trains young Ethiopian professionals in leadership development, service, and creative storytelling skills before sending them to Ethiopia to serve at partner organizations for a 6-month fellowship.”

Today, the organization announced the 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows — the top five promising candidates. Below are the names and bios of this year’s EDF Fellows:

Ebanezare Tadele

Ebanezare Tadele. (Photo courtesy: EDF)

Ebanezare Tadele was born and raised in the inner city of San Diego, California. His urban surrounding and Ethiopian culture helped forge a passion for international development and social justice. Ebanezare was Vice President of the Black Student Union, helping lead the school’s African American student body striving for racial equality. Ebanezare was also part of PLNU’s nationally ranked Speech & Debate Team as a junior level national debater. After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Communication Ebanezare applied his education to his passion and worked in the community. In addition, Ebanezare has served both as a volunteer and intern at his local Ethiopian church and Ethiopian Community Center. Through EDF Ebanezare is excited to learn ways he can utilize his education and experiences for the development and growth of Ethiopia.

Eden Mesfin

Eden Mesfin. (Photo courtesy: EDF)

Since receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Law from the State University of New York at Binghamton, Eden Mesfin has tailored her work experience to focus on issues surrounding international development, education, and policy. Upon graduation Eden worked in Washington D.C. with a foreign policy consulting firm as a Special Assistant to the former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay. Eden has also gained exposure to health care policy and cancer research as a Program Associate at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, assisting with the development of an online tool to help research sites in academic, hospital, and community settings. Currently, at Georgetown University, she has further expanded her management and quantitative skills as the Administrative Officer of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. She is responsible for analyzing and processing financial reports and administering faculty payroll. For the past four years, Eden’s passion for education and literacy motivated her to become a volunteer and outreach ambassador for the Reading Partners organization in Washington D.C. She is looking forward to serving as an Ethiopian Diaspora Fellow, allowing her to fulfill her dream of finding tangible methods to improve literacy, youth development, and women’s rights in Ethiopia.

Liat Desta

Liat Desta. (Photo courtesy: EDF)

Liat Desta graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with a focus on Health Sciences. She worked at Kaiser Permanente as an Occupational Medicine & Pediatrics intern learning the administrative management skills necessary to maintain a hospital’s day-to-day schedule. Her work with Genesis, a community organization, led her to advocate for justice and equality among new immigrants. She also organized and selected the Leadership Committee that organized L.A Works Day — Los Angeles’ largest volunteer-based community improvement event. As a member of Marians, a university service organization that focuses on improving the lives of women and children in Los Angeles, Liat was able to actively improve the community through her work as a tutor at the Boys and Girls Club at Mar Vista Gardens. Liat is thrilled to be the first EDF cohort, and looks forward to enriching her understanding of public health conditions in Ethiopia.

Tewodros Asfaw

Tewodros Asfaw. (Photo courtesy: EDF)

Tewodros Asfaw was born in Ethiopia and moved to the United States as a teenager. He earned his BS in Finance at St. Cloud State University with a minor in Economics. During this time, he served as President of the University’s Ethiopian Student Association where he focused on promoting awareness of Ethiopian culture on campus. After earning his MS in Social Responsibility with an emphasis in Trade and Development Studies, he worked as a College Coach for the non-profit organization, College Possible. As a coach Tewodros mentored and supported low-income students to succeed in college. As a first-generation immigrant Tewodros has always known the importance of education. His passion for education and service has grown deeper through his experiences as a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora, and he is eager to be a part of the first generation of EDF Fellows. Through EDF Tewodros hopes to support Ethiopia’s economic growth by expanding access to education.

Naome Seifu

Naome Seifu. (Photo courtesy: EDF)

Naome Seifu is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. She majored in Digital Broadcast Journalism with an emphasis in Global Affairs. Naome has interned with Voice of America in Washington D.C. where she worked at the African Division, specifically with the Horn of Africa. She is also a part of T. Howard Foundation and writes for Dinq magazine’s monthly issue in Atlanta, GA. Naome has also worked with WABE and Q100 radio stations in Atlanta where she learned the ins and outs of the broadcasting field. She is enthusiastic about working with EDF to build her dreams. It just takes one step at a time to bring change into this world, and she plans on making her first step through EDF!

Tadias congratulates the 2015 class of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows and looks forward to hearing about their achievements.

You can learn more about Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship at www.ethiopiandiasporafellowship.org.

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Bekoji, Ethiopia: How Grassroots Athletics Has Developed In The Town of Runners

Runners in Bekoji, Ethiopia. (Photo: Ben Quinton/IAAF)


01 JUL 2015

The Ethiopian town of Bekoji has produced countless champions but grassroots athletics has been sorely underdeveloped until Running Across Borders initiated a project in 2008 to support local coaches and runners.

In association with the IAAF’s social development programme Athletics for a Better World, Running Across Borders and Edinburgh University’s Global Development Academy welcomed nearly 100 people to a screening of the documentary Town of Runners last month.

The main protagonist of the documentary was Ethiopian coach Sentayehu Eshetu, who was present at the screening as part of his week-long trip to the UK to raise awareness for grassroots athletics in his training base of Bekoji, a provincial town situated about 300km to the south of Addis Ababa.

