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Hailu Mergia: An African Funk Pioneer Gets a Second Chance on a Global Stage

Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian piano luminary, has been working as a Washington cabby, but now he’s releasing “Lala Belu,” his first collection of new music in two decades. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

FORT WASHINGTON, MD. — When Hailu Mergia releases his album “Lala Belu” on Friday, it will be this Ethiopian piano luminary’s first collection of new music in two decades. And it will be his first ever aimed largely at a worldwide audience.

Until recently, Mr. Mergia, 71, was hardly known outside of his home country, where he is seen as a musical pioneer. For most of the past 20 years, he has lived in the Washington area and driven a taxi, picking up passengers at Dulles Airport and toting an electric keyboard in his trunk. He still drives the cab for extra cash. In idle moments, he hauls out the keyboard and sits alone in the back seat, his eyes closed, improvising.

Mr. Mergia had long given up performing publicly when the 2013 reissue of “Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument,” a mostly forgotten gem from 1985, turned him into a cult celebrity among music obsessives across the globe, and set him off on tours of the United States and Europe. He has kept up a consistent schedule of international performances ever since.

On a recent Saturday, Mr. Mergia sat in an easy chair at his home here, describing how he relates to the audience he’s garnered in the past few years. “The idea of ‘Lala Belu’ is, it’s a composition you can sing with everybody,” he said, referring to the new album’s title track. “It’s simple. No Amharic lyrics, no English lyrics. Just ‘lala.’ Whenever we have a show, we just play that song, and everybody’s singing with us.”


In the 1960s and ’70s, Mr. Mergia, foreground, led the Walias Band, which gave Ethiopian music a more electrified sound. The group held a residency at the Hilton for approximately 10 years.

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Related:
Vice Magazine Features Hailu Mergia

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Ethiopia: Hold Early General Elections

In the wake of last week's bombshell departure announcement by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, there could be no doubt that the movement for political change in Ethiopia has reached the point of no return. But it remains to be seen if the protesters and the leaders (on all sides) will rise to the occasion and channel the popular anger into a more positive energy to bring about lasting peace and democracy through free and fair elections, as soon as possible. Building real democracy, however, also requires shading our culture of zero-sum politics and learning the art of give and take. The following is an excerpt from a thoughtful article on the subject by Rene Lefort published today by the Open Democracy website. (Photo: Xinhua)

Open Democracy

Crisis in Ethiopia: elections, and fast!

Excerpt

The crisis in Ethiopia has suddenly gained momentum and reached a tipping point. Things could go either way. The country could dig itself even deeper, with consequences that don’t bear thinking about. Or there could be a broad realisation that Ethiopia is “at the precipice”, bringing a surge of realism and pragmatism that would finally start a process of political rebuilding on solid, inclusive and lasting foundations.

This will require compromise, an attitude that is, to say the least, somewhat unfamiliar in traditional Ethiopian culture. All the actors will have to find a balance between what they would like to get and what they can get, between the short-term and the long-term. But time is short, numbered in weeks, maybe days.

Capsizing

The system of government introduced in 1991…is irremediably dead. The snap resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on February 15 marked the serving of the official death certificate…Hailemariam probably did not want to be held responsible in the event that it should capsize. He may also have hoped that his departure would back the ruling coalition into a corner and leave it with no other alternative than to set a course out of the storm and form a new crew capable of following it…

Ethnic clashes and nationalist hysteria

“Ethnic clashes” are proliferating. In some cases the regional or local security forces do nothing to stop them. A symptom of this odious climate: on websites accessible in Ethiopia , especially in the comments sections, overtly racist interethnic attacks, which would be an offense anywhere else, are flourishing as never before.

Early general elections

First, they would clarify the political landscape. Each force would be required to present voters with its flagship measures for rebuilding the system of political, economic, military or security power. The goal would not simply be a change of regime. It would include the distribution of powers and resources within the federation, hence the famous “nationalities question” that lies at the heart of the current crisis and for almost two centuries has undermined the capacity of Ethiopians to live together.

Click here to read the full article »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Great Rift (Foreign Policy Magazine)
U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)
UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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CREW Announces 2018 MSF Research Grant on Topics Affecting Ethiopian Women

The academic fellowship is dedicated to Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw (right), the former President of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women. (Photo by Matt Andrea: Dr. Maigenet Shifferaw speaking at a Tadias roundtable event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2013)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship (MSF) announced that it’s now accepting research proposals from around the world on topics affecting Ethiopia women internationally.

The annual academic fellowship, which is managed by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “provides short-term financial compensation for those conducting research on girls or women [as well as] community organizations striving to empower or improve the situation of Ethiopian girls and women in Ethiopia,” the announcement said.”

The fellowship was established two years ago to honor the late Ethiopian researcher and activist Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, who was the founding President of CREW. Describing its guiding principles, MSF’s media statement reads: “First, the experience of Ethiopian women and girls, like in other parts of the world, needs to be researched and documented so that we all can gain some knowledge and serve humanity better. Second, those who strive to protect women and girls’ rights and improve their situation need to be recognized and encouraged.”

CREW states that it encourages applicants to submit their proposal by March 10, 2018.


Learn more about the fellowship at centerforethiopianwomen.org.

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U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency

People celebrating Bekele Gerba's release in Adama on February 14, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The latest suspension of basic rights in Ethiopia came following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation on Thursday following his decision to release thousands of opposition prisoners. Hailemariam had said: “I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

The United States is now urging its close ally Ethiopia to reconsider the newly imposed state of emergency, but Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa said on Saturday that the current state of emergency will last for six months and includes “a ban on protests and publications that incite violence.” The U.S. said the state of emergency erodes confidence in “recent positive steps toward creating a more inclusive political space, including the release of thousands of prisoners.”

