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Markos Lemma, CEO of Iceaddis, Runs Ethiopia’s First Startup Incubator

Markos Lemma, Co-founder of iceaddis. (Photo by Abenezer Zenebe)

Tadias Magazine

By Feven Jembere

Published: Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Ethiopia (TADIAS) — A graduate of Australia’s RMIT University where he studied computer science, Markos Lemma, who is the co-founder of iceaddis — Ethiopia’s First Startup Incubator — is one of the leading tech entrepreneurs in Addis Ababa participating in the recent growth of smartphone and internet users as well as technology oriented startups in Ethiopia.

Markos describes himself as “a cofounder, slash-consultant, slash blogger, slash speaker,” attesting to being part of what the renown actor Idris Elba calls the “slash culture.”

Since its inception in 2013, iceaddis has incubated 19 local startups, including Karta, Mekina, 50Lomi and Besew, and has gained high traction in Ethiopia housing 15 entrepreneurs working on startups and winning international competitions in Kenya, Rwanda, Germany, Finland and Switzerland.

Markos shares that he launched his venture so that he can assist young people like himself with dreams of building a tech-related business in Ethiopia. “The driving force of innovation is the country’s educated youth,” Markos says, noting that there was few if any such support for youth of like-minded passion. He adds that he wanted to create a “home for grass-root innovation and to be a one-stop shop for tech startups to get open-space, support and networking opportunities to start their own venture and grow.”

There are many challenges to running a successful tech incubator and startup in Ethiopia including the dearth of financial support and reliable internet connection.

“It isn’t, per se, hi-tech that I was always interested in, but the possibility of developing technological tools which assist us to solve our daily challenges,” Markos says, emphasizing that there are many high potential startups in the pipeline that “will improve our lives, once they get into the market.” He names Stavimer, Flowius and Hulubet as a few examples.

As part of the icehubs network in the Middle East and Africa, iceaddis has received international media coverage including features on BBC, Disrupt Africa and VC4Africa.

Iceaddis. (Courtesy photo)

In addition, Iceaddis has a community of 5000+ individuals with different levels of membership, and organizes various events such as hackathons and pitching competitions throughout the year in collaboration with international organizations.

“Most people get their ideas from events not trainings, and they also have opportunities to find someone who will assist them on the ideas they seek to realize,” Markos says. “These events also help build an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth, enabling them to learn what’s happening and to cope with challenges while developing a harmonized direction.”

Markos partly attributes iceaddis’ success to his organization’s management style of “non-hierarchical and open environment” as well as their focus on “extreme collaborative methods.” He argues that “personal drive and the ability to build strong relationships” are key to his endeavors. Markos, who had previously co-founded various other startups such as SelamCompany — a venture working on primary education and literacy — says his company is expanding to launch events across Ethiopia in Jimma, Mekelle and Jijiga.

“There is something rewarding about being a pioneer and betting on the youth in a big country like Ethiopia,” Markos enthuses.

About the Author:
Feven Jembere is a recent high school graduate from ICS Addis now attending the University of Chicago. She is interested in topics related to entrepreneurship, health sciences, music and anthropology. “I enjoy playing soccer and reading books,” Feven shares. “Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson and Blindness by Jose Sarajevo are some of my favorite books.” (Feven Jembere’s profile photo by Danel Kidane)

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Ethiopians Celebrate Meskel Festival

A church choir performs during the Meskel Festival at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, September 26, 2016. (Photo REUTERS)


ADDIS ABABA — Orthodox priests lit a bonfire in the heart of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday evening to mark the eve of Meskel, a festival to mark the finding of the cross of Jesus.

Tens of thousands of people, many holding up candles in the failing light as the sun set, crowded on terraces around the square where the ceremony was led by the head of Ethiopia’s Christian Orthodox church, Patriarch Abune Mathias.

Dressed in his golden ceremonial robes, the patriarch delivered blessings to mark what the church believes was the discovery in the fourth century of the cross of Jesus by Queen Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

According to tradition, in 326 AD, Helena had prayed for guidance to find the cross on which Jesus was crucified and was directed by smoke from a burning fire to the location. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians believe she lit torches to celebrate.

The celebration, in which hundreds or orthodox priests and deacons take part dressed in white robes, starts in the afternoon and ends after sunset, bringing the capital to a halt around its biggest square, which is called Meskel, the word for cross in the liturgical Ge’ez language.

Meskel festival at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, September 26, 2016. (Photo REUTERS

Ethiopian Orthodox Priest holds a cross during the Meskel Festival at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, September 26, 2016. (Photo REUTERS)

The celebration has taken place in Addis Ababa since the city was founded more than 100 years ago.

Read more and see photos at Reuters.com »

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As Hillary Cheers, Donald Trump Digs in After Debate

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with members of the media on board her campaign plane at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: Sep. 27, 2016

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A defensive Donald Trump gave Hillary Clinton plenty of fresh material for the next phase of her presidential campaign on Tuesday, choosing to publicly reopen and relitigate some her most damaging attacks.

The day after his first general election debate, Trump blamed the moderator, a bad microphone and anyone but himself for his performance. Next time, he threatened, he might get more personal and make a bigger political issue of former President Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities.

Things are already getting plenty personal. On Monday night, Trump brushed off Clinton’s debate claim that he’d once shamed a former Miss Universe winner for her weight. But then he dug deeper the next day — extending the controversy over what was one of his most negative debate night moments.

“She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem. We had a real problem,” Trump told “Fox and Friends” about Alicia Machado, the 1996 winner of the pageant he once owned.

The comments were reminiscent of previous times when Trump has attacked private citizens in deeply personal terms. Earlier this month, he was interrupted by the pastor of a traditionally African-American church in Flint, Michigan, after breaking his agreement not to be political in his remarks. Though Trump abided by her wishes, he went after her the next morning on TV saying she was “a nervous mess” and that he thought “something was up.”

In July, Trump assailed the parents of Humayun Khan, a Muslim U.S. solider who was killed in Iraq in 2004, after the young man’s father spoke out against the Republican at the Democratic National Convention.

Trump’s latest comments about Machado were striking in that they came just as he was working to broaden his appeal among minority voters and women — key demographic groups he’s struggling to win.

Clinton aides on Tuesday that they’d laid a trap for Trump.

“He seemed unable to handle that big stage,” said Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. “By the end, with kind of snorting and the water gulping and leaning on the lectern that he just seemed really out of gas.”

Clinton interrupted a discussion of foreign policy in the final moments of the debate to remind viewers that Trump had called Machado “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” A video featuring Machado, a Clinton supporter, was released less than two hours after the debate finished.

Read more »

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The first presidential debate of this election season between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled to take place at Hofstra University in New York on Monday night, with approximately 100 million viewers expected to be watching.

“For Clinton, a veteran debater, one of her biggest challenges will be both to provoke Trump and avoid being provoked by him, while delivering an earnest and candid performance. And for Trump, who had uneven and at times explosive debate performances during the Republican primary, his first one-on-one debate presents a serious test of his ability to stay on script and keep his cool” CNN notes.

The high-stakes face-off between the two candidates could set the tone for the rest of the election season, according to Matthew Dallek of George Washington University who points out that “the first of the three debates, traditionally the most watched, comes at a potentially game-changing moment.” Dallek told VOA news that “right now the election is closer than a lot of people anticipated, and so it matters a great deal for both of them.”

George Mason University Associate Professor of Government Jeremy Mayer notes: “In a normal year, the debates are one of the only ways to move the needles after the conventions. They are the moment where more people tune in and watch. What a debate can do is give a candidate a second chance to make a different impression or cement a negative impression.”

Per NBC: The Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate on Monday night won’t just be an argument over different policy visions. It will also be a contest about whether policy details are important at all. It will feature one super-wonky candidate who sounds like she could run the Federal Reserve and her opponent, who often speaks like a pundit analyzing the campaign instead of a man who could soon lead the world’s most influential nation.”

Watch: Clinton and Trump: Countdown to First One-On-One Showdown

5 things to watch at Monday night’s Clinton-Trump debate

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Meet Begena Palyer Temesgen Hussein

Temesgen Hussein of East Lansing, Michigan with his begena. (Photo: MICHIGAN RADIO)

Michigan Radio WUOM FM

As part of our Songs from Studio East series we’re exploring music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the globe.

Today we meet Temesgen Hussein of East Lansing. He was born and raised in Ethiopia. And he’s one of just a few outside that country who plays the begena.

It’s used mainly in religious festivities almost exclusively, but Temesgen is breaking with tradition and introducing the begena to contemporary music.

The buzzing sound is what makes this harp unique. Not only does the begena sound different, it looks really different.

Read more at Michiganradio.org »

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Reflecting on Ethiopia at Photoville 2016 Exhibition in Brooklyn

(Photos: Axum by Hilina Abebe and Harrar by Eyerusalem Adugna)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — There is much to reflect on Ethiopia at the moment, and a collection of thought-provoking images from Addis Ababa to Gambella, Lalibela and Harar captured by a new generation of Ethiopian photographers will be on display at the 2016 Photoville exhibition in Brooklyn this week (from September 21st to 25th).

Photoville and United Photo Industries have announced that the participating artists from Ethiopia include Eyerusalem Adugna, whose collection of portraits taken in Lalibela entitled Faithfully celebrates Ethiopia’s ancient city, as well as Addis Ababa-based self-taught photographer Hilina Abebe’s Humans-in-exile exhibit features camps in Gambella, Western Ethiopia populated by South Sudanese refugees. In addition, photos from Addis by Instagrammer and Getty Images grant winner Girma Berta are featured under the Getty Images Instagram Grant section.

‘Faithfully’ taken in Lalibela by Eyerusalem Adugna

“I took these pictures in one of the biggest markets in the city of Lalibela,” says Eyerusalem Adugna. “As a fashion designer and photographer, I found people that visually caught my attention.” She adds: “I wanted to show colorful and stylish people in different ages. Basically, I was looking for fashion inspiration in the area, because people wear their best clothes when they go to the market.”

Photoville notes that “Eyerusalem Adugna was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She pursued her high school education in Ethio-Parents’ School and continued studying C.A.D.D in the States. Eyerusalem is currently a fashion designer. She realized her interest in photography during the past three years and has been working on building her knowledge since then. Eyerusalem enjoys photography because she wants to document history and use it as a form of artistic communication and expression. She has participated in photo exhibitions and competitions and also works as a freelance photographer.”

‘Humans-in-exile’ taken at a refugee camp in Gambella by Hilina Abebe

With “a background in journalism and communications, and a keen interest in society,” photographer Hilina Abebe “hopes to combine the two with photography to spark people’s interests. Hilina is inspired by the infinite potential of visual art and creativity. She strives to use the camera to tell stories that have social significance.”

“When war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the unknown in neighboring countries,” Hilina Abebe says. “By April 2016, more than 280,000 people had taken shelter in refugee camps in Western Ethiopia. The majority are women and children.” Hilina recalls: “As I walked through one of the refugee camps in Gambella, the thing that struck me the most was how normal life seemed for everyone, how they carried themselves despite their status as “refugees” and their uncertain future. This work seeks to show the everyday life of those in exile — not as boxed-in refugees in a camp, but as human beings who thrive to live.”

Below are more photos by Hilina Abebe & Eyerusalem Adugna:

(Photos: Harrar by Eyerusalem Adugna)

Ankober town by Hilina Abebe

You can learn more about the exhibition at www.photoville.com

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Ethiopia: Girma Berta Instagrammer & Artist Wins Getty Images Grant

Kerra Streets in Addis. (Photo by instagrammer Girma Berta)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Girma Berta, an instagrammer and artist from Ethiopia, has won a $10,000 Getty Images Instagram Grant.

Getty Images in collaboration with Instagram announced today that “the $10,000 grant, expanded to include videographers and visual artists telling local stories, is given to photographers using Instagram to document stories from underrepresented communities around the world.”

“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.

Moving shadows. (Photo by Girma Berta)

In addition to Girma Berta this year’s winners include Christian Rodriguez of Uruguay and Ronny Sen from India who “tell a range of diverse stories.”

“Every day, people around the globe capture and share poignant moments on Instagram, inspiring others to see things in a new way,” said Amanda Kelso, Director of Community at Instagram, in a statement. “We are honored to highlight the visual work of this year’s winners, who each offer a striking glimpse into rarely seen worlds.”

You can view more photos by Girma Berta on Instagram @gboxcreative.

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Wayna Performs at Rockwood Music Hall

Wayna. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, September 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Wayna returns back to NYC this coming weekend to perform at the Rockwood Music Hall for a special live showcase of “An Acoustic Gold Evening” presented by NYCROPHONE.

The Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter takes the stage on Saturday, September 24th along with musicians Nicholas Zorka and Sho Ishikura.

(Courtesy of Rockwood Music Hall)

“Wayna has performed across the US and abroad – including shows at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Essence Fest, the White House, the Blue Note and Blues Alley,” the media release points out. “In 2015, she joined the iconic Stevie Wonder as a supporting vocalist and soloist in his live band, touring extensively with the Songs In the Key of Life Tour and in various performances throughout the US and Canada.”

(Photo: Instagram/waynamusic)

“2016 kicked off with a 3-month performance residency in her native Ethiopia, where she performed at the newly-built Marriot Executive Apartments in Addis Ababa with an all-star band,” the announcement adds. In the year ahead, she will continue to tour with Stevie Wonder, while writing and recording new music.”

If You Go:
Wayna at Rockwood Music Hall
Saturday, September 24th
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
185 Orchard St.
New York, NY, 10002
Click here to buy Tickets

Girma Beyene Brings Golden Age of Ethiopian Music to City University of NY
Mahmoud Ahmed First Artist from Ethiopia to Perform at Carnegie Hall

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Here is Why White House Must Continue to Speak Out on Ethiopia Crisis

Feyisa Lilesa in Washington, D.C. last week. (Photo: Reuters)


A life of discrimination and fear led an Ethiopian marathoner to protest on the world stage

At night, Feyisa Lilesa and his friends hid in the farms to evade the security forces who were arresting people across the country. As a 15-year-old growing up in Oromia region, Lilesa says he was always aware that many of his fellow citizens didn’t approve of the government’s treatment.

But the moment of awakening for him came in the days and weeks following the landmark May 2005 elections. Championed by the government as a genuine exercise in competitive elections, the vote involved multiple parties, not to mention the significantly enlarged space for political campaigning.

However, when the early outcome of the vote showed a huge lead from opposition groups, the government delayed finalizing the count and responded to protests with a heavy-handed approach. An independent study of the post-election violence by an Ethiopian judge showed the shooting, beating and strangling of almost 200 people, including 40 teenagers. The government also arbitrarily arrested protesters, with police records showing the detention of 20,000 people during the anti-government protests.

When Oromo citizens started demanding justice and demonstrating in Lilesa’s hometown in Jeldu district, the police came to arrest them en masse. Lilesa said that during the day they could be careful about their movements, but at night, under the cloak of the dark, they would go hiding among the unharvested crops.
“This all made an impression on me,” Lilesa told Quartz. “I realized no one was safe.”

On Aug. 21, on the last day of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Lilesa took the memory of those frightful teenage days on to the world stage. Inching closer towards the finish line, with his silver-medal win guaranteed and millions of people watching the televised 26.2 mile-race, Lilesa raised his arms and crossed them in an X, a gesture of solidarity with his people’s protest against Ethiopia’s government.

Feyisa Lilesa makes the crossed fists sign as he finishes in second place at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug. 21, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Read more »

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses
Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

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Becoming a U.S. Citizen During Constitution Week

The following OP-ED by the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) honors the anniversary of the signing of the American Constitution on September 17th, 1787. (Photo: NAM)

New America Media

The U.S. Constitution: it’s a legalistic document that takes about a half-hour to read. Yet it changed the course of history, by encoding the basic principles and values that have managed to sustain our nation as a beacon burning bright for the world for more than two centuries.

Which is why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes special pride in naturalizing new citizens – good people drawn by that beacon — during Constitution Week. These ceremonies are an appreciation of the historic connection to the roughly 4,500 words that these brand-new Americans just swore an oath to support and defend.

That includes the 14th Amendment which made it possible for them to even become Americans. The same sentence that granted citizenship to former slaves also answered a larger question of who is a citizen: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. … ”

During Constitution Week, USCIS honors two events: the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day” that we now call “Citizenship Day.”

At naturalization ceremonies across the country, new Americans will be reminded about the significance of our nation’s Constitution as they celebrate achieving their dreams of becoming United States citizens. Once they recite the Oath of Allegiance, they, too, will enjoy the rights and freedoms we share because of the strides our founders took to secure the “Blessings of Liberty” for all Americans. Our new fellow citizens will now become part of the journey as we continue to create a more perfect Union.

As we honor the importance of citizenship, we also celebrate the ideals enshrined in the Constitution. Those fundamental and enduring principles are as relevant today as they were more than 200 years ago, and have served to guide our nation as it has grown, prospered, and become a beacon of hope and opportunity for millions of people around the world.

Immigrants in the United States have always had a profound impact on our country and the world. They strengthen the fabric of our nation with their contributions to American society and prosperity.

Generations of immigrants have come to this country seeking a place where democracy is not just an ideal, but a reality; where opportunities are available for everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion or country of origin.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is a very important and deeply personal milestone in an immigrant’s life. Individuals must demonstrate a commitment to the unifying principles that bind us as Americans and, in return, will enjoy many of the rights and privileges that are fundamental to U.S. citizenship.

To help in that journey, we have launched new tools on our website, uscis.gov, to help our customers. Emma, our interactive virtual assistant, is ready to answer questions in English and Spanish. She will help customers navigate our website to ensure they find the information they need.

Our Citizenship Resource Center is a free, easy-to-use portal that helps users understand the naturalization process and gain the necessary skills to be successful during the naturalization interview and test. Learners, teachers and organizations can find information geared specifically to them, and the portal also provides information in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

I’m also excited to share the civics practice test videos we have put on our YouTube channel to help customers better prepare for their naturalization test.

Each year we naturalize noncitizens who chose to defend their adopted country by joining the U.S. military. Noncitizen members of the U.S. armed forces and their families can find resources at www.uscis.gov/military.

We are a country built on immigration and by immigrants, as famously noted in Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus” at the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” As the director of USCIS, there is no greater honor than administering the Oath of Allegiance to new U.S. citizens. This week, let us remember and celebrate the importance of citizenship and the Constitution, which promotes “the general Welfare” and “Blessings of Liberty” to America and all of her people.

For free educational tools and information about citizenship preparation, please visit uscis.gov/citizenship.

Watch: This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

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Marian Goodman Gallery Presents Ethiopian American Painter Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu in her New York studio, with works included in her solo show at Marian Goodman Gallery September 22 - October 29, 2016. (Photo by Landon Nordeman via Cultured Mag)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 16th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In a recent interview with Cultured Magazine Julie Mehretu said that “Art’s job is to complicate as much as possible. That’s what we want art for; that’s what we want poetry for -— to be full of contradictions, or to expose contradictions. That’s where radical possibility exists. Imagining other possibilities is how things change.”

Mehretu’s upcoming solo exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery in NYC (September 22 – October 29, 2016) entitled Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae does exactly that: helps us imagine change, contradictions and complicated other possibilities.

“A series of new paintings will be on view, accompanied in the Third Floor Project space by a new series of drawings, and a large-scale editioned etching, Epigraph, Damascus, 2016,” the press release stated. In addition, “a monograph focusing on Julie Mehretu’s recent work, from 2012 to the present, will be published by Marian Goodman Gallery in the Fall 2016. It will feature a new essay by Glenn Ligon.”

Describing the new paintings that were developed this year the gallery noted how “bold and spirited mark-making merges with an ardent gestural cadence to introduce works at once epic and intimate. Steeped with references from classical mythology and Egyptology, to graffiti, abstraction, poetry and politics, Mehretu’s new paintings capture a gestural force unseen in her work before. Oscillating in viewpoint through their multiple layers of both valiant and minute marks, these paintings insinuate something of a survey of the annals and multiplicities of history, across both politics and art.”

Julie Mehretu. (Photo: By Teju Cole)

Julie Mehretu was born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and raised in Michigan, USA. In 1997 she obtained an MFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, and won the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2005. Her paintings are part of the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) permanent collection.

She has received international recognition for her work, including, in 2005, the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the prestigious MacArthur Fellows Award. Mehretu is currently working on large-scale painting for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), and recently exhibited her artwork in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in August 2016.

If You Go:
Marian Goodman Gallery presents solo exhibition by Julie Mehretu
Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae
September 22 – October 29, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, September 22nd, 6-8 pm
24 W 57th St #4, New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 977-7160

Insisting on Opacity: Julie Mehretu (Cultured Mag)

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Imperial Exile: New Book Shines Light on Haile Selassie’s Refugee Years

New book, Imperial Exile, chronicles the refugee years of former Emperor Haile Selassie in Bath, England during the Second World War. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Here comes a captivating publication shining a spotlight on the previously unexplored period of the public life of Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie during his years as a refugee in Bath, England from 1936 to 1940. The book entitled Imperial Exile by Keith Bowers, a former executive producer for the BBC, will be released in the U.S. this month by Tsehai Publishers. “With the plight of refugees constantly in the news” this profile “is as timely as it is intriguing,” states the press release.

“Emperor Haile Selassie was forced to flee Ethiopia to escape the invading armies of the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini,” Tsehai Publishers notes. “Imperial Exile reveals the full depth of the debilitating struggles that all exiles face. It tells the story of how the emperor is nearly crushed by a myriad of financial, political and personal pressures before a sudden twist of good fortune intervenes. The book is packed with beguiling eyewitness anecdotes, supported by a range of rare and fascinating photographs of both Britain and Ethiopia.”

In his endorsement of the book historian Richard Pankhurst states: “The important period of the Emperor’s exile in Bath has not received much attention. This thoroughly researched book fills the gap.” Scholar Ian Campbell, author of The Plot to Kill Graziani, adds: “it is a must-read for anyone interested in the modern history of Ethiopia.” And British political commentator and writer Jonathan Dimbleby argues that the book “adds substantially to the story of this important and fascinating world figure.”

A book release is scheduled in Washington D.C. on September 22nd at the Library of Congress hosted by Tsehai Publishers with author Keith Bowers in attendance.

On his website Bowers shares: “I love both Bath and Ethiopia, places which are at the heart of Imperial Exile. I have lived in Bath since 2013 and enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the city on my bike as well as the exquisite surrounding countryside. My first trip to Ethiopia was in 2001 and I was instantly entranced by the country’s history, culture, music and cuisine. Before that I worked for the BBC for 20 years and started the Correspondent international TV programme.”

If You Go:
Book release events for Imperial Exile

Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 (12 noon-1pm)
Venue: The African & Middle Eastern Reading Room at the Library of Congress
Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

Date: Saturday, September 24th (3:00pm)
Venue: The Arta Ale restaurant
Address: 2310 Price Avenue
Silver Spring, MD

You can learn more and purchase the book at tsehaipublishers.com.

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

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Catch LA’s Azla Ethiopian on Food Network

FIlming of Azla Mekonen and her daughter Nesanet Teshager Abegaze at Azla Vegan in Los Angeles for an episode on the Food Network. (Photo by Evan Drolet Cook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — 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 first featured in 2013 in an interview with owner Nesanet Teshager Abegaze as it first opened. This week, Azla Vegan will be featured on the Food Network‘s television episode of “Cosmopolitan Comfort: Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.”

Azla Mekonen and her daughter Nesanet Teshager Abegaze with Guy Fieri of Food Network at their family owned business Azla Vegan in Los Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

According to the Food Network the segment on Azla Vegan will air on Friday, September 16th and Saturday September 17th hosted by the show’s star Guy Fieri.

Food by Azla Vegan. (Photo by Kayla Reefer)

“This trip, Guy Fieri’s grabbing all kinds of cosmopolitan comfort food,” the Food Network announced. “In Los Angeles, a mother-daughter team dishing out authentic Ethiopian specialties.”

“In the summer of 2013, head chef Azla joined forces with her youngest daughter, Nesanet to open the first Ethiopian restaurant in South Los Angeles,” shares the restaurant’s website. “Azla’s culinary expertise and commitment to traditional wisdom is complemented by Nesanet’s extensive studies and work in the education, wellness, and marketing industries. Nesanet’s training in Biological Sciences at Stanford University and UCLA, her studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and yoga instructor certification greatly inform ingredient choices and food preparation techniques at Azla. In addition to serving delicious, nutrient dense food, the Azla team is committed to building community through arts and cultural programming, all while providing space for a return to the ceremonious nature of breaking bread with friends and family.”

You can learn more about the show at www.foodnetwork.com and Azla Vegan at www.azlavegan.com. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Soundcloud handles are @azlavegan.

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Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia

Rio Olympic marathon silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia makes remarks in D.C., Sept. 13, 2016. (VOA)

VOA News

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian silver medalist in the marathon at last month’s Rio Olympics, was in Washington this week, calling on the U.S. Congress to take action in solidarity with Ethiopians protesting their government.

“I know that Americans are peace-loving people. My people are also peace-loving people, but they have been denied peace for a very long time,” he said in his native Afaan Oromoo at a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “People are calling for the freedom, democracy that you have here. We want the same things, and I call on the U.S. government to urge the Ethiopian government to make sure that democracy prevails in Ethiopia.”

Lilesa gained worldwide attention when he crossed his wrists as a sign of protest as he approached the finish line during the Rio men’s marathon. He is Oromo and made the gesture in solidarity with Oromo protests that have occurred in Ethiopia since last November over issues including land rights and fair representation in the government.

U.S. Representatives Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican; Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat; and Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, presented House Resolution 861, “Supporting Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia,” during the news conference. The resolution calls on the government of Ethiopia to end the use of excessive force by security forces and investigate the killings and disturbances during protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. It also urges the government to hold security forces accountable for wrongdoing through public proceedings.

Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia arrives at a news conference in Washington, DC, September 13, 2016. (Reuters)

Smith said he met with Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, in New York to discuss human rights issues in Ethiopia.

“He’s called for a major fact-finding effort where we could get to the bottom of people who are being killed, tortured, slaughtered in the streets, and then to hold the perpetrators of these crimes to account,” the lawmaker said.

Eleven civil society organizations have signed the resolution.

“It’s an effort to say to Ethiopia, ‘Yes, you’ve been friends and allies in the war on terror. You’ve got some very good things with regards to Somalia, but you are mistreating your own people and it’s time we spoke out,’ ” Smith said.

Since Lilesa made his gesture, other athletes have followed suit. Ebisa Ejigu crossed his arms in the Quebec City Marathon in Canada, and Tamiru Demisse, an Ethiopian paralympic runner, did the same as he won his silver medal in the men’s 1,500 meters for the visually impaired at the Paralympics in Rio.

Lilesa, in the U.S. on a temporary visa, said he was figuring out his future but was not seeking asylum in the U.S.

Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa

Feyisa Lilesa said of his Olympic gesture: ‘It’s almost as if I opened the shutters and now people can know, people can hear.’ (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

September 13th, 2016

Marathoner Feyisa Lilesa packed his bags and left his wife and two children last month, with plans to post a blazing fast time at the Summer Olympics, earn a spot on the medal podium, bring attention to the plight of his people — and most likely never be able to return home.

“It was very hard to say good-bye,” said the Ethiopian long-distance runner, “but I also knew that it’s not harder than what people are going through in my country.”

Lilesa indeed won silver at the Rio de Janeiro Games and made international headlines when he approached the finish line with his wrists crossed, flashing an “X” symbol that the world soon learned was a bold protest against the treatment of his people by Ethiopian government. He has lived in limbo since, convinced that if he returned to Ethiopia he would be imprisoned or possibly killed.

After nearly three weeks of uncertainty, living covertly in a Rio hotel room, the 26-year-old finally left Brazil and arrived in Washington last week, a temporary stop en route to a new life, one in which he’s indefinitely separated from his family, constantly worried for their safety and thrust onto a global stage as a visible lightning rod for political dissent back in his native country.

“I think what I did is good so far because the government has shut off the people’s voices and no one knows about the fight,” Lilesa said Monday in an interview with The Washington Post through an interpreter. “It’s almost as if I opened the shutters and now people can know, people can hear.”

Read more at The Washington Post »

VOA Interview: Feyisa Lilesa Says Olympic Protest Was Planned
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’
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
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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Girma Beyene Brings Golden Age of Ethiopian Music to City University of NY

Girma Beyene, Ethiopian vocalist, composer and pianist with Akale Wube band in Paris (photo: Ceints de Bakélite/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 12th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Next month Girma Beyene — who is among the few remaining artists of Ethiopia’s legendary musical renaissance of Swinging Addis — will perform live at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.

Girma’s concert is part of CUNY’s “A Global Music Series” and will take place on October 24th accompanied by Feedel Band.

“Girma Beyene is one of the most influential Ethiopian musicians from the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1960′s and 1970′s, which combined African rhythms with American R&B, soul, funk, and big band jazz,” states the announcement from CUNY. “Beyene made a handful of recordings as a vocalist, but it was as an arranger, pianist, and composer that he made his mark.

His best known hit song Enken Yelelebish/Ene Negne By Manesh, which has been redone many times by subsequent generations of artists, including Jano Band in 2013, tops Girma Beyene’s classics that have been preserved in the Éthiopiques CD collection.

(Girma Beyene performs with European band Akale Wube in Paris last year)

If You Go:
CUNY Presents Girma Beyene
October 24, 2016: 7:00 PM
The Graduate Center/CUNY
Elebash Recital Hall
365 Fifth Ave. (at 34th St.)
New York, NY 10016
ADMISSION: $25, $20 Members (free to CUNY)
Click here to get Tickets

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

Mahmoud Ahmed First Artist from Ethiopia to Perform at Carnegie Hall

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Ethiopia: New Year Sentiments

Description: Meskel flowers by Las Vegas-based artist Abraham Abebe. (Photo credit: Blue Nile Art )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 10th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In the new Ethiopian year we share our wish for peace, stability, freedom, progress and love for all our brothers and sisters. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and hope the brightness of Ethiopia’s stunning landscape covered in Meskel flowers in this season uplifts spirits and reunites hearts and minds!

17 Artists Cancel New Year Concerts Due to Protests
Unrest mars Ethiopia’s New Year, Eid parties

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Ethiopia-Inspired Furniture at Upcoming International Dubai Design Week

Hamere Demissie's Actuel Urban Living (top) and Jomo Tariku's Jomo Design Furniture. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia-inspired furniture by U.S.-based Jomo Tariku, Founder of Jomo Design Furniture and Hamere Demissie of Actuel Urban Living will be featured at this year’s international Dubai Design Week festival in October.

According to the festival press release Jomo and Hamere’s works were selected as part of “design concepts from five international design weeks from across the globe, including Design Week Addis,” which brings to the event “the modern-inspired minimalist spirit of traditional Ethiopian design made locally by skilled artisans.”

Hamere Demissie’s Actuel Urban Living “will be previewing 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,” states the press release from Dubai Design Week.

Makeda armchair. Made of solid wood frame upholstered with the greatest care. (Photo: Actuel Urban Living)

The Founder of Design Week Addis Ababa, Metasebia Yoseph, adds: “As a newly created design week, we are looking forward to the exposure of being a part of Destination and joining the global conversation on design. The emerging design scene in Ethiopia is groundbreaking, and Dubai Design Week is the perfect platform to showcase the unique work coming out of the region to a design savvy global audience.”

Jomo’s products — which were highlighted in the Thames & Hudson publication entitled Contemporary Design Africa that was released in June 2015 — celebrate the traditional aesthetic of Ethiopian household items with modern design and artistic sensibilities. Jomo, who lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area, says his designs are available for licensing and could be manufactured for any potential large orders, adding that “the furniture pieces will look great inside one of the many lodges and hotels found all over Africa as well as any residences that want to have unique spaces.”

Ethiopian furniture by Jomo Design featured in the book “Contemporary Design Africa.” (Courtesy photo)

Dubai Design Week is scheduled to take place October 24th-29th, 2016. You can learn more about the festival at www.dubaidesignweek.ae.

