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Buzunesh Deba Ready for Boston

New York City marathon runner-up Buzunesh Deba. (Photograph: news.wsxnyc.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Sabrina Yohannes

Published: Saturday, April 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — After placing second at the New York City marathon in November, when Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia was preparing for next Monday’s 2014 Boston marathon, she came down with a respiratory infection that cost her several weeks of training starting late January. She expected that interruption to affect her race at the New York City half marathon, which took place on March 16, in temperatures below the freezing point.

“It was very cold, and my muscles were tight,” said Buzunesh. “I was with the leaders til about 8 miles, I think.” Things changed at a turn on the course. “I was at the back of the pack when a strong wind came and it flung me back, and after that I was separated from the group,” she said in an interview. “It was very windy and I couldn’t close the gap. After that, at about 9 miles, it was again very windy, and there wasn’t anyone near me, and I got left behind.”

Nevertheless, in a field that included reigning Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Sally Kipyego, 2013 Frankfurt and 2011 Boston marathon champion Caroline Kilel of Kenya and others, the New York City resident Buzunesh managed to finish second behind Kipyego in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 59 seconds.

“Based on that result, I believe I’ll run well in Boston, with God’s help, because it’s my best time,” said Buzunesh. “In 2011, when I ran 2 hours and 23 minutes [to place second in the New York marathon], I had run 1:09:55 [for the half marathon].”

Her 2014 half marathon finish and its nearly 1-minute improvement on her personal best (PB) was all the more meaningful because of her interrupted training in the lead-up to the race. “In fact, when I went into the race, I was thinking I may even be forced to drop out because I’d been sick and might not have enough energy,” she said.

“The training I’ve done after that has gone well to date,” she said this week from her winter training base in high-altitude Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she spent most of the time since mid-December, before leaving Thursday for Boston. “I believe that that New York half marathon PB will help me in Boston, and it gives me confidence.”

“This year, we’ve increased the speed work she does,” said her husband and coach Worku Beyi, adding that she upped the number of fast repetitions of 400m, and that she has also prepared for the hills on the Boston course. “The place where we train in Albuquerque is very hilly,” he said. “We did our last long run on Sunday.”

He is aware of the challenges Buzunesh, whose fastest marathon time is her 2011 New York 2:23:19, faces in Boston. “Right now, Buzuye is 10th on the entry list in Boston in terms of time,” he said, using an affectionate form of his wife’s name. “They are very tough opponents.”

The stacked line-up for Monday’s women’s race includes Ethiopians Mare Dibaba, who ran 2:19:52 in Dubai in 2012 and won in Xiamen, China in 2:21:36 this January, and former world 10,000m silver medalist Meselech Melkamu, who won Frankfurt in 2012 in a course record 2:21:01.

The field also includes a bevy of fast Kenyans like the defending Boston champion and favorite Rita Jeptoo, who won October’s Chicago marathon in 2:19:57, current Chicago and former Boston runner-up Jemima Sumgong (PB 2:20:48), Eunice Kirwa (PB 2:21:41), and former Boston champions Sharon Cherop (PB 2:22:28) and Kilel (PB 2:22:34).

“We come hoping to win,” said Worku. “One thing I admire about Buzuye is that she has no fear.”

It was running with no fear that took Buzunesh to eight marathon wins in the United States including course record wins in the 2011 San Diego and Los Angeles marathons (defeating Mare Dibaba in the latter).

It was running with no fear that took Buzunesh twice to the podium in the prestigious New York City marathon, where in 2011, she finished behind compatriot Firehiwot Dado but ahead of runners like the former world half marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya, who had won London in 2:19:19 just seven months prior; and Kilel, who had a PB nearly a minute faster than Buzunesh going in to the race.

“She puts her hard work on display,” said Worku. In the 2013 New York marathon, Buzunesh ran from the front along with her training partner Tigist Tufa, maintaining the pace she had trained for, and disregarding the field behind her, building up a lead of nearly three minutes at one point.

She was only caught in the final miles of the race by then-London champion Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya, who won ahead of Buzunesh’s 2:25:56 second place. The women left in Buzunesh’s wake included the world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, who had run 2:19:50 for second place in London a year earlier.

Both the New York and Boston races are among the major marathons of the world, assembling top fields.

Buzunesh’s 2014 half marathon PB may not result in a subsequent marathon PB in Boston, like it did in 2011 in New York. “I’ve heard the weather is variable: One time, it’s warm; another time, windy; another time cold,” she said. “The weather will be decisive, and there’s also the fact that I don’t know the course, so I’ll know better when I’m in the race.”

Buzunesh was entered in the Boston marathon in 2012, but didn’t run it due to an injury. Last year, she had run the Houston marathon in January, placing second there in 2:24:26, and she was in New Mexico during the running of the 2013 Boston marathon on April 15, when bombs went off near the finish line several hours into the race. With masses of non-professional runners on the course and spectators lining it, the explosions left three dead and many seriously injured.

“We were watching coverage of the race on television, when we saw what happened,” said Buzunesh. “I was so shocked.”

“It’s tragic what happened last year,” she said. “This year, the security level will be increased. It will be like New York was last year. It was very good. They had greatly increased security measures from the start all the way to the finish line.”

Race organizers and Boston law enforcement officials have outlined tightened security procedures and an increased police presence leading up to and on race day this year.

“I don’t think there’ll be anything to be concerned about or anything to fear for us elite athletes or the mass runners,” added Buzunesh.

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa won the men’s race last year, and gave his medal to the City of Boston afterwards as a gesture of empathy for what the city and its residents experienced. Lelisa is back this year, and favored to win again, after a spectacular year. He added a world championship marathon silver medal in Moscow last August to his April Boston win, which itself came after a victory in Dubai that January. He won a fast Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) half marathon this February.

Kenya’s reigning Chicago champion Dennis Kimetto is regarded as Lelisa’s toughest opponent, and his compatriot, the former 10K world record-holder Micah Kogo, will also be looking to upgrade his 2013 Boston second-place finish.

The strong 2014 field includes Ethiopians Gebre Gebremariam, the former world cross country and 2010 New York marathon champion, who was third in Boston in 2011 and 2013; former Los Angeles marathon champion and 2014 Dubai runner-up Markos Geneti; and 2013 Rotterdam champion and 2012 Chicago third-placer Tilahun Regassa.

American Ryan Hall, who was third in Boston in 2009 and has since finished just off the podium twice, is also coming to the race from Ethiopia, having spent time training there.

Others coming from Addis Ababa include the nation’s 2013 world championships 10,000m bronze medalist Belaynesh Oljira, who was 5th in the Dubai marathon last year, and the 2012 and 2013 Tokyo marathon runner-up Yeshi Esayias in the women’s race.

The Boston marathon takes place on the Patriots’ Day holiday celebrated in Massachusetts on Monday, April 21, with the elite women’s race kicking things off at 9:32am Eastern time, while the men’s race starts shortly thereafter.

The race will be televised live throughout the U.S. on the Universal Sports channel.

Lelisa Desisa Delivers an Ethiopian Victory Amidst Sporting Disappointments

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Haile Selassie’s Africa: A Legacy Ignored by a Generation

(Photo: Courtesy Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — In a new book by Dr. Belete Belacehw Yihun, entitled Black Ethiopia published by Tsehai Publishers, the diplomatic history of Ethiopia and the legacy of Haile Selassie is revisited with the scales of history rebalanced to show more sides of the embattled leader. According to Dr. Christopher Clapham at the Centre of African Studies at Cambridge University, “This book tells the remarkable story of how Ethiopia seized the diplomatic leadership of Africa.” While many historical materials on Haile Selassie’s diplomatic efforts remain inaccessible to the general public, Belete’s book is among the few compiled resources on Ethiopian diplomacy in modern Ethiopia, which studies the time period between 1956 and 1991 as Ethiopia took the reigns of African diplomacy that continued in subsequent governments.

“If we are to truly understand the events of the present, we must look to the past for answers,” adds Elias Wondimu, founder of Tsehai Publishers. “We must look with a critical eye toward the past and examine why events happened and why people are perceived and ultimately preserved a particular way.” The scarcity of compiled documentation of Ethiopian diplomacy, especially in a time of great change and modernization, makes this book a particularly valuable piece of history.

Just over two years ago, on the the eve of the fifty year anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) was celebrated as the new AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia opened its doors for its inaugural summit to large fanfare. The celebration included the unveiling of a bronze statue of one of the most famous leaders of the organization, Kwame Nkrumah. A quote from Nkrumah was inscribed in front of the statue in golden letters, “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God. Africa must unite.” The quote epitomizes the significant role that Ethiopia played towards the founding of the OAU.

Nkrumah, the leader of the Casablanca Group, fought for a completely united Africa under the motto “One continent, one nation”. Nkrumah’s contributions to African unity are invaluable, and yet the statue has stirred debate not just in Ethiopia, but worldwide as Nkrumah’s legacy is only one part of OAU’s origins. Emperor Haile Selassie, who was a uniting figure among the different factions, is another person who played a major role in convincing African leaders to bypass their ideological divisions to work together. As a well-regarded international statesman of his time, Emperor Haile Selassie led the way to the establishment of the OAU in Addis Ababa in 1963.

Dr. Theodore M. Vestal, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, sums up Ethiopia’s impact on African politics in the following way, “Ethiopia has a long history of leadership in the Pan-African Movement, the complicated mosaic of continental and regional political and economic association liberation movements and mediation efforts.” Undoubtedly Haile Selassie was a major part of this tradition as he set a standard of statesmanship that has helped to advance Ethiopia and all of Africa towards a united global force.

You can learn more about the book at store.tsehaipublishers.com.

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Addis Ranks Third Among Global Leaders

Addis Ababa city view. (Photo: ketchum blog)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Ababa ranks number three among 34 cities in low-and-middle-income countries dubbed most likely to become global leaders in the next two decades.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S.-based management consulting firm A.T. Kearney compiled the list which measures “everything from business activity to workforce health and security.”

The Indonesian capital Jakarta topped the list followed by Manila, Philippines.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago to Mark 30th Anniversary

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

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Monday, April 14th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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YEP: Young Ethiopian Professionals Named ‘Empower Player 2014′

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias staff

Published: Saturday, April 12th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can learn more about YEP at www.yepnetworks.org.
Vote for them at www.empowermagazine.com.

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

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

Sun Herald


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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Sun Herald.

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MWH Global Names Moghes Ayalew Mekonen Ethiopia Country Manager

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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

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

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

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Groundbreaking Program Improves Lives of Ethiopian Child Brides

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


By Gillian Gaynair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read the full report.

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Monday, April 7th, 2014

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

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

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

    You can learn more about the exhibition at www.mmk-frankfurt.de.

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    Kenenisa Smashes Paris Marathon Record

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

    Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Video: Kenenisa Bekele – Debut Marathon (Paris 2014)

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

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

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


    By James Jeffrey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more.

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

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    Ethiopia Habtemariam: President of Motown

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

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

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

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

    Read the full press release at www.universalmusic.com.

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

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    Preview: 21st New York African Film Festival

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Video: HALF OF A YELLOW SUN Trailer

    Video: CONFUSION NA WA Trailer

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

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

    Daily Mail


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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at Daily Mail.

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Updated: Monday, March 31st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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    Ethiopian-American Council Endorses Ike Leggett for Reelection

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

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Updated: Monday, March 31st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can learn more about County Executive Isiah ‘Ike’ Leggett at www.ikeleggett.org.

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    Music By DJ Sirak at Apollo Theater Africa Now Mainstage Concert

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dagmawi Yimer. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Read more.

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Friday, March 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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    Book: ‘All Our Names’ by Dinaw Mengestu

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

    The New York Times Book Review


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

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

    Read more at NYT.

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Monday, March 17th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bloomberg/ Business Week

    By Carol Matlack

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

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

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

    Read more.

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Updated: Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Another Win for Genzebe Dibaba

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


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

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

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

    Read more at IAAF.

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

    Mohammed Aman wins gold in 800m

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    Ethiopians Sweep LA Marathon

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

    By Associated Press

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

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

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

    Read more.

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    2014 African Economic Forum – April 4-5

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Friday, March 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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    Bekoji, Ethiopia: Little Town of Champions

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

    The Atlantic

    By Nick Ashdown

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

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

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

    Read more at The Atlantic.

    Video: The movie Town of Runners (Trailer)

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    Meron Gebru: My Experience as a Diaspora Volunteer in Ethiopia

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

    Tadias Magazine

    By Meron Gebru

    Updated: Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Ayele Bekerie, PhD


    Published: Saturday, March 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Tadias Interview With Bruktawit Tigabu: Her Amharic Classroom Library Project

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: February 27th, 2014

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

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

    Below is our interview with Bruktawit Tigabu:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    To participate in the crowdfunding campaign to build Tsehai’s Amharic Classroom Library Project please visit: www.highercircle.com/campaigns/tsehai-loves-learning-libraries

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday February 26th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian film ‘Difret,’ which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, will premiere in Washington, D.C. area next month during the 10th annual New African Films Festival at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, February 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    You can learn more about the conference at panafricanhealthconference.org.

    Ted Alemayehu Prepares for Pan-African Healthcare Conference in Ethiopia

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

    (Photo: Creative Commons)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: February 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    US Man Sues Ethiopia for Cyber Snooping

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


    February 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

    Read more.

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

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    Hailemedhin Abera: Ethiopia Pilot Was Distraught Over Death in Family

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

    Associated Press


    Updated: February 18, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The New York Times

    By Nick Cumming-Bruce

    February 17th, 2014

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The New York Times.

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

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

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

    The Hollywood Reporter

    By Scott Roxborough

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

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

    Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.

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

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    Aster Aweke’s NYC Show Postponed Due to Inclement Weather

    (Photo: Massinko Entertainment)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Saturday, February 15th, 2014

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

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

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

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    Ted Alemayehu Prepares for Pan-African Healthcare Conference

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Aida B. Solomon

    Published: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can learn more about the conference at panafricanhealthconference.org.

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

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

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

    The Washington Post

    By Craig Timberg

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The Washington Post.

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

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

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tigist Selam

    Published: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Charles Sutton Named Envoy for Yessera Organization

    Orchestra Ethiopia 1967. (Photograph: Courtesy Charles Sutton)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, February 10th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can Learn more about Yessera at www.yessera.org.

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    Dr. Catherine Hamlin Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

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

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tseday Alehegn

    Published: Saturday, February 8th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Ethiopia Football Federation Fires Coach Sewnet Bishaw

    Coach Sewnet Bishaw. (Getty Images)

    BBC Sport

    By Betemariam Hailu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But results in recent months have cost Bishaw his job.

    Read more.

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    The Ethiopian Approach to Food Security

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

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

    By Khalid Bomba & Dan Glickman

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

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

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

    Read more at ssireview.org.

