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Spotlight: ZAAF Fashion Photos Shot in Afar, Ethiopia at Smithsonian in DC

ZAAF, which is founded by Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Abai Schulze (center), produces a brand of premium leather products that are designed and handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia. (Photo from ZAFF store grand opening in Washington, DC on December 1st, 2018/ Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This summer some incredible images shot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression — known as one of the hottest places on earth — will be featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art as part of a photography exhibition hosted by the premium leather brand ZAAF.

ZAAF announced that the exhibit is scheduled to take place on July 1st, and will include “a short behind-the-scenes documentary of the photoshoot and a presentation of the new collection.” The Addis Ababa-based brand, which opened its first U.S. store in Washington D.C. last December, produces premium leather products including handbags, jackets, and travel accessories that are handmade by artisans in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Abai Schulze who founded ZAAF says: “Most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees…I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bringing out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality.”

The announcement for the Smithsonian event adds: “Building on our prize-winning and internationally recognized work established in Ethiopia, ZAAF is developing long-term growth opportunities across Africa, partnering with skilled artisans to develop high-end designer products that celebrates the boundless depths of our continent’s ancient cultures, designs, and natural wonders that have laid the foundation for the next wave of incomparable creativity, luxury, and style.”

If You Go:
Monday, July 1, 2019 at 6 PM – 8:30 PM
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue Southwest,
Washington, D.C.
Click here for Tickets
More info on Facebook

In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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From Farming in Rural Ethiopia to Graduating from UC Berkeley

Lelisa Bera is graduating on Wednesday, May 22, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. (Photo: UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley

Growing up in rural Ethiopia, Lelisa Bera knew that getting an education wasn’t a given. It was a privilege that many parents couldn’t afford to give their children.

He was born in a village in the Oromia Region called Dawo Saden, where his mom and dad worked as farmers. They spent long hours in the fields harvesting vegetables and grains, and tending to cattle and goats. By age 5, Lelisa began to help his parents with the labor.

“There was not much to inspire you to go to school,” he says. “I would see one student going to school from one area, another from a different area. But for most kids, their families needed them to stay home and help at the farm. There’s a very high illiteracy rate.”

When Lelisa turned 7, his mom decided that he would go to school. It was a long walk — three hours, round trip — and Lelisa didn’t own a pair of shoes. But his mom hoped education would be a worthwhile investment, so she pushed her son to make the daily trek.

On Wednesday, May 22, Bera, now 32, will receive his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley. It’s an accomplishment that he sees not as an ending, but as a launching-off point for sharing what he’s learned at Berkeley with the world.

And without a teacher who gently encouraged him to think bigger, he might never have made it to where he is today.

Read more »

Watch: UC Berkeley students long journey to graduation started in Ethiopia (abc7news)

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In New York Ethiopian Cultural Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts

Photo: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association event in New York City. (Tadias archive)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Next month an interactive arts workshop inspired by artists from Ethiopia including Ezra Wube, Addis Gezehagn, Elias Sime, Afewerk Tekle as well as singer and songwriter Gigi is set to take place at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City.

The event organized by the CMA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) and the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) will be held on Sunday, June 2nd from 10am to 5pm. Organizers note that the cultural festival will also feature traditional dancing (Eskista) and a coffee ceremony.

Below are brief descriptions of the art workshops:

Collaborative Subway Mural inspired by Ezra Wube in Fine Arts:

Ezra Wube is an Ethiopian New Yorker telling stories about NYC through animation and vivid imagery. Wube’s work reflects on the movement of the city. You can see his piece at the Fulton Street Station called Fulton Street Flow! How would you use art to beautify a subway station? Join us in creating a collaborative subway mural integrating our many cultures!

Dreamy Cityscapes inspired by Addis Gezehagn in Fine Arts:

Addis Gezehagn paints dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of urban landscapes rising above the ground. Each patch of color he uses represents buildings and doors. At the program young artists can use cutouts of color, paintings, magazine pages, and even their own colored drawings to layer squares to construct a cityscape.

Recycled Topographies inspired by Elias Sime in the Gallery:

Elias Sime is an Ethiopian artist using recycled materials to create relief sculptures and assemblages that look like looks like topographical maps or aerial views of complex city systems. We will use recycled materials as well as decorative materials like beads and pom poms to create our own relief sculptures inspired by Sime’s work and Ethiopia.

Afewerk Tekle Windows in the Clay Bar:

Using the artist Afewerk Tekle’s stained glass pieces as inspiration, design your own stylized clay tab, in a fractured stained glass visual!

Building Stained Glass Windows with Afewerk Tekle in the Media Lab:

Using either the stained glass style slab from Clay Bar, or found materials in the Media Lab, add motion to your stained glass pieces!

Sounds of Gigi in the Sound Booth:

Using melodies inspired by the famous Ethiopian singer Gigi, create your own songs layered over her fusion of contemporary and traditional soundscapes!

If You Go:
Ethiopian Cultural Festival
Sunday, Jun 02, 10 am to 5 pm
At CMA, 103 Charlton Street, New York
Click here to get tickets

In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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Photos: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Economy

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega (right) at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 16, 2019 during an event highlighting Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy hosted by Your Ethiopian Professionals Network (YEP) in partnership with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT). (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 17th, 2019

In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

New York (TADIAS) – Yesterday a forum was held in Washington, DC titled “Deep Dive on Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy,” which was hosted by YEP, in collaboration with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT).

The YEP event was in addition to the “Ethiopia Partnership Forum” that was hosted by the U.S. State Department in DC on Thursday.

The ‘Deep Dive’ discussion was held at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and featured presentations on Ethiopia’s startup economy exploring the innovative and burgeoning IT sector as well as emerging creative industries including film, fashion and the arts.

Below are photos from the event:

U.S. State Department hosts “Ethiopia Partnership Forum”

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Why There Is A Need For A Long-Term Investment Model In Ethiopia – Forbes

An aerial view of a new industrial park built in Hawassa, Ethiopia. (GOOGLE)


In the last several years, a growing number of global apparel companies have begun having their products manufactured in Ethiopia. For these firms, Ethiopia has become the new low-wage frontier. The East African country now competes with Bangladesh, Vietnam and other South and East Asian nations for a share of the massive volume of global garment production. In this competition, Ethiopia has the dubious distinction of offering the lowest pay anywhere in the worldwide clothing supply chain—and that’s the main reason the big brands are drawn there.

But increasingly it has become clear that these firms need to invest more resources into Ethiopia both to make their make production profitable and sustainable over time, and to ensure that Ethiopians are better off because of their presence. Among the steps they will need to take are to increase wages, enhance training, and help provide housing and other basic necessities to the young women who come from around the country to work in the clothing factories. The challenge these firms face in Ethiopia is to balance the pressures to reduce the costs of production with the realization that to succeed over the longer term, they will need to invest more money. This longer-term view is in tension with what many Wall Street investors and analysts are expecting them to do, driven in part by a mistaken understanding of directors’ legal duties to shareholders.

For the last half-century, most analysts and investors have embraced an antiquated investment model that focuses heavily on maximizing short-term shareholder returns. They have focused on these short-term returns at the expense of longer-term wealth creation for corporations and society at large. This focus took shape in the 1970s, when economist Milton Friedman and then others asserted that corporate CEOs are merely agents of shareholders, responsible for conducting business in accordance with shareholders’ core interest: maximizing stock prices. In an often-quoted 1970 article in The New York Times Magazine, Friedman wrote that corporate executives have a fiduciary duty to conduct business in accordance with the desires of shareholders, which he defined as making “as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.”

Read more »

Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid (AP)
Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Leaked Audio: Before Ethiopia Crash Pilots ‘Raised Boeing Safety Fears’

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines' pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS. They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times. But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people. (Getty Images)


American Airlines pilots confronted Boeing about potential safety issues in its 737 Max planes in a meeting last November, US media are reporting.

They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times.

Boeing reportedly resisted their calls but promised a software fix.

But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines’ 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people.

Currently 737 Max planes are grounded worldwide amid concerns that an anti-stall system may have contributed to both crashes.

Boeing is in the process of updating the system, known as MCAS, but denies it was solely to blame for the disasters.

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines’ pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS.

Boeing vice-president Mike Sinnett told the pilots: “No one has yet to conclude that the sole cause of this was this function on the airplane.”

Later in the meeting, he added: “The worst thing that can ever happen is a tragedy like this, and the even worse thing would be another one.”

Boeing declined to comment on the November meeting, saying: “We are focused on working with pilots, airlines and global regulators to certify the updates on the Max and provide additional training and education to safely return the planes to flight.”

Read more »


Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopian CEO on Future of 737 Max (NBC)

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam speaks out about whether or not his airline will ever fly a Boeing 737 Max 8 again following the deadly crash in March that left 157 dead. "This should not happen again to any airline, even a single life should not be put at risk," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said. (NBC News)

NBC News

Ethiopian Airlines CEO wants rigorous review of Boeing 737-MAX planes following fatal crash

Two months after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board, the CEO of the airline said his crews and passengers have lost confidence in the Boeing 737-MAX and he wants the company to conduct a more thorough review of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday, Tewolde Gebremariam said that the airline doesn’t yet know if it will fly the Boeing 737-MAX planes again. But he said, “At this stage I cannot, I cannot fully say that the airplane will fly back on Ethiopian Airlines. It may, if we are fully convinced and if we are able to convince our pilots, if we are ever to convince our traveling public.”

However, he also said that if the planes were back in service, Ethiopian Airlines would be “the last airline to fly them again.” “We have not got a time to discuss on the return to service and we have made it very clear on several occasions we would not be the first one to return their airplane back to air.”

Gebremariam said it’s not enough for Boeing to only review the “MCAS” anti-stall system believed responsible for the fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. He wants a much more rigorous review of the plane.

“We strongly believe that entire flight control system needs to be reviewed,” he said.

“It’s very abnormal for a new airplane to have two accidents, fatal accidents in a span of five months,” he said. “These are brand new airplanes.”

Read more »

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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UK Kidnapped this Ethiopian Prince in 1868, Still Refuses to Return His Remains

British soldiers kidnapped Prince Alemayehu in 1868 after they stormed and looted his father’s mountain-top palace in Ethiopia following the Battle of Maqdala. 150 years later UK is still rejecting Ethiopia's request to return his remains so he can properly be reburied at home. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s request to repatriate the remains of Prince Alemayehu is once again being rebuffed by England.

The young Prince was kidnapped by British soldiers following the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago and transported to England along with tons of stolen Ethiopian treasures.

“The Queen has sparked a diplomatic row after refusing to allow the bones of a ‘stolen’ Ethiopian prince buried in the grounds of Windsor Castle to be repatriated,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Prince Alemayehu was brought to England after his father, Emperor Tewodros II, killed himself as British forces stormed his mountain-top palace in northern Ethiopia in 1868.”

Prince Alemayehu, who died at the age of 18, eleven years after his kidnapping ordeal, is buried next to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

The Daily Mail notes that “the Ethiopian government demanded the return of his remains 12 years ago and has grown increasingly frustrated at being rebuffed by Buckingham Palace.” The report added: “Last night Fesseha Shawel Gebre, Ethiopia’s ambassador to London, urged the Queen to consider how she would feel if one of her deceased relatives was buried in a foreign land. ‘Would she happily lie in bed every day, go to sleep, having one of her Royal Family members buried somewhere, taken as prisoner of war?’ he asked. ‘I think she wouldn’t.’”

The Ethiopian government has emphasized that they would stick to their request to return Prince Alemayehu’s remains at every opportunity they have to meet with members of the British government.

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

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A CNN Hero, A Midwife, MeTooEthiopia: 3 Great News Stories You May Have Missed

(Photos: CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu, midwife Selamawit Lake and image from Shades of Injera Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 10th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A CNN Hero from Ethiopia, an award-wining midwife, and the burgeoning #MeTooEthiopia movement that began as an Instagram post launched by an Ethiopian American activist in the Diaspora are among the timely human-interest stories that have received international coverage this week, but unfortunately has garnered very little media attention in our community.

Below are brief summaries and links to each story:

CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu

CNN celebrated Freweini Mebrahtu, a U.S.-educated chemical engineer and owner of the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products factory in Ethiopia — that produces its own patented reusable menstrual pad — as its 2019 CNN Hero for her efforts in creating public awareness about women’s health in the country and dispelling the traditionally negative perception surrounding menstruation.

“More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free,” CNN notes. “Mebrahtu, also worked for years to end the stigma around this issue by speaking to students at schools.”

As Freweini told CNN: “The whole goal was not only making the pads, but also attacking the cultural baggage to it.”

Read more »

Award-wining Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta

NPR featured a Q&A session with Ethiopian Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta who was named one of this year’s five champions by the International Confederation of Midwives.

According to NPR, “the group picked the five from nominations submitted by members from 122 countries. The goal was to honor midwives who’ve made an impact in their community. Fenta, 30, works at the Tibebe Ghion Hospital in Bahir Dar City in Ethiopia and is the department head and a lecturer of midwifery at Bahir Dar University.”

NPR also noted that eight year ago, when Selamawit was just 22-years-old, she led a crusade for higher pay for midwives in Ethiopia, where a majority of her colleagues earn about $56 to $84 a month. “We are not paid fairly,” Selamawit said.

Read more »

#MeTooEthiopia: ‘Assault is a crime, not a culture’

Public Radio International (PRI) recently highlighted the growing online campaign under the hashtag #MeTooEthiopia, which started out on the Instagram page called “Shades of Injera” in 2014 before it was transformed into a global platform for the rights of Ethiopian women a few months ago following the release of the explosive documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’

Describing efforts to promote #MeTooEthiopia PRI noted that: “on International Women’s Day this year the page featured the face of the country’s first female president photoshopped onto an image of Rosie the Riveter.”

PRI spoke with one of the Ethiopian Americans running the Instagram page who declined to share her real name — and goes by ‘S’ in the interview “because she wants to continue to post questions and speak freely about sensitive topics” and “has received threats over things she’s posted.”

PRI adds: “S. says the R. Kelly documentary made her ask, “Who are the men in their own Ethiopian community who prey on younger women?” Within days, hundreds of women and some men began sharing their own stories of sexual assault. “Everyone was saying, ‘I’ve actually never shared this before. This is my first time saying it,’” says S. “People were desperate to do something and, you know, get their story out.” The response was so overwhelming that they created a separate website called #MeTooEthiopia with the tagline, “assault is a crime, not a culture.”

Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

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Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

Boeing knew about 737 Max safety problems two years before the deadly Ethiopia and Indonesia crashes, according to a statement released by the company this week. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft/Boeing)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Boeing was aware of the software problem with its 737 Max aircraft as far back as 2017, long before the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10th of this year that killed all 157 on board as well as the prior Indonesian Lion Air accident that took the lives of 189 passengers.

Boeing made the stunning admission in a press release this past weekend noting that it discovered a software related issue with the 737 Max two years ago, but it deemed the now globally grounded airplane safe after an internal examination.

“In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements,” the statement said. “When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues.” The press release added: “That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.”

In the case of the Ethiopia crash, investigators have preliminarily ruled that a malfunctioning software flight data sensor was to blame for the accident and that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane.

The Boing revelation also comes on the heels of a recent Times article entitled “Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet” listing complaints of poor-quality manufacturing at one of its plants that raises more questions about Boeing’s overall credibility on the matter.

“Boeing is issuing a display system software update, to implement the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature before the MAX returns to service,” the press release added.

But a recently released study shows that the public is skeptical. “In a survey of 1,765 fliers conducted by Barclays Investment Bank, 44 percent of respondents said they would wait a year or more before flying the 737 Max, compared with 39 percent who said they would do so within a few months of its reentry into service,” The Washington Post reported yesterday. “Only 20 percent said they would fly on a Max as soon as the grounding order is lifted, and 52 percent said they would rather fly on another type of aircraft.”

Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

According to a new study released this week by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights "Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide," AP reports. (Photo: Global Apparel Forum)

The Associated Press

Correction: Ethiopia-Garment Workers’ Pay story

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — In a story May 7 about (topic), The Associated Press reported erroneously that the apparel retailer Gap sources clothing made in Ethiopia. Gap does not source clothing made in Ethiopia and the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights regrets its error in identifying Gap in its report about labor in Ethiopia.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are the world’s lowest paid at $26 a month


Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says.

The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks.

“The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95.

Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for many international brands employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales.

The new report is based on a visit earlier this year to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. Ethiopian leaders often show off the industrial park, 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Addis Ababa, to visiting foreign dignitaries.

According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members. “I’m left with nothing at the end of the month,” one factory worker, Ayelech Geletu, 21, told The Associated Press last year.

The minimum monthly living wage in Ethiopia is about $110), according to Ayele Gelan, a research economist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

“Given relatively little training, restive employees have protested by stopping work or quitting altogether. Productivity in the Hawassa factories typically is low, while worker disillusionment and attrition are high,” the report says.

Ethiopian politics are also unexpectedly disrupting factory operations. “The Ethiopian government should address ethnic tension in Hawassa and elsewhere,” the report says.

It calls on the government to implement a long-term economic plan for strengthening the apparel industry and establish a minimum wage that ensures decent living conditions.

Abebe Abebayehu, head of Ethiopia’s Investment Commission, told the AP that most garment and apparel factories prefer to locate in places with low labor costs.

“If that was not the case, Chinese companies wouldn’t have come to Ethiopia,” Abebe said. He also questioned the report’s monthly pay figure of $26 per month: “That is a basic salary but in Ethiopia the factories also provide a workplace meal and other services.”

Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Spotlight: VOA’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

Negussie Mengesha who began his journalism career in the U.S. as an Amharic reporter at Voice of America in the 1980's is now the head of VOA’s Africa Division overseeing the agency’s nearly 125 hours of weekly programming in 16 languages on radio, television, and digital platforms to the African continent - reaching nearly 51 million people weekly. (Photo: VOA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Voice of America (VOA) has been a voice for the voiceless in Ethiopia for many decades, and one of the main people behind this effort is Negussie Mengesha, who started out as young reporter then became an editor, Amharic Chief and is now the Director of the Africa division for VOA.

In the following video Negussie explains how he fled Ethiopia in the 1970s and became a refugee in Sudan before relocating to the U.S. all because he was unable to practice his profession as a journalist in his home country due to the repressive government at the time.

Thanks to the current reforms underway in Ethiopia Negussie was able to return to Ethiopia for the first time in four decades last October. In addition to an emotional visit to his parents’ burial grounds, Negussie said one of the highlights of his trip was meeting with PM Abiy Ahmed.

“I thanked him for opening up the political space and for allowing the media to operate freely,” Negussie said. “That meeting for me was very, very important.” He added: “Freedom of the press is close to my heart. I have seen journalists killed because they wrote freely, because they exposed corruption, mismanagement or also injustice.”

As to VOA he said: “This place is more than a workplace for me, it’s like my family. I started out as reporter, then became a senior editor, then became the Amharic Chief.”

Negussie says VOA is planing to strengthen its presence in Ethiopia and added: “Hopefully one day we will have a VOA 24/7.”

Watch: Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

Freedom of Expression: Newly Vocal Ethiopians Debate an Uncertain Future
After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension
World Press Freedom Day events raise alarm on fake news (AP)
Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Mulatu Astatke Coming to Chicago

Mulatu Astatke is coming to Chicago this month for a sold-out concert at Garfield Park Conservatory on May 14th, 2019. (Photo: Alexis Maryon (C) 2013 for Harmonia Mundi)

Chicago Reader

Mulatu Astatke continues his Ethio-jazz evolution

Vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke has a seamless way of fusing the music of his native Ethiopia with jazz and Latin music (and you can hear a little bit of R&B in that mix too). On paper this esoteric brew might seem like an acquired taste, but in reality it’s just one worldly step away from Lonnie Liston Smith, Atlantic-era Les McCann, or any other 70s musician who tweaked jazz to follow popular tastes without watering down their sounds. On Astatke’s 1966 debut album, Afro-Latin Soul, he blended Ethiopian melodies with Latin jazz so skillfully that an inexperienced listener would never know either genre had been altered, but Astatke was bringing a different spice to the table. He recorded that album and its follow-up, Afro-Latin Soul Vol. 2, while living in New York, but though his work at the time reflected the musical culture of his adopted city, he never forgot the sounds of his homeland—and in the early 70s, he brought his hybrid style back to Africa, becoming one of the founders of the Ethio-jazz movement.

Read more »

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Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas

Elias Sime. (Photo by Mekbib Tadesse)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 30th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is set for his first major traveling U.S. museum exhibition this year starting at Wellin Museum of Art in New York in the fall followed by shows at Akron Art Museum in Ohio, the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

According to organizers the first exhibition at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will be held from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature work by the Ethiopian artist spanning over a decade. The exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Elias’ latest body of work titled Noiseless is also currently on display at the James Cohan Gallery in New York City.

As the Wellin Museum notes “Elias Sime (b. 1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Addis Ababa. He is highly regarded as an artist and as the co-founder of the ZOMA Museum, the only contemporary art museum in Addis Ababa, with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.”

Below is an overview of the exhibition courtesy of Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College:

“The exhibition Elias Sime: Tightrope marks the first major museum show to focus on the work of contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968). Sime’s brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages feature found objects including thread, buttons, bottle caps, electrical wires, and computer detritus. The exhibition highlights the artist’s work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled “Tightrope,” alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist’s development. Repurposing salvaged electronic components, such as circuits and keyboards, Sime incorporates the refuse that results from technological advancement, and points to the urgency of and different approaches to sustainability. A post consumerist critique, the artist’s work is a commentary on the fact that countries in Africa are often the repositories of e-waste imported from elsewhere in the world. The work also incorporates redundant technologies from the former Soviet Union and the the West, highlighting Ethiopia’s complex political past. The resulting abstractions reference landscape and the figure, and often employ patterning drawn from traditional Ethiopian textiles. The title “Tightrope” refers to the precarious balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment. Featuring over 20 works of art of varying scales, including new work created by the artist to debut in this exhibition, Elias Sime: Tightrope explores the breath of Sime’s work which focuses on interconnectedness as both a literal and conceptual practice.”

Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime and features contributions by Tracy L. Adler; Meskerem Assegued, anthropologist, curator and founder of the Zoma Museum; Karen Milbourne, Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This book will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and Delmonico Books • Prestel.”

Additional dates for Sime’s other museum exhibitions are as follows:

Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio – February 29 – May 24, 2020

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri – June 11 – September 13, 2020

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada – December 12, 2020 – April 18, 2021

You can learn more about the Wellin Museum of Art at www.hamilton.edu/wellin

Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

ELIAS SIME, Tightrope: Noiseless, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is back in New York City with a new exhibition called Noiseless that opened at James Cohan gallery on Saturday and remains on display through June 29th. This is the Ethiopian artist’s third solo multidisciplinary exhibition at the gallery.

“Elias Sime creates intricate, wall-mounted works on a monumental scale from discarded technological components—including salvaged motherboards and electrical wires—that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to his hometown of Addis Ababa,” the press release stated. “Sime meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into abstract compositions. Sometimes his idea dictates the material, while other times the material dictates the idea. Sime titles this body of work “Tightropes,” in reference to the precision and discipline required to walk across a tightrope, as well as the tenuous balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment.”

The press release continued: “NOISELESS features ten new large scale works from Sime’s “Tightrope” series, which demonstrate the breadth and dexterity of the artist’s practice. The exhibition’s title is a reference to the creative space of free association engendered by silence. As the artist notes, “Noise is often associated with unpleasant sounds. Noise can also seem to create words, or words can be part of noise. Words channel our thinking along familiar paths towards realistic images. The absence of noise allows our minds to create unfamiliar and abstract images. The works in NOISELESS “aim to reflect the unfamiliar and abstract images created in the mind in the absence of noise.” I BURNED IT, 2019, is one of the largest and most prominent pieces presented in NOISELESS. After years of weaving the colorful wires on the small panels that make up the piece, Sime burned the surface, exposing the copper behind the colorful insulation. He remarks: “Nature is full of vibrant colors, which we humans not only enjoy, but often expect to see. I burned the surface of the painstakingly created colorful piece to invoke a dialogue about the identity of colors.”

ELIAS SIME Tightrope: Noiseless 11, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Elias Sime’s bio courtesy of James Cohan gallery:

Elias Sime (b. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has exhibited extensively around the world. Working with his long-time collaborator, curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime co-founded and designed the Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2009 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” Zoma Museum celebrated its grand opening in its new location in March of this year. Sime’s work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to the North Dakota Museum of Art. The artist designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence, London and Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; North Dakota Museum of Art; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Chicago, IL.

If You Go:
Elias Sime
James Cohan gallery
533 W26 ST
New York

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Africa Youth Forum in Ethiopia Eyes Continental Demographic Shift

In Ethiopia 41% of the population is under the age of 15. (Photo: Young teenager with two girls in the village of Berhale, Afar Region/alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2019

Pan African Youth Forum Kicks Off in Ethiopia With an Eye on Continental Demographic Shift

New York (TADIAS) — Currently, an estimated 75% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35. And in Ethiopia — where the 2nd Annual Pan African Youth Forum got underway today at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa — the median age is 18 with 60% of the population below the age of 25. More than 40% of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15.

This could either be an opportunity or a problem depending on how well each country on the continent is preparing its youth for the future. According to World Population Review “with a 2019 population of approximately 110.14 million, if Ethiopia follows its current rate of growth, its population will double in the next 30 years, hitting 210 million by 2060. Most of the world’s population growth in the next 40-50 years is expected to come from Africa, and Ethiopia will be a large part of the growth.”

“From a demographic point of view, this calls for a paradigm shift towards the recognition and support of the youth to harness their potential by building capacity for quality education and skills improvement, health and well-being, good governance, human rights and accountability, employment opportunities, leadership skills, empowerment and entrepreneurship,” notes The African Union Commission, which is hosting the forum in Ethiopia this week.

The press release adds that Moussa Faki Mahamet, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), will be launching the “1 million by 2021 Initiative”, focusing on investing in employment, entrepreneurship, engagement, and education opportunities for African youth across the continent “while leveraging partnerships and private sector opportunities.” This initiative is scheduled to be launched via a Pan African Youth Forum under the theme “Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the Gap and Reaching African Youth.”

The African Union Commission says “Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development; mobilizing and catalyzing capital growth for youth-led start-ups; nurture start-ups; skills transfer hubs; internships and apprenticeships; digital skills; job centers; digital skills; leadership programs and exchange programmes. The initiative will bring together key continental players in the development space and the private sector to pool together resources and opportunities, within a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and Pan-African lines.”

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Addis Abeba’s Vision of New City Library

Addis Ababa. (Photo via CNN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 23rd, 2019

Addis Abeba’s City Administration Shares Vision of New City Library

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Abeba’s City Administration just shared its new vision for a city library and it’s impressive. In a recent tweet by Addis Standard, a brief video of the library plan reveals the project as scheduled to be built across from the Parliament building and situated on approximately 38,000 square meters of land. The city library is slated to have theater halls and meeting spaces as well as include an adult and children’s library sections.

Currently there are several children’s library initiatives including through the non-profit organizations Ethiopia Reads and Whiz Kids Workshop. To date Ethiopia Reads has launched over 80 public school and mobile libraries across the country, which serves over 100,000 children per year. Ethiopia Reads has also trained 150 librarians to date. The award-winning television series, Tsehai Loves Learning, launched by Whiz Kids Workshop has also expanded to include a classroom library project that provides children’s story books, flash cards, and 32 episodes of the TV series on DVD to enhance early childhood literacy skills.

For adult readers, a brief compilation of public and academic libraries in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Abeba, which was published in Against the Grain (Vol 20, Issue 1) by Marie Paiva lists Addis Ababa University as housing a multi-branch academic library with over 500,000 items as well as the Addis Ababa Public Library that is accessible for all residents, which holds mostly text collections in English. There is still a great need for more libraries and related resources in the city as well as greater opportunities for librarian training. Addis Abeba’s new city library project is a positive step in the right direction, and we hope will include texts and content that are multi-lingual and extensively diverse in subject matters.