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Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia

(Photo credit: Civicus.org)


Geneva, 8 September 2016

To Permanent Representatives of
Members and Observer States of the
UN Human Rights Council

RE: Addressing the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

The undersigned civil society organisations write to draw your attention to grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia, including the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to convene for its 33rd session between 13 – 30 September 2016, we urge your delegation to prioritise and address through joint and individual statements the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

An escalating human rights crisis in Oromia and Amhara Regions

The situation in Ethiopia has become increasingly unstable since security forces repeatedly fired upon protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions in August 2016. On 6 and 7 August alone, Amnesty International reported at least 100 killings and scores of arrests during protests that took place across multiple towns in both regions. Protesters had taken to the streets throughout the Amhara and Oromia regions to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability.

Protests in the Amhara region began peacefully in Gondar a month ago and spread to other towns in the region. A protest in Bahir Dar, the region’s capital, on 7 August turned violent when security forces shot and killed at least 30 people. Recently, on 30 August, stay-at-home strikers took to the streets of Bahir Dar again and were violently dispersed by security forces. According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE), in the week of 29 August alone, security forces killed more than 70 protesters and injured many more in cities and towns across Northern Amhara region.

Since November 2015, Ethiopian security forces have routinely used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to disperse and suppress the largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region. The protesters, who originally advocated against the dispossession of land without adequate compensation under the government’s Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan, have been subjected to widespread rights violations. According to international and national human rights groups, at least 500 demonstrators have been killed and hundreds have suffered bullet wounds and beatings by police and military during the protests.

Authorities have also arbitrarily arrested thousands of people throughout Oromia and Amhara during and after protests, including journalists and human rights defenders. Many of those detained are being held without charge and without access to family members or legal representation. Many of those who have been released report torture in detention. The continued use of unlawful force to repress the movement has broadened the grievances of the protesters to human rights and rule of law issues.

The need for international, independent, thorough, impartial and transparent investigations

Following the attacks by security forces on protesters in Oromia earlier this year, five UN Special Procedures issued a joint statement noting that “the sheer number of people killed and arrested suggests that the Government of Ethiopia views the citizens as a hindrance, rather than a partner”, and underlining that “Impunity … only perpetuates distrust, violence and more oppression”.

In response to the recent crackdown, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation”. Ethiopia’s government, however, has rejected the call, instead indicating it would launch its own investigation. On 2 September, in a public media statement, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights reiterated the UN High Commissioner’s call to allow a prompt and impartial investigation led by regional or international human rights bodies into the crackdown.

There are no effective avenues to pursue accountability for abuses given the lack of independence of the judiciary and legislative constraints. During the May 2015 general elections, the ruling EPRDF party won all 547 seats in the Ethiopian Parliament.

Ethiopia’s National Human Rights Commission, which has a mandate to investigate rights violations, has failed to make public its June report on the Oromia protests, while concluding in its oral report to Parliament that the lethal force used by security forces in Oromia was proportionate to the risk they faced from the protesters. The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions has rated the Ethiopian National Human Rights Commission as B, meaning the latter has failed to meet fully the Paris Principles.

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, who met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the margins of the European Development Days in June 2016, has called on all parties to refrain from the use of force and for a constructive dialogue and engagement to take place without delay. On 28 August, after the EPRDF party’s general assembly, Prime Minister Hailemariam reportedly ordered the country’s military to take any appropriate measures to quell the protests, which he described as illegal and aimed at destabilising the nation. Following a similar call regarding the Oromia protests, security forces intensified the use of excessive force against protesters.

A highly restrictive environment for dialogue

Numerous human rights activists, journalists, opposition political party leaders and supporters have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Since August 2016, four members of one of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights organisations, the Human Rights Council (HRCO), were arrested and detained in the Amhara and Oromia regions. HRCO believes these arrests are related to the members’ monitoring and documentation of the crackdown of on-going protests in these regions.

Among those arrested since the protests began and still in detention are Colonel Demeke Zewdu (Member, Wolkait Identity Committee (WIC)), Getachew Ademe (Chairperson, WIC), Atalay Zafe (Member, WIC), Mebratu Getahun (Member, WIC), Alene Shama (Member, WIC), Addisu Serebe (Member, WIC), Bekele Gerba (Deputy Chair, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)), Dejene Tufa (Deputy General Secretary, OFC), Getachew Shiferaw (Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper Negere Ethiopia), Yonathan Teressa (human rights defender) and Fikadu Mirkana (reporter with the state-owned Oromia Radio and TV). 

Prominent human rights experts and groups, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have repeatedly condemned the highly restrictive legal framework in Ethiopia. The deliberate misuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation’s overbroad and vague provisions to target journalists and activists has increased as protests have intensified. The law permits up to four months of pre-trial detention and prescribes long prison sentences for a range of activities protected under international human rights law. Dozens of human rights defenders as well as journalists, bloggers, peaceful demonstrators and opposition party members have been subjected to harassment and politically motivated prosecution under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, making Ethiopia one of the leading jailers of journalists in the world.

In addition, domestic civil society organisations are severely hindered by one of the most restrictive NGO laws in the world. Specifically, under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, the vast majority of Ethiopian organisations have been forced to stop working on human rights and governance issues, a matter of great concern that has been repeatedly raised in international forums including at Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

This restrictive and worsening environment underscores the limited avenues available for dialogue and accountability in the country. It is essential that the UN Human Rights Council take a strong position urging the Ethiopian government to immediately allow an international, thorough, independent, transparent and impartial investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed in the context of the government’s response to the largely peaceful protests.

As a member – and Vice-President – of the Human Rights Council, Ethiopia has an obligation to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights, and “fully cooperate” with the Council and its mechanisms (GA Resolution 60/251, OP 9). Yet for the past ten years, it has consistently failed to accept country visit requests by numerous Special Procedures.

During the upcoming 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, we urge your delegation to make joint and individual statements reinforcing and building upon the expressions of concern by the High Commissioner, UN Special Procedures, and others.

Specifically, the undersigned organisations request your delegation to urge Ethiopia to:

1. immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia;

2. immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests;

3. respond favourably to country visit requests by UN Special Procedures;

4. urgently allow access to an international, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests;

5. ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trials and without resort to the death penalty;

6. and fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own Constitution.

Amnesty International
Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Civil Rights Defenders
DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
Ethiopian Human Rights Project
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative
Freedom House
Front Line Defenders
Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
Human Rights Watch
International Service for Human Rights
Reporters Without Borders
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

17 Artists Cancel Ethiopian New Year Concerts Due to Protests
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)

Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

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2016 U.S. Election Cartoonists’ Perspective

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. (Image: DonkeyHotey/ flickr.)

VOA News

Cartoonists are having a ball with this election.

Trump’s bombast and Clinton’s caution put both candidates at the center of nearly every satirist’s jokes.

Both Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are well-known to the public. Their campaigns are also fraught with scandal, secrets and vastly different ideas.

(Drawing by Politico Magazine Cartoonist Matt Wuerker)

“It’s easy to depict [Trump] as a 70-year-old balloon of bombast, topped by artificial-looking hair— colors that don’t exist in nature.” – Michael Cavna | Washington Post. (Drawing by Politico Magazine Cartoonist Matt Wuerker)

(Drawings by Ramses Morales Izquierdo | Cuba and Oleh Smal | Ukraine)

VOA spoke to Pulitzer Prize-winning POLITICO cartoonist Matt Wuerker and Washington Post’s “Comic Riffs” cartoonist Michael Cavna on how this cycle’s cartoons differ from previous elections.

Trump is no stranger to the limelight

His years in the real-estate business and reality TV made him a household name and the butt of many jokes.

Donald Trump’s signature phrases have evolved from his days on “The Apprentice” (“You’re fired!”) to the campaign trail (“It’s going to be huge!”). He is extremely recognizable with his orange-tinted skin and wispy blond hair.

VIDEO: Cavna on Trump’s unique hair and the art of the the comb-over

“It’s hard to satirize somebody who is already way out there. So Trump tests you that way.” – Matt Wuerker | POLITICO Cartoonist

Donald Trump presents a unique challenge for cartoonists. Since Trump already exaggerates the way he speaks and presents himself, cartoonists have to find original ways to portray him.

Cartoonists emphasize Trump’s physical appearance and portray him as attention-seeking, loud-mouthed bully.

Some international cartoonists have depicted Trump as Godzilla, a Ku Klux Klan member and even Adolf Hitler.

VIDEO: How cartoonists around the world see Trump

The Clinton Legacy

Hillary Clinton has been on cartoonists’ drawing boards for decades.

Before the campaign, she served as secretary of state, first lady and U.S. senator from New York.

Drawing ‘Two-Faced’ Hillary

Hillary Clinton’s years in the spotlight have helped damage her public image: her husband, former President Bill Clinton’s affair while in office; her failed presidential bid in 2008; a deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during her time as secretary of state; and, most recently, a scandal over her use of a private email server while at State.

For some, Clinton has a reputation of being dishonest, inauthentic and willing to do anything to become president.

Cartoonists emphasize Clinton’s political correctness and portray her as robotic, dishonest and pandering to the electorate to win the presidency.

VIDEO: Cavna on capturing Clinton’s exaggerated ambition

“A lot of people don’t realize that political cartoonists… fancy ourselves just as serious as a political columnist.” -Matt Wuerker | POLITICO

Cartoonists have targeted both candidates’ high poll ratings for “unlikeability.” They share a belief that the presidential election will come down to which of the two is disliked, or even hated, less.

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NY Fashion Week Africa Features Designs by Ethiopia’s Fikirte Addis

Ethiopian Designer Fikirte-Addis' work to be featured at 2016 New York Fashion Week Africa. (Photos: AFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Recent works by Ethiopian designer Fikirte Addis, Founder & Creative Director of the Addis Ababa-based clothing line Yefikr Design, will be featured on September 10th during the New York Fashion Week Africa at Adiree Concept Store in downtown Manhattan.

Fikirte Addis, who is also a psychologist, “perfectly blends her love and passion for children and culture with creativity in her work,” Africa Fashion Week (AFW) notes. “Her label, Yefikir Design, celebrates urban Africa, featuring everyday wear in Ethiopia. Fikirte gets her inspiration from Ethiopian culture and the vibrant environment to reflect the everyday life of the people. She designs clothing from casual to wedding dresses mainly for women.”

Fikirte says she started designing in high school and launched her own company, Yefikir Design, in 2009. She states, “It is important for me not to lose the connection I have with my culture, just giving it a modern twist and bringing it to the international fashion arena.” Most of Fikirte’s fabrics are made from handspun cotton with design intended to provide comfort while maintaining top-tier style.

Photos: Fikirte Addis designs at Caribbean Fashion Week 2013. (Facebook)

Ethiopian Designer Fikirte Addis. (Courtesy photo/Facebook)

Africa Fashion Week adds: “Fikirte’s design aesthetic gently weaves between modern and traditional styles; using fabrics made by hand, assisted by a weaving machine, albeit producing clothing through century old techniques. Yefikr Design is mainly known for turning this fabric into tailor-made and fashionable designs without losing its cultural touch for the modern day woman..the Ethiopian designer is known for giving everyday cultural wear a modern twist.”

If You Go:
NYFWAfrica featuring Designer Fikirte Addis
Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
Adiree Concept Store (SOHO)
104 Charlton St
between Hudson St and Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10014
Click here for Tickets

Video: Director of Africa Fashion Week in New York speaks to CNN:

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The Pankhurst Family Receives Lifetime Achievement Bikila Award

Sylvia Pankhurst, Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Rita Pankhurst and Dr. Alula Pankhurst will be honored with the 2016 Bikila Awards at a ceremony in Toronto, Canada on September 24th, 2016. (Courtesy photographs)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 5th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) –The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Bikila Award will be given to the Pankhurst Family for their timeless contribution to Ethiopian studies. The Canada-based Bikila Award organization announced that Sylvia Pankhurst, Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Rita Pankhurst and Dr. Alula Pankhurst will be honored with this year’s Bikila Award — named after Ethiopian marathon legend and Olympian Abebe Bikila — on September 24th at a dinner ceremony in Toronto.

The organization said it is bestowing the award on the British academic family for “their distinguished achievement and longstanding love of Ethiopia, and for their exceptional and enduring contributions as professionals and scholars to the study and preservation of Ethiopian history.”

The Pankhurst family’s involvement with Ethiopia dates back to World War II. According to Wikipedia, “Sylvia Pankhurst had been an active supporter of Ethiopian culture and independence since the Italian invasion in 1935, and Richard grew up knowing many Ethiopian refugees. Sylvia was a friend of Haile Selassie and published Ethiopia, a Cultural History in 1955. In 1956, she and Richard moved to Ethiopia. He began working at the University College of Addis Ababa, and in 1962 was the founding director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies. He also edited the Journal of Ethiopian Studies and the Ethiopia Observer. Pankhurst led the campaign for the return of the Obelisk of Axum to Ethiopia. It was re-erected in Axum in 2008. In addition to his numerous books on Ethiopia, Pankhurst has written works on his mother, including Sylvia Pankhurst: Artist and Crusader and Sylvia Pankhurst: Counsel for Ethiopia.”

Photos from last year’s Bikila Award Ceremony and Dinner in Toronto, Canada. (Courtesy photographs)

Additional honorees at the 2016 Bikila Award event include acclaimed artist Alemtsehay Wedajo who will be recognized with the Professional Excellence Award “for her distinguished achievement as an actress, director, playwright, poet, leader, and mentor of the arts,” the Bikila Award organization said.

Honorary guest speakers at the 2016 program include Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology, as well as Astrophysicist Dr. Brook Lakew, an Associate Director of Solar System Exploration Division at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. The keynote speaker is Author and Poet Lemn Sissay.

The 2016 Bikila Award ceremony & dinner will feature “cocktails, delicious food, and music by Fantahun & Ethio-Zema, as well as other entertainments and door prizes.”

Below is the complete list of the 2016 Award winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners: Sylvia Pankhurst, Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Rita Pankhurst, Dr. Alula Pankhurst

Professional Excellence Award Winners: Dr. Fikre Germa, Dr. Girma Bitsuamlak, Alemtsehay Wedajo, Dr. Tegest Hailu, Dr. Gezahgn Wordofa

Academic Excellence & Scholarship Award Winners: Teddy Kassa, Nishan Zewge-Abubaker, Yohannes Melkie

If You Go:
The 2016 Bikila Award Celebration and Gala Dinner
September 24th, 2016
At Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Canada

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Ethiopian Youth in Ohio Share Culture at New Americans Festival

Members of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services choir rehearse a dance in preparation for this year's New Americans International Festival in Columbus, Ohio. (PHOTO: JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEK)

ThisWeek Community News

The welcome mat is out.

When the New Americans Festival takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the North YMCA, 1640 Sandalwood Place, it will be as much a chance for “old Americans” to meet and greet their new neighbors as it will be for members of the many refugee and immigrant populations in central Ohio to showcase their cultures and backgrounds.

“This is our focus this year, to really get the American-born population out and dispel some myths about immigrants and refugees,” said Laura Berger, director for development for Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, the host organization for the event.

“It’s through learning about your neighbor that we can come together and appreciate one another,” said Nadia Kasvin of US Together, a mutual-assistance agency she co-founded in 2003 that works to resettle immigrants.

“In our mission statement, the last two words are ‘for all,’ ” said Malik Wayne More, director of social responsibility for the YMCA of Central Ohio. “We know that if we’re not taking intentional efforts to welcome our newest Americans, then we’re probably not being ‘for all.’ ”

The New American Festival fills a cultural need for refugee and immigrant communities, according to the website of Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, a nonprofit that assists this population.

According to the organization, learning a new language and culture and establishing a new life in the United States puts pressure on immigrants to assimilate, which puts them at risk of losing the traditions and cultures of their homelands. The New Americans Festival offers an opportunity to share these cultures with others.

Video: Members rehearse dance Aug. 31 in Columbus, preparing to perform at this year’s New Americans International Festival

Read more at Thisweeknews.com »

This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre, VP of AFL-CIO, Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.

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Mahmoud Ahmed First Artist from Ethiopia to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Mahmoud Ahmed. (Photo: by Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed, who celebrated his 75th birthday this year, will give a live concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City next month — becoming the first Ethiopian artist to perform at the world famous venue. Mahmoud is scheduled to perform at Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium on Saturday, October 22nd.

Mahmoud’s performance is part of Carnegie Hall’s “Around the Globe” program.

Carnegie Hall described Mahmoud Ahmed as an artist “who blends the traditional Amharic music of the African nation with pop and jazz for an ear-opening, ecstatic experience.”

Mahmoud Ahmed is one of Ethiopia’s legends and cultural icons. As Allmusic notes in their highlight of his biography: “His swooping vocals, complemented by the freewheeling jazziness of the Ibex Band (with whom he recorded his masterpiece, Ere Mela Mela), are very different from what normally is lumped into the broad expression Afro-pop.”

Mahmoud Ahmed on the cover of the award-winning Ethiopiques series album. (Allmusic.com)

If You Go:
Carnegie Hall Presents Mahmoud Ahmed
Saturday, October 22, 2016 | 8 PM
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Tickets from $12 to $70
Seating Chart (PDF)

Mulatu Astatke to Perform at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

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Prince Ermias Receives 2016 People of Distinction Humanitarian Award

Prince Ermias Sahle Sellassie (center) with future astronauts at a NASA event in his honor, December 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia along with US Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia will be honored with the 2016 People of Distinction Humanitarian Award on September 13th. The founder of the annual award, Al Cole from CBS Radio, announced the ceremony will take place at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Prince Ermias, who is the grandson of Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie, is being recognized with this year’s award for his prolific non-profit activities including his role as a cultural ambassador and “patron of the Haile Selassie Fund for Children in Need, which continues to sponsor student scholarships,” states the news release from The People of Distinction Humanitarian Foundation (PDHF).

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie speaking at The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) event in Houston, Texas, December 2015. (Courtesy photo)

“In August 2011, Prince Ermias established the Water Initiative for Africa, which is designed to bring drinking water to the People of Africa. This has resulted in the development of a unique series of water purification units, The Argonaut Series, which totally eliminates 100% of all biological contaminants in water.” The press release adds: It is now deployed in Ethiopia, with trials of this system in the U.S., Australia, Thailand, and Ethiopia. Prince Ermias is currently a Senior Fellow at the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), and is a Recipient of ISSA’s Silver Star Award for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress.”

Last winter The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held a dinner event in Houston, Texas featuring a presentation on the earth observation and water initiative program launched by Prince Ermias whose work was also recognized with an AIAA award at the ceremony.

Per PDHF: “Prince Ermias received his education at Old Ride Preparatory School in England, and then at Haileybury College. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Studies (with an emphasis in Economics) from the University of California at Santa Barbara. From 1983 to 1985, he continued his education at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.”

If You Go:
2016 People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards (PDHA)
September 13, 2016 (5:30pm-8pm)
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.
Tickets: $50 click here to buy via PayPal
Email: Awards@PeopleOfDistinction.org / Office: 508-669-6987

Interview With Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie (TADIAS)
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica (TADIAS)

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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This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre is the executive vice-president of AFL-CIO, the largest US federation of labor unions. Tefere moved to the US from Ethiopia as a child. He leads an effort to naturalize immigrants so they can vote.

The Guardian

Meet the refugee campaigning against Trump: ‘This is what America looks like’

New York — Few of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s policies have divided voters like his views on immigration. And as his promises to deport undocumented workers and build a wall with Mexico come under ever greater scrutiny, one US labor union is fighting back.

Starting on Tuesday, AFL-CIO, the largest US federation of labor unions, will start airing ads on social media starring executive vice-president Tefere Gebre, to back up a mail campaign in battleground states about what it means to be an American and an immigrant. It’s unlikely to win over Trump or his supporters, but that’s not who Gebre or AFL-CIO is looking to reach.

Gebre describes himself as a quadruple threat in Trump’s world. “I happen to be a black man, a refugee, an immigrant and a labor leader,” he said. The dynamic of this election gives some people a sense that some things are more “American” than others and Gebre wants to correct that. “My belief is that no one is more American than I am. I thought that people need to hear that,” he said.

After escaping Ethiopia as a child, Gebre came to the US. In his role at the AFL-CIO he has traveled across the country sharing his experience. In addition to discussing racial and economic justice, Gebre helped lead the union’s effort to naturalize immigrants across the nation so, come November, they can go out and vote for the America that welcomes everyone.

In 2013, there were about 8.8 million legal permanent residents who were eligible to apply for US citizenship. According to Pew Research Center, applications for naturalization increased 13% between October 2015 and January 2016 with a quarter of a million immigrants applying to become citizens.

“We are processing hundreds of thousands of people to become citizens and go to the ballot box and, one way or another, tell Donald Trump what they think in response of what he thinks of them,” said Gebre.

Read more at The Guardian »

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
Hillary Torches Trump: He is ‘Taking Hate Groups Mainstream’
How Can America Recover From Donald Trump’s Hatred and Paranoia?
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?
GOP Flight From Trump Continues

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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).

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

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In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’

African Sports Federation (ASF) has renamed its annual 5k Race the 'Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run. (Photo: ASF Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A Seattle-based African community athletics association has renamed its annual 5k Race the ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run.’

The African Sports Federation (ASF) announced via social media on Saturday that the organization is dedicating its yearly competition to honor “the act of bravery by Feyisa Lilesa which took place in the Rio Olympics 2016.”

In a Facebook post ASF added: “As he was crossing the finish line of the Men’s Marathon, winning his silver medal he raised his arms over his head, wrists crossed in gesture of solidarity with protestors against the killings of the Oromo people in his home country of Ethiopia. Beyond that he explained he was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom. That defining moment at the finish line will forever live on as a gesture that defended human dignity on one of the biggest stages in the world.”

Feyisa Lilesa held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second at the Olympic marathon on Aug. 21st, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a gesture of support for protesters in Ethiopia. (Photo: Reuters)

“ASF second annual 5k race will be named after Feyisa Lilesa, the Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run,” the Sports Federation said. “Not only do we want to display our gratitude to Lilesa but we also want to encourage other athletes to stand up for what they believe in…The Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Race will take place during the championship game of the 2016 Seattle African Cup presented by African Sports Federation,” the announcement said.

In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
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

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The Nile Project kicks-off 2016 American Tour at Lincoln Center

The Nile Project's upcoming show in NYC features artists hailing from several Nile Basin countries including Ethiopia & Egypt. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Having performed 85 concerts in six countries, and reaching an audience of more than 60,000 since their inception in 2011, The Nile Project is kicking off their 2016 tour in the United States with a performance and workshop at Lincoln Center in NYC on Friday Sept. 16th.

The Nile Project is a collaboration of musicians and artists from 11 Nile countries to empower, educate and develop connections through creative cross-cultural interactions — and has presented workshops at 40 universities reaching more than 10,000 students — using art for peace-making and social change.

During the group’s European premiere in Brussels, Belgium this summer the musical ensemble was praised by The Partnering Initiative (TPI) for its “performances of stunning, energetic, unusual music, which are collaboratively composed under the musical direction of Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen during two-week residencies.”

The Nile Project performing in Brussels, Belgium, July 2016. (Photo: ENile Project Facebook)

Ethiopian-American Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, right. (Photo: In Brussels, Belgium, July 2016/Nile Project)

The NYC performance takes place “one week before the UN General Assembly, with themes of Art, Environment and Art, and Conflict,” the announcement highlights. “How can art heal the wounds and divisions of conflict? How can art affect the policies and practices that impact the world’s most significant environmental challenges?”

Participating musicians include Jorga Mesfin (Ethiopia), Hany Bedair (Egypt), Mohamed Abozekry (Egypt), Nader Elshaer (Egypt), Selamnesh Zemene (Ethiopia), Steven Sogo (Burundi).

The New York Times reviewed the Nile Project’s performance at Global Fest last year noting: “The musicians had worked out the nuances of modes and rhythms to join one another’s songs, no longer separated by geography or politics.”

If You Go:
The Nile Project 2016 Tour
Friday, September 16, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

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Ethiopian-American Singer Kelela Among 9 Acts to Catch at 2016 Afropunk Festival

Kelela Mizanekristos, known as Kelela, is an Ethiopian American singer and songwriter. (Photo credit: Michelle Layne Lawson)


This weekend marks the 12th iteration of Afropunk Festival, an annual celebration of black music and culture that goes down in Brooklyn. Thanks to previous stars like Grace Jones and Lenny Kravitz, it has grown into a cultural tour de force, launching spin-offs in Paris, London, and Atlanta. This time around, Ice Cube, Janelle Monáe, and Tyler, The Creator will be headlining the event in Commodore Barry Park. As always, the two-day festival’s lineup is rich in established musicians, as well as exciting new ones. Not sure who to check out? We’ve put together a guide to a few of this year’s most vibrant acts, below.


Kelela Mizanekristos is a singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. After years of singing in jazz clubs and cafés, the first-generation Ethiopian-American earned a feverish fan base after releasing her first mixtape, Cut 4 Me, in 2013. Check out her avant-garde brand of dark pop–infused R&B on her contagious EP, Hallucinogen. Fans of FKA twigs will likely approve.

Read the full list at Vogue.com »

Afropunk Brooklyn Festival 2016 Line-Up

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Ethiopian American Playwright Antu Yacob Brings “Mourning Sun” to Uganda

Antu Yacob's critically acclaimed play "Mourning Sun" has been selected to participate in the 3rd Annual Kampala International Theatre Festival in Kampala, Uganda, November 23-27, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 25th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American playwright Antu Yacob’s critically acclaimed play, Mourning Sun, has been selected to be performed at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda this coming November.

Mourning Sun, which premiered in New York last Fall, is set in Ethiopia as well as the U.S. and tells a love story between Ethiopian teenagers, Biftu and Abdi, which gets crudely interrupted by a forced arranged marriage resulting in Biftu becoming a fistula patient. Abdi finds refuge from his loss by getting himself immersed in a new culture in New York City, trying in vain to forget the past. Antu says the theatrical production is inspired by stories of various women that her physician sister shared with her while volunteering at the Addis Ababa Fistula hospital.

“Several years ago my sister, who is now a medical doctor, volunteered at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia,” Antu recalls. “Hearing the devastating stories of the young women she encountered there, I realized any of one of those women could have easily been me. This realization hit me hard and I wanted to tell their stories, bringing awareness to those of us here in the United States.”

Antu who has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help cover airfare costs for her cast, which the Kampala International Theatre Festival does not include, says “my larger goal in writing the piece was eventually to present the piece throughout countries in Africa affected by the obstetric fistula epidemic. It is a dream of mine to present the play to women who are fistula survivors, for them to see their experiences acknowledged. Equally fulfilling is the idea of presenting it as an educational, and possibly preventative measure for those surrounding them. As artists, we would be given the chance to allow our art to reflect our deep care for the womens’ wellness and desire to eradicate this condition throughout the globe.”

“The play’s participation in the Kampala International Theatre Festival, an annual event that gives a platform to connect the East African theatre-making community as well as broaden the access to theatre and develop new audiences, would be the first step in connecting the imaginary world created in the play and the real life struggles and hope it reflects,” Antu adds.

You can learn more and support the campaign at www.indiegogo.com.

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

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San Jose Honors Ethiopian Community at 12th Annual Flag Raising Ceremony

Crowd watches performance during Ethiopian new year celebration in downtown San Jose, CA on Sept 8th, 2013. (Photo credit: Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — As the Ethiopian New Year approaches so are the announcements of annual concerts, fundraising parties, and public celebrations in various Ethiopian communities across the U.S. from coast to coast. And for the past 12 years — rain or shine and under various administrations — the city of San Jose, California has held a flag raising ceremony celebrating the rich and diverse heritage of its vibrant Ethiopian American population and in celebration of the Ethiopian New Year, which this year will be held on September 9th.

The Ethiopian-American Council (EAC) — the sponsor of the annual seven-day-long celebration that kicks-off with the tri-color flag raising ceremony at San Jose City Hall — announced that this year’s event also recognizes the current wave of peaceful demonstrations taking place across Ethiopia. In a press release EAC said the event will “honor the heritage of the Ethiopian-American community of San Jose and to show solidarity with protesters in Ethiopia..the flag raising coincides with the beginning of a week-long celebration of the traditional Ethiopian New Year.”

The non-profit organization said it “encourages all members of the Ethiopian community and their friends who are living in the Bay Area to dress in green, yellow, and red (flag colors) and celebrate with the EAC and civic leaders at the flag raising and the following festivities.”

The press release added: “The San Jose City Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and City Council Members will be in attendance. The EAC and the Ethiopian-American community at large are extremely appreciative of the time and the energy that city officials have devoted to this annual event. The EAC especially wants to thank the citizens of San Jose for their recognition of the diversity that has made this country so great.”

If You Go:
San Jose 12th Annual Ceremonial Ethiopian Heritage Flag Raising
Friday, September 9th, at 05:00PM
San Jose New City Hall
200 East Santa Clara Street.
San Jose, CA

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Fendika to Launch 2016 U.S. Tour in Brooklyn Hosted by Bunna Cafe

The Fendika band will launch its 2016 U.S. tour in Brooklyn on September 3rd, 2016. (Courtesy image)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — At NYC’s Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn everything is eshi, so join them as they welcome Ethiopia’s internationally renowned traditional dance group, Fendika, all the way from Addis Ababa for a live show at LightSpace Studios on September 3rd.

The Fendika group is best known for keeping alive Ethiopia’s ancient Azmari tradition of “musical storytelling that uses improvisation, dance, humor to create a one-of-a-kind collective experience,” Bunna Cafe announced. “Nobody does it better than Fendika.”

Fendika takes its name from its band leader Melaku Belay’s “famous decades-old club in Addis Ababa — a club that has kept its grasp on the traditional art and dance style, in the face of Addis’ own version of gentrification, and a changing, modernizing look and feel in Fendika’s neighborhood.”

Melaku Belay, leader of the Fendika traditional dance group. (Courtesy photo)

(Photo credit: Asmelash Tesfay)

Fendika’s Brooklyn show will open with a performance by diaspora Ethio-Jazz Band Arki Sound led by Samson Kebede.

If You Go:
FENDIKA returns to NYC
Presented By: Bunna Cafe
Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 9:00 PM
LightSpace Studios
1115 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Door: $20
Click here for more info and to buy tickets

Mulatu Astatke to Perform at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

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Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Protest Shines World Spotlight on Unrest in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second at the Olympic marathon on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a gesture of support for protesters back home. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Aug 21, 2016

When he crossed the Olympics marathon finish line, Feyisa Lilesa put his hands above his head in an “X.” Most of those who watched Lilesa’s spectacular silver medal performance didn’t know what that meant — or just how dangerous a protest they were watching.

Lilesa was protesting the Ethiopian government’s killing of hundreds of the country’s Oromo people — an ethnic majority that has long complained about being marginalized by the country’s government. The group has held protests this year over plans to reallocate Oromo land. Many of those protests ended in bloodshed. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed since November.

For months, the Oromo have been using the same “X” gesture that Lilesa, 26, used at the finish line.

At a news conference following the race, he reiterated his defiant message.

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa said. “My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

It was a remarkable turn of events — within seconds, Lilesa had gone from a national hero to a man who might not be able to return to his home country. In addition to those killed, many Oromo protesters are currently languishing in prison.

In Ethiopia, the state broadcaster did not air a replay of the finish.

Lilesa was conscious of the danger. He immediately suggested that he might have to move somewhere else.

“If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me. If not kill me, they will put me in prison. I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country,” he said.

Read more at The Washington Post »

2016 Rio Olympics – Athletics – Final – Men’s Marathon – Sambodromo – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 21/08/2016. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) of Ethiopia celebrates as he wins silver. (Photo: REUTERS)

Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics, during an award ceremony on on Sunday, August 21st, 2016. (AP photo)

Silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa at the conclusion of a news conference on Sunday, August 21st, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo credit : Eshetu Homa Keno)

Feyisa Lilesa celebrates crossing the line in second place in Rio. (Photo: EPA)

In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BeFront Spotlights Julie Mehretu’s Work

(Photos: BeFront Magazine)


Julie Mehretu’s Work Among 5 Inspiring African Creatives

In celebrating woman’s month, we decided to put together a collection of inspirational designers and creatives, hailing from different corners of the continent. Each selection represents a category on our platform. All the women listed below are renowned in their own respect, propelling their creative agendas to staggering heights.