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    Tadias Interview with Filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Interview by Tigist Selam
    Written by Tadias Staff

    Published: Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Below are photos from the festival and trailer of Nishan:

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

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    Dr. Catherine Hamlin: 90 Year Old Surgeon Keeps a Steady Hand in Ethiopia

    Dr. Catherine Hamlin, who celebrated her 90th birthday last week, has lived in Ethiopia for over 52 years. She tells SBS Radio that she will continue her work with childbirth injury patients. (Fistula Hospital)

    World News Australia Radio

    By Naomi Selveratnam

    Australian surgeon Catherine Hamlin has just celebrated her 90th birthday, and for most people, this would be a good enough reason to slow down.

    But Dr Hamlin says she will continue her work with women in Ethiopia with the potentially life-threatening medical condition, obstetric fistula.

    When Catherine Hamlin celebrated her 90th birthday, she didn’t want gifts or a party.

    Instead, she says she wished for her hands to remain steady enough to continue to operate on some of the thousands of women who come to the hospital she and her late husband, Reg, established in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    Click here to read more and hear audio of the interview.

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    Three Ethiopians Among 1000 Most Creative People in Business

    In January 2014, Fast Company announced the Most Creative People in Business 1000, among them are Marcus Samuelsson, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, and Bruktawit Tigabu. (Photo Fast Company Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Thursday, January 30th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Three Ethiopians — Marcus Samuelsson, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, and Bruktawit Tigabu — were named among this year’s ‘Most Creative People in Business 1000,’ list compiled by Fast Company Magazine. The list highlights a “diverse group of modern Renaissance men and women across the economy and around the globe.” And Fast Company adds: “This is more than just a list: It is a rising community, an explosion of creative inspiration, the spur for so much breaking news across the quickly changing industries that Fast Company covers.”

    Visit the MCP 1000 homepage here and click the name of a person to visit his or her profile page.

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    2014 Golden Pen of Freedom Prize Awarded to Eskinder Nega

    File photographs of Eskinder Nega with his son Nafkot and his wife Serkalem Fasil. (Photos: PEN America)

    World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

    Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger who is serving an 18-year jail sentence under anti-terror legislation, has been awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

    Mr Nega was arrested on September 14, 2011 after publishing an article criticising his government’s use of the 2009 Anti-Terror Proclamation to jail and silence critics, including Ethiopian actor and activist Debebe Eshetu. He was sentenced on 23 January 2012 and denounced as belonging to a terrorist organisation.

    In making the award, the WAN-IFRA Board sent a message to the Ethiopian government that misusing anti-terror legislation to jail journalists and those critical of his government is unwarranted and against international protocols, including the Vienna Declaration on Terrorism, Media and the Law.

    “This award recognises the courage of Eskinder Nega to speak out despite the risks that saw him jailed under his country’s draconian and overly broad anti-terror laws,” said WAN-IFRA President Tomas Brunegård, speaking on behalf of the Board.

    “We call on the Ethiopian government to release Eskinder Nega and all journalists convicted under the sedition provisions, including Solomon Kebede, Wubset Taye, Reyot Alemu, and Yusuf Getachew”, said Mr Brunegård, who recently visited Ethiopia as part of an international mission that found that the country’s publishers and journalists practice journalism in a climate of fear.

    The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by WAN-IFRA since 1961 to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom. More on the Golden Pen can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/31099

    The award will be presented on 9 June during the opening ceremonies of the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and World Advertising Forum, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, to be held in Torino, Italy.

    Read more at WAN-IFRA.

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    Nahom Beyene’s Company ‘Navity’: Changing the Future of Driver Safety

    (Courtesy photo: Navity, Inc.)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, January 27th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — At this year’s Digital Health Summit, held in early January in Las Vegas, Nahom Beyene’s mobility advocacy company Navity, Inc., which created the NAVISection System, was selected as an ‘Emerging Tech Finalist’ in the Everyday Health Awards for Innovation. Nahom’s doctoral research in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Pittsburgh led him to develop the NAVISection System that is described on the 2014 Digital Health Summit site as an “integrated technology for driving programs to collect measures of driver capability and reinforce licensing recommendations.” The NAVISection System assists in collecting data that helps with the evaluation of the driving capability of teenagers and older drivers.

    In a statement Nahom said Navity’s goal is “to provide objective evidence for families to understand when it is time to start or stop driving, and why. Driving is a public health issue as human error is responsible for 93% of collisions. The trends for driver safety show us that our driver licensing practices are in need of innovation. Navity will be a partner introducing advanced vehicle technologies to driving programs in service of teens and older adults, who seek to obtain or retain their driver’s license.”

    Nahom obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, his Masters degree in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and his PhD in Rehabilitiation Science from University of Pittsburgh. Prior to launching Navity, Inc. in 2012 Nahom worked at NASA Johnson Space Center on exercise hardware design and development.

    Watch: Nahom Beyene explains how Navity, Inc.’s technology works

    Learn more at: http://www.forceofnavity.com.

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

    Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari & Producer Mehret Mandefro accept Audience Award for Difret on Saturday, Jan 25th at Sundance Film Festival (Photo Courtesy: Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, January, 25th 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Difret, an Ethiopian film directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Saturday evening.

    The ninety-nine minute drama is based on the true story of Aberash Bekele (Hirut), a 14-year-old from a small, rural village — not far from Addis Ababa — whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the late 1990s ensued an epic court battle that resulted in her acquittal on the grounds of self-defense. The case and ordeal of Hirut (played by teen actress Tizita Hagere) legally ended the long-upheld cultural tradition of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia. Difret is the first Ethiopian film to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

    The film’s producers include Mehret Mandefro, Leelai Demoz, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari as well as Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.

    Other credits include Cinematographer: Monika Lenczewska; Editor: Agnieszka Glinska; Production Designer: Dawit Shawel; Composers: David Schommer and David Eggar.

    Below are images from the film.

    Learn more at http://filmguide.sundance.org/ and Difret.com.

    Ethiopian Film ‘Difret’ – A Story of Resilience Premieres at Sundance 2014
    Ethiopian filmmaker hopes ‘Difret’ will make a difference
    Meron Getnet Listed in ’10 Actors to Watch Out For’ at Sundance 2014
    Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ as Executive Producer
    Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Texas Teen Charged With Murder of 7-Eleven Clerk Yosef Tulu

    Colten Moore gunned down Yosef Tulu during robbery. Later, the baby-faced 18-year-old gunman confessed to shooting another clerk a week before. (Photos: Garland Police Department)

    New York Daily News

    By Irving Dejohn

    Oh, Thank Heaven, This Cold-blooded Killer Was Caught

    A Texas teenager has confessed to fatally shooting a 7-Eleven clerk — and later copped to shooting an unrelated convenience store worker a week before, according to reports.

    Baby-faced gunman Colten Moore, 18, of Garland, Texas, has been charged in the brutal murder of diligent Ethiopian immigrant Yosef Tulu with a long rifle on Tuesday, police said.

    Police arrested him at his house on Wednesday, according to reports.

    Moore — who burst into the store toting a scoped rifle and wearing a mask — also confessed to shooting a Homeboy’s gas station employee on Jan. 16. That victim survived, police said.

    Read more at New York Daily News.

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    Ethiopia Rule Supreme in Dubai Marathon

    18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa, top, returns best time ever for juniors and Mula Seboka Seyfu touching the finishing line during the Dubai Marathon. (Photographs: Khaleej Times)

    Khaleej Times

    By Moni Mathews

    Ethiopia claimed the top five positions in the men’s section and the top nine spots in the women’s category in the 15th Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.

    In conditions totally conducive for a marathon, the runner friendly flat course brought out the fastest overall timings for the second straight year.

    In the process, Ethiopia introduced to the world another great in the making, when 18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen Asefa crossed the finish line in 2 hours 4 minutes and 32 seconds, well ahead of team-mates Markos Geneti Guteta and Girmay Birhanu Gebru, who were both a minute adrift off the winning time.

    Tsegaye, who was running his first ever fully serious international marathon after specialising in the half marathon in recent months, also returned the best time ever for a junior in the world.

    “The first 30km was well paced and competitive but after our main pace maker reduced his pace due to a thigh strain, I was all alone for the final stages, which definitely must have slowed me down a lot,” said Tsegaye, who now plans on buying a car and a house for his high altitude training in Ethiopa with his $200,000 first prize money.

    Read more.

    Ethiopians Win Houston Marathon
    Town of Runners Screening at Georgetown University

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    Tadias Interview: Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 Africa Summit in DC

    Dr. David H. Shinn, 19th United States Ambassador to Ethiopia. (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Several African leaders will come to Washington D.C. next summer for a historic two-day summit, the first of its kind hosted by a U.S. president. The White House announced this week that the summit is a follow-up of President Obama’s Africa trip last July, in which he spotlighted the “success stories” of three African countries: Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania — countries that administration officials say were chosen for their “exemplary progress” in economic development, transparency in governance, independent press, respect for human rights and rule of law. President Obama will host the summit scheduled for August 5th and 6th in the U.S. capital. Although it’s expected the upcoming Africa Summit will include more countries, the list of attendees has not yet been released. The White House says the gathering will focus on promoting trade, investment and democratic development in the continent.

    “I suspect the themes will include: A broader partnership with Africa; encourage more two-way trade and use of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act by Africans; a market based, private sector led investment effort; greater attention to infrastructure, especially President Obama’s Power Africa initiative; [and] Feed the Future program,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn, who is currently an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University.

    Ambassador Shinn proposes that the summit may “highlight accomplishments of the Millennium Challenge Corporation,” that is led by Ethiopian American Daniel W. Yohannes who was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to serve as MCC’s Chief Executive Officer.

    Other topics may include “continued U.S. support for programs that improve health care in Africa,” Shinn added. “More cooperation with other donor countries and international financial institutions on African economic development,” as well as “support for democracy and peaceful political transitions, support for African civil society organizations, programs that support African youth and encourage job creation, emphasis on the need to control corruption, and need to combat extremism of all kinds in Africa.”

    Ambassador Shinn cautioned against anticipation of overnight results from the summit. “Except for the immediate comments of the African participants at the end of the summit, it is almost impossible to measure over the short-term the success of a conference like this,” he said. “Even if there is a final communique with specific tangible goals and announcements of new programs, it means little until you can assess the results years later.”

    “I think it is a mistake to expect much in the way of tangible, measurable results at the summit,” he emphasized. “There is also the question of continuity. Is this a one-off event or something that will occur again? It is very difficult to ensure continuity in our system of government, where control of the White House changes every four or eight years.”

    Obama to Host Africa Summit in Washington
    Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Application Open
    Tadias Interview: Ambassador David Shinn on Obama’s Africa Trip

    Video: President Obama delivers the central speech of his three nation Africa tour (VOA News)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Photos: Meklit Hadero at Artisphere in DC

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

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

    Washington D.C. (TADIAS) — California-based Singer/Songwriter Meklit Hadero was on an East coast tour this month making stops at Joe’s Pub in New York City and Artisphere in the Dome Theater in Washington D.C.

    NPR has dubbed Meklit’s sound as “a unique blend of jazz, Ethiopia, the San Francisco art scene and visceral poetry; it paints pictures in your head as you listen.”

    As the Examiner noted: “Her Ethiopian heritage is subtly woven into the fabric of each of her songs, influencing the unique character that makes her songs memorable. Meklit has been likened to a blend between Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone. Her music has been so popular that she has been interviewed by a variety of sources including NPR, PBS, and National Geographic. In 2009 she was named a TED Global Fellow and has served as an artist-in-residence at New York University, the De Young Museum, and the Red Poppy Art House. She maintains ties with her roots as the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, a group of Ethiopian artists in the Diaspora devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaboration with both traditional and contemporary artists there. Meklit’s music is unique and familiar, all at once, inviting you to come to a place of relaxation and solitude whilst pushing the envelope of unique into the terrain of the familiar.”

    Below are photographs from her D.C. show at the Artisphere courtesy of Malik photo.

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    Obama to Host Africa Summit in Washington

    President Barack Obama, followed by first lady Michelle Obama, in Tanzania, July 1, 2013 during his week-long trip to Africa. (AP)

    VOA News

    President Barack Obama will host a summit with African leaders in a bid to strengthen trade and investment ties with the continent.

    The White House announced the summit Tuesday, saying it will take place August 5 and 6 in Washington.

    In addition to trade, the White House says Obama will use the session to highlight the U.S. commitment to security and “democratic development” in Africa.

    There was no immediate word on which African leaders will attend the summit.

    The White House says the president hopes to build on progress made since his Summer 2013 visit to Africa.

    Obama made a weeklong trip to the continent that included stops in Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa.

    During the visit, he highlighted programs that combine public and private efforts to strengthen economic growth. The trip was widely seen as a response to China’s heavy investment in Africa.

    Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Application Open
    Tadias Interview: Ambassador David Shinn on Obama’s Africa Trip

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    In Pictures: Timket in Gondar

    Pilgrims jump into the blessed waters of the Fasilides baths, built in 1632. (Photograph: Getty Images)


    Colourful umbrellas, flags and white robes lined the streets of Ethiopia to celebrate one of the most important days in the Orthodox Christian calendar.

    Although relatively unknown by the outside world the Timkat festival is celebrated by around 40 million people who are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

    One of the major celebrations takes place in the northern city of Gondar, where worshippers flock to the UNESCO heritage site royal baths to bathe into the waters.

    Read more and watch video at Mirror.co.uk.

    In Pictures: Festival of Timkat in Ethiopia (The Guardian)

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    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Magdala

    Cover of the book Crossing Ethiopia: A 1972 Photographic Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Magdala. (Photo Courtesy: John Snyder)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, January 20th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Forty two years ago, John Snyder traveled with his wife to Ethiopia to retrace Emperor Tewodros’ final route to Magdala to face British troops numbering over 60,000.

    “I had just finished reading Alan Moorehead’s ‘The Blue Nile’ and I was fascinated by Emperor Tewodros and his battle with the British,” John told Tadias. “I had traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and now my interest in Ethiopia was peaked.”

    After contacting both the Ethiopian consulate and the office of Ethiopian Airlines to inquire about the feasibility of the route, John was connected to the late Professor Donald Crummey — who was teaching at Addis Ababa University at the time — and an Ethiopian translator. Arriving in Ethiopia John and his wife began the 300 mile expedition by bus, Land Rover, mule and foot, and John recorded his meetings with governors and civilians along the way and took extraordinary photographs, a selection of which are now published in his new book: Crossing Ethiopia.

    Following the treacherous and unpaved route taken by Emperor Tewodros and his army John set out to see firsthand where Ethiopian and British “armies converged for a showdown at Magdala, a mountaintop fortress where a handful of European prisoners were residing in fetters at the mercy of the Emperor.” John noted in his introduction: “Costing $9 million in 1867 sterling, (translating to over $5 billion today) it was, and remains, history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation.”

    The author will be giving a book talk in Manhattan at the New York Society Library on Tuesday, February 18th that is open to the public and in Chicago on Sunday, February 23rd, 2014.