“We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression,” the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia said in a press statement. “We recognize and share concerns expressed by the government about incidents of violence and loss of life, but firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom, not less.”

The press release added: “The challenges facing Ethiopia, whether to democratic reform, economic growth, or lasting stability, are best addressed through inclusive discourse and political processes, rather than through the imposition of restrictions…We strongly urge the government to rethink this approach and identify other means to protect lives and property while preserving, and indeed expanding, the space for meaningful dialogue and political participation that can pave the way to a lasting democracy.”


Related:
UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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Ethiopia Back Under State of Emergency

Demonstrators celebrate the release of political prisoners in Adama. (Photo: Reuters)

Reuters

Updated: February 17, 2018

Ethiopia says state of emergency will last six months

ADDIS ABABA – A state of emergency imposed in Ethiopia a day after the prime minister resigned will last for six months, the defence minister said on Saturday, as authorities sought to tamp down unrest in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Outbreaks of violence had continued in parts of the country and the government was banning protests, along with the preparation and dissemination of publications “that could incite and sow discord”, Siraj Fegessa told journalists.

“The government has previously made several efforts to curtail violence, but lives have continued to be lost, many have been displaced and economic infrastructure has been damaged.”

Further measures would be announced later in the day, he said.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his surprise resignation in a televised speech on Thursday, the first time in modern Ethiopian history that a sitting prime minister had quit. He said he wanted to smooth the way for reforms.

A day later, the government imposed the state of emergency. Parliament – where the four-party ruling coalition controls all 547 seats – is expected to ratify it within two weeks.

Ethiopia is East Africa’s biggest and fastest-growing economy and a Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy. But rights groups have often criticised the government for clamping down on political opponents and the media.

Since January, Ethiopia has released more than 6,000 prisoners charged with taking part in mass protests and, in some cases, offences against the state. It has also closed down a jail where activists alleged torture took place.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)

(Photo by Girma Berta/Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
Editorial

Updated: February 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — On Thursday, February 15th, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation, following his recent promise to release political prisoners, which has set off a historic moment in Ethiopia for a peaceful social and political reform.

In his televised speech Hailemariam said: “Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many. I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

Now, the question is where does the country go from here?

As Reuters reported: “Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.”

While we welcome the release of thousands of prisoners who were unfairly incarcerated including journalists Eskinder Nega, Woubshet Taye, and the dropping of charges against Zone 9 bloggers and other prominent political opposition figures, we also caution 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.

We hope the future of a new Ethiopia will also include a robust participation by existing (and or yet to be formed) political parties that are organized based on ideas and not necessarily by ethnic affiliation.

For better or worse Ethiopia is at a crossroads and it is high time for this generation to seize the moment and assure the continuity of the country’s long history as well as our shared and sovereign culture.


Related:
PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced on Thursday that he is stepping down from his position as Ethiopia's chief executive in order to accelerate the political reform that he set in motion last month when he offered to release political prisoners. (Photo: Reuters)

Reuters

Ethiopia’s PM offers resignation to help reforms after mass unrest

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Thursday he had submitted his resignation as both premier and the chairman of the ruling coalition in an effort to facilitate reforms following a period of mass unrest.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

“Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many,” Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation.

“… I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said.

Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country’s parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

Click here for updated version of this story »


Related:
Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency After Premier Resigns (Bloomberg)
Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn in surprise resignation (BBC)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison

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

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

February 14, 2018

New York — The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes news that Ethiopian journalists Eskinder Nega and Woubshet Taye are free from prison after each served nearly seven years.

“We are pleased that Eskinder Nega and Woubshet Taye are finally free since their arrests and convictions were shameful miscarriages of justice,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “We now urge the Ethiopian government to drop charges against other journalists and to implement the reforms needed for a free press to flourish.”

Woubshet and Eskinder were both arrested in 2011 and convicted in 2012 in unrelated cases. CPJ research shows that the terror-related charges the journalists faced were fabricated in retaliation for their critical reporting.

Eskinder, a prominent columnist and editor of now-shuttered newspapers, and Woubshet, a former editor with Awramba Times, were among 746 prisoners that the Ethiopian government last week announced would be pardoned, according to news reports.


Related:
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms
Ethiopia to Release Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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Exiled Athlete Demssew T. Abebe Reunites With Family in U.S. on Valentine’s Day

Exiled Ethiopian marathoner Demssew Tsega Abebe, his wife Nigat Teferi Mulat, and their children, Dagmawi, 5, and Soliyana, 2. (Family photo)

The Washington Post

Elite runner who was tortured and fled Ethiopia reunites with his family in the U.S. — on Valentine’s Day

Demssew Tsega Abebe was a famous marathon runner in Ethiopia and was expected to be on his country’s Olympic team. But his career was cut short when he was tortured for peacefully protesting his government’s policies. His heels and feet were so severely lashed he could not run for more than a year.

He fled to the Washington area in 2016, and he has been trying to bring his wife and two children to the United States ever since, in part to get medical care for his 5-year-old son, Dagmawi, who cannot speak. Until today, Abebe had never met his 2-year-old daughter, Soliyana, as his wife was pregnant with her when he fled.

Last week, Abebe learned that his family had won a humanitarian immigration petition to join him. Fittingly, they arrived early Valentine’s Day morning at Dulles International Airport. He held his daughter for the first time.

“Exceptional feeling,” he said in a text from the airport. “So thrilled, so happy.”

Yesterday, before they arrived, his voice broke with emotion as he thought about the moment he would see them. “I miss my family, my children. My son, he knows he waits a long time, but I am coming back to him.”

He said Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a holiday in Ethiopia, but he said he is proud to be reuniting with his family on a day that celebrates love, in a nation where he is free to express himself.

