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Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

Timnit Gebru, a Computer Science PhD Candidate at Stanford University emphasizes inclusion and diversity in the artificial intelligence field. (Photo: Stanford)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 22nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Forbes Magazine featured Ethiopian-born Timnit Gebru among 21 incredible women behind artificial intelligence research that’s fueling new discoveries in the field. “You already know that artificial intelligence is transforming virtually every industry and function,” the business publication wrote. “But you might not have met the brilliant AI researchers and technologists driving the edge of innovation.”

Timnit Gebru, who came to the United States when she was 16 years old and is currently a PhD candidate at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, states “my main research interest lies in data mining large scale publicly available images to gain sociological insight, and working on computer vision problems that arise as a result,” adding that her “research is supported by the NSF foundation GRFP fellowship and currently the Stanford DARE fellowship.”

Forbes highlights that Timnit also “actively works to boost diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.” After noticing that she was the only black woman at a major AI conference, she co-founded the social community Black In AI to drive connection and participation in AI research. In addition Timnit returned to Ethiopia to co-teach AddisCoder, a programming bootcamp, to a diverse range of young students and to help them gain admissions into top U.S. colleges.

“This is the most diverse/inclusive classroom I have ever been in,” says Timnit regarding her Ethiopia experience. “All regions of Ethiopia were represented with many religions and at least 10 languages (there were 85 students). There were different income levels ranging from students working as shoe shiners to put themselves through school to kids who went to private middle schools. Some kids had never touched a computer before while others have programmed in Java. But all of them currently understand the basics of recursion, dynamic programming, graphs etc. And they only took this class for one month. I hope to one day see a computer science classroom in the U.S. that is this diverse.”

Forbes notes that “since AI affects all aspects of society, even being used to manipulate elections and identify criminals, Gebru cautions that “AI researchers should not be silent regarding the repercussions of their work. Only when technology creators tend to inclusion will the exponential benefits of artificial intelligence positively impact all.”


Related:
The Economist appluads Timnit Gebru’s recent work: A machine-learning census of America’s cities
Spotlight: TADIAS Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

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Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

(Photo: Mulatu Astatke's Facebook page)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Mulatu Astatke’s seminal album Mulatu of Ethiopia was officially reissued on Friday, May 19th. The label, Strut Records, announced that the “official reissue of Mulatu Astatke landmark Ethio jazz album from 1972, including new interview and photographs, features previously unheard mono mix and session out-takes.”

The New York Times featured Mulatu’s album this week on their playlist, and noted: “The Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke studied vibraphone and percussion at Berklee College of Music in the mid-1960s, and a small label gave him the chance to record Ethio-jazz fusions. He made his funky, forward-looking, newly reissued 1972 album, “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” in New York City with jazz and Latin musicians, combining his African and American elements differently for each track. The melody of “Mulatu,” named for the composer himself, uses an unmistakably Ethiopian mode, while the track also has a crunchy wah-wah guitar, a steadfastly riffing horn section, a bullish saxophone solo and Mr. Astatke’s own vibraphone shimmering in dark spaces.”

Born in Jimma in 1943 the legendary artist is best known as the father of ethio-jazz. “At 73, Mulatu Astatke is as relevant as ever, and that goes for the music he made 45 years ago,” adds the music website Treble Zine in a recent highlight. “Mulatu of Ethiopia isn’t new, but every spin feels like a fresh discovery.”


Related:
Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia
Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia

Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra played two concerts together to an enthusiastic audience in Melbourne, Australia on May 14th, 2017. (Photographer – Mario De Bari)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – This past weekend, Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra shared the stage for a rare and memorable concert held in front of a jubilant audience in Melbourne, Australia.

The Ethiopian legends played two shows accompanied by a local band, The JAzmaris, “to ecstatically exuberant audiences” reported the website Australian Stage.

And there was plenty of eskista and sing-along from Ethiopian concertgoers at the performance, which took place on Sunday, May 14th inside the Playhouse concert hall at Melbourne’s Arts Centre. According to the review by the Australian Stage: “the two most revered jazz singers of Ethiopia sang with the band at high voltage – the love in the room was immense with members of the audience leaping on stage to plaster money on the white-suited singers’ heads and in their pockets, sharing a moment of song with them.”

The concert featured Mahmoud and Ali’s most popular songs, but Ali Birra also sang a few songs in Somali, along with the song that originally made him famous: Birraa dhaa Barihe.

Both musicians who are in their seventies are considered Ethiopia’s cultural icons and two of the earliest voices of Ethio-Jazz.


Related:
Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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G7 & Africa: Dr. Lemma Senbet on Why Growth Should be More Inclusive

Prof. Lemma W Senbet is the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium. (Photo: ISPI)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American financial economist Dr. Lemma Senbet, who is the Executive Director of the Pan African economic policy organization African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, was one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy last week comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. According to the announcement the conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility,” in preparation for the upcoming meeting of the G-7 Heads of State in Italy.

Prof. Lemma Senbet Says Africa’s Economic Renaissance Should Be More Inclusive and Sustainable

In the past few years “Africa has actually witnessed a growth syndrome,” says Prof. Lemma Senbet, who is currently on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park where he holds the William E. Mayer Chaired Professorship of Finance. “Some people call that growth renaissance and so moving forward growth has to be inclusive… and agents of those inclusivity are small farmers, women, youth and medium enterprises.”

Prof. Lemma added: “Technology and innovation is really key to leapfrogging and empowering these individuals and institutions. You need innovation not only in agriculture but also in finance. For instance in the area of agricultural innovation, which is actually linked to finance, is the idea of making our small farmers insurable and bankable so they will have access to credit because that’s a big constraint.”

Below is the full video of Prof. Lemma Senbet explaining his presentation at the G7 & Africa panel held in Rome on May 5th:


Related:
Professor Lemma Senbet Leads AERC to Top Global Index Ranking
Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

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Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Photo by Tsedey Aragie)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 13th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Teddy Afro’s new album, Ethiopia, made the number one spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart this week as “the highest ranking debut” based on Nielsen Music’s tabulation of sales that measure weekly popularity of singles or albums worldwide.

I am “overwhelmed with your response,” Teddy Afro said on Facebook following Billboard magazine’s announcement. “Grateful for all the love and support.”

The 40-year-old pop star’s latest release, which so far has sold over half a million copies, builds on his previous record smashing albums including Tikur Sew (2012) as well as Abugida (2001), Yasteseryal (2005) and Yasteseryal Edition 2 (2005).

Teddy who has dominated the Ethiopian music scene for over fifteen years produces socially conscious lyrics emphasizing “reconciliation, unity, history, justice, and equality,” notes the online independent music distributor CD Baby. “These subjects have gained him the hearts and ears of millions of adoring fans.”

Later this month the iconic singer will also be honored with an award by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) in Maryland. The the non-profit organization recognizes that Teddy Afro (Tewodros Kassahun) “is an accomplished and distinguished singer and songwriter who has endeared himself to the Global Ethiopian Community in general and to the Diaspora Ethiopians in particular.” The 2017 SEED award will be given to Teddy Afro on May 28th “in appreciation of his tireless efforts to preserve our history and culture through his thoughtful and meaningful musical composition and lyrics that make us feel proud as Ethiopians and inspire the new generation of Ethiopians around the world, in acknowledgement of his inspiring humanitarian support to the less fortunate among us as well as in recognition of his talent as a rising star that is loved and admired by countless Ethiopians.”


Related:
Ethiopia’s star singer Teddy Afro makes plea for openness (AP)

Watch: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage and B.B. King Blues Club — 2014 (TADIAS Video)

Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku Presents at Venice Design 2017

Jomo Design's 'The Birth Chair II.' (Photos by Bemnet Yemesgen @Elasticreative)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku’s latest work, The Birth Chair II, was featured at Venice Design 2017 in Venice, Italy this week as as part of Venice Design’s Time, Space Existence exhibition. In addition, the exhibit highlighted four new designs by Jomo Furniture including “the incorporation of African textiles into modular backrests.”

According to Jomo “The Birth Chair II is inspired by African birthing chairs, which are still used in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Like most home furnishings in African countries, it is both utilitarian and decorative as well as a functional furniture that is also a work of art. Jomo original model is modular, with swappable backrests featuring various designs. Spare backrests can be displayed as decor. The ultimate design is modern, though rooted in African history.”

The press release adds: “Jomo’s unique exhibition ushers in a new era of mainstreaming African design. Africa has been severely underrepresented in events such as Venice Biennale due in part to the ethnic, rather than nation-based identity among many in African countries. Mainstream events are typically organized around national representation.”

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Related:
Contemporary Design Africa Book Features Jomo Tariku’s Ethiopia Furniture

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Spotlight: Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

Solomon Mulugeta Kassa is the Producer and Host of the 'TechTalk with Solomon' television show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS). (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Long before Solomon Mulugeta Kassa launched his popular TechTalk televised show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS) highlighting Ethiopian scientists, his friends used to tease him about his nonstop enthusiasm for the newest robot, space exploration, or digital gadgets. “I am always excited about the most recent human innovations in science and technology that impact our lives,” Solomon said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine, noting that it was one of his buddies who suggested that he become a TV personality so he can free them from his constant obsession. “It was a jokester friend of mine who inspired me to do it,” Solomon recalled with laughter. “So I eventually contacted EBS and made a proposal for the show. They loved it. They said when can you start? That was in 2012.”

Fast forward five years later and Solomon — who works full time as a Senior Technology Consultant for Deloitte — has so far taped over 130 episodes of his show featuring fascinating guests including NASA scientist Dr. Brook Lakew, who is an Associate Director for Planning, Research and Development, Solar System Exploration Division at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University and one of the leading green energy researchers in the world.

Solomon said his only requirement for the show was that the DC-based program conducted interviews in Amharic so as to avoid “any language barrier” for his target audience especially in Ethiopia. “We know that even in this age of the Internet there is a huge information gap that exists in Ethiopia,” Solomon said. “That knowledge gap has always felt like a burden to me, so this is my way of sharing a little bit of what I know with people who are both younger, older and much smarter than I am.” Over the years Solomon has won an enthusiastic following both in Ethiopia and abroad. He has even appeared as a guest on various national Ethiopian TV shows, and last year received the SEED award from the US-based Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora.

SEED said they recognized Solomon for “his extraordinary commitment in promoting the use and teaching of technology through his “Tech Talk” initiative on EBS, reaching millions in the Ethiopian community and doing so in our native language.” And his alma mater, The George Washington University, where he received his Master of Science degree in Information Systems Technology Management in 2011, was equally enthusiastic in a recent feature on their website profiling their former student as trailblazer in the Ethiopian community. In his episodes, “Solomon interviews subject matter experts who enlighten viewers on recent science and technology developments, applications, and uncharted areas of exploration,” the university wrote. “The more than 100 weekly sessions have covered such diverse topics as robotics, space exploration, industrial design, transportation technology, construction engineering, aviation, and futuristic innovations.”


TechTalk with Solomon on EBS. (Courtesy photo)

Like many immigrants Solomon shared that adjusting to life in the United States wasn’t necessarily a smooth ride for him. “It was more like a roller coaster,” he said. “I arrived in Washington in late 2003 (on December 31st to be exact) on a scholarship to attend the University of Jamestown, a private liberal arts college, located in Jamestown, North Dakota.” Solomon, however, never made it past the D.C. area. “When I came here I had only $120 in my pocket,” he recalled. “The scholarship I had was not 100%. It covered about 65% of my expenses. So it became immediately clear to me that I had to find a way to support myself and get my papers straight in order to finish school.” That included crashing at a friend’s studio and working for a while at a convenience store “shelving beers and mopping the floor.” After a while he found a job at a hotel as a front desk supervisor from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, which he said allowed him to attend school during the day, starting at Northern Virginia Community College where he earned another technology associate degree (his first associate degree equivalency was from a private software engineering school in Ethiopia). He also briefly attended George Mason University, but had to withdraw because “working full time, supporting family and going to school was not working out.” At the end Solomon, who is a father of one, graduated from DC’s Strayer University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2008. Soon he landed a new professional job as a software developer working at the American Society of Clinical Oncology for five years prior to continuing his graduate studies at George Washington University and moving on to join his current position at Deloitte in 2011. And less than a year later Tech-talk with Solomon’ was born on EBS.

In addition, Solomon announced that he is putting the final touches on an upcoming new book aptly titled Science and Technology: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which he says is “the first Amharic publication of its kind both in content and detail. “It will cover major science moments in history, its effect on the world and its relations to Ethiopia from the industrial revolution to the information age.” Solomon says. “The book will also contain a reflection about the future. Where are we headed? And what is our role? I am talking here about Africans in general and Ethiopians in particular. The fact of the matter is that we started civilization, but when it comes to modern technology we are still playing catch up.”

Asked about the ongoing debate on social media about Ethiopia’s fledgling space program Solomon said he is not as skeptical as some people although he has his own cautious opinions about what the priorities of the orbiters should be such as to “improve agriculture or provide useful weather data as opposed to focusing solely on communication,” he said. “Actually right now technology is the only solution to leapfrog and address some of our most pressing issues.”

“For example in the 1990′s people used to mock our entire continent saying what good is the Internet for Africa?” Solomon emphasized. “Well, look where we are now. So it’s not a luxury. Why should we be the last adopters? Why?”


You can learn more about the show at www.techtalkwithsolomon.com.

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Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz

Meklit pays homage to her Ethiopian influences on “I Want to Sing For Them All.” (Image: Meklit H. video)

VIBE

Ethiopian Jazz musician Meklit Hadero gives us an amazing tune that shows love to her musical roots, titled “I Want to Sing for Them All,” it features violinist and whistler Andrew Bird. The track is the latest single from her forthcoming album, When The People Move, The Music Moves Too.

“I Want to Sing for Them All” is a beautiful medley of lush and rich sounds from the African diaspora that inspired the song…Meklit’s beautiful visuals pay homage to every sound and artist that crossed her path since she was a child. Her soulful melody shows all of her cultural influences — from hip-hop, soul, and American pop music to Ethiopian jazz music, which shapes her stylistic range. The former TED fellow explains how “I Want to Sing For Them All” is her musical manifesto, and how she intertwines both of the music of American and Ethiopian heritages

She adds, “We came to this country when I was about two. I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music. But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”

Read the full article at Vibe.com »


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Icons of Ethiopia US Exhibit at Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts

Ethiopia's ancient and storied history is explored in this exhibition at the Museum of Russian Icons, a non-profit art US museum located in Clinton, Massachusetts. (Image: Courtesy of Museum of Russian Icons)

Press release

The Museum of Russian Icons

The Museum of Russian Icons is opening a new mini-exhibit, From the Vault: Icons of Ethiopia, on Saturday, May 20, with a special members-only reception on Thursday, May 18. This exhibit, which will run through August 13, features a mix of Ethiopian icons, silver hand crosses, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection dating from the 19th and 20th century. Many of the icons were purchased from Ikon Gallery in Berlin, Germany between 2011 and 2014 including a Mother of God fresco, from the late 18th century that had been removed from the wall and transferred to canvas. “This very rare icon is one of the great treasures of the Museum’s collection,” notes Museum Curator Kent Russell.

Ethiopian iconography, which didn’t appear until the 16th century, is easily recognized by the stylized and graphically bold figures with large, almond-shaped eyes painted in bright and vivid colors. These icons could be found in monasteries, churches, and the homes of the wealthy.

A newly acquired “magic scroll” will also be on view in the exhibit. This traditional Ethiopian art form is based on ancient beliefs that illnesses and other crises were the work of demons. A cleric of the Ethiopian Church would create the scroll, customized to the height of the patron and inscribed with healing prayers, and stories of saints and angels triumphing over Satan. They were written in Ge’ez, the liturgical language of Ethiopia. The scrolls were believed to have protective and healing powers, and were always carried by the owner. Russell says, “The practice of creating and using magic scrolls continues today, despite attempts by Church officials to eliminate what they see as a superstitious tradition.”


If You Go:
Thursday, May 18, 7:00-9:00PM
Free for members and their guests.
Please RSVP by May 12 to (978) 598-5000 x121
http://www.museumofrussianicons.org

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Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica

Mel Tewahade and Gabe Christian, Emissaries of Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie, presented a check in the sum of $700,000 to Haile Selassie High School in Jamaica, April 27th, 2017. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) -- Family of the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie has made a donation of $700,000 to a high school in Kingston, Jamaica. The school was established by Haile Selassie as a gift to the people of Jamaica during his historic trip to the island nation more than fifty years ago. The financial contribution to Haile Selassie High School last week fulfilled a commitment announced last year by the former Emperor's grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, during his official visit to the country that included a stop at the institution.

The $700K donation was presented on April 27th to the school's administration through representatives of Prince Ermias led by Gabe Christian and Mel Tewahade.

Prince Ermias described his visit to Haile Selassie High School a year ago as the highlight of his trip and personally moving. "It was emotional and overwhelming to visit the school that was donated by my grandfather," Prince Ermias told Tadias in an interview following his travel to Jamaica. "The school has been in existence since the late sixties," he said. "Many have graduated and many have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, government leaders, pastors. Some have migrated abroad and are serving their adopted home well." Ermias added: "My grandfather believed in education. Education enlightens and enriches one’s life and for society there is no better security than to educate its citizens."


Haile Selassie High School in Kingston, Jamaica. (Courtesy photo)

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Related:
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie's Historic Visit to Jamaica

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Millions Hope to Win What Could Be the Last U.S. Green-card Lottery

The days of the U.S. green-card lottery program, which has been around for 30-years, may be numbered as it appears to conflict with Trump’s immigration policy. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

On Tuesday, more than 14 million people around the world, including anxious applicants in the Washington area, will begin checking computers and smartphones in one of the strangest rituals of the U.S. immigration system. When the clock strikes noon in the nation’s capital, they will be able to visit a State Department website, enter their names, years of birth and 16-digit identification numbers. Then they will press “submit” to learn whether they have won one of the world’s most coveted contests: the U.S. green-card lottery.

Each year, the Diversity Visa Lottery, as it is officially known, provides up to 50,000 randomly selected foreigners — fewer than 1 percent of those who enter the drawing — with permanent residency in the United States.

The current lottery coincides with an intense debate over immigration and comes amid policy changes that have made the country less welcoming to new arrivals. President Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration and pressed forward with plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico. He has issued executive orders targeting foreign workers, refugees and travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries.

But he hasn’t said a word about the green-card lottery.

Its days may be numbered, nonetheless. The lottery appears to conflict with the president’s call for a “merit-based” immigration system. And at least two bills in the Republican-controlled Congress seek to eliminate the program.

Read more at the Washington Post »


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Addis Fine Art US Show Preview

Abiy Solomon, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela I, 2014. (Courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery)

Press release

Addis Fine Art

Ethiopia — Addis Fine Art is pleased to present Girma Berta, Leikun Nahusenay and Abiy Solomon at the 19th edition of Salon Zurcher, New York.

Girma Berta is an award winning young artist based in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, whose work fuses street photography with fine art. Born in 1990, Berta is a self-taught photographer. In his Moving Shadows series, solitary figures are juxtaposed against vibrant backgrounds, creating truly unique artworks which exemplify the contrasting colours and personalities on the street of his home town

Leikun Nahusenay’s multidiscipline practice is based in Addis Ababa, where he works from the Nas Gedame studio creating exquisite mixed media works.

Abiy Solomon’s photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches.

Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


If You Go:
Zurcher Gallery
33 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012
www.galeriezurcher.com

Tuesday 2 May: Preview Day
Wednesday 3 May: 12 – 8pm
Thursday 4 May: 12 – 8pm
Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm
Sunday 7 May: 2 – 5pm

Related:
Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs, New York | 4 – 14 May 2017


Girma Berta, Moving Shadow Series II, II 2017

Addis Fine Art is pleased to announce the launch of Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs and Nataal’s second co-organized group exhibition: New African Photography II.

Girma will be joined by seven contemporary artists, whose work engages with present-day Africa. The selected artists are both emerging and internationally recognized, and will be showing new, personal bodies of work addressing issues of representation and celebrating fresh perspectives on the continent. Spanning documentary, fashion and portrait photography, as well as video and performance, the exhibition hopes to tell modern narratives that surprise, captivate and inspire.

New African Photography II follows the success of the inaugural curatorial collaboration between Red Hook Labs and Nataal in 2016. US Vogue called the exhibition “a journey into the rich visual culture of Africa” while i-D hailed the line-up as “the new generation of talent changing the face of African photography.” This latest show hopes to build upon these achievements by supporting a larger and more diverse roll call of exceptional image-makers.

Opening of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be held concurrently, and open to the public from May 5 – 7, 2017

Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


If You Go:
Red Hook Labs
133-135 Imlay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
https://redhooklabs.com
http://nataal.com

Thursday 4 May: Preview 6-9pm
Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm – Artists’ talk moderated by Sara Jennings: 2-4pm
Sunday 7 May: 12 – 8pm
Mon 8 – Sun 14 May: 10am-6pm (daily)


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Editing Tadias While Pursuing Her Doctorate Degree: Meet Dr. Tseday Alehegn

Dr. Tseday Alehegn is the Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April, 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Most readers of Tadias Magazine know Tseday Alehegn for her profiles of inspiring Ethiopians from around the world. But very few people knew that in addition to her tasks at Tadias she was simultaneously juggling many other responsibilities, one of which was pursuing her doctorate degree in Health Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, which she successfully defended this week. In addition, Tseday also holds a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from Columbia as well as her BA and MA from Stanford University in Human Biology and Education respectively.

Dr. Tseday Alehegn’s research topic for the Doctor of Education focused on mobile-health best practices and an analysis of programs using mobile technologies for chronic disease management, disease prevention and health promotion that she hopes will become a book some time soon.

Tseday who also gave birth only a few weeks ago to her first daughter (Naomi Liben-Eabisa), says she will continue to edit Tadias for the foreseeable future “motivating the younger generation to follow their own dreams.”

We congratulate Tseday on her accomplishments.


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Elias Sime Returns for Second Solo Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In NYC

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa. . (Photos: James Cohan Gallery, NYC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April, 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist Elias Sime’s second solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In New York opens this week. The exhibition entitled Twisted & Hidden features Elias’ latest works of “large-scale artworks constructed from a grid-like arrangement of panels encrusted with electronic parts.” The show will be on view from April 28 through June 17 at James Cohan’s Chelsea location.

Similar to his previous show in Fall 2015 Elias’ new works also employ components of scrapped modern gadgets most of which he buys from Merkato. The press release adds that his “work is a meditation on connectivity and transformation. His unorthodox materials include reclaimed cell phone bodies, Soviet-era transistors, computer motherboards, brightly colored electrical wires, sections of plastic keyboards with other e-waste that has been discarded and sent to trash heaps across the African continent. This technological flotsam eventually washes up in the open-air markets of Addis Ababa, where Sime repurposes it into artworks.”

The New York Times described Elias’ work as being “culturally specific,” and “universalist” adding that “although never without critical thrust — no one knows better the horrors visited on Africa by shipments of toxic Western e-waste — it is utopian.”

According to James Cohan Gallery the current exhibition is “part of an ongoing series entitled “Tightrope,” which refers to the contemporary balancing act between technology and tradition, humanity and the environment. Elias Sime achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. Some works recall pure color-field painting while others refer to architectonic geometries, textile patterns and information flows. Figurative moments emerge in some – a human face, a bird wing, a frog leaping from a tree branch. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded objects as poetic stand-ins for individual lives and instead finds renewal everywhere, taking the greatest interest in new ways that objects and ideas connect. The emphasis is on the transformative power of human creativity.”

About Elias Sime

Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. With the full cooperation of curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime founded and designed the Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2014 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” His 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 Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to North Dakota Museum of Art. Sime 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 and London. An upcoming performance of the opera will be staged in Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; North Dakota Museum of Art; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, NY.

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa.

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If You Go:
Elias Sime
April 28 through June 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 28th, 6 – 8 PM
JAMES COHAN GALLERY
533 WEST 26TH STREET NEW YORK NY 10001
TEL 212.714.9500 FAX 212.714.9510
HOURS TUESDAY – SATURDAY, 10 – 6PM
www.jamescohan.com

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

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Chicago Man Raises $11.7K for Michelle Obama Mural He Copied from Ethiopian Art Student Gelila Mesfin

This portrait of Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen was painted by Gelila Mesfin, an Ethiopian art student in New York. (@thick_east_african_girl/Instagram)

CBC Radio

When Gelila Mesfin first saw that her portrait of Michelle Obama had been made into a mural on Chicago’s south side, she was flattered.

“I thought it was pretty cool. I didn’t know anyone had taken credit for it. I figured someone was just inspired and put it up there,” Mesfin, a New York art student from Ethiopia, told As It Happens host Carol Off. “It was kinda cool to see your art work displayed in such a huge manner.”

The mural of Obama decked out as an Egyptian queen was unveiled Friday two blocks from the former first lady’s childhood home.

It bears a striking resemblance to a digital portrait that Mesfin made and shared on her own Instagram account in October 2016, based on a photograph by the New York Times’ Collier Schorr, whom Mesfin credits in her post.

“I just wanted to portray her as a queen,” Mesfin said. “She was just such a class act and she inspired a lot of black women, black girls, and women in general to be strong, be educated and to stand their ground, and you know, to fight for what they love.”

But her feelings of flattery quickly wore off when she read an article about the mural on the website DNA Info, in which the man who painted it appears to take credit for the concept.

“I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate,” Chris Devins, a city planner known for his Chicago portrait-style murals, told DNA Info on Friday.

What’s more, she learned Devins had crowdfunded more than $11,700 US to make the mural, and offered up signed prints to donors.

