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New Year’s Eve in Addis: Orit Entertainment Presents Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse

(Image courtesy: Orit Entertainment Group and Evangadi Production)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Jacky Gosee and Teddy Taddesse are scheduled to perform at this year’s Ethiopian New Year’s Eve celebration at Millenium Hall in Addis Ababa. The show is being organized by some of the best Ethiopian promoters in the business: Mickey Dread (Michael Gizaw), DJ Mengie NYC (Mengistu Melesse) and Delish Lemma who recently launched an international concert promotion and artist management company, Orit Entertainment Group, based in New York. The long-time friends and business partners have been behind almost all of the biggest Ethiopian concerts in the United States for the past two decades.

“Orit Entertainment Group, as the name suggests, is a pioneer company, a trend-setter bringing new experiences to its clients and audiences alike,” says the company statement. “While Orit Entertainment Group is headquartered in New York it serves a vast clientele list globally operating out of its offices in Europe, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and UAE.”

Mickey Dread, a resident of New York City, has worked as an events manager and concert promoter as well as producer and nightclub manager for over 20 years. He is also the proprietor of successful high-end entertainment venues in NYC frequented by celebrities such as Jay Z, P Diddy, Akon, Snoop Dog, Rev Run of Run DMC, and Paris Hilton. Mickey’s club and lounge is home not only to celebrities but industry locals and underground followers as well. “Mickey’s passion in the industry and his approachable demeanor has led him to produce some larger-than-life collaborations with entities such as MTV, VH1, Entertainment TV, Motorola, Sony, EA Sport, Sport Illustrated, NBA, NFL, GQ Magazine, NY Times, Google, Bravo TV, The 2008 Obama Campaign, and Mayor Bloomberg’s Office,” notes a statement from Orit Entertainment. “Mickey’s experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry is vast.” The statement adds: “His exciting endeavors include working with the world-renowned Reggae star Alpha Blondie as his stage manager, producing a series of concerts for Reggae icon Israel Vibration, and his long-standing involvement with the record label Tuff Gong (founded by Jamaican Superstar Bob Marley) in various capacities.”

DJ Mengie, founder of Massinko Entertainment, who is also a New Yorker has likewise been an organizer in the North American music and entertainment scene for over 20 years. From the annual North America Ethiopian Soccer Tournament to the most prestigious concert venues in America, if an Ethiopian star is performing (legend or up-and-coming), chances are DJ Mengie is involved. “While you often find him behind the turntables at many of the large concerts showcasing well-known Ethiopian artists from across the globe, his promotion skills and talent as a producer are evident by the scale of the events,” the statement from Orit noted. DJ Mengie was the lead promoter of the historic Howard Theater concert in Washington, D.C. showcasing Mahmoud Ahmed and Gosaye, as well as Central Park’s SummerStage in New York presenting Aster Aweke and Teddy Afro. But what is less known is his impressive resume as a music producer that includes four successful remix albums through his label Masenko Remix. His latest project is an upcoming album called Reggaetopia featuring remixes of traditional Ethiopian sounds with Dub Reggae and Dancehall beats all performed with traditional Ethiopian musical instruments. “The ideology behind Masenko Remix is to combine the deep soul of Ethiopia’s traditional music with the more contemporary Dub Reggae sound,” DJ Mengie says.

Orit’s third partner, Delish Lemma, similarly has an extensive promotion experience that started during his college years at Virginia Tech where he led monthly dance parties highlighting celebrity DJs such as DJ Supreme who tours with Lauryn Hill, DJ LS1 who works with Hip Hop Artist DMX, and DJ Trini of Washington DC area Radio Station 93.9, DJ 6 Senses. Orit Entertainment’s bio of Delish notes that “While at Virginia Tech, Delish was successful in organizing post-concert events for many live acts such as Busta Rhymes and Outkast, and joined the promotional team for the ‘Hard Knock Life’ Tour, on the Washington DC and Charlotte N.C. leg, which consisted of concerts by Eve, Jay-Z, Method Man, & Redman.” For several years Delish was a key promoter of ‘All Star Weekend’ events in several cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Delish, who is the founder of Delish Massinko Ent., has also worked with notable Ethiopian singers including Teddy Afro, Evangadi, Gosaye, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Aster Aweke. In addition he is credited for introducing the Ethiopian born singer Abby Lakew, who resides in the United States, and organized her concert at the Tropical Gardens in Addis Ababa. Delish also spent a few years in Ethiopia “shaping the entertainment industry.” His latest endeavor is “the production of the talented Jacky Gosee.”


If You Go:
New Year’s Eve: Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Millennium Hall
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Info: +251-911 031875
Presented by Orit Entertainment & Evangadi Production

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Celebrate Ethiopian New Year at Historic Riverside Church in NYC on September 13th

(Images: flickr.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Enkutatash, one of the most festive days in the Ethiopian calendar is being celebrated this year on September 13th at the Manhattan-based Riverside Church. The church, which is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places and renowned for its decades-long history of social justice, was also the former home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church in New York.

According to the online magazine InCultureParentEnkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, marks the end of the rainy reason and the beginning of the spring sunshine. While Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, the holiday falls on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar, except for leap years, when it occurs on September 12th. Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.”

The family-friendly Ethiopian New Year program in New York features music, food, traditional coffee ceremony and live entertainment including the first time NYC appearance of musicians Yohannes (Jonny) Alemu and Eleni Tekeste.


If You Go:
Saturday, September 13th, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm – 12:30 am
Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID)
Dinner & Music included
Complimentary champagne and cake
The Riverside Church (Assembly Hall)
91 Claremont Avenue
New York, NY 10027

To purchase tickets in advance please contact Rahel at rahsis@aol.com or call 646-515-6551.

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UPDATE: Center for Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) Fundraising Kickoff Event

(Photos courtesy: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women - CREW)

CREW

Press Release

CREW held a successful fund raising kickoff event on August 2, 2014 at Howard University, Washington, DC. Friends and supporters of CREW attended the event that included dinner (sponsored by local Ethiopian businesses), live band, a fundraising game and speeches.

The program started with a welcoming address and a short video about CREW’s activities since its establishment in March 2012. Dinner was served while the live band was playing classical Ethiopian music. After dinner, the guest speakers spoke. They were: Maria G. Moreno, External Relations Liaison in IOM’s Washington, D.C. office and the Operations Officer at the U.S Association for International Migration (USAIM) and Ms Yalemzewd Bekele. Human rights activist and former human rights lawyer. Ms Mareno spoke about IOM’s role in supporting Ethiopian domestic worker deportees in Ethiopia and Ethiopians who are currently in the Yemen border. Ms Yalemzewd spoke on The impact of the Charities and Societies Law on the development of civil society organizations (CSO) in Ethiopia. Two Young activists, Mahlet Negatu and Soliyana Gebremicheal were given few minutes to speak about the candlelight vigil that was scheduled to be held later that evening in protest of the imprisonment of the Zone 9 bloggers by the Ethiopian government. Soliyana, one of the founding members of the Zone 9 group, explained to the audience how Zone 9 Bloggers started their group and how it was a non-partisan group comprised of young democracy activists who tried to promote dialogue and discussion regarding the development of democracy in their country. Guests participated at the discussions after the presentations.

Kumera Genet with his guitar and his friend playing the base and Kende with his keyboard played Ethiopian classical music. Assefu Debalke, a known Ethiopian singer, entertained the audience singing traditional Ethiopian songs. Ms Lucy Murphy, an activist and musician, sang a couple of progressive songs. A fundraising game played by the audience, raised hundreds of dollars for CREW. The program ended at 10:00 p.m.

Read the full press release at centerforethiopianwomen.org »

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At Global Fest 2014 Aurora, Colorado Welcomes Adama (Nazret) as Sister City

Officials from Aurora, Colorado and Adama, Ethiopia sign Sister Cities agreement at the Aurora Municipal Center in Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014. (Photo: Aurora Sister Cities International)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – A delegation from Adama, Ethiopia (also known as Nazret) was festively welcomed to Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd at the annual Global Fest celebration where representatives of the Ethiopian and American municipalities signed a Sister Cities agreement. According to the Denver Post, the Aurora-Denver border area is home to an Ethiopian population of approximately 30,000. The event featured music, dance, and food by Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, one of the several restaurants highlighted at this year’s Global Fest.

“It’s intentional,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the Denver Post. “Aurora is really the most international city in Colorado. Others may claim it, but we are, and it’s events like this that are making that happen, that celebrate that international flavor.” It’s hoped that the pact between Aurora and Adama will “open up trade between the cities, boost economic development and give citizens in both locations a better sense of who each other is.”

According to Wiki Adama city “is situated along the road that connects Addis Ababa with Dire Dawa. Additionally, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad runs through Adama. The city name Adama may have been derived from the Oromo word adaamii, which means a cactus or a cactus-like tree. More specifically, adaamii means Euphorbia candelabrum, a tree of the spurge family, while hadaamii would mean Indian fig. Following World War II, Emperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used for the remainder of the twentieth century. In 2000, the city officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama, though “Nazareth” is still widely used.”

Below are photos from the event courtesy of Aurora Sister Cities International.



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In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police

President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference after delivering a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Aug. 18, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDTAUG

WASHINGTON — Jolted by images of protesters clashing with heavily armed police officers in Missouri, President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the government’s decade-old strategy of outfitting local police departments with military-grade body armor, mine-resistant trucks, silencers and automatic rifles, senior officials say.

The White House-led review will consider whether the government should continue providing such equipment and, if so, whether local authorities have sufficient training to use it appropriately, said senior administration and law enforcement officials. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used.

The review, coupled with proposed legislation and planned congressional hearings, opens the possibility for significant changes in Washington’s approach to arming local law enforcement agencies. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government regarded the police as the frontline forces in a new war. While that role for local law enforcement is expected to remain, changes may be ordered to the system under which federal grants and a military surplus program have sent gear and money to police departments, often with no strings attached, to prepare for a terrorist attack.

Read more at NYT »

Video: How to turn a moment into a movement (MSNBC)


Related:
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge to Team Up at Chicago Marathon

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya will target 2:03:45 course record at the 2014 Chicago Marathon on October 12th. (Image by PhotoRun)

Runners World

By Peter Gambaccini

If Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the best distance runner in track and cross country history, achieves his goal of breaking the Chicago Marathon course record of 2:03:45 on October 12, he’ll have an old rival and friend to thank for contributing to the effort.

Bekele, Ethiopia’s world record holder for 5000 and 10,000 meters and the winner in his marathon debut in Paris on April 6 in 2:05:04, will be joined in Chicago by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. Kipchoge’s 2:04:05 in Berlin last fall made him the runner-up to Wilson Kipsang, who set the world record of 2:03:23 in that race.

“Kipchoge is an experienced athlete,” Bekele told Runner’s World Newswire by phone from Ethiopia. “For many long years, we raced together.”

At the 2003 World Championships, the then mostly unknown Kipchoge was the surprise winner of the 5000 meters over Bekele and 1500-meter world record holder Hicham el Guerrouj of Morocco. When Bekele won the 5000-meter gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, Kipchoge won the silver. “We know each other, we’ll help each other, we’ll fight together,” Bekele said about their race in Chicago on October 12.

Read more at Runners World »

Photos: Legendary long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele


Related:
Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

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UNDP Ethiopia Announces Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship

(Photo courtesy: United Nations Development Programme - UNDP)

UNDP

Press Release

The United Nations Development Programme in Ethiopia announced the appointment of its Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship at a high profile event held in Addis Ababa drawing members of the government, private sector and development partners.

Ms. Bethlehem Tilahun, owner of the globally recognized and feted eco-friendly Sole Rebel shoe, was selected by UNDP Ethiopia in recognition of her inspirational role for budding entrepreneurs in the country.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors are at the top of their field and share a deep concern for the world’s poor and a commitment to making the planet a better place for all, ridding it of poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, and empowering women. Goodwill Ambassadors use their fame to help amplify the urgent and universal message of human development. They also strongly articulate the UNDP development philosophy and programmes of self-reliant opportunities and motivate people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

In a special message read at the event, Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye reflected that, “Empowering Ethiopians, especially women and girls, is an issue close to my heart. And there is no one who better to serve as a role model for them than Bethlehem.”

UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, noted Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan sets a bold vision for Ethiopia to become a middle income country by 2025. Fundamental to achieving this vision, is the rapid growth of local industries, including micro and small businesses, and the promotion of the private sector as an engine of growth.

Speaking on the nomination of Bethlehem, Mr. Owusu said,”…she is not just helping to create jobs for members of her community; she is helping to place Ethiopia at the forefront of a growing export industry.”

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) was launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February 2013 as a partnership between the UNDP and Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction. The EDP helps Ethiopia tap into the creative drive of the country’s entrepreneurs, particularly the youth and women to bring about transformational change. In 2014, the programme, through the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) partnered with the Office of the First Lady and the Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) and Federal Micro and Small Enterprise Development Agency (FeMSEDA) to help connect 1,500 women to the export market.

Minister of the Urban Development, Housing and Constructions H.E. Mekuria Haile said, “It is my firm belief that in line with the strategic direction set in the Growth and Transformation Plan, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme will significantly contribute to the development of a private sector led manufacturing and service industries.”

“My mission is to encourage the amazing and wonderful entrepreneurial energies we have in Ethiopia, so we generate a new wave of entrepreneurs,” the new UNDP Ethiopia Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship Bethlehem Tilahun said upon recieving her letter of appointment.

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is currently budgeted for 26 million USD and has recently brought on board a number of partners including Canada, Italy and Microsoft East Africa to target 200,000 Ethiopians who will receive training and access to business development services. A newly established Innovation Financing Facility will help address critical challenge of micro and small enterprises’ access to finance through facilitating the availability of soft loans, grants, private equity and venture capital.

Related:
President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti
Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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Ebola Travel: South Africa Bans Incomers From West Africa

(Photo: EPA)

BBC News

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.

Medium-risk

South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Read more at BBC News »

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Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal

Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, 25, right, following his meeting Wednesday with students at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo)

USA TODAY

By Kevin Johnson

FERGUSON, MO. — Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer leading an investigation into a police shooting.

He also arrived as an African-American who said he understands the racial tensions that have fueled days of protests that have been marred by violence and mass arrests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

“I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man,” Holder told Ferguson residents at a community meeting. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

Holder was here primarily for briefings on the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into possible civil rights violations related to the fatal shooting. He offered perhaps his most forceful and personal assessment yet of how the 18-year-old man’s shooting has reignited a long history of racial “mistrust and mutual suspicion.”

Read more »

Video: Holder on Ferguson: I understand mistrust (MSNBC)


Related:
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Protesters March Again Following Missouri Teen Shooting (Video & Photos)

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 19, 2014. (MSNBC)

VOA News

August 19, 2014

Protesters gathered again on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri late Tuesday to voice anger about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

The marches appeared to be peaceful, following a night of violent protests during which police arrested 78 people, including several journalists.

Ferguson, a community populated mainly by blacks, has been hit by street protests punctuated by looting and clashes with police every night since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed on August 9.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised the people of Ferguson a “full, fair and independent” investigation into the shooting of Brown. Holder will be in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday to meet with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal civil rights officials.

A grand jury is expected to begin hearing evidence in the case on Wednesday.

In a videotaped message Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said a “vigorous prosecution” must now be pursued. He called for justice for Brown’s family.

In a message published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, Holder said the full resources of the Justice Department are committed to the investigation.

He said, however, the town must see an end to violence and that the riots and looting in reaction to the shooting undermine justice.

The mayor of a U.S. town where police and protesters have clashed for 10 days following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman says there “is not a racial divide in the city of Ferguson.”

Mayor James Knowles told U.S. TV channel MSNBC on Tuesday that the town of 22,000 people in the state of Missouri has been a “model for the region” as it changed from a majority white population to predominantly black.

The comments come after a third tumultuous night on the streets of Ferguson, which has seen ongoing protests since a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.

Seventy-eight civilians – including protesters and members of the press – were arrested Monday night and Tuesday morning in Ferguson after a day of peaceful protests. Initial reports indicated 31 arrests had been made.

St. Louis shooting

Meanwhile, police in St. Louis, Missouri have shot dead a man armed with a knife near the site of violent protests against the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager August 9.

Police say the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting allegedly stole merchandise from a food store.

He apparently challenged officers to shoot him and approached them with a knife. Police fired when he refused to drop it.

In Ferguson, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents the town in the Missouri legislature, told CNN on Tuesday that peaceful protests would continue until charges were filed against the shooter.

“The demonstrations are going to continue until there’s an arrest, until this officer is on leave without pay,” said the state senator.

Nearly all of those arrested in the last day are charged with failing to disperse when police requested a crowd of roughly 200 people leave.

Outside agitators blamed

Most are not Ferguson residents, but many are from the area. Officials repeatedly have blamed protesters from out of state for violent acts during nighttime demonstrations.

Brown’s death has sparked allegations of systemic discrimination against minorities and a nationwide debate on race in the U.S.

A poll conducted over the weekend and released Monday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center shows 80 percent of African-Americans believe Brown’s death raises important issues about race, compared to 37 percent of whites.

The survey also found that while 65 percent of black respondents believe the police went too far in responding to the shooting, that number plummets to 33 percent among the white population.

Police fired stun grenades and tear gas at crowds, as demonstrators lobbed firebombs and bottles at heavily armored police.

Officers say they came under heavy attack, but did not shoot their weapons. Two people were reported wounded by shots from within the crowd. Many people appeared to be defying orders from police to disperse.

National Guard troops that arrived earlier Monday to strengthen police forces could be seen on the fringes of the gathering.

President weighs in

Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the actions of a “small minority” of demonstrators engaging in violence on the town’s streets was heightening tensions.

He also said there was no justification for the use of excessive force by police, or any action that denies the rights of peaceful protesters.

An independent autopsy requested by Brown’s family showed he was shot at least six times, including two bullets to his head.

Attorneys for Brown’s family said the autopsy shows the unarmed black teen was “trying to surrender” when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him. Two other autopsies have been commissioned.

Wilson is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Video: Student protesters offer their perspective (MSNBC)


Related:
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Mehereta Baruch-Ron: From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv. (Photo by fotos@queer-kopf.de)

TLV1 FM

August 18th, 2014

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv municipality. Originally from Ethiopia, she embarked on a long journey to Israel via Sudan with two of her sisters when she was just 10 years old. Her parents bought her first pair of shoes for her in preparation for the trip to Israel.

She joins Rogel Alpher to share stories from her incredible transformation: From a child growing up in an African village with no electricity or running water, to a successful theatre-actress-turned-politician in Israel.

Read more and listen to the program at TLV1 »

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Voting Open for Miss World Ethiopia 2014

Genet Tsegay - Miss World Ethiopia 2013. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The final selection for Miss World Ethiopia 2014 will be made next week by a combination of voting both by a panel of international judges and online public voting. The winner will be revealed on the organizer’s Facebook page. The victor from Ethiopia will compete at this year’s Miss World competition in London on December 14th.

The 64th edition of the international pageant features over 130 contestants from around the globe. Miss Philippines will pass on the crown to the new Miss World.

The Miss World Ethiopia 2014 judges include Yordanos Teshager (International Top Model), Jason Gardener (CEO JG Models), Whitney Carter (Model and Beauty Queen), Matewos Yilma (Former Mister Ethiopia and Top Model), Genet Tsegay (Miss World Ethiopia 2013), Robert Anderson (VP Konjo International), Dr. Jennifer Hobson (International Fashion & Fine Arts Event Producer), and Meron Wudneh (Miss Africa USA 2014). Organizers note the the public vote will be equivalent to one vote by the judges.

You can learn more at www.facebook.com/MissWorldEthiopia.


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In Pictures: Grammy-nominated Ethiopian Singer Wayna at Ginny’s in Harlem

Wayna live at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York on Thursday, August 14th, 2014. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Singer and songwriter Wayna told her audience that she had her second baby only four months ago, and is blessed to have the support of her family so she can continue to do what she loves most – sing. Her energetic show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on August 14th highlighted new songs from her latest album, The Expats, and previous hits. Wayna also made a tribute to her mother, Tidenekialesh Emagnu.

The Ethiopian-born artist was nominated for a Grammy award for her song Loving You on her first album Moments of Clarity.

Below are a few photos from Wayna’s Concert at Ginny’s Supper Club:



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

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Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch, Ethiopia

(Poster courtesy organizers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 15, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The city of Arba Minch, one of Ethiopia’s secret destinations for nature enthusiasts from around the world, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding with a two-day festival scheduled on September 4-5, 2014. According to organizers the entertainment line-up at the “Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch” includes musicians Neway Debebe, Aregahegn Werash, Fikreadis Nekeatibeb, as well as comedians, dancers and various other performing artists.

The program will highlight speeches by local and high federal officials as well as invited guests both from Ethiopia and abroad including family members and relatives of the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe, who was then known by the title Dejazmach and was the governor of the region.

“Arba Minch is one of the most beautiful and densely forested areas in Ethiopia where fruits grow naturally,” says Denver-based Ethiopian-American businessman and documentary filmmaker Mel Tewahade who is one of the guest speakers from the United States who will be in attendance. Mel points out that Lake Chamo, home to diverse wildlife such as the Nile perch, hippos, and crocodiles, is only a five minute drive south of the city. “Ethiopians call it Azo gebeya, says Mel. “Because it really looks like an outdoor market except those gathered are crocodiles.”

According to Wiki: “Arba Minch {‘አርባ ምንጭ’} (Amharic, “forty springs”) is a city and separate woreda in southern Ethiopia; the first common name for this city called Ganta Garo. Located in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region about 500 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, at an elevation of 1285 meters above sea level. It is the largest town in Gamo Gofa Zone and the second town in SNNPR next to Awassa. It is surrounded by Arba Minch Zuria woreda.”

Mel notes that the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe had initially faced stiff opposition from “the local business elite” who argued the relocation of the capital of what used to be called “the province of Gemu Gofa” from Chincha to Arba Minch was a deterrent to trade. “They even sued him and took their suit to the Emperor,” says Mel. “To be fair to those who were against the move, I think they were also scared of the mosquitoes.” Mel adds: “Mosquitoes love lowlands and these people lived up in the mountains. Nestled between two major lakes, Chamo and Abiyata. Arba Minch is a key location for water, rail, air and ground transportation.”

Arba Minch – also home to Arba Minch University – was founded in 1964 (1956 Ethiopian calendar) and as to the founder Amero Sellasie, he was unfortunately executed by the Derg regime a decade later. “He was one of the first sixty to go,” Mel says. “He was the only guy that Mengistu is said to have regretted killing.” Mel emphasizes that Amero Sellasie is survived by “several amazing children” including Abebe Aemro Selassie, Deputy Director at IMF’s African Department.

Below are images of Arba Minch today courtesy Mel Tewahade:



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CEO Magazine: Zemedeneh Negatu Among Africa’s ‘Titans Building Nations’

Zemedeneh Negatu receiving the 2014 'Titans Building Nations' award in Nairobi, Kenya on August 9th. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia (EY), Zemedeneh Negatu, has been recognized by CEO Communications as one of Africa’s contemporary “Titans Building Nations.”