“I am so happy, I thank God,” said Abebe, 29, who lives in Silver Spring.

Read more »


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This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia: Vice Mag Features Hailu Mergia

Left: Photo collage by a fan (unknown) at the Hilton Hotel, late 1960s. Right: Hailu Mergia today. (Vice)

Vice

This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia

As a young man living in Addis Ababa during the swinging 60s, Hailu Mergia was a superstar. The Ethiopian capital city was a bustling cosmopolis where art and culture flourished amid the country’s uneasy quest for independence.

His jazz and funk band, the Walias, performed for the domestic and international elite at the then-prestigious Hilton Hotel’s music club, which granted residencies to Ethiopia’s hottest bands. Crowds of dignitaries and foreign diplomats, Hollywood movie stars, famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Alice Coltrane, and important African figures like Manu Dibango would flock to the hotel to dance and jam until sunrise.

“When we played in the Hilton Hotel, the audience was full of people from around the world, so everybody had requests for different kinds of music. Sometimes we’d play Indian melodies, sometimes we’d play Arabic music. We’d pick up American soul, blues, and jazz melodies and then improvise on them in our own music,” Mergia remembers.

Read more »


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Helen Kassa’s Ethio-Australian Film ‘Found in a Dream’ Premieres at PAFF 2018 in LA

'Found in a Dream' by independent filmmaker Helen Kassa will screen at the 26th Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, California on February 15th and February 17th, 2018. (Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This month the newly released film entitled Found in a Dream by Australia-based Ethiopian filmmaker Helen Kassa is set to premiere at the 2018 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.

The feature was shot in Ethiopia and Australia and is “a story about community issues around young, migrant African men set in Melbourne, Australia,” explains Helen Kassa who wrote, directed and produced the film. “Namely, issues of feeling alone and a sense of not belonging that leads young immigrants to struggle with relationships, education and work.” It explores these themes through Abeselom, a hardened drug dealer. Luckily, Abeselom’s life takes a positive turn when he discovers true intimacy and deep affection after starting a relationship with a beautiful woman named Nesanet. The romantic drama “Found in a Dream is about love, culture, and ultimately, finding comfort within each other.”

The movie’s Ethiopian cast include Netsanet Tefera (who plays Netsanet who works as nurse), Adiam Tefera (Abeselom’s mother), Aminadab Yoseph (young Abeselom) as well as Mekonen Laeake and Genet Nigatu.

The 26th Pan African Film Festival kicked off in Los Angeles on February 8th and will run through February 19th. Found in a Dream is scheduled to be screened on Thursday, February 15th and Saturday, February 17th.


If You Go:
More information and tickets at www.paff.org.

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Book: The Abba Garima Manuscripts of Ethiopia’s Ancient Christian Civilization

The Abba Garima Ge'ez manuscripts are among the world's oldest illustrated Bible stories. (Photo: Monk holding Abba Garima II-III bound together in embossed silver covers, ca. 2000. Courtesy of Michael Gervers)

Marginalia — Los Angeles Review of Books

It’s not every day that scholars discover new Bible manuscripts from the ancient world. It’s even rarer to discover ones endowed with luxurious painted images. Yet this is precisely what has happened over the past decade thanks to groundbreaking research into three ancient codices from Ethiopia, the earliest surviving copies of the Gospels in Ethiopic.

The manuscripts, which were produced and are still housed at the Monastery of Abba Garima in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, were not completely unknown to experts before, having been published for the first time in the 1960s. But recent work by Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson—published in a spectacular new book—has led to a radical reassessment of their dates and significance. Through radio-carbon testing and fresh analysis of their iconography and texts, we now know that the three Abba Garima Gospels were copied not in the tenth or eleventh centuries, as once thought, but between the fifth and seventh centuries at the zenith of Ethiopia’s ancient Christian civilization. For anyone interested in the history of the Bible, late antiquity, or Ethiopia itself, this is very big news.


The Abba Garima manuscripts. (Photo courtesy of Michael Gervers)

To put the discovery in perspective, the Abba Garima manuscripts are among the very oldest illustrated Gospels in the world. When it comes to firmly dated parallels, only the Syriac Rabbula Gospels, produced near Antioch in 586, is earlier. The Abba Garima Gospels are also older than several of the greatest monuments of Western manuscript illumination, including the Codex Amiatinus, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and the Book of Kells, all of which were copied in the British Isles between the eighth and ninth centuries. Then, as today, Ethiopia lay far, far away from Syria and Ireland. Despite this, the manuscripts show striking similarities to the art of other ancient Christian cultures outside of Africa. Indeed, they are a testament to the deep connections between Ethiopia and the wider late antique world.

Read more »


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UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms

Eskinder's wife, Serkalem Facil, told VOA that her husband declined to sign the letter of pardon because it states he was a member of Ginbot 7. Meanwhile the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the development saying it was an attempt to "compel Eskinder to sign a false confession before releasing him under a presidential pardon." (Photo: Andualem Arage and Eskinder Nega/VOA )

VOA News

BY Tsion Taddese

Updated: February 9th, 2018

Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega and two prominent opposition figures have refused to sign letters of pardon from the government, holding up their planned release from prison.

Eskinder and opposition leaders Andualem Arage and Abebe Kesto — all critics of the government — are among 746 prisoners set for release following an announcement Thursday by Ethiopia’s attorney general.

But Eskinder’s wife, Serkalem Facil, has told VOA’s Horn of Africa Service that her husband declined to sign the letter of pardon because it states he was a member of Ginbot 7, a political organization banned in Ethiopia.