In a country long associated with poverty, famine and war, long-distance runners such as Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Derartu Tulu have been a perpetual source of national pride. All three were born and raised in Bekoji and started to run under the guidance of Eshetu. Some 16 Olympic medals over two decades have been accumulated from athletes originating from this town, but support for grassroots athletics is limited.

“In terms of natural running terrain, Bekoji has it all: hills, forests, trails, altitude,” said project founder Malcolm Anderson. “But the facilities and interest in the support of athletics was non-existent apart from the figurehead of the town, Sentayehu Eshetu, who has been based there for the past 39 years initially as a PE teacher in the local schools.”

Since 2008, UK-based organisation Running Across Borders has been supporting grassroots athletics in Bekoji. This support has increased as a legacy of the award-winning documentary Town of Runners and since the start of the year, Athletics for a Better World has provided additional assistance to local coaches and up-and-coming runners who dream of becoming the next Bekele or Dibaba.

Read more at IAAF.org »

Watch: Town of Runners Extended Trailer

Conversations With Filmmakers of ‘Town of Runners’ (TADIAS)
Town of Runners – review (Guardian)
The Ethiopian town that’s home to the world’s greatest runners (Guardian)

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Addis: A Local View by Metasebia Yoseph

Enrico, one of the oldest pastry shops in Addis. (Photograph: Girma Berta/@gboxcreative/instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — In the following multimedia presentation published by The Guardian, Metasebia Yoseph, Founder of Design Week Addis Ababa and author of A Culture of Coffee, highlight the sights and sounds of modern Addis Ababa with “the rhythmic pounding of construction, coupled with car horns, ambulances, dogs barking, random yelling in the street and the occasional rooster.” She also features video clips and photos of favorite nightly TV shows, local rock bands, street art and traditional singers.

“There are two divergent looks going on in the city: the trendy, slightly conservative style of young professionals, and the edgier youth subculture style. What ties both styles together is that they always feature a touch of cultural flair,” Metasebia writes.

And what’s the talk of the town? “Although most would assume the major talking point would be the recent elections, the real topic on everyone’s lips, regardless of their political affiliation, is car accidents,” Metasebia adds. “There are so many wrecked cars and destroyed roads that there are Facebook pages and forums dedicated to documenting the absurd pervasiveness of accidents in Addis Ababa.”

Driving in Addis is a topic of hot debate. (Photograph: Various/Facebook)

In the following video Metasebia gives a shout-out to comedian “Filfilu – his shtick is playing the idiot savant and his comedy covers everything from changing traditions to sex. No matter how crude a joke, he’s always able to charm you with his signature toothless smile.”

Read more and see photos at The Guardian »

Metasebia Yoseph’s Transmedia Project: ‘A Culture Of Coffee’

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Biiftu Duresso: Top High School Student Honors Parents’ Journey From Ethiopia

Biiftu Duresso (R) Wilson Magnet High School's valedictorian with her father Jamal Abdullahi, where he is Assistant Custodian. Jamal put his educational goals aside to focus on his children’s success. (Photo: D&C)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, June 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — In the following ABC News video Biiftu Duresso, a star high school student and this year’s valedictorian at Wilson Magnet High School in Rochester, New York, gives a moving tribute to her parents who immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia during the tumultuous 1980′s. Her father Jamal Abdullahi raised Biiftu and three other siblings working as an assistant custodian at his daughter’s high school, where he had been employed since 1986 while earning a college degree himself.

“My parents Jamal and Zubaida made their way to Rochester, New York from Ethiopia in the 80′s and 90′s,” Biiftu said in her speech. “They had the audacity to imagine something better for me and my siblings.”

Biiftu is headed to Columbia University’s Barnard College in the Fall. And she has a great role model in her father Jamal, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008, three decades after leaving Ethiopia where he was a teenage soldier.

“Since Biiftu and her siblings were born [Jamal] has made his own hard-earned education secondary to theirs,” notes The Democrat and Chronicle, a daily newspaper serving the greater Rochester area. “He wanted to be a teacher; instead, he relishes the chance to encourage Wilson students as a mentor and supporter. Jamal likes his work, humble as it is. He still remembers the date he began: June 10, 1986.”

“I tell them, look: I came this hard way through and came out here,” he told the newspaper. “It’s very hard. But it didn’t stop me. But if you have foundation, your results must be better than me. Must be better.”

Watch: Wilson Magnet High School Valedictorian Thanks Her Father (ABC News)

ABC US News | World News

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Seattle Ethios on Obama’s Ethiopia Visit

Elias Godifay, an Ethiopian immigrant who teaches accounting at North Seattle College, says he hopes that Obama’s upcoming visit to Ethiopia will help people see the country as a trade partner. (Photo by G. Wibneh)

The Seattle Globalist

By Goorish Wibneh

President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Ethiopia in July—the first visit for a sitting U.S. President— is an exciting moment for Ethiopian Americans in Seattle, and gives hope the attention will help erase the negative and outdated stereotypes of the African nation.

“It highlights how Ethiopia has taken the leading role to become a safe place to invest,” said Ezra Teshome, a successful Ethopian American businessman in Seattle.

While the U.S. was one of the most generous countries to Ethiopia in its dismal past, Ethiopians now in the U.S. hope Obama’s historic visit will start a new era of partnership in investment and trading between the two nations.