    If You Go:
    Crossing Ethiopia: A 1972 Photographic Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Magdala
    Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
    6:30pm at Members’ Room $10 advance registration/ $15 at door
    53 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075
    (212) 288-6900
    More info at www.nysoclib.org
    Click here for Amazon.com link

    Sunday, February 23rd, 2014
    57th St. Books
    1301 East 57th St.
    Chicago, IL 60637

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    Ethiopian Film ‘Difret’ – A Story of Resilience Premieres at Sundance 2014

    Difret's cast includes teenage actress Tizita Hagere playing Hirut who was abducted and dared to escape her captors. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Monday, January 20th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — The World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival got underway this past weekend in Park City, Utah with the premiere of the Ethiopian film Difret (Amharic with English subtitles). The ninety-nine minute drama is based on the true story of Aberash Bekele (Hirut), a 14-year-old from a small, rural village — not far from Addis Ababa — whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the late 1990s ensued an epic court battle that resulted in her acquittal on the grounds of self-defense. The case and ordeal of Hirut (played by teen actress Tizita Hagere) legally ended the long-upheld cultural tradition of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia. Difret is the first Ethiopian film to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

    A summary of the film describes Meaza Ashenafi as “an empowered and tenacious young lawyer,” who represents Hirut and argues that she acted in self-defense. “Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the ongoing work of her women’s legal-aid practice to save Hirut’s life. Ethiopian-born writer/director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari portrays, with panoramic beauty, the complexity of a country’s transformation toward equal rights, featuring the courageous generation that dares to own it.”

    Indiewire highlighted Meron Getnet, who plays the feisty defense attorney Meaza Ashenafi, as one of the “10 Actors to Watch Out For at Sundance 2014.” In her own right Meron is also one of the leading actresses in Ethiopia.

    The film’s producers include Mehret Mandefro, Leelai Demoz, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari as well as Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.

    Other credits include Cinematographer: Monika Lenczewska; Editor: Agnieszka Glinska; Production Designer: Dawit Shawel; Composers: David Schommer and David Eggar.

    Difret premiered on Saturday, January 18th at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City and is scheduled to play on Monday January 20th at Broadway Centre Cinema in Salt Lake City. It returns back to Park City on Tuesday, January 21st at the Egyptian Theatre, followed by a screening at the Library Center Theatre on Thursday, January 23rd. The film concludes the ten-day festival with a showing at the Holiday Village Cinema in Park City on Saturday, January 25th.

    Learn more at http://filmguide.sundance.org/

    Ethiopian filmmaker hopes ‘Difret’ will make a difference
    Meron Getnet Listed in ’10 Actors to Watch Out For’ at Sundance 2014
    Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ as Executive Producer
    Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Lupita Nyong’o: US-based Kenyan Actress Takes Hollywood by Surprise

    Lupita Nyong'o wins best supporting actress at the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 18th, 2014. (Photograph: Getty Images)

    UPDATE: Lupita Nyong’o Wins Screen Actors Guild Award

    AP/CBS News: Updated January 18th, 2014

    Stars stepped out Saturday night for the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in hopes of walking away with an honor.

    The first award of the night — best supporting actress — went to Lupita Nyong’o of “12 Years a Slave.”

    She thanked McQueen “for taking a flashlight and shining it underneath the floorboards of this nation and reminding us what it is we stand on.” The Kenyan actress, who has been hailed for her red-carpet grace this awards season, recalled her celebratory phone call to her father when she got the part – her first feature film.

    “‘Daddy, do you know who Brad Pitt is? I’m going to be in a movie with him!’” recalled Nyong’o. “And he said, ‘I don’t know him personally, but I’m glad you got a job.’”

    Watch: Lupita Nyong’o acceptance Speech at 20th annual screen actors Guild awards 2014

    Lupita Nyong’o: US-based Kenyan Actress Takes Hollywood by Surprise

    Lupita Nyong’o (Photo: AP)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Friday, January 17th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — New York-based Kenyan actress and film director Lupita Nyong’o is well on her way to becoming a household name in Hollywood. She won this year’s Critics’ Choice Movie Awards – Best Supporting Actress prize for her successful debut role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave released in 2013. She is also nominated for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards Supporting Actress and the film industry’s most coveted Oscar nomination as well.

    Lupita who currently lives in Brooklyn with her brother is the second of six children. She was born in 1983 in Mexico where her family were political refugees. The family repatriated to Kenya when she was less than one year old. Her father is currently serving in the Kenyan Senate representing Kisumu County.

    In 2011, Lupita’s cousin Isis Nyong’o was named one of 20 youngest power women in Africa by Forbes Magazine.

    Watch: Lupita Nyongo WINS Critics Choice Awards 2014

    The Fiercest Oscar Face-Offs of the Year
    Meron Getnet Listed in ’10 Actors to Watch Out For’ at Sundance 2014
    Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ as Executive Producer
    Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Meron Getnet Listed in ’10 Actors to Watch Out For’ at Sundance 2014

    Meron Getnet is selected as one of '10 Actors to Watch Out For' at Sundance 2014 (photo: Difret.com)



    Meron Getnet (“Difret”)

    Why You May Know Her: Starring in the first Ethiopian film to ever premiere at Sundance, Meron Getnet is a renown actress, poet, and playwright in Ethiopia. She was one of four Ethiopians chosen to attend President Obama’s African Youth Leaders Forum in DC. She is a feature a popular TV drama and is already a star in her country. And she’s rising in America with her debut at Sundance in a film written and directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari and executively produced by Angelina Jolie.

    What Sundance Could Mean for Her: A breakout performance in the US. “Difret” is the story of a 14-year-old girl caught up in a country’s staggering progression toward equal rights. When she acts in self-defense, an aspiring young lawyer (Getnet) risks her career to represent the child and save her life. Based on real events, the World Dramatic film promises a daring and moving story. And hopefully a new spotlight for Getnet.

    What’s Next? Getnet is currently working on her Masters on development and the arts at Addis Abada University. There’s nothing official in the works for more feature film performance, but this might be the first of many (or at least a couple) more.

    Read more here.

    Ethiopian Film Difret – A Story of Resilience Premieres at 2014 Sundance Festival
    Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ as Executive Producer
    Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    A Memoir of First US Diplomat’s Meetings With Emperor Menelik

    Portraits of American Ambassador Robert P. Skinner and Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. (Photos: PD-US)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, January 16th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – When Robert P. Skinner, the first American Ambassador to Ethiopia, arrived in Addis Ababa on December 18th, 1903, the Ethiopian capital was a brand new city with a permanent population of no more than 50,000. The Djibouti-Ethiopia railway was still under construction and partially finished up to Dire Dawa. The post office had just opened, and the telephone was the latest technology creating a buzz in town. “After Adwa Menelik’s political independence was a recognized fact,” Skinner noted in his memoir initially published by Longmans, Green and Company in 1906. “The new railroad, the highways, the bridges, the telephones – all these things he probably cares very little for in themselves, but he realizes that nations must advance or they must fall.” Ambassador Skinner pointed out “if independent Abbyssinia falls, that contingency is most likely to result from dissensions from the Abyssinians themselves.”

    Addis Ababa was already taking shape as the diplomatic capital of Africa with the presence of several embassies representing all the major powers of the day — including the British, French, Russians and the Italians. Ambassador Skinner had arrived in Ethiopia carrying draft copies of the very first U.S.-Ethiopia commercial treaty (both English and Amharic versions), that Menelik would later approve setting in motion more than a century of U.S.-Ethiopia relations. “What our diplomatic friends may have thought of the American mission considered politically may have been favorable or unfavorable, in any event they certainly contributed memorably to the personal pleasure of our visit by boundless hospitality, which ceased only when we went away, and after having assembled as guests under the flag of every nation represented officially in Ethiopia,” penned Skinner, who was accompanied by twenty four marines, a medical team and other assistants. “It filled us with new respect for diplomacy as a profession and fine art.”

    The American Ambassador had quickly struck up a friendship with Menelik through a series of private meetings to iron out the details of the inaugural agreement between the two nations. According to Skinner, all prior business between the United States and Ethiopia had been conducted through a third party, often involving England, France or Italy.

    “[Menelik's] thirst for information is phenomenal,” added Skinner. “I once suggested to the Emperor that he send some of his young men to our American schools and colleges. ‘Yes, that will come,’” said he. “‘Our young men must be educated. We have much to do.’” At the moment, however, both were focused on securing a bilateral accord that would guarantee a market for each country’s products. Skinner emphasized that in those years the total amount of Ethiopia’s foreign trade (import and export) was valued at no more than $2,316,000, of which the American share amounted to $1,389,600. Of this, Skinner recorded, American cotton goods generated $579,000 while Ethiopian exports of skins and hides earned $675,000 and coffee fetched $135,100.

    “The practical question of whether it has been worthwhile to establish friendly relations with Ethiopia has been answered,” Skinner declared. “We naturally look to the future to develop the now non-existent commerce of really important volume.”

    During a celebratory dinner, Skinner described how Menelik would send spicy Ethiopian food for them to taste. “These dishes were invariably seasoned with some sort of concentrated fire which seem to race through the system and scarify the whole alimentary tract,” Ambassador Skinner noted. “The Emperor nodded cheerfully over our difficulties and recommended Tej to relieve the situation.”

    In regards to the country’s growing bureaucracy, Skinner noticed that “much stress has been laid by all returning travelers upon the presumed fact that nothing can be accomplished in Ethiopia of an official character without a judicious distribution of presents,” adding that “it would be untrue to say small gifts of money are not extremely necessary at times in Addis Ababa.”

    His only regret, Ambassador Skinner admitted, is that he did not get a chance to meet with the popular First Lady, Empress Taitu. “Nothing in a way of public ceremonial occurred during our stay in which her presence was involved, and we departed too soon to have the pleasure of seeing her in private,” he recalled. “She is said to be a woman of great force of character, and in her youth, one of striking beauty.” He added: “She is now forty-seven years of age. She has been several times married and became the wife of the present Emperor in 1883. They have no children. This fact raises the question of succession in the mind of everyone visiting the empire.”

    Back in the States, the treaty was passed by congress in less than three months, without any filibuster. It was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in the Spring of 1904. Robert Skinner, who was born in Ohio in 1866, spent most of his life as a career diplomat serving in France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Turkey. He eventually moved to Maine where he died at the age of ninety-four. Ambassador Skinner remains the chief architect of United States-Ethiopia relations.

    Emperor Menelik II passed away on December 12, 1913, and a century later he still inspires books, movies, music, and political debates. But there could be no doubt of his epic role in preserving Ethiopia’s independence.

    Below are photos of Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu:

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    Addis Ababa Listed on New York Times ’52 Places to Go in 2014′

    Zoma Contemporary Art Center Designed by Elias Sime (photo courtesy: Michel Temteme for NYT)

    The New York Times


    Building on a strong historical legacy (Addis boasts one of East Africa’s oldest art schools) are a host of events scheduled for 2014: a photography festival, two film festivals and a jazz and world music festival. Thanks to the city’s diverse art institutions and galleries, including the artist-in-residence village Zoma Contemporary Art Center and the Asni Gallery (really more an art collective than a gallery), there is an art opening at least once a week.

    Read more at NYT.

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    Meklit Hadero Plays at Joe’s Pub, NYC

    Meklit Hadero will be performing at Joe's Pub in NYC on Friday, January 10th, 2014 (Photo Courtesy: meklithadero.com)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Friday, January 10th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Singer/Songwriter Meklit Hadero will be performing at Joe’s Pub in New York City tonight as well as at Winter Jazz Fest on Saturday, January 11th.

    NPR has dubbed Meklit’s sound as “a unique blend of jazz, Ethiopia, the San Francisco art scene and visceral poetry; it paints pictures in your head as you listen.” And Daniel King of the San Francisco Chronicle has called Meklit “an artistic giant.”

    If You Go
    Meklit Hadero at Joe’s Pub
    Friday, January 10th, 2014
    425 Lafayette Street
    New York City, NY, 10003
    (212) 539-8778


    Watch: “Quick Hits” Highlight of Meklit Hadero’s “Leaving Soon” (PBS/Sound Tracks)

    Watch Meklit Hadero Performs “Leaving Soon” on PBS. See more from Sound Tracks.

    Watch: “Quick Hits” Interview with Meklit Hadero on PBS (Sound Tracks)

    Watch “Quick Hits” Interview with Meklit Hadero on PBS. See more from Sound Tracks.

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    Kenenisa Bekele to Make Marathon Debut

    Kenenisa Bekele (center) leads Britain's Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselasie before winning the Great North Run, in Newcastle, England, Sunday Sept. 15, 2013. (Getty Images)


    By Jon Mulkeen

    Triple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele will make his long-awaited debut over the classic distance on 6 April at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

    Dominant for so long on the track and cross country, Bekele’s string of 10,000m victories finally came to an end when he failed to finish at the 2011 IAAF World Championships. One year later he finished outside of the medals in fourth place at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    But since then, the 5000m and 10,000m world record-holder has made a promising transition to the roads. In September last year he won the Great North Run after an exciting battle with world and Olympic champion Mo Farah and legendary Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie.

    The 31-year-old Ethiopian has upped his mileage and has been doing a three-hour run each week in preparation for his first race over 26.2 miles.

    “If I am going to do a marathon, of course I want to win,” said Bekele, who will compete at this weekend’s Great Edinburgh Cross Country. “I want to have a good result. I am not going to run to lose or just for a bad result. Everybody, not only me, feels that when you are going to compete, you are going to try to win the race.

    “Of course, if I train hard I will do a fast time. But I can’t say I will run 2:03, 2:05 or 2:06. I cannot say. The only thing is I have to prepare myself and train hard until I finish a marathon. I have to motivate myself to train hard to be ready to put myself in a good position. We will see in the end what the result will be.”

    Bekele and his manager Jos Hermens haven’t ruled out the possibility of breaking the Paris Marathon course record of 2:05:12, set by Stanley Biwott in 2012.

    The race in the French capital also holds extra significance as it played host to Wilson Kipsang’s debut in 2010. The Kenyan finished third in 2:07:13, then little more than three years later he broke the world record with his 2:03:23 run in Berlin.

    The fastest marathon debut in history on a legal course belongs to Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, who ran 2:04:16 in his first race over the distance in Berlin in 2012.

    “It will be a crucial test for the rest of his career,” said Hermens. “If successful, that would mean he could target the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympics.”

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    Apollo Features Wayna at Music Café

    (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — Apollo Theater features Wayna at the Apollo Music Café this Saturday, January 11th.: “It has been said that Grammy-nominated, Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter, Wayna, has a voice as pure as it is passionate. Stevie Wonder says ‘she’s incredible,’ while Essence Magazine says ‘Wayna is one to watch.’ Her new sound, both progressive and retro, appeals to world, rock, reggae, and soul enthusiasts.”