“I realized that, ‘Wait a minute, this person is not giving me credit,’” Mesfin said. “I was very disheartened and I just felt like it was disrespectful.”

So Mesfin went back on Instagram to call Devins out. “How can you just steal someone’s artwork,” she wrote in a post that has since been liked more than 5,000 times.


Portrait of Michelle Obama by Gelila Mesfin. (Instagram)

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Related:
‘So, What’s Been Going On While I’ve Been Gone?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

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Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora Announces 2017 Honorees

From top: Mahamoud Ahmed, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ted Alemayehu, Dr. Zaki Sherif, Lemn Sissay, Abba Kefyalew Abera, Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw. (Photos courtesy of SEED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) marks its 25th anniversary this year with its annual awards dinners ceremony scheduled to take place in Hyattsville, Maryland on May 28th. The line-up of the 2017 honorees include social entrepreneurs, physicians and celebrity artists.

The U.S.-based non-profit organization, which aims to empower the Ethiopian American Diaspora in the areas of “academic excellence, professional development, and community service,” announced that its 25th anniversary award recipients include Ted Alemayehu, Founder and Chairman of U.S Doctors for Africa (USDFA); physicians Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Zaki Sherif, author and poet Lemn Sissay, as well as the founder of Sewasewe Genet Charity and Development Organization (SGCDO), Abba Kefyalew Abera, and musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro).

In addition SEED said it will posthumously recognize the late Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw, founder of the Ethiopian women for Peace, Democracy and Development (EWPD) and co-founder and President of the Center for The Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “as a distinguished scholar, author and our venerated teacher; in appreciation of her lifelong dedication and struggle for human rights and women’s rights; in acknowledgement of the rich and positive contributions she has made in the Diaspora Community and legacy she has left behind by exemplifying the highest ideals and standards of our community; in recognition of her inspiring academic excellence and many other positive attributes.”

The 2017 SEED Student Honorees are Kirubel Aklilu, Rackeb D. Mered, Teferi D. Tadesse, Yeabesiera D. Tadesse and Ms. Rahel Boghossian (Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Class of 2017).


If You Go:
25th ANNUAL SEED AWARDS DINNER
Date: May 28, 2017
College Park Marriot Hotel
3501 University Blvd. E.
Hyattsville, MD 20783
​301-985-7300
www.ethioseed.com

Video: Tilahun Gessesse SEED Award Acceptance Speech — May 28, 2000

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Spotlight: NYC Designer Hana Getachew

Hana Getachew, whose family left Addis Ababa when she was three years old, had an inspiring homecoming 18 years later. (Photo by Steve Koepp)

The Bridge

Bolé Road Textiles weaves modern ideas with traditional craftsmanship, to vibrant effect

After more than a decade at a major architectural firm, designer Hana Getachew knew that she wanted to break out on her own. The turning point came in planning her wedding in 2014. “I wanted to have an element of Ethiopian design for my table linens” to reflect the vibrant patterns and colors of her native land. Her family had left Ethiopia when she was a child, but she still felt intensely connected to the culture. Her journey back home to source her table linens became the spark for a new business.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, Getachew went looking for weavers. “I went to one location where one of my family friends sent me. I showed them my designs. It was kind of hilarious because I didn’t know about weaving, and they said it couldn’t be done. It took me a while to understand,” she said, that their traditional looms had their limitations. But the weavers offered their own version of her design that was even more pleasing, in such colors as pink, red, and fuchsia. The linens were a success. “The napkins were beige, with fuchsia and red diamond-shape patterning all around.”

What started with wedding planning is now Getachew’s own housewares firm, Bolé Road Textiles, based in Brooklyn and named after a bustling thoroughfare near her childhood home in Addis Ababa. Getachew designs the patterns in her home studio, then turns them into textiles for pillows, rugs, curtains, towels, and other products in a running conversation with master artisans in Addis Ababa. She sells about half her merchandise through e-commerce on her website and the rest through retailers, including Home of the Brave in Greenpoint and Collyer’s Mansion in Brooklyn Heights.

Read more »


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Meklit to Release New Album ‘When The People Move, The Music Moves Too’

Meklit Hadero. (Photo: @meklitmusic/Twitter) )

Broadway Music world

Ethiopian-American artist Meklit will release her new album When the People Move, the Music Moves Too on June 23rd with Six Degrees Records. The record was produced by Dan Wilson, whose previous work with artists including Adele, Taylor Swift and John Legend – as well as fronting the band Semisonic – has earned multiple Grammy awards. The album also includes Andrew Bird on violin and whistling, as well as New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns. A vibrant and inspired mix of Ethio-Jazz roots along with American pop, R&B and folk influences, Meklit’s upcoming record crosses both musical and generational borders to create a unified artistic vision, united behind her unique and unmistakable voice.

When the People Move, the Music Moves Too is the result of a fateful encounter Meklit experienced in Addis Ababa with the legendary vibraphonist/composer Mulatu Astatke, who helped spark Ethiopia’s 1960s musical renaissance. She was deeply engaged with his music at the time, but he pushed her to think about how to bring her own experiences into her songs. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and he tasked me. It took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

Meklit has embodied multiplicity since she first started performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House in the mid-2000′s. Born in Ethiopia, she moved with her family to Iowa at the age of two, and spent much of her adolescence in Brooklyn, soaking up the sounds of hip hop on the street. After studying political science at Yale she spent several years in Seattle before moving to San Francisco, looking to immerse herself in the city’s thriving arts scene.

“I’m always thinking about America and Ethiopia, about how the hybridization is going to work in both places,” she observes. The lapidary orchestrations on her new record were created by Meklit herself, with the help of her bassist Sam Bevan. But Meklit is quick to credit Dan Wilson’s lithe musical mind with a major role in shaping the ultimate sound of the record, in addition to his contribution of co-writing two songs. A prolific songwriter, arranger and producer, Wilson seemed to know exactly which player to place where to accentuate Meklit’s sound. He brought in Ethio-Cali’s tenor saxophonist Randall Fisher, who plays a perfectly calibrated Ethio-jazz intro on “You Got Me.” And Ethiopian-born, LA-based keyboardist Kibrome Birhane’s spare piano work levitates “Yesterday is a Tizita.” Meklit describes how Wilson’s songwriting precision, and razor sharp, generous feedback helped to weave a remarkable clarity into the music, enhancing Meklit’s already vivid hues.

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Family Seeks Answers in Police Shooting of Young Ethiopian Engineer in LA

Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu, who was shot and killed by police in LA last week, came to the US 8-years-ago on a scholarship to University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.

OkayAfrica

Last Wednesday, 28-year-old Ethiopian engineer, Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu was shot and killed by police in Los Angeles, California.

The details of his death are conveniently murky. According to the LAPD, officers were responding to a burglary when they found Ewnetu sitting in his car. Officers approached him after smelling marijuana coming from his vehicle. He reportedly refused to exit his car when asked. Authorities say that when they tried to remove him from the car, Ewnetu brandished a gun and aimed it at the officers.

The deputies then fired at Ewentu, shooting him in the torso and killing him on-site.

A statement from the victim’s family, says that the initial account of the incident varied from what’s been reported by authorities. Following the shooting, the detective on the case, mentioned that they gun was found in the back seat, says the press statement. A photo of the vehicle, published in the LA Times, shows what appears to be two bullet holes in the back windshield.

Cases like this are, sadly, all too familiar and the varying accounts of what took place, certainly raise suspicion. Ewentu’s family is currently seeking answer and have started a Gofundme to help with funeral and attorney costs.

Ewnetu came to the United States eight years ago on a scholarship to the University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.


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Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

She sang for Haile Selassie then retreated from the world, living barefoot in a hilltop monastery, perfecting her bluesy, freewheeling sound. (Photograph: Gali Tibbon)

The Guardian

The Extraordinary Life of Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

I’m no great singer, but Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou only really trusted me after I had sung to her. “Something from your country,” she instructed. So I found myself in the tiny bedroom of this 93-year-old Ethiopian composer-pianist-nun, croaking my way through the verses of a Robert Burns song.

Given she does not agree to most interviews, I felt I should do what I was told. The room, at the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, was cramped and sweltering. In it was a small bed, an upright piano draped in Ethiopian flags, stacks of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, and a jumble of handwritten manuscripts. On the walls were portraits of Emperor Haile Selassie – Emahoy knew him in the 1930s – and her own paintings of religious icons. The door was propped open and, from the courtyard, came smells of food and the sound of monks chanting.

Emahoy is fluent in seven languages, but when I finished the Burns song (Ae Fond Kiss) she admitted the old Scots lyrics had been tricky to decipher. I gave her a potted translation – lovers meet, lovers part, lovers feel brokenhearted – and she gripped my arm and fixed me with one of her deep stares. “We can’t always choose what life brings,” she said. “But we can choose how to respond.”

If anyone is qualified to dish out such wisdom, it’s a woman whose choices were determined by religious self-exile, maverick gender struggles and Ethiopia’s dramatic 20th-century political history – and who became a singular artist in the process.

Most people familiar with Emahoy’s music come across it via her solo piano album released in 2006, as part of the Éthiopiques collection. That series put her poised, bluesy, freewheeling waltzes together with the Ethio-jazz that emerged out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s – and although she smiles fondly at the mention of fellow Éthiopiques musicians such as Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, she insists she’s not a jazz artist. Her training is purely western classical; her inspiration comes from the ancient modal chants of the Orthodox church. It’s a unique fusion and it sounds like nothing else.

Read more »


Related:
TADIAS Interview With Hanna M. Kebbede, CEO of Emahoy Music Foundation
From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

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Watch: Ethiopian Food Truck Helps Adopted Ethiopian-Americans to Give Back

Pay it Forward Ethiopia food truck in Green Bay, Wisconsin is run by adopted Ethiopian-Americans. (WBAY)

WBAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A food truck that makes stops around the Green Bay area is on a mission to help kids in Ethiopia.

A dad, his kids, and some friends pair Ethiopian slow cooking and exotic spices with familiar American dishes for a Taste of Ethiopia. The food has rave reviews on Facebook.

Tesfaye Joyce lived in Ethiopia most of his life. While in an orphanage, he met some people involved in the project called Pay It Forward Ethiopia.

“My hope for this to collect, especially Ethiopian Americans that came in through adoption, to be able to come together and pretty much give back the help the people back home, they need,” Joyce says.

Joyce say he’s grateful for his life in Wisconsin.

“We’re here because someone helped us, and we want to give back,” Joyce says.

Tesfaye, his brother, and his sister live with their adoptive father, Pat Joyce.

“As they are growing up, they’re–we’re realizing how important it is to keep their cultural connection, so they’re starting to go back to Ethiopia, and rekindle some of the long-lost relationships they’ve had,” says Pat Joyce.

Read more »

Watch: Taste of Ethiopia Food Truck funding mission to help kids


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Spotlight: Genet Lakew Sets Up Scholarship for Diaspora Students

Meet Genet Lakew, founder of the Mekonnen Family Scholarship for Diaspora students. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Genet Lakew knows first hand the value of scholarships when it comes to completing your higher education in the United States. The Ethiopian-American student finished her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Journalism and a master’s degree from New York University focusing on Africana-Studies without incurring any debt. The 27-year-old who now works for the National Urban League as a digital communications professional has launched a personal initiative to establish the Mekonnen Family Scholarship that she says “will benefit college-bound students at Washington-Lee High School (W-L), a public high school in Arlington, Virginia,” her alma mater.

“I’m an Ethiopian American millennial woman passionate about empowering the next generation of changemakers,” Genet says on her online campaign page, explaining the purpose of the funds. “The scholarship is named in honor of the humble, hardworking immigrant family I come from, who poured their hopes and dreams into me. I want the names and memories of the souls who are no longer on earth to live on through this scholarship.”

Genet adds: “My working class Ethiopian immigrant mother emphasized education as a gateway to opportunity and success. But she did not have the economic and social access to help me apply to colleges, visit campuses, pay for application fees, tuition, and housing. And that’s where my community stepped in. The Minority Achievement Coordinator at W-L (Mr. James Sample) sent scholarships my way and I was able to start my freshman year at Howard University with a total of $8,000 in scholarships.”

Genet’s efforts are also attracting national media attention. In a recent interview with Vibe magazine Genet explained what inspired her to set up the scholarship. “I actually had this idea for a few years now. I’ve been out of college for six years this May,” she said. “So I’m kind of going through these milestones; I’m in my late twenties, and I was reflecting on my educational journey.” She added: “But it wasn’t something I really thought I could pursue. I just realized how lucky I am to not have that financial burden. So I kind of felt it was my responsibility to give back in any way that I can. I felt this was a great time to offer something that shows support to immigrant students, and their families — to let them know not only do you belong in this country, but there is support out there for you to make sure that you have a good quality of life.”

Click here to learn more and support the Mekonnen Family Scholarship »


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Curated by Henone Girma Art in FLUX Harlem Exhibition Opens April 19th

Liberty on Ice, Ben Ponté, Oil and mixed media on paper, 2015, 25” x 30”. (Courtesy of Art in FLUX Harlem)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 13th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week an Art in FLUX exhibition, curated by Henone Girma, will open at ALOFT Harlem as part of the New York organization’s mentoring initiative. The exhibition entitled Woe-nderland features five NYC-based artists including emerging Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw whose work we highlighted here last year. Additional participants include Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson and JaSon Auguste. Tariku’s work is currently part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

The show, which opens on Wednesday, April 19th, “presents works that evoke a collective feeling of world-weariness that saturates the current climate and paints an honest picture of lamentation apt for recent events,” states Art in FLUX.

According to the press release “the title Woe-nderland takes as its point of departure the 1996 single ‘If I Ruled the World’ by recording artist Nas that begins with “Life, I wonder, will it take me under, I don’t know” – a simultaneous testimony to the ills of society and contemplation of its potentials.”

The press release adds: The exhibition offers a rather satirical lens through which we may reimagine our current social construct – this perhaps creating a timely opportunity for relating and purging.

About the Curator:

Henone Girma has been a gallery assistant at Art in FLUX since September 2016. She also works as a Research Associate for the Arts of Global Africa department at Newark Museum in New Jersey. She is a recent graduate from New York University with an MA in Visual Arts Administration. Henone wrote her final thesis on contemporary Ethiopian art as it relates to the art market. She hopes Woe-nderland will be the first of many exhibitions she will have the opportunity to curate as she continues her career as an arts advocate and professional.


If You Go:
Exhibition: Woe-nderland
Artists: Tariku Shiferaw, Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson, and JaSon Auguste
Opening: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Dates: April 19 through August 31, 2017
Location: Aloft Harlem, 2296 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between 123 and 124th Streets, NYC
Hours: Daily 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Info: www.artinfluxharlem.com

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Zekarias Mesfin’s New Film Tells His Refugee Journey From Ethiopia to Canada

Zekarias Mesfin's biographical documentary "Ewir Amora Kelabi" will premieres at the 2017 African Film Festival in New York City next month. (Photo: Metro News Canada)

Metro News

Like many new immigrants, Zekarias Mesfin came to Canada with hope for a better life.

But the road to get here was long, and included violence, hunger, but hope too, he said. So this year he travelled back to his native Ethiopia, where he partnered with a film company to create Ewir Amora Kelabi, a new film getting some high profile attention.

Mesfin wrote, produced and stared the film, which premieres next month at the African Film Festival in New York City.

Mesfin’s story of resilience is not that uncommon among fellow refugees—he left Ethopia as an orphaned 14 year-old boy, he said, and crossed the Sahara Desert to Sudan on foot. He eventually made it to Egypt, where he said spent two years in prison for illegal border crossing.

Finally, he made it to Canada nearly a decade ago, arriving in Vancouver first become moving to Edmonton.

But what is unique is Mesfin’s determination to archive his journey, along with the struggle for survival faced by thousands of fellow African migrants.

“My dream has come true, and now the cup is overflowing,” said 32-year-old Mesfin, now married with two young sons, Christian, 2, and Yeab, four months, and working at a barber shop on 118 Ave.

The entire family will attend the prestigious U.S. festival, “with hotel, limousine, meals—it’s unbelievable,” he said.

“I made this film because it’s important for the new generation of Africans to know what is happening, and for my children and the world to know too.

Read more at Metronews.ca »


Related
Watch: Ethiopian Canadian Movie Ewir Amora Kelabi Trailer
Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

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Ethiopian Hero Gen. Jagama Kello Who Fought Fascism Dies at 96

Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders. (Photo via BBC News)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – General Jagama Kello, who passed away this week at the age of 96, was among the Ethiopian heroes whose unimaginable bravery and resistance helped to defeat the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

His daughter Yetmwork Jagema Kello made the announcement on Facebook Friday noting that her father will be laid to rest at the Kidist Selassie Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo cathedral in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Jagama Kello’s remarkable story, which has been shared by various Ethiopian media outlets as well as through national literary works, was also featured in the 2009 BBC documentary entitled Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers highlighting “firsthand account of African troops including the Ethiopian guerrilla forces, known as the Patriots (Arbegnoch).”

“Jagama Kello, was at that time no more than a young man. He was the son of a wealthy landlord, who owned 900 acres of farms with his uncle, in [Ginchi], not far from Addis Ababa,” writes Journalist Martin Plaut who worked on the documentary. “Jagama had heard tales of his brave ancestors as a boy and hoped to emulate them. When the Italian invasion took place Jagama saw his chance. With his elder brother and uncle, he took to the bush, determined to resist. At first he had no gun – only his elder brother had one. But they ambushed Italian troops and gradually armed themselves. Peasants joined the struggle and by the end of the war they had over 3,000 fighters under their command.”

Jagama remembers the battle at Seyoum Mariam in the outskirts of Addis Ababa as the biggest of his many deadly encounters with Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts,’ as they were called. Jagama told Plaut “they were told by a woman fighter where to find the Italians and in a surprise attack broke through their lines. They killed 72 Italians in the engagement, capturing some 3,000 rifles.”


Jagama Kello as a Colonel (left) and Jagama and his brother. (Martinplaut.files.wordpress)


General Jagama Kello. (Photo: Facebook)

According to Plaut: “On 5th May 1941, after years in exile in Britain, the Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital. Jagama, who had received no British help during the 5 years of the war, refused to go to Addis Ababa for the ceremony. In the end the Emperor came to [Ginchi]. Jagama says he put his 3,500 troops on parade, to greet Haile Selassie. He was then driven in the Emperor’s own car to his palace, where he was awarded a gabardine coat and a gold watch. But the war was not yet over. Jimma was still under Italian control. The Emperor asked Jagama for help and he says he led his forces into battle. Reports suggest the area was ‘swarming with Patriots’ – many of whom may have been loyal to Jagama. He told the BBC that his forces captured some 500 Italian soldiers, whom he handed over to the British.”


Related:
Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

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The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago Marks 33 Years of Service

(Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 5th, 2017

Chicago (TADIAS) — The Chicago area is home to one of the earliest Ethiopian immigrant communities in North America. And so is the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), which marks its 33rd anniversary next month, as one of the oldest Ethiopian American organizations in the country “serving as a cultural anchor of the Chicago-area Ethiopian community” for more than three decades.

The non-profit was established after “the tragedy of a car accident in 1984 which took the life of an Ethiopian immigrant in Chicago,” which “sparked ECAC’s founding members to establish the association.”


(Photo: Courtesy of ECAC)

Since 1984 ECAC has also served as an “open door for refugee populations” including from Asia, Middle East, and Eastern European nations “seeking its services in areas of advocacy, education, employment, healthcare, and community outreach.” Today ECAC is also home to the only Ethiopian museum in North America “with more than two thousand Ethiopian artifacts in its collection – made possible by the generous donation of the late musician, composer, choreographer, conductor and cultural expert, Tesfaye Lemma. This one-of-a-kind collection has not only impressed but educated hundreds of visitors on Ethiopian culture, history, and tradition.”

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago will host its 33rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at ECAC’s Community Center (1730 E Greenleaf Ave). Organizers share that the festivities will feature guest speakers, live entertainment and an Ethiopian dinner.


If You Go:

More info at www.ecachicago.org

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Attempt to Escape: Sadly Ethiopian Maid’s Horrifying Kuwait Video is Not the First

A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City. (Magnum Photos)

HRW

Last week, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media report as the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral. The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the woman dangling outside the window. The employer tells the woman to come back inside. The panicked woman calls out for her to grab her, but within 12 seconds of the recording starting, the dangling woman loses her grip and falls.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported that the domestic worker is being treated at a hospital for a broken hand, as well as nose and ear bleeding. Al-Seyassah also reported that the authorities arrested her employer, on Wednesday, and charged her for failing to assist her worker. The employer contends she tried to help. Another daily, Kuwait Times, reported on Saturday that members of the Ethiopian embassy visited the worker at the hospital.

This is not the first time a domestic worker – someone hired to clean, cook, and care for a household – attempted a dangerous escape or suicide. The Kuwaiti press often report such stories as “attempted suicides,” as with this recent incident. They don’t usually question whether these were suicide attempts or, rather, attempts to escape. In 2009, Human Rights Watch spoke to eight women who were reported as having “attempted suicide,” but who said they had really fallen from buildings trying to escape abuse or were pushed by their employers. No one has suggested that the employer in this incident was responsible for such abuse.

I have interviewed hundreds of domestic workers in the Gulf region. Many said their employers locked them inside, forced them to work excessive hours, and beat them. Some scrambled down or jumped off buildings to escape.

In 2015, Kuwait took steps to provide migrant domestic workers with labor rights, but it has not reformed the notorious kafala system, under which migrant workers cannot leave or change their employer without the employer’s permission. As a result, while domestic workers now have rights to a weekly day off, daily limits to their working hours, and overtime compensation – they can still be arrested for “absconding” if they escape from their employers, even abusive ones.

Kuwaiti authorities should investigate the working conditions that lead to all such attempted escapes or suicides and refrain from charging employees with “absconding.” No one should have to resort to climbing out of tall buildings to escape their workplace.


Related:
Kuwaiti woman ‘investigated over Ethiopian maid’s window fall’ (BBC)

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Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia

The letter was written by U.S. Representative Mike Coffman of Denver, Colorado on behalf of his Ethiopian American constituents to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This week in a letter to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Program, Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, whose district includes the vibrant Denver-area Ethiopian community, urged his colleagues to review the more than $500 million American taxpayers dollars for Fiscal Year 2017 in US aid program to Ethiopia. The letter comes the same week as the Ethiopian government announced the four-month extension of its strict emergency ban.

“I write to you today at the request of many of the Ethiopian-Americans whom I represent in Congress,” Coffman said in the March 30th, 2017 letter addressed to the subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking member, Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. “These constituents have brought to my attention what they view as an ongoing campaign of human rights violations in their homeland of Ethiopia.” The Congressman continued: “They are convinced that these serious human rights violations are the result of an organized and concerted effort perpetrated by the Ethiopian government.”

The letter, which was shared with us by members of the Ethiopian American community, goes on to highlight the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders. Congressman Coffman noted that currently the amount of money that the United States gives to Ethiopia annually totals $514 million most of it allocated for “economic development, humanitarian assistance, health, education and social services.” Congressman Coffman pointed out: “While the goal of this aid is noble, numerous constituents and experts on the Sub-Saharan region tell me that this assistance may not be reaching those in Ethiopia who needed most, and maybe providing support and legitimacy to this regime”

“In light of these abuses and the United States’ stated strategy of strengthening democratic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, I believe it is important for you to review the current aid program to Ethiopia to ensure that the aid provided is not subsidizing a government apparently committed to the systematic abuse of its own citizens and reduction of the democratic space within its borders,” the letter said. “I respectfully request that the subcommittee include language ensuring the suspension of appropriations FY2018 foreign assistance for Ethiopia pending its government’s implementation of real, concrete and measurable humanitarian reforms as outlined in H.Res. 128.” Rep. Coffman added: I believe that doing so will communicate to the Ethiopian government how seriously the United States views these human rights violations.”

Click here to read the letter »


Related:
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

Directed by Jessica Beshir the film 'Hairat" documents one man's nightly ritual in Harar. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — In her short film Hairat, Jessica Beshir goes back to Ethiopia to the city of her childhood “to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.”

Hairat, which was screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this past January, will make its NYC premiere at the Lincoln Center as part of this year’s New York African Film Festival in May. The film was also shown this month at the Dallas International film Festival in Texas and the Rincon International film Festival in Puerto Rico. Hairat will premiere at the upcoming Arizona International Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France later this month.

“An Imam in Harar spoke to me about the meaning of Hairat at length, but in short it means, ‘You are where you need to be,’” Jessica says.

Trailer | HAIRAT from Jessica Beshir on Vimeo.

In addition to Hairat Jessica also has two additional short films, Heroin and He Who Dances on Wood , premiering at various festivals across the U.S.

In Heroin, which make its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 20th & 21st, Jessica grapples with the question of free will as she “explores the creative process, inspiration and alternative reality of an artist.”

The short film He Who Dances on Wood highlights tap dancer Fred Nelson. BRIC TV describes it as “one man’s search for joy..culminated in a constant experience of rhythm in the world around him. Something so simple, yet beautiful, found its way into Fred’s life in the form of dancing on an old piece of wood.” He Who Dances on Wood will make its NY premiere at BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema series on April 30th, and its international premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto taking place in early May.

Watch: ‘He Who Dances on Woods’ — A short film by Jessica Beshir trailer

He Who Dances on Wood (TRAILER) from BRIC TV on Vimeo.