Spotlight: Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser’s Library Foundation For Ethiopia

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Music: Dexter Story’s ‘Bahir’ Featuring Hamelmal Abate is Tribute to Ethiopia

Dexter Story's new album features mesmerizing collaborations with diverse artists including Kibrom Birhane, Sudan Archives, Haile Supreme, Hamelmal Abate and Endeguena Mulu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — One of the most captivating songs on Dexter Story’s latest album Bahir is called Shuruba, which is performed by the award-winning Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate.

“The songs are informed by my recent graduate studies on Africa and Ethnomusicology, and they feature vocalists and musicians whom I deeply respect and admire,” says Dexter who is a student at UCLA. In a recent interview with Afropunk the American musician also named Tilahun Gessesse, Bezunesh Bekele, Asnaketch Worku and Mahmoud Ahmed as some of his artistic influences.

“In light of the recent plane fatalities in Ethiopia and our nation’s focus building walls as opposed to bridges, I hope that Bahir touches hearts and brings a small measure of peace and healing to these challenging times,” Dexter added. “I am humbled by the positive response it has gotten and am grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to listen.”

In his interview with Afropunk Dexter shared that he initially saw Hamelmal perform live in L.A. during an Enkutatash celebration a few years back. “I watched her work the band and the audience into an incredibly high energy, while maintaining her poise and intonation to perfection,” he said. “She is from the beautiful multi-ethnic Eastern city of Harar and is considered one of the queens of Ethiopian music. I feel incredibly lucky that she is on Bahir.”

The other songs on Dexter’s new album include Techawit, Bila (featuring Kibrom Birhane), Gold (Sudan Archives), Ras (Haile Supreme), Mamdooh, Buna Be Chow (Jimetta Rose), Electric Gurage, Jijiga Jijiya (Marie Daulne), Chemin De Fer, Desta’s Groove, Shuruba Song (Hamelmal Abate), Bahir (Endeguena Mulu),
Abebaye (Marie Daulne).

As Afropunk notes: “Since beginning to record under his own name in 2012, Story has favored a kind of pan-African jazz/funk sound, drawing upon both the great LA music community and his ethnographic studies for inspiration and musical muscle. And the one sound that he’s taken to more than others, is the music of Ethiopia.”

You can learn more about Dexter Story and his new powerful album at https://dexterstory.bandcamp.com.

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Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

(Illustration: #MeTooEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Selemawit Tefera Kelbessa — a former Ethiopian Airlines hostess who had moved to the U.S. three years ago — was the victim of a heinous acid attack by one of her roommates in Maryland in 2018, and this past week she killed herself after having been hospitalized for nearly a year. This heartbreaking news reveals the pervasive gender-based violence that remains underreported by media outlets both in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora. However, a new and bold movement fueled by young grassroots activists has created an online platform under the hashtag “MeTooEthiopia” along with the unequivocal tagline: “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture.”

Accompanied with poignant photos and illustrations on its website the #MeTooEthiopia movement collects and shares witness testimonials that narrate the gut-wrenching processes of dealing with life-long trauma as a result of experiencing gender-based violence. The hope in this work is to break the silence around gender-based violence and prevent similar tragedies moving forward.

“Due to the severity and prevalence of such crimes, we see fit to stand on behalf of victims and bring attention to this issue,” the MeTooEthiopia organizers state on their website, emphasizing that the mission is to create awareness about “gender violence, childhood marriage and acid attack among Ethiopians around the globe” and “to provide a safe platform for victims and survivors to speak, and to connect victims with resources that can help them heal and take action.”

As BuzzFeed News highlighted in a feature last month “the spread of hashtags and testimonies across social media are forcing communities in Ethiopia and across the diaspora to confront a topic that has routinely been ignored. Created by Ethiopian American women in light of an explosive documentary about R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, #MeTooEthiopia has shown hundreds of Ethiopian women and men that they are not the only ones carrying trauma as victims from sexual violence.”

BuzzFeed adds that “#MeTooEthiopia acknowledges the specific cultural barriers women face when it comes to speaking up about sexual violence: the shame surrounding it, and the difficulty of empowering women in a society that denounces feminism as a Western product that has no place in Ethiopian culture.”

While the current political climate in Ethiopia has included a new wave of female participation in top posts in the political sector, including appointing a female head of the Supreme Court, a female president, as well as having half the Cabinet positions filled by women politicians, there is plenty of work left to do to protect the rights of women and girls. Describing Ethiopia’s new leader in this era, PM Abiy Ahmed, BuzzFeed notes that “many believe he could be the first modern-day leader to actively champion women’s rights in the country. But movements like #MeTooEthiopia want to send a message loud and clear to Abiy and his cabinet: Gender parity in the government is not enough if women are still getting abused.”

Selemawit Tefera. (Photo: Facebook)

Describing Selamawit’s horrific attack #MeTooEthiopia shared that “in 2018, Selemawit lived with four Ethiopian male roommates in Hyattsville, Maryland. After finishing her shift on a Saturday evening, Selamawit returned to her house. She then entered the kitchen, where she came across one of her roomates: Bekre Abdela. Abdela was holding a container of sulfuric acid. He splashed the acid on her face and body. She stayed in a hospital for several months after suffering second and third-degree burns. Before Selamawit took her own life on April 12th, 2019, she was hospitalized for nearly a year and had undergone numerous skin grafts. She had permanently lost sight in her right eye. Her left eye had a chance of recovering, restoring parts of her vision, which was a good news for her as she planned to study Information Technology. She was planning to have reconstructive surgery, however, the funds were hard to come by. That was, until people began to raise funds for that, her living expenses and other medical bills.”

In a petition hosted on the Change.org website and addressed to PM Abiy, the group also stated: “We believe this matter deserves immediate and intensified action on all levels. From education to bringing cultural evolution to providing services and resources for the victims and ensuring those who inflict such harm be held accountable for these crimes.” So far, the petition has received over 3,000 signatures.

Despite the deep sadness felt in reading the testimonials on the #MeTooEthiopia site, there is an undercurrent of perseverance, dedication and willpower that is strongly present. It is time to bring this discussion to the forefront and #MeTooEthiopia sums up this spirit with this Instagram post: “We Can Do It!”

And we should!

You can learn more about #MeTooEthiopia at metooethiopia.com and sign the petition at www.change.org.

Setaweet: Addis Ababa is Home to a Burgeoning Women’s Movement

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Worknesh Degefa Wins Boston Marathon

Worknesh Degefa breaks the tape to win the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa cruises to Boston Marathon title

BOSTON (AP) — Worknesh Degefa had never set foot on the Boston Marathon course before she toed the start line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Monday morning.

It didn’t stop the 28-year-old Ethiopian from conquering it on her first trip down the famed route.

Degefa broke away from the rest of the field early and ran alone for the last 20 miles to win the women’s Boston Marathon.

Degefa crossed the finish line in Boston’s Back Bay in a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes, 31 seconds.

She is the eighth Ethiopian woman to win the race, and the third in seven years. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, coming in at 2:24:13. American Jordan Hasay was third, crossing the line in 2:25:20. Defending champion Des Linden, who represented the United States in the marathon at the past two Summer Olympics, finished fifth in 2:27:00.

“Winning the Boston Marathon is super special to me,” Degefa said. “Even though I’d never seen the course before, last year I watched all the marathon coverage. I kept that in my mind.”

And for most of the race she kept the rest of the field far behind her.

Worknesh Degefa wins the women’s division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

It was Degefa’s first major marathon victory. She won the Dubai Marathon in 2017, setting an Ethiopian national record.

Linden took advantage of a rainy and windy course with temperatures in the 30s to claim last year’s title in the slowest time for a women’s winner in Boston since 1978.

A heavy band of rain moved through Hopkinton at the start line about 6:30 a.m. but tapered to a drizzle and then stopped before the women’s race began. It didn’t rain during the race, allowing the Ethiopian and Kenyan contingents to push the pace.

A half marathon specialist, Degefa took her first lead after Mile 4 headed into Framingham, followed by Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba and Kenya’s Sharon Cherop. Degefa increased the margin between Mile 5 and 6 and opened a 20-second advantage by Mile 7.

“I knew that I had some speed, so I pushed myself after Mile 5,” Degefa said.

Degefa’s pace slowed in the final three miles and she looked behind her a few times to try to glimpse one of her fellow competitors.

Kiplagat became visible again in the distance around Mile 25, but there was no time for her to close the sizeable gap.

Despite not being able to get on the podium for a second straight year, Linden had a lot of support on the course. The crowd serenaded her with loud cheers when she was introduced. At the finish, a young girl held a sign that read “Des 4 Prez.”

On a day in which the marathon fell on April 15 for the first time since the April 15, 2013 bombings, Linden said it had lots of significance for the city and for herself.

“That run down Boylston was very special to me,” Linden said. “I feel like I’ve built a name for myself in this community with these fans and they really appreciate what I’ve done over the years.

“It’s also a sign that I’m pretty old that they actually know me now.”

Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

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In Pictures: Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show

Amsale released four Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week in NYC on Friday, April 12th, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Amsale New York unveiled its Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week on Friday, April 12th in New York City. The wedding brand that was launched by the late Ethiopian-American fashion designer Amsale Aberra, who passed away last year, also announced the launch of its new ecommerce website as well as the Amsale Retailer Partner Program and the incorporation of 3-D technology into its design and development process.

“The newly debuted program is a revolutionary app-driven initiative to reward brick-and-mortar retailers with their fair share of ecommerce revenue and align the interest of the stores, the bride and the brand to ensure that the consumer has a seamless and convenient shopping experience,” the company said in a press release.

The Amsale x You collection was among the latest designs featured at the Spring 2020 runway show as well as online.

“Amsale was an early adopter of CAD design tools in its development process, endowing it with
a digital database of 32 years of perfected couture design patterns. Amsale’s most celebrated couture
dress designs from its library are now accessible and have empowered brides to choose, using a simple
interactive tool, the elements that best reflect their personal style,” added the press release. “With Amsale x You, we virtually invite the bride into our design room, to peruse our library and empower her to design her own bespoke wedding dress,” said Sarah Swann, Chief Creative Officer of Amsale New York.

Additional Amasale collections that were revealed at the fashion show included Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale and Little White Dress.

Below are photos from the Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show held in New York City on Friday, April 12th:

Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra

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Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

All smiles - Gelete Burka after winning the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)


Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka Take Paris Marathon Titles

Ethiopia’s Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka prevailed at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 43rd edition took place on Sunday (14).

Milaw clocked 2:07:05 for a comfortable 20-second victory over compatriot Asefa Mengistu while Burka crossed the line in 2:22:47, five seconds clear of another Ethiopian, Azmera Gebru.

With his victory, Milaw put an end to Paul Lonyangata’s dominance in Paris, the 26-year-old Kenyan who was looking for a third successive victory in the French capital, a would-be record. Lonyangata had picked up a slight injury last week when he slipped and fell in training, but it wasn’t a big enough setback to keep him from the start line…

Abrha Milaw after his victory at the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)

Milaw made a big surge with three kilometres remaining, building a four-second gap on Lonyangata and Mengistu, and nine on Gachaga, at 40km, hit in 2:00:30.

He forged on unchallenged to secure the 2:07:05 victory, clipping 20 seconds from his previous best and sealing a second successive French road success after his win at the Nice-Cannes Marathon last November.

“The conditions were tough,” Milaw simply said.

Mengistu, a past winner in Seoul, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, came home second in 2:07:25, well outside his personal best, while Lonyangata rounded the podium in 2:07:29, 1:19 slower than the time he clocked last year.

Morhad Amdouni, the European 10,000m champion, was the first Frenchman, finishing eighth in 2:09:14 in his debut over the distance.

Burka impresses with blistering kick

The women’s race was as fierce as expected…Burka, who was the fastest woman in the field, lived up to her favourite’s role to capture her second marathon victory in 2:22:47. Grebu finished five seconds in arrears as Abreha came home third in 2:23:35, six seconds ahead of Calvin whose 2:23:41 performance broke the French national record.

Read the full article at IAAF.org »

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Spotlight: Mehret Mandefro’s ‘The Loving Generation’ up for Webby Award

Mehret Mandefro is the co-Director and co- Producer of the documentary 'The Loving Generation' that has been nominated for the 2019 Webby People’s Voice Award. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Mehret Mandefro in Tadias she was promoting the award-winning film Difret at a screening in New York, which was attended by the movie’s real-life inspirations Aberash Bekele as well as her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who is now the head of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court.

In prior years we had also selected Mehret as part of our 2012 women’s history month profile and highlighted her background as a physician, filmmaker, anthropologist and social change activist as well as a former White House Fellow during the Obama administration.

In her latest film project The Loving Generation — which she co-directed and produced with Lacey Schwartz — Mehret who is now based in Ethiopia and works as an Executive Producer and Social Impact Director for Kana Television, tackles the still archaic view of race here in the U.S.

The press release about the documentary notes that “The Loving Generation tells the story of how a generation of Americans born to one black and one white parent experience race and identity in a divided United States.” The film takes its title from the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country, and focuses on people born between 1965 and 1985. The documentary is the “first series of its kind to train a lens on this particular generation of Americans, many of whom have become recognized leaders in their respective fields.”

Mehret shares that The Loving Generation has been nominated for The Webby People’s Voice Award and voting by the public is currently underway. According to its website the award, which the New York Times has dubbed “The Internet’s highest honor,” recognizes 7 categories of media projects including websites, video, apps, games, and podcasts. “Members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of The Webby Awards,” states the award website. “In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. Each year, The Webby People’s Voice Awards garners millions of votes from all over the world.”

You can learn more and vote for ‘The Loving Generation’ at https://vote.webbyawards.com.

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Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List

The Pen America reading list includes Maaza Mengiste's novel 'Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.' (Photo: Pen)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 9th, 2019

Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List By PEN America

New York (TADIAS) — PEN America has released a great reading list, which includes Maaza Mengiste’s novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, in preparation for its upcoming book talk highlighting a new anthology on refugee lives. The anthology titled The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives features a collection of writings by 17 refugee writers compiled by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and includes a submission by Ethiopian American author Maaza Mengeste.

According to PEN: “As a response to President Trump’s 2017 action of closing borders from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Viet Thanh Nguyen edited a collection of eclectic refugee voices to refute stereotypes. With essential voices from around the globe, this clamorous assortment of essays reminds readers of our cosmopolitan society and the need to maintain empathy with our global neighbors.”

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: A Novel, Maaza Mengiste

“This historical fiction shines light on the Ethiopian revolution of the 1970s—a moment often glossed over in the Western world—while crafting a gripping original story. Mengiste contrasts mellifluous, emotive language with grandiose, often grotesque, depictions of civil war. A tribute to the importance of love and family even in the grimmest times, this novel is a testament to human resilience.”

Maaza Mengiste. (Photo: M.M.LaFleur)

Maaza, whose upcoming second novel The Shadow King is scheduled to be released in September 2019, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Maaza is also the “writer for the Ethiopia segment of GIRL RISING,” a feature film that tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 developing countries around the world. Maaza’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International.

If You Go:
PEN Out Loud: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Maaza Mengiste
Friday, April 26, 2019 at 7:00PM
Strand Book Store
Rare Book Room, 3rd Floor
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Click here to buy tickets

Timely New Book ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ by Owner of Buunni Cafe

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Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day

Ethiopian Airlines has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3, 2019. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines has been selected as the official carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day conference that will take place in Addis Ababa next month. This year’s conference will mark the first time in the event’s 26-year history that it will be held in Ethiopia.

According to UNESCO — the organizer of the annual international conference collaborating jointly with the Ethiopian Government and the African Union Commission — the theme of this year’s gathering is aptly titled Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.

UNESCO has announced that the two-day conference will be held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa from May 2-3, 2019.

UNESCO notes that the event “will serve as an opportunity to explore and discuss new issues and obstacles facing the press in electoral times, as well as the media’s capacity to help build a culture of peace and reconciliation. The Day will also examine concerns such as the safety of journalists (both online and offline), and how we can better push back against a growing climate of disinformation.”

Ethiopian Airlines, the event’s designated carrier, anticipates providing transport service for more than a thousand guests from around the world who are traveling to Addis for the meeting. “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.”

The announcement from UNESCO adds that “the main celebration in Addis Ababa will feature two plenaries, various breakout sessions, a youth newsroom, a photo exhibition, a cartoon exhibition, and a film screening. In addition, UNESCO in collaboration with a local university is organizing its annual Academic Conference on the safety of journalists.” There will also be pre-conference events organized by partner organizations on May 1st, 2019. As the World Press Freedom Day conference is underway in Addis Ababa UNESCO says that there will also be simultaneous events held across the globe.

For Ethiopia the conference signifies a remarkable change in just over 12 months, from having a reputation of being one of the “worst jailers of journalists in the world” to hosting World Press Freedom Day. It is worth emphasizing that at the present moment there are no journalists in prison in Ethiopia.

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Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream

Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed last Sunday outside the Marathon clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: "The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage." (Getty Images)

The Atlantic


Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »

How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots

Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)


Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »

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Timely New Book ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ by Owner of Buunni Cafe

Author Sarina Prabasi and her husband Elias Gurmu at their coffee shop Buunni Cafe in NYC. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 31st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Timely, funny, and poignant the new book The Coffeehouse Resistance is “part coming-to-America story, part lyrical memoir, and another part activist’s call to action.”

We featured the book’s author Sarina Prabasi and her husband Elias Gurmu in 2014 in an interview at their Manhattan-based speciality coffee shop Buunni Cafe, which they had opened soon after the couple moved to New York from Addis Ababa in 2012.

The book launch announcement adds: “When Prabasi and her husband move from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to New York City with their young daughter in 2011, they start a thriving coffee business, grow their family, and live their American Dream. After the 2016 election, they are suddenly unsure about their new home. Reclaiming the tradition of coffeehouses throughout history, their coffeehouses become a hub for local organizing.”

As Elias says: “In Ethiopia we don’t talk about coffee, we talk around a coffee gathering.”

“This is a book we all need right now – a powerful memoir of a mother, business woman and activist who tells a coming-of-age story around the idea of coffeehouses as a nexus of family, community, and political action,” shares a reader of The Coffeehouse Resistance giving it a thumbs up under the community review section on goodreads.com. “It is a beautiful story that crosses multiple cities and covers various significant times in the author’s life,” adds another reviewer. “I very much enjoyed how coffee served as backdrop and connector weaving together various chapters of the story…learning about the culture of coffee in Ethiopia. The themes of home, love, connectedness, and optimism shine through.”

The book launch party is scheduled for April 9th at the newest Buunni location in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood.

If You Go:
Launch Party: The Coffeehouse Resistance
Buunni Coffee
4961 Broadway, New York, NY 10034
Click here to RSVP

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Anti-stall System ‘Caused Ethiopia Crash’

Boeing anti-stall system 'caused Ethiopia crash,' according to investigators looking into a B-737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 on March 10th, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. (Photo: Airplane part at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa/Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)


Updated: MARCH 29, 2019

WASHINGTON – Investigators looking into a Boeing 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people have reached a preliminary conclusion that an anti-stall system was activated before the plane hit the ground, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the matter.

U.S. safety investigators have reviewed data from the “black boxes” that were aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, four people briefed on the investigation told Reuters on Thursday. A preliminary report is expected as early as next week, the U.S. officials said.

The plane crashed on March 10 shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.

Investigators of a deadly 737 MAX crash in Indonesia in October have also focused on the new anti-stall system, called MCAS. Boeing on Wednesday said a planned software fix would prevent repeated operation of the system that is at the centre of safety concerns.

Boeing’s fastest-selling 737 MAX jet, with orders worth more than $500 billion at list prices, has been grounded globally by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators, although airlines are still allowed to fly them without passengers to move planes to other airports.

The manufacturer said it had developed a training package that 737 MAX pilots are required to take before the worldwide ban can be lifted, proposing as it did before two deadly crashes that those pilots do not need time on flight simulators to safely operate the aircraft.

On Thursday, a lawsuit against Boeing was filed in Chicago federal court by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The lawsuit alleges that Boeing had defectively designed the automated flight control system. Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuit.

The amount and quality of training that Boeing and airlines provided to 737 MAX pilots is one of the issues under scrutiny as investigators around the world try to determine the causes of two 737 MAX crashes within five months.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Boeing’s development process and what Boeing disclosed about MCAS.

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Monday that a new blue ribbon commission will review how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new aircraft.

U.S. and European regulators knew at least two years before the Indonesian crash that the usual method for controlling the 737 MAX’s nose angle might not work in conditions similar to those in two recent disasters, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a document.

The European Aviation and Space Agency (EASA) certified the plane as safe in part because it said additional procedures and training would “clearly explain” to pilots the “unusual” situations in which they would need to manipulate a rarely used manual wheel to control, or “trim,” the plane’s angle.

Those situations, however, were not listed in the flight manual, according to a copy from American Airlines seen by Reuters. Boeing declined to comment on the EASA document.

NEW: Lawsuit Filed Against Boeing in U.S. Federal Court

Ethiopian official says plane crash report due this week

AP photo

The Associated Press

By Elias Meseret | AP March 26

Ethiopian official says plane crash report due this week

ADDIS ABABA — A preliminary report on a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people will be made public soon, but it may take months to finish the final report, a spokesman for the country’s transport ministry said.

“A date has not been set but it will be released later this week,” Mussie Yiheyis told The Associated Press Tuesday, adding that a high-ranking government official will announce the preliminary result.

“The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, France’s BEA and an Ethiopian Transport Ministry department have been conducting the investigation,” he said. “It has been conducted as per International Civil Aviation Organization rules and regulations.”

On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the pilots who flew the plane that crashed on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, had trained on “all appropriate simulators,” rejecting reports that they had not been adequately prepared to handle the new aircraft.

There is speculation that the software could have contributed to the crash as well as to the crash of another Boeing 737 Max, a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October.

Regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths shortly after take-off, an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max 8 planes around the world.

The preliminary report could come as early as Wednesday, the date that the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee has scheduled a public hearing on federal oversight of airline safety. Daniel Elwell, acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator; Calvin Scovel, the Transportation Department inspector general who is investigating approval of the Max; and Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, are scheduled to testify, but not anyone from Boeing.

Senators’ questions likely will focus on how much the FAA knew about anti-stall software on the Max that was not disclosed to airlines and pilots until after the Lion Air crash, and why it approved the software. It’s the focus of investigations into both crashes because it automatically points down the nose of the plane to avoid an aerodynamic stall, and there’s evidence that pilots of both jets struggled to deal with it.

The New York Times reported Monday that pilots from five airlines tested current and updated software on a Boeing flight simulator. During a test that recreated conditions on the Lion Air flight, the pilots had less than 40 seconds to override the software before the plane uncontrollably plunged toward Earth, the newspaper said, citing two unidentified people involved in the testing.

Pilots can flip one switch to reverse a move by the software to point the nose down, and they can disable the software by flipping two switches at their knees.

Pilots involved in the simulator testing followed those steps and kept the plane under control using the current anti-stall software, the newspaper reported. The Lion Air pilots, on the other hand, had received little training on the system and it was only after the plane crashed that Boeing first notified pilots of the system’s existence.

Jason Goldberg, a pilot who has flown the Max 8 and is spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, said the anti-stall system “has significant control over the aircraft — it can pitch the nose down very significantly.”

He said it was “inexcusable for Boeing to omit this information from the pilot manuals for training. It’s a serious breach of trust.”

American Airlines has taken its 24 737 Max 8 planes out of the schedule at least through April 24.

On Saturday, Boeing confirmed that updated software will rely on data from more than one sensor before it automatically pushes the nose down. The system won’t repeatedly lower the nose as it seemed to do with Lion Air, and the software-controlled movement won’t be as abrupt. The update must be approved by the FAA and other countries’ regulators.

“We’re hopeful that Boeing will come up with a fix, but the process can’t be rushed,” Goldberg said.

He wouldn’t discuss Saturday’s simulator testing but said the union is pleased that Boeing and the FAA are taking input from pilots in testing the fix.

Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, had been using five of the Max 8 planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more. The airline has not made a decision on whether or not to cancel that order.

Boeing has invited more than 200 pilots, technical experts and regulators to its factory in Renton, Washington, for a briefing Wednesday on the software update.

Tom Krisher in Detroit and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing in US
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award

Ethiopian Airlines emerged as the ‘African Champion of the year‘ at the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum, which is taking place in Kigali from March 25, 2019. Ethiopian Airlines was awarded for their intra-african partnerships, reaching 40 countries on the continent, the Africa CEO Forum said in a statement.

By Africa-OnTheRise

Ethiopian Airlines hailed as “African Champion of the year” at Africa CEO Forum Awards 2019

Ethiopian Airlines won the accolade of ‘African Champion of the year‘ at Africa CEO Forum Awards 2019 for their intra-african partnerships, reaching 40 countries on the continent. The award was received by the airline’s CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam.

“I would like to start by thanking everyone who has supported us after the tragic accident that happened to us two weeks ago. We promise to keep up the good work for the good of the African continent,” Gebremariam said in his acceptance speech.

Ethiopian Airlines Chief Questions Max Training Requirements
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Dallas Doctor From Ethiopia Uses Homeland Words in Practice

In this Jan. 28, 2019 photo, from left, physical therapist Binu Aramath helps Wegayehu Cheko with her leg movements as Neurologist Mehari Gebreyohanns and Cheko's daughter Hareg Wolde watch at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Chekol is from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and is recovering from a stroke she had last September. (The Dallas Morning News via AP)

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS – When Hareg Wolde arrived in the emergency room to see her mother, doctors gave her grave news. Her mother had suffered a massive stroke, they said, and she might not live through the night.

The Dallas Morning News reports Wolde was shocked. Just the day before, her mother, 68, had been strong and limber. She had climbed up and down the stairs of their Garland house with ease, cooked meals and cared for Wolde’s two young children. Now she lay unconscious, her right side paralyzed.

The situation would be upsetting for anyone. But Wolde, who is originally from Ethiopia, felt bewildered. Not only had she never heard of a stroke, but her native language, Amharic, has no term to describe the world’s second leading cause of death.

Her predicament is not uncommon in Dallas. Amharic is the fourth most commonly spoken language at Parkland Hospital after English, Spanish and Vietnamese. North Texas is home to as many as 40,000 Ethiopian immigrants and one of the fastest growing African-born populations in the United States.

Language and cultural barriers contribute to poorer health among immigrants and ethnic minorities, said Dr. Mehari Gebreyohanns, a neurologist with UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. Like Wolde, Gebreyohanns was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

To help improve outcomes, Gebreyohanns introduced a new term in Amharic for stroke: ye-angol tikat, or “brain attack.”

In January, he published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing that found broad support for the new term among Amharic speakers in North Texas.

The term “brain attack” benefits native English speakers, too, he said.

“‘Stroke’ is a very abstract term for people,” said Gebreyohanns, who sees patients at Parkland and at the neurology-focused Zale Lipshy University Hospital. “They have heard the term ‘stroke,’ but still when they come here they ask me, ‘What happened? Is it my heart?’”

When he saw Wolde later that first day, Gebreyohanns used ye-angol tikat to explain what had happened to her mother.

“It draws a very nice parallel with ‘heart attack,’” he said.

In a heart attack, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart become blocked, damaging the heart muscle. In a stroke, blood vessels supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain become blocked or rupture, killing brain cells.

He told Wolde that the parts of her mother’s brain that control movement and speech had been damaged.

“But don’t worry, I will be with you. She will get treatment,” he told her, Wolde recalled.