    Apollo Music Café highlights “music genres from the Apollo’s heritage – R&B. hip hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock – transformed by forward-looking, multi-generational artists from the independent music scene.”

    Food and drinks available for purchase one hour before showtime. Seating is limited so reserve in advance.

    If You Go:
    Wayna Live at the Apollo Music Cafe
    Featuring DJ Hard Hitting Harry
    Saturday, January 11th, 2014 at 10PM
    Tickets: $20, *A-List advance price $15 until midnight the day before performance
    In person at the Apollo Theater Box Office
    By phone call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000
    Online at Ticketmaster.com.

    Aster Aweke to Perform at B.B. King Blues Club

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    South Sudan ‘Face-to-Face’ Talks

    Members of South Sudan's rebel delegation are seen at the opening ceremony of peace talks in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 4, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    VOA News

    By Peter Clottey

    Representatives of South Sudan’s warring factions will begin their first face-to-face talks on Tuesday following an agreement on the agenda and format of the peace negotiations, according to Dina Mufti, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesman.

    Mufti says a ceasefire will be on the agenda on Tuesday as well as several other issues.

    “Definitely, a ceasefire will be on top of the agenda, the release of the detainees. There are some people who have been detained by the government side, the opening of the humanitarian corridor, because there was huge dislocation of the population, and other pertinent issues,” said Mufti.

    Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, backed by member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is tasked with mediating the talks between the two warring factions.

    So far the two sides have failed to adhere to a ceasefire demanded by the regional bloc, the African Union and the international community.

    “The international community is watching [the factions] the South Sudanese people are watching them because, these people are yearning for peace, for stability,” said Mufti. “These are people who have emerged from decades of war and destruction and I think they can’t afford to come back to that cycle.”

    Mufti says the two sides have demonstrated a willingness to engage in dialogue as part of efforts to end weeks of conflict in South Sudan.

    “That is why they were working both working on Sunday and yesterday [Monday], and that is a sign of having enthusiasm for it because they have been working out the terms of reference, modalities, and so agendas were formulated that emerged from the proxy talks,” said Mufti.

    He says regional foreign ministers from IGAD member states including, Kenya and Ethiopia played key roles as part of the proxy talks that led to talks between the warring factions.

    South Sudan’s ongoing violence erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup. Macher, who is in hiding, denied the accusation.

    Clottey interview with Dina Mufti

    US Withdraws More Embassy Personnel from South Sudan

    S. Sudan_cover1
    U. S. Ambassador Susan Page will remain in Juba and the embassy in Nairobi will provide consular services for Americans who stay in South Sudan, the State Department said.. (Photo: Jill Craig)

    VOA News

    The United States has withdrawn more personnel from the U.S. embassy in Juba and continues to recommend that U.S. citizens leave South Sudan immediately due to the deteriorating security situation in the world’s newest nation.

    “We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel,” the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.

    U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page will remain in Juba and will maintain “constant communication” with South Sudanese officials, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and her foreign counterparts, the statement says.

    The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi will provide consular services for U.S. citizens in South Sudan while the embassy in Juba is closed. The statement did not say how long that would be.

    Even as the United States draws down its embassy staffing levels in Juba, it has announced “an additional $49.8 million in assistance to help address the humanitarian crisis” in South Sudan, where U.N. officials have said the numbers of displaced persons could leap to 400,000 if a peace deal is not reached at talks in Ethiopia.

    The U.S. Special Envoy Booth for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, is in Ethiopia supporting the negotiation efforts between delegates for President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar, the two main protagonists in the fighting that broke out in Juba on Dec. 15 and rapidly spread across the country.

    Rebel fighters loyal to Machar control the two oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile and this week recaptured Bor after a bitter battle with government forces.

    The talks in Addis Ababa, which are being led by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), got under way Friday, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said,

    A U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) based in Nairobi continues to lead U.S. efforts to support humanitarian operations and meet the needs of the people of South Sudan, the statement said.

    The United Nations estimates that at least 1,000 people have died in nearly three weeks of violence in South Sudan, which rapidly took on ethnic overtones, with reports of people being targeted and killed for belonging to Kiir’s Dinka tribe or Machar’s Nuer tribe.

    South Sudan general killed in ambush (BBC)

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    David Mesfin Working on New TV AD Featuring 2015 Hyundai Sedan

    David Mesfin. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Friday, January 3rd, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — David Mesfin will be spending this weekend shooting an AD featuring the brand new Hyundai vehicle that is going to be announced on January 13th at the Detroit Auto Show. David tells Tadias he will be working with Academy Award winning film director Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński who is the cinematographer behind all of Stephen Spielberg’s movies, including Schindler’s List, Catch Me If You Can, Private Ryan, and Minority Report.

    The shoot will take place on January 4th and 5th in Los Angeles. “The launch date for the project is during the 2014 Super Bowl,” David said, adding that “it’s not a super bowl spot. However it’s interesting content that would support the super bowl spot online.” David said Kaminski is the Director of Photography on the project.

    David Mesfin also worked as an Associate Creative Director on last year’s Hyundai TV commercial featuring the remix of reggae legend Bob Marley’s popular song Three Little Birds produced by Stephen Marley and Jason Bentley. He also engineered the high profile “Hyundai Epic Playdate” ad that aired during the 2013 Super Bowl.

    Below is a video of the 2013 Hyundai AD featuring the Bob Marley remix song.

    Watch: Next Oil Change — 15 seconds AD (Hyundai USA)

    Watch: Making of “Three Little Birds” Remix Hyundai AD (Hyundai USA)

    Three Ethiopian Animators Vie For Doritos Superbowl AD Grand Prize

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    D.C. Fellowship for Young African Leaders

    President Obama announces the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. (Photograph: YALI)

    Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

    The Washington Fellowship is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Washington Fellowship, which begins in 2014, will bring 500 young leaders to the United States each year for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

    The online application for the Washington Fellowship is currently available. Completed applications, including all supporting documents, are due by 12:00 midnight Eastern Standard Time, January 27, 2014. All applications must be submitted via the online application system. The application instructions provide detailed information regarding the financial provisions of the fellowship, eligibility and selection criteria for the program, and details on applying. Please read the application instructions carefully prior to beginning the application. We recommend printing these instructions and referring to them while completing the application.

    If you have questions about the application, please email washingtonfellowship@irex.org

    Participating countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    Click here to Apply.

    New Book by Ethiopian Author: How Obama Won the 2012 Election

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    New Book by Ethiopian Author: How Obama Won the 2012 Election

    Dereje Tessema, author of How this Happened—Election 2012. (Courtesy photograph/Gashe Publishing)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) — During the 2012 presidential election, President Obama was supposed to be headed for a sure defeat on election day given that most polls had shown him trailing his opponent by a significant number, which was trumpeted by many pundits across the country, including by several in the Ethiopian American community. But how did they get it so wrong? “As one prominent pollster put it they were drinking the ‘Republican Kool-Aid’,” said Dereje Befekadu Tessema, author of the new book How this Happened—Election 2012: Perfecting the Science of Presidential Campaigning, pointing out that most of the major polling agencies missed predicting that election accurately because they were ‘out to lunch’ when it came to understanding “new ways of collecting data” from young people and minority communities that he argues the Obama campaign perfected. “The only person who got it right is Nate Silver, the statistician and author of the FiveThirtyEight blog then published in The New York Times.”

    In its review of Dereje’s book (Gashe Publishing) ForeWord Clarion Reviews noted: “A meticulously constructed, frank examination of the 2012 US presidential election drawing from a plethora of sources, How This Happened follows up on Dereje B. Tessema’s earlier project of the same title, which covered the 2008 election. This exploration of how Barack Obama secured his second term expounds upon other Monday-morning analyses. Though few pollsters and pundits predicted a strong win, the Obama administration ended up being re-elected by a strong margin, and the author makes a case that the victory was well-earned. ‘The signature of the Obama campaign,’ Tessema asserts, ‘was its ability to maximize positive events and turn challenges [in]to opportunities.’”

    Dereje, who teaches at Virginia International University in Fairfax, Virginia, told Tadias that he is in the process of organizing a “semi-professional” panel discussion at a university location in Washington, D.C. area to explore “the lessons learned from the past” as we approach another election season that he hopes will include a record participation by Ethiopian American voters.

    “Both in the 2008 and 2012 elections Alexanderia, Virginia [home to a sizable number of Ethiopians] was the tipping point,” said Dereje in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine, emphasizing that the large turnout by Ethiopian American voters was crucial in the swing state.

    Dereje said he was a volunteer with the Obama campaign in both elections. “How This Happened is a cleverly constructed, well contextualized insider’s history of the 2012 presidential campaign, one which will imbue supporters with a sense of pride, and which may prompt fruitful conversations with detractors,” Michelle Anne Schingler concluded in the Clarion Reviews. “It is a sure treat for those fascinated by the political process.”

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

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    2013: Great Year for Ethiopian Football

    (Photo: Reuters)

    Super Sport

    By Collins Okinyo

    It is without doubt that 2013 should be regarded as a vintage year for Ethiopian football as the game had a seemingly endless capacity for delivering excitement, intrigue and fantastic tiki taka football.

    The last 12 months have seen tremendous growth as the Ethiopian national team nicknamed the Walia were the pride of the country as they qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations hosted in South Africa, reached the playoffs of the 2014 World Cup and qualified for the 2014 Chan.

    Supersport.com gives you a brief round-up of the year that was for Ethiopian football.

    Read more.

    The Year in Pictures
    10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
    Top Ten Stories of 2013

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    Interview With Zemedeneh Negatu

    Zemedeneh Negatu. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, December 30th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — As a teenager in 1978 when Zemedeneh Negatu headed to the United States with his future uncertain, he had no idea that three decades later he would be named one of Africa’s 100 Most influential individuals for his role in promoting economic growth in the country of his birth and in Africa. The current Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia (EY) received the accolade last month from New African Magazine, which called him “a truly global citizen” and further noted that “anyone who has done business in Ethiopia will have come across Zemedeneh Negatu” or Zem, as he is affectionately known.

    In a follow-up interview with Tadias Magazine during his recent trip to Washington, D.C., Zem said that his decision to return home in 1998 was inspired by “love at first sight” during a vacation trip to Ethiopia in April 1995 when he met his future wife, Julie Ricco, just days after he landed in Addis. “It was a Thursday,” he recalled laughing. “We spent the weekend in Langano and by Sunday we had decided to get married.” At the time he had just finished a two year expatriate assignment in Argentina as a consultant and was in the process of relocating to Brazil. “They were shipping my stuff from Buenos Aires to São Paulo and I had a little bit of free time so I thought why not visit home.” He added: “And I ended up meeting this beautiful woman that would change my life forever and to whom I have now been married almost 19 years and have a wonderful 11 year old son named Michael.”

    After studying Business and Finance at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Zem worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) before landing a job in D.C. with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global professional services firm, which would eventually take him to Latin America. “I have always been interested in emerging markets where you feel you are actually making a difference,” Zem said. ” I have gained a great deal of experience by working in South America where the business and investment environment in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990s was similar to what’s taking place today in Africa, where some of the fastest growing economies are located.”

    In Ethiopia, Zem said, the economy has dramatically changed in the last fifteen years. “There wasn’t much back then,” he said, sharing that his first investment was a factory for feminine health products that did not pan out. “So I decided to settle for what I know best and opened a consulting firm.” His firm, EY Ethiopia, has been at the center of some of the biggest and most publicized business deals in the country, including the recent purchase of Meta Beer by the British-owned corporation Diageo, the world’s largest spirits drinks maker famous for Guinness Beer and Johnnie Walker. “I like to believe that we have contributed in our own small way to put Ethiopia on the global map as an attractive emerging market,” he said. “Of course the country’s progress has made our effort much easier since we have references we can highlight to global investors such as the significant GDP growth and major infrastructure projects including the $5.0 billion dam on the Nile river, the largest in Africa, and even the new subway in Addis Ababa, which is the only one in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of Johannesburg”.

    For Zem, however, his proudest accomplishment came when his firm won a bid to work with the country’s homegrown global brand, Ethiopian Airlines, that he helped advise in their Vision 2010 Plan. When EY Ethiopia was hired in 2004, Ethiopian Airlines had 11 aircraft and less than 400 million dollars in annual revenue. Five years later, Zem said, the airline’s revenues had jumped to 1.2 billion dollars. “Today Ethiopian Airlines generates more profits than all African airlines combined,” he added. And since then his firm’s airline clients have expanded to include Rwandair, Virgin Nigeria Airlines, Mozambique Airlines, ASKY Airlines in Togo and many others. Zem also pointed out that initially while working on the Ethiopian Airlines project he had to outsource some of the tasks to professionals from a foreign firm. “Over time we have managed to build that capacity locally,” he said. “So we are now fully staffed by Ethiopians just like Ethiopian Airlines and we have some of the most sophisticated Transaction Advisory professionals based in Addis who win cross border African deals not just against our traditional “Big 4″ competitors but even big Wall Street investment firms.”

    Zem is a highly sought after speaker at many high profile global conferences including the World Economic Forum, New York Forum and Harvard Business School where he completed the LSE program. He’s appeared many times on the international media such as CNN and BBC and was recently a “Power Lunch” guest on CNBC television. Zem has won many awards for his achievements including “Managing Partner of the Year – 2013″ from a top UK corporate finance magazine and “Pioneer Diaspora Business Person of the Year” at the annual event held in Washington in July 2012.

    As to those who want to follow in his footsteps to Ethiopia, especially the Diaspora in the U.S., Zem recommends optimism and perseverance as the secret to success. “I say come with the glass half full mentality than the glass half empty attitude and you will enhance your chances of success,” he emphasized. “I put my money where my mouth is and continue to personally invest in Ethiopia because there are still vast untapped opportunities compared to many other emerging economies.”

    When asked how it feels to be named as part of the 100 Most influential Africans, Zem stated: “I am honored and humbled by the recognition and I know that there will be many more Ethiopians, including those in the Diaspora, who will make the list in the future.”

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    2013: The Year in Pictures

    (File images)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, December 30th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — We close the year in the same spirit as our first editorial published ten years ago this month. In 2014 our mission remains the same and we look forward to another decade of celebrating and exploring the facets and various interests of the Ethiopian-American community and beyond. We wish all of you a happy and safe New Year!

    Below are photos from 2013:

    10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
    Top Ten Stories of 2013

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2013

    (File images)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tigist Selam

    Published: Sunday, December 29th, 2013

    Kelela- Underground Queen

    This past October, The Guardian dubbed Ethiopian-American musician Kelela Mizanekristos as “one to watch.” She recently released her first mixtape, Cut 4 Me, on the Los Angeles-based Fade to Mind record label. In her interview with Billboard Kelela shares that “with the mix tape I was presenting you with ideas. I presented the idea and then I let it go a little bit. I wasn’t trying to make every song an epic pop radio hit.” But for her upcoming album she says “I’d like to take it further. I want to make it so that every song is super, ultra epic and there are a million interludes.”