Related:
Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

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Ethiopia Tribute Concert and Photo Exhibition Honors Getatchew Mekuria

Getatchew Mekuria. (Photo: The Ex Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It was almost a year ago that the legendary Ethiopian jazz saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria passed away at the age of 81 leaving behind a jewel of more than six decades of musical legacy.

The memories of Getatchew Mekuria’s life and work will come alive next week in Ethiopia’s capital during a tribute concert by Ethiopian and international musicians as well as a photo exhibition and a presentation of a 170-page photography book dedicated to his career.

The tribute to Getachew — organized by his longtime music partners, The Ex band from the Netherlands — is scheduled to take place on April 4th at the Alliance Francaise in Addis Ababa, which also features a performance by the Norwegian big band Large Unit.


The book is entitled ‘Getatchew Mekuria (1935 – 2016) – A Lifelong History in Photos.’

“The photobook is the result of what appears to be an unlikely collaboration between Dutch ‘underground’ band The Ex and Ethiopian saxophone legend Getatchew Mekuria,” the press release said. “The Ex fell in love with an old Getatchew cassette from 1972, and in 2004 they wanted to invite him for their 25th Anniversary Festival. The result was a fruitful 10-year collaboration with more than a 100 concerts worldwide, plenty of enthusiastic press and two beautiful CD/LP’s.”

According to the Ex band, “In 2014, because of diabetes, he developed serious problems with his legs and couldn’t travel anymore. The Ex at that point decided to organize a ‘Celebration of Getatchew Mekuria’ concert series in Ethiopia, at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa. It was sold out. 1500 people came and there was a standing ovation. A truly honorable farewell to a great musician. Getatchew passed away on April 4, 2016 at the age of 81 after a musical career of more than 68 years.”

Audio: Getatchew Mekuria – “Almaz Yèharèwa”


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Exploring Ethiopia’s Past and Future Through Body Painting

(Photos by Aida Muluneh)

New York Times (blog)

Aida Muluneh spent a peripatetic childhood in Yemen, England, Cyprus, Canada and the United States before settling in the States to study and become a photojournalist. She returned to Ethiopia, the land of her birth, about a decade ago, where her work addresses issues of women, African identity and the connection between heritage and homeland. Her photos feature decorative body paintings that reflect Ethiopian culture or traditional fabrics and baskets and reflect her own life’s journey.

“We exist between the anxiety of the unknown future and the nostalgia of the familiar past,” Ms. Muluneh said. “We bear the burden of our duality.”

She is among the artists in “Afriques Capitales,” which is on view from March 29 to May 28 in Paris, before it travels to Lille, near the French boarder with Belgium. The show — a subset of the “100% Afriques” festival — is a sampler of the continent’s contemporary artists, from Akinbode Akinbiyi to Hassan Hajjaj to William Kentridge. The works are exhibited within the iron-and-glass cultural center in the Parc de la Villette — once the site of a slaughterhouse — and outside, in the park itself.

Ms. Muluneh was born in in Ethiopia in 1974, but her mother soon took them out of the country after the ouster of Emperor Haile Selassie. They moved often in search of a beter place to live to provide a good education for Ms. Muluneh. At 18 years of age, Ms. Muluneh moved to the U.S. to study film at Howard University and, later, worked at The Washington Post. She moved to Addis Ababa a decade ago – fulfilling a wish of her mother’s – and led the biennial Addis Foto Fest in 2010. She is currently the managing director at Developing and Educating Society Through Art for Africa, which fosters cultural partnerships.

“It took me a long time to understand that culture is soft power,” she said. “Looking at activities in my city, the same issues that we deal with here echo across the continent, and at times across the world.”

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

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Ethiopian Community & Nurses Group Hosts Healthcare Conference in San Jose

(Photo: Courtesy of Ethiopian Community Services in San Jose, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week two Ethiopian American organizations are collaborating to host a timely healthcare conference in San Jose, California focusing on the prevention of diabetes, one of the top chronic diseases in the United States, which also affects many individuals in our community.

Presented by Ethiopian Community Services and the Ethiopian Nurses Association of California, the 3rd Annual Health & Wellness Conference features speakers from Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente and Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center.

The Ethiopian Nurses Association of California (ENAC) is a non-profit organization that “aims to provide health education and awareness to the Ethiopian Community in the greater San Francisco Bay Area,” while Ethiopian Community Services (ECS) is a 20-year-old non-profit organization that is “committed to providing culturally-based adjustment and long-term services that enhance productivity and self-sufficiency within the Ethiopian Community in Santa Clara County (SCC).”

“Please join us as we come together to learn about diabetes prevention and management, and how we can empower ourselves to live happier, healthier lives,” organizers announced.

Sponsored by Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager & The Health Trust the event is scheduled to be held on April 8th at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium in San Jose.


If You Go:
Free admission! Food! Giveaways! Health Fair!
Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM (PDT)
Please RSVP by 4/1/17
For more information:
Phone: 408-681-8910
Email: info@ecssanjose.org

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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Abaynesh Asrat’s Vision for Ethiopia Solar Energy

Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & President of NNN, speaking at a training on solar energy at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Addis Ababa University on February 21st, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What better place is there than Ethiopia, which advertises itself as the land of 13 months of sunshine, to utilize solar energy for basic household needs including cooking, boiling water and even charging your cellphone? A workshop held last month in Ethiopia — hosted by the U.S.-based organization Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) in collaboration with Addis Ababa University — demonstrated this untapped potential of abundant, clean energy with a long term goal of decreasing women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel. The solar energy program was led by NNN founder Abaynesh Asrat whose prior work included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs.

“Themed ‘The way Ahead with Renewable Energy: A Role for Ethiopia,’ the recent training focused on the utilization of solar energy, solar cooking and water pasteurization,” Addis Ababa University shared on its website. “Nation to Nation Networking organized the training in collaboration with the College of Natural & Computational sciences of the AAU.”

In an interview with the Ethiopian Herald, Abaynesh noted that “solar energy helps families preserve food, saving scarce resources and keeping them healthy” adding the potential of dramatic improvements for the majority of the rural population in her native homeland.

“Young Ethiopians are working diligently to change their fate. Their enthusiasms tells me that Ethiopians have entrepreneurial acumen,” Abaynesh tells the Ethiopian Herald, stressing her hope that the training provided could be expanded as young engineers in the country join the effort and assist in the assembly of the necessary materials.


NNN’s Solar Energy workshop put together in partnership with Addis Ababa University was held from February 21-27th, 2017 at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences of the AAU. (Courtesy photo)

Abaynesh, who was among the 2014 honorees of the People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards, knows a thing or two about positively impacting disadvantaged populations. As a long-time board member of Hamlin Fistula USA foundation Abaynesh was at the forefront of the campaign to treat and prevent fistula, which is a childbirth-related injury affecting thousands of women in Ethiopia as well as various countries around the world. As the National Fundraiser Chair for the ‘Tesfa Ineste’ campaign Abaynesh successfully mobilized the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States to contribute toward the building of a regional hospital, the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center, in 2009.

Likewise during her latest visit to Ethiopia in February, 2017 Abaynesh challenged Ethiopian scientists to think out of the box about solar energy and empower the new generation to improve their lives.

Abaynesh says she appreciates the assistance she received from Dr. Shibiru Temesgen, Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at AAU as well as the director of Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communication of Addis Ababa University, Dr. Zenebe Beyene, in setting up the week-long joint workshop.

“I have lived in the USA for about 48 years,” Abaynesh told the program participants hailing from across Ethiopia. “I decided to come to Ethiopia to do something,” she added. “Moving beyond the rhetoric, improving the health of society supported by science and technology thereby creating jobs.. I hope fellow citizens second this.”


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Antu Yacob’s Play “In the Gray” Featured at 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob has been selected to perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play entitled In the Gray next Fall at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival annually held in New York City.

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” states the announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the soon to be released Netflix series Gypsy. She played the lead roles in films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda this past Winter.

“I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview last Summer. “It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”

Antu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was about five years old. “I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu shared. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me. I wrote it so that people who watch it and relate to it can feel they are not alone.”

As a playwright Antu says “she tries to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” She adds: “The best thing about In the Gray is that you don’t necessarily have to be Ethiopian to appreciate the play because it’s an American story. It’s for everyone.”

Antu’s show is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

Performed by Antu Yacob, ETHIOPIA
Sun 9/17 2:00pm
drama, comedy, storytelling, movement, performance art, 75 min.

All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Click here to buy tickets

Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

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Addis Calling II: Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Contemporary Artists

Artwork by Addis Gezahegn, 2017 Floating City I , Acrylic on Cavas. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The second installment of the Addis Calling group exhibition curated by Addis Fine Art Gallery will open in Ethiopia’s capital city on March 25th. The exhibition promotes the works of contemporary Ethiopian artists and will remain on display until May 20th, 2017.

“Representing a new selection of local talent engaged in a diverse range of artistic expression, the exhibition is an exciting mix of painting, glass mono-prints and photography,” the gallery announced in a press release.

Artists featured in Addis Calling II include Addis Gezahegn, Mulugeta Kassa, Abiy Solomon and Bezawit Wondwossen.

Below are bios of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art gallery:

Addis Gezahegn

Addis Gezahegn (b.1978), a long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” His signature piece in the exhibition, from his series Floating City, features a vast, dramatic night sky—a black expanse that towers above a shimmering horizon of urban homes that mostly appear rootless, blurred, and ephemeral. Over the years, he has taken an increasingly reductive approach to his work, rendering entire cityscapes as a flat patchwork of colorful doors and gates. Gezahegn is a 2011 graduate of Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art and Design.

Mulugeta Kassa


Paintings by Mulugeta Kassa, UNTITLED III, 2012, Glass Mono Print, 40 × 30 cm and UNTITLED I, 2012
Glass Mono Print 40 × 30 cm. (Courtesy photos)

Mulugeta Kassa (b.1973), co-founder of the experimental collective Netsa Art Village, considers the singular nature of conception and fertility through his glass mono-prints. Embryo and phallus-like structures float by in a sea of neutral grays, greens, and browns. One of these is tweaked to reveal the outline of a woman carrying a mountain-like bundle of sticks on her back. Kassa graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts and Design in 2003.

Photographer Abiy Solomon


Photo by Abiy Solomon, LALIBELA IV, 2014, Digital Archival Print, 47 x 70.5cm, Edition of 7 + 1AP.

Abiy Solomon (b.1983), is a photographer and one of the most prominent graphic designers in Addis Ababa. In his photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, he offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches. Offset by the bright sunlight that pours in through the open windows and doorways, the images are imbued with a reverent feeling: a contemplation of light and darkness, as well as the inner and outer manifestations of religiosity. Solomon holds a degree in Animation and Visual Effects from Maac University in India (2008). He is the founder and Creative Director at Orangeswitch, a design company, and Partner at Africology Media.

Bezawit Wondwossen


Painting by By Bezawit Wondwosen, Untitled X, 2016. (Courtesy photograph)

Bezawit Wondwossen (b.1987) uses bold, thick strokes of blues, oranges, and browns to create an abstract yet vigorous cityscape, against which splashes of black silhouette. The black forms a meditative core—seemingly haphazard, yet controlled; ornamental, yet integral to the logic of the works. It pulls viewers in to contemplate its various weights, and the sense of angst it evokes—a feeling Bezawit, a 2003 graduate of the Abyssinia School of Fine Arts, ascribes to the travails of womanhood.


If You Go:
Addis Calling II Exhibit
March 25th through May 20th, 2017.
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

Related:
Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

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Spotlight: Wayna’s Facebook Video in Honor of Women’s History Month

Wayna (full name Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen) is a grammy nominated R&B/soul singer and songwriter who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As Wayna prepares a public tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele this coming summer, the Grammy nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter has just released a new music video on Facebook in honor of Women’s History Month. The video entitled You’re Not Alone (Live) features images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the Women’s March on Washington this past January.

The new song shows solidarity with “women and girls in my native Ethiopia, for reproductive rights, for equal pay, and to put an end to violence against women and girls everywhere” says Wayna via Facebook. “Today, I say to all my sisters, mothers and daughters: You are NOT alone.”

You’re Not Alone (Live) is performed by Wayna and Eli Staples; Written by Nicholas Zork, Mixed by Awthentik, and Directed by E-hab Abasaeed. Photos in Ethiopia were taken by Aida Muluneh and Photos of the Women’s March are by E-hab Abasaeed. Styling done by Alison Carney.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook


Wayna Releases New Music Video ‘Amazing’ Filmed in Ethiopia

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The Story of American Immigrants from An Ethiopian Perspective

Ethiopian American heart surgeon and entrepreneur Dr. Lishan Aklog, with his wife (R) as well as his mother, son and sister (L) rings the opening bell for his company's Nasdaq IPO, April 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 9th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Who knew that when Dr. Lishan Aklog, CEO and co-founder of the publicly traded company PAVmed Inc., fled a brutal communist regime at age 13 and immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia nearly four decades ago along with his teenage sister he would one day become the youngest heart surgeon ever to join the faculty at Harvard University (his alma mater), or ring the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO).

Like many of their peers in our community Lishan and his sister sought refuge as they ran away from a government sponsored deadly campaign called “red terror” in Ethiopia. Their father Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael was the first Ethiopian cardiologist serving in Ethiopia, while their mother Professor Almaz Eshete, who also attended Harvard, was Ethiopia’s first woman to receive a graduate degree.

Reflecting on his mother’s journey as a foreign graduate student in 1956 Lishan tells the women’s health website EmpowHER.com that “you can imagine what some of the issues in this country were to have this petite little African woman from the small, poor country in Boston and at Harvard to get a graduate eduction.” He adds: “I think about that and I am just absolutely amazed at what she has accomplished over the years, going back home and being again, the first woman to have her graduate education and to be one of the first professors at the university. She really became an international figure in child development..It’s an amazing inspiration for us.”

Regarding his father Dr. Lishan said: He “came from a very humble background. Earned his way through western school..just sheer work and brains and ended up getting a medical degree..and then he did his residency in the U.S. and then went back [to Ethiopia] and became one of the leading physicians for, you know, 40 years.”

In an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal, Lishan reflected on his immigrant experience in the United States amid the current backlash against refugees and immigrants in the Trump era. “Among the torrent of images in January after President Trump signed his first executive order on immigration, one photo resonated with me. It was a joyful scene: volunteers from a synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., cheerily welcoming a family of Syrian refugees — one of the last to be accepted — at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport,” Lishan wrote. “Thirty-eight years ago, a nearly identical scene played out at the same airport, perhaps in the same terminal. Pastor Gerald Nelson and congregants of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., welcomed two teenagers fleeing violence: my sister and me.”

Lishan added: “Two days earlier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dozens of members of a proud extended family had gathered at the airport as our parents, Prof. Almaz Eshete and Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael, tearfully told us farewell. Our family had suffered greatly under the Red Terror of the Soviet-backed tyrant, Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Fathers were imprisoned, sons were ‘disappeared’ or summarily executed, and children were roused from their bed by soldiers. Our parents had found a way to send us to a life of freedom in America… we arrived to a joyful welcome at O’Hare. Soon we were enjoying apple pie at Poppin’ Fresh Pies on the way to our new families. That’s how my American journey began — with a slice of apple pie.”

“After a rewarding career as an academic heart surgeon, I caught the entrepreneurial bug,” Lishan explained. “Two friends (descendants of Irish, East European and Filipino immigrants) and I founded five medical-device companies. Last April, that immigrant boy who peered out of the jet rang the Nasdaq opening bell with his immigrant family and colleagues at his side. Minutes later, we stood in Times Square, filled with awe and humility as images of our new company streamed on the sides of skyscrapers. I had just one thought: “This is our America.”


Dr. Lishan Aklog is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVMU), a multi-product medical device company bringing innovative medical technologies from concept to commercialization with unprecedented speed and capital efficiency. (Courtesy photo)


Dr. Lishan poses for a photo with his family and colleagues in Times Square, NYC, after he rang the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) on April 28, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

In addition to Dr. Lishan, PAVmed was founded and is led by two other successful medical device entrepreneurs: Dr. Brian deGuzman, a prominent Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon and a leader in medical device innovation, and Michael Glennon a medical device industry veteran and former senior executive in outsourced medical device manufacturing.

Per Bloomberg: “Dr. Aklog has received numerous awards and is a perennial honoree in Castle Connolly’s, America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Aklog has taken a keen interest in health care policy and medical device innovation. As a member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee and Speaker Pelosi’s Speaker’s Cabinet, he has the opportunity to advise members of Congress on health care policy, focusing on cost effective, quality delivery of high-cost, high-technology therapies.”

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Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation

Former President Barack Obama has named Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation. (Photo via Medium)

Politico

Obama adds former White House staffer Yohannes Abraham as foundation adviser

Barack Obama is continuing to staff his post-presidency with top aides from his presidency, adding Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation.

He’s coming on for what’s expected to be an at least six-month stint as the top deputy to foundation chief executive officer David Simas, Obama’s former White House political director.

According to a foundation official, Abraham will help run day-to-day operations, focusing on building the structure and then recruiting and managing the staff. He’ll also work closely with foundation executive director Robbin Cohen, who previously worked for former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s private real estate interests.

Abraham was chief of staff to top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett running the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. He also served as a senior adviser to the National Economic Council.

“We always asked Yohannes to take on our toughest, most important projects, and he always always exceeded our expectations,” said Jarrett. “That’s why it’s no surprise that President Obama asked him to help lay the groundwork for his foundation. I have no doubt Yohannes will tackle this with his characteristic intellect, work ethic, sound judgment, and commitment to excellence.”

Abraham’s time with Obama goes back to the 2008 campaign.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips annual U.S. human rights presentation, while possible budget cuts to foreign aid faces bipartisan opposition in Congress. (Photo: © Greg Nash/The Hill)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson failed to attend the State Department’s yearly release of its human rights report on Friday drawing condemnation from lawmakers and activists alike.

Regarding Ethiopia the U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” highlights that “security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The report adds: “The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs…Impunity was a problem. The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.”

For his absence the top U.S. Diplomat “drew fire from some members of Congress and advocates who said his decision not to personally unveil the report suggested the Trump administration places a low priority on advancing human rights,” The Washington Post reported. Human Rights Watch Washington Director, Sarah Margon, adds that Tillerson’s non-involvement “makes it much easier for other governments to ignore its findings.”

Meanwhile, in a related story, U.S. lawmakers from both parties say any proposal to cut funding for the State Department and foreign aid will not see the day of light in Congress. “It’s dead on arrival,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview with NBC. “It’s not gonna happen. It would be a disaster.”

“If you take soft power off the table then you’re never going to win the war,” Graham continued in the NBC interview. “What’s most disturbing about the cut in the State Department’s budget is it shows a lack of understanding of what it takes to win the war.”

New York Senator and Minority Leader Charles Schumer added: “Democrats and Republicans are both going to run away,” from the Trump budget proposal. “His proposals are falling apart everywhere,” Schumer said.


Related:
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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In Pictures: DC Awards Dinner Celebrates Ethiopia’s Adwa Victory

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie hosts the 2017 Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tsehai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year marks the 121st anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory at the Battle of Adwa, which took place on March 1st 1896. This past weekend in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests and friends of Ethiopia from across the U.S. came together for the 6th Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner — a black tie affair hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. The program was held both in celebration of Adwa as well as to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

Below are photos from the event:

.;

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Related:
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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AT the Oscars Ruth Negga Shows Support to American Civil Liberties Union

Ruth Negga wearing a blue American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) ribbon during the Academy Awards ceremony in L.A. on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS)– Ruth Negga the first Ethiopian-born actress to be nominated for an Oscar made her presence felt during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Sunday evening, arriving with a stylish red Valentino dress decorated with an ACLU ribbon.

The 35-years-old Ethiopian-Irish actress earned the Oscar nomination for her highly acclaimed performance in the American civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.”

According to The New York Times “The A.C.L.U. took up the case and brought it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down miscegenation laws — those that enforced segregation in intimate relationships — in 1967.”


Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga. (Getty Images)

Ruth was born in Addis Ababa in 1982 to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven years old. Ruth grew up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.


Related:
Ruth Negga: One of the Best Film Stars of Our Time
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Spotlight: Ethiopia Habtemariam Honored for Black History Month

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of Motown Records, President of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, and co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. (Photograph: Universal Music Group)

Radio Facts

The #New28 Honors Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chance the Rapper, and More

The #New28, a power dinner and ceremony, presented and sponsored by Walgreens and African Pride, recognized 28 influencers during Black History Month who are bold, brave, and brilliant in their approach at changing the world through their art.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014
Motown Founder Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Pen America Town Hall with Dinaw Mengestu: Role of the Writer in Trump Era

Award-winning Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: The MacArthur Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week in New York City Ethiopian-American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu will be one of the featured speakers at a Pen America town hall meeting entitled “The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America.”

“The role of the writer is being tested in an era of new and intensified attacks on the First Amendment, the discrediting of the press and journalists and efforts to obscure and distort the truth,” Pen America stated in a press release. “Writers have been at the vanguard of chronicling, interpreting and helping shape responses to fast-breaking developments that have the potential to remake essential aspects of our politics and society.”

In addition to Dinaw Mengestu scheduled speakers include Daniel Alarcón, Masha Gessen, Salman Rushdie, and Andrew Solomon.

Pen America added: “The last few months have seen so-called fake news and “alternative facts” challenge the authority of legitimate news sources, expertise and scientific knowledge discredited, and the value of arts and culture questioned. At the same time, millions of Americans are finding new ways to express their views in protest. These developments pose important questions for the role of the writer: Do writers have any unique obligations that derived from the political challenges of the day? Should the roles of writer, artist, citizen, and activist converge? How can the breadth and diversity of the literary community be reflected without detracting from unified efforts? What obligations exist within and amongst the literary community and its sub-cultures? Does the literary community need to evolve to meet the challenges of this moment, and how?”


TOWN HALL MEETING: The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America Opening remarks from Daniel Alarcón , Masha Gessen, Dinaw Mengestu, Salman Rushdie, Andrew Solomon, and more to be announced. (Pen America)

Following remarks from the featured writers an open mike discussion will be held among members of PEN America.


If You Go:
Wed, March 8, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10008
Click here to register

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Photos: Feyisa Lilesa’s New Life in Arizona

Feyisa Lilesa, who has not been back to Ethiopia since his protest at the marathon finish in the Rio Olympics last August, on a training run in Sedona, Ariz., not far from his new home in Flagstaff. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Feyisa Lilesa, Marathoner in Exile, Finds Refuge in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The young boy was getting reacquainted with his father after an absence of six months and climbed on him as if he were a tree. The boy kissed his father and hugged him and clambered onto his shoulders. Then, when a protest video streamed on television, the boy grabbed a stick, and the lid of a pot to serve as a shield, and began to mimic a dance of dissent in the living room.

There is much joy and relief, but also continued political complication, in the modest apartment of Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and gained international attention when he crossed his arms above his head at the finish line in a defiant gesture against the East African nation’s repressive government.

Afraid to return home, fearing he would be jailed, killed or no longer allowed to travel, Lilesa, 27, remained in Brazil after the Summer Games, then came to the United States in early September. He has received a green card as a permanent resident in a category for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and sports.

On Valentine’s Day, his wife, Iftu Mulisa, 26; daughter, Soko, 5; and son, Sora, 3, were reunited with him, first in Miami and then in Flagstaff, where Lilesa is training at altitude for the London Marathon in April. Their immigrant visas are valid until July, but they also hope to receive green cards.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Feyisa Lilesa Reunites with Family
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

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Is Fashion Made in Africa Sustainable? Look at Liya’s Ethiopia Brand Lemlem

Brands like Lemlem have proven that scaling in some corners of the continent is possible. But is it sustainable? (Photo: Lemlem)

Business of Fashion

Can You Build a Fashion Business With a Manufacturing Base in Africa?

NEW YORK, United States — Liya Kebede made her first Lemlem garment in 2007 as a way to give back to Ethiopia, where the successful model was born and raised; a crucial stop before starring in Tom Ford campaigns and walking Miuccia Prada’s runway. She found a group in Addis Ababa, her hometown and the sub-Saharan African country’s largest city, to produce garments handwoven in the traditional technique, with the gauzy white cotton she wore growing up but had since been replaced by more Western-style (and often second-hand Western) garments.

“When I created Lemlem it was about trying to create a solution to a problem,” Kebede says, smiling from behind her desk in a sunny office located in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighbourhood. “The market of the weaving had gone down a lot and there were all these artisans that were looking for jobs and not finding any. What can I do to help move the needle a little bit along?”

Kebede modernised the silhouettes and instructed the artisans to weave in stripes of fluo-coloured yarn, which soon became Lemlem’s signature. In that first year, she manufactured 200 units and secured three points of sale. Collaborations with the likes of J.Crew — including a successful kid’s line — followed.

In 2017, production will exceed 25,000 units, with 300 points of distribution across six continents. She now employs 250 weavers and craftspeople in Ethiopia, with salaries increasing five-fold in the past decade. In recent years, Kebede has expanded parts of her production to Kenya — where she produces trend-driven fashion items — and sources materials in Rwanda, Madagascar and Mali.

The success of the line has compelled Kebede to change her namesake non-profit to Lemlem Foundation, which has expanded its mission of promoting maternal health in Africa to supporting the economic empowerment of African women. (The for-profit business donates 5 percent of all of its direct sales and proceeds from one-off collaborations to the foundation.)

While Kebede declined to disclose annual revenue figures, her 2017 goal for Lemlem — other than to expand the label’s fashion offerings, with plans to host its first-ever live presentation during the Resort 2018 season this spring — is to raise capital in order to scale further. And she plans to do so in Africa, where she has managed to achieve success.