Hareg Wolde helps her mother Wegayehu Chekol with the assistance of physical therapist Binu Aramath during a physical therapy session at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Chekol is from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and is recovering from a stroke she had last September. (Carly Geraci/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

A word for ‘stroke’ never developed in Ethiopia because the country has faced widespread poverty, instability and a shortage of doctors to educate the public.

Gebreyohanns left the country in 1986 when he was 19 after surviving The Red Terror, a reign of persecution by its communist regime.

“They would take young people from their homes and kill them,” he said. “Many times, they would leave the body in the streets all day. We’d be walking as kids and we’d see bodies in the street.”

He lost two of his brothers during that period.

Gebreyohanns arrived in the United States alone on a student visa. He worked a variety of jobs to save for tuition and rent, including as a bell man at the Sheraton Dallas. He graduated from Georgia State University and then Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999.

Now he is taking his stroke education campaign to Ethiopia. Last summer, he launched a partnership between UT Southwestern and a large regional hospital in the northern city of Bahir Dar. The hospital serves 7 million people but has no neurologists on staff and lacks basic brain-scanning equipment.

Under the partnership, UT Southwestern experts will teach local medical personnel in Bahir Dar the basics of neurology and, each year, will send doctors and doctors-in-training to help care for patients there. There are also plans to establish a resource center for autism, which Gebreyohanns said appears to be unusually common now in Ethiopia. The center would provide care for autistic children and partner with UT Southwestern neurologists on studies of the condition’s genetics.

Gebreyohanns has also been in touch with Ethiopia’s health ministry about launching a public education campaign around stroke.

Explaining strokes to rural populations in Ethiopia comes with extra challenges, he said.

“First, you have to explain it’s not something caused by a spirit,” he said. “You have to say, ‘This is a real organic disease.’ Then you have to explain it’s in the brain. Then you have to teach them it’s the blood vessels in the brain.”

He has launched a similar campaign in Dallas, speaking on Amharic radio programs and making presentations about stroke warning signs and risk factors at local gatherings and at holiday feasts.

Had her mother fallen ill in Addis Ababa, said Wolde, her relatives may not have taken her to a doctor. Instead, she might have seen a priest and received holy water.

“People think it’s devil stuff,” she said. “Nobody has this kind of knowledge.”

Here, her mother recuperated at Parkland for several weeks before coming home and continuing physical therapy.

“She will be fine,” said Wolde, managing a smile after helping her mother through a grueling workout.

“If people know (about strokes), they will rush to take them to a hospital,” said Wolde. “That’s a good thing.”

Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com. This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Dallas Morning News

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Ethiopian Airlines Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines is pushing back against recent U.S. media reports that sought to cast doubt on the pilot training standard of Africa’s oldest and best-managed airline.

In the wake of the March 10th crash of Flight ET302 — that is hauntingly similar to the tragedy involving another Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia a few months prior — Ethiopian airlines has expressed its disappointment and frustration that U.S. mainstream news outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, are seeking to shift blame to Ethiopia’s flag carrier and its award-winning and longstanding pilot training program. It is worth noting that Ethiopian airlines has a 75-year history as a customer of Boeing.

“Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes all the baseless and factually incorrect allegations written in The Washington Post dated March 21, 2019,” the Airline said in a press release referring to a headline in The Post titled: Ethiopian Pilots Raised Safety Concerns Years Before Fatal Crash, Records Show. “All the allegations in the article are false defamations without any evidence, collected from unknown and unreliable sources and meant to divert attention from the global grounding of the B-737 MAX airplanes.” The Washington Post article had cited a 2015 complaint “filed before the Max 8 was in use” with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration by an unnamed Ethiopian pilot claiming dissatisfaction about an “allegedly flawed training programs and poor safety procedures.”

Ethiopian airlines responded that it: “operates with one of the highest global standards of quality and safety performances certified by all National, Regional and International regulators like the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the FAA, EASA, IOSA and ICAO and other national regulatory authorities,” adding that “Ethiopian is one of the leading global airlines with modern fleet, high standards of infrastructure, highly automated with the latest ICT (information and communication technology) and one of the most modern operating systems.”

The airline also shared that it “has seven full flight simulators (Q-400, B-737NG, B-737 MAX, B-767, B-787, B-777 and A-350) to train its pilots and other airlines pilots” and “has invested more than half a billion dollars in infrastructure just in the last 5 years, which is not common for a typical airline.”

All B-737 MAX airplanes have since been temporarily grounded globally while investigators continue their probe on the cause of ET 302 tragic crash.

Ethiopian Airlines also criticized The New York Times for its headline that declared: Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training.

“Ethiopian Airlines expresses its disappointment on the following wrong reporting of the @nytimes,” the airline answered on Twitter tagging the newspaper. “The pilots had also been made aware of, and well briefed on the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA following the Lion Air accident.” Ethiopian Airlines emphasized that “the content of the airworthiness directive has also been well incorporated in all pilot training manuals, operational procedures and working manuals” and further noting that “the B-737 MAX full flight simulator is not designed to simulate the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) problems.”

Ethiopian Airlines had previously emphasized that the pilot in command of ET302, Captain Yared Getachew, was an experienced pilot who had accumulated 8,100 hours of flying time.

In its press statement Ethiopian airlines urged “all concerned to refrain from making uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation. International regulations require all stakeholders to wait patiently for the final result of the investigation.”

Ethiopian Airlines chief questions Max training requirements (AP)
Ethiopian Airlines was a symbol of national pride. Then disaster struck (CNN)
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Spotlight: The Haile-Manas Academy, A New World Class School in Ethiopia

Image from a video introducing the upcoming Haile-Manas Academy, co-founded by Ethiopian American author & philanthropist Rebecca Haile, pictured above as a child in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When the Haile-Manas Academy (HMA) opens its doors in Debre Birhan in 2020 it will be be among the top high schools in Ethiopia featuring international-standard curriculum and a brand new educational facility.

The private school is co-founded by Lawyer, Mother, Author and Businesswoman Rebecca Haile whose work we first featured in Tadias in 2007 when she published her memoir titled Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia.

“The Academy will be a world-class co-educational secondary boarding school for 400 students of promise recruited from across the country and admitted without regard to financial circumstances,” says Rebecca. “It will be a model school in and for Ethiopia – the first of its kind.”

Rebecca, who lives in New York City, says she is inspired, like many Ethiopians around the world, by Ethiopia’s new-found optimism and sense of collective civic responsibility ushered in by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“The timing is right for this transformative undertaking,” states the website for the Ethiopia Education Initiatives (EEI), the U.S.-based organization that’s overseeing the building of the high school. “With a GDP of just $783 per person (PPP $2,100), Ethiopia is burdened with an antiquated education system, yet it has the world’s fastest growing economy in 2018, and a population of over 105 million with a median age of just 18.” EEI adds: Ethiopia is ready to transform itself into a regional leader and economic powerhouse – but Ethiopia’s young people, its greatest asset, must be equipped to forge the way forward. An investment in the Haile-Manas Academy is an investment in Ethiopia’s future – in educating its future leaders and its most engaged and impactful citizens.”

The official ground-breaking for the Haile-Manas Academy was held three months ago and “guests included government officials, community leaders, representatives from various organizations” as well as Rebecca’s friends and family.

“Beyond the ceremony, it was exciting to see a couple hundred construction employees working in parallel on over a dozen school buildings, many of which are already at first floor level,” Rebecca shares. “We are making great progress!”

For Rebecca, who is the daughter of Professor Getatchew Haile — one of the foremost experts in the ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez — her passion for education come naturally.

“It certainly wasn’t easy to be a refugee, to start completely over in a new country (central Minnesota to be precise),” she writes on the EEI website. “But for me, and for my sister and fellow board member Sossina, education was the key that unlocked every door. We had access to excellent schools and generous scholarship programs ensured that if we worked hard we could take advantage of every opportunity we qualified for.”

Ethiopian architect Fasil Giorghis is one of the project leaders helping to build the HMA campus with “beautiful, contextually appropriate buildings and a focus on local materials and sustainability,” says Rebecca who co-founded the school together with her husband, businessman Jean Manas, also an immigrant to the US. “In October 2018 we engaged Rama Construction, a top contractor. Along the way, we sought and received the support and good counsel of innumerable people in the U.S. and in Ethiopia, as well as critical financial commitments.”

The Board of Directors of EEI include Rebecca’s sister, world renown academic scientist Dr. Sossina Haile, as well as Former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, Reuben Brigety; Mr. Jean Manas, Chairman of the Board; Dr. Liben Hailu, Chief Technology Officer at Duracell, a Berkshire Hathaway Company; and Ms. Caroline Brown, founder at Brown & Peisch, formerly Partner at Covington & Burling, LLP.

Below is a video narrated by Rebecca Haile introducing The Haile-Manas Academy and the inspiration behind the new school:

HMA Anthem from Haile Manas Academy on Vimeo.

You can learn more about The Haile-Manas Academy and support the Ethiopia Education Initiatives at ethiopiaeducationinitiatives.org

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Filmmaker & Actor Leelai Demoz Named Associate Artistic Director at Steppenwolf

Filmmaker and Actor Leelai Demoz. (Photo: PerformInk Chicago)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 18th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Filmmaker & Actor Leelai Demoz has been appointed as Associate Artistic Director at the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

According to PerformInk “Demoz is a founding partner of Small Ax, a digital production company/agency based in Venice, California, where he produced the award-winning film “DIFRET” (2014 Sundance World Cinema and 2014 Berlin Panorama Audience Awards).”

“When I was a young actor growing up in the Chicago area, acting meant only one thing: Steppenwolf Theatre. The members of the ensemble epitomized the craft and art of acting. So to be cast in “The Grapes of Wrath” and playing the National Theatre in Great Britain as a 20-year-old was a life-changing experience.” Demoz said. “Now, after a career as a film and television producer in NY and Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to be considered for this job. I can’t think of a better place than Steppenwolf to be collaborating with so many artists who are asking fundamental questions about our community and our world. I look forward to bringing my experience, energy, passion, naiveté, and unbridled enthusiasm to my new position. I thank the Board, the staff, David Schmitz, and Anna Shapiro for this incredible opportunity. When I was acting, I was always asking the question ‘Who am I?’ Now I am most interested in the question, ‘Who are we?’ To quote Anna, I’m ready to ‘get in here.’”

“Leelai Demoz is a talented producer, administrator, artist and film maker,” says Executive Director David Schmitz. “With his variety of professional experiences, he will immediately add value to the range of projects happening at Steppenwolf at any given moment. As a department head and leader of the artistic office at Steppenwolf, he will be collaborating throughout our organization and our community, and I am thrilled that he is joining our talented staff.”

PerformInk notes that Leelai was “nominated for an Academy and Emmy Award for the documentary film “On TipToe,” which is a profile of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and was directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Eric Simonson. His other work has been seen on MTV, Discovery, Travel Channel and BET. He also directed a set of ‘get out the vote’ public service announcements for the Clinton Foundation featuring LL Cool J and Alicia Keys.” Demoz also currently serves as a Board member for The Schoolhouse Foundation and Action Civics California.

Interview with Filmmaker Leelai Demoz (2009)

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UPDATE: Flight ET302 Black Box Review

A priest cries at a mass funeral at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Thousands of Ethiopians have turned out to a mass funeral ceremony in the capital one week after the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash. Officials have begun delivering bags of earth to family members of the 157 victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is going to take such a long time. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press


Updated: March 17th, 2019

‘Clear Similarities’ in Boeing Crashes, Ethiopia Minister Says (AP)

ADDIS ABABA — Preliminary information from the flight data recorder of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed a week ago and killed 157 people shows “clear similarities” with an earlier disaster involving the same kind of Boeing aircraft in Indonesia, Ethiopia’s transport minister said Sunday.

The disclosure came as thousands marched in the capital of Addis Ababa, accompanying 17 empty caskets at a funeral for the Ethiopian victims of Flight 302. The caskets were empty because authorities have said that recovering and identifying the remains will take months.

The crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 on March 10 and that of a Lion Air plane in Indonesia in October — both of them Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliners — have prompted the United States and other countries to ground the aircraft.

The flight recorders from Flight 302 that went down shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa for Nairobi were recovered “in a good condition that enabled us to extract almost all the data inside,” Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told reporters.

Information collected so far from the flight data recorder has indicated “clear similarities” between both crashes, she said. Both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were sent to Paris for analysis by the French air accident investigation agency BEA.

Moges did not elaborate on what the similarities were.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration already has said satellite-based tracking data showed that the movements of Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed off Indonesia, killing 189 people.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

Suspicions emerged that faulty sensors and software may have contributed to the crashes.

Moges said the Ethiopian government intends to release detailed findings within a month.

At the memorial service earlier in the day, some of the relatives who marched behind the flag-draped coffins were overcome with grief and fainted.

The service came one day after officials began delivering bags of scorched earth from the crash site to family members of the victims because of the problems with identifying the remains.

Family members said they were given a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) sack of dirt from the crash site. Many relatives already have gone to the dusty field outside Addis Ababa where the plane went down to pay their respects.

Mourner Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.

“He was such a good person,” Bilew said. “He doesn’t deserve this. He was the pillar for his whole family.”

Boeing Black Box Review Begins in France, Aviation World Waits (Reuters)

Men unload a case from a diplomatic car from the Ethiopian Embassy outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. The black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 arrived in France on Thursday. (Reuters photo)


By Richard Lough, Aaron Maasho

Updated: March 15th, 2019

PARIS/ADDIS ABABA – Investigators in France on Friday examined the black boxes of a Boeing 737 MAX that crashed in Ethiopia, as a spooked global airline industry waited to see if the cause was similar to a disaster in Indonesia months before.

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa last weekend, killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving Boeing’s flagship new model after a jet came down off Indonesia in October with 189 people on board.

In both cases, pilots asked to return minutes into flight.

The international repercussions are huge. Regulators have grounded the 737 MAX around the world, and the U.S. planemaker has halted next deliveries of the several thousand planes on order for a model intended to be the future industry workhorse.

Parallels between the twin disasters have frightened travelers worldwide and wiped almost $28 billion off Boeing’s stock market value.

U.S. aviation authorities say information from the wreckage in Ethiopia plus newly-refined data about its flight path indicated some similarities.

Two sources said investigators retrieved from the wreckage a piece of a stabilizer, which moves the nose up and down, that was set in an unusual position – one similar to that of the Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia.

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash interactive – tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)


Pilots were waiting anxiously for the investigation.

“Looking at the crash site photos, the aircraft appears to have nose-dived,” Paul Gichinga, former head of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, told Reuters.

“The pilot must have gotten some sort of indication that maybe the airspeed was unreliable or something and decided, instead of climbing and going to sort out the problem up there, the best thing was to return to have it sorted.”

Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker, has said the 737 MAX is safe, though it plans to roll out a software upgrade in the coming weeks. It continued to produce at full speed at its factory near Seattle, but paused shipments.

French authorities have possession of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, though Ethiopia is formally leading the investigation and U.S. experts are in Paris and Addis Ababa too.

First conclusions could take several days.

The New York Times said the Ethiopian captain, Yared Getachew, initially reported a “flight control” problem in a calm voice before asking to return in panicked tones three minutes into the flight. “Break break, request back to home,” he told controllers, the newspaper reported, citing a person who had reviewed the communications.

The jet initially flew below the minimum safe height for its climb, then once at higher altitude was oscillating up and down by hundreds of feet, all at abnormal speed, the Times said. It then disappeared from radar over a restricted military zone and lost contact with air controllers five minutes after take-off.


In Ethiopia, grieving relatives have been visiting the charred and debris-strewn field where the jet came down to pay last respects. Only fragments remain, meaning it may take weeks or months to identify all the victims who came from 35 nations.

Some families stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday complaining about lack of information.

Israeli Ilan Matsliah flew to Ethiopia hours after confirming his brother was on board, thinking it would be quick to find remains for burial in accordance with Jewish tradition.

“More than 24 hours is a problem for us. But I have been here for more than 96 hours,” the 46-year old told Reuters.

“We are now stuck in the same place, the same as Monday. We are very emotional.”

With heightened global scrutiny, the head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee said a report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up for release in July or August.

A preliminary report focused on maintenance, training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor.

As the ripple-effect from the Ethiopia crash spread, Canada’s biggest carrier Air Canada suspended financial forecasts for the first quarter and the year, two days after its MAX jets were grounded. It had expected the MAX to deliver significant savings on fuel and maintenance costs.

A potential new Chinese order for more than 100 jets worth well over $10 billion was thrown into doubt.

Legal experts said even non-U.S. families of the Ethiopia victims may be able to sue Chicago-based Boeing in the United States – where payouts are larger – as eight of the dead were American and plaintiffs may argue liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by executives.

Boeing, one of the biggest companies by market capitalization on the Dow Jones and a darling of the market, has seen its shares lose 13 percent since the crash.

Its shares had hit record highs just a week before, having risen a stunning 52 percent since the end of December, and were still up 19 percent year-to-date.

‘My child! My brother!’: As mourners gather at Ethiopian Airlines crash site, an agonizing search for remains (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia to Send Plane’s Black Box Abroad, as Grief Grows (AP)

Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)



Updated: March 13th, 2019

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Asrat Begashaw said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments. “What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said. An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

An aviation expert says investigators can expect to find multiple factors as they look for the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157. The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the latest version of the widely used jetliner. (March 11)

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

The U.S.-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Asrat, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, told the AP that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.

The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has identifying them should take five days.

More devastated families arrived at the crash site on Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.

‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash

The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were discovered on Monday. (Photo: Rescuers work at the scene of the crash near Debre Zeit on Monday, March 11, 2019/AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The “black box” voice and data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Sunday have now been recovered. Recovery of the voice and data recorders may help investigators find out the cause of the plane’s crash shortly after the pilot sent a distress call and given permission to return to the airport.

Officials have reported that there are no survivors from the flight that crashed near Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) and carried 157 people including Ethiopian Airlines crew on its way to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

“The flight data recorder (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second, while the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) preserves the recent history of the sounds in the cockpit, including the conversation of the pilots,” explains Wiki. “The FDR and CVR give an accurate testimony, narrating the aircraft’s flight history, to assist in any investigation.”

Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

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Flight ET302 Black Box Review Begins

Men unload a case from a diplomatic car from the Ethiopian Embassy outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. (Reuters photo)


By Aaron Maasho, Leigh Thomas

Updated: March 17th, 2019

Experts begin examining Ethiopia jet cockpit recorder

PARIS/ADDIS ABABA – Investigators hunting for the cause of the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed all 157 people on board have begun studying the cockpit voice recorder, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said on Saturday.

Experts say it is too soon to know what brought down the Boeing 737 MAX 8 on March 10, but aviation authorities worldwide have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAXs, as concerns over the plane caused the company’s share price to tumble.

A spokesman for the BEA agency said downloading the data from the recorder retrieved from wreckage was expected to take four to five hours. The BEA also issued a photo showing the recorder intact but dented by the impact of the plane’s crash into a field minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

“We are waiting for the results. We are making all the necessary efforts to identify the cause of the accident,” Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges told reporters in Addis Ababa.

“This kind of investigation needs considerable amount of time to reach concrete conclusions”.

The Ethiopian carrier said DNA testing of the remains of the people on board flight 302 may take up to six months, and it offered bereaved families charred earth from the plane crash site to bury. Passengers from more than 30 nations were aboard.

Dagmawit said temporary death certificate had been given, and a final one would be issued in two weeks time. Collection of DNA samples from relatives had begun.

Victim identification would be done to scientific international standards, and internationally-recognised organisations such as Interpol were going to be involved in the process, she said.

As families wait for the results from the investigation, Ethiopian Airlines is planning to hold a service on Sunday in Addis Ababa, at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, where many of the country’s past rulers are buried beneath its pink stone spires.


“We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organise,” said one family member who asked not to be named.

Papers given to the families at the Skylight Hotel on Saturday said death certificates would be issued within two weeks, and an initial payment made to cover immediate expenses.

The return of remains – most of which are charred and fragmented – would take up to six months, the papers said, but in the meantime earth from the crash site would be given.

Abdulmajid Sheriff, a Kenyan whose Yemeni brother-in-law died, said the family had already held a service.

“We are Muslims we didn’t care about that (earth). We did yesterday our prayers at the mosque and that is all for us.”

Around 100 relatives, including the brother and father of pilot Yared Getachew, gathered at a memorial for the victims at the Kenyan embassy.

“His dream was to be a pilot,” said Meno Getachew Tessema, 39, Yared’s brother. “He was diligent, hardworking, he had a consistent work ethic. I would like to emphasize his record and that he was a rising star at Ethiopian Airlines.”

Flight data has already indicated some similarities with a crash by the same model of plane during a Lion Air flight in October. All 189 people onboard were killed. Both planes crashed within minutes of take off after pilots reported problems.

The grounding of the 737 MAX jets has had no immediate financial impact on airlines using the planes, but it will get painful for the industry the longer they do not fly, companies and analysts said on Friday.

Boeing plans to release upgraded software for the 737 MAX in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said.

The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash.

‘My child! My brother!’: As mourners gather at Ethiopian Airlines crash site, an agonizing search for remains (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia to Send Plane’s Black Box Abroad, as Grief Grows (AP)

Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)



Updated: March 13th, 2019

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Asrat Begashaw said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments. “What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said. An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

An aviation expert says investigators can expect to find multiple factors as they look for the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157. The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the latest version of the widely used jetliner. (March 11)

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

The U.S.-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Asrat, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, told the AP that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.

The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has identifying them should take five days.

More devastated families arrived at the crash site on Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.

‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash

The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were discovered on Monday. (Photo: Rescuers work at the scene of the crash near Debre Zeit on Monday, March 11, 2019/AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The “black box” voice and data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Sunday have now been recovered. Recovery of the voice and data recorders may help investigators find out the cause of the plane’s crash shortly after the pilot sent a distress call and given permission to return to the airport.

Officials have reported that there are no survivors from the flight that crashed near Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) and carried 157 people including Ethiopian Airlines crew on its way to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

“The flight data recorder (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second, while the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) preserves the recent history of the sounds in the cockpit, including the conversation of the pilots,” explains Wiki. “The FDR and CVR give an accurate testimony, narrating the aircraft’s flight history, to assist in any investigation.”

Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

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Africa’s Women Are Rising: OP-ED by President Sahle-Work Zewde (FT)

Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde: for young women particularly, seeing other women in leadership positions and non-stereotypical professions helps to expand their horizons © Getty

Financial Times

By Sahle-Work Zewde

Africa’s women are rising to challenge gender discrimination

Change is sweeping Africa. Systemic barriers to gender equity are falling and a growing number of women leaders are reshaping the continent.

Across the continent, women are increasingly challenging traditional norms by claiming positions of power and influence in our public arenas. Rwanda, Seychelles and my own country of Ethiopia now have cabinets split evenly along gender lines, with some of the most powerful posts occupied by women.

A new generation of African leaders is investing in social and human capital, universal health coverage, education and gender equality. This is a story that’s particularly important to tell as we approach International Women’s Day.

Globally the proportion of seats held in parliament by women has slowly risen from just 12 per cent in 1997 to 24 per cent in 2018. Amid this, a handful of African countries stand out. In Rwanda, over 60 per cent of members of parliament are women, and in Namibia, South Africa, Senegal and Mozambique, at least 40 per cent of parliamentarians are women.

This represents a dramatic shift in representation, inclusion and democratisation of opportunity. For young women particularly, seeing other women in leadership positions and non-stereotypical professions helps to expand their horizons. For institutions and governments, tapping the full potential of their talent pools brings diversity of perspectives and experience when hard decisions must be made.

But to enable more women to serve as leaders, we need to redistribute power and ensure equal pay at work. The International Labour Organization estimates that the gender pay gap is higher in sub-Saharan Africa than any other region in the world.

Gender equality and respect for women’s rights starts at home, where power and wealth are still in the hands of men. Yet women tend to spend more out of household budgets on providing for their families than men do. A report launched today, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, reveals that gender equality in the workplace is still a far cry. The Global Health 50/50 report: Equality Works, which looks at the policies and practices of nearly 200 organisations active in global health, shows that seven out of 10 of such organisations are headed by men.

Read more »

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In Pictures: Girls Gotta Run in Ethiopia

The Girls Gotta Run team in Bekoji Ethiopia. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – In honor of International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated around the world today, we are featuring excerpts from a recent photo-journal from the Bale Mountains authored by Meghan Hicks, Managing Editor of iRunFar, who documented the work of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation in Ethiopia. As Meghan points out, the U.S. nonprofit “awards scholarships to girls and young women in Bekoji to give them elevated access to education, health care, organized run coaching, life-skills development, and more.”

If Bekoji sounds familiar that’s because the town is also home to some of the greatest athletes in the world including Olympic gold medal-winning long-distance runners Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, Derartu Tulu and Fatuma Roba.

In her article below, which includes intimate photographs of the GGRF program participants, Hicks takes us to the inaugural Bekoji 100 Mile Relay that took place this past January.

Jaybird Deep Dive: Bekoji 100 Mile Relay (iRunFar)

The 2019 Bekoji 100 Mile Relay participants at Bale Mountains National Park the day before the relay. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

The sun has just risen, bathing the 48 of us in light the color of a wheat field ready for harvest. The air is cold and dry here at 10,000 feet above sea level, so our warm, damp breaths condense into silvery clouds about our faces as we nervously laugh, take selfies, and jog in place. Our group is composed of 15 teenage girls hailing from the town of Bekoji which is located exactly 100 miles away and where many Ethiopian elite runners train, 27 adult visitors from several countries, and six organizers and coaches. Starting in moments, we’ll all take turns running five-kilometer road segments from here to Bekoji, thereby enacting the inaugural Bekoji 100 Mile Relay…

The tarmac road upon which we run dissects the northern finger of Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park, home to baboons, warthogs, nyala, and dozens of other wildlife species…At about 24 kilometers into the relay’s route, the road crests its high point in the Bale Mountains, at 11,700 feet above sea level. Those of us who are visiting from low altitude are lightheaded and woozy, while the Bekoji girls, who live at 9,000 feet, are almost unaffected. That said, this is the first time the girls have ventured and run this high–or this far from home, for that matter, this is a huge adventure for them. Meskarem, who is running now, just doubled over to vomit on the side of the road.

The Girls Gotta Run team warms up ahead of a speed workout in the grass fields. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

A girl strides it out while warming up for the relay in front of farmlands that are dormant in the dry season. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

GGRF coach Fatia Abdi shrieks in Amharic and the bus screeches to a halt. She and a group of people sprint off the busses and to Meskarem’s side, offering her a sip of water and a couple supportive hands on her back. These mountains are today’s first tangible obstacle…

The GGRF girls are accustomed to obstacles, or at least that which Westerners would perceive as significant challenge: poverty; limited access to pretty much every basic resource such as clean water, clothing, and nutritious food; decreased access to education; it goes on…Describes Kayla, who has been a part of the American nonprofit GGRF since 2011 and who lived in Ethiopia for four of these years to help develop its programs, “Girls face an enormous number of challenges in their personal and social lives, especially around adolescence, including early marriage, dropping out of school, domestic violence, social isolation, limited economic opportunity, and more.” To address this, GGRF provides three-year academic and athletic scholarships to girls starting around age 12 or 13, the average age of early marriage in Bekoji. The program’s goal is to supply girls with the tools they need to successfully navigate their volatile teenagerhood.

“GGRF also works with each girl’s mother,” says Kayla, “to help them gain access to the resources and skills that allow them to support themselves and their daughters in school and otherwise.” In Bekoji, GGRF supplies scholarships and support to 60 girls and their 60 mothers.

The point about GGRF’s run training must be emphasized. Bekoji is a running town. Not everyone runs, but hundreds do and pretty much everyone understands the sport’s national importance. Ethiopian Olympians galore have come from and trained in Bekoji. Think Kenenisa Bekele, Derartu Tulu, and Tirunesh Dibaba, okay? Running is a lifeblood of Bekoji, and a GGRF cornerstone.