The continental-wide accolade “aims to celebrate the achievements of men who are advancing African economies and communities,” the publication announced. “Since the founding of the company in 2000, [CEO Communications] has promoted initiatives to recognize women. Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government program, is one such initiative and has been a flagship program for many years in South Africa. It is long overdue that we extend this celebration and recognition of influential men across the borders of Africa.”

The awards were given out on Saturday evening (August 9th) during a gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. “The inaugural Titans event in Nairobi was a major success,” organizers of the ‘Titans 2014 East African Regional Event’ said via Facebook. “We enjoyed meeting such influential men.”

Ernst & Young Ethiopia is one of the leading business consulting firms in Africa. “We are pleased that CEO magazine recognized “influential Africans” as Titans – Building Nations and our Managing Partner Zemedeneh Negatu was a winner in the Financial Services sector,” EY Ethiopia said in a statement.

Zemedene, who permanently relocated from the U.S. to Ethiopia fifteen years ago, is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC — where he studied business and finance before becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Later he landed a job with the global professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for whom he worked in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990′s. In an interview with Tadias Magazine earlier this year Zemedeneh noted that it is in Latin America where he gained his appreciation for emerging markets: “I have gained a great deal of experience by working in South America where the business and investment environment in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990s was similar to what’s taking place today in Africa, where some of the fastest growing economies are located.”

Per CEO Magazine: “Titans Building Nations aims to recognize the significant role men play in the sustainable development and growth of our continent.” The annual award highlights businessmen, civil society activists, and government leaders across the African continent.



Related:
Tadias Interview With Zemedeneh Negatu

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In conversation: Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Eleni Gabre-Madhin. (African Business Magazine)

African Business Magazine

By James Jeffrey

With her new company, Eleni Gabre-Madhin aims to take the commodity exchange momentum that started with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, to the rest of Africa.

The offices of commodity exchange company, eleni, occupy the top two floors of Tracon Tower, where one can gaze north and south along the teeming wide thoroughfare that is Churchill Avenue in the heart of Addis Ababa. Construction cranes can be seen silhouetted against the Ethiopian capital’s skyline, hovering over a landscape and an economy very much in transition.

Eleni, which specialises in building and supporting the operations of exchanges for frontier markets in Africa, also has possession of the tower’s roof space, where the plan is to open a gym and maybe even a cafeteria.

Currently there are only about 10 employees within this wide-open sprawling office space, and employees admit the premises moved into a month ago are a little cavernous presently. But that’s all part of the plan.

“I learnt from my experience with ECX, where we ended up bursting at the seams,” says Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive of eleni, launched in February 2013, and former chief executive of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). “So when we moved in here I went for a little extra room. Which we are going to need – we’re ramping up.”

Gabre-Madhin is credited as being one of the key founders behind the success of ECX, which, since its launch against the odds in 2008, has grown to handling spot trades amounting to more than $1.2bn annually in coffee, wheat, maize, haricot beans and sesame.

Read more at African Business Magazine.

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Interview with Dr. Gezahegne Bekele: AGOA Renewal in 2015

Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the U.S. Accountability Office. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In 2015, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) — which was signed into law in 2000 and is a trade program allowing eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to export goods to the United States duty free — will be up for review and renewal. Tadias recently interviewed Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the United States Government Accountability Office who has worked extensively on AGOA.

Dr. Gezahegne joined the US Government Accountability Office in 1989 after having taught for over two decades at several institutions including the University of Miami, University of Oklahoma and Florida International University. He has authored papers focusing on food security, and today he is an international trade specialist who has worked on issues including the cost of remittances. Dr. Gezahegne has provided economic research reports to US Congress and Senate. In addition to his expertise on AGOA, his economic development work has enabled him to travel to numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and the former Soviet Union.

“To promote free markets, stimulate economic growth, and to facilitate Sub-Saharan integration into the world economy, US Congress signed AGOA into law on May 18th, 2000,” says Dr. Gezahegne. AGOA allows approximately 5,200 types of goods to be duty-free. Although crude petroleum is the largest import from AGOA countries, other items include automobile parts, steel, and cut-flowers.

In 2004 US Congress further amended AGOA to allow certain eligible countries to use fabric for garment production sourced from foreign nations. Through this amendment, Dr. Gezahegne notes that “If Ethiopia produces textiles made out of its own cotton and yarn, or imported from other foreign countries, it can still export the final product duty-free to the United States.” In the case of Ethiopia approximately 83% of items it exports to the United States are duty-free. Since Ethiopia was declared eligible on October 2nd, 2000 as one of the original member nations, Dr. Gezahegne shares that “AGOA has increased Ethiopia’s export to the United States by about 25%.”

Sub-Saharan countries are reviewed every year for AGOA eligibility. “Countries cannot have non-democratic practices such as coups,” says Dr. Gezahegne. Other requirements stated in the eligibility requirements include “a system to combat corruption and bribery as well as a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimizes government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets.”

Yet, in spite of being so beneficial AGOA’s uptake rate is not as great as it should be. In an initial request by US Congress to examine AGOA’s contribution to trade expansion between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan African countries, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) used US Census data on imports from 40 African countries and reported that AGOA countries’ imports remain small with 2% market share.

“Preference is a discriminatory process,” says Dr. Gezahegne. “If you extend it to others the value becomes less and this is known as preference erosion.” He adds: “There is also the issue of program uncertainty. The one thing you would want for a trade development process is stability.” Taking this into account after 2015, the President is trying to lengthen the period between renewals so that AGOA will be in place for another 15 years.

A press release from The White House on August 4, 2014 — during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit — acknowledges that AGOA needs to be revised and expanded. The press release notes that the Administration’s “recent review of AGOA has revealed that, while the tariff preferences provided under AGOA are important, they alone are not sufficient to promote transformational growth in trade and investment.” Subsequently, President Obama’s administration has launched two major initiatives — Trade Africa and Power Africa.

Dr. Gezahegne describes Trade Africa initiative as “one that allows East African nations to trade more with each other,” while Power Africa “is an initiative that GE lobbied extensively in an attempt to provide more electricity to African nations, increase livelihoods and at the same time sell American know-how.” Dr. Gezahegne also adds: “Ethiopia views itself as a growing hydro-electric power producer. Americans view Ethiopia as a potential exporter of thermal power as well.” In addition to textiles and garments, Dr. Gezahegne likewise sees a potential for Ethiopia to be a possible producer of organic cotton provided that the organic certification processes are in place.

The White House August 4th press release also notes the establishment of a Steering Group on Africa Trade and Investment Capacity Building. Members from seventeen departments including the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are tasked with presenting the President with “clearly defined goals and benchmarks for increasing trade and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and appropriate and transparent criteria for identifying priority countries, regions, and sectors that have the greatest potential to contribute toward meeting these goals and benchmarks.” The steering committee is also tasked with recommending “an outline of how to utilize programs across agencies to achieve these goals.”

Dr. Gezahegne is a strong supporter of trade versus aid. “Trade has been a known engine of economic development and poverty reduction in the world,” he states. “AGOA countries trade even more and are in better shape, and it’s not because of aid. Countries that are open have growth rates that are three to six times higher than those with closed economies. I don’t know any country in the world that has achieved transition status from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’ due to economic assistance.”

You can learn more about the African Growth and Opportunity Act at trade.gov/agoa.

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Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of the historic music label "Motown Records." (Photo: Radio facts)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia Habtemariam, who was promoted to President of Motown Records this past Spring following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Heroes and Legends (HAL) Foundation, at the 25th Annual HAL Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Other honorees include the legendary music group New Edition, the Mary Jane Girls, Warner Music Group’s Ryan Press, and Eddie Floyd.

Organizers note: “This year’s event will also feature a new finale: The Year of the Hits, Motown Reigns Supreme –saluting the hits of 1964. Motown was churning out hit after hit and dominated the charts with songs like, My Girl (The Temptations), Come See About Me and Baby Love (The Supremes), How Sweet It Is (Marvin Gaye) and Every Little Bit Hurts (Brenda Holloway) and many more. The tribute will feature performances by Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards and Brenda Holloway.”

“The 2014 HAL Awards’ star-studded event honors a select group of individuals who have brought honor and dignity to the arts. An additional highlight will be the awarding of scholarships to deserving students of the arts from the Southern California area. The HAL Awards are the brainchild of famed songwriter and Motown Alumna, Janie Bradford. Bradford has written such classic hits as Marvin Gaye’s Too Busy Thinkin’ About My Baby, Barrett Strong’s Money. That’s What I Want and countless others.”

“Our goal is to help talented young people in the community realize their lofty–but-attainable dreams of shaping careers for themselves in one of the many performing arts,” explains Bradford. “We do this by providing much needed scholarship funds. Each year our scholarship honorees are selected from a diverse group of candidates who have earned a consistent grade point average of 2.0 or better and who exhibit an extraordinary amount of talent, drive and determination.”

Related:
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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DIY Beauty Secrets from Ethiopia

(Photo: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu)

Yahoo News

By Sara Bliss

Aug 12, 2014

A native of Ethiopia, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the founder of soleRebels, a line of colorful footwear that pairs Ethiopian craftsmanship with western design. The handmade, fair-trade shoes are made entirely in her native country and sold in 55 others. Alemu, who was recently named a Forbes Woman to Watch, takes pride in spreading her Ethiopian culture and style across the globe. The globetrotting entrepreneur says that one of the greatest lessons she learned growing up in her small village was actually a pretty global ideal: beauty comes from within, and is in large part determined by how you treat others. “Truly beautiful people have incredibly beautiful spirits that allow them to radiate a special kind of physical beauty,” Amelu says. “It is in our actions. Doing beautiful things to uplift and empower other people is the ultimate expression of beauty.”

Unlike the United States, Amelu’s native country doesn’t celebrate stress, and that laid back attitude encourages a positive outlook that she says contributes greatly to overall wellness and health. She also comes from a rich tradition of do-it-yourself beauty. “We have so many local beauty secrets,” she says. “Ethiopians are well known for having gorgeous hair.” Their amazing locks are thanks to a specialized hair butter called KIBE that women make themselves. “Almost every family has their own special recipe that they have passed on from generation to generation,” she says. “It is truly a skilled craft.”

Read more »

Related:
President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (left), President George W. Bush greets Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wed., August 6th, 2014. (Photos: U.S. Embassy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Last week during the inaugural US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., former President George W. Bush convened First Spouses from across Africa, where he announced the launch of his global health initiative Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Ethiopia and Namibia focusing on preventing cervical cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in females in Ethiopia and the second most common in Namibia.

At the gathering held on Wednesday, August 6th entitled Investing in Our Future, “an event to complement President Obama’s hosting of heads of state and government from the continent,” Bush also introduced the first group of “Ambassadors for the public-private partnership” including Bethlehem Alemu, Founder and Managing Director, soleRebels (Ethiopia); Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman, Econet Wireless (originally from Zimbabwe); Ambassador Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella, stateswoman (Tanzania); and Isha Sesay, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN International (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone).

“The members of the group will use their personal platforms and networks to encourage social change, public support, and national policies to eliminate cervical cancer,” the George W. Bush Institute said in a press release. “They will also join with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners to spread positive messages that empower and drive women to seek care for themselves and their daughters, including screening, treatment, and vaccinations.”

The Bush Center added: “Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a global health partnership founded by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The partnership — which has helped screen over 100,000 women for cervical cancer in Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia in the last three years — will build on existing healthcare programs in Ethiopia and Namibia to add interventions to prevent, screen for, and treat cervical cancer. The disease continues to be the number-one cancer killer of women in sub-Saharan Africa, exacerbated by its connection with HIV, since HIV-positive women are four-to-five times more likely to contract cervical cancer than their HIV-negative peers.”

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Ethiopian Meron Wudneh Crowned Miss Africa USA 2014

Meron Wudneh was crowned Miss Africa USA 2014 on Saturday, August 9th in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photograph courtesy: Miss Africa USA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Ethiopian-born beauty queen Meron Wudneh has been crowned Miss Africa USA 2014. Meron, who beat 20 other contestants, is the first Ethiopian to win the Miss Africa USA pageant since it was launched nine years ago. Meron received the sought-after tiara on Saturday evening during the Grand Finals held at the Strathmore Theater in North Bethesda, Maryland.

In her statement posted on the Pageant’s website Meron states: “I am honored and delighted to represent Ethiopia, an ancient African country with amazing biodiversity, people who take pride in preserving their diverse culture, it’s great warriors, Kings and Queens! I love dancing our traditional Eskista dances, playing sports and bringing visibility to our culture through fashion.” Meron is a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland and a graduate of Bowie State University where she studied Health Sciences.

Last year’s winner was Kathy Onmu of Nigeria.



Related:
Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

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Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda

Ethiopian composer & pianist Girma Yifrashewa live at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland on July 30th, 2014. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Matt Andrea

Published: Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – On Wednesday July 30th, Ethiopian composer and pianist Girma Yifrashewa performed to a sold-out audience of more than 300 at the legendary art deco Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, close to Washington, DC. His concert coincided with the release of his new CD Love & Peace by Unseen Worlds.

The show included exquisite renditions of Yifrashewa’s compositions Ambassel, Sememen, Chewata and The Shepherd With the Flute, which he performed as piano solos, as well as Elilta, Hope and My Strong Will, which he performed as ensemble pieces, accompanied by Besufekad Tadesse (Clarinet), Christein Kahrazian (Violin) and Elise Cuffy (Cello). While many describe Yifrashewa as a classical Ethiopian pianist, his music clearly defies category, as it fuses classical structure with traditional Ethiopian melodies and chromatics, in a blend that is truly sublime and transcendental.

Yifrashewa was introduced by Rick Brown, the proprietor of venue, and Tommy McCutchon, producer of Unseen Worlds. While supper clubs can often be somewhat noisy venues, the audience for this performance was very hushed and respectful. Each piece was exquisitely rendered and transported the audience to otherworldly realms. The concert concluded with standing ovations, followed by encores of classical and Ethiopian compositions.

The significance of this performance was reflected not only with the size of the audience, but also the prominence of those who attended, including Alemtsehay Wodajo, founder of the Tayitu Cultural Center; Francis Falceto, creator of the Ethiopiques series, which has brought world-wide attention to Ethiopian music; Charles Sutton, a pianist and massinko player, who served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia during the reign of Haile Selassie; and Alemayehu Gebrehiwot, who was instrumental in publishing the late Tesfaye Lemma’s book Ye Itiyopia Muziqa Tarik (The History of Ethiopian Music).

Unseen Worlds Records shares via Facebook: “With the success of this concert, Girma’s CD proudly entered the Billboard Classical Music Chart at #23!”

Below are photos from the event:



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Wayna to Perform at Ginny’s in Harlem – August 14th

Wayna (Woyneab Wondwossen) is an Ethiopian-born, Grammy-nominated R&B singer. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 8th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – iRock Jazz Presents Wayna at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on Thursday, August 14th.

Ethiopian-born singer Wayna Wondwosen paid tribute to her mother, Tidenekialesh Emagnu, in her first album Moments of Clarity, and she was nominated for a Grammy award for her song Loving You.

“Her life in Washington DC exposed her to the problems facing immigrant communities,” the event announcement notes. “Recently, Wayna released her music video for My Love, a song that tells the story of a woman trapped in a relationship with an abusive husband. The video features fellow Ethiopian musician B Sheba and Tsdale Worku, who performs as Wayna’s mother. Her music is an empowering blend of the soulfully spiritual and playful. For inspiration, Wayna looks to her mentor Stevie Wonder, as well as many other musicians she’s worked with over the years.”

Ethiopian food and drink specials will be served at Wayna’s show to celebrate the upcoming Ethiopian New Year.


If You Go:
Wayna at Ginny’s Supper Club
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Showtime: 8:30 PM
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY, 10027
Tickets at www.ticketfly.com

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Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Summit

Panelists for media task force at African Civil Society Conference at Capitol Hill during US-Africa Summit on August 6th, 2014. (photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

by Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Washington, DC (TADIAS)  — The African Civil Society Conference, organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its partners, brought together African civil society leaders, journalists and members of US Congress at Capitol Hill as part of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit on Wednesday, August 6th. The conference theme entitled ‘Towards an Action Program for Democracy’ comprised of 6 panels addressing Human Rights, Good Governance & Accountability, Elections, Media, Conflict & Security, and Civil Society Challenges. Martin Frost, NED Board Chair, Hon. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Hon. Chris Smith (R-NJ) gave welcoming remarks.

Each panel presented recommendations forwarded by their respective task force, which met earlier in the week. Spokesperson for the media panel, Henry Maina, Director of East & Horn of Africa for Article 19, stated the media task force recommendations.  Members of the Media Task Force included journalists and activists from Mali, Tunisia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria. Several Ethiopian civil society leaders participated in the conference including scholar & political activist Birtukan Mideksa (Human Rights task force) Dr. Merera Gudina, Professor at University of Addis Ababa (Elections task force), and civil society advocates Teklu Tessema Gudeto and Debebe Hailegebriel (Civil Society Challenges task force).

Spokesperson Henry Maina highlighted media repression in several African countries and cited the current plight of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers who he described as “just using mobile phones and websites.” He added: “They have done nothing wrong.”

Maina also emphasized that media must be seen as a central topic to be addressed when discussing post 2015 development goals. Recommendations by the media task force included encouraging international media organizations to have more comprehensive coverage of news in Africa and to “move away from the narrative of Africa as the hopeless continent.” The task force would also like African governments and leaders “to establish independent media regulation mechanisms as well as clear and transparent criteria” so that media organizations are not stifled.

“Media is a mirror where leaders can perceive themselves,” one panelist stated, without which “journalists find themselves in situations of self-censorship and leaders may be going the wrong way.”

The media task force addressed the need for organizations such as USAID to support media by including programs in its portfolio that addresses the needs of African media organizations. Panelist John Gatluak from South Sudan shared the necessity for funding for the media sector to help develop professional media training programs. Likewise, the task force recommended that UN agencies and the African Development Bank lead the way to promoting access to information.

Addressing the African commission on human and peoples rights, the media task force stated that it must show leadership in encouraging Africa’s 53 countries to meet their obligations under international law, especially in regards to media law. Maina also shared the task force’s recommendations for media professionals stressing the need to form solidarity networks to support each other “whenever they find themselves in distress.” Addressing the private sector Maina asked for more efforts in allowing ICT and knowledge transfer so that Africa need not go through the slow progress of development and instead leapfrog to the digital economy.

A member of Facebook’s policy team also announced their recent collaboration with Airtel to provide free internet access along with healthcare and job information via their new initiative, Internet.org, in Zambia. Facebook reiterated that key issues in media include access and affordability of Internet as well as freedom of information as outlined by the media task force.

Panelist Kumba Gborie from SKYY Radio in Sierra Leone brought forth the issue of the under-representation of women in media in African countries and called for greater efforts to increase access to formal education for girls so that they may have better opportunities in the future to join media organizations. She likewise called for greater representation of women in the area of politics and leadership as well.

Several panelists stressed the need for the U.S. government to engage with African leaders to enhance and ensure the safety of media professionals. They also recommended that media workers in African countries consider forming trade unions for greater security.

During the Q&A session an audience member from South Sudan raised the question of hate speech on social media, which oftentimes exacerbates conflicts on the ground. Media panelist Mandala Mambulasa from Malawi acknowledged the need to address this critical issue while noting that there are no laws that address hate speech.

Organizers of the conference have noted that recommendations presented by the various panels during the African Civil Society Conference “will be incorporated into an Action Program, addressed to African governments, civil society, and citizens, as well as the international community, on the occasion of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.”

U.S. House Democratic Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer gave the closing remarks and noted that “this gathering is so critical because it highlights the role of civil society in Africa’s development.” He added: “I see and hope you see as well a continent of opportunity. Activists are building democratic institutions.”


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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

 

African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit

Panelists at the Science, Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014. (Photo by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – When Ethiopian-American IBM scientist and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Solomon Assefa, took the podium to make his presentation on private sector contributions to science & technology in Africa he reiterated that the focus needs to be on fostering local innovation by Africans for Africa. “Mobile money is a prime example,” he told the audience gathered at the Symposium on Science, Technology & Innovation for Economic Growth & Development in Africa held at the Keck Center of the National Academies today in conjunction with the US-Africa Summit. “By 2015, mobile money is expected to generate a $160 billion industry.”

Solomon also drew attention to shifting African demographics. “52 cities in Africa have a population of over a million people,” Solomon said. “And by 2035 the labor force in Africa could be as big as China or India.” Calling for long-term research development, innovation and investment in skills development, Solomon cited IBM’s efforts to expand its presence from 4 countries to 24 countries in Africa in the past decade alone while also building the first commercial research and development lab in Africa. Bringing entrepreneurs and local partners together to work with IBM Solomon notes that efforts range from working on cutting-edge nanotechnology to creating plant innovation centers across the continent.

The Science & Technology symposium brought together delegates of African Academies of Science, policymakers, scientists, and executives from the private sector to assess innovative approaches to improve infrastructure for advances in science and technology in African countries.

The morning program started with introductory remarks from Foreign Secretary of the National Academies of Sciences John Hildebrand and President of the National Academy of Engineering C. D. Mote. South African Minister of Science & Technology Grace Pandor addressed the need to strengthen local institutions of higher education and in particular institutions of science and technology. Minister Pandor noted that four out of ten African scientists currently live and work in high income countries away from their home countries. “So we are losing our human capital,” she stated. In order to retain African scholars and scientists to work in their respective nations “we need to invest in local institutions,” she added. Developing a skilled workforce, a strong research base, and making Africa a fertile environment for innovation are some of the suggestions that Minister Pandor shared with the audience to foster a “vibrant, active higher education sector.”

Geneva-based Under Secretary for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk, Margareta Wahlstrom, highlighted disaster risk reduction, post 2015 sustainable development goals and the climate change agenda as three key global issues to contend with. Wahlstrom emphasized focusing on data and interdisciplinary as well as multi-stake holder research as the most critical calls for action.

Panelist Wole Soboyejo, President of Africa University of Science & Technology shared how the US/Africa Materials Institute was launched at Princeton in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. Soboyejo traveled to over 35 African countries in an effort to establish collaborations between universities in the United States and those in Africa. “Our vision is to be a meritocracy..to replace brain drain with brain circulation, work towards transparency in governance, and build links across the world to diffuse innovation across Africa,” he stated.

Farid Fezoua, CEO & President of GE Healthcare Africa noted how Africa is a young continent in the sense that 60% of the current population is under the age of 20. He noted that General Electric’s first overseas branch was established in South Africa, and GE remains a key stakeholder in encouraging innovation in Africa. Fezoua gave several examples of  what he called ‘reverse innovation’ developed in Africa including the creation of solar-powered surgery kits, and hand-held ultrasounds.

“At the end of the day sustainability is what matters,” added Fezoua. “As an ex-banker converted to healthcare with a passion for Africa I have seen that financial investment alone cannot solve Africa’s challenges. We need the expertise and knowledge of scientists.”

Director of the US Global Development Lab, Dave Ferguson, moderated the second panel and shared the announcement of a $100 million pledge in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation to jumpstart a ‘Resilience Partnership.’