“It’s exciting to see a sitting president set foot in Ethiopia,” said Teshome, who came to the United States in 1971. “To me, seeing the first African American president visiting Ethiopia is very exciting.”

The White House announced last Friday that POTUS will be visiting Ethiopia in late July. The president plans to visit Ethiopia and the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to the announcement. The trip to Ethiopia will follow the president’s visit to Kenya.

Read more at The Seattle Globalist »

Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy (Washington Post‎)
In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria
A Memoir of First US Diplomat’s Meetings With Emperor Menelik

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Abay Hopes to Bring ESFNA Meet to NYC

New York City's Ethiopian soccer team, Abay, pictured 3 years ago. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — One of the main goals for New York’s Ethiopian soccer team, Abay, is to bring the annual Ethiopian North America soccer tournament to New York for the first time since the league was founded more than 30 years ago.

“Our immediate priority is actually to win the tournament,” Assistant Coach Teddy Gezaw tells Tadias Magazine. “But in the long-term we’re talking about bidding to bring the tournament to New York and New Jersey where most of our team members are from.”

Teddy points out that Abay players will be heading to Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the 2015 ESFNA sports and cultural festival taking place from June 28th to July 4th at the University of Maryland’s Byrd Stadium in College Park.

The Ethiopian soccer tournament rotates each year from state to state in North America and so far, according to ESFNA, it has been held in 15 major U.S. cities with a sizable Ethiopian population. “The top host areas are California (7), DC Metro (6), Texas (5) and Georgia (4).” On its website the organization states: “In order to be selected to host the tournament, teams must submit their bid to the Executive Committee ahead of time. A host team must fulfill the requirements that are stated in our Tournament Guidelines and the team must show that it has the support of the Ethiopian community in their city.”

To date the top teams that are cup winners include: “D.C. Ethio-Stars (7), LA Ethio Stars (5), Ethio-Atlanta (4) and Ethio-Maryland (3).”

For its opening game the New York team faces San Jose on Monday, June 29th at 4:00 p.m.

Photo of the NY Abay team in 1990. (Courtesy photograph)

New York City’s Ethiopian soccer team, Abay, pictured 6 years ago. (Courtesy photo)

The current Abay Team celebrating in the stands at the 30th ESFNA anniversary tournament on July 6th, 2013 at Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. (Photo: Courtesy NYC Abay)

The entertainment portion of this year’s festival takes place at Echostage in D.C, and ESFNA announced the week-long program that includes a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the National Theatre of Ethiopia, Community Day, Ethiopian Day, as well as live concerts featuring Teddy Afro, Gossaye, Jacky Gosse, Aster Aweke and Bezuayehu Demissie. In addition, the final day championship event includes ESFNA’s closing night gala. “ESFNA will start its event in remembrance and by paying respects to 29 Ethiopians killed in Libya; followed by a triumphant week showcasing Soccer – Culture – Entertainment,” ESFNA said.

You can learn more at www.esfna.net.

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Photos: Ethiopian Airlines Inaugurates Flight Connecting Addis, LA, Dublin

Ethiopian Airlines crewmembers at Dublin Airport in Ireland. (Photo: Twitter @Vanskie)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — This past weekend in Los Angeles, California Ethiopian Airlines inaugurated its newest route connecting America’s second largest city and Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with a stopover in Dublin, Ireland.

Ethiopian Airlines, which already serves the East Coast with multiple flights per week to Washington, D.C., said that the new tri-continental flight is the first direct flight by an African airline linking Africa with the West Coast of the United States. Ethiopia‍‍’‍s flag carrier said it plans to fly to Los Angeles three times a week.

At a ceremony celebrating the launch of the new flight Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, noted that the thrice-a-week flights using Boeing 787 aircrafts created opportunities for Ethiopian and foreign investors from Ireland and the US to come and do business in the country. He added: “Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union (AU); the airline is striving to connect the continent with different parts of the world.”

Gold Star Aviation posted the following photograph on Twitter sharing: “Celebrating our first Tri-continent service aboard #B787 above 30,000 feet. #Dublin #LosAngeles #EthiopianAirlines.”

Below is another photo that came from Amb Taye Atske Amde: “A warm welcome [in Dublin] for the Ethiopian Airlines maiden flight to Los Angeles. An all green Ethiopian & Irish musical ensemble.”

(Photo: Twitter @TayeAtske)

And in the following picture the air cargo industry services provider, HAE, and Ethiopian Airlines celebrate the new LAX-ADD flights. The festivities included a two-hour dinner cruise in Marina Del Rey, California. According to HAE “The event culminated with the selection of a grand prize winner of a round trip ticket for two from LAX to any African destination served by Ethiopian airlines.”

(Photo courtesy: HAE Group)

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

You can learn more about Ethiopian Airline at www.ethiopianairlines.com.

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Government in Ethiopia Is on Track to Win With 100% of Vote

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) released on Monday the final results of the May 24th, 2015 elections, giving the ruling party 100 percent of the seats announced so far. (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

The New York Times


Ethiopia’s governing party and its allies are poised to control every seat in the nation’s Parliament, according to official results announced Monday by the country’s electoral board.