Julie Mehretu (Art) | Addis Ababa / New York

Julie is an Ethiopian-American abstract artist that creates architectural inspired layered patterns and prints that capture dense urban environments.

© Emmet Malmstrom

© Julie Mehretu

Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa. She received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu’s paintings and drawings refer to elements of mapping and architecture, achieving a calligraphic complexity that resembles turbulent atmospheres and dense social networks. Her work conveys a layering and compression of time, space and place and a collapse of art historical references, from the dynamism of the Italian Futurists and the geometric abstraction of Malevich. Mehretu’s work is held in collections at the Museum of Modern Art.

Read the full article at Befrontmag.com »

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Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters

Genzebe Dibaba finishes second in the women's 1,500 meters at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Tuesday, August 16th, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Genzebe Dibaba took the silver medal in the women’s 1,500 meters final at the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil on Tuesday.

Genzebe came in second in 4:10.27 following the winner Faith Kipyegon of Kenya who finished the race in 4:08.92. The bronze medal went to American Jenny Simpson who like Genzebe won the first-ever Olympic medal for her country in the 1,500 meters.

“The bell sounded for the last lap and Dibaba was chased by Kipyegon and Muir as the trio opened up a gap on the rest of the field,” IAAF reports. “Dibaba held pole position through 1200m, passed in 3:23.90, but Kipyegon was still close behind. Meanwhile, Hassan and USA’s Jenny Simpson set out in pursuit of the top three. Kipyegon took the lead with 200 metres remaining, while Hassan, Simpson and Shannon Rowbury had caught Muir on the top of the final bend. There was no catching Kipyegon, though, who was away and clear, the Kenyan crossing the line in 4:08.92 after covering the last lap in 58.79.”

IAAF notes: Both Dibaba and Simpson earned their respective countries’ first ever Olympic medals in the women’s 1500m.”

Last week, Genzebe’s elder sister Tirunesh Dibaba claimed the bronze medal in the women’s 10,000m — a race that was won by fellow teammate Almaz Ayana who broke the world record winning Ethiopia’s first gold at Rio Olympics.

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

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Documentary Film ‘If Only I Were That Warrior’ to Screen in Dallas

(Images: Awen Films)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The new documentary film “If Only I Were That Warrior” is coming to Dallas, Texas this month courtesy of the Global Alliance for Justice, which is hosting a screening on Thursday, August 25th at Angelika Film Center Dallas.

The movie 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. 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.

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.”

“80 years after the invasion of Ethiopia, the case of Affile challenges us to take a first step toward better understanding the past and sharing its burdens,” says Director Valerio Ciriaci who will be present for a Q&A at the Dallas screening. “My hope is that If Only I Were That Warrior can spark a dialogue about this common history — a dialogue we have avoided for too long.”

If You Go:
Dallas Screening of If Only I Were That Warrior
Thursday, August 25 2016 @ 7:30pm–9:12pm
Angelika Dallas
5321 E Mockingbird Ln,
Dallas, Texas,
United States, 75206
(214) 841-4713
Click here to buy tickets

Tadias Interview with the Director & Producer of “If Only I Were That Warrior”

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AFC Hosts 2nd NYC Annual Art Auction

Photo from the 2015 AFC Annual Art Auction and Holiday Benefit in D.C. (Courtesy of Artists for Charity)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The DC-based non-profit Artists for Charity (AFC) will hold its 2nd NYC Annual Art Auction on Saturday, August 27th at The Brooklyn Art Library. AFC announced its sponsors and vendor booth line up for this year, which includes Jembere Eyewear, Elsabet Habesha Jewelry, Little Gabies, ZAAF, and food provided by New York’s own Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant.

Proceeds go to support AFC projects in Ethiopia including the AFC Children´s Home and children’s hospitals in Addis Ababa as well as the nonprofit’s community outreach program.

The NYC event “will include live auction of artwork by local and international artists, featuring amazing Ethiopian Art, great entertainment, a taste of Ethiopia, assortments of drinks and a pop-up shopping experience, sponsored by brands donating a percentage of the proceeds to AFC,” the charity stated in a press release. “To meet its mission and provide services to the children, the organization started hosting its largest annual fundraiser — an art auction and benefit in Washington, DC in 2006. The funds raised from the one night covered over 80% of the organization’s operating budget and it became so successful that over the past 2 years AFC expanded to organize annual fundraisers in New York City and Los Angeles.”

The announcement added: “The AFC Children’s Home supports HIV positive orphans by providing housing, meals, counseling, enrollment in schools and medical treatments including routine physical examinations and antiretroviral medications. Today AFC is proud to see its children excel and progress in so many areas, including 1 child who has grown up to start his own business, 4 who have finished trade school and are now steadily employed and self-sustaining, 2 who have graduated from university, and 1 student who is attending a pre-med program at a university in Canada. AFC further expanded its efforts by starting a community outreach program in 2011, which currently supports 20 children and youth living with HIV/AIDS in the community as well as the ArtHeals Program that utilizes art to transform children’s wings in hospitals and clinics less frightening and more engaging for the children who have to spend their time there. As of today AFC has completed four projects cleaning and redecorating children’s wings, and adding a playroom and playground at Yekatit Hospital in Addis Ababa.”
AFC said its goal for 2016 is to raise $100K by the end of the year “in celebration of its 10th anniversary since first hosting its annual fundraiser in Washington, DC.”

If You Go
Artists for Charity (AFC) 2nd NYC art auction
Saturday, August 27, 2016 @ at 7pm
The Brooklyn Art Library
28 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door

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Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe

Ethiopia's Etenesh Diro at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil on August 13, 2016. The 25-year-old struggled to pull off her right shoe after colliding with some of the others on the track. (Getty Images)

NBC New York

Ethiopia’s Etenesh Diro has advanced to the final in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase after having run the last half mile of the semifinal with only one shoe.

After reviewing video of the race, the Jury of Appeal advanced Diro to the final, following protests from the Ethiopian team, according to The Associated Press.

Diro was leading her heat in the qualification race when her right shoe got loose.

The 25-year-old struggled to put it back on after colliding with some of the others on the track.

After trying to put it back on, Diro finally yanked it off and threw it onto the field. Taking a few steps, she ripped off her sock and continued, completing the last leg of the race with just one shoe.

Diro managed to catch up to some of the runners, but finished in 7th place in her heat, clocking in at 9:34.70. That time originally knocked her out of the final.

Read more »

Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism

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Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record

Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana broke the 10,000m world record on her way to winning the Olympic gold medal in 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday, August 12th, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday: August 12th, 2016

Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record

New York (TADIAS) — 24-year-old Almaz Ayana won Ethiopia’s first gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday breaking the world record in the women’s 10,000m.

“2015 world champion Vivian Cheruiyot finished more than 15 seconds after Ayana to earn the silver medal,” NBC Olympics reports. “Tirunesh Dibaba, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, claimed the bronze medal.”

Following in the historic footsteps of Tirunesh Dibaba, Almaz is aiming to score a double victory in the 10000m and 5000m, and is on her way to writing her own Olympic history. She finished the race in Rio on Friday in a new world record time of 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds.

Almaz Ayana shattered the 10,000m world record in 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds at the 2016 Rio Olympic on Friday, August 12th, 2016. (AP photo)

Per NBC: “The women’s 10,000m was the first track and field medal event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Dibaba’s younger sister, Genzebe, will race in the first round of the women’s 1500m tonight. The men’s 10,000m final will be held Saturday night.”

Read more and watch video at NBC Olympics.com »

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Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism

Robel Kiros Habte of Ethiopia competes in the men's 100-meter freestyle heat at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian male Olympic swimmer Robel Kiros Habte made international headlines this week when he finished dead last in the men’s 100-meter freestyle heat at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. But more than his poor performance what seemed to attract the most attention about Robel in social media circles, however, was his body shape — some even nicknaming the 179-pound swimmer: ‘Robel the Whale.’ In an article entitled “Robel Kiros Habte, Ethiopian Swimmer, Taunted After Olympic Swim” The Huffington Post came to Robel’s defense noting “Despite the bullies, Habte was the first person to draw cheers on Tuesday, according to Australian journalist Jai Bednall.”

The Washington Post pointed out that outside of the stadium and especially on the Internet “people are being downright unkind to an Ethiopian swimmer, body-shaming him for having what, in one of the more charitable comments, is called a dad bod.”

In another piece headlined “That Slow, Chubby Ethiopian Swimmer Totally Deserved to Be in the Olympics,” Slate magazine added: “Some corners of the internet have fretted that Habte’s body is being shamed, which is indeed quite cruel. But there is no denying the reality that Habte has neither the body nor the talent of a top-flight Olympic swimmer. According to Reuters, Habte was competing in Rio thanks to a “special invitation from world body FINA extended to athletes from under-represented countries.”

So, how did Robel qualify for the Ethiopian Olympic team in the first place? The Washington Post cites tweets noting that “Habte is the, ahem, son of the president of the country’s swimming federation.”

#Ethiopia ‘s #RobelHabte. 59th place at #Rio2016 . With him is the #ETH swim federation president who’s HIS DAD. pic.twitter.com/kLLzLA1dAS — Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) August 10, 2016

Robel Kiros Habte at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

“Whatever brought him to Rio, the 24-year-old college student was a crowd favorite and was pretty happy just to be there,” The Post added.

“I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming,” Robel told Reuters. “Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run, I wanted to be a swimmer. It didn’t matter where I finished.”

Slate Magazine adds: “Well, it kind of did matter…But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Habte shouldn’t have been in Rio. His time in the 100-meter freestyle on Tuesday is just a few seconds slower than the Ethiopian national record. And Habte himself holds the national record in the 50-meter freestyle. FINA’s rules state that “under-represented countries” can invite one male and one female swimmer to the Olympics. (Ethiopia’s female entrant, Rahel Fseha Gebresilassie, will swim on Friday.) Perhaps there’s a more qualified swimmer in Ethiopia. But it seems just as likely that Robel Kiros Habte was his country’s hope for Olympics swimming glory.”

Robel Kiros Habte of Ethiopia competes in a men’s 100-meter freestyle heat at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Ethiopian swimmer mocked for ‘dad bod’ receiving love and hate online
The 24-year-old Ethiopian swimmer who took the internet by storm
Tubby Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte becomes world’s favourite athlete of the 2016 Olympic
The most talked about moments from Tuesday night’s Olympic action
Robel Kiros Habte, Ethiopian Swimmer, Taunted After Olympic Swim

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Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia

Protesters demonstrate over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in Ethi­o­pia at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Aug. 6. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Washington Post

By Editorial Board

OVER THE weekend, Ethiopia reminded the world of how it treats those who dare demonstrate against the government. At least 90 protesters were shot and killed by Ethiopian security forces in the regions of Oromia and Amhara. As demonstrations unusually reached into the capital of Addis Ababa, the regime censored social media posts and blocked Internet access.

This fresh outburst of repression follows months of unrest in the Oromia region over government plans to expand the Addis Ababa capital territory into the lands of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group. According to Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian security officers have killed more than 400 people in clashes over the Oromia land dispute since protests broke out in November. Tens of thousands more have been detained. The clashes represent the worst ethnic violence that Ethiopia has seen in years. That the unrest is spreading to regions beyond Oromia underscores the depth of anger against the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front party.

The weekend’s bloodshed should prompt the West to reconsider its aid to the regime. Ethiopia has been hailed as a model of economic development and touts its progress on global anti-poverty indicators as proof that its “developmental democratic” style is working. But the repeated use of force to silence dissent threatens development by sowing seeds of future unrest.

The United States has long relied on Ethiopia as a partner in the fight against al-Shabab’s terrorism in Somalia and sends the country tens of millions of dollars in development assistance, tiptoeing around Ethiopia’s human rights abuses and resistance to democratic reforms. On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa remarked that it was “deeply concerned” and expressed its “deep condolences to those who suffered as a result” but stopped short of explicitly urging the Ethiopian government to refrain from using excessive force against its citizens. The Obama administration should encourage a credible investigation into the killings and publicly make clear that Ethiopia’s continued crackdowns are unacceptable.

Read more at The Washington Post »

Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalisation. (Photos: Reuters)

‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)
UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

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

The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), pictured top (second from right) receiving the Bikila Award in 2014, has made a $50,000 donation towards a new Ethiopic Studies Program at the University of Toronto. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 8th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The recently launched campaign by the Canada-based organization, Bikila Awards, to raise funds for a future Ethiopic Studies Program at the University of Toronto received a much-needed boost last week from The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) — Canada’s world renowned R&B star who contributed $50,000 towards the initiative.

“Grammy award-winning R&B star and Toronto native Abel Tesfaye — alias The Weeknd — whose parents emigrated from Ethiopia, immediately answered the call from the Bikila Awards organization who said they weren’t even sure he’d respond to their request, but was surprised by his immediate generosity,” The Toronto Star reported this week, quoting Bikila Award’s Board member Tam Gebeyehu as stating “It’s unbelievable. He grew up in Toronto as an Ethiopian-Canadian, and now he’s giving back to the community.”

The public outreach for the project started in full force last December following a community forum at the University of Toronto organized by the Bikila Awards organization to launch an awareness and fundraising campaign within the Ethiopian community.

For helping to jump-start the project, however, the credit goes to Dr. Michael Gervers, a Professor of History at the University of Toronto, who made an impassioned speech “about the importance of documenting, preserving, and teaching ancient Ethiopic history,” at the 2015 Bikila Awards ceremony.

“Professor Gervers currently teaches a course entitled ‘Cultural History of Ethiopia,’ and has helped to digitize the contents of over 100,000 ancient Ethiopic manuscripts and books through an initiative called Mäzgäbä Se’elat —treasury of Ethiopian images,” wrote Alpha Abebe on Tadias after last year’s Bikila Awards ceremony. “Professor Gervers proposed that an endowment be established to fund a Chair and Program in Ethiopic Studies. He also made a generous offer to personally match donations made to the endowment up to $50,000.”

The Toronto Star added: “Looking for donors, the organization reached out to Tesfaye, and was blown away but how quickly he was willing to help. Back in 2014, Bikila Award awarded Tesfaye with its Professional Excellence Award, but never thought he would reach this peak of fame.”

“Back then he was doing a lot of stuff, but was still a boy from Scarborough just rising to fame,” Gebeyehu said. “His donation helps us preserve our culture and share it with everyone else.”

Read more at The Toronto Star »

In Pictures: 2015 Bikila Award Ceremony in Toronto

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All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

Photo: Genzebe Dibaba is a member of Ethiopia's women's track and field team at the 2016 Rio Olympics . (IAAF.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 6th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — From now until August 21st all eyes are focused on Brazil as the 2016 Olympic Games officially got underway there on Friday evening with a colorful ceremony broadcasted around the world from the seaside city of Rio De Janeiro.

According to the International Olympic Committee at least 206 countries are represented by more than 11,000 athletes at the 2016 Rio Games this summer, which is being held in South America for the first time.

“In total, there will be 306 events over the course of 19 days between the opening and closing ceremonies,” highlights The Root, while naming a member of Ethiopia’s team, Genzebe Dibaba — the current world record holder in both the indoor and outdoor 1500 meters race — among 40 black athletes worldwide to watch for at the 2016 competition.

“The number of black athletes from around the globe in the Summer Olympics always dwarfs the number in the Winter Olympics (something about cold weather, snow and ice?), and this year is no exception. When national anthems are played and the winners step onto the medal stand, here are some folks you might see.”

Photo: Genzebe Dibaba in 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships. (Wikimedia)

Genzebe, who additionally holds the world indoor record in the 3000 meters category will “narrow her focus and compete over 1500m, the event at which she holds the world record at 3:50.07,” IAAF reported last month. IAAF added that her elder sister Tirunesh Dibaba — three-time Olympic gold medalist and the reigning Olympic 10,000m champion — is also “slated to compete solely over that distance in Rio, though she is also listed as a reserve for the 5,000m.” Genzebe’s family members who are also Olympians include her silver medalist sister Ejegayehu Dibaba, as well as her cousin Derartu Tulu who was the first female Ethiopian gold medalist.

Rio Throws A Party For The World, Kicking Off The 2016 Olympics (NPR)
40 Black Athletes to Watch at the Rio Olympics (The Root)
Ethiopia Announces Team for Rio 2016

800m: Mohammed Aman
5000m: Muktar Edris, Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrhiwet, (Abadi Hadis)
10,000m: Yigrem Demelash, Abadi Hadis, Tamirat Tola, (Ibrahim Jeilan)
Marathon: Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu, Feyisa Lelisa, (Lelisa Desisa)
3000m steeplechase: Hailemariyam Amare, Chala Beyo, Tafese Seboka, (Birhan Getahun)

800m: Habitam Alemu, Tigist Assefa, Gudaf Tsegay
1500m: Genzebe Dibaba, Besu Sado, Dawit Seyaum, (Gudaf Tsegay)
5000m: Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi, Ababel Yeshaneh, (Tirunesh Dibaba)
10,000m: Almaz Ayana, Gelete Burka, Tirunesh Dibaba, (Netsanet Gudeta)
Marathon: Mare Dibaba, Tirfi Tsegaye, Tigist Tufa, (Aberu Kebede)
3000m steeplechase: Sofia Assefa, Hiwot Ayalew, Etenesh Diro, (Weynshet Ansa)
20km race walk: Yehualeye Beletew, Askale Tiksa

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Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia Meet with President Obama

(Photo: Courtesy of US Embassy Addis)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — As President Barack Obama wraps up his last summer in the White House, he held a town hall meeting with the 2016 class of Mandela Washington Fellows Wednesday including 50 young professionals from Ethiopia who are part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

This year’s class of Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia includes a diverse group of 50 young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 hailing from various regions of Ethiopia. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, filmmakers, human rights activists (including Zone9 blogger Zelalem Kibret), social workers, Ethiopian sign language & deaf culture experts, non-profit directors, public health employees, entrepreneurs, engineers, software developers, and human resource managers are among some of the sectors represented by the new Fellows.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), which is conducted annually as a merit-based open competition by U.S. Embassies across the African continent, was launched by President Obama in 2014. “Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management,” states the announcement from YALI. “The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 76 percent of Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.”

In addition, Fellows will receive the opportunity to meet and interact with President Obama as well as other U.S. leaders during a town hall session. Furthermore, the announcement notes that “100 selected Fellows will remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.”

Click here to Watch live: President Obama Participates in a Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall.

Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

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Engaging Diaspora Youth: A Webinar on Identity and the Second Generation

(Image: the Addis Ideas App via Diasporaalliance.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) is hosting an online forum this week focusing on “Identity and the Second Generation: Creating Homeland Connections.”

“Children of immigrants navigate multiple cultural, national and global identities. To engage these young people, diaspora organizations need to help them feel personally connected to their countries of heritage,” says the announcement from IdEA, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that promotes diaspora-centered initiatives.

“Join the authors of the recently released book Identity and the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space to understand how second and subsequent generations construct their identities and how you can help strengthen their ties to their homelands.”

The webinar, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 4th, 2016 (1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST), will feature speakers including Anthropologist Dr. Faith Nibbs who is the Director of the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project — an organization focused on refugee economic integration — as well as Dr. Caroline Brettell, a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute at SMU.

If You Attend:
You can learn more about the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) at www.diasporaalliance.org and register for Webinar for free here.

Addis Ideas: Bringing African Ideas to Life

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U.S. Media Celebrates Hillary Clinton’s Landmark Nomination (Videos & Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets off her campaign bus as she arrives for a rally in Hatfield, Pennsylvania on Friday, July 29th, 2016. (AP photo)

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An Evening of Spoken Word, Poetry & Entertainment with Lemn Sissay in NYC

Lemn Sissay at the BBC Ten Pieces Proms 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall in London last week. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — “Inspire and be Inspired” is the title of a poem that renowned Ethiopian Poet and Author Lemn Sissay wrote to commemorate his installation last year as Chancellor of University of Manchester in England. On August 9th, Lemn will be presenting his recent works during a live performance in New York City at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem as part of our latest Tadias Salon Series.

Last week Lemn was featured on BBC Ten Pieces Proms 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall in London in front of a live audience of fifteen thousand that was also broadcast live on BBC’s iplayer on July 24th. In a blog post entitled “From Oscar Wilde’s cell to The Royal Albert Hall,” covering his daily activities of “the past 15 days of a total of 280 days” since starting his role as Chancellor at the University of Manchester, Lemn shared the BBC show as the highlight of his recent schedule.

Lemn Sissay, who was born and raised in Britain, was an official poet for the London Olympics four years ago, and received an MBE from the Queen for Services to Literature. His inspiring life story, which is depicted in the BBC documentary Internal flight, includes growing up in England’s foster care system, yet rising to become an internationally renowned playwright and author of several books of poetry alongside articles, records, public art, and plays. As of August 2015 he is serving as Chancellor of the University of Manchester.

Watch: Inspire and be Inspired – A poem from Lemn Sissay

If You Go:
Lemn Sissay Live in Harlem at Ginnys’s
Date: Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
Time: 6-7pm VIP reception; 7-10pm Dinner, Spoken Word & Entertainment.
Location: Ginny’s (downstairs at Red Rooster)
310 Lenox Ave (between 125th & 126th)
New York, NY 10027

In addition to an evening of dinner and spoken word with Lemn Sissay, Tadias invites you to a VIP reception to meet the artist through our diamond and platinum sponsorship packages. For sponsorship of Tadias Salon Series at Ginny’s on Tuesday, August 9th please contact us at 646-595-7344, or email us at info@tadias.com.

Tadias Hosts Renowned Ethiopian Poet Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in Harlem – August 9th, 2016

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

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 25th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — 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 last week.

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. “It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.” Antu added: “I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures. 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.”

In January of this year Antu was one of five women writers selected to join a group and tasked to develop individual solo shows for a reading workshop here in NYC. “So I started woking on In the Gray in that development lab and later I was asked to present my piece at the Women in Theatre Festival,” she told Tadias.

Just as she negotiated her various identities while growing up in America, Antu does a seamless job of switching from one accent and voice to another, including that of her gregarious alter ego: an African American women of her age in the mid thirties.

The most memorable conversations in the play, however, takes place between Antu and her mother such as when Antu returns home from college one summer, sporting an afro hairstyle that her mom found absolutely horrifying, and begs her daughter to allow her to moisturize and make it smooth with butter. In another scene, Antu mentions that as a teenager her mother’s advice about sex usually came in two brief and stern sentences: “If you have sex, you will get pregnant. And if you get pregnant, you will not finish school.”

“The other thing that I tried to show with my mother’s character is that it’s a very complex relationship between her and I,” Antu said. “Sometimes she is my hero and I try to communicate that in the piece, but then there are other times when she kind of takes on the oppressor’s job.” She shared: “It’s not like there is good or bad, that’s another reason why it’s In the Gray because I know she loves me, and our parents love us and they want only the best for us, but they only know how to give it to you the way it was given to them.”

“Eventually I had to become comfortable with the fact that I am who I am. It never felt right when I tried to identify entirely as one thing or another,” Antu continued. “When you are young and are forced to assimilate you lose part of who you are, such as your language, and as an adult that’s not something that you will end up being proud of. I lost part of me willingly, for example, no one put a gun to my head and said ‘stop speaking your Oromo language,’ but I wanted so badly to stop being on the outside that I forgot my mother’s tongue.”

In another segment Antu touches upon the current race and police relations issues in the United States, pointing out that she worries a lot for the safety her own child. “The scene with my son at the end are all the conversations that we had together,” she said. “It is a concern that I have because he is a child who is very outspoken.” Antu added: “And so it’s kind of sad that you have to tell little brown boys to be careful that they can’t be as outspoken and demand the truth as much as any other child can. So, you know, it’s a real concern for me. Every time I hear things on the news I say to myself ‘oh my gosh, this is not ending, this is continuing.’”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota before settling in New York where she currently lives and works. Her acting career includes a co-starring role in NBC’s Law & Order television film series as well as a lead role in Walking in Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and supporting role in Inspiration (SVA Film/Kaelan Kelly-Sorderlet). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, that she wrote and performed in was shown last Fall at the West End Theatre in Manhattan.

Antu Yacob on-set of “Make a Name” by Morocco Omari. (Photo Credit: Paul Chinnery)

Antu (r) acting in Edward Allan Baker’s “Rosemary with Ginger” at Rutgers Theater Company. (Courtesy photo)

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.”

Antu said she plans to tighten her one-person play, In the Gray, and take it on tour. “Initially I would like it to premiere with a full run in New York and eventually get it to regional theatres,” she said. “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.”

In the Gray was directed by Celestine Rae and produced by Project Y Theatre’s Inaugural Women In Theatre Festival at Theatre Row – Studio Theatre. You can learn more about Antu Yacob at www.antuyacob.com.

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The Aslan Project Tackles Need for Pediatric Cancer Health System in Ethiopia

Photo at Tikur Anbessa Hospital (TAH) Pediatric Cancer Center in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy of the Aslan Project)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 24th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A few years ago two children from Ethiopia, Temesgen Gamacho and Eyoel Fanta, were pediatric cancer patients at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. when the unthinkable happened for their parents and loved ones. Both children did not survive their illness. Eyoel had been diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, which was one of the most curable pediatric cancers. The loss of these two children drove their physician, Dr. Aziza Shad, who was Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Georgetown Hospital at the time, to launch The Aslan Project in Ethiopia in 2012 and jumpstart a large-scale commitment to set up a world-class cancer treatment program for children in Ethiopia.

Fast forward to 2016 and that dream has become a reality on the ground through an international network of volunteer pediatric cancer specialists and parents who are behind Ethiopia’s new Pediatric Hematology/Oncology programs at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa as well as at Jimma University Hospital.

In an interview with Tadias from Washington, D.C. Julie Broas, Executive Director of The Aslan Project, said “in addition to giving children a chance to survive a curable cancer the organization’s mission was to provide equitable access for families in low-resource settings to high standard local treatment.” Broas added: “What we chose to do in Ethiopia is to focus on medical education and training of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, because that’s how you would build a comprehensive program that’s locally supported and sustainable.”

Broas, whose daughter is a cancer survivor, said she knows first hand “the great grief and agony” of parents around the world who yearn for the best treatment for their children. “I want people in low-resource settings to have the same opportunities that I have in this country,” she said.

The program in Addis Ababa is now being managed by Dr. Daniel Hailu Kefeni, one of the first graduates of the pediatric cancer fellowship set up by The Aslan Project three year ago at Tikur Anbessa Hospital.

Dr. Tenagne Haile-Mariam of the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital, who is also a board member of the The Aslan Project, pointed out that in addition to “the allied healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and other support within the unit, an effective system must also have all other related services that can support such treatment, including pathologists, laboratory services and pharmacists.”

“When we say ‘locally trained’ we want people to understand that we are talking about implementing the highest of international standards,” Dr. Tenagne explained. “They are tested by the same people that do testing all over the globe. So you are putting a staff in place that’s locally trained and internationally vetted. And what that means is that they will have colleagues all over the world whom they can consult and converse with scientifically, they can stay up-to-date as new research comes in their field, but also it puts them in a position where they can conduct their own locally relevant and internationally approved research. This what makes it a sustainable program.”

“The whole Aslan model is that you improve and work through the kinks of the system as you are teaching and training local staff,” added Dr. Tenagne. She emphasized that improvement of the program includes upgrading the physical plant “because in order to have a care unit you have to have an area where you can deliver an appropriate care.”

(Photo: Courtesy of the Aslan Project)

Dr. Tenagne reiterated that “the key is to create a whole system that’s linked to locally existing initiatives, not a situation where you can just send a doctor and say ‘go at it’ because they will fail,” she said. “This is why The Aslan Project is a catalytic program, because in order to implement it you have to put into place not just the right people, but you have to put them in a system where they can work in order to ensure sustainability.”

Last month The Aslan Project hosted a successful fundraiser in New York City co-hosted by Ethiopian American Attorney Jote Kassa, who is Managing Director at J.P.Morgan Private Bank. Broas and Dr. Tenagne said they encourage involvement not only from medical professionals but anyone interested in addressing the much needed pediatric cancer treatment center in Ethiopia. Dr. Tenagne said The Aslan Project’s next fundraiser will be held in Washington D.C. around Ethiopian New Year in September.

You can learn more and supprt the The Aslan Project at www.aslanproject.org.

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Dangerous Route of Ethiopian Migrants

Migrants taking shelter from the heat in the town of Fantahero, Djibouti. Ethiopian migrants withstand harsh conditions and harsh treatment on the journey to Saudi Arabia. (PHOTOGRAPH BY LEX NIARCHOS)

The New Yorker

The other day, on the outskirts of Fantahero, a small village in the desert of northern Djibouti, Sebhatou Mellis was sheltering from a-hundred-and-four-degree heat in the shade of an acacia tree. Mellis, who is twenty-six and has the rangy build of a runner, was about a thousand miles away from his home, in the impoverished Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. There, he and his family had taken a government loan to help improve his farm, tried to invest it, and failed, he told me. “At the end, the money was finished, and all the people began to insult us and say that we took the money from the government and used it badly,” he said.

Mellis had come to Fantahero four days earlier, walking and hitching rides through the Danakil Desert with about a dozen other Tigrayans, a journey that took them about three weeks. Mellis’s ultimate destination, he hopes, will be Saudi Arabia, where, if he’s lucky, he’ll be able to work illegally. To get there, he will have to cross the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which separates the Middle East from the Horn of Africa, and navigate his way through war-torn Yemen. “I left to repay my debts, not to die,” he said. “But if I die, at least I will liberate myself from poverty.”

The route through Djibouti and Yemen to Saudi Arabia is an ancient one. Some seventy thousand years ago, early man left Africa across the Bab el-Mandeb. The migration began the process by which modern humans settled the Eurasian continent. The historical connection between this part of Africa and the Middle East stretches through history. Fifteen hundred years ago, the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire extended into the modern Middle East and controlled parts of Yemen.

Read more at The New Yorker »

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2016 P2P Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare & Medical Education Conference

P2P honors founders of Ethiopia's Project Mercy Woizero Marta Wolde-Tsadik & Ato Demeke Tekle-Wold (Center) in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, September 26th, 2015. (Photograph by Tsedey Aragie for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The 2016 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health care and Medical Education will be held on September 17th in Springfield, Virginia.

The annual conference, which celebrates its eighth anniversary this year, is organized by People to people (P2P), Inc., a U.S.-based NGO established in 1999 in the state of Kentucky as a non-profit organization to serve as network of Ethiopian health care professionals practicing abroad.

P2P announced topics scheduled to be discussed at the upcoming gathering include “Promoting Neuroscience in Ethiopia; The Global movement to scale up mental health care: The case of Ethiopia; Diaspora Partnership Projects; as well as Abstract and Poster Presentations on Health Related Topics relevant to Ethiopia.”

The 2016 Scientific Conference Chair is Professor Yonas E. Geda of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

If You Go:
Saturday, September 17th, 2016
7:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: Hilton Springfield
6550 Loisdale Road,
Springfield, Virginia 22150

P2P Survey Studies Use of Complementary Medicine Among Ethiopians in U.S.

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In Ethiopia for First Time, Dr. Jill Biden Speaks at Girls Can Code Graduation

Dr. Jill Biden, the Second Lady of the U.S., is making her first visit to Ethiopia, where she attended a graduation ceremony of the Girls Can Code Project run by U.S. Embassy on Sunday. (Photo: U.S. Embassy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, was in Ethiopia this past weekend where she spoke at a Girls Can Code graduation ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Although this was Dr. Jill Biden’s first travel to Ethiopia, she was quick to point out that she is familiar with the country through her own interaction with Ethiopian students in the U.S.

“This is my first trip to Ethiopia but I’ve heard so much about your country from my own students — many of whom are from Ethiopia,” Dr. Biden, a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College in Virginia, told the graduates in Ethiopia. “They’ve shared with me their hopes and dreams through their journals and writing assignments.”

According to the project description posted by The Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, the Girls Can Code program, which is funded by the U.S. government, is “designed to teach high school girls essential computer technology skills that will help them succeed in higher education, specifically in STEM-related courses, and help position them to succeed in careers in STEM fields.”

In her commencement speech Dr. Biden, who has been a teacher for over 30 years, added: “Programs like Girls Can Code are helping high school girls around the world learn computer and IT skills. It’s designed to empower and inspire young girls — not only to join STEM fields at the university level, but to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM fields and become future leaders in technology.”

