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Ethiopian-American Nate Araya’s New Film Explores Africans In The Diaspora

The director of 'Sincerely, Ethiopia,' Nate Araya, is back with another movie series, this time exploring the state of mental health in the U.S. in his new film entitled 'Growing Up In America.' (Photo: Nate Araya)

Konbini

In 2011, budding filmmaker and Ethiopian-American, Nate Araya made waves when he tackled the public’s negative perceptions of his homeland, Ethiopia, by making a documentary — Sincerely, Ethiopia — that displayed a more positive portrayal of Ethiopian life and culture.

The documentary was released in 2013, and since then Nate has gone on to make many impactful documentaries, championing the realities of Africans in the diaspora.

His latest work, Growing Up In America is a travel-based documentary series exploring different parts of American cities, cultures and conversations surrounding the underrepresented communities in America.

Nate describes the series as a “purpose project”, saying:

“This project is an extension of my life work to become a solution to the problems I see within my culture and community today.

We can either complain about the problems or contribute towards a solution. This is small contribution. A purpose project.

[I hope] that it can become a voice for the silent issues we face and a light for the many solutions ahead.”

The first episode of the series focuses on mental health in minority communities. Nate visits a local barbershop in Austin, Texas to better understand the views of mental health from the minds of young game changers, artists and professionals.

The episode includes a featured interview from National Institute of Mental Health Psychiatric Nurse, Ledet Muleta, who discusses the state of mental health within the black, immigrant and first-generation community. The series is set to be released on Nate’s website and his YouTube page.

Watch the trailer for the first episode below:


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In Pictures: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week

Sebeatu by designer Muse Legesse and Roots in Style by Tigist Seife. (courtesy of HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – The 2018 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week took place in Ethiopia’s capital city last week. This year’s runway show, which was held on October 3rd at Millennium Hall, highlighted a diverse collection of local and international designers.

Below are photos courtesy of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week:

Samra Leather by Samrawit Mersiehazen:

Ayni’s by Aynalem Ayele:

Roots in Style by Tigist Seife:

Precious design by Nasra Mustofa:

Meron Addis Ababa by Meron Seid:

Lali by Lemlem Haile Michael:

ZAAF by Abai Schulze:

Wuwi Couture by Egla Negusse:

Sebeatu by Muse Legesse:

Aleph Design by Meseret Teferra:

Yefikir by Fikerte Addis:

Tseday Design by Tseday Kebede:

Komtare by Dawit Ketema:

Kahindo (Democratic Republic of the Congo):

Basse (Senegal ):

ArtC (Morocco):

Alaoui M’hammdi Amina (Morocco):


Related:
2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week in Pictures
Photos: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2016
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Spotlight: Professor Lemma Senbet to Focus on Ethiopian Diaspora After Successfully Leading AERC

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park has returned to the United States after five years leading the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), based in Nairobi, Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 12th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – After a successful five-year term as the head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) — a Kenya-based non-profit organization that conducts independent research concerning the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa – Professor Lemma W. Senbet, an internationally recognized leader in finance studies has returned to continue teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“I am now back in Washington from an incredibly satisfying five-year Africa journey in the service of the Motherland,” Professor Lemma told Tadias. Before leaving the U.S. to lead AERC Lemma had shared with us in an interview that he “will be embarking on strategies for full global integration of AERC and its visibility beyond Africa as an organization that is at the cutting edge of best policy research practices.”

In 2015 under his leadership AERC received the highest possible rating as the most transparent think tank in the world. According to a report released by Transparify AERC was one of 31 major centers of research worldwide, out of 169 examined, that was given a five-star rating. The list included several American policy research establishments such as the Center for Global Development, Pew Research Center, Stimson Center, Woodrow Wilson Center and the World Resources Institute.

Last year Dr. Lemma was also one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. The conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility.”

Now back in the U.S. Professor Lemma shares that his next steps involve working with the recently formed Diaspora committee that will help to raise funds for Ethiopia. His background as an economist as well as his non-political, non-partisan and fact-based approach to complex issues will certainly bring a much-needed skill set to the group — which also includes several highly qualified individuals whose work we have previously featured in Tadias such as Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, retired United Nations official; Elias Wondimu, Publisher of Tsehai Publishers; Dr. Menna Demissie, Vice President of Police Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; and Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director of Black Rhino Group & Executive Advisory and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure.

In his departing speech to his colleagues at AERC, Professor Lemma told his audience that he will continue to advocate for Africa once he returns to the U.S. and he has already hit the ground running.

Watch: Closing Remarks – AERC Executive Director Prof Lemma Senbet


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

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Meet the 19-year-old Tech Genius Coding at Ethiopia’s First AI Lab

Betelhem Dessie, 19, has four software programs copyrighted solely to her name - including an app developed for the Ethiopian government to map rivers used for irrigation. (CNN)

CNN

At 19-years-old, Betelhem Dessie is perhaps the youngest pioneer in Ethiopia’s fast emerging tech scene, sometimes referred to as ‘Sheba Valley’.

Dessie is coordinating a number of nationwide programs run by robotics lab iCog, the Addis Ababa based artificial intelligence (AI) lab that was involved in developing the world famous Sophia the robot.

She has four software programs copyrighted solely to her name – including an app developed for the Ethiopian government to map rivers used for irrigation.

And it all began when she was just 9.

She recalls: “On my 9th birthday I wanted to celebrate so I asked my father for money.” When her father said he didn’t have any to give her that day, Dessie took matters into her own hands.

Making use of the materials around her – her father sold electronics in their home city of Harar in eastern Ethiopia – Dessie started with small tasks such as video editing and sending music to customer’s cell phones.

“I got about 90 dollars – then I celebrated my birthday” she laughs, sitting in one of the robotics and coding rooms at iCog, Ethiopia’s first AI lab.
iCog launched in 2013 and Ethiopia’s tech industry is set to take off even faster this year following the liberalization of the country’s economy under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Read more »


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Ethiopia to Reform Repressive Laws

President Mulatu Teshome (left) hosting dinner for members of parliament on October 8th, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @fitsumaregaa)

Africa News

Ethiopia to Reform Judicial System, Amend Repressive Laws: President

Ethiopia will reform several laws that are widely perceived to having had a detrimental effect on human rights and democracy, according to a speech delivered by the country’s president Mulatu Teshome.

Fitsum Arega, the chief of staff in the prime minister’s office said the president tasked the country’s lawmakers as he outlined government’s plans for the next fiscal year on Monday.

‘‘The government will reform the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, the Charities and Societies Proclamation as well as various legislation having to do with the regulation of the media,’‘ Arega quoted the president on Twitter.

Discussions between government and opposition parties to amend provisions the controversial anti-terrorism law in May.

Human rights group have previously accused the state of using the law’s broad definitions against anyone who opposes government policies.

Human Rights Watch has previously said the law “grants authorities the power to prosecute journalists who publish articles about protest movements, armed opposition groups, or any other individuals deemed as terrorist or anti-peace”.

Read more »


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Ethiopian American Neurologist Enawgaw Mehari Bettering Health in Ethiopia

Neurologist Dr. Enawgaw Mehari is the founder and president of People to People. He works at King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) in Kentucky. Courtesy photo.

Daily Independent

KDMC neurologist bettering health in Ethiopia

Dr. Enawgaw Mehari is devoted to improving the health of those in Africa.

The King’s Daughters Medical Center neurologist is the founder and president of a non-profit organization called People to People (P2P) that is dedicated to bettering healthcare and reducing the spread of diseases, particularly in Ethiopia and in diaspora communities.

“The key to this organization is serving as a bridge between Africa and the west,” said Mehari.

P2P’s projects are focused on strengthening health systems through partnerships with local hospitals and universities. The organization engages “the global Ethiopian diaspora in an attempt to bridge the knowledge gap and address the country’s severe shortage of health and medical professionals,” according to its website, p2pbridge.org.

To help achieve this goal P2P hosts U.S.-based medical conferences and members will even make trips to Ethiopia as well.

Mehari has brought along KDMC physicians on these trips in the past, with oncologist/hematologist Galena Salem, M.D., joining him last year. Together, the two taught medical professionals and cared for patients.

This year’s conference will take place on Oct. 20 in Arlington, Va., marking the event’s 10th anniversary. The conference will hit many firsts for the organization, offering an in-person and online conference targeting “the growing burden of cardiovascular diseases in Ethiopia.” It’s the first program presented as part of the newly formed Pan African Continuing Medical Education Network.

The conference will be streamed live on Facebook as well.

Read more »


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Pictures: Amsale Fall 2019 Runway Show

Amsale Fall 2019 Collections debuted at Second, Eventi Hotel, in New York on October 5th, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 6th, 2018

In Pictures: Amsale Fall 2019 Runway Show at New York Bridal Fashion Week

New York (TADIAS) — It’s Bridal Fashion Week in New York City and Amsale New York debuted three Fall 2019 collections during a runway event held at Eventi Hotel’s Second floor in Manhattan on Friday, October 5th. Amsale, which is one of the leading bridal fashion brands in the United States, was founded by the late Ethiopian American designer Amsale Aberra who passed away earlier this year.

The Fall 2019 runway presentation was designed by Margo Lafontaine who was selected by Amsale Aberra as her successor. “Lafontaine’s featured designs include the Fall 2019 collections of Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale and the re-launch of the Little White Dress Collection,” notes the event press release. “Lafontaine joined the Amsale design team in 2017 and spent precious months with the beloved late founder and creative director. She was most recently senior studio director of Vera Wang, where she worked for more than a decade.”

“Amsale was the creator of the modern wedding dress and as I help carry that legacy forward, I am threading her unmistakable Amsale aesthetic into each aspect of my designs” said Margo Lafontaine.

As Design Director at Amsale New York, Lafontaine describes the current collection as “designed with the Amsale bride in mind to celebrate and enhance each woman’s energy, personality, and her natural style.”

Below is a description of this season’s collections and photos from Amsale Fall 2019 Runway Show at New York Bridal Fashion Week:

NOUVELLE AMSALE FALL 2019 COLLECTION

Inspired by the modern and effortless bride who understands fashion but stays true to her personal style, the Nouvelle Amsale Fall 2019 collection shows bold textural details in the form of graphic floral laces offset with delicate layers of tulle. Clean necklines are carefully detailed with sheer borders and trailing lace appliques. These effortlessly elegant gowns are designed to create endless versatility.

LITTLE WHITE DRESS FALL 2019 COLLECTION

Celebrating timeless Amsale silhouettes, the iconic Little White Dress collection is re-launching after its original debut in 2009, reimaging effortlessly elegant details for the modern bride for each occasion surrounding her wedding. Designed with sheer illusion overlays, draped bow detailing, graphic lace, and crisp tailored faille, these dresses underline the unmistakable Amsale aesthetic— classic but not ordinary.

AMSALE FALL 2019 COLLECTION

Designed to embody an understated take on old school glamour, the Amsale Fall 2019 collection reflects a mix of dramatic design and simple silhouettes to cater to every bride. Draped crepe sheaths are presented alongside handcrafted tulle and Lyon lace ball gowns. Working with the signature interplay of opacity and sheerness, striking necklines are featured in elegant fronts and backs with sculptural counterpoints of bow and draping details. Decorations remain subtle yet luxe with delicate hand-painting, tonal embroidery and hand-cut Lyon lace that lend a modern texture to the collection.


Related:
Special Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Runway Show

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In New Jersey, Ethiopian Churches to Celebrate “Peace and Reconciliation Day”

Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia's fourth Patriarch, arrives in Addis Ababa after 27 years in exile on Wednesday August 1st, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 4th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — One of the major turning points signaling a new era of goodwill among Ethiopians worldwide came in late July this year when a peace and reconciliation agreement was announced that ended the nearly three-decade-old separation between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia.

Shortly thereafter Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s fourth Patriarch, returned to his country on August 1st after 27 years in exile. He was welcomed home with a memorable state reception at Addis Ababa airport, which was televised live.

Members of several Ethiopian churches in New York and surrounding states are organizing a “Peace and Reconciliation Day” event this month on October 13th to celebrate this historic achievement in a day of prayer and thanksgiving at the Besrate Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in New Jersey.

>


If You Go:
Peace and Reconciliation Day Celebration
Saturday, October 13th, 2018 from 9:00 am to 5 pm
Besrate Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church
1046 S. Orange Ave
Newark, New Jersey
More info: 571-310-7645

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U.S. Embassy Welcomes Largest Ever Cohort of American Scholars to Support Education in Ethiopia

The group consisted of 13 Fulbright Scholars, 20 Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars, and 3 English Language Fellows. (Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Press Release

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor welcomed a group of over 35 American scholars to Ethiopia – the largest such group at any one time.

The group consisted of 13 Fulbright Scholars, 20 Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars, and 3 English Language Fellows.

The Ambassador said that by investing in expanding academic exchange programs between the United States and Ethiopia, “We’re investing in our educational institutions, providing an opportunity to share best practices and to work together to improve the quality of research and education.”

Together, the Fulbright Program and the Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program (ADSP) aim to bring American scholars to conduct research, support academic quality, teach, and collaborate with their Ethiopian colleagues. Both programs have expanded thanks to significant funding contributions from Ethiopian universities, representing the possibilities that come from joint cooperation.

The scholars represent a range of subject areas including anthropology, business, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, environmental science, history, humanities, political science, public health, public administration and policy, sociology, and urban planning will be placed at the following universities: Addis Ababa University, Bahir Dar University, University of Gondar, Haramaya University, Hawassa University, Jimma University, and Mekelle University. The ADSP program is a pilot project that began with the University of Gondar and Bahir Dar University, but is slated to expand to additional locations in the next academic year based on the success of the pilot.

Ambassador Raynor emphasized “investing in Ethiopia’s education system remains one of the United States’ top priorities as part of our commitment to supporting the capacity of all Ethiopians to achieve the best possible future for themselves,” adding, “the most important investment of all is in our young people. Through these exchanges of people and ideas, we can offer a richer, higher quality educational experience for the next generation of scholars in both our countries. And we know that few investments will ever pay off as much as a good education.”


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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2018

Photo from previous Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week. (courtesy of HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 2nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – This week in Addis Ababa the annual Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week is taking place at Millennium Hall. This year’s runway show, which will be held on October 3rd, features the collection of 15 Ethiopian designers as well as international guest presenters hailing from Morocco, DRC and Kenya.

“As in past events, HAFW will also be hosting key industry players including international and regional buyers and media. Vogue Italia / Talents will keep their dedication to scouting talents during the event,” organizers shared in a press release. “HAFW 2018 is happy to be continuing its platform as a source for supporting and encouraging the fashion, textile, and manufacturing industries in Africa as a key part of the sustainable development of the continent.”

In addition, HAFW announced that it is collaborating with the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) to connect experts with five young fashion designers whose work will also be showcased on October 4th, 2018 at the Italian Embassy.

The participating Ethiopian designers include Abai Schulze (ZAAF), Aynalem Ayele (Ayni’s), Dawit Ketema (Komtare), Egla Negusse (Wuwi Couture), Fikerte Addis (Yefiki), Lemlem Haile Michael (Lali), Meseret Teferra (Aleph Design), Muse Legesse (Sebeatu), Nasra Mustofa (Precious design), Samrawit Mersiehazen (Samra Leather), Tigist Seife (Roots in Style), Tigist Shiferaw (TG’SH), Tseday Kebede (Tseday Design), Yordanos Aberra (Yordi Design), Mahlet Afework (MAFI), Meron Seid (Meron Addis Ababa), as well as emerging designers Hiwot Solomon (BELLAHIWOT), Fozia Endrias (Fozia Endrias Clothing & Accessories) and Kunjina Tesfaye (Kunjina).


Related:
2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week in Pictures

Photos: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2016
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Spotlight: Julie Mehretu’s London Art Show at White Cube Mason’s Yard

Julie Mehretu makes large-scale, gestural paintings that are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint. The exhibition highlights Mehretu’s use of gestural abstraction as a conduit for evocative and charged emotion and intellectual enquiry. (White Cube gallery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — To observe close-up one of Julie Mehretu’s thought-provoking and spacious artworks is to immerse oneself in history as well as to reflect and examine some of the burning socio-political issues of the day. An exhibition of new work by Julie Mehretu that is currently on display at White Cube gallery in London precisely makes this point.

“Featuring large-scale paintings and etchings, the exhibition highlights Mehretu’s use of gestural abstraction as a conduit for evocative and charged emotion and intellectual enquiry,” the gallery said in a press release. “Glenn Ligon has described the artist’s work as ‘traversed by history [...] grounded in urgent political and social questions while simultaneously troubling the limits of abstract painting.’

Marking a continued departure from her earlier work which focused on a layered language of mapping and architectural detail, these paintings take the immediacy of a news photograph as their starting point. These include images of such recent pivotal junctures as the rallies of independence in Catalonia; the voracious wild fires of California; the violent white supremacy rally and counter rally in Charlottesville, Virginia; the instantaneous outbreak of Muslim ban protests throughout the United States; and the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

Julie, who is one of the most significant American artists of our time, was born in Ethiopia in 1970 and now lives in New York. She was a MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Fellow in 2005, and has subsequently won the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015). In 2017 The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art commissioned Julie to complete an installation in their lobby. She also serves as a trustee of the American Academy in Berlin.

Julie’s current work at White Cube Mason’s Yard — which will be on display through November 3rd, 2018 — is: “Less structured than previous work and characterized by their intensely animated and vital surfaces,” notes the exhibit announcement. “Mehretu’s paintings suggest a suspended moment ripe with possibility, defining what Suzanne Cotter has identified as a ‘mobility’ inherent in her painterly language. Part of a continual state of becoming, where marks reliant on effacement and erasure relate to action, they allow for new thematic possibilities.. Urging the viewer to look, question and take time, Mehretu ignites the potential of painting to carry political significance, serving as an energising and motivational force that draws vital nerves and narrative lines with both the history of modernist abstraction as well as that of engaged political thought.”


If You Go:
Julie Mehretu SEXTANT
Show ends on November 3rd 2018
White Cube Mason’s Yard
25 – 26 Mason’s Yard
London SW1Y 6BU
www.whitecube.com/

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Hyatt to Open Its First Hotel in Ethiopia

Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa plans to open by the end of the year. (Photo courtesy: Hyatt.com)

Bloomberg

Hyatt Hotels Corp. plans to open its first hotel in Ethiopia by the end of the year as it seeks to double its African portfolio to tap growing visits by both African and Chinese travelers.

The property in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, will be followed by Hyatt’s first hotels in Algeria and Senegal in early 2019 and in Kenya the year after, according to Kurt Straub, the company’s vice president for the Middle East and Africa. Hyatt in October said it would invest an estimated $200 million in new hotels on the continent.
“Things are opening up in Ethiopia, it’s very exciting what’s going on there,” Straub said in an interview in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, referring to Ethiopia’s recent pledge to loosen control of the state-planned economy and invite more foreign investment. “It’s much easier now that it’s open, there’s a path.”

Hyatt will operate the Ethiopian hotel through a management contract with U.K.-based ASB Development Ltd., which already has business there, according to Straub. Hyatt is also looking into opening outlets in the Ethiopian cities of Awasa and Mekelle, he said.
Hyatt, whose portfolio on the continent includes hotels in Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Tanzania, is open to franchising opportunities, Straub said. It also sees major opportunities from a growing Chinese market and intra-African travel, according to Tejas Shah, the company’s regional vice president for sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more »

Learn more about Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa by visiting the website.

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Ethiopia’s Democratic Awakening

(Photograph: by Tom Gardner)

The Guardian

‘Abiy Ahmed is our miracle’: Ethiopia’s democratic awakening

Something extraordinary is happening in Ethiopia. Under new prime minister Abiy Ahmed, authoritarianism and state brutality appear to be giving way to something resembling democracy. A country that began the year crippled by anti-government protests is now being lauded as a model for the region. One of Africa’s most autocratic ruling parties, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is today led by a man who professes to believe deeply in freedom of expression.

In the capital, Addis Ababa, huge crowds have been welcoming home exiled dissidents. Residents who once feared speaking publicly about politics now talk of little else. Flags and symbols long banned by the EPRDF blossom across the city.

But it is also a time of deep anxiety. The unprecedented loosening of state control has been accompanied by an upsurge in ethnic violence and widespread lawlessness. Hate speech thrives on social media. Groups with starkly contrasting visions for the country have clashed on the streets of the capital. On 19 September the government began its first clampdown, arresting thousands of people suspected of orchestrating violence. “Abiymania”, as it has become known, may not last forever.

In Addis Ababa the face of Abiy Ahmed is almost ubiquitous, emblazoned on stickers, posters, T-shirts and books. Some of his most enthusiastic supporters liken him to a prophet. “Without Abiy we would be doing nothing,” says Asrat Abere, a taxi driver and father of two. “If he had time he could change everything.

Some worry that “Abiymania” is a personality cult; others liken it to the sort of adoration that has often followed Ethiopian leaders, including the former emperor, Haile Selassie.

“There’s an inclination in the Ethiopian population to have more faith in charismatic leaders than in political parties or institutions,” says Goitum Gebreluel, an Ethiopian researcher at Cambridge University. “Abiy has been able to cultivate that cleverly.”

Read more »


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Hundreds Arrested in Ethiopia After Violence Around Capital

The town of Burayu, which is located on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, was the scene of a recent ethnic-based violence that claimed several dozen lives and displaced thousands of people. (Photo: @fanatelevision)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian security official has confirmed the arrests of hundreds of youths in the capital, Addis Ababa, following violence within the city and in nearby towns last week in which several dozen people were killed.

The announcement on Monday came following widespread calls on social media by citizens of the East African country to disclose the reason why the arrests were made.

“We arrested several people following the violence but most of them were released shortly after provided with advice. If we were to keep them all, our prisons wouldn’t be able to handle them,” said Degife Bedi, a police official with the Addis Ababa Police Commission. “28 people lost their lives in the violence in Addis Ababa alone. Most of them lost their lives after beatings with stones and sticks. Other seven people lost their lives due to actions taken by security forces.”

According to the official, more than 1,200 individuals who were “directly involved” in the violence in the capital have been sent to a military camp to be “rehabilitated” and 107 others will face criminal charges.

“An additional 2,000 people were detained inside hookah-serving houses, gambling shops and khat-chewing stores,” the police head said, adding that most were later released.

A week of violence erupted in Addis Ababa and its surrounding areas beginning from September 12 following disagreements between youths from the capital and its surrounding Oromia region over the use of different flags. On September 15, several people were killed in the Oromia region’s towns of Burayu and Ashewa Meda which victims blamed on youths from the same region.

City officials said 26 people lost their lives and close to 15,000 were displaced in the attacks in the capital’s outskirts but hospital sources told The Associated Press that at least 70 people were killed in the attacks that were mainly carried out on ethnic-lines.

Ethiopia’s new leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, hails from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest. Various attacks based on ethnic rivalries are mushrooming across the country and are his biggest challenges to date.

Ethnic-based conflicts that are mainly driven by competition for land and resources are not new to Ethiopia, which is home to more than 80 ethnic groups, but the escalation of the current conflicts is alarming many. Some fear it may derail the reforms made by Abiy since he came to power in April.


Related:

Ethiopia’s Stunning Reforms Now Challenged by Deadly Unrest (AP)

Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP—Africa

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Meet Sinna Habteselassie: First Black Woman Elected as University Of Cincinnati Student Body President

As the child of Ethiopian immigrants who migrated to the United States during the mid 1980s, Sinna Habteselassie's family settled just south of Dayton, Ohio in Centerville where she was born and raised. Sinna recently made history at the University of Cincinnati after she was elected as student body president. (Photo: UC Creative Services)

BOTWC

Senior neuroscience and organizational leadership double major, Sinna Habteselassie, recently made history at the University of Cincinnati after she was elected as student body president. In UC’s 199-year history, Habteselassie became the first African American woman student to be elected to serve in the role.

After some persuasion from friends and mentors and ultimately turning down an internship opportunity, Habteselassie decided to run for the coveted role. She soon realized that her significant fear of speaking in public would soon be challenged as she blazed the campaign trail. “I said, ‘I have the ability to do it. I can do it,’” she shared with UC News. “We’re not doing enough to make sure marginalized people have a seat at the table. Hopefully, my presence will encourage other people to participate.”

Her recent victory continues to do just that as she uses her platform to speak out about issues such as mental health advocacy and maintaining college affordability to lower student debt rates.

“There was a lot of pressure and significance knowing she would be the first Black woman to hold this position. But the fact that she talks so openly about her identity and how that influences how she wants to lead sets a different kind of precedent. She doesn’t shy away from her identity,” shared Program Coordinator in UC’s Office of Ethnic Programs & Services and mentor to Habteselassie, Peyton Wu.


Photo credit: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

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Ethiopia’s Stunning Reforms Now Challenged by Deadly Unrest

Thousands of protestors from the capital and those displaced by ethnic-based violence over the weekend in Burayu, demonstrate to demand justice from the government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

Ethiopia’s stunning political reforms are now threatened by long-standing ethnic tensions that have roared back to life since a young prime minister took power just five months ago and promised greater freedoms.

While exiled groups once banned as terror organizations are welcomed home to join political dialogue, deadly violence erupts on the fringes of celebrations. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people gathered peacefully in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square to cheer one group’s return. Two days later, police fired tear gas there to disperse people protesting killings blamed by some on youth from the same ethnicity.

Suddenly, the government of 42-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appears to be reaching for security tactics whose unpopularity helped to bring down the previous government, while some Ethiopians who cheered Abiy’s reforms now accuse him of being soft on the unrest that poses his biggest challenge so far.

The internet winked off this week across the capital, a once-common act to control dissenting voices. The National Security Council has vowed “all necessary measures” against those spreading anarchy, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported. Some have even called for the return of the state of emergency that Abiy lifted in one of his first acts in office.