“Eskinder, Andualem and others were summoned by prison officers. They were asked to sign a form saying they are members of the Ginbot 7 movement as a precondition for their release,” Serkalem said. “Eskinder refused to sign the form, saying that he is not a member of the organization. So, I know there is no deal.”

Fantu Aragie, the sister of Andualem Arage, said her brother and Abebe Kesto also refused to sign the pardon letter.

“The three of them refused to ask the government for a pardon. In fact, they informed them that the government should ask them for a pardon,” she said.

All three men remained in prison Friday.

Read more »


Related:
Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage to be Freed (AFP)


Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage. (Image: Amnesty International)

AFP

February 08, 2018

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia’s attorney general ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners on Thursday, state media reported, including journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage whose jailings drew international condemnation.

The pair are the latest high-profile detainees to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced last month that Ethiopia would allow an unspecified number of detained “politicians” to leave jail.

“The Federal Attorney General today pardoned a total of 746 suspects and prisoners, including Eskindr (sic) Naga and Andualem Arage,” state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said.

“About 417 of the pardoned inmates are federal prisoners jailed on terrorism, inciting violence, religious extremism and other related convictions,” Fana added.

The prisoners will be released after undergoing “rehabilitation training” and receiving approval from Ethiopia’s president, the broadcaster reported.

Eskinder had been jailed for 18 years and Andualem for life…

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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Interview: Jano Band Talks New Album

Jano Band became the first Ethiopian band to feature on Coke Studio Africa last year when they collaborated with South African singer Shekhinah in Nairobi, Kenya. Jano band launched their second album on February 1st, 2018. (Photo: Jano Band)

Music in Africa

The band – which consists of two female vocalists, two male lead vocalists and six musicians who play bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, keyboards and a drum – was brought together by its former manager Addis Gessesse in 2011.

Since the release of Ertale in 2012, the group has collaborated and worked with the industries finest including American producer Bill Laswell who helped the group sparkle in the international arena.

In September last year, news broke that the band was on the verge of a break up. The band disputed the reports through its current manager Sammy Tefera who went on and announced that the band would be launching its second album early this year. Music In Africa caught up with one of the band’s lead vocalists Dibekulu Tafesse to talk about their 16 track album released on 1 February.

MUSIC IN AFRICA: What was the inspiration behind the album title Lerasih New?

DIBEKULU TAFESSE: We named the album Lerasih New because it is a commonly used word which translates to “For Yourself”. Our songs carry different themes that our fans relate to and in this album, we choose to urge our fans to be conscious of their actions. As human beings we ocassionally do things without thinking about the consequences. So in this album we are pushing for self awareness because no one should intentionally hurt themselves or ruin their lives simply because they made the wrong choice.

Was the album produced in Ethiopia?

The assembling of the music which is normally the first stage of recording was done in Ethiopia but the engineering process was done in Italy at the BluMusica Studio in Turin and the final mastering done at Lurseen Mastering Studio in Los Angeles, Califonia.

Read more »


Related:
Watch: JANO Band performing at Howard Theatre in DC on July 4th, 2013 (TADIAS Interview)

Watch: The Ethiopian Rock Band Jano – Interview with Producer Bill Laswell (TADIAS)

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Debo Band’s Celebration of Ayalew Mesfin

Ayalew Mesfin. (Courtesy photo)

Press Release

Vinyl Me, Please Magazine

A Celebration of Ayalew Mesfin w/ Debo Band: Mourning, Protest & Hope

UPDATE: Recently in the Ethiopian town of Waldiya (the hometown of Ayalew Mesfin) seven civilians were killed by government military (including a 9yr old child) and as many as 15 were injured while celebrating the second day of Epiphany. This tragedy is another gruesome chapter in what has been a violent period in Ethiopian history as demonstrators have been calling for political and economic reforms and an end to state corruption and human rights abuses. In total, 13 people have died and over 50 people have been injured in similar incidents over the past several weeks. It is customary in Ethiopia after a tragedy to abstain from singing or celebration as people mourn.

Ayalew’s heart was broken by this recent news and he has struggled to find an appropriate response that honors his cultural traditions, but also highlights to the world what is going on in his home country. With this in mind he has chosen to limit his role in the upcoming performances [in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Denver] as he mourns with his countrymen & women. Ayalew will join Debo band to sing a song of mourning for his people, followed by a full set by Debo band who will celebrate the music of Ayalew in what promises to be an incredible cultural moment of both mourning, protest & hope for a better future for Ethiopia.

Click here to learn more.


Related:
Ayaléw Mèsfin, a lost voice from Ethiopia’s Golden Age (Berkeleyside)
Spotlight: The Revived Ethio-Groove Of Ayalew Mesfin and His U.S. Tour (TADIAS)

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Ethiopian Airlines Launches Direct Flight From Addis Ababa to Chicago

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 6th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines is launching a direct flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago later this year making America’s “Windy City” its fourth destination in the United States after Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey.

“West-bound, Passengers from the entire continent of Africa will connect to Chicago and beyond through our Addis Ababa hub in the late evenings; likewise, east-bound travelers from the USA will also connect to all over Africa in the morning through Addis,” the airline announced in a press release. “In both cases, the connectivity is designed in such a way that we are able to avail one of the shortest total travel times for our customers.”

The airline said the flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago will commence effective as of June 9th, 2018.


(Photo: Ethiopianairlines.com)

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre-Mariam noted that Chicago, which is the third biggest city in the U.S., is “one of the most important global aviation hubs. We will be filling a critical air connectivity vacuum as our flights will be the only direct service between Chicago and Africa.”

Tewolde 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 U.S. connecting to more than 55 destinations in Africa.”