“Running has become a space in Ethiopia where women have been able to express power through sport, to create their own educational and economic opportunities nationally,” emphasizes Kayla. “We work with the idea of using sports to renegotiate the norms of what it means to be an adolescent girl in Ethiopia.”

Read more the full article and see photos at irunfar.com »

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Spotlight: Ethiopian Sirak Seyoum Ready to Climb Mount Everest

High altitude climber Sirak Seyoum, photographed in Peru three years ago, is scheduled to climb Mount Everest from April to June 2019. What’s more Sirak’s fundraising will also help Addis Abeba City Administration’s new trust fund to assist street children. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – His goal is to climb to the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth, and plant an Ethiopian flag to exemplify this new era of optimism and change in Ethiopia. If he succeeds Sirak Seyoum, an Electrical Engineer from Nevada and an elite high altitude climber, will become the first Ethiopian to conquer the world’s tallest mountain, which has been in his sights for the past ten years.

Sirak first shared his adventures as an avid mountain climber with Tadias in August 2009. “I knew after climbing my first peak, I have found my passion,” he told us then. “A passion similar to life itself, life doesn’t stop if the going gets hard, we simply rise up and keep moving.”

Reflecting on his aspirations to climb Everest Sirak had vowed: “Practice will be my top priority until the day comes for me to do this mission.”

And practice he has for more than a decade, trekking faraway peaks from Mt. Chopicalqui and Mt. Pisco in South America to White Pinnacle in Nevada, USA. “He is the only Ethiopian who has already conquered so many mountain peaks in some of the remotest parts of the world, where the Ethiopian flag was quietly raised at the highest points of continental regions,” states Sirak’s fundraising page. “He is taking 11 years worth of extreme mountain climbing experience, to the top of the world April-June 2019.”

What’s more Sirak’s fundraising will also help Addis Abeba City Administration’s new trust fund to assist street children.

“As part of the recent socio-political change sweeping through Ethiopia, Addis Abeba City Administration has launched a trust fund that began the work of caring for 2865 street children (as of March 1, 2019) who flood in from regional states with no means for survival,” the announcement said. “Sirak has arranged with the city government to donate 10% of all funds raised to support this initiative.”

You can learn more and support Sirak at www.gofundme.com.

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Spotlight: Ethiopian Movies at New African Film Festival in Maryland

Three new Ethiopian films: Fig Tree, Found in a Dream and Fortuna will be screened at the 2019 New African Film Festival at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Images: Courtesy AFI)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian selections at this year’s New African Film Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland includes three movies from the Diaspora highlighting the diversity of present-day Ethiopian global experience, from being a refugee in Europe to growing up as an adopted child in Australia to an Ethiopian-Israeli story of love and separation during the turbulent 1980s.

In the film Fortuna (French and Amharic with English subtitles), Ethiopian actress Kidist Siyum plays a teenage girl named Fortuna whose family, like thousands of other Ethiopian migrants, had braved the Mediterranean in search of a better life on the other side of the sea. But Fortuna has not heard from her parents since they landed on the shores of Lampedusa, Italy. “Together with other refugees, she is given shelter for the winter in a Catholic monastery in the Swiss Alps,” the filmmakers share in their synopsis. “This is where Fortuna meets Kabir, a 26-year-old refugee with whom she falls desperately in love. Their relationship develops in secret until the day Kabir mysteriously disappears following a police raid.”

Helen Kassa’s Ethio-Australian film Found in a Dream is also slated to screen at the 2019 New African Film Festival. “Set in Australia and Ethiopia, Found in a Dream explores the journey of a young adopted Ethiopian-Australian man struggling to find his path,” the announcement said. “Abeselom (Sammi Obamah) is a drug dealer living in Melbourne. Experiencing isolation and navigating between doing what is right and doing what he must to survive, Abeselom’s world is changed when he meets a young nurse named Netsanet (Netsanet Tefera). Found in a Dream is about love, culture and, ultimately, finding comfort within connection.”

The third film tilted Fig Tree (Ye Shola Zaff) takes place in Addis Ababa at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War in the late 1980s. Fig Tree is directed by Ethiopian-Israeli filmmaker and writer Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian. “Sixteen-year-old Mina (newcomer Betalehem Asmamawe) lives with her brother and grandmother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper,” notes the film summary. “The family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where Mina’s mother awaits. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend, who lives in the woods so as to evade being drafted into Mengistu Haile Mariam’s army. When Mina hatches a scheme to save Eli, everyone and everything seems set against her. Fig Tree offers a rare opportunity to better understand the impact of civil war on the lives of ordinary people — and it pulls no punches.”

Learn more about the New African Film Festival at AFI Silver: https://silver.afi.com.

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The Concept Behind the Adwa Pan-African University: Interview with Dr. Ayele Bekerie

Professor Ayele Bekerie in New York, November 2018. (Tadias photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Establishing the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was a monumental moment in history. It was a nod of acknowledgement for Ethiopia’s maintenance of its independence from colonization as well as its deep support for the decolonization of the African continent. A new university is now being established as Adwa Pan-African University (APAU), and it is envisioned as a timely gift from Ethiopia to Africans worldwide.

The university, which is set to be built on a beautiful 150 acres in the foothills of Adwa, will have a panoramic view of the town’s legendary mountains — where the scene of Ethiopia’s resounding victory against the invading Italian forces occurred on March 1st, 1896. APAU will serve as one of the leading centers of academic research and study exploring contemporary and historical Pan-African issues.

In an interview with Tadias, Professor Ayele Bekerie, who is managing the project, said that the new institution is also a tribute to Ethiopian history and the triumph at Adwa that marked “the beginning of the end of colonization around the continent and beyond.”

“Why are we establishing a university as opposed to a museum? asked Dr. Ayele. “Because university is a place where knowledge is produced; it’s a place where you have a sense of permanency.” He added: “It’s a cultural institution in which we are able to study all issues pertaining to the African people. You research it, write about it, analyze it, critique it, evaluate it and in the process you generate knowledge. And once you have knowledge and data then you can utilize that information to engage and converse with the world on your own terms and with your own original ideas.”

The land for the university was donated “with the generosity of the people of Adwa as well as the regional and federal governments,” Dr. Ayele said. “The Ethiopian government has given us initial seed money of 200 million birr to build the school.” Dr. Ayele pointed out that it’s equally important to mention that the idea to build APAU came from citizens, not the government. “We are also looking at several other sources of local, regional and international funding including partnerships with UNESCO and the African Union.”

Dr. Ayele, who is an Ethiopian-American scholar is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the PhD Program in Heritage Studies as well as Coordinator of International Affairs department at Mekelle University’s Institute of Paleo-Environment and Heritage Conservation. He is also a contributing author in the acclaimed book, One House: The Battle of Adwa 1896 -100 Years, and the author of the award-winning book Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles. Dr. Ayele was back in the U.S. this past fall promoting the concept for Adwa Pan African University among his academic colleagues in the United States and within the Ethiopian community in the New York/Tri-state area. His stops included Cornel University where he was previously an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center before returning to Ethiopia; as well as Columbia University, The Schomburg Center in Harlem, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“Part of my trip here was to recruit scholars that can help us build this momentous institution,” Dr. Ayele told Tadias. “In fact a very prominent Pan-African scholar at Cornell University, who was my former advisor, is willing to come and work with us is in building the curriculum and so it’s those kind of scholars not only from the U.S. but also Africa who are eager to participate and we are happy to attract.”

Dr. Ayele noted that in April 2018 a major international conference was held in Adwa, to discuss the launching of the new university, where invitees included scholars from the United States, Europe and Asia.

“At that conference we identified the key tasks that needed to be carried out in order to bring the establishment of the university into reality,” Dr. Ayele said. “We constituted four committees: on curriculum, architecture, fundraising, as well as documentation and archive.”

Dr. Ayele says this effort also includes identifying existing African cultural centers across the globe. “For instance you have the Mandela Center in South Africa,” notes Dr. Ayele. “You have the Senghor Cultural center in Senegal, you have the Nkrumah and Du Bois cultural centers in Ghana, and they have this fascinating museum that houses Adwa collections at St. Petersburg in Russia, because Russia was an ally of Ethiopia during the battle,” Dr. Ayele continued. “The Russians worked as Red Cross volunteers and were strong supporters of the Ethiopian cause, which the world does not know, and because of that they have an excellent collection from the battle. So this university is going to link itself to all of these various institutions.”

In terms of its curriculum, Dr. Ayele shared that they’ll start with a graduate program and the major fields will focus on humanities, social sciences, information sciences and technology. Dr. Ayele said some scholars who came for the international conference last April also suggested that they include military science primarily “to demonstrate that the battle of Adwa was not a fluke – there was specific military tactics and strategies that were utilized in order to decisively defeat the Italians,” Dr. Ayele emphasized. “So we have to build on that tradition and study the military science of African people.”

Dr. Ayele added that “it is not too difficult to start with a graduate program. In general it requires that you identify Pan-African scholars in the world and ask them to supervise the research work of students who are going to enroll in our program. So we intend to start with Masters and PhD level curriculum, and after that depending on the strength that we have, we’ll start an undergraduate program.”

“The vision is that students will be recruited from all corners of Africa as well as the Diaspora and acceptance will be merit-based,” Dr. Ayele shares. “The center of excellence is Pan-Africanism, meaning defining, analyzing, interpreting and advancing Pan-African issues. So it’s not going to be an ordinary university. It’s going to be a stand-alone institution that will be studying, promoting, protecting and explaining the interest of the African people as well as finding a way for Africans to live in peace with themselves and in peace with the rest of the world. That’s our vision. So when we open this institution we are not going to limit our activities only to Ethiopia, Africa or a particular ethnic group or tribe; we’re going to link ourselves as a member of the globe so it will enable us to think and look at and search for the bigger picture,” Dr. Ayele argued. “That’s very important especially in the context of what’s going on now.” He said: “Because it’s when you start to project yourself beyond your immediate identity that you start to kind of recognize the enormity of your own history and making it richer.”

Ayele reminds us that the first important congress of Pan-Africanism was held in London in 1900, four years after Ethiopia’s victory at the battle of Adwa. “What’s interesting is that immediately after the victory at the Battle of Adwa a Pan-Africanist by the name of Dr. Benito Sylvain — a Haitian who used to live in Paris — traveled to Ethiopia to congratulate Menelik, and had extended an invitation to the Emperor to attend the London conference.” Although Menelik did not travel to England personally he appointed Dr. Sylvain to represent Ethiopia at the gathering. “What’s important here is that 4 years after the victory at the Battle of Adwa you have Ethiopia being engaged in Pan-African issues,” Ayele said. “Of course in those times the most pressing issue was colonialism, and therefore this movement established first to articulate the interests of African people, and then to fight against colonialism. So that particular conference is directly linked to Adwa and there is a historical Pan-African connection there.”

The building of the university is also in line with agenda 2063, which is a resolution passed by the African Union “projecting what kind of people we are going to become, and the kind of unity that we’re going to establish by the 100th anniversary of the AU,” Dr. Ayele explained. “That was resolved during the 50th anniversary of the African Union some few years back. So now we are at a moment where Africans are thinking, critiquing and evaluating what they regard is their place in the world.”

As the concept paper for the university shared with Tadias highlights:

The Battle of Adwa is well documented and its literature can be found in almost all the major libraries of the world. Institutions of higher learning, and in some cases, high schools have incorporated the Battle and its outcome in their curricula. And yet at the very site of the battlefield, in Adwa, there are no battlefield markers, museums, or monuments. Historically, while Adwa signifies resistance and freedom to the people of Africa, Adwa remains unmarked and undeveloped. The historic victory appears to have more significance outside than inside the country. It is therefore critical to capture the dynamics and meanings of the victory at Adwa for posterity and for the generations to come. Hence, there was a widespread call and a succeeding unanimous approval, locally and internationally, for the establishment of Adwa Pan-African University (APAU).

Adwa is the spark for the global Pan-African Movement. Adwa imparts can do-ness and affirms the possible. It is undoubtedly a source of inspiration for anti-colonial struggles. This key symbol of resistance and freedom deserves a permanent institution to document and narrate the Battle. It is therefore necessary to establish an institution that is capable of perpetuating the victory and its Pan-African implications for generations. It is in this context that the need for the establishment of APAU was announced and measures for its implementation were adopted. APAU, which is the first of its kind, strives to immortalize the victory at the 1896 Battle of Adwa. The lessons from the preparation to the Battle, the coming together of virtually all Ethiopians in defense of their country and ultimately their victory remain historic and educational. The lessons are the basis for the establishment of a Pan-African institution of higher learning. Successfully repulsing the colonial aggressor imparts lessons valuable to all freedom lovers in the world.

Ethiopia: The Victory of Adwa, An Exemplary Triumph to the Rest of Africa
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Financial Times Interview With Abiy Ahmed

This is Abiy Ahmed's first one-on-one interview with the international media since he took office as Prime Minister of Ethiopia last April. (Photo: Abiy Ahmed is pushing an agenda of 'privatization with zero corruption' © Aron Simeneh)

The Financial Times

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Africa’s new talisman

It is the compound from which Emperor Menelik II conquered swaths of territory, where Haile Selassie passed judgment until he was toppled by a Marxist revolt in 1974, and from which Meles Zenawi, strongman prime minister until his death in 2012, plotted an Asian-style economic miracle on the Nile.

Surveying the same 40-hectare plot in the centre of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Abiy Ahmed, the most talked-about leader in Africa, sets out his grand plans for transforming Ethiopia…

In Mr Abiy’s first one-on-one interview with the international media since he was catapulted to the premiership last April, he alternates between homespun prophet, hard man and visionary leader. He mixes humour with a tactile arm-grab worthy of LBJ. His sentences, delivered in proficient English, are laced with biblical references, big data and Michael Jackson. Committed to opening up Ethiopia’s closed political system, he is fascinated by the nature of popularity.

“If you change this,” says Mr Abiy, gesturing to the rubble-strewn compound and the rapidly changing skyline in the capital beyond, “you can change Addis. And if you can change Addis, definitely you can change Ethiopia.”

Improving his own surroundings, he says, is a metaphor for the transformation of a country that has, for 15 years, been the best-performing economy in Africa, but whose authoritarian government provoked a sustained popular uprising.

On his first day, he says, he ordered an overhaul of his office. In two months, what had been a dark and austere interior became a blindingly white luxury-hotel-style affair, replete with wall-to-wall videoconferencing screens, modern art and sleek white rooms for cabinet meetings and visiting delegations.

Cluttered storage rooms are now pulsing data banks and the ground floor is a California-style café — white, of course — where the premier’s mostly western-educated young staffers can sit and brainstorm. “I want to make this office futuristic. Many Ethiopians see yesterday. I see tomorrow,” he says. “This place has gone from hell to paradise.”

Read the full article at ft.com »

PM Abiy Ahmed Named Among Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2019

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Quartz Africa on Design Week Addis Ababa

Founder Metasebia Yoseph. (Design Week Addis Ababa)

Quartz Africa

Design Week Addis Ababa wants to turn Ethiopia’s growing economy into a creative one

Addis Ababa is determined to rebrand itself as a global city, with a hi-speed train and high-rise buildings quickly replacing its old-world charm. Part of what will maintain its distinction is the proper recognition of Ethiopia’s historic culture.

And why shouldn’t the city market its culture to the world, and its own citizens, asks Design Week Addis Ababa founder, Metasebia Yoseph.

Yoseph was born and raised in the United States but joined the returning Ethiopian diaspora in 2013. With art history as a major, she came back to gain work experience in the national museum but found that Ethiopia’s cultural and historical artifacts were often neglected. She returned to the US to complete a graduate degree in communication and came back to convince Ethiopian businesses that what they need was a good PR strategy.

It was a hard sell, but the 35-year-old convinced an old family business to start a Facebook page. It was Ethiopia’s weavers, carpenters and your designers reinventing an old craft that she was more interested in selling, though. Local businesses would rather work with suppliers in Dubai or Cape Town “because that is being perceived as the best.”

“This disconnect between the commercial, creative and cultural was really what I was trying to fill the gap in,” she says.

Joseph started Design Week Addis Ababa in 2015, mostly out of her own pocket with one sponsor on board, French beverage giant Castel, who produce Ethiopia’s Rift Valley wine.

This year was a turning point though: political optimism under president Abiy Ahmed has brought more attention to Ethiopia’s capital. Tourism Ethiopia has come on board, designating it as a “destination event,” and Heineken signed up as an event sponsor.

Read more »

Spotlight: Design Week Addis Ababa 2019 (TADIAS)

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Spotlight: Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser’s Library Foundation For Ethiopia

Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser, Founder of the Library Information Foundation For Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: February 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — If it was up to Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser — an Ethiopian-American social entrepreneur in Oakland, California who is the Founder of the Library Information Foundation For Ethiopia (LIFFE) — every child in his native country would have free access to a library and computer within walking distance of their home. The motto on his organization’s website says it all: “A country that reads is a country that leads.”

The vision for the foundation started more than two decades ago. At the time Ahmedin was a recent graduate of Cal State Hayward University where he studied accounting. Soon after graduation he organized a group of friends and enlisted Stanford University to ship 5,000 new books to Addis Ababa University, including his own college textbooks.

Since then Ahmedin’s non-profit organization has opened 22 libraries in Ethiopia, including at Sululta, Dejen, Bethlehem D/Zeyt, and Mekane Iyasus D/Zeyt Secondary Schools, the Future Generation Schools in Kara Kore, Kore Lafto, Mekanisa and Ambo, as well as Azezo Higher Preparatory School in Gondar, Afar Semera University and Kaliti Prison.

Ahmedin who is preparing to go to Ethiopia this month tells Tadias that his next project will focus on opening a library at a high school in Jimma.

Ahmedin’s work to establish libraries across Ethiopia has been compared to that of Andrew Carnegie, albeit without the American steel magnate’s unlimited financial resources. “At the dawn of the 20th Century, wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie began creating his legacy by building libraries across this country,” the CBS owned KPIX-TV in San Francisco enthused in local broadcast featuring Ahmedin’s work a year and half ago. “That’s sort of what Ahmedin Mohammed Nasser has done, but he laughs when asked if he’s a wealthy man.” KPIX added: “His is a legacy created not from the wallet, but from the human heart.”

“Without libraries what have we?,” the late American author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury once famously mused. “We have no past and no future.”

To learn more about Ahmedin’s foundation and get involved please visit www.1liffe.org.

Watch: Oakland Man Sends Books, Computers To Ethiopia, Creating 22 Libraries (KPIX CBS SF Bay Area)

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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Meet the Music Mogul Bringing Motown Back – InStyle

Ethiopia Habtemariam, a first-generation Ethiopian-American, is the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records. This year in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary Ethiopia is releasing a documentary on the legendary American record label. (InStyle)


Ethiopia Habtemariam has been working in the music industry since she was a 14-year-old intern at LaFace Records in Atlanta. After turning that job into a full-time position right out of high school, the wunderkind shot straight to the top. Now, at 39, as the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records, she is one of the most powerful women in music. Habtemariam is respected for her ear (with an impressive roster of signed artists like Justin Bieber, Ciara, and J. Cole) and her resolve. “Anyone I’ve ever signed, I really believe in,” she says. “And either you get it or you catch on eventually.”

Most recently, she was responsible for bringing rap trio Migos to Motown, which helped lead to the label’s new awakening. For Motown’s 60th anniversary this year, she’s releasing a documentary on its soulful roots and building on innovative successes like Netflix’s animated series Motown Magic. “I’m bringing back f—ing Motown,” she says, smiling. “That’s badass. This is the most legendary label in music. When you think about what started in a small neighborhood in Detroit and all its superstars [e.g., the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes] who went on to touch the world with their music — I want to remind people of that.”

Leading lady: “The reality is there aren’t many women or women of color who have ever been presidents of a company,” she says. “Having my family’s support from the beginning was dope because that’s not common for immigrant parents, especially in the music space.” Today, the first-generation Ethiopian-American is determined to link arms with like-minded ladies. “If you’re the only woman in the room, that’s a problem,” she says. “Once you have power and people are listening to your voice, you have to include other women.”

Music to her ears: Corporate meetings play a large part in Habtemariam’s day-to-day schedule, but she still carves out time for what she loves most: finding and developing young artists. “I have to stay close to the music and do the things that feed me,” she says.

Read more »

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Jomo Design at Black Artists & Designers Guild Spring Preview

Jomo Tariku, owner of Jomo Furniture, in New York City on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 showcasing his work during the spring preview hosted by the Black Artist & Designers Guild. (Tadias photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: February 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — From the Nyala chair — inspired by the mountain antelope that is endemic to Ethiopia– to the Kebero and Mukecha stools as well as the Ashanti seats from Ghana and the Maasai chair from Kenya, there is nothing like Jomo design when it comes to contemporary furniture style representing a diverse array of African aesthetics.

Jomo Furniture, founded by Ethiopian American designer and entrepreneur Jomo Tariku, was featured in New York City at the spring preview of the Black Artist & Designers Guild (BADG), which was held on Tuesday, February 12th at Décor NYC in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

“BADG (Black Artists + Designers Guild) is a curated collective of Black Artists and Designers throughout the African diaspora,” states the organization’s website. “We create contemporary art, textiles, furniture, interiors, and architecture for bespoke residential, commercial and hospitality spaces.”

BADG’s site adds that their mission is to “create a global platform showcasing the works of Black Artists + Designers of the African diaspora who are passionate about creating art, home furnishings, interior and exterior spaces around the world.”

In addition to Jomo Furniture the spring preview also included works by Malene B. Atelier (ceramics), Lisa Hunt (fine art), Kelly Marshall (photography), Nasozi Kakembo (textiles), Marie Burgos (furniture), Livvy & Neva (pillows), Sheila Bridges Home (wallpaper), Da Brand (home accessories), and Studio Lani (Lighting).

In 2015 a book published by Thames & Hudson titled, Contemporary Design Africa — the first of its kind — dedicated a section for Jomo’s designs along with fifty artists from Africa and the Diaspora “all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors.”

Jomo tells us that his furniture is available for licensing, and the designs could be manufactured for any potential large orders including “pieces for lodges and hotels as well as any residences that want to create unique spaces.” We couldn’t agree more.

You can learn more about Jomo Furniture at www.jomofurniture.com.

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Spotlight: Generation ‘Anbessa’ New Ethiopia Movie at Berlin Film Festival

'Anbessa' is making its world premier at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2019 Berlin Film Festival is underway this week and the Generation section of the program features a new film from Ethiopia titled Anbessa, which is executive produced by model and humanitarian Gelila Bekele. In the film a young boy from the Ethiopian countryside named Abisef recreates himself as a lionheart hero in response to the unsettling modernization and construction that is altering his life and community forever.

“You know, hyenas aren’t the bad ones,” his mother tells Abisef in one poignant conversation referring to the people from the city who want to buy her home so they can develop condos. “These days it’s humans you should fear.”

In a review titled ‘Anbessa’ Critiques a Country through the Eyes of a Child,’ Redmond Bacon points out that : Anbessa is the Ethiopian word for “Lion” — a creature accorded symbolic status in the country’s mythology. The Lion of Judah, for example, was used on their old imperial flags and currency, and can still be found around the streets of Addis Abeba today. It is also strongly related to Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s defining figure that Abisef often swears by. Thus, by dressing up as a lion and pretending to banish the hyenas — a metaphor for the land dealers who want to take his house — Abisef stands strong as a symbol of the country’s pride under such hardship.”

The website for the 2019 Berlin Film Festival adds: “Abisef and his mother defy the newly-built housing estate which is like all the other ones springing up all over Ethiopia and continue their life within the traditional village community: grazing their animals, tending their gardens and picking fruit off the trees. Abisef’s hut lacks electricity, but the windows of the surrounding high-rises outshine the moon at night. Abisef scours the new city’s streets for electro-junk and builds a spaceship with an engine. His mother recounts ancient legends. Real estate developers buy up more land. Abisef feels increasingly threatened, stalked by the invisible hyena that haunts the area. With a sensitive grasp of her protagonist’s emotional reality, the documentary filmmaker and camerawoman Mo Scarpelli traces Abisef’s transformation into Anbessa, the lion.”

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Meet Ethiopian American Tsion Yared: High School Runner of the Year in Florida

High School student-athlete Tsion Yared has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year. (Photo: Pine Crest School)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 9th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American student athlete Tsion Yared has won the most prestigious award in high school sports. Tsion, a student at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

“The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Yared as Florida’s best high school girls cross country runner,” the press release said. “Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award, Yared joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports.”

“Tsion had a remarkable track season last spring, and that propelled her into her best summer of training and her best cross country season ever,” said Paul Baur, Pine Crest Cross Country and Track & Field Program Head. “Her individual accomplishments are staggering, but how she brought the team together this season — despite our injuries — and to a finish on the podium for the seventh year in a row, will be something her teammates cherish forever.”

According to Pine Crest School, ‏Tsion is “one of only 15 girls to have won three or more Cross Country State Championships in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) history.” The press release added: “Earlier this year, Tsion was named Broward County Runner of the Year by South Florida The Sun Sentinel, and named the 2018 Class 2A Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association.”

The award website also notes that Tsion “has maintained a weighted 4.85 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her senior year of high school this fall.”

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Edelawit Hussien’s New Film Reflects on Her Generation in Ethiopia & Diaspora

Filmmaker Edelawit Hussien. (Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Edelawit Hussien, a 23-year-old Ethiopian filmmaker who is living between New York and Berlin recently shared her upcoming short film with Tadias, which follows three Addis Abeba-based teenagers on a road trip to Lake Langano.

“My work aims to explore dual identity and global exchange motivated by my Ethiopian upbringing within an American context,” Edelawit tells Tadias.

“After graduating from New York University where I studied politics, film, and African studies, I worked within the commercial and branded film sphere before relocating to Berlin to exclusively work on independent filmmaking.”

The film tilted Wallahi, I Will Be Somebody “takes inspiration from the energy of Ethiopia today, a time of excitement and change,” Edelawit adds. “With its growing art community, young people are looking to connect the traditional with the modern as well as build a bridge between Ethiopians within the nation and in the Diaspora. These endeavors have manifested into music, art, fashion, culture and cinema.”

In the short film the three teenagers — Tefera, Omar and Miki — are in an uncertain stage of their lives, “that youth all over the world experience,” explains Edelawit. The film’s Indiegogo page describes how “this uncertainty ranges from how they will make a living, and what kind of life they see for themselves, to how to maintain the joys of their youth.”

According to the project’s website, as the audience, we will also “see how their surrounding affects them as the city evolves and as do the residents. Through a series of vignettes, we are transported in time and space from an elderly couple drinking macchiatos at a Piazza cafe to kids selling toys at a busy roundabout. With poetic moving image chopped throughout the work, the film carries an experimental twist in its meditation on the changing notions of culture, city landscape and societal expectation through an honest look at the youth experience in this evolving time.”

Edelawit shares that the film’s producer is 28-year-old Ethiopian-Swedish Adelia Shiffraw who is currently working in commercial and film production sector in New York City. The filmmaker describes Adelia as an artist who “supports the amplification of minority voices and the preservation of their stories and experiences through film with particular interest in narratives exploring race and representation in a global context.”

Why are they making this particular film?

Edelawit quotes from a play by Suzan-Lori Parks’ noting: “You should write it down because if you don’t write it down then they will come along and tell the future that we did not exist.”

You can learn more about Edelawit Hussien’s new film and support her fundraising campaign at www.indiegogo.com.

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Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Campaign

Addisu Demissie will run the 2020 US Presidential Campaign of Senator Cory Booker. (Photo: 50+1 Strategies)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 4th, 2019

Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

New York (TADIAS) — U.S. Political Consultant Addisu Demissie has been hired to manage the 2020 presidential campaign of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who announced his candidacy for the White House on Friday, February 1st.