The prime minister himself, who shocked the country with a dizzying series of reforms that included freeing imprisoned opposition figures and vowing free and fair elections in 2020, has made warning sounds against the unrest.

“There’s nothing more shameful than a group of people committing these types of crimes against their fellow citizens,” Abiy said Tuesday while visiting a camp for those displaced by the latest violence.

Stability is crucial in a country whose fast-growing economy, 100 million-strong population and security ties make it the powerhouse of the turbulent but strategic Horn of Africa region.

Ethnic-based conflicts mainly over scarce resources are common in Ethiopia, which is home to more than 80 ethnic groups, but now the communal violence is spiraling at a scale that alarms many.

“If this trend continues, I fear a time will come soon when Ethiopians yearn for the old dictatorial times,” Mussie Tefera, a university student, told The Associated Press.

Ethiopia since 1991 has been led by a ruling coalition and allied parties that hold every seat in Parliament and for years were accused by human rights groups of suppressing critical voices. That grip on power slipped after anti-government protests that began in late 2015 in the Oromia and Amhara regions, home of the country’s two largest ethnic groups.

Abiy’s arrival in power was a surprise. He is the first prime minister from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. As the son of a Muslim father and Orthodox Christian mother who converted to Islam he has spoken out for tolerance. On an exuberant tour of the United States that drew large crowds, he spoke to Ethiopian communities and invited emotional exiles long wary of the government to return.

His appeals to peace and openness, however, have not healed long-standing ethnic fractures between groups such as the Oromo and the Somalis. Some disputes have worsened. The number of the country’s internally displaced people has reached 2.8 million, up from 1.6 million at the beginning of the year, according to the United Nations.

For some, the surge in unrest comes with the recent shifts in power.

“Local cadres and officials are instigating this violence for a petty political gain,” Ethiopia’s disaster prevention chief, Mitiku Kassa, told The Associated Press after fighting between the Oromo and others in the Gedeo and West Guji zones.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Embassy was among those issuing safety warnings amid the violence on the outskirts of the capital as many Ethiopians expressed outrage over the alleged targeting of people based on ethnic identity. More than 20 people were killed.

“We demand justice,” some protesters chanted as they passed by the prime minister’s office on Monday en route to Meskel Square. By the end of the day, mobile internet service across Addis Ababa was blocked as citizens and Amnesty International pointed out hate speech against non-Oromo groups on social media. Internet service returned on Wednesday.

While some accuse “paid agents” of trying to paint a bad image of Oromo youth emboldened by Abiy’s rise to power, others suggest some unrest is being orchestrated by groups in the ruling coalition that lost power when he took office.

Any internal frictions could be exposed when the ruling coalition holds its congress early next month, when it is expected to take steps to implement Abiy’s whirlwind political and economic reforms.

“In a system where party and state have long been indistinguishable, the (coalition’s) fragmentation would be a dangerous thing,” Michael Woldemariam, assistant professor of international relations at Boston University, wrote this month in Foreign Affairs.

Ethiopians have long expressed grievances over the country’s federal structure that is largely based on ethnic lines and has been held together by the ruling coalition and its security forces.

“If the federal structure is implemented properly, it is fine,” said Berhanu Nega, whose Patriotic Ginbot 7 opposition group had been listed by Ethiopia as a terror group alongside the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab before being welcomed home from exile by the new government. “But what we have now here is a structure based mainly on ethnic identities and hence creating all these problems.”

Abiy’s administration is failing to guarantee law and order, said Awol Kassim Allo, a lecturer in law at Keele University School of Law in Britain.

“At this defining moment for this country and its people, the state needs a commander-in-chief that stirs the ship out of the storm,” he said. “If we fail to defend this moment of ours and support this understandably challenging transition, we will all lose a great deal.”


Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP—Africa

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Ethiopian Teenager Sara Gebretsadik Earns One Of Colorados Highest Honors

College student Sara Gebretsadik with her parents. (Family photo)

CBS4

DENVER – She just starting college and is only 19 years old, but Sara Gebretsadik has done enough to catch the eye of Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gebretsadik was announced Wednesday as a recipient of the Emerging Community Leader for the Governor’s Citizenship Medal.

“I’m proud of myself. Yes! I did all those things,” Gebretsadik said as she read the list of her accomplishments the state had compiled.

She immigrated at the age of 10. She’s volunteered for the Special Olympics and Denver Club of Humanities. She’s mentored kids through the Black Student Alliance and other organizations.

“Rising Rebels is definitely my favorite accomplishment because it was very close and dear to heart. The club was dedicated to increasing people of color in higher-level courses,” she said.

It’s now been recognized nationally.

Gebretsadik had only been on campus at CU Boulder for a few days when she got an unexpected phone call.

“I answered it and it’s the governor, and I thought I was getting pranked. I was just awestruck. I was super honored. He said I was a key component in trying to make a better change for Colorado in terms of my involvement through community service,” she said.

The governor’s office says medals are awarded to citizens, “To recognize the remarkable leaders in Colorado for their impact on their community, and to honor their legacy.”

“I don’t know what my legacy is, I just got into college. I’m trying to figure out my life,” she said. “Definitely I hope to inspire people to do more good.”


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New Film ‘Ethiopiques–Revolt of the Soul’ Makes North American Premiere

'Ethiopiques – Revolt of the Soul' documentary film. (Image: IDFA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopiques–Revolt of the Soul is a new documentary that captures the exquisite sounds of the Ethiopian classics now preserved in 30 volumes of the internationally acclaimed Ethiopiques CD collection featuring some of nation’s best known musicians.

The film is set to make its North American premiere at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City next month.

“The jazz-funk music that came out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s and 70s was complex, fun, original, and nearly lost to the world,” notes the announcement from the Museum. “Meet the Ethiopian artists who forged this beautiful new sound and feel the passion that has gone into keeping that sound alive.”

Indeed if it was not for Producer Amha Eshete, the founder of Amha Records — the first Ethiopian record label launched in the late 60s and producing more than a dozen albums and some 120 singles with legendary Ethiopian musicians — and French Music Journalist Francis Falceto, the person behind the Ethiopiques series, who tracked down Amha years later living in exile, chances are more likely that this rich and historic Ethiopian treasure would have vanished forever.

According to the movie synopsis: “In addition to Falceto and Eshete we hear from various Ethiopian musicians, including Girma Beyene, who was the pianist and arranger for the Walias Band.” The film also incorporates animation “and finishes with Beyene’s comeback, including live performances and recordings for ‘Mistakes on Purpose,’ the 30th CD in the series.”


Ethiopiques, Revolt of the Soul. With live performance of Girma Bèyènè. (Photo via Twitter @MicroBioWil)

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


If You Go:
Ethiopiques–Revolt of the Soul North American Premiere
American Museum of Natural History
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 9 pm
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Entrance: 77th Street
Click here to buy tickets

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Spotlight: Artist Tariku Shiferaw at Whitney Museum of American Art ISP

Tariku Shiferaw. (Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — When we first featured Tariku Shiferaw as an emerging artist two and half years ago he had just completed his graduate studies in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in New York City and was participating in a group exhibition entitled Introductions 2016 at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn.

Since then Tariku, who was born in Addis Ababa and raised in Los Angeles, has held several exhibitions including his first international show at Addis Fine Art’s (AFA) London project space last year. The exhibition entitled Erase Me was featured at AFA’s inaugural event at their U.K. location.

Fast forward to 2018 and Tariku is now part of the Whitney Museum of Art Independent Study Program this Fall. Each year the Whitney Museum of American Art — the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States — chooses fifteen up-and-coming artists to take part in their Studio Program. According to the museum “the program begins in early September and concludes at the end of the following May. Many of the participants are enrolled at universities and art schools and receive academic credit for their participation, while others have recently completed their formal studies.”

“The Whitney ISP provides me an opportunity to extend my education through discussions and debates with influential artists, art historians, and cultural critics,” Tariku said. “I am also partaking in The Drawing Center’s Open Sessions program (2018-2020), which already started in May. Open Sessions is a two-year program open to artists working in a variety of disciplines.”

In addition, Tariku is featured in two upcoming group exhibitions: If I Go There, I Won’t Stay There opening September 22, 6-8pm at ltd Los Angeles and To Dream Avant-Garde, curated by Alteronce Gumby, Sept. 28 – Nov. 4, at Hammond Harkins Galleries in Columbus, OH.

“Often, I use a range of gray painterly gestures as ground to the geometric forms, which metaphorically refers to the gray space between meanings,” he told Tadias during our first interview. “The dialectical relationships between painterly gestures and geometric forms create the necessary complexity to inspire deep thoughts on these simple shapes and color, and the possible interpretations.”


If You Go:
Tariku Shiferaw will be at the opening reception in Los Angeles, please stop by if you’re in town. The exhibition runs from September 22 – November 3.

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Happy New Year! Enkutatash Comes Amid Momentous Change in Ethiopia

(Photo: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church recognized Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed and First Lady Zenash Tayachew with a special award for bringing peace and reconciliation to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the region in Addis Ababa on Sunday, September 9, 2018/Fana Broadcasting)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week Ethiopians celebrate enkutatash (Ethiopian new year) amid a momentous internal transformation that has captivated the imagination of the world.

In a little more than than 150 days under the new leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia has implemented one historic reform after another that’s indeed worth celebrating.

From releasing political prisoners and welcoming home fellow Ethiopians from exile to making peace with neighboring Eritrea as well as with the exiled Ethiopian Orthodox church, and promising to hold free and fair election in 2020, this has been a year for the ages.

More importantly, as we speak the country is revising some of its worst draconian laws — such as the Charities & Societies proclamation, the Anti-Terrorism proclamation, and the media law– that in the past were employed as tools to suppress freedom of expression and association.

In the latest positive development that’s capturing international headlines former Mayor-elect of Addis Ababa and opposition leader, Berhanu Nega, became the latest high profile individual to return to Ethiopia after more than a decade in exile. Per AFP: “Berhanu Nega, the leader of the former armed movement Ginbot 7, returned with scores of other senior members of the group, after reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed removed the group from a list of “terrorist” organisations in July.”

And on the same day the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church gave a well-deserved special award to PM Abiy Ahmed and First Lady Zenash Tayachew for their role in helping to bring peace and reconciliation to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the region. The state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reports: “Prime Minister on the occasion said “the award belongs to all who fought selflessly and prayed for this change to happen,” according to Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s Office.”

“Ethiopia is a rarity in Africa,” declared the website Stratfor, which is known for its timely and informative geopolitical analysis, in a recent assessment focusing on current affairs of Ethiopia. “It has existed in a coherent form for more than 2,000 years and largely escaped European colonization. The country’s lineage — tracing back to the kingdom of Aksum in the first century — makes it stand out among its neighbors, and its advantageous location between the ancient trade routes of Rome and India makes it stand out on a map.” The analysis added: “The country’s recent push for reform and desire for strategic partnerships in the Horn of Africa provides a timely reason to explore Ethiopia’s geopolitical environment.”

Regarding “the Abiy Factor,” Stratfor rightly points out that “Abiy is a new kind of Ethiopian leader: He is young compared to his predecessors, at 42 years old; [and] Abiy is reaching out to different ethnic groups, ending draconian security measures, and promising free and fair elections in the years ahead.”

If successful we may once again become a role model for the rest of Africa and beyond.

We wish all of you a Happy New Year!


Related:
U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa: Ambassador Mike New Year Message
PM Abiy Ahmed’s US Tour in Pictures

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Incredible 12-Year-Old Dancer Tsehay Hawkins Featured on “Little Big Shots” TV

Tsehay Hawkins won the Australian Amateur Latin Dance Competition in 2017. (Photo Courtesy: Robyn Hawkins)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Tsehay Hawkins loves to dance and has been taking classes since she was 2 years old. Adopted from Ethiopia by an Australian family when she was 8 months old, Tsehay recently shared her passion for many types of dance including Ethiopian, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Latin and Tap with the host of Australia’s Little Big Shots TV series earlier this month.

Last year she won the Australian Latin Dance Championships in the Samba Soloist Youth category.

“She is extremely proud of being Ethiopian. She has never forgotten her birth country,” her parents told Tadias.

Below is a clip of Tsehay Hawkins on Little Big Shots:


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San Jose, California Honors Ethiopian Community with New Year Flag-Raising Ceremony

The Mayor of San Jose, California Sam Liccardo. (Photo: Courtesy of EAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 4th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Every September for the last fourteen years, rain or shine, the city of San Jose in California has formally honored the heritage of its vibrant Ethiopian American residents with a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall in recognition of the Ethiopian new year festival.

The tradition continues this year in the presence of the city’s Mayor, Vice Mayor as well as City Council members and other officials who are expected to attend the annual commemoration on September 10th.

According to the organizer of the annual celebration, the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), the “ceremony will be followed by a week-long celebration of the Ethiopian New Year with cultural dances and festivities. Throughout the week, individuals who have made significant contributions to the Ethiopian-American community will be recognized for their service.”

In addition, EAC announced that this year’s event will also celebrate the recent peace and reconciliation between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia. The churches were reunited this summer after almost three decades of separation.

“Let us use the occasion to celebrate and honor the reunification of the two synods, of one of the world’s oldest Christian churches, and to celebrate the political change in Ethiopia,” EAC stated.


If You Go:
Monday, Sep 10th at 5:00 PM
Jose City Hall
200 E. Santa Clara St.
San José, CA

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Tefere Gebre’s American Journey: From Refugee Camp to Labor Leader

Tefere Gebre is executive vice president of the AFL-CIO—the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest labor union in the world, representing over 12 million Americans. Gebre is the first refugee elected as a national officer of the organization. (Photo: Courtesy AFL-CIO)

International Rescue Committee

Ethiopian refugee Tefere Gebre was just 15 years old when he arrived in the United States—starting over in a new world alone, without any family by his side.

Over 30 years later, he is executive vice president of the AFL-CIO—the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest labor union in the world, representing over 12 million Americans. Gebre is the first refugee elected as a national officer of the organization.

Gebre was still a boy when he was forced to flee Ethiopia, a country that suffered political turmoil and famine during the 1980s. “People were getting murdered on the streets by the government,” Gebre says. “They were just grabbing kids and torturing them if they were suspected of being an anarchist or aiding the opposition. That’s when I knew I had to find a way to get out.”


Photo of Tefere Gebre at age 3. Gebre as a child in Ethiopia: “Refugees leave with nothing,” he says. “But I somehow I found one photo from when I was three years old.” Tefere Gebre first joined a union while working a night job loading UPS trucks in college. In 2013 he became the first refugee elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO. (Photo: Courtesy AFL-CIO Photo: Courtesy Tefere Gebre)

In 1982, Gebre and four friends managed to escape to a refugee camp in neighboring Sudan, walking through the desert for 93 days. There they applied to enter the U.S. through the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNCHR), taking several written and oral exams in the vetting process.

“When the UNCHR announces who has been accepted to resettle to the U.S., they post the names outside their office,” says Gebre, recalling the jostling crowd pressing against him as he searched the list. “That was like another birth for me, when I saw my name there.” His four friends did not make the cut.

But Gebre didn’t have any family members in America, and he needed a sponsor to support his relocation. His mother remained in Ethiopia. His brother, who had lived in the U.S., had died in a car accident.

That’s when the International Rescue Committee stepped in to help. Currently operating in 27 U.S. cities, the IRC supports newly arrived refugees by providing immediate aid, including food, housing and medical attention.

“I was received in New York by an IRC staff member,” Gebre says. “Then they put me on a plane to Los Angeles and an Ethiopian man who worked at the IRC met me at the airport.”

IRC staff members helped Gebre and three other Ethiopian refugees apply for driver’s licenses, fill out I-9 forms for employment, and complete tuberculosis tests. They helped them move into an apartment (which the IRC sponsors until new arrivals find work), and took them to apply for public benefits. Later, the IRC acted as Gebre’s guardian so he could enroll in L.A.’s Belmont High School.

“There was no way anybody of my status could survive all of that without the IRC being there,” Gebre says.

The IRC continued to act as a lifeline for Gebre in coming years, helping him reconnect with his family in Ethiopia. “I sponsored my mom to come to the U.S.,” he says, “and I did that through the IRC.”

Gebre went on to attend California State Polytechnic University on a scholarship. During his sophomore year, he took a night job loading UPS trucks so he could send money to friends still in Sudan. There he joined his first union—the Teamsters —another turning point in his life.

“The fact that someone was looking after me, that there were real work rules—that I knew what my responsibilities were and what my company’s responsibilities were—I thought everybody should have that,” Gebre says. “Ever since, I have really committed myself to advancing that cause.”

While attending graduate school at the University of Southern California, Gebre became a legislative aide for Willie Brown Jr., speaker of the California State Assembly. He then embraced an even bigger challenge—to become the executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation.

“I did that because Orange County is the most conservative part of the state,” he says. “As a skinny Ethiopian refugee, I wanted to prove myself by organizing Orange County. And I did.”

Read more »


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In Canada Bikila Award Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Mulatu Astatke accepting the Bikila Lifetime Achievement Award in Toronto, Canada in 2017. (Photo courtesy: Bikila Award, Inc.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 31st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — What do Mulatu Astatke, The Weeknd, Miruts Yifter and the Pankhurst family have in common? They are all recipients of the Bikila Award.

Named after the legendary Olympian marathoner Abebe Bikila the annual award ceremony organized by members of the Ethiopian Diaspora in Toronto, Canada showcases inspiring achievements of the Ethiopian community from the arts to academia and sports.

The 2018 Bikila Award celebration and dinner will be held on Saturday, September 22nd at Chestnut Residence and Conference Center in Toronto.

Celebrating its fifth year the Bikila Award ceremony “has become one of the most anticipated events in the African-Canadian community calendar,” organizers said in a press release. The event “draws hundreds of attendees from within and outside of the Ethiopian-Canadian community.”

This year the winner of the Bikila Lifetime Achievement Award is philologist and world-renowned scholar of the Ge’ez language Professor Getatchew Haile. In addition, the Bikila Award will honor Dr. Catherine Hamlin, Founder of the Addis Ababa Hamlin Fistula hospital with the Medical & Humanitarian Services Award, as well as Dr. Siegbert Uhlig a distinguished Professor Emeritus of African and Ethiopian Studies at Hamburg University in Germany who will receive the Professional Excellence Award. Professor Uhlig founded the Journal of Aethiopica, and as Editor-in-Chief launched five volumes of Encyclopaedia Aethiopica focusing on Ethiopian studies and involving contributions from hundreds of scholars hailing from approximately 30 countries.

Other 2018 honorees include Bethlehem Tilahun, Founder of soleRebels (Business Excellence Award); Professor Tessema Astatke (Professional Excellence Award) in recognition of his primary research areas that designed linear and nonlinear regression and nonlinear time series modeling; and Benyam Belete (Community Service Excellence Award) as founder of Mekedonia, a philanthropic organization in Addis Ababa that provides services for elderly and mentally disabled individuals.

The Academic Excellence & Scholarship Award goes to students Ednah Negatu, Semir Bulle, Zatty Tameru and Caleb Jara.

Professor Mammo Muchie, a renowned Pan Africanist, currently a Professor of Innovation Studies at the Institute of Economics Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa is the keynote speaker. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Adama Science and Technology University, Addis Ababa University, University of Gondar and Arsi University in Ethiopia.

The 2018 honorary guest speaker will be journalist, novelist and playwright Jeff Pearce who is the author of Prevail – a book about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Pearce connected with survivors of the Italo-Ethiopian War in the 1930s and 40s and discovered additional records of Britain’s role from the London archives. Prevail is now being adapted into a documentary feature film.


If You Go:
The 2018 Bikila Award Celebration and Dinner
Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 6:00 PM
Chestnut Residence and Conference Center,
89 Chestnut Street,
Toronto, Canada
www.bikilaaward.org

Related:
Photos from past Bikila Award Ceremonies:


Previous winners of the Bikila award include Mulatu Astatke, Ethiopian-Canadian pop music superstar Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), Miruts Yifter, one of the greatest middle distance runners of all-time who died in 2016 at the age of 72, as well as Dr. Taffara Deguefe and the Pankhurst Family who were honored two years ago with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. (Courtesy photographs)

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Social Media, Disinformation and Press Reform in Ethiopia

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking at his first press conference on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 in Addis Ababa. (Reuters photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Just like the underground pamphleteers and newspaper editors during the American revolution, independent journalists and social media activists — some of whom were imprisoned or exiled for many years — played a fundamental role in the longstanding movement for change in Ethiopia that recently culminated with the historic inauguration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on April 2nd, 2018.

In one of his first and most memorable acts as the new leader of Ethiopia Dr. Abiy moved swiftly to free jailed reports, bloggers, opposition members and invited those who were exiled to return home. He also unblocked websites run by opposition groups and granted pardons to owners who were charged under the country’s draconian anti-terror legislation that in the past was primarily used to stifle dissent.

Independent Journalism Driven Out

“Critical media was being decimated one way or another, and journalists were leaving the country,” says Tsedale Lemma, the Editor-in-Chief of Addis Standard. “We became at some point, the second-largest country producing journalist asylum seekers.”

Tsedale’s reflection was part of a recent and timely article titled “How Social Media Shaped Calls for Political Change in Ethiopia,” focusing on the new era and “the hopes for ethnic unity, democracy, freedom of speech and media reform,” which was published by Al Jazeera this month. The piece points out that Ethiopia’s “newfound hope was no coincidence; it was the culmination of hard-fought political activism that had forced change upon the authoritarian nation.”

“You cannot imagine this change without social media,” Al Jazeera quotes Jawar Mohammed, the founder of Oromo Media Network (OMN). Jawar is one of several activists who answered PM Abiy’s call and returned to Ethiopia this summer after 13 years in exile in the United States. In another interview with The Guardian Jawar added: “We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed. The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”

Disinformation on Social Media

Unfortunately, despite Dr. Abiy’s groundbreaking leadership and the good will from the general public, some detractors are misusing social media to spread disinformation, propaganda and hate speech to divide people, sow distrust and incite ethnic-based animosity. Abiy himself admitted in a recent televised comment that rumors and disinformation were largely to blame for the recent ethnically motivated mob violence in several cities particularly in South Eastern Ethiopia leading to a partial Internet shutdown.

According to Reuters: “A surge in ethnic violence, sometimes in the form of mob attacks, has displaced nearly 1 million people in the past four months in southern Ethiopia and is inflaming bad feeling between ethnic groups in other regions. The violence threatens to undermine Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s calls for unity in one of Africa’s most ethnically diverse countries. It also overshadows the popular liberal measures he has announced since coming to power in April.”

This past weekend in his first press conference since taking office Dr. Abiy addressed this issue and emphasized his vision to hold a “free and fair election” in 2020. Elias Meseret at Associated Press quotes PM Abiy Ahmed as stating: “My dream is that doubts about the ballot box will disappear,” and promising a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. He continued: “there are groups that are working in unison to cause chaos in different parts of the country. They are triggering peoples’ emotions to this end.”

PM Abiy Ahmed likewise discussed concerns about the practice of shutting down Internet in Ethiopia following unrests, which was routinely implemented by the previous EPRDF leadership. Per the Associated Press: “Abiy appealed for understanding and said it might have saved lives. “But curbing access to information and cutting the internet is not the way forward,” he added, and urged youth to use it responsibly.”

Moving Forward

It is also worth considering that, from our perspective as journalists, in the long-term the most democratic way to sustain the rule of law and counter the dissemination of unverified news via social media is to strengthen, expand, empower and protect independent, professional and private media infrastructure, which has been severely suppressed. Private media groups should be free of government interference as well as be more representative of the population and not just opposition media.

Last week the 13-member justice reform advisory council, which is tasked to revise the country’s most repressive anti-civil society proclamations, held a public meeting in Addis Ababa engaging stake holders including activists and journalists, some of whom had been victims of these laws, according to Human Rights Watch. “The working groups will conduct consultations and propose amendments – reportedly within 3 months, in time for parliament’s return from recess.”

In the Al Jazeera feature journalist Eskinder Nega who was released a few months ago after six years in prison echoes Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers and the main author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, who went on to serve as the third president of the United States is remembered for eloquently expressing that he’d rather have newspapers without a country than a country without newspapers.

“If Abiy Ahmed does not deliver the promise of democracy, then we’ll be back to social media,” Eskinder says. “I’m prepared to go back to prison again. So, whether there’s democracy or no democracy, it’s back to work. There’s no choice.”


Related:
PM Abiy Ahmed’s US Tour in Pictures

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Unbreakable Spirit: A Student’s Journey From the Streets of Ethiopia to the UA

Since leaving home and setting out on his own when he was 8 years old, Josh Brewer has overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve his dream of playing basketball at the University of Arizona. (Photo: Josh Brewer is one of the newest members of the UA Men's Wheelchair Basketball/ Bob Demers/UANews)

UANews

University of Arizona freshman Josh Brewer was told by many of his high school teachers that college might not be an option for him.

After all, he’d never set foot in a classroom until sixth grade, and academics didn’t come easily to him.

Then again, nothing about Brewer’s life had been easy.

From his days begging for food in his native Ethiopia to the horrific accident that nearly claimed his life, Brewer endured more than his fair share of trauma by the time he was a high school senior, yet his perseverance and drive only continued to grow.

So, when his teachers told him college might not be right for him, he didn’t let it discourage him. He applied to the University of Arizona, where he dreamed of playing basketball.

Brewer starts as a freshman and student-athlete at the UA this fall. A triple amputee, he will play on the UA’s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team.