(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

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


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The Australian Features Dr. Catherine Hamlin, Honorary Citizen of Ethiopia

Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin, who has lived in Ethiopia since 1959, is the founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Ethiopia conferred an honorary citizenship on Dr. Hamlin in 2012. (Courtesy photo)

The Australian Magazine

Almost 60 years ago, two Australian doctors and their young son arrived in Ethiopia on a three-year contract to work as obstetrician-gynaecologists and establish a midwifery school. “The fistula patients will break your heart,” a colleague warned them, and he was right. Thousands of young women had suffered serious internal injuries during childbirth that left them incontinent and shunned by families and villagers.

Little or no treatment was available, prompting Reg and Catherine Hamlin to refine a surgical technique to repair these women, giving them back their lives. In the face of civil war and famine, they went on to revolutionise maternal healthcare in Ethiopia, building hospitals, training doctors and repairing more than 50,000 women. At 94, Catherine is still going, having lost Reg to cancer 25 years ago. She tells journalist Sue Williams: “All I can do is to carry on with this work.’’ A more remarkable woman you will not meet.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Honors Dr. Catherine Hamlin with Honorary Citizenship

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Yekatit 12 Event in Harlem Remembers Fascist War Crimes in Ethiopia

The Yekatit 12 monument in Addis Ababa. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 2nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — It was 81 years ago this month that the invading Fascist Italian troops went on a killing rampage in Ethiopia that claimed over a million lives including at least 30,000 within a 3-day period who were murdered in Addis Ababa. In addition many churches and homes were burned. The violent campaign was waged in retaliation for the attempted assassination of Rodolfo Graziani, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s top Ethiopia enforcer, by Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom.

Ethiopians eventually won the war, but not before the war criminal Graziani left a permanent mark with his wanton brutality now remembered by Ethiopians as the Yekatit 12 massacre.

“The Vatican blessed the Italian invasion as if it were a holy mission,” says the announcement from the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA), which is co-sponsoring an upcoming event in New York marking the 81st anniversary of Yekatit 12th. “This historically forgotten genocide perpetrated against Ethiopians took place during 1935-41.”

The event is scheduled to be held on February 18th at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. ECMAA says the gathering will feature speakers including Professor Getatchew Haile and Dr. Habtamu Tegegne as well as selected Amharic poetry readings.

ECMAA adds that its demanding: “The payment of adequate reparations by the Italian Government to Ethiopia; a Vatican apology to the Ethiopian people for its complicity with Fascist Italy; Restitution of looted Ethiopian properties by the Italian and Vatican Governments; Inclusion in the United Nations records of the Fascist war crimes in Ethiopia; and the dismantlement of the Graziani monument inaugurated at Affile in the presence of a Vatican representative.”


If You Go:
The 81st Anniversary of “Yekatit 12th”
February 18, 2018
from 3:00PM-7:00PM
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 West 125th Street, 2nd floor
New York, New York 10027
(Near 2,3,A,B,C,D subway lines)
Co-sponsored by: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association

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Expansion of Ethiopia’s First Industrial Park Reopens Old Wounds

Dukem, Ethiopia. (Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Tom Gardner)

Reuters

DUKEM, Ethiopia – The scenic road from Addis Ababa to the small town of Dukem is peppered with signs of industry: warehouses and factories, garages and gas stations, newly-built rail tracks and a freshly paved highway.

Dukem, just a short drive south of the capital, is home to Ethiopia’s first industrial park, the Chinese-owned Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ), and some of the country’s most fertile land.

For more than a decade, it has been on the frontline of a government-led push to turn the still overwhelmingly agricultural country into Africa’s manufacturing hub.

Chinese companies are constructing five industrial zones, while the government plans to have 15 industrial parks nationwide by June 2018.

Last year, the EIZ, which hosts companies ranging from shoe manufacturers and steelmakers to leather processors and car assemblers, embarked on a new expansion phase.

The move, which means expropriating an additional 167 hectares of rural land around Dukem and the relocation of around 300 farmers, has sparked anger among locals and reopened old wounds.

“We were the first,” Shewangizaw, a middle-aged farmer who lost his fields to an Ethiopian-owned factory back in 2006, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation bitterly.

He and around 40 other farmers were relocated – without fair compensation, they argue – when some of the first factories arrived in the area a decade or so ago.

“I don’t have any land now,” said his 72 year-old neighbor, Bashada, who lost nearly five hectares of farmland then and now rents one hectare from an older neighbor for 10,000 birr ($367) a year.

The group is campaigning to have its case heard by the federal government.

“It’s not fair,” said Shewangizaw. “Our families were just destroyed. At the time compensation paid to us was so, so cheap. And we don’t have any land to farm or live on now.”

ANGRY ONCE MORE

Muhammed Tilahun, vice-head of the Dukem Land Development and Management Office, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the local government was now addressing the concerns of farmers.

That includes 190 farmers and their children who lost their land back in 2007 and are now being given additional land to support them, he said.

Yet the anger expressed by Shewangizaw and his fellow farmers is echoed across much of central Ethiopia, which has experienced rapid urbanization and fledgling industrialization over the past decade.

Read more »


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Grammys 2018: The Weeknd Wins Best Urban Contemporary Album

The Weeknd. (WireImage)

Pitchfork

The Weeknd has won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. His 2016 record Starboy took home the award over Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”, SZA’s Ctrl, Khalid’s American Teen, and 6LACK’s FREE 6LACK. Best Urban Contemporary Album was the Weeknd’s sole nomination at the 2018 Grammys. Recently, Abel Tesfaye announced that he and Marvel are developing a “Starboy” comic book series that’s planned for release this year.

Read more »


Related:
The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye A Rising Starboy (Video)
Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It
2016: The Weeknd Wins Two Grammys

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Ethiopian American Community Bank to Open in DC

An Ethiopian American Community bank called Marathon International is in the process of opening in Washington, DC. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Plans are under way to open a bank in the Washington, D.C. area that will cater to the Ethiopian American community in the United States. Ethiopians are one of the largest, most educated and affluent African immigrant populations in America.