Ambassador & Global AIDS Coordinator at the US Department of State, Deborah Birx, highlighted progress in several African countries including Malawi whose HIV/AIDS prevention programs were effective and successfully scaled up at the national level. However, she urged more efforts need to be made to reduce the rates of infection, especially among young women who make up the largest proportion of affected populations.

Harvard Professor Calestous Juma wrapped up the morning session by highlighting the accomplishments of Arthur Zang, a youth entrepreneur from Cameroon who created the continent’s first tablet and who won the 2014 Rolex Award for inventing a mobile cardiac test device. “Every two years there is more knowledge than has ever existed in the entire history of technology,” Calestous stated. ” This type of thinking moves us away from the scarcity of knowledge to understanding how to harness abundance of information. The lesson of many of the presentations today is to look at technology in the context of problem solving.”


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Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC

Civil Society Leaders & Panelists from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia at the US-Africa Summit in Washington D.C. on Monday, August 4th, 2014. (Photograph by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 4th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Civil Society Forum, one of six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events” at the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., commenced today at the National Academy of Sciences setting the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings.

Themes at the Civil Society Forum included building momentum towards open government in Africa, the role of civil society, and translating ideas into action. Featuring civil society leaders from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia the forum started with an introduction from Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. Ms. Sewall noted two main goals of the forum — fighting corruption and working with civil society organizations and the private sector to advance open government and to enhance transparency. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched by the U.S., South Africa, Tanzania and five other countries who issued national action plans and made commitments to greater transparency. Today there are 8 African countries and a total of 64 nations worldwide participating in OGP.

Sewall quoted Obama’s support of OGP stating that “openness will strengthen our democracy and increase our efficiency. OGP is a new way of doing business.”

The Civil Society Forum panel was moderated by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power who called for the reduction of paperwork and other government bureaucracies in pushing the efficacy of the Open Government Partnership. “We want to bring domestic reformers and those fighting corruption together so they can be talking to one another,” she stated. The OGP aims to include both civil society organizations and the private sector in collaborating with governments participating in the initiative.

Amira Yahyaoui, Civil Society Leader and panelist from Tunisia shared that her country joined OGP a week after they voted on a new constitution in January 2014, which was also the second anniversary of their revolution. Coming from the anti-censorship movement she is a strong advocate of access to information. Describing Tunisia’s involvement in OGP Ms. Yahyaoui noted that “Three years ago when you reported on corruption you could get five years jail time. Today we have language that supports whistle blowers.” Yahyaoui emphasized that “The commitment is really good, but the question remaining is one of implementation.. OGP should be a results-oriented process.”

Civil Society Leader Rakesh Rajani from Tanzania discussed the importance of citizen participation to hold governments accountable. “One of the things that we inherited from our colonial history is that we have to be afraid of the people,” he said. “But one of the things to realize is that people are your assets and they can share the burden” in building society.  He drew from his own personal story where he was initially viewed by his government as a staunch critic. “But now we share ideas on how we can unlock two or three bottlenecks that we have in this open government initiative,” he added. Rajani acknowledged that OGP “is government-led, but it is very collaborative and includes both civil society and the private sector. This engenders trust. When governments open up and build credibility..you don’t have to spend so much money on security. Instead you can spend it on making lives better.”

Deputy Minister & President’s Lead for OGP in South Africa gave examples of how the South African government is participating by simplifying the way information is disseminated. “We have established a department that deals specifically with ICT and outreach, she shared. And the information provided to citizens is tailored to their needs and in a language that is easy to understand.

During the Global Town Hall session of the forum the Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership in Sierra Leone, Amadu Massally, spoke first and called for a moment of silence for the victims of the Ebola virus in his country and in several West African nations. Massally also shared with the audience that Sierra Leone would like to host the regional open government partnership initiative in 2015. Massally had a strong message for all African leaders: “If you are not open to open government partnership you will become obsolete.”

From the private sector, Microsoft pledged its commitment to OGP by asking to partner with two countries by the end of 2014 and offered to host 100 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellows in Microsoft offices across Africa. A representative from IBM also shared that they are engaging with 10 countries in Africa and glad to be part of the Open Government Partnership. “We’re not just talking about open data, we’re publishing it ourselves and understanding the challenges involved,” he said. IBM is scheduled to host an Africa open data jam session tomorrow.

A representative from the Kenyan government highlighted their 1-stop shop for services that is currently available in 16 counties, which they hope to expand to over 45 counties and also make it accessible via mobile phones for their citizens.

Discussing the inclusion of media in OGP, Rakesh Rajani asserted that “media is absolutely crucial to open government partnership” and that “countries which clamp down on media do the wrong thing.”

Elected Chair of the Refugee Council in Washington addressed the audience and reminded African leaders to acknowledge the voices of refugees and vulnerable populations as part of open government initiatives. Mandela Washington Fellow Fouzia Dahir from Kenya likewise told the panelists and audience that it’s time for the youth to be included in initiatives such as Open Government. “We as young people want to sit with government and work alongside you,” she stated.

Hundreds of individuals from Ethiopia and several from the Democratic Republic of Congo protested outside the National Academy of Sciences calling for accountability for human rights violations in their countries.

Below are photos from the Civil Society Forum:

 


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US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington

Secretary of State John Kerry, center, flanked by World Bank Chairman Jim Yong Kim, right, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, addresses a meeting of the AGOA Forum, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP)

VOA News

Updated: August 04, 2014

Events surrounding the summit between President Barack Obama and some 50 African heads of state have kicked off in Washington.

Secretary of State John Kerry urged African ministers to embrace free-market ideals and U.S.-African cooperation Monday at a forum focused on the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The secretary is due to meet with at least eight visiting African leaders by the end of day.

President Obama will address a U.S.-Africa Business Forum on Tuesday and take part in sessions focused on economic growth, regional security, and good governance on Wednesday.

Summit agenda

The U.S. is set to unveil nearly $1 billion in business deals, more funding for peacekeeping, and billions of dollars for food and power programs during the three-day summit.

China, Europe and Japan have all held similar events to encourage investment in Africa, but the White House denies its Africa Summit is in response to increasing investment in Africa from China.

U.S. businesses have generally been hesitant to invest in Africa despite the high growth rates seen in many countries.

Billions of dollars in new funding is expected to be announced for Power Africa during the summit. The program’s goal is to add 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity and 20 million new electric customers in Africa by 2018.

Private industry has committed $7 billion to the program since it was announced last year by President Obama.

Countries have also said they will use the summit to lobby their interests in the U.S. For example, South Africa has already said its delegation will push for a 15-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

The law gives eligible Sub-Saharan Africa countries preferential treatment in their exports to the U.S., but the program that began in 2000 is set to expire next year.

Excluded

U.S. officials say only four African leaders were excluded from the talks – the presidents of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.

The summit convenes at the same time several West African nations are facing an Ebola virus outbreak.

President Obama said Friday the United States is closely following the situation. He said African officials from at-risk countries will be screened for the disease before entering the U.S.

The leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia have canceled their summit trips to Washington because of the Ebola outbreak.

US-Africa Summit to Focus on Stability, Youth

Obama Tadias Magazine cover

President Barack Obama speaks to participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington, July 28, 2014. (Photo: AP)

VOA News

By William Eagle

WASHINGTON — Over 50 African heads of state are expected at the summit of U.S. and Africa leaders August 4 through 6.

Not invited are the presidents of four countries with a record of human rights violations: Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Central African Republic.

Administration officials say it’s an opportunity to discuss the future of an economically-growing continent, and address questions about how the U.S. can become a closer partner.

Themed “Investing in the Next Generation,” the summit meetings will be designed to identify shared interests that will be needed if the continent is to meet the needs of its young people: health care, education, and work place opportunities.

Story continues after video report by VOA’s Miriama Diallo:

At a time when armed conflict has created a humanitarian emergencies in Central African Republic and South Sudan, and East and West African countries are fighting the spread of radical Islamists, the first goal is to ensure peace and stability needed for development.

Summit participants will discuss how to end violence and ensure both regional and domestic security.

Listen to report on the U.S.-Africa summit

That effort will include reforms to national militaries, says Joseph Siegle, research director for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a recognition that part of the challenge is that Africa’s police and military aren’t always very professional, and this can lead to inappropriate or heavy-handed responses, especially when dealing with domestic security threats, which involve [the killings] a lot of innocent bystanders,” he said. “This tends to alienate the local population and further fuel grievances.”

“The challenge [for Obama and the heads of state] is how do you [separate and address] the domestic issues and then the transnational components of those threats?”

Trade, investment

On Tuesday, African leaders will meet with government officials at a business forum to address economic security. The gathering is expected to bring together 200 U.S. and African business leaders in order to find ways to strengthen financial ties by boosting trade and investment.

An important part of U.S. trade with Africa trade is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), U.S. legislation designed to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations.

AGOA gives African countries with a good records of economic management and human rights duty-free access to U.S. markets. Today, Africa sells about seven thousand products to the U.S., worth about $27 billion.

More than 20 countries participate in AGOA, but U.S. officials say more could take part.

Experts such as Witney Schneidman, senior international advisor for Africa at the global law firm of Washington-headquartered Covington and Burling, says AGOA should be renewed for 15 years to ensure a stable investing environment.

“Another idea being considered by government officials is to enhance USAID trade hubs in Africa,” he said, explaing that the hubs, or information centers, help African businesses export their goods to the U.S. market.

Schneidman also says they should be renamed trade and investment hubs that also help U.S. companies interested in the African market.

“Those trade hubs need to pull together,” he said. “We need a whole of government approach so that you have our ambassadors and embassies in lockstep with our commerce and agriculture officials, along with officials from [the Export-Import Bank of the United States] and the [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries].

“[This way] we can present one face,” he said. “A one-stop shop to U.S. companies on how the U.S. government can help them be successful in Africa.”

Human rights

The summit agenad also includes a session on governance, though some activists say the current meeting schedule does not pay enough attention to human rights and democratization issues.

Civil society groups have voiced displeasure at not being invited to take part in any roundtable discussions with African leaders despite a civil society forum scheduled for Monday.

Adam Shapiro of the human rights group Front Line Defenders said U.S. emphasis on human rights and good governance is what should separate this gathering from recent Africa investment summits held by China, India, Japan and Russia.

“In those summits, there were very low expectations from Africa that any kind of issues about governance or human rights or transparency would be brought up,” Shapiro said. “But when it comes to the U.S., there is an expectation that these kinds of issues would be on the table.”

Shapiro, who wants civil society to be a part of all discussions — especially those on security and good governance — also wants President Obama to publicly identify leaders who’ve gained power through elections and transparency, such as those in Liberia, Ghana, Tanzania and Botswana.

He and other activists have been critical of summit invitations to leaders accused of human rights abuses, such as Teodoro Obian Nguema, long-serving president of Equatorial Guinea, and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, president of Egypt.

Unlike China’s recent Africa summit, the U.S.-hosted summit will have no one-on-one meetings between the president and the African leaders.

Administration officials say Obama will be spending the entire day meeting with leaders on Wednesday at the heads-of-state summit. Heads of state and business leaders will be able to meet with cabinet-level officials during some of the events.

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Tadias Interview: Ngozi Nmezi, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

Ngozi Nmezi is the Director of the Washington, DC Mayor's Office on African Affairs - OAA (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 1st, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Did you know that four out of ten foreign-born Africans in Washington, D.C. are from Ethiopia? “In fact, the Ethiopian community makes up 39% of the foreign-born African community here in District of Columbia,” says Ngozi Nmezi, Executive Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA). “That’s followed by Nigeria (16%), Cameroon, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Ghana.”

Nmezi says that there are over 50 African countries that are represented in the District and since 2010 OAA has hosted an annual festival that celebrates the presence of a diverse and vibrant African community in the U.S. capital – through art, food, culture, history and music – that has quickly become one of the biggest cultural events in Washington. This year’s festival will take place on Sunday at the Ronald Reagan Building (Woodrow Wilson Plaza).

“It will be held on the cusp of President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit,” Nmezi states, noting that the theme of the 2014 event is ‘Africa to DC: Showcasing Diaspora and Diversity and Building One City.’

“Our event is happening on the eve of all the wonderful engagement that our country is doing to strengthen U.S.-Africa relations in terms of building democratic institutions, trade and economic development,” adds Nmezi. She shares that her office also plans to launch an African Business Directory this weekend, “something that we have been working on for the past few months.”

“The directory is going to act as a tool and as a resource for folks who are interested in learning about the wide sector of the African business community in Washington, D.C. from hair-braiders to restaurant owners and from health care providers to attorneys and taxi cab companies. So we are gleaning that information to put together a directory, and at the very least we hope to launch the website by Sunday, August 3rd.”

Current Mayor Vincent Gray will be leaving office soon after losing the Democratic Primary election this past Spring, but Nmezi said she’s hopeful that the Office on African Affairs will continue its service to DC’s African community. “It should not stop from administration to administration,” she said. “The office is here to serve the community and I would hope that the African community really understands that the onus falls on them to continue to be engaged and carry forward all the work we have been able to do as result of them supporting the office.” Nmezi said Mayor Gray has been “a big supporter” of the Office on African Affairs. She highlights September as being “Africa Heritage Month” in DC as declared by Mayor Gray. In addition, Nmezi said, OAA now has legislative grant making authority to issue grants to community based organization that serve Africans. “The Driver’s Safety Act, being able to issue ID cards in the District of Columbia to non-documented immigrants, these are the things that have really benefited and strengthened the African community and it has happened on Mayor Gray’s watch.”

Nmezi states that the upcoming festival features arts and crafts vendors “from a variety of different African countries,” a flag parade around the plaza by community members representing their countries and showing “the fusion of African cultures” in D.C. “We will have a community fashion show and encourage folks who are attending to wear their traditional garbs so that if they are selected they can come up on the stage and detail the history of the garbs that they are wearing,” she said. “We also have wonderful activities for children like face painting, flag making, musical chairs, African games, hair weaving and style demonstrations.”

The entertainment lineup includes a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter Wayna and the traditional Ethiopian dance group Kignet as well as DJ Underdog (“one of the most sought after DJs in the DC music circuit”), Nmezi states. “We are in for a treat and very excited to bring a diverse set of African Diaspora artists to the festival. Good for family and good people for all ages.”

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the corporate sponsors of the festival and has committed to donating two round-trip tickets to the continent in support of OAA’s ‘We Count Demographics Survey.’ “We encourage everyone to please fill out that survey which will help us understand what the numbers of African immigrants in the District look like, such as what kind of services they are using and of course how we can improve upon those services that they’re using,” she said.


If You Go:
5th Annual DC Africa Festival
Sunday, August 3, 2014 | 12:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center – Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20004
RSVP Required | Register Here

Photos: The 2013 DC Africa Festival

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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders

Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia Yonas Moges, Helawi Sewnet, Mesganaw Mulugeta Assefa, Michael Addisu, Haleta Fisseha and Edda Zekarias at the YALI Summit in D,C. on July 30th, 2014. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS)- At yesterday’s Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech focusing on increasing girls’ access to education. Addressing the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows and invited guests at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the U.S. First Lady stated “Many of you are barely half my age, yet you have already founded businesses and NGOs. You’ve served as leaders in your government.. so you all represent the talent, energy, and diversity that is Africa’s life blood, and it is an honor to host you here.” She added “The roots of my family tree is in Africa. The blood of Africa runs through my veins.”

The First Lady pointed out that while great strides have been made by women in Africa — including that “the number of women who serve in parliament in Rwanda is over 50%, which by the way is more than double the percentage of women in the U.S. House” — greater efforts are still needed to address the consequences of harmful traditional practices.

“While I have great respect for cultural differences, I think we can all agree that things like female genital cutting, forced marriages, and domestic violence are not legitimate cultural practices,” The First Lady stated. “They are serious human rights violations, and they have no place in any country on this earth.”

Acknowledging the struggles girls face in pursuing their dreams for education, The First Lady shared her own unlikely ascent to leadership. Quoting Nelson Mandela, she stated “As Madiba once said: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done,’” and she recounted her beginnings. “My ancestors came in chains. My grandparents and parents knew the sting of inequality. Yet I attended some of the best universities, and today I live in the White House, in a home that was constructed by slaves.” Following a standing ovation, The First Lady continued: “And I know my story and the story of my country is the story of the impossible getting done, and I know that can be your story.”

The First Lady also highlighted the stories of several Mandela Washington Fellows including that of Fikiri Nzoyisenga from Burundi who created a youth coalition to address violence against girls.

Mrs. Obama’s speech was preceded by a forum on ‘Enabling Inclusive Economic Development,’ hosted by Ambassador Michael Froman. Panelist Steve Case, Founder of AOL, shared how only 3% of Americans were online at the time that he created AOL .”It took us 10 years to get 1 million people online,” he said. “It was not easy in the beginning to literally get Americans online.” Citing how the Mandela Washington Fellows have grown up in a more connected world, he noted: “Now we are seeing some of the great technologies coming out of Africa such as mobile banking. Some of the best ideas may not start in Silicon Valley; they may start in Nairobi.” He added: “The mentality of mobile first would create new infrastructure, but we also must make sure that the regulations in place make it easier for startup culture.”

Responding to a question from Ghanaian Fellow Ethel Delali Cofie regarding how to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive, Steve Case responded that “competition is a signal that [your idea] is a big idea, so competition is a good thing.” Case also encouraged Fellows interested in entrepreneurship to remember the three Ps: “People, Partnerships, and Possibility.”

Panelist Alexa von Tobel, Founder of Learnvest, encouraged the audience to “dream big and perceive yourself as customer #1 when trying to solve a problem.” She admitted that it does take time to get ideas off the ground, but it helps to “pay it forward, look ahead, and get to work everyday.” Von Tobel also noted that “competition helps to sharpen your decision skills.”

Panelist Tcheguan Adebo Koba, Washington Fellow, addressed the need to go beyond acknowledging the rapid economic growth in African countries and find ways to make societies more inclusive. He lauded the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s public management track and called for greater opportunities for African youth entrepreneurs to gain access to markets across regional borders.

Yonas Moges, one of the 13 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia, told Tadias that he is inspired by his experiences as a participant. “I strongly feel the time has come to shine for Africa with the brilliant fellows I have met,” he said. Yonas has worked for more than a decade in the hospitality industry while focusing on international hotel chains. He is currently Managing Partner at Calibra Hospitality Consultancy and Business Plc, and “advises local developers in hotel design concept development, site selection, conducting feasibility studies, searching and selecting for hotel operators, and sourcing debt and equity finance for hotel projects.”

What has Yonas enjoyed most about the Young African Leaders Summit so far? “The networking, attending Obama’s speech and how he is simple to relate to for any aspiring young person, and community service culture in USA,” he shared.

Below are some photos from the Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders.



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Missing Ethiopian Runners in Oregon

One athlete, Zeyituna Mohammed, is still missing. (Photo: Clockwise from top left: The four athletes are: Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17; Meaza Kebede, 18; Zeyituna Mohammed, 18. Dureti Edao, 18; (Oregon Live)

UPDATE: Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State

Oregon Live

By Ian K. Kullgren

University of Oregon police are still searching for Zeyituna Mohammad, one of the Ethiopian runners who vanished from the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this past weekend.

Mohammad, an 18-year-old who competed in the Women’s 800-meter run, was one of four athletes from the Ethiopian team who disappeared Saturday. Police found the other three — Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, a 17-year-old boy, and Dureti Edao and Meaza Kebede, two 18-year-old women — staying with an acquaintance in Beaverton on Monday. Mohammed was still missing as of Tuesday morning.

Although University of Oregon police believe she is safe, they would not confirm whether Mohammed or the other three athletes are seeking asylum in the U.S.

“We aren’t and won’t be making inquiries with them about their plans, where they’ve been, or anything not related to simply confirming that they are safe, and not missing,” Kelly McIver, a department spokesman, wrote in an email Tuesday.

Read more at the Oregon Live»

Related:
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela

(Photo courtesy: YALI - Young African leaders Initiative)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – President Obama has renamed the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in honor of Nelson Mandela. Obama made the announcement on Monday during an address to the current class of 500 fellows who are receiving six-week executive leadership training at various universities in the United States.

“The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa,” said the press release from YALI. “The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC.” The press release adds: “Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.”



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On Cusp of President Obama’s Historic U.S.-Africa Summit, DC Presents the 5th Annual Africa Festival

(Photos courtesy: The D.C. Mayor’s Office on African Affairs)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 28th, 2014

Washington, .D.C (TADIAS) – As President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit kicks off next week Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) will host the 5th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration right before the summit begins on Sunday, August 3rd at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The event includes music, dance, wellness pavilion, art exhibitions, fashion show, African culture hut, and children’s village – all highlighting community-based resources. The festival which will be emceed by Voice of America Broadcast Journalist, Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, includes a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter Wayna. In addition, organizers say, the traditional Ethiopian dance group Kignet is also part of the entertainment roster that showcases local talents such as DJ Underdog — “one of the most sought after DJs in the DC music circuit.”

“Each year, the Mayor’s Annual Africa Festival celebrates diverse communities of the District’s African diaspora through art, culture, food, history, and music,” OAA announced. “Since its inception in 2010, the Festival has fast become one of the District’s most anticipated cultural events drawing thousands of attendees.” The statement adds that “The event stands as a unique testament to the unprecedented growth and presence of the District’s African residents. It further echoes the goals of OAA’s Multicultural Awareness and Community Building Program –celebrating the varied identities of African people; promoting the different cultures within the District’s African community; and encouraging all District residents to learn about African heritage, customs, and history.”

The festival’s major partners include the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Commission on Arts and Humanities, Office of Community Affairs, Commission on African Affairs, Office of the Secretary, Office of Human Rights, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Corporate Donors include Ethiopian Airlines, Safeway, Inc., and Capitol Petroleum Group.

If You Go:
5th Annual DC Africa Festival
Sunday, August 3, 2014 | 12:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center – Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20004
RSVP Required | Register Here

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

At the 2014 Face2Face Africa Awards ceremony in New York on Saturday, July 26th. (Photograph: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – On Saturday evening at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts a diverse and stylish crowd of African professionals filled the hall to celebrate and honor six trailblazers from the African continent in business, fashion, entertainment, social innovation and democratic governance.

Among those recognized by the pan-African media company Face2Face Africa include Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia who received the “Entrepreneur Award” for her pioneering work as Founder and CEO of the international footwear brand SoleRebels. The “Humanitarian Honor” was awarded to U.S.-based Ghanaian social entrepreneur Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Founder of FOCUS (Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine) which provides orthopedic care to patients in Ghana and several other African countries.

The Global Ambassador Honor was given to South Sudanese British model and designer Alek Wek who saluted all the honorees and pointed out that “Africa needs more women in business and entrepreneurship like SoleRebel’s Bethlehem Tilahun” and added that above all education is the key for all. She reminded the audience to ” study hard, stay focused and celebrate others.”

The Trailblazer award went to Masai Ujiri – the Nigerian-born President and General Manager of Basketball Operations at the Tronto Raptors organization. The Entertainment Honor was also given to Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti, who spoke about the need to “focus globally not just Africa.”