Josh Brewer in the UA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team’s equipment room at the Student Recreation Center. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

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Africa’s First Waste-to-Energy Plant Launched in Ethiopia

Reppie facility in Addis Ababa (photo courtesy: esi-africa.com) & Samuel Alemayehu of Cambridge Industries (Photo courtesy: energynet.co.uk)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 23rd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first waste-to-energy plant in Africa, headed by Ethiopian Co-Founder & Managing Director of Cambridge Industries, Samuel Alemayehu, was inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past weekend on Sunday, August 19th. Samuel, a Stanford educated engineer, venture capitalist and a 2018 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader told CNN that “having created a facility uniquely for Africa, our goal is to duplicate it in five locations” including in Lagos, Nigeria, Kampala, Uganda, and Nairobi, Kenya to “create a renewable energy source that competes with fossil-fuel based power plants.”


Africa’s first waste-to-energy facility, Reppie, was inaugurated on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia (Photo Courtesy:Weforum.org/Alex Stewart)

Hailing the Reppie facility as a first on the continent, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) described Addis Ababa’s sprawling landfill also known as the Koshe dump site as an “urban landscape” that is “the size of 36 football pitches and attracting hundreds of waste pickers who make their living from salvaged trash.” In 2017 UNEP reported that a “landslide on the dump site killed 114 people, prompting the government to declare three days of mourning.”

Now Samuel Alemayehu’s company has envisioned and boldly launched a new, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient way to address both the issue of waste management as well as increased generation of electricity through the Reppie project.

Samuel shares his vision for the Reppie waste-to-energy facility in this brief video below:

Producing more electricity for the national grid in Ethiopia has been a long-standing need as cities across the country continue to face frequent power blackouts. Last year in March Cambridge Industries released a YouTube video describing the capabilities of the Reppie waste-to-energy facility being built in Addis Ababa noting that “through a combustion process that converts 1,400 tons of Addis Ababa’s waste each day” approximately “185 gigawatt (GW) hours of electricity” can be produced each year to meet “30% of the city’s annual demand for household electricity.” The Reppie facility would also help to sort metals for recycling in addition to the production of clean electricity by “utilizing two 25 megawatt (MW) steam turbines.”

According to the UNEP the Reppie waste-to-energy project was developed and launched as a partnership between the Ethiopian Government, Cambridge Industries and a group of additional companies including China National Electric Engineering, and the Danish firm Ramboll.

In a World Economic Forum news article from May 2018 entitled “This African Country is Turning a Mountain of Trash into Energy” writer Alex Gray notes that “Africa is the world’s fastest-urbanizing continent,” which brings with it growing concerns regarding environmental pollution. Samuel Alemayehu told Gray “African cities have seen explosive growth in the past three decades and have outgrown the infrastructures planned for them,” adding that Cambridge Industries seeks to “turn one of Africa’s most challenging social problems, the management of waste, into a source of new wealth.”


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Aida Muluneh: Changing the Narrative on Ethiopia, One Photo at a Time

Photo by Aida Muluneh.

CNN

By Meron Moges-Gerbi

When you look at Aida Muluneh’s work, it’s clear where her passion lies: Ethiopia. The photographer has been telling the story of Ethiopia long before it started trending this year. The country has undergone tremendous change in 2018, most of which stems from the election of its new 41-year-old Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, one of the most progressive leaders in the country’s history.

Muluneh’s work has garnered international attention and her photographs have been displayed at MoMA, at Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum and at the largest European photography festival in Baden, Austria.

Muluneh was born in Ethiopia, a child of the diaspora. As a youth, she lived in Yemen, England and Cyprus, before finally settling in Canada. Her education brought her to the United States, where she graduated from Howard University, in Washington DC. Later, she became a photojournalist with the Washington Post, before finally moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, in 2000.

“My work often starts with a sketch, and I approach each image as a film production in which the character, set design, lighting and styling come together,” she said in an email interview. “I utilize face painting as a form in which the inspiration is driven by body ornamentation, not only in my country, but also various parts of the world. I am deeply influenced by various traditional cultures, hence in a sense, I am bringing the past into the future through various forms.”

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian Artist Aida Muluneh Directs Fatoumata Diawara’s Music Video
Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine
Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018
Aida Muluneh’s First Solo Exhibition at David Krut Projects
Tadias Interview: Aida Muluneh on Her Ethiopia Exhibition ‘So Long a Letter’

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Tribute to Scholar, Civic Society Leader, Actor & Professor Awetu Simesso

Awetu Simesso participated as a guest speaker at EDAO's International Conference in June 2018. (Photo Courtesy: Boka G Tesso/Facebook).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — It is with profound sadness that we share the news of Professor Awetu Simesso’s passing on Saturday, August 18th in Addis Ababa. The funeral and tribute celebrating his life took place on Sunday, August 19th at Mekana Yesus in Bishoftu with former president Dr. Negasso Gidada giving the eulogy.

A beloved educator Awetu returned from the United States after 32 years of residence to Ethiopia and contributed his talents in various sectors including working as a Professor at Addis Ababa University at the College of Law and Governance on an ongoing basis since 2010 and Professor of Global Studies & International Relations at New Generation University College (2005-2007). Awetu also served as Strategic Advisor at Development Assistance Group (DAG) advising Western donor governments (2014-2018) and as a Senior Advisor at USAID/Ethiopia focusing on democratic governance, peace and security issues (2006-2013). In 2009 Awetu received Meritorious Honor Awards from United States Agency of International Development (USAID) as well as the United States Department of State for outstanding service in the field of Democratic Governance. As a civic society leader Awetu traveled extensively throughout Ethiopia networking and assisting civic organizations across the nation.

Awetu was not only a beloved scholar, civic society leader, and talented actor but a lifelong friend whose mentorship and support was unparalleled. We first met Awetu while he was part of the Stanford University community where he had pursued a Master’s degree in Communication & Media Studies and a second Master’s in Political Science & Government on his way to a PhD in the same department. While performing in plays and theaters as an actor from 1973 to 2004 Awetu was actively involved in the Ethiopian Diaspora community on campus and beyond and held various leadership positions including President of the East African Relief Organization (EARO), Board Member of Emergency Relief Fund International and United Christian Ministries, member of the Stanford International Development Organization (SIDO) and the Overseas Development Network (ODN), Vice President of the Stanford African Students Association (SASA) as well as founding member and advisor of the Stanford Ethiopian Students Union (SESU).


Awetu Simesso (Photo Courtesy: Kathy Haverty Welsh/Facebook)

Awetu Simesso’s contributions were far-reaching and exemplary in the manner that he consistently engaged his peers and colleagues with kindness and generosity. It is difficult to summarize all of Awetu’s accomplishments but the best way is to share reflections and photos from his friends, students and colleagues in the U.S. and Ethiopia. Please write to us at info@tadias.com to share your stories of Awetu Simesso and we’ll keep this page updated.

From Ethiopian American Council

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Awetu Simesso. Ethiopia has lost a powerful force for human rights, democracy and freedom. Ethiopian Americans in Bay Area fortunate to have many wonderful memories of Awetu. The passing of Awetu Simesso will be an enormous loss to Ethiopia and Ethiopians he cared so much about. RIP our brother.

From Daniel Gizaw

“I am absolutely stunned to read this sad story. Professor Aweitu was a close friend to me and served as my advisor and my critique during the writing of my books. He was inseparable from the Stanford university campus at the time. His profound intelligence was unmatchable. In the early 1980s, when we started a group called HAAn (Horn of Africa Action Network) consisting American Peace corps volunteers who served in Ethiopia, Aweitu became our lead man. He was a gifted orator and, with that bellowing voice he commanded respect. In the Bay area, we called him the Ethiopian guru. He was wise and patient. I will miss him immensely. May his soul rest in peace.”

From Hundee Dhugaasaa

I am deeply saddened by the death of Professor Awetu Simesso. I know Prof Awetu when he decided to visit Jimma University Students Union with Addis based Diplomats to discuss several issues at a very challenging time, after the troubles of the 2005 election. He was such a brilliant, humble and far sighted person. We lost him at a time we need him the most. RIP Obbo Awetu.

From Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman

I am writing to share how Awetu Simesso enabled me to take on an almost impossible task. In all of my filmmaking efforts (which began in 1976) I had had connections to help me…friends, filmmakers, foundations and national organizations. With this support, during the decade from 1993 – 2003 I grew significantly as a filmmaker. Activities included five films on PBS stations, an Oscar-nomination and an Emmy.

At that point, I decided to take a bold step forward. I gathered all that I had learned and took up an opportunity: to document the ways in which Ethiopians in Ethiopia were meeting the challenges of HIV/AIDS. It was then that Awetu appeared.

My vision was to speak with professionals, and lay practitioners, as well as people in villages in Ethiopia, doing whatever they could to help each other. I wanted to focus on Ethiopians who were managing their own organizations on the ground, working with a range of their peers.

In order to get started, I put out a call to anyone anywhere in the SF Bay Area who could help me build a core community of Ethiopians who would volunteer to help me organize this project. The one person who responded was Aweto Simesso. He understood what I was daring to do.

Based on his intuition that this was a project worth his time and effort, he called together a dozen Ethiopians. We met in my living room and the project took root. That night gave birth to a cadre of almost 200 people, most of whom were volunteers, who worked with me. Many from the United States, many living in Ethiopia. Working together, they translated Amharic to English, English to Amhari, viewed footage giving input and feedback, logged more than 100 video tapes and much more.

The result? A five film series SEEDS of HOPE: Meeting the Challenges of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.

From Fesseha A Atlaw

My friend, you are sorely missed already! You only saw the glimpse of your vision of Ethiopia… But God allowed you to see the promised land from the mountain top.

“…I am a proud Oromo and I am a proud Ethiopian, I don’t see any contradiction between the two…” — Professor Awetu Simesso


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Designer Amsale Aberra Will Be Honored by Harlem School of the Arts

The Harlem School of the Arts will posthumously honor Ethiopian American designer Amsale Aberra with the Visionary Lineage Award at a ceremony to be held at the New York Plaza Hotel on October 22nd, 2018. (Getty Images)

Broadway World

American designer Amsale Aberra will be honored posthumously for her contributions to the world of couture by the Harlem School of the Arts at the Herb Alpert Center for the Arts. She will receive the Visionary Lineage Award and is among several high profiled members of the artistic community, whose contributions will be acknowledged during the organization’s 2018 Masquerade Ball and After Party, to be held at the New York Plaza Hotel on October 22nd.

On April 20th of this year, Amsale Aberra lost her battle with cancer at the age of 64, leaving behind her husband Clarence O’Neill Brown, who will be on hand to accept the award on his wife’s behalf; and her daughter, singer-songwriter Rachel Brown, who is herself receiving a Visionary Lineage Award from the organization.

Before illness claimed her life, Amsale had turned a passion born out of necessity into a thriving business; first making a name for herself in the fashion world, with her minimalist, yet elegant wedding gown collection which she sold to Kleinfeld, and later creating the Amsale Group based in New York City with a salon on Madison Avenue.

A graduate of Boston State College, with a degree in political science, Amsale brought her love of design to New York and enrolled at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), earning a degree in fashion design. Her genius lay in an ability to turn understated designs into works of art. She was the true definition of “fashion-forward.” Today, her business has expanded to include her signature bridal collection, a bridesmaid line, cocktail dresses, as well as a line of designer gowns, which have been featured on the red carpet, worn by some of the most glamorous celebrities, among them – Heidi Klum and Salma Hayek. Her designs have also been featured in the pages of the top beauty and fashion publications, in films and television shows.

Her legacy continues under the guidance of her husband Clarence O’Neill Brown, CEO of the company, and her hand-picked successor, Margot Lafontaine, Vera Wang’s former senior studio director. Amsale Aberra was highly regarded by her peers in the fashion industry for her inspiring, straightforward approach to design, and as her husband said, by all who knew her, “…for her infinite goodness.”


Related:
Special Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Runway Show


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Ethiopian American Actor Antu Yacob Featured in New Movie ‘Night Comes On’

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Actor and Playwright Antu Yacob is featured in a new film Night Comes On that was released in select theaters across the U.S. earlier this month on August 3rd and is now available on iTunes. Based on a true story written by Angelica Nwandu and Jordana Spiro, Night Comes On starring Dominique Fishback and Tatum Marilyn Hall recounts events following the release of 18-year-old Angel LaMere from a juvenile detention center. In its review of the film the Los Angeles Times states “the passionate feature film debut” is “not business as usual” as it weaves together “two different strands: a revenge melodrama about a determined daughter seeking retribution for her mother’s murder, and the emotional story of two sisters desperate for family closeness and connection but not sure they can trust it.”

New York Magazine’s culture and entertainment site, Vulture.com, compares Night Comes On to Moonlight (2016 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture) and notes: “Like Moonlight, Night Comes On takes much of its soulfulness from la mer and people’s capacity for rebirth in its waters. This is a lovely, inspiring film.” Night Comes On was the winner of the Next Innovator Award at the Sundance Film Festival.


Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the recently released Netflix series Gypsy. She played lead roles in the films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) as well as supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda last Winter. In June 2018 Antu also recorded a radio play with the BBC based on the novel entitled Shadowbahn.

Watch the trailer for Night Comes On below:

The full version of the film is available here on iTunes.


Related:
In Pictures: Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival

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Watch Ethiopia Episode of Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show No Passport Required

Marcus Samuelsson's show No Passport Required featured Ethiopian immigrant community in DC as season finale (photo courtesy: Eater.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The season finale of Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS show, No Passport Required, aired on Tuesday, August 14th featuring Ethiopian food and culture in Washington D.C. The full episode highlighted the inspiring stories of Ethiopian entrepreneurs as well as how to make traditional dishes such as kitfo and ful, and eskista dancing.

Zenebech, who started her injera business as a newly arrived refugee in the United States, invited Marcus into her kitchen and they make the hearty lamb dish of tibs as she recounted the early days of her entrepreneurial journey and then later launching an Ethiopian restaurant in 2010.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, premiered Marcus Samuelsson’s new show No Passport Required on July 10th, 2018. As host of No Passport Required Restaurateur, Chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson highlighted food, art and culture in immigrant communities across America — from Little Kabul in Fremont, California to the Vietnamese shrimpers in Louisiana, and the Indo-Guyanese community in Queens, New York.

“Chasing flavors has been my lifelong passion,” shared Samuelsson in recent press release. “To now be able to bring viewers on that journey with me to these amazing communities in cities across the U.S. is truly a dream come true. We get to go deep into the markets, pull up to the roadside stands, and be welcomed into homes — all the places where people share and celebrate food together.”

No Passport Required is produced by Vox Media in collaboration with PBS.

Watch a preview of the Ethiopian community episode of No Passport Required below:

To watch the full season finale episode featuring the Ethiopian community in Washington D.C. click here.


Related:
PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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Feyisa Lilesa Will Return to Ethiopia (VOA)

Rio Olympic marathon silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia attends a news conference in Washington, Sept. 13, 2016. Feyisa will return to Ethiopia in the coming weeks with his wife and children after two athletics groups notified him that he would receive a hero’s welcome upon arriving. (Photo: Reuters)

Voice of America

By Salem Solomon

Olympian in Self-Imposed Exile Will Return to Ethiopia

After winning the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feyisa Lilesa spent two years in self-imposed exile in the United States. Now, he’s returning home.

Feyisa will return to Ethiopia in the coming weeks with his wife and children after two athletics groups notified him that he would receive a hero’s welcome upon arriving.

Ashebir Woldegiorgis, the president of the Ethiopian Olympic Committee, told VOA Amharic that the call for Feyisa to return is meant to better the country.

“He can teach his exemplary ways to other athletes and teach strength to our youngsters. That’s the main call, so he can come back to participate in the sport he loves and pass it on by running and by advising to elevate Ethiopia’s sport,” Ashebir said.

Show of protest

Feyisa made international headlines when he raised his crossed wrists above his head at the finish line, and again on the podium, at the 2016 summer games.

Read more »


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In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa shows solidarity with protesters in Ethiopia
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio

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Helen Show Hosts 2nd Empower the Community Event at DC Convention Center

Helen Mesfin of the Helen show on EBS TV. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Among the headliners later this week at the 2nd Annual Empower the Community event in Washington D.C. are Alexander Assefa, a Democrat elected to the 42nd district of the Nevada State Assembly, and Nina Ashenafi Richardson, the first Ethiopian-American judge who was re-elected to the Leon County bench in Florida in 2014 after first being elected to the judgeship in 2008.

The program, which was launched last year by the producers of the Helen Show on EBS TV, brings together leaders from diverse professional backgrounds for a day-long session of information sharing and networking. According to organizers the 2018 guest speakers also include Lulit Ejigu, Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase; Dr. Yared Tekabe, Research Scientist at Columbia University; immigration attorneys Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu as well as Almaz Negash, Founder & Executive Director of African Diaspora Network.

The family-friendly gathering combines the broadcast experience of the event’s founder Helen Mesfin, host of the Helen Show, with her professional work in the hospitality industry, and aims to create a space for community members to participate in panel discussions as well as provide resources and information for families. The event is scheduled to be held at the DC Convention Center on Saturday, August 18th.

Below is a summary of parts of the program on August 18th from 11am-8pm at the Washington Convention Center

The Power of Civic Engagement:
Amaha Kassa, Founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together
Semhar Araya, UNICEF USA’s Managing Director for Diaspora & Multicultural Partnership
Samuel Gebru, Director of Community Engagement and Partnership, Cambridge Community Center
Alexander Assefa, Democrat elected to the 42nd district of the Nevada State Assembly
Tebabu Assefa, Community Leader, Social Entrepreneur

Leadership Panel:
Dr. Senait Fisseha, MD,JD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director of International Programs at the Susan T. Buffett Foundation
Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson , Elected Leon County Judge 2008 & 2014
Almaz Negash, Founder & Executive Director of African Diaspora Network

Science & Technology:
Mark Gelfand, Founder STEM Synergy, STEM-minded financial systems pioneer
Yared Tekabe, Ph.D, Research Scientist at Columbia University
Solomon Mulugeta Kassa, Producer & Host of TechTalk with Solomon television (EBS), Author & Consultant at Deloitte
Tsegaye Legesse, CPA, MBA, Accounting Manager at National Institute of Health, Chief Financial Officer of OnePupil, and Board Member at STEM Synergy

Young Trailblazers:
Nate Araya, Brand Strategist, Story Teller at All Creative Degital
Melat Bekele, Founder Habesha Networks
Sam Kebede, Actor
Helen Fetaw, Actively Engaged in community service related to health care
Selamawit Bekele, Co-Founder, Africa Leads

Business Leaders Panel: Getting To The Top: Strategies for breaking through the
Glass Ceiling with successful Ethiopian American and Eritrean American business
leaders.
Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records, and President of Urban
Music/Co-Head of Creative at Universal Publishing Music Group
Michael Andeberhan, CFA, CAIA is Executive Director & Head of Investment
Consultant Coverage at MSCI in New York.
Lulit Ejigu, Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase
The Event will have the Following Pavilions

Health & Fitness Pavilion
Free Health Screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente, American Kindy Fund,
Med Star Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood
Glucose, Dental Screening, Fitness Consultants, ZUMBA, Resources for Families
with Special Needs, Giveaways and much more
Our partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, American Kidney
Fund, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles
as well as Ethiopian American doctors

Career Pavilion: Career Resources in the Community
Hear high energy career motivational speakers
Learn Career Advancement tips

Participate in Informational Interviews
Receive mini career coaching
Assess your career aptitudes
Partner Organizations: 21st Century Community, YEP – Your Ethiopian Professionals, Alexandria Workforce Development and MBC

Finance Pavilion will cover the following topics:
Raising Money Savvy Kids-Financial Responsibility
Creating Generational Wealth
Dealing with College Debt
Get Your Credit Right
Securing Your Families Financial Future
Home Buying 101
Partner Organization Primerica, CLRA group and Your DMV Team

Kids Corner
Reading Time/Games/Fun Exercises/ Art

Sessions 1
Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorney Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu
Fear NOT, Know Your Rights as Immigrants 11:00 am

Surviving the Stop – How to Engage with Law Enforcement 1:00pm
Teaching Kids & Young Men What to Expect and Know

Session 2
Warrior Moms- Special Needs Parenting
Minding Your Family Relationship
Alzheimer and Dementia and Support for Caregivers


If You Go:
Saturday August 18, 2018
11am -7pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

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Why I am Suddenly Optimistic About the Future of Ethiopia: by Joel Makonnen

In the following opinion article published on the TRUE Africa website on Friday, Joel Makonnen, the great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, explains why he feels suddenly optimistic about the future of Ethiopia. Makonnen lives in Washington and works as an attorney for a multinational pharmaceutical corporation. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed speaking in DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 28th, 2018/Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

TRUE Africa

By Joel Makonnen

On April 2, 2018, with Ethiopia on the edge of political collapse, more than 100 million Ethiopians witnessed something different. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, an energetic, visionary and unifying figure of mixed Muslim Oromo and Christian Amhara heritage, became Prime Minister. Dr. Abiy’s appointment marks the first time power was transferred peacefully in Ethiopia. But it is also significant because his rise to power can be seen as the manifestation of Ethiopians’ yearning for a dynamic agent of democratic change.

Dr. Abiy was an unlikely candidate. A soldier in the armed struggle against the oppressive Marxist Derg regime, he went on to earn a PhD in conflict resolution, entering politics quietly only a few years ago. As Prime Minister, he has been uncharacteristically outspoken about the problems facing government and strident in his pursuit of justice, both unusual for an official from the ruling coalition, not to mention for an African leader.

In his inauguration speech, Dr. Abiy announced sweeping reforms, which he is implementing at a thrilling speed. He negotiated changes that ended years of divisive protests. He lifted the state of emergency, ordered the release of thousands of political prisoners, denounced human rights violations and removed key figures responsible for perpetrating them.

Dr. Abiy also addressed governance issues for which Ethiopia had become notorious. He removed political opposition groups from a “terrorist” list established to shut down dissent, restored internet access and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels. He gave an historic speech on HIM Emperor Haile Selassie, recognizing the need for healing and reconciliation 40 years after the Ethiopian Revolution and the ensuing Red Terror. And critically, Dr. Abiy concluded a costly (human and financial) 20-year conflict with our brothers and sisters in neighboring Eritrea. He is being compared to historic leaders like Obama, Macron and Mandela – after only 100 days in office.

But as optimism dominates the headlines, there are murmurs of concern about Dr. Abiy’s alleged tendency to act unilaterally. Some also question whether things can be this good over the long-term and still others point to the need for consensus among the ruling coalition party.

We have to temper our expectations. One man cannot have all the answers, and in the haste of effecting significant change, he will make mistakes. For example, he is considering a pardon for former Derg officials, even the Chairman and dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam. I support efforts to unite the country. However, to equate the pardoning of Derg officials with pardoning unjustly accused political dissidents, releasing political prisoners and ending a needless war with Eritrea is a false moral equivalency.

Under the Red Terror – a wave of violence, arbitrary incarcerations, torture, and mass killings – an estimated half-million people died at the hands of Derg officials. The Ethiopian Diaspora itself is a result of it. I urge Dr. Abiy to consider Rwanda and South Africa, which teach us that dealing with such trauma is a years-long process that must be managed carefully. People who commit atrocities should not be forgiven until they have first sought forgiveness and made amends.

Despite mild fears and healthy skepticism, there is far more we celebrate – for Ethiopia, and Ethiopians, everywhere. And with such a bold agenda of reforms, Dr. Abiy will need all of our help to realize his vision. The United States is home to an estimated 500,000 Ethiopians and many of us stand ready to support the new administration. Several Ethiopian attorneys and I have organized a lawyers’ association. We avail ourselves to the new administration to help with legislative and institutional reforms, constitutional amendments, and any other legal counsel needed.

The Ethiopian community was joined by our countrymen from across the United States for Dr. Abiy’s historic visit which included trips to Washington, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles where he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. Every Ethiopian I’ve spoken with, including my family, delights at the prospect of rebooting a positive relationship with our government. And it is a great feeling to know the new administration wants to hear from the Diaspora, too. If this momentum and good faith can be harnessed to sustain a unified front with matching substantive reforms, great things can happen. Ethiopia is rising again and ushering in an era of peace, prosperity, and freedom. As we say in Amharic, Yichalal (We can succeed)!

You can read this and other great stories on culture, music, sports, lifestyle, politics, fashion and tech in Africa and the diaspora at trueafrica.co »


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In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s DC Convention Center Gathering & Town Hall Meeting
10,000 Give PM Abiy Ahmed a Rock-Star Greeting at Target Center in Minneapolis
In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s Visit to LA
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at ConventionCenter
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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President of Proposed Ethiopian Diaspora Bank Quits After Board Dispute

Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat announced that he has walked away from his position as President of Marathon International, a recently proposed Ethiopian Diaspora Bank, after a dispute with the Board's leadership. (Photo: Linkedin)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat, who was slated to become President of Marathon International, the proposed first ever Ethiopian Diaspora Bank, has resigned amid a heated Board dispute.

In a recent letter titled “Investor Alert” that was shared with Tadias Magazine Zekarias, who previously worked at PNC and Bank of America, said “for the past year and a half, I have been working as the president of Marathon International Bank, setting up the infrastructure, vendor identification, staff selection, feasibility study and worked on a business plan.” Zekarias noted: “So far FDIC sent our application back twice indicating ‘significantly incomplete.’”

According to the American Banker, “organizers did not include all of Marathon’s policies and procedures in their initial application, [Zekarias] said in the interview. The second time, the agency expressed concern that several directors lived in different states and would be unable to come in and run the bank.”

Zekarias reiterates that “there is still a chance to resubmit a new application. However, the FDIC numerously communicated to us that the current board members are not fit to serve. Knowing this would eventually resurface, the Board and its chairman decided to go forward.”