In the last election, held five years ago, only one opposition member and one independent candidate won seats in Parliament.

This year’s results are even more one-sided: The governing party and its allies have won 100 percent of the races announced so far, giving them control of 546 seats.

The results from one remaining constituency, where polling was delayed by violent skirmishes, have yet to be disclosed…The chairman of the electoral board, Merga Bekana, said this year’s elections were conducted in a “free, fair, peaceful, credible and democratic manner.”

But opposition party members disagreed, pointing to an uneven playing field and continuing efforts to intimidate those who challenge the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which is itself a coalition of four regional parties.

“It’s a tough time for Ethiopia,” said Yilkal Getnet, chairman of the opposition party, Semayawi. “A 100 percent win should never be accepted as reality.”

Read more at NY Times »

Ethiopian opposition party says candidate’s murder was politically motivated (Reuters)
Semayawi Party Says ‘Everybody Knows Who Killed Samie’ (RFI)
Ethiopia Opposition Candidate Dies After Attack in Northwest (Bloomberg)
Ethiopia’s crackdown on dissent drives opposition to push for ‘freedom first’ (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Opposition Says Elections ‘Undemocratic Disgrace’ (AFP)
As Expected Ruling Party Claims Big Win in Early Ethiopia Election Results
Statement From US State Dept on Ethiopia May 24th Elections (Press Release)
AU Observers Avoid Words ‘Free & Fair’ In Ethiopia Election Assessment (VOA)
African Observers Say Ethiopia Poll Credible, Opposition Cries Foul (Reuters)
No Suspense in Ethiopia Election Results (Photos)
Ethiopia’s Ruling Party Is Expected to Keep Grip on Power (NY Times)
Ethiopia Election Met With Silence From Ordinary Voters (VOA News)
Ethiopia’s Election: ‘Africa’s Largest Exercise of Political Theatre’ (The Guardian)
With Limited Independent Press, Ethiopians Left Voting in the Dark (CPJ)
Opponents Question Ethiopia’s Democracy (VOA)
Imperiling the Right to Vote in Ethiopia (Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights)
Is Ethiopia About to Get More Than One Opposition MP? (BBC)
No Western Observers for Ethiopian Elections (VOA)
As Ethiopia Votes, What’s ‘Free and Fair’ Got to Do With It? — The Washington Post
Washington Enables Authoritarianism in Ethiopia (Aljazeera America)
Ethiopian PM Faces His First Election Ever (VOA News)
Wendy Sherman Says Editorial on US-Ethiopia ‘Mischaracterized My Remarks’ (The Washington Post)
The United States’ Irresponsible Praise of Ethiopia’s Regime — The Washington Post
U.S. Wrong to Endorse Ethiopia’s Elections (Freedom House)

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In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role

(Images: President Obama/White House photo and portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie by Chester Higgins, Jr.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — President Barack Obama is preparing to make a landmark trip to Ethiopia and the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa in late July as the first sitting U.S. president to visit the nation. Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia formally began with the signing of the first U.S.-Ethiopia bilateral trade agreement in 1903 during the term of President Theodore Roosevelt and the era of Emperor Menelik II in Ethiopia.

In addition to President Obama’s planned meetings with Ethiopian authorities regarding business investments, international security and democratic governance, we also hope that the President recognizes the significant role that Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie played in the creation of the African Union’s predecessor – the Organization of African Unity — as he takes the stage to address African leaders in its new hall.

As Professor Ted Vestal, author of the book The Lion of Judah in the New World, points out “Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the 20th Century, Cold-war ally of the United States, staunch anti-colonialist, and a noted Pan-Africanist and founding father of the Organization of African Unity.” According to Vestal the Emperor visited the U.S. as a Foreign Head of State, a record 6 times only matched by the Queen of England later in the 21st century.

Likewise, President John F. Kennedy’s remarks made at Washington D.C.’s Union Station on October 1st, 1963, while extending a rare State reception to the globally revered Ethiopian leader, are unforgettable. In welcoming Haile Selassie to the U.S. President Kennedy stated: “I know I speak on behalf of all my fellow Americans in welcoming his Imperial Majesty back to the United States. Since His Majesty visited the United States nearly a decade ago we have seen one of the most extraordinary revolutions in history. And that has been the appearance on the world scene of 29 independent countries in the short space of less than ten years, including over 150 million people. The conference recently held in His Majesty’s capital served, I think, to bring together in a great cooperative movement the people of most of these countries. And the success of that conference was due to in no small part to the leadership of our distinguished guest. His efforts to move his country forward to provide a better life for its people and his efforts throughout the world, which dates back over 30 or 40 years. For all of this your Majesty we take the greatest pride in welcoming you here. You do us honor and I can assure you that there is no guest that we will receive in this country that will give a greater sense of pride and satisfaction to the American people than your presence here today. Your Majesty, you are most welcome.”

We welcome President Obama going to Ethiopia and the African Union’s headquarters and are thrilled that he decided to make this historic trip as the first sitting President to do so in American history.

Breaking News: President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria
A Memoir of First US Diplomat’s Meetings With Emperor Menelik
Haile Selassie’s Africa: A Legacy Ignored by a Generation

Click here to listen to the complete audio of President John F. Kennedy’s welcoming remarks to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on October 1st, 1963.