Image from video shared on Twitter by Dr. Biden (@Dr. Biden)

Photo via Twitter (@Dr. Biden)

(Twitter: @Dr. Biden)

Below is the full text of Dr. Jill Biden’s speech at the Girls Can Code Graduation Ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 17, 2016:

Remarks of Dr. Jill Biden at a Girls Can Code Graduation Ceremony as Prepared for Delivery

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Hi, everyone! Thank you, Lidia, for that great introduction! It’s truly a pleasure to be here in Ethiopia this afternoon and to meet all of you.

I know it’s graduation day, so let me start by saying congratulations! And I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank your families who have supported you along the way. Let’s give them a round of applause.

I’d also to recognize some pretty amazing women and men traveling with me across Africa this week to help highlight the importance of economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls.

I’m so pleased to be joined by Cathy Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Phil Karsting, from the Department of Agriculture; Shannon Smith, from the State Department; Susan Markham, from USAID; my Chief of Staff, Sheila Nix; Eric Doucette; Special Advisor to my husband Joe, the Vice President; and two of my sisters, Bonnie Jacobs and Kim Snow.

This is my first trip to Ethiopia but I’ve heard so much about your country from my own students — many of whom are from Ethiopia. They’ve shared with me their hopes and dreams through their journals and writing assignments. I’ve been a teacher for over 30 years. I love helping students navigate their future, and see it grow bright before their eyes.

That’s exactly what’s happening to all of you. I’m so excited to see the projects that you have been working on. From what I’ve heard, you’ve worked so hard on them — coming together with your mentors and fellow students to make a difference not only in your own lives but in lives of so many in your community.

Because of the education you are getting, you are setting out on a lifelong path where most of all, you will have the confidence and tools you need to succeed. And, that’s one of the reasons why I’m traveling across Africa this week, to Ethiopia, Malawi, and Niger.

During my trip, I’ll emphasize my country’s commitment to making sure girls and young women — like you — all around the world have the opportunities they deserve — to go to school, get the education they need and become whoever they aspire to be. Because when women and girls are included, they expand our economies, enrich our communities, and our countries are better off for it. It’s really that simple.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to help launch TeachHer — a partnership led by UNESCO and the State Department — to close the gender gap for girls in science and technology in schools and in careers. These programs will provide girls with valuable job skills and access to inspiring women leaders as mentors. Ethiopia — which will host one of the first TeachHer trainings later this year — is leading the way in the region to close the education gender gap. I’m excited to see the results of this program.

Fifteen years ago, boys were 20 percent more likely than girls to go to school. Today, this gender gap in Ethiopia has been cut in half. That’s an incredible accomplishment — and it’s because of you.

Despite the progress being made, there’s more work to be done. We know girls and boys are equally interested in STEM education and careers. But, as we’ve seen all around the world, gaps that start in secondary school widen at the college level. Currently, fewer than 20 percent of university STEM graduates in Ethiopia are female. None of our countries are there yet. We must change this. We have to convince more girls and their families that these careers are not just for boys.

That’s why I’m proud to be here with you all today. Programs like Girls Can Code are helping high school girls around the world learn computer and IT skills. It’s designed to empower and inspire young girls — not only to join STEM fields at the university level, but to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM fields and become future leaders in technology.

I am happy to announce that because of the success of this pilot program here in Addis — because of your success — the U.S. Embassy will be expanding Girls Can Code to four new cities. This means an additional 200 female students will soon have access to the same classes and lessons that you have had so that they can reach their full potential.

Through partnerships like these with Ethiopia and other African governments, we hope to improve the lives of women and girls through educational opportunities. And we’re going to keep pushing until all children — girls and boys — have the same pathways to success and the same chance to go as far as their dreams will take them.

It’s clear to me that you understand the importance of your education. And you should be proud of the paths you are setting for yourselves. I urge you to be confident, to always believe in yourself and to never forget that education is the key to success. In the words of Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo, “If they are educated, they will educate their communities. If they are healthy, they will ensure others grow up healthy. If they are empowered, they will change the world.”

Each of you can and will change the world. But it’s up to you to seize the opportunity — to rise to the occasion. To take risks. You’re women of action. And I know there’s nothing you cannot do if you have confidence in yourself and don’t let anything stand in the way of your goals.

You are already making a difference in your own life and in the lives of your family members. Continue to challenge yourselves to make a difference in your school, your communities, and your country. You’re trailblazers. You’re leading the way for the generations of students who come after you. As you have found mentors here, be a mentor for others.

Once again, congratulations. You all are my inspiration, and I’m excited to see what you do in the future. Thank you so much for inviting me to your graduation ceremony.

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Tadias Hosts Renowned Ethiopian Poet Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in Harlem

Lemn Sissay. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) – Our second event in the Tadias Salon Series is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, August 9th as we host internationally renowned British-born Ethiopian Poet and Author Lemn Sissay in partnership with Ms. Ethiopia Alfred and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. We invite you to a fantastic evening of spoken word, poetry, live entertainment, and a conversation with Lemn along with a dinner feast at Ginny’s.

Lemn is the author of several books of poetry alongside articles, records, public art, and plays. He was an official poet for the London Olympics four years ago, and received an MBE from the Queen for Services to Literature. His poetry has been installed in various historic locations in Manchester and London including at The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Lemn’s inspiring life story, which is depicted in the BBC documentary Internal Flight, includes growing up in England’s foster care system, yet rising to become a widely acclaimed playwright and author. Lemn received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Huddersfield in 2009, and currently serves as Chancellor of the University of Manchester.

In addition to an evening of dinner and spoken word with Lemn Sissay, Tadias invites you to a VIP reception to meet the artist through our diamond and platinum sponsorship packages.

Join us in welcoming Lemn Sissay to Harlem, New York as part of our continuing Tadias Salon series and honoring this amazing literary artist.

If You Go:
Date: Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
Time: 6-7pm VIP reception; 7-10pm Dinner, Spoken Word & Entertainment.
Location: Ginnys’s (downstairs at Red Rooster)
310 Lenox Ave (between 125th & 126th)
New York, NY 10027
Purchase Tickets: $75 for Event & Dinner (seating is limited, no tickets at the door, RSVP required)

For sponsorship of Tadias Salon Series at Ginny’s on Tuesday, August 9th please contact us at 646-595-7344, or email us at info@tadias.com.

Video: Lemn Sissay installed as the new Chancellor for The University of Manchester – 2015

Lemn Sissay installed as the new Chancellor for The University of Manchester

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Ethiopia: Kenenisa Bekele Among Greatest Olympic Athletes of all Time

Kenenisa Bekele who holds the Olympic and World record in both the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres events is considered one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele is among the world’s “Greatest Olympic Athletes Of All Time,” according to a new athletics statistics handbook for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games published this week by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The handbook, which also highlights the records of Ethiopian greats such as Abeke Bekila, Mamo Wolde, Miruts Yifter and Haile Gebrselassie, points out that Kenenisa is by far the most successful male Ethiopian Olympic athlete of his generation, topping the “All Male Events” category as well as leading in “Individual Events” and the “Best Athlete by Country.” Kenenisa is currently the Olympic and World Record holder in both the 5000 meters and 10,000 meters categories.

The publication, released only four weeks ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, includes “all-time medals tables, statistics on the oldest and youngest athletes in Olympic history and a full country index,” according to IAAF.

“Athletes often speak about the ‘record books’ in a figurative sense, but this publication is as close as you can get to a definitive book of records for track and field at the Olympic Games,” says IAAF President Sebastian Coe writing in the book. “In short, each and every significant athletics moment in Olympic history is covered.”

In the Olympic records book Kenenisa is closely followed by fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the current 10,000 meters Olympics record holder in the women’s category, who is also listed among the world’s “Greatest Olympic Athletes Of All Time” along with her cousin Derartu Tulu, Gete Wami and Meseret Defar.

IAAF adds: “The 420-page book has been produced in collaboration with the Association of Track and Field Statisticians (ATFS) and edited by renowned athletics statistician Mark Butler.”

The 2016 Olympic Games commences in Rio from 12-21 August.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Athletics Statistics Handbook (IAAF)

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Obama Speaks at Dallas Memorial Service

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend a memorial service for the fallen police officers and members of the Dallas community in Dallas, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo)

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Photos: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Speaks at UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu speaking at the UN Global Leaders Summit in New York on June 22nd, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 8th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu addressed the 2016 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York last month. Bethlehem, who is the Founder and Executive Director of soleRebels — an award-winning green shoe-brand based in Ethiopia — was one of more than 1,000 leaders from business, finance, civil society, labour, academia, the UN and Government that attended the two-day global gathering on June 22nd and 23rd.

According to the UN News Center “The UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, supports companies to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with ten principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption; and to take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.”

Bethlehem, who was born and raised in a low-income Addis Ababa neighborhood of Zenabwok/Total area, established SoleRebels in 2005 hoping to increase job opportunities in her community. Since then not only has SoleRebels created hundreds of local jobs, but it has since become an internationally recognized eco-fashion brand. Solerebels opened its first U.S. retail shop two years ago at the upscale Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, California.

In his remarks at the Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon “stressed that achieving the aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would require finding new ways of living that would end the suffering, discrimination and lack of opportunity for billions of people around the world,” reports the UN News Center. “As such, he called on all stakeholders – from world leaders and chief executives, to educators and philanthropists, and across all sectors and industries – to work together in broader and deeper partnerships.”

Below are photos from the Summit:

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu takes the stage to address the 2016 United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit at the UN headquarters in New York June 22nd, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu addressing the 2016 United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit at the UN headquarters in New York June 22nd, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)


Video: 2016 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit (UN WEB TV)

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Sammy Ethiopia & Mafi to Present at Nolcha Shows During NY Fashion Week

Clothing by Ethiopian designer Mafi are made exclusively with hand-woven fabrics. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s lineup of independent fashion designers scheduled to present their Spring/Summer 2017 collection at the Nolcha Shows — a runway event held during New York Fashion Week in September — features two apparel brands from Ethiopia: Sammy Ethiopia and Mafi.

The Ethiopian designers are part of a four-brand showcase by the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, which is also highlighting Kenyan designers APRELLEDUANY and Ami Doshi Shah.

“The Nolcha Shows is one of the city’s leading platforms for global independent fashion designers and now in its eighth consecutive year,” the announcement says. “Designers presenting their latest collections at the Nolcha Shows Fashion Media Lounge include returning brands Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, EL VOYAGE and Taylord Blu and debuting brands Riley Versa, DELA EVA, Marshelly’s, James Carletons and Oysby.” The press release added: “The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub will be showcasing APRELLEDUANY, Ami Doshi Shah, Sammy Ethiopia and Mafi.”

Sammy Ethiopia

Sammy Ethiopia “creates fresh and contemporary pieces with the dual aim of preserving the country’s long history of weaving, while infusing the tradition with new inspirations,” states the designer’s website. “Each product is hand-woven, dyed, and embroidered by skilled artisans, ensuring integrity, beauty, and uniquenes.”

Ethiopian designer Mafi. (Courtesy photo)

From her headquarters in Addis Ababa, Mafi has won several accolades including “the 2012 Origin Africa’s design award, showcasing her work at African Fashion Week New York 2012, and winning the 2010 Designer of the Year award from Alliance Ethio-Française at European Fashion Day in Addis.” According to her website “Mafi works exclusively with hand-woven fabrics made by women” producing “contemporary pieces with ancient fabrics, giving visibility to the diversity and depth of Ethiopian culture and tradition.”

Nolcha Shows Announces Bryant Park Hotel as an Official Partner for the Spring/Summer 2017 Season

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Ethiopian Airlines Re-launches Flight to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle/Tadias File)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, July 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines Sunday re-launched service between Addis Ababa and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The three-times per week Addis Ababa – Lome – Newark flights are to be operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the airline announced. Ethiopian Airlines had previously operated service to Newark, canceling the route in 2004 and using Dulles International Airport in Washington DC.

“This new service enables passengers to connect between New York-Newark and many cities throughout Africa,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a press release. “At Lomé, passengers enjoy seamless connections to/from points in West Africa with ASKY, Ethiopian partner airline based in Lomé. Connections are available to/from Abidjan, Bamako, Bissau, Brazzaville, Conakry, Dakar, Douala, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, N’djamena, Niamey, Ouagadougou and Yaoundé.” In addition, at Addis Ababa airport travelers will have further options for connections “to/from points in East and Southern Africa, including Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Khartoum, Kampala, Kigali, and Johannesburg.”

Ethiopian Airlines inaugurates the new flight at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016. (Photos: by Kidane Mariam for Tadias)

The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to resume our service to New York, our fifth gateway in the Americas. New York is one of the world’s most economically powerful cities and including it in our ever expanding network will play a critical role in the expansion of trade, tourism and investment between the fast growing continent of Africa and the United States. I would like to thank all who strived hard to make the route possible.”

New York-Newark is Ethiopian’s 93rd international gateway and 4th destination in North America. “Ethiopian currently operates daily nonstop flights from Washington DC to Addis Ababa, as well as three weekly nonstop flights from Toronto to Addis Ababa and three weekly flights from Los Angeles to Addis Ababa via Dublin. Ethiopian is expanding its network rapidly, and in the past year has introduced services to Tokyo, Manila, Dublin, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Durban, Gaborone, Yaoundé, and Goma.”

Photos: Ethiopian Airlines Inaugurates Flight Connecting Addis, LA, Dublin

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P2P Survey Studies Use of Complementary Medicine Among Ethiopians in U.S.

Traditional and herbal medicine from Ethiopia. (Photo: World Health Organization)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A new online survey recently launched by an association of Ethiopian doctors based in the United States aims to study the use of supplemental traditional medicine among the Ethiopian Diaspora population in North America.

The survey, which is managed by complementary medicine experts from People to People (P2P) — an Ethiopian Diaspora Health Care Organization — will look at the “use of herbals, supplements and other traditional modalities by the Ethiopian Diaspora in the USA,” the announcement said, hoping to investigate any interactions between traditional and modern prescribed medications.

“It is our hope that the results of the study will provide a clearer picture of the practice, and help clinicians and other healthcare professionals consider this aspect of medication history when they provide care to their patients,” P2P added. “As part of the Ethiopian Diaspora community we invite you to participate in this study.”

The Ethiopian American physicians’ group said that it anticipates compiling and analyzing the data, and making it available to the public in less than a year. They emphasized that “no personally identifiable information will be stored or shared,” and that the privacy of participants will be protected.

To learn more and take the survey click here » Complementary Medicine by the Ethiopian Diaspora in the USA

Herbal medicine and medicinal plants in Fiche, Ethiopia (Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedcine)
Shiro, The Sure Thing: Why It’s Good For You By Dr. Asqual Getaneh (TADIAS)
Our Beef with Kitfo: Are Ethiopians in America Subscribing to the Super Sizing of Food? (TADIAS)
Gomen for Breakfast? By Nesanet T. Abegaze (TADIAS)
Video: 2015 P2P Ethiopian Health Care Conference & Award Ceremony

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Meet Ambassador Daniel Yohannes

Ambassador Daniel W. Yohannes, Permanent Representative of the United States to the OECD since May 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, July 1st, 2016

Meet Ambassador Daniel Yohannes: The Ethiopian American U.S. Rep to OECD

New York (TADIAS) — Ambassador Daniel Yohannes is currently the most senior Ethiopian American U.S. public official. He is the United States Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Appointed by President Obama on September 11, 2013, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 9, 2014 to his present diplomatic post.

“A former banker from Englewood, Colorado Mr. Yohannes has more than 30 years of experience in banking and economic development,” notes the U.S. State Department. “Prior to his appointment, Mr. Yohannes served for more than four years as the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the State Department adds. “Under his leadership, MCC started or completed investments of more than $9 billion in 25 countries on projects that lifted more than 173 million people out of poverty. In 2013, Mr. Yohannes was awarded the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in recognition of his outstanding leadership at MCC.”

Per OECD: “Mr. Yohannes graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Economics and earned an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he is fluent in Amharic. Prior to his government service, Mr. Yohannes was the President of M&R Investments, a firm specializing in financial services and the renewable energy sector. Before launching M&R Investments, Mr. Yohannes was a leader in the financial services industry, working in various roles throughout his career including as Vice Chairman and member of the Management Committee of U.S. Bank, President and CEO of Colorado National Bank, and as the Executive Vice President of Security Pacific Bank (now Bank of America). Passionate about protecting the environment and creating practical methods for implementation, in 2006, Mr. Yohannes co-founded the New Resource Bank in San Francisco, California, to invest in green projects and environmentally sustainable businesses in the community. He also served as Chairman of the Greenprint Council, a leadership group established by the Mayor of Denver focused on improving the environment of cities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

During his remarks delivered at the Ethiopian American Policy Briefing hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement on June 8th, Ambassador Daniel told the audience: “While I’m very proud of my heritage, history, culture, and tradition of Ethiopia, I am equally proud of the unmatched opportunity that this country, the country that I chose, has provided to me. America’s melting pot is the recipe for success, and as daughters and sons of Ethiopia born there, or the first, second and third generation born here we’re a part of that mix. I stand before you precisely because I’ve been where you are today. I can tell you first-hand that what we make of our immigrant experience is up to us. So I encourage you to get informed, get educated, and get involved.”

Audio: Meet Ambassador Daniel Yohannes: An Ethiopian American U.S. Representative at OECD

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In Pictures: Tsehai Publishers’ Temsalet DC Book Signing at Library of Congress

Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University hosted a book signing for 'Temsalet' at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Photo: Yoseph Wondimu )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, July 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Below are photos from last month’s Temsalet Book Signing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. hosted by Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University.

The program, which was held on Saturday, June 25th included a presentation by Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu and a book talk by Editor Mary-Jane Wagle featuring Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women published by Tsehai last year.


Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City

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Ethiopian-Israeli Artist Hirut Yosef’s “Mulu & the Beta Clan” Exhibit at Tsion in Harlem

Artwork by Hirut Yosef. (Courtesy of the artist)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — When Ethiopian-Israeli artist Hirut Yosef returned to Ethiopia in 2002 the trip “sparked a new connection to my roots,” she says, describing her paintings currently on display at Tsion Cafe in Harlem (Opening reception is scheduled for Friday, July 1st). “Inspired by my vivid childhood memories, I began exploring both traditional and modern Ethiopian culture,” Hirut shares. “That trip, the first of several, sharpened my memories and focused my attention on what would become the inspiration for my work – my mother and grandmother.”

Hirut left Ethiopia with her family at the age of five. “As the affairs of immigration and absorption filled our lives over the next several years, the memory of my African roots came only in flashes – games, songs, tastes, smells, and color,” says Hirut in her artist statement. “Growing up in Israel I found myself drawn to American hip-hop and soul, street art and fashion. As I entered school for fashion design, I needed to develop a creative identity – but where would I start?”

‘Afro Punk Mulu,’ by Hirut Yosef. (Courtesy of the artist)

‘Four Women,’ by Hirut Yosef. (Courtesy of the artist)

Hirut adds: “From Ethiopia to Israel, through immigration and absorption, my mother and grandmother continued the traditional crafts of fine embroidery and basket weaving using colorful threads. Those simple geometric patterns have become a strong graphic motif in my paintings. Combining these patterns with images of strong women create the series I call MULU and the BETA CLAN. Mulu is a female name in Amharic, meaning ‘whole’ and ‘perfection.’ Mulu is my alter ego; she represents the special women in my life. In my work, I seek to empower women and build a visual bridge between my native origins and contemporary art and culture, reflecting my connection to fashion, street art and graphics. In doing so, I created a language of my own, redefining a place where the vast influences of my life can coexist.”

Artwork by Hirut Yosef, Nanye and Tatey. (Courtesy of the artist)

Artwork by Hirut Yosef, 1984 and Mimi. (Courtesy of the artist)

Artwork by Hirut Yosef, ‘Fly.’ (Courtesy of the artist)

If You Go:
Friday, July 1st, 2016
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Tsion Cafe
763 St. Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10031
Mulu and the Beta Clan Exhibit

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

Julie Mehretu. (Photo: Jean-Philippe Boucicaut)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 24th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Renowned Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu returns 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 is jointly presented by the Gebre Kristos Desta Center and the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa — is scheduled to open on July 8, 2016 and will remain on display through August 6, 2016.

“The show will feature 17 of Mehretu’s paintings, ranging from her earliest paintings to her most recent works,” the announcement said. “The Museum is especially pleased to host this show as it will mark the first time that Mehretu will exhibit her work in Ethiopia, where she was born and raised until she was 7.”

Mehretu, who lives and works in New York, was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977. She has received numerous international awards for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. She had residencies at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2003), and the American Academy in Berlin (2007).

“Julie Mehretu is widely considered one of the finest painters of her generation,” the Gebre Kristos Desta Center added in a press release. “She is known for her densely layered and mesmerizing abstract paintings, which often gesture to the language of architecture and geography as inspiration for abstract compositions, as well as commentary on the complex social worlds we inhabit. Mehretu’s work offers not only a new form of visual abstraction, but also a new perspective of the social and geographic networks that underpin the modern world.”

(Artwork by Julie Mehretu, Entropia (review) 2004 32-color Lithograph and screenprint 33 1/2 x 44 inches.)

In addition, this Spring Julie Mehretu was honored by the prestigious U.S. arts institution, The Skowhegan School of Painting, receiving the medal for painting at the 70th anniversary celebration and 2016 Awards Dinner that was held in New York City on April 26th. Last Fall, Julie was the only living female artist whose work was featured at Christie’s postwar and contemporary sale, according to a New York Times article highlighting “The Resurgence of Women-Only Art Shows” in the United States. The Times notes that “The Ethiopian-born painter was offered at Christie’s postwar and contemporary sale, alongside 18 living male artists.”

A series of events is planned in conjunction with the Addis Show exhibition in Ethiopia next month “including a day-long symposium featuring artists, architects, curators, art historians, and workshops and lectures at Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar Universities.”

Julie Mehretu: A Trailblazing Artist Honored with Skowhegan Medal of Painting
Julie Mehretu: An Abstract Artist Absorbing Multiple Identities (NBC News)
Julie Mehretu Awarded 2015 Medal of Arts by U.S. State Department
American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London
Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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Tsehai Publishers & LMU Host DC Book Signing of Temsalet at Library of Congress

Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University will host a book signing for 'Temsalet' at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Photo: Cover image of the book Temsalet)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Continuing their East Coast ‘Experience TSEHAI’ presentation series, California-based Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University announced they will be hosting a book talk and signing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Tsehai Publishers is one of the only remaining independent presses affiliated with a university that focuses on African literature and Pan-African voices.

The program at the Library of Congress on Saturday, June 25th also includes a book talk by Editor Mary-Jane Wagle featuring Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women published by Tsehai in 2015 and a presentation by Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu.

(Poster courtesy of Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University)

The book Temsalet highlights 64 remarkable Ethiopian women photographed by award-winning Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh including Amsale Gualu, the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines; Meaza Ashenafi Mengistu, Founder of Enat Bank and prominent lawyer who was depicted in the award-winning film Difret; Marta Mesele Woldemariam, Ethiopia’s first female construction tower crane operator; Meshu Baburi Dekebo, women’s activist and founder of the Jalala Women’s Association; actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo; children’s television program creator and producer Bruktawit Tigabu Tadesse; and art curator and cultural activist Meskerem Asegued Bantiwalu.

If You Go:
Experience TSEHAI at the Library of Congress
Saturday, June 25 at 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, D.C.
Click here for tickets
More info at: https://www.facebook.com/events/647690702062320/


Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in NYC

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Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia

Some of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia. (Courtesy: Mandela Washington Fellowship)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s class of Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia includes a diverse group of 50 young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 hailing from various regions of Ethiopia. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, filmmakers, human rights activists (including Zone9 blogger Zelalem Kibret), social workers, Ethiopian sign language & deaf culture experts, non-profit directors, public health employees, entrepreneurs, engineers, software developers, and human resource managers are among some of the sectors represented by the new Fellows.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI), which is conducted annually as a merit-based open competition by U.S. Embassies across the African continent, was launched by President Obama in 2014. “Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management,” states the announcement from YALI. “The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 76 percent of Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.”

In addition, Fellows will receive the opportunity to meet and interact with President Obama as well as other U.S. leaders during a town hall session. Furthermore, the announcement notes that “100 selected Fellows will remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.”

Below are the names and biographies of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia.

Aklile Solomon Abate

Aklile Solomon Abate has been working as a women’s rights activist for more than five years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Law from Addis Ababa University. Aklile is a co-founder of a youth-led initiative called The Yellow Movement AAU, which works on women’s rights advocacy and empowerment. She is responsible for managing campaigns, coordinating events, handling partnerships, and raising awareness about gender-based violence. Aklile also volunteers at a public elementary school by tutoring young children and creates awareness on gender inequality in her community. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Aklile plans on continuing her work on women’s rights by focusing on young children in order to reshape the future generation.

Gebeyehu Begashaw

Gebeyehu Begashaw has been working as a lecturer at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia, for seven years. His work focuses on teaching graduate and undergraduate students, conducting research projects, and rendering community services. He also currently serves as research officer at the College of Social Sciences, where he oversees research projects undertaken by the faculty and students. His research interests center on different public health issues such as mental health, maternal health, health economics, and health systems. He advocates protecting the human rights of the mentally ill, which includes the right to appropriate mental health care, and the right to education and employment. Gebeyehu has a master’s degree in Social Psychology from Addis Ababa University and in Organizational Behavior from Paris V Descartes University. After the Fellowship, Gebeyehu plans to continue his work in the public health arena with a focus on improving the mental health care system through evidence-based decisions.

Molalign Belay

Molalign Belay has approximately eight years of experience working for an academic institution in Ethiopia. Born and raised in a rural village of Ethiopia, he used to be engaged in farming activities and local tour guiding. Currently, Molalign is a lecturer of Sociology. As director of the Alumni Relation and Partnership Office of University of Gondar, he initiates communications and strategic team work, organizes events and alumni workshops, seeks opportunities and networks for alumni/students, and undertakes alumni and employers surveys, to name a few. Molalign has an MA in Sociology (Health and Well-being) from Addis Ababa University. He works for local organizations as a volunteer trainer, project designer and trustee. He is a Rotarian, an educator and a social analyst on the local FM radio program. Upon the completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Molalign plans to create a scholars community through establishing community-based youth centers to engage and empower students.

Alemseged Woretaw

Alemseged Woretaw has almost 12 years experience as an educator in the health professions, contributing greatly towards a competent health workforce development. Currently, he is a technical advisor for the National Board of Examinations at the Ministry of Health. He also works closely with universities to improve student assessment and learning by synchronizing licensure exam preparation with faculty development efforts. Alemseged is a medical doctor with a master’s degree in Medical Biochemistry, and is passionate about educating and training future health professionals. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alemseged plans to continue his work with the exam board, impacting the teaching-learning process, especially student assessment. He will also help to fill the gap in academic leadership skills in medical schools, and plans to design high-impact academic leadership training, promoting mentorship and partnership among academic leaders.

Girum Assefa Akriso

Girum Assefa Akriso realized very early that he wanted to become a storyteller. Everyday life dragged him far from his boyhood dream, and he pursued studies in computer and information systems to earn his BSc. Having found himself drifting from his life’s purpose, three years ago he decided that enough was enough! Enena Bete, a film written by Girum was produced and then selected as the opening film in the 9th Ethiopian International film Festival. Girum regrouped, starting Rusty Town Films with three talented young men, and started writing serial radio dramas on migration, stag plays on religion and culture, and several documentaries on community services. They also work on commercials and music videos. Girum’s skill set is best described as a mixture of creativity, storytelling, education, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Abraham Mekonnen Alemu

Abraham Mekonnen Alemu has over six years experience in human capital management in different sectors. Currently, Abraham is a human resources manager responsible for HR activities and operations such as planning, acquisition, talent development, performance management, and staff compensation. In doing so, he ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of the HR and organizational systems. He also volunteers in his local community’s fundraising activities to build school facilities, and teaches management at different colleges. Abraham holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with distinction, and an International Management award with distinction from The Institute of Leadership and Management, London. He is currently doing a master’s program in Human Resources and Organizational Development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Abraham plans to continue creating job opportunities for the youth, people with disabilities, and women by filling the gap between industry needs and university curricula.

Tigist Getachew

Tigist Getachew has seven years experience in business strategy and related fields. In parallel with the UN job where she worked for four years, she also provided pro bono services to several local startups on financing, strategic planning, and business plans, while also managing the first fast-moving consumer goods industry analysis for Ethiopia for Euromonitor International. In 2013 she returned full time to the business world to co-found and lead East Africa Gate (EAGate), a boutique foreign investment and business advisory firm. She also works in youth entrepreneurship by mentoring Ethiopian entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to life. She is also a mentor for Ethiopian applicants to the African Entrepreneurship Award – an initiative powered by BMCE Bank of Africa. Tigist holds a BA in Economics from the University of Toulouse, France, and a Master’s in International Management from IAE Toulouse, Graduate School of Management with business strategy as her major.

Zemdena Abebe

A pan-Africanist, Zemdena Abebe is a visionary Political Science and International Relations graduate, activist, and budding writer engaged in women rights in particular and social justice in general. Zemdena volunteers for the African Union at the Academy of African Languages, Mali, as a marketing and research assistant. She consulted for UNICEF Ethiopia for six years in their ‘Speak Africa’ initiative (youth advocacy), as well as in environmental education, hygiene, and sanitation. She chaired the Addis Ababa Girls’ Forum, which facilitates discussion on issues regarding girls’ vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and lays the foundation for legislative intervention against sexual abuse. Zemdena was President of Addis Ababa Students’ Union, and was among 22 young African women writers selected for ’Writing for Social Change’, organized by AWDF and FEMRITE, Uganda. After completing the Fellowship, she will continue writing about social justice and aims to influence society’s behavior towards women by using multimedia platforms and research.

Addis Abera

Addis Abera has a decade-long experience in different public enterprises operating in areas of agro-industry, maritime and logistics services, commodity exchanges, and agricultural transformation. Addis’ professional experiences and skills primarily include market research, product development, strategic planning, and project management. Currently, he is a project officer of the Rural Financial Services Program at the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), which focuses on the strategic issues of strengthening rural financial institutions and ensuring liquidity in the rural sector. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Addis will return to the ATA and be part of the national endeavors of agricultural transformation in his country, Ethiopia. Addis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Haramaya University.

Kalkidan Ayele

Kalkidan Ayele has over three years experience in disabled and deaf women’s empowerment and HIV/AIDS prevention. Currently, Kalkidan is a manager for the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf where she focuses on promoting sign language and advocates for a better life for the deaf in Ethiopia. She manages different projects and monitors the overall work of the association. Kalkidan holds a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Addis Ababa University, where she focuses on gender and disability issues and their impact on the employment opportunities of deaf women and youth. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Kalkidan plans to continue her work with the association by focusing on the challenges of the deaf in Ethiopian society. She aims to find solutions through different projects, advocacy works and networking with similar organizations for the better life of the deaf in Ethiopia.

Zelalem Kibret

Zelalem Kibret has over six years of experience in various legal and communal affairs. Currently, Zelalem is trying to build his own virtual law office to help the poor. Moreover, Zelalem is an activist and a blogger who regularly campaigns and writes on the issues of constitutionalism and good governance. He volunteers on the university teaching Law and organizing debates, and has established a dialogue platform. Zelalem holds a master’s degree in Public International Law from Addis Ababa University, with a focus on individual responsibility in International Law. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Zelalem plans to establish a nationwide legal office in Ethiopia that helps peoples who can’t afford to pay for legal services.

Tinbit Daniel

Tinbit Daniel is a law graduate, dedicated to contributing to the improvement of the lives of children, especially young girls. She is now the Girls Empowerment programs director, leading a new innovative project to launch the new African animation series called Tibeb Girls. This series is intended to change the way girls are seen by society and by themselves. Tinbit is also wrapping up another project on the education of girls. She is challenging herself with the hope to work on much more progressive programs on the upliftment of females. She received the Youth Champion award by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Public Health Institute. She was selected as one of 18 youth champions. This award recognized Tinbit for being a leader and doing innovative and excellent work on the empowerment of girls, such as education and sexual and reproductive health rights.