In his interview with the American Banker, Zekarias said that he still hopes the project could be revived, but insisted that the board has to be reorganized from scratch. Zekarias noted that “he would be open to rejoining the de novo if that happens.” The American Banker said it had also reached out to the current chairman of Marathon International, Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former managing director of the Development Bank of Ethiopia, but Tekalign was not immediately available for comment.

“The FDIC is not the problem,” Zekarias told the American Banker. “They are really helping us by asking us to correct our mistakes.”

Zekarias had initially been equally optimistic about the launching of the bank, expressing enthusiastically to the media that Marathon International would be a groundbreaking venture for the Diaspora. “Our vision is to help transform the Ethiopian community into a far more economically engaged, creative and vibrant member of the wider and diverse U.S. community,” Zekarias had said. The aim was “to become a differentiated provider of financial services by leveraging our understanding of the unique financial needs of the Ethiopian American Community.”

The American Banker further points out that “organizers filed an application with the FDIC in mid-January. They plan on raising $22 million to $25 million in initial capital” while “Gregory Garrett, who previously served as president and CEO of Platinum Bank in Lubbock, Texas, was identified in the application as the proposed bank’s CEO. Several prominent Ethiopian-Americans agreed to serve on Marathon’s board.”


Related:
Ethiopian American Community Bank to Open in DC

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Ethiopian Artist Aida Muluneh Directs Fatoumata Diawara’s Music Video

Still photo from Fatoumata Diawara's new music video for her single entitled Nterini, which was filmed in the Dallol, Afar region of Ethiopia. (photo courtesy: Aida Muluneh)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist and photographer Aida Muluneh — whose work was recently part of the “Being: New Photography 2018″ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York — recently collaborated with acclaimed Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara on her new album entitled Fenfo (“Something to Say”) and directed the video for her single entitled Nterini (“My Love”). Fatoumata’s first album was ranked #1 for 6 months on the world music charts in 2011.

Aida Muluneh is the founder of the annual Addis Foto Fest and her photography work is in the permanent collection of several museums in the U.S. including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Aida’s body painting photography was also featured earlier this year in March in W Magazine.

“In a world of 7 billion people there are 1 billion migrants. This is the story of one man’s journey,” says a statement in the opening of Fatoumata’s music video. The lyrics describe the heartache of two lovers who are separated from each other.

The music video for Nterini was filmed in the Dallol, Afar region in Ethiopia. “The location is a photographer’s dream. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I enjoyed directing it,” shared Aida on Instagram.

Below is the dynamic video for Fatoumata Diawara’s Nterini single:


Related:
Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine
Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018
Aida Muluneh’s First Solo Exhibition at David Krut Projects
Tadias Interview: Aida Muluneh on Her Ethiopia Exhibition ‘So Long a Letter’

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WSJ Profiles the Late Semegnew Bekele

Engineer Semegnew Bekele devoted his life to Ethiopia’s ambitious dam. The project manager of what is expected to be Africa’s biggest dam was found shot dead in his car at 53. (Getty Images)

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal Profiles Ethiopia’s Nile Dam Engineer the Late Semegnew Bekele

Diminutive and agile, Semegnew Bekele usually wore a high-visibility vest and construction helmet while working on the banks of the Blue Nile on Ethiopia’s side of the border with Sudan, considered one of the world’s most inhospitable construction sites.

Most of his work as project manager of what is expected to be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam occurred at night, when the temperatures dropped below 100 degrees. The site teemed with thousands of workers.

Read the full story at wsj.com »


Related:
Construction manager of Ethiopia’s Nile River dam found dead (AP)

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Ethiopia in Africa’s Week in Pictures: BBC

Ethiopian diaspora cheer Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during his visit to the US. (Reuters)

BBC News

Africa’s week in pictures: July 27 – August 2, 2018

August 3rd, 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week.


The arrival of the Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Bishop Merkorios, who’d been in exile for 27 years, is met with harp music and song in Addis Ababa. (Reuters)


Other members of the welcoming musical ensemble in the Ethiopian capital perform on ceremonial horns. (Reuters)

Read more and see the rest of the photos at BBC.com »


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Eskinder Nega: I’ve Spent a Fifth of my Life in Prison Just for Doing the Work of a Journalist

Ethiopian Journalist Eskinder Nega after being released from prison in Feb 2018. (Photo Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images/Yonas Tadesse)

Time

By Eskinder Nega

I became a journalist by accident. I was in my twenties. For the first time in Ethiopia’s history, we had independent magazines. I knew we had to venture into freedom of expression and push the boundaries, so I wrote articles criticizing the Ethiopian regime’s abuse of power. My newspaper became the first to be charged under the press law; my editor and I the first to be imprisoned.

I am 48 now. Since 1993, I’ve been imprisoned on nine separate occasions on various charges. I’ve spent almost one fifth of my life in prison—simply for doing the work of a journalist. This year I was released after spending more than six years in prison. Even though I am a peaceful person, the Ethiopian government convicted me on terrorist charges. Throughout the world, such charges are frequently leveled against dissident journalists like me who challenge their governments.

I’ve seen every side of prison life. I have been kept in dark cells, measuring less than two square meters. As I slept it was as though my head was touching the wall and my feet were touching the door. It was so dark I couldn’t see my hand. I was allowed to go to the bathroom twice a day. A shower was out of the question.

Once, when the state had locked me up for my journalism, the authorities tortured me. They beat me on the inside of my feet, the most common type of torture in the world. But I didn’t experience the worst of it.

My son was born in prison. The Ethiopian government had imprisoned my wife and I after the 2005 elections. He had to go and live with his grandmother because the conditions were so bad. My wife and I would meet during court sessions, but apart from that we were not allowed to see each other. My son is 11 now and lives in the United States. I haven’t seen him since I was imprisoned in 2012. The prospect of meeting him is both exciting and terrifying. I am not perfect and I am not the legend he thinks I am. I hope he won’t be too disappointed when he gets to know me.

Read more »


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Abune Merkorios, Ethiopia’s 4th Patriarch, Returns Home After 27 Years in Exile

His Holiness Abune Merkorios arrives in Addis Ababa after 27 years in exile, Wednesday August 1st, 2018. (Photo courtesy Fana Broadcasting)

Anadolu Agency

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia The 4th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Merkorios, returned to his country on Wednesday after spending 27 years in exile in the U.S.

Merkorios arrived in the capital Addis Ababa together with the high-level Ethiopia delegation led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — who was on an unofficial visit to the U.S., where he achieved his target of unifying Ethiopians in the diaspora and turned their attention to social, political and economic activities in Ethiopia.

The patriarch was expelled during the 1991 change of government in what many perceive as an undue political intervention in the affairs of the church. An echelon of the clergy opposing the purge went out of the country and declared themselves as retaining a Synod in exile.

It was mainly the question of legitimacy and ensuing claims and blames that resulted in mutual excommunications of the two Synods.

In a fast-paced reconciliation spearheaded by the Ethiopian prime minister, the two Synods agreed to reunite and rescinded their mutual excommunications.

According to the agreement reached in Washington D.C., Patriarch Abune Mathias will serve as an administrative patriarch and Patriarch Abune Merkorios will serve the Church’s spiritual functions on equal authoritative footing.

Since coming to power on April 2, 2018, Ahmed has created a wider political space by releasing political prisoners and calling home exiled dissidents.

Higher government officials, the clergy, eminent personalities and artistes welcomed the prime minister Abiy and the homecoming patriarch.

Pictures: His Holiness Abune Merkorios arrives in Addis Ababa — FANA BROADCASTING


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)


(Courtesy @fanatelevision/Twitter)

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10,000 Give PM Abiy Ahmed a Rock-Star Greeting at Target Center in Minneapolis

Ten thousand people gathered at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota to welcome PM Abiy Ahmed on Monday, July 30th, 2018. (Photo via Twitter @OPride)

TwinCities.com

Ethiopia’s prime minister found a patient and exuberant audience of about 10,000 on Monday afternoon at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Abiy Ahmed, 41, took office in April and has moved quickly to promote peace and diplomacy in East Africa.

He has warmed relations with neighboring Eritrea, released thousands of political prisoners, ended a state of emergency in the country and moved to privatize Ethiopia’s state-owned enterprises.

A member of the Oromo ethnic group, which claims a third of Ethiopia’s residents and an estimated 40,000 in the Minnesota diaspora, Abiy received a rock star’s greeting in the third city of his bridge-building U.S. tour.

Four hours after the event was slated to begin, Abiy took the podium amid hundreds of waving flags of both Ethiopia and the Orono Liberation Front.

Dursito Roro, an Ethiopian citizen living in Fargo, N.D., said she had to be here for the event. She poured out praise for a leader who kept a low profile until earlier this year: He respects women. He is making peace with other countries. He wants to unify their nation of rival tribes.

“He smiles. That’s the most amazing thing,” she said. “African leaders don’t smile.”

College student Murkata Gata made the trip from Chicago to see Abiy speak.

“He is changing a lot of things in our country, so we’re trying to support the idea of what he’s doing,” he said. “He’s trying to unify everyone.”

Hours before the event began, young men waved a banner on the stage reading “Qeerroo rules,” celebrating the Oromo youth movement that pushed Abiy’s predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, out of office.

Abiy shared his speaking time with Jawar Mohammed, founder of Minnesota-based Oromia Media Network. A Qeerroo supporter, Mohammed faced terror-related charges in Ethiopia until Abiy had them dropped.


(Photo via Twitter @OPride)


(Photo via Twitter @OPride)


Related:
In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s DC Convention Center Gathering & Town Hall Meeting
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at ConventionCenter
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s DC Convention Center Gathering & Town Hall Meeting

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: July 30th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — With PM Abiy Ahmed’s tour in DC ending with a public gathering at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and a town hall meeting on Saturday, July 28th followed by a visit to Los Angeles, CA, he is now scheduled to greet the Ethiopian Diaspora community in Minneapolis, MN.

The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities,” Mayor Bowser said. Organizers of the Los Angeles event have also shared that an “Ethiopia Day” proclamation was presented on behalf of the City Council on July 29th, 2018.

Below are images from PM Abiy’s address at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, July 28th as well as the evening town hall meeting.


Related:
In Pictures: PM Abiy Ahmed’s Visit to LA
10,000 Give PM Abiy Ahmed a Rock-Star Greeting at Target Center in Minneapolis
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at ConventionCenter
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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In LA, PM Abiy Ahmed to Address Ethiopian Diaspora Conference at USC

(Photo: Street sign in Los Angeles' Little Ethiopia neighborhood/Tadias file)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 29th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Wrapping up the first leg of his three-city U.S. tour that kicked off in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 26th, Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed is now headed to the West Coast to speak at the Ethiopian Diaspora Conference in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 29th.

The LA event is scheduled to take place at Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC).

Organizers say the City Council of Los Angeles will hand an ‘Ethiopia Day’ proclamation to the PM during the gathering.

The event is free and first-come-first-serve until it is filled to capacity.


If You Go:
Ethiopian Diaspora Conference with remarks by Ethiopian Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed
Sunday July 29th, 2018
Doors open at 12:00 PM (Noon)
Program begins at 2:00 PM
Galen Center at USC
A3400 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Related:
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs in DC
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at Convention Center
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Friday, July 27th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — On Friday, July 27th Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed continued his U.S. tour and met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora business community as well as individuals representing political organizations in Washington D.C.

PM Abiy is culminating his East Coast visit with a free public address to greet the larger Ethiopian Diaspora in the D.C. metropolitan area later this afternoon at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Earlier in the week on Thursday, July 26th PM Abiy Ahmed had taken part in the peace and reconciliation event between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia upon his arrival in Washington DC. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation.

In addition, Dr. Abiy who is also scheduled to travel to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th, met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Friday, July 27th. Pence tweeted: “Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today at the @WhiteHouse. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea.”

The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of his visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. The Mayor said she will join Prime Minister Abiy at the Convention Center on Saturday. “The Ethiopian community is such a valued part of our city, and our Ethiopian neighbors have played a critical role in building the diverse, inclusive, and vibrant Washington, DC that we live in today,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities.” The Mayor’s proclamation highlights that “since assuming office in April of 2018, Dr. Abiy has focused on improving human rights, ending the war with Eritrea, pursuing political and economic reforms, and eliminating corruption, that will move Ethiopia toward a more democratic society.”

The Mayor added on Twitter: “We are honored to welcome @PMOEthiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, DC. I look forward to joining thousands of Ethiopians from across the region tomorrow as we proclaim July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC.”

In the meantime below are sounds and images from PM Abiy’s visit on Friday, July 27th as he engaged with the Diaspora business community and political leaders:


Related:
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at Convention Center
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.

PM Abiy Ahmed arrives at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. for a private reception on Thursday, July 26th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — PM Abiy Ahmed met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community at a reception held at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday, July 26th as he started his three city tour of the United States this week that will take him to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th as well.

Earlier in the day PM Abiy met with religious leaders and took part in the peace and reconciliation event between the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the synod in Ethiopia during his visit to Washington DC. The churches were reunited after almost three decades of separation.

When PM Abiy arrived at the embassy there was a lone protester holding the Ethiopian flag. The prime minister approached the protestor, inquired about his concerns and insisted that he will not go inside unless he joins him. It’s not clear what the person was protesting, but he was later seen having a good time at the reception inside.

Ethiopia’s prime minister is further expected to encourage investment from the diverse Ethiopian Diaspora community to continue to boost Africa’s fastest-growing economy. As Bloomberg’s Samuel Gebre notes “Abiy Ahmed’s first U.S. trip since taking office in April comes as he shakes up orthodoxies at home, promising a multi-party democracy and to privatize state monopolies, while making peace with long-time foe and neighbor Eritrea. He will hold meetings in Washington D.C. with the Ethiopian business community, religious leaders, think tanks and the public until Saturday, before heading to Los Angeles and Minneapolis, according to Ethiopia’s embassy.”

Thousands are expected on Saturday, July 28th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. as PM Abiy hold his first public address greeting the larger Ethiopian community at a free event open to all individuals.

Below are photos of PM Abiy’s first meeting with the Ethiopian Diaspora in America:


Related:
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at Convention Center
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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How Africa’s Youngest Leader Transformed Troubled Ethiopia in Just 100 Days

(Photo via Twitter)

Quartz Africa

The changes are nothing short of seismic, proof that nothing remains the same forever.

In just over 100 days, Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed has taken radical steps aimed at dismantling the country’s troubled past and paving the way for a new future. After years of protests, state killings, ethnic violence, internet shutdowns, and emergency rules, the Horn of Africa nation has made an astonishing and promising turnaround for the better.

Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader at 41, has overseen all this, taking a sledgehammer’s approach in order to establish quick and lasting change on both the local and foreign levels. Domestically, Abiy’s administration announced it would loosen its monopoly on several key economic sectors, including aviation and telecoms. This has reportedly prompted Kenya’s Safaricom to negotiate the entry of its dominant mobile money service M-Pesa in the country. Politically, in a nation where all parliament seats are held by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Abiy has urged the nation to pursue multiparty democracy.

Abiy’s administration also freed prominent opposition leaders and journalists, including Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen who was seized during a stopover in Yemen in 2014.

But it’s Abiy’s work across the east and Horn of Africa region that have brought a sharp focus to his reformist politics. In June, Abiy went to Egypt to assure president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi— in Arabic nonetheless — that Egypt won’t cut its share of the Nile waters. The hugs and smiles that followed the meeting showcased a significant step to breaking the deadlock over who controls the world’s longest river. On his flight home, Abiy brought with him 32 Ethiopian inmates freed from Egyptian prisons.

After decades of political and military impasse, Abiy also announced Ethiopia would accept a 2000 peace deal with Eritrea. That announcement cascaded in a series of events that ended the hostility between the two nations and captured the world and storytellers’ attention. These include the reopening of embassies, the resumption of trade, and the reunification of friends and family after the first commercial flight from Ethiopia crossed into Eritrean airspace this century last week.

Abiy also presided over the first meeting in two years between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his bitter rival, Riek Machar, in an effort to end the five-year civil war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.

With his youthful popularity, Abiy has also become a sort of consigliere of cool, appearing at a concert with Eritrean strongman Isaias Afwerki, and scheduling a dinner date with the famous humanoid robot, Sophia, some of whose software was developed in Ethiopia. He has also appeared at rallies wearing a t-shirt with a Nelson Mandela fist-clinched photo above a slogan that read, “No one is free until the last one is free.”

While many challenges await Abiy after this honeymoon period is over, the reformist politician is proving to be the bearer of good news for now, not only Ethiopia but the region and Africa at large. This week, he will take this message of hope and unity to the diaspora in the United States, where many, including marathoner Feyisa Lilesa, remain hopeful about the change of guard in their home nation.

See the photos at qz.com »


Related:
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Setaweet: Ethiopia’s Capital City is Home to a Burgeoning Women’s Movement

Although a language around women's rights is largely absent from national discussions, Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, is home to a burgeoning women's movement. The city is witnessing growing activity including the first openly declared feminist group called Setaweet. (Photo: Setaweet gathering in Addis by Hasabie Kidanu).

Tadias Magazine
By Hasabie Kidanu

Published: July 24th, 2018

Addis Ababa (TADIAS) – As one of the world’s oldest continuous nation states Ethiopia upkeeps and exports a particular image to the rest of the world — a never-colonized, cradle of life that remains superior to European dominance. The culture is ancient and native with its indigenous national language, music and dress traditions considered sacrosanct. Ethiopia grows at its own pace, and looks inward.

In 2018, Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing national economies in the world and is nested in global networks of wealth, yet the perceived influence of foreign ideas are regarded warily. In a guarded and proud culture social change at the national scale is slow and painstaking. And in spite of generations of evolving global discourses focused on women’s rights, the subordinate position still held by women remains largely undiscussed.

Within this cultural context, how do we make language for an Ethiopian women’s movement? What do we call it? What have we called it in the past? And how do we define, grow, and adapt it? A younger generation of women has grown unsatisfied with the culture’s precedent for male hegemony in both public and domestic spheres. How do we redefine the role of women with liberation, leadership and sisterhood in mind? The greatest challenge facing an Ethiopian women’s movement today is how to fashion a homegrown language, which catalyzes change. How do we elevate consciousness within culture so committed to its customs, traditions and social structures that tends to place women on its margins?

From political participation and property ownership to healthcare access and education the social and legal lag of gender equality is evident here. Most acts of daily violence and domestic abuse go legally unchecked and garner little public outcry. Openly sharing one’s story of gender-based violence remains a taboo. Only a very slim portion of cases of sexual assault in the home and/or workplace are reported and even fewer cases make it to the courts. Media continues to perpetuate and dictate stale ideologies of the Ethiopian woman’s image, responsibility, and behavior. The daily catcall is as common as ever, and can easily escalate to physical violence. How do we raise a generation of women and men who no longer internalize and normalize sexism and violence?

Although a language around women’s rights is largely absent from national discussions, Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is home to a burgeoning women’s movement. The city is witnessing growing activity including the first openly declared feminist group called Setaweet. Setaweet (the Amharic term for ‘of woman’) is the brainchild of Dr. Sehin Teferra, and it started essentially as a meeting, which later morphed into ‘The Setaweet Circle.’ It was, and still is, a safe space for Addis Ababa women to convene. Gathering together from all walks of life women involved with Setaweet speak candidly about their experiences in the workplace, home, city. From these gatherings the ‘Setaweet Open Sessions’ were born, and a free forum open to the public was developed to invite guest speakers, authors, and historians to tackle subjects concerning women’s issues. Here, everything is laid bare — even topics of Ethiopian culture that elsewhere are off limits. Topics such as the all-male clergy of  the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, patrilineal family structures, as well as male privilege and entitlement are discussed. In addition, the Setaweet PLC provides a variety of services and custom designed trainings for public schools, corporate offices, and agencies on women’s leadership, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence.

Setaweet has organized various campaigns throughout the city, often with the support of their partner groups such as the Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Association (EWLA), and The Yellow Movement — a group founded by Addis Ababa University law program faculty and students. Some of the projects include #AcidAttackEducationCampaign (2017); #PagumeActivism initiated by the Yellow Movement to create a platform for sharing incidences of everyday sexism on social media; #AriffAbbat (2017), a collaboration between the Embassy of Sweden and Setaweet to host a photo contest to celebrate and encourage engaged fatherhood; and #NothingforGranted (2018), a collaboration with the European Union Delegation to celebrate the contributions of Ethiopian women through photography.

However, it’s not so much ‘Setaweet,’ but the term ‘feminism’ that has become the trigger word. One of the greatest obstacles and complications of this particular word is that it signals a western import and a foreigner’s ethics onto Ethiopia. It pulls with it a connotation that it has ‘arrived’ to contaminate local customs and religious practices, and the ever-so-cherished Ethiopiawee Bahil. Even though the country has integrated many Western ideals in the past — from clothing, to architecture, to films, music, and food — feminism has not received an easy welcome. Surely, feminism is not new. Although Setaweet is the first to openly identify as a ‘feminist’ collective there have been organized women’s groups that have inched the needle forward for women’s health, legal reforms, social and economic participation.

Ethiopia has not generally witnessed waves of feminism (as we have seen in the West) or properly recorded or historicized organized women’s movements, however, Setaweet has had to sustain criticism that it is ‘too western, radical, hip’ or that the need to champion women as a culture pales in comparison to more nation-pressing issues of prosperity, security, and peace.

“Our goal is clear, it’s activism. The cultural specificity of a city like Addis Ababa is not lost on us,” says co-founder Sehin. “We have declared ourselves feminists. Perhaps other organizations who work to champion women’s rights may not use the word due to the stigma that is associated with the word here. We understand the banner of feminism originally responds to the challenges faced by women in the English speaking world. Yet, work needs to be done here, so fighting for gender equality at home means finding language specific to the challenges facing women in Ethiopia, and how we can raise consciousness to confront Ethiopia’s most closely held cultural ideals. Part of that includes teasing out when and where the Amharic language and media imaging are giving way to harmful and/or sexist attitudes towards the Ethiopian woman.”

Setaweet moves forward still growing and expanding its breadth. The role and need for it is undeniable. In four short years its following has increased while the responsibilities have broadened tremendously. Setaweet has become somewhat of a hotline for the city and community to share, unload, and call out injustices from all over the country – from sexist advertisements in pop-culture to cases of gender-based violence in universities and households. Anything and everything concerning women’s issues is circled through their main channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Perhaps, Setaweet’s most fundamental goal and achievement is that it is fostering an environment for conversation, and in return creating a space for language to evolve within the culture’s context. 


You can learn more about Setaweet on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/SetaweetMovement.

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Ethiopia Has ‘No Option’ But Multiparty Democracy, PM Says (AP)

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia's reformist and outspoken new prime minister, says multi-party democracy is the only option for Ethiopia's future. (AP photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia has “no option” but to pursue multi-party democracy, the reformist new prime minister said Sunday, again shaking up Africa’s second most populous nation that for decades has been ruled by a single coalition.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff announced the remarks on Twitter, saying they were made during a meeting with leaders of more than 50 national and regional parties, including ones from overseas, who demanded reforms in election law.

A multiparty democracy would need strong institutions that respect human rights and rule of law, Abiy said, according to chief of staff Fitsum Arega.

The 42-year-old prime minister has announced sweeping reforms since taking office in April, including the release of opposition figures from prison and the embrace of a peace deal that led to the surprising restoration of diplomatic ties this month with longtime rival Eritrea.

Just months ago Ethiopia, a nation of more than 100 million people, faced widespread anti-government protests demanding wider freedoms, with the U.N. human rights chief and others expressing concern over hundreds of reported deaths and tens of thousands of people detained. The economy, one of Africa’s fastest-growing, suffered.

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, which has been in power since 1991 and along with affiliated parties holds every seat in parliament, came up with Abiy after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stepped aside early this year. Notably, Abiy doesn’t come from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a party in the ruling coalition that has been the dominant force in government for most of the past 27 years.

Since taking office the new prime minister has surprised Ethiopians by openly acknowledging past torture by security forces, announcing the opening-up of the state-run economy and suggesting that his own position should have term limits.

While the government in the past has called its elections democratic, election observers and human rights groups have reported alleged intimidation and vote-rigging.

“Electoral reform, yes. It must be the top priority. Only speedy transition to electoral democracy will save the country,” Jawar Mohammed, a prominent Ethiopian activist based in the U.S., said Sunday on Facebook.

The recent removal of three groups from Ethiopia’s terror list, yet another of the new reforms, means the Oromo Liberation Front and Ginbot 7 could challenge the ruling coalition in next year’s elections. Their delisting, Abiy’s chief of staff said at the time, “will encourage groups to use peaceful political discourse to achieve political ends.”

While many in Ethiopia have cheered the changes, the dramatic shifts in the country’s long-entrenched government have caused some unrest. A grenade attack last month on a huge rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, shortly after Abiy addressed the crowd killed two people and hurt more than 150.

The ruling coalition blamed “desperate anti-peace elements” and vowed to continue with the reforms.


Related:
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Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.

(Photos: Outside of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C. (Hannah Gebresilassie/Medill News Service)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 20th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. held a press conference yesterday evening to provide more details on the PM Abiy Ahmed’s upcoming visit to Washington D.C. on July 28th, 2018. The press conference was shared live on a newly launched official Facebook page (PM Abiy in DC #መደመር) designed to promote this event.

Details of the public event provided during the press conference include location and time information, transportation recommendations as well as security details for the gathering as follows:

PM Abiy will greet Ethiopians at a free event hosted at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. on Saturday, July 28th, 2018. There is no registration or payment requirement for the event.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE & LOCATION:

Walter E. Washington Convention Center 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001
9:00AM: Doors Open
1:00pm: Official Program Commence
5:00pm: Program Concludes

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & PARKING INFORMATION:

Metro information:
Yellow/Green line: Mt Vernon Sq/7th St-Convention Center
Red/Green Line: Gallery Place-Chinatown wmata.com for weekend schedule. It is recommended to use public transportation to arrive to the convention for this event.