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President Obama to Travel to Ethiopia in Late July

President Barack Obama aboard Air Force One. (Photo: White House)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — President Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia and the AU head office in Addis Ababa when he travels to Ethiopia next month.

“In late July, President Barack Obama will travel to Ethiopia for bilateral meetings with the government of Ethiopia and the leadership of the African Union,” the White House announced on Friday. “This visit, which follows the President’s trip to Kenya, will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit by strengthening ties with African partners and highlighting America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa.”

The White House said that “This will be the first visit of a sitting U.S. president to Ethiopia and African Union from its headquarters, understanding our efforts to work with the countries and citizens of sub-Saharn Africa to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.”

An article published this past Winter by the Brookings Institution suggested that President Obama make the historic travel to Ethiopia noting: “A visit to the AU headquarters by the U.S. president would be a significant endorsement of the role of the continental organization [that was established in the Ethiopian Capital in 1963 as the Organization of African Unity (OAU], and would, indeed, be the best forum in which to hold the next U.S.-African Leaders Summit — building upon the success of the first summit held in Washington in 2014. President Obama and the African leaders could use the summit to discuss strategies to advance the pace of regional integration especially as pertains to involvement of the U.S. private sector, such as in the building of regional infrastructure.”

Below is a Twitter post from The White House National Security:

In Ethiopia, Why Obama Should Give Due Credit to Haile Selassie’s OAU Role
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Brookings Institution Recommends Obama Visit Kenya, Ethiopia & Nigeria

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Ethiopia: Semayawi Party Says ‘Everybody Knows Who Killed Samie’

Samuel (Samie) Awoke, 29, a candidate who stood for the Blue Party in the May 24th, 2015 Ethiopia election was killed by assassins on Monday night in Debre Markos, Gojam region of Ethiopia. (Photo: RFI)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The head of Youth Affairs for Ethiopia’s Semayawi (Blue) Party says security forces are responsible for the recent assassination of the party’s parliamentary candidate in the Gojam region.

29-year-old Samuel Awoke, who is said to have challenged last month’s controversial election results in his region, was clubbed and stabbed to death in Debre Markos two days ago, according to media reports.

“Samuel was killed in the Gojam region in the Northwest of the country after being allegedly beaten by security forces,” said Yonatan Tesfaye of the Blue Party in a telephone interview with Radio France Internationale.

Tesfaye said Samuel has been receiving death threats and had written a post on Facebook recently predicting that there will be an attempt on his life. “[They] were calling him and threatening him,” Tesfaye said, “The security forces had beaten him a month ago and they left him thinking that he was dead, unfortunately he was not, and they did the same thing again the day before yesterday.”

Radio France Internationale (RFI) said it tried to reach various government spokesmen, but they were unable to do so. “There are reports that Ethiopian Communication Minister Redwan Hussien said they were trying to figure out who the killers are and the motivation behind it,” the broadcaster reported. “Hussien went on to say that a suspect has been arrested. He also suggested that the attack was sparked by a legal dispute.”

Tesfaye disagreed saying: “Samie was not the first person to pay this sacrifice, we all know that this would happen to any of us so we are not afraid. we will just continue to struggle. They are trying to cover it up everybody knows who killed our friend. They do this all the time. They kill and they appear to search for the killer, but its fake. We know they killed him.”

Tesfaye pointed out that Samuel was a prominent member of their Party. “He did a lot of work in his region Gojam,” he added. They wanted to get rid of him. I think there was an order from high position.”

Listen: Murdered Ethiopian opposition politician received death threats & predicted attempt on his life

Ethiopian opposition party says candidate’s murder was politically motivated (Reuters)
Ethiopia Opposition Candidate Dies After Attack in Northwest (Bloomberg)

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New Yorker: Ethiopian American Singer Rachel Brown’s Uncanny Voice


Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The New Yorker Magazine has a great highlight of Ethiopian American singer and song-writer Rachel Brown who is releasing a new EP this week called The Band. This is Rachel’s second album following her 2012 debut EP Building Castles.

The multicultural artist and Harvard graduate is the daughter of Ethiopian-born wedding-fashion designer Amsale Aberra. “Brown, a singer-songwriter from New York who is just five years out of college, got serious about music midway through getting her degree,” The New Yorker notes. “Her mother is from Ethiopia and she’s spent time in Bermuda, and when she sings she releases uncanny timbres. Her voice is not as unusual as the ragged croak of Macy Gray but often possesses the walnut burr of Erykah Badu and the lightness of Norah Jones. Brown favors a languid delivery, often turning a syllable or a phrase inside out as she releases it.”

Rachel’s “new record was recorded mostly in one day and in one studio, to capture the collective energy of the group. The rapport between Brown and her band works behind the scenes of the EP to give it clarity and cohesion” states John Donohue, night-life editor of the Goings On About Town section of New Yorker Magazine.

Read more at The New Yorker »

BBC Africa: Ethiopian Singer Rachel Brown talks influences and inspirations

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Crop Insurance Helping Ethiopia’s Farmers

(Image: Ethiopian farmers collect wheat in their field in Abay. REUTERS/Barry Malone)


By Elias Gebreselassie

Gebre Sire, a farmer from the village of Abine Germama in Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state, has been paying into weather-index based crop insurance for over two years. While he’s happy that he has recently received his first payout after drought ruined his corn crop about a year ago, he feels there are ways to better maximize the scheme’s benefits.