Abrhame Butta

Abrhame Butta has more than nine years of experience working in academics and entrepreneurship. He focuses on agripreneurship, rural innovation, and smallholder livelihoods. Currently, Abrhame owns and manages his own company, Green Agro Mechanization, which offers services including mechanization, crop chemical and pesticide supplies, a farm credit service, and financial-literacy training. It aims to provide a one-stop farming solution and introduce a farm credit service in which poor farmers pay 40% in cash, with 60% paid without interest after the harvest. Abrhame received an MBA from Addis Ababa University and engaged in various consultancy, community, and entrepreneurship programs. Upon his return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he will expand on the farm service center project, with a focus on harmonizing all company services and reaching out to more young and women smallholders.

Linda Lapiso

Linda Lapiso is an electrical engineer and construction consultant with over eight years of work experience in the sector. Currently, Linda is a freelance consultant, who specializes in designing electrical building services for residential, commercial, and industrial developments. She also volunteers in community-development programs and speaks against the sidelining of women in society. Linda has received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she hopes to implement lessons learned from the program in her day-to-day consulting services and share newly acquired business skill in order to explore opportunities and inspire growth in her community.

Mehret Amsalu

Mehret Amsalu has over five years experience leading multiple maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) projects. Currently, Mehret is a PhD candidate in Public Health and Water at Addis Ababa University, where she is researching feasible solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene-related public health challenges among Ethiopian mothers and children. Mehret collaborates with international volunteers to end preventable maternal and child death in Ethiopia. She is focused on initiating, designing and implementing cost-effective MNCH units in her role as a project manager for Voluntary-Service-Overseas. She is also a volunteer mentor in a girls’ public school. Mehret holds a master’s degree in Public Health from University of Gondar, where she focused on public health challenges and their impact on development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mehret plans to continue her work in public health with an emphasis on access to quality health services for pregnant women, mothers, and children.

Enque Deresse Endeshaw

Enque Deresse Endeshaw has worked as medical doctor for over five years in different capacities, mostly in mental health. Enque did her specialization in psychiatry at Addis Ababa University. Currently, she is working at Lebeza Psychiatry Consultation PLC, where her main focus will be organizing training and treatment for Ethiopian migrant workers living in the Middle East and refugees. Enque has worked as the clinical head at a substance rehabilitation center, which was the first of its kind in Ethiopia. In her tenure as a clinical head, she trained and supervised other staff members. She was involved in the management aspect of the center, in addition to carrying out clinical work. So as to give back to society, she was involved in an outreach program that provided free mental health care to patients. Enque plans to apply and share the experiences she has acquired with both governmental and non-governmental institutions.

Lulayn Awgichew

Lulayn Awgichew is an entrepreneur who co-founded an agribusiness company. She is a deputy general manager of Bislet Agritech PLC, where she carries out the duties of setting strategies, marketing, and the management of company activities. She built on her extensive experience in development work to become an entrepreneur. Currently, she volunteers for several nonprofit organizations to support women and children and help them have better lives. She has vast experience in and passion for advocacy and child protection. Upon returning from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lulayn plans to continue her work to achieve her company goal of making food affordable to everyone in Ethiopia.

Minase Tamrat

Minase Tamrat has over 12 years of experience in software development, technologies, finance and sustainable development. Currently Minase is a general manager of a software development firm which he founded, where he also works as a systems architect and project manager. He has two startups underway which focus on an open financial framework and on integrated sustainable agriculture. Minase is a computer science graduate from HiLCoE School of Computer Science and Technologies. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Minase plans to continue to create a seamless, transparent, integrated and stakeholder-inclusive financial system framework for his country, Ethiopia.

Fanaye Feleke

Fanaye Feleke has 10 years of experience in law and development with a focus on gender. Currently, Fanaye is partnerships manager for Girl Effect Ethiopia, which works to positively reframe the image of Ethiopian girls. She focuses on identifying, initiating, building, and managing partnerships. She is also a partner in Setaweet, a feminist establishment which aims to bring about a positive change in the social positioning of women. Setaweet activism takes the form of public forums, women-only study groups, media engagement, and ‘Arif Wond’, an exciting program working with men to challenge patriarchy. Setaweet also delivers high-quality, tailor-made training and research. Fanaye holds a master’s degree in Law in Development from the University of Warwick, where she focused on gender and development. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fanaye intends to focus full time on her Setaweet work in feminist activism.

Mekbib Ayalew

Mekbib Ayalew is a social work and development-management professional. He has worked for the past three years in various NGOs, focused particularly on human subject protection and social development. Currently, he is working in the Africa Union Commission as a culture officer focused on assisting and managing the Campaign for African Cultural Renaissance and promoting the spirit of pan-Africanism and shared values on the continent. He also volunteers at the Addis Ababa Correctional and Rehabilitation Center of Juvenile Offenders (Remand Home), where he is responsible for coordinating social reintegration and rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mekbib plans to engage in increasing youth involvement in the promotion and protection of African world heritage, both nationally and within the African Union system.

Fregenet Zekiewos Gichamo

Fregenet Zekiewos Gichamo has over two years experience in a government university working mainly as a dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. As such, he is the chief executive officer directing and coordinating activities of the department and other units of the faculty. In addition, Fregenet works on youth development in her community by organizing a program called ‘Generation Empowerment Program’. She is also a volunteer in blood-donation campaigns in her local community and schools. Fregenet is a medical doctor working as a general practitioner in a hospital. She wants to study obstetrics and gynecology in order to strength her contribution against the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fregenet plans to continue her work on faculty development and against traditional harmful practices.

Yitemgeta Fantu Golla

Yitemgeta Fantu Golla has over four years experience in the energy sector, mostly in project design and management. Having graduated with his master’s degree in Energy Engineering from the Engineering School in France, he has been exposed to the production, optimal distribution and rational use of conventional and renewable energy in buildings, civil engineering, transportation, manufacturing, and the transformation industries. With his specialization in electrical energy, he is knowledgeable in the monitoring and control of electrical energy, as well as the design of projects that include generation, distribution, and renewable energy. In his most recent roles, he has obtained the title of procurement head and energy adviser at Herfazy Consult. He also leads the design and development of innovative acoustic panels and local solar food dryers. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Yitemgeta plans to strengthen his involvement in the energy sector in Ethiopia and East Africa.

Rigbe Hagos

Rigbe Hagos has over five years experience working on the inclusion of persons with disabilities. She has worked as a volunteer legal-aid counselor for women seeking free legal aid services. Rigbe is currently involved in her own private practice carrying out social consultancy for vulnerable groups. She focuses on awareness raising and disability mainstreaming training, counseling on self-esteem development, technical assistance on accessibility, and mainstreaming disability, and conducts research on related issues. She also works as a manager for a private limited company. Furthermore, Rigbe serves a board member and volunteer for the Association for Women with Disabilities Living with HIV, and takes part in other community-service projects. Rigbe holds a master’s degree in Social Work and an LLB. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her work towards promoting the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Bethlehem Haileselassie

Bethlehem Haileselassie has four years experience coordinating a street-child rehabilitation project in her home city, Addis Ababa. Currently, she works as a freelance writer but she also volunteers in two organizations that work on child care and education. In addition, she is in the process of establishing a social enterprise that produces leather handicrafts to create jobs for impoverished single mothers. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Bethlehem plans to launch the social enterprise and establish its social wing, which will initially comprise a community day care and after-school program for children of the single mothers who are trained and hired by the business. Eventually, the project will reach out to other children in the community who live in difficult circumstances.

Masresha Hirabo

Masresha has over six years experience in software development, especially in the area of machine learning. Currently, she works as a deputy general manager for eNet ICT Solutions, a software company that she co-founded. As deputy general manager, her responsibilities include administering the everyday operations of the organization, preparing schedules, and providing both managerial and technical support to all projects. In addition, she oversees the progress of projects and coordinates with managers, clients, and supervisors to evaluate approvals. She also works as a part-time research programmer, where she is responsible for the research and development of advanced systems. Masresha holds an MSc in Computer Science from University of Kerala, India, where she focused on Machine Learning and Image Processing. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Masresha plans to lead and expand the company to work on the development of more advanced systems that can solve daily problems.

Maryamawit Kassa

Maryamawit Kassa has four years of experience in various fields especially law, human rights, leadership, and peacebuilding. Currently, Maryamawit works with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in relation to preparation for the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa. Maryamawit works at the Center for African Leadership Studies, as a part-time research coordinator focusing on legal research and organizational assessment for leadership training. She also did volunteer work with the African Union Youth Volunteer Program and is now a member of Global Shapers, Addis Ababa hub, where she dedicates her spare time to shaping and effecting change in the community. Maryamawit holds a master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies from Addis Ababa University, which focused on African solutions for African problems. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Maryamawit plans to focus on homegrown leadership as a means for conflict prevention.

Muluken Nega

Muluken Nega is the founder and managing partner of Zana Landscape Design and Contractor PLC. Before starting Zana he worked with local and international businesses in the area of market research, business management, and entrepreneurship. This helped him develop the entrepreneurial and leadership skills necessary to start Zana. In addition to that, he has been taking online landscaping classes since 2009 from experts on landscape design, landscape planning, and planting. More than eight years of work with nonprofits that focus on youth development in Ethiopia has given him the awareness and passion to work in youth empowerment, mentoring, and social entrepreneurship. He volunteers in his community street-boys’ programs, and leads an informal network that inspires ideas, facilitates conversation, and stimulates positive action for changemakers in the community. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Muluken wants to focus on growing Zana into a leading landscape and social business in Ethiopia and Africa.

Selam Kebede

Selam Kebede graduated from Aalto University, Finland, with a master’s degree in Communications Ecosystem. Originally from Ethiopia, she also holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. During her college days, she was actively involved in organizing events related to startups, technology, and entrepreneurship, including the Slush event. She passionately believes in the potential of technology to change lives in emerging countries. She loves the ‘Africa-rising’ narrative and holds a black belt in World Taekwondo from Kukkiwon. She is currently working as a senior associate for Africa at Seedstars, and has traveled to more than 20 countries finding the best tech-based startups and bringing them to the world stage. When she isn’t working, she spends her time researching Ethiopian history and contemplating quantum physics.

Admasu Lokaley

Admasu Lokaley is a young peace practitioner who has worked for over eight years in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Admasu currently works as field facilitator for CEWARN/IGAD, with a work station in Nyangatom district. His work focuses on collecting and discussing information regarding the outburst and elevation of violent conflict among pastoralists. By analyzing and processing the gathered data, he comes up with alternative routes of local response. Admasu is the co-founder of a community-based organization called Atowoykisi-Ekisil Pastoralists’ Development Association (AEPDA), where he served as program coordinator and executive director. Admasu earned his MA in Peace and Security Studies from Addis Ababa University of Ethiopia, where he focused on the complex inter-ethnic interactions along a disputed piece of land called the Ilemi Triangle. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Admasu is inspired to continue his work on peacebuilding and advocacy for pastoralists’ rights to land.

Mesay Barekew

Mesay Barekew has been a lecturer at Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) for the last 10 years and teaches business management courses. He is a founding member of ASTU’s entrepreneurship development center. Mesay has been involved in volunteering activities in his local community where he helps children in need to get access to education and required materials. Mesay holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Addis Ababa University, focusing on business development strategies. After completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mesay plans to continue with his business development activities. He will work on establishing an incubation center for business startups in ASTU. He also plans to establish his own primary school with a special focus on creativity, science, and math. At his school, he intends to support children in need through a fee waiver and, depending on their situation, monthly subsistence allowances to support their living expenses.

Amanuel Lomencho

Amanuel Lomencho has over four years experience in community development and medical education apart from his work as a physician. He is the founder and general manager of Emerald Medical, a firm engaged in medical education, public education and promoting healthy and environmentally friendly cities through bike diplomacy. He volunteers in Educate Underprivileged Students of Ethiopia, a non-profit organization supporting education for Ethiopian students. Amanuel holds a doctorate degree in Medicine from University of Gondar. Following the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to continue his work in promoting healthy and eco-friendly cities, linking cities with a shared culture of biking, upgrading the quality of medical education through software based medical education, and serving as a bridge between Ethiopian medical schools and their counterparts overseas.

Mizan Welderufael

Mizan Welderufael has over eight years of experience in the electrical power sector. She currently serves as automated meter-reading lead at the Ethiopian Electric Utility, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program management office, where she manages the installation of automated energy meters on the outgoing feeders of substations. Prior to her ERP office, she worked in the Energy Management department as energy portfolio and logistics manager. She also worked for about four years as a system operation engineer at the National Load Dispatch Center of Ethiopia. Mizan received her degree in Electrical Engineering from Addis Ababa University, and is currently doing the thesis for her post-grad in Electrical Power Engineering. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, she plans to open her own business that fills the gaps related to power quality and reliability, energy efficiency, energy audit, and micro-grids that can improve access to electricity in Ethiopia.

Anteneh Asefa

Anteneh Asefa has more than nine years experience in the field of public health. Anteneh was a fellow of the Maternal Health Young Champion fellowship of the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he mainly focused on promoting respectful childbirth services in Ethiopia. Anteneh has also been part of the Emerging Voices for Global Health Fellowship, in addition to being featured in New Voices in Global Health during the World Health Summit, 2013. Anteneh is currently an assistant professor at Hawassa University, Ethiopia, where he provides academic service, research, and technical support to various organisations. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he strongly aspires to be one among the committed young leaders who will be shaping the future of African health systems by responding to the health needs of communities, especially women’s and children’s health.

Milha Desta Mohammed

Milha Desta Mohammed was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She has worked in the development policy field for over eight years, particularly in the climate change, water security, and agriculture sectors. She has worked at local level with nonprofit organizations and at regional level in intergovernmental organizations, namely the African Union Commission and the United Nations. Milha graduated from Addis Ababa University with a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences, and from the University of East Anglia with a master’s degree in Climate Change and International Development, focusing on water security. She currently serves as chair of the board for a youth environmental rehabilitation organization, where she promotes sustainable transportation and river rehabilitation. Upon her return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she will continue to advocate for a greener urban environment by promoting cycling in the city and river rehabilitation through sustainable waste management.

Rania Ibrahim

Rania Ibrahim, the service development director for Telemed Medical Services, is responsible for planning, supervising, organizing, and managing product development activities. At Telemed, a startup company that aims to increase access to health care for Ethiopians, she honed her skills of forging creative working partnerships with different organizations and individuals. She was a co-developer of the first TB/HIV patient-tracking system that helps patients adhere to their medication, and she is also the strategic and networking advisor for St Paul’s Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in the country. Rania also volunteers with Berhan Yehun, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve living conditions for impoverished children. As a Mandela Washington Fellow, she intends to further develop her skills in business development, aiming to expand access to medical technology and to learn ways to fully develop different possibilities of public-private partnerships to improve the health care system in her country.

Nurhassen Mensur Mudesir

Nurhassen Mensur Mudesir has over seven years experience in business development and community organizing. He is an electrical engineer by training, an entrepreneur and business development professional by practice. Nurhassen is a founding member and managing partner of the first online payment platform company in Ethiopia: www.yenepay.com. He coaches and consults startup and ongoing businesses under the Entrepreneurship Development Center, Ethiopia. He is a certified project management professional and business development adviser as well as a certified trainer and technical adviser for businesses and community organizations. Nurhassen provides professional and life skills training to business professionals and business owners. As a volunteer, he is passionately engaged in the designing and implementation of development programs that empower women and youth. Upon his return, he wishes to establish renowned international business leadership training, and a consultancy center and a venture capital firm that will enhance entrepreneurship and innovative leadership across multiple sectors.

Selamawit Wondimu

Selamawit Wondimu has over six years of experience in urban planning. Currently, Selamawit is a senior analyst at the Ethiopian Industrial Park Development Corporation, which is driving the country’s large-scale industrialization initiative. She works closely on a daily basis with her counterparts on the development of guidelines and standards for industrial-park developments, supporting capacity building, and supporting the operations of the parks. She owns and runs a maker space in Addis, where she provides cutting and engraving services for young entrepreneurs and makers. Selamawit holds a Master of Science degree in Human Settlements from the University of Leuven, Belgium, where she focused on spatial planning and networked governance and how it can enhance coordination in regional and urban development in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Selamawit plans to continue to expand her business while supporting the country’s industrialization and studying its impact on Ethiopian cities.

Loza Ruga

A graduate of Haramaya University College of Law, Loza Ruga has proven herself to be a person gifted with passion and multiple talents. In her early career, she has had an outstanding record of engagement in various sectors, including advocating for women’s empowerment, and volunteering in organizations working for the well-being of disadvantaged and disabled communities in sub-Saharan Africa. She was part of a team at African Union Headquarters that conducted extensive research on accessibility assessment for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Currently, Loza is launching the Ethiopian Association of Girls Guides and Girls Scouts, the first of its kind in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to establish an inclusive community-based platform aimed at enabling and capacitating vulnerable segments in Addis Ababa and then in the whole of East Africa.

Liyuwork A Shiferaw

Liyuwork A Shiferaw has over seven years of work experience. Currently, she is the director of the Maritime Administration Directorate, where she oversees the registration of ships and seafarers; the training, assessment, and certification of seafarers; the follow-up of inland water transportation; and the implementation of international maritime conventions at the Ethiopian Maritime Authority. She also headed the Policy and Legal Department, where she participated in the preparation of national policy, strategy, and legislation. Liyuwork received an LLM degree in International Maritime Law from IMLI, Malta, and an LLB degree from Addis Ababa University. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue empowering women in the maritime sector and using best practices to strengthen the maritime sector in Ethiopia.

Alem Gebru

Alem Gebru has over eight years of experience in diverse fields within the community-development sector, specifically on changing attitudes on disability issues. At present, Alem is an executive director in Women with Disabilities for Change, where she focuses on capacity building and creating awareness about women and children with disabilities in the community. She also volunteers in similar organizations by offering life-skills training and empowering women with disabilities. Alem holds a master’s degree in Special Needs Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Addis Ababa, where she focused on disability inequality and gender disparity within the education sector and their impact on development in Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Alem plans to carry on her work in disability equality with a focus on encouraging the rights of and equal opportunities for the disabled.

Asmeret Tesfahunegn

Asmeret is an experienced computer programmer, and a pragmatic and visionary entrepreneur with passion for problem solving and technology revolution in Africa and beyond. Self-disciplined and passionate about what she does, she is a talented, ambitious, and self-motivated web and mobile developer with a strong technical background. Asmeret graduated from USIU – Africa with a CGPA 4.0 in Information Systems and Technology. Having been involved in a couple of ventures, she has hands-on experience in business and product development in a typical startup business environment with extensive sales and marketing experience. Currently, Asmeret is the co-founder of IntellSync Ltd. In the company she is instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous IT projects, innovation, and strategic partnership management. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Asmeret plans to continue her work in IT to bring about sustainable, innovative, value- and technology-driven economic growth in Africa.

Dina B Tsehay

Dina B Tsehay is a Sociology graduate from the University of Mumbai, and has over four years’ experience in various fields of community development. Dina currently works as a project officer at a local NGO called MLWDA, where she primarily focuses on designing economic empowerment projects for marginalized women. Dina has also done various volunteer work in fighting against leprosy, child abuse, and violence against women in India, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Dina plans to continue her work in women’s economic empowerment and create a network for women to participate in cross-border business trade in the East African region.

Wachemo Akiber Chufo

Wachemo Akiber Chufo has over nine years of experience in different positions in Arba Minch University, Ethiopia. Currently, he teaches various courses in the field of Environmental Engineering and advises undergraduate and postgraduate students at Arba Minch University, Ethiopia. Akiber Chufo holds PhD degree in Environmental Engineering from Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China. His research areas are production and optimization of renewable energy from biomass wastes and development of solid-waste management methods. Additionally, he works in mitigation of climate change in the community using locally available resources. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Akiber Chufo plans to develop green energy-generation strategies for the community from locally available biomass wastes.

Kibrom Aregawi

Kibrom Aregawi is an assistant professor with over 10 years experience in teaching, research, and consultancy services in the Department of Management at Mekelle University, Ethiopia. Currently, he is the coordinator of the Center for Entrepreneurship Development. He is tasked with promoting an entrepreneurial culture and climate in the university community and beyond by organizing entrepreneurship training and providing support services. Kibrom volunteers in training, mentoring, and extending business-development support services to small and medium enterprise operators and students. Kibrom has also assumed various university leadership positions, including coordinator of the management program and head of quality assurance of the College of Business and Economics. Kibrom holds an MBA and an MPP from Mekelle University, and KDIS, South Korea, respectively. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Kibrom plans to continue and scale up efforts to expand community outreach in ways that will impact the lives of millions in the region.

Seifu Yilma

Seifu Yilma is Ethiopian and communicates in Ethiopian sign language. At the age of six he became deaf due to meningitis. He attended regular hearing schools and finished his master’s degree in Special Needs Education. He did his Bachelor of Arts in Ethiopian Sign Language and Deaf Culture. He has been serving in several public service activities voluntarily, that benefits the deaf communities in Ethiopia. Seifu served as chairman of the Deaf Association at the Addis Ababa branch of the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf. He’s also been serving as a board member for the Federation of National Association of Persons with Disabilities. In these commitments, he effectively discharges his responsibilities on advocating the rights of deaf people in getting decent employment, education and social welfare. He was also chairman of a committee at the Addis Ababa University representing deaf students. He is currently a guidance counselor.

Tirsit Retta

Tirsit Retta has over 10 years of experience in leadership and public mobilization in the community, and academia and charity organizations. She engages herself in humanitarian services through the Red Cross, Family Guidance Association and Missionaries of Charity to deliver medical services and health education to the poor and destitute. In academia she plans, organizes, directs, and monitors medical professionals who deliver health services to the public. Her unwavering interest in research led her to initiate the largest epidemiological study in Ethiopia, which examines 500,000 patient records to determine skin disease trajectories. Tirsit earned her medical doctorate degree from Jimma University and her postgraduate specialty certificate from Addis Ababa University. Her plan after attending the Mandela Washington Fellowship is to establish an evidence synthesis center in Ethiopia to produce high-quality research, and then inspire women and physicians in the areas of science, environment, and education.

Yilkal Yilkal-Wudneh

Yilkal has over three years of experience in various community service activities. Currently, Yilkal is an active participant in Debre Berhan University’s free legal aid center, which advocates cases for vulnerable sections of the society. Yilkal is also manager of the Northern Shoa Zone Blind Teachers’ and Students’ Professional Development and Cooperation Association. In these roles he follows up the legal aspects of its activities and designs and implements its various projects. Yilkal also volunteers in his association and trains blind members of the association on how to use computers with a screen reader program called Jaws. Yilkal has got his LLM from the Ethiopian Civil Service University. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Yilkal plans to continue his work in ensuring the right of access to information for the blind and to advocate for vulnerable sections of the society.

Amel Yimer

Amel is an executive radio producer for a popular and reputable radio station – 702, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Amel has worked in the field of family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/Aids on behalf of key players such as Pathfinder International and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. With over 10 years of experience in public heath communication and training, design, and facilitation, she now uses her media skills to produce a breakfast show that emphasizes the importance of positive leadership, accountability and dialogue about national affairs. Although a sociologist and filmmaker by trade, Amel, enjoys transcending the boundaries of traditional media to create new means of communication that can reach those in need of inspiration, empowerment and most importantly, a platform.

Tawetu Abreha

Tawetu Abreha has over five years of experience in various fields in the educational sector. She has been assistant professor at Mekelle University, system division officer at Meles Aerospace Science and Engineering Dynamics, and gender office head focusing on gender mainstreaming at the Ethiopian Institute of Technology-Mekelle (EiT-M). Currently, Tawetu is head of the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering at EiT-M, where she is responsible for the overall management of the school, including teaching and learning activities, research and community service, and local and international collaborations. She also volunteers in the Tigray Science and Technology Agency to coordinate the Girl’s Camp program. Tawetu holds a master’s degree in Communication Engineering from Addis Ababa University. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Tawetu plans to continue her work as a school head with a focus on school-to-industry and international university linkages, and girl’s empowerment.

Mahlet Tesfaye

Mahlet Tesfaye has over four years of public management experience in higher academic institutions and diplomacy. Her major areas of interest include gender issues and education policy reform advocacy, where she focuses on designing, implementing and researching on learning schemes. Mahlet worked as an educator and researcher signifying the importance of formal and informal education. She also volunteered in a book and database project that documents stories of hundreds of accomplished Ethiopian women, and served as a motivational speaker on different platforms focusing on education and youth. Mahlet currently works in the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Addis Ababa University. Upon return, she aspires to work on education diplomacy, education advocacy and the global initiative on education. Her long-term career plan includes working on influential research that could become recommendations to effectively address the challenges in the Ethiopian education system.

Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

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Bishane Whitmore Follows in Footsteps of Ethiopian Grandfather at US Military School

General Tilahun Bishane of Ethiopia and his wife Trisit attend the graduation of their grandson, Major Bishane Whitmore, from the Army Command & General Staff College in Kansas on June 10th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — When Major Bishane Whitmore, an Ethiopian American U.S. military officer, graduated last week with a Masters of Military Art and Science (MMAS) from the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he had a special family member in attendance all the way from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia who was also recognized at the commencement — his 96-year-old grandfather, retired Ethiopian General Tilahun Bishane, who had graduated from the same military school 46 years earlier as one of the institution’s first international students from Ethiopia.

At the ceremony the proud Ethiopian grandfather witnessed his American grandson receive not only a graduate degree in Military Art and Science, but also being honored as the top leadership student, from 1305 joint and international students, as the recipient of the Lieutenant Colonel Boyd McCanna Harris leadership award and an Art of War Scholar.

For Major Bishane Whitmore, who has already been selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, the highlight of the day was the presence of his grandparents from Ethiopia. “I was fortunate to have my grandfather pin on my Second Lieutenant rank at my commissioning ceremony 14 years ago,” Bishane told Tadias. “Attending CGSC was my way of saluting him and his legacy of excellence. My grandfather is the gold standard I work everyday to attain and if I am able to be half the person and officer he is I will consider my career and life extremely successful.”

His grandfather is a World War II hero of the Italian-Ethiopian war during which he provided medical assistance to wounded Ethiopian soldiers as a young dresser in his teenage years. He later served as the Director of the Army Medical Center in Ethiopia for 25 years. Prior to that, after independence from Italian occupation, General Tilahun attended Ethiopia’s Holeta Military Academy, where he completed his studies with distinction, and went on to attend Beirut American University where he graduated in Public and Military Health. According to family members General Tilahun Bishane was born in Harar province in the city of Jijiga some 96 years ago in the Eastern part of Ethiopia. During his long career as the Director of Ethiopia’s Army Medical Center, he was instrumental in recruiting and sending young medical doctors abroad and having them serve the Ethiopian Army. Due to the cordial relationship that Ethiopia had with USA at the time, he was able to attend Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in Leavenworth, KS in 1968. Immediately after his return to Ethiopia he was named Brigadier General by Emperor Haile Selassie. He served at the 3rd Army Division in Harar as well as in Eritrea. Two years after the start of the Marxist revolution, he asked for retirement and was approved in 1976. In his retirement age General Tilahun Bishane served as an Ethiopian Red Cross volunteer for over four decades, and became the recipient of Red Cross’ highest volunteer award.

General Tilahun Bishane and Major Bishane Whitmore show their CGSC class rings. (Courtesy photo)

Photo from General Tilahun Bishane’s yearbook at Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC).

His grandson, Major Bishane, added: “The school was gracious enough to recognize him during the opening remarks and as a grandson there is nothing better than offering your grandfather the moment of respect and dignity he deserves.”

Below are more photos from Major Bishane Whitmore’s CGSC Graduation:

Major Bishane Whitmore’s family at his graduation from the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas on June 10th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

General Tilahun Bishane and his grandson U.S. Major Bishane Whitmore at the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas on June 10th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

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Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing

Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), speaking at the White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 17th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — On June 8th, 2016 the White House Office of Public Engagement convened its first Ethiopian American Policy Briefing where leaders representing a diverse sector of the community — including non-profits, small business ventures, young professionals organizations, faith-based groups and academia members — attended and participated in the historical gathering. Tadias Magazine was honored to attend the briefing.

Hosted by senior administration officials Daniel Yohannes, U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, and Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the briefing was organized by Henock Dory of the White House Office of Public Engagement with panels moderated by Dr. Menna Demissie, Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The briefing focused primarily on the Obama Administration’s domestic policy priorities through panel discussions presented by Administration experts featuring White House initiatives in education, healthcare, criminal justice reform, small business policy and civic engagement.

The purpose of the event was to brief leaders from the growing Ethiopian American community – students, faith leaders, young professionals, and business leaders – on Administration priorities, while also offering a forum for White House officials to hear directly from the community on issues facing Ethiopian Americans in United States.

Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and former CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation gave the opening remarks encouraging greater civic engagement among the Ethiopian American community.

“While I’m very proud of my heritage, history, culture, and tradition of Ethiopia, I am equally proud of the unmatched opportunity that this country, the country that I chose, has provided to me,” Ambassador Yohannes shared. “America’s melting pot is the recipe for success, and as daughters and sons of Ethiopia born there, or the first, second and third generation born here we’re a part of that mix. I stand before you precisely because I’ve been where you are today. I can tell you first-hand that what we make of our immigrant experience is up to us. So I encourage you to get informed, get educated, and get involved.”

Ambassador Yohannes summed up his key message of getting informed by stating: “Whether we teach ourselves something new on our own, or attend this country’s best schools, never stop learning. Education is key.” He also called for civic engagement at the local, state, and national levels and emphasized that “we should not stay on the sidelines, insulated or isolated. Rather we must help the community we call home, contributing our talents whether it’s in our schools or communities.”

Henock Dory of the White House Office of Public Engagement. (Photo: Tsehai Publishers)

Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. (Photo: Tsehai Publishers)

The White House Office of Public Engagement shared helpful resources for further engagement opportunities during the briefing including information on the Reach Higher Initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, Health Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, and the Minority Business Development Agency.

Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Yohannes Abraham, gave the closing remarks and encouraged the continuation of this dialogue in the wider Ethiopian American community.

White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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Ethiopia’s Zoma Contemporary Art Center

The Zoma Contemporary Art Center was founded in 1982 and took seven years to complete. Each of the center’s buildings has unique features inside and out. (Photo: Meskerem Assegued)

The New York Times


Zoma Contemporary Art Center Links Local and Global

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Outside the walls of the Zoma Contemporary Art Center, the distinct chaotic clatter of Addis Ababa — goats bleating at a nearby market, cars kicking up dust on the dirt road — fills the air.

Yet inside the compound that houses the center is a haven of calm. Birds chirp in the trees that surround the courtyard, which is paved in flagstones decorated with images of turtles and lizards.

“It’s a space that hugs you,” Meskerem Assegued, the center’s co-founder and director, said in an interview in late January as she sat at an outdoor table having coffee, and pointing out some of the artworks created by her co-founder, the artist Elias Sime.

“The whole place is a sculpture,” Ms. Assegued said, describing the architectural space of the center and its programming. “It is not a place where one plus one equals two, but where one plus one equals three.”

Trying to add up what Zoma does is indeed challenging, as the physical space is a work of stunning vernacular architecture and art, while the programming is grounded in Addis Ababa and focused on an international stage.

The noncommercial gallery at Zoma has become one of the most important art institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, funding projects through small grants and the selling of Mr. Sime’s work to collectors and museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The center’s workshop programming has included internationally known artists like David Hammons from the United States and Ernesto Novelo, a Mexican who was so inspired after his residency at Zoma that he developed a similar program in his home country, calling it the ZCAC Yucatán.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

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Lawsuit: Ethiopian American Attorney Death ‘Suicide’ Ruling Doesn’t Add Up

Gugsa Abraham Dabela. (Family photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Two years ago Gugsa Abraham Dabela (also known as Abe), a young and successful Ethiopian-American attorney, was found dead after a car accident in Redding, Connecticut. Gugsa’s body was discovered by police with a gunshot wound to the back of his head, but within hours the authorities had declared his death a suicide — a ruling that has been vigorously disputed by his family and local civil rights organizations. Last Summer the Connecticut NAACP launched its own independent inquiry into the case saying that “it had a lot of questions concerning the incident and the investigation, including whether the Redding Police Department rushed to judgment.”