    Kelela (Courtesy photo)

    I was immediately drawn to Kelela’s music. Her sound is as effortless and distinct as her look. I can’t wait to see her music videos that will capture her beautiful face and will elevate her music. You can hear all of her songs here until then: https://soundcloud.com/kelelam.

    Sheba Film & Arts Festival- 10 Years Strong

    At the 10th anniversary celebration of the Sheba Film Festival on June 22, 2013. (Tadias Photographs)

    That Sheba Film Festival has survived ten years in New York City where there are film festivals all year round bewilders me. It’s a testament to its uniqueness. The annual event also highlights works by local Ethiopian artists. Throughout the years, I have seen Ethiopian films at the festival that I would have never had a chance to see anywhere else on the big screen. As the Ethiopian film world continues to grow I look forward to the expansion of Sheba Film Festival throughout the U.S. More info here: www.binacf.org.

    Nishan- A Young Woman’s Twisted Journey

    Poster for the movie Nishan. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

    When I sat down to ask Yidnekachew Shumete, the director of Nishan, about his inspiration for the film, I was surprised to find out that he didn’t have a woman in mind for the lead. However, it was inspiring to see a brave, complex female lead in an Ethiopian film. After being selected to participate in workshops during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Yidnekachew presented Nishan at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) – the largest film festival in the African continent – before screening it at various international locations including at the Seattle International Film Festival and in New York City. I truly enjoyed watching all of the multi-dimensional characters as the story slowly unfolded in great suspense. It was one of the most well-made Ethiopian films I’ve seen in a long time. Watch the trailer here.

    Aida Muluneh – An Eye for Beauty

    I’ve been following Aida’s work for many years. This past year her solo show So Long A Letter in Addis Ababa was based on the groundbreaking novel by the Senegalese writer, Mariama Ba and combined mixed media with photography. “In a sense it was my ‘So Long Letter’ to all the women in the country who often go unrecognized or are under-appreciated in our society,” Aida says. “I have always loved the book and the fact that it was written in a letter format.” You may get a glimpse of her work here.

    Mizan Kidanu- Embodied Simplicity

    Sometimes bluesy, sometimes jazzy and always soulful Mizan’s voice leaves you wanting more. There is a certain warmth that she brings to every song and an honesty in her lyrics that demands your attention. I look forward to what the future holds for this young songstress. I am mesmerized with the simplicity of this song and video.

    Deseta- When Old Meets New

    Design by Maro Haile. (Image courtesy of the artist)

    I am hooked. For months, I’ve been sending cards with the recognizable Ethiopian imagery in bright colors for any possible occasion. Maro Haile’s paintings have been slowly flowing into her design work. “I am creating new and unique designs that touch on our rich Ethiopian design heritage but also with a universal appeal,” she says. “This process has been exciting, challenging, nerve-wracking and quite rewarding.” I am in love with Deseta, I can’t help it. Get hooked here: www.deseta.net.

    Kenna- Gap #MakeLove

    Ethiopian-American Musician Kenna & actress Beau Garrett Gap AD.

    It feels great to see Kenna’s handsome face plastered all over New York City next to model and actress Beau Garrett. Both of them have been involved in making a difference in response to the global water crisis. Advertisement at its best.

    Munit+Jörg – When Ethiopia meets Germany

    Munit and Jorg performing live at Silvana in Harlem, NYC on July 12, 2013 (Photographs: Tadias)

    Munit simply enjoys herself on stage and immediately pulls the audience into her music with her playfulness, but also her exceptional range. With the rather laid back and introverted Jörg, they make the best duo on stage singing in Amharic and English. Their long awaited album has something for everybody: http://munitandjorg.bandcamp.com.

    Yityish Aynaw – Miss Israel in 2013 is Ethiopian!

    It was so beautiful to see Yityish win Miss Israel 2013. To be recognized, to be seen and celebrated as a black woman in today’s world is a big deal. Hailing from Netanya, Yityish, or Titi as she is popularly known, is using her new fame to bring attention and resources to the children in her hometown, and building an arts community center that will help the children “learn what they shown interest in, whether it’s dance or music.”

    Anthm – Handful of Goodness

    Anthm cover 1
    Anteneh Addisu aka ANTHM. (Photo: Supermegatrend)

    For Anthm (aka Anteneh Addisu) 2013 was really a busy year, dropping two albums. Produced by Blu, A Handful Of Dust reminds me of what Hip-Hop used to be and is an instant classic. His second album The Fire Next Time, whose name derives from a James Baldwin book title, experiments with different styles. It shows you can’t put him in a box, and for that I salute him! Listen to his music here: https://soundcloud.com/amgesquires.

    The Year in Pictures
    Top Ten Stories of 2013

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Top Ten Stories of 2013

    (File images)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Saturday, December 28th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — 2013 began on a high note for us covering the Walyas historic participation at this year’s Africa Cup and their attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. At the same time, however, the tragic conditions faced by Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia, which became one of the largest human airlifts, was the most read story of the year on our site. So far more than 140,000 Ethiopians have been forcefully deported from Saudi Arabia and the number is likely to rise.

    Below are the top ten most-read stories of the year.

    1. The Plight of Ethiopian Migrant Workers in Saudi Arabia

    The well-documented plight of Ethiopian citizens residing in the Middle East came to the forefront in 2013 following the aftermath of last month’s wanton violence in Saudi Arabia that claimed the lives of several Ethiopian migrants. The incident elicited immediate and strong reactions from Ethiopians worldwide who took to social media and organized protests outside Saudi Embassies to express their outrage and draw much needed attention to the brutal treatment of migrant workers in the oil rich kingdom and other gulf states. The International Organisation for Migration has announced that Ethiopia has brought home close to 140,000 citizens from Saudi Arabia. According to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, more than 200,000 women sought work abroad in 2012 alone.

    Ethiopians protest outside Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., November 14th, 2013. (Tadias)

    Here are links to some of the stories under this topic: Tadias Magazine Roundtable Discussion at National Press Club (Video and Photos), An Appeal to Ethiopians Worldwide: Supporting the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, Fasil Demoz and Other Singers Over Plight of Eth. Refugees (Video), Interview With Rima Kalush: Migrant-Rights Org Seeks Long Term Solutions, Ethiopians Shame Saudi Arabia On Twitter For Inhumane Treatment Of Migrant Workers, Photos: Ethiopians Hold Protest Outside Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., NYC Ethiopians Make Presence Felt at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, The Ethiopian Migrant Crisis in Saudi Arabia: Taking Accountability.

    2. Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba Face Each Other at Diamond 5000 in Zurich (Video)

    In the first clash of the year between the two Ethiopian giants of women’s distance running at the Weltklasse Zürich meet, the final 100 meters belonged firmly to the 2012 Olympic and 2013 World 5000 champion Meseret Defar. Defar emphatically kicked away from Tirunesh Dibaba to win the women’s 5000 as well as the Diamond League crown in 14:32.83 after a 58 low last 400 (58.48 leader to leader but Defar was in second at the bell). Read more. (Also see: Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba Face Each Other in Zurich)

    3. Ethiopia Celebrates Highest Ever World Championships Medal Haul in Moscow

    Meseret Defar signs an autograph for fans in Moscow on Sunday, August 18, 2013.

    Ethiopia collected its highest medal count ever at the 2013 Moscow world championships in athletics, earning ten medals, three of them gold. The next highest was nine medals, three gold, earned in 2005 in Helsinki, when Tirunesh Dibaba won the 10,000 and 5000m, with Meseret Defar taking 5000m silver. In Moscow, Tirunesh won the 10,000, while Meseret took the 5000, and Mohammed Aman’s 800m gold was Ethiopia’s first medal over the distance at any global championship. Read more.

    4. Solomon Assefa: 2013 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader

    IBM Research Scientist, Solomon Assefa, was honored as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders of 2013. 199 young global leaders were selected from 70 countries worldwide including 19 honorees from Sub-Saharan Africa and 12 from the Middle East and North Africa. Other notable honorees in 2013 include Chelsea Clinton, Clinton Foundation Board member and special corespondent for NBC News; Nate Silver, statistician and writer of New York TImes Five Thirty Eight section; and William James Adams (aka will.i.am), singer and founder of i.am.angel Foundation. There are currently 756 members of the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the annual summit was held in Yangon, Mynamar from June 2-5th, 2013. Solomon Assefa was also selected as one of the world’s 35 top young innovators by Technology Review in 2011. Read more.

    5. Morehouse College Class of 2013 Valedictorian Speech by Betsegaw Tadele

    How would you like to be a valedictorian at a graduation ceremony where the keynote speaker is the President of the United States? That’s exactly the opportunity that Betsegaw Tadele, a computer science major at Morehouse College, received when President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the historically black institution. Read more.

    6. Tadias Interview with Miss Israel Titi Aynaw

    Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, Miss Israel 2013, visited New York earlier this year. At a gathering open to the press on June 11th, 2013 in Manhattan Titi spoke to the media, and Tadias briefly interviewed her. Read more.

    7. Summer of Ethiopian Music: Jano to Fendika, Teddy Afro to Mahmoud Ahmed

    (Photographs courtesy Massinko Entertainment, Lynne Williamson, La Beautiful Mess, and Munit Mesfin)

    It was was an exciting summer for Ethiopian music on the East Coast (See Washington City Paper’s highlight of various Ethiopian music events that took place in D.C. during the 2013 soccer tournament week) with live concerts that included the highly anticipated U.S. debut of Jano band (Watch video); the Addis Ababa-based duet, Munit and Jorg; the return of Fendika direct from Ethiopia; a joint performance by Teddy Afro and Mahmoud Ahmed (Washington Post: Mahmoud Ahmed and Teddy Afro Bring Echostage Home) as well as the first American tour by The London-based trio, Krar Collective.

    8. Ethiopia Secures Place in 2013 Africa Cup and African play-offs for the 2014 World Cup

    The Ethiopian national soccer team, The Walya Antelopes, made a historic return to the Africa Cup of Nations this year held in South Africa. The tournament was Ethiopia’s first after 31 years of absence. The team also went on secure a place in African play-offs for the 2014 World Cup.

    9. Steeplechaser Sofia Assefa Follows in Olympian Eshetu Tura’s Footsteps

    Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa won bronze in the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

    History was made in Russia’s Luzhniki Stadium as an Ethiopian made the podium in the steeplechase at a global championships for the first time ever on July 31, 1980, when Eshetu Tura took the bronze medal at the Moscow Olympic Games. Thirty-three years later, history repeated itself when Sofia Assefa also took steeplechase bronze in the same stadium at the 2013 athletics world championships, becoming the first Ethiopian — male or female — to medal in that race at the biennial event. Read more.

    10. Journalist Bofta Yimam Wins Emmy Award For Excellence in Reporting

    Ethiopian American Journalist Bofta Yimam won a Regional Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Nashville/Mid-South Chapter) for excellence in “Continuing Coverage” category. The winners were announced January 26, 2013. Bofta, who is a reporter for Fox 13 News in Memphis, Tennessee, was given the award for her reporting highlighting Kimberlee Morton (as in Kimberlee’s Law) that was signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in 2012. Bofta interviewed Kimberlee for the segment. The journalist, who has been in the field for less than six years, is a native of Washington, D.C. and a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park. She was nominated in three categories including for two works in excellence for “Light Feature” reporting category. Read more.

    The Year in Pictures
    10 Arts and Culture Stories of 2013

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    Funeral Services Held for Teddy Mitiku

    Theodros (Teddy) Mitiku. (Courtesy TG Television)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Sunday, December 29th, 2013

    Washington, DC (TADIAS) – Funeral services were held for legendary Saxophonist Theodros (Teddy) Mitiku on Saturday, December 28th at the Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church in Washington, DC. He was laid to rest at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring.

    Teddy, who passed away on December 22nd, 2013 following months of medical treatment, was one of the most talented and versatile Ethiopian musicians of his generation. Teddy was a member of the legendary Soul Ekos Band — the first independent musical ensemble to be recorded in Ethiopia — as well as Ibex and Menelik bands. Since then he has accompanied many of Ethiopia’s famous singers, including his brother Teshome Mitiku, as well as entertained audiences with solo albums and performances.

    Teddy Mitiku is survived by his wife of 22 years, Meaza Bezu, a daughter, Makeda, his brother, the renowned musician Teshome Mitiku and his sister Chuchu.

    We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family and loved ones.

    Video: Tribute to Saxophonist Teddy Mitiku

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    Azla + Tesh: Contemporary Artisan Ethiopian Food & Merchandise in LA

    Nesanet Teshager Abegaze and her mother Azla Mekonen at their family owned business Azla+Tesh in Los Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Aida B. Solomon

    Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Walking into the Mercado La Paloma on a Saturday evening, you feel an immediate tranquility from the busy streets of Downtown Los Angeles. The open space of Mercado La Paloma presents a line of eateries, with an unexpected new tenant nestled into one corner: Azla Ethiopian Vegan. Alongside the simple white countertops is a joint space labeled Azla+Tesh, filled with goodies ranging from jewelry to vinyl records to original stylish crop tees. As someone who has frequented Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District since childhood to indulge in Ethiopian cuisine and merchandise, pleasantly surprised is an understatement to describe this newest modern addition to the LA food scene.

    So who was the mastermind behind Azla? Needlessly to say, it was a family effort as Nesanet Teshager Abegaze tells Tadias Magazine. With mother Azla Mekonen as the head chef behind the vegan and gluten-free menu, and siblings Nesanet, Sonny, and Banchamlak Abegaze as the brains behind the lifestyle brand and boutique next door named Azla+Tesh. Nesanet runs the day-to-day operations, while Banchamlak, an attorney, handles the legal and financial aspects of Azla. Their brother Sonny Abegaze, a DJ and manager of the Ethio-jazz group Ethio-Cali, dons the title of “Chief Vibe Creator” curating merchandise and producing events. Together the powerhouse family has created not only nutritious vegan treats, but also an empowering space for Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians alike to come together around the concepts of wellness, health, and creativity.

    Nesanet’s journey to opening Azla first began after graduating from Stanford University with a degree in Human Biology. She soon began working for The New World Foundation in New York City, supporting non-profits advocating for environmental justice and workers rights among other causes. Nesanet’s work in the nonprofit sector took her to the South where she became increasingly involved in education policy. She went on to obtain a Masters at UCLA in science education, and began working at various schools, eventually becoming an assistant principal. However it was Banchamlak opening her own law firm that would shift Nesanet’s career from school administration to management. After a few years, one of Banch’s clients offered both sisters an opportunity to work at Atom Factory, an entertainment company. Nesanet served as Vice President of Operations for the creative division, managing campaigns including superstar Lady Gaga’s perfume line, Fame and clients like Barneys New York. Nesanet was able to explore her love of marketing and design and gain confidence in her creative skills.