Addisu, an Ethiopian American, is a graduate of Yale University as well as the law school. This past November he managed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s winning campaign. In 2016 Addisu was the National Voter Outreach Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Prior to that he successfully led Cory Booker’s election in 2013 as he ran for Senator in New Jersey. Addisu started his campaign management and community mobilization career as the Ohio Get Out The Vote Director for Obama for America in 2008.

Addisu who currently lives in Oakland, California is also the Founding Principal of 50+1 Strategies, a national political consulting firm launched in 2012.

Below is Addisu’s bio courtesy of 50+1 Strategies:

“Addisu’s first love is developing and implementing sophisticated community organizing programs, which he has done during three presidential campaign cycles in 2004, 2008, and 2016. Following President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Addisu was selected as the first National Political Director for the President’s political organization Organizing for America. Later that year, the Washington Post named him one of the “Ten Young Black Aides To Watch” in the Obama Administration. At OFA, Demissie played a key role in mobilizing and coordinating grassroots support for the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federal student loan reform, and the Affordable Care Act. In the years since, Addisu served as Senior Advisor to California Assemblymember David Chiu’s 2011 mayoral campaign; as the general consultant for several California municipal, initiative, and independent expenditure campaigns during the 2012 campaign cycle, and as Campaign Manager for Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) successful special election campaign in 2013. Most recently, as the National Voter Outreach and Mobilization Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Addisu oversaw the development of organizing programs for Democratic base communities and state operations for 37 states. Addisu is a 2001 graduate of Yale University, 2008 graduate of Yale Law School, and a member of the state Bar of California.”

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DC: Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg to Attend the State of the Union Address

Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl, will attend the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of her state's senior U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our interview with Ethiopian children’s book author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, a mother of three boys and a software engineer who works and lives in North Dakota. This week Bethlehem, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl — a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage young girls to aim for careers in the high-tech industry — is in Washington, DC to attend the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, February 5th as a guest of the senior U.S. Senator from North Dakota John Hoeven.

“Bethlehem is doing tremendous work in the Fargo region, helping prepare young women to be the next generation of innovators and tech entrepreneurs,” Senator Hoeven said in a statement. “This aligns with
our efforts to bolster STEM education and continue advancing technology as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth.” The Senator added: “That’s why we featured Bethlehem’s work during our State of Tech conference in 2017 and why we’re so excited to have her in D.C. for this year’s State of the Union address.”

Bethlehem said that she is delighted by the invitation and the attention it will bring to her organization. “It is a great honor to be recognized at the national level for uCodeGirl,” Bethlehem told Tadias. “Our vision is to see a world where the people who create and build technology mirror the people and societies for which they build.”

Bethlehem shares that her organization “inspires and equips young women with leadership traits, computational design thinking skills, aka coding, and entrepreneurial mindset so that they can confidently chart their own pathways to economic independence and become creators of future tech innovations.” She sees this invitation as “a tribute to the young women we serve. They are the heart of our program as well as the coaching and support of women professionals in STEM as mentors.”

The press release from Senator Hoeven noted that “In addition to her work with uCodeGirl, Gronneberg serves on the Governor’s Innovative Education Task Force of North Dakota and as an adjunct instructor of
computer science at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She was recently named the 2018 YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, was honored by the Women Economic Forum, a global conference for women leaders and entrepreneurs, and was a recipient of the 2016 Bush Foundation Fellowship.”

You can learn more about uCodeGirl at www.ucodegirl.org.

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BBC: Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye’s TruLuv Granola in Ethiopia

Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Blayne Tesfaye, Co-Founder of TruLuv Granola, a health food small business based in Ethiopia. (Photo: BBC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — TruLuv Granola is a start-up in Ethiopia that makes and distributes healthy snacks to local businesses including cafes, supermarkets and hotels. Co-Founded by Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye the small venture epitomizes the creative and optimistic spirit of a new generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs who are part and parcel of Ethiopia’s present efforts to reform and revitalize its growing economy.

“Blayne Tesfaye is a woman who means business,” enthused a BBC World News broadcast, Newsday, in a recent highlight. “An Ethiopian-American, she recently quit her job to start a business selling healthy snacks to the people of Addis Ababa.” BBC added: “With her majority female staff, she is excited about the economic opportunities that the government of Abiy Ahmed is helping to create.”

Startup Mentoring — a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany that supports small companies in developing countries — described the idea behind TruLuv Granola noting that: they seek to be the world’s source for healthy, sustainable, and convenient snacks crafted with Ethiopian flavors” and adding that the snacks are designed for “Addis Ababans living busy and active lives, but lacking delicious and nutritious snacks to fuel their hard work and big adventures on-the-go.”

Blayne told BBC News that TruLuv Granola also aims to support the economy with their practice of sourcing “directly and transparently from Ethiopian small holders as much as possible.”

BBC asked Blayne: how does the ongoing reform play into her ambitions?

“I think the current political situation gives us a lot of hope for the future,” Blayne says, noting that if she was to ask PM Abiy to make one change it would be to create “a more transparent bureaucratic situation.”

As for her long-term goals for TruLuv Granola, Blayne says their vision is to become an international brand as “the world’s favorite healthy Ethiopian food.”

Click here to listen to the interview on Newsday (BBC World Service) »

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Volkswagen Eyes Ethiopian Assembly

The German automaker said: "As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry." (Photo: The 2020 Volkswagen Passat/VW)

Just Auto

Volkswagen has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia which should lead to local vehicle assembly using some locally made components.

Over the last decade, GDP growth in Ethiopia was above 8% – one of the highest worldwide, the automaker noted.

“Ethiopia is a priority and focus country for Germany under the G20 ‘Compact with Africa’ initiative,” the automaker said in a statement.

Volkswagen will focus on establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localisation of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training centre. It will also work closely with the Ethiopian higher education and training institutions for skills development and capacity building of local talent.

VW said: “As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry.”

Ethiopia becomes the third country in Sub-Saharan Africa to sign a MoU with Volkswagen. It follows Ghana and Nigeria who both signed MoUs in August 2018. In Ghana, Volkswagen will establish a vehicle assembly facility and conduct a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solutions concept. In Nigeria, Volkswagen implemented a phased approach of vehicle assembly with long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.

Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles in South Africa since 1951. In Africa, Volkswagen also has vehicle assembly operations in Algeria, Kenya and Rwanda.

“Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region has a bright outlook to develop into an automotive growth market of the future,” VW added.

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PM Abiy Ahmed Named Among Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2019

Foreign Policy Magazine's list of 100 global thinkers of 2019 include Ethiopia's dynamic prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. (Illustration by FP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — What do Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, former U.S. President Barack Obama and the newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City have in common besides being some of the most inspiring leaders of our time? They are all part of Foreign Policy magazine’s 10th annual special edition of global thinkers.

In announcing the list this month the magazine said: “A decade ago, in launching the series, FP’s then-editors wrote: In a year of worldwide economic crisis and dangerous wars, of radical innovation and newfound realpolitik, street revolution and blunt rhetoric, we could think of no better way to make sense of it than through the big ideas of those who shape our understanding of the world…So this year we decided that there was no better way to explicate our current, wildly complex moment — and peer into the year ahead — than to focus once more on the thinkers and doers who had a profound impact on the planet in the last 12 months. The idea is not to honor do-gooders (though we feature plenty of them) but to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential people in the world—for better or worse.”

Per Foreign Policy Magazines Highlight:

Illustrations by Foreign Policy

Abiy Ahmed

“In less than a year in office, Abiy Ahmed has already made history in Ethiopia by forging peace with its neighbor Eritrea. The move reunited families and reopened long-dormant trade networks. Now Abiy is focused on healing Ethiopia’s own divisions, and his status as the country’s first leader from the restive Oromia region has given many of his constituents hope that he’ll succeed.”

Barack Obama

“Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House showed what an intellectual can and cannot achieve in the world’s most powerful office. His much-maligned but deeply deliberative approach to decision-making helped steer the global economy through its worst crisis since the Great Depression. His renewed emphasis on diplomacy secured a nuclear agreement with Iran, a global compact on climate change, and a fresh arms reduction treaty with Russia. To be sure, Obama’s presidency had many flaws — most notably its failure to adequately address the Syrian civil war. But the importance of Obama’s accomplishments, and of the eloquence and dignity with which he went about his day-to-day work, grows more evident every time his successor holds a press conference or types a tweet.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

AP photo

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez channeled the rage triggered by Donald Trump’s presidency into something that was once almost unthinkable in the United States: victory by a 29-year-old Latina democrat over a white male Democratic Party machine politician. Now the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, she stands at the forefront of a newly resurgent progressive movement, whose candidates are winning elections on pledges of universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform.”

You can read the full list at foreignpolicy.com »

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Houston to Replace L.A. as New U.S. Destination for Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it's restructuring its entire U.S. network shifting its Los Angeles gateway to Houston and increasing frequency to Washington D.C. and Chicago. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This coming summer the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, will replace the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California as Ethiopian Airlines new destination in the United States. The airline said in a press release that the change is part of the company’s plan to restructure its entire American network in order to offer passengers “the best possible connectivity and shortest routes” between the U.S. and Africa.

The upcoming Houston flights, which will be served by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, will operate three times per week to Addis Ababa via West Africa. “The new Houston flights will be the only connection between Houston and Africa and will facilitate the travel of the huge African community in the Houston area, as well as oil and other companies doing business in the continent,” the announcement said.

The press release also highlights that flights out of Washington D.C. will be increased from current daily to ten weekly flights. “The new additional three flights will pass thru Abidjan with service continuing on to Addis Ababa,” the airline said. “The current three weekly flights to Chicago will be increased to five weekly flights. From the planned daily flights from the New York area to Addis Ababa, four will be served via Lomé from Newark and three will be via Abidjan from JFK Airport.”

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The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)

This article has been updated to reflect that PM Abiy's office has clarified its initial announcement noting that Ethiopia will host next year's World Economic Forum on Africa, not the 2020 WEF, which is always held in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa, which brings together thousands of public and private sector leaders from around the globe, will be held in Ethiopia. The office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the announcement this past Wednesday following Abiy’s visit to Davos, Switzerland where he met with German Engineer and Economist Klaus Martin Schwab who founded the World Economic Forum in 1971 as an international institution for public-private cooperation.

“The PM & Prof Schwab discussed the importance of a collaborative approach among government, private sector, civil societies in addressing key global challenges,” PM Abiy Ahmed’s office shared via Twitter, adding that “they agreed that Ethiopia will host WEF in 2020.”

According to the WEF website, “The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.”

The event next year will mark the second time that the international forum is being held in Ethiopia. The country hosted the regional version of the gathering in 2012. The 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in September.

Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Spotlight: Addis Calling III Group Show at Addis Fine Art Gallery

Addis Fine Art Gallery prepares for new show, Addis Calling III, scheduled to open on January 29th, 2019 in Addis Ababa featuring up-and-coming artists Tizta Berhanu, Yohannes Tesfaye and Frew Kebede. (Photo: Addis Fine Art/Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Fine Art Gallery, which focuses on contemporary fine art collections from Ethiopia and the Diaspora, will host its third annual group exhibition next week titled “Addis Calling” featuring emerging local artists.

The gallery announced that this year they are presenting works by Frew Kebede, Tizta Berhanu and Yohannes Tesfaye. The show is set to open on January 29th and will be on display thorough March 23rd, 2019.

Below are preview images and descriptions of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery:

Yohannes Tesfaye (1978) focuses on two and three-dimensional paintings in acrylic, oil on canvas, wood, fiberglass and a variety of mixed media. His paintings reference African traditions and culture. Using contemporary materials and techniques, his current work examines the practice of ritual tribal scarification in a twenty-first century artistic and historical context.

Tizta Berhanu’s (1991) main inspiration is human emotion in all its facets, portraying her subjects expressing love, hate, sadness, loneliness etc. Trying to capture the true emotion underneath the surface of their skins. Her paintings are often ambiguous, almost unrecognizable, painted with broad confident brush strokes in deep intense colours. Blues, purples and deep-sea greens, dominate the canvasses creating an almost uncomfortable atmosphere wherein the viewer comes voyeuristically close to the emotions of the portrayed.

Frew Kebede (1982) is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums but his current focus is painting. As a musician, Jazz music plays an important part in his life and is one of his main inspirations. In his paintings, he is exploring the visual aspects of jazz music, transforming notes and rhythm into paint and brushstrokes creating colourful, vibrant canvasses, engaging the viewer into seeing things from different perspectives.

If You Go:
Addis Calling III Exhibition
January 29th – March 23rd, 2019
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553

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National Geographic: Ethiopia’s ‘Church Forests’ Center of Hope for Conservation

Priests, scientists, and local communities are partnering to save the less than five percent of forests that remain in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: The Debre Mihret Arbiatu Ensesa church, which looks from above like a bright pinwheel, is surrounded by trees. But the hot, dry fields are only a few steps away/National Geographic)

National Geographic

When Alemayehu Wassie Eshete was a boy, he went to church each Sunday. He would make his way along the dry, dusty roads between the wheat fields in his home province in northern Ethiopia. At the end of the trip was the prize: a literal step into another world.

The churches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church—the dominant religious group in Ethiopia, with nearly 50 million members—were almost always nestled in patches of vibrant, shady forest. Forests, the church’s religious belief goes, were like the clothes surrounding the church at the center—as much a part of the religious space as the church building itself. Wassie would step out of the hot sun and into a beautiful, cool world filled with chattering birds and fragrant plants, a small hotspot of both biodiversity and spirituality.

“From an ecological perspective, it’s like going from hell to heaven,” he says. “You go from dry, hot fields into the beautiful forest. Anyone would see that as beautiful, but for me, the forest is more than that. It’s also a spiritual place where nature is perfect, and you pray to God.”

But when Wassie grew up and started studying biology and science, he realized that the forests he loved were few and far between. In school, he was learning about how important forests were for the ecological health of different parts of the world, and he asked himself: Where are our forests, here in northern Ethiopia? Why are there so few patches left?

Over the past century, nearly all of the native forests in the South Gonder province have disappeared, cleared to make way for wheat fields and grazing land—agricultural endeavors that support the region’s rapidly growing population. Many of the church forests, though, remain, protected by their religious stewards and the communities around them. They are tiny fragments of a lost past, and the center of hope for conservation and future restoration.

Read more and see photos at nationalgeographic.com »

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Kamala Harris jumps into presidential race

Today is MLK Day and one of our favorite U.S. senators, Kamala Harris of California, has just announced that she is running for President in 2020. The Associated Press notes that Senator Harris launched her presidential bid as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the senator sees herself as another leader in that fight. She would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds. (AP photo)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Vowing to “bring our voices together,” Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds.

Harris, who grew up in Oakland, California, and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field. She made her long anticipated announcement on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I am running for president of the United States,” she said. “And I’m very excited about it.”

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid. “They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” Harris says in the video . “The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”

On ABC, she cited her years as a prosecutor in asserting: “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else.”

Harris launched her presidential as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the California senator— who has joked that she had a “stroller’s-eye view” of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — sees herself as another leader in that fight.

She abandoned the formality of launching an exploratory committee, instead going all in on a presidential bid.

She plans a formal campaign launch in Oakland on Jan. 27. The campaign will be based in Baltimore, with a second office in Oakland.

Harris joins what is expected to be a wide-open race for the Democratic presidential nomination. There’s no apparent front-runner at this early stage and Harris will face off against several Senate colleagues.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both launched exploratory committees. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are also looking at the race.

If Booker enters the race, he and Harris could face a fierce competition for support from black voters.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, is also considering a campaign. Several other Democrats have already declared their intentions, including former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro.

Harris launches her campaign fresh off of a tour to promote her latest memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” which was widely seen as a stage-setter for a presidential bid.

She is already planning her first trip to an early primary state as a declared candidate. On Friday, Harris will travel to South Carolina to attend the Pink Ice Gala in Columbia, which is hosted by a South Carolina chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which Harris pledged as an undergraduate student at Howard University. The sorority, founded more than 100 years ago, is a stronghold in the African-American community.

South Carolina, where black voters make up a large share of the Democratic electorate, is likely to figure heavily into Harris’s prospects. And early voting in Harris’s home state of California will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests, which could give Harris a boost.

Harris’s campaign team is already taking shape and includes several veterans of Democratic politics.

Juan Rodriguez, who ran Harris’s 2016 Senate campaign, will manage her presidential bid. Her sister, Maya Harris, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton, will be the campaign chair. The veteran campaign finance lawyer Marc Elias will serve as the Harris campaign’s general counsel, and Angelique Cannon, who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, will serve as national finance director. David Huynh, who was Clinton’s director of delegate operations in 2016, will serve as a senior adviser. Lily Adams, a Clinton campaign alum who has worked as Harris’s spokeswoman, will be communications director.

Her staff says she plans to reject the assistance of a super PAC, as well as corporate PAC money. She’s invested heavily in cultivating a digital, small-dollar donor network before her presidential bid.

Before her 2016 victory in the Senate race, Harris made her career in law enforcement. She served as the district attorney in San Francisco before she was elected to serve as attorney general.

Harris is likely to face questions about her law enforcement record, particularly after the Black Lives Matter movement and activists across the country pushed for a criminal justice overhaul. Harris’s prosecutorial record has recently come under new scrutiny after a blistering opinion piece in The New York Times criticized her repeated claim that she was a “progressive prosecutor,” focused on changing a broken criminal justice system from within.

Harris addressed her law enforcement background in her book. She argued it was a “false choice” to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement.

She “knew that there was an important role on the inside, sitting at the table where the decisions were being made,” she wrote. “When activists came marching and banging on the doors, I wanted to be on the other side to let them in.”

Harris supported legislation that passed the Senate last year that overhauled the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sentencing rules.

Harris is framing her campaign through her courtroom experience. The theme of her nascent campaign is “Kamala Harris, for the people,” the same words she spoke as a prosecutor, trying a case in the courtroom.

How Kamala Harris Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary
Meet Julián Castro: The Young Texan Running for U.S. President in 2020

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Spotlight: Ethiopia’s DJ Rophnan Nuri at Coke Studio Africa 2019

Ethiopian DJ, song writer, composer and producer Rophnan Nuri is among 25 of Africa’s talented artists chosen to participate at the 2019 Coke Studio Africa TV show. (Photo: Courtesy Rophnan Nuri Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In Ethiopia young people are in love with Rophnan Nuri — the Addis Ababa-born and raised DJ, song writer, composer and producer who has introduced his own version of a popular world music genre employing digital instruments to mix traditional beats from all corners of the country. His debut album Netsabraq, which was released last May, is one of the first records of electronic dance music issued in Ethiopia.

“My music speaks to my generation,” says Rophnan, who is affectionately known as Rophy, on Facebook. “As time travels us equally all together, we vibrate the same. Music is like our #1 language, which I’m blessed to speak.”

Next month the entire continent of Africa will get to know Rophnan Nuri when he performs at Coke Studio Africa 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. Coke Studio has announced that Rophnan is one of “25 of Africa’s talented artists” scheduled to appear on their annual television event that’s set to kick-off in February. “Rophnan will be making his big debut on the show, paired with Zambian rapper Chef 187,” the announcement said. “On top of lending his voice, lyrics, compositions and extraordinary mix of Ethiopian traditional sounds with electronic dance music (EDM) on the collaborations, Rophnan will also be producing all of the pairing’s music fusions.”

The media release adds that “celebrated for his distinct style of mashing up traditional Ethiopian music elements in music production, Rophnan is a pioneer in the genre of EDM and is today counted among the leading African acts creating innovative sounds while defining new frontiers for African music.”

The press release quotes Rophnan as stating that “technology allows you to be what you want to be” and that “electronic music is the new thing as it represents my generation. It’s like the new jazz.”

Other up-and-coming Ethiopian music artists selected to take part at this year’s Coke Studio Africa include Mahlet GebreGiyorgis, Bisrat, Abush Zekele and Yared Negu.

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Watch: Sara Menker on How Her Company is Filling US Data Gap Left by Shutdown

Sara Menker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gro Intelligence, discusses how the U.S. government shutdown is impacting the distribution of agriculture data and what her company is doing to alleviate the problem. (Photo: Bloomberg TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In the following Bloomberg interview aired on Thursday, January 10th, New York-based Ethiopian entrepreneur Sara Menker, Founder & CEO of Gro Intelligence, explains how the U.S. government shutdown is affecting the availability of official agriculture data and what her company is doing to fill the gap by providing traders, farmers and policymakers free access to their worldwide database.

“We are a data analytics company focused on all things agriculture globally,” Sara told Bloomberg News describing what her company does. According to the company’s website, “Gro Intelligence bridges the data gaps across the global agriculture sector, empowers decision makers, and creates a more connected, efficient, and productive global food industry. Gro’s leading edge software automatically harvests disparate data, transforms it into knowledge, and uses machine learning to make predictions.”

Right now during the U.S. government shutdown traders are not getting access to critical reports and forecasts and Gro is stepping up to the challenge of making that data accessible.

“What we have done is that we have built a data platform that at this point ingests over 40 million unique data sets that are related to global agriculture in any way, that have amassed over 500 trillion data points that’s linked to agriculture,” Sara says. “We basically leveraged that to build a predictive engine using a series of machine learning algorithms to build our own forecast model. So when the government shutdown occurred the first thing we did was to say “you know what? we should provide free access to data because a lot of databases were going down and some numbers were not updating.” And we knew that we have access to all sorts of data sets that were being reported from other parts of the world that can help to fill the gap.”

In a follow-up update on Facebook, Sara shared that at noon today Bloomberg was reporting Gro Intelligence estimates live on their platform in place of U.S. government data.

Watch: How Gro Intelligence Is Filling the USDA Data Gap Left by the Shutdown

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Spotlight: Design Week Addis Ababa 2019

(Photo: Courtesy of Design Week Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 10th, 2019

Addis Ababa (TADIAS) — This year’s Design Week Addis Ababa will kick off on February 11th for a one-week celebration of the best innovations in architecture, urban planning, industrial and interiors design, technology, fashion, food, art and multimedia.

“This biannual community event coordinates local and international designers, artists, artisans, workshops, galleries, showrooms, cultural institutions, hotels, companies, and entrepreneurs through a distinctly collaborative platform for creative, cultural, and commercial engagement,” the announcement notes.

Past participants of Design Week Addis Ababa include Jomo Design Furniture and Actuel Urban Living who were both selected to present at the highly regarded international Dubai Design Week.

Organizers of the 2019 Design Week Addis Ababa have also announced that the Nairobi Design Week will present a special installation produced in partnership with UK design firm NEON, which was made possible by the British Council’s New Art New Audiences (NANA) grant. Local partners include Tourism Ethiopia, Kana Television & Studio, Flawless Events, Zeleman Productions, and Hyatt Regency. They also have programming partnerships with the Alliance Ethio-Française and the Global Shapers Community-Addis Ababa.

If You Go:

You can learn more about Design Week Addis Ababa at designweekaa.org

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In Ethiopia, Historic Run Supports Girls

This week a historic athletic event is taking place in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia to raise funds for the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF). The 100-Mile Relay, which is set to start at the peaks of the Bale Mountains on January 10th, 2019 is the first-of-its-kind in the region. The running event is scheduled to conclude in the famous town of Bekoji that's home to some of the biggest names in Ethiopian athletics including Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba. (Photo: GIRLS GOTTA RUN/JASON SUAREZ)

Runners World

First-of-Its-Kind, 100-Mile Relay Seeks to Empower Ethiopian Girls Through Running

On Thursday morning, a history-making run will begin in the Oromia region of Ethiopia: Thirty women will work together to cover 100 miles in an ultra relay, the first of its kind in the area.

Half of the runners will be young girls from Bekoji, the town where the team will finish, and the other half will be women from several different corners of the world. Most won’t know each other until they gather at the starting line, but together, they’ll be working for a greater purpose: to empower young women through running.

The 100-mile ultra relay is organized by the Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), an Ethiopia-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of women since its inception in 2007. Through education, running, life skills, savings, and entrepreneurship, the foundation hopes to combat the many challenges—child marriage and access to education, in particular—facing young women.

The nonprofit’s executive director Kayla Nolan collaborated with the local community to create a new opportunity for these women to run a distance only achievable with a team.

“To be able to feel like they are running with and racing with the international athletes equally, across this new distance and achieving something together—I think that’s such a powerful experience, to have their running validated, shared, and understood,” Nolan told Runner’s World over the phone from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Starting in the peaks of the Bale Mountains on January 10, the team will travel through the Oromia region, finishing in the running mecca of Bekoji, the same town that produced distance running greats like Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba.

Read more »

Why Girls Gotta Run: Interview with Patricia Ortman

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Essence Spotlights Salome Mulugeta’s Captivating New Film ‘Woven’

In cinematic history, stories from the African continent written by those who truly understand and care about getting it right are shamefully unacknowledged. This fiercely beautiful film deftly intertwines the music and language to provide an immediate relevance within today’s debates about our contributions and importance on the worlds’ stage. (Essence)


There is an Ethiopian proverb about the importance of perseverance that reads, ”Little by little an egg will walk.” The saying perfectly describes the journey that Ethiopian filmmaker Salome Mulugeta has taken to bring her first film, WOVEN, to the big screen.

Written by, co-directed by and starring Mulugeta while set in the tight-knit New York Ethiopian community where ancient traditions rub shoulders with the modern world, WOVEN is about two families searching for happiness. But when one tragedy connects their path, a web of secrets is revealed.

In the 15 years it took the director, writer, producer, actress and journalist to bring WOVEN to life, breaking into the film industry has proved a challenge. From conception to distribution and during her trial-by-fire period, the determined filmmaker realized the importance of her community and the need to bring stories from Mother Africa to life.

“The Ethiopian community supported our endeavor in so many ways,” Mulugeta tells ESSENCE. “It was more than just giving money.”

“In a way, the film was a love letter to my culture,” Muguleta stressed. “I’m very proud of my heritage; a country that has not been colonized apart from a five-year occupation by Italy, which Ethiopia won. We are a proud people and for this reason, I felt we had to show that pride in the Ethiopian mother in the film regardless of what she was going through in her life.”

Read more »

Woven: Film by Salome Mulugeta Makes NY Premiere at ADIFF 2017

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Trouble With Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism

Abiy can achieve real progress if Ethiopia embraces a different kind of federation — territorial and not ethnic — where rights in a federal unit are dispensed not on the basis of ethnicity but on residence. Such a federal arrangement will give Ethiopians an even chance of keeping an authoritarian dictatorship at bay. (Photo: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed/The New York Times)

The New York Times

The Trouble With Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism

Abiy Ahmed, the 42-year-old prime minister of Ethiopia, has dazzled Africa with a volley of political reforms since his appointment in April. Mr. Abiy ended the 20-year border war with Eritrea, released political prisoners, removed bans on dissident groups and allowed their members to return from exile, declared press freedom and granted diverse political groups the freedom to mobilize and organize.

Mr. Abiy has been celebrated as a reformer, but his transformative politics has come up against ethnic federalism enshrined in Ethiopia’s Constitution. The resulting clash threatens to exacerbate competitive ethnic politics further and push the country toward an interethnic conflict.

The 1994 Constitution, introduced by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front governing coalition, recast the country from a centrally unified republic to a federation of nine regional ethnic states and two federally administered city-states. It bases key rights — to land, government jobs, representation in local and federal bodies — not on Ethiopian citizenship but on being considered ethnically indigenous in constituent ethnic states.

The system of ethnic federalism was troubled with internal inconsistencies because ethnic groups do not live only in a discrete “homeland” territory but are also dispersed across the country. Nonnative ethnic minorities live within every ethnic homeland.

Ethiopia’s census lists more than 90 ethnic groups, but there are only nine ethnically defined regional assemblies with rights for the officially designated majority ethnic group. The nonnative minorities are given special districts and rights of self-administration. But no matter the number of minority regions, the fiction of an ethnic homeland creates endless minorities.