According to American Banker, a resource for the U.S. banking and financial services industry, an application was recently submitted to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to establish a bank called Marathon International in Washington D.C.

“While Marathon would offer loan and deposit products to a broad range of individuals, along with small and midsize businesses, it will have a particular emphasis on serving the banking needs of U.S. residents of Ethiopian origin,” states the news release by American Banker citing Marathon International’s application. The report also notes that Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat, who previously worked at PNC and Bank of America, will serve as the bank’s first president.

The American Banker also reports that “Several prominent Ethiopian-Americans are expected to serve on Marathon’s board, including Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former managing director of the Development Bank of Ethiopia who is set to serve as chairman,” “The bank plans to raise $22 million to $25 million by selling common stock. It has already posted a job listing looking for people who are fluent in Amharic.”

The announcement adds: “Organizers also plan to market to Ethiopian-Americans through targeted advertising, referrals, affinity relationships and sponsoring local Ethiopian-focused events, the application said. Marathon will also offer an education program that will target underbanked or underserved Ethiopians to bring them into the banking system.”

“Marathon International Bank is an Ethiopian American Community bank with a wide shareholder base capable of guiding the bank’s operations, growth, and its long term trajectory,” Zekarias Tamrat describes the venture on his Linkedin page.


Zekarias Tamrat, is set to be become President of Marathon International Bank. (Photo: Linkedin)

“Our vision is to help transform the Ethiopian community into a far more economically engaged, creative and vibrant member of the wider and diverse US community,” Zekarias says. “To become a differentiated provider of financial services by leveraging our understanding of the unique financial needs of the Ethiopian American Community.”

Steven Lanter, the lawyer who is handling the application for Marathon, told American Banker that “The organizers’ passion for this application and proposed bank is unmatched. For some of the organizers, to create an insured financial institution that caters to the Ethiopian-American community, and the broader market, will be a dream come true.”


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Spotlight: Addis Gezehagn’s Art Show ‘Floating Cities/Detached Perceptions’

Artwork by Addis Gezehagn , Floating City IX, 2017. (Photo: Addis Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Gezahegn’s work “depict dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of urban landscapes rising above the ground,” states the announcement from Addis Fine Art Gallery where his most recent paintings will be displayed in a solo exhibition in Addis Ababa from January 30th through March 31st, 2018.

“These compositions blend the boundaries of fantasy and reality of urban life, blurring the lines between the past, present and future.”

Born in 1978 Addis Gezehagn graduated from Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art in 2011.

“A long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, [Addis Gezehagn] is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” Addis Fine Art notes. “Over the years, he has taken an increasingly reductive approach to his work, rendering entire cityscapes as a flat patchwork of colorful doors and gates…These works are a documentation of the increasingly changing landscape of Addis Ababa and the communities that reside in neighborhood such as Kasanchis, Piassa and Arat Kilo. These works urge us to think beyond homes as functional entities and offer commentary on the socio-economic context urban life.”


If You Go:
SOLO EXHIBITION BY ADDIS GEZEHAGN
30 JANUARY – 31 MARCH 2018
Addis Fine Art
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
www.addisfineart.com

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In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, BBC Features Beekeepers of the Harenna Forest

In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, beehives sit high atop the tree canopies – and reaching them can be a dangerous business. (BBC)

BBC News

The last beekeepers of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest

The sun was beginning its evening dip as I set off into the Harenna Forest. Strange tubular shapes glowed in the treetops, catching the pale golden light.

Wedged between branches, they looked like elongated wine barrels or giant cocoons.

I was en route to witness a unique honey harvest in the forest. Here, on the southern slopes of Bale Mountains National Park in south-east Ethiopia, hand-carved beehives are placed high in the tree canopies. Reaching them to retrieve the sweet, sticky nectar is arduous – and often dangerous.

Local guide Ziyad and I followed beekeeper Said over a flower-strewn meadow before being swallowed into a tangle of trees.


Residents of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest practice an ancient form of beekeeping (Photo: Alamy)


Using a rope, beekeeper Said scales the trees to harvest honey from hives 20m above the ground (Credit: Ella Buchan)

Read more and see photos at BBC.com »


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Ethiopian-American Startup Stackshare Raises 5.2 Million in Venture Capital

Ethiopian-American Yonas Beshawred who is from Maryland is the founder and CEO of Stackshare, a developer-only community of engineers from some of the world's top startups and companies. Stackshare recently raised $5.2 million in first significant round of venture capital financing. (Photo: Techcrunch.com)

Black Enterprise

StackShare, a company that helps developers and engineers discover and compare software tools, recently closed $5.2 million in a Series A led by e.Ventures. Other investors included Cervin Ventures and angels Nick Rockwell, Aston Motes, Dave Johnson, and Bill Smith according to Tech Crunch.

In the beginning, the platform was slow to grow but founder Yonas Beshawred saw an opportunity and specifically focused on data after StackShare ramped up its user base. “When we look at it, it is professionals finding and communicating with each other.”

It’s in essence peer learning for technologists. Instead of creating their code from scratch, they are crowdsourcing it with other developers. “When your boss asks you for a new data pipeline, you don’t open a text editor, you do research,” Beshawred said in a statement.

Read more »


Related:
Interview with Yonas Beshawred, Founder & CEO of Stackshare (Tech Crunch)

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Book Review of ‘Struggle From Afar’: Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw Interviews Ethiopian Women Activists

Cover of the new book 'Struggle From Afar' by Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw. (Courtesy of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 22nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In her newly published book Struggle From Afar the late educator and social justice activist Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, who passed way two years ago, left behind a gem for future researchers by meticulously documenting the history of Ethiopian women grassroots activism in the Diaspora.