    Combining her work experience with her passion in health and nutrition, Nesanet developed the concept of a contemporary, family-owned Ethiopian restaurant – Azla – that serves traditional Ethiopian vegan cuisine alongside modern artisan fare. Azla emphasizes supporting local, organic farmers and uses their produce in designing their menu.

    “Throughout all of my career transitions, the common denominator has been my love for food and wellness. It’s been a lifelong dream to create a space to share our family’s love of healthy cuisine, as well as Ethiopian art, fashion and culture. We are very excited to share the rich culinary and art/design tradition of Ethiopia with our customer base, which includes neighboring USC students and professors, downtown professionals, creatives, and members of Los Angeles’ thriving Ethiopian community,” Nesanet says.

    Azla has been open for just six months and is already creating a buzz with its fresh vegan Ethiopian meals, as well as their signature Ethiopian pizza made with a berbere marinara sauce, soups, and inventive desserts. It was a no-brainer to the family that the restaurant be named after the matriarch, Azla, whose family dinners are said to be nothing short of legendary. Azla’s genuine love for cooking fresh meals for her six children and husband was contagious, as Nesanet says that all of her siblings not only share a passion for food, but are also vegetarian/vegan. “For us my mother really expressed her love through food.” And the customers agree. “A lot of customers have told us that they can taste the love in the food. They say it tastes like a big hug. We love seeing how people respond to the food, often coming by to meet chef Azla.”

    What also sets Azla’s menu apart is the incorporation of ingredients such as kale to a classic collard green (gomen) dish and making gluten-free injera to ensure not only taste but healthier food options, which is a vital aspect of Azla’s mission.

    “I feel that Ethiopian cuisine has so much to offer as the awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet grows,” Nesanet said. “Oftentimes, people turn to processed meat alternatives when exploring vegetarianism, but Ethiopian food offers abundant flavor and texture with unprocessed whole foods.”

    Nesanet cites The China Study written by T. Colin Campbell as a personal favorite in her personal journey of following a plant-based and vegan diet. The book argues that most chronic diseases can be reversed through a plant-based diet, and Nesanet says that the rest of the public is catching on and becoming more empowered. “A lot of customers who eat meat religiously come in and are open to trying our food because they realize their current diet is making them sick and lethargic. They often say ‘I never knew vegan food can taste like this.’”

    In addition to the cuisine at Azla, Azla+Tesh next door offers unique jewelry including colorful acrylic and wood Orthodox cross earrings, apparel including crop-tees and sweatshirts with graphics such as the Lalibela churches and a vintage Alemayehu Eshete album cover. Honoring timeless design elements from Ethiopia, while incorporating current fashion elements is the approach that the Abegaze siblings take in order to attract both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian customers to the merchandise. “We’ve always been enchanted by Ethiopian crosses and the intricacy of their designs,” Nesanet shares. “We’ve worked to create jewelry that explores new materials such as acrylic and wood with pop colors to speak to a younger demographic.” The collection also includes necklaces with vintage bridal pendants and telsum beads from Ethiopia, using thicker bold chains, and a juxtaposition of modern and classic that guides the Azla+Tesh design aesthetic. In addition to accessories and clothing, Azla+Tesh offers old-school vinyl records, Ethiopian literature and films, and artisan food products that are packaged in beautiful mason jars.

    As for what the future has in store for Azla and Azla+Tesh, there will be a series of free monthly events for the community, including guest speakers in acupuncture and yoga, vegan supper clubs in collaboration with local vegan chefs, as well as musical performances and networking events. The Azla team is dedicated to providing customers with a wonderful dining experience, as well as inspiring a more healthful lifestyle by providing cooking tips, recipes, and cooking demonstrations. Sure enough, Azla is already making its mark in Los Angeles not only for its fresh and tasty vegan dishes, but by providing a new space for Ethiopians and Non-Ethiopians alike to indulge in history, fashion, music, and health all in one place.

    You can learn more about the restaurant at www.azlavegan.com and shop for Azla+Tesh products at www.azlaandtesh.com. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Soundcloud handles are @azlavegan and @azlaandtesh.

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    Hailu Mergia Performs in Brooklyn

    Hailu Mergia performing at Baby's All Right in New York City on Thursday, December 19th, 2013. (NYT)

    The New York Times


    There’s a back story behind the African funk that had the whole room dancing on Thursday night at Baby’s All Right, the new club in Williamsburg. Hailu Mergia, the keyboardist leading the band, was playing his first American show since 1991. For the last two decades, he has been driving an airport taxicab in Washington.

    Mr. Mergia was a star of Ethiopian music in the 1970s as a member of the Walias Band, which had worked its way to the top of the Addis Ababa club circuit. In 1981, when Ethiopia was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, the Walias Band came to perform in the United States, and Mr. Mergia and some of the other band members stayed, settling among the many Ethiopian immigrants in Washington.

    For a few years, Mr. Mergia led the Zula Band there; after it dissolved, Mr. Mergia studied music at Howard University and decided to start playing the accordion, an instrument that had been used in Ethiopian music of an earlier generation.

    Read more at NYT.

    Hailu Mergia: A Beloved Ethiopian Musician of a Generation Ago (The Washington Post)
    Reissues Songs From Hailu Mergia, Local Cab Driver (Washington City Paper)

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    A Call for Writers in the African Diaspora

    (Painting © Synthia Saint James)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Rahwa Hassen

    Published: Friday, December 20th, 2013

    Columbus, Ohio — You are invited to submit an autobiographical essay or creative nonfiction story for this anthology of African Immigrant Literature, the Promises of Freedom Book Project. This book will focus on how Africa-born youth are impacted by immigration, American race/racial relations, Americana socio-economic-cultural dynamics, and familial dislocation/adjustments. African-born immigrants (whether USA citizens or not) and first generation born Africans are invited to send autobiographical stories and first-person creative nonfiction (essays/memoirs).

    The Promises of Freedom (POF) book project is spearheaded by Mr. Malcolm Cash, Lecturer in the Department of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University and Instructor of English & English Composition at Central State University. The team also comprises of Jonathan Woldaub of Seattle, Washington and Rahwa Hassen of Columbus, Ohio.

    The aim of POF is to create a book of narratives from young adults within the African diaspora who either immigrated to the United States as a child/teenager or are a part of the first-generation experience. Our goal with Promises of Freedom is to build a collection of stories (5-10 pages each) that reflect the diverse experiences of young adults — one which could be used to better understand the complexity, challenges, and beauty of growing up African in America.

    If you are interested in submitting a piece, the following criteria shall be met: Writers can be from the ages of 18-30 years; are first-generation Americans (one or both parents immigrated to the U.S.); or immigrated as children or teenagers (no later than the beginning of high school).

    Please email us at promisesoffreedom@gmail.com for more information and a copy of our writers’ guidelines.

    Rahwa Hassen is a Senior at Ohio State University majoring in International Development with minors in African Studies, Arabic, and Global Public Health.

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    Ethiopia’s Yegna – More Girl Power Than Spice Girls

    Ethiopian Girl Group, Yenya. (Image: The Africa Report)

    The Africa Report

    Whilst both Yegna and the Spice Girls were deliberately manufactured, comparisons between the Ethiopian girl group and their British predecessors are simplistic. Yegna are not in it for the money or the fame.

    It’s a cold and wet afternoon in Addis Ababa and the girls from Yegna (pronounced yen-ya) – Ethiopia’s first and only manufactured pop band – straggle in late for their interview. Shaking off the rain from their umbrellas and clothes they greet each other warmly with smiles, kisses and hugs, excitedly chatting and giggling amongst themselves.

    In time-honored teen tradition, their camaraderie – and their music – makes them stronger.

    Read more at The Africa Report.

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    Tadias Magazine Roundtable Discussion at National Press Club

    Jomo Tariku presents at Tadias Roundtable at The National Press Club, Saturday, December 14th, 2013. (Photo: Matt Andrea)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Monday, December 16th, 2013

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Tadias Magazine hosted a roundtable discussion on Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Saturday, December 14th.

    The roundtable discussion presented a panel of scholars, legal experts and civic society leaders from the Ethiopian and Middle Eastern communities who informed the audience about the status of Ethiopian migrant workers in gulf states using data and research to promote a continued dialogue on short and long-term solutions. A Q&A session followed panelist presentations.

    Panelists included Jomo Tariku, developer of a crowdmapping website on domestic help abuse in the Middle East; scholar Khaled Beydoun who focused on international anti-trafficking protocols and the legal issues facing Ethiopian migrants working in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and various gulf states; Dr. Maigenet Shifferaw, President of the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) in Washington, DC; Kumera Genet, Huffington Post contributor who has written extensively on the status of Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East; Dawit Wolde Giorgis, Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.; and Rima Kalush, Editor and Head Researcher for Bahrain-based Migrant-Rights.org.

    Several media organizations attended the event including Deutsche Welle German Amharic radio program, Voice of America, EBS, and ESAT. We also extend our thanks to Ethiomedia.com who helped publicize the event.

    Below is a video trailer and slideshow of the roundtable discussion.

    Video: Tadias Roundtable on Ethiopian Migrants in the Middle East at National Press Club

    Photos by Matt Andrea:

    The following are tweets from the audience:


    Jomo Tariku developed a crowdmapping site that documents domestic help abuse in the Middle East. Jomo is a voracious reader of current events around the world, a tinkerer of web technologies and a volunteer for various causes. He is also in the process of documenting Ethiopian (TimeLineEthiopia.com) and soon African stories using freely available data and data visualization tools. Jomo was born to Ethiopian parents in Kenya in 1968. He was named after Jomo Kenyatta, founder of the Kenyan nation. Jomo completed his higher education in Industrial Design (BFA) at the University of Kansas. After almost 10 years of operating a design studio in Washington, DC, Jomo joined The World Bank as a Publishing Officer/Designer in 2011. In his spare time he is an advocate of peaceful means of solving difficult problems. Jomo is married with two sons and lives in Springfield, VA.

    Khaled A. Beydoun’s insight on domestic and international legal matters has been featured on television and radio, including CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Al-­Jazeera, Voice America, and the Washington Post. Professor Beydoun’s scholarship focuses on immigration law, criminal law, critical race theory, and legal history. His research interests focus on the intersection of race and religion in criminal and immigration law. Professor Beydoun earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, and holds a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan. In addition, he earned an LL.M. with an emphasis on Islamic Law from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Before joining UCLA School of Law as a Critical Race Studies Fellow, Professor Beydoun practiced in the areas of criminal law and civil rights advocacy. He served as an Appellate Defense attorney for the State Appellate Defender of Michigan, and served as a Racial Justice Fellow with the ACLU of Michigan. In addition, Professor Beydoun also served as the Middle East & North Africa Legal Analyst for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Washington, D.C. Professor Beydoun’s work has been featured in the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, and his forthcoming work will be featured in the NYU Survey of American Law.

    Maigenet Shifferraw is currently the president of the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) in Washington, DC. Dr. Maigenet earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of Wisconsin­, Milwaukee in 1982. She was an Associate Professor in adult education at the Department of Education at the University of the District of Columbia for twenty years. She has served as a consultant in education at the World Bank, the US Department of Education and other institutions. She has been a women’s rights advocate for the last thirty five years.

    Kumera Genet blogs about African migrant issues for the Huffington Post and has built relationships with Lebanese and Arab American activists who support legal, economic, and cultural change in the Middle East to respect migrant workers. Kumera is originally from Austin, Texas, and has been living and working in the DC area for the past 6 years. He has worked in various youth serving organizations and non-­profits focusing on job readiness training, immigrant rights, parental engagement in education and community organizing.

    Dawit Wolde Giorgis represents the newly formed global alliance on the issue of Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East. He is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.

    Rima Kalush is the current editor and head researcher of Migrant-rights.org, a platform dedicated to advancing migrants’ rights throughout the Middle East. She has several years of research experience in diverse fields, ranging from North African history to California politics. Her pieces have been republished by digital journals including Jadaliyya, and her research has been referenced by institutions such as Gender Across Borders and the Institute for Global Labour Rights.

    Roundtable Discussion on Ethiopian Migrants in the Middle East
    National Press Club
    Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)
    529 14th Street Northwest, Murrow Conference Room
    Washington, DC 20045

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    Tadias Roundtable on Ethiopian Migrants in the Middle East at National Press Club

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Saturday, December 14th, 2013

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Tadias Magazine will be hosting a roundtable discussion on Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. today (December 14th) from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.


    This roundtable discussion brings together panelists and experts on the status of Ethiopian workers in the Middle East and include discussion of long-­term solutions to alleviate the plight of migrants in gulf states and enhance their safety and human rights. Primarily this roundtable aims to serve in two ways: to inform the public about the status of Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle East using data and research collected by individuals and human rights agencies, and to re-­channel the energy around this subject into a more fruitful dialogue on long-­term solutions.

    3:10pm – Welcome Remarks
    3:20pm -­‐ Panelist Presentations
    4:30pm – Q&A
5pm – Closing Remarks



    Jomo Tariku was born to Ethiopian parents in Kenya in 1968. He was named after Jomo Kenyatta, founder of the Kenyan nation. Jomo completed his higher education in Industrial Design (BFA) at the University of Kansas. After almost 10 years of operating a design studio in Washington, DC, Jomo joined The World Bank as a Publishing Officer/Designer in 2011. In his spare time he is an advocate of peaceful means of solving difficult problems. He developed a crowdmapping site that documents domestic help abuse in the Middle East. Jomo is a voracious reader of current events around the world, a tinkerer of web technologies and a volunteer for various causes. He is also in the process of documenting Ethiopian (TimeLineEthiopia.com) and soon African stories using freely available data and data visualization tools. Jomo is married with two sons and lives in Springfield, VA.

    Khaled A. Beydoun’s scholarship focuses on immigration law, criminal law, critical race theory, and legal history. His research interests focus on the intersection of race and religion in criminal and immigration law. Professor Beydoun earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, and holds a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan. In addition, he earned an LL.M. with an emphasis on Islamic Law from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Before joining UCLA School of Law as a Critical Race Studies Fellow, Professor Beydoun practiced in the areas of criminal law and civil rights advocacy. He served as an Appellate Defense attorney for the State Appellate Defender of Michigan, and served as a Racial Justice Fellow with the ACLU of Michigan. In addition, Professor Beydoun also served as the Middle East & North Africa Legal Analyst for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Washington, D.C. Professor Beydoun’s work has been featured in the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, and his forthcoming work will be featured in the NYU Survey of American Law. His insight on domestic and international legal matters has been featured on television and radio, including CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Al-­Jazeera, Voice America, and the Washington Post.

    Maigenet Shifferraw earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of Wisconsin­Milwaukee in 1982. She was an Associate Professor in adult education at the Department of Education at the University of the District of Columbia for twenty years. She has served as a consultant in education at the World Bank, the US Department of Education and other institutions. She has been a women’s rights advocate for the last thirty five years. She is currently the president of the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) in Washington, DC.