Ethnic mobilization comes from multiple groups, including Ethiopians without an ethnic homeland, and those disenfranchised as minorities in the region of their residence, even if their ethnic group has a homeland in another state.

Read more »

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Ethiopia’s AGOA Exports to U.S. Rise 62% in One Year

Ethiopia's duty free trade with the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) grew by 62 percent in one year totaling $137 million in exports, according to USAID. (Photo: AGOA.info)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia’s exports to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) rose by 62% from October 2017 to September 2018. According to the East Africa Hub of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ethiopia experienced the largest increase with a total of $137 million in exports in comparison to $84 million the previous year.

“If this growth continues, Ethiopia may quickly become the second or third largest exporter under AGOA in East Africa.” USAID said.

AGOA is an American trade program that gives selected African countries duty free access to U.S. market for a variety of locally produced goods including clothing, footwear, automobile parts, steel, crude petroleum and cut-flowers. AGOA was first signed into law by U.S. Congress in 2000 and was re-authorized for another ten years by the Obama administration three years ago. AGOA is set to expire in 2025.

The press release adds that to date, USAID Hub trade and investment support has contributed to $4.07 billion in AGOA exports from the region [covering eight countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar and Mauritius], with $491.5 million from USAID Hub-supported firms.”

Overall “East African countries supported by the USAID Hub reached nearly $1 billion in exports to the U.S. under AGOA between October 2017 and September 2018,” the announcement stated. “This was a 17 percent rise over figures from the previous year, and a 42 percent increase since the USAID Hub began.” It also noted that Kenya is currently ranked as the largest exporter in the region with a total of $454 million.

Watch: Ethiopian Footwear — AGOA Eligible and Export Ready

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Abiy Ahmed: The Ethiopian Prime Minister Who Captured Africa’s Imagination — CNN

In 2019, Abiy has one real job: to cement his position as the front-runner in Ethiopia's 2020 elections. (Photo: PM Abiy at a rally in Ambo on April 11, 2018. Photo credit: Zacharias Abubeker/Getty Images)


At the beginning of 2018, Africa watchers were still reeling from the departure of Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe leader’s 37-year tenure had been figuratively bayoneted by his own army in an apparent coup.

The question on everyone’s lips: Would this signal the end of strongman rule in Africa?
Zimbabweans were quick to remind us that the new Emmerson Mnangagwa presidency was simply a case of different feet in the same boots.

All across the continent, old men such as Cameroon’s Paul Biya were running again in elections despite having already served 36 years as President.

In Nigeria, the ailing Muhammadu Buhari was prepping for another election in 2019, while Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was at increasing loggerheads with a youthful population whose loyalty he could no longer command after scrapping the presidential age limit.

Yet one African leader’s 2018 story has gripped the continent’s imagination because of the heady pace of change his appointment has engineered.

Abiy Ahmed took over as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister in April. At 42, he carved a path through Ethiopia’s tense, ethnically divided landscape by becoming the first Oromo to lead his country.

The Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, had never been in prominent positions of power. Grievances of their economic and political exclusion drove anti-government protests across the country.

For years, Ethiopia had been engulfed in states of emergencies; protests were met with a government crackdown and thousands fled across the border into Kenya. Under public pressure, Hailemariam Desalegn dramatically and unexpectedly resigned.

Abiy joined the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation as a teenager. He stayed close to his people, even as he claimed victory in an internal Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front vote on March 27 to become chairman of the ruling party. That victory secured his place as Prime Minister of an East African powerhouse.

To understand just what kind of a place Ethiopia had been before his appointment, its recent history shows a nation riven by ethnic tensions among more than a dozen different ethnic groups. Serious conflicts had raged between the Oromo and the Somali region, for example.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 1.4 million people were displaced in the first six months of 2018 because of ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia.

This displacement issue has not gone away despite Abiy’s inclusive leadership style, which has brought in major groups, including many more women in the Cabinet.

Ethiopian state-affiliated broadcaster FANA reported that 21 people had been killed in “inter-communal violence” between Oromo and Somali communities in southern Ethiopia’s Moyale in mid-December.

Before the new Abiy era, rival politicians and unfavored journalists were either in exile or locked in Ethiopia’s jails, including Addis Ababa’s infamous Maekelawi prison, where many alleged abuses took place.

And to the north and east of the country is Eritrea, with which Ethiopia had fought a pointless war over disputed border territory at a huge financial and human cost.

As Abiy was sworn in, it soon became clear his agenda to change all that had come before was genuine. He shut down Maekelawi prison, freed journalists and invited all political exiles to return and stake their claim to a free and fair 2020 election.

Back in June, as prisoners were being released on Abiy’s orders, a legislator in the Ethiopian Parliament asked the Prime Minister if it was constitutional to release people who had been jailed for terrorism and corruption. Abiy reportedly responded: “Jailing and torturing, which we did, are not constitutional either. Does the constitution say anyone who was sentenced by a court can be tortured, put in a dark room? Torturing, putting people in dark rooms, is our act of terrorism.”

This was a profound admission by a Prime Minister, unheard of in modern-day Africa.

Under Abiy, Ethiopia has gone from being one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists to for the first time in more than a decade of having no journalists in prison.

In May, CNN spoke to Eskinder Nega, one of the first journalists and high-profile dissidents to be released as part of the government’s promise to expand freedom of expression.

He was cautiously optimistic: “The Prime Minister should be given the benefit of the doubt, he deserves at least a hundred days — the famous American honeymoon period.”

December saw him back in Addis Ababa, editing a weekly newspaper. Is he happy with progress under Abiy?

“Even though 100 days (have) passed, the honeymoon period is still there. But ultimately our safety will come if we have a democratic system. Unfortunately, we don’t have the democratic framework that will ensure our independence.”

The style of leadership was different from anything seen before in Ethiopia’s ruling party. There were “listening rallies” attended by tens of thousands, town hall meetings in which the vision of true democracy and unity were re-emphasized.

By July, Abiy’s populist streak had turned to action on the international front when out of nowhere the long cold war with neighbor Eritrea was dismantled in a series of remarkable détente meetings and diplomacy.

Isaias Afwerki, the only leader Eritrea has ever known, rolled into the Ethiopian capital, and the two leaders declared 20 years of tension over.

It catapulted Abiy and Ethiopia into a different status — and redefined the Horn of Africa nation as a regional powerhouse.

The Arab Gulf states across the Red Sea took notice for their own reasons — primarily the Horn of Africa’s proximity to Yemen and the clear desire to be part of a fast-growing economy.

Kenya had been East Africa’s largest economy, but Ethiopia overtook it in 2017. Its gross domestic product is expected to reach about $100 billion by 2020.

Abiy has been in tune to the possibility of miraculous growth, and Ethiopia’s once state-controlled telecoms, electricity and even the national airline are all going to be opened up to foreign investors.

The tremors of these vast changes have been felt beyond Ethiopia. Eritrea and now Djibouti and Somalia are all feeling the Abiy effect. Ethiopian airlines landed in Mogadishu, Somalia, for the first time in 41 years. Djibouti is in talks to share access to its port to service Ethiopian needs. The idea of peace coming to this region at last is an exciting prospect.

But of course, as with all leaders who have come to power on a wave of popular acceptance, the flash of their initial lightning moves can be all too brief. After so many whose leadership became a cult of personality, Ethiopia must hope this is finally the man who can get the job done.

In 2019, Abiy has one real job: to cement his position as the front-runner in Ethiopia’s 2020 elections.

Ethiopia News in Review: 2018 in Pictures

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2018 in Pictures

PM Abiy Ahmed addresses a public gathering at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on July 28th, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – As we close the year with our annual photo highlight of some the biggest stories featured on Tadias our 2018 spotlights include PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. last July; his appointment of a new gender balanced cabinet in October comprising of an unprecedented 50% women members; the recent naming of Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, a former senior United Nations official, as Ethiopia’s first female President; the selection of Meaza Ashenafi, a former women’s rights lawyer, as the President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court; and the appointment of Birtukan Mideksa; a former judge and opposition leader, as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board.

In all respects this has been nothing short of an incredible year in Ethiopian history. Who would have thought that in a matter of months Ethiopia would transform itself and inspire optimism for good governance, democracy and peace amid ongoing uncertainty and conflict around the world?

Imagine this for a moment: This is the first holiday season ever in our life time, and certainly since we launched Tadias in 2003, that we go to sleep knowing that not a single of our journalist colleagues are spending the night in prison in Ethiopia. That’s a remarkable change from our standpoint, and a much needed and timely recognition that an independent and professional media sector is the backbone of a free and democratic society. As the Washington Post’s new motto reminds us, without an independent media
“Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

2018 also marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of Tadias. As always, we look forward to many more years of service and wish you all a Happy New Year!

PM Abiy Ahmed’s U.S. Tour

PM Abiy Ahmed visited the United States in July 2018 meeting with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis. During his successful three-city tour PM Abiy also met with religious leaders and took part in the peace and reconciliation conference in DC between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation. Read more and see photos »

Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President

Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia’s first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Getty Images)

On October 25th, 2018 Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde was approved by parliament to become Ethiopia’s first female president. Previously Sahle-Work was Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. According to her bio Sahle-Work was born in Addis Ababa and educated at Lycée Guebre-Mariam. She later attended the University of Montpellier in France where she majored in natural science. She speaks fluent Amharic, French, and English. A former employee of the Ethiopian foreign service, Sahle-Work served as Ethiopia’s top diplomat in Senegal, Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Guinea, Djibouti and France before joining the United Nations. In remarks to Parliament after she took her oath of office as Ethiopia’s new President, Sahle-Work emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Ethiopia Swears In First Woman Supreme Court Chief

Meaza Ashenafi is Ethiopia’s first female Supreme Court chief appointed to senior government positions by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

Meaza Ashenafi, a former women’s rights lawyer, was sworn in as Ethiopia’s first female Supreme Court President on Thursday, November 1st, 2018. Formerly Meaza was a judge on the High Court from 1989 to 1992 and adviser for the UN Economic Commission for Africa. She was also the founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association as well Enat Bank, Ethiopia’s first women’s bank. Meaza’s work became best known in the international legal community following her successful court case in Ethiopia that resulted in an end to the tradition of kidnapping girls and forcing them to marry. Per NPR: “The case sparked debate over the issue throughout the country and became the subject of the 2014 film “Difret,” executive produced by Angelina Jolie. According to Reuters Abiy said that he nominated Meaza “with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind.” The nomination was unanimously approved by parliament.

Birtukan Mideksa Named New Head of Ethiopia’s Election Board

Birtukan Mideksa is sworn in as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board on November 22nd, 2018. (Photo: FBC)

Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge and leading opposition figure, was sworn in as the head of Ethiopia’s election board on November 22nd, 2018. “Birtukan is the most senior ex-opposition figure to assume a high government post in Ethiopia in recent history,” the Associated Press noted. “She is also the latest of several women appointed to high-profile posts in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new administration.” Birtukan was one of several former opposition leaders that had met with Abiy briefly during his U.S. tour over the past summer. “Conducting a democratic election comes first, then winning comes next,” Abiy told lawmakers as he appointed Birtukan as election board head. “Conducting free and fair elections is the cornerstone for a democratic system. We all have to stand firm so that the next election will not be rigged.”

In PM Abiy’s New Cabinet, Half the Ministers are Women

Ethiopia’s newly appointed ministers take their oath of office on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at the parliament in the capital Addis Ababa. (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, October 16th Ethiopia once again surprised the world when PM Abiy Ahmed presented to Parliament’s approval his newest set of government ministers made up of 50% women members, which is unheard of in many countries around the globe. The Washington Post’s Paul Schemm noted that the landmark announcement was “an unprecedented push for gender parity in Africa’s second-most-populous nation.” Schemm continued: “The new cabinet, which reduces ministerial positions from 28 to 20, has women in the top security posts for the first time in Ethiopia’s history. Aisha Mohammed will be in charge of defense, and Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will head the newly formed Ministry of Peace.” Read more »

Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s 4th Patriarch, Returns Home After 27 Years in Exile

Nothing signaled more clearly the dawning of a new era in Ethiopia than the return this past summer of Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s 4th Patriarch, to his home country after 27 years in exile. Abune Merkorios arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday August 1st, 2018 following a peace and reconciliation agreement that ended the nearly three-decade-old separation between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia. The exiled patriarch was welcomed home with a memorable state reception at Addis Ababa airport, which was televised live.

Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border for First Time in 20 Years

On Ethiopian New Year’s day on September 11, 2018 Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened their borders for the first time in two decades “cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports,” Reuters pointed out. “Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998.” The news report added: “Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV. “This is the happiest day of my life,” Ruta Haddis, an Eritrean from the town of Senafe just across the frontier, told reporters. “I never thought this would take place in my lifetime.” The war over their border and other issues killed an estimated 80,000 people before fighting ended in 2000 in a contested peace deal. Tensions burned on over the position of the frontier – until Abiy offered to end the military standoff this year as part of a package of reforms that have reshaped the political landscape in the Horn of Africa and beyond.”

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures

A gold crown and a gold chalice (both 1735-40) are among the many rare Ethiopian historical items looted from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros II following his death during the Battle of Meqdela with British forces in April 1868. (Photo: FBC)

In April an international controversy was ignited in the UK concerning Ethiopia’s looted Meqdela treasures when the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London announced an uncanny proposition to loan Ethiopia the items on a long term contract. V&A’s Director was quoted as saying: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.” The answer is “a quick no,” replied the Ethiopian Ambassador to England, emphasizing that Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the items. “My government is not interested in loans, it is interested in having those objects returned.” The announcement from V&A came in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition featuring its Meqdela collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle. According to The Art Newspaper, among the nearly two dozen objects featured at the V&A show included “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry” that were forcefully removed from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government is asking for restitution of the country’s looted treasures that are being held at various locations in the United Kingdom.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Launches Website for Donations

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund holding a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) started accepting donations through its website on October 22nd, 2018. The fund’s advisory council members have been tasked to mobilize the nearly 3 million global Ethiopian Diaspora community to donate at least one dollar a day ($365/year) expected to generate about a billion dollars on a yearly basis to benefit economic and other development projects in Ethiopia. The fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions. You can learn more about EDTF and donate at ethiopiatrustfund.org »

Eskinder Nega Makes a Surprise Appearance at the 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in New York

Journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Getty Images/Yonas Tadesse)

Last but not least one of our favorite social justice advocates, journalist Eskinder Nega, who is a former prisoner of conscience, made a surprise appearance at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York City on May 22nd, 2018. Eskinder came to New York to personally thank the organization for the prestigious “Freedom to Write” award that was given to him in absentia six years ago when he was still serving an 18-year prison sentence in Ethiopia on wildly fabricated charges stemming from his work as a journalist. Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years behind bars. “In the prize I received from PEN America, I see the solidarity of the free to the unfree,” Eskinder said in brief remarks at the event, which was held at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. “I see the triumph of our common humanity over our differences. I see our common destiny, which is that of freedom for all humanity.” Among the well known writers who attended the event included Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu who was recently named by The New York Times among 32 black male writers of our time.

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Ethiopia: US Embassy Launches Program to Support Independent Media

In support of Ethiopia’s ongoing political reform process the independent media project aims to expand the capacity of Ethiopian independent media organizations to keep Ethiopian citizens informed through professional, fact-based, and unbiased reporting. (Photo via Horn Diplomat)

Press Release

US Embassy Addis Ababa

The Embassy of the United States of America in Addis Ababa announced the launch of a capacity-building project for independent media organizations operating in Ethiopia. The “Supporting Emerging Independent Media” project is part of ongoing U.S. investments in support of Ethiopia’s political reform process.

The U.S. Embassy is partnering with Free Press Unlimited, an international NGO, to run the program, which seeks to support the capacity of Ethiopian independent media organizations to keep Ethiopian citizens informed through professional, fact-based, and unbiased reporting.

Registered private Ethiopian media organizations currently operating including print, online, radio, and television are eligible to apply for funding to cover the cost of professional capacity building, purchase of equipment and technical support, and other services

The U.S. Embassy has allocated $77,150 for the program and funding will be allocated based on the strength of applications received in cooperation with Free Press Unlimited.

To qualify for funding, media organizations need to submit a proposal. Proposals present a clear plan showing how support will contribute to sustainable operations and the delivery of fact-based, unbiased reporting, as well as strong examples of current reporting.

Selected proposals will proceed to an interview phase, and if selected, recipients will participate in a consultative process to develop the full scope of support.

The “Supporting Emerging Independent Media” project is the latest investment by the U.S. embassy to advance professional journalism in Ethiopia. Recent projects include a national training program on development reporting, which reached over 160 journalists around the country; and a jointly funded program with the UK Embassy to build the capacity of more than 400 government communicators and journalists to work together to keep the public informed.

Interested independent media outlets can download the application and budget forms in the link https://bit.ly/2E3ZcWG and send it to PASAddisGrants@state.gov by January 6, 2019.

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Ethiopia Among Three Countries Where Democracy Staged a Comeback in 2018

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo on April 11. (Photo: Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

The Washington Post

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year came in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people and a solidly authoritarian past. Its jails teemed with political prisoners and journalists, and regime critics knew that the safest place was in exile. Since overthrowing a military regime in 1991, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) monopolized power, profited from corruption, crushed its critics and blatantly favored the privileged ethnic Tigray minority.

But then, in March, tensions within the EPRDF produced something of an internal coup, and the party chose Abiy Ahmed as its new chairman, making him prime minister and the first member of the oppressed Oromo minority to hold the post. His appointment ushered in changes that Ethiopians at home and abroad could hardly believe.

Abiy freed thousands of political prisoners. He released jailed journalists — not a single one remains in prison, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists — and ended a decades-old war with neighboring Eritrea. The euphoria that gripped Ethiopia, as opposition leaders started returning home, spread to the diaspora. Abiy met with a hero’s welcome during his travels to exiled Ethiopian communities. In a meeting with Ethiopian dissidents in the United States he explained his vision: The next step, he declared, is a “democratic election.”

Abiy and Ethiopia face enormous challenges. Economic turmoil and ethnic conflict could yet lie ahead. But the prime minister also enjoys an extraordinary amount of support. His push for fair elections, his tolerance of dissent, and his selection of women as cabinet officers, the head of the Supreme Court, and ceremonial president all signal a more democratic future.

Read more »

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CDC Partners with Ethiopia to Build Capacity for Public Health Emergency

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partners with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) to build capacity at public health emergency operation. (Photo: US Embassy Addis)

Press release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) facilitated a public health emergency management (PHEM) training in Bishoftu in coordination with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) from November 26 – December 7, 2018.

As part of Ethiopia’s growing capacity and leadership, the training was actually led by EPHI graduates of CDC’s four-month Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship, which provides advanced public health emergency management training.

The 5-day training provided an overview of foundational PHEM principles and skills and concluded with a scenario-based exercise where participants applied the concepts they learned and identified additional areas for future focus. Nearly 80 public health officials from the national and regional levels attended the training.

CDC also provided training to EPHI staff on managing virtual emergency operations centers (vEOC), which allow users to share data, track resources, maintain communication and provide reports in real time from on computers and mobile devices at any location. The platform can also store public health emergency management plans and standard operating procedures for easy access and implementation. EPHI will explore possible applications of this software and opportunities to enhance existing communications and data management systems based on the training.

The United States, through CDC, will continue working with EPHI and other partners to invest in strengthening the workforce, infrastructure, and systems required for a robust public health emergency management program in Ethiopia.

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EDF Announces 2019 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows

Top from left: Meki Shewangizaw, Edom Wessenyeleh, Feven Abiy, Samrawit Tamyalew, Rebekah Tsadik. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Each year Tadias Magazine gets to introduce the latest class of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows, a talented group of young professionals from the U.S. who are selected to spend up to six months in Ethiopia to intern at various organizations. The internships also provide Fellows with an opportunity to reconnect and build a bridge with their ancestral home and culture through storytelling. EDF has announced the 2019 Fellows who will be working at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, GreenPath, International Institute for Primary Health Care- Ethiopia, and the Agricultural Transformation Agency.

“Every year we are more and more impressed and proud of the incredible achievements of all the applicants we get to read about during the selection process,” EDF stated.

The program is “designed to equip young diaspora professionals with leadership, service, and creative storytelling skills before sending fellows to Ethiopia for a transformative 6-month fellowship working with partner organizations in Ethiopia” notes the announcement. “To date, EDF has sent 14 Ethiopian Americans to Ethiopia and each have proved to make a difference on the ground, in our partner organizations, and back in our diaspora communities.” This year the fellows also have individual crowdfunding pages where you may read more about their story and donating for support.

Congratulations to the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows of 2019!

Samrawit Tamyalew

Samrawit Tamyalew is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point – she holds a degree in Mathematical Sciences and commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer. She served in the U.S. Army for five years and held various operational management roles, was at the forefront of the integration of women into combat arms, and served overseas in a combat deployment to Iraq. In Iraq, she was the Organizational Liaison Officer where she facilitated communications between senior stakeholders which allowed them to control operations and coordinate assets onto over 700 high-risk objectives. She has been working for the past year with the Hurricane Maria relief efforts, standardizing and overseeing the logistics coordination for all equipment that enters and leaves the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Her long-term career goal is to work in social impact and create a platform that will generate opportunities for the greater Ethiopian community in a for-profit space. Samrawit is enthusiastic to be an EDF Fellow and learn how she can serve her community.

Samrawit’s Crowdfunding

Meki Shewangizaw

Meki was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to the U.S. with her family at the age of 4. A recent graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is currently involved in refugee resettlement in the United States. As a strong believer in the power of education, Meki and a group of close friends created Tesfa. Tesfa is a charity that helps primary age students in Ethiopia stay in school by alleviating education-related financial burdens. Tesfa’s mission is to become the bridge between education and underserved children across Ethiopia. Meki will be pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in the Fall of 2019. As an EDF fellow, Meki is looking forward to working in the public health field in Ethiopia, as well as expanding Tesfa’s network in Ethiopia.


Edom Wessenyeleh

Edom is a graduate from Dartmouth College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Geography with a focus on Global Health. Edom’s academic and work experience has focused on issues related to health equity and development. After graduating, she moved to the UK to pursue an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where her coursework exposed her to a wide range of quantitative and qualitative epidemiological methods to analyze, design, and evaluate public health data and programs. Edom lived in India, where she worked on a project addressing treatment delivery models for tuberculosis. She has also lived in Zimbabwe, where she managed a project that investigated geographic access to HIV care. As an EDF fellow, Edom hopes strengthen health systems through research at the intersection of implementation and policy and foster relationships with local communities.

Edom’s Crowdfunding

Rebekah Tsadik

Rebekah Tsadik has a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. In 2018, she engaged in a hands-on study of the global food system through visits to farmers and producers in Sicily, Spain, and Thailand. Prior to graduate school, Becky and her sister operated a business called Bereket, or “gift” in Amharic. They served modern Ethiopian cuisine throughout Los Angeles and donated a portion of proceeds to nonprofits in or servicing Ethiopia. This year Rebekah spoke on a panel about reducing food waste in San Francisco; managed volunteers for MAD, a symposium in Copenhagen about restaurant industry reform; and earned a scholarship to Eco Practicum, an independent study program on food, waterways, and inequality in upstate New York. As an EDF fellow, Becky will continue to advocate for underserved communities and small-scale farmers. She will bend the narrative about agricultural investment in Ethiopia to favor a system that not only sustains, but also thrives.

Becky’s Crowdfunding

Feven Abiy

Feven is a recent graduate from Duke University where she earned a dual degree in Public Policy and Global Health. She is interested in working on issues surrounding international development, health, and policy. Through the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, she worked as an intern at the Department of State within the African Bureau. Upon graduation, Feven traveled to New Delhi, India to join the Political Section of Embassy New Delhi where she helped research and write the 2018 Human Rights Report for India. At Duke, Feven was on the executive board of DESTA, Duke’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Transnational Association, which fosters appreciation for Ethiopian/Eritrean culture. Feven is excited to return to Addis Ababa as an EDF Fellow and hopes to learn a great deal about initiatives related to Ethiopia’s rural development.

Feven’s Crowdfunding

You can learn more about the program at www.ethiopiandiasporafellowship.org.

Meet The 2017 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
EDF Announces 2016 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
EDF’s 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
Highlighting Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship

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In Ethiopia, Visual Storytelling From a Deeper Perspective: NYT Features Addis Foto Fest

Addis Foto Fest, founded by photographer Aida Muluneh, aims to give photographers from Africa a platform to capture the cultural complexities and diverse histories of the countries they call home. (Photo: Imaginary Trip #1, 2016. Credit: Gosette Lubondo)

The New York Times

In Ethiopia, Visual Storytelling From a Deeper Perspective

Aida Muluneh was a middle school student in Canada when local newspapers and magazines started running dramatic images of starving children in Ethiopia. The photos struck her as odd.

She was born in Ethiopia, and the pictures were nothing like the memories she had of the country she left when she was 5. They also didn’t match the stories her mother told her of life there.

“This is not to say the famine didn’t happen, but there are so many different stories in Ethiopia — it’s not just the story of famine or the priest with the cross,” Ms. Muluneh said. “There’s so many things that have yet to be documented.”

The memories of these photos didn’t just stay with Ms. Muluneh, they motivated her to become a photographer as well. She returned to Ethiopia in 2007, intent on teaching and establishing a photography community.

“We need to be more engaged,” she said, “because we need to be telling stories from our own perspective because obviously someone based in the country will provide deeper insight than someone flying in for a week.”

Her efforts led to Addis Foto Fest, a biennial event that unites photographers from Africa with those around the globe. The first edition — in 2010 — featured six photographers from Ethiopia. That number has grown to 35 in the current festival, which opens Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The exhibits also showcase the work of more than 100 photographers from six continents.

Ethiopian photographers this year include Mulugeta Ayene, whom Ms. Muluneh describes as a “strong photojournalist meticulously documenting all of the changes in the country,” and Aron Simeneh, who has also exhibited during Photoville 2017 in New York. The festival features a solo exhibit of pictures by Roger Ballen, an American artist living in South Africa, whose images range from the theatrical to the nightmarish. There is also a group show that highlights the work of photographers from around the world.

“I could have chosen to only do a festival for Africans only,” Ms. Muluneh said. “But I felt that we live in a global world, and we have to be engaged in a global way. The whole point is we shouldn’t be the best in Ethiopia or the best in Africa. We have to be the best in the world.”

Read more »

Aida Muluneh: Changing the Narrative on Ethiopia, One Photo at a Time (CNN)
Ethiopian Artist Aida Muluneh Directs Fatoumata Diawara’s Music Video
Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine
Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018
Aida Muluneh’s First Solo Exhibition at David Krut Projects
Tadias Interview: Aida Muluneh on Her Ethiopia Exhibition ‘So Long a Letter’

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Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund held a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Last weekend at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC, Tadias Magazine participated in a press conference held by the recently established Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund where its advisory council members briefed the media on their organization’s objectives, current fundraising status as well as future plans to engage the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community.

One of the newsworthy moments came at the end of the event when leaders of a D.C.– metropolitan area organization called Ager Fiker were called to the stage. AgerFiker.com was one of several local initiatives that had been launched prior to EDTF’s formation, who answered PM Abiy’s challenge to the Diaspora for “a dollar a day” this past summer. However, the presence of multiple websites soliciting money for the same mission ended up creating confusion among donors. In an interview with Tadias last month EDTF advisory board member Dr. Bisrat Aklilu said that they were appealing to these organizations and websites to join them under “the big tent,” noting that they were run by “well-meaning people with good intentions.” At the press conference Ager Fiker responded by donating $60,000 dollars that they had collected through their website as well as from family and friends to EDTF, and further plan to transform themselves into a volunteer chapter.