In Struggle From Afar Dr. Maigenet also debunks the myth that Ethiopian female millennials are not as passionate about human rights issues as their parents’ generation or their male counterparts. “It would be unfair to say that, unlike our generation, all young Ethiopians are disinterested in social justice movements,” she writes, emphasizing that as one young Ethiopian woman told her that today they simply follow a “different platform.” Dr. Maigenet explains that a “different platform” meant “focus on the humanitarian component of social activism.”

Women activists interviewed and featured in the book include former opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa as well as the acclaimed actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo. In addition, Dr. Maigenet also highlights intimate conversations with several women across various fields including Abeba Fekade, Berhane Ras-Work, Fekerte Gebremariam, Lemlem Tsegaw, Mary Tadesse, Meqdes Mesfin, Meron Ahadu, Tsehai Berhane-Selassie and Wessenyelesh Debela.

“When I interviewed the women activists for this book their political views was not my primary interest,” Dr. Maigenet states. “I was only interested in what motivated them to become activists to work on peace, democracy and human rights issues.” She adds: “I was also interested, for those who were political activists, what challenges they had in participating in the male-dominated arena of political activism.”

Moreover, Dr. Maigenet cites American civil rights hero Rosa Parks as an international role model of the power of nonviolent noncooperation and resistance by individual citizens that changed the course of history in their own countries and beyond.

Another remarkable person mentioned in the book is British suffragette leader Sylvia Pankurst (1882-1960), who became a lifelong advocate for Ethiopia because of her strong opposition to fascism during World War II. “She marched, spoke in conferences, and argued with members of the British Parliament against Italian fascism and the invasion of Ethiopia,” Dr. Maigenet points out. “She founded the New Times and Ethiopia News, which was published in London in the 1930′s. She later turned the paper into the Ethiopia Observer, published in Addis Ababa, after the end of the Italian occupation.” Sylvia Pankurst eventually moved to Ethiopia where she lived until her death on September 27th, 1960 and was buried in Addis Ababa with great honor. Dr. Maigenet noted: “This is an exemplary example of disciplined and sustained peaceful resistance.”

Dr. Maigenet passed away at the age of 68 on February 24th 2016. She was an Associate Professor in adult education at the University of the District of Columbia for 20 years. She also worked as an education consultant at the World Bank and the U.S. Department of Education.

The book Struggle From Afar is published by Fanos Books (a TSEHAI imprint) for the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), which Dr. Maigenet helped establish and served as its President at the time of her passing, and with a foreword by her husband Professor Getachew Metaferia.

CREW will be hosting a book release event this coming weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland.


If You Go:
Book release: ‘Struggle From Afar’
Saturday, January 27th, 2018
Doors open at 4PM
Silver Spring Civic Center
Silver Spring, Maryland
centerforethiopianwomen.org

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Spotlight: ‘Our Ethiopia’ Video Contest Promoting Tolerance Through Dialogue

(Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 20th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — A timely video contest is underway in Ethiopia giving young people a chance to imagine a more tolerant and peaceful future country.

Open to all Ethiopians and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa the short film competition entitled “Our Ethiopia” challenges both established and up-and-coming filmmakers to produce a video up to 3 minutes in length that “depicts the importance of respect for diversity, tolerance, and finding common understanding in Ethiopia.” The submission guideline states the “videos may describe the challenges to, solutions for, and benefits of tolerance and mutual respect.”

In a press statement the Embassy said the contest is part of its “ongoing efforts to highlight the importance of tolerance and diversity through open and constructive communication.”

“In a globalized world, tolerance is important for creating a society in which people feel valued and respected, and in which there is room for every person, each with their own ideas and dreams,” the press release added. “This video challenge is intended to promote these values.”

The first place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 80,000; the second place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 50,000; and the third place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 30,000.


All videos must be done in Amharic with English sub-titles. The deadline for submission of videos is midnight on February 18th, 2018. Interested contestants can submit their video either by uploading to YouTube or sending to the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section (OurEthiopia Video Challenge), P.O. Box 1014 in a CD or DVD. The video submission can be uploaded in any format accepted by YouTube and after uploading the hashtagged video, send a link to your video submission to AddisVideochallenge@state.gov. You can find the details of the competition through the link: et.usembassy.gov/ourethiopia-video-challenge-guideline.

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SEED Honors Ethiopia’s Universal Impact on the Pan-African World

Ethiopia has never been colonized & has been an inspiration for the Pan-African world. (Photos from top: Emperor Haile Selassie, Emperor Menelik, Emperor Tewodros, Emperor Yohannes IV, Empress Zewditu/ Wikimedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that doesn’t have “Independence Day” on its calendar because it has never been colonized.

The universal impact of Ethiopia’s ancient and independent history on the Pan-African world will be the subject of an upcoming event in Washington, D.C. hosted by The Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED).

SEED announced that their 26th Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 27, 2018 will posthumously honor the past five Emperors of Ethiopia including Emperor Tewodros II (1818 – 1868), Emperor Yohannes IV (1837 – 1889), Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), Empress Zewditu (1876 – 1930), and Emperor Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975).

The press release also notes “a special feature program for the last emperor, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, in an effort to uplift and recognize Ethiopia’s universal and unique impact in the Pan African movement, black freedom struggles around the world, the civil rights movement in the United States, and in Ethiopia.”

“Ethiopian history is so rich and its role in the black liberation movement and around the world goes without saying,” said SEED Chairman, Dr. Melaku Lakew. “Nelson Mandela, Rep. Ron Dellums, and others have spoken about Ethiopia’s impact, but it is rare that we, as Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia, get the opportunity to create a platform to recognize not only the impact they made in Ethiopia, but the influence they had on the rest of the world as well.”