Parking Information:
There are over 3,000 parking spaces in a three-block radius of the facility. These spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION & TRANSPORTATION:

Close to 500 volunteers in uniform will be assisting attendees with entrance into the venue. Three volunteer cab companies will be transporting attendees from various locations to the venue. Please pay attention for marked taxi vehicles.

SECURITY INFORMATION:

It is highly recommended that attendees do not bring large bags or metal objects. Everyone is subject to security protocol and metal detector screening. In addition, it was advised at the press conference that event participants refrain from bringing their children to the convention center.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS

In addition to the public event at the Walter E. Convention Center a smaller town hall event comprising of 1,500 individuals represented from various sectors and civic organizations have been invited to meet with PM Abiy Ahmed during his visit to Washington D.C.

PM Abiy Ahmed also plans to take part in the peace process event to be held among the exiled synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and the synods in Addis Ababa during his visit to Washington DC.

Following the Washington DC event PM Abiy Ahmed will travel to Los Angeles, CA on July 29th and Minneapolis, MN on July 30th to meet with members of the Ethiopian community. The Minneapolis event is scheduled to be hosted at the Target Center (600 N 1st Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403).

Additional information for all events related to PM Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. can also be found on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrAbiyUSVisit/
Website: www.yemedemerguzo.org
Instagram: #MedemerUSA
Twitter: @MedemerUSA


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Reuters: Kenya’s Safaricom Taking M-Pesa to Ethiopia

Kenya's Safaricom is in talks with the government of Ethiopia to provide its mobile money service, M-Pesa. (Photo Courtesy: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI — Kenya’s Safaricom (SCOM.NR) is in advanced talks with the Ethiopian government to introduce its popular M-Pesa mobile money service, a major step towards establishing a toe-hold in the market of 100 million people, two sources said on Tuesday.

M-Pesa could transform Ethiopia’s economy, as it has done in Kenya, by allowing people to sidestep a decrepit and inefficient banking system and send each other money and make payments at the touch of a button.

As such, it could bolster the bold political and economic reform drive of new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against opposition from hardliners in the ruling EPRDF coalition.

Started in 2007, M-Pesa has around 20 million active users in Kenya and has become the principal driver of profit growth for the dominant telecoms provider in East Africa as revenue from traditional voice and text services has flattened off.

Over the last decade, it has evolved from a basic money transfer service to a financial platform offering savings, loans and insurance products in conjunction with local lenders.

The deal could also give Safaricom and its parent companies, South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L), a head-start when the Ethiopian government follows through on its stated intention to open up its telecoms sector to foreign companies.

“This is an important milestone for Safaricom,” said Eric Musau, head of research at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank.

Vodafone will license the use of the M-Pesa brand to an Ethiopia-based bank while Safaricom will host the servers in Nairobi, one Kenyan telecoms industry source told Reuters.

Ethiopia’s state telecommunications monopoly, Ethio Telecom, will carry the service, the source added.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Makes Historic Flight to Eritrea

Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights to Eritrean capital Asmara on July 17, 2018. (Photo: AFP)

BBC

Roses and champagne have been given to passengers on the first commercial flight between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 20 years.

Ethiopian Airlines said its “bird of peace” flew to Eritrea, after the end of the “state of war”.

“I am in cloud nine,” flight captain Yosef Hailu told the BBC.

Relatives and friends are expected to be reunited for the first time since a 1998-2000 border war between the two nations shut air and road travel.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has spearheaded a peace process with Eritrea since he took office in April.

He signed a “peace and friendship” agreement with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on 9 July, declaring that the “state of war” was over.

The deal was signed in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, during the first visit by an Ethiopian head of state to the country in 20 years.

Mr Isaias made a reciprocal visit to Ethiopia about a week later.

The two leaders agreed to restore diplomatic ties, and resume air and road travel.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was among the passengers on the historic flight.

He told the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza that he was emotional about making the trip.

“It’s a golden moment for the two countries and the two people,” he said.

Captain Yosef said he was looking forward to meeting friends in Eritrea.

“I’m going back to the place where I grew up. I’m really happy,” he told the BBC.

Ethiopia Airlines tweeted a picture of the pilots in the cockpit before take-off.

Read more »


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Ethiopia’s Young, New Leader Shakes Up One-Party System — Wall Street Journal
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PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
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Ethiopia’s Young, New Leader Shakes Up One-Party System — Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shatters political taboos, such as calling for national reconciliation amid violent ethnic discord. (Photo by HILINA ABEBE)

Wall Street Journal

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — In this strategically vital nation of 100 million, a charismatic young leader is delivering shock therapy to one of the world’s most entrenched one-party systems.

In the four months since Abiy Ahmed—a 42-year-old former army officer—emerged as prime minister from an opaque power struggle in Ethiopia’s ruling party, he has riveted this East African nation with announcements that have shattered political taboos.

The premier has smiled, hugged and glad-handed his way across the country, calling for national reconciliation in the midst of violent ethnic discord, ordering the release of thousands of political prisoners and legalizing opposition groups long classified as terrorists.

He has conceded that Ethiopia’s ruling EPDRF coalition—in power since overwhelming the communist junta in 1991—is tainted by corruption and accused the powerful security services of conducting “terrorism” against their own population. He has angered hard-liners by launching a fast-track end to the two-decade conflict with Eritrea, removing a barrier between neighbors that came to be known as Africa’s Berlin Wall. Mr. Ahmed recently visited Eritrea to sign a peace agreement and he hosted Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who formally reopened Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time in more than two decades.

Mr. Ahmed has also pledged to liberalize Ethiopia’s tightly controlled economy and partly privatize state-owned enterprises, including Ethiopian Airlines, one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers. Market analysts expect him to tighten commercial and investment relations with the West over China, which has so far dominated the Ethiopian economy and owns most of the country’s massive debt load.

The outcome of Mr. Ahmed’s breakneck overhaul agenda could fundamentally reshape politics across the Horn of Africa, a strategic coastline perched on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and site of mounting geopolitical competition between the Gulf monarchies, Iran, China and the U.S. His agenda has been supported by U.S. policy makers hoping to move a crucial counterterrorism partner closer to Washington and away from Beijing.

Mr. Ahmed’s message—and his telegenic delivery—has won him adulation from young and marginalized voters in a country where the median age is 18. Taxi buses in this traffic-choked highland capital are plastered with stickers of the premier smiling or holding his arms aloft. Souvenir shops sell T-shirts bearing his image.

But his sharp rhetorical shift comes with significant risks, lifting the veil on Ethiopia’s existential challenges. “It’s difficult not to be carried away by the euphoria about Abiy,” said Rashid Abdi, an analyst with Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group. “But he’s still struggling with significant pockets of discontent internally, and the frenetic pace of reform is upsetting his conservative critics.”

Behind the headlines, Ethiopia’s challenges are immense. Lauded internationally for sky-high growth rates, the economy has amassed unsustainable debt to fund an infrastructure spree, while many of its people still face hunger and extreme poverty. A crippling shortage of foreign currency has slowed production in factories and marquee construction projects including the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, which has been only temporarily alleviated by a $1 billion cash infusion from the United Arab Emirates.

Analysts say Mr. Ahmed’s pledge to sell stakes in two of Ethiopia’s largest state-owned enterprises—Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines—has more to do with resolving the currency crisis than a damascene conversion to free market capitalism. Auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers are valuing the assets of EthioTel, and Deloitte, Ernst & Young and others will help advise on the share sale. McKinsey is advising Ethiopia’s government on regulatory overhaul in preparation.

Read more »


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PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Hails Its Charismatic Young Leader as a Peacemaker

Dancers welcome Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, to Addis Ababa. (Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Guardian

The flags of the two nations flew bright and sharp. The two leaders waved at the happy crowds. The formal meetings overran, amid ostentatious displays of bonhomie. Even the hatchet-faced security officials appeared relaxed.

The meeting of Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s 41-year-old prime minister, and Isaias Afwerki, the 71-year-old president of Eritrea, in Addis Ababa on Saturday left seasoned Africa observers gasping for breath.

“The pace of this is simply astounding,” said Omar S Mahmood, of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia’s booming capital.

The meeting between Abiy and Isaias concluded an intense bout of diplomacy that appears to have ended one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. “Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now,” Isaias said, as he had lunch with Abiy. “We are one people. Whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Many Ethiopians expressed their exhilaration on social media. “The events of these past … days between Ethiopia and Eritrea are like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only amplified 1,000 times,” Samson Haileyesus wrote on Facebook. The reaction in Eritrea has been equally ecstatic.

Analysts say such hyperbole may be justified. The bid for peace with Eritrea is just the latest in a series of efforts that may bring revolutionary reform to Africa’s second most populous nation, transform a region and send shockwaves from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope.

Since coming to power in April, Abiy has electrified Ethiopia with his informal style, charisma and energy, earning comparisons with Nelson Mandela, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev. He has reshuffled his cabinet, fired a series of controversial and hitherto untouchable civil servants, including the head of Ethiopia’s prison service, lifted bans on websites and other media, freed thousands of political prisoners, ordered the partial privatisation of massive state-owned companies, ended a state of emergency imposed to quell widespread unrest and removed three opposition groups from a list of “terrorist” organisations.

Read more »


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PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will meet the Ethiopian Diaspora community at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. on July 28th, 2018. (photo: Wikipedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 14th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian community in Washington D.C. and metropolitan area in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy has announced a public gathering on July 28th to greet PM Abiy Ahmed at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public and is scheduled to take place in the afternoon from 1pm-4pm.

Dr. Abiy will also be traveling to Los Angeles, California on July 29th and Minnesota on July 30th to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora community.


Artwork by Solomon Asfaw

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia the trip is “aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.” Organizers emphasize that all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.”

PM Abiy Ahmed’s upcoming trip to the United States, follows in the heels of a successful and long-awaited peace summit between Eritrea and Ethiopia that officially ended the decades-long protracted border war between the two nations. PM Abiy Ahmed has also called for the formation of a Diaspora Trust Fund encouraging Ethiopians abroad to invest a dollar a day to support current reform initiatives, assist in development projects, and support innovative ideas in all fields to help Ethiopia accelerate its mission of becoming a more peaceful, democratic, united and free society.


If You Go:
Public Convention to Meet PM Abiy Ahmed
Date: Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001

This event is free and open to the public.


Related:
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy

A rally in Bahir Dar to support the reform measures that are currently being implemented in Ethiopia by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on July 1st, 2018. (Photo via Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
Editorial

Updated: July 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — “Diaspora, here is a call to you. A dollar a day to help children get an education, our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers get health service, and above all, consider this as ‘paying back’ to your people who gave you future while they had no one,” said PM Abiy Ahmed in a recent comment while defending Ethiopia’s 346.9 billion Ethiopian birr ($12.71 billion) budget and inviting fellow Ethiopians who reside overseas to become part of the solution.

As we prepare to welcome Dr Abiy here in the United States in a couple of weeks we encourage our readers not only to heed his call to establish a “Diaspora Trust Fund” to support the ongoing reform initiatives to take root and to assist in other development projects, but also to think outside the box and offer fresh and innovative ideas in all fields to help the country accelerate its mission of becoming a more peaceful, democratic, united and free society with a prosperous economy that respects the natural human rights of all its citizens.

It’s remarkable that so much has changed in Ethiopia in such a short time that it almost feels like we are living through one of those rare moments that take place once in a blue moon in Ethiopia’s ancient and mystical history, such as the building of Lalibela in the 13th century; the founding of the cities of Harar in 1216 and Gondar in 1635. Or for that matter the victory at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 and the triumphant return of Emperor Haile Selassie to Addis Ababa in 1941 from exile to reclaim Ethiopia’s throne after the defeat of the occupying fascist Italian forces during World War II. And we can’t be more happier than to be part of this incredible time in 2018.

Just barely five month ago — during a desperate period in Ethiopia amid relentless unrest, a deafening chorus of skepticism, talk of civil war and gloomy predictions of an imminent collapse of the Ethiopian state — we wrote a brief and hopeful editorial titled Seize the Moment Ethiopia in hopes of encouraging our generation to rise to the occasion and “assure the continuity of Ethiopia’s long history as well as our shared and sovereign culture” and noting that “building a true democracy requires transparency, a responsible and free press, and the maturity to think about the common good, beyond our own selves and group interests, both at the grassroots and leadership levels.”

Today, thanks to Dr. Abiy and his team, events of the past three months have exceeded our wildest imagination. As President Obama would say: “We are the generation we have been waiting for!”

We are delighted that Ethiopia has a confident, good-hearted and educated leader who fully understands that he serves at the will of the people and for the people. More importantly Dr. Abiy is open to new ideas, open dialogue, free press, constructive criticism and debate, which are all the basic foundations of a working democracy. Now we are optimistic that “Ethiopia is on the right track to a more democratic society.”

Below is a media round up of the latest developments from Ethiopia including the historic peace deal with Eritrea and the announcement that Ethiopian Airlines is preparing to resume flights to Asmara next week.

Ethiopia and Eritrea Declare End of War (BBC)
The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a declaration saying that the state of war between the two countries is over. A peace deal ending the 1998-2000 border conflict has never been fully implemented and there has been tension between the neighbours ever since. The countries have also agreed to re-establish trade and diplomatic ties. The declaration came at a landmark meeting between the two countries’ leaders in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara. The summit between Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed marked the first time the neighbours’ heads of state had met for nearly two decades. Read more »

Ethiopian to Resume Flights to Asmara Next Week (FANA)
Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to Eritrean capital Asmara next week. Ethiopian will also purchase a 20 percent stake in Eritrean Airlines, Dr Workneh Gebeyeu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, told journalists today, following Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Eritrea. During the visit the two countries have signed a number of agreements to resume diplomatic relations. According to the Foreign Minister, the two countries have established a technical committee tasked to follow up on the implementation of the agreements reached between them, including use of ports and air links. Flights to Asmara are scheduled to resume next week. Read more »

Ethiopia Fires Prison Officials Over Human Rights Abuses Amid Torture Report (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, hours before the Thursday release of a Human Rights Watch report on torture in one regional prison. Berhanu Tsegaye said the top prison officials “were relieved of their post for failing to discharge the responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights,” according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late Wednesday. The announcement came hours before the release of a harrowing report by Human Rights Watch describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region. Read more »

PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 28th and Los Angeles, California on July 29th, 2018 to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States. “The objective of his trip is to hold face-to-face meetings with Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,” reports Fana Broadcasting Corp. “It is also aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.” According to the announcement all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.” Read more »


Related:
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Make America More Like New Zealand, Costa Rica and Ethiopia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand with her new baby girl (left), President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica (center) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

Boston Globe

FOR DECADES, AMERICANS have accepted rule by a mendacious and meretricious elite. Today we have reason to believe that our situation is worse than ever. Our president is a hate-mongering bully who promotes foreign wars, the destruction of our natural environment, the further enrichment of the rich, and the impoverishment of everyone else. Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress are cynical money-grubbers who grovel before corporate power. The Supreme Court twists the Constitution to promote the most anti-democratic forces in our society. Founders of our republic would howl in anguished rage if they could see how fully our political leaders have defiled their liberating vision.

The decline of democracy in the United States might logically lead us to conclude that our political system has failed — that democracy is intrinsically unable to resist the power of those who profit from undermining it. That view, however, is contradicted by what other democracies have recently achieved. With hardly any notice in the American press, three very different countries have recently produced leaders who are unapologetically pursuing policies that benefit their people and the world. They are magnificent examples for the United States — unless they lead us to weep in envy…

Just one day after Alvarado was inaugurated in Costa Rica on April 1, another exemplar of democratic will became prime minister of Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed, 41, comes from the country’s Muslim minority and also from a persecuted ethnic group, the Oromo. He took over a country that has long been ruled by repressive tyrants, is divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines, and has been in constant conflict with neighboring Eritrea. “Expect a different rhetoric from us,” he said upon taking office. “If there is to be political progress in Ethiopia, we have to debate the issues openly and respectfully.”

In just three months as prime minister, Abiy has cut a radical swath through Ethiopian politics. He fired five senior officials who were known for corruption and brutality. Then he announced that he would accept the ruling of a border commission as a way of making peace with Eritrea, even though it requires handing over territory that many Ethiopians consider theirs. He ordered the release of more than 1,000 political prisoners. When a member of Parliament protested that his order was unconstitutional, he replied: “Jailing and torturing, which we did, are not constitutional either. . . Does the Constitution say anyone who was sentenced by a court can be tortured, put in a dark room? It doesn’t. Torturing, putting people in dark rooms, is our act of terrorism.” On June 25 Abiy’s enemies tried to kill him in a grenade attack. “The people who did this are anti-peace forces,” he said afterward. “You weren’t successful in the past and you won’t be successful in the future.”

Over the brief history of the United States, Americans have shown ourselves ready to seize anything we covet, anywhere in the world. If we could maintain that tradition, we might now arrange an “extraordinary rendition” operation to kidnap Jacinda Ardern, Carlos Alvarado, or Abiy Ahmed so one of them could be installed in the White House. Lamentably, that is impossible. The alternative is to concentrate on encouraging homegrown leaders who share their humanistic vision. Americans once believed that we could inspire and lead the world. Now we can only hope to catch up with New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia.

Read the full article at bostonglobe.com »


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With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is welcomed by Erirea’s President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @fanatelevision)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — With laughter and hugs, the leaders of longtime adversaries Ethiopia and Eritrea met for the first time in nearly two decades Sunday amid a rapid and dramatic diplomatic thaw aimed at ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.

Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in Eritrea’s capital and a live broadcast by Eritrean state television showed President Isaias Afwerki greeting him at the airport in scenes unthinkable just months ago.

“A brotherly embrace,” Eritrea’s information minister said on Twitter, sharing photos .

Crowds danced and sang for the leaders, and Asmara’s streets were hung with Ethiopian and Eritrean flags. Abiy and Afwerki traveled across the capital in a large motorcade as people wearing T-shirts with the images of the leaders cheered. The leaders then met one-on-one, with a smiling Abiy leaning toward Afwerki under a wall hung with their portraits.

The visit comes a month after Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal that ended a two-year border war between the two East African nations that killed tens of thousands. Ethiopia and Eritrea have not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself fighting in a town that remains contested today, and the countries have skirmished since then.

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said on Twitter that the visit aims to “further deepen efforts to bring about lasting peace.” He shared photos of the leaders’ meeting and said Abiy, 42, was “very warmly received” by the 72-year-old Afwerki.

“Our two nations share a history and bond like no other,” he said. “We can now overcome two decades of mistrust and move in a new direction.”

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry called the visit “part of efforts to normalize relations with Eritrea” and said Abiy was expected to talk with Eritrea’s leadership about “how to mend fences.”

One Eritrean diplomat, the ambassador to Japan Estifanos Afeworki, said on Twitter that “no leader has received such a warm welcome like today in Asmara in the history of Eritrea.”

Ethiopians expressed a welcome shock at the meeting, which was shown live by Ethiopia’s state TV.

“Historic … the beginning of the end. The glass ceiling has been broken,” one resident, Shewit Wudassie, wrote on Facebook. Another Facebook user, Djphat Su, wrote: “Am I dreaming or what?”

The decision to fully accept the peace deal was the biggest and most surprising reform yet announced by Ethiopia’s prime minister, who took office in April and quickly set off a wave of reforms, freeing journalists and opposition figures from prison, opening up the state-run economy and unblocking hundreds of websites after years of anti-government protests demanding more freedoms.

Eritrea’s Afwerki days after the announcement noted “positive signals” from Ethiopia and sent the first official delegation in two decades to “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. Ethiopia used the visit to announce that the flagship Ethiopian Airlines would soon begin flights to Eritrea, and already Abiy has expressed interest in landlocked Ethiopia having access to Eritrean ports.

While Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation, with more than 100 million people, and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, tiny Eritrea, with 5 million people, is one of the world’s most closed-off nations, ruled by Afwerki since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after years of rebel warfare. But the two countries share close cultural ties.

Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Observers of the diplomatic thaw have asked whether peace with Ethiopia would lead Eritrea to loosen up and drop its long defensive stance.

“Reconciliation would deprive President Isaias of an excuse for maintaining his country in a permanent state of military readiness” that has blocked Eritrea from developing any form of democracy, said Martin Plaut, author of “Understanding Eritrea” and a senior research fellow with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

Abiy’s move broke a long stalemate between Afwerki and the long-dominant Tigrayan party in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition. “Abiy represents the majority of Ethiopians rather than the Tigrayan ethnic group” and is not beholden to it, Plaut said, adding that Afwerki accepted the peace gesture “since it allowed him to portray it as a triumph over his Tigrayan rivals.”

Not everyone has welcomed Ethiopia’s embrace of the peace deal, with some residents in the northern Tigray region bordering Eritrea holding protests.


Related:
Pictures: PM Abiy arrives in Asmara


A warm welcome to Ethiopian Premier in Asmara, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)


(Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)


Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision via Twitter)

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Interview: Meklit Talks Music, Ecology and Collaborating With Andrew Bird

Meklit. (Courtesy of John Nilsen)

Seven Days

“It is possible that the human auditory system actually evolved to hear music, because it is so much more complex than it needs to be for language alone,” said Ethiopian American musician Meklit Hadero during her 2015 talk at a TED Fellows retreat. A senior TED Fellow, she was paraphrasing a theory from California neuroscientist and musician Charles Limb. “And if that’s true,” she continued, “it means that we’re hardwired for music, that we can find it anywhere.”

Professionally known simply as Meklit, the Ethiopia-born artist has a career that goes far beyond cutting albums and touring. Now based in San Francisco, she’s a cofounder of the Nile Project, a multifaceted organization focused on East African society. It seeks ways to use music to answer questions related to cultural identity, resource sharing and the trajectory of human existence.

and pan-global styles. Her latest album, When the People Move the Music Moves Too, features collaborations with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and acclaimed singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. The album’s Grammy Award-winning producer, Dan Wilson, made those connections.

Meklit will perform on Thursday, July 12, at ArtsRiot in Burlington. Seven Days caught up with her by phone.

Read the interview at sevendaysvt.com


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Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ to Premiere July 10th

Marcus Samuelsson (Photo Courtesy: PBS No Passport Required)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 2nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, will premiere Marcus Samuelsson’s new show No Passport Required on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018.

As host of No Passport Required Restaurateur, Chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson will be highlighting food, art and culture in immigrant communities across America — from the vibrant Ethiopian restaurant scene in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to Little Kabul in Fremont, California and the Vietnamese shrimpers in Louisiana.

“Chasing flavors has been my lifelong passion,” shared Samuelsson in recent press release. “To now be able to bring viewers on that journey with me to these amazing communities in cities across the U.S. is truly a dream come true. We get to go deep into the markets, pull up to the roadside stands, and be welcomed into homes — all the places where people share and celebrate food together.”

No Passport Required is produced by Vox Media in collaboration with PBS.

The press release adds: “Chef Samuelsson — co-owner of New York’s critically acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem — embodies America’s extraordinarily rich cultural diversity. Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and a proud resident of Harlem, he’s inspired by this global background to infuse his culinary experiences with diverse elements of music, history, culture, and the arts. Today, he is a celebrated award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and food activist. Samuelsson’s accolades include earning five James Beard Awards, being named the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star review from The New York Times, and having the honor of cooking for the Obama administration’s first state dinner. He is an ambassador for UNICEF, co-founder of the Harlem EatUp! Festival, and the co-chair of the board of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).”

Watch conversation with Marcus Samuelsson about No Passport Required below:

Learn more about Marcus Samuelsson’s new PBS show No Passports Required here.


Related:
PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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The New York Times Reviews Makina Cafe

Makina Cafe. (Photo: Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first Ethiopian food truck in New York City aptly named Makina Cafe is owned by Eritrean-American entrepreneur Eden G. Egziabher who was born in Ethiopia from parents of Eritrean descent and was raised “amidst a vibrant mix of Ethiopian, Eritrean and Italian cultures.”

“At the bright yellow Makina Cafe truck, which has been plying the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens since last summer, the injera is..delivered fresh every morning to the truck before it sets out for lunch service,” The New York Times highlights in a review published today. “The identity of its maker is a prized secret. Eden Gebre Egziabher, the truck’s owner and chef, said simply, ‘I have a lady. She’s the best.’”

During the height of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late 1990s, Eden’s mother who was visiting friends in the U.S. at the time was prevented from returning to Ethiopia. Eden told NYT: “One minute everyone was living together. The next, families were ripped apart.”

The newspaper adds: “While she fled with her father and older sister to Kenya, her mother applied for asylum in the United States. A year later, they were reunited in Charlotte, N.C.”

“Now, Ms. Gebre Egziabher hopes to turn the food of her childhood into an American staple — “to bring my culture to Main Street,” she said…For her menu, she intentionally chose dishes whose ingredients would not be intimidating to diners unfamiliar with the cuisine.. as in fossolia, a gingery simmer of string beans and carrots, and tikel gomen, cabbage gently broken down with carrots and potatoes — although not too much, so it keeps a memory of crunch.”

Read the full review at NYTimes.com »


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Ethiopia Habtemariam: The Highest-Ranking Black Woman at Universal Music

Ethiopia Habtemariam photographed on June 1, 2018 at Line 204 in Los Angeles. (By Sami Drasin)

Billboard

How Ethiopia Habtemariam Became Universal Music Group’s Most Powerful African-American Woman: ‘I Love Proving People Wrong’

The highest-ranking African-American women at Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are, respectively, Motown Records president Ethiopia Habtemariam, Epic Records president Sylvia Rhone and Atlantic executive vp Juliette Jones. Here’s how Habtemariam got to where she is today. (Find links to the other women’s stories below.)