And yet — expansive production, especially at the higher end of the market — still seems extraordinarily difficult to accomplish on the continent — if not impossible — with commonly known challenges such as unstable infrastructure, the bog of bureaucracy and a lack of information on how exactly to do it.

Read more »


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Why Ethiopia’s Lalibela is Among Africa’s Great Civilizations

The Church of Saint George hewn into the rocky hills of Lalibela. (Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Long before the invention of photography and other media tools international visitors to Ethiopia had difficulty describing to the outside world the spectacular beauty of the ancient Lalibela church architectures in the event that their words might be interpreted as an exaggeration. “I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more,” declared a member of the Portuguese Ambassador’s delegation to Ethiopia, Francisco Álvares, in the 1520s.

Nearly 500 hundred years later African-American scholar and Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr traveled to Lalibela with a documentary film crew at hand for a close look at the amazing 12 churches carved into and out of the historic town’s rocky highlands. The program will air on February 27th at 9/8c on PBS as Professor Gates takes “a voyage through 200,000 years of human civilization.”

Watch: Lalibela | Africa’s Great Civilizations (PBS Trailer)

Lalibela was built almost 1000 years ago and is said to symbolize a new Jerusalem. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Lalibela a World Heritage Site in 1978 stating “Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of devotion.”

UNESCO adds: King Lalibela “set out to build a symbol of the holy land, when pilgrimages to it were rendered impossible by the historical situation. In the Church of Bete Golgotha, are replicas of the tomb of Christ, and of Adam, and the crib of the Nativity. The holy city of Lalibela became a substitute for the holy places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and as such has had considerable influence on Ethiopian Christianity. The Jerusalem theme is important. The rock churches, although connected to one another by maze-like tunnels, are physically separated by a small river which the Ethiopians named the Jordan. Churches on one side of the Jordan represent the earthly Jerusalem; whereas those on the other side represent the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of jewels and golden sidewalks alluded to in the Bible.”

Watch: Africa’s Great Civilizations | Official Trailer

According to PBS: “In his six-hour series, Africa’s Great Civilizations, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through two hundred thousand years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world.”


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Spotlight: SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu’s New Coffee Brand

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu's new Garden of Coffee roastery and café in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

Daily Coffee News

Garden of Coffee Cultivating Ethiopian Coffee Experience for Global Growth

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu — the pioneering and enterprising creator of the SoleRebels footwear brand — believes the future of a truly sustainable specialty coffee market can be found in coffee’s birthplace, her native Ethiopia.

After more than a decade of building SoleRebels into a global footwear and leather goods brand that combines traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and materials with fresh new designs while also paying top dollar throughout the supply chain, Alemu late last year launched an equally ambitious coffee venture called Garden of Coffee.

The company has just opened its first branded roastery café in the Bole area of Addis Ababa, occupying approximately 10,000 square feet that serve as something of an immersive shrine to Ethiopian coffee culture and craft. Alemu described the facility as far more than merely a new retail storefront; her company’s goal is to completely redefine the seed-to-cup coffee journey by promoting what she calls “Origin Trade.”


Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. (Courtesy photo)

“It goes way beyond commodity pricing , Fair Trade or direct trade. It’s a total realignment of the value chain,” Alemu told Daily Coffee News. “If ever there was a category ripe for a radical realignment and, yes, disruption, the coffee market is it. Does it make sense for Ethiopia, the producer and in fact the originator of the finest, most legendary Arabicas on the planet, to ship our magical raw green beans thousands of miles for roasting when we can produce the absolute finest roasts right here using our own talented roasting artisans? We think everyone would agree it does not.”

Read more »


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In DC, Diaspora Ethiopians Receive Royal Medals at Adwa Celebration

(Photo: Courtesy of Negarit)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 20th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This coming weekend at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests will gather for a black tie event hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and head of The Crown Council of Ethiopia. The event is both a celebration of Ethiopia’s historic victory at Adwa as well as to give out honorary medals to selected individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

This year the most prestigious award the “Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II,” which was founded in 1924 during the reign of Empress Zauditu, will be bestowed on Elias Wondimu, the Editorial Director & Founder of Tsehai Publishers in Los Angeles, California. In a statement Prince Ermias shared that Elias is being honored for preserving “the national identity of Ethiopians and Africans, and contributing to a greater understanding of Ethiopia and Africa by people outside the continent.”

In addition Denver, Colorado-based businessman Mel Tewahade, among others, will be given the “Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor” (GOSE) during the private ceremony to be held on February 25,2017 at the Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner, according to Gregory Copley, a Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia.

The newspaper Negarit — The Journal of The International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders — notes that the annual event, now in its sixth year, commemorates the victory of Emperor Menelik II over invading Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896.

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Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica (TADIAS)

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Ethiopia: In Memory of Historian Richard Pankhurst

Richard Pankhurst, pictured above at his home in Addis Ababa, has died at age 89. The British Embassy in Ethiopia said Pankhurst had died on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

Reuters

Historian Richard Pankhurst dies, Ethiopia mourns

Richard Pankhurst, the son of the British women’s rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst who became one of the world’s leading experts on Ethiopian history and culture, has died aged 89.

He first came into contact with Ethiopia through his mother, a ‘suffragette’ who also campaigned against the invasion of the Horn of Africa nation by Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italian troops in 1935.

He moved to Addis Ababa with her after World War Two and started teaching at Addis Ababa University, going on to write more than 20 books and thousands of articles.

He also inherited an activist streak from his mother and his grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the suffragette movement, which helped secure the right for British women to vote.

Richard campaigned with his wife Rita for the return of piles of plunder taken from Ethiopia by invading British troops in 1868, and of a giant obelisk taken from the ancient city of Axum by Mussolini’s forces. Both were there in Axum to watch as Italy returned the obelisk in 2005.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry called him a “doyen of historians and scholars of Ethiopia”.

“Pankhurst was one of Ethiopia’s greatest friends during his long and productive life, and his scholarship and understanding for Ethiopia will be sorely missed,” it said in a statement.

Author and photographer Maaza Mengiste told BBC Africa: “I’ve discovered things about my country, just sometimes stumbling upon something that he’s written … a whole other window opens for me on how I understand my own history.”

One Ethiopian, Wondwosen Gelan, tweeted simply: “He was our history archive. We miss him so much.”

Related:
Tea with Richard and Rita Pankhurst


Richard Pankhurst (in the pink shirt) attending an event at ASNI in Addis Ababa. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

The Red Moon Letters

I have my doubts as to whether or not I could ever make it as a journalist.

I love to interview people, listen to their stories, and ask them the questions that open them up their lives to me like unfolding origami or blooming flowers. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say, but I am often shy about intruding on people’s time for information or interviews.

One person I greatly admired and had wanted to meet with while in Addis was Richard Pankhurst, the eminent Ethiopian historian, the founding director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, a former professor at the University of Addis Ababa, and the son of Sylvia Pankhurst.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopians call for state funeral as Richard Pankhurst, champion of Ethiopian culture, dies aged 89

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In Spain Genzebe Dibaba Breaks the World 2000m Record

Genzebe Dibaba celebrates her victory (Getty Images)

IAAF

World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba added to her growing list of record-breaking achievements by breaking the world 2000m record* at the Miting Internacional de Catalunya in the Spanish city of Sabadell on Tuesday (7).

The three-time world indoor champion overtook the pacemaker just before the half-way mark, which was reached in 2:42.65, and continued to extend her lead over her younger sister Anna and Morocco’s Siham Hilali.

She went on to stop the clock at 5:23.75, taking almost seven seconds off the world indoor best set by Gabriela Szabo in 1998. Although the 2000m isn’t an official world record event indoors, Dibaba’s performance – pending ratification – can be classed as an outright world record as it is faster than Sonia O’Sullivan’s outdoor mark of 5:25.36.

As well as the outdoor 1500m world record, Dibaba now owns the fastest ever recorded times indoors for the 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m.

Elsewhere in Sabadell, European champion Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:46.31 with Spanish record-holder Kevin Lopez taking second place in 1:46.58.

European 5000m silver medallist Adel Mechaal was a convincing winner of the 3000m, clocking 7:48.39 to finish more than two seconds ahead of Italy’s Marouan Razine.


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Four Generations of Black Women Artists in California: Exhibition by Alitash Kebede

Kenturah-Davis. (Courtesy of The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As part of the month-long nationwide celebration of Black History Month, Ethiopian American Alitash Kebede, owner of Alitash Kebede Arts, is the exhibition consultant for a show entitled “Enduring in Vision and Linked in Tradition: Selected Works by Four Generations of African American Women Artists,” which is being displayed at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at California State University, San Bernardino. The exhibition will run from Feb. 11th – April 8th, 2017 with an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 9th, 7-9 p.m.

The show is “an intimate yet captivating exhibition featuring works by thirteen highly accomplished artists representing four generations of African-American women in the art world from the first half of the twentieth century to the present,” the museum said in a press release. “The exhibition features two renowned Los Angeles artists, the city’s native Betye Saar and New Orleans-born, Samella Lewis. Highly regarded, celebrated and influential, both artists still live and work in Los Angeles today; during the second half of the previous century both were major force in the city’s vibrant art scene.”


If You Go:
CSUSB Art Museum
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397
Phone: (909) 537-7373
E-mail: raffma@csusb.edu
http://raffma.csusb.edu.
The museum is open Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-5pm, Thursday 11am-7pm and is closed
Friday and Sunday.

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The Guardian on How Diaspora is Helping to Build Modern Ethiopia

Entrepreneurs educated overseas are returning home. (Photo: A family at a restaurant in Addis Ababa/Alamy)

The Guardian

From chefs to musicians, talented ‘re-pats’ come back to build a modern Ethiopia

His dream is to show the world the glories of Ethiopian cuisine, to preserve its rich traditions and to make even his poorest fellow citizens eat better. That Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam’s ambition recalls the aims of a slightly better known chef is no coincidence.

“I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver. Many years back, my mum and I used to watch his shows,” he says. The 30-year-old is one of thousands of talented young Ethiopians who have chosen to return to their homeland after being educated or growing up overseas…Hailemariam grew up in Addis Ababa but spent years training with Paul Bocuse, an internationally renowned French chef, in Lyon before working at top restaurants in California. One of the highest profile Ethiopian re-pats, he has successfully tapped into a growing interest in cooking and gastronomy among an emerging urban middle class. His primetime TV show has an audience of millions, producers say. A key feature of every episode is a recipe specific to each region of the nation of 94 million.

One motive, he says, was to preserve traditions that are being lost as Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, develops. “I was working in California when I saw my chef using an Ethiopian spice. It struck me that as an Ethiopian I should know and use this product. I should know this … kind of craft, this art, that is being lost in an increasingly rapid and industrialised world,” he says.

“I wanted to come back to Ethiopia. I knew it would be a challenge to come from the diaspora and be seen as an Ethiopian chef. So I travelled all over the country looking to use knowledge that has a global appeal. And I noticed that Ethiopia has so much to offer. Because of globalisation, we are forgetting to look inside our own country.”


Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam.

Read more at The Guardian »


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Boston Concert Honors Ethiopia-Armenia Connection

Nerses Nalbandian was an Ethiopian musician and educator of Armenian descent. He gained Ethiopian nationality in 1959. (Photo: MoA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, February 3rd , 2017

New York (TADIAS) – One of the oldest immigrant communities in Ethiopia, Armenians, were welcomed to Ethiopia in the early 1900s after they escaped genocide carried out by the Ottoman empire. In addition to thriving as goldsmiths, carpenters, teachers and carpet makers, Armenian-Ethiopians have also greatly contributed to the emergence of modern music in Ethiopia. Kevork Nalbandian was an Armenian who composed the first national anthem for Ethiopia as well as served as the musical director of Arba Lijoch. His nephew Nerses Nalbandian was involved in the founding of the historic Yared Music School in Addis Ababa as well as led the Municipality Orchestra.

Nerses Nalbandian will be honored this month with a tribute concert entitled The Emperor, the Nalbandians and the Dawn of Western Music in Ethiopia, on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Watertown, Massachusetts. The concert, which is organized by The Friends of Armenian Culture Society (FACS), features Boston’s world renowned and the Grammy-nominated Ethio jazz band the Either/Orchestra and multilingual cast of guest vocalists including Debo band’s Bruck Tesfaye.

“Born in 1915 in Aintab, Ottoman Empire, Nerses Nalbandian settled in Aleppo, Syria after his family escaped the genocide,” FACS said in a press release. “He worked as a music teacher and choir master at the Armenian Orthodox Church in Syria, before moving to Ethiopia in 1938 at the invitation of his uncle Kevork Nalbandian.”

The press release adds: “The program will include music Nalbandian composed and arranged during his tenure as Music Director of the Haile Selassie National Theater (1956-74). The event also celebrates the release of the E/O’s CD Ethiopiques 32: Nalbandian the Ethiopian, for which the E/O has reconstructed and interpreted Nalbandian’s music in live and studio recordings made in Ethiopia, the US and Canada. The E/O’s previous Ethiopiques release, Live in Addis (2005), was called “astonishing…monumental…the best live album of the year in any genre” by Paul Olsen, AllAboutJazz.com. Armenian scholar Dr. Boris Adjemian, the director of the AGBU Nubar Library in Paris, will deliver a short pre-concert talk.”


If You Go:
FACS presents:
A Tribute to Ethiopian Music Legend Nerses Nalbandian
Featuring Either/Orchestra; Russ Gershon, Music Director, & Bruck Tesfaye, vocalist.
Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM
The Mosesian Center for the Arts [map]
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
Click here for tickets

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YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie of CBC

Menna Demissie, VP of Policy and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in DC. (Photo: YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Feb. 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Menna Demissie, who is Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is the featured presenter at this week’s YEP guest speakers series in DC hosted by Young Ethiopian Professionals.

Menna who also teaches at the University of California, Washington Center specializes in public policy issues relevant to African Americans. Before joining the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Menna was an assistant to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and worked on unemployment legislation, poverty, and foreign policy. Menna “holds a joint doctorate in Public Policy and Political Science as well as a Master of Arts in Political Science and Certificate in African American, African and Black Transnational Studies from the University of Michigan” notes the CBC Foundation website. “She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Law and Society from Oberlin College. She has been interviewed on NPR and other media outlets and currently serves on the Alumni board for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, on the advisory board of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), and has served as National Youth Coordinator for the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) since 2000.”

At the upcoming YEP program Menna “will share her journey from leading the CBC foundation’s policy initiatives in the areas of education, economic opportunity, and healthcare as it affects the global black community to serving as an adjunct professor at the University of California Washington Center where she teaches courses on U.S.- Africa Foreign Policy, Race and Ethnic Politics, and American Government.”

If You Go:
YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie
“Career Opportunities in Government and Public Policy”
Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
Washington Marriott Marquis
George Washington University Room
901 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Click here to RSVP

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Meet Lina Getachew Ayenew, Author of First Chinese-Amharic Language Guide

Lina Getachew Ayenew's inspiration for her guide, "Dalu: Introduction to Chinese for Amharic Speakers," came while teaching medical English in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province in south-east China. (FT)

The Financial Times

The Ethiopian woman helping to bring Chinese to her homeland

Beijing’s skyline wowed Lina Getachew Ayenew when she arrived in the Chinese capital five years ago, but she was surprised to find the pedestrian bridges looked just like those in her native Addis Ababa.

It turns out the building materials used in Ethiopia’s capital were imported from China — one of many signs of the country’s impact on Africa’s developing economies. Ayenew has been building bridges herself, by creating the first Amharic-Mandarin language guide.

“I had this stereotype [of China] growing up, so this level of development is a part of China I discovered after I came here,” says 29-year old Ayenew, who was raised in Ethiopia, gained undergraduate and masters degrees at Yale University in the US, and moved to China in 2011 to teach medical English. “I don’t know how many Americans know the scale at which China has developed.”

Her fellow Ethiopians do, though. Hundreds of them now live in China, either on government scholarships or because their families pay for Chinese studies. A Chinese education is more attainable than going to the US and, for many, more useful.

Chinese investment in Africa has soared, reaching $26bn as of 2013, with another $60bn pledged in late 2015. Ethiopia’s educated workforce and leather industry have attracted Chinese manufacturing and textile investment.

At a welcoming party for 70 Ethiopian students in Beijing last year, Ayenew “noticed this collective thinking we need to bring knowledge back to our country. China has so much to teach us. There was a collective admiration of China that bounced from speaker to speaker.”

Read more »


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In DC Gerima & Higgins Talk Visuals to Build Constructive Africa-Diaspora Bridge

(Photo credit: Melketsadek)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, January 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Washington, D.C. renown photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (formerly with the New York Times) and acclaimed filmmaker and professor Haile Gerima will hold a timely public conversation on the need to produce images that positively impact the connection between continental Africans and those residing in the Diaspora. The event is part of an upcoming documentary film on the life and work of Chester Higgens, Jr. by one of Gerima’s former students, director Patrick Yussuf.

Parts of this conversation, which takes place on Saturday, January 28th at Sankofa Book Store & Cafe, will find its way into the film.

“The discussion is on how the use of conscious visuals of Continental Africans are important for building constructive bridges to Western-born African people,” Higgins told Tadias.

“Chester Higgins Jr. has traveled to Africa every year since 1971 as a way to meditate, disconnect and examine his life,” The New York Times wrote in a feature entitled “Chester Higgins’ Homage to Ethiopia,” which highlighted his work from Ethiopia that was on exhibit in 2015 at Skoto Gallery in New York City. “Through the experience of photographing new people and places, his art both shapes and reflects his narrative. And nowhere is that truer for him than in Ethiopia, a place that has long enchanted him.”


If You Go
Photographer Chester Higgins in Conversation with Filmmaker Haile Gerima
Saturday January 28th, 2017
From 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Sankofa Video & Books, 2714 Georgia Ave, NW
Washington D.C. 20001
Located across from Howard University
Contact: 202-234-4755 or sankofa@gmail.com
www.sankofa.com


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Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga Nominated for Best Actress Award

Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has been nominated for Oscars 2017 best actress award. (Irish Times)

Irish Mirror

Ruth Negga has been nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2017 Academy Awards.

The Irish-Ethiopian actress was short-listed for her role in Loving as the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday afternoon.

Read more »


Related:
Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga nominated for best actress award (Irish Times)
Ruth Negga: One of Best Film Stars of 2016
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy

(Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What does the new “America First” foreign policy mean vis-à-vis Ethiopia-U.S. diplomatic, military and economic ties? No one really knows, but according to Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of A World in Disarray, this kind of approach to international relations comes with a double-edged sword: “A narrow America First posture will prompt other countries to pursue an equally narrow, independent foreign policy, which will diminish U.S. influence and detract from global prosperity.”

Mr. Haass shared his concerns in an interview with the New York Times following President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural speech last Friday in which he “cast America’s new role in the world as one of an aggrieved superpower, not a power intent on changing the globe. There was no condemnation of authoritarianism or fascism, no clarion call to defend human rights around the world — one of the commitments that John F. Kennedy made in his famed address, delivered 56 years ago to the day.”

But there is a silver lining of sorts for opponents of past American policy in a sense that the new U.S. government may not have the political appetite to continue taxpayer sponsored USAID “development projects,” which critics say helps more to prop-up non-transparent and corrupt regimes than bring actual change.

Instead, Trump may favor a more business approach primarily aimed at winning against China. “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese? asks one of the first questions in a four-page document containing Africa-related questions reportedly sent to the State Department and Pentagon officials last week.

In terms of promotion of civil society, human rights and good governance the Trump administration has indicated that it will not necessarily follow the long U.S. precedent articulated in “Kennedy’s most famous line: that America would ‘bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’” As NYT points out: “The America that elected Mr. Trump had concluded that it was no longer willing to bear that burden — or even to make the spread of democracy the mission of the nation.”

“Mr. Trump views American democracy as a fine import for those who like it,” states the New York Times.


During his inaugural address, President Donald J. Trump laid out a vision for the
United States that focused on benefiting “American workers and American families.”
(Publish Date January 20, 2017/NYT)

“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” Trump said in his inaugural address, “but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

The recently relaunched White House website further explains that “The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.” The website adds: “Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.”

Regarding Africa, however, there is talk that one of the early collateral damages of the new era could be AGOA. “While its benefits have been uneven, the legislation has served as a key framework for U.S.-African relations,” says Witney Schneidman at the Brookings Institution’s. “It has led to trade and investment being at the forefront of U.S. policy in the region.” Schneidman adds: “AGOA has encouraged African women in trade and led to the creation of the African Trade Hubs (rebranded as Trade and Investment Hubs under Obama) to help African companies access AGOA. More recently, the Obama administration has been working to develop a new trade architecture based on reciprocity that would ultimately replace AGOA’s unilateral preference regime.”

And from the African perspective in an article entitled “It might not be the end of the world if Africa drops off Donald Trump’s map,” Qartz Africa notes the continent might just as well choose to turn off the U.S. and look inwards. “It’s worth remembering uncertainty isn’t all just about downside,” argues Yinka Adegoke, the Africa Editor for Quartz. “Less trade with the U.S. could force African countries to put more effort into developing stronger trade links with each other. And young Africans dissuaded from moving to the U.S. comes with one potential advantage: decades of brain drain can be stalled and Africa’s brightest can focus on problems at home.”


Related:
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Pictures: Women’s March in DC & Beyond

The biggest US rally was in Washington, DC, which was attended by more than 500,000 people. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — On Saturday, January 21st, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, millions of people in major cities around the world from New York to Nairobi staged a protest in support of American women.

Below are some photos and links:

Women’s Marches: Millions of protesters around the country vow to resist Donald Trump

Washington Post highlights that “millions of women gathered in Washington and cities around the country Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of Donald Trump one day earlier. The historic protests of a new president packed cities large and small — from Los Angeles to Boston to Park City, Utah, where celebrities from the Sundance Film Festival joined a march on the snowy streets. In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed by its own size, forcing officials to curtail its planned march when the crowd threatened to swamp the planned route.”

Read more »

Pictures From Women’s Marches Around the World (The New York Times)


Protestors walk down 42nd Street near Grand Central Terminal during the Women’s March in New York City. (Photo: The New York Times)

Read more »

Lawmakers Show Solidarity With Women’s March On Washington (The Huffington Post)

Huffington Post notes: “Several lawmakers turned out for the Women’s March on Washington Saturday. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) showed up to support the estimated half a million women in the nation’s capital.”


Huffington Post adds: “Some members of Congress shared the personal reasons why they marched, including Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Co.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who marched with women from their districts. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) marched with his sister, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American congresswoman, said she marched for “all women..Others sent messages of solidarity to the marchers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

Read more »

Donald Trump protests attract millions across US and world (BBC News)

BBC writes: “Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of cities in the US and around the globe to rally against the new US President Donald Trump..Larger numbers of demonstrators than expected turned out for more than 600 rallies worldwide.The aim was principally to highlight women’s rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration.”

Read more »


Related:
Trump Sworn in as US President
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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Ethiopia in Crisis: A Public Forum at Stanford Spotlights Problems & Solutions

Ethiopia In Crisis: A forum at Stanford University featuring scholars, human rights advocates, politicians, and media representatives is scheduled for January 21 – 22, 2017 in Stanford, California. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, January 19th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend a public forum will be held at Stanford University in California highlighting some of the most pressing and unresolved issues fueling the ongoing political and economic crisis in Ethiopia while currently under State of Emergency including “land and agriculture policy, property rights, human rights, democracy, and rule of law.”

According to the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), the program organizer, the gathering of scholars and activists include Mulatu Wubneh, Ph.D., Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina whose talk is entitled “This Land Is My Land: the Ethio-Sudan Boundary and the Need to Rectify Arbitrary Colonial Boundaries.”

Other speakers are Mekonnen Firew Ayano, Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, who is scheduled to address “Ethiopia’s Property Rights, Land and Agriculture Policy” and Felix Horne, a Senior Horn of Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch, is set to discuss “Human Rights Crisis in the Amhara and Oromia Regions of Ethiopia.”

The Executive Director of The Oakland Institute, Anuradha Mittal, is also scheduled to discuss “The Risk of Land Grabbing From Ethiopian Villagers and its Impact on Food Security.” Additional presentation topics include “access to food, democracy, human rights, and the ethnic federal system in Ethiopia.”

The keynote speakers at the forum are Professor Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, as well as Professor Richard A. Joseph from Northwestern University’s Political Science Department who is among the four inaugural Martin Luther King Visiting Professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


If You Go:
January 21 – 22, 2017
Stanford University
Jordan Hall, Building 01-420
450 Serra Mall,
Stanford, California
Sponsors: Center for African Studies, BSU, SASA, and SEESA
Click here to learn more and RSVP

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Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking

Ethiopian workers at Huajian's shoe factory near Addis Ababa mark out leather for shoes. (Photograph: Guardian.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Members of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team are reportedly asking Obama administration officials questions regarding Africa policy with emphasis on business and the booming Chinese commerce on the continent.

“How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese? asks one of the first questions in the unclassified document,” according to The New York Times.

The Times states: “A four-page list of Africa-related questions from the transition staff has been making the rounds at the State Department and Pentagon, alarming longtime Africa specialists who say the framing and the tone of the questions suggest an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals, while at the same time trying to push forward business opportunities across the continent.”

In a related article published today The Washington Post indicates that “Peter Navarro, who will lead Trump’s National Trade Council, provided his own answers in his book Death by China.” Navarro points out that it’s “part of China’s strategy to boost its factories back home and undermine the U.S. manufacturing base.”