This month, the family announced that they have filed a lawsuit against the City of Redding and individual police department employees, saying they believe there has been a cover up. “Somebody killed my son. He didn’t kill himself,” says his father Dr. Abraham Dabela.

“The most shocking thing to me is how quickly and unequivocally this was ruled a suicide,” says attorney Solomon Radner. “When a person is found with his car in a ditch and bullet in his head, how is that not going to be investigated as a crime, even if an investigation is done and several months later they conclude this was a suicide?”

Per Crime Watch Daily: “Just as surprising, police made the announcement before even informing Abe’s family, who learned the tragic news in a phone call from his landlady. Doctor Abraham Dabela says he called the police and was told his son had died in a car crash. But the family wouldn’t find out Abe had been shot dead until he was told by the medical examiner, and only learned it was suicide from the news.”

Gugsa was born and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. His father Abraham, a physician, and mother Ellene are both immigrants from Ethiopia. Gugsa was the Dabela’s only son. According to his family, Gugsa, who was 35 years old when he died in April of 2014, moved to Redding in 2011 to open his own law practice.




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

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Ethiopian American Multi-Medium Artist Miku Girma at Pop-Up NYC Street Show

Artwork by Miku Girma, 'Family.' (Courtesy of the artist)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In college, Ethiopian-born artist Miku Girma studied textile surface design, which led him to launch Rep Worldwide — a multi-medium art business venture which produces art, clothing and accessories. This week, Miku (also known by his street name Rep1) along with his mentor Larry Toth will be exhibiting their current and previous art works in a pop-up gallery at 265 Bowery in New York City.

“His curiosity for art came from the many stamps his mother used to get him as a child,” notes the event’s announcement. “Now as an adult he has been showcasing his unique, sometimes political artwork on the streets of New York City and other major cities.”

Miku, who currently lives and works in NYC, was born in Addis Ababa and moved to New York at a young age. He has been part of NYC’s street art scene for more than a decade.

“Mankind has always made art outdoors from cave drawings to Egyptian pyramid hieroglyphics because it is open for everyone to see & read the message,” Miku says.

Artwork by Miku Girma, ‘Collage.’ (Courtesy of the artists)

Artwork By Miku Girma. (Courtesy of the artists)

Artwork By Miku Girma, ‘self portrait.’ (Courtesy of the artists)

The announcement adds that “Miku also took some time off from city life and the art world to learn organic farming where he studied Natural Process Farming. He is staunch believer that we are what we eat and food is our medicine.”

“By mixing his multicultural background with the current underground culture, he comes up with a fusion of edgy art.”

If You Go:
Pop Up Show – “Streets Are Talking”
Miku Girma with Larry Toth
Thursday, June 16, 2016
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
265 Bowery
New York City
NY 10002-1201
More info at www.facebook.com/events/730107777092570/

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Face2Face Africa Honors Marcus Samuelsson at 2016 FACE List Awards

The FACE awards, which celebrates Pan-African achievements, will be held on Saturday July 9th in New York. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Renowned Ethiopian American Chef, Restaurateur and Author Marcus Samuelsson is one of the honorees for this year’s FACE List Awards. The annual awards ceremony, which celebrates African role models from the around the world, will be held on Saturday July 9th in New York City.

“Face2face Africa is excited to announce our incredible honorees for this year’s FACE List Awards, the most prestigious celebration of Pan-African achievement,” the organization said in a press release. In addition to Samuelsson, who will be recognized with the Global Ambassador Award, other recipients of the 5th Annual FACE List Awards include Editor-In-Chief of Essence Magazine Vanessa De Luca (Media Award) as well as Grammy award-winning Artist and Humanitarian Wyclef Jean (Pioneer Award for Impact in Music), and Rosa Whitaker, Founder, CEO and President of The Whitaker Group, who will be receiving the Trailblazer Award.

Besides Marcus Samuelsson the only other Ethiopian-born individual to make the Face2face Africa list is Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, who received the Entrepreneur Award in 2014 for her pioneering work as Founder and CEO of the international footwear brand SoleRebels.

“Dubbed the Pan-African achievement honors, The F.A.C.E. List Awards celebrate the icons and heroes of today who have paved the way for the younger generation and impacted the discourse on pan-Africa’s image, its future, and potential,” Face2Face said in a press release. “As the capstone event of the Pan-African weekend, the awards gala brings the business community together for an unforgettable celebration of the success stories emerging within the Pan-African community each year.”

“Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, and currently residing in New York City, Marcus Samuelsson is a citizen of the world,” the announcement adds. “He learned to love and appreciate local food at a young age and has taken that love to opening up Red Rooster, a vibrant eatery in the heart of Harlem. Samuelsson is also the youngest chef to ever receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times, was the winner of “Top Chef Masters” Season 2, and also served as the guest chef for the Obama administration’s first State Dinner.”

“In the 5th-year anniversary of Face2face Africa, this year’s honorees are a group of inspirational heroes with uniquely fascinating stories to tell,” the press release stated. “They have made a tremendous impact in their respective fields and have left a legacy that will forever shape and influence the Pan-African community.”

If You Go:
2016 FACE List Awards
Saturday July 9th
ESPACE Ballroom
635 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 967-7003
Pre-reception/Red-Carpet will commence at 6:30 p.m.
Promptly followed by dinner and the awards show.
Guests will enjoy a delectable full-course dinner.
The Pan-African Weekend is Presented by Prudential Financial Inc.
Tickets, Group Registration, and Advertising are available.
For more info: E-mail info@f2fafrica.com.

Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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Spotlight on Ethiopian American Basketball Player Krubiel Workie

Krubiel Workie is an Ethiopian American basketball player currently training with the Denver Nuggets. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A son of refugees Krubiel Workie was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado — a suburb of Denver that is home to a sizeable population of immigrants from Ethiopia. A talented basketball player, Krubiel is presently training with The Denver Nuggets.

“I was invited by former Nugget Anthony Carter and Steve Hess, Coach for Strength and Conditioning, to practice with the Nuggets,” says Krubiel, who graduated from St. Joseph College in Maine in 2015. “I have been with the Nuggets every Summer since 2012. Currently, I am training at Chauncey’s Gym everyday.”

“The game of basketball is not just a game for me, it’s my life,” Krubiel tells Tadias. “I grew up in the rough side of Denver and basketball kept me out of trouble. I would wake up everyday and the only thing I could think about was the game. And I believe that if I can put my mind to it anything is possible.”

Watch: Krubiel Workie College Basketball Highlights:

“I got my work ethic from my immigrant parents. They instilled in me the importance and the sense of hard work,” says Krubiel. “My father used to say: Do you want to have fun now and struggle later? Or you want to work hard now and have fun later? It’s your choice.”

Krubiel’s strong work ethic is helping him prepare for an upcoming basketball boot camp this Summer in Nevada where professional basketball coaches, agents and recruiters will be scouting for new NBA talents.

Krubiel Workie. (Courtesy photo)

Krubiel Workie with his father. (Courtesy photo)

You can connect with Krubiel Workie on Instagram at krubiel_workie or on Twitter @blessed1flight.

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White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

At the White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing on Wednesday, June 8th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Over the years the Obama Administration has made unparalleled efforts to reach out to the African community across the United States, and we’ve had the opportunity to participate in several briefings at the White House. Yesterday, the first Ethiopian-American Policy Briefing was organized by Ethiopian-American White House & Congressional staff and we were honored to attend as one of many community members.

Ethiopian Americans from diverse sectors including youth, professional, and faith-based organizations as well as academia, non-profit and small business ventures participated in the briefing.

We’ll be sharing more details of highlighted White House initiatives focusing on education, healthcare, small business, and civic engagement on our site shortly to continue the dialogue with the wider community.

Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing

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In 1935, Mussolini Wanted to Make Italy Great Again, So He Invaded Ethiopia

In March 1896, when Benito Mussolini was just 13 years old, Italy suffered a crushing and humiliating defeat at the Battle of Adwa. This was the capstone battle in the First Abyssinian War (1895-1896).

The Daily Beast

The War that Inspired The Daily Beast

In 1935, Benito Mussolini wanted to make Italy great again, so he invaded Ethiopia. The war boosted his popularity but also inspired one of the 20th century’s greatest satires.

I love Italy, and Italians, but I must admit that sometimes their relationship with their history can be confusing. Traipsing across that beautiful peninsula, going from battlefield to castle to landing beaches, I kept running across one item that threw me for a loop… busts of Italian dictator-for-life, Axis leader, enemy of America and founder of the Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini.

Yeah, seriously.

It turns out that in some parts of Italy, most noticeably in the general region south of Rome, “Il Duce” (“The Leader”) is still held in some reverence. This is not the time or the place to dive into the social, political and cultural history of Italy in order to fully grok how it is that one of the three government leaders of the Axis is still admired, in public, in the 21st century. It is enough to notice that there are some parts of their history to which the Italians cling, however illogically. Indeed, one could say that the Italian most affected by this tendency was Mussolini himself. It was an inclination that led to the real opening moves of what would become the Second World War. And it was where this news website would get this unique name, albeit indirectly.

In March 1896, when Benito was just 13 years old, Italy suffered a crushing and humiliating defeat at the Battle of Adowa in what is now Ethiopia. In that battle the Italians had approximately 6,000 of their men killed and about 3,000 captured out of a force that numbered around 15,000, though most of those were not actually Italians. This was the capstone battle in the First Abyssinian War (1895-1896).

Read more »

Interview with the Director & Producer of “If Only I Were That Warrior”

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Video: Israel Honors Ethiopian Jews

A memorial ceremony for Jewish immigrants who died on the way to Israel from Ethiopia, June 5, 2016‏. (Photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Jerusalem Post

Thousands Attend Memorial Held for Ethiopian Jews Who Died On the Way to Israel

At a ceremony Sunday memorializing those who perished en route from Ethiopia to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to eradicate racism in Israeli society.

“This is an alarming phenomenon among us. It’s something that is unacceptable,” he said at the national memorial ceremony held on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl. “We are against this with all our might, and it has no place in Israel. You are the flesh of our flesh, an integral part of our nation, equal among equals.”

The names of more than 1,500 Ethiopian Jews who set out for Israel but died on their trip, most in Sudan, are engraved on a monument at Mount Herzl.

Every year a ceremony is held to commemorate them on the eve of Jerusalem Day, in honor of their lifelong – but unfulfilled dream of reaching Jerusalem.

Read more and watch video at Jerusalem Post »

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Muhammad Ali the Social Activist: Photo by Chester Higgins

Muhammad Ali around 1971 when he was fighting his prison sentence. (Photo: By Chester Higgins, Jr.)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, June 5th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The above photograph of Muhammad Ali was taken in the early 1970′s by retired New York Times Photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. at WNET public television station in the New York area during a show called “Soul” hosted by Nikki Giovanni. At the time, Ali was appealing his conviction of draft evasion after he refused the U.S. Army draft based on his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. He had been stripped of his world championship title and sentenced to jail.

“What made Muhammad Ali so special is that he was so smart,” Higgins, who was then working as a studio photographer for WNET, told Tadias. “One thing that I was looking for in that picture is not Muhammad Ali the fighter that people were obsessed about at the time or Muhammad the minster in Islam, none of that would have happened without his innate brilliance and smartness. That’s what I was looking for in that picture. You see him thinking. He was an independent thinker. He didn’t need anybody else telling him what to say. I think the photo captures his brilliance.”

“It took three years for his conviction to go all the way up to the Supreme Court to be overturned,” Higgins adds. “In those three years he went on college speaking tours, and talked on television, radio, to newspapers and everywhere.”

Watch: Nikki Giovanni interviews Muhammad Ali (WNET)

Regarding Ali’s first professional loss against heavyweight champ Smokin’ Joe Frazier, only months after returning to boxing following his suspension, Higgins emphasizes: “Some people suggest that when he went back to fight he was not in good shape because he was not training in those years and his body was not tight anymore because he was living in this period of uncertainty.”

On Ali’s famous ways with words Higgins says “Poetry was his way of expressing his wisdom in parables to make people think deeper about things. It provided him with more like shorthand cut to a much longer discussion on social issues because he wrapped it up in short form. It’s like a piece of food that people can always go back to.”

But Higgins also has his own personal memory of what Muhammad Ali meant to the world.

“Years ago I was almost arrested in Mauritania and just a mention of Muhammad Ali’s name got me out of trouble,” says Higgins whose many iconic photographs of world-renowned historic figures include images of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Haile Selassie and Kofi Annan.

“This speaks to the universal fame of Muhammad Ali,” wrote Higgins on Facebook. “In 1973 I was spending part of the Summer in Senegal when I heard that the enslavement of African people by the Arabs in Mauritania was still legal. With my camera, I traveled to the northern border to cross over and have a look with the hope to showing this horrible situation. While waiting for my visa application to be approved in the guard compound, I saw this elderly African man whose job seemed to be a caretaker. After gaining his permission, I made a photograph of him. From inside the house, a big uproar could be heard from the Arab Captain of the guards who came to the front and ordered me to be brought to him. The interrogation began and my film was confiscated. With my almost non-existent French, the cold look on the Captain’s face would not soften. A half hour later, I mentioned the name Martin Luther King. No response. Then I put up my fist and said Muhammad Ali. Being Muslim, the Captain’s face went from firmness to a slight bit of openness, perhaps, thinking that I was somehow connected to the most famous Muslim in the world. In the end, my passport was returned, my visa application was rejected, and I was ushered out, back toward Senegal. That half hour made freedom feel so precious.”

Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali: Reflection by Photographer Gediyon Kifle (TADIAS)
Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dies at 74 (VOA)

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Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali: Reflection by Photographer Gediyon Kifle

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali. who was named Sportsman of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated magazine, passed away late Friday on June 3rd, 2016. He was 74. (Photograph © Gediyon Kifle)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 4th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In honor of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Friday at the age of 74, Ethiopian American photographer Gediyon Kifle shared with Tadias the photograph above of the former world heavyweight boxing champion. Gediyon took the photo in 2013 at an event in Washington, D.C.

“I always remember his self confidence, his humanitarian work and his uncompromising stand for what he believed in,” Gediyon recalled about the brief time he spent photographing the iconic figure. “He was just a very down-to-earth guy,” Gediyon said. “We were chatting, and at the end he reached out and shook my hand.”

Ali, who had struggled with Parkinson’s disease for the past three decades, died on Friday, June 3rd, 2016 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona surrounded by his children and extended family who had gathered around him from across the United States, a spokesman for the Ali family, Bob Gunnell, told the media.

“Parkinson’s is a place that hides you instead of bringing you out,” Gediyon said. “But Ali used his illness to bring awareness to this debilitating disease, which also recently took away one of my mentors Jim Jones, a great photographer. So all the way to the end Ali never stopped being a fighter. And also a peaceful man.”

“He was the greatest fighter of all time but his boxing career is secondary to his contribution to the world,” promoter Bob Arum told the Associated Press early Saturday. “He’s the most transforming figure of my time certainly.”

“‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’, his cornermen exhorted,” writes AP, “and he did just that in a way no heavyweight had ever fought before.”

Photographer Gediyon Kifle. (Courtesy photo)


More photos at Gediyon Kifle Photography

Muhammad Ali the Social Activist: Photo by Chester Higgins (TADIAS)
Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dies at 74 (VOA)

Watch: Nikki Giovanni interviews Muhammad Ali in the early 1970′s (WNET)

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EDF Announces 2016 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows

From left: Sergut Dejene, Mariam Admasu, Kidist Tesfaye, Bethlehem Mesfin and Aster Mengesha Gubay. (Photos courtesy of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship -- EDF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship (EDF), which provides Ethiopian American youth with a 6-month fellowship to work in Ethiopia and participate in leadership and creative storytelling programs, has announced its 2016 Fellows.

“After receiving impressive and competitive applications from highly qualified members of the young Ethiopian Diaspora community, the selection committee chose the next five EDF fellows to pave the way for the new generation,” stated their press release. “We are very excited to announce members of the new class.”

Below are the names and bios of this year’s EDF Fellows:

Aster Mengesha Gubay

Aster holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations specializing in African Affairs and a master’s degree in Public Policy (M.P.P) from the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, at George Mason University. Alongside her studies, she served as the VP for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA) and worked closely with faculty, the student body, and alumni associations to ensure adequate African diaspora representation in policy discussions concerning the continent. Currently, she is an analyst/contractor with the Department of Homeland Security where she is expanding her consulting experience with the federal government. Prior to consulting, she was the lead Research/Grant intern with the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA). As an intern, she researched, compiled, and stratified demographic data, pertaining to African immigrants and coordinated capacity building and informational sessions for the District’s culturally and linguistically diverse African immigrant community. Aster is delighted to be part of the second EDF cohort, and looks forward to contributing to the diaspora’s impact on the continent.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aster-mengesha-gubay-75202138

Bethlehem Mesfin

Bethlehem Mesfin received her BS in Management, with dual concentrations in Marketing and Leadership & Consulting from Binghamton University (SUNY) in New York. Since graduating, she has been employed at Morgan Stanley, and is currently working as an HR Operations Analyst. She first worked on the Executive Compensation team, evaluating and administering deferred compensation. As an analyst on the HR Operations team, she works on the firm-wide Performance Management system by processing the full lifecycle of annual performance evaluations. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Pi, one of the largest co-ed professional business fraternities in the United States. Bethlehem is excited to become an EDF fellow in order to serve in Ethiopia, learn more about her culture, and find ways to contribute towards financial and technological development within the country.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethlehem-mesfin-3609a640

Mariam Admasu

Mariam Admasu is an Ethiopian-American from Portland, Oregon. She graduated from the University of Oregon in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Family and Human Services. During her undergraduate career she mentored high school students in the community through a program called ASPIRE. She also mentored incoming freshmen at her university campus through a program called IMPACT. She takes pride in mentoring and shaping leaders of the future. For her senior project she worked as a juvenile counselor at the Lane County Juvenile Detention Center where she was given the opportunity to shift mindsets of underprivileged youth. Collectively, her professional and personal experiences have lead her to realize that every adolescent needs a mentor and someone who believes in them. She understands the stigmas facing Ethiopian youth, and acknowledges that equipping our youth with leadership skills can capsize these stigmas. Mariam is thrilled to be able to use her experiences to help youth in Ethiopia break barriers through the development of confident leaders in their communities.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariamadmasu

Sergut Dejene

Sergut is currently a gift officer at the University of Chicago and works with alumni from the college to strengthen annual philanthropic support through the university’s reunion program. Prior to that, Sergut served as a program manager at U. Chicago’s Career Advancement office, and has experience building and leveraging relationships with stakeholders both in the U.S. and in Asia. Additionally, Sergut is the Founder and President of the Auxiliary Board for the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, where she leads young Ethiopian professionals in the planning and execution of various social events. More recently, Sergut founded the city’s annual Ethiopia Fest where she led marketing efforts and established partnerships with Ethiopian-American entrepreneurs. Sergut is elated to join EDF and learn how she can leverage her experiences to tackle challenges facing Ethiopia’s entrepreneurship sector. Sergut holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sergutdejene

Kidist Tesfaye

Kidist Tesfaye is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota where she obtained her Bachelors of Individualized Studies. Her undergraduate studies included focusing on public health, global studies, and strategic communications with a minor Spanish. She has been affiliated with or served on the Board for the Ethiopian Student Association, Students for the Horn of Africa, Black Motivated Women, African Student Union, and the Undergraduate Public Health Association. Her direct involvement in a variety of student and non-profit organizations like the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa is a reflection of her dedication to bridging the gap between the diaspora and her country of origin. Kidist has spent the last five years working at TCF Bank. As a member on the management team she has developed exceptional leadership and operational skills. She also committed over 4 years to volunteering at the Methodist Hospital where she has been a part of innovative expansions and operational efforts valuable for the advancement of healthcare in the United States. Kidist is looking forward to being part of the second cohort of EDF fellows. It has been her lifetime dream to contribute to the growth of hospitals in Ethiopia, and she is eager to be engaged in this effort through the fellowship.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kidist-tesfaye-46647bb1

You can learn more about the program at www.ethiopiandiasporafellowship.org.

EDF’s 2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows
Highlighting Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship

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Final Report of ‘Mechachal’ Study on Online Speech in Ethiopia Released

The final report of the 'Mechachal' study regarding the nature and quality of online debate among Ethiopians, led by the University of Oxford and Addis Ababa University, was released on June 1st, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, June 17th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This month, researchers at the University of Oxford and Addis Ababa University released their highly anticipated final report of the Mechachal study on online speech and debates in Ethiopia and the Diaspora. The study, which is the first of its kind to map the frequency of hate and dangerous speech in social media covering an entire country and its diaspora, combed through thousands of comments shared by Ethiopians on Facebook during a four month period last year just prior to and after the controversial 2015 national elections.

The researchers — comprising of an academic team that were either Ethiopian or had prior experience researching and working in Ethiopia — also looked at the nature, quality and behavior of online conversations among Ethiopians worldwide. Their findings call for more informed policy-making with regards to regulating freedom of expression and online discussion on social media platforms.

“These cases, and the findings emerging from the investigation of online debates on Ethiopia in general, suggest how important it is to distinguish between different actors and issues that are often bundled together in the broad label of ‘opposition politics,’” says Iginio Gagliardone, one of the Mechachal study researchers and an Associate Research Fellow in New Media and Human Rights at the University of Oxford.

In an interview with Tadias Magazine researcher Matti Pohjonen noted that “the collaboration with Addis Ababa University had begun in 2012 when we joined forces to understand what impact Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were actually having in Eastern Africa, beyond the hype that had characterized the campaigns to reduce the digital divide and use ICTs for development.” Pohjonen added: This effort also included other universities in the region, from Kenya to Uganda to Somalia. Mechachal emerged from the many conversations we had as part of that forum and we do hope that our efforts in Ethiopia could be scaled up in the region. We could learn a lot from comparatively analyzing online conversations in those countries.”

Asked about the generational gap in tone, behavior and quality of online debate among Ethiopians both in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora, Gagliardone said “it is difficult to assess the accuracy of data on age provided on Facebook, and the fact that Ethiopia follows a calendar that is different from the one used by Facebook (based on the Gregorian calendar), further complicates things. However, if we use the age of individuals involved in specific events debated on Facebook as a proxy (assuming users tend to be more interested in commenting facts involving individuals of their own generation), some noticeable trends do emerge. Ethiopia’s youth seems more inclined to adopt less contentious tones and embrace more universalistic forms of politics, while older figures and grievances tend to trigger more polarized debates.”

Gagliardone added: “One example is the detention and trial of six members of the Zone 9 collective. Despite the case attracted criticism around the status of freedom of expression in Ethiopia, both at national and international level, almost none of the analyzed statements about the Zone 9 bloggers were antagonistic. Almost at the opposite extreme, in terms of the level of political antagonism that they triggered, were debates bringing back tensions between the current government and long-standing political opponents. Berhanu Nega’s arrival in Eritrea in July 2015, for example, attracted much attention and encouraged a heated debate on Facebook. More than 40% of statements referring to the issue were categorized as going against. As an indication of how polarizing this issue was, and how it did not simply lead to focusing on a particular target, antagonistic statements were equally distributed between those attacking the government and those attacking Ginbot 7.”

The report states that “In terms of where speakers were posting from, most of them were from Ethiopia (42%), but a significant proportion was from outside of the country (22%). These figures could be considered as both confirming and refuting the narrative about online debate on Ethiopia being driven by the Diaspora. On the one hand, twice as many people are posting from within Ethiopia, but the fact that 22% of individuals discussing issues related to Ethiopia are from the Diaspora is a significant number, especially when considered in a comparative perspective.”

The research methodology included the collection of statements that either went against or were in support of an issue. Analysis of the data focused not on whether statements were made “agreeing or disagreeing, but about the tendency to take a viewpoint seriously and engage with it, or, on the contrary, to dismiss it and directly attack a person for his/her affiliation with a specific group…Speakers uttering statements that go against generally use non-insulting language, and they do not suggest, imply or call the audience to physical or nonphysical violence. Nonetheless, there are instances in which speakers use insulting/derogatory terms or metaphors.”

This study is a result of a two-year collaborative work between the University of Oxford & Addis Ababa University under the name “Mechachal,” translated as “tolerance” in Amharic. (Courtesy photo)

Regarding the distinction made in the research between hate speech and dangerous speech, Gagliardone explained that “dangerous speech is speech that builds the bases for or directly calls for widespread violence against a particular group.”

“Distinguishing it from hate speech may be important to understand how likely it is that words may turn into action,” Gagliardone told Tadias. “Our findings indicate that only 0.3% of statements fall in this category. He added: “Distinguishing hate and dangerous speech also enabled the research to spot some specific features that characterize the most extreme forms of expression. When compared to hate speech, as well as to other types of messages, dangerous speech reflects a more deliberate strategy to attack individuals and groups.”

Gagliardone noted that almost all dangerous statements in their sample are uttered by individuals seeking to hide their identity (92%). “This proportion is significantly lower for statements classified as hate speech (33%) and offensive speech (31%),” Gagliardone said. “In addition, while the majority of hateful statements can be found in comments, indicating a tendency for speakers to react angrily to what they read online, there is an equal chance of dangerous statements in posts or comments.”

“Shifting the focus from speakers to targets, dangerous statements appear to focus exclusively on ethnicity,” Gagliardone continued. “The salience of ethnicity can be found also in other types of messages. 75% of hate speech and 58% of offensive speech have ethnic targets, but they also target individuals based on their religion, and, to a much smaller extent, their sexual identity. This finding, more than others, is likely to be specific to the context of Ethiopia, where ethnicity has a central role in national debates, but it also offers new ground to explore some of the distinctive features of dangerous speech as compared to other form of speech.”

Part of the research team attending a methodology workshop in Oxford, December 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Below are the bios of key members of the Mechachal research team:

Iginio Gagliardone is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of the Witwatersrand and Associate Research Fellow in New Media and Human Rights at the University of Oxford. His research has focused on the relationship between new media, political change, and human development and on the emergence of distinctive models of the information society in the Global South. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Matti Pohjonen is a Research Fellow for VOX-POL, a European Union Framework Programme 7 (FP7)-funded academic research network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of Violent Online Political Extremism and responses to it. His work focuses on developing comparative and practice-based research approaches to understand digital cultures in the developing world. Previously he worked as an AHRC post-doctorate and a Teaching Fellow in Digital Culture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Abdissa Zerai is Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism & Communication, Addis Ababa University, where he focuses on the political economy of the Ethiopian media and ICT in the context of a democratic developmental state. He has been working on issues related to conflict reporting, political economy of communication, and the nexus between media, democracy & civil society.

Zenebe Beyene is Assistant Professor of Journalism and Communication, Director of Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communications at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and NAFSA Global Dialogue Fellow. Dr. Zenebe has taught in Ethiopia, Rwanda and the U.S.A. His publications include Media use and abuse in Ethiopia, the role of ICT in peace building, state building and governance in Africa (with Abdissa Zerai), and Satellites, Plasmas and Law (with Abdissa Zerai and Iginio Gagliardone).

Gerawork Aynekulu is reading for a MSc in computer science at University of Belgrade, where he focuses on data mining. He has been working on text analytics of online Amharic textual resources.

Jonathan Bright is Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, which is a department of the University of Oxford. He is also an editor of the journal Policy and Internet. He is a political scientist specializing in political communication, digital government and computational social science.

Mesfin Awoke Bekalu is a Research Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA. Prior to his current post, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven, Belgium and a lecturer in Journalism and Communications at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. His research interests include communication inequalities in the areas of health and development as well as media discourse analysis.

Michael Seifu is an independent researcher based in Ireland and has completed a PhD in politics from Dublin City University. He has been working on issues related to the politics of economic development.

Mulatu Alemayehu Moges is PhD candidate in the University of Oslo, at the Department of Media and Communication, where he focuses on conflict reporting in the Ethiopian media. He has been working as a Journalist in Ethiopian media, and as Lecturer and Researcher in Addis Ababa University, School of Journalism and Communication. 103

Nicole Stremlau is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on media and conflict in the Horn of Africa. She has worked extensively in Ethiopia, Somaliland/Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. As Head of PCMLP, she also directs the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme and co-directs the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute.

Patricia Taflan is Research Assistant at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, University of Oxford. She completed an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice, also at the University of Oxford, where she focused on online hate crime.

Tewodros Makonnen Gebrewolde is PhD candidate at the University of Leicester, where he focuses on productivity growth and industrial policy. He has been working on issues related to economic growth and development of the Ethiopian Economy.

Zelalem Mogessie Teferra is PhD candidate in International Law at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. His study focuses on the intersection between national security and the humanitarian norms of international law. He was previously an Instructor of Law at Jimma University (Ethiopia), Michigan Grotius Scholar in University of Michigan (U.S.A).

Below are the links to the final report:

Mechachal – Final Report

Mechachal Online Debates and Elections in Ethiopia. Final Report: From hate speech to engagement in social media (Full Report)

A Collaborative Study of Online Debate in Ethiopia Reports Marginal Hate Speech

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Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia Give ‘A Chance In Life’ to Young People

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — 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 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, who this week is wrapping up a trip to the Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Ethiopia.

“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.”

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

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.

To learn more about the newly inaugurated Boys’ and Girls’ Town of Ethiopia please visit their website.

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Race Weekend: Ethiopia’s Dino Sefir and Koren Jelela win Ottawa Marathon

Koren Jelela (L) and Dino Sefir (R) of Ethiopia pose after finishing 1st in the women's and men's category in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, on Sunday, May 29, 2016. (THE OTTAWA CITIZEN)

The Ottawa Citizen

Dino Sefir and Koren Jelela beat the heat and they beat the fields to win Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon titles on Sunday.

The Ethiopian runners pulled away from their nearest remaining competitors with between nine and 12 kilometres remaining and cruised to the men’s and women’s titles and their respective first-place bonuses of $30,000 U.S.

Sefir crossed the finish line on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway with a time of two hours eight minutes 14 seconds, 1:50 faster than compatriot Shura Kitata. The next three spots went to Kenyans Dominic Ondoro (2:11:39), Evans Ruto (2:12:55) and Luka Rotich (2:17:15), who finished second in the Ottawa race two years ago.

Following Jelela to the end of the official 42.195-kilometre course were 2015 champion Aberu Makeria (2:29:51) and two other Ethiopians, Sechale Delasa (2:32:46) and Makida Abdela (2:34:29), with Tarah Korir of St. Clement, Ont., claiming fifth place and top spot among Canadians with her time of 2:35:46.

Read more and see photos at The Ottawa Citizen »

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How Henok Tesfaye Built One of DC’s Largest Parking Lot Empires

Ethiopian-born entrepreneur Henok Tesfaye operates parking lots from Dulles to New York to Ethiopia. (Washington Business Journal)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, May 28th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This week, the Washington Business Journal highlights the inspiring story of Ethiopian American entrepreneur Henok Tesfaye who built his U Street Parking business — which now extends from D.C. to NYC and Addis Ababa — with very little startup capital but big drive to succeed.

“Henok turned $50 and a valet gig into one of D.C.’s largest parking lot empires,” notes The Business Journal’s feature entitled The Triumphant Park King.

“It all started at the surface lot on 18th Street in Adams Morgan adjacent to the bar Madam’s Organ. Now Henok Tesfaye leads a local parking empire.”

Read the full article at www.bizjournals.com »

Washington’s Ethiopian ‘car park king’ (BBC News)
Young parking lot czar is the face of Ethiopian success in the D.C. area (The Washington Post)

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Wosene Kosrof’s New NYC Solo Exhibition

Wosene Worke Kosrof, who lives and has his studio in Berkeley, California, is an Ethiopian-born contemporary artist who has achieved international acclaim. (Photo: Wosene.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Renowned Ethiopian painter Wosene Worke Kosrof returns to New York City next week for his latest solo exhibition at Skoto Gallery, one of the oldest and continuously operating galleries in the U.S. specializing in contemporary African art. Wosene’s upcoming show entitled Words: You Are Always New, features his new artwork that will be exhibited from June 2nd through July 30th, 2016. The artist will be present at the reception from 6-8pm on Thursday, June 2nd.