    Kumera Genet is originally from Austin, Texas, and has been living and working in the DC area for the past 6 years. He has worked in various youth serving organizations and non-­profits focusing on job readiness training, immigrant rights, parental engagement in education and community organizing. He blogs about African migrant issues for the Huffington Post and has built relationships with Lebanese and Arab American activists who support legal, economic, and cultural change in the Middle East to respect migrant workers.

    Dawit Wolde Giorgis is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. and also represents the newly formed global alliance on the issue of Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East.

    Rima Kalush is the current editor and head researcher of Migrant-rights.org, a platform dedicated to advancing migrants’ rights throughout the Middle East. She has several years of research experience in diverse fields, ranging from North African history to California politics. Hder pieces have been republished by digital journals including Jadaliyya, and her research has been referenced by institutions such as Gender Across Borders and the Institute for Global Labour Rights.

    IF You Go:
    Roundtable Discussion on Ethiopian Migrants in the Middle East
    Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)
    529 14th Street Northwest, Murrow Conference Room
    Washington, DC 20045
    RSVP is required.

    With Thanks to our Generous Sponsors:
    GOLD SPONSOR: U Street Parking
    SILVER SPONSOR: Ted Alemayhu

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    The 2013 DC to Africa Business Symposium

    DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Mayor's Office on African Affairs (OAA) Director Ngozi Nmezi at the Second Annual DC to Africa Business Symposium on November 25, 2013. (Photo credit: Lateef Mangum)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

    Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his Office on African Affairs hosted The 2nd Annual DC to Africa Business Symposium on Monday, November 25th, 2013. The all-day event was held at the Mayor’s Citywide Conference Center at One Judiciary Square, and was attended by over 300 local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs as well as more than 20 business resource providers from District, federal and nonprofit agencies.

    The symposium was designed to promote emerging opportunities in U.S.-Africa trade and was coordinated in partnership with the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the US Department of Commerce, and the Office of Community Affairs.

    “By connecting our aspiring and existing businesses to resources and opportunities, we diversify our economy and build resilience and sustainability,” the Mayor said in his welcoming remarks. “Our 1776 Incubator Program, DSLBD’s Export DC Program, our Great Streets Capital Improvement Program, and our new Innovation Hub for Entrepreneurs at St. Elizabeth are just a few examples of the kinds of business development programs we are implementing to nurture entrepreneurship and innovation.”

    Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Patrick Gallagher noted: “Sub-Saharan Africa has six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, which makes Africa poised to be the world’s next great economic success story. That is why the Commerce Department launched the Doing Business in Africa Campaign last year — to help American businesses take advantage of that growth and increase exports, which support millions of U.S. jobs.”

    The 2nd Annual DC to Africa symposium also included breakout sessions tailored to the distinct needs of startups and established businesses provided resources on licensing, counseling services, access to capital, contracting and procurement, international trade financing, export incentives, and country-specific investment opportunities in Africa.

    In her speech OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi added: “We’re here to encourage and equip the District’s African diaspora community to invest in and trade with their countries of origin in Africa by building sustainable enterprises that can simultaneously stimulate the U.S. economy.”

    Below are photos courtesy of the Mayor’s photographer Lateef Mangum:

    DC & Addis to Become Sister Cities

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    Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela

    (Photo © Gediyon Kifle)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — The above photo of Nelson Mandela was captured by photographer Gediyon Kifle during the iconic leader’s last visit to the United States in 2005 at a meeting hosted by The Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C.

    For Gediyon the gathering at a Georgetown hotel eight years ago was a personal and professional opportunity of a lifetime that he can’t forget. He said it was a moment that he had been eyeing ever since Mandela was released from prison on February 11th, 1990 — an event etched in his memory as if it was yesterday.

    “I vividly remember that it was a Sunday morning because we were headed to the chapel on campus,” Gediyon recalled in an interview with Tadias Magazine shortly after news broke on December 5th, 2013 that the iconic anti-apartheid leader had passed away. At the time when Mandela was released from prison Gediyon was a senior attending boarding school in Virginia. Like Mandela, Gediyon’s father was also a prisoner during the Derg regime in Ethiopia, but he never made it out alive.

    “My teacher knew what Mandela had meant to me, so he allowed me to stay behind and watch the live broadcast of his release,” Gediyon said. “It was as if my own father was coming out of prison. Here I was by myself, full of pure excitement and gratification, very emotional and it gave me a sense of closure about my own dad.”

    Since then in his career as a photojournalist Gediyon has photographed several personalities around the world, including all the living U.S. presidents as well as athletes like Haile Gebrselassie and Muhammad Ali. But, he said, nothing compares to how he felt in the presence of Nelson Mandela. “To just give you an example,” he added, “I documented post genocide Rwanda, which was a display of the worst side of human beings. For me Mandela represents the exact opposite. He epitomizes the best of humanity. He is a force for peace, justice, fairness, reconciliation and forgiveness. He embodies what’s good about humans. His achievements speak for themselves.”

    Gediyon was only one of two photographers invited to cover the 2005 meeting at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. That was the first and last time that he saw Mandela in person. Prior to that, he said, he had made several arrangements to meet with the legend in private, including traveling to Johannesburg. “It was doable, but our timing never worked out. My only regret is that I did not pose to take a picture with him when I had a chance.” Gediyon reflected on this decision noting that at the time he wanted to maintain his “professionalism as a photographer.” And yet he admitted “inside me I had this desire to reach-out and touch him.”

    Capitan Guta Dinka: The man who saved Nelson Mandela’s life (Video)
    Touching Moments From Mandela’s Memorial Service (Video)
    The Ethiopian man who taught Mandela to be a soldier (BBC News)
    Nelson Mandela In Ethiopia: A Peacemaker’s Beginnings As Guerrilla Fighter (IBT)
    World Reflects on the Life of Nelson Mandela
    Nelson Mandela: 1918 – 2013

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    Nelson Mandela: 1918 – 2013

    Mandela as Dissident, Liberator and Statesman: Nelson Mandela, the leading emancipator of South Africa and its first black president, died on Thursday, December 5th, 2013. (Ian Berry/Magnum Photos)

    The New York Times

    Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95


    Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95.

    The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.

    Mr. Mandela had long declared he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital in recent months was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil even eclipsed a recent visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.

    Mr. Mandela will be buried, according to his wishes, in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.

    Read more at NYT.

    Video: President Jacob Zuma announces Mandela’s death

    Nelson Mandela Dies at 95 (VOA News)

    December 05, 2013

    JOHANNESBURG — Former South African President Nelson Mandela, 95, died peacefully at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said.

    Mandela, the country’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide South Africa through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

    “Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said in a nationally televised address.

    “Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” he added.

    Mandela would receive a full state funeral, Zuma said, ordering flags to be flown at half mast.

    Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures.

    He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later.

    Mandela was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999.

    He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner.

    As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

    The hallmark of Mandela’s mission was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which probed apartheid crimes on both sides of the struggle and tried to heal the country’s wounds. It also provided a model for other countries torn by civil strife.

    In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy – a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders.

    In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis and the struggle became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005.

    Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighborhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

    Charged with capital offenses in the infamous 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the dock was his political testimony.

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination,” he said.

    Video: South Africans pay tribute to Nelson Mandela through his own words

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    Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

    The new film "Difret" will make its world-premiere in January at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Thursday, December 5th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — A new Ethiopian feature film Difret (formerly titled Oblivion) has been selected to be screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival under the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category. The film was selected for next year’s festival out of 2,043 international submissions. A total of 118 feature-length films were chosen, representing 37 countries. “This is a huge vote of confidence in our film and the years of hard work we’ve put into making it,” the Ethiopian filmmakers said in a statement. “Sundance is the most important film festival in the USA and we are incredibly honored to have the world premiere of DIFRET in Park City Utah, in January.”

    Difret, which was funded through the online crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter, chronicles the true story of a teenager from a small, rural village in the Arsi region whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the late 1990s unleashed a historic court battle that resulted in the girl’s acquittal on the grounds of self-defense, legally ending the traditional practice of child marriage by abduction in Ethiopia.

    “Throughout the process of making this film, you have been our tireless champions,” the independent filmmakers added thanking their supporters. “You have advocated for us, wrote letters of support for us, called friends on our behalf, utilized your social media pages and donated financially to this project. We salute you and offer our heartfelt gratitude to your unyielding commitment to this project and the filmmakers.”

    In a press release Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute stated: “That the Festival has evolved and grown as it has over the past 30 years is a credit to both our audiences and our artists, who continue to find ways to take risks and open our minds to the power of story. This year’s films and artists promise to do the same.”

    Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, noted, “We are energized by the rich diversity of voices, characters and places represented in the films selected for our 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Independent filmmakers continue to engage us with stories from worlds both intimately familiar and unknown.”

    In addition to those announced today, the Festival will also present feature-length films in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, Premieres and Documentary Premieres categories. Those announcements, as well as selections for the Short Film section and new Sundance Kids section of films for younger audiences, are forthcoming. Stay tuned for more updates.

    Learn more about the film at Difret.com.

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    “Write for Rights” Campaign Launched for Journalist Eskinder Nega (Video)

    A global appeal has been launched for the release of Eskinder Nega. (Courtesy Amnesty International)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    December 4th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — Amnesty International has launched a global “Write for Rights” campaign to raise worldwide awareness about the case of imprisoned journalist Eskinder Nega.” Eskinder has been locked up at Kaliti prison since 2011 serving an 18-year sentence on terrorism charges.

    In May 2013, Eskinder wrote from prison: “I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!”

    You can take action at http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/LWM2013-Ethiopia

    Below is a video from his wife Serkalem Fasil.

    International Rights Group Appeals for Release of Reporter Jailed for 18 Years (AP)
    Ethiopia: A Lifeline to the World — Wire Interview With Birtukan Mideksa
    Taking Eskinder Nega & Reeyot Alemu’s Case to African Court on Human Rights (TADIAS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    International Rights Group Appeals for Release of Eskinder Nega

    File photos of Eskinder Nega with his son Nafkot and his wife Serkalem Fasil. (Courtesy Photographs)

    Associated Press

    December 4th, 2013

    ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – A rights group is making a global appeal for the release from prison of an award-winning journalist in Ethiopia.

    Amnesty International this week is trying to raise awareness of the case of Eskinder Nega as part of a campaign called “Write for Rights.” Eskinder, in prison since 2011, is serving an 18-year sentence on terrorism charges.

    Amnesty says Eskinder simply was a “thorn in the side of the Ethiopian authorities” for giving speeches and writing articles critical of the government.

    Ethiopian government spokesman Shimelis Kemal said Eskinder wasn’t convicted for criticism but because he was running a clandestine terrorist organization.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists says that Ethiopia has the second highest number of journalists in jail in Africa and is the eighth biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

    Ethiopia: A Lifeline to the World — Wire Interview With Birtukan Mideksa
    Taking Eskinder Nega & Reeyot Alemu’s Case to African Court on Human Rights (TADIAS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia: A Lifeline to the World — Wire Interview With Birtukan Mideksa

    The following article is from the November/December 2013 print issue of Wire, Amnesty International's Global Magazine, published as part of a campaign for the release of Eskinder Nega. (Photo: Wire cover)

    Wire: Amnesty International’s Global Magazine

    Birtukan Mideksa spent years in an Ethiopian prison, and was featured in Write for Rights 2009 as a prisoner of conscience. She told WIRE what international support meant to her, and how the power of letter writing can be harnessed again this year to help her good friend, Eskinder Nega.

    Birtukan Mideksa speaks to us from her desk in Boston, USA, amid the bustle of student life. A Harvard fellow, she is taking an MA in Public Administration at Kennedy School and is a thriving academic.

    It’s a far cry from the Ethiopian prison cell she occupied only a few years ago – a place her friend, Eskinder Nega, knows only too well. He is currently serving an 18-year sentence because of his journalism.

    In fact, the two were detained together between 2005 and 2007, alongside Eskinder’s wife Serkalem. All three were declared prisoners of conscience. They have also featured in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign – Serkalem in 2006, Birtukan in 2009, and this year, Eskinder, because he’s in prison again.

    “I was incarcerated twice. The first time, for 18 months, the second, 21 months,” recalls Birtukan. “Look at how many times Eskinder has been imprisoned over the past 10 years – eight times. His wife, Serkalem, was also incarcerated. This is a story of thousands and millions of government opponents in Ethiopia. If you look at the pattern, it’s getting worse.”

    The toughest time in prison

    In 2005, Birtukan was leader of Ethiopia’s main opposition party, Unity for Democracy and Justice. Her party contested the elections that year, but lost under questionable circumstances. When she and her supporters peacefully protested against the legitimacy of the election results, thousands were arrested. Birtukan, Eskinder, Serkalem and over 100 journalists, opposition leaders and others were put on trial.

    “The whole time was very difficult, especially for Serkalem,” says Birtukan, who shared a cell with her at one point.

    “She was pregnant and she had to live with 70 to 80 prisoners in a very unclean cell. The smell was terrible.

    “When she finally had her baby, that was one of the times I really felt low. She went to the hospital and… came back alone. She had to leave the little one with her mum. My daughter was with my mum – she was eight months old. So we consoled each other. Our major difficulties came because of our responsibilities as mothers, and our attachment to our children. That was really the toughest time in prison.”

    Silver lining

    Birtukan was given a life sentence, but was eventually pardoned and released after nearly 18 months in detention. Her freedom, however, was short-lived. After speaking publicly in Sweden in November 2008 about the process that had led to her release, she was re-arrested in Ethiopia on 28 December 2008. Her pardon was revoked and her life sentence re-imposed.

    Amnesty issued Urgent Actions on her behalf and promoted her case in Write for Rights 2009. For Birtukan, who was kept in solitary confinement for long periods, this collective effort was a lifeline.

    “In 2009, only my mum and my daughter were allowed to visit me,” says Birtukan. “I was really cut off from the whole world. I didn’t have any access to the media. We were not allowed to talk about Amnesty International’s initiatives, but my mum mentioned to me that Amnesty people were trying to advocate for me. That was like a silver lining. It gave me hope. It connected me to the real world.”

    Birtukan was finally freed in October 2010. “The pressure you guys were exerting on the Ethiopian government was very instrumental in securing my release,” says Birtukan.

    She hopes it will be possible to do this again, this time for Eskinder.

    Sustained optimism

    In 2012, Eskinder was jailed for “terrorism” after giving speeches and writing articles criticizing the government and supporting free speech.

    To Birtukan, his struggle is almost heroic.

    “Eskinder is one of the most virtuous people I know in my country,” she says. “He really believes in the good in all of us. It’s vivid in his personal life and in his activism. The love he has for his country, his dedication to seeing people living a dignified life – it’s really huge.