When, at age 16, Ethiopia Habtemariam wrote her first fan letter, it wasn’t to one of her favorite artists.

She was trying to connect with Sylvia Rhone, then Elektra Entertainment Group chairman/CEO (and today, president of Epic Records). “I wanted to introduce myself because it was incredible to hear that the label’s chairman was a black woman. I’d never heard of anything like that before,” recalls Habtemariam. Back then, she was interning at Elektra’s Atlanta office. Today, she’s president of Motown Records, and she recently received a fan letter of her own. It was written by a female student attending Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., and participating in the inaugural Bonus Tracks program this spring. Designed to introduce students to career opportunities in the music industry, the after-school program is a partnership among Capitol Music Group, Dominguez and the Compton Unified School District.

“I was in awe of how much you are a boss,” the student wrote to Habtemariam — who also recently served as president of urban and creative affairs for Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) — after meeting her at a Bonus Tracks session. “It was exciting to be in the presence of a BLACK WOMAN of your status. Coming from where I come from, I rarely get to see that.”

That’s something Habtemariam is intent on changing from her Capitol Tower office. “It’s on [music executives] to be vocal and active in creating opportunities,” she says. “Real initiatives need to be put in place. If the people working on a project don’t look like the people you’re trying to touch with your records, there’s a problem.”

Read more »


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Ethiopia Welcomes Peace Delegation From Eritrea

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomes an Eritrean peace delegation at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 . The high level delegation from Eritrea includes Yemane Ghebreab, an adviser to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Foreign Minister Osman Saleh. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Bloomberg

Eritrean, Ethiopian Officials Hold Landmark Talks on Peace Deal

Eritrean and Ethiopian government officials held talks about a stalled peace deal for the first time since a conflict between the two countries ended almost two decades ago.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is seeking to normalize relations with neighboring Eritrea as part of a broader program of reforms he’s initiated since taking office two months ago. He’s also announced plans to open up the Africa’s fastest-growing economy to foreign investors and also lifted a state of emergency imposed after the snap resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, in February.

“The new developments in Ethiopia augur well for the resolution of the frozen boundary conflict and durable peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia,” Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, a former member of Eritrea’s ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice and now an independent analyst, said by phone from Brussels. “At the same time, the winds of change blowing in Ethiopia could also cross over and usher in a new democratic dispensation in Eritrea.”

Officials including Yemane Ghebreab, an adviser to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, and Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday afternoon, Shamble Tillahun, a spokesman for the Ethiopian government communications office, said by phone from the city. Images published by the Fana Broadcasting Corp. showed the officials holding talks with Abiy.

Read more »


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In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

Support Rally for Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa (Photo Courtesy: Facebook).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In a television address, shortly after a grenade attack aimed at the Prime Minister during a large support rally in Addis Ababa on Saturday, Dr. Abiy Ahmed vowed to continue his agenda for democracy in Ethiopia.

Dr. Abiy addressed the nation stating “Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded” reports The Guardian. According to AP Ethiopia’s Health Minister Amir Aman also confirmed that 1 person has died with 153 injured and 10 in critical condition.

The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia tweeted: “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the explosion in Meskel Square and their families and wish the injured a quick recovery. Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms.”

And the European Union said via Facebook: “Heartfelt condolences from the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia to the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian Government for the victims of today’s cowardly attack in Addis Ababa.”

Prior to the explosion scenes of jubilation pervaded the large support rally for Ethiopia’s new and popular prime minister who addressed the crowd wearing a t-shirt with the image of Nelson Mandela and the words “No one is free until the last one is free.”

In his inaugural address shortly after becoming Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed had told the nation: “Democracy is unthinkable without freedom. Freedom is not a gift doled out to people by a government. Rather a gift of nature to everyone that emanates from our human dignity.”

Another rally in support of Dr. Abiy Ahmed is scheduled on Monday, June 25th in Washington D.C.

Below are a few photos shared on Facebook:


At Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook).


(Photo: Facebook).


The crowd at the support rally for PM Abiy Ahmed at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)


Dr. Abiy Ahmed at the rally at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)


Aerial view of the crowd at the support rally for PM Abiy Ahmed at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)

Below are images and artwork by artists made for the rally:


(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(By Assegid Gessesse)


(By artist Yadesa Bojia)


(Anonymous from Addis)

—-
Related:
Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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Olympic Marathon Athlete Feyisa Lilesa Shows Support for PM Abiy Ahmed

Olympic marathoner Feyisa Lilesa stands with his family in support of Ethiopia's new PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed (photo courtesy Facebook).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — At the 2016 Olympics in Brazil Ethiopian marathoner, Feyisa Lilesa, was thrust into the spotlight as he crossed the finish line in second place while holding his arms over his head in a political gesture of solidarity with non-violent protestors back home. He boldly repeated the protest on the podium as well as during a subsequent press conference. The gesture forced him to seek refuge unable to return home without fear of repercussions.


(Photo credit: Eshetu Homa Keno)

Now settled in the United States in Arizona with his family, Feyisa is showing his strong support of Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who has taken radical steps to enhance the nation’s political stability, free political prisoners, encourage telecom privatization and free press, and address issues of government corruption.

In a recently posted photo via his Facebook page, Feyisa states “We Support Our Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed!” as he stands holding up signs with his family. Back in April Quartz Media had shared the Olympian’s thoughts on the change in leadership, and like many Ethiopians at home and abroad Feyisa responded that he’s following Abiy’s actions adding that he is “hopeful that he will change things,” and “at least some things will be better than the past. However, this won’t happen overnight. I think it is better to give him some time and see what he does.”

On Monday, June 25th supporters of Dr. Abiy Ahmed in the United States have organized a rally in Washington D.C. in front of the State Department.

—-
Related:
Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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Eritrea Sending Delegation to Ethiopia

Eritrea’s longtime President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photos: Madote and EPA)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Eritrea Sending Peace Delegation to Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Eritrea’s president announced Wednesday he is sending a rare delegation to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks, days after Ethiopia’s new prime minister took a major step toward calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival.

This is the first such delegation since 1998, when a border war erupted between the countries.

Eritrea’s longtime President Isaias Afwerki noted “positive signals” in recent days from Ethiopia and said the delegation will “gauge current developments directly and in depth” to plan future steps. He spoke during a Martyrs Day celebration in the capital, Asmara.

Ethiopia early this month announced it will fully accept the terms of a peace agreement with Eritrea signed in 2000 to end the two-year border war that killed tens of thousands. The countries have skirmished a number of times since then. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal’s handing of key locations, including Badme, to Eritrea and continues to control that town.

The decision to fully accept the peace deal was the biggest and most surprising reform yet announced by Ethiopia’s young new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “The suffering on both sides is unspeakable because the peace process is deadlocked. This must change for the sake of our common good,” Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said at the time.

Eritrea shortly after the announcement replied that it had always accepted the peace deal.

On Wednesday, Fitsum on Twitter said Abiy had “thanked and congratulated” Eritrea’s president for the positive response and “expressed his readiness to welcome warmly and with considerable goodwill” the Eritrean delegation.

Eritrea’s ambassador to Japan, Estifanos Afeworki, on Twitter said the delegation will pursue “constructive engagement.” Eritrea’s ambassador to Kenya, Byene Russom, called it a “new chapter of peace and reconciliation between the Eritrean and Ethiopian people.”

Tiny Eritrea is one of the world’s most closed-off nations, ruled by Afwerki since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after years of rebel warfare. Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws.


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Ethiopian Entrepreneur Alexander Assefa Wins Nevada Election

Small business owner and Ethiopian refugee Alexander Assefa will become an Assemblyman in the Nevada state legislature next year, after he defeated two primary challengers on Tuesday. (Photo: Alexander Assefa's campaign)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: June 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Alexander Assefa has won a primary election on his way to become a state legislator representing Nevada’s 42nd assembly district.

“Thank you everyone who came out to celebrate my election with us,” Alexander said via Facebook. “It’s been quite a road.” He added: “Now it’s time to get to work and build a community that is inclusive and one that capitalizes on the richness of our diversity. Stay with me, fight with me & help me. Let’s do this TOGETHER, as one people.”

Alexander is set to replace Democratic Representative Irene Bustamante Adams after the 2018 November elections. Members of the Nevada State Assembly serve two-year terms.

According to the Nevada Independent “the small business owner and Ethiopian refugee who defeated two primary challengers was endorsed by the Assembly Democratic caucus, and received 55.3 percent of the vote. Assefa is the only candidate who will appear on the November ballot since no Republicans or third-party candidates filed to run for the seat.”

Below is Alexander Assefa’s bio courtesy of his campaign website:

ABOUT ALEXANDER ASSEFA

Alexander Assefa is a Democrat running for the Nevada State Assembly from the 42nd district. Alex was born and grew up in Ethiopia. While still a teenager, he was subject to life as a refugee in Kenya. In Nairobi, he had the opportunity to root himself in the Christian faith while he lived where refugees are not necessarily welcomed, often faced persecution and intolerance. Harbored in his church family, he avidly studied the bible. He then went on to serve his fellow refugees in various roles in the church, including in the choir and as a bible study leader at several locations in Nairobi.

In the year 2000, Alex immigrated to the United States and was resettled in Alexandria, VA. He learned English as his 3rd language and attended TC Williams High School. He then moved to Columbus, OH, where he graduated from high school. Alex attended flight school at Averett University in Danville, VA and became a pilot. He continued his education to earn a Political Science degree.

Alex moved and permanently settled in Las Vegas in 2006, where he met his wife Zenash. He is a small business owner, who has created jobs for many working families in the Las Vegas area. He is actively involved in his community, serves in his church and is a strong participant in the Clark County Democratic Party. Alex is a member of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce.

Alexander Assefa is the founder and Chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party, Transport and Tourism Workers Caucus. In his role as a leader, he tirelessly advocates for working families and relentlessly fights for those who are marginalized and left voiceless in the political system. His participation in politics took root while he was in college, where he founded the college’s first Democratic Club. Alex also served as a Treasurer and Senator in the Student Government Association. He went on to serve as a volunteer during every presidential election since 2004 and various other local campaigns.

Alexander Assefa currently serves on the Board of Advisors at the ECDC African Community Center, in the organization’s mission to impact lives by resettling refugees from every part of the world. Prior to joining the Board of Advisors, Alex volunteered in this important organization by helping with job placement of newly arriving refugees in Southern Nevada. He is also community organizer in the East African community of southern Nevada, advocating for greater participation in the electoral system and active engagement in the affairs of his community.


You can learn more about Alexander Assefa at http://www.assefa4thepeople.com/assefa.html.

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Ethiopian Hip-Hop Sensation Teddy Yo to Perform in NYC Saturday, June 16th

Teddy Yo's blends of traditional Ethiopian folk music and dance with hip-hop has gained him wide popularity (photo credit: Alegntaye Official Music Video).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 14th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian hip-hop artist Teddy Yo is performing for the first time in New York City this weekend.

Teddy Yo is being hosted by the music & entertainment company Africology in collaboration with Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 16th, 2018.

The evening includes music by DJ Sirak and Sierra Leonean beats from Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew.

Teddy Yo is one of the first artists in Ethiopia who successfully gained widespread popularity for his fusion of hip-hop and Ethiopian folk music. The blending is not just in the sounds but mixing traditional dance movements with hip-hop as well.

Around 2009 Teddy Yo made a name for himself by creating a new sound no one had tried before,” states the Africology Facebook site. “He had created a local Hip-Hop genre called Guraggetone, a Hip-Hop style of music that embodied a Gurage (an Ethnic group in Southern Ethiopia) style beat with witty Amharic rhymes and modern dance moves. Today, he has reached new levels of popularity in the Horn, and has helped spawn a budding hip hop movement in the country.”

In 2016, Africology produced and released Teddy Yo’s music video entitled Alegntaye, which continues to garner the artist wide acclaim.

Teddy Yo released his second album, Arada, Vol.2 earlier this year.


IF YOU GO:

Date: Saturday, June 16th, 2018
Time: 11pm to 4am
Location: Bunna Cafe, 1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Purchase tickets here


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DC: Smithsonian & Beteseb Center Host Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day

Beteseb Painting event at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — There’s no better way to spend a summer evening outdoors than to paint or learn how to paint while listening to great music. Last year we featured such as an event at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. hosted by Beteseb Center and Feedel Band.

For a second year in a row Beteseb Center is once again collaborating with the Smithsonian African Art Museum to organize an “evening of painting and Malian music under the summer skies” on Saturday, June 16th. The theme for this year’s gathering is “Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day.”

The Beteseb art program was launched by two Ethiopian artists in DC three years ago as an alternative venue for young people in the area to create art while spending quality time and a night out with friends and family.

“Start by getting inspired during a guided tour of World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean,” the Smithsonian announced. “This exhibition particularly highlights the personal, including home architecture and gorgeous articles of adornment. A wide range of fun studio photography demonstrates the cross-cultural influences in Swahili cultures and the incredible diversity of the Indian Ocean region. Then, head out to the Enid A. Haupt Garden to make your very own portrait! Use your portrait to consider questions of identities, nationalities, and how we represent ourselves to the world.”


If You Go:
Africa Beteseb (Family) Portrait Day
Sat, June 16, 2018
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue Southwest
Washington, DC 20560
Click here to RSVP


Related:
In Pictures: Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC — June 2017

More information can be found at facebook.com/BetesebCenter.

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Ethiopian Airlines Begins Flight to Chicago

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines launched a new flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago this past weekend on June 9th. The three-times-per-week flight aboard a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner departs Chicago on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while the flights out of Addis Ababa en route to Chicago make a stop in Dublin, Ireland.

Chicago is Ethiopian Airlines’ fourth destination in the United States after Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey.


US Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor attended the innaguration ceremony. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

“Day by day we are witnessing new successes at Ethiopian Airlines. Two days back, we celebrated the 100th aircraft milestone of Ethiopian Airlines and today we are inaugurating flights to Chicago,” said Michael Raynor, Ambassador of the United States to Ethiopia. “The US Government and the American Embassy in Addis Ababa will continue to support the growth of the airline.”

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam added: “Chicago is the main hub of our Star Alliance partner, United Airlines and the flight will be operated together with United to avail the best product for travelers from all over the US connecting to 58 destinations in Africa. The flight will further boost the growing economic and people-to-people relations between the US and Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular by enabling greater flow of trade, investment and tourism.”

Ethiopian Airlines is the largest Aviation Holding Company in Africa and a SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline.


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Photos: Remembering Anthony Bourdain’s Visit to Ethiopia

The host of CNN's travel and food show "Parts Unknown" Chef Anthony Bourdain (L) enjoys tej at a restaurant in Addis Ababa, where he traveled in 2015 with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — CNN’s internationally renowned TV host Anthony Bourdain had visited Ethiopia three years ago as host of the acclaimed television program, Parts Unknown.

“Ethiopia is a big, diverse place,” he wrote at the time while traveling and exploring Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine. “I learned a lot about a beautiful country while making this episode, and enjoyed doing it.”

CNN announced yesterday that Bourdain had died on Friday, June 8th with the cause attributed to suicide. He was 61. The company said Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode when his friend discovered him unresponsive in his hotel room.

“On his award-winning series, Parts Unknown, Bourdain brought the world home to CNN viewers,” the network said. “Through the simple act of sharing meals, he showcased both the extraordinary diversity of cultures and cuisines, yet how much we all have in common.”

During his 2015 visit to Ethiopia Bourdain was accompanied by his friends Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain had said. “Marcus and Maya come from two very different, distinct regions: different topography, different cuisine, different languages. They both left Ethiopia at different times in their lives — and under very different circumstances. So, watching the two of them experience Ethiopia in their own ways, and yet also together, was fascinating.”

On twitter Marcus Samuelsson said: “Maya and I are so sad to hear the news of our dear friend today. You will be missed terribly.”

Below are photos from Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Ethiopia courtesy of Maya Haile:


CNN’s Anthony Bourdain in Addis Ababa with Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile. (Courtesy photo)


Image from the Bourdain’s Ethiopia episode showing food preparation. (Courtesy photo)


Anthony Bourdain also highlighted the burgeoning skateboarding scene in Addis as part of his Ethiopia segment. (Courtesy of Maya Haile)

Worldwide outpouring of sympathy

Bourdain’s tragic death generated a worldwide outpouring of sympathy on social media. Former President Barack Obama shared a photo via Twitter with Bourdain in Vietnam while Obama was on a trip through Asia in 2016. According to CNN the encounter was “captured in a Parts Unknown episode that year.”


“He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.” — Barack Obama. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Journalist Christiane Amanpour tweeted: “My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain. May he rest in peace now. He was a friend, a collaborator, and family. A huge personality, a giant talent, a unique voice, and deeply, deeply human. My heart goes out to his daughter and family, and his longtime partners and friends at ZPZ.”

CNN added: “The news of Bourdain’s death was met by profound sadness within CNN, where Parts Unknown has aired for the past five years. In an email to employees, the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, remembered him as an “exceptional talent.”

“Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it,” Zucker wrote.


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Reformer-in-chief: Abiy Ahmed Has Made an Impressive Start

Ethiopia’s new prime minister wants peace and privatisation. (Getty Images)

The Economist

THE speed of events caught Ethiopians off guard. When Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister on April 2nd he did so as the head of a deeply divided ruling coalition. The inexperienced 42-year-old, who came from the Oromo wing of the ethnically based coalition, was viewed with deep suspicion by many of his establishment colleagues. He was taking charge of a country under a state of emergency after more than three years of anti-government protests and ethnic unrest. Few expected him to achieve much soon.

The past few weeks have pleasantly surprised. After an inaugural address in which he called for unity and apologised for the government’s killing of protesters, the former army officer toured the country to muster support. At mass rallies and town-hall meetings he adopted a strikingly different tone from that of his two most recent predecessors. Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February, was timid and aloof. Meles Zenawi, who ruled as a strongman from 1995 to 2012, was stern and cerebral. Mr Abiy, by contrast, presents himself as a friend of the country’s young protesters. “We want to work hand-in-hand with you,” he told cheering crowds in Oromia, the centre of unrest.

Exiled opponents have been invited home. Representatives of dissident media outlets based abroad have been encouraged to set up shop in Addis Ababa, the capital. Terrorism charges against dozens of activists have been dropped, including against a British citizen, Andargachew Tsige, who had been on death row.

Mr Abiy says he plans to amend the constitution and introduce term limits for his position. On June 2nd his cabinet said the state of emergency would be lifted two months earlier than planned. Then, on June 5th, the politburo of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), said it would at last implement a peace agreement, signed in 2000, that would hand over disputed territories to Eritrea and put a formal end to the war the two countries fought (and Ethiopia won) from 1998 to 2000. That could pave the way for reconciliation and, perhaps, give Ethiopia renewed access to Eritrea’s ports.

Read more »


Related:
Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

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Ethiopia Offers Eritrea Chance to End Africa’s Longest War

Ethiopia says it will withdraw its troops from the Badme region, as Eritrea has long demanded. (Getty Images)

BBC

Ethiopia’s surprise announcement that it will abide by a 2002 border ruling raises the prospect of a final end to what was Africa’s deadliest border war and peace with its long-time rival, Eritrea.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in the two-year conflict and Eritrea remains on a war footing, demanding that Ethiopia withdraws from the “occupied territory”.

How genuine is this peace offer?

It seems pretty genuine.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signalled in his inauguration speech in April that a major policy shift could be in the offing – he called on Eritrea to resolve their differences, saying the two neighbours were “not only intertwined in interests but also in blood”.

Now, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has announced it will fully accept and implement the peace deal that ended the war.

Mr Abiy said soldiers deployed to the contested town of Badme had experienced “psychological effects”, according to the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

“We should end this suffering, and fully return to peace,” the prime minister is quoted as saying.

Ethiopia’s previous leaders always said they accepted the 2002 ruling but they never actually implemented it.

Mr Abiy’s announcement is especially significant as it comes after the release of thousands of jailed politicians, activists and protesters, including British citizen Andargachew Tsege who was being held on death row, and the promise of wider reforms.

What does Eritrea say?

Eritrea has not commented on Ethiopia’s announcement but Information Minister Yemane Gebre Meskel had previously told the BBC that relations could not be resolved until Ethiopia withdrew “from the occupied territories”.

“The ball is now in Eritrea’s court,” Tesfalem Araia from the BBC’s Tigrinya service says.

“Eritrea has been on a war footing and the justification for forced conscription into the army has been the conflict with Ethiopia,” he adds.

That forced conscription is the reason given by most of the thousands of Eritreans who flee the country, making the perilous journey to Europe.


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Ethiopia Lifts State of Emergency

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Reuters Photo/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

Updated: JUNE 5, 2018

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s parliament approved on Tuesday the government’s decision to lift a six-month state of emergency two months earlier than planned, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported.

The government imposed emergency rule in February to clamp down on unrest sparked by a planned development scheme for the capital Addis Ababa which some fear will lead to land seizures in the nearby Oromiya region. The matter led to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to step down.

On Saturday, Ethiopia’s cabinet had met to assess the security situation and “noted that law and order has been restored”, setting the stage for Tuesday’s vote in parliament.

Abiy Ahmed, a former army officer who replaced Hailemariam as premier, has travelled around Ethiopia, promising to address grievances strengthen a range of political and civil rights.

Authorities have pledged to push through a raft of reforms that have included the release of thousands of prisoners.


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The Aslan Project Fundraiser Hosting Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th

photo credit: The Aslan Project

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Aslan Project – an organization that focuses primarily on providing access to treatment for pediatric cancer patients in Ethiopia — will be holding their annual fundraiser this year in New York City at Red Rooster Harlem on June 4th, 2018.

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

Today the Aslan Project has built an innovative and large international network of volunteer pediatric cancer specialists in collaboration with parents of pediatric patients to support Ethiopia’s pediatric hematology/oncology programs at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa as well as at Jimma University Hospital. The program in Addis Ababa is now being managed by Dr. Daniel Hailu Kefeni, one of the first graduates of the pediatric cancer fellowship set up by The Aslan Project five years ago at Tikur Anbessa Hospital.

In a 2016 interview with Tadias from Washington, D.C. Julie Broas, Executive Director of The Aslan Project, shared that “in addition to giving children a chance to survive a curable cancer the organization’s mission was to provide equitable access for families in low-resource settings to high standard local treatment.” Broas added: “What we chose to do in Ethiopia is to focus on medical education and training of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, because that’s how you would build a comprehensive program that’s locally supported and sustainable.”


(Photo: Courtesy of the Aslan Project)

Dr. Tenagne Haile-Mariam, who works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital as well as a board member of the The Aslan Project, reiterated that “the key is to create a whole system that’s linked to locally existing initiatives, not a situation where you can just send a doctor and say ‘go at it’ because they will fail,” she said. “This is why The Aslan Project is a catalytic program, because in order to implement it you have to put into place not just the right people, but you have to put them in a system where they can work in order to ensure sustainability.”


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

If You Go:
The Aslan Project Fundraiser
Date: Monday, June 4th, 2018
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Red Rooster Harlem
310 Lenox Ave, NY, NY 10027

To purchase tickets or an event sponsorship visit The Aslan Project site.

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‘Jember’: Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic Series Entertains & Empowers Fans with African History

Jember Series written and created by Beserat Debebe tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. (photo credit: Etan Comics Facebook)

Atlanta Black Star

ATLANTA — The first Ethiopian superhero comic is fusing the various parts of African history and culture into one contemporary and relatable story. “Jember” from Etan Comics was written and created by Beserat Debebe and tells the story about a recent college graduate on a job search in Addis Ababa who comes across extraordinary powers. Amanuel Tilahun is transformed into Jember and readers can grab issue #1 to discover who the hero really is, where the powers came from and how they’ll transform Tilahun’s life.

“Amanuel’s story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities, Debebe told OkayAfrica Tuesday, May 15. “Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get.”

Setting the plot apart, Debebe used African history, culture and mythology to tell Jember’s story. The Kingdom of Punt, an ancient East African civilization, plays a major role in the book’s creation.

“Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present-day African countries,” Debebe explained. “We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers’ perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life.”

The first issue of “Jember” is on sale now and is available in English and Amharic.

Read more about the new comic series»


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Ethiopia: Abiy Indicates Visa Free Entry by All Africans Sparking Lively Tweets

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: EPA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — PM Abiy’s recent indication of a visa free entry to Ethiopia by all Africans has sparked a lively online conversation on the topic.

The PM made the comment while hosting the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in Addis Ababa this past weekend.

Rwanda is the first country in Africa to implement such a program.

“The President invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon,” Abyi said during a state banquet in honor of Kagame on Friday.

The website This is Africa pointed out: “While Prime Minister Abiy did not give specific details of the plan to allow all Africans to travel to Ethiopia without visas, the proposal is a laudable step to open Africa’s borders. The policy will open up the east African country to African visitors, and it will undoubtedly ease the free movement of African nationals and boost tourism.”

“The issuance of visa-on-arrival for all countries was widely celebrated by many across the continent, and on social media,” the website enthused. “The announcement by Prime Minister Abiy is indeed laudable and demonstrates that African countries are beginning to act on the implementation of the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders” to help facilitate the free movement of African citizens.”

Africa News added: “For a country that is widely seen as not open in respect of visa acquisition, the disclosure by the PM has been received with different reaction…Whiles most people expressed joy at the idea, others also had concerns with respect to security and for one commenter, the state of the capital Addis Ababa – stressing the incidence of street dwelling and lack of basic amenities.”