EDTF advisors who took part in the press conference included Professor Alemayehu (Al) G. Mariam, Dr. Menna Demessie, Tamagne Beyene, Lulite Hailu Ejigu, Robsan Itana, Dr. Zaki Sherif and Tashitaa

Professor Alemayehu, who is Chairman of EDTF, pointed out that they are also in the process of selecting Diaspora representatives (two people from the USA) to sit on the Fund’s newly forming Board of Directors in Ethiopia. He said they are currently looking for qualified candidates to fill the post and are developing a criteria for the position. He promised to make the process more transparent and engage the public in making recommendations.

While addressing the same question Tamagne Beyene broached the intriguing idea of using voting mechanisms, but quickly dismissed it as being impractical. (Although it’s worth mentioning that the proposition is not unusual in many Diaspora communities in the United States who do vote on a regular basis, including online, to select their representative leaders).

The current EDTF Advisory Council is made up of a diverse group of individuals including former human rights activists, former opposition members, business owners, academics, artists, economists, lawyers, medical doctors, financial advisors and a retired UN official.

During the press conference the group was asked why there were only two women on the stage who were totally outnumbered by their male colleagues; this stood in stark contrast to PM Abiy’s administration in Ethiopia. Prof. Al Mariam acknowledged that the gender gap was an “obvious weakness” that they are working to resolve, by appointing both women and youth ambassadors. To be more accurate the 18-member council has three women including Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director of Black Rhino Group & Executive Advisory and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure, who was not present at the media event.

Overall the press conference was an informative and much-needed event as EDTF continues to grow its mobilization efforts globally and increase donor participation.

Watch: Ethiopian TV report on EDTF Press Conference (Amharic)

Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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‘It Has Been A Dream’: Ethiopians Are Adjusting To Rapid Democratic Changes

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Ethiopia's capital, where many national heroes are buried. (Photo: NPR)


As the sun comes up, the white stone on the Holy Trinity Cathedral turns golden.

The church, in Ethiopia’s capital, is intimately tied to the country’s history. Many national heroes are buried in its gardens. The throne of last emperor, Haile Selassie, is still right next to the altar, and his and the empress’s remains are said to be buried here.

Ethiopians come before dawn to pray. Adanech Woldermariam, who is in her 70s, stands outside and sets her forehead against one of the cathedral’s stone walls. She looks up, her face framed by a white, cotton headscarf, and she begins to weep.

She is reminded of a brutal border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late 1990s that killed tens of thousands and eventually led to a two-decade cold war.

“When the war against Eritrea began,” she says, “I saw friends deported, their homes, their belongings, taken away forcefully. It was so unfair, because they had worked so hard.”

For decades, she says, she has wanted to speak that truth in public. And now, she finally can.

Over the past year, Ethiopia has gone through a historic transformation at breakneck speed. The country welcomed a new reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, in April. He forged peace with former enemy Eritrea, ended an almost four-month-long state of emergency and freed the country’s thousands of political prisoners. Seemingly overnight, the new leader opened up a democratic space — allowing foes, allies and regular Ethiopians a chance to speak their minds — after decades of authoritarian rule.

Outside the church, Teshale Abebe is praying among the trees and tombstones. At 65, he is old enough to remember that you couldn’t criticize the king. In the 1970s and ’80s, he lived through the communist regime, which massacred its political opponents in a period known as the Ethiopian Red Terror. And he saw what happened over the past three years as a government intent on squashing a protest movement threw tens of thousands in jail and killed at least 1,000 young people demonstrating in the streets.

He is happy about this year’s reforms and cherishes that he can talk openly about politics now. He says he came to pray that the changes continue. But history, he says, makes him feel that this is all tenuous.

Read more »

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In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Abai Schulze (center), founder of the Ethiopia-based brand ZAFF, greets customers at the company's store grand opening in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 4th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The award-winning Ethiopian fashion brand ZAFF officially opened its first U.S. store in Washington, D.C. this past weekend on Saturday, December 1st.

Founded by Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Abai Schulze, ZAFF produces a brand of premium leather products such as handbags, jackets, and travel accessories that are designed and handcrafted by
artisans in Ethiopia.

All ZAAF products are made by hand in Ethiopia using locally sourced high-quality leather and it can be customized for each client. Abai describes ZAAF, which translates as tree in Amharic, as being uniquely Ethiopian.

“Most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees…I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bringing out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality.”

Below are photos from the grand opening:

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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Ethiopian-American Dinaw Mengestu Among 32 Black Male Writers for Our Time

The New York Times features Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu (first row from right) among 32 black male writers of our time. (NYT)

The New York Times

The last decade has seen a burgeoning multiplicity in America’s literature, with gifted black men writing novels, poems and plays of great import. Some of them have even come to the attention of the literary establishment. Here follows a woefully incomplete roll call: Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer, 2015. Colson Whitehead, National Book Award, 2016; Pulitzer, 2017. Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer, 2017. Terrance Hayes, National Book Award, 2010. James McBride, National Book Award, 2013. Ross Gay, Danez Smith, Fred Moten and Yusef Komunyakaa, National Book Award finalists. The list goes on, and I have not touched on the writers who are not yet household names, whose arrival I await in the manner of James Baldwin’s loving anticipation of his nephew’s birth in his essay “A Letter to My Nephew” (1962), in which he wrote: “Here you were to be loved. To be loved … hard at once and forever to strengthen you against the loveless world.”

To be sure, there is much to celebrate, but these recent developments are not without complication. “I can’t help but think this comes out of the eight years of Barack Obama … and the backlash against him,” says Farah Griffin, an author and scholar of black literature at Columbia University.

It is safe to say that Barack Obama may be the most famous African-American man who has ever lived. He represents an erudite, sophisticated blackness that mainstream culture has historically derided or dismissed. But that omnipresent image of a powerful, untouchable black man reinvigorated a rage and fear of blackness as old as the nation itself… It is in this charged reality that the work of black male writers finds itself in the spotlight.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

‘America Saw Him’: Black Journalists on Obama’s Victory, Ten Years Later [includes reflection by Ethiopian American Amdie Mengistu]

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PM Abiy Meets Opposition Parties, Promises Fair Elections

PM Abiy Ahmed's office said the meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all." (Reuters)


ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s prime minister met members of 81 opposition parties on Tuesday to discuss ways of reforming the electoral system, his office said, as he pressed on with promises to open up a political arena dominated by his coalition.

Abiy Ahmed has turned national politics on its head since coming to power in April by welcoming back exiled opposition and separatist groups, releasing prisoners and appointing a formerly jailed dissident as head of the election board.

The meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all,” his office said on Twitter. There was no immediate comment from any of the opposition groups.

Abiy’s ruling EPRDF coalition has been in power in Ethiopia – a major Western ally in an unstable region – since 1991. The grouping and its affiliated parties currently hold all the seats in parliament.

Last week he appointed Birtukan Mideksa as head of the board preparing for the next national elections, scheduled for 2020.

Birtukan was one of dozens of opposition figures arrested in the violent aftermath of a 2005 vote – when an opposition coalition stood against the government across the country, then challenged the EPRDF’s victory.

Security forces opened fire on crowds who took to the streets accusing the government and the election board of rigging the 2005 vote. Dozens died.

Abiy – the first member of Ethiopia’s majority Oromo group to lead a coalition long dominated by ethnic Tigrayans – has promised to rein in the powerful security services and started consultations to rework an anti-terrorism law that critics said had criminalized dissent.

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Interview with Dr. Elias Siraj on Ethiopia’s Alarming New Data on Diabetes

Dr. Elias S. Siraj, Professor of Medicine & Chief of Endocrinology as well as Director of Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. In the following interview he discusses research findings showing an alarmingly growing prevalence of diabetes in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – As Ethiopia’s population grew exponentially to over 100 million in the past few decades so did the number of public health problems associated with population growth, the migration of rural residents to big cities, and dramatic changes in ways of living.

According to two recent studies conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health respectively chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are on the rise throughout Ethiopia and are becoming a significant public health hazard. Such chronic diseases are essentially lifestyle-related health issues primarily caused by poor diet and lack of physical exercise.

The IDF currently ranks Ethiopia as being home to the largest diabetic population in Africa with a combined estimate of 20% of Ethiopian adults as likely to either have diabetes (5.2%) or be prediabetic (15%).

“That’s a huge number affecting millions of people,” says Dr. Elias S. Siraj, Professor of Medicine & Chief of Endocrinology as well as Director of Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. “It’s also important to note that about three fourth of them (76%) do not even know they have diabetes because they were never tested, or if they were tested they don’t have the proper knowledge to understand what it means and what the findings are.”

“Diabetes is basically diagnosed by measuring blood sugar levels,” Dr. Elias explains. “If the blood sugar level while fasting — meaning not eating for 8 hours in the morning — is above 126 it’s called diabetes. If the number is between 100 and 125 that’s prediabetes.” Dr. Elias added: “So prediabetes is basically knocking on the door. It is saying I am coming if you don’t do something. It does not mean that everyone will develop diabetes, but most of them will. A lot of people who are prediabetic over the years will transition into diabetes.”

Dr. Elias, who is also an alumni of the University of Gondar, the first medical college in Ethiopia, and a member of the Diaspora volunteer organization People To People (P2P), shared the findings with Tadias last week to mark World Diabetes Day, which took place on November 14th. He pointed out that 425 million people around the globe have diabetes and an additional 352 million are prediabetic. “If you add it up that’s 15% of adults in the world,” Dr. Elias told Tadias in an interview. “This is massive.”

“So to put it in context, for a country like Ethiopia to have twenty percent of its population as having either diabetes or prediabetes, that’s alarming and a wake-up call to policymakers,” Dr. Elias adds.

The second source of data on diabetes in Ethiopia, called the STEPS survey, comes from the nation’s Ministry of Health. “For the first time in Ethiopia a representative sample from the whole country was collected to study diabetes and other chronic conditions,” noted Dr. Elias. “For the first time, The Ministry of Health selected 10,000 individuals from both rural and urban areas. The STEPS survey shows that Diabetes is prevalent among 3.2% of the sample and prediabetes was present in 9.1%. That means close to 12% are diabetic or prediabetic. In addition, high blood pressure was seen in 16% while 15% were considered overweight or obese. What these numbers tell us is that there is no question that chronic diseases are on the rise in Ethiopia.”

“Irrespective of the slight difference both studies tell the same story and share the same message,” Dr. Elias argued. “The prevalence of diabetes is really big and actually increasing.”

What’s the Solution?

In their introduction to the results of the STEPS survey the Ethiopian researchers highlight that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2017 report, “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people” and “Chronic NCDs are rising fastest among lower–income countries.”

The reports adds: “The federal Ministry Health of Ethiopia established a National Strategic Action Plan for Non–Communicable Disease in Ethiopia (2014–2016), and developed national treatment guidelines and training materials on major NCDs like hypertension and diabetes. The national WHO STEPS survey was undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) as part of a situational analysis of NCD risk factors to provide baseline data for subsequent interventions.”

Dr Elias notes that there are adjustments being made to address the issue of chronic diseases but admits that most funding currently given to developing countries usually ends up financing programs that focus on infectious diseases. He emphasizes that the key is to “create public awareness” and “educate the public.”

Although the IDF results were released a year ago, Dr. Elias notes that “Ethiopia is being labeled as number one in the volume of diabetes in Africa and there was no press release on the topic from the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Medical Association, the Ethiopian Diabetes Association.” Dr. Elias added: “It seems trivial, but it’s very important from a public health standpoint. Everybody has to be aware, the media, the public, medical professionals and the authorities. Policymakers allocate budget if the society is aware, because awareness creates pressure.”

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Birtukan Mideksa: New Head of Ethiopia’s Election Board

Birtukan Mideksa (right), a former judge and leading opposition figure, has been sworn in as the head of Ethiopia's election board. (Photo: FBC)



ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — An opposition figure who recently returned from exile was named Ethiopia’s election chief on Thursday as the country prepares for what the reformist prime minister vows will be “free and fair” elections in 2020.

Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge, is the most senior ex-opposition figure to assume a high government post in Ethiopia in recent history. She is also the latest of several women appointed to high-profile posts in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new administration.

Birtukan is among the Ethiopians who have returned to the country after years in exile, encouraged by the dramatic political reforms announced by Abiy since he took office in April. She was chosen by Abiy to lead the election board after the two met during his recent visit to the United States, where in a series of enthusiastic meetings he encouraged people frustrated by previous administrations to come home. Lawmakers approved the pick on Thursday.

“Conducting a democratic election comes first, then winning comes next,” Abiy told lawmakers. “Conducting free and fair elections is the cornerstone for a democratic system. We all have to stand firm so that the next election will not be rigged.”

Birtukan left Ethiopia after years of friction with the previous administration. She was detained shortly after the violent and controversial 2005 election that led to the deaths of several dozen people. Opposition leaders were jailed after they accused the administration of Meles Zenawi of rigging the vote.

She served an 18-month prison term before being pardoned in 2007 but was re-arrested in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison after officials accused her of violating the terms of her pardon. She left the country after being released again in 2010 and returned this month.

Also on Thursday, the prime minister in remarks to lawmakers said the country would need to build a new town to hold all suspected of corruption and rights abuses in previous administrations.

Abiy said that “the prison facilities that we have here in Ethiopia are not sufficient enough to handle the vast number of criminals … we have chosen to focus on major cases and leave the rest for a reconciliation commission that is in the making.”

Sixty-three intelligence officials, military personnel and businesspeople were arrested this month over allegations of abuses and corruption.

Birtukan Mideksa, the Right Person to Help Build Democratic Institutions in Ethiopia
Tadias Interview with Birtukan Mideksa: Women’s History Month 2012

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Ethiopia To Host 2019 World Press Day

UNESCO has selected Ethiopia to host the 2019 World Press Freedom Day. (Image: BBG)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 21st, 2018

Ethiopia To Host 2019 World Press Freedom Day

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is set to host the 2019 World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa. The event, which is organized by UNESCO and held annually on May 3rd, is an opportunity to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

According to Fana Broadcasting Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Markos Tekle, thanked UNESCO for choosing Ethiopia while meeting with Mrs. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso, UNESCO’s Liaison Office Director, and “emphasized that opening up the media was an essential part of the reforms now taking place in Ethiopia.”

For Ethiopia the announcement marks an impressive turnaround given that just less than a year ago the country was ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for independent media professionals to operate in. However, since Dr. Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April this year Ethiopia has been going through a remarkable change including the opening up of the media and political space as the nation prepares for a multi-party election season in 2020.

Dr Markos Tekle meeting with Mrs. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso, the Director of UNESCO’s Liaison Office in Addis Ababa on November 21st, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

The report added: “Mrs. Afonso commended the Government of Ethiopia for its unwavering support to UNESCO and welcomed the reforms taking place in the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

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Nafkote Tamirat’s New Novel Among New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018

The debut novel by Ethiopian American author Nafkote Tamirat has been selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review among the 100 Notable Books of 2018. (NYT)

The New York Times

100 Notable Books of 2018

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

By NAFKOTE TAMIRAT. $26. Holt. Fiction.

An Ethiopian-American teenager living in a mysterious island commune narrates this impressive debut novel, recalling her childhood in Boston and her entanglement there with a charismatic parking-lot attendant and his possibly sinister schemes.

See the full list at NYtimes.com »

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

The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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Ethiopia-based Zaaf Brand to Open Store in Washington D.C. December 1st

Abai Schulze, Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF, with her team in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abai Schulze, Founder of the award-winning handbag company ZAAF, may have left Ethiopia when she was almost eleven years old, but Ethiopia never left her.

Five years ago Abai returned to Ethiopia to launch her “community-oriented, fashion line” called ZAAF, which produces a brand of premium leather products such as handbags, jackets, and travel accessories that are designed and handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is the birthplace of ZAAF, and will serve as the foundation of a luxury lifestyle brand as we expand out to draw on the rich heritage and culture that can be found across the continent,” Abai had told Tadias in a feature interview two years ago. Explaining her long-term goal for her business Abai added: “In ten years we want to be a widely recognized and sought after brand that equates ‘Made in Africa’ with brilliance in craftsmanship, artistry, and deep cultural roots.”

“Real economic development is about producing top quality products using unique cultural, natural, and human resources that can find a place at the highest levels in the global marketplace,” Abai explained. “So the vision is really very big — it is about setting standards of excellence and innovation; it is about demonstrating and affirming that we can be a top fashion brand competing with the biggest names in the world in terms of both creative design and quality.”

Abai was born in Wollo and grew up in an orphanage in Addis Ababa before she was adopted by an American family in the late 1990s and returned to Ethiopia in 2013 to establish Zaaf. Since its launch ZAFF has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Forbes, Le Monde and Lucky magazines as well as showcased at New York Fashion Week.

On December 1st, 2018 Zaaf is set to inaugurate its first store in Washington, D.C. “We are super excited,” the company stated in their announcement. “The ZAAF Store is not going to be your ordinary boutique – you can come in and design your very own piece in our design lab.”

“We plan to fulfill the first 15 design lab orders placed on December 1st in time for Christmas,” Zaaf announced.

All Zaaf products are produced by hand in Ethiopia using locally sourced high-quality leather, “the best of best,” Abai says, and customized for each client. She describes Zaff, which means tree in Amharic, as being uniquely Ethiopian. “Most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees…I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bring out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality.”

If You Go:
Saturday, December1, 2018
2:00PM – 6:00PM
1409 Florida Ave. NW
Washington DC, 20009
Click here to RSVP

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Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on EDTF

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, who is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund's Advisory Council. (Photo: UMD)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 15th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Last weekend in Alexandria, Virginia Dr. Lemma Senbet, renowned Ethiopian American economist and professor, attended the 8th year anniversary celebration dinner hosted by Your Ethiopian Professionals (YEP), a D.C.-based organization dedicated to promoting career networking and mentoring opportunities for members of the Ethiopian American community. Dr. Lemma was keen to share the current effort of the recently formed Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund to YEP’s program attendees as part of the Fund’s upcoming launch of a D.C. chapter to help accelerate the global donor campaign.

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, who is currently the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park and the former head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), is also one of the Advisory Council members for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

“We are in the process of forming a chapter,” Dr. Lemma said in a recent interview with Tadias, noting that several members of the Advisory Council from the D.C. area had recently met to discuss the effort and to come up with formal guidelines on the process of establishing a chapter. “In between, what we are doing is engaging in a number of retail activities piggybacking on and leveraging various events that are being held by the Ethiopian Diaspora, such as the YEP event.” Dr. Lemma added that chapters will be viewed as an extension of the Council. “So it’s important that it is done with care, so it will not engender any reputational risk” he shared. “We have some guidelines, but not too restrictive so it will not discourage chapter formation,” Dr. Lemma said, which has been reported back to the Council.

“It’s like knowing your customer,” Dr. Lemma emphasized. “We need to know the people, experience and areas of interest so we can also engage in appropriate monitoring, because any misdeed could actually hurt us.”

More importantly, the Fund has the responsibility of following U.S. laws governing charitable organizations for nonprofits designated under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which is how EDTF has been established.

One thing that EDTF has yet to do is engage in “systematic campaign activities,” Dr. Lemma told Tadias. This would include events such as “holding town hall meetings and press conferences not only in Washington D.C. but worldwide.” To that end in Washington a press conference on the Fund and mobilization of the process will be held later this month at the Ethiopian Embassy, and a major fundraising event is also in the works for early 2019.

“Due to the coming holiday season, however, the earliest we can hold the fundraiser is probably in February,” Dr. Lemma said. “We are also going to seek assistance from the Embassy in terms of accessing a database of organizations that we can try to reach out to.” Dr. Lemma noted they are attempting to “map existing Diaspora organizations” such as churches, professional associations and other community groups. “We don’t have an extensive database so we are going to work off whatever the Embassy has.”

As to the online fundraising effort, which as of this week has raised close to $300K, Dr. Lemma said: “Here is where we are now. Although this one dollar a day idea is a very nice and appealing vision, we also want to attract high net-worth individuals, which we have not done yet, not only from the Diaspora but also from the individuals who consider themselves friends of Ethiopia, such as former Peace Corps Volunteers for example.”

As part of the final implementation of projects Dr. Lemma said that they will host “a number of discussion forums” around the world.

“The input is going to come from all over the globe and we’ll have the mechanism to collect that feedback including via the established chapters, which are key in this process as well.”

“It’s also very important for people to understand the linkage between the Council and projects in Ethiopia, which is governed by a Board in Ethiopia,” Dr. Lemma said. “Our job is to advise on project identification and also to make sure that Diaspora voices are heard. We plan to also provide advice on final allocation of resources.”

Dr. Lemma credits PM Abiy Ahmed for helping to bring unity among the diverse voices of the global Ethiopian Diaspora. “I am one of them,” Dr. Lemma enthused. “As you know in the past I was not as involved, not because I was in the opposition, but rather I had some genuine differences of opinion with the previous administration especially when it came to the state of finance policy and the complete lack of privatization of finance, which had nothing to do with capacity.” Dr. Lemma added: “Today what we have here is an unparalleled opportunity to impart transfer of knowledge coming from the collective wisdom of the huge global Diaspora.”

For EDTF the most important thing is that there should be an “inclusivity of growth in Ethiopia,” Dr. Lemma said. “So we have agents of inclusivity among youth, women, and small farmers to foster entrepreneurship and also enhance agricultural productivity, which is really very consistent with the prime minister’s vision.”

Dr. Lemma considers it a good thing that the current Advisory Council is comprised of a “talented bunch” and that the members involved “are navigating together” a complex set of international regulations and rules spanning several continents.

On a personal level Dr. Lemma said that he sees his involvement with EDTF as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference in Ethiopia.

“In some sense you can think of it as being in unchartered territory,” he admits. “It’s a new concept and a new vision from what appears to be a highly transformational leadership in Ethiopia.” He added: “We need to seize this opportunity and we need to move fast because this momentum, who knows, it could slip by. That’s why I feel strongly that we need get this EDTF right. We need to get it right on a variety of ways, one of which is to move consistently with the pace of the Prime Minister.”

Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Ethiopia to Host Social Enterprise World Forum 2019

Addis Ababa was announced as the event's next host city in an exuberant handover ceremony at the conclusion of the 2018 Forum in Edinburgh. (© Becky Duncan, Open Aye for CEIS, SEWF 2018)

British Council

The next edition of the Social Enterprise World Forum will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2019.

Addis Ababa was announced as the event’s next host city in an exuberant handover ceremony at the conclusion of the 2018 Forum in Edinburgh. This will be the 12th annual forum and will be the first time it is hosted by a lower income country.

The SEWF is the world’s leading forum for international exchange and collaboration in social entrepreneurship and social investment. In 2019, the aim is to catalyse the area’s dynamic social enterprise movement – both within Ethiopia and more widely across the Africa, and spur the further growth of social enterprise globally to help address social problems. Members of the social enterprise movement from all the other continents will be there too, learning from each other and sharing their experiences.

Kibret Abebe, Chair of Social Enterprise Ethiopia , a social enterprise support body which was created at the end of 2017, said he was delighted that Addis Ababa won the bid to host the forum.

With over 100 million inhabitants — it’s the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, Ethiopia already boasts an estimated 55,000 social enterprises, according to British Council research published last year . Some of the most well-known examples include Tebita Ambulance , founded by Abebe, and Whiz Kids Workshop , founded by Bruktawit Tigabu. Both Abebe and Tigabu were in Ediburgh where they spoke about their highly impactful work in a plenary devoted to the ‘Best of Social Enterprise’.

However, Abebe pointed out that the concept of social enterprise was not yet widely recognised and saw an enormous opportunity to raise awareness of business with a social purpose: ‘We want to really bring this idea into the minds of the public and more widely,’ he said.

The British Council has played a key role in recent years in helping to support the development of social enterprise in Ethiopia and is co-hosting the forum in 2019. Moses Anibaba, the British Council’s regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, pointed out that in the next 20 years, 50 per cent of the world’s working age population would be in Africa.

‘Harnessing this enormous population of entrepreneurs, innovators and talent is critical in order to spur the growth of social entrepreneurship globally, as it generates employment, reduces inequalities and addresses entrenched social problems,’ he said.

He added that hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Addis Ababa would support this growth. He said: ‘We will be celebrating the achievements of African social enterprises and hosting social enterprise leaders and supporters from around the world to share experiences, reconnect with our shared purpose and grow our global movement.’

Gerry Higgins, chief executive of CEIS and founder of the SEWF, said: ‘The Social Enterprise World Forum is looking forward to having a very rich dialogue with social enterprises from around the world in Ethiopia in 2019. We are excited to have our first forum in a developing country, engaging with inspirational social enterprise leaders in Ethiopia and throughout Africa and collaborating for a sustainable legacy.’

A delegation from Ethiopia attended this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh. As the forum drew to a close, Abebe said that he and his colleagues would return home and continue their preparations. “We don’t want to copy and paste what’s gone before,” he said. “We will approach it from our own cultural, political and economic perspective, which I hope will be very beautiful.”

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Ras Nebyu, Ethiopian-American Rapper, Is D.C.’s ‘Uptown Lion Walkin’

OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss his new album and growing up uptown. (OkayAfrica)


Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University’s homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn’t attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There’s a twoness to Nebyu’s identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn’t hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on “slizz” to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group’s inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn’t slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

Read the interview at okayafrica.com »

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New Play ‘The Assignment’ Starring Ethiopian-American Actress Antu Yacob

The Assignment, co-starring Antu Yacob, will run for two-weeks at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey, beginning on Thursday, November 29, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 12th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In an upcoming play exploring the themes of friendship, loss, and forgiveness Ethiopian-American actress Antu Yacob plays “a brilliant and reserved” English professor named Helen Payne who is recovering from tragedy related to gun violence, which is one of the top social and cultural issues in America today that’s generating heated debate among activists and politicians.

The play titled The Assignment opens on November 29th at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey, with co-star Rafael Poueriet as Julian J. Torres, who is “an ebullient 37-year old scholarship student who is trying to reframe his life after a troubled youth and time in prison.” Dr. Helen Payne (Antu) is eventually “won over by Julian’s intelligence and likability. The two unlikely friends connect through the power of great literature.”

According to the press release, the 90-minutes performance, written by Camilo Almonacid and directed by David Winitsky, is “inspired by real conversations with perpetrators of gun violence and families of victims.”

“Winitsky called The Assignment ‘a moving and human mediation on the ways that we seek to find meaning, forgive, and continue forward,’” the announcement states. “Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith chose this play for her inaugural season because Luna produces plays that engage the deepest challenges facing us as a culture.”

If You Go
The Assignment, a new play featuring Antu Yacob
At Luna Stage
555 Valley Street
West Orange, NJ
Phone: 973 395 5551
Performances: Thursday, November 29, Closes Sunday December 9
Schedule: Thursdays, 7:30pm | Fridays & Saturdays, 8pm | Sundays, 3pm & 7pm
Tickets: www.LunaStage.org/TheAssignment

In Pictures: Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival

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Thousands Run for Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace

People take part in the Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Run, which was started from the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 11, 2018. More than 10,000 people participated in the race. Teddy Afro was the guest of honor. (Photo: by Minasse Wondimu Hailu)

Anadolu Agency

By Addis Getachew

10,000 people run for Eritrea–Ethiopia newfound peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — More than 10,000 people participated in an Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Run in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The guest of honor was Ethiopia’s most celebrated singer and song writer Tedros Kassahun (aka Teddy Afro), whose numerous songs advocated for unity, peace and love between Eritrea and Ethiopia – an advocacy that began during the sad days of enmity between the two governments in the 1990s.

Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.

From 1998 – 2000, the two countries fought a war in which 70,000 people perished.

The runners filled Meskel Square in downtown Addis Ababa for the kick-off sporting t-shirts that feature the flags of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and it came as one of major events since the two countries began a fast-paced diplomatic thaw ending two decades of tense relations.