“I’ve already been paid 250 birr ($12.50) on the 100 birr ($5) premium I pay every season,” he said. But the value of the birr has been steadily dropping since the scheme began three years ago, and Sire says his payout doesn’t quite cover all of his costs.

“The premium we pay is too small,” he said. “I would like it to increase along with the payout.”

For Ethiopian farmers dealing with the worsening impacts of climate change, small-scale crop insurance can be a lifesaver. But the insurance needs to expand – and undergo some tweaks – to effectively help them effectively recover from extreme weather, farmers and experts say.

Sire’s complaint is a familiar one to Daniel Negassa, head of the micro-insurance department at Oromia Insurance Share Company (OIC), the only crop insurer in the state. However, he says, change is not yet on the cards.

“Micro-insurance by its nature is for the benefit of the low-income population,” he said. “We’ve seen in our impact assessment that some farmers have difficulty even paying the current premium.”

In the next three or four years, OIC does plan to scale up insurance premiums and compensation in more affluent areas, Negassa said.

The more pressing issue, experts say, is getting the benefits of crop insurance to more farmers.

According to Melkachew Temesgen, a crop insurance officer at OIC, farming is a hugely untapped market for insurance companies. However, poor literacy levels among farmers, the complexity of weather-index-related insurance schemes and the need to convince intermediaries such as farmers cooperatives has discouraged other insurance companies from offering crop coverage.

Kosie Hashiguchi, an expert from the development organization Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been assisting the OIC with its insurance scheme for over two years. “When the idea was first proposed to insurance companies, many of them were unsure,” he said. “Some even asked that JICA pay for the initial insurance premium payouts.”

Hoping to encourage the use of crop insurance throughout the country, JICA has been funding awareness creation programs and spreading the word to farmers through radio ads and leaflets. The agency is also working alongside the federal government and several regional governments to develop trainers who explain to insurance companies how crop insurance works.

While OIC insurance officer Temsgen agrees that the uptake of crop insurance is slower than he hoped, he is reassured by its success so far. Three farmers’ cooperatives and 1,870 households in the Oromia region paid for crop insurance in 2013; by the end of 2014, that had risen to five cooperatives and 5,720 household.

The hope, he said, is to emulate that success across Oromia and wider areas of Ethiopia.

Data Issues

Experts say one obstacle to the expansion of crop insurance schemes is the complexity and unreliability of the data. Using historical weather data, insurance companies evaluate an area’s vulnerability to extreme weather and base compensation on those findings.

But according to Hashiguchi from JICA, because the satellites that track rainfall levels are not always reliable, there can be gaps in the data. “Weather-index crop insurance schemes need constant research and experimentation,” before they can be considered reliable, he said.

He added that for countries such as Ethiopia, which has a majority rural population, strong reinsurance companies are needed to spread the risk before crop insurance can be sustainably expanded across the country.

Feyiso Biyo, head of Abine Germama village, would like to see the issues with crop insurance resolved so that the remaining third of the 919 households in his locality feel confident to join the scheme. The other households are already covered, he said.

Freeing farmers from the worry of crop failure could have far-reaching positive impacts, he said.

“We used to suffer from persistent drought, but this insurance scheme has assured people and motivated them to deal with climate change,” he said. “They can now focus on other activities such as planting trees in deforested areas.”

Neighboring villages have taken notice and want to participate in the scheme, he said.

Author: Elias Gebreselassie is a freelance correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, writing on energy and climate change.

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Interview with Haile Gerima on New Film

Haile Gerima. (Photo credit: Gezaw Tesfaye)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The following is a ReelBlack TV interview with the acclaimed Ethiopian filmmaker and Howard University Professor Haile Gerima about his current Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his new film Yetut Lij.

Gerima who launched the online campaign earlier this month “aims to raise $500,000 in matching production funds, the minimum needed to match existing co-­production funds and film on ­location in Ethiopia,” according to Indiewire.

“Gerima’s prospective feature will be his 12th film and 8th dramatic narrative. The film’s title is an Amharic term that usually refers to any child taken in and raised by someone, other than their biological parent. Set primarily in Gerima’s childhood town of Gondar, the story takes place in the 1960’s, some 20 years after the Italo-­Ethiopian War. Aynalem, a 13 ­year­ old peasant girl, is adopted by a wealthy judge’s family and taken away from her own. Promised an educated upbringing and a better life, she is instead, brutalized and forced to work as a domestic servant.”

Indiewire notes: “A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Gerima has spent over 40 years making independent films of “ substance and bold expression” (THE WASHINGTON POST). Having worked alongside other independent filmmakers, like Charles Burnett, Billy Woodberry and Larry Clark, Gerima has mastered the production of high value, low­ budget films, outside of commercial and mainstream institutions…With this June’s campaign on Indiegogo, Gerima expects to reach a new, and younger audience hungry for films like his, while activating the loyal base of supporters that made his previous works possible.”