    “He didn’t start his activism with just criticizing the government. He always gave them the benefit of the doubt. He was relentlessly committed to expressing his views, his ideas.”

    That commitment triggered a campaign of harassment, including threats, a ban on the newspaper Eskinder ran with Serkalem, and repeated imprisonment. In 2005, when all three were jailed, Eskinder was thrown into solitary confinement for months on end. “That didn’t make him a hateful person,” observes Birtukan. “Still, he sustained his optimism and strong belief in his cause.”

    Indispensible support

    With its network of supporters worldwide, Amnesty’s potential to secure Eskinder’s freedom is significant, notes Birtukan. “The support we get as political prisoners is indispensible.”

    But, she adds, “We shouldn’t forget the people back home – they would love to support us – but the suppression is huge. People can’t express that kind of protest against our imprisonment in an organized way.” This makes Amnesty’s support all the more crucial, she says.

    It also lends legitimacy to the struggle. “Some people say fighting for rights and democracy in Africa is futile,” explains Birtukan. “Some people even try to focus on the economic performance of a country. But we mustn’t trade off our human rights for monetary benefit.

    “The things you are working on – they validate and reassert those aspirations and those rights we have as human beings as inviolable, no matter what. It has huge significance in terms of the moral support you generate for activists like Eskinder and myself.”

    Taking Eskinder Nega & Reeyot Alemu’s Case to African Court on Human Rights (TADIAS)

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    New Climate Innovation Center in Ethiopia Aims to Create Thousands of Green Jobs

    The Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC) marks the start of its initiatives with a Proof of Concept competition announced on March 17, 2013. (Photograph from Awassa courtesy of Info Dev)

    World Bank Group

    Addis Ababa — Ethiopia is set to reap the rewards of a new initiative to help local businesses develop and deploy climate friendly technologies that will create thousands of new green jobs. The new Climate Innovation Center (CIC) in Ethiopia was announced today through the support of a US$ 5 million grant agreement, signed between the World Bank and Addis Ababa University.

    The grant agreement was signed by Mr. Guang Z.Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia and Dr. Admassu Tsegaye, President of Addis Ababa University, in the presence of invited guests, the university community, donors and the media.

    The Ethiopia CIC, spearheaded by infoDev, a global innovation program of the World Bank, will accelerate the use of emerging technologies in locally owned and developed solutions to climate change. The center, which is supported by the government of Norway, UKAid and the World Bank, will provide financing as well as mentorship and advisory services to a growing number of local climate innovators and entrepreneurs. Through its support to local entrepreneurs, the center will propel innovative solutions to climate change while creating jobs and improving livelihoods. It is expected to support up to 20 sustainable climate technology ventures in its first year, and more than two hundred over the next ten years leading to up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.

    The Ethiopia CIC, which will be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2014, will be established through a consortium led by the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center (HoAREC) — a regional institution hosted by Addis Ababa University (AAU), Meta Meta, Climate Science Center and Maxwell Stamp. The CIC will collaborate closely with the government of Ethiopia to align priorities according to the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy.

    In anticipation of the launch, the CIC is currently running a Proof of Concept competition. The competition is designed to build a pipeline of entrepreneurs and startup businesses that will be supported by the center once it becomes operational.

    The Ethiopia CIC is part of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program (CTP) which is establishing a network of CICs to help countries benefit from more pro-active participation in the ongoing global clean technology revolution, leading to economic gain and job creation, while reducing emissions. The first CIC was opened in Kenya in September 2012, and has already supported over 70 local innovative clean tech ventures. Other CICs are being established in Vietnam, the Caribbean, India, Morocco, South Africa and Ghana.

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    New African Magazine Names Zemedeneh Negatu Among 100 Most Influential Africans

    Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner at Ernst & Young Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Economist Insights)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Monday, December 2nd, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — The New African Magazine has named Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia, among its 2013 list of 100 Most Influential Africans.

    The annual list recognizes individuals from various fields that are contributing to the new ‘Africa Rising’ narrative. “One yardstick we used was to emphasize that influence is not about popularity and popularity is not always influential,” the announcement said. “The influencer’s impact on public, social and political discourse, however, is what largely helps us determine their influence.”

    Zemedeneh, a naturalized American citizen, is highlighted in the business category for his work in Ethiopia. “Recently, his firm has been responsible for many of the country’s major deals, including British alcoholic beverages company Diageo’s purchase of a local brewery,” the magazine noted. “A true global citizen, having lived and worked extensively in North and Latin America as well as Saudi Arabia, Zem, as he is affectionately known, is often the spokesperson for the private sector at the country’s official international roadshows.”

    In a statement Zemedeneh said: “I am honored to be acknowledged amongst the men and women, who strive each day to shape the economic landscape of the African continent. This accolade reflects the continued commitment towards building a better working world for our people, clients and communities we operate within.”

    Zemedneh is also scheduled to speak at Economist Magazine’s African High-Growth Markets Summit being held in Addis Ababa from December 2-3, 2013.

    Click here to read the full list at New African Magazine.

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    Taking Eskinder Nega & Reeyot Alemu’s Case to African Court on Human Rights

    (Photos courtesy Pen America and The International Women's Media Foundation )

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: December 1st, 2013

    “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

    The above quote, which is often attributed to George Orwell (née Eric Arthur Blair) — one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century — rings true of 21st century politics in Ethiopia where some individuals who are keen to write dissenting news articles are accused of “clandestine terrorism” and punished with decade-long prison terms.

    Just ask Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu, who are languishing at Kaliti prion for bringing forth hard-hitting questions that the authorities would rather sweep under the carpet. Eskinder Nega is serving an 18-year sentence for publishing a piece in 2011 that raised the question: Could an Arab Spring-like movement take place in Ethiopia?

    “This is the eighth time in his 20-year career that he has been imprisoned simply for doing his job,” notes a new crowd-sourcing campaign attempting to raise funds to cover the legal expenses required to take their case to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “If Eskinder’s conviction is not quashed, his seven year old son will be an adult before he is released.”

    Reeyot Alemu, a former teacher, was likewise sentenced to five years in prison after writing articles focusing on minority rights and the mismanagement of government funded projects including a hydroelectric dam. While in prison she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has not received adequate care. Her family members including her sister and fiancé have also been restricted from visiting her. Reeyot was awarded the prestigious World Press Freedom Award in 2013 in recognition of her work and struggle.

    Although the African Court on Human & Peoples’ Rights officially began its operation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2006 it has since been moved to Arusha, Tanzania. Twenty-six African countries have ratified the protocol of the court, but Ethiopia is not one of those listed. Only five countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, and Tanzania) have to date made a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Even if a decision made on Eskinder and Reeyot’s case in this court may be non-binding, it nonetheless can shed a crucial spotlight on the status of press freedom in Ethiopia.

    Belwo is the IndieVoices crowdfunding campaign.

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    7th Annual Artists for Charity Holiday Art Auction

    Photo from last year's Artists for Charity annual holiday benefit event in D.C. (Photograph: Courtesy AFC)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Thursday, November 28th, 2013

    Washington, DC (TADIAS) — The 7th Annual Artists for Charity (AFC) Holiday Benefit is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th at the DC Architecture Center. The yearly event helps raise funds for AFC’s group home in Addis Ababa that houses children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The D.C.-based Ethiopian-American organization has been on the forefront of efforts that have seen vast improvements in awareness and education. The AFC Children’s Home serves as a residence for young people who have lost both their parents and was one of the first few places to accept children living with HIV in Ethiopia.

    “Today, AFC is proud to have sent two children to college,” the organization said in a press release. The home provides food, shelter, medical care, school fees and supplies for the children in addition to an Artist-in-Residency program, which allows qualified volunteers to spend up to a year in Ethiopia while sharing their creative talents with AFC children.

    “Less than a decade ago having HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia meant a life of stigma and no chance of achieving your dream,” the press release highlighted. “Today we have seen vast improvements in medicine, education on HIV/AIDS and organizations dedicated to the cause. AFC is one of those that is making a momentous impact on the lives of countless orphaned children who live with HIV/AIDS.”

    IF You Go:
    AFC’s 7th Annual Holiday Benefit & Art Auction
    Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM
    DC Architecture Center
    421 7th St. NW Washington, DC 20004
    Tickets $45 in Advance, $50 at the door
    To donate artwork for the event please contact Hanna Tadesse at hanna@artistsforcharity.org.
    Interested volunteers please contact Anne Batchelder at anne@artistsforcharity.org.
    For media inquiries please contact Bethel Tsegaye at bethel@artistsforcharity.org.

    Photos: The 6th Annual Artists for Charity Holiday Benefit

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    Three Ethiopian Animators Vie For Doritos Superbowl AD Grand Prize

    Abel Tilahun working on the set of Doritos ad for "Crash the Superbowl Contest." (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — A commercial created by a trio of Ethiopian animators for the tortilla chips brand Doritos is part of this year’s “Crash the Superbowl Contest.” The winning ad will be broadcast during the 2014 Super Bowl and comes with a grand prize of $1 million dollars. The childhood friends –Animation Supervisor and Art Director Abel Tilahun, Compositor Daniel Tamrat, and 3D Animator Ephrem Hagos — collaborated with the DC-based Lateral Lines Productions for their showcase.

    “It’s a fresh and exciting take on the relationship between a man, his goldfish, and his snack food,” said Abel Tilahun, describing their creation: Doritos Lovin Goldfish. Abel, who is also an Adjunct Professor at American University in Washington D.C., recruited his friends in Ethiopia to collaborate on the project online. “We grew up making animation together,” he said. “We all attended St. Joseph school. There is a lot of talent in Ethiopia in this field but the market and interest is not as developed as in Western countries.”

    Abel, a graduate of the School of Fine Art & Design of Addis Ababa University, moved to the U.S. in 2007 to pursue his Masters in Fine Art at Adams State College in Colorado where he finished his studies in 2010. In Ethiopia, he was the first student at his school to exhibit an animation installation as his thesis project, and he said he will return next year for a solo exhibition in Addis.

    You can view their Doritos commercial submission below and vote for them at www.doritos.com.

    Slideshow: More photos from the set courtesy of Abel Tilahun

    David Mesfin: A Look at his Role in Hyundai TV Ad With Bob Marley’s Song

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    Week Three: Ethiopians Rally in Portland, Denver Against Saudi Treatment of Migrants

    Ethiopians marched in downtown Portland, Oregon on Monday, November 25th, 2013. (The Oregonian)

    The Oregonian

    By Andrew Theen

    Several dozen people marched through downtown Portland and the South Park Blocks Monday to protest what they called Saudi Arabia’s violent crackdown on Ethiopian workers in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

    Men, women and children marched down Southwest Broadway carrying signs and chanting during the noon hour. Many wore black t-shirts with a large red hand reading “Stop violence against Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia.”

    Protesters spread the word of Monday’s march through a Facebook page and at Ethiopian restaurants and other community institutions.

    “We’re just out here standing up for our people,” Wienta Mebrahtu said.

    Mebrahtu said the issue of violence against foreign workers in Saudi Arabia has grown more visible in recent weeks.

    Read more at The Oregonian.

    Video: Dozens march in downtown Portland

    Ethiopian rallies urge end to mistreatment of migrants in Saudi Arabia (The Denver Post)
    Beyond Outrage: How the African Diaspora Can Support Migrant Workers (Huffington Post)

    Photos: Ethiopians Hold Protest at Saudi Embassy in Los Angeles (TADIAS)

    Photos: NYC Ethiopians Make Presence Felt at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations (TADIAS)

    Ethiopians march in downtown Dallas to protest abuse in Saudi Arabia (Dallas News)
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Ethiopians Protest Killings In Saudi Arabia (KDLT News)
    Ethiopians demonstrate outside Saudi embassy in London (BBC News)
    Canada: Ethiopian community protests working conditions in Saudi Arabia (CTV News)
    The Ethiopian Migrant Crisis in Saudi Arabia: Taking Accountability (TADIAS)
    Tadias Interview With Rima Kalush: Migrant-Rights Org Seeks Long Term Solutions
    Ethiopians Continue Peaceful Protests Against Migrant Abuse in Saudi Arabia (TADIAS)

    Photos: Ethiopians Hold Protest Outside Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. (TADIAS)

    Ethiopians: #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to Stop Crackdown (Global Voices)
    First group of Ethiopians from Saudi arrive in Addis (ERTA)
    23,000 Ethiopians ‘Surrender’ in Saudi After Clamp Down (BBC)
    Three Ethiopians Killed in Saudi Arabia Visa Crackdown (AFP)
    Ethiopian Domestic Help Abuse Headlines From the Middle East (TADIAS)
    Changing Ethiopia’s Media Image: The Case of People-Trafficking (TADIAS)
    Video: Ethiopian migrants tell of torture and rape in Yemen (BBC)
    Video: Inside Yemen’s ‘torture camps’ (BBC News)
    BBC Uncovers Untold People-Trafficking, Torture of Ethiopians in Yemen (TADIAS)
    Meskerem Assefa Advocates for Ethiopian Women in the Middle East (TADIAS)
    In Memory of Alem Dechassa: Reporting & Mapping Domestic Migrant Worker Abuse
    Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C.
    The Plight of Ethiopian Women in the Middle East: Q & A With Rahel Zegeye

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    The People’s United Nations Exhibition at Queens Museum

    Tigist Selam represented Ethiopia at The People's United Nations (pUN) performance art exhibition at the Queens Museum in New York on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. (Courtesy photograph)

    Tadias Magazine
    Events News

    Published: Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    New York (TADIAS) — New York is by far the most diverse city in the world and nowhere is it more apparent than the borough of Queens where nearly 50 percent of the population is foreign-born and over 138 different languages are spoken. Organizers of the The People’s United Nations (pUN), a performance art exhibition held at the Queens Museum this past weekend, did not have to look far to find New Yorkers to represent each nation of the world and to debate world issues that politicians and diplomacy have failed to solve — from poverty to gender inequality, hunger, the environment and gun control. The idea is the brainchild of Mexican artist Pedro Reyes who staged the exhibition in the former building that housed the United Nations General Assembly from 1946-1950.

    “One of the main differences between the pUN and the UN is that delegates at the UN represent their government,” Reyes told the Huffington Post. “And governments have an agenda which is first, their national interest; second, the interest of the their people; and third, the interest of the planet. In pUN, I think that the delegates are not concerned with representing their governments — they represent their nation-states, their people. It’s not the usual agenda. So they can take a stand with having a more global perspective.”

    Reyes added: “But I don’t think pUN is in itself a critique of the UN. It’s more about the idea of making a crash course on conflict resolution. It’s like a tool kit. And the hope is that those who attend the summit learn techniques and learn about issues that affect us all. It’s a very intensive educational experience, but it’s also fun, no?”

    The exhibition will be on view until March 30, 2014.

    Interview with artist Pedro Reyes (The Huffington Post)
    A Local Place for a Global Neighborhood (The New York Times)

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