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Etenesh Wassié’ Gives Europe Ethio Blues

Etenesh Wassié, Mathieu Sourisseau and Sébastien Bacquias perform on RFI's Musiques du Monde. (RFI/Laurence Aloir)

RFI

Ethiopian vocalist Etenesh Wassié began her career in Addis aged just 15 singing in traditional music venues known as Azmari Bet. She’s now building a successful career in Europe singing azmari songs and working, notably, with French musicians. Her second album Yene Alem is out in June.

Wassié was introduced to European audiences thanks to Francis Falceto, producer of the influential Ethiopiques compilations of Ethiopian music.

“I met her in the 90s after the end of the revolution when the curfew was cancelled and nightlife was passable again,” says Falceto. “She was one of my favourite singers then and she still is very active. And mostly abroad, because she’s musical enough and talented enough to deal with musicians from all over the world and especially with French musicians.”

She began working with French band Le Tigre des Platanes about a decade ago.

“I was dreading the rehearsals,” she told RFI’s Musiques du Monde programme “but after four or five concerts it got easier.”

She now seems perfectly at ease performing live with bass player Mathieu Sourisseau – with whom she’s recorded Yene Alem – and cellist Sébastien Bacquias.

“She’s an incredibly talented vocalist,” says Falceto. “Her voice, her sense of fun, on stage she’s a hurricaine but she can also be an incredible blueswoman. For me she has a brilliant future if she goes ahead properly she can fly very high.”

Etenesh Wassié performs at Les Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon on 22 July with Mahmoud Ahmed and Girma Beyené.

Yene Alem is out on 8 June.


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Amnesty International USA Hosts Conference on Human Rights in Ethiopia

Soliyana Shimeles, Bekele Gerba, Andualem Aragie and Eskinder Nega are among the Ethiopian speakers at the upcoming Amnesty International USA conference regarding human rights in Ethiopia and its regional implications. (Photos via CPJ, NPR, YouTube and by Befekadu Hailu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is hosting a conference next month in New York City focusing on the state of human rights in Ethiopia. Among the main speakers are recently released former prisoners of conscience including journalist Eskinder Nega, opposition party leaders Bekele Gerba and Andualem Aragie as well as Zone 9 blogger Soliyana Shimeles and other civil society leaders.

The conference, which is set to take place on June 8th at the New York Ethical Society in Manhattan is organized by the Bronx chapter of Amnesty International USA in collaboration with a coalition of US-based Africa Diaspora associations.

“The conference will focus on the closing political space, human rights defenders in the region and building links among different Diaspora groups,” AIUSA said in a press release. “We have invited some of the leading voices of civil society working on these issues in the region as well as activists here in the United States who have been supporting efforts in the region to protect and expand political space, establish accountable governments and ensure respect for human rights.”

AIUSA has announced their invited speakers list as follows:

1. ESKINDER NEGA, recently released former prisoner of conscience and journalist.

2. Dr. BEKELE GERBA, recently released former prisoner of conscience, one of the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress, English Professor at Addis Ababa University.

3 ANDUALEM ARAGIE, recently released former prisoner of conscience, Vice President and Press Secretary for the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP).

4. Dr. AWOL ALLO, lecturer at Keele University in the UK. He also taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Dr. Awol has published many academic articles in reputable journals. He has been a frequent guest analyst on the mainstream media like the BBC and Al-Jazeera on issues related to Ethiopia and Horn of Africa.


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Eskinder Nega Makes Surprise Appearance at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in NYC

Journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Befekadu Hailu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 23rd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Six years ago this month when PEN America honored Eskinder Nega with the prestigious “Freedom to Write” award, the Ethiopian journalist was in prison serving an 18-year sentence for criticizing the government.

But on Tuesday evening Eskinder made a surprise appearance at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York City to personally thank the organization for the accolade that was bestowed on him in 2012.

Eskinder was released in February after spending nearly seven years behind bars.

“We live in an age of paradox,” Eskinder told the crowd that had gathered at the American Museum of Natural History. “On the one hand, we have countries, amongst them the U.S., home of the First Amendment, where freedom of expression has come to be taken for granted, and on the other, Ethiopia, my country, where the freedom to express oneself without restraint, without reprisal, is still an elusive ideal, still distant as the stars.”

Eskinder added: “And in this world of two realities, I ask whether those who are free have an obligation towards those of us who are unfree. I say they do…In the prize I received from PEN America, I see the solidarity of the free to the unfree. I see the triumph of our common humanity over our differences. I see our common destiny, which is that of freedom for all humanity.”

Among the eminent writers who attended the event included Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu.

Watch: Eskinder Nega speaking at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala:

In a press release the organization said: “PEN America welcomed a broad cross-section of New York luminaries to the American Museum of Natural History Tuesday night for the at once celebratory and urgent 2018 PEN Literary Gala, held at a time when open discourse and press freedom—liberties that the organization has defended worldwide for nearly a century—are under threat in the U.S. as well as abroad. Provocative speeches from literary and activist leaders rallied the nearly 950 guests to redouble their efforts in defense of truth, facts, the role of the media, and open dialogue as foundations of democracy. In the dramatic setting of the Museum’s Millstein Hall of Ocean Life, under its famed, 94-foot-long blue whale, the literary community came together in a remarkable display of solidarity to advance the mission of PEN America, led by its recently elected President, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan.”


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Ethiopia to Make Emperor Menelik’s Palace a Tourist Site

(Photo via Face2Face Africa)

Face2Face Africa

The palace of Minilik was built 100 years ago by King Menelik II and this year, Ethiopian government will make it a tourist site.

The Menelik Palace contains several residences, halls, chapels, and working buildings.

The palace’s mastermind, King Menelik II, reined from 1889 to his death in 1913.

He is known for his territorial expansion and creation of modern Ethiopia. Most notably, he is remembered for leading Ethiopian troops in a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa against forces of fascist Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War.

Emperor Haile Selassie also used the compound to preside over judicial issues. Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose party took over after Selassie was overthrown, used the palace grounds as a prison to house many notables of the imperial government including Selassie himself. Mengistu, who is now in exile, built his office within the compound.

The palace now serves as the seat of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed, the country’s recently installed Prime Minister, believes that opening the site will help to highlight Ethiopia’s history.

Read more »


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Spotlight: Ethiopian-American Engineer Berhane Tadese Receives IEEE Award for Managerial Excellence

Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese at IEEE award ceremony earlier this month (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) — which is also known as “the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity” — has honored Electrical Engineer Berhane Tadese for Managerial Excellence in an Engineering Organization at a ceremony held earlier this month on May 5 at the Midtown New York Hilton Hotel. The IEEE award cites Mr. Berhane’s “outstanding leadership and contributions to electrical engineering management in the design and construction of vital railroad signaling projects and teaching the next generation of signal engineers for the MTA New York City Transit.” 

Mr. Berhane was awarded as a Region 1 recipient representing IEEE members from the northeastern region of the United States, which includes professionals from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. IEEE currently has approximately 400,000 members and award recipients include scientists, professional engineers and engineering students. 

Mr. Berhane has over 33 years of engineering experience in the design and construction of railroad signaling capital projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit, which is “the largest public transit authority in the United States..carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide” according to Wikipedia. 

Currently serving as Program Manager, Mr. Berhane is primarily responsible for “replacing outdated signaling with state-of-the-art communications-based train control systems on the Queens Line corridor in New York City, and manages a team of signal engineers working on the design, test and commissioning of railroad signal systems.” In addition to his managerial work, Mr. Berhane has also been teaching fundamental and advanced signal design courses to young engineers who are starting their careers at the MTA-NYC Transit, and encouraging them to join professional development organizations such as the IEEE. 

“The award reflects not only my personal achievements, it also reflects my family’s and colleagues’ support,” Mr. Berhane told Tadias. “Nothing can be achieved without support from the communities and people around the individual. It also meant a lot to my home country, Ethiopia as I am her product and it taught me the value of hard work.”

Mr. Berhane earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and his Master’s degree in the same field from City University of New York’s School of Engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York and is currently a member of America Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) as well as Senior Member of the IEEE. Outside of his professional interests, Mr. Berhane is actively involved with the Ethiopian EDIR Mutual Assistance Association of New York (EEMAA) serving as its first Secretary as well as the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for the past 4 years. 

We congratulate Mr. Berhane on his IEEE award!


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Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Agree to Study Filling of Nile Dam (AP)

Ethiopia's multi-billion dollar self-funded Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is currently under construction on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as one of the top 10 largest in the world. (Photo via Twitter)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Officials from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan early Wednesday announced progress in talks on what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan’s water resources minister said they will set up a scientific study group to consult on the filling of Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. They also confirmed that leaders from the three nations will meet every six months for consultations.

The latest talks came after a round of negotiations last week in Cairo failed. More high-level talks are set for July 3 in Cairo.

Egypt fears too much of the Nile’s waters could be retained each year, affecting its agriculture. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that it will help Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 million of its citizens don’t have access to electricity.

“We have charted a road map that, if successful, will be able to break difficulties that we have been facing,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters after the marathon talks.

“One step forward to Ethiopia,” the country’s foreign affairs spokesman, Meles Alem, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The mega-dam is now more than 63 percent complete. Once complete it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

According to a document obtained by the AP, the scientific group will discuss and develop “various scenarios related to the filling and operation rules in accordance with the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of shared water resources while taking all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of significant harm.”


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Ethiopian Airlines Adds Second U.K. Stop

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in DC, August 2012. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

Bloomberg

Ethiopian Air to Add Manchester in Extension of Brussels Flights

Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise will start serving Manchester in northern England from December, adding a second U.K. destination months before Britain is due to quit the European Union and 45 years after the carrier began flying to London Heathrow.

The service from Addis Ababa will operate four times weekly using a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet in a two-class layout, initially as an extension of the carrier’s existing Brussels route, Ethiopian Air said in a statement Monday.

Ethiopian, Africa’s largest airline by passenger traffic, has developed a network that links 67 major global cities with almost 60 African destinations via its hub in the capital. About 400,000 people living within a two-hour drive of Manchester currently travel to Africa each year, according to the airport.

Tewolde GebreMariam, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in an interview that the initial flights are being tacked on to the Brussels route in order to test the market and that direct services should begin some time next year.

The route will boost trade, investment and tourism in both directions, according to the CEO, who added that he has no concerns that Brexit will affect demand.

Read more »


Africa in the news: Ethiopian Airlines scale up expansion plans (Brookings)


In Pictures: Ethiopian airlines 787 Dreamliner. (Photos by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

This week, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it would scale up its expansion plans and will increase its fleet to 150 aircrafts by 2025 from the earlier target of 120. The airline also confirmed an order for 10 Bombardier Q400 aircraft last week and intends to place orders for 13 additional Boeing 787s and 6 Airbus A350s soon. Ethiopian Airlines currently has 100 planes in its fleet and is the largest African carrier by revenue and profit. In the last few years, the airline has grown rapidly, tripling the number of passengers it flew between 2008 and 2017.

Ethiopian airlines has also invested in other African carriers as part of its growth strategy, buying a minority stake in Malawi Airlines in 2013 and announcing a deal with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways in January. According to its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline is negotiating with governments in Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea to set up new national carriers through joint ventures.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Launches Direct Flight From Addis Ababa to Chicago

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Abaynesh Asrat Honored by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York Chapter

Abaynesh Asrat. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking has been named one of the Champions of Change in 2018 and will be formally honored at an awards ceremony on Friday, May 18th by UN Women’s Metropolitan New York chapter.

The last time that we featured Abaynesh — whose prior achievements included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs — she was in Ethiopia hosting a workshop in collaboration with Addis Ababa University on solar energy as an alternative to women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel in remote and rural parts of the country.

The 2018 Champions of Change celebration honors women who worked in various areas including economic empowerment, peace & security, political participation, eliminating violence against women, media and advocacy.

“We are proud to recognize these women and men who make significant contributions to women’s empowerment and gender equality in their professional and personal lives” states the formal announcement for the event. “These diverse champions have made an impact on a wide range of issues including women’s economic and political empowerment, gender-based violence, peace and security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Born in Ethiopia, Abaynesh lives in New York holds a B.A. from Bennett College in North Carolina as well as an M.A. in Social Science from East Michigan University. Her non-profit, Nation to Nation Networking launched in 2004, bridges health, education and economic development programs for young children and their families in urban Ethiopia. The organization facilitates short term access to yearly eye examinations as well as financial support for uniforms, food, and school building rent, while visionary long-term aims include addressing early marriage issues, which affects adolescents’ access to full-time schooling. Nation to Nation Networking develops and implements results-oriented projects aimed at promoting culture and understanding to serve under-privileged communities, without fragmenting those cultures, through empowerment and enrichment.


(Courtesy photo)

As a former clinician and administrator at New York Medical College, Abaynesh also developed a program that trains medical students to see beyond the stethoscope and observe how social and economic issues affect their patients. She implemented interventions for families to end the cycle of violence while trained staff provided peaceful living awareness and conflict prevention training. Her contributions led to establishing an infant and toddler rehabilitation school, within a hospital setting, where early development challenges and parental behavior are addressed and corrected on-site.

Abaynesh describes her work as encompassing and “creating a world with equal access to resources and open conversation on topics that promote change at a global level.” She highlights that her passion and commitment to social change comes from a “devotion to empower women, families and underserved communities,” and she therefore diligently and successfully envisions and executes programs and conversations committed to justice and human rights. She has been a strong advocate for the empowerment of women and families, and in particular against organ trafficking affecting migrant domestic workers as well as disseminating key awareness training and workshops via speaking engagements and conferences hosted by Nation to Nation networking in African countries and beyond on various projects including use of solar power energy for households, maternal health & fistula education, and prevention of infant mortality. Abaynesh’s philanthropy and activism work has also been presented at UN NGO CSW parallel events, and her innovative programs have changed the way communities think and work, and helped open conversations that pioneer forward-thinking, thoughtful action.

As an activist Abaynesh has worked with international lawyers on issues such as “bill of rights of child marriage” and “child labor” with a goal towards incorporating legislation within the UN charters of protections. Abaynesh has been recognized and awarded for her work by organizations including the New York Metropolitan Museum, MLK Jr. Center for Non-Violence, the Association of Black Educators of New York, Africa Chamber of Commerce, the Fistula Foundation, National Council of Women of U.S., the New York Women’s Agenda (Galaxy Woman), and NBS radio talk host and W.F. Ambassador of Peace.

“If we have understanding, we can build peace” Abaynesh says.

Abaynesh is currently a Board member of UN Women’s National Committee, United States Metropolitan New York Chapter, and a member of the Planning Committee of UN NGO CSW, NY, CEDAW Task Force. In the past she served as a Board member for the Museum of Art and Design and New York Women’s Agenda as well as the Fistula Foundation, where she was also National Fundraising Chair for the foundation’s initiative to build a specialty hospital in Harar in 2002. Abaynesh continues to remain involved with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and their established Midwifery College, and has conducted speaking engagements with UNIFEM, UNICEF and the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) planning committee. She also previously served for two terms as President & CEO of the Coalition of Ethiopian Women in New York with the goal of aiding individuals in adjusting to a new adopted country and culture as well as providing resources for violence prevention against women.

We congratulate Abaynesh on her selection as a UN Women 2018 Champion of Change for Gender Equality!


IF YOU GO:
Champions of Change for Gender Equality
Friday, May 18, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
SVA Theatre
333 West 23rd Street New York, NY, 10011United States
Purchase tickets at this link:
6pm Reception
7pm Awards Ceremony

Emcee Laura Brounstein from Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazines. Entertainment by Batalá New York, TrevMoMatic, and Emmy® Award-winner Mickela Mallozzi of PBS’s Bare Feetwith Mickela Mallozzi.

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Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (right) with daughters. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Abiy Ahmed is making Ethiopians feeling optimistic again.

Just this past week the new PM led successful negotiations with neighboring countries that allowed his land-locked country of 100 million people to take a stake in the Port of Djibouti and Port of Sudan.

Now there is even talk of possible peace with Eritrea. Who knows, but if there is success in rekindling formal Ethiopia-Eritrea dialogue it may also lead to Ethiopia’s potential use of Assab Port through a lease or similar business arrangement with Eritrea. Certainly, such a development would also allow the latter to jump-start its economy and reestablish relations with its one-time biggest trading partner that’s now ranked as Africa’s fastest growing economy.

In February when Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister announced his surprise resignation “there was little reason to think his successor would be an improvement,” notes The Washington Post in an article published on Sunday titled “After years of Unrest, Ethiopians are Riding an Unlikely Wave of Hope. Will it Last?

The newspaper adds:”The country was under a state of emergency that followed a years-long state crackdown on opposition political activity. Thousands of activists and dissident journalists had been detained, and hundreds had died in demonstrations crushed by government forces. Then came Abiy Ahmed, who at 42 is one of the youngest leaders on the continent. In his first month as Ethi­o­pia’s premier, he has ushered in an unlikely wave of hope and even optimism in this close U.S. ally that serves as something of a linchpin to the stability of East Africa.”

Furthermore, it is worth repeating that since taking office barely five weeks ago Ethiopia’s charismatic new PM has made an unprecedented outreach to opposition parties and rival leaders calling on them to prepare for peaceful dialogue and negotiations, has conducted well-received visits to cities that were the epicenter of years of anti-government protests, and restored Internet services for the entire country.

In addition, Dr. Abiy is keeping his promise to eliminate “favoritism” toward security forces by undertaking a review of past business contracts awarded to military-industrial conglomerates.

Above all, last month Abiy undertook a much needed national peace tour across the country to foster unity and calm ethnic tensions. Likewise, all indications are that Dr. Abiy will also move soon to lift the unpopular current State of Emergency imposed by his predecessor.

In the end the credit goes to all Ethiopians, both in the homeland and abroad, who have finally put their country on the right path to democracy through courageous demonstrations and years of persistent calls for accountable leaders.


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Book Review: Nafkote Tamirat’s Debut Novel ‘The Parking Lot Attendant’

The following is a New York Times review of Ethiopian American writer Nafkote Tamirat’s new novel 'The Parking Lot Attendant.' (Image via NYT)

The New York Times

The Mysterious ‘Parking Lot Attendant’ at the Center of a Web of Intrigue

At the start of Nafkote Tamirat’s debut novel, “The Parking Lot Attendant,” the narrator — a 17-year-old girl who is never named — has recently arrived with her father on the remote subtropical island of B—, where they’ve found uneasy refuge in a commune. They’ve fled some unspecified trouble in Boston, but the trouble seems to have followed them. The girl is more or less a pariah. She’s miserable and ill at ease, which seems reasonable under the circumstances. The commune’s managerial arrangements can only be described as sinister.

The colonists, as they call themselves, live by rigid rules set out by a group of anonymous leaders. The only book allowed is the Bible, in Amharic. (Fortunately, the narrator is fluent; although she was born in the United States, her parents emigrated from Ethiopia.) The commune on B— is by no means a permanent settlement; the colonists are preparing for a move to a promised land in Africa. They live in limbo and in a state of ever-increasing tension.

From here, Tamirat takes us back to the narrator’s life in Boston. If the girl had friends before she met Ayale, the titular parking lot attendant, they’re not mentioned. Although she dabbled in theater, her focus on school was otherwise absolute. She was raised by her parents, but never both at the same time: Her father walked out while her mother was pregnant, and didn’t return for six years. When he reappeared, her mother promptly abandoned her, and after that the narrator grew up in her father’s basement apartment.

Her father is pensive by nature and uncomfortable around other people, and while there’s good will on both sides, his rapport with his daughter is far from effortless. Still, he tries. After an awkward encounter with an irritating new monk at their church, he starts skipping services in favor of a weekly brunch with his daughter, and their conversations over eggs and pancakes take on a deep importance to her: “Only at brunch could I see him as someone who would stay. At all other times, I prepared myself for his inevitable departure, after which there would be no more parents: I would be alone.”

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Ethiopia Takes Stake in Djibouti Port

(Getty Images)

Bloomberg

Updated: May 2, 2018

Ethiopia and Djibouti agreed to swap stakes in strategic public enterprises including airlines, ports and telecommunications companies, as the Horn of Africa neighbors pursue deeper economic integration.

The deal would include exchanges of shares in Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, Africa’s biggest carrier by revenue, Djiboutian Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh said in an interview. Shareholdings in companies such as Djibouti’s Horizon Oil Terminal and the Doraleh Container Terminal, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp. and Djibouti Telecom SA will also be swapped, he said.

While the deal has been politically “endorsed,” the two countries will form a committee to work out the details, Dawaleh said by phone April 30. Ethiopian Information Minister Ahmed Shide confirmed the agreement in a text message.

The pact came as Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, made his first foreign visit at the weekend to Djibouti, the tiny state located where the Indian Ocean meets the Red Sea and that’s become a strategic hub for the U.S. and China. Landlocked Ethiopia — which the International Monetary Fund ranks as the fastest-growing economy on the continent — is trying to boost its export-oriented manufacturing, making it reliant on neighboring nations with ports.

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Ethiopia to take stake in Port of Djibouti, its trade gateway -state media


Sunset over the port of Djibouti. (Stock Image)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will take a stake in the Port of Djibouti, its main gateway for trade, under a deal reached between the two countries, state media outlets said on Tuesday.

Djibouti had been seeking investors for its port since it terminated Dubai’s state-owned DP World’s concession to run the port two months ago, citing a failure to resolve a six-year contractual dispute.

The port is a key asset for Djibouti, a tiny state along the Red Sea whose location is of strategic value to countries such as the United States, China, Japan and former colonial power France, all of whom have military bases there.

The size of Addis Ababa’s stake was unclear.

State-owned Ethiopian News Agency said the agreement, reached at the weekend during a visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Djibouti, involved the joint development of facilities. In return, Djibouti would have the option of taking stakes in state-owned Ethiopian firms.

“A joint committee of ministers would meet to thrash out details,” Ethiopian New Agency said.

The government had previously said that the port would remain “in the hands of our country” until it found new investors.

Djibouti handles roughly 95 percent of all inbound trade for landlocked Ethiopia, Africa’s second most-populous nation and an economic power in East Africa.

The deal with Djibouti follows Ethiopia’s agreement to acquire a 19 percent stake in the Port of Berbera in the breakaway Somali region of Somaliland. DP World retains a 51 percent stake there, while the government holds the rest.

Ethiopian state companies that Djibouti may look to invest in following the bilateral agreement could include Ethiopian Electric Power and Ethio Telecom – one of Africa’s last remaining telecoms monopolies.


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Teddy Afro Returns to DC for Live Concert on May 5th

Courtesy photo

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Teddy Afro is back in the U.S. and set to perform live in Washington D.C. on May 5th.

This is the singer’s first U.S. concert tour since his latest album, Ethiopia, made the number one spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart last year.

In addition to his album Ethiopia, the 41-year-old pop star’s previous hit records include Abugida (2001), Yasteseryal(2005), and Tikur Sew (2012).

Teddy Afro is known for his socially conscious lyrics emphasizing reconciliation, unity, history, justice, and equality. Last May he was honored with an award by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) “in appreciation of his tireless efforts to preserve our history and culture through his thoughtful and meaningful musical composition and lyrics that make us feel proud as Ethiopians and inspire the new generation of Ethiopians around the world.”


If You Go:
TEDDY AFRO
Sat, May 5, 2018 Doors: 6:00 pm
Show: 8:00 pm
THE ANTHEM
Washington, DC
Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

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

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

Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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North & South Korea Agree to End the Korean War in Historic Accord

In a historic accord the two Koreas have agreed to formally end the Korean War and possibly reunite their countries. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 27th, 2018

After more than six decades of hostilities leaders of the two Koreas have agreed to officially end the Korean War.

The historic joint announcement was made on Friday after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un, signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.”

Ethiopian soldiers in Korea

When the two countries went to war in the 1950s, Ethiopia sent 3,158 troops from the Kagnew Battalions as part of the United Nations forces in the Korean War. Per wiki: “Even after the armistice, a token Ethiopian force remained in the country until 1965.”


The Ethiopian Kagnew (ቃኘው) Battalions were three successive battalions sent by Ethiopia between June 1951 and April 1954 as part of the UN forces in the Korean War. (Photos: Wikimedia)

According to CNN the declaration also included: ​

  • Quadrilateral meetings to be held with the Koreas, the US and China “with a view to declaring and end to the War.”
  • All hostile acts will be ceased, and the demilitarization zone will be turned into a “peace zone.”
  • A commitment to reunite families separated by the war with family reunion programs to resume on August 15 this year.
  • The establishment of a joint liaison office in Kaeseong, a shared economic zone near the border.
  • Closer diplomatic relations between the two countries, at all levels of government.
  • Joint teams to be sent to international events, starting with the 2018 Asian Games.

    CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DECLARATION


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  • The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up

    One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 22nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.K., Hailemichael Aberra Afework, is renewing his country’s call for the unconditional return of cultural and religious treasures that were looted by British troops at the Battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

    More than a decade ago Ethiopia had officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures, that are being held at various locations in England. Unfortunately the request was rejected.

    According to Thomas Ofcansky and David Shinn’s book entitled Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia, the British army had employed approximately 15 elephants and 200 mules to transport the bounty seized from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros II and several Ethiopian Orthodox Christian churches.

    Speaking on how attitudes about the looted treasures have changed, Ambassador Hailemichael told The Art Newspaper in a recent podcast interview that “many people in Britain — the public at large, media, higher education, [those] interested in culture — are all sympathetic to Ethiopia’s demand for the return of these objects” and further hoped that individuals “would understand, the government would understand, the institutions will understand and accept this demand for the objects to be returned to Ethiopia.”

    This month the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the U.K. helped to reignite a public dialogue on the topic of the Mekdela treasures when it made an offer to loan Ethiopia the items on a long term contract. V&A’s Director Tristram Hunt was quoted as saying: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

    “My answer is a quick no,” replied the Ethiopian Ambassador, emphasizing that Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the items. “My government is not interested in loans, it is interested in having those objects returned.”