The Lifetime Achievement Honor was conferred on Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire Dr Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim – who was not present, but sent a video message accepting the accolade.

Below are photos from the event:



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Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon

Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia leads the 5000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

IAAF

26 JUL 2014

Ethiopia’s world youth 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha led for most of the last kilometre to win the men’s 5000m in 13:25.19, his best ever clocking.

Kejelcha’s team mate Yomif Haji, with whom he shared pacing duties in the last third of the race, finished in 13:26.21 for silver, giving Ethiopia a gold-silver sweep. Moses Letoyie of Kenya took bronze in 13:28.11.

Two Ugandans, 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei and Philip Kipyeko, set the early pace, pulling the pack through the first kilometre in 2:43.21 and the second in 5:28.35.

Kenya’s Fredrick Kipkosgei Kiptoo came up and set a rhythm of surges, pushing through the first bend and down the backstretch, then backing off on the second bend and allowing what remained of the pack to collect. The group of eight runners was thinned to six as the group passed 3000m in 8:12.27, then 10:54.13 at 4000m.

By then Haji and then Kejelcha had moved to the front of the pack, Haji taking over at 3600m. As they left 4000m behind, the pack shrunk to six with Cheptegei struggling to hang on to the eventual medal trio.

When they reached the bell at 12:25.63, Kejelcha was unmistakably building a lead, which he proceeded to extend until he reached the homestretch. With the victory in hand, he backed off, allowing Haji to close the gap somewhat but not enough to give up the win.

The Ethiopian team, watching together on the backstretch, celebrated the sweep boisterously as Kejelcha and Haji lay stretched on the track beyond the finish line. Haji, a more compact runner, was up first, but he was unable to lever the lanky Kejelcha to his feet by himself.

Kejelcha is the eighth Ethiopian to win the 5000m at the World Junior Championships. Of the 15 titles awarded to date, eight have gone to Ethiopia and seven to Kenya.

Read more at IAAF.org »

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Mahmoud Kicks Off Issue Project Room’s Summer Concert Series in NYC on July 26th

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In the ‘Night Life’ section of its latest issue The New Yorker magazine highlights the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed as “one of the most exhilarating singers of the past half century” and notes that he “blends traditional Ethiopian Amharic music with sixties and seventies soul, funk, and jazz.”

Mahmoud Ahmed is coming to Brooklyn to kick off Issue Project Room’s summer concert series at Pioneer Works on Saturday, July 26th. The last time that Mahmoud performed in New York was in 2011.

“Now seventy-three, Ahmed was born to an impoverished family in Addis Ababa, and as a young boy had to shine shoes on the street to help support his family,” The New Yorker adds. “He later worked as a handyman at a club that hosted Emperor Haile Selassie’s Imperial Bodyguard Band, and, one night in 1962, when the band’s singer did not show up, Ahmed asked to sit in on a few songs; soon afterward, he became one of the group’s front men…His multi-octave voice made him a household name in Ethiopia, and a star since nearly the moment he started recording.”

If You Go:
Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Brooklyn
Saturday, July 26th, 2014 – 3:00 – 8:00pm
At Pioneer Works:
159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn NY 11231
TICKETS: $20 General / $15 Members + Students
http://issueprojectroom.org/event/mahmoud-ahmed

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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview

(Image courtesy: The White House)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – In early August U.S. President Barack Obama will host a historic summit, the first ever gathering of heads of state from across the African continent in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of the relationship between the United States and Africa. A diplomatic relationship formally began under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 when the first American diplomatic mission to the African continent arrived in Ethiopia to sign a commercial treaty with Emperor Menelik II.

The White House notes that during the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Obama will not hold any one-on-one meetings with heads of state. Instead, the administration will engage guests in group sessions focusing on various topics. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama will also host a dinner at The White House.

“This Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions,” the White House announced. “Specifically, the August 4-6 Summit will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.” The press release adds: “At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.”

The theme of the Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

“Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation,” the announcement stated. “Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.”

The Summit agenda includes “key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent” such as trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.

“President Obama invited all African heads of state or governments in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. An invitation was also extended to the African Union Chairperson.”

Below is a description of events:

AUGUST 4 – Signature Events
The Summit will include six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events,” allowing for in-depth conversations on some of the most pressing issues facing the U.S.-Africa partnership. These sessions will set the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings.

1) Faith Works
2) Civil Society Forum
3) Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity
4) Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future
5) Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate
6) Combating Wildlife Trafficking

AGOA Forum
To further demonstrate our commitment to the sustainable economic growth and development in Africa U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.

Capitol Hill Reception
The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.

AUGUST 5
U.S.-Africa Business Forum
On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. President Obama will participate in the Business Forum along with Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Bloomberg, as will other senior U.S. government officials. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, in Washington, D.C., the U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. The Forum will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in the areas of finance and capital investment; infrastructure; power and energy; agriculture; consumer goods; and information and communication technology. African leaders will engage with business executives from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in conversations about successes and solutions to increase trade with and invest in Africa. President Obama will participate in the conversation with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.

White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On the evening of August 5, President and Mrs. Obama will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and government and select guests.

AUGUST 6
Summit Leader Meetings
African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.

Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future
The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.

Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability
A working lunch centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.

Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation
This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.

Leader Press Conferences

Spousal Program
On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.

Side Events
In order to leverage the presence in Washington, D.C. of so many African leaders as well as the intense interest in U.S.-Africa ties that the Summit has engendered, a number of non government actors – the private sector and non-profit organizations — are organizing events along the margins to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative)
President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 to support young leaders with opportunities and resources. Through YALI, the United States is committing significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, with the United States, and with the American people. Investing in the next generation of African leaders is critical to ensuring the success of Africa’s democracies and its economies.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the exchange program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program brings over 500 young leaders to the United States each year, beginning in 2014, for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring. It also creates unique opportunities in Africa, through internships and follow-on opportunities, to put those new skills to practical use in propelling economic growth and prosperity and strengthening democratic institutions. To be part of the YALI Network, follow @YALINetwork on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

For more information on YALI, please visit YoungAfricanLeaders.state.gov.

Related:
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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Has Ethiopia Slipped in Doing Business? PM Hailemariam – The World Bank is “Wrong”

(Getty Images)

By Alice Tidey | CNBC

July 23rd, 2014

The World Bank is “wrong” about how hard it is to do business in Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn the country’s prime minister has told CNBC.

In its latest report on the country published in May 2014, the World Bank highlighted that Ethiopia had slipped in its Doing Business ranking due to deterioration in investor protection, registration of property, access to finance and competitiveness.

But in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Yousef Gamal El-din on Access Africa, Desalegn rejected the organization’s latest findings saying “what the report says and what’s happening on the ground are to the contrary”.

With its economic output growing by an average of 10.9 percent over the past 10 years, Ethiopia is the world’s 12th fastest growing economy, according to the World Bank. But growth is starting to slip and in 2012/2013, went below the two-digit mark, at 9.8 percent.

Despite the service sector having overtaken agriculture as the biggest contributor to gross domestic product – it represents 45 percent of the country’s GDP – Ethiopia has, according to the World Bank, “above average restrictions on foreign equity ownership” in many sectors, particularly in the service industry. The list of prohibited sectors includes telecommunications, financial services, media, retail trade and transport.

Read more at cnbc.com »

Video: The World Bank is “Wrong” on Ethiopia – PM Hailemariam Desalegn (CNBC)


Related:
Ethiopia Should Consider Currency Devaluation, Says World Bank (Reuters)

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African Art Museum Prunes Plans for Home

Officials are scaling back plans for the Museum for African Art in New York. (Photo: G. TECTS and March)

The New York Times

By PATRICIA COHEN

JULY 22, 2014

A rendering of the new Museum for African Art, with its soaring four-story wall, curved ceiling of rare Ghanaian wood and elaborate spiraling staircase, still sits on an easel in an unfinished concrete skeleton facing Central Park.

But those distinctive features and the $135 million budget that would have paid for them have now been shelved. After years of outsize promises and repeated postponements, officials now acknowledge that fund-raising travails have compelled them to scale back the grand design for the museum’s new home on Fifth Avenue.

The decision to cut the budget by $40 million is a potent reminder of the gulf between blockbuster cultural institutions and everyone else. While lavish building projects are planned or underway at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, smaller institutions with similarly heady dreams often can’t sustain them.

They lack the hefty endowments, deep-pocketed board members and global stature that can generally immunize even the most grandiose proposals at larger institutions from economic downturns a

Read more at NYT »

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Ukraine Rebels Surrender Downed Airliner Black Boxes to Malaysia

A pro-Russian fighter places a black box from the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on a table while handing it over to Malaysian representatives in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 22, 2014. (AP)

VOA News

A senior separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts in the city of Donetsk in the early hours of Tuesday.

“Here they are, the black boxes,” Borodai told a room packed with journalists at the headquarters of his self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as an armed rebel placed the boxes on a desk.

Both sides then signed a document, which Borodai said was a protocol to finalize the procedure after lengthy talks with the Malaysians.

“I can see that the black boxes are intact, although a bit damaged. In good condition,” Colonel Mohamed Sakri of Malaysian National Security Council said in extending his thanks to “His Excellency Mr. Borodai” for passing on the recorders.

Borodai also said a train carrying the remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash has reached Donetsk. It is on its way to Kharkiv, some 300 km (186 miles) northwest.

The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation also on site in Donetsk will travel along with it, he said.

U.N. Security Council resolution

The U.N. Security Council on Monday afternoon unanimously passed a resolution condemning the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet and demanded that pro-Russian separatists controlling the crash site allow investigators unrestricted accesss to the area.

Council member Australia, which had 37 nationals aboard the flight, drafted the resolution. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop traveled to New York for the vote. She said Russia, which backs the separatists, must use its influence to ensure the resolution is implemented.

“We must have answers; we must have justice. We owe it to the victims and families to determine what happened and who was responsible,” said Bishop.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said a resolution should not have been necessary.

“We welcome Russia’s support for today’s resolution. But no resolution would have been necessary had Russia used its leverage with the separatists on Thursday, getting them to lay down their arms and leave the site to international experts. Or on Friday. Or on Saturday. Or even yesterday, ” said Power.

Obama Urges Unimpeded Probe

Earlier in the day U.S. President Barack Obama called on Russia to allow international investigators immediate, full, and unimpeded access to the site in Ukraine where a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down last week.

Obama said Monday the pro-Russian separatists who control the part of eastern Ukraine where the plane went down are preventing international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage.

“As investigators approached, they fired their weapons into the air. The separatists are removing evidence from the crash site, all which begs the question: What exactly are they trying to hide?” the president asked.

U.S. officials say there is evidence the missile that brought the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 down was fired from territory controlled by rebels who Russia is backing and supplying with equipment that includes anti-aircraft weapons.

Obama said Moscow has urged the rebels on, trained them, and armed them. And he said Russian President Vladimir Putin now should facilitate a transparent investigation.

“Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia, and President Putin in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do,” Obama said.

The president said the separatists have been removing bodies from the crash site without following proper procedures, something he called an insult to the victims’ loved ones.

Obama has been speaking to leaders of nations whose citizens were lost on the flight.

The U.S. leader said Russia will only continue to isolate itself from the international community if it keeps supporting the rebels.

Former Pentagon official Dr. Anthony Cordesman was asked whether the magnitude of the downing of MH17 compels Obama to act more aggressively towards Russia.

“I think the word compel isn’t valid. It [the downing of the jet] gives the U.S. more leverage in mobilizing world opinion and getting support for sanctions from European allies.​…but the key problem is how easily something like this can fade….the whole problem of how Russia deals with the states around it is going to go on in the future,​” he said.

Kerry condemns Russia

Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned Russia for what he called “overwhelming evidence” of complicity in Thursday’s downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine.

In a series of appearances on Sunday news shows, Kerry said the evidence points to Russia supplying pro-Moscow separatists with a sophisticated SA-11 anti-aircraft system and then training separatists to use it.

He said U.S. authorities have seen video, taken after the crash, of a missile launcher with at least one rocket missing. He said that battery was moved back into Russian territory from rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Thursday’s attack, which killed 298 people near the Russian border.

EU to increase sanctions

European leaders said Monday they were ready to slap increasing sanctions on Russia to force Moscow to use its influence over the rebels to stop the conflict and allow international investogators free access to the crash site.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament Monday that Russia cannot expect to enjoy access to European markets and money if it fuels conflict in Ukraine.

He also echoed comments by Obama that the separatists must ensure the bodies of the victims of the crash are repatriated and that international investigators must be given access to the crash site.

Putin response

Russian President Vladimir Putin once again on Monday said the airliner would not have gone down if Ukraine had not re-ignited fighting last month in the region with separatists.

“We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, this tragedy would not have happened,” he said. “At the same time, nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy to achieve their own selfish political objectives. Such events should not divide, but rather unite people. We need for all people who answer for the situation to uphold their responsibility both before their own people, as before the people of other nations, the representatives of which became victims of this catastrophe. It is necessary to do everything in order to secure the safe work of international experts at the site of the tragedy.”

Putin said Monday that Russia is doing everything possible to allow a team of experts from the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate the scene.

VOA’s Luis Ramirez from the White House and Margaret Besheer from the United Nations contributed to this report. Some information provided by Reuters.

Related:
FAA Prohibits US Planes in Ethiopian Airspace North of 12 Degrees Latitude

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

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Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

(Image courtesy: Oprah Magazine South Africa and SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 21st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The Oprah Magazine (South Africa) has named Ethiopian businesswoman Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SoleRebels — Africa’s fastest growing footwear company —  to its fourth annual O Power List featuring 21 inspiring female leaders from the African continent who are “Rocking the World.” The list comes with commentaries from international celebrities such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Oprah Winfrey honoring the women on the list. “Our August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine has been wrapped up, and we’ve finalized our 2014 Women of Africa,” the magazine announced.

Bethlehem, who is also scheduled to receive the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award given by the pan-African media company Face2face Africa at a ceremony in New York on July 26th, said in an email to Tadias Magazine that she is “elated” to be selected by Oprah Winfrey to this list. “It’s a doubly sweet honor to be among such incredibly talented women.”

Other honorees include Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o; Founder & Executive Director DNA Project Vanessa Lynch; journalist & author Mandy Wiener; Host of Africa Business Report on BBC World News and respected business journalist Lerato Mbele; Senior Editor & Producer for Essence.com and co-founder of online magazine AfriPOP Yolanda Sangweni; Award-winning actress and Executive Producer of Elelwani Florence Masebe; and Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Legacy Foundation, Reverend Mpho Tutu.

Learn more about the “O List” at Oprah Magazine South Africa »

Related:
2014 Face2face Africa Awards Preview

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Genzebe Dibaba Wins 5000m at 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Monaco

Genzebe Dibaba wins the 5000m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco on July 18th.

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — When it comes to a winning streak in the international running field, this has been the year of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba. The 23-year-old athlete repeated her victorious performance in Monaco on Friday capturing first place in the 5000 meters women’s race at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League track and field competition.

Genzebe finished the race in a world-leading time of 14:28.88, ahead of fellow Ethiopian Almaz Ayana (14:29.19) who came in second. Viola Jelagat Kibiwot of Kenya was third with time of 14:33.73.

See the full results at iaaf.org »

Video: Genzebe Dibaba wins 5000m and Huddle gets US record in Monaco – Universal Sports


Related:
Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records (TADIAS)

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Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism

(Image credit: © Fractal Element from Facebook)

BBC News

Updated: 18 July 2014

Nine Ethiopian journalists and bloggers held in detention since April have been charged with terrorism by a court in the capital, Addis Ababa.

They deny receiving financial aid and instructions from terrorists groups to destabilise the country.

New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the government was trying to stifle opposition and media freedom in the country.

They all belonged to the social media activist group Zone 9.

Correspondents say Ethiopia has increasingly faced criticism from donors and human rights groups for jailing its critics – many of whom have sought asylum abroad in fear of being arrested and tortured in jail.

Read more at BBC News »

Ethiopian Authorities Charge Nine Journalists With Terrorism) CPJ


Zone 9′s website has carried pieces critical of the government. (BBC)

CPJ

July 17, 2014

Nairobi – An Ethiopian court charged nine Ethiopian journalists arrested in April with inciting violence and terrorism, according to local journalists and news reports. The nine arrested include six bloggers from an independent collective called Zone 9, which publishes critical news and commentary.

“Expressing critical views is not a terrorist act. Once again, the Ethiopian government is misusing anti-terrorism legislation to suppress political dissent and intimidate journalists,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We call on Ethiopian authorities to release all journalists who have been imprisoned for doing their jobs.”

On April 25 and 26, authorities arrested the nine journalists–editor Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, freelancers Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, and Befekadu Hailu–and accused them of working with foreign human rights groups and using social media to create instability in the country. Authorities have held the journalists for more than 80 days without charge, beyond the maximum period allowed under the terrorism law, according to news reports. Since 2009, when the anti-terror law was implemented, the Ethiopian government has used the sweeping legislation to imprison more than a dozen critical journalists, according to CPJ research.

Read more at CPJ Blog »

Related:
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London

Julie Mehretu at her studio in New York. (Photograph: Tim Knox)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born American painter Julie Mehretu is featured in the upcoming fifth American Artist Lecture Series at the Tate Modern in London on September 22, 2014. “This series seeks to bring the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK.” The program is a partnership between Art in Embassies, Tate Modern and US Embassy London.

Julie, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977, is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States and one of two Ethiopian-born artists whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (the other artist is Skunder Boghossian). Julie, who currently lives and works in New York, has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award. She had residencies at the Core Program 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).

If You Go:
American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
Monday 22nd September 2014 At 18:30
Click here to book your ticket.

Related:
Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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Grammy-nominated, Singer/Songwriter Wayna Returns to the Blue Note NYC

Wayna (Woyneab Wondwossen) is an Ethiopian-born, Grammy-nominated R&B singer. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – “I’ve always been a bit of an expat,” says Grammy-nominated, Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter, Wayna, who is scheduled to perform at the Blue Note in New York on Monday July 21st. Wayna is currently promoting her latest album The Expats. The CD, which The Washington Post calls “brilliant,” is a fusion of diverse genres of world music including Rock, African, Reggae, Soul and R&B sounds.

“I want this album to be about exploring and expressing all the ways in which I and every one of us are unique, culturally or otherwise, and to celebrate those differences unapologetically,” she adds. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

If You Go:
Wayna at the Blue Note
Monday, July 21st, 2014
Showtime: 10:30PM
Doors Open at 9:45PM
131 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
Telephone: 212-475-8592
RSVP at www.bluenote.net

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Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

“This is a fascinating moment in time as the terms and notions of African art are reconsidered. As an artist I feel my work is being repositioned as the landscape broadens." — Julie Mehretu. (Porter Magazine)

By VICTORIA L. VALENTINE | Culture Type

PORTER MAGAZINE, a new print publication produced by Net-a-Porter, the online luxury retailer, mostly covers fashion, but also devotes a fair amount of editorial to art and culture. Its summer edition features a brief interview with Julie Mehretu (above, right-hand page) about Africa’s emerging presence in the contemporary art world.

The Ethiopian-born, Michigan-reared, New York-based painter is queried about three issues: the significance of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which is scheduled to open in Cape Town in 2016; whether her heritage influences her work; and the Ethiopian film she is producing.

Mehretu says a shift is afoot in the art world: “It is so exciting to imagine the potential of the [Zeitz] museum. Things are opening up for the art of Africa, in the continent and internationally.”

She confides that being Ethiopian and American are central to her identity, but she is not comfortable having her nationality or geography define her work.

“My journey as an artist has been about figuring out who I am and my place in the world; understanding my thoughts in relation to place and time. As an artist, what moves me is a desire to make sense of myself and the world at large,” Mehretu tells Porter.

Read the full story »

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Michael Million: One Man’s Story Of Survival And Fatherhood (Video)

Daniel Million kissing his father Michael after graduating from the Preuss School at UC San Diego (kpbs.org)

KPBS San Diego

By Matthew Bowler

Monday, July 14, 2014

Michael Million is a proud father. He raised his two kids alone. Not one, but both of his kids are Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship winners. That means they can go to any college where they are accepted, and they won’t have to pay a dime.

In 1999, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $1 billion to the scholarship fund. To qualify you must be the first in your family to go to college, be a minority and demonstrate financial need. Every year just 1,000 of these scholarships are awarded. If you win one, the Gates Foundation will pay for your entire college education.

For most of us, having two children win such a scholarship would be the highlight of our story as parents, but for Million, it’s one part of a much larger story of survival and resilience.

Read the full story at KPBS San Diego »



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Video: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage, B.B. King Blues Club

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Credit: Tsedey foto)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, July 12th 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Last week, Teddy Afro successfully played his first back-to-back show in New York at the 2014 SummerStage festival and at B.B. King Blues Club on Saturday, July 5th. Teddy briefly chatted with Tadias Magazine following his second show. The Ethiopian star was greeted at both venues with an enthusiastic audience that hailed from as varied locations as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston.

Below is our video coverage of both events:



Related:
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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Ethiopian Film ‘Asni’ to Screen in Washington, DC – July 19th and 20th

The late artist Asnaketch Worku is the subject of the new film "Asni." (Photo: Courtesy the filmmakers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Friday, July 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The new documentary Asni: Courage Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia (directed by Rachel Samuel and edited & co-produced by Yemane Demissie), which chronicles the life and times of Asnaketch Worku, one of the most talented and controversial performing Ethiopian artists of her time, will screen at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center on Saturday, July 19th and Sunday July 20th.

Per the director: “When I was a 4-year old kid in Addis Ababa listening to my father’s radio I heard a singer who mesmerized me. In an unknowing visceral response, Asnaketch Worku took root in my soul. Decades later it was an almost pre-destined privilege to direct a documentary on this extraordinary artist who is as much a cultural icon to Ethiopians as Billie Holiday is to Americans and Edith Piaf to the French. Asnaketch lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. But to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia, particularly in 50’s and 60’s was impossible. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, Azmari, which the church deemed as “…those not going to heaven.” So this doc is as much about my country, my music, my culture as it is about this original being, Asnaketch, who is a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.”

The film is also scheduled be screened at Africa World Documentary Film Festival in Bellville, South Africa (July 28-August 2, 2014), London, UK (August 30-September 9, 2014) and Kingston, Jamaica (October 2-5, 2014).

In a recent interview with Tadias Magazine Rachel Samuel shared that the movie took a little over four years to complete. “Asnaketch revealed herself slowly as we got to know each other over the years,” Rachel says. “And once trust was established, to get the best of her took a few interviews.”

Below is the trailer:

Asni Documentary from Samuel Overton Photography on Vimeo.