“Wosene Worke Kosrof’s recent work continues his long-standing exploration of the interplay between language, identity, aesthetic beauty and material using the language symbols of Amharic – one of the few ancient written systems in Africa – as a core composition element,” Skoto Gallery said in a press release. “His work is dense with visual complexity that reflects an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions. He relieves words of conventional meanings and, instead, explores their aesthetic, sensual, and visual content to speak boldly and clearly to a universal audience.” The press release added: “With Amharic calligraphy, Wosene explores the aesthetic dimensions of the script rather than producing legible text.”

“I am seeking the poetic or artistic value of the fidel or language symbols themselves, and I see my work as visual poetry,” says Wosene. “The writing in my painting does not tell a literal story, but rather a visual story. The Amharic fidel are extremely beautiful and have rhythmic and dancing forms. I ‘choreograph’ them on canvas, I cut them apart, turn them upside down, repeat sections of them to discover the beauty of written language and to think about how we communicate. I communicate with color, line and composition, rather than with sounds, conventional words and literal narratives.”

Painting by Wosene Kosrof. Through My Window III, 2015, acrylic on linen, 26×26 inches. (Skoto Gallery)

Wosene Worke Kosrof was born 1950 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and received a BFA from The School of Fine Art, Addis Ababa and a MFA from Howard University, Washington DC in 1980. He is an artist of international reputation, widely exhibited in Africa, Europe, Japan, the US and the Caribbean. Recent exhibitions include the Sharjah Museum Calligraphy Biennial, UAE, 2014; Transformations: Recent Contemporary African Art Acquisitions, Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2009; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ 2004; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 2004; and Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Gallery, London 1995. Collections include the National Museum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The Newark Museum, NJ; The Neuberger Museum at Purchase, NY; Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; the Fowler Museum, UCLA, CA; Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and The Voelkerkunde Museum, Zurich, Switzerland as well as many international private and corporate collections.

Artist Statement:

I am the first Ethiopian-born painter to transform Amharic script into contemporary abstract art, and these script-images have now become recognized internationally as my ‘artistic signature.’ Amharic, derived from the ancient language Ge’ez and a major modern language of Ethiopia, is one of the few written systems indigenous to Africa. Though Ethiopia has centuries-old traditions of two-dimensional art that include script, such as Coptic icon paintings underscored by written narratives, the script symbols themselves were never developed as a fine art form.

During the past thirty-five years, I’ve produced five major series of paintings in which I have defined an ‘aesthetics of script’: Graffiti Magic (1980-1987); Africa: The New Alphabet (1988-1994); Color of Words (1995-2003); Words: From Spoken to Seen (2004-2008); and, in my current series WordPlay (2009-present), painting has become an intense process of ‘dialoguing’ with the script images, exploring the versatility and playfulness of their surfaces and interiors, dissecting their ‘skeletal’ structures, observing the ways they move, interact, and intersect. I elongate, distort, invert, dissect, and recombine their shapes and volumes, and turn them inside out to discover their moods, tempers, and personalities. On canvas, the script images are divested of their literal meanings to become gesture, dance, music, movement, and stories of the human drama.

I don’t pre-sketch paintings; my process is inchoate and exploratory: the interplay of accident and intention, of mastery and uncertainty, of curiosity and discovery. Quick-drying acrylics allow me to easily build and destroy colors and figures on canvas. I use a wide-ranging palette, from bold primary colors to muted tones that look almost repellent on my palette, but that smoothly integrate into a composition; to black and white paintings with bare touches of color; to works in several tones of a single color.

Since my student years at the School of Fine Art in Addis Ababa (1967-1972), American jazz has asserted a significant influence on my painting. Like jazz music, the script provides a repertoire of dense, yet supple, elements that lend themselves well to visual improvisation. Jazz also influences my sense of composition: like improvisational music, the language symbols can be juxtaposed on canvas in nonverbal ‘word-plays’ to create a visual language of form and color, rhythm and movement.

If You Go:
Skoto Gallery Presents Wosene Kosrof
Recent Paintings: Words: You Are Always New
June 2 – July 30, 2016
529 West 20th Street, 5FL
New York, NY 10011
212-352 8058 or info@skotogallery.com

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In Harlem with Dr. Syoum Gebregziabher, Former Mayor of Gonder

Dr. Syoum Gebregziabher, pictured above at his home office in Harlem, New York, is a former Mayor of Gonder and the author of the book 'The Symphony of My Life.' (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Bethelhem T. Negash

Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Early in the morning, as the city stirs and the hum of cars and trucks grows more persistent, Dr. Syoum Gebregziabher, 85, makes his slow and careful descent from his bedroom to the ground floor of his brownstone house in Harlem. He grabs the keys from the kitchen counter and heads out to move his car from where it has been parked for the night. He adjusts his reading glasses before he starts the engines, and begins the monotonous task of moving his car to the center of the road until the city sweepers clean the street. He looks at himself in the rearview mirror, and the man who once was the Mayor of Ethiopia’s historic city of Gonder stares back. The Mayor of Gonder didn’t have to bother with parking or driving.

“It is like a jump from the position of a king to that of a pauper,” Dr. Syoum says. An awkward smile plays at the corners of his mouth. He pauses, then continues, “People ask me why I called my book The Symphony of My Life. Well, it is to reflect on the ups and downs and the highest and lowest points of my life,” he says as he makes a motion of rising and falling with his hands.

Gonder has been called the ‘Camelot of Africa’ for it had served as the capital for the Ethiopian Empire during the reign of Emperor Fasilidas in the 17th century and the Begemder Province up until Emperor Tewodros II, who then moved the imperial capital to Magdala at his inauguration in 1855. Gonder holds the remains of several royal castles and enclosures that provide the city with a distinctive atmosphere. During the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie Gonder was a semi-autonomous province, like Asmara and Addis Ababa, run under the municipality administration of mayors. However, the mayor of Gonder fell under the state’s Ministry of Interior and had to answer to the head office.

It was during a lunch break in 1972 that Dr. Syoum — who was then head of the Department of Public Administration and Associate Professor at the University College of Addis Ababa — heard an announcement of new government appointees by the Emperor. His name was on the list following the statement “Lord Mayor of Gonder.” He was dumbfounded. “I bolted out from Campo Asmara and went to the university to find out if indeed it was me,” he recalled.

Dr. Syoum has bittersweet memories of his years in power. In his book he recounts seeing his assignment as a challenge rather than a promotion. It is customary in Ethiopia to celebrate promotions, especially those to governmental offices and state postings. “The Emperor’s appointment was thought to improve the appointee’s destiny – a touch from the divine,” he recalls. Dr. Syoum felt differently. He saw it as “a leash” to keep him in check, but there was nothing Dr. Syoum could do to change the decree. He could neither challenge nor refuse the position. The Ethiopian constitution stated, “The personality of the Emperor is sacred and inviolable.”

“There were moments when I saw it as a form of banishment…. a misplacement,” he says while sipping hot tea one recent afternoon. “But the name was attractive: The Lord Mayor of Gonder.”

At the same time, in his memoir Syoum talks about his accomplishments and success as a mayor with great gusto. He writes, “I had skillfully and patiently, with calculated political risk, survived the intricacies of the centralized and absolute control of His Majesty’s government and succeeded to be popularly the accepted mayor who was able to show results in two turbulent years of Ethiopia.”

Dr. Syoum remembers what the Emperor told him upon his appointment as Mayor of Gonder: “When you know them, you will like them.” Syoum did come to like the city, the province and the people. He tried to recall the gifts he received from the people of Gonder during the farewell party they arranged in his honor. “The Gonder people, either they like you or they don’t. I was chosen.” His face brightens up with a smile, “They liked me.”

Dr. Syoum Gebregziabher. (Courtesy photo)

Growing up as the eldest son out of ten children from his father’s side and also the eldest out of the seven from his mother’s side, Syoum had the responsibility of being a good model to his extended family and relatives. This burden of duty incumbent upon the eldest son is reflected throughout his book. He describes how the role made him too wise and calculating for his age.

His father had always preached the importance of school in one’s life. Determined to make his eldest son a success, he sent him to the United States to study. Syoum recalls that upon returning to Eritrea, where his father was then living, he discovered that his father had published his picture in Eritrea’s Italian language newspaper. The caption read: Rientro di UN altro Laureato, or The return of the UN graduate.

As a child, Syoum didn’t get to spend the time he would have wished with his mother, father and siblings. After his father and mother were divorced, when he was just a few years old, he was sent from Dessie to Addis Ababa to live with a bachelor uncle who had studied in France and was working in the capital at a time when it was rapidly being modernized. His father thought that being surrounded by educated people would help and influence his eldest son. Dr. Syoum recalls himself becoming “a five-year-old boy with European dress and habits; I had become a misfit.”

“The European clothes I had brought from Addis and continued to wear alienated me from other children and caused problems. Children my age ridiculed me incessantly as a ferengi –[white person in the local saying]. I insisted on wearing regular Ethiopian clothes so as I could fit in, but my father was proud of my unique European dress and ignored my request.”

In his book, Dr. Syoum talks about how he he had confronted his mother, as an adult, because she had refused to rescue him by buying him traditional Ethiopian attire, which he had privately asked her for. “Her reluctance devastated me,” Syoum shared. “Later in life I reminded her that this was a crucial demand she should not have ignored.” His mother’s distance shaped and scarred him.

“He always commends me for my role in my daughter’s life. He tells me he wishes he had a mother like me and this really encourages me,” Says Linda Haile speaking about Dr. Syoum. Linda is his daughter-in-law who is married to his dentist son, Dr. Yohannes Syoum. “I love the way he treats his wife. I think this all has to do with the fact that he grew up without a mother.”

Dr. Syoum’s colleague and longtime friend, Dr. Yemane Demissie, adds that Dr. Syoum’s symphonic life is a result of belonging to an era in which seismic technological, social, cultural and political transformations were taking place. “Whether navigating Italian Occupied Ethiopia as a child in the 1930s, the segregated American South in the 1940s and 1950s as a young man, the highly politicized world of labor unions and universities of imperial Ethiopia as an adult, or the violent partition of Ethiopia and Eritrea as a mature individual, he adapts with much agility and wisdom,” Demissie says.

His father’s continuous support and his own tenacity and perseverance drove Syoum to pursue education at home and abroad. There were times when he considered becoming a priest to take advantage of further schooling, for the Italian regime rule didn’t allow locals to acquire schooling more than the fifth grade unless they were in the process of becoming a priest in Catholic church schools. When Haile Selassie came to power and opportunities widened, Syoum continued his secondary school studies. With the help of Dr. Talbot, Chief Editor and Journalist for the Ethiopian Herald, he won a scholarship to college in the United States and graduated from Monmouth College with a degree in History, and later pursued additional graduate studies at other universities. At the time, however, George Washington University had rejected his application as Blacks were not allowed to enroll.

Dr. Syoum shared that the refusal for enrollment taught him a lesson about how to frame other application letters and forms. He now wrote, he recalls, “I am a black, Ethiopian boy from Africa, and I intend to practice law in my own country. Can you give me this opportunity?” Several universities accepted him. He chose the University of Michigan.

There Syoum met his American future wife Juanita B. Green, a postgraduate in Middle Eastern Studies. She was 20 years old, open-minded and confident. Syoum “was impressed with her candor, sincerity and simplicity” and writes “We seemed to have a mutual attraction, both physical and mental. I fell for her.” Juanita remained in his mind as he made his way to Ethiopia after graduation and started working in Addis. All the other girls he dated at home couldn’t displace her in his heart. “I kept idealizing Juanita and continued writing frequently.” At last she agreed to marry him. They were betrothed in a simple ceremony in 1953 and honeymooned in Cairo.

While Mayor Syoum was battling inspectors and dealing with the municipality of Gonder, a movement was underway to dethrone the Emperor and abolish the feudal system. The Derg regime ousted Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. The new regime executed, imprisoned and tortured opponents without a trial or a hearing. In his book, Syoum writes that he was oblivious of the true nature of the revolution and the Derg regime. He was by now an organization and management consultant for the Ministry of Public Works. He worked with his team to abolish urban landlordism and feudalism by setting up a local self-governance system. He met and talked with Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, the chairman of the Derge regime.

“I witnessed a revolution eating its own revolutionaries, as the saying goes,” he says years later. The revolution in Ethiopia was spinning out of control and anyone who could evade the situation did so. Syoum describes the days of terror in his memoir. “Ethiopia nationalized banks, insurance companies and key industrial facilities owned by local and foreign private capital, restricting their sphere of activities in trade and industry by establishing state control over them.”

Syoum began seeking positions abroad. His goal was clear: as long as a new country would accept him and his family, he would work at any level of the economy. “It was an unsavory position and yet a realistic one.”

With the help of a friend working at the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) Syoum managed to get an exist visa from the immigration authorities in Ethiopia and headed to Lusaka, Zambia. From there he made his way to New York to start his life afresh.

It was November of 1978 and Christmas was around the corner when Syoum boarded the plane with a heavy heart. He was almost 60-years-old, a husband and a father of four. He recalls putting his hands in his pocket to make sure that the $200 dollars he bought from the black market were still there, his entire income and property folded in two currency notes. Gone were his four townhouses that were nationalized. The lands he had acquired over the years no longer were his.

The small country house in Nazreth that he and Juanita had sweated to build with the help of her parents was also in doubt.

The flight from Lusaka to New York was long and it gave him plenty of time to contemplate the symphony of his life.

“Nobody wants to help you when you are at your lowest,” he recalls. With a gesture of his hands he tries to emphasis the meaning of his saying, “Nobody.”

He found himself jobless, homeless and depending on his in-laws to sustain his wife and his four children. “It was a hard time; being a refugee and unemployed in the United States was the lowest point of my life.”

He nods his head back and forth as he said this wistfully. “I remember receiving a hundred dollar bill from a friend of mine, he gave me the money and told me to buy gifts for my family since it was the Christmas season.” He blinks his eyes for a second and pauses to collect his thoughts.

“But life has been kind to me and to my family,” he continues, recovering. He stretched his hands to show his accomplishments and his children’s by indicating the display of the family photos and awards all around him. He may have to park his own car, but his family has survived and prospered. It was an unexpected struggle, but he has been the model eldest son his father wanted.

You can learn more about Dr. Syoum Gebregziabher’s book ‘Symphony of My Life’ at Amazon.com.

About the Author:
Bethelhem T. Negash, who graduated this year from Columbia University School of Journalism, is a writer based in New York City.

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Q&A With Messay Getahun, Director of the Movie Lambadina’

Messay Getahun is the director of the film 'Lambadina.' (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tesfaye Mohamed

Published: Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) – The film Lambadina, directed by Messay Getahun, features 9 year-old Joseph who is abandoned as his father, Solomon, flees Ethiopia during the civil war. Nonetheless he eventually finds refuge in a home and grows up to fall in love with the daughter in the new family (Ruth), and eventually emigrates to the U.S. The film takes us from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles, and shows the resilience of a young man overcoming various obstacles in life.

Screened at the Pan African Film Festival, Lambadina, is scheduled to be released in theaters in Fall 2016.

The film’s director, Messay Getahun, was born in Addis Ababa and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Texas Tech, studying computer graphics as well as human sciences and Family Studies. Subsequently he moved to California. Lambadina is Messay’s first full feature movie in which he wrote, directed, produced, edited and sound designed. Lambadina is the work of three crew members. The other two include Justin Dickson (Director of Photography) and Hermon Tekle (Camera and Sound Operator).

Below is a Q&A with the Director of Lambadina, Messay Getahun:

Tesfaye Mohamed: Did you have in mind what your first movie would be about, was there a particular story you wanted to tell?

Messay Getahun: Justin — who works as a DP & Lighting Gaffer in TV shows and feature films in Hollywood — and I have always dreamed of a day where we would make a feature film with a solid content. Media is a powerful tool with an immeasurable impact. Much of the content I often saw wasn’t necessarily positive. Especially when it comes to the representation of Ethiopia and Africa. Every film that comes out of Africa that makes a splash is often coated with the “white savior complex.” It’s a narrative that makes the West look good while on the other hand demeaning Ethiopia or Africa. My heart wanted to tell a different narrative — a contemporary narrative film. An Ethiopian Film for a Western audience. If there is a message, I wanted it to be about life. We wanted to make real life movies. Stories that are honest, real, entertaining and satisfying to the souls of the viewers. In 2011 I decided to save money to start purchasing production equipment needed to produce a quality film. It took me two years to finish writing the script. We wanted to make a universal film. Something the older generation, the younger generation, Africans and non-Africans could watch. Finding a good balance was essential.

Tesfaye: So the movie credits state that it’s based on a true story. Can you say more about that, and whose story is it based on?

Messay: It actually says “based on true events.” Yeah, beginning part of the film has an element of true events. It’s a story of a split that happens between a father and son during uncertain times in Ethiopia. That portion of the story is actually my personal story. My dad was involved in politics. I was about 6 years old and a new government was coming to power, so I based the story from some childhood memories I had of an era that I thought was important for the source of the film.

Tesfaye: Now let’s talk about the name, The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the title was “Teddy Afro’s” music Lambadina, Does it have any relation with the song?

Messay: [laughs]. I do often get this question. I chose the title because of its meaning. Lambadina is an Ethio-Italian word which means “lantern“ or “night light.” The definition represented the theme of the film. The film is about overcoming the obstacles that life throws at you. Life is not always going to be bright and sunny, but our perspective and how we handle those dark moments can be our “LAMBADINA.” I also wanted a one-word title. Something foreign enough but yet easy enough to pronounce for the western audience.

Tesfaye: You shot part of the film In Ethiopia, can you tell me the locations used. Was it all in Addis or was it also shot in other parts of the country?

Messay: All of the locations in Ethiopia were in Addis Ababa.

Photos of scenes from the movie ‘Lambadina’, provided by the director Messay Getahun.

Tesfaye: How long did it take to finish the film?

Messay: We started shooting the film at the end of 2013. We went to Ethiopia and filmed the Ethiopia scenes first. We took a 6-month break for a number of reasons and we started shooting the U.S.-based scenes in late 2014. It took me all of 2015 to edit the film. Once the editing was done, I had to color grade the film, do the music mix, and finalize the subtitles.

Tesfaye: Did you have to ship in equipment from outside the country or did you find everything you needed?

Messay: I was given a filming permit to film in Ethiopia so it made everything easier to bring in our own equipment with us.

Tesfaye: Can you tell me about the budget, about the crew, how many people were involved in the making of the film, and were they Ethiopians and local residents?

Messay: The entire film was self funded. No outside funding was used, nor did I do any crowdfunding. The entire film was also done by 3 crew members which is astonishing when you think about it. When we mentioned this fact during a Q&A at the Pan African Film Festival there was a gasp among the audience. Many executives and jurors from the festival couldn’t believe it. Myself, Justin, and Hermon were the only individuals who worked on the film. Justin was the DP & Chief Camera Operator, Hermon was the Sound Operator and sometimes the Camera Operator. We rotated responsibilities as needed. I would direct and sometimes Justin would be the acting coach, other times Hermon would be the DP. We would work 19-hour shifts. Can you imagine a three-man crew doing all the work in Ethiopia? It was nuts. We would get up at the crack of dawn, load equipment, drive to the location, set up, do scene blocking, coach the actors, pack up, go to the other location and repeat the process. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but it made every minute worth it because I was working with people whom I loved and shared the same vision with. The actors in the film were mostly my friends who I knew had a passion for storytelling. I just asked individuals whom I thought would play the character well. Even the little kids were amazing. They were coachable. We did use two professional actors from Ethiopia — Hanan Obid & Seyoum Tefera were recommended to us through a good friend who worked in the film industry in Ethiopia.

Tesfaye: You premiered the film in Ethiopia first. Can you share more on how it was received?

Messay: The premiere in Ethiopia was fantastic. It was a private screening held on the campus of ICS. Michael Yimesgen who plays the “Solomon character” was in charge of putting together the Addis screening. Many people from the diplomatic circles and arts circles were in attendance. About 500 people attended the invitation-only event and it was received with a standing ovation. The screening was featured on EBS on their “Semonun Addis” segment. The trailer has gone semi-viral in Addis. We would get stopped everywhere we went. The demographics of the audience is what really made me happy. Older people, younger people, Ethiopians and non Ethiopians alike kept giving us incredible reviews.

Tesfaye: Was it premiered anywhere else? I know that it will be shown at The San Francisco Black Film Festival in June.

Messay: We are headlining the festival in San Francisco. The world premiere of the film was held at the 2016 Pan African Film Festival held in Los Angeles. We were the only film to have gotten sold out screenings in all our 4 screenings. Due to popular demand, there were additional screenings as well. We were also honored to receive the Audience Award for Narrative Feature as well as Special Jury Recognition-Director for First Feature Narrative at the 2016 Pan African Film Festival. We plan to do our own screening of the film in various cities including in Toronto during the Ethiopian Soccer Tournament as well as in Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle & New York between July & September. The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia is also hosting an Ethiopia premiere of the film at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa sometime during this summer. Our goal is to get a distribution deal. Either a theatrical release or a Video on Demand deal would be ideal. Yes, Netflix is likely once we are done running the festival circuit, the theatrical screenings and the inflight entertainment features.

Watch below the official trailer for ‘Lambadina’ [HD]:

You can learn more about the film at www.lambadinamovie.com.

About the Author:
Tesfaye Mohamed is a second year law student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. His interests include Civil Rights Law, Constitutional Law, Employment Law, and Contract Law. Tesfaye was born in Ethiopia and grew up in the United States.

How DC Native Kenny Allen Moved to Ethiopia

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Interview with the Director & Producer of “If Only I Were That Warrior”

Screenshot from the documentary film 'If Only I Were That Warrior.' (Courtesy of Awen Films)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Initially released last November the documentary If Only I Were That Warrior was shown in January 2016 as part of the “Best of African Diaspora International Film Festival” attracting much attention and dialogue among various communities including the Ethiopian and Italian Diaspora. This week, the documentary was also screened as part of the annual Sheba Film Festival in Harlem.

Following the dedication of a memorial to the Fascist General Rodolfo Graziani in the Italian town of Affile in 2012, and the subsequent outrage expressed by Ethiopians during a roundtable entitled “Honoring War Criminals: The Monument to Rodolfo Graziani” held at the Centro Primo Levi in New York, filmmaker and director Valerio Ciriaci decided to challenge the narrative of how Italians — specifically those supporting the right-wing establishment — continue to downplay the brutality of Italy’s colonial history. Filming interactions with residents and leaders of Affile, and including testimonies from Ethiopian elders who witnessed Graziani’s horrific war crimes, as well as the Ethiopian Diaspora’s mobilization against the memorial, Ciriaci weaves together various conversations in an attempt to reconcile viewpoints and memories without compromising the reality of life under Graziani during the occupation. While public funding for Graziani’s memorial was suspended by a new administration in Affile in 2013 the monument still remains standing.

Tadias recently interviewed Director Valerio Ciriaci and Producer Isaak Liptzin regarding their journey in the making of If Only I Were That Warrior. The documentary originally included interviews of more than 20 individuals with over 100 hours of footage in Amharic, English and Italian. We asked both the director, Ciriaci, and producer Liptzin to tell us more about what motivated them to document the controversy surrounding the Graziani monument and the dialogues that ensued.

“The whole thing happened after the construction of this monument for Graziani,” says Ciriaci. “We heard this news, but we were not surprised. Growing up in Italy we saw those kinds of displays and nostalgic manifestations all the time.” This was not an isolated case. The project really took shape when Isaak and I attended a conference organized by the Primo Levi Center and the Calandra Italian American Institute here in New York City. It was a conference about the Graziani monument and more generally about the fascist war crimes in Ethiopia. And there we met with members of the Ethiopian community and their reaction really shook us. They were outraged and very upset about the construction of the monument. That’s when the idea for making the film was sparked — to make a documentary about history, about memory, this fragmented memory because what we learned while making this film is that this memory is very fragmented — and it changes when you ask someone in Ethiopia or in Italy. We heard many different points of view and memories. We want to create an awareness about the Graziani monument and perhaps spark a dialogue that never took place. Especially in Italy those crimes have never been discussed, so there has been many years of amnesia. It’s a paradox but the monument is actually giving us an opportunity to talk about what happened, and hopefully to reconcile the memory of our two peoples.”

In his Director’s Statement Ciriaci shares that as he continued his research for the film he kept asking himself: “How can Graziani, who is remembered as ‘the Butcher of Ethiopia’ be honored in Italy with a public monument? How was this monument approved in a country where Fascism is constitutionally banned? This film is my attempt to unravel these questions.”

Producer Isaak Liptzin noted that the making of the film “was a mix of situations.” After establishing contact with members of the Ethiopian community in New York, Washington D.C. and Dallas, they met Kidane Alemayehu who was leading the anti-monument protest through his organization called 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’s interviews and mobilization efforts were captured in the documentary.

“Thanks to Kidane we were able to make some connections in Ethiopia,” adds Liptzin. “It was difficult to find eyewitnesses of the Graziani massacres because it took place so long ago. But we were fortunate to find a monk in Debre Libanos, and that was a very important interview because he is one of the few remaining witnesses to the Debre Libanos massacre.” The monk’s testimony is one of the few ever captured on film.

The goal of the documentary includes addressing “examples of revisionism like the monument itself” Liptzin says, “which is only possible because there is such great ignorance on the topic in Italy, abroad and to a certain extent even in Ethiopia. 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.”

“80 years after the invasion of Ethiopia, the case of Affile challenges us to take a first step toward better understanding the past and sharing its burdens,” says Ciriaci. “My hope is that If Only I Were That Warrior can spark a dialog about this common history — a dialogue we have avoiding for too long.”

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Spotlight: US Alumni Association of Ethiopia’s Tafari Makonnen School

Photographs courtesy of the TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Established more than 90 years ago in Addis Ababa as one of Ethiopia’s premier modern educational institutions Tafari Makonnen School (TMS) was one of the most prestigious public schools in Ethiopia, graduating students who became the country’s first batch of diplomats, teachers, doctors, civil administrators, economists, senior military leaders, lawyers and professors. Now renamed Entoto Technical & Vocational Education Training College, those enrolled at TMS were recruited and trained from a pool of the nation’s best and brightest students.

“We came from all over Ethiopia,” recalls Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, President of the TMS Alumni Association in North America and retired United Nations official who graduated from the school in 1967. The alumni association is currently preparing to host its third general assembly on May 29th in Washington, .D.C. In a recent interview with Tadias Magazine Dr. Bisrat noted that the alumni association was established in 2011 by some of the school’s former students who currently reside in the United States “as a networking platform and as a way to give back.”

“After all most of us got where we are today because of the solid education that we received at TMS,” Dr. Bisrat added. “So it’s important that we pay back and also give the same opportunities to others who are there now. Obviously, the nature of the school has changed but that does not mean the importance of a world-class education has. In this country, as you know very well, schools basically flourish and survive on the basis of the contribution that they receive from their alumni. So we wanted to do the same for our school.”

What had distinguished TMS during its heydey was not only its focus on high quality education and its diverse multicultural student population, but also that the education system “instilled a sense of duty and service to the community and country” Dr. Bisrat said. “It was not about thinking only of yourself. Those who could not afford it were given allowance and boarding, and most importantly, civic and moral integrity was emphasized as part of the curriculum.”

“It was a very strict education and if you succeeded in finishing 12th grade then you were pretty much guaranteed acceptance to a college,” Dr. Bisrat continued. “And certainly more than 99% if not 100% went on to pursue higher education. Incidentally, the same Canadian teachers, most of them Jesuits, that taught us were later on asked by the Emperor to establish the first University College of Addis Ababa, which is now Addis Ababa University.”

At UN headquarters in New York where he worked for over 30 years Dr. Bisrat headed the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF), which he established in 2004 to “manage the resource of UN-wide bodies with an estimated six billion dollar operation,” he told Tadias. Since his retirement from the UN in 2013 Dr. Bistart said he has found more time to dedicate himself to his role as President of TMSAANA. “One of our efforts is to restore back the school’s name to Tafari Makonnen,” he says. “It’s important to keep the historical legacy of an institution like that.”

TMS was initially inaugurated on April 27, 1925, by its founder Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael who was a regent at the time and later coronated as Emperor. The school’s first Superintendent was Ethiopia’s first medical doctor, Hakim Workneh Eshete, who had previously served as Emperor Menelik’s personal physician.

In addition, it was Dr. Workneh who was chosen to lead an official Ethiopian delegation to the United States in 1927 — just barely a decade before Italy’s fascist invasion of Ethiopia turned everything upside down for his first group of students at Tafari Makonnen School and for Ethiopia as whole. According to historian Bahru Zewde, Hakim Workneh was sent to the U.S. “to negotiate with a New York company, J.G. White Engineering, to build a barrage on Lake Tana; Ras Tafari (later Emperor Haile Selassie) had selected this company in response to the Anglo-Italian agreement two years earlier, which had placed Lake Tana in the British sphere of influence,” Wiki states. “This visit was significant not only for Workeneh’s meeting with the company, and officials of the United States which included President Coolidge, but for arriving in Harlem, where he delivered Ras Tafari’s greetings to the African-American community and Tafari’s invitation to skilled African Americans to settle in Ethiopia.”

TMS’ Alumni Association of North America currently has approximately 280 members and seeks “to identify specific activities and projects to help the school in terms of quality of education and to assist current and future students,” Dr. Bisrat said. “We also coordinate and engage with similar local organizations in Addis Ababa including our counterpart, the Tafari Makonnen School Alumni Charity Association (TMSCA).”

Dr. Bisrat shared with us the following quote from the inaugural speech given at the school by Regent Ras Tafari Makonnen on April 27, 1925:

This school is an instrument which will operate on our country’s behalf through the knowledge which God gives to each of you according to your lot, once you have matured and have become vigorous in intelligence. So, I beg of you to help the school which nurtures you, give you the food of knowledge: to see that it does not shrink but expands, that it does not fall but grows in strength.

If You Go:
TMS Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA)
3RD General Assembly — May, 29 2016
Washington, D.C.
For more info email: alumni@tmsaana.com

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

Ruth Negga . (Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga is receiving high praises for an Oscar-worthy performance in the new British-American feature film Loving, which dramatizes the historic 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.”

“If any film has emerged from Cannes thus far as having the necessary legs to last the next nine months of Oscar conversation, it’s Jeff Nichols’ Loving, which premiered Monday night to a rapturous Palais crowd,” Deadline Hollywood reported. “It’s the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple in ’60s Virginia who were arrested and convicted for that state’s anti-miscegenation laws, having married in Washington DC. With the help of Bobby Kennedy and the ACLU, the Lovings took their case all the way to the Supreme Court and won; as Ruth Negga says..they changed the constitution with their fight.”

Deadline Hollywood adds: “The film is made by stunning lead performances from Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. After the premiere, Nichols told me he’d written the parts for Richard and Mildred Loving, and his challenge in casting the movie was finding actors who could live up to that. Edgerton feels like a lock on a nomination for a measured, honest performance, but it’s Negga who proves to be the revelation. This is a major breakthrough for the Ethiopian-Irish star, previously best known for [ABC's] Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Ruth Negga at the red carpet ceremony for the screenings of “Loving” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, Monday, May 16h, 2016. (Photo: The Globe and Mail)

Irish-Ethiopian Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa in 1982 and raised in the Ethiopian capital until the age of four before moving with her family to Limerick, Ireland. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Acting Studies from Trinity College in Dublin and has been residing in London for the past 10 years. As an actress Negga has appearances in the Academy award winning film 12 Years a Slave as well as the AMC drama series Preacher prior to her lead role in Loving.

Watch: This HBO documentary on the true story of the couple from 2012 inspired the movie ‘Loving’

Read more and watch video at Deadline.com

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A Collaborative Study of Online Debate in Ethiopia Reports Marginal Hate Speech

This study is part of a two-year collaborative effort led by the University of Oxford & Addis Ababa University under the name "Mechachal," translated as "tolerance" in Amharic. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A new report on online speech and debates in Ethiopia and the Diaspora entitled Mechachal (translated as “tolerance” in Amharic) following a two-year collaborative project by researchers at the University of Oxford and Addis Ababa University is to be released shortly.