Watch his sit-down with ReelBlack TV:

Haile Gerima Kicks Off Crowdfunding Campaign for New Film ‘Yetut Lij’

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Berhane Daba Awarded 2015 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award

Berhane Daba being awarded the 2015 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award by the National Peace Corps Association at a ceremony in Berkeley, California on Saturday, June 6th, 2015. (Photo: Courtesy of NPCA)

Tadias Magazine


Published: Sunday, June 14th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Last week in Berkeley, California, Berhane Daba made history as the first woman and the first disabled person to win the prestigious Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award by the American Peace Corps alumni organization, National Peace Corps Association.

The story of Berhane is one that would make a great inspiring novel. She was born to a poor rural farming family in Holeta town, some 50 miles from Addis Ababa. In 1968, polio stricken by age two, she was left along a dusty roadside by her father in the hopes that a very important person visiting the town would feel pity and help.

“I was put by my father on the road that King Haile Selassie was passing by as he was visiting our town. My father was hoping the king could take me to Addis Ababa where they already established an orphanage for the sick and abandoned. The stars were aligned that day. The king saw a baby with two disabled legs and with no adults around, inquired about me and told his men to take me in and put me in Addis Ababa for treatment,” Berhane remembers.

Once in Addis, she was placed at St. Paulos Hospital for treatment. A few weeks into her stay at the hospital, a young American nurse, Mary Myers-Bruckenstein, came and started providing therapy for the chronically damaged nerves and tissues caused by crawling. In the words of Berhane, who spoke to Tadias Magazine following the award ceremony, “meeting Mary was one of the defining moments” that profoundly changed her life. Mary had arrived as a member of the newly launched U.S. Peace Corps program. At the age of 22 she had joined the mission after graduating with a nursing degree.

“When I met Berhane and saw her condition, I felt that I could help reduce her pain. I saw her strong spirit and started working with her. But the facilities at Paulos hospital were barely enough,” Mary recounts looking back at her first days of encounter with Berhane.

Mary decided to move the little polio stricken baby to Princess Tsehai (renamed Tor Hailoch) hospital where she worked with Berhane to help her regain more strength. Eventually Berhane was able to walk upright using crutches and her spirit was uplifted. Mary took Berhane into her home until it was time for her to leave Ethiopia, and the relationship between them continued to endure as Mary made a common friend promise to continue to take care of Berhane in her absence.

“After she left Ethiopia, I was admitted to Kechene orphanage where I started school, and our common friend, Tekle, would follow up on me and pass on messages of goodwill and postcards from Mary to me. He would read me a letter from her and help me write one to her too,” says Berhane.

As the Emperor was deposed and socialism was declared the state ideology most Western programs in Ethiopia were shut down and the Peace Corps program became a casualty in 1977. It would take another 18 years for the Peace Corps to return to Ethiopia following the overthrow of the same regime that caused its interruption.

Despite the political and social turmoil over years the relationship between Berhane and Mary endured largely due to Tekle. Berhane talks of Tekle as a man “who took his promise seriously over the years and who still remains a good friend.”

At Kechene orphanage, Berhane completed high school and started working at the National Museum as a librarian. Working hard, and along the way proving stereotypes about disability wrong, she rose up through the ranks. In 2008 she earned her Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technology from Admas University. Strengthening her educational and career profile was just one of many battles that Berhane says she “enjoyed.” At the same time she was building a small network of disabled women in a bid to explore what they could do to help other disabled individuals in a society that “considers disability as a curse or sin.”

“Being disabled is one thing, being disabled in an environment that doesn’t have enough safety nets is another. Then being a disabled woman is just too much” says Berhane. She reasons that for a long time the culture in Ethiopia had a utilitarian view of women in general, and that is that they are good “either to help in household chores like fetching water and cleaning and cooking or bringing a rich husband. When one is a disabled woman one is thought to be useless, no good to fulfill any of these expectations. You can’t help in the small chores and you cannot bring that rich husband.”

Berhane and the small network of disabled friends commenced to use their own resources to help each other as well as other disabled women. “We soon realized that we should get ourselves organized and help each other and others who lacked the access and opportunities we had,” Berhane adds, recounting the beginning of the establishment of the Ethiopian Women with Disabilities National Association (EWDNA) — an organization that works to empower women with disabilities and provides them with the skills and confidence they need to become economically self sufficient. The association was founded by Berhane and her seven friends, and today it boasts more than 3,000 members. It started with a women’s resource center and now provides technical, financial and vocational training along with counseling and guidance services to members and non-members. Berhane tells of “the huge challenge of placing trainees in the mainstream job market” — hence EWDNA’s subsequent focus on assisting individuals to start their own small businesses as well.

Berhane is optimistic about the future. She has seen some changes in attitudes towards disabilities in the course of her life. She exclaims, “In the past people used to feel pity for us and openly express it as if we are some helpless creatures. You do not see that often these days. People are witnessing that disability is not a curse and that with the right support system, which for that matter everyone needs, disability can be overcome.” She also sees the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Ethiopia as a step in the right direction.

Berhane met Mary once again at the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award ceremony. “We both were happy that I won this award,” shares Berhane. “And afterwards we talked and stared into each other’s eyes and saw the best of human spirit in each other.”

About the Author:
Kassahun Addis is a New York-based contributing writer for Tadias Magazine.