If You Go:
‘Asni’ Screening
Washington DC Jewish Community Center
Saturday & Sunday 19th & 20th of July
Time: 3pm and 5pm
1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
Theatre J
Tickets: www.eventbrite.com
More info at: http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/theater-j/

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Guta Dinka, The Man Who Saved Mandela, to Speak at Ethiopian Heritage Festival

Captain Guta Dinka. (Photograph courtesy Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — They thought they were giving Captain Guta Dinka an offer he can’t refuse (lots of cash – more than he’s ever seen) to kill Nelson Mandela. He was then 27-years-old and one of two Ethiopian soldiers assigned to guard the legendary future leader of South Africa during his brief stay for military training in Ethiopia in 1962. Instead Captain Guta marched straight to the house of his superior, General Tadesse Birru, and exposed the assassination plot that would have changed the course of history. And thanks to him the world is much better off for it.

Captain Guta, 78, will be speaking at the opening of the 4th Annual Ethiopian Heritage Festival on Friday July 25th at Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland. The three-day event organized by the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America will be held from July 25th to 27th, the last two days dedicated to outdoor activities on the campus of Georgetown University. According to organizers, the opening night will also feature an art exhibit by Ezra Wube from New York, which includes an animation display. In addition, Naome Marie, MIT freshman from San Jose, California, will be speaking on what “Ethiopian heritage” means to him as an Ethiopian American. Naome who was accepted to several Ivy League schools before deciding to attend MIT will also be honored at the event. Obang Metho is the keynote speaker.

Learn more about the event at ehsna.org/heritage-festival.

Video: Captain Guta Dinka, The Man Who Saved Mandela


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Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Brooklyn – July 26

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia’s music icon Mahmoud Ahmed will perform live in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturday, July 26th from 3-8pm. The event begins the summer concert series presented by ISSUE Project Room (who also sponsored the appearance of Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa in Brooklyn last year) and Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation where the indoor/outdoor concert will take place.

“A verified legend of African pop music, Mahmoud Ahmed led the wave of Ethiopian music’s ‘golden age’ in the 60s-70s with his notoriously energetic combination of traditional Amharic music with soul, jazz & funk,” organizers stated in their press release. “His multi-octave voice made him a household name in Ethiopia, and a star since nearly the moment he started recording. The ISSUE Project Room and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation are pleased to present Mahmoud Ahmed live in Red Hook, Brooklyn—his first New York performance since 2011.” The organizers note that additional supporting acts will be announced shortly.

“Born in 1941 in Addis Ababa, Mahmoud Ahmed shined shoes before becoming a handyman at the city’s Arizona Club, where he first sang professionally with their house band in the early 1960s. He sang for the state-sanctioned Imperial Body Guard Band until 1974′s revolution, after which a 14-year moment of liberated creativity took hold in the country. Leading the Ibex Band, later renamed the Roha Band, Ahmed burst to the forefront of the country’s pop scene with a melding of dance beats, prominent brass and sax arrangements, and traditional pentatonic scales and circular rhythms. His classic 1975 record Eré Mèla Mèla, released in Europe in 1986, was for years the only example of modern Ethiopian music known to the West. Since the 90s Ahmed’s music has spread across the west through four separate releases devoted to his music in the award-winning Ethiopiques series (Buda Musique). Now in his 70s, Ahmed’s music has recently been reappraised with acclaimed, energetic performances internationally.”

Video: Mahmoud Ahmed and Gossaye Tesfaye – ADERA (2013)


If You Go:
Mahmoud Ahmed in Brooklyn, New York
Saturday, July 26th, 2014 – 3:00 – 8:00pm
At Pioneer Works:
159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn NY 11231
TICKETS: $20 General / $15 Members + Students
http://issueprojectroom.org/event/mahmoud-ahmed

Related:
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage in NYC
Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club

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Meet Ethiopian Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia

Born in Ethiopia in 1993 Afrem Gebreanenia is a U.S.-based amateur MMA fighter. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, July 7th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born athlete Afrem Gebreanenia has a black belt in Taekwondo, but his dream is to pursue a career in the fighting ring. Since coming to the United States a few years ago the 21-year-old Minnesota-based amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter has earned his High School diploma and maintains a part-time job while dedicating himself to his passion.

Per Wiki: “Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts.”

According to an email from his manager, Timothy White, Afrem will be fighting in Fort Riley, Kansas for Victory Fighting Championships on July 12th – an event credited for launching the careers of many elite fighters including UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, Spencer Fisher, Jorge Gurgel, Josh Neer, Kevin Burns, Jake Ellenberger, Jason Brilz, Anthony Smith, Justin Salas, Nick Mamalis, Rob Kimons, Chris Camozzi, Abe Wagner, and Travis Browne.

In announcing his upcoming meet Afrem, who is a resident of Worthington, Minnesota, tweeted: “In time….The world will know me and know me well.”



You can learn more about Afrem Gebreanenia at: dynamicathletemgmt.wix.com/afremgmma.

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Report and Photos: ‘Lion of Judah Dinner’ Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The writer of the following article, Professor Ted Vestal, is pictured at the dinner in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 18th, 2014. He is the author of the book: "The Lion of Judah in the New World." (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Ted Vestal, PhD | OP-ED

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Tulsa, Oklahoma (TADIAS) – On June 18th, Oklahoma University (OU), Tulsa’s Center for Democracy and culture and the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Office of International Studies and Outreach sponsored a very special “Lion of Judah Dinner” celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first visit to Oklahoma by a reigning foreign head of state, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. A sold-out audience of 54 enthusiastic attendees, a cross-section of the local populace, gathered at Harwelden Mansion overlooking the Arkansas River in Tulsa to view artifacts from the land of Prester John, eat traditional Ethiopian food, and learn about the close and historic ties of Ethiopia with Oklahoma. Dr. David Henneberry, OSU’s Associate Vice President, Division of International Studies and Outreach, joined Prof. Rodger Randle, Director of OU’s Center for Democracy and Culture and former Mayor of Tulsa and former Peace Corps Volunteer, in welcoming the guests and providing background about the Emperor’s visit and its significance to the state. The dinner was the city’s first public ceremony honoring an African country and its people.

During the Emperor’s first state visit to the United States in 1954, he made a singular stop in his 7,000 mile tour of the country to thank the people of Oklahoma for assisting in modernizing agriculture and education in his nation. Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the 20th Century, a defender of the principle of collective security before the League of Nations, military commander of the first Allied victory in World War II, champion of the United Nations whose troops fought for the UN in Korea and the Congo, Cold-war ally of the United States, staunch anti-colonialist, and a noted Pan-Africanist and founding father of the Organization of African Unity. The Emperor was honored with a reception and dinner in Stillwater that was described as “the social event of the century” in Oklahoma. The timing of the visit and its venue were auspicious. Only one month before the U.S. Supreme Court had handed down its landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, ending racial segregation in public schools. The Emperor and his entourage were honored at a racially integrated event in an officially segregated state.

Haile Selassie held a special audience for the family of the late Dr. Harry Bennett, the president of Oklahoma A&M who established Oklahoma’s connections with Ethiopia through President Truman’s Point Four program. At the Tulsa celebration, Thomas E. Bennett, Jr., grandson of President Bennett spoke about his family’s memories of meetings with the Emperor. Tulsans Judy Burton, whose father was chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines (EA) from 1955-1960, and David Duke, who instructed EA mechanics the finer points of airplane engine maintenance in 1964 talked about their time in Addis Ababa. Patricia Vestal, who taught art at the Creative Arts Center of Haile Selassie I University from 1965-1966, reminisced about attending a reception at Jubilee Palace and having Halie Selassie attend her students’ art show. Ethiopianist Ted Vestal spoke about the Emperor’s state visit and gave details about the Oklahoma segment of the journey.

Before the program, photographer Hoyt Smith, a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher at Tafari Makonnen School in Addis Ababa from 1962-1965, showed slides from his collection while guests dined with a traditional Ethiopian meal of injera and wat. For a departing gift, filmmaker Mel Tawahade presented all attendees with a copy of his video “Point Four Ethiopia.”



Related:
Reflection: The 60th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU

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Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In a beautiful Summer afternoon reminiscent of Addis Ababa weather, Teddy Afro performed at the 2014 SummerStage festival in New York’s Central Park on Saturday, July 5th in front of an energetic audience. Rumsey Playfield was filled to capacity with a large contingent of Ethiopian fans — some of whom had driven from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. As Teddy played both old and new tunes, the crowd sang along and chanted their request for ‘Tikur Sew’ during breaks. Teddy promised to perform that song in the evening (at B.B. King’s) and then surprised them by playing their request as the final song.

Below are photos from the event. Stay tuned for video coverage.



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What People Are Saying on Twitter About the Extradition of Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, Secretary General of Ginbot 7. (Photos via Flickr, BBC News, ESAT, and Yemen Times)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a sampling of what people have been tweeting regarding the news that exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige, who is a British citizen, has been extradited from Yemen back to Ethiopia:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia

Andargachew Tsige, an Ethiopian opposition leader with British citizenship, has been extradited to Addis Ababa from Yemen. (Photo: ESAT)

AFP

July 4th, 2014

Addis Ababa (AFP) – An exiled Ethiopian opposition leader with British citizenship has been extradited to Addis Ababa “for slaughter”, an opposition group claimed on Friday.

Andargachew Tsige, secretary general of Ginbot 7 — labelled a terrorist organisation under Ethiopian law — was arrested while in transit through Yemen last month. Britain has already expressed “deep concern” about his fate.

“Andargachew has been given for slaughter,” Ginbot 7 said in a statement, warning Yemen that it had made a “historical mistake”.

Tsige is Ethiopian born with British citizenship.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was investigating reports and working to confirm Andargachew’s whereabouts.

“UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case.”

“We declare a war in the name of Andargachew for justice, freedom and equality,” Ginbot 7 added.

Ethiopia officials could not confirm if Andargachew was in Addis Ababa.

“I have no idea,” foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told AFP.

The US-based Ginbot 7 was founded by the former mayor of Addis Ababa, Berhanu Nega, currently living in exile in America.

Read more.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BBC Reports Ginbot 7 Leader Andargachew Tsige Extradited From Yemen

Exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige (center), who is a British citizen, is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

BBC News

4 July 2014

An Ethiopian opposition leader, who was sentenced to death while in exile for plotting a coup, has been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia, his group says.

Andargachew Tsege, who is also a British national, is secretary-general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement.

The Ethiopian government allegedly requested his extradition after he was arrested in Yemen last month.

European MEP Ana Gomes told the BBC the UK needed to use its political leverage to ensure his release.

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.

US-based Ginbot 7 spokesman Ephrem Madebo told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that Mr Andargachew had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained during a stopover at Sanaa airport.

Mr Ephrem said that he had spoken to Mr Andargachew’s family who had been contacted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.

British officials told the family that the Yemeni ambassador to the UK had informed them that Mr Andargachew had been handed over to Ethiopia, Mr Ephrem said.

In a statement the UK Foreign Office said it was aware that Mr Andargachew had been missing in Yemen since 24 June.

“Since then UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts, including meeting with the Yemeni ambassador in London this week,” a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

“We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case. We are continuing to provide consular assistance to his family.”

Read more at BBC News.

Related:
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Opposition Leader Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, a British national, may face death penalty after extradition from Yemen. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

BY Martin Plaut

Friday 4 July 2014

The Foreign Office has been accused of failing to act to prevent the extradition to Ethiopia of an opposition leader facing the death penalty.

Andargachew Tsige, a British national, is secretary general of an exiled Ethiopian opposition movement, Ginbot 7. He was arrested at Sana’a airport on 23 June by the Yemeni security services while in transit between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea.

“The British knew he was being held in Yemen for almost a week but they did nothing,” said Ephrem Madebo, a spokesman for Ginbot 7. “We are extremely worried about Mr Andargachew, because the Ethiopians kill at will.”

The Foreign Office, which called in the Yemeni ambassador earlier this week, said it was urgently seeking confirmation that Andargachew was in Ethiopia.

“If confirmed this would be deeply concerning given our consistent requests for information from the Yemeni authorities, the lack of any notification of his detention in contravention of the Vienna convention and our concerns about the death penalty that Mr Tsige could face in Ethiopia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Read more at The Guardian.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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Yemen Times: Ethiopian Opposition Figure Andargachew Tsige Detained in Sana’a

Andargachew Tsige, Secretary General of the Ethiopian opposition, Ginbot 7. (Photo via Yemen Times)

Yemen Times

By Bassam Al-Khameri

3 July 2014

SANA’A, July 2–The Ginbot-7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy, an outlawed political organization in Ethiopia, claimed on Monday that the movement’s secretary general Andargachew Tsige has been detained in Yemen since June 23.

According to the organization’s website, Tsige was arrested at Sana’a International Airport while in transit from Ethiopia to London. Tsegie is an Ethiopian with British citizenship.

The circumstances of his arrest remain unclear.

In a press release published on the official Ginbot-7 website on June 30, the movement said that it had tried for a week to release Tsige, adding that it had asked the Yemeni government not to hand him over to the Ethiopian government. “We will retaliate in any way and at any place for any harm done to the body, spirit and life of Andargachew Tsegie,” the movement warned.

Khalid Sheikh, the director of Sana’a International Airport, denied any knowledge of Tsegie’s alleged detention.

The Yemen Times contacted the Ethiopian Embassy in Sana’a, which claims to have no information on Tsegie’s alleged arrest so far. The British Embassy could not be reached.

Ethiopian news website Awramba Times cited a senior Ethiopian official as saying “Yemeni authorities will definitely issue an extradition warrant and he will face justice based on the Ethio-Yemeni Security Pact (EYSP), which was signed in 1999 between the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Yemeni’s former President Ali Abdallah Saleh.”

The website’s article did not give any further details of the arrest.

Ginbot-7 is a political movement that was founded by Dr. Berhanu Nega and that, according to its mission statement, aims to establish a national political system in which political authority is gained through peaceful and democratic means.

The Ethiopian government listed Ginbot-7 as a “terrorist group” in June 2011. Tsige allegedly survived an attempted assassination in November 2013 in Asmara that Ginbot-7 holds the Ethiopian regime responsible for.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)

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African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity From War Crimes and Genocide

At the 2014 African Union summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. (Photograph credit: African Union)

The New York Times

By ADAM NOSSITER and MARLISE SIMONS

JULY 2, 2014

DAKAR, Senegal — African leaders have voted to give themselves immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in an African human rights court that does not yet exist, angering rights groups and puzzling activists on the continent.

At an African Union summit held last week in Equatorial Guinea, a country often cited as one of Africa’s worst rights violators, heads of state and government decided that the African Court of Justice and Human Rights would have no power to hear cases against them.

The court was formally created by the African Union six years ago, but it is not yet in operation, and it is not clear when it will be.

The leaders at the summit last week also expanded the court’s scope: What was originally a civil tribunal for hearing human rights complaints will now be a full-fledged criminal court with authority to deal with the most serious crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and piracy.

Read more at NYT.

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SummerStage Presents: Teddy Afro, Noura Seymali, HaHu Dance Crew

(Images: Courtesy Massinko Entertainment)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 30th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Teddy Afro and HaHu Dance Crew from Ethiopia as well as Noura Mint Seymali of Mauritania are set to appear at the 2014 SummerStage festival in Central Park this coming Saturday (July 5th) as part of New York’s annual outdoor performing arts series. Teddy will be accompanied by Abogeeda band.

Organized by the City Park Foundation, the free show takes place at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park in Manhattan. Doors are scheduled to open at 2:00 p.m. (Enter the park at 69th street and Fifth avenue).


If You Go:
SummerStage Presents:
Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali, Hahu Dance Crew
Saturday, July 5 at 3:00 PM
Central Park (Rumsey Playfield)
New York City
Learn more at www.summerstage.donyc.com/Music

Related:
SummerStage After Party: Teddy Afro Live at B.B. King in NYC on July 5th

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Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club

Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa will celebrate the release of his new solo piano album, Love and Peace, with a live performance on July 30th at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Girma’s latest album was recorded last year in Brooklyn, New York.  Released by the Unseen Worlds record label, the CD features Girma’s arrangement of The Shepherd with the Flute — a short reflective and romantic piece originally composed by the late Professor Ashenafi Kebede — as well as his own compositions based on traditional Ethiopian melodies, such as Ambassel, Chewata, Sememen, and his favorite Elilta.

Following his debut New York appearance at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on June 8th, 2013, The New York Times described Girma as offering “a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence.”

“Born 1967 in Addis Ababa, Girma Yifrashewa combines the ecstasy of Ethiopian harmony with the grandeur of virtuoso piano technique into an effortlessly enjoyable mixture,” the press release states. “Trained in Bulgarian conservatory, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Hochschule fur Music Und Theater in Leipzig as a highly accomplished performer of classical repertoire, Yifrashewa has chosen to remain in Ethiopia, helping to forge a classical tradition for his country. Currently Yifrashewa works to promote Ethiopian and Classical Music by touring throughout Africa and Europe.”



If You Go:
Girma Yifrashewa in Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club
July 30, 2014
7:30PM / $15
7719 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tickets at: www.instantseats.com
www.bethesdabluesjazz.com

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Fútbol: The Beautiful Game at LA County Museum of Art

(Image credit: Left, Pele by Andy Warhol, 1978, Silkscreen, 40 x 40, University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, MD. Right, by Miguel Calderon, 2004, Video transferred to DVD, courtesy of the artist)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Los Angeles (TADIAS) — The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting a timely exhibition entitled Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, featuring works by more than two dozen artists and highlighting the globally beloved sport through video, photography, painting, sculpture and large-scale installation.

The exhibition, which will remain open until July 20th, 2014, “examines football—nicknamed “the beautiful game” by one sports commentator—and its significance in societies around the world. As a subject, football touches on issues of nationalism and identity, globalism and mass spectacle, as well as the common human experience shared by spectators from many cultures.”

“When people watch a game, they feel inspired by the spirit of the team, the fans, and the sense of community,” remarked Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and department head of contemporary art at LACMA in a press release. “We, the fans, create the spirit of the team via our rituals. Witnessing a game is one of the few occasions during which a collective sense of enthusiasm is still possible. This exhibition explores that energy.”

The press release adds that two room-sized video installations anchor Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, including an intimate portrait of Zinedine Zidane — one of the greatest soccer players in the history of the sport— during the course of a single match. Other works by artists including Robin Rhode, Kehinde Wiley, Petra Cortright, Andy Warhol, Mark Bradford, Mary Ellen Carroll, Hassan Hajjaj, and Andreas Gursky, among others, provide a sense of the possibilities of the sport as a universal conversation piece.

“With artists hailing from as far afield as Morocco, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa—in addition to several Los Angeles–based artists—the geographic range represented in Fútbol: The Beautiful Game reflects the global reach of the sport.”

If you Go:
A Walk-Through with the Exhibition Curator Franklin Sirmans is scheduled for Saturday, June 28th. If you would like to join, please rsvp at alitash@alitashkgallery.com. Attendance is limited. You can learn more about the show at www.lacma.org.

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Meriam Ibrahim: Christian Woman Jailed in Sudan Freed Again

Meriam Ibrahim, who is a daughter of a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother, was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani. (Photo: FACEBOOK/GABRIEL WAN)

BBC News

26 June 2014

A Sudanese woman whose death sentence for marrying a Christian was overturned has been released from jail again, after she was detained at Khartoum airport on Tuesday.

Meriam Ibrahim’s lawyer, Muhannad Mustafa, said that she was currently in the US embassy with her family.

Mrs Ibrahim had been detained on charges of falsifying ID documents.

She was first released on 23 June when an appeals court lifted her death sentence for renouncing Islam.

Her sentencing in May to hang for apostasy sparked an outcry at home and around the world.

Mrs Ibrahim, 27, had been held at a police station in the capital, since Tuesday, when she was prevented from leaving the country along with her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children.

She had reportedly planned to travel to the US with her family.

According to Reuters news agency, quoting her lawyer, Mrs Ibrahim was released on the condition that she remains in Sudan.


Meriam Ibrahim in May, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

Read more and watch video at BBC News.

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Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

Meron Wudneh. (Photos via Miss Africa USA Org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) –The organizers of the annual Miss Africa USA Pageant have announced 20 contestants from 20 African nations who will be competing for this year’s Miss Africa USA title. The finalists include Meron Wudneh who is representing Ethiopia at the Grand Finals at the Strathmore Theater in North Bethesda, Maryland on August 9th, 2014.

“We invite you to check out their profiles, what they stand for and how they plan to impact nations and bring change to the world,” organizers said. “The future of Africa lies in its untapped potential, the potential of its women.”

Below is Meron’s message. You can vote for her at missafricausa.org.

Miss Africa USA 2014 Meron covernew
Meron Wudneh. (Photo by Cain Manigque and E.Z/Miss Africa USA Org)

“My name is Meron Wudneh. I am honored and delighted to represent Ethiopia, an ancient African country with amazing biodiversity, people who take pride in preserving their diverse culture, it’s great warriors, Kings and Queens! I love dancing our traditional Eskista dances, playing sports and bringing visibility to our culture through fashion, which inspired a greater love of modeling. I model in NY, and also work in MD for Montgomery County in the field of healthcare and recreation where we develop youth programs. I completed my studies with a full scholarship at Bowie State University and earned a Bachelors degree in Health & Sciences and played women’s basketball.

Since I was a child growing up in Ethiopia I always had the desire to help people, especially kids. When I graduated from high school I realized that I had served 1,000 hours of community service helping kids at my neighborhood community center. Almost two years ago, I founded my non-profit called Kids First Ethiopia. Kids First Ethiopia sends school supplies, clothes, shoes, and other miscellaneous items to kids that have suffered the loss of their parents to HIV/AIDS and/or are homelessness.

Last year, I stayed in Ethiopia for 6 months working alongside established NGOs, such as Mary Joy Foundation, to support the efforts of others who are passionate about supporting the needs of kids. I learned how one person can truly change a child’s future.

Please join me on my journey to continue this effort to serve more kids in our beautiful motherland!

Thank you all for your support!”

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Reflection: The 60th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU

The following article is written by Shaun Evans who is the son of Conrad and Joy Evans, Point Four staff members who worked in Ethiopia between 1956-1968. He was born in Jimma in 1964. (Photo: OSU)

Tadias Magazine
By Shaun Evans | OP-ED

Published: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Stillwater, Oklahoma (TADIAS) – On Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, Oklahoma State University commemorated the 60th anniversary of a visit to their campus by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. His Imperial Majesty was the first reigning foreign head of state to visit the state of Oklahoma. The Emperor brought a contingent of 19 persons with him to personally thank Oklahoma State University for their work in assisting Ethiopia in modernizing agriculture and education under the Point Four Program begun during U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s administration.

The event was hosted by the School of International Studies at Oklahoma State University, headed by Vice President of OSU, Dr. David Henneberry. A wide and varied group of people, including historians, film makers, former Point Four in Ethiopia participants, university staffers, and Ethiopian, American and International students alike, came to the grand auditorium within the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade and Development to hear speakers talk about the significance of Emperor Haile Selassie and Ethiopia to Oklahoma and the U.S.

Presenters for the commemoration included Worede Gebremariam (President of the Ethiopian Student Association), Dr. Jack Herron Jr. (one of the first children of Oklahoma State University staff participants who built Jimma Agricultural and Technical School, now Jimma University), Dr. Ted Vestal (professor Emeritus of Political Science at OSU and a preeminent Ethiopia historian, author of “The Lion of Judah in the New World”), Dr. Barbara Stoecker (Regents Professor and Marilynn Thoma Chair of Nutritional Studies who has conducted research in Ethiopia for over 20 years), and Mel Tewahade (Director of the four part documentary series Point Four – Ethiopia, and another documentary Peace Corp – Ethiopia).