“It is a very happy day for the peoples of the two countries and I thank God for making me live to see this day,” Tilahun Masresha, 79, told Anadolu Agency.

Masresha said he worked as teacher in Embatikala in Eritrea for five years when the two countries were under one flag.

“We should never have been separated,” he said, pointing to his t-shirt that reads “We are one.”

On Thursday, Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki together with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed visited the Amhara regional state in Ethiopia where they met Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as a follow up to the Declaration of Comprehensive Cooperation the trio signed in September in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.

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Video: Tsehai Publishers’ Elias Wondimu Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu receiving the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Wondimu, Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers, was recognized with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Award at Loyola Marymount University on November 3rd, 2018. Elias was one of five honorees from the University’s community that were nominated for the award. As part of the award ceremony Elias’ life story, as written by David Johann Kim, was performed by actor Desean Terry in a drama narrative.

The Center for Reconciliation & Justice at Loyola Marymount University annually honors winners of the Hidden Heroes award by selecting “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives.”

“I was really happy that my dad saw it with me,” Elias said of the ceremony, which took place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University’s Murphy Hall.

Watch: Elias Wondimu, Founder of Tsehai Publishers, Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

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Birtukan Mideksa, the Right Person to Help Build Democratic Institutions in Ethiopia

Former judge and opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa returned home to Ethiopia on November 8th, 2018 after seven years of exile in the U.S. ( Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Tadias Magazine
By Liben Eabisa

Published: November 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first time that Tadias featured an interview with Birtukan Mideksa six years ago we were celebrating the former judge, political leader, human rights activist and a mother of a young daughter, as one of our heroes for women’s history month; it had been less than a year after she had moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia as a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C.

This week Birtukan returned to her beloved homeland after seven years in exile. Prior to being forced to emigrate to the U.S. she had been twice imprisoned in Ethiopia as leader of an opposition party that won more than one-third of the seats during the tumultuous 2005 elections. In a public speech that year at the memorial tribute for Vaclav Havel — the former President of the Czech Republic who was also a playwright and poet — Birtukan described her second imprisonment for 19 months in solitary confinement as being “alone in every sense of the term.” She candidly shared that “after all the pain that was inflicted on me and my dear ones, I had to ask myself if the struggle was worth it.”

Indeed, in more ways than one, Birtukan has paid her dues to encourage democracy in Ethiopia and that’s why it was deeply moving for me personally to watch her from afar, from here in the U.S., as she received a well-deserved, warm reception back in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

I first met Birtukan in early May of 2012 when she came to New York to attend an award ceremony recognizing journalist Eskinder Nega, who was then still behind bars. Eskinder, her friend and former prisoner of conscience, was being honored with PEN America’s prestigious “Freedom to Write” award at the literary organization’s annual dinner held at the American Museum of Natural History. Later, I also had an opportunity to visit Birtukan at Harvard when she was a student there; we also attended civic leadership events together during the US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by the U.S government in D.C. four years ago. Birtukan is one of the most brilliant, inspiring and kindest individuals I had the privilege of meeting in my many years of work as Publisher of Tadias. In addition to her gracious, non-assuming personality and quiet humor the most memorable and contagious part of being around Birtukan was her heartfelt commitment to freedom of expression, human rights and advancing democratic principles in Ethiopia.

“What helps me most to survive the hurdles I faced is the depth and intensity of the ideal and vision I have with regard to the worth and dignity of the individual citizen and the way our society should be organized based on this universal ideal of human rights and the rule of law,” Birtukan told Tadias during our women’s history month interview. “My belief and conviction that we can and should change the status quo, though it appears to be daunting, has kept me going.” She added: “And my trust in the power of the individual to bring about change enables me to consider the price I paid as a sacrifice made for a worthy causes and purpose.”

Birtukan was born and raised in Addis Ababa and attended public school both for her elementary and high school education before she graduated from Addis Ababa University with a degree in law. “I believe my passion for politics has a strong correlation with the fact that I was brought up in a community whose members are strongly committed to maintaining healthy social relations and to looking after the well-being of individual members,” said Birtukan who grew up in the Ferensay Legacion neighborhood of Ethiopia’s capital. “My training as a lawyer later on gave me some coherent narrative and vision for this aspiration of mine.”

If it was up to Birtukan Mideksa Ethiopia by now would have had a fully functioning democracy consisting of equally powerful opposition parties that are credible, peaceful and loyal to the constitution. While living in exile, where she also managed to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Birtukan never ceased to speak up in defense of human rights and democracy in Ethiopia whenever the opportunity presented itself, albeit with her trademark respectful tone.

In an Op-Ed article titled “Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression,” published by Freedom-now.org in 2014 — shortly after the US-Africa Leaders Summit and while the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegen was still in charge – Birtukan urged the U.S. government and other Western countries to rethink their approach to Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. “The Ethiopian government has long relied on the same arguments to defend its actions — falsely claiming that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation copies equivalent European standards,” Birtukan wrote. “The international community can no longer tolerate these kinds of wholly inadequate explanations, especially when respect for human rights impacts the prospects for growth and security on the continent so greatly. If we are serious about development and peace in Africa, we need to hold the government accountable and reinforce the proposition that there can be no robust, sustainable growth without respect for the fundamental rights for all Africans.”

Before she departed for Ethiopia on Wednesday Birtukan told Voice of America’s Alula Kebede that she hopes to contribute in helping to build democratic institutions. And in my opinion there is no one more qualified than Birtukan Mideksa to help assist Ethiopia’s ongoing transformation into a more democratic and peaceful society. She has the passion, legal education and real-life experience to do the job and the scars to prove it.

It goes without saying that at whatever role and capacity that Birtukan wants to participate, there could be no doubt that she has earned the right to have a say in leading the future of Ethiopia.

Liben Eabisa is Co-Founder & Publisher of Tadias Magazine.

Related: Birtukan Mideksa in Pictures:

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Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History

Ethiopian American Alex Assefa (left) was elected as a state legislator in the Nevada State Assembly, Eritrean-American Joe Neguse (Center) was elected to U.S. Congress from Colorado, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first Somali-American to be elected to the U.S. Congress. (Photos: Getty Images and AP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Most people remember where they were ten years ago this November when they learned of the election of America’s first Black president, Barack Obama, blazing a trail for a future generation of leaders.

This week also saw another historic election season in the United States with the ascension of a record number of women to Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, who at 29-years-old became the youngest woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition, the 2018 Midterm U.S. election held on Tuesday, November 6th resulted in many new civic leaders from diverse immigrant communities across America including the first elected Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali-American representatives.

Ethiopian American entrepreneur Alex Assefa was elected as a state legislator in the Nevada State Assembly representing the state’s 42nd assembly district. Alex who was born and raised in Ethiopia came to the U.S. in 2000 as a refugee. He replaces Democratic Representative Irene Bustamante Adams and will serve in the Nevada State Assembly on a two-year term.

In Colorado Joe Neguse, the son of immigrants from Eritrea, made U.S. history by becoming the state’s first African-American member of Congress. According to 4CBS Denver, Neguse, who is an attorney and co-founder of a voter registration group, “defeated Republican Peter Yu in the 2nd Congressional District that includes Boulder, Fort Collins and parts of north-central Colorado.”

And in Minnesota Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American and one of the first two muslim woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Ilhan came to the United States as a teenager more than 20 years ago, and according to CNBC “In 2016, she became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the U.S. She was elected to serve in Minnesota’s House of Representatives in District 60B, according to her campaign website. In 2019, Omar will replace Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress.”

Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump (Election Update)

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democrat from New York City, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. Tuesday’s result was a bitter outcome for Trump, a 72-year-old former reality TV star and businessman-turned-politician, after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership. (Reuters)


Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday where they will seek to keep his agenda in check and open his administration to intense scrutiny.

In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans were set to maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.

With a House majority, Democrats will have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of interest, and challenge his overtures to Saudi Arabia, Russia and North Korea.

They also could force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package or carry out his hardline policies on trade.

A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Democrats in the House could be banking on launching an investigation using the results of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s already 18-month-old probe of allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election. Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies any collusion.

Tuesday’s result was a bitter outcome for Trump, a 72-year-old former reality TV star and businessman-turned-politician, after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership.

Related: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

Democrats turned out in droves to register disapproval of [Trump's] divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

A record number of women ran for office this election, many of them Democrats turned off by Trump’s policy agenda.

The election results mean Democrats will resume House control in January for the first time since the 2010 election, beginning a split-power arrangement with the Republican-led Senate that may force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions and focus on issues with bipartisan support, such as an infrastructure improvement package or protections against prescription drug price increases.

It also will test Trump’s ability to compromise, something he has shown little interest in over the last two years with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.

The loss of power will test Trump’s political hold on House Republicans, most of whom had pledged their support for him lest they face the wrath of the party’s core supporters, who remain in his corner.

Most Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign’s final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like keeping down healthcare costs, maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.

The final weeks before the election were marked by the mailing of pipe bombs to his top political rivals, with a political fan of Trump arrested and charged, and the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people died, sparking a debate about Trump’s biting rhetoric and whether it encouraged extremists.

In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map, ousting incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in suburban Virginia and sending Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton, to the House in south Florida.

In the Senate, where Republicans were heavily favored to keep control heading into Tuesday’s voting, Republican Mike Braun captured incumbent Joe Donnelly’s seat in Indiana and Republican Kevin Cramer beat incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling. Liberal House member Beto O’Rourke became a national sensation with his underdog U.S. Senate campaign but fell short in conservative Texas, and Andrew Gillum was trailing Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become the first African-American governor of the key swing state of Florida.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Manchin won a hotly contested race in conservative West Virginia, and conservative Marsha Blackburn held a Senate seat for Republicans.

Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee in 2016, easily won re-election, news networks projected. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was projected to hold his seat in Ohio.

All 435 seats in the House, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 of the 50 state governorships were up for grabs.

Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election

Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, youngest woman elected to Congress

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Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, a retired UN official, is a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund's Advisory Council. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund, which officially launched its website last month, is calling on Ethiopians worldwide to set up local chapters in order to increase and streamline its fundraising process.

“We are mobilizing the Ethiopian Diaspora community globally, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, Africa and Middle East,” says Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, a retired United Nations official who is a member of the trust fund’s Advisory Council, in a recent interview with Tadias. “The purpose moving forward is to establish as many chapters as possible wherever Ethiopians live.”

“The Advisory Council’s job is to mobilize the Diaspora globally so they may contribute to the fund,” Dr. Bisrat added noting the transparency of fund’s website in particular. “It’s a very clear indication of how the fund operates. As money comes in everyone can see who is contributing, big or small.”

As of this week the website has raised more than $200,000 and Bisrat said that he is hopeful that with the assistance of the chapters — which are empowered to explore creative fundraising mechanisms like soliciting matching grants and holding events — they will “surpass the million mark” before the end of the year.

“So our job is really to spearhead, but eventually the community has to accept it as their own. They can organize by profession, as a congregation, as family and friends, or they can join a chapter.”

Dr. Bisrat also acknowledged that due to complicated prior history Ethiopian Americans in general are rightfully weary of government sanctioned fundraising projects.

“We have to be honest that we have had a previous negative experience of people contributing and not knowing where the money went for the Renaissance Dam,” Dr. Bisrat told Tadias. “As noble and as important as it is there should have been really disclosure on how much money came. We have learned from that lesson and that’s why are making absolutely sure that we are completely transparent.” Dr. Bisrat also pointed out that in addition to being designed in line with “international standards of transparency and accountability” the EDTF online platform includes a “governance and fund flow chart.”

As someone who managed the U.N’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office with an estimated six billion dollar operation Dr. Bisrat shares that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to the EDTF chapters. “It depends really how the Ethiopian Diaspora communities are organized,” he said.

“For example, in New York, the initiative that was launched felt that for the Tri-State area (New Jersey, Connecticut and New York) we should have one chapter,” Dr. Bisrat noted. “There was a group that came together as kind of a welcoming and organizing committee for the visit of the Prime Minister to New York, which unfortunately did not take place. So we had a discussion with that group and felt that we should also broaden it and include a few more members and groups such as churches, mosques, community groups, and edirs.” On Sunday, November 4th, the group was scheduled to meet with the aim of establishing a chapter.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund came about this past Summer as a response to PM Abiy Ahmed’s invitation to all fellow Ethiopians who reside overseas to become part of the solution and to take a stake in the ongoing reform efforts in their homeland. “Diaspora, here is a call to you. A dollar a day to help children get an education; our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers get health service; and above all, consider this as ‘paying back’ to your people who gave you future while they had no one,” said PM Abiy Ahmed in a televised comment while defending Ethiopia’s 346.9 billion Ethiopian birr ($12.71 billion) budget last July.

Theoretically, of course, the idea of ‘a dollar a day’ could potentially generate millions of dollars on a daily basis given the sheer size and financial diversity of the global Ethiopian Diaspora community. The trick, however, lies in tailoring a unified message that could resonate with the silent majority. One problem faced by EDTF is that soon after PM Abiy’s speech several websites had quickly popped up in the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere promoting the tagline ‘a dollar day for Ethiopia,’ and creating confusion among donors. Dr. Bisrat told Tadias that EDTF is now appealing to these organizations and websites to join them in “the big tent.” Dr. Bisrat emphasized that the websites are run by “well-meaning people with good intentions,” while underscoring EDTF’s view that they should now coordinate their efforts together for better impact. “They can either work with a local chapter or transform themselves into an independent chapter.”

“One other thing that we want to tell the public is that we are not going to wait until all the money comes in order to start funding projects,” Dr. Bisrat noted. “We want to start the operation as soon as possible.” To that end there will be “a Secretariat of the Fund” in Ethiopia that will help the Board in identifying projects to support.

“Anyone can apply for funding, but we want to give priority to youth-oriented programs especially focusing on disadvantaged communities,” Dr. Bisrat said. “The Prime Minister has instructed that 100% of the funds raised be spent on projects.” Bisrat highlights that the Office of the Fund’s Secretariat in Ethiopia will be the only one to have paid positions. The salaries will be paid for the first year by the local UNDP office, which he helped facilitate during his recent trip to Ethiopia.

Furthermore, Dr. Bisrat shared that in conjunction with the Advisory Council that will be responsible for depositing the raised amount into an account at the Commercial Bank in Ethiopia, there is a Board of Directors for the fund in Addis Ababa.

“What we have agreed on is that the Board is made up of 11 members with the government comprising of 3 members as well as 3 other members from civil society as follows: one representing youth, one representing women, and a third one as a person of credibility with experience in this kind of work. An additional five will be Diaspora members.” Among the members of the Diaspora, Dr. Bisrat added that “two will be selected from North America and the other three will be coming from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Eventually one might be added from Australia. We expect the Board of Directors to be announced in the next two weeks.”

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

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Lelisa Desisa Wins 2018 NYC Marathon

Lelisa Desisa crosses the finish line at the NYC Marathon in New York, Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2018. (Getty Images)

Associated Press

Ethiopia’s Desisa, Kenya’s Keitany win NYC Marathon

NEW YORK (AP) — Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia has won the New York City Marathon, holding off countryman Shura Kitata by 1.99 seconds.

Desisa finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 59 seconds. Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, finished third.

Mary Keitany of Kenya became the second woman to win the marathon four times, beating countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot by 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Keitany ran the race in 2:22:48, the second fastest in history. Margaret Okayo of Kenya holds the record of 2:22:31, which was set in 2003.

The victory was Keitany’s fourth in New York in the last five years. She won in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before coming in second last year to American Shalane Flanagan. Keitany joined Grete Waitz as the only women to win the marathon four times. Waitz, a Norwegian, won the marathon nine times between 1978-1988.

Flanagan finished third.

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Seeds of Africa 2018 Benefit in NYC

The Seeds of Africa Foundation operates an elementary school in Adama, Ethiopia alongside community-based programs for families. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: November 3rd, 2018

Seeds of Africa Benefit Helps Innovative School Program in Adama, Ethiopia

New York (TADIAS) — The Seeds of Africa Foundation has announced that it will hold its fifth Annual Benefit on November 7th in New York City. The foundation, which was established ten years ago by former Miss Ethiopia, Atti Worku, runs a school with hundreds of students alongside community-based programs for their families in Atti’s hometown of Adama, Ethiopia.

“We began in 2008 as an after-school program, and have since grown into a full-time school that serves Pre-K to 4th grade students, and a community development program that serves their mothers and other female guardians,” Seeds of Africa notes on its website. “We move beyond the traditional aid model by shifting from mere relief efforts, to providing students, families, and communities with the resources and skills they need to support themselves and find local solutions to fight poverty, increase civic participation, and enhance community re-investment.”

According to the press release the 2018 benefit will feature their #FixTheFacts campaign demonstrating “how Seeds of Africa is addressing and meeting global development goals at a local level in Ethiopia.”

“This year’s Seeds of Africa Annual Benefit is themed “Cocktail and Cloth” in celebration of the richness and diversity of African textiles,” the press release adds. “Join us and over 250 Seeds of Africa supporters for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by DJ mOma, DJ AQ and the Asase Yaa School of the Arts, and special presentations of our work and its impact in Ethiopia. Some notable guests from last year include fashion designer Maxwell Osborne, supermodel Aamito Lagum, and Monaco royal Pauline Ducruet, who are all members of our host committee this year. Watch the 2017 Annual Benefit video here.”

If You Go:
Seeds of Africa Annual Benefit
November 7, 2018 from 7:00 pm – 10:00
Town Stages
221 W. Broadway
New York, NY 10013

You may purchase tickets for the event here.

Learn more about Seeds of Africa Foundation

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Meaza Ashenafi Named Head of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court

Meaza Ashenafi attends a screening of the movie “Difret” on Dec. 9, 2014, in Hollywood. The women’s rights activist was appointed Thursday as Ethiopia’s new Supreme Court president. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Paul Schemm

Women’s rights activist named to head Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in new reform

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — In Ethiopia’s latest move to empower women, the country’s parliament on Thursday installed as Supreme Court president a women’s rights activist whose achievements were championed in a movie promoted by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.

Meaza Ashenafi was a judge on Ethiopia’s High Court from 1989 to 1992 and then an adviser to a commission writing up its new constitution. She also founded the Ethio­pian Women Lawyers Association and helped start the first women’s bank in the country, Enat Bank.

Her most famous case, however, was turned into the 2014 Ethio­pian film “Difret,” which was promoted by Jolie as executive producer and went on to win the World Cinematic Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The film is based on a court case, tried by Meaza, that resulted in outlawing the tradition of kidnapping child brides in Ethio­pia.

In 1996, Aberash Bekele, 14, was kidnapped on her way home from school by a man who intended to marry her. She escaped with a rifle and shot her kidnapper. She was then charged with murder.

Meaza succeeded in getting the charges dropped and set off a public debate over Ethiopia’s age-old tradition of kidnapping girls as brides.

Meaza was selected to head the court by Ethiopia’s new reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has taken a series of measures to increase the role of women in what is widely described as a patriarchal society.

Read more »

Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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2019 SEED Awards to Honor Women

Painting by artist Tadesse Mesfin. Courtesy of Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 30th, 2018

SEED Dedicates 2019 Award to Honor Ethiopian Women

New York (TADIAS) — The Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) is dedicating its 2019 annual award to women leaders and pioneers.

Since the 1990s SEED has been recognizing Ethiopian professionals, artists, students, elders and historical personalities for their “productive roles in society, their communities, and families.”

The 2019 award ceremony, which is set to take place on May 26th at College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland, “is dedicated to celebrating women with outstanding achievements in their field, providing exemplary leadership and distinguished service positively impacting our community and country,” the organization said in a press release. “Women can be nominated for their achievements in the fields of academia, arts, business, humanitarian efforts, music, public policy, sports, or science & technology.”

Previous recipients of the SEED award include the late scholar of Ethiopian studies Professor Donald N. Levine; Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia Obang Metho; philanthropist and advocate against domestic violence Menbere Aklilu; the late Ambassador Zewde Retta; humanitarian Rachel Beckwith; the late women rights activist ​Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw; actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo, Economist and Professor Lemma Senbet, founder and president of the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation Nini Legesse; artist and educator Achamyeleh Debela; as well as legendary musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Teddy Afro.

Last year SEED paid tribute to the universal impact of Ethiopia’s ancient and independent history on the Pan-African world posthumously celebrating the past five Emperors of Ethiopia: Emperor Tewodros II (1818 – 1868), Emperor Yohannes IV (1837 – 1889), Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), Empress Zewditu (1876 – 1930), and Emperor Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975).

Organizers say the deadline to nominate a person for the 2019 award is December 3, 2018. If you know a woman who leads and inspires, you can send them your recommendation here.

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YEP Celebrates 8th Year anniversary of Connecting Ethiopian Professionals

YEP will hold its eight year anniversary gala in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday, November 10th, 2018. (Event poster courtesy of YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — YEP celebrates its 8th year anniversary this year with a timely and fitting theme, “The Power of Change: Building Tomorrow Through Innovation, Creativity and Leadership.”

The professional networking association announced its 2018 annual anniversary gala will be held on Saturday, November 10th at USPTO Madison Auditorium in Alexandria, Virginia.

According to the program, the event will feature guest speakers, music, dinner and a range of activities hosting over 300 diverse professionals. Bofta Yimam, an Emmy award-winning journalist, former TV anchor, and storytelling coach, will serve as the Master of Ceremony. The keynote speaker is Dr Mehret Debebe, a board certified Psychiatrist and Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, an author, and motivational speaker.

The lineup also includes Dr Senait Fisseha, Director of International Programs for the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School; and Kenna Zemedkun, an Ethiopian–American musician, philanthropist and technology creative. Kenna’s track “Say Goodbye to Love” was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 2009 Grammy Awards, and he is the Founder & Producer of the Summit on the Summit clean water initiative in partnership with Justin Timberlake.

“YEP is a community of diverse professionals who strive for growth, excellence and success,” the organization notes on its website. “The mission of YEP is to inspire, educate and empower the Ethiopian professional community to make a positive impact in the world and envisions a strong community that shares ideas, skills and resources to enrich lives. Founded by Ethiopians in 2010, YEP is a non-partisan and non-religious organization, that began by featuring inspirational speakers, hosting educational sessions and providing networking opportunities to support our mission.”

The announcement adds: “Proceeds from the 8th Year Anniversary Celebration will go directly to support YEP’s mission of supporting newcomers, providing mentoring to high school and college students, creating a platform for professionals to connect.”

If You Go:
YEP Eight Year Anniversary Dinner
Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 12:00
US Patent and Trademark Office
600 Dulany Street
Madison Auditorium
Alexandria, VA 22304
Click here to buy tickets
More info at www.yepnetwork.org

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‘Congratulations Madam President’: Reactions to Ethiopia’s Historic Week

Ethiopia's new president Sahle-Work Zewde. (Photo twitted by Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff, PM's office)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — “Congratulations Madam President,” many tweeted and posted on social media around the world to express their praise and good wishes to Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, a former senior United Nations official, who became Ethiopia’s first female president last week.

“It represents me, it represents young woman and my mom and my sisters,” a young lady tells BBC News Africa as the news agency gathered street reactions on Friday in Ethiopia’s capital.

The news of Zewde’s appointment was announced early Thursday morning in a series of tweets by PM Abiy Ahmed’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, generating immediate global media interest. Fitsum tweeted: “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life.”

Ethiopia’s parliamentary approval of President Sahle-Work Zewde on October 25th also came on the heels of the previous week’s equally stunning appointment of a cabinet comprising of 50% female MPs, including at the Ministry of Peace, which controls the country’s intelligence agency and security forces.

In her acceptance speech to Parliament President Sahle-Work highlighted the need to uplift women and to shape a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She stated: “I am a product of people who fought for equality and political freedom in this country, and I will work hard to serve them.” She added: “If you thought I spoke a lot about women already, know that I am just getting started.”

Global reactions on social media shared the enthusiasm of Ethiopians. “Congratulations to Sahle-Work Zewde & to Ethiopians, on your first woman president & new cabinet in which women ministers head key departments,” said the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, in his own Twitter post. “The African continent is leading the way in showcasing that women’s engagement and leadership are crucial to lasting peace.”

UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May noted: “Congratulations to President Sahle-Work Zewde on being elected the first female President of Ethiopia – a strong symbol of growing female empowerment in Africa.”

And U.S. Embassy Addis chimed in: “Congratulations to Ambassador Sahelwork Zewde on her selection as Ethiopia’s first woman President. We welcome her appointment not because of her gender but in recognition of her many years of experience and leadership in public service. No society succeeds by excluding people from participation. We see the Ethiopian government focus on including women in leadership roles as a strong signal of commitment to build an inclusive political system where leaders attain their positions based on their ability to lead.”

Yohannes Gedamu, an Ethiopian-American lecturer of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA, pointed out:

With this appointment, Zewde also became the second woman in the country’s modern history to serve as head of state. Ethiopia’s last female leader before Zewde was Empress Zewditu, who had governed the country between 1916-1930.”…This appointment is unquestionably momentous and groundbreaking…Anyone who serves in that role gets the opportunity to build a personal legacy, and leave their mark in the country’s history. The head of state also presides over special parliamentary sessions and delivers speeches on the parliament opening sessions where he or she presents what the priorities of the government should be. Having a woman take over such a revered office is undoubtedly going to inspire millions of Ethiopian women.

Yohannes, whose article is titled ‘Ethiopia’s First Female President Can Be a Force for Reform,’ also emphasized Sahle-Work’s final role at the UN as being arguably the most important. “She was the first woman to be appointed by the international body as special representative to the African Union and head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, a role she served at the level of Under-Secretary-General.”

Below are photos and related news links:

Who is Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia’s first female president? (By Elias Gebreselassie)
Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President
The Power of Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet
In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women (The Washington Post)

Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)

The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women
and motherhood. The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is
a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, & Tseday Alehegn,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. ‘

Former UN Official Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President

Sahle-Work Zewde leaves Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia's first female president, in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Paul Schemm

Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform

ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia — Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps.

The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle. Half the ministers are now women in Africa’s second-most populous country.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff and de facto government spokesman.

Parliament accepted the resignation of Mulatu Teshome, who had served as president since 2013.

In remarks to Parliament after she took her oath of office, Sahle-Work emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

Read more »

‘Congratulations Madam President’: Reactions & Pictures to Ethiopia’s Historic Week
The Power of Ethiopia’s Gender-Balanced Cabinet
In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women (The Washington Post)

Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)

The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women
and motherhood. The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is
a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, & Tseday Alehegn,
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Publisher Elias Wondimu to Receive Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Elias Wondimu, who is a Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA is one of five awardees who will be honored on November 3rd with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu has been named the recipient of the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in California. The annual award is given by the university’s Center for Reconciliation & Justice to “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives” LMU stated. “Each awardee will be honored through the telling of their story in a dramatic performance.”

Elias, who is Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture, and the Arts at LMU, is one of five honorees chosen from the nominated faculty, staff, alumni, and students from Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School.

“This year’s theme for the Hidden Heroes Recognition is ‘reconciliation,’” the announcement said. “The awardees selected are those who work mostly ‘under the radar’ to build bridges for justice and repair broken human relationships, similar to the life of St. Joseph, patron saint of the CSJ Community and its LMU Center for Reconciliation and Justice.”

Tsehai Publishers celebrated its 20th anniversary last October alongside the launch of its first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press, entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux. Tsehai Publishers is the only African/African-American owned press that is housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011).

Elias told Tadias that he is on his way back to the U.S. from Ethiopia to accept the award after having recently returned in September to his homeland for the first time in almost 25 years following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s invitation to exiled Ethiopians to come home. Elias is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the recently launched Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

LMU’s press release added that “as part of the recognition award, Wondimu’s life story will be enacted on stage as a dramatized narrative as written by David Johann Kim and acted by Desean Terry. The award ceremony and performances will take place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University at Murphy Hall.”

If You Go:
To RSVP click here. This event is free and open to the public.

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