Peace Corps Volunteers Honor Berhane Daba of Ethiopia with Global Citizen Award
Review of ‘Long Ago and Far Away’: A Novel Set In Ethiopia by John Coyne

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Contemporary Design Africa Book Features Jomo Tariku’s Ethiopia Furniture

Ethiopian furniture by Jomo Design featured in the new book Contemporary Design Africa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The newly released book, Contemporary Design Africa, includes a highlight of exquisite Ethiopia-inspired furniture designs and Berchuma collection by U.S.-based Ethiopian designer Jomo Tariku. The book, the first of its kind, features fifty artists from Africa and the Diaspora “all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors,” says the publisher Thames & Hudson.

Jomo’s products celebrate the traditional aesthetic of Ethiopian household items with modern design and artistic sensibilities. He told Tadias his designs are available for licensing and could be manufactured for any potential large orders and “the furniture pieces will look great inside one of the many lodges and hotels found all over Africa as well as any residences that want to have unique spaces.” Jomo currently works on graphic design at The World Bank Group in Washington, D.C.

The author of Contemporary Design Africa, Tapiwa Matsinde, is a British-born designer, creative business consultant, blogger and writer of Zimbabwean heritage. She has worked as a graphic designer and a brand guardian in corporate communications for leading international organizations.

“Dynamic, diverse, innovative: this is contemporary Africa, a continent where countless intricately layered stories abound,” Thames & Hudson said in a statement. “In the twenty-first century its designers are eschewing romanticised, clichéd interpretations of the continent’s creative heritage in favour of compelling visual narratives.” The publisher added: “Now in Contemporary Design Africa, author Tapiwa Matsinde captures the vitality and soulfulness shaping design from Africa in this first ever survey of the scene.”

Other designers featured in the book include the award-winning South African organization ZENZULU™, focusing on techniques used by Zulu master weavers; Cheick Diallo, who like many of the featured designers has a focus on sustainability; and Nigerian textile designer Banke Kuku, who “fuses African and Western styles in colourful, visually dynamic ways.”

The publisher notes that “Moreover, Contemporary Design Africa presents talent from lesser-known countries including Mauritania, Guinea and the DRC alongside countries – Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa – already making a definite mark on the global design industry.” In addition to Jomo, the Ethiopian textile company Saba Har (www.sabahar.com) is also showcased in the book under the fabrics section.

Thames & Hudson emphasizes: “Whilst contemporary art and fashion from Africa have gained widespread attention in recent years with several books published on these subjects, Contemporary Design Africa fills a large gap in the market. Revealing the rich possibilities being explored by a new generation of Africa’s creators, this is a comprehensive introduction and a source of inspiration for culturally curious designers, makers and interior enthusiasts everywhere.”

You can learn more about Jomo Design at Jomofurniture.com. And purchase the book at Amazon.com.

Below are photos featured in ‘Contemporary Design Africa’ Courtesy of the publisher:

Review of ‘Long Ago and Far Away’: A Novel Set In Ethiopia by John Coyne

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Deseta Design Offers Ethiopian American Father’s Day Card Collection

Father's Day' Card 2015 from Deseta Design by Maro Haile. (Image courtesy of the artist)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The latest release from Deseta Design holiday collection by Ethiopian American artist Mariam-Sena (Maro) Haile of Brooklyn, features a playful Father’s Day card featuring her instantly recognizable Ethiopia-centric and fun artwork.

In the United States Father’s Day is usually celebrated on the third Sunday of June and it’s a special time to show your love and to honor the contributions of your parent. This year it falls on Sunday, June 21st.

“Does this imagery bring back good childhood memories?” Maro asked, announcing her 2015 Father’s Day card. “And can you hear your dad now, inhaling each sip of his post-dinner tea with an intense focus on keeping out the steam, and completing each sip with a pronounced ahhhh-SAY!?”

Maro translates the motto for her label Deseta as “live happy.” She says: “I am creating new and unique designs that touch on our rich Ethiopian design heritage but also with a universal appeal.”

You can learn more and purchase Deseta products at www.deseta.net and Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/deseta. You may also follow on instagram at Instagram.com/desetadesign or Facebook at www.facebook.com/desetaArtAndDesign

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Super Natural: Liya Kebede is One of the World’s Most Successful Models

Scouted as a teenager in Ethiopia, 37-year-old Liya Kebede is now one of the world’s most successful models, an influential philanthropist and fashion designer. (Ben Morris)

Sunday Times Style

By Katie Glass

Club 55 — where Elton John lunches when he’s in St Tropez — is the kind of ultrachic beachside restaurant where people in diamond-encrusted Rolexes indulge in three-hour lunches of lobster, while out-ordering each other with magnums of champagne. But when I arrive there to meet the supermodel Liya Kebede, she is not flashing cash among the ostentatious throng. Instead, she’s sitting alone on the beach.

Kebede is here to launch The Outnet’s edit of high-summer clothes: a collection of beachy cover-ups, swimwear and flirty dresses. Today she’s wearing loose cotton trousers and an orange shirt that could pass for pyjamas. “I like being comfortable. I like being effortless,” she says. She has no make-up on, her hair is messily up and she’s drinking a full-sugar Coke, so it’s hard to believe this was the woman photographed in a Dior Haute Couture jumpsuit and curls on the cover of May’s Paris Vogue.

Read the full article at Sunday Times »

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