The Washington Post adds “Jobs that once migrated from the United States to China are now offshoring to Africa. With low-end manufacturing on the way out, what was ‘Made in China’ is now ‘Made in Africa.’ The Huajian Group, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in China, employing 25,000 workers, opened a factory in Ethiopia in 2012; the company will invest $2 billion over five years to build a “shoe city” in Addis Ababa. Supply chains now span the United States, China and Africa: Huajian produces for U.S. brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and, ironically, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous shoe line.”

Below are links to both articles to read more:

Donald Trump’s team has questions about China in Africa. Here are answers. (The Washington Post)
Trump Team’s Queries About Africa Point to Skepticism About Aid (The New York Times)


Related:
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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University of Toronto Starts Course in Ge’ez, A Step to Ethiopic Studies

The course in Ge’ez, which could be a first step to launching a larger Ethiopian Studies program, was helped made possible by a donation of $50,000 each from a prof, the school and the Weeknd. (Toronto Star)

Toronto Star

A language that hasn’t been spoken for more than 1,000 years is being taught this semester at the University of Toronto, a step perhaps towards decoding rarely understood excerpts of history.

The ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez is written in a script that’s read left to right and has 26 letters. Letters have variations for the vowels that go with them, meaning students have to learn 26 characters in seven different ways.

The goal of the class, which meets twice a week, is to get students on their way to reading.

Milen Melles, a history major, said her parents immigrated to Canada from Eritrea in the 1990s and is taking the class as an opportunity to connect with her roots. She one day hopes to study texts from the region at a graduate level.

“This is a huge step for western academia to be exploring African languages, ancient languages, because they usually only study Swahili,” Melles said, noting that African studies often get lumped together at universities, differently than other regions where specific areas or countries are studied independently of one another.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopic Studies Program at University of Toronto Gets $50,000 From The Weeknd

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Obama’s Farewell Address: ‘Yes, We Did’

Malia, Michelle and President Obama on Tuesday night after he delivered his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, January 10, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

THE NEW YORK TIMES

UPDATED: JAN. 10, 2017

CHICAGO — President Obama delivered a nostalgic and hopeful farewell address to the nation on Tuesday evening, but warned both the divided country he led for eight years and his successor not to shrink from the challenges of economic inequality, racial strife, political isolation and voter apathy that still threaten its ideal of democracy.

Mr. Obama returned to the city that nurtured his political career and his improbable journey from Hyde Park to Pennsylvania Avenue, just 10 days before he will leave the White House to Donald J. Trump. In his final speech to the nation, the president expressed his belief that even the deepest ideological divides can be bridged by an active, engaged populace.

“After eight years as your president, I still believe that,” Mr. Obama told a large crowd at McCormick Place, the cavernous lakeside convention center where he thanked supporters after his re-election in 2012. “And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea — our bold experiment in self-government.”

Tearing up as he concluded the final speech of a remarkable political career, Mr. Obama thanked his wife, his daughters, his vice president (“the scrappy kid from Scranton”) and the army of supporters who helped sweep the first African-American into the White House.

Read more »

Watch: President Barack Obama’s farewell address (full speech)


President Obama to Give His Farewell Address to Americans From Hometown Chicago


President Obama will deliver a farewell address to the American people on the evening of January 10, 2017 in his hometown of Chicago, the president announced in an email to supporters on Monday. (Photo: WH)

The White House

Comments by President Obama

Washington – In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.

On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.

I’m just beginning to write my remarks. But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.

Since 2009, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.

So I hope you’ll join me one last time.

Because, for me, it’s always been about you.

President Barack Obama

—-
Related
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham: Reflections on Civic Engagement and the White House

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In Time for Ethiopian X-mas, Drom NYC Presents Legend Girma Beyene

Girma Beyene. (Photo: Multiflora Productions)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, January 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Just in time for Ethiopian christmas the annual Secret Planet World Music Showcase at DROM in Manhattan will present the legendary composer-arranger and vocalist Girma Beyene, who is scheduled to perform on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 accompanied by DC-based Feedel Band.

Girma who is one of the icons of Ethiopia’s “golden age” of jazz and swing has made a remarkable comeback recently after many years of absence from the music scene. His new album, which is entitled Mistakes on Purpose and recorded in collaboration with the French Ethio-jazz band Akale Wube, is set to be released on January 13th, 2017 as part of the 30th installment of the Ethiopiques CD series.

“This year’s Secret Planet’s lineup continues our tradition of showcasing new talent unlikely to remain secret for very long,” announced Barbès and Electric Cowbell Records, organizers of the NYC international concert.


The 2017 edition includes “artists playing their own version of music from Morocco, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Tuva, Venezuela, Brooklyn, Cuba and Toronto.”


(Photo: DROM NYC)

The announcement highlights that “Girma is also the composer of “Muziqawi Silt,” the most covered Ethiopian tune of all time. There has been a regain of interest for Girma Beyene in Europe and now in the US. He will be backed by Feedel Band, a Washington DC-based group made up of former members of some Addis Ababa’s greatest musicians including the legendary Walias band and Aster Aweke.”


If You Go:
Girma Beyene & Feedel Band at DROM NYC
Sat, January 7th
Doors 7PM
Show 7:30PM
Advance Price $10 GA / Free with APAP Badge
Door Price: Advanced online ticket sales stop at 5pm on day of show
If available, more tickets are available at door
www.dromnyc.com

Related:
New ‘Ethiopiques’ CD Celebrates Legend Girma Beyene

Watch: Girma Beyene live in Paris with French band Akale Wube — 2015

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Dr. Maigenet Fellowship: Call for Proposals for Ethiopian Women Studies

The Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship is dedicated to promote scholarship on Ethiopian women as well as empower and/or advance women’s wellbeing in Ethiopia. (Photo: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, January 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The newly established Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship has announced calls for academic proposals on topics affecting Ethiopian girls or women worldwide. The U.S-based fellowship was set-up recently by Dr. Maigenet’s family in memory of the former president and one of the founders of CREW (Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women) who passed away in 2016.

As administrator of the fellowship CREW states that its upcoming scholarship will “provide a one-time financial assistance, up to US $2,000.00, to an organization in Ethiopia that promotes the well-being and empowerment of women and girls in Ethiopia.” The press release adds: “research proposals can be submitted from all over the world but the research must focus on Ethiopian girls and women. Organizations who work on empowering or improving the situation of girls or women in Ethiopia must operate in Ethiopia.”


(Courtesy Photo: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women — CREW)

In addition, the guiding principles of the fellowship include documenting and researching the experiences of Ethiopian women and girls “so that we all can gain some knowledge and serve humanity better” as well as encouraging those individuals who “strive to protect women and girls’ rights and improve their situation.”

Selection results will be announced on March 11, 2017.


Learn more at http://centerforethiopianwomen.org.

Related:
The Maigenet Shifferraw Women’s Education Fellowship Launched
Tribute to Women’s Rights Advocate Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw

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Ethiopia: 2016 in Pictures

Feyisa Lilesa at a press conference during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil. (Photo: Eshetu Homa Keno)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — When 26-year-old marathoner, father of two and social activist Feyisa Lilesa approached the finish line with his hands crossed over his head to claim the silver medal during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil he brought global attention to Ethiopia’s long-brewing political demonstrations. In an instant his daring move made international headlines, creating awareness about the deadly civil unrest that has rocked Ethiopia from Bishoftu to Gonder for the past 13 months. Foreign Policy magazine has dubbed Feyisa as a challenger and one of the leading global thinkers of 2016, not only for “breaking the rules of the games” but likewise for his subsequent statement to the press emphasizing that he “wanted to be a voice for a story that wasn’t getting any coverage.” As Feyisa is now in exile in the United States, a government-imposed state of emergency has been instituted in Ethiopia and political tensions remain high.

As we hope for better times in the years to come, we never cease to be inspired by the numerous talented Ethiopians around the world, both young and old, that we continue to profile and highlight in this magazine, who drive us all to imagine that through perseverance, unity, and creative thinking, a brighter, bolder, and more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow is still possible.

This year the people we spotlighted on our website included the 2016 class of the Mandela Fellows from Ethiopia as well as the second cohort of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows from the United States. We close the year with a recent interview with Yohannes Abraham, the first Ethiopian American working in a senior White House role.

Below are some photos from 2016:


Related:
15 Arts & Culture Stories of 2016
2015 in Pictures
2014 in Pictures
2013 in Pictures
Top 10 Stories of 2013
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013

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15 Arts & Culture Stories of 2016 in Photos

Poet Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in New York at a Tadias Salon Series event on August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This has been a very productive and busy year for us beginning with the launch of Tadias Salon Series in Spring 2016 featuring the NYC release of the book Temsalet & Tsehai Publishers Presentation at the Schomburg Center in Harlem followed by a sold-out live show over the Summer with renowned British-born Ethiopian poet and author Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s Supper Club/Red Rooster Harlem. In Fall 2016 Tadias Magazine hosted Marcus Samuelsson at SEI in DC for a book signing and afterparty celebrating the release of his latest publication entitled The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. In addition we were honored to attend the first Ethiopian American Policy Briefing held on June 8th, 2016 at the White House as well as being one of the emergng new media presenters at the 2016 Diasporas in Development conference held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on October 12th, 2016.

But, as always, the most exciting part of our job was covering some of the biggest Ethiopian Diaspora arts and culture stories including the recent historic appearance of legendary singer Mahmoud Ahmed at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City and classical pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa’s phenomenal NYC show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Furthermore, Mulatu Astatke’s one-of-a-kind live performance at the Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) was held on September 9th, 2016, which was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute.

Below are a few images of the top arts and culture stories of 2016 curated from the Tadias instagram Page:

Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert on October 23rd, 2016


(Photo by Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

Mahmoud Ahmed performed live at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, becoming the first major artist from Ethiopia to give a solo concert at the world-famous venue. The 75-year-old Ethiopian cultural icon, who is one of Ethiopia’s most eminent musicians, played at Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage and brought the audience to its feet for several songs. Read more and see photos »

Ruth-Negga: One of Top Movie Stars of 2016


(Photo: Instyle.co.uk)

34-year-old Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has become the talk of Hollywood and Oscar mentions following her highly acclaimed performance in the new civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.” Ruth who was born in Addis Ababa grew-up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter on how she became an actress, Negga replied: “You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything. There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play.” This month Vogue magazine declared “the Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga has become a star for our time.” Read more and see photos »

Congratulations to artist and instagrammer Girma Berta who won the 2016 Getty Images Grant


(Photo by Girma Berta)

Photographer Girma Berta, an instagrammer and artist from Ethiopia, was the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram Grant. “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color,” Getty Images said. The grant is for videographers and visual artists who feature local stories and document “underrepresented communities around the world.” Read more and see photos »

Mulatu Astatke Live at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016


(Photo: last.fm, museumhack.com)

Mulatu Astatke returned to New York City for a live show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016. The concert, which was part of the MetLiveArts program, was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute. “Known as the father of Ethio-jazz, composer and multi-instrumentalist (vibraphone, piano, keyboard, organs, and percussion) Mulatu Astatke leaped to international fame in the ’70s and ’80s with his unique mix of Western traditional Ethiopian music and admirers like Duke Ellington and John Coltrane,” stated the announcement from The Met. “Known for his fearless experimentation, his music begins and ends with improvisation.”

Poet & Author Lemn Sissay Featured at Tadias Salon Series event in NYC on August 9th, 2016


Photos by Anastasia Kirtiklis for Tadias

Thank you again to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 for a sold out Tadias Salon Series show at Ginny’s Supper Club as Lemn Sissay shared his incredible life journey & poems from his new book Gold From the Stone, and Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna (@waynamusic) gave a soul-shaking music performance, along with DJ Mengie. Special thanks to Marcus Samuelsson and Ethiopia Alfred as well as our sponsors for making it happen.

Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem


Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa at Ginny’s Supper Club in New York on Sunday, November 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

This year the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York featured a special Ethiopia-inspired dinner menu prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson followed by a live performance by classical Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa. Girma’s amazing concert on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 included his original compositions that evoke “Ethiopian melody making,” as he told the audience, “decorated” with sounds of the classical music tradition in combination with Ambassel, Bati, Anchihoye and Tizita based on Ethiopian music’s unique tone scale system. Read more and watch video »

LA’s Azla Vegan Family Ethiopian Restaurant Featured on U.S. National Food Network TV Show


(Photo: Owners of Azla Vegan Nesanet Teshager Abegaze and her mother Azla Mekonen at Coachella Festival in Los Angeles, California)

Los Angeles, California, which is home to the only official Little-Ethiopia neighborhood in America, is also headquarters for Azla Vegan, a family-owned Ethiopian restaurant — located near the University of Southern California (USC) — that we featured in 2013 in an interview with owner Nesanet Teshager Abegaze as it first opened. This year, Azla Vegan was featured on the Food Network‘s television episode of “Cosmopolitan Comfort: Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia-inspired furniture at 2016 International Dubai Design Week


(Photo: Jomo Design Furniture, Actuel Urban Living)

Ethiopia-inspired furniture by U.S.-based Jomo Tariku, Founder of Jomo Design Furniture and Hamere Demissie of Actuel Urban Living was featured at the 2016 international Dubai Design Week festival in October. Jomo and Hamere’s works were selected as submissions from design weeks around the world including Design Week Addis Ababa, highlighting “the modern-inspired minimalist spirit of traditional Ethiopian design made locally by skilled artisans.” Hamere Demissie’s Actuel Urban Living previewed “a collection of furniture, rugs and textiles with a refined organic feel, while Jomo Design Furniture will display a contemporary take on traditional African chairs crafted in hardwoods, inspired by African hand carvings, baskets and traditional woven textiles,” according to the media release from Dubai Design Week.

Ethiopian American Reporter Bofta Yimam Named Weekend Morning Anchor at Action News 4 Pittsburgh


Ethiopian American journalist Bofta Yimam was promoted as Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television in 2016.

Congratulations to Bofta Yimam who was promoted to Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television (WTAE) this year. Bofta received three Emmy nominations and won the Regional Emmy Award (Nashville/Mid-South Chapter) for excellence in the ‘Continuing Coverage’ category in 2013. “There are so many avenues of journalism that you have to put yourself out there, and have a kind of go-for-it type of mentality,” Bofta shared in a past interview with Tadias. “You gotta get the skill sets and be willing to hit the ground running.” Read more and watch video »

Ethiopia-Italy Film “If Only I Were That Warrior” Released on DVD


(Image courtesy of Awen Films)

The new documentary film If Only I Were That Warrior — which chronicles the reactions of the international Ethiopian and Italian community regarding the recent building of a memorial for the Fascist General, Rodolfo Graziani (“The Butcher of Ethiopia”) in his hometown of Affile, Italy — has finally been released on DVD and is also now available for streaming online. Read more »

Alegntaye: Ethiopian Hip-Hop Artist Teddy Yo Featured in New Africology Video


(Teddy Yo 2016 new music video ‘Alegntaye’ produced by Africology)

NYC-based music & entertainment company Africology this year released their first music video production entitled “Alegntaye” featuring popular Ethiopian hip-hop artist Teddy Yo and Joe Lox.

Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Ethiopia


Julie Mehretu. (Photo by Joseph Maida)

Renowned Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu returned to Ethiopia this Summer for her inaugural show at The Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Addis Ababa. The exhibition entitled Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show — which was jointly presented by the Gebre Kristos Desta Center and the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa — was opened on July 8, 2016 and remained on display through August 6, 2016.

Celebrity chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster book Offers a Taste of Multicultural Harlem


‘The Red Rooster Cookbook’ (2016) by Marcus Samuelsson pays homage to modern Harlem. (Photo: Book cover)

“When chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, he envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. Named after a historic neighborhood speakeasy, the modern Rooster reflects all of that, from the local art showcased on its walls, to the live music blaring from its performance spaces, to the cross-cultural food on its patrons’ plates and the evocative cocktails in their hands.” Read The Times review at NYTimes.com »

Ethio-American Playwright Antu Yacob’s One Person Show ‘In the Gray’


Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

What does it mean to be Ethiopian American? The answer depends on who you ask, but for Playwright Antu Yacob — whose parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was barely five years old — the identity is not as clear-cut. In the Gray is the title of Antu’s latest one-person show, which explored precisely this question when it was staged in New York City as part of the Women in Theatre Festival by Project Y Theatre in Manhattan this past summer. “In the Gray” features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota. “I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview following her show. As a playwright Antu says she tries “to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017


The film ‘Hairat,” which documents one man’s nightly ritual near Ethiopia’s historic city of Harar, is directed by Jessica Beshir. (Courtesy photo)

Last but not least, a big thumbs-up to Director Jessica Beshir whose documentary short film Hairat from Ethiopia was selected this year to be featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. “This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions,” the Sundance Institute wrote describing Hairat in a press release. In the film Director Jessica Beshir, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Ethiopia, “returns to the city of her childhood to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.” Jessica’s short film is one of 68 works from around the world that will be screened at Sundance from January 19th through 29th, 2017. Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia: 2016 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
Top 10 Stories of 2013

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Spotlight: Abraham Abebe’s Hopeful Art Draws From His Ethiopia and US Roots

Digital art work by Abraham Abebe. (Photo courtesy of Anbassa Design)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 23rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — “My design and artworks are a result of two cultures,” says Ethiopian-born artist Abraham Abebe who is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Abraham’s upcoming solo exhibition entitled Guzo will be held there at the Leland Gallery, from January 9th to February 3rd, 2017.

“I am swimming in between Ethiopian tradition that I grew up with [and] American culture that I am experiencing right now,” Abebe explains in his artist statement. “My subject matters reflect the two cultures as well. It also gives me great opportunity to use different mediums to convey my deep passion. Beyond cultures, there is so much for me to learn; so many great artists to learn from, that I know only patience, persistence, practice and education will carry me to my goal.”

The title of Abraham Abebe’s new show Guzo, which means journey in Amharic makes use of “lottery tickets as a starting point then translates numbers from each ticket into visual forms using the metric system. The resulting visual data serves as the basis for the painting, mixed media, kinetic and screen-print that would define the four quadrants on the two-dimensional surface of the stretched canvases, papers and panels.”


Artwork Abraham Abebe. (Courtesy of the artist )

Abraham holds both an MFA degree in Studio Art and a BFA (Cum Laude) majoring in Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as an A.A. degree (with distinction) from Truckee Meadows Community College. He has held several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group shows and is the author of Eggmel, a book of poetry written in his native language Amharic.


If You Go:
ጉዞ ፪ = Journey II by Abraham Abebe
curated by Professor Carlos Herrera
January 9 – February 3, 2017
Reception: January 26, from 5 – 7pm
Artist Talk: January 26 at 5:30pm
Leland Gallery
Ennis Hall
320 West Hancock Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061

You can learn more about Abraham Abebe’s work at www.anbassadesign.com.

Related:
From DC to Addis: Spotlight on Artist Abel Tilahun & His Ethiopia Show ‘Odyssey’

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Interview with Yohannes Abraham: Reflections on Public Service, Civic Engagement and the White House

Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — As the first Ethiopian American in a senior White House role, Yohannes Abraham is a trailblazer in both our community and within the larger African Diaspora in America. Since 2009, he has worked diligently inside the White House, only steps away from the Oval Office, helping to shape the Obama legacy while serving as Chief of Staff to Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama.

Reflecting back on the past eight years and the personal journey that led him to serve in the historic presidency of Barack Obama, Yohannes credits his parents first and foremost for his interest in public service and civic engagement.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time when I became interested in public service, because serving our community and country was always part of the family dialogue,” Yohannes tells Tadias in a recent interview. “Both my parents are proud U.S. citizens, and they wanted us to be engaged citizens as well.” His mother and father immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in the 60s and Yohannes was born in Alexandria, VA and raised in Springfield.

“I attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology and was a Political Science major at Yale, focusing on U.S. foreign policy” Yohannes adds, noting that his parents raised him and his sister with a strong sense of service to community and the importance of helping people.

What solidified Yohannes’ choice to work in government and politics was a desire to give back. “I am lucky to have always had an extremely supportive family,” Yohannes says. “My parents gave my sister and me a great foundation and made clear to us that it was incumbent upon us to give back, reminding us that not everyone had the same opportunities that we had.”

Shortly after graduating from Yale, Yohannes secured a job with Senator Obama’s campaign in Iowa in 2007 with the assistance of a fellow Ethiopian American.

Like many young people at the time in this country, Yohannes points out that the inspiring moment for him came following the 2004 election, where one of the high points was the election of Obama as a Senator. “At the time I was in college, and I was captivated by his 2004 convention speech,” Yohannes remembers. “When he won the Senate seat I followed him more closely and realized that his values were very much aligned with my own, and that from a vision and policy perspective he stood for things that I was passionate about.”

For Yohannes, there are many highlights from his job organizing 14 precincts in Iowa for the President’s first campaign. “There were many memorable parts of working on the campaign, and it was especially interesting to be there early on in Iowa. We were a relatively small team. None of us went to Iowa because we wanted to work in the White House one day – that wouldn’t have been a smart bet at the time. We were there because we believed, and we worked hard to build support for the Senator, block by block, voter by voter. We became a part of the communities we lived in, and we built a sense of family with our teammates. It was not glamorous stuff…we would work all week to get a couple hundred people to come see him,” Yohannes shares. “It was pretty incredible going from those smaller events of a couple hundred people to events with tens thousands of people over time.

And what was the most memorable moment of working for President Obama at the White House?

“The night that the House passed the Affordable Care Act,” Yohannes fires back. “It was a moment that I felt we did something good to improve people’s lives. That’s the good stuff. Of course, I’m hugely grateful to have had the opportunity to do some very cool things, and I treasure those memories as well – Air Force One, formal dinners, those sort of things are once in a lifetime. But the best memories are either when we moved the needle in a way that did some good in the world, or simple moments of camaraderie with teammates. In fact the best part of my job is the team that he put around him that I have had the chance to work with, and became friends with. It’s a group of really talented, committed people.”

“As my Chief of Staff, Yohannes has been one of my closest and most trusted advisors,” his boss Valerie Jarrett shares. “He’s smart, passionate, hardworking, and most importantly deeply committed to helping people. It’s been a great joy having him by my side over the past four years, and I’ve enjoyed watching him ‎grow into the talented leader that he is today. I have no doubt that he will continue to be a force for good in whatever he does in the future.”

Yohannes is also quick to point out that he is not alone in having served as an Ethiopian American in the current administration. “There are several Ethiopian Americans in the administration, some of them in very senior positions,” he shared. “If you speak with any of them and chart their path you’ll come up with a few common threads. You’ll see that there is a real commitment to education. I think you’ll also see that most of them followed their passion and raised their hand to be helpful. There’s no road map or secret memo that lays out the path to making a difference. If you see a cause or candidate that moves you, show up. Lend a hand. Don’t wait for a formal invitation.”

Among those making a difference is fellow Ethiopian American Henock Dory, a White House Staff Assistant and Policy Advisor, who reports to Yohannes.

“Working for Yohannes has been a truly invaluable experience,” Henock said in a statement sent to Tadias. “His dedication to serving both his country and the Ethiopian American community is driven by a passion and work ethic that knows no bounds. As a young Ethiopian American myself, I’ve been fortunate to find in him a role model and mentor that inspires me to emulate the integrity, intellect, and leadership he displays on a daily basis. I’m eager to see how the example he has set, the work he has executed, and his future accomplishments will carry our community forward.”

And what role did mentors have in Yohannes’ career trajectory? “First and foremost, it’s my parents who are my mentors,” Yohannes explains. “Over the course of my service for President Obama they were my constant rock, giving me wisdom and strength when I was frustrated or discouraged. Look, they came to the United States not knowing anyone, immigrating to a country where they barely spoke the language and had no family and little money. In the face of all that, they worked their way through college and graduate school and built successful professional careers. They did all that to build a better life for us here, and they are my inspiration. Now, in addition to my parents, I also have also had fantastic bosses who have helped me along the way. Over the course of these past years, Valerie Jarrett has been both a fantastic boss and friend; she is like a member of my family. She is a really strong and active force in my life. Another great mentor is Jeff Zientz, Director of the National Economic Council.

“Yohannes possesses a rare combination of intellect, drive, and leadership ability. He is one of the most effective individuals I have had the privilege to work with across my decades of experience in the private sector, and, more recently, in government,” says Jeff Zientz. “Most importantly, Yohannes is at his core a dedicated, high-integrity person. I look forward to seeing the good he will do for the world in the years to come.”

Of course, along with all the things Yohannes loves about his job come the challenges.

“Firstly, even when things are bad, even when things aren’t necessarily fun you never have to doubt that the work you are doing is important. What you do matters to people’s lives” Yohannes emphasizes. “It’s highly motivating to know that if you do a good job you help more people, and if you do a bad job you help less people. This is something that has kept me and the whole team energized. What I really enjoy about the job is being surrounded by people who are as committed to the work as you are, and are going the extra mile — it gives you the strength to do so yourself.”

“The challenges are varied,” Yohannes adds. “No two days, let alone two weeks are the same. Only a certain percentage of the day works out as you assumed, and the challenges range from dealing with a natural disaster to working in support of a priority item on the legislative docket; not having a template makes it exciting. There is also the challenge of losing time with family and friends. I definitely wish I had seen more of my family. Some of my younger cousins are now talking about driver’s permits — I blinked and now they are young adults.”

Asked to sum up his current motto in three words, Yohannes responds: “Try to Help.” He elaborates on this message a bit more to say: “this runs across both professional and personal life. It is a driving force in my life and it’s largely driven by my parents who stressed the importance of giving back. It’s part of my Christian faith. This is not to say that it’s unique just to the Christian faith, but I was raised to believe that it’s incumbent on me to help folks that might not be in a position to help themselves or go it alone.”