    The gesture from V&A was made on the eve of the museum’s current exhibition that opened on April 5th showcasing its Meqdela collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

    According to The Art Newspaper, among the nearly two dozen objects featured at the V&A show include “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry” that were forcefully removed from Ethiopia.

    Hailemichael, who attended the opening, indicated that he appreciated the public awareness value of the V&A exhibition. “When you have something that was hidden away and locked in the room displayed, that in itself is something that we appreciate,” said the Ethiopian diplomat.

    The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between the British army led by General Robert Napier while Emperor Tewodros II led the Ethiopian warriors. The primary goal of the British invasion, which has been called “history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation,” was to free a group of European missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros. The Ethiopian king had become upset after he failed to receive a reply to a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria proposing to establish diplomatic and military alliance with his European counterpart. In the end, Emperor Tewodros took his own life and avoided being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

    The British rescue operation is estimated to have cost the British military some $9 million sterling, which converts to billion of dollars today.

    Given that the issue is bigger than one museum, would Ethiopia bring up the matter with U.K.’s Foreign Office?

    The Ethiopian Ambassador did not rule out the possibility. “I hope that the two governments will, down the road, begin to talk about these things,” he stated. “Not only government to government, but institution to institution…so there is quite a lot of understanding among the British public.”

    Ambassador Hailemichael also dismissed the long-held myth that Ethiopia does not have the capability to properly store the objects should they be permanently returned. He mentioned the national museum in Addis Ababa along with other modern museums such as the ones in Lalibela, Axum, Gondar, and Harar as well as universities with active programs on cultural heritage management.

    “The whole of Ethiopia is a museum of its cultural heritage,” Hailemichael said at one point during the interview.

    “The Ethiopian churches have been custodians of such religious objects for centuries,” Hailemichael added. “And therefore the will is there, the capacity is there, the capability is also there, and it should not be an argument at all for not responding positively to the demand of the people of Ethiopia because we can take care of it.”


    Photos: Although Tewodros turned the gun on himself in order to avoid being captured alive, the British soldiers took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain).


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    PM Abiy Visits Gondar & Bahir Dar as Part of National Tour

    Since taking office earlier this month PM Abiy, pictured above in the historic city of Gondar on Friday, has embarked on a national tour across Ethiopia to promote unity. So far he has travelled to Jijiga, Ambo, Mekelle and Gondar. He is expected in Bahir Dar on Saturday. (Photo via Africa News)

    Africa News

    Updated: April 20th, 2018

    Ethiopia Premier Abiy Ahmed on Friday morning arrived in the city of Gondar in the northern Amhara region. The trip forms part of his nationwide tour that started two weeks ago.

    The state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate (FBC) reported that Abiy was received by head of the region, Gedu Andargachew and other top officials of the state.

    As part of his itinerary, he is expected to address residents at the Gondar stadium. “Today’s meeting is parts of his plan to send messages of unity to the public across the country,” the FBC report added.

    He will also deliver an address during the TANA Forum gathering to be held in Bahir Dar on Saturday.

    Read more »


    Related:
    PM Abiy Names Cabinet (Reuters)
    Ethiopia: Prime Minister Sidelines Military On Development Project (Stratfor)
    No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM
    Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
    Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
    Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
    In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
    Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
    Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

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    Ethiopian Student in NYC Awarded Prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

    2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar Samuel Kebede. (Photo credit: Adam Sahilu)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 17th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Samuel Kebede, a third year medical student in New York City has been awarded the highly regarded Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, which is the most prestigious scholarship program for international postgraduate students from the University of Cambridge.

    “I am proud to be representing my country Ethiopia,” Samuel told Tadias. He is currently enrolled at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

    According to Gates-Cambridge: “Funded through a $210 million donation by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the largest ever single donation to a UK university, around 90 scholars are selected each year from a pool of the most academically outstanding applicants to the University. The Scholarship also places an emphasis on selecting those with a proven interest in improving the lives of others by helping address the numerous challenges we face locally, regionally and globally.”

    Professor Stephen Toope, Chair of the Trustees of Gates Cambridge and Vice-Chancellor of the University, explained in a statement that: “The Gates Cambridge scholarships are a perfect fit with the mission of the University – to make a real and significant contribution to society. They attract some of the best students from all over the world and from the most diverse backgrounds, and sustain a global network of leaders who will integrate the university’s values into everything they do. The class of 2018, including bright scholars from 28 nationalities, is a perfect example of the commitment to excellence and to leadership in the service of society that Gates Cambridge scholars exemplify.”

    In his biography posted on the Gates Cambridge website Samuel shared:

    I am originally from Ethiopia but also grew up in Zimbabwe and the Congo. Through my experience living in these different settings, the role of diseases, health disparities and environment made a lasting impact. This realization influenced my decision to gain the knowledge and research skills to prevent and control public health challenges in Africa. I came to the U.S. in 10th grade attending Mercersburg Academy before completing my BA in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate, I devoted much of my time to service in the Baltimore community and was involved in infectious disease projects in Ethiopia, Congo and Baltimore. As a current third-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, I’ve continued to learn more about HIV through a research project in Ethiopia. My time living in the U.S. also peaked my interest in preventable illnesses related to chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease). Delving deeper, I learned more about the growing burden of chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as they relate to the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases on the continent. I hope to be part of efforts for continued policy, practice and research development related to chronic diseases in Africa as a public health physician. I will study the MPhil in Public Health at Cambridge and am excited to be part of the diverse and passionate Gates Cambridge community!”

    Congratulations Samuel! We wish you all the best in your studies as a Gates-Cambridge scholar!

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    Special Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Runway Show

    A special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra, spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show, was held at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City on Friday, April 14th, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 14th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The Amsale Spring 2019 Runway Show was held on Friday, April 13 at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City as a special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra.

    The acclaimed Ethiopian-American fashion designer passed away on April 1st surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

    The deeply moving tribute on Friday, which was held on the terrace of Gramercy Park Hotel, featured a new launch of the Nouvelle Amsale collection and closed with a beautiful Ethiopian model wearing Amsale’s first bridal fashion design eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd.

    Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the Founder and Creative Director of the fashion design house, AMSALE, one of the industry’s leading brands in the United States.

    “For over 30 years, Amsale has been an icon for designs that are powerful in their simplicity. Drama, she believed, emerges when a single, striking detail is offset by a clean silhouette,” the company said in a statement.

    Photos: Special Tribute to the Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show

    Regarding the Nouvelle Amsale Spring 2019 Collection the company added: “Designed for the modern and effortless bride who understands fashion but stays true to her personal style, the Spring 2019 NOUVELLE AMSALE collection reflects Amsale’s sense of timeless simplicity and understated glamour. Mikado and crepe fabrics highlight Amsale’s signature tailoring and clean lines. With her remarkable style comes a softer attitude shown in delicate layers of tulle and embroidered lace. Balancing chic and statement-making, the Spring 2019 collection also features dramatic taffeta ball gowns with low backs and ample volume.”

    Amsale Spring 2019 Collection

    “Inspired by cathedral elegance, this collection is expressed through dresses that are grand yet modern, designed for each individual bride in mind. Femininity is translated in form-fitting silhouettes, open backs and gently scooped necklines. Texture is shown with non-traditional lace and layered fabrication. AMSALE BLUE LABEL makes a statement with upscale ball gowns, pearl and crystal beading and draped bows. Unmistakably AMSALE, the Spring 2019 collection has stunning details, accentuating individuality with effortless elegance.”

    A look back at the Tadias interview with Amsale Aberra

    We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

    “When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

    In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

    Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

    Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

    Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

    Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

    In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

    Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


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    US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing

    Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Chris Smith along with Ethiopian American activists hold a press conference on H. Res. 128 on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @RepMikeCoffman)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: April 10th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 128 on Tuesday condemning Ethiopia’s human rights and governance record.

    The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch welcomed the approval of H. Res. 128 stating that “The non-binding resolution, combined with recent statements from the U.S. Embassy in Addis, sends a strong signal to Ethiopia’s new prime minister that the U.S. expects significant reforms ahead.”

    However, some U.S. lawmakers had expressed objection regarding the timing of the vote given that Ethiopia has just inaugurated a new prime minister who has made a commitment to the public to implement democratic reforms.

    In an opinion article published on Tuesday in The Hill newspaper the senior Senator from Oklahoma, Republican James Inhofe, wrote: ‘Just one week ago, Dr. Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Ethiopia’s new prime minister on a mandate to improve these exact issues… We should give Prime Minister Abiy the opportunity to prove himself as a national leader before having the full weight of the United States House of Representatives tossed against him. A heavy-handed, strongly-worded resolution condemning his government, so soon after being sworn in, will severely curtail Abiy’s ability to enact needed reforms.”

    The resolution calls on the U.S. government to base its future partnership with Ethiopia on the nation’s “demonstrated commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.” The resolution also calls on the U.S. State Department, in coordination with the Department of the Treasury, “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

    The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. “to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.”

    Tuesday’s vote marked the first time in over 100 years of U.S.-Ethiopia relations that U.S. lawmakers had agreed to take up such a bill regarding Ethiopia.

    HRW pointed out: “Resolution 128 was passed in large part because of Ethiopian-American voters concerned with the Ethiopian government’s rights record, who worked together to make themselves an important constituency. Their persistent efforts despite the efforts of the Ethiopian embassy and their Washington lobbyists led to an impressive 108 Congressional representatives from 32 states co-sponsoring this resolution. Hopefully they can build on this success and advocate for binding legislation on Ethiopia.”


    Related:
    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II

    Emperor Tewodros II who died during the battle of Meqdela in April 1868 [150 years ago this month], was born in 1818, marking his 200th birthday this year. (Image: Mereja.com)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 9th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This month Ethiopia will commemorate the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros II with planned events in Gondar, Debre Tabor and Addis Ababa.

    The government affiliated Fana Broadcasting cited Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam as stating that the program, which is set to take place from April 10th to 16th, will include panel discussions and exhibitions.

    Emperor Tewodros has been making international news lately as the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK made an offer last week to loan Ethiopia the treasures that were looted by British troops following the battle of Meqdela in 1868.

    The British campaign was waged 150 years ago this month to free a group of missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros at his Meḳdela fortress after he failed to receive a reply for his diplomatic overtures and a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria requesting military assistance and British experts.

    Although Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive, the British took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain). They also left with a large loot of irreplaceable Ethiopian treasures that are currently housed at various locations in England.

    Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

    In 2007 Ethiopia’s president sent Queen Elizabeth II a formal request for the remains of Prince Alemayehu. As the BBC noted at the time: “The young prince was not the only thing the British took from [Meqdela] – they reportedly needed 15 elephants and nearly 200 mules to carry away the treasures that Tewodros had accumulated. Many of them are still in Britain and the Queen has some of them – notably six of the very finest illuminated manuscripts, which are part of the royal collection in Windsor Castle.”

    Some of the loot is currently on display at the V&A museum in London including “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry,” The Art Newspaper noted quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt who said: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

    According to Fana Broadcasting the Ethiopian government has rejected claims that it is negotiating with the Victoria and Albert Museum of the UK to bring the Meqdela treasures, looted 150 years ago, on long-term loan to the country. “On the contrary we have intensified our efforts for the restitution of all our treasures taken after the battle of Maqdala,” Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam said. Fana adds: “The minister insisted that Ethiopia will further strengthen its demands for the return of treasures from museums and libraries and individuals. There were no discussions about the treasure coming through loan as Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the treasures.”

    Regarding the commemoration of the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros Hirut said: “Emperor Tewodros has played significant role in trying to unite the country and modernizing the country as well as establishing and organizing libraries.”


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    How Ethiopic Script Was Introduced to Modern Computers: Interview with Fesseha Atlaw

    Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 6th , 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Just a couple of decades ago it was unthinkable to see Amharic and other Ethiopian languages on our phones, computers, and other electronic devices. Today, however, Ethiopic script is ubiquitous and is used in many applications including in our communication via text messages and on social media.

    We were curious to find out when and how Ethiopic Script was introduced to modern computers, so we reached out to Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script.

    Fesseha was among those profiled here some 25 years ago in an article titled “Legends of Ethiopic Computing” for his role as the producer of the first usable Ethiopic word processor. The article noted: “Ato Fesseha is best known in the field of Ethiopic computing for providing the genesis for the concept of computerizing the Ethiopian alphabet.”

    “The Ethiopian script has come a long way since it was first applied to a computer program in the early 1980s,” Fesseha says. “We have made a lot of progress in the last three and a half decades, and I get emotional when I think of how far we have come in just 30 years.”

    While working with the Unicode Technical Consortium in the early 90s (where he was the only African participant for 30 years) Fesseha was also responsible for proposing and pushing Ethiopic script to be the computer name instead of Geez or Amharic. “This I did consulting with Ethiopian linguists,” Fesseha explains. “The implication for this name selection was huge. It not only permanently codifies the computer reference to the language to be associated with Ethiopia but also correctly credits that the alphabet origination or development belongs to all Ethiopians.”

    “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

    For Fesseha it was his passion for writing in Amharic rather than his profession in the tech industry that initially inspired him to design the first known Ethiopic Script Software. “I loved writing in Amharic as far back as I remember,” recalls Fesseha in an interview with Tadias.

    In fact he was barely 15 years old when a high school play that he wrote got the attention of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin and was staged at the National Theater garnering him a “thumbs up” review in the Ethiopian Herald and a full page interview on Ethiopia Dimts (የኢትዮጵያ ድምፅ).

    Years later, after Fesseha moved to the United States and became an engineer working for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the heart of Silicon Valley, he still wanted to continue his writing and had contacted people in Ethiopia to send him an Amharic typewriter. But there was one huge problem.

    “I discovered that it was a capital crime to smuggle an Amharic typewriter out of Ethiopia,” Fesseha says. “It was a political punishment to discourage free expression and dissemination of pamphlets and other material by opponents of the military government of Mengistu Hailemariam. As the saying goes ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ so they did not want anybody to have this writing machine.” He adds: “I even contacted Olivetti in Italy that manufactured Amharic typewriters for the Ethiopian market. They told me that they had a contractual obligation with the Ethiopian government not to sell the typewriters outside of Ethiopia.”

    “Necessity is the mother of invention” Fesseha says, explaining that he decided instead to develop a software using the Ethiopic alphabet. Of course there was no such thing as Windows Operating System at the time and personal computers were at very early development stages — home computers were not even in the radar — and buying one was an expensive endeavor. Fesseha rented the cheapest IBM computer (8086 Micro processor) and a “noisy” DOT Matrix printer for $380 per month.

    “It was very crude process,” he recalls. “I had to design screen font and printer font separately for each letter pixel by pixel and grid by grid.”

    Fesseha held his first major demonstration at Stanford University in the mid-1980s. “It was a well attended event,” Fesseha shares. “Many people came including the touring Ethiopian delegation to the U.S.” Shortly thereafter in 1986/87 Fesseha gave his first interview to Voice of America’s Amharic service.

    The touring Ethiopian delegation eventually extended an invitation to him to do a similar demonstration in Ethiopia, which ended up with him hosting a workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. “It was a dramatic day because Mengistu showed up unannounced,” Fesseha chuckles remembering the moment. “All of a sudden they cleared out the room and a whole bunch of military people with machine guns came in. I kind of sensed that it might be Mengistu and he was not my favorite guy. I had demonstrated against him, I used to write articles in U.S. newspapers about the atrocities and killings at that time, so I was a bit nervous to meet him face-to-face.”

    Just as Fesseha guessed, after a few hours of waiting, Mengistu strolled right into the room with his entourage heading straight to the demo table to meet Fesseha. “So I quickly wrote on the screen his favorite slogan: “Hulum Neger Wede Tor Ginbar,” (“ሁሉም ነገር ወደ ጦር ግንባር”), Fesseha says. “To my relief Mengistu found it humorous and smiled from afar.” Although Mengistu was impressed and asked a lot of questions there “was not much productive follow-up afterwards,” Fesseha notes. He returned to California and continued on improving on it and making it available to the public “without any help from the Ethiopian government.”


    Fesseha Atlaw hosting the first Ethiopic software workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa in the mid 1980s. (Courtesy photos)

    What were the most significant milestones in digitizing Ethiopic Script?

    “The most important development in the history of Ethiopic software came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Voice of America (VOA) international service gave Xerox a contract to develop multilingual computers and one of the languages they requested was Amharic,” Fesseha says. “Collaborating with Joe Becker from Xerox I pushed for “Ethiopic” to be the unicode name in the Unicode list of languages,” Fesseha emphasizes. “I am proud of that struggle and I consider it to be my biggest contribution. Now the computer knows our alphabet as ‘Ethiopic’ and even a brand new computer will be able to display and allow you to write Ethiopic characters without having to download or install fonts or programs.”

    What is Unicode?

    “Unicode is an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different computer platforms and software programs. Ethiopic was included in the Unicode standard in 1990. I feel honored to have had a part in the inclusion of Ethiopic in the Unicode standard working with the founder of the Unicode Consortium himself, Dr. Joe Becker of Xerox Corporation. I have been working with Dr. Becker and others in proposing improvements and additions to the set of Ethiopic characters. Members come from high tech companies including IBM, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. While I was at Hewlett Packard and Dashen Engineering I participated representing the two companies, now I am an individual member since I no longer work at HP. I am still the only member from Africa.”

    What is the state of Ethiopic in 2018?

    “The state of Ethiopic is thriving as never before,” says Fisseha enthusiastically. “Now almost all, I would say 90%, of software applications can easily be done in Ethiopic.” Some of these include Amharic Translation such as in Google browser, as well as Amharic OCR and Amharic Natural Language Processing.

    “Regarding the Amharic OCR (Optical Character Recognition), it’s a relatively new technology even for English language users,” Fesseha explains. “The way it works is, the computer takes a picture of a character and matches it with a UNICODE equivalent. The implication is huge. We can now search for a sentence or a word in old scanned books or Amharic documents that were written long time ago before the advent of Ethiopic Software. It also means you can now edit old books and scans as the OCR engine converts any written Ethiopic into editable format after it has been scanned as PDF.”

    As for Amharic Natural Language Processing, “this is where a computer can actually read a book for you (in a synthesized voice) and one can also give instructions to the computer via natural spoken language,” Fesseha adds. “Again the implication is immense. You can speak to the computer or mobile device in Amharic and it will start writing your words. You can do this within an application or cut and paste the written words into any application like Facebook or Twitter or Excel etc. This natural Language processing AI is also allowing us to have our own robot that takes instructions and provides an answer in Amharic (Much the same way as Alexa of Amazon and Siri of Apple). One young developer has called his robot “Meron.” An actual sample conversation looks like this:

    ጤና ይስጥልኝ
    ጤና ይስጥልኝ ስሞትን ማን ልበል?
    ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ
    ሰላም ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ ፣ ሜሮን እባላለሁ
    አማርኛ ትችያለሽ ?
    አዎ
    ጎበዝ

    Fesseha points out that modern graphics design and animation can likewise easily be done in Amharic and cites examples such as TV program graphics, neon signs and animated words and phrases.

    “The sky is the limit,” Fisseha enthuses. “The basis for all this was the foundation that was set some 30 years ago to include Ethiopic in the globalized world language ranks.” Now many young Ethiopians such as MetaAppz, Ethiocloud, Agerigna and many many more have taken it to the next level and are developing applications at a very fast rate.”

    There have been some recent discussions and debates about whether or not Ethiopic should be used to write Afaan Oromo, and Fesseha who also advises the Oromo community in helping to standardize Qube writing system, adds that he does not believe in imposing Ethiopic on anyone.

    “That’s a political issue that Oromos must decide on their own as to the value of using Ethiopic script for Afan Oromo” he says. “As you know Oromiffa has several dialects so Qube is not standardized yet and there are some related technical issues that we are working to resolve at the moment.”

    “Some 40 years ago, Oromo intellectuals felt that Ethiopic/Geez script was too cumbersome to computerize and developed the Qube system,” shares Fesseha. “Now in 2018, Ethiopic can do everything a Latin script can do and in my humble opinion, if Afaan Oromo started using Ethiopic, it would be easier to have Google translate and other technological advances include Afaan Oromo and the rich Oromo language can benefit from the technology sooner than later. I will continue to do my best to help in this regard. I call on Oromo scholars to consider using Ethiopic to write Afaan Oromo not for political reason but for simple technical reasons. Ethiopic script belongs to all Ethiopians like Adwa belongs to all of us.”


    Cover of an old Afaan Oromo Bible መጫፈ ቁልቁሉ reprinted from the 1800′s version.

    Ethiopic Unicode has had characters that represent unique Afaan Oromo sounds such as “በዻኔ” “ዻባ” “ዼሬሳ” … These are not new developments but have been incorporated in the Unicode some 30 years ago as shown in this chart.

    Fesseha emphasizes that the development of Ethiopic Script incorporated the participation of many individuals over the years in helping to fine-tune the process. He notes: “From the beginning it was a community-based effort and the credit goes to lots of people and especially the young engineers who are continuously refining the use of Ethiopic in various technology platforms.”


    You can learn more about the history of Ethiopic Software and contact Fesseha Atlaw at fesseha@optmax.com or through www.ethiopicsoftware.org.

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    A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia

    In his inaugural speech PM Abiy Ahmed called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital. (EPA)

    The Economist

    IN ITS three decades of existence, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has gone through only two leaders. Neither came to power through a competitive vote. So it was with a sense of novelty that Ethiopians awaited the outcome of a secret ballot held on March 27th to determine the new chairman of the coalition and, by extension, the country’s prime minister.

    The result was also historic. Abiy Ahmed (pictured) won the backing of 108 party bigwigs, while 59 went for Shiferaw Shigute, his closest rival. On April 2nd Mr Abiy was sworn in as prime minister, making the 42-year-old Africa’s youngest leader. He will also be the first in modern Ethiopian history to identify as Oromo—from the largest, and lately the most rebellious, of the country’s ethnic groups…

    He takes office on a wave of goodwill. Taxis across Oromia are emblazoned with his photo. Activists abroad tweeted their support. Even in Addis Ababa, the capital, where locals are wary of his ethnic nationalism, there is optimism. In his inaugural speech Mr Abiy apologised for the government’s killing of protesters. He called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s long-standing enemy. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital.

    Read more »


    Related:
    In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
    Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

    Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
    Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
    Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
    Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
    Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
    Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

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    UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

    One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 4th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK is offering to loan Ethiopia its own treasures that were looted by British troops at the battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

    Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures that are being held at various locations in England more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

    It’s also worth noting that the latest noncommittal gesture from V&A comes on the eve of the Museum’s exhibition due to open on April 5th showcasing its Meqdelā collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

    “On show will be 20 items, including a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewellery,” The Art Newspaper noted. “The formal opening will be attended by Ethiopia’s minister of culture and tourism, Hirut Woldemariam, and the ambassador to the UK, Hailemichael Aberra Afework.”

    “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum,” the publication stated quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt. “This offer is likely to put pressure on other UK institutions that hold seized Ethiopian material, including the British Museum and the British Library.”

    In a related story The Guardian argued: “The offer is significant given the pledge by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the return of African artefacts would be a “top priority” for his administration.”

    The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between British soldiers led by Robert Napier and Ethiopians led by Emperor Tewodros II. Per Wiki: “In March 1866 a British envoy had been dispatched to secure the release of a group of missionaries who had first been seized when a letter Tewodros II had sent to Queen Victoria requesting munitions and military experts from the British, delivered by an envoy, Captain Cameron, had gone unanswered. They were released; however Tewodros II changed his mind and sent a force after them and they were returned to the fortress and imprisoned again, along with Captain Cameron.” In the end, Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

    The Guardian added: “The loan proposal has been welcomed by the Ethiopian state and campaigners, but Hunt said it was a complex debate and it was important not to extrapolate a “blanket policy”. He told the Guardian: “You have to take it item by item and you have to take it history by history. Once you unpick the histories of the collections it becomes a great deal more complicated and challenging.”

    We’re not exactly sure why returning looted property to its rightful owners is complicated and challenging, but you can read both articles at the following links:

    V&A opens dialogue on looted Ethiopian treasures (The Art Newspaper)

    Looted Ethiopian treasures in UK could be returned on loan (The Guardian)


    Related:
    Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
    150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
    A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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    Ethiopian American Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra Passes Away

    Acclaimed Ethiopian American wedding fashion designer Amsale Aberra has passed away at the age of 64. Born in Addis Ababa in 1954, Amsale who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the founder and creative director of the bridal label Amsale, one of the industry's leading brands in the United States. (Photo: WE tv)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    April 2nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — We are deeply saddened to report that Amsale Aberra, Ethiopian-American Founder and Creative Director of the bridal and fashion design house, AMSALE, passed away yesterday (April 1st). A statement from the company shares that Amsale “was surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital” where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

    We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

    “When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

    In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

    Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

    Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

    Amsale had shared the design process that her team undertakes as incorporating inspiration and keeping in mind that everyone won’t fit the same style.

    “I really am very practical,” Amsale had said when speaking about her bridal designs. “I mean does it work? Is it something not just only beautiful but is it functional? Brides will look beautiful if they are comfortable. The point of the whole day is for the bride to have fun after she looks amazingly beautiful.”

    Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, also shared her enthusiasm and admiration for the current generation of youth who are pursuing their dreams as designers, and offered a few words of wisdom for them: “What I really want to say to anyone is basically believe in yourself and don’t ever think it’s easy. It is hard and you have to keep that passion. You have to find a way to show it without quitting. Eventually things will happen. And that’s what I would say to all designers.”

    Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

    In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

    Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

    Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


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