Worede Gebremariam gave a fine presentation on facts and figures that provided a wonderful base of understanding about the country of Ethiopia. His charming personality and professional nature elicited laughter and brought forth well thought out questions about Ethiopia from the participating crowd.

Dr. Jack Herron Jr. shared memories of what it was like to be a young teenager moving to Ethiopia with his parents who were undertaking a historically significant project to help Emperor Haile Selassie modernize his country through providing agricultural and technical assistance and learning directly to the people of Ethiopia. Dr. Herron’s father was one of the individuals responsible for establishing the agricultural extension programs that provide local farmers with an educated source of agricultural information for improving their farming techniques. Dr. Herron’s father was also responsible for starting the first 4-T Agricultural Youth Clubs modeled after the 4-H programs in the U.S. Dr. Herron described his time in Ethiopia as being magical, surrounded by beautiful and caring people and stunning natural beauty. He also remarked that the experience prepared him, and the other children of OSU staff, to have better understanding of people in general leading to above average success in their adult lives.

Dr. Theodore Vestal, shared his immense knowledge of the life of Emperor Haile Selassie and gave the audience members detailed glimpses into the time period in which the Emperor visited the U.S. as a Foreign Head of State (a record 6 times only matched by the Queen of England later in the 2000’s). The visit of the Emperor to Stillwater, Oklahoma was the biggest event on record for the U.S. state, featuring a dinner and reception at the newly constructed OSU Student Union (at that time the largest Student Union in the United States if not the world). During the evening’s program the university’s president, Oliver Willham presented Haile Selassie with a scroll expressing respect and sincere admiration for the emperor and a bronze plaque given “on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma,” commemorating Oklahoma State University’s successful program of technical assistance and economic cooperation. Today, that plaque is prominently displayed on the campus of Ethiopia’s Haramaya University. It is estimated that the Emperor graciously shook the hand of over 1,400 attendees at the event by the end of the evening.

Dr. Barbara Stoecker informed the audience about her research which is conducted mainly in the Lake Hawassa region. Over the years, Stoecker has researched the role of micronutrients in child health in Thailand, China, Jordan, Iraq and Ethiopia. Most of her international work is in Ethiopia where she has taught, developed curriculum and helped numerous Ethiopian graduate students secure funding to attend OSU. In 2007, the Hawassa University launched Ethiopia’s first graduate program in applied human nutrition thanks to Stoecker’s instrumental work. Dr. Stoecker revealed that infant mortality rates have improved dramatically over her 2 decades of research even though more work needs to be done. Dr. Stoecker also remarked on how nice and gracious the people of Ethiopia are and what a delight it is to work with them.

Mel Tewahade, Director of the Point Four – Ethiopia documentary series, gave a history of the Emperor’s life from the time of a youngster to his ouster and assassination by communist thugs. Mr. Tewahade shared his opinions of current world events and warned participants to not be lax in dealing with extremists who bare no good will to the world and will only provide chaos and suffering. Mr. Tewahade later generously donated a copy of one segment of the documentary to all who were in attendance at the luncheon given after the presentations.

Dr. David Henneberry both began the day’s events and provided closing commentary. He highlighted that the financial commitment made by the Emperor in the 1950’s and 1960’s would have been the equivalent of a 270 million dollar educational program today in inflation adjusted U.S. dollars. There are few, if any, educational programs begun today, with this large of financial commitment, not to mention the man hours and love and caring that were given by the OSU-Point Four staff and Ethiopian officials. Dr. Henneberry was proud to point out that OSU has 4 students currently planning to begin study abroad programs in Ethiopia in the near future. He also noted the year after year dedication of Ethiopian students to attend Oklahoma State University and OSU’s dedication to providing them a world class education. In 2013, President Burns Hargis of Oklahoma State University met with University Presidents from Addis Ababa University, University of Mekelle, University of Bahir Dar, University of Axum, University of Gonder, University of Hawassa, University of Jimma, University of Haramaya and University of Adigrat. In conclusion, Dr. Henneberry stated that although the economic and political landscape has changed dramatically over the years, OSU and its Ethiopian partner universities continue to find new ways of working together to have a positive impact on their countries and the world.

Of special significance at the commemoration, it was learned that the great-granddaughter of Dr. William G. Bennett, former Oklahoma A&M University (now OSU) President and first Director of the Point Four Program, was in attendance. She shared with the audience stories told her about the time when Dr. Bennett and Emperor Haile Selassie first met at an International Food Exhibition in 1945 and the deep regard Dr. Bennett had for the leader of a free country that withstood external turmoil while reminded the world of what types of actions were noble and right to pursue in the name of Freedom and Justice.

In Pictures: Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to Oklahoma in 1954


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In Maryland, Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin

Isaiah Leggett, winner of Tuesday's primary election for Executive of Montgomery County. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The incumbent Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland Isaiah ”Ike” Leggett, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian-American Council (EAC), has won his primary contest for re-election.

The Washington Post reports that Mr. Leggett “had a wide lead in his bid for the Democratic nomination for a third term, according to the early voting tallies” of the June 24th primary.

“Thanks to all who voted,” Leggett tweeted. “Always exciting to be part of the consistent refresh of our democracy.”

Video: The first ad of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s 2014 reelection campaign


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Ethio-Israeli-Soul: Ester Rada Live at Madison Square Park in New York

Ethiopian-Israeli musician Ester Rada. (Photos: Courtesy esterrada.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Up-and-coming Ethiopian-Israeli Singer Ester Rada will perform live at Madison Square Park in New York on Wednesday, June 25th as part of the public park’s free outdoor summer concerts series.

The artist, who is currently promoting her debut album, is described by critics as “gracefully combining Ethio-Jazz, Urban-funk, Neo-Soul and R&B.” She has been nominated for the MTV EMA awards “Best Israeli Act,” cementing her rise into the international soul music world.

“With musical influences such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin, Rada has a unique take on soul that has already earned her recognition globally,” states the event’s announcement. “Since the release of her EP Life Happens, Rada’s popularity has boomed and she has successfully toured the US, Canada, and Europe, as well as showcased at the highly respected Glastonbury Festival.”



If You Go:
Madison Square Park (Oval Lawn)
Jun 25 – 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Ester Rada & Maya Azucena
The Park is located at 23rd Street
(Between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
Bring a blanket and picnic (no chairs allowed)
www.madisonsquarepark.org

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Small Business of the Year: Little Ethiopia’s Messob Restaurant in Los Angeles

(Images: Courtesy Messob Ethiopian Restaurant, 1041 South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Before there was Little-Ethiopia, there was Messob Ethiopian Restaurant, located in the heart of L.A’s internationally famous Fairfax neighborhood.

Owned by brothers Berhanu and Getahun Asfaw, Messob was one of 80 small businesses, out of 3.3 million, recognized last week at the 2014 California Small Business Day as ‘Small Business of the Year’ for their contribution to the success of the local economy.

According to the California Small Business Association, 75% of California’s Gross State Product and over half of the state’s private sector jobs come from small businesses. Messob was chosen from California’s 50th State Assembly district by Assembly Member Richard Bloom.

“The annual event honors a few of the millions of small businesses that serve as the economic engine of California,” the California Small Business Association stated in a press release.

The ceremony, which took place on June 16th at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, was sponsored by 25 small business organizations and included speeches from California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg, California State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez, and Region IX Small Business Association Administrator Donna Davis.

In a statement Betty Jo Toccoli, President of the California Small Business Association, noted: “As the economy continues to bounce back, we are excited to engage in a dialogue with California’s leading policy makers about sustaining economic growth for the small business community. Today is about recognizing small business’ contribution to the state’s economy.”

We congratulate the owners of Messob on the well-deserved recognition!

Related:
Cool Moment: Zuckerberg Enjoys Ethiopian Food at Walia Restaurant in San Jose

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Egyptian Anchorwoman Suspended After Live Row With Ethiopia Envoy

Rania Badawy of the Tahrir satellite channel has been suspended for rude on-air behavior in which she hanged up the phone on Ambassador Mahmoud Dardir of Ethiopia during a live show last week. (Ahram )

Ahram Online

An Egyptian broadcaster has been suspended for arguing with Ethiopia’s ambassador to Cairo during a live TV phone-in about Addis Ababa’s ongoing Nile dam project.

On Wednesday, Rania Badawy, a talk show host on the privately-owned Tahrir satellite channel, got into a heated argument with Ethiopian envoy Mahmoud Dardir over the Grand Renaissance Dam, a multi-billion hydroelectric dam that has been a source of contention between the two countries for over a year.

Near the end of the six-minute-long call, Badawy asked the envoy if Addis Ababa insisted on pressing forward with the dam’s construction in its current form and capacity, which Egypt fears will harm its share of the Nile’s water.

The ambassador replied: “You do not understand about dams and are talking in a bumptious tone.”

Badawy then angrily told the ambassador he had “crossed his limits” and that he should not “characterise [her] talk or speak to [her] about arrogance”. She then thanked him and abruptly ended the call, as his voice trailed off in an attempt to reply.

The head of the TV station, Mohamed Khedr, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website on Sunday that the move to suspend Badawy came amid his channel’s “sense of responsibility,” adding that the management was revamping the programme map ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – which should fall on 29 June.

In comments carried by state news agency MENA earlier in June, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom – on a visit to Cairo at the time – criticised local media for sending “very negative messages, sometimes systematically, that create a feeling of rejection” between the people of both nations. The senior diplomat, however, said that Addis Ababa and Cairo were looking forward to a “new era” of mutual ties.

Read more.

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2014 Skoto Gallery Summer Show Features Work by Wosene Kosrof

Berkeley, California-based painter and mixed-media artist Wosene Kosrof is best known for his work that incorporate Amharic alphabetic characters into his prolific compositions. (Photo credit: Alan Bamberger)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, June 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The 2014 Summer Show at Skoto Gallery (one of the first contemporary African art galleries in the United States), which opened on Thursday, June 19th, features selected works by a diverse group of international artists, including Ethiopian-born painter Wosene Kosrof.

Wosene, who was raised in Ethiopia but has lived in the United States for over 30 years, uses Amharic scripts as a foundation in his playful signature compositions that he calls “Fidel Chewata.” Wosene’s works are inspired by “movies, bookstores, photography, landscape, fashion, colors, conversations,” he says. “I am a loner so listening to jazz, sitting at cafes, watching street lights, people, car movements, all give continuous formation to my paintings.”

The Skoto exhibition highlights fifteen additional artists: Ade Adekola, Obiora Anidi, Ifeoma Anyaeji, SoHyun Bae, Uchay Joel Chima, Sokey Edorh, Diako, Peter Wayne Lewis, Aime Mpane, Ines Medina, Chriss Nwobu, Pefura, Piniang, Ines Medina and Juliana Zevallos.

If You Go:
SKOTO GALLERY
Summer Show 2014
June 19 – July 31, 2014
529 West 20th Street,
5FL.
New York, NY 10011
Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Saturday
11 AM – 6 PM
212-352 8058
info@skotogallery.com
www.skotogallery.com

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Dance At Your Own Risk: Debo & Feedel Band at Artisphere in Arlington June 27th

(Photo courtesy Debo and Feedel Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Whether you are into eskista, reggae or breakdance, it can’t get any better than to get your groove on with Debo and Feedel bands performing together in one place. The two bands are scheduled to share the stage (hosted by Grammy nominated Ethiopian-born singer Wayna) at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia on Friday June 27th.

Boston-based Debo Band, founded by Ethiopian-American Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, is known for its cross-cultural appeal and popularizing the sounds of “swinging Addis” from the 1960′s and 1970′s  among modern-day American audiences. The group is currently working on its second album following their debut self-titled record released in 2012. “We are self-producing our sophomore album, which will feature original songs along with Ethiopian traditional medleys, unique covers, and wild mashups that push the limits of our band’s sound,” states their announcement on the pledgemusic.com campaign website.

Likewise, Feedel Band is also currently working on a new album with producer and Gogol Bordello band member Thomas Gobena soon to be released by Electric Cowbell Records. As OkayAfrica highlights the ethio-jazz group, which hails from the Washington, D.C. area, “have been making waves with their vintage Ethiopique sound” while Apropop Worldwide says the band ”keeps the funky experimentation of 70s Ethiopia alive.”

If You Go:
Friday June 27 – 8pm
Debo Band + Feedel Band w/ DJ Underdog
Hosted by Wayna
Artisphere
1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22207
Adv Tix $15 – Day of $18
Click here to RSVP via Facebook

Watch: Debo Band: Ethiopian Funk On A Muggy Afternoon (NPR)

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Kibrom’s Tizita: Fusion of Ethiopian Folk with Jazz and Gospel Sounds

Musician Kibrom Birhane. (Photograph courtesy Tsehai Records)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Learning how to play the krar, a five stringed traditional Ethiopian lyre, at age 8, Kibrom Birhane found himself enthralled by Orthodox chanting. “Always it moves me when I hear music,” he says. And from that time on he knew he wanted to pursue a career in music. Kibrom eventually began teaching piano to other students for about three years before receiving a scholarship to attend the Los Angeles College of Music where he developed a passion beyond Ethiopian folk music, and became a songwriter and composer focusing on the fusion of Ethiopian folk with jazz and gospel sounds. His debut album entitled ‘Kibrom’s Tizita’ was recently released by Tsehai Records, a new division of Tsehai Publishers. Kibrom describes his new album as “an exploration of Ethiopian heritage through folk and pop music with a jazz backbone.”

Kibrom is also a record and mixing engineer and says he “learned to play all of these different roles over time, and with that came new innovations” in his music and sound. His solo pieces are among his most personal works, and Kibrom shares that they are “an expression of what I feel at the moment. I don’t study or learn solos; I just play them.”

Kibrom hopes to reach the younger generation with his music. He sees the power of fusion as a way to expose individuals to Ethiopian music while adopting a style that is already familiar to them (such as jazz). Kibrom has already garnered some success including writing the score for the documentary film ‘Sincerely Ethiopia,’ singing in the award-winning documentary ‘Get Together Girls,’ and composing music for the documentary on the African Union’s 50th year celebration.

“The raw sincerity of Birhane’s music seeks to make strong connections with listeners as they are transported on a musical journey. And a journey it is – Kibrom uses Ethiopian scales, which are rarely heard in Western music. The distinct nature of these scales makes for hypnotic listening,” states Tsehai Records.

Watch: Zelesegna : ዘለሰኛ/ by Kibrom Birhane

Watch: Kibrom Birhane – Broken But Beautiful

For more information please visit www.tsehaipublishers.com, or email at info@tsehaipublishers.com. Kibrom’s CD is also available on iTune , Amazon, Google Play and Rhapsody.

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Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran

Hyundai U.S.A 2014 FIFA World Cup AD featuring Work by Wondwossen Dikran. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 14th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Hyundai USA has released its latest Because Fútbol 2014 FIFA World Cup AD video featuring work by Wondwossen Dikran of Activator Pictures, who is one of two Ethiopian artists recruited to work on the project by Associate Creative Director David Mesfin. The video entitled “Epic Battle” highlights some amazing freestyle soccer by amateur players from Southern California. “They were all young, full of energy and totally devoted to the sport,” Wondwossen told Tadias Magazine.

Watch: Hyundai | 2014 FIFA World Cup™ | Because Fútbol | “Epic Battle” (Hyundai USA)


Related:
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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The 60th Anniversary Celebration of Haile Selassie’s Visit to Oklahoma State University

(Image courtesy Oklahoma State University Division of International Studies and Outreach, IS&O)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — It has been four decades since Emperor Haile Selassie mysteriously died in the hands of an Ethiopian military junta that had deposed him. And two years since the current generation of African Union (AU) leaders notoriously ignored his legacy in helping to establish the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the AU, that is headquartered in Ethiopia. But today if you go to Philadelphia’s historic district, just a few blocks from Independence Hall - where the forefathers of this country famously declared their independence from  British colonial rule on July 4th, 1776 — the National Liberty Museum has a portrait of Haile Selassie along with other world leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela under the banner ‘Heroes Who Stood Up to Tyrants,” recognizing the Emperor for his global efforts to shame the fascist dicator Benito Musolini who orchestrated a brutal five-year occupation of Ethiopia. The Philly History blog also recounts Haile Selassie’s stop in Philadelphia in October 1963 where he visited Independence Hall and touched the Liberty Bell.

Haile Selassie, who remains the only Ethiopian leader to have received a State reception in America, was greeted at Union Station in Washington D.C. by President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. In his speech (see video below) President Kennedy stated: “I know I speak on behalf of all my fellow Americans in welcoming his Imperial Majesty back to the United States. Since His Majesty visited the United States nearly a decade ago we have seen one of the most extraordinary revolutions in history. And that has been the appearance on the world scene of 29 independent countries in the short space of less than ten years, including over 150 million people. The conference recently held in His Majesty’s capital served, I think, to bring together in a great cooperative movement the people of most of these countries. And the success of that conference was due to in no small part to the leadership of our distinguished guest. His efforts to move his country forward to provide a better life for its people and his efforts throughout the world, which dates back over 30 or 40 years. For all of this your Majesty we take the greatest pride in welcoming you here. You do us honor and I can assure you that there is no guest that we will receive in this country that will give a greater sense of pride and satisfaction to the American people than your presence here today. Your Majesty, you are most welcome.”

This week Oklahoma State University will mark the 60th anniversary of Haile Selassie’s visit there on June 18, 1954 to thank the college for its contribution in modernizing agriculture and education in Ethiopia under the Point Four Program.

If You Go:
The 60th Anniversary Celebration: Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, 9:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.
Wes Watkins Auditorium, 207 Wes Watkins Center, Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone:(405) 744-5356
Tickets are necessary only for the luncheon. The presentations are open to the public.
More info at: www.iso.okstate.edu

Click here to listen to the complete audio of President John F. Kennedy’s welcoming remarks to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on October 1st, 1963.

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David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

David Mesfin (R) & Wondwossen Dikran (L) working on the Hyundai FIFA World Cup AD. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — David Mesfin credits his love of visual communications to his teenage days in Addis Ababa in the late 1980′s where he used to hang out at a place called Neon Addis — a design and advertising firm that produced neon signs, billboards, and other forms of print ads. Today he is at the forefront of his field in the United States and his latest project as an Associate Creative Director includes new multi-platform commercials for Hyundai car company entitled “#BecauseFutbol” (becausefutbol.com) designed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup getting underway this week in Brazil.

The TV spots – created by the advertising agency Innocean USA — also come with microblogging on the social networking website Tumblr, and will be broadcast on ESPN and Univision “as part of Hyundai’s exclusive whistle-to-whistle automotive advertising sponsorship of the World Cup series.” The ad also made an appearance in New York’s Times Square yesterday via Hyundai’s large billboard space. For the Tumblr site, David told Tadias Magazine that he worked with “two amazing Ethiopian artists,” Ezra Wube and Wondwossen Dikran.

“Few things bring us together like the World Cup,” David enthused. “The excitement and passion for the game all culminate into something so extraordinary, that for 30 days the world pauses and allows permission for anything.” He added: “Grown men cry, blood pressure rises, families reunite in living rooms, strangers embrace, fathers and sons bond at 3 a.m. Why? Because Fútbol. Once we defined the Because Fútbol slogan and the TV spots, I began experimenting with converting short videos of emotionally charged Fútbol fans to GIF animations,” David shared. “It began with one video of an Argentinian Fútbol fan yelling at the TV while watching a game.”

David proposed, and the ad agency and client agreed, that Tumblr was the best social media platform to display the images and to engage the soccer fan community. “While working on the project I reached out to two Ethiopian friends who I thought would be the right people for this project: Ezra Wube and Wondowssen Dikran,” he said. “We set the objective to create and curate over 120 original pieces. It could be photography, illustration, digital rendering or GIF animation. What type of content might a fútbol fan enjoy and share? We also looked at different thematic ideas such as celebration, defeat, community, rivalry, ritual and more.” So far only two of the Hyundai Because Fútbol ads have been released: Boom and Avoidance. ‘Avoidance’ features a man trying in vain to avoid the unavoidable — the FIFA World Cup frenzy- where this month teams from 32 different countries will battle for a chance to be crowned the globe’s soccer champion.

Wondowssen Dikran’s involvement with the Hyundai 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign began when his company, Activator Pictures, was approached by the ad agency Innocean USA to produce a couple of spots that were going to be used in the campaign. “Being familiar with David Mesfin’s previous work for the brand, I was very excited to jump on board as the producer, along with Activator’s Creative Director Olumide Odebunmi, to put together a game-plan to implement the vision that Hyundai and Innocean both believed in,” said Wondowssen who is also the filmmaker behind the 2004 Ethiopian movie Journey to Lasta. “As a fanatic Futbol fan, this was a very exciting project to be involved with because we got to work with some very talented freestyle soccer players from Southern California. They were all young, full of energy and totally devoted to the sport.”

“One more interesting insight we have to share is a guinea pig called ‘Tony The Wiz’ who is going to predict key match-ups during the World Cup,” David added. “He will also make some appearances on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter in real time. I’m really looking forward to this.”

Wondowssen shared: “Our company has always wanted to work with David Mesfin and his creative team, and when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped right in. Activator is very proud of the work we have done on this particular campaign. It is not everyday that you get to do work that represents prestigious brands such as Hyundai and FIFA.”

Below are the two videos by David Mesfin and a photo gallery of work by Ezra Wube and Wondowssen Dikran:

Watch Hyundai | 2014 FIFA World Cup™ | Because Fútbol | “Boom” (Hyundai USA)

Watch: Hyundai | 2014 FIFA World Cup™ | Because Fútbol | “Avoidance” (Hyundai USA)

Credits:

Client: Hyundai Motor America

Spots: “Boom” and “Avoidance”

Agency: INNOCEAN USA

Executive Creative Director: Greg Braun

Creative Directors: Barney Goldberg and Tom Pettus

Associate Creative Director, Art: David Mesfin

Senior Copywriter: Nick Flora

VP, Director of Integrated Production: Jamil Bardowell

EP/Content Production: Brandon Boerner

Associate Creative Director: David Levy

Senior Copywriter: Ryan Durr

VP, HMA Account Services: Marisstella Marinkovic

Account Director: Lester Perry

Account Supervisor: Casey Nichols

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks

Director: Aaron Stoller

Managing Director: Shawn Lacy

Executive Producer: Holly Vega

Producer: Mala Vasan

Directors of Photography: Jess Hall and Jokob Ihre

Editorial Company: Union Editorial LLC

Editor: Jim Haygood

Vice President/Executive Producer: Megan Dahlam

Music Company: The Rumor Mill

Telecine Place: CO3
Online Place: Resolution

Record Mix Place: Eleven Sound

Mixer: Scott Burns

Tumblr Artists: Adhemas Batista, Adam Osgood, Dušan Čežek, Ali Graham, Matthias Brown, Daniel Nyari, Kieran Carroll and Ezra Wube

Production Company: Tool of North America

Managing Partner, Digital: Dustin Callif

Producer: Simi Dhillon

Managing Director, Live Action: Oliver Fuselier

Creative Director: Michael Sevilla

Creative Director: Bartek Drozdz

Senior Designer: Josh Jetson

Jr. Designer: Yuee Seo

Senior Developer: Simon Lindsay

Senior Developer: Richard Mattka

Senior Developer: Josh Beckwith

Tech Manager: Vincent Toscano

Head of Digital Production: Joy Kuraitis

Digital Producer: Simi Dhillon

Content Creators: Activator Pictures, ilovedust, Golden Wolf

Update:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran

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Eskinder Nega Awarded Golden Pen of Freedom at World Newspaper Congress

Martin Shibbye accepts the Golden Pen of Freedom award on behalf of Eskinder Nega. (Photo by A. Reid)

Journalism.co.uk

By Alastair Reid

Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian journalist imprisoned on terrorism charges in 2011, has been awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom as an “emblem of Ethiopia’s struggle” and a symbol of solidarity with jailed journalists around the world.