Yohannes encourages the broader Ethiopian community to remain engaged.

“I think it’s important for those of us who were born in this country to fully appreciate the sacrifices our parents made to forge better lives for us. That puts whatever challenges we face — however daunting they may be — into context. When I think about the scale of the obstacles my own parents faced as compared to my own, I’m both humbled by and deeply grateful for their incredible strength of character. I think an important way for my generation to honor our parents and the foundation they have created for us is to be active, engaged citizens here in America. Think about it. Our parents moved to a new country, in most cases knowing no one, having nothing, and speaking little English. They did so in the hopes of finding a better life for their families, and by and large they did. We are the beneficiaries of their choices, and we owe it to them to make the most of the opportunities they unlocked for us. We also owe it to our communities, and America writ large, to contribute to the diverse fabric of civic life. Doing so makes the country stronger, and it makes our community’s voice stronger within it.”

“In much the same vein, as a newer immigrant community, we owe it to those who fought for justice in the country before we ever got here — Latino farmworkers, civil rights organizers, foot soldiers in the women’s suffrage movement, and so on — to be good stewards of the duty of citizenship. If a civil rights organizer could risk their life for the right to vote, what excuse do we have to not be first in line at the polls? What excuse do we have to be unregistered or apathetic? What excuse do we have to ignore the plight of other communities that may find themselves in need of allies in the face of injustice? To my mind, none. That’s why I’ve been so happy to see a surge of civic engagement amongst younger Ethiopian Americans in the past few years. I hope it’s something that will continue.”

Last but not least, Tadias posed the question of a future run for Congress or Senate to Yohannes, and although he doesn’t yet know if he’ll run for office he certainly has “100% clarity” that he is going to stay involved in public service.

“I’ve seen firsthand many examples of how active civic participation can lead to change and I’m committed to being a part of that for the rest of my life,” Yohannes shares. “Big picture, I hope in the near future we have Ethiopian American Senators, Governors, and Mayors. That hope is not unique to politics — I also hope we have Ethiopian American Generals, Admirals, CEOs, union presidents, and news anchors. That’s what we should aspire to as a community. As for me personally, I’ve seen that there are a lot of ways to be of service without running for office, and so I plan to focus more on what I want to see get done than on where I want to be. That could lead me in a lot of different directions.”


Related:
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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From DC to Addis: Spotlight on Artist Abel Tilahun & His Ethiopia Show ‘Odyssey’

Abel Tilahun is an Adjunct Professor of Digital Imaging at American University in D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American artist Abel Tilahun teaches Digital Imaging at American University in Washington D.C., and for the past few years his thought-provoking multidisciplinary work including video art and sculptural installations has captured the attention of acclaimed Ethiopian curator Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, who is helping to stage his upcoming show, Odyssey, in Ethiopia’s capital next month at Alliance Ethio-Française from January 3rd to 24th, 2017.

“ODYSSEY? captures the excitement and paradoxes of innovation, with a birds-eye view on the gravity of the contemporary moment as well as the continuity and patterns within human history,” the media release states. “At the heart of his work remains the intrinsic value of the human experience across time and space.”


Art work by Abel Tilahun Gebretsadik. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa will also host Abel Tilahun’s Artist Talk at the Alliance Ethio-Française Theatre January 5, 2017. “The event will showcase a retrospective of Abel Tilahun’s work in the video art medium over the past decade,” the announcement said. “The U.S. Embassy will host a follow-up with an Artist’s Roundtable inside the Alliance Alliance Ethio-Française Gallery on January 21, 2017.”

Abel Tilahun’s past shows in Ethiopia include Curvature of Events, which was featured in 2015 at the Ethiopian National Museum following its presentation a year earlier in Germany at the Dresden New Master’s Gallery. In 2013 Abel submitted a commercial for Dorritos ‘Crash the Superbowl’ contest and his exhibition entitled Interface Effect (2014) was highlighted at AEF.

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


If You Go:
Exhibition by Abel Tilahun
Curator: Meskerem Assegued
Alliance Ethio-Française
Addis Ababa
January 3 – 24, 2017
Opening: January 3, 6 PM
Artist Talk (Retrospective): January 5, 6 PM
Roundtable (ODYSSEY?): January 21, 6 PM

Related:
Ethiopian Artist Abel Tilahun Speaks to Independent Curators Hub in NYC
Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Multimedia Artist and Animator Abel Tilahun
Three Ethiopian Animators Vie For Doritos Superbowl AD Grand Prize

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Electoral College Confirms Trump’s Win

Protestors fill the rotunda of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan before the state electoral college met to approve the results of this year's presidential election on December 19th, 2016. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

December 19, 2016

With electoral college vote, Trump’s win is official

In Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump defeated Clinton by about a percentage point, Trump won all 29 electoral votes. He also earned all 16 votes in Michigan, another state that flipped to Republicans for the first time since 1988.

On the streets of Washington, D.C., two dozen protesters assembled outside Trump’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, singing songs such as “We Shall Overcome.” Some held signs, including one that read, “Resist Putin’s Puppet.” The District’s three electors later gathered at city hall, just a block from Trump’s hotel.

In Albany, N.Y., former president Bill Clinton sat in the state Senate chamber as an elector and cast one of the Empire State’s 29 electoral votes for his wife.

“I’ve never cast a vote I was prouder of,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Despite the pleas of Trump opponents, most electors had said for weeks that they planned to cast votes reflecting the will of their home states.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:

In Theory US Electoral College is Not Rubber Stamp for Election Results


Washington state Presidential Electors Levi Guerra and Bret Chiafalo (right) speaking in front of the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — On Monday, December 19th, the U.S. Electoral College will meet in various states to approve the results of the 2016 presidential election. In the past few weeks the electoral college system has gained international attention as people around the world curiously observe that only in America can a presidential candidate lose the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots and still win the general election. In addition, there is also the brewing high-tech spy scandal in which a foreign power, no less than America’s long adversary, Moscow, clearly messed with this year’s election in favor of the President-Elect, generating an intense public discussion in the United States as to the exact role of the Electoral College, which today is seen as a highly partisan process.

Although it’s unlikely to succeed “pressure on members of the electoral college to select someone other than Donald Trump has grown dramatically — and noisily — in recent weeks, causing some to waver but yielding little evidence that Trump will fall short when electors convene in most state capitals Monday to cast their votes,” the Washington Post reports.

The newspaper features a group known as the Hamilton Electors — whose members include Mark Hersch, a 60-year-old Chicago-based marketing strategist — “who have been organizing efforts to contact electors and change their minds. Rather than persuade an entire country, he and his allies must find 37 Republicans willing to vote for someone else, a tipping point at which the responsibility of picking the president would shift to the U.S. House of Representatives. No one knows for sure how many are considering alternate votes; estimates vary from one to 25.”

One of America’s renowned statesman and founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, once famously explained “The Mode of Electing the President” in the historic Federalist Papers published in 1788, stating that the purpose of the Electoral College is to make sure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Hamilton also argued that another important purpose of the Electoral College was to safeguard against foreign interference in the United States election system and “chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

The Washington Post article also quotes a Republican operative and attorney from Massachusetts, R.J. Lyman, as emphasizing that the electoral college was “not intended to be a rubber stamp” and that otherwise “the Founding Fathers would have tasked the responsibility to a clerk or simply used the popular vote as a way of choosing a president.’”

“I’m reminding them of their duty to think about their choice in a way that’s consistent with their conscience and the Constitution,” Lyman told the Washington Post. “So far, Lyman said, he has identified 20 electors who might be willing to vote “other than their party pledge.” He couldn’t name more than one publicly but insisted that more were out there.”

Watch: How the US Electoral College works

According to Hamilton the electoral college was designed so that “we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.”


Related:
In last-shot bid, thousands urge electoral college to block Trump at Monday vote
The Federalist Papers : No. 68: The Mode of Electing the President

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Obama: Russia Will Pay for US Hacking

President Obama said in an interview with NPR on Dec. 15, that, "we need to take action and we will, at the time and place of our own choosing," against Russia for its cyberattacks during this year's election. (Reuters)

The Washington Post

December 16th, 2016

Obama says ‘we will’ retaliate against Russia for election hacking

President Obama said the United States will retaliate against Russia over its malicious cyber-activity during this year’s election, in an interview that aired Friday on NPR.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections . . . we need to take action,” the president said. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman responded by suggesting that the president and his aides were casting aspersions on Russia without offering any proof.

In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. government should “either stop talking about it or finally produce some evidence, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”

In the interview with “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep the president did not comment on last week’s Washington Post report, later confirmed by other outlets, that the CIA has concluded with high confidence that Russia intervened in the election specifically to help Donald Trump win the White House. Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies publicly announced in October that they had concluded the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was undertaken by hackers working for Russia.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:

A Times Investigation: How Moscow Aimed a Perfect Weapon at 2016 U.S. Election


A filing cabinet broken into in 1972 as part of the Watergate burglary sits beside a computer server that Russian hackers breached during the 2016 presidential campaign at DNC headquarters in Washington. (NYT)

The New York Times

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.

“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Did Moscow Install America’s Next President? US Launches Investigations


U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win. President Obama has ordered full review. (AP photo)

VOA News

Updated: December 13, 2016

US Launches Investigations into Russian Election Tampering

Intelligence committees in both houses of Congress launched investigations Monday into accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election to boost the chances that President-elect Donald Trump would win.

President Barack Obama also ordered a full review by the intelligence community into the allegations.

“The reason that I’ve called for a review is to really just gather all of the threads of the investigations, the intelligence work that has been done over many months, so that the public and our elected representatives going forward can find ways to prevent this kind of interference from having an impact on the elections in the future.”

The probes amounted to an early rebuke of Trump, who over the weekend said the Central Intelligence Agency conclusion was “ridiculous” that Russia engaged in cyberattacks to help him win. He continued to assail the finding Monday.

Even before he assumes power next month, the Republican Trump’s mocking of the CIA conclusion about Russian interference on his behalf put him at odds with both of the top Republican lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. They endorsed bipartisan probes conducted by the intelligence committees in each chamber of Congress.

WATCH: McConnell on Russia hacking

“The Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said. He added that the investigation should be undertaken with the idea that “the Russians do not wish us well.” Ryan said the House probe “should not cast doubt” on Trump’s victory, but that foreign interference in a U.S. election was “entirely unacceptable” and Russian involvement “especially problematic.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the congressional review “is certainly warranted when you consider the stakes and the consequences.”

But Trump spokesman Jason Miller called the CIA conclusion about Russian interference “an attempt to delegitimize President-elect Trump’s win.”

Clinton camp responds

Trump’s election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has been silent about the Russian hacking allegations. But her campaign manager, John Podesta, on Monday demanded that the administration of President Barack Obama declassify and release all the information it has about Russia meddling in the election.

Clinton won the national popular vote against Trump but lost where it mattered, in the state-by-state contests that decide U.S. presidential elections. Podesta called for release of the intelligence data before electors in the Electoral College vote to formally ratify Trump’s victory on December 19.

In a pair of comments on Twitter, Trump questioned why information about the computer hacking was not widely known before the election.

He contended that if Clinton had won the election and Republicans “tried to play the Russia/CIA card, it would be called conspiracy theory.”

He added, “Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?”

But U.S. officials did in fact publicly accuse Russia of trying to undermine the presidential election in early October, saying intelligence agencies were “confident” Russia directed hacks of the Democratic National Committee that resulted in controversial emails being leaked before the Democratic nominating convention.

Obama spokesman Earnest said, “This was all material that was known by Republican politicians in the Congress that endorsed the president-elect. And how they reconcile their political strategy and their patriotism is something they’ll have to explain.”

Trump: I don’t believe it

Trump’s latest remarks came after he told Fox News in an interview aired Sunday that the CIA conclusion about Russian cyberattacks to boost his chances of winning was “just another excuse” by Democrats to explain his stunning upset of Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state.

“I don’t believe it. If you take a look at what [the CIA] said, there’s great confusion,” Trump said Sunday. “Nobody really knows. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.”


President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” at Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

Trump told Fox News that he does not oppose Obama’s order to review cyberattacks the CIA concluded came from Russia during the lengthy presidential campaign, but said, “You should not just say ‘Russia.’ You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals.” The CIA said it had “high confidence” that Russia sought to help Trump win.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia interfered in the final stretch of the presidential campaign to help Trump win the presidency, and not simply meddle in the U.S. electoral process as previously believed, according to senior Obama administration officials. The conclusion is based to some extent on a finding that Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems, in addition to those of Democratic organizations, but disclosed only embarrassing emails from the Democrats, via WikiLeaks.

Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee and Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, told ABC News the party was not hacked.

“The entire report is based on unnamed sources who are perhaps doing something they shouldn’t be doing by speaking to reporters or someone talking out of line about something that is absolutely not true,” Priebus said Sunday.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP photo)

Trump’s rejection of the CIA conclusion came as Arizona Senator John McCain, the losing 2008 Republican presidential candidate, and three other senators called for the investigation into Moscow’s interference in the election, saying that it “should alarm every American.” McCain, along with Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Jack Reed and Chuck Schumer, said the United States needs to stop “the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”


Related:
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says (The New York Times)
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (The Washington Post)

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Spotlight: Sossina Haile’s Scientific Quest Brings World Closer to Liquid Sun Energy

Sossina M. Haile is a Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University. (Photograph by C. Jason Brown)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University was born in Addis Ababa and moved permanently to the US when she was ten years old. Today, Sossina is one the leading researchers in the United States whose work to find alternative sources of fuel has helped push the worldwide green energy revolution.

“If we are to use the sun as our primary energy source, then we definitely need to develop ways to store its energy for use on demand,” she told Tadias in a profile interview a few years ago when she was teaching at California Institute of Technology. “In my lab we have started to do this by converting the sunlight to heat, and then using the heat to drive reactions that create fuels like hydrogen and methane from water and carbon dioxide.”

In a recent highlight entitled Bottling the Sun: Sossina Haile’s Research Brings the World Closer to Liquid Energy Fueled by the Sun Northwestern University Mccormick School of Engineering’s magazine gives an update on her research explaining that “The solar reactor in Sossina Haile’s laboratory is respiring oxygen. And with its every breath, the world comes another step closer to bringing the vision of liquid solar fuels to life.”

“My lab does not have the total energy solution, but we do have a couple pieces of it,” Sossina told the publication. “I can give you two components that will help you get to the end.”

Click here to read the full article »


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American Jewish Historical Society Hosts ‘Sigd’ – An Ethiopian Celebration

(Photo by Joan Roth)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Next week the Ethiopian Jewish Holiday ‘Sigd’ will be celebrated at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City (AJHS). Organized by AJHS in partnership with Chassida Shmella, the event includes “a special evening of music, artifacts, rituals and food on Sunday, Dec. 18th at 5pm in the Forchheimer Auditorium at AJHS (15 West 16th Street).”

“Sigd: An Ethiopian Jewish Celebration will feature a performance by Anbessa Orchestra, a display of items from the AJHS’ American Association for Ethiopian Jews collection, a ritual led by Ethiopian spiritual leaders and a feast of traditional Ethiopian foods” AJHS announced.

As a holiday celebrated by the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community, Sigd has been recognized as a state holiday in Israel since 2008. “Sigd commemorates the giving of the Torah and the ancient communal gatherings on Mount Sinai,” AJHS notes. In Ethiopia, “thousands of Jews traveled on foot every year from Gonder Province to the village of Ambober, where the joyous celebration included prayer and fasting. Each year, the Sigd celebration offers a unique experience.”


Anbessa Orchestra. (Photo: Joan Roth)


Abay Mengist will perform a song during the celebration. (Photo: Joan Roth)


If You Go:
WHAT: Sigd: An Ethiopian Celebration
WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 18 5 pm
WHERE: American Jewish Historical Society
15 West 16th Street – Forchheimer Auditorium
New York, NY
Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students, seniors and AJHS members, and $36 at the door.

—-
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Ruth Negga: One of Best Film Stars of 2016

Actress Ruth Nega. (Photograph by JACK DAVISON/The New York Times)

Vogue

Loving Star Ruth Negga on Biracial Politics: “I Get Very Territorial About My Identity”

With her mesmerizing performance in Jeff Nichols’s subtly groundbreaking film Loving, the Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga has become a star for our time.

“I’m a rag of a woman today,” Ruth Negga says in her faint Irish accent. She is pointing to her chipped green nail polish and apologizing for her eyebrows. She cut her hair herself, she says, before asking a professional to tidy it up. Earlier today she went to get her passport renewed. “Maybe . . . you could—blend?” the photographer said, gesturing around his face. She took a look and realized she had been quite slapdash with her bronzer and powder.

By lunchtime, there’s no trace of this—with her huge, doll-like eyes and closely cropped hair, she is as glamorous as a thirties aviator in Paige jeans and an olive bomber jacket—but it’s easy enough to imagine Negga dismissing vanity as a fool’s game. Her gift for self-mockery and her appetite for the craic—an Irish expression for fun or gossip or high jinks—are matched only by her levels of propulsion: Her neat, tiny frame always seems to move forward at great speed.

Read more at Vogue.com »

Watch: Great Performers | Ruth Negga NYT


Related:
The 10 Best Movies of 2016 — and 6 More
Oscar-Talk: Ethiopia-born Ruth Negga Hollywood’s Next Big Thing


Ruth Negga attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ ‘Warcraft’ in Hollywood, California on June 6, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 29th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has become the talk of Hollywood and Oscar mentions following her highly acclaimed performance in the new civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.” The film Loving is scheduled to be featured on opening night at the Austin Film Festival on October 13, 2016.

New York magazine’s Vulture.com gives an Oscar shoutout to the Ethiopian-born star for Best Actress noting “first-timers with the likeliest shot at a nomination are Ruth Negga, the Ethiopian-Irish actress who slays a practically nonverbal role in Loving using her big, empathetic eyes.”

Ruth, who is 34-years-old, was born in Addis Ababa in 1982, to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven-years old. Ruth grew-up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.

“Ruth Negga’s recent rise is one of those 10-year overnight success stories,” The Hollywood Reporter declared this past Spring featuring an interview with Negga. They asked: “Why has it taken Hollywood so long to really discover you?”

“I have not been aggressive in my pursuit of being a star,” Ruth responded. “I’ve never had a plan. Maybe I need to be more aggressive, because it’s quite tough!”


Ruth’s new film is set to be featured on opening night at the Austim Film Festival on October 13, 2016. (photo credit: Goss.ie)


Ruth-Negga. (The Hollywood Reporter)

And “Your parents are in medicine. How did you become an actress?, The Hollywood Reporter followed up. “You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything. There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play,” Ruth answered.

And this month The Wrap highlights Ruth Negga among 15 Fall Movie Stars Poised to Break Out, From Ruth Negga to Riz Ahmed (Photos).


Related:
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

The film 'Hairat," which documents one man's nightly ritual near Ethiopia's historic city of Harar, is directed by Jessica Beshir. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The documentary short film Hairat from Ethiopia by Director Jessica Beshir has been selected to be featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

“This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions,” the Sundance Institute wrote describing Hairat in a press release.

In Hairat Director Jessica Beshir, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Ethiopia, “returns to the city of her childhood to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.” Jessica’s short film is one of 68 works from around the world that will be screened at Sundance from January 19th through 29th, 2017.

“Each year we see more short films from around the country and from more regions around the world, which is exciting as we want to discover new voices to support,” Mike Plante, Sundance’s Senior Programmer, shares. “This year’s crop captures the full spectrum of what short films can be: emotional, hilarious, horrifying and touching — sometimes all at once.”

Jessica Beshir has a Bachelor’s degree in film studies and literature from UCLA, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She recently also released the short film entitled He Who Dances on Wood.

“An Imam in Harar spoke to me about the meaning of Hairat at length, but in short it means, ‘You are where you need to be,’” Jessica says.


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In Pictures: Almaz Ayana 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year

Almaz Ayana (Right) with Haile Gebreselassie after receiving the 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year award at the IAAF Athletics Awards ceremony in Monaco on December 2nd, 2016. (IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who set a new world record in the 10,000m race during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil was awarded this year’s “Female World Athlete of the Year” prize last Friday at a ceremony in Monaco.

The 25-year-old long distance runner was accompanied at the event by Haile Gebreselassie who also acted as her translator.

“After collecting her IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year award she was asked at what stage during her gold medal run in the 10,000m final at Rio 2016 she realised the world record was also in her grasp,” IAAF reported.

” ‘When I crossed the line,’ she quipped, through top translator Haile Gebrselassie.”

Below are photos:


Almaz Ayana and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt receive their awards from Prince Albert of Monaco (left) and IAAF president Lord Coe. (Getty Images)


After an incredible year for the sport of athletics, the world’s finest gathered in Monaco for a celebration of all that they gave us in a momentous Olympic year — IAAF. (Photo Usain Bolt and Almaz Ayana at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016/Getty Images)


Haile Gebrselassie sits alongside Genzebe Dibaba (centre) and Almaz Ayana on the eve of the IAAF Athlete of the Year awards in Monaco. (Photo: IAAF)

Almaz Ayana is the third Ethiopian woman to win “Female World Athlete of the Year” award following in the footsteps of Genzebe Dibaba (2015) and Meseret Defar (2007), according to IAAF.

“I don’t have words to explain my feelings right now, I’m so excited,” said Ayana whose award was presented by International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. “Really, I’m so pleased.”


Related:
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana Named Finalist for World Athlete of the Year Award


Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia), Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) and Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) earned their spots on the 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year short list in historic fashion, IAAF announced. (Photos IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Almaz Ayana who won Ethiopia’s only gold medal during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil this past summer has been named a candidate for this year’s Female World Athlete of the Year award.

The 25-year-old long distance runner is being considered for the prestigious award along with Jamaican track and field sprinter Elaine Thompson and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.

“Ayana opened the Rio Olympics with a bang. It was a sight to behold as the Ethiopian broke away early from the rest of the field with a decisive surge,” The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which gives the annual award, said highlighting her accomplishments. “There was no catching Ayana, who powered to a world record 29:17.45, knocking more than 14 seconds off a record that had stood for 23 years.”


Almaz Ayana with teammate Tirunesh Dibaba at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. (Getty Images)


(Image: IAAF)

IAAF adds: “With one Olympic medal already under her belt, Ayana lined up in pursuit of another just days later. She was again the athlete pushing the pace in the 5000m final, blowing the medal hunt wide open with a break at half way. But her world record effort from a week earlier showed in the end, as Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot and Hellen Obiri passed her in the final lap. Ayana finished in third with 14:33.54. It was the only race of 2016 in which she didn’t cross the line in first, and it still earned her an Olympic bronze.”


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New ‘Ethiopiques’ CD Celebrates Legend Girma Beyene

Girma Bèyènè on the cover of the new éthiopiques CD series Volume 30. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, December 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Here comes another historic addition to the Ethiopiques CD series with the upcoming release of its 30th volume next month featuring legendary Ethiopian singer and songwriter Girma Bèyènè.

“After 25 years of silence, the legend Girma Bèyènè is back alongside one of the greatest ethio groups, Akalé Wubé,” the announcement said. “Under the direction of Francis Falceto (director of the famous Ethiopiques series Buda Musique) Girma and Akalé Wubé came together and recorded this album in order to immortalize this renaissance.”

A digital release of Girma’s new album, which is entitled Mistakes on Purpose, is scheduled for January 13th, 2017 by the French world music record label, Buda Musique, while a vinyl release is set for February 3rd, 2017.

Since it was first published 19 years ago the Éthiopiques collection has preserved the works of several prominent singers and musicians including Alemayehu Eshete, Asnaketch Worku, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, Tilahun Gessesse, Ali Birra, Getatchew Mekurya, Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebrou and Kassa Tessema. In addition, songs from Éthiopiques Volume 4 were featured in the 2005 Hollywood movie Broken Flowers written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.

“We are very proud and humbled to be featured side by side such great inspirations like Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu, Girma, Alemayehu and so many others,” the Paris-based band Akalé Wubé said on their website.

Watch: Girma Beyene live in Paris with French band Akale Wube — 2015

Girma used to live in Washington, D.C. for several years beginning in the early 1980′s long before the metro area around the U.S. capital became home to the largest Ethiopian population in America. As The Washington Post pointed out “The great Ethiopian singer, lyricist and arranger first found himself in the District way back in 1981 during a tour in the Walias Band, one of Ethiopia’s most revered jazz troupes. Beyene liked the District enough to stay — but not for good. After many years in the area, he eventually returned to Addis Ababa. It was there, during the 1960s and ’70s, where Beyene had been a major player in one of the planet’s most electrifying music scenes.”


(Ethiopiques Volume 30)


Related:
Ethiopia: Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos
How Ethiopian Music Went Global: Tadias Interview with Francis Falceto
Amha Eshete & Contribution of Amha Records to Modern Ethiopian Music

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NYC Holiday Benefit Supports Boys and Girls Town of Ethiopia

At the Boys' & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia in Emdibir, Ethiopia. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 2nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The holiday season is officially here. And if you are inspired to make charitable giving this year a benefit event is scheduled next week in New York City “to celebrate and support the youth of Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia.”

The charity, which is similar in concept to the historic Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy, provides assistance to young people in Emdibir, Ethiopia.

“Throughout the night there will be live music, dancing and a short video screening featuring our program in Ethiopia,” the non-profit organization, A Chance in Life, announced. The event will be held on Monday, December 12th at Café Wha? in downtown Manhattan.

“Since the 1950s Café Wha? has been a favorite hot spot cornered in the heart of Greenwich Village,” the announcement said. “Café Wha? was the original stomping ground for artists like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.”

The Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia — located in Emdibir of the Gurage Zone in Southwestern Ethiopia and supported by the New York-based non-profit organization, A Chance In Life — is modeled after the first Boys’ & Girls’ Town that was established 70 years ago by Irish priest Monsignor Carroll-Abbing following the end of World War II to assist orphaned children in Europe.


The Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia’s program for youth with disabilities holding a picnic at Ghibe National Park, May 24th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Today, in Ethiopia “an estimated 4.6 million children” are growing up without parents, states the organization’s website. “Our towns are vibrant, democratic, self-governing communities run by the young people themselves. These children need the basic necessities to receive a chance in life.”

The towns are designed and organized to empower its members by providing them with basic necessities so they can be “active citizens and productive members of their communities,” explains ​Gabriele Delmonaco, President & Executive Director of A Chance In Life.

“After [World War II], orphaned and abandoned children all over Europe were shining shoes, panhandling and stealing to survive,” The New York Times noted when the founder of the Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy, Carroll-Abbing, died in 2001 at age 88. “His concept of giving troubled children love and his motto ‘a chance in life’ grew as he organized such shelters all over the country. All told, he was credited with feeding and clothing more than 180,000 children.”

The Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia was launched in 2015 while working closely with the Diocese of Emdibir and currently runs three main programs. The first focuses on resources for orphaned and vulnerable youth, providing academic supplies and financial support to attend school as well as giving medical assistance, food and clothing. The second assists young girls to continue their education and help them stay enrolled in school by providing homes for approximately 100 girls in proximity to their high schools. The girls also have opportunities to hold monthly community meetings and support each other in achieving their academic dreams. Last but not least, The Boys’ and Girls’ Town of Ethiopia also provides entrepreneurship and business development skills for individuals with disabilities who often face marginalization. Youth with disabilities also attend biweekly gatherings and share their aspirations and the challenges faced in an effort to develop a strong social network for greater self-reliance and broader participation in society. There are currently 100 youth participants in this program.

The founder of the Boys’ and Girls’ club once said: “Philanthropy means, very simply, an authentic love for humanity.” Monsignor Carroll-Abbing’s words still ring true today, and giving support to youth-led communities not only provides them with much-needed resources, but also encourages agency and transformation while remaining part of one’s home community.


If You Go:

Click here to buy tickets

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Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana Named Finalist for World Athlete of the Year Award

Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia), Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) and Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) earned their spots on the 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year short list in historic fashion, IAAF announced. (Photos IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Almaz Ayana who won Ethiopia’s only gold medal during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil this past summer has been named a candidate for this year’s Female World Athlete of the Year award.

The 25-year-old long distance runner is being considered for the prestigious award along with Jamaican track and field sprinter Elaine Thompson and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.

“Ayana opened the Rio Olympics with a bang. It was a sight to behold as the Ethiopian broke away early from the rest of the field with a decisive surge,” The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which gives the annual award, said highlighting her accomplishments. “There was no catching Ayana, who powered to a world record 29:17.45, knocking more than 14 seconds off a record that had stood for 23 years.”


Almaz Ayana with teammate Tirunesh Dibaba at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. (Getty Images)


(Image: IAAF)

IAAF adds: “With one Olympic medal already under her belt, Ayana lined up in pursuit of another just days later. She was again the athlete pushing the pace in the 5000m final, blowing the medal hunt wide open with a break at half way. But her world record effort from a week earlier showed in the end, as Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot and Hellen Obiri passed her in the final lap. Ayana finished in third with 14:33.54. It was the only race of 2016 in which she didn’t cross the line in first, and it still earned her an Olympic bronze.”


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Ethiopia: Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem

Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa at Ginny's Supper Club in New York on Sunday, November 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Last night in New York the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem featured a special Ethiopia-inspired dinner menu prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson followed by a live performance by classical Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa.

Girma’s amazing concert on Sunday evening included his original compositions that evoke “Ethiopian melody making,” as he told the audience, “decorated” with sounds of the classical music tradition in combination with Ambassel, Bati, Anchihoye and Tizita based on Ethiopian music’s unique tone scale system.

Watch: Marcus Samuelsson in conversation with Girma Yifrashewa before the show:

Having picked up the kirar as a young child and later discovering piano at the historic Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa during his teenage years, Girma went on to pursue his music and composition studies in Bulgaria at Sofia State Conservatory of Music.

Last night’s piano performance at Ginny’s featured classical pieces by Chopin and Debussy for the first session and his own original compositions fusing the Western classical tradition with Ethiopian sounds for the second part of the evening, which included his playful Chewata, the spiritual Sememen and the joyous Elilta.

Below are photos from Girma Yifrashewa’s Concert at Ginny’s Supper Club in NYC on November 27th, 2016:

Girma Yifrashewa “offers a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence,” the New York Times declared three years ago in its review of Girma’s first NYC concert in 2013 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. In an article entitled From Chopin to Ethiopia, and Partway Back Again, The Times added: “Since returning to Ethiopia in 1995, Mr. Yifrashewa has promoted awareness there of the standard classical repertory, while also writing new pieces that apply European techniques to Ethiopian musical and folkloric sources.”


Related:
Photos Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda, Maryland

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Fidel Castro Dead at 90: Left Mark on Horn of Africa

Cuba's Fidel Castro, pictured June 10, 1977. (AP photo)

VOA News

Updated: Sunday, November 27th, 2016

One place besides Miami where few tears will be shed over the death of Fidel Castro is Somalia, where his military involvement left a mark.

In the mid-1970s, Castro and former Soviet leaders were celebrating what looked like the emergence of another socialist leadership following the rise of the Derg regime in Ethiopia. Somalia had already been declared a socialist state and had hosted a large presence of Soviet and Cuban military advisers and trainers.

In early 1977, Castro brought together the leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and southern Yemen to create greater socialist federal states in the region. General Mohamed Nur Galal was the former deputy defense minister of Somalia and the focal point of Somalia’s military contacts with Cuba at that time. He was present at the meeting in Aden in March 1977.

Castro’s vision

“He [Castro] was representing the Soviet Union, although he did not say that at the meeting. He said Somalia and Ethiopia should join up, and said that Yemen will join up, too,” Galal said.


Former Ethiopian Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and Fidel Castro celebrating the 4th anniversary of the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy (Revolution Day) in Addis Ababa. Photo: (Flickr/Solomon Kibriye)


Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam (right): Thousands were killed under the dictator’s “Red Terror” in Ethiopia where he was the chairman of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia, from 1977 to 1991. (Getty Images)

According to Galal, Castro told them that the merger would create a strategic alliance that would control the Red Sea, Suez Canal, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

Castro also explained to the leaders that setting up the new alliance would bring another benefit to the region: solving the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia over the ethnic Somali Ogaden region.

“We told him that this is about the self-determination of people, and if this federation is going to unite ethnic Somalis, we are up for it,” Galal said.

The meeting ended without progress. At the time, Somalia was already in an advanced stage of a military buildup to take the Ogaden region, regarded by the Somali government as a territory “occupied” by Ethiopia.

Meeting with Barre

When Castro learned of Somalia’s plans, he flew to Mogadishu and met his counterpart, dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

After the meeting, Castro reportedly said that Barre showed him the territories that he considered part of “Greater Somalia,” including northeastern Kenya, Ogaden and Djibouti, which was still under French control.


Somalia’s Mohamed Said Barre speaks to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Oct. 9, 1974. (AP photo)

Castro reportedly described Barre as a “chauvinist … and someone who thinks he is at the summit of wisdom.”

Two months after Castro’s visit to Mogadishu, Somali tanks were pounding Ethiopian military defense positions.

Somali troops took over Ogaden and moved deep into Ethiopia. The Soviet Union sent military advisers and provided technical assistance to Ethiopia.

Galal said Cuba had members of its Civil Defense System in Somalia and ordered them to go to Ethiopia. Castro also sent thousands of troops to Ethiopia.

Somalis beaten back

By March 1978, Somali troops had suffered heavy defeats and were driven back to where they started the offensive.

The following month, members of the demoralized Somali military officers made a coup attempt in Mogadishu. Barre held on, but the officers who survived the purge escaped to Ethiopia to set up the armed rebels who would overthrow him 13 years later, in January 1991. Somalia has never recovered from the following state collapse.

“I read a book Castro wrote, saying he brought Somalia to its knees. … He was a bad man who hated Somalis,” Galal said.


Related:
Fidel Castro, Who Defied US for 50 Years, Dies at 90 in Cuba


Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader and dictator who defied U.S. efforts to topple him for five decades, has died. He was 90. (Photo: MSNBC)

The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro, who led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba, has died at age 90.

With a shaking voice, President Raul Castro said on state television that his older brother died at 10:29 p.m. Friday. He ended the announcement by shouting the revolutionary slogan: “Toward victory, always!”

Castro’s reign over the island nation 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Castro, who outlasted a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died 10 years after a life-threatening illness led him to turn over power to his brother.

Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades he was a source of inspiration and support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa, even as Cubans who fled to exile loathed him with equal measure.

Read more »

Watch: Former Cuban Leader Fidel Castro Dead at 90

Watch: World Reacts to Castro’s Death (VOA News)


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President Obama On Why a Million Miles of Travel Gives Him Hope for the Future

President Obama wrote the following article for the travel website Lonely Planet this week, reflecting on his international tour over the past 8 years that included becoming the 1st sitting US president to visit Ethiopia.

Lonely Planet

By BARACK OBAMA
President of the United States

US President Barack Obama reflects on why a million miles of travel gives him hope for the future

Editor’s Note: Lonely Planet believes responsible travel can be a force for good. It’s a belief shared by President Barack Obama, the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar and Laos. On his final foreign trip, he spoke to us about how the optimistic, tolerant and engaged young people he has met around the world give him hope for the future.

During my time as president, I have traveled well over a million miles to every corner of the world. These foreign trips have included international summits and bilateral visits that have been fundamental to the progress that we’ve made – strengthening alliances, engaging former adversaries, renewing the global economy, and forging agreements to fight climate change, stop the spread of nuclear weapons, expand commerce, and roll back poverty and disease.

I leave office more convinced than ever before that international cooperation is indispensable. Without regular consultations with foreign leaders, and institutional coordination between the US and our allies and partners, we cannot overcome challenges that recognize no borders. It took dozens of countries working together to stamp out Ebola. It took coordinated pressure and careful diplomacy to reach a peaceful agreement to roll back Iran’s nuclear program. Nearly 200 countries spent years in painstaking negotiations to achieve the Paris Agreement to protect our planet. Every single day, the US works seamlessly with other countries to share information to prevent terrorist attacks, stop human trafficking, break up drug cartels, or combat corruption.


The president takes a group photo with U.S. students at Dillingham Middle School in Alaska. (© Pete Souza / Official White House Photo)

But while this cooperation is essential, I have always believed that our engagements with other countries must not be limited to governments – we also have to engage people around the world. In particular, we must sustain our engagement with young people, who will determine the future long after those of us in positions of power leave the world stage.

Consider the demographics of our world. More than half of human beings are 30 years old or younger. This is even more pronounced in the developing world – that’s where 90 percent of the global population under 30 lives. These young people are living through revolutions in technology that are remaking life on our planet, allowing for unprecedented access to information and connectivity, while also causing enormous disruptions in the global economy. And while the world’s leaders discuss the pressing issues of the day, it is the world’s young people who will determine whether their voices direct the change that is sweeping our world towards greater justice, opportunity, tolerance, and mutual respect.


President Obama watching performers on the tarmac at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013. (© Pete Souza / Official White House Photo)

Read the full article at lonelyplanet.com »


Related:
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era
Watch: Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech


President Barack Obama talked about the United States election results and the
importance of democracy during his last international tour as president. (Reuters)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Was 2016 U.S. Election Hacked? Hillary Clinton’s Team to Join Wisconsin Recount

Hillary Clinton's campaign lawyer said on Saturday that they're joining a growing call for a recount in 3 states after computer scientists warned that this year's U.S. presidential election might have been hacked. (AP)

The Washington Post

Clinton takes part in Wisconsin recount, with an eye on ‘outside interference,’ lawyer says

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has been quietly exploring whether there was any “outside interference” in the election results and will participate in the election recount in Wisconsin initiated by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a Clinton campaign lawyer revealed Saturday.

In a Medium post, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that the campaign had received “hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton,” especially in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the “combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.”

Elias said the campaign had “not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.” But because of the margin of victory — and because of the degree of apparent foreign interference during the campaign — Elias said that Clinton officials had “quietly taken a number of steps in the last two weeks to rule in or out any possibility of outside interference in the vote tally in these critical battleground states.”

[Trump calls recount efforts ‘sad,’ declares: ‘Nothing will change’]

He said that the Clinton campaign would participate in the Stein-initiated recount in Wisconsin by having representatives on the ground monitoring the count and having lawyers represent them in court if needed. And if Stein made good on efforts to prompt similar processes in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Elias said, the Clinton campaign would do so there, as well.

“The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities,” Elias said. “While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.”

Read more at The Washington Post »

Related:
Hillary Clinton’s Team to Join Wisconsin Recount (NYT)


Voters waited to cast their ballots in Milwaukee earlier this month. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

NOV. 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin incited by a third-party candidate and would join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The Clinton campaign held out little hope of success in any of the three states, and said it had seen no “actionable evidence” of vote hacking that might taint the results or otherwise provide new grounds for challenging Donald J. Trump’s victory. But it suggested it was going along with the recount effort to assure supporters that it was doing everything possible to verify that hacking by Russia or other irregularities had not affected the results.

In a post on Medium, Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s general counsel, said the campaign would take part in the Wisconsin recount being set off by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and would also participate if Ms. Stein made good on her plans to seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Clinton lost those three states by a total of little more than 100,000 votes, sealing her Electoral College defeat by Mr. Trump.

The Clinton campaign had assailed Mr. Trump during the election for refusing to say he would abide by the results if he lost. On Saturday, Mr. Trump responded to the campaign’s decision to join the recount with a statement calling the effort “ridiculous” and “a scam by the Green Party.”

He suggested that most of the money raised would not be spent on the recount. “The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing,” Mr. Trump said.

In Wisconsin, Mr. Trump leads by 22,177 votes. In Michigan, he has a lead of 10,704 votes, and in Pennsylvania, his advantage is 70,638 votes.

Mr. Elias suggested in his essay that the Clinton campaign was joining the recount effort with little expectation that it would change the result. But many of the campaign’s supporters, picking up on its frequent complaints of Russian interference in the election, have enthusiastically backed Ms. Stein’s efforts, putting pressure on the Clinton team to show that it is exploring all options.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States (NYT)


Was this year’s U.S. presidential election “rigged” as Donald Trump claimed during the campaign? Well, now, Hillary Clinton’s supporters want to find out and are calling for vote recount in battleground states. (AP)

The New York Times

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is growing. She is roughly 30,000 votes behind Donald J. Trump in the key swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin — a combined gap that is narrowing. Her impassioned supporters are now urging her to challenge the results in those two states and Pennsylvania, grasping at the last straws to reverse Mr. Trump’s decisive majority in the Electoral College.

In recent days, they have seized on a report by a respected computer scientist and other experts suggesting that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the keys to Mr. Trump’s Electoral College victory, need to manually review paper ballots to assure the election was not hacked.

“Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack?” J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who has studied the vulnerabilities of election systems at length, wrote on Medium on Wednesday as the calls based on his conclusions mounted. “Probably not.”

More likely, he wrote, pre-election polls were “systematically wrong.” But the only way to resolve the lingering questions would be to examine “paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states,” he wrote.

Tellingly, the pleas for recounts have gained no support from the Clinton campaign, which has concluded, along with outside experts, that it is highly unlikely the outcome would change even after an expensive and time-consuming review of ballots. But that has not quieted Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, who see the inequity of her growing lead in the national popular vote, which is now more than two million votes, or 1.5 percent of all ballots cast, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which regularly updates its count as states continue to tally and to certify votes.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots say computer scientists (Medium)
Trump Won With Lowest Minority Vote in Decades, Fueling Divisions (Reuters)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Model Titi Aynaw, First Ethiopian Miss Israel, Shares 5 Leadership Lessons

Titi Aynaw is an Ethiopian-born Israeli model who won the title of Miss Israel in 2013. (Photo: Tadias Mag)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, the first Ethiopian Miss Israel, was three years ago when she visited New York City a few months after she was crowned the first black Miss Israel in 2013. The beauty queen who served as a lieutenant in the Israel Defense Force had arrived to fundraise for a project located in her hometown of Netanya where she said she was working to build an after school arts-based community center for children from low-income communities.

“I’ve taken the initiative to bring together these children in a community room and help them to learn what they show interest in, whether it’s dance or music. I am fundraising to create these opportunities for them” Titi explained.

This week the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School highlights Titi’s recent visit there to promote “her latest social enterprise, the Titi Project,” noting that the 25-year-old former Miss Israeli is also “a television personality and community activist with 52,000 Instagram followers. And those are only a few of her accomplishments.”


Crowned Titi Aynaw crowned as Miss Israel 2013 was born in the Gondar, Ethiopia. (KWHS)

Read more: 5 Leadership Lessons from Israeli Model Titi Aynaw

In related news also this week, the Times of Israel reported that Lt. Col. Dr. Avraham Yitzhak made history as the first Ethiopian-born Israeli who was named chief medical officer of the army’s Southern Command on November 21st, 2016 “putting him on the path to becoming the first Israeli of Ethiopian heritage to hold the rank of colonel in the Israel Defense Forces.”

Read more: Ethiopian Lt. Colonel makes IDF history

—-
Related
Tadias Interview with Miss Israel Titi Aynaw

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Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

President-elect Donald Trump heads inside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Sunday, November 20th, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In an article entitled Trump’s Foreign Policy on Africa is Likely to be Non-existent, which was published by CNN this past weekend, Peter Vale, a Professor of Humanities and the Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg, argues that the African continent will be the least of the incoming administration’s concerns.

At this point it’s all speculation and nobody really knows what exactly the Donald Trump presidency would mean to the U.S. let alone the rest of the world. But it is worth thinking about what US-Africa relations might look like in the age of Trump.

The Brookings Institution’s Witney Schneidman, who advised Clinton on Africa, also penned an article last week entitled Donald Trump and Africa , and agrees that the continent will likely be at the bottom of Trump’s international agenda.

“In fact, there is every reason to expect that, under a Trump administration, the U.S. will be less engaged in Africa especially where it concerns the expenditure of taxpayer resources on economic development initiatives,” Schneidman writes in a blog post on Brookings website.

“AGOA could easily be the first casualty under Trump,” Schneidman states. “While its benefits have been uneven, the legislation has served as a key framework for U.S.-African relations. It has led to trade and investment being at the forefront of U.S. policy in the region. AGOA has encouraged African women in trade and led to the creation of the African Trade Hubs (rebranded as Trade and Investment Hubs under Obama) to help African companies access AGOA. More recently, the Obama administration has been working to develop a new trade architecture based on reciprocity that would ultimately replace AGOA’s unilateral preference regime.”

Professor Vale note that “Trump is also unlikely to have any tolerance for the idea that the African diaspora is part of the “sixth region” of Africa. In addition, I think that he is going to be intolerant and disinterested in issues around the domestic politics of African countries. That is unless — as he was very clear in his acceptance speech — they strongly impinge on American national interests. For example, I don’t think he is going to be very interested in what is happening in Somalia or Ethiopia or in other parts of Africa where there may be conflict. Trump hasn’t got a great capacity for detail, so at best he will live by macro assessments.”

Below are links to both articles:

CNN: Trump’s foreign policy on Africa is likely to be non-existent
Brookings: Donald Trump and Africa


Related:
Watch: Will Trump’s business impact foreign policy? (MSNBC LIVE WITH TAMRON HALL 11/21/16)


Many Americans are concerned that President-elect Donald Trump’s business interests will mix with his presidential duties when he takes office. MSNBC’s Tamron Hall discusses with Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer for President Bush. (MSNBC)

Watch: The knowns and unknowns of Trump’s foreign policy (MSNBC MORNING JOE 11/21/16)


Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and Ian Brzezinski from the Atlantic Council discuss the possible avenues Donald Trump has for building his foreign policy. (MSNBC Video)

Ethiopian American Hip Hop Artist Aminé Slams Trump’s Immigration Stance on Tonight Show
Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech
Looking Beyond Trump Era: This Woman Could Become 1st Female U.S. President
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Rolling Stone: Ethiopian American Aminé Among 10 New Artists You Need to Know

Adam Aminé Daniel, professionally known as Aminé, is an Ethiopian American hip hop recording artist from Portland, Oregon. (Courtesy of Republic Records)

Rolling Stone

Why You Should Pay Attention: Adam Aminé Daniel has scored an unlikely hit with the wavy love rap “Caroline” – currently at 34 million YouTube views and counting. The Portland rapper is inspired by Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak and Outkast’s The Love Below, and taught himself to make beats with YouTube tutorials. He also studied business, advertising and marketing at Portland State University (he recently dropped out with 15 credits left towards his degree), and creates his own cover artwork.

Last year, he piqued interest among some influential blogs and websites with his 2015 mixtape Calling Brio, a diverse blend of house, bass drops, African pop and smooth-but-steady flows. When he posted “Caroline” to SoundCloud in June, he generated a fierce bidding war that resulted a deal with Republic Records. By September, Republic pushed the track onto streaming services, and it has soared into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. He’s recorded over 60 songs for his next project, but he’s unsure if that will be an album or a mixtape. However, he knows that he wants to continue to make feel-good music that’s colorful and bright.

He Says: Aminé has no shortage of opinions on the anti-immigration policy that president-elect Donald Trump used in his recent campaign. “My parents are immigrants to this country,” says the Ethiopian-American artist. “They came to this country for a better opportunity just like everyone else. So if anyone else, whether they’re running for president or whatever they’re trying to do, if they’re bashing the people who are just working hard and just trying to make a better life for themselves by coming to America, I believe that’s completely wrong. To see someone like that do something like that and become president is just a testimony to where we are at culturally in America right now.”


Amine – “Caroline”

Read more at Rollingstone.com »


Related:
A YOUNG RAPPER’S BOLD ANTI-TRUMP MESSAGE ON “THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON

Ethiopian American Hip Hop Artist Aminé Slams Trump on Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon

The New Yorker

Aminé: ‘You can never make America great again, all you ever did was make this country hate again’

Among this year’s uncommonly vibrant cohort of breakout rappers, Aminé, a wild-haired twenty-two-year-old from Portland, Oregon, stands out for his warm, restless energy. His single “Caroline”—which has been slowly gaining momentum since its release, in March—finds a sweet spot between theatre-geek sincerity and cool-kid braggadocio, between neo-soul and ringtone rap, between romance and vulgarity. Melodically simple and texturally adventurous, it’s a near-perfect dollop of populist rap joy—the kind of song that cuts across listening audiences, for better or worse. The song has racked up some hundred and fifty million streams in recent months and reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

So Aminé’s television début, on Tuesday night, on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” seemed like a straightforward proposition: a promising young artist performs his best single, and, if all goes according to plan, endears himself to a mainstream late-night viewing audience. What actually happened was slightly different. When Aminé took the stage, he initially played the part of the whimsical Portland rapper, tinkering on a piano adorned with bananas, one of his signature motifs. He then offered a stripped-down rendition of “Caroline,” accompanied by an orchestra and a row of backup singers. But when he arrived at the song’s final chorus the room shifted. The camera focussed on Aminé’s face, and he stood still in front of the microphone. The wands of light behind him turned from a dusty yellow to red, white, and blue, as over the beat of “Caroline” he delivered a piercing new verse:

9/11, a day that we never forgettin’
11/9, a day that we always regrettin’
If my President is Trump then it’s relevant enough
To talk ’bout it on TV and not give a fuck
I’m black and I’m proud
My skin is brown and I’m loud
Everybody love it when a rapper tells some lies
But that ain’t me, homie, I guess that’s a surprise
America want to act all happy and holy
But deep down inside they like Brad and Jolie
Caroline divine, and I won’t get specific
Club Banana, the illest and it’s too terrific
You can never make America great again
All you ever did was make this country hate again

Read more at Newyorker.com »


Related:
Rapper Aminé slams Donald Trump in moving Tonight Show debut

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Ethiopia: Pianist-Composer Girma Yifrashewa to Perform at Ginny’s in Harlem

Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The acclaimed Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa returns to New York City this month for a Thanksgiving weekend performance at Ginny’s Supper Club on Sunday, November 27th.

Girma, who was trained at Sofia State Conservatory of Music in Bulgaria, says he got started with his musical career at a very young age playing Kirar while growing up in Ethiopia’s capital city before being introduced to piano as a teenager when he was accepted to the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa.

Girma Yifrashewa “offers a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence,” the New York Times declared three years ago in its review of Girma’s last concert here in 2013 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. In an article entitled From Chopin to Ethiopia, and Partway Back Again, The Times added: “Since returning to Ethiopia in 1995, Mr. Yifrashewa has promoted awareness there of the standard classical repertory, while also writing new pieces that apply European techniques to Ethiopian musical and folkloric sources. His recital here, one of two American concerts mounted with support from the independent record label Unseen Worlds, was split between canonical works and original music.”

Girma ’s original compositions include Chewata, “meant to evoke an Ethiopian custom of making merry even at times of sadness,” as well as Sememen, “a surging work employing a traditional mode associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church,” Elilta, “named for the cheery ululation with which Ethiopians greet joyful occasions and filled with tingling trills that imitated that sound.”