An advance preview copy of the final report noted that the project aimed to go “beyond anecdotal evidence that has dominated media debates” concerning the dissemination of online hate speech, and instead presented “a strong empirical base to understand how prevalent the most extreme forms of expression actually are among conversations in social media, how they are received, and what they compare to, in terms of the nature and quality of other types of messages that find space online.”

Contributing to the global debate present in many countries including Ethiopia regarding freedom of expression the researchers sought to analyze and compare online speech that is offensive or may incite violence with other forms of expression including “criticism of public figures, to support for a political party, to engagement across religious or ethnic divides.” Researchers collected and examined over 13,000 statements that were posted online on the Facebook social media platform between February and June 2015 — during a timeframe coinciding with Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections held in May 2015 — and gathering data three months prior to and one month following elections.

The research methodology included the collection of statements that either went against or were in support of an issue. Analysis of the data focused not on whether statements were made “agreeing or disagreeing, but about the tendency to take a viewpoint seriously and engage with it, or, on the contrary, to dismiss it and directly attack a person for his/her affiliation with a specific group.”

While sampling online speech in a multi-lingual nation like Ethiopia was a challenge, the research team developed a comprehensive mapping strategy of Facebook-related discussions and interaction among Ethiopians online, both within the country and the Diaspora. The selection criteria used included having 100 or more followers on a Facebook profile or group page, having some of the content shared using an Ethiopian language, and posting issues and topics related to Ethiopia. Over 1000 Facebook sites addressing issues ranging from politics to religion, travel and sports were examined before making random selections for the general study sample. An estimated 2,000 posts and status updates generated per month were analyzed using the “going against vs going towards” methodology framework. The online statements were then analyzed using three layers of research questions as follows: 1) whether or not an individual or group was being targeted based on ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual affiliation; 2) whether the content of the statement was considered hate speech or dangerous speech; and 3) whether or not the online statements posted encouraged an audience to take action or do something against an individual or group based on their ethnic, religious or gender affiliations. An additional research question focused on the power imbalance between the individual posting the statement and their target.

Among the diaspora the top 10 countries with Ethiopian participants on social media analyzed for this project included the United States (49%), Norway (7.6%), United Kingdom (5.8%), Saudi Arabia (5.1%) UAE (2.7%), Canada (2.5%), Australia (2.4%), Germany (2.1%), South Africa (2.1%), and Kuwait (1.4%).

The initial results of the research findings were shared in meetings with members of Ethiopian government, leaders of opposition parties in the country, media organizations such as Addis Standard and The Reporter, as well as activist groups calling for freedom of expression including Zone 9 and PEN Ethiopia, academic professionals, and representatives of international non-governmental organizations including the African Union and UNESCO. “This process offered a unique opportunity to test the convening power of evidence…that allows academic insights on hotly debated topics,” the researchers stated in the report. “Individuals sitting at opposite ends of the political spectrum found common ground and agreed on the ability of academically informed research to create a space for individuals and groups holding competing views to engage with one another using evidence as their starting point, rather than personal grievances.”

The report had several major findings including the marginal use of statements categorized as dangerous or hate speech. “Only 0.4% of statements in our sample have been classified as hate speech and 0.3% as dangerous speech” the researchers noted. Hate speech was defined in the research as “speech that incites others to discriminate or act against individuals or groups based on their ethnicity, religion or gender” while dangerous speech was defined as “speech that builds the bases for or directly calls for widespread violence against a particular group.”

Additional results reported included the finding that “almost all dangerous statements [were] uttered by individuals seeking to hide their identity (92%)” as well as the widespread disillusionment with Ethiopian parliamentary elections with “the perception that the outcome of the elections was already predetermined.” While the findings also showed that “the political, social and cultural views reflected in social media in Ethiopia are less polarized than might be expected” the few extreme statements made had “the power to shape debates” with statements classified as ‘going against’ receiving the largest amount of comments and shares. The report also noted that “unequal power relationships increase antagonism between speakers and followers.” The least antagonistic discussions among Ethiopians on online platforms were regarding religion.

The researchers emphasized that while Ethiopia’s media environment has been perceived as being highly polarized in the past two decades, “the greatest opportunities for engagement seem to lie in politics that appeal to universalistic values.” Citing the campaign to release Zone 9 bloggers and their quest for greater freedom of expression, which attracted support both nationally and internationally, the researchers found that most of the statements made regarding the Zone 9 bloggers were ‘going towards’ or in support of the issue (96%).

“It seems that a new generation of Ethiopians may be more inclined to adopt less contentious tones and embrace more universalistic forms of politics; while older figures and grievances tend to trigger more polarized debates” the report stated, while noting that the distinction is not entirely clear-cut “between old and new media.”

The research analyzed the tone, behavior and quality of online debate among Ethiopians both in Ethiopia and the Diaspora. (Courtesy Image)

“Our findings suggest..that spaces inciting hatred and violence in Ethiopia remain marginal, and social media as a whole are more likely to be embraced as spaces to experiment with new forms of communication and engagement rather than as spaces for promoting extremist views,” the researchers added. “To our knowledge this is the first time research focusing on an entire country, and its diasporic community, has been able to quantify the proportion of hate and dangerous speech among the total conversations occurring on a social networking platform.”

The Oxford and Addis Ababa University collaborative research and subsequent findings of the nature of online debate among Ethiopians comes in the heels of yet another arrest of a former opposition party spokesperson over comments allegedly made on Facebook. In 2016 the non-profit organization Freedom House also lowered the ranking for Ethiopia from 6 to 7 with regards to freedom of expression citing “new, sophisticated methods of censorship, information control, and propaganda messaging” as well as “increased use of draconian laws to suppress dissent” in the country.

The final report of the Mechachal study to be released soon offers empirical insights on online speech and debate in Ethiopia and the Diaspora, calling for more informed policy-making with regards to regulating freedom of expression and online discussion on social media platforms.

Below are two prior preliminary assessments released from the Mechachal study:

Mechachal – Online Debates and Elections in Ethiopia. Report One: A preliminary assessment of online debates in Ethiopia

Mechachal – Online Debates and Elections in Ethiopia. Report Two: Discussing politics and history in social media

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Coach Woldemeskel Kostre Dies at 69

Woldemeskel Kostre, who's died at the age of 69, coached the likes of Haile Gebrselassie, Keninisa Bekele and Deratu Tulu - all Olympic Champions. (Getty Images)



The Father of Ethiopian Distance Running Woldemeskel Kostre Dies at 69

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Woldemeskel Kostre, the Ethiopian distance running coach who trained greats like Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele and was renowned for his strict disciplinarian approach, has died. He was 69.

The IAAF said Kostre died early Monday in Addis Ababa. The cause of death was not announced.

Kostre won the IAAF’s coach of the year award in 2006. He was part of Ethiopia’s distance-running program for more than 35 years, starting as an assistant coach at the 1972 Munich Olympics and working with Ethiopia’s best athletes up until the 2008 Games in Beijing.

He was head coach of the team for 25 years, presiding over Ethiopia’s golden era.

“Dr. Kostre was a very strict man but he showed me how to behave,” said Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic champion and multiple world champion at 10,000 meters. “He gave discipline a top priority. It is very sad he has now left us.”

Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, another Olympic champion and world-record holder, were also among Kostre’s prodigies.

A promising runner in his own right, Kostre had the chance to represent Ethiopia at the 1964 Olympics, but chose instead to take a scholarship to study in Hungary because the Ethiopian federation wouldn’t allow him to do both. Following his studies, he returned home to become the architect of the nation’s success in middle and long distance running. He had a reputation as a coach who was extremely tough, demanding complete discipline, but was also fair.

Tributes paid to father of Ethiopian distance running (BBC Radio)

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Diaspora Changing Ethiopia’s Cities

Abezash Tameret, who left Ethi­o­pia as a child and grew up in foster care in the U.S., founded a charity that helps HIV-positive orphans in Ethi­o­pia and recently moved back to Addis Ababa. (Photo: Aida Muluneh)

The Washington Post

They fled Ethiopia amid war and privation. An economic boom is bringing them home

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The first time Abezash Tamerat returned to her native Ethiopia, she walked out of the airport terminal’s sliding doors only to turn around and walk right back in, briefly overwhelmed by the press of beggars and taxi drivers clamoring outside.

Tamerat had left Ethiopia as a child and grown up in foster care in Georgia. Now she was going back as a 20-year-old to rediscover the far-off, unfamiliar place that had shaped her identity.

She arrived with about $40, trusting in a credit card in a country that even then, in 2003, had no ATMs. A week later, she was back at the airport trying unsuccessfully to change her ticket and get an early flight home to Atlanta.

Frustrated, she gave her quest another chance, staying on to find her birth family, learn ­Amharic and start a home for HIV-positive orphans. Later, she founded Artists for Charity, a network of artists, volunteers and donors that supports the home. After many more trips, Tamerat, now 34, finally made the decision that more and more members of the Ethiopian diaspora are making: She returned to Addis Ababa for good last year.

An estimated 2 million Ethiopians live abroad, driven out by years of war, famine and economic hardship. A report by the Migration Policy Institute puts the number of first- and second-generation Ethiopian immigrants in the United States at about 250,000.

Now, courted by the Ethiopian government, many are bringing back money and skills acquired in the West, helping to transform a society still hobbled by the legacy of the 17-year communist dictatorship that ended in 1991. Over the past decade, a country that was once a byword for famine and privation has seen consistently high growth, welcoming foreign investment and pouring money into infrastructure.

The homecoming is not easy for most. Returnees confront not just a complex bureaucracy, but also frequent suspicion from those who stayed and weathered the hard years. Yet they have changed the face of Ethiopia’s cities — launching businesses, opening art galleries, cafes and salons, and founding hospitals.

Read more at The Washington Post »

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Music Legend Mahmoud Ahmed Turns 75

Born May 18, 1941, legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed turns 75 years old this month. (Photo: MUI)


By Rafeeat Aliyu

Mahmoud Ahmed celebrated his 75th birthday over the weekend. Ahmed started out with various odd jobs before eventually gaining popularity at home in the 1970s, then rising to international fame. He is renowned for blending traditional Ethiopian music with jazz.

This month, a photo exhibition was held for a week at the Marriott Hotel in Addis Ababa in his honor. Seventy-five photos for each of his years, each taken by different photographers, were shown at the exhibition.

“Aynotche Terabu” is among other songs by Ahmed featured in the Ethiopiques series of compact discs. Collected and released by the French record label Buda Musique, Ethiopiques initially featured compilations of Ethiopian and Eritrean songs from the 1960s and 70s.

From an eponymous album released in 1975, “Ere Mela Mela” is probably the most widely aired Ethiopian jazz track. “Ere Mela Mela” roughly translates to: “I am looking for an answer.”

“Bemen Sebeb Letlash”: This one is a love song as its title means “no excuse for not loving you.” “Bemen Sebeb Letlash” has also been featured in the Ethiopiques series.


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Meet the Photographer Documenting Ethiopia’s Emerging Skate Scene

(Photo by Daniel Reiter)

I-D Fashion & Culture Mag

A decade ago, there were only a handful of skateboards in the whole of Ethiopia. Today, with the help of non-profit organisation Ethiopia Skate the scene is growing from strength to strength, creating a community and providing access to skate equipment for young Ethiopians. Daniel Reiter, who is a photographer based in Berlin and ambassador for Ethiopia Skate has been following the project for over a year, documenting the passionate youth learning to skate and sharing their talent with the world through exhibitions held in Berlin, Vienna and London. We spoke to Reiter to find out more about the scene in Ethiopia and his experience working with those that skate there.

(Photo by Daniel Reiter)

How did you first get involved with Ethiopia Skate?

In January 2015 I had to travel to Ethiopia to document a friend meeting her mother for the first time after 33 years and support her emotionally. Ahead of the trip I was researching for a second story to document and came across their great website ethiopiaskate.org and immediately got in contact. Several emails later I was confident that these kids were for real and decided to get them as much skate gear and apparel as possible, which I brought with me and then tried to document the few skaters I met on two different occasions.

Read the full article at I-D.vice.com »

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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Among Top African Female Business Leaders

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. (Photo: SoleRebels)


The past few years have seen a rise in the number of women-owned businesses in Africa. Be it in IT, oil, mining, or in the aviation sector, female entrepreneurs are breaking gender stereotypes and showing that what a man can do, a woman can also do, if not better. Bold and fearlessly ambitious, these are some of the female business leaders who shape the future of the continent and inspire not only countless other women, but also anyone who dares to dream.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Growing up in a small neighbourhood in Addis Ababa, beloved entrepreneur Bethlemen Tilahun Alemu discovered that most people in her community were living in poverty and that some of them possessed artisan skills. Spurred by this realisation, she sought to find a way to translate the skills of her people into a business, and thus SoleRebels was born, in 2004. The eco-friendly footwear manufacturer creates hundreds of local jobs.

Not only has Bethlehem’s company grown to be one of the largest footwear companies in Africa, but it has also become a successful world class venture, with flagship stores in Taiwan, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, U.S, Singapore, Japan and many other countries.

Bethlehem has received a number of accolades for the work she has done to empower the Ethiopian youth with opportunities. In 2011, the 36-year-old entrepreneur made it into the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders. She’s also been named by Forbes as one of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, and one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Read the full list at Africa.com »

‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store

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Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie at a press conference at Manly Airport in Jamaica during the 50th anniversary celebration of Emperor Haile Selassie's historic visit to the country, April 21st, 2016. (Photo: Mel Tewahade)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) -- Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, recently made a successful and highly publicized trip to Jamaica, along with his wife Saba Kebede, where he led an Ethiopian delegation from the U.S. to participate in the 50th anniversary of his grandfather's historic visit to the Caribbean nation in 1966. Five decades later, the nine-day commemorative visit by Prince Ermias (from April 21-30, 2016) included a meeting with newly elected Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Michael Holness; a lecture at the University of the West Indies (UWI); a motorcade stop at Heroes Park, Mico College, JC, UTech; and a speech on education at Kingston's Haile Selassie High School that was established by his grandfather during his landmark visit there as a gift to the people of Jamaica.

In an interview with Tadias Magazine this week Prince Ermias described his visit to Haile Selassie High School as "the highlight of my trip" and personally moving. "It was emotional and overwhelming to visit the school that was donated by my grandfather," Prince Ermias told Tadias. "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."

Regarding his meeting with Jamaica's head of state, Prince Ermias said: "The newly elected Prime Minster of Jamaica the Honorable Andrew Holness is going to be a great leader for Jamaica. I was happy to congratulate him on his win." Prince Ermias emphasized that their discussion primarily focused on education and the youth. "We all have great concern for our children," he said. "We talked about the opportunities and challenges of our friends in Ras Tefferian community." In addition, Prince Ermias said, "The subject of Jamaican teachers for Ethiopian schools was briefly discussed, I am grateful to the Prime Minister for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet local leaders, my delegation and myself."

In addition to his meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness Prince Ermias said he also had an opportunity to meet with the country's opposition party leaders and was given the key to the city of Kingston by Mayor Dr. Angela Brown Burke of the People's National Party. Moreover, Prince Ermias also visited the Ethiopian consulate among other stops. "I am happy to report that we also visited the Governor General Residence," he said. "The visit to all the Ras Tefferian events was exceptional. Ras Tefferians have stood through thick and thin with our family. I am grateful for the warm reception we received in Montego Bay from the residents of that city."

Prince Ermias, who is also the grandson of Dejazmach Habte Mariam Gebre-Igziabiher -- the heir to the former Welega kingdom of Leqa Naqamte, which today is part of Ethiopia's Oromia region -- was barely a teenager when he managed to escape to England after his famous grandfather was deposed from power by a communist junta of junior military officers in the early 1970's. He was just six-years-old when Emperor Haile Selassie made his historic visit to Jamaica 50-years-ago, but Ermias has been on a mission to preserve his family's contribution to the history of modern Ethiopia and beyond. Late last year he mounted a successful legal battle in Geneva, Switzerland against the international auction powerhouse Christie’s demanding that the institution halt its planned sale of Haile Selassie’s personal wristwatch. Lawyers representing the family convincingly argued in a Swiss court that the rare gold-timepiece was likely a stolen property from Ethiopia that belonged in a museum.

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, pictured at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica on April 21st, 2016, pursued his academic studies in Ethiopia, Great Britain, and the United States, receiving his undergraduate degree in social studies with a concentration in economics from the University of California, in Santa Barbara (UCSB). He also attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy from 1983 to 1985. Prince Ermias speaks Amharic, English and German fluently. (Photo by Mel Tewahade)

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie (Right of center) meetings with Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica (left of center) on Friday, April 22nd, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo by Mel Tewahade)

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie (Right) and his wife Saba Kebede with Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica (center) on Friday, April 22nd, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo by Mel Tewahade)

(Photo by Mel Tewahade)

In addition, Prince Ermias shared that another memorable moment was the time spent with students at Jamaica College. "Jamaica College is one of the finest boys school in Jamaica that have produced the likes of former Prime Minster Bruce Golding and Dr. Michael Bennett," Ermias pointed out. "My grandfather visited the school on April 21, 1966 on Thursday. I am pleased to report that was able to replicate the event 50 years later. Jamaica College reminded me of my own school [in England] Haileybury College in Hertfordshire. Outstanding curriculum, detail for personal attention, great teachers, center for discipline and self-control, honor and the desire to serve country."

"The floral tribute at the shrine of Jamaican hero Marcus Garvey was reflective of my own identity," Prince Ermias told Tadias. "The visit to Mico University and the Museum in this school was excellent."

Some of our readers had noticed that when Prince Ermias had arrived in Jamaica on April 21st he was wearing a purple tie. Was it in remembrance of Prince, the iconic American musician and artist who had passed away the same day? "It was a coincidence," Prince Ermias clarified. "As you know Prince was pronounced dead at 11 am Central time. We also landed in Jamaica at 11 am. Jamaica is also on Central time. All of this was a coincidence" he said. However, "listening to Prince's music in the 1980s was comforting to me," he added. "As you know the Ethiopian people and our family were being persecuted by the brutal communists during those dark days. Prince's style of mixing funk, dance and rock music was unique, grand and comforting. Rest in Peace, Prince Rogers Nelson."

Regarding his trip to Jamaica Prince Ermias continued: "The visit to the beautiful island was a magical moment for Saba and me." He added: "The entire program was flawless. It is difficult to say what the best moment was. But if I have to identify one, my favorite will be, that no one got hurt during our visit. There is always a chance that something could have gone wrong with our motorcade; while operated by the finest Jamaica Police force the logistics of accommodating such a large crowd could have been problematic. I am grateful for the hard work our Ras Tefferians invested to make the visit a success." Certainly, the warm reception given to Prince Ermias at Norman Manley airport and the subsequent press conference was unprecedented for an Ethiopian delegation since Emperor Haile Selassie himself arrived in the country on April 21, 1966 for a three-day State visit, which the Jamaica Observer notes "remains, arguably, the most momentous of its kind in Jamaica."

"I want to thank the people and government of Jamaica for a successful trip to the Island," Prince Ermias said.

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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Marcus Samuelsson Hosts 2nd Annual Harlem EatUp Food Festival May 19 – 22

Marcus Samuelsson, pictured at the inaugural Harlem EatUp Food Festival in 2015, is the co- founder of the annual food and cultural celebrations in Harlem along with Herb Karlitz of Karlitz & Co. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The 2nd annual Harlem EatUp Food Festival is scheduled to take place from May 19th to May 22nd, 2016 at various venues in Harlem. The four-day festival, which was launched last year by the Ethiopian-born chef & entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson and veteran event marketer Herb Karlitz allows participants “to see and taste all Harlem has to offer from the artists of the kitchen, the canvas, the stage and the streets.”

Former President Bill Clinton is the honorary chair of the festival, and the program includes the Dine In Harlem series, where “an array of Harlem restaurants and chefs will host acclaimed chefs from NYC and across the country to collaborate on multi-course menus that showcase the unique feel of Harlem’s landscape.” Participating restaurants include Samuelsson’s Ginny’s Supper Club, Harlem’s famous Sylvia’s Restaurant (the Queen of Soul Food), Melba’s Restaurant, The Cecil, Minton’s and Blujeen.

“Menus will be paired with wines from the Bordeaux Wine Council, and each dinner will feature dynamic Harlem artists and performers, making Dine In Harlem one of the biggest multi-room dinner parties this season,” notes the Times Square Chronicles.

(Photo courtesy HarlemEatUp.com.)

(Photo courtesy HarlemEatUp.com.)

In addition, this year the festival features the Saturday and Sunday stroll at Morningside Park — sponsored by Citi bank and Aetna — highlighting “unlimited tastings of Harlem’s signature dishes, samplings of craft beer, fine wine and bespoke cocktails.”

If You Go:
More info and tickets at harlemeatup.com.

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7 Ethiopian Films Screening in NYC in May

"Price Of Love" (Amharic/English 2015) is directed by Hermon Hailay and features cast members Eskindir Tameru, Fereweni Gebregergs, Kassahun Getatchew, Solomon Teka and Dawit Gulilat. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, May 2nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — At least seven Ethiopian films are set to screen in NYC in May 2016 as part of the New York African Film Festival and the 13th Annual Sheba Film Festival.

Hermon Hailay’s Price of Love will be featured at Lincoln Center this week at the NY African Film Festival as well as Director Yared Zeleke’s award-winning drama LAMB; Red Leaves by Bazi Gete starring Debebe Eshetu; Afripedia X New York by Ethiopian and Eritrean filmmakers Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe of Sweden; and The Dance of King David by Axel Baumann exploring the Ark of the Covenant. In addition, If Only I Were That Warrior, directed by Valerio Ciriaci about “the Italian occupation of Ethiopia and its unresolved legacy today,” will screen on May 24th at Tsion Cafe in Harlem as part of the 2016 Sheba Film Festival.

Below are the schedules, venues and brief descriptions of the films as shared by festival organizers.

May 6th and May 10th
Hermon Hailay, Ethiopia, 2015, 99min.
In Amharic with English subtitles

Teddy (Eskindir Tameru), the son of a prostitute who grew up on the streets after his mother’s death, desperately tries to avoid the temptation of his old ways of chewing khat and drinking. His only support system is his priest, who bought him a taxi license on the condition that he live a decent life away from his past. But after Teddy intervenes in a fight between a prostitute, Fere (Fereweni Gebregergs), and her ex-boyfriend, who sells women to “work” in the Middle East, his taxi is stolen by the latter as leverage. As a result, Teddy finds himself caught up in a relationship with Fere, and during the search for the car, they discover the price of love..


May 9th
Axel Baumann, USA, 2011, 32min.
In English and Amharic with English subtitles

Over 2900 years ago, King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. When he did, King David, “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). The Dance of King David is a documentary film about the history and the contemporary worship of the Ark. This film examines the disappearance of the Ark from Israel and its reemergence in Ethiopia. We witness the “Dance of King David,”—an ancient rite still performed today by Jews and Ethiopians alike and we learn firsthand what it means to believe in the supernatural powers of this sacred object. (Screening with Black Jews: The Roots of the Olive Tree)


May 10th
Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Senay Berhe, Sweden/USA, 2016, 12min.
In English

In the first in a series of short films set in the African diaspora, we meet Ethiopian/Eritrean Missla Libsekal, the founder of online publication Another Africa, as she embraces collaboration to counter the assumed perspectives of Africa and Africans. Senegalese/French photographer Delphine Diallo shares her passion and challenges in mindfully shifting her lens between Dakar and New York, while Somalian/Australian world champion Hula Hoop master Marawa continues to perfect her passion in the face of conventional expectations. Welcome toAfripedia, welcome to creativity.


May 26th
Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia/France/Germany/Norway/Qatar, 2015, 94min.
In Amharic with English subtitles

Yared Zeleke’s remarkable debut feature tells the story of Ephraim, a young Ethiopian boy who is sent by his father to live with distant relatives in the countryside after his mother’s death. Ephraim uses his cooking skills to carve out a place among his cousins, but when his uncle decides that his beloved sheep must be sacrificed for the next religious feast, he will do anything to save the animal and return home.


May 27th
Bazi Gete, Israel, 2014, 80min.
In Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles

Seventy-four-year-old Meseganio Tadela (Debebe Eshetu) immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia nearly 30 years ago, but has zealously chosen to retain his culture, speaking very little Hebrew. When his wife passes away, he sets out on a journey to visit his fully assimilated children, eventually coming to realize that he belongs to a rapidly disappearing class. Ethiopian-Israeli director Bazi Gete’s debut feature is a beautifully acted, movingly rendered portrait of a man struggling with his place in the world. (Screening with Cholo)



763 St Nicholas Ave, New York, New York 10031

May 10th
Directed by Rebecca Shore , Israel/Ethiopia , 2015, 45 mins

The film follows the backstory and personal journey of Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew, once a young shepherd in Africa and now a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces. Mekonen is one of many brave young men and women drafted into compulsory service in the IDF, to defend their homeland and the liberal values of democracy, freedom and equality. Born and raised in an Ethiopian village, Mekonen was a 12-year-old shepherd when his father died suddenly, less than a day before his family was to move to Israel. The film accompanies Mekonen back to Africa on an emotional journey. He explores his roots, makes peace with his past and embraces his future in Israel. After a difficult adjustment period in Israel, Mekonen was fortunate to attend the Hodayot High School, which educates children from troubled backgrounds and helps integrate them into Israeli society. Mekonen became a decorated officer in the IDF, while staying true to his Ethiopian roots and culture. Mekonen is an uplifting and inspiring film that will move audiences and show viewers that anything is possible with the right attitude, tools and support.

May 24th
Directed Valerio Ciriaci, USA/Italy, 2015, 72 mins

“If Only I Were That Warrior” is a film about the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935 and its unresolved legacy today. Driving this investigation is the story of a recently constructed monument to Rodolfo Graziani, a Fascist general remembered for war crimes committed during the invasion and occupation of Ethiopia, which sparked international protests and brought this chapter of history back to the forefront of public discourse. The film’s primary aim is to offer an unprecedented glance at the controversial memory of the Fascist invasion in Ethiopia. Italy’s uncomfortable relationship with its colonial past has been a matter of discussion in academia, but the general public never engaged in a critical discourse on the real events that took place during Mussolini’s campaigns in Africa. No court ever reviewed the crimes committed. Graziani, a main player during the Ethiopian campaign and later the viceroy of the new colony, was never put on trial for his crimes. To this day many remember him as a hero in his hometown of Affile, the small town not far from Rome where the monument was erected in 2012.

Film followed by Q&A with Director

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US Deeply Concerned by Charges of Terrorism Against Prof. Bekele Gerba

Ethiopian opposition leader Professor Bekele Gerba pictured at the NPR office in Washington, D.C., August 2015. (Photo: Mahafreen H. Mistry/NPR)

U.S. State Department

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC — The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.

We again urge the Ethiopian government to discontinue its reliance on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation law to prosecute journalists, political party members, and activists, as this practice silences independent voices that enhance, rather than hinder, Ethiopia’s democratic development.

We commend Ethiopian officials for pledging to address legitimate grievances from their citizens and acknowledging that security forces were responsible for some of the violence that took place during the protests in Oromia; however, the government continues to detain an unknown number of people for allegedly taking part in these protests and has not yet held accountable any security forces responsible for alleged abuses. This undermines the trust and confidence needed to produce lasting solutions.

We urge the Ethiopian government to respect due process of those detained by investigating allegations of mistreatment, by publicly presenting the evidence it possesses against them, and by distinguishing between political opposition to the government and the use or incitement of violence. We reaffirm our call on the government to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of its citizens, including the right to participate in political parties, and we urge the Government to promptly release those imprisoned for exercising these rights.

Ethiopia Charges Opposition Leader Professor Bekele Gerba With Terrorism

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Photo of the Week: Google Co-Founder Larry Page at Walia Ethiopian Restaurant

Larry Page poses for a photo with Walia restaurant staff in San Jose, California. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, April 29th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Google co-founder Larry Page was the latest Silicon Valley technology leader to pose in front of the green, yellow and red painted sidewall at Walia Ethiopian restaurant in San Jose, California. Page, who is currently the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. dined at the restaurant on Sunday, April 24th with his wife and kids, according to the owners. Page follows in the footsteps of Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, who was spotted enjoying injera at Walia in 2014. Like Zuckerberg, Page also took a moment to pose for a photo with Walia Restaurant staff.

You can learn more about Walia restaurant at www.waliaethiopian.com.

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Associate Creative Director David Mesfin Describes Hyundai 2016 NFL Draft AD

David Mesfin is the Associate Creative Director for the Hyundai 2016 NFL Draft AD. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This past February David Mesfin was behind the 2016 Super Bowl AD for Hyundai Motor Co. Prior to that the Ethiopian American Associate Creative Director was involved in the Korean automaker’s famous 2014 FIFA World Cup commercial entitled Because Fútbol. And this week Hyundai USA kicked-off another nationwide campaign created by David Mesfin and colleagues, this one celebrating American football and the 2016 National Football League (NFL) draft, which take place in Chicago from Thursday, April 28th to Saturday, April 30th.

The new commercial called Draft Day 2031 is a playful mockumentary featuring children vying for the pro-football status under the microscope of celebrity sports broadcasters. “The project was very complex in terms of logistics and partners, but at the end our vision came together,” David shared with Tadias Magazine. “We have an amazing client who believed in the idea and gave us the green light to produce it in a very short period of time.” David added: “This idea aligns with NFL’s focus on families through their ongoing Football is Family Campaign.”

During NFL Draft season the U.S. football league selects and recruits college football players, and David points out that “last year over 200k fans experienced the Draft in person. Over 34 Brands (a record number) activated on-site at the Draft and 37M viewers watched the Draft on NFL Network and ESPN.”

The video stars NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock, Lawrence Timmons from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Sam Young from Miami Dolphins. “Mayock and the players are doing normal player analysis as they would at the NFL Combine leading into Draft, but you soon realize that the players being analyzed are young children,” Hyundai USA explained in its press release. “Users will have the opportunity to pull Facebook images of their own children playing youth football into a video generator on the Destination Hub. The video generated is Mayock analyzing the children.”

“Our Draft Day 2031 digital hub is a fun way for families to engage with the draft and create personalized content of their future football stars,” said Dean Evans, Chief Marketing Officer of Hyundai Motor America. “The goal of our NFL program is to make the fan experience better, whether that’s on TV, on social media or on-site, and we are excited to bring that to life in year two of our official NFL sponsorship.”

David Mesfin (third from left) with his co-workers on the set of 2016 Hyundai NFL Draft AD. (Courtesy photo)

As an Associate Creative Director, David tells Tadias that his main focus was to make sure that the idea was executed on time and on budget. “I managed the client expectation, and made sure internal teams and vendors collaborated,” he said. “I had an amazing team at InnoceanUSA to bring this idea to life. A big credit goes to my writing partner Nick Flora who came up with the original idea.”

Five bold predictions for the 2016 NFL draft (USA Today)

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Maaza Mengiste Speaks on Refugee Crisis at Pen World Voices Festival

Novelist and essayist Maaza Mengiste is the author of "Beneath the Lion’s Gaze." (Photo: by Juergen Bauer)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, April 25th, 2016

Maaza Mengiste Speaks on Refugee Crisis at Pen World Voices Festival

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste is one of the featured speakers at a panel discussion in NYC this week entitled Country of Nowhere: The Refugee Crisis that will be held at Nuyorican Poets Cafe as part of the 2016 PEN World Voices Festival. Panelists include Naila Al Atrash, Marlon James, Laila Lalami and Sunjeev Sahota.

“What is the responsibility of writers in humanitarian crises such as the Syrian refugee crisis? Few countries have offered shelter. Politicians and pundits have responded with hateful rhetoric and fear mongering,” states the announcement from PEN America. “Join a conversation with writers whose work contributes to an understanding of displacement, dislocation, and collective responsibility.”

Maaza Mengiste is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Maaza is also the “writer for the Ethiopia segment of GIRL RISING,” a feature film that tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 developing countries around the world. Maaza’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International.

If You Go:
Country of Nowhere: The Refugee Crisis
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 7:00pm
Nuyorican Poets Cafe
236 East 3rd Street, New York, NY 10009
Tickets: $12 in advance/$15 at the door/$10 students only at the door.
Purchase tickets here.

Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste

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