In an emotional speech, Martin Schibbye, who accepted the award on Nega’s behalf having spent time in the same prison on similar charges, said: “It is not us fighting for his freedom, but he who is fighting for ours. Stay strong Eskinder.”

Nega is serving an 18-year sentence for charges of terrorism.

Presenting the award, Erik Bjerager, president of WAN-IFRA, said Nega’s crime was “to have challenged the same laws used to imprison him”..

The imprisonment is an “unforgettable warning to every working journalist and editor that the fight to create a just and free society comes with a heavy price,” Bjerager said.

Read more at Journalism.co.uk.

Journalism.co.uk is reporting from the World Newspaper Congress in Torino, Italy. Follow @AlastairReid 3 and #editors14 for updates.

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Egypt’s Newly Inaugurated President Vows to Ease Tensions With Ethiopia

In this image released by the Middle East State News Agency, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, reviews honor guards during his inaugural ceremony inside the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt on June 8, 2014. (AP)

Ahram Online

Monday 9 Jun 2014

Egypt’s newly elected President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said he would not allow a rift to develop between Cairo and Addis Ababa, who have been locked in a stalemate over access to the Nile water.

Ties between Egypt and Ethiopia have soured since Addis Ababa launched the construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam that Egypt fears will substantially harm its share of the Nile River, the country’s main source of potable water.

However, El-Sisi unequivocally stated during his inaugural address at the Qubba Palace on Sunday evening that he would not allow friction to take place with Ethiopia.

“I won’t allow the Renaissance Dam to cause a crisis or problem with sisterly Ethiopia,” he said in the speech addressed to Egyptian public figures after he was sworn in as president of Egypt.

El-Sisi stressed that Egypt is keen on safeguarding Pan-Africanism which, he said, the country cannot disengage from.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom headed a delegation that attended a morning swearing-in ceremony at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace. Attendees included Arab royals, African leaders and dignitaries from among Egypt’s western allies.

Read more.

Related:
Ethiopia’s foreign minister invites Egypt’s El-Sisi for more dam talks in Addis Ababa

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Coca-Cola Issues Statement Regarding Teddy Afro’s Version of World Cup Song

(Photos courtesy Coca-Cola and Teddyafro.info)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The Coca-Cola Company, headquartered in Atlanta, responded to queries regarding the unreleased, Ethiopian version of Coke’s FIFA World Cup song performed by Teddy Afro. Coca Cola confirmed that Teddy’s contract was handled by a third party, Mandala Limited, a Kenyan production company based in Nairobi.

“Teddy Afro was brought into our Coke Studio in Africa to record a version of the Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup song, ‘The World is Ours’ with the goal of capturing the unique genre of Ethiopian music,” a representative of The Coca-Cola Company said in an email to Tadias Magazine. “The contract with Teddy Afro was executed by a 3rd party, Mandala Limited, a production House based Nairobi and Teddy Afro was compensated in full for his efforts.”

Per the contract, Coca-Cola said, “following recording the produced track become the property of Coca-Cola CEWA to be used at the Company’s discretion. The song has not been released and there are no plans for release at this time.”

The company noted that currently there are 32 local versions of the track that have been released worldwide, but it remains unclear why Coca-Cola chose not to release the Ethiopian version.

Teddy Afro is scheduled to perform at SummerStage in New York on July 5th, gracing the popular outdoor venue along with fellow Ethiopians, Hahu Dance Crew, and Mauritania’s beloved singer Noura Mint Seymali. As organizers of SummerStage note: “Over the past ten years, Teddy has emerged as the number one voice in Ethiopia, breaking records for album sales and show attendance. He is known far and wide as the rising star of East Africa. Using Reggae rhythms combined with traditional sounds his songs are sung exclusively in the national language of Ethiopia, Amharic. Influenced by Ethiopian Maestro Tilahun Gessesse and international Reggae superstar Bob Marley, he sings of freedom from tyranny and self-emancipation.”



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Face2Face Africa to Honor Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu at NYC Ceremony

(Image: Courtesy Face2faceafrica)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 5th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of the award-winning, Addis Ababa-based shoe company SoleRebels, will be honored in New York next month as one of the recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award given by the pan-African media company Face2face Africa.

“The dazzling star-studded red carpet affair, hosted by award winning Ghanaian actor Chris Attoh and Sandra Appiah, host of The SA Show, will feature spectacular performances and acts from some of Africa’s burgeoning entertainers,” the organization announced.

The award ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, July 26th at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Bethlehem takes the stage along with international figures including “Business Mogul Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Fashion icon Alek Wek, and Afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti.”

In a statement Bethlehem — who also recently launched a luxury leather goods company Republic of Leather — said she was “elated” by the recognition. “I feel deeply honored and excited to receive this award,” she said. “It’s even more exciting to be in the company of my incredible fellow honorees.” Bethlehem added: “I salute my fellow awardees…It’s a dream to stand beside them.”

Face2face Africa Founder Isaac Boateng stated in a press release that his media venture is “committed to bringing quality programs” that highlight “the ingenuity” of the pan-African community. “From the young visionaries who are introducing innovative solutions to long-standing challenges, to the icons who have broken down barriers and made it possible for others to dream, we are committed to telling their phenomenal stories and honoring their contributions,” he shared.

You can learn more about the award at www.face2faceafrica.com.

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Sam Liccardo Wins San Jose, California Mayoral Primary Election

San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo (center). (Photo: The Ethiopian American Council)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Thursday, June 4th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), has made the runoff as one of the top two winners at Tuesday’s primary race behind county supervisor Dave Cortese whom he will face in the Fall election to replace the termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed.

San Jose Mercury News reports Cortese and Liccardo “are on their way to a November runoff in the race for San Jose mayor, a battle that will largely be a referendum on the Chuck Reed administration. Cortese, a Santa Clara County supervisor, had clearly emerged triumphant in Tuesday’s primary with about one-third of the votes. Liccardo grabbed the other spot with a bit more than 25 percent of the vote, according to semi-final results, with all precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.”

Read more at San Jose Mercury News.

Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo


Related:
San Jose Mayoral Candidate Liccardo Releases Amharic Campaign Literature
Amharic Most Commonly Spoken African Language in Eight U.S. States
Ethiopian American Council Endorses Sam Liccardo for San Jose Mayor
EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat
Isiah Leggett’s Press Conference with Ethiopian Media

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In Ethiopia U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial Highlights Obama’s Power Africa Initiative

The author of the following article, John Podesta (Left), is Counselor to the President. (Photo: Zimbio)

The White House Blog

By John Podesta

Power Africa: Beyond the Grid

Congratulations to the 27 private-sector partners of “Beyond the Grid” – a new Power Africa initiative to unlock investment and growth specifically for off-grid and small-scale energy solutions – announced [Tuesday, June 03, 2014] by Secretary Moniz at the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

President Obama launched Power Africa nearly one year ago to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa – electricity needed for students to succeed, businesses to thrive, and African economies to grow. The challenge is greatest beyond the electric grid serving dense urban populations. More than 240 million people live without electricity in rural and peri-urban communities across the six Power Africa focus countries. Too many do not even show up on government plans to expand the grid over the next decade.

But, bolstered by the falling cost of renewable energy generation; rapid advances in energy storage, smart meter, and mobile payment technologies; and innovative business models, new distributed energy companies are now delivering clean, reliable energy in Africa at a competitive price point. While the market is still young, it holds great promise to follow the mobile phone in leapfrogging centralized infrastructure across Africa.

Beyond the Grid will double down on Power Africa’s support for this potentially game-changing sector, building on more than 25 small-scale energy projects already in the Power Africa pipeline. Beyond the Grid’s 27 founding partners – including impact investors, venture philanthropists, clean-energy enterprises, and practitioners – have committed to invest over $1 billion over the next five years to seed and scale distributed energy solutions for millions of African homes, businesses, schools, and other public facilities.

Examples of commitments to date include:

Acumen commits to invest up to $10 million in 5-10 enterprises serving off-grid markets in multiple Power Africa countries.

Capricorn Investment Group commits to invest in companies providing solar power, hybrid power systems, mini-grid installations, energy storage systems, and mini-hydro power systems, expanding from Tanzania and Nigeria to two additional Power Africa countries.

Gray Ghost Ventures commits to raise $50 million for early-stage equity investments, to build on current investments including in Beyond the Grid partner d.light, which independently commits to deliver solar-powered lighting and energy products to more than 100 million Africans over the next five years.

Khosla Impact commits to build on equity investments in Beyond the Grid partners BBOXX and SunFunder with investment, strategic assistance, and connections for two-three additional businesses that expand the access and affordability of solar products for African consumers; catalyze at least $10 million in debt from co-investors; and take investee companies to profitable scale within five years.

Mosaic commits to crowdsource $125 million in debt for small-scale energy service providers in Power Africa countries over the next five years, delivering power to 10 million users and a financial return to investors.

Schneider Electric commits to train 1,000 Africans in energy-related trades every year. Building on the Schneider Electric Energy Access fund – which included an investment in Beyond the Grid partner Fenix International – Schneider Electric also aims to raise up to $80 million for a new impact investment fund dedicated to off-grid energy SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years.

Solar Sister commits to expand its last mile distribution network of women entrepreneurs with successful clean energy micro-businesses in order to provide energy access to over 400,000 African households over the next five years.

Leveraging the full tools and resources of the 12 Power Africa agencies, Beyond the Grid will take steps identified by the initiative’s partners and other experts as most critical to unlock further investment and growth in the off-grid energy sector. Beyond the Grid will strengthen the enabling environment and foster the clear, predictable rules needed for investment and operations. It will also catalyze private-sector investment through pre-investment technical assistance, risk mitigation, and new financial tools that strategically blend donor and private capital as well as aggregate small energy projects for investment at scale.

You can learn more about all 27 Beyond the Grid founding partners here.



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SummerStage Festival kicks off in NYC: Teddy Afro & HaHu Dance Crew on July 5th

Teddy Afro, HaHu Dance Crew and Noura Mint Seymali of Mauritania will perform at Central Park in New York on July 5th, 2014 as part of the annual SummerStage outdoor music festival. (City Park Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — SummerStage, New York’s popular free festival of open air live performances — hosted by the City Park Foundation — kicks off today (June 3rd) at Red Hook Park in Brooklyn with a concert featuring Ty Dolla Sign.

Timeout New York notes “it’s a truly epic lineup, with over 100 concerts happening nearly every day from the start of June through to the end of August. You can see shows in 14 different parks across the five boroughs: The majority of the gigs, screenings and classes are free, but there are a handful of paid benefit shows, too.”

This year’s program also includes Ethiopian pop superstar Teddy Afro and the Addis Ababa-based contemporary dance group, HaHu (winners of 2011 Ethiopian Idol), that are scheduled to perform on July 5th at Central Park.

Click here to see the full, incredibly long lineup starting with the paid shows.

If You Go:
SummerStage Presents Teddy Afro & Hahu Dance Crew
Saturday, July 5 at 3:00 PM
Central Park (Rumsey Playfield)
New York, New York
Learn more at www.summerstage.donyc.com/Music

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Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo

Councilman Sam Liccardo. (Photograph courtesy Samliccardo.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published on May 30, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — This is an audio of our interview with San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo. The primary mayoral election for the city of San Jose, California is set for this coming Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014. Recent polls show that Councilman Liccardo is one of the top two candidates (out of five) likely to make the cut for a runoff election next Fall to replace the outgoing current Mayor Chuck Reed . According to San Jose Mercury News “with no candidate expected to win majority support in the primary, the top two vote-getters would compete in the November election to replace [the] termed-out Mayor.”

Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo


Related:
San Jose Mayoral Candidate Liccardo Releases Amharic Campaign Literature
Amharic Most Commonly Spoken African Language in Eight U.S. States
Ethiopian American Council Endorses Sam Liccardo for San Jose Mayor
EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat
Isiah Leggett’s Press Conference with Ethiopian Media

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

From the Birthplace of Coffee: Café Buunni Serves Ethiopian Organic Specialty Coffee

Café Buunni is located at 213 Pinehurst Avenue (at 187th St) in New York City. (Tadias Magazine photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 30th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — In the enclave of Hudson Heights in Upper Manhattan, close to the highest point on the island, there is a quaint new addition to the neighborhood. Café Buunni serves certified organic, micro-roasted specialty coffee sourced from Ethiopia, the birthplace of the bean. This Washington Heights neighborhood is dotted with Art Deco style residential buildings, a bagel store, a vegan pizza joint and a Mexican restaurant aptly named ‘Refried Beans.’ Past a children’s playground and park, on the corner of 187 and Pinehurst Ave, a 30-year old shoe repair shop has been converted into a sunny, spacious cafe by its new proud owners Elias and Sarina.

Elias is an Ethiopian native and his wife Sarina is originally from Nepal. “We met in Ethiopia, in Addis,” Sarina tells Tadias Magazine. Sarina worked for a string of non-profit organizations including WaterAid, initially visiting Ethiopia in 1997 and then residing there for seven years. “It’s like a second home,” she says of the capital Addis Ababa. Elias ran several small businesses including a restaurant, a car service and also worked as the Addis Ababa distribution agent for DKT International – a family planning and HIV prevention organization.

“I wasn’t as busy as I am now,” Elias says reflecting on his small business days in Ethiopia. “Back then, I had six staff. I go to work in the morning and I ask my staff “what is the order today?” Then I go visit some customers; I know who the major customers are. That’s it. And then I have like 5-6 hours to just relax, hang out with friends.”

Elias and Sarina moved to New York three years ago in July. “We came to the States because Sarina got a job here,” Elias says. Sarina had visited New York before. When they decided to live here they visited the Hudson Heights neighborhood. “And we liked it. We had a few friends here as well,” Sarina adds. Elias pondered about starting a small business in the city. He wanted it “to be something related to Ethiopia.”

“My original idea was to bring coffee here from Ethiopia, to roast it and to distribute it online. So I started an online business,” Elias shares. He learned how to micro-roast from a friend and opened an online store: buunnicoffee.com. The word buunni is an Amharic term meaning “brown” or “brown-colored.” Bunna, the word for coffee in Amharic, cannot be trademarked so Elias and Sarina chose a descriptor instead. The online store was launched two and a half years ago and the distribution was mainly to individual clients.

“We started really grassroots,” Sarina shares. “Elias was going around to weekend markets, festivals, getting to know people and conversing with them saying “hey I roasted this myself.” He gave out samples of the micro-roasted coffee, and we have a small group of very loyal customers online. At that time we were not thinking about opening a café. We wanted to do wholesale online distribution for reasons such as low overhead.”

A year and half ago Sarina and Elias had traveled to Ethiopia to do some coffee tasting and selections and when they returned they noticed a ‘For Rent’ sign around the corner from where they live. The 30-year old shoe repair shop had closed.

“Should we?” they asked themselves, thinking about it being the right spot for a café. Elias was used to running several small businesses and he knew how difficult it was to operate a restaurant. They had a toddler (two years old at the time) and he knew the business would be a 24/7 operation. So they debated some more and finally decided to just do it. “Because even in this neighborhood there wasn’t a place for us to have coffee. And we thought there could be other people like us who would want to have coffee,” Sarina says. They took over the lease and opened Café Buunni. All of the coffee is certified organic and comes from small cooperative farms in Ethiopia. They roast the beans as ordered to preserve the freshness and quality. Café Buunni offers several Ethiopian coffees including single origin blends called Addis Ababa, a popular light roast named Yirgacheffe and a dark roast called Harar. They also have a Half-Caf Blend from Sidama decaf beans and a special holiday blend that is a combination of Harar and Tanzanian coffee.

As we interview Elias and Sarina, a customer who overhears our conversation says to Elias, “You’re not going to sell are you?”

“No I’m just speaking with journalists,” he assures her.

“This is a great place,” she tells us. “I really enjoy it. It’s better than Starbucks.”

Legend has it that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Ask any Ethioipan how coffee was discovered and they will tell you the story of Kaldi, a 9th century goat herder who noticed the plant after his goats had nibbled on a few beans and started prancing around with excitement. Other versions of the legend point to the origin as a region in Ethiopia called Kaffa. However, the earliest reported coffee drinking was in Mocha, Yemen where Sufis in monasteries drank the strong brew to stay awake for their rituals and studies. According to Wikipedia, coffee was first exported from Ethiopia to Yemen.

The coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is as elaborate and rich in tradition as the Japanese tea ceremony. Most Ethiopians grow up used to seeing green coffee beans being roasted, then ground by hand in a mortar and pestle and then brewed in Jebena. “It’s such a different thing,” Sarina says reflecting on how coffee is consumed and thought of in Ethiopian culture. “It’s not just about having your coffee. It’s about enjoying your drink and having conversations and the community that goes along with it.”

“In Ethiopia we don’t talk about coffee, we talk around a coffee gathering,” Elias adds. “Who taught you to roast coffee? You just watch and do it the way it’s done and you’re not so much concerned with measurements.”

As we wrap up our interview with the owners of Café Buuni, another customer, an Ethiopian woman and her daughter, greet Elias and Sarina. She too says “It’s better than Starbucks.”

“You’re the second customer who just said that,” we tell her.

“Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind, she says with a smile.



Learn more about Café Buunni at http://buunnicoffee.com.

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As the Ethiopian Film Industry Grows, So Too the No. of Female Filmmakers

Ethiopian filmmakers delegation at Cannes 2014 was led by women. (Photograph: screendaily.com)

Screen Daily

By Tiffany Pritchard

29 May, 2014

As the Ethiopian film industry grows, Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI) founder (and Swedish filmmaker) Ragnhild Ek says there is also a rise in the number of female filmmakers in the African country.

She refers in part to the carefully selected group of young Ethiopian filmmakers that are each year brought to the Cannes Film Festival by the International Emerging Film Talent Association, the EFI and now the Better World Film Festival, to help promote global relationships and an increased knowledge of the international film market.

In its previous two years running, the selected members were predominantly men, as are the popular Ethiopian directors working today including Haile Gerima, Theodros Teshome and and Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, whose film garnered an Executive Producer credit from Angelina Jolie. This year, the selectees were comprised of four women and one man in its group.

Ek said, “There were between 30-40 applicants, the majority being women – and their applications were all very good. The word has spread, and we are pleased with this turn of events.”

Adanech Admassu is the most experienced of the group, boasting an impressive CV of commercials and documentaries – with one film, Stolen Childhood, already earning her the One World Media Prize in London. The director came to Cannes (while seven months pregnant) with a drive and focus to give Ethiopian films a wider audience.

Read more at Screen Daily.

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In Israel Jerusalem Day is Also Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopian Jews are greeted by family and friends as they arrive at the Ben Gurion airport, outside Tel Aviv on August 28, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

By Ben Sales

May 28, 2014

Today, Jews in Jerusalem, Israel and the world over are celebrating Jerusalem Day, a holiday meant to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.

In Israel, the day has become somewhat controversial. Right-wing politicians often use it to advance political messages, while some on the left demur from the festivities.

But few note that on this date, Israel commemorates another holiday — Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews Who Died on the Way to Israel.

Established by the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and the Diaspora in 2003, the holiday was first officially celebrated four years later with the unveiling of a memorial for fallen Ethiopian Jews on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

The day, and the memorial, pay tribute to the dangerous and often lethal journey Ethiopian Jews had to take from Ethiopia through Sudan in the 1980s and early 1990s before being flown into Israel. Israel’s government estimates that 4,000 Ethiopian Jews died en route, from hunger, sickness or violence.

Read more at jta.org.

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Legendary African-American Author Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86

Maya Angelou, a renowned American poet, novelist and actress best known for her book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," has died at the age of 86, according to her literary agent, Helen Brann. (AP photograph)

CNN

A literary voice revered globally for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights has fallen silent.

Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, said her literary agent, Helen Brann.

The 86-year-old was a novelist, actress, professor, singer, dancer and activist. In 2010, President Barack Obama named her the recipient of the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

One of Angelou’s most praised books was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

Read more.

Inspired by Maya Angelou? Read your favorite quote on video and send it to CNN iReport


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Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records: She and Coach Jama Aden Target Two Marks

Genzebe Dibaba. (Photo: Courtesy Athleticsweekly)

Tadias Magazine
By Sabrina Yohannes

Published: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba smashed three world marks in two weeks in February, and she plans to attack two more world records this summer. She broke the indoor 1500m and 3000m records and two-mile world best in the winter, before taking 3000m world indoor championships gold in March, and she and her coach Jama Aden considered several outdoor records before the season began.

“I think she can take the mile and two-mile, the 2000,” said the Somali-born Aden in an interview. Genzebe lost her first race of the outdoor season in Doha, Qatar on May 9, but Aden said she’s still on track for her record-setting goals.

“We are still attacking the world records in the 2K and the two-miles,” he said, speaking some days after the Doha race. “She’ll run Ostrava on the 17th of June. She’ll run in the 2K in Ostrava. And then the two-mile, we haven’t set up yet.”

A women’s two-mile race has since been announced for the May 30-31 Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene, Oregon featuring world 5000m medalist Mercy Cherono of Kenya, who finished ahead of Genzebe in Doha. Genzebe is not listed in that Eugene field, but the current world record in the two miles, 8:58:58, set by Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar in 2007, may just be threatened at the meet.

The 2000m world mark that Genzebe will chase in Ostrava in the Czech Republic is 5:25.36, set by Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan in 1994.

In the Doha Diamond League 3000m on May 9, Genzebe was in the lead when she was passed by Cherono and her world indoor medalist compatriot Hellen Obiri. Genzebe eventually drifted to 6th place.

“The race was tough,” said Genzebe in an interview. “I don’t know if it was the weather.” Though she didn’t offer it as an excuse, when asked about the fact that she sat on the Doha track immediately after the race and loosened her shoes, Genzebe said she had hurt her foot while training in spikes a week ahead of the race, causing her to change the shoes she used afterwards, and to also race in Doha with a bandaged foot. “In the hot weather, I experienced a burning sensation in my foot,” she said.