IF You Go:
Girma Yifrashewa: Special Dinner and Performance at Ginny’s Supper Club
Sunday Nov 27, 2016
Show: 6:00 PM
$85
Ginny’s Supper Club
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY
Click here to buy tickets

Related:
Photos Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda, Maryland

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DC Fears Setback to Cultural Renaissance as Obama Era Comes to an End

President Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, purchased books at Politics and Prose in Washington. (Pool photo by Dennis Brack)

The New York Times

A Newly Vibrant Washington Fears That Trump Will Drain Its Culture

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama has burned off her date-night meals at Washington’s new generation of acclaimed restaurants by pedaling at SoulCycle. President Obama has shopped for Jonathan Franzen novels with his daughters at local independent bookstores. Obama administration staff members, their barhopping chronicled in the gossip pages, have hit the 14th Street hot spots hard.

Decades ago, Washington was broke and run by a mayor best known for smoking crack with a prostitute on a surveillance tape. Neighborhoods had not fully recovered from the 1968 riots, and an aging Georgetown elite still set the tone. The administrations of two Bushes and a Clinton in between hardly had an effect on the city.

But Mr. Obama’s arrival in 2009 coincided with an urban renaissance…And the Obama family — African-American, youthful, attractive and urbane — were archetypes of a modern city on the upswing. What the effect on Washington will be when Donald J. Trump moves into the White House is hard to predict. But many Washingtonians fear the worst. Among them is Vincent Gray, the city’s mayor during much of the Obama administration.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


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U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia-Italy Film “If Only I Were That Warrior” Released on DVD

The goal of the documentary includes addressing "revisionism, which is only possible because there is such great ignorance on the topic in Italy and even in Ethiopia," says Producer Isaak Liptzin. (Photo: Awen Films)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 14th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — “In 1935, Benito Mussolini wanted to make Italy great again, so he invaded Ethiopia,” The Daily Beast publication noted this summer. The new documentary film “If Only I Were That Warrior” — which chronicles the reactions of the international Ethiopian and Italian community regarding the recent building of a memorial for the Fascist General, Rodolfo Graziani (“The Butcher of Ethiopia”) in his hometown of Affile, Italy — has finally been released on DVD and is also now available for streaming online.

Per the film’s synopsis: “If Only I Were That Warrior is a feature documentary film focusing on the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935. Following the recent construction of a monument dedicated to Fascist general Rodolfo Graziani, the film addresses the unpunished war crimes he and others committed in the name of Mussolini’s imperial ambitions. The stories of three characters, filmed in present day Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia — a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people.”

While public funding for Graziani’s memorial was suspended by a new administration in Affile in 2013 the monument still remains standing.

Among the Ethiopian activists featured in the film include Dallas resident Kidane Alemayehu who was leading the anti-monument protest through his organization, the Global Alliance for Justice: The Ethiopian Cause. Kidane had also written a letter to Italy’s Foreign Minister regarding the objection against the building of the Graziani memorial.


Kidane Alemayehu, above right, and Mulu, bottom, are some of the Ethiopian activists featured in the documentary.(Images: Awen Films)


Anti-fascist Italian-American activist Nicola DeMarco (Images: Awen Films)


Screenshot from the documentary film ‘If Only I Were That Warrior.’ (Courtesy of Awen Films)


Still image from the documentary “If Only I Were That Warrior.” (Awen Films)


Photo courtesy of Awen Films

Filmed in Amharic, English and Italian and shot on three continents the documentary also captures conversations with citizens and leaders of Affile, as well as Italian Americans and testimonies from Ethiopian elders who witnessed Graziani’s horrific war crimes in addition to the Ethiopian Diaspora’s mobilization against the memorial.

The goal of the documentary includes addressing “examples of revisionism like the monument itself” says Producer Isaak Liptzin, “which is only possible because there is such great ignorance on the topic in Italy, abroad and to a certain extent even in Ethiopia.” In an interview with Tadias this past May Liptzin added: “So the goal is really to bring this back into everybody’s mind and into the public discourse, not in a militant way but in a way that explains how this amnesia came to be.”


Related:
Tadias Interview with the Director & Producer of “If Only I Were That Warrior”

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Looking Beyond Trump Era: This Woman Could Become 1st Female U.S. President

Senator-elect Kamala Harris of California. (AP Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This week, here in America, we may have stunned the world and embarrassed ourselves by electing Donald Trump as our next President over Hillary Clinton, who was arguably the most qualified presidential candidate in the history of the United States. But there were other more hopeful election night victories on Tuesday, November 8th including that of Senator-elect Kamala Harris of California who is already being touted by the media as “the next best hope for shattering that glass ceiling.”

“She’s drawn many comparisons to President Barack Obama, who famously ran for president during his first term in the Senate,” The Huffington Post points out in an article published today entitled Meet Kamala Harris, Who Could Become The First Woman President. “Her background and her polished yet personable approach to politics embody what many think the Democratic Party should aim to look like going forward. And even before her Senate win, her name was floated for roles including California Governor, Supreme Court Justice and Vice President.”

Tadias first met Kamala Harris in 2003 at an event in San Francisco organized by the New America Media (NAM), then called the New California Media (NCM), where Harris had just stopped by to personally pass out fliers and introduce herself as a candidate for District Attorney of San Francisco. We were excited to see her win that election. After serving as DA of San Francisco for two terms she became California’s Attorney General in 2010.

With her recent win we can’t be happier that Harris will be heading to Washington DC as one of two Senators representing the country’s most populous state during the looming Trump era beginning in January 2017.

Here are some things you should know about the woman who could very well challenge Trump in 2020.

Read more »


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UPDATE: Obama Meets Trump at the White House
Video: Hillary Wins Popular Vote but Loses Election, for Second Time.
U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Obama, Trump Meet at White House (Video)

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2016

Donald Trump entered the White House through the South Lawn entrance, avoiding news cameras and the eyes of the president’s staff.

About 45 minutes after Trump’s arrival, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was seen taking Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and other Trump aides, including Dan Scavino, across the edge of the Rose Garden.

Donald Trump Limits Traditional Press Access On First White House Visit (Huffington Post)

President-elect Donald Trump broke with tradition on Thursday by heading to Washington, D.C., without a “protective pool” of journalists to cover his movements for the larger press corps.

The White House Correspondents Association oversees a rotating pool system so that the president is always covered while traveling, especially in the event of historically significant or life-threatening moment.

Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton’s campaign had a fully protective pool, as opposed to recent major-party nominees. However, the Democrat’s system was close to the standard used in the White House. Trump didn’t fly with reporters, and sometimes didn’t notify them when he was leaving for events and even mocked them for being late.

Last month, WHCA President Jeff Mason urged both presidential campaigns to agree to have a “protective pool” during the transitional period between the election and inauguration. Not doing so, he wrote, would be a “serious breach of historical precedent.”

Trump’s team hasn’t responded to the letter, Mason told The Huffington Post.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.

Read more »


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Video: Hillary Wins Popular Vote but Loses Election, for Second Time.
Watch: Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech

U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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Hillary Concedes, Obama Promises Smooth Transition to Trump Admin (Video)

Hillary Clinton addressed her staff and supporters in New York after she conceded the presidential contest to Donald Trump on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 (Photo via VOA)

The New York Times

Highlights of Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech and President Obama’s Remarks

Hillary Clinton publicly conceded the election to Donald J. Trump on Wednesday, acknowledging the pain of the defeat in remarks in New York while calling on her supporters to accept that he would be president and give him a chance to lead with an open mind.

President Obama, speaking in Washington, also said that he would work to ensure a smooth transition to a Trump administration and that, despite their differences, we are “all rooting for his success.”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan proclaimed that Mr. Trump had achieved a political feat and earned a mandate by reaching new voters. Mr. Ryan said that he was certain that they would work well together on a conservative policy agenda.

Global markets swooned overnight but stabilized by midday on the East Coast. News of Mr. Trump’s election was met with a mix of shock, uncertainty and some congratulations around the world.

Clinton calls her loss ‘painful,’ but urges unity.

Read more »

___
Related:
U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, November 9, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS)

The Associated Press

Trump claims astounding victory as America’s 45th president

Updated: November 9th, 2016

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump claimed his place Wednesday as America’s 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House.

His triumph over Hillary Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark health care law, revoke America’s nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people” after a deeply divisive campaign.


Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump react as they watch the election results during Trump’s election night rally, in New York, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP photo)

He said he had spoken by phone with Clinton and they had exchanged congratulations on a hard-fought race. Trump, who spent much of the campaign urging his supporters on as they chanted “lock her up,” said the nation owed her “a major debt of gratitude” for her years of public service.

The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparking Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and taped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.

Trump will take office with Congress expected to be fully under Republican control. GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states and appeared poised to keep the majority. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.

Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a shift to the right that would last for decades.

Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults on his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S. He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, free-wheeling rallies to energize supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers this year.

His final campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, touted the team’s accomplishments as the final results rolled in, writing on Twitter that “rally crowds matter” and “we expanded the map.”

Clinton spent months warning voters that Trump was unfit and unqualified to be president. But the former senator and secretary of state struggled to articulate a clear rationale for her own candidacy.

The mood at Clinton’s party grew bleak as the night wore out, with some supporters leaving, others crying and hugging each other. Top campaign aides stopped returning calls and texts, as Clinton and her family hunkered down in a luxury hotel watching the returns.

At 2 a.m., Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the crowd to head home for the night. “We’re still counting votes and every vote should count,” he said. But she later conceded.

Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.

Exit polls underscored the fractures: Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old businessman from Richlands, Virginia, said Trump’s election was one of the happiest days of his life.

“This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in an area badly beaten by the collapse of the coal industry. “Things will change. I know he’s not going to be perfect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives people hope.”

Trump has pledged to usher in a series of sweeping changes to U.S. domestic and foreign policy: repealing Obama’s signature health care law, though he has been vague on what he could replace it with; building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and suspending immigration from countries with terrorism ties. He’s also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provocations.

The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right up to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump supporter, called the businessman earlier in the evening to congratulate him, according to a Ryan spokeswoman.

Democrats, as well as some Republicans, expected Trump’s unconventional candidacy would damage down-ballot races and even flip some reliably red states in the presidential race. But Trump held on to Republican territory, including in Georgia and Utah, where Clinton’s campaign confidently invested resources.

Clinton asked voters to keep the White House in her party’s hands for a third straight term. She cast herself as heir to President Obama’s legacy and pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his health care law.

But she struggled throughout the race with persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new emails from her tenure at the State Department. On Sunday, just two days before Election Day, Comey said there was nothing in the material to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

___
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Clinton Hoping to Crack ‘Glass Ceiling’

Hillary Clinton. (Photo: MSNBC)

VOA News

November 06, 2016

Hillary Clinton Hoping to Crack the Ultimate ‘Glass Ceiling’ of Female President

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton came agonizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination, garnering 18 million votes before losing to freshman Senator Barack Obama.

At her concession speech, Clinton cited her lifelong struggle to overcome barriers to women: “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it … and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”

This time, Clinton has secured the nomination and is hoping to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling and become president of the United States. But just days before the election, Clinton had failed to hold on to the respectable lead she once had in the polls.

National numbers released by ABC/Washington Post a week before the election put Clinton’s lead nationally at just 1 point — down from a 12-point lead the previous week. Other polls also showed a similar loss of advantage, bringing into question whether she will be able to shatter the glass ceiling she has aimed at for so long.

If she wins [on Tuesday], she will go from first lady to U.S. senator from New York, to U.S. secretary of state, to “Madam President.”

Watch Clinton leads nationally by four points: poll (MSNBC)

Opinion polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. She is one of the most famous people in the world. Those who know her personally say she is warm and has a great sense of humor in private. Yet, she is guarded about revealing too much of her personality in public.

Some perceive Clinton as untrustworthy; she has been investigated numerous times, most recently for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state in the Obama administration’s first term.

Cracks in the glass ceiling

Born in a middle-class Chicago suburb in 1947, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote of a happy childhood in her 2003 autobiography. The daughter of a staunch Republican father, she says she got into politics because of her Democratic mother.

Her own mother, Dorothy Rodham, however, had a very different childhood.


U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a campaign rally at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

As Clinton has recounted in campaign ads, “She was abandoned by her parents at the age of 8, sent from Chicago to [Los Angeles] to live with grandparents who did not want her. But people showed her kindness, gave her a chance. Like the teacher who saw my mother had no money for food and started bringing her extra from home, whispering, ‘You know, Dorothy, I just brought too much food today.’ ”

As a teenager, Clinton became a young Republican. She attended Wellesley College and grew more active in politics, delivering the women’s school’s commencement speech in 1969.

She went on to Yale Law School, where she completed her transformation from Republican to a progressive Democrat, and met her future husband, Bill Clinton, in the library. She and Bill Clinton married in 1975, and she followed him back to his home state of Arkansas, where he was elected governor in 1978.

‘Smarter’ than Bill

The Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was born in Arkansas. And it was there that political journalist Ron Fournier first covered the Clintons. He had plenty of access to both of them in Little Rock and, later, at the White House.

Fournier said he thinks Hillary Clinton is even smarter and funnier than former President Bill Clinton. If he could pick one to have a drink with, it would be Hillary Clinton.

“Bill Clinton’s very good about relating a joke, telling a joke, but she’s really good about being funny in the moment. Self-deprecating humor, that laugh that drives a lot of people crazy, I actually find personally very engaging because it is very authentic, earthy. It’s very contagious in person,” Fournier said.


Vice President Joe Biden, right, swears in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a ceremonial swearing-in at the State Department in Washington, accompanied by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea. (AP Photo)

Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman in the Clinton administration, told VOA that Hillary Clinton is smarter at understanding a problem and coming up with a solution than either her husband or President Barack Obama.

Weiner also said Clinton is aware she lacks something they both have: “She knows that she doesn’t have the charisma, and she does not have the charisma, but she’s got the smarts and the governing power, which is enormous.”

Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, joking that he offered “two presidents for the price of one.” Bucking traditional expectations, Hillary Clinton remained active politically as first lady, fighting hard but failing to push through universal health care coverage.

Sex scandals

In the White House, persistent stories of Bill Clinton’s infidelities caught up with him, and lying about the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal got him impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was acquitted by the Senate.

The months after the scandal were a painful time, close Clinton associate Weiner told VOA, but the marriage survived. The couple “try to deal with their marital failures privately, but they’ve gotten through them,” Weiner said. “That’s – I’ve been there, and I’ve seen them, and they love each other.”


In this July 14, 2016 photo Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va. Clinton chose Kaine to be her running mate. (AP Photo)

But the public humiliation took a toll on Hillary Clinton, according to Fournier: “She’s changed because a lot of the stuff that’s come her way. She built up a lot of scar tissue because of the attacks that have come her way. Some of them are totally unfair.”

Watch: Hillary Clinton Hopes to Make More History as Female President

Fighting back

Hillary Clinton fought her way back, forging her own separate political career. New Yorkers elected her to the U.S. Senate in 2000, and she was re-elected in 2006. In 2008, Obama chose her as secretary of state.

She subsequently visited 112 countries, highlighting women’s rights and the power of diplomacy, dubbed “soft power.”

Both of the president and Michelle Obama are strong supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. During her speech at the Democratic National Convention this past summer, first lady Michelle Obama praised Hillary Clinton’s record and character.

“And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs,” Michelle Obama said. “But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.”

Hillary Clinton may need that toughness, as she finds herself, along with her running mate Senator Tim Kaine, in the political fight of her life, running against celebrity businessman Donald Trump. Like Clinton, he is a world famous, but polarizing figure.

Polls show the two are locked in a tight race. Hillary Clinton’s life story suggests she will fight as hard as she can all the way to Election Day on November 8.


Related:
In Photos: Hillary Clinton through the years

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In Pictures: Exhibition Spotlights Girl Runners in Bekoji, Ethiopia

A multimedia exhibition called "Bekoji" was presented by VSCO New York on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In the highland town of Bekoji, Ethiopia — where some of the country’s best known long-distance athletes and Olympic medalists come from — running is also a matter of survival especially for young girls who face a high prevalence of school interruption due to expected labor to help their rural families make a livelihood. This was the subject of a multimedia experiential storytelling exhibition at VSCO’s New York space in Manhattan on Thursday evening that included a photo journal, movie screening and a panel discussion moderated by writer, runner, and coach Knox Robinson and featuring a Q&A session on Bekoji with Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation, the only charity operating in Ethiopia that provides academic and athletic scholarships for young women in the country.

Below are photos from the event:

In addition to the studio installation, which was curated by Robinson, a film by Joel Wolpert and a photography essay by Kent Andreasen was shown in large scale format “to consider the life of young women using the inspiration of world class running to escape the cycle of poverty in rural Ethiopia. The work explores running as a source of personal creativity for the young women; as a flashpoint for designing and realizing a self-empowered future — and as an avenue for reaffirming their human rights and redefining gender roles in the process.”


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

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2017 Design Week Addis Ababa Announces Open Call

(Photo: Design Week Addis/Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Since it was founded 130 years ago by Emperor Menelik II Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa has endured many trials and tribulations in the country’s turbulent history while the city itself has gone through its own transformations over time to become the “diplomatic capital of Africa” and host the headquarters of the African Union (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and several other international organizations.

Today Addis is also quickly becoming home to the highly acclaimed annual design event in East Africa: Design Week Addis Ababa (DWAA), which takes place each year in mid-January.

For their upcoming 2017 DWAA exhibition (January 14-21, 2017) organizers announced this week that they have launched “a one month Open Call for interested participants and programming partners” covering various fields including architecture, urban planning, industrial design, interiors, visual communication, food & gastronomy, art, multimedia, technology and fashion.

In September the London Design Festival presented Design Week Addis Ababa as a part of the British Council Arts’ Design Connections initiative. And last month two Ethiopia-inspired furniture by Jomo Design Furniture and Actuel Urban Living were selected as part of winning “design concepts” from Design Week Addis and featured at the 2016 international Dubai Design Week festival in October.


Design Week Addis featured during the 2016 international Dubai Design Week festival in October. (Courtesy photo)

“This multidisciplinary festival covers themes in alignment with UNESCO’s Creative Cities Initiative,” the media release said. “The Design Week Addis Ababa festival aims to further the creative industries in Ethiopia and foster the economic potential of designers, creators, and innovators by showcasing their projects and products directly to the end users and commercial partners.

Through the open call participants can propose an “exhibition, open gallery, studio, or workshop, product launch, pop-up shop or installation, competition, informative workshop, talk, or lecture, film screening, fashion show, concert or live performance, cooking demonstration, food/ beverage tasting, social event, or something totally different.”


You can learn more about the open call for the 2017 Design Week Addis Ababa at www.designweekaa.org

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Twitter Reacts Skeptically to Ethiopia Cabinet Reshuffle

Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is among those leaving their post. (Photo: Russell Watkins)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Twitter is reacting skeptically to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s announcement of a reshuffled cabinet in Ethiopia today, which apparently is designed to appease a growing and popular uprising calling for land and political reforms as well as an end to corruption at the highest levels of government. According to media reports “among top party officials leaving the government are Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Redman Hussein, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Getachew Reda, Minister of Government Communications.”

On social media people are already expressing their views:

“The question would remain to be can the new cabinet make a new #Ethiopia we want without having a parliament to represent us?,” Zone9 blogger BefeQadu Z. Hailu asked via Twitter.

Zone9 Blogger NYU Research Scholar Zelalem Kibret added: :Ethiopia’s ruling party will make its 4th major Cabinet reshuffle in six years time. That means one new cabinet for every one and half year.”

While BBC News Field Producer Hewete Haileselassie noted: “#Ethiopia cabinet – departure of @DrTedros was expected, as he is a candidate to head @WHO.’

“And #Ethiopia government needs to stop issuing regressive decrees and start negotiations with opposition if they want to avoid tragedies,” tweeted Herman J. Cohen, Former Ambassador, U.S. Asst. Secretary of State for African Affairs. Author, The Mind of the African Strongman.

Per VOA News “the appointees include a new minister of foreign affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, who replaces Tedros Adhanom, a former health minister who has been one of Ethiopia’s most recognizable public figures in recent years. Adhanom is currently a candidate vying to be the next World Health Organization’s chief. Communications Minister and government spokesman Getachew Reda was ousted and replaced by Negeri Lencho, the head of the journalism and communications college at Addis Ababa University.”


Related:
Ethiopia: 21 New Ministers Appointed Amid State of Emergency (VOA)
In Ethiopia, Cabinet Reshuffle Amid Tensions (All Africa)

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HRW: Legal Analysis of Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

A woman cries during a prayer and candle ceremony for those who died in the town of Bishoftu during Ireecha, Addis Ababa, October 9, 2016. (Photo: © REUTERS)

Human Rights Watch

OCTOBER 31, 2016

Ethiopia: State of Emergency Directive Codifies Vague, Overbroad Restrictions

An Ethiopian government directive under a state of emergency contains overly broad and vague provisions that risk triggering a human rights crisis, Human Rights Watch said today in a legal analysis. The government should promptly repeal or revise all elements of the directive that are contrary to international law.

On October 9, 2016, the government announced a six-month state of emergency following the destruction of some government buildings and private property by demonstrators. Over the past year, security forces have killed hundreds of protesters and detained tens of thousands in two regions where there have been numerous protests over government policies.

“Ethiopia’s state of emergency bans nearly all speech that the government disagrees with anywhere in the country for at least six months,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The state of emergency hands the army new sweeping powers to crack down on demonstrators, further limiting the space for peaceful dissent.”

Under the new state of emergency, the army can be deployed country-wide for at least six months. The implementing directive prescribes draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly that go far beyond what is permissible under international law and signal an increased militarized response to the situation. The directive effectively codifies many of the security forces’ abusive tactics that Human Rights Watch has documented since the protests began.

The directive includes far-reaching restrictions on sharing information on social media, watching diaspora television stations, and closing businesses as a gesture of protest, as well as curtailing opposition parties’ ability to communicate with the media. It specifically bans writing or sharing material via any platform that “could create misunderstanding between people or unrest.”

It bans all protests without government permission and permits arrest without court order in “a place assigned by the command post until the end of the state of emergency.” It also permits “rehabilitation” – a euphemism for short-term detention often involving physical punishment. Many of these restrictions are country-wide and not limited to the two of Ethiopia’s nine regions where most of the unrest took place.

Under international law, during a state of emergency a government may only suspend certain rights to the extent permitted by the “exigencies of the situation.” Many of the measures, including the restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and association go far beyond what is permitted under international law.

The government reports that since the state of emergency began, 1,600 people have been arrested, including about 50 for closing their businesses. Human Rights Watch also has received unconfirmed reports of unlawful killings, mass arrests, and looting of houses and businesses by the security forces. There have been some armed clashes between security forces and unidentified groups. Mobile phone access to the internet has been blocked since October 5. Addis Standard, a monthly English language magazine and one of the few independent publications left in Ethiopia, announced on October 25 that it was halting publication of its print edition due to state-of-emergency restrictions.

Large-scale, and mainly peaceful anti-government protests have been sweeping through Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, since November 2015, and the Amhara region since July 2016. Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the last year. These protests occurred in a context of the near-total closure of political space.

Protesters have voiced a variety of concerns, including issues related to development, the lack of political space, the brutality of the security forces, and domination of economic and political affairs by people affiliated with the ruling party. The emergency measures send a strong and chilling message that rather than dealing with expressed grievances and ensuring accountability for violence by both government forces and protesters, the government will continue and probably escalate the militarized response.

On October 2, in Bishoftu, a town 40 kilometers southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, tensions ignited at the annual Irreecha festival – an important Oromo cultural event that draws millions of people each year. Security forces confronted huge crowds with tear gas and fired shots and scores of people then died during a stampede. Since then, alleged demonstrators have damaged a number of government buildings and private businesses perceived to be close to the ruling party, setting some on fire.

The government has in part blamed human rights groups seeking to document violations of international law for the recent unrest. Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called for an independent and credible investigation into the security force response to the protests and to the deaths in Bishoftu.

“Many of the abuses committed by security forces since November 2015 have now been codified under the state of emergency,” Horne said. “Trying to use the legal cover of a state of emergency as a pretext for the widespread suspension of rights not only violates the government’s international legal obligations, but will exacerbate tensions and long-term grievances, and risks plunging Ethiopia into a greater crisis.”

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Related:
Legal Analysis of Ethiopia’s State of Emergency (HRW)

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Tadias in Conversation with Marcus Samuelsson & DC Book Signing Pictures

Marcus Samuelsson at a book signing event at SEI restaurant in Washington, D.C. hosted by Tadias Magazine on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — As part of the Tadias Salon Series Tadias Magazine hosted Marcus Samuelsson at SEI in DC on Wednesday, October 26th for a book signing and afterparty celebrating the release of his latest publication entitled The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

Below are photos from the event:

“When chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, he envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. Named after a historic neighborhood speakeasy, the modern Rooster reflects all of that, from the local art showcased on its walls, to the live music blaring from its performance spaces, to the cross-cultural food on its patrons’ plates and the evocative cocktails in their hands. THE RED ROOSTER COOKBOOK is as lush and layered as its inheritance. Traditions converge in these pages, with dishes like Brown Butter Biscuits, Chicken and Waffles, Jerk Bacon and Baked Beans, Latino Pork and Plantains, Chinese Steamed Bass and Fiery Noodles, Ethiopian Spice-Crusted Lamb, and Rum Cake. Lyrical essays and intimate interviews – including a foreword by New Yorker critic Hilton Als and conversations with unsung neighborhood heroes – convey the flavor of the place. Stunning archival and contemporary photos document Harlem’s past, present, and future.”


Related:
Marcus Samuelsson Releases “The Red Rooster Cookbook” with National Tour

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