She had expected a challenge from Cherono, she said. “I know Mercy Cherono has speed over 5000 and 3000,” she said, but Obiri’s eventual triumph in the race wasn’t a surprise either. “Obiri is a very strong athlete,” she said. Both of those women were on Kenya’s world record-breaking 4 x 1500m team at the IAAF World Relays this past weekend, and will likely continue to challenge Genzebe in her endeavors this season.

“She didn’t know what went wrong, and she also had a little bit of soreness, but it wasn’t a major problem,” said Aden of Genzebe’s race in Doha, where she finished in 8:26.21.

“8:26 is her personal best, and it was not bad, but everybody else ran very well,” added Aden, who also commented that the pacemaking had not been ideal. Genzebe had previously run 8:37.00 for the distance outdoors. Her Doha vanquishers also slashed their previous bests, with Obiri running an African record 8:20.68, and Cherono 8:21.14.

“I was expecting 8:18, 8:16, 8:14, somewhere in between,” added Aden of Genzebe (whose indoor world record is 8:16.60, a 10-second improvement over her previous indoor best). “She’s in good shape. She trained very well.”

Genzebe is looking forward to several highlights in the season, including the Diamond League 3000/5000 series and the season-ending Continental Cup, which she aims to qualify for at the African championships.

“I want to run very fast in Rome in the 5000, not seeking a world record, but a personal best,” she said of the Rome Diamond League meet on June 5. “And I will focus on the 2000m and [two] mile events.”

Genzebe’s 5000m best is 14:37.56, which she ran in 2011. She has never run 2000m or two miles before outdoors, but clocked her 9:00.48 indoor two-mile world best in her debut over the distance indoors on February 15. She will be hoping to transfer the form that saw her set that mark and her 3:55.17 world indoor 1500m record on February 1 to the outdoor track.

“I’ve trained very well,” she said. “My work with Jama has been going great.”

She began training with him in the fall of 2012, after being introduced to him by Tirunesh’s Olympic silver-medalist husband Sileshi Sihine. Aden coaches Djibouti’s world indoor 1500m champion Ayanleh Souleiman, Sudan’s former world 800m champion Abubaker Kaki and others in and near Addis Ababa, and Genzebe joined the group.

“The idea came from Sileshi, as a matter of fact,” said Aden, whose expertise singled him out as a good candidate to coach Genzebe in her middle-distance ambitions.

The former world junior 5000m track and cross country champion Genzebe gives Aden a lot of credit for her recent success. “I would say that everything is due to him, and not just my efforts,” she said. “He helped me in my running and brought me to this level.”

“She was always a good athlete,” said Aden. “She hadn’t been working in the gym or done much hill work. … Now she does fartlek and hills with the boys, and really mixes it with the big boys, like Souleiman, like Musaeb Balla [of Qatar], like Kaki.”

“I was running 400m in 55 seconds,” said Genzebe, describing some of her outdoor workouts under Aden. She added that a valuable aspect of her work with him is his constant attention to the details of her daily sessions.

Aden developed a coaching career over many years, after having represented Somalia in the middle distances in the 1980s, including at the Los Angeles Olympics. “I studied at Fairleigh Dickinson University and did my graduate studies at George Mason in exercise physiology,” he said, of the American schools in New Jersey and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. “I worked with Abdi Bile when Abdi was running.” Bile was a two-time 1500m world medalist for Somalia, taking gold in 1987 and bronze in 1993, and also contesting the 1996 Olympics.

“I created my own method of training,” said Aden. “I don’t ignore speed, I don’t ignore endurance, I don’t ignore strength. That’s been working with my athletes.”

“His work helped me achieve these results,” said Genzebe of her three indoor world marks. Now, coach and athlete both hope that she can add a couple more world records to her resume before the summer is over.

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Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay Runs the Fastest Marathon Ever on Canadian Soil

Yermane Adhane Tsegay pictured in 2012 after winning the Marathon Rotterdam. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ottawa Citizen

By Gord Holder

Out of the fog and into the record books.

Yemane Tsegay completed the fastest marathon ever on Canadian soil on Sunday, running away from the field and running to victory in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

“I would like to thank the Canadian (spectators) because I saw them all over, and that was a big encouragement,” the 29-year-old Tsegay said after crossing the finish line in two hours six minutes 54 seconds, which not only sliced 31 seconds off the national all-comers record that Deressa Chimsa established last fall in Toronto, but also obliterated the year-old Ottawa standard (2:08:04.8) set by a third Ethiopian, Tariku Jufar.

“This was the first time that I’ve (competed) in Canada, and, when I get the record, it is a really nice surprise for me, and I’m really delighted,” Tsegay added through a translator.

Tigist Tufa completed an Ethiopian sweep of the marathon titles for the second consecutive year, claiming the women’s title with a time of 2:24:31, which was not only a personal best by more than 3 1/2 minutes, but also nearly a minute better than the year-old event record of Yeshi Esayias.

“I was really very much prepared to win,” said Tufa, who crossed the line nearly three minutes ahead of Ethiopia’s Meseret Tolwak (2:27:26). Kenya’s Agnes Kiprop (2:28:05) was third.

Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

Related:
Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records: She and Coach Jama Aden Target Two Marks
Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Wins 4th Elite Women’s Bolder Boulder Title in Colorado
Kenenisa Bekele & Tirunesh Dibaba Dominate Great Manchester Run
Led by Firehiwot Dado, Ethiopian Women Sweep 2014 Prague Marathon
Buzunesh Deba & Mare Dibaba Take Second & Third Place at 2014 Boston Marathon

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DC Africa Day to be Commemorated with Grants to Eight Organizations

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right) at the 2nd Annual DC to Africa Business Symposium. (Lateef Mangum)

DC Office on African Affairs

Press release

In honor of Africa Day – the annual May 25th celebration of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union), Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Office of African Affairs (OAA) are delighted to announce the first-ever African Community Grant Program and the awarding of $100,000 in funding to eight community-based organizations (CBOs) who provide critical services to the District’s African community.

Grants supported by Fiscal Year 2014 funding have been given to CBOs who serve the city’s most vulnerable community members and offer support and programs in the priority areas of jobs and economic development, linkages to health and human services, youth engagement and education, and the promotion of African arts, culture, and the humanities.

“It is timely and appropriate that we celebrate this year’s Africa Day with a commitment to strengthening community-based organizations which are the frontline institutions that provide services to our African residents,” said Mayor Gray. “Funding these organizations in turn, enable many more individuals to access resources, improve their quality of life, and ultimately contribute to the city they now call home.”

This year’s awardees are: African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association ($10,000); Citiwide Computer Training Center ($20,000); Ethiopian Community Center ($15,000); Ethiopian Community Services and Development Council ($15,000); Kankouran African Dance Troupe ($12,000); Many Languages One Voice ($10,000); Oromo Community Organization ($10,000) and Peace Through Culture in partnership with African Diaspora for Change ($8,000).

“We are absolutely thrilled for the selected CBOs and this first time funding opportunity, said OAA Director, Ngozi Nmezi. “ We remain encouraged that the funds will enhance the capacity of these culturally and linguistically competent CBOs – ensuring that they remain strong pillars of support and development for the District’s African community.”

Awardees will work towards raising awareness about breast cancer risks among African women, provide general healthcare training and assessments, offer job and workforce development training, conduct positive youth development and leadership programming, and create platforms to showcase diverse African culture and arts. All award recipients were selected in a competitive process by an external review panel who evaluated each proposal based on quality of services and the reach of their proposed programs into the District’s culturally and linguistically diverse African community.

Below is Mayor Gray’s Africa Day Proclamation:



Related:
Photos: Mayor’s 4th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration (Photographs by Matt Andrea)

Learn more at www.oaa.dc.gov.

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San Jose Mayoral Candidate Liccardo Releases Amharic Campaign Literature

San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo. (Photo: The Ethiopian American Council - EAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 23rd, 2014

San Jose, California (TADIAS) — It’s pleasantly surprising to see that San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo has released an Amharic version of his campaign literature entitled “Meet Sam Liccardo” (Sam Liccardoen Yitewawequ) targeting the city’s vibrant Ethiopian community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey California is one of eight states where Amharic tops the list as the most commonly spoken African language. Mr. Liccardo has already received the backing of the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) which is headquartered in the city.

The document, that is also translated into Spanish and Vietnamese, highlights the candidate’s biography as well as his position on various issues pertinent to the residents of San Jose — ranging from public safety to the economy, making government more responsible and responsive, better transportation, smart environmental policies, and building partnerships to improve schools.

The English translation posted on Liccardo’s campaign website notes that “He represents San José’s Third District on the San José City Council, one of the most diverse communities in our city. Prior to winning election to City Council, Sam served in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor of sexual assault and child exploitation crimes and as a federal prosecutor. Sam’s work in the community includes teaching government and political science at San José State University, co-founding an innovative program to mentor children, serving on the boards of several affordable housing organizations, and advocating for a successful countywide transit ballot measure in 2000 that is helping to bring BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] to San José.”

The biography states: “Sam and his wife, Jessica García-Kohl, live in downtown’s Northside, which boasts San José’s oldest neighborhood association and the city’s most diverse group of residents. Sam and Jessica live not far from where Sam’s grandfather founded and ran a neighborhood grocery store, which was a center of life and assistance for generations of long-time residents and new arrivals to San José. After graduating from Bellarmine College Prep in San José, Sam attended Georgetown University. Sam graduated magna cum laude in 1991, and two years later, he enrolled at Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After graduating with a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy, Sam returned to the Bay Area in 1996.”

The primary election is set for June 3rd, 2014. Stay tuned for our interview with Sam Liccardo.

Click here to read Sam Liccardo’s Amhraic message.



Related:
Amharic Most Commonly Spoken African Language in Eight U.S. States
Ethiopian American Council Endorses Sam Liccardo for San Jose Mayor
EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat
Isiah Leggett’s Press Conference with Ethiopian Media

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Ethiopia’s Independent Publishers May Face Another Hurdle

Newspapers are significant in Ethiopia because there are no other independent media sources. (EF/CPJ)

CPJ

By Guest Blogger

May 22, 2014

In what appears to be one of a collection of measures to silence the press ahead of 2015 elections, Ethiopian authorities in the Communications Ministry are preparing a new system to control the distribution of print media. Privately owned newspapers and magazines, possibly the only remaining independent news sources in the country, would face more state control if the proposal is set into motion.

Originally proposed in February, the new measures are still at a draft stage. They aim to ensure that private newspapers and magazines are distributed through one company with links to the ruling party, according to local journalists.

The proposal, entitled “A Draft Document for Making the Print Media Accessible,” claims that supporters of the opposition are mainly in control of the current newsprint distribution system, according to the draft proposal in my possession.

Read the full article at www.cpj.org.

Related:
Google Hangout About Zone 9 Bloggers

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Obama Startles and Delights Tourists During Stroll Through Washington (Video)

President Barack Obama, center, surrounded by members of the Secret Service, waves to tourists during his walk on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014. (Photograph credit: AP)

VOA News

May 22nd, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Washington every year to see the national monuments and iconic buildings.

Several visitors were startled and delighted Wednesday to see perhaps the greatest attraction of all – President Barack Obama.

Obama took advantage of a sunny afternoon to take an unexpected stroll from the White House to the Department of the Interior, where he announced the establishment of a national monument in New Mexico, before walking back to the White House.

Flanked by Secret Service agents, the president chatted with visitors from Israel and China, handed out boxes of candy to children, and invited a group of shocked tourists to shake hands, assuring them that he does not bite.

Obama told reporters that it is good to get out.

Video: Obama Takes Afternoon Stroll Through D.C. (NBC News)


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Bill Clinton, Marcus Samuelsson Unveil Harlem EatUp! Food Festival

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Chef Marcus Samuelsson announce the launch of Harlem EatUp! (Photo: Charles Eckert)

AM New York

By IVAN PEREIRA

Harlem is a popular spot among celebrities and other notable figures, including former President Bill Clinton and chef Marcus Samuelsson, and now both men are teaming up to give something back.

Samuelsson, the co-owner of Red Rooster, announced the creation of “Harlem EatUp!” Tuesday, a three-day food and cultural festival in Harlem set for next year.

He and Clinton joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and several of the neighborhood’s restaurants, businesses and community leaders to introduce the event that will showcase area eateries with music, free food and more from May 15-17, 2015…

Clinton, who set up the offices of his foundation in the neighborhood after he left the White House in 2001, said he’s always been a fan of the food and entertainment offerings in Harlem and has been impressed with its growth as a prime hot spot for New Yorkers and tourists.

He predicted that “Harlem EatUp!” will create economic benefits for the neighborhood for years to come.

Read the full article at AMNY.com.


New York’s Mayor De Blasio and President Bill Clinton joined restaurateurs Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster) to announce a new food festival coming to Harlem in May of 2015. Read more at News One NY.

Related:
Bill Clinton, Mayor de Blasio Announce New Harlem Cultural Festival (The Wall Street Journal)
President Bill Clinton And Mayor De Blasio Announce Harlem EatUp (News One New York)

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Dr. Elias Siraj From Temple University Presented Prestigious Service Award

Elias S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program and Diabetes Program. (Photo: Courtesy AACE)

Media AACE

Press Release

Elias S. Siraj, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., received the Outstanding Service Award for Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Las Vegas on May 17, 2014.

The Outstanding Service Award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the endocrine care, health and service to an underserved population in the United States or abroad via leadership, long-term commitment, vision, innovation and impact.

“With my origins in Ethiopia, a country with large number of underserved population, I always thought I am fortunate to be where I am and it is my responsibility to give back in whatever way that I can,” said Dr. Siraj. “I am very humbled by the fact that AACE has recognized my contributions to the underserved populations in my country of origin, Ethiopia, and my adopted country, USA in such a manner.”

Dr. Siraj has made significant contributions towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of Ethiopia’s medical schools, including a key role in the launch of the country’s first Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program. He has also provided free care for endocrine patients, conducted significant research on diabetes in Ethiopians and provided leadership in organizations fostering collaboration between Ethiopian and US medical institutions or medical professionals.

Dr. Siraj is currently a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program and Director of Diabetes Program at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also a Member of ABIM Subspecialty Board for Endocrinology.

More about Dr Elias S. Siraj

Dr. Siraj attended medical school in Ethiopia at Gondar College of Medical Sciences, Addis Ababa University. He was then awarded a scholarship to do residency and research training at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Subsequently, he completed his residency and fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Siraj is board certified in both endocrinology & internal medicine, and is an active member of several professional organizations. Currently he is Board Member of ABIM Endocrinology subsection and a Past President of Philadelphia Endocrine Society. A frequent national and international speaker, he has published multiple articles, abstracts and book chapters on diabetes and endocrine disorders. For his teaching efforts at Temple University, he was given “Excellence in Teaching Award” by the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Siraj is also very involved in clinical research and trials.

Since the days of his training in Germany in the early 1990s, Dr. Siraj has been engaged in helping his native country Ethiopia in patient care, medical education and research. In research, he has made significant contribution to our understanding of the characteristics of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in Ethiopia and published several papers and abstracts. Regarding patient care, he has provided free medical care to patients with diabetes and other endocrine conditions at various hospitals.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Dr. Siraj to the health care system in Ethiopia is in medical education. Over the years, Dr. Siraj has significantly contributed towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of the country’s medical schools. To be highlighted is the key role Dr. Siraj played in the launching of the first ever Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa. He was also instrumental in the creation of partnership between Temple University and Addis Ababa University.

Dr. Siraj also serves as Vice President of People to People Inc. (P2P), which is a nonprofit organization established in the US, by physicians of Ethiopian origin to support the Ethiopian Health Care system. Within P2P, Dr. Siraj has been instrumental in the conception, launching and ongoing leadership of the Annual Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education which is conducted annually in Washington, DC since 2009. He has also facilitated the creation of partnerships between Ethiopian medical schools/hospitals & partner institutions in the US.

Dr. Siraj is also an ardent patient educator and advocate for underserved people both here in the US and in Ethiopia. He has led and participated in various initiatives targeted at African Americans and Ethiopian immigrant population in the US through community outreaches, publications as well as frequent radio & TV interviews.

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Kenenisa Bekele & Tirunesh Dibaba Dominate Great Manchester Run

(Photos: www.tiruneshdibaba.net and Flickr/Thomas Faivre-Duboz)

AFP

May 18, 2014

Manchester, United Kingdom: Ethiopian athletics legends Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba eased to victory in their respective races in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.

Bekele, a three-time Olympic gold medallist on the track, raced alongside world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya for much of the 10 kilometres course.

However, the 31-year-old — who indicated he may have an equally glorious career ahead of him in road racing when he won his debut marathon in Paris in April — kicked away in the final 400 metres to finish in a time of 28 minutes 23 seconds.

Kipsang, also fresh from a marathon triumph in London, where he set a new course record, came in five seconds back, while South Africa’s Steve Mokoka was some distance back in third.

Read more.

Related:
Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records: She and Coach Jama Aden Target Two Marks
Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Wins 4th Elite Women’s Bolder Boulder Title in Colorado
Led by Firehiwot Dado, Ethiopian Women Sweep 2014 Prague Marathon
Buzunesh Deba & Mare Dibaba Take Second & Third Place at 2014 Boston Marathon

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Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State

(Photo: UNPO.org)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Saturday, May 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The legislature of the state of Minnesota, which is home to the largest Oromo population in the United States, has condemned the recent police violence directed against student protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia state. In a resolution signed earlier this week the Minnesota State Senate urged the Obama administration to pressure the Ethiopian authorities to respect human rights.

“Whereas, Oromo students in Ethiopia started protesting on April 25th, 2014, to stand against the government’s plan to substantially expand the municipal boundaries of Addis Ababa because, according to students, the expansion would threaten communities under regional jurisdiction,” the resolution stated. “Whereas, under this proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master plan, the boundaries would include 15 more communities in Oromia; it would take the authority of Oromia Regional State on the Oromo farmers and give it to Addis Ababa city; and the students are concerned that the displacement of Oromo farmers and students will have a negative effect on the land and citizens.”

The lawmakers noted: “The Oromo people make up nearly one-half of Ethiopia’s population; and whereas, the government has reported that there are at least nine students dead, but other estimates have reached 47, witnesses report that at least 70 people are wounded; and whereas, on May 9th, 2014, an Oromo rally to protest the killings and imprisonment of peaceful Oromo protesters in Ethiopia and to demand the perpetrators be brought to justice was held at the Minnesota State Capitol.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Minnesota that it supports the Oromo community and condemns the violence against them, and urges the United States government to pressure the Ethiopian authorities to respect human rights and democratic process.”

Below is copy of the resolution:



Related:
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

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Summer Stage NYC Presents Teddy Afro and Hahu Dance Crew — July 5th

(Images: SummerStageNYC and DireTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian pop superstar Teddy Afro and the Addis Ababa-based dance crew, Hahu (winners of 2011 Ethiopian Idol), will perform at this year’s SummerStage in New York on July 5th. The free outdoor concert is part of an annual three-month music festival highlighting “performances spanning World and American music, modern dance, spoken word, electronic music, and family programming.”

The announcement notes that “Over the past ten years, Teddy has emerged as the number one voice in Ethiopia, breaking records for album sales and show attendance. He is known far and wide as the rising star of East Africa. Using Reggae rhythms combined with traditional sounds his songs are sung exclusively in the national language of Ethiopia, Amharic. Influenced by Ethiopian Maestro Tilahun Gessesse and international Reggae superstar Bob Marley, he sings of freedom from tyranny and self-emancipation.”

Hahu Dance Group is a contemporary group that aims to promote Ethiopian culture, art and indigenous knowledge globally. Hahu “represents Ethiopian multiculturalism, by including four traditional dancers each hailing from different ethnic groups, showing a true sense of community. The groups early works were inspired by the poor Addis neighborhoods and performances were focused on community awareness creation and empowerment,” the announcement states.

Also scheduled to share the stage with the Ethiopian artists is Noura Mint Seymali – one of Mauritania’s  nationally beloved music stars.

Central Park SummerStage is an open air venue, located at Rumsey Playfield, which is right off the 5th Avenue and 69th Street entrance to Central Park.

If You Go:
Saturday, July 5 at 3:00 PM
Rumsey Playfield – Central Park
New York, New York
You can learn more at www.facebook.com/SummerStageNYC

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Amharic Most Commonly Spoken African Language in Eight U.S. States

Little Ethiopia Neighborhood in L.A., CA (Photograph courtesy Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, May 15th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Slate magazine staff writer Ben Blatt, made maps of languages other than English that were spoken in the United States. His map of the most commonly spoken African language shows that Amharic tops the list in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, Washington, Virginia and West Virginia. The most commonly spoken African languages in the U.S. are Kru, Yoruba, and Ibo.

Below is the map courtesy Slate.com.



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EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat

Tom Hucker. (courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, May 16th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — In a recent response to an online Q&A with Ethiopian American Council (EAC) – after applying for the organization’s endorsement – Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat, said he strongly supports the establishment of a center that is dedicated to the Ethiopian community in Maryland.

“Preserving each culture’s history and heritage is a continual challenge in our diverse area and our rapidly changing society,” Hucker said. “I would support the use of County capital funds for such a museum and cultural center, and I would be happy to organize state lawmakers to support state bond funding as well.” He added: “I think the State of Maryland would be likely to support this project in our capital budget.”

The candidate also pointed out that he was an “original co-sponsor” and vocal advocate of the Maryland DREAM Act to allow all Maryland students to attend state colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates regardless of their status.

Mr. Hucker, 47, is currently a second-term member of Maryland’s House of Delegates from District 20 (representing, among other areas, Takoma Park and Silver Spring). Tadias Magazine has learned that EAC has decided to back Mr. Hucker in the upcoming Democratic primary after receiving “satisfactory answers” on various issues of interest to Ethiopian Americans.

“Our federal immigration system is a disaster,” Hucker noted, emphasizing the need for a national solution “It causes tremendous hardships for families and is a drag on the U.S. economy. I fully support efforts to move undocumented immigrants to citizenship as quickly as possible, to make their families whole, to allow them to access critical services, and to encourage them to contribute towards income taxes, social security, and other parts of our social safety net.”

He was asked to share his ideas on how to increase voter participation among Ethiopian residents of the state. “I would like to solicit the input of community leaders regarding what they think would be effective strategies to increase voter participation,” he answered. “But personally, I think we should identify issues of particular interest to community members, develop positions on those issues, print materials and lawn signs in Amharic as well as English, distribute them in restaurants, groceries, coffee shops, and other community businesses, work with other community media such as newspapers to encourage voting, and organize a social event to attract community members at a restaurant a few blocks from the early voting poll at the Silver Spring Civic Building, hold it on one of the evenings during the early voting period June 12-19, and escort voters from the party to the polling place to vote.”

Hucker is the third candidate that EAC has supported this election season, including Sam Liccardo, who is running for Mayor of San Jose, California, and Isiah “Ike” Leggett, the incumbent Executive of Montgomery County who is seeking re-election.

Mr. Hucker has also received endorsements from Montgomery County’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Hispanic Democratic Club, the Green Democrats, the AFL-CIO, and former NAACP CEO and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Kweisi Mfume.

You can learn more about the candidate at tomhucker.com.

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