If You Go:
The event takes place on May 27, 2018 at College Park Marriott Hotel Conference Center 3501 University Boulevard E. Hyattsville, Maryland. More info at www.ethioseed.org.

Related:
African American and Ethiopian Relations
The Case of Melaku E. Bayen and John Robinson: Ethiopia, U.S. and the Pan-African Movement

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Exhibit by Photographer Gediyon Kifle Honors Martin Luther King Jr

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 15th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This month an exhibition by Washington, DC-based Ethiopian American photographer Gediyon Kifle opens at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum honoring the legendary U.S. civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The exhibition entitled Finite Disappointment/Infinite Hope is “composed of three elements – photography, sound and architectural installation – that Gediyon Kifle says are meant to inspire viewers by reflecting King’s principles of love, justice, democracy and hope,” states the announcement.

The show’s title is derived from a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Gediyon, who is a graduate of East Tennessee State University (ETSU), is the official photographer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

We featured Gediyon’s photography work of Dr. King’s Memorial in Washington DC in an interview six years ago this month. By then Gediyon had worked on the project for more than a decade “photographing everything from the design competition to the dedication by President Obama,” he told Tadias.

“I was initially hired to document the submitted design competitions — that’s how my relationship with the foundation started” Gediyon added. “It has been a great privilege to witness the process with my own eyes through three presidents including President Clinton and President Bush.”

Gediyon who was born in Ethiopia came to the United States with his family when he was 10 years old. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and later attended ETSU where he earned his degree in Mass Communication with a minor in photography. The announcement notes that “while at ETSU, he was the first recipient of the university’s Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Grant and worked as a photographer in the Office of University Relations. A portfolio of his study on interracial relationships in the Tri-Cities is among the collections in the Archives of Appalachia in ETSU’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services.”

Gediyon says Finite Disappointment/Infinite Hope is “a journey through my eyes as a photographer.”

Watch: Gediyon Kifle discusses his exhibition with WJHL News Channel 11

—-
If You Go:
An opening reception and curator’s talk by Gediyon Kifle will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, from 5-7 p.m. at Reece Museum. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Regular Reece Museum hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The show will be on display through March 23, 2018. For more information, call the museum at 423-439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/reece.

Related:
Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali: Reflection by Photographer Gediyon Kifle

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Stanford Names Ethiopian American Dr. Electron Kebebew Chief of General Surgery

The Stanford University Department of Surgery has announced that Dr. Electron Kebebew will be the next chief of general surgery effective March 1, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This coming Spring Ethiopian American Dr. Electron Kebebew will assume his new post as Chief of General Surgery at Stanford University’s Department of Surgery in Palo Alto, California.

Stanford is one of the top universities in America and one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions.

In a statement the Chair of the University’s Department of Surgery Dr. Mary Hawn said: “I’m thrilled to have Dr. Kebebew join Stanford Surgery in this important leadership role as chief of general surgery. Dr. Kebebew is an internationally-renowned endocrine surgeon whose research has changed the way we treat patients with endocrine cancers. He is the consummate surgeon, scientist and leader and will bring our program to new heights.”

The press release notes that “Kebebew received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in chemical engineering. He completed his medical training, surgical residency and NCI T32 surgical oncology basic science fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Since 2012, he has served as inaugural chief of newly-established endocrine oncology branch at the National Cancer Institute.”

“This is a great opportunity to be part of a dynamic surgical department,” said Kebebew. “I am excited to make Stanford’s division a world leader in general surgery subspecialty care and research that impacts patient care.”

According to Stanford: “Kebebew has published more than 300 articles, chapters and textbooks and has received awards from the American Cancer Society, American Association for Cancer Research, American Thyroid Association, American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and International Association of Endocrine Surgeons. His current research focuses on the genetic/genomic changes associated with endocrine cancers with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic targets and novel anticancer agents for endocrine cancers, and diagnostic and prognostic markers for endocrine tumors.”

Kebebew succeeds Dr. Jeffrey Norton, who has led the Division of General Surgery since 2006.

“Dr. Kebebew is perfect fit for this position because of his prior experience as leader of a very successful branch at the [National Cancer Institute], his record of cutting-edge research in endocrine oncology and his plan for programmatic development in endocrine oncology in the Cancer Center here at Stanford,” said Norton. “He is an extremely bright, accomplished surgeon and a true leader in surgery.”


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In Special Time Issue of ‘The Optimists’: The Future of Food by Marcus Samuelsson

The following article by Marcus Samuelsson appears in the special Time magazine issue, “The Optimists,” (currently on newsstands) that's guest-edited by philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (Getty)

TIME

I was born into improper nutrition in Ethiopia. For my first couple of years, I didn’t get what I needed. We were extremely poor. We didn’t have enough milk, enough food. At 2½ years old, I weighed just 22 lb. It affects you.

After my sister and I moved to Sweden as children, I learned that my teeth were wrong. And no kid wants to grow up being different. I could not eat enough. You always feel like you’re catching up. It took me all the way to age 16 or 17 to do so.

What I felt then and know deeply now–as a chef, an activist and a father of a young son–is that when it comes to food, we are always looking at one another, starting with peeking in each other’s lunch boxes. We are also learning from one another–and that that can make us healthier, our climate more secure and our meals more delicious.

It’s not just the developing world looking to us, either. Just as we look to it for spiritual practices like yoga, we should and do–especially through the Internet–look to it for food. Take places such as Ethiopia, which traditionally has no sugar in its meals. Or Indian food, which is just delicious. There, we can find ways of getting nutrition through vegetables and proteins like chickpeas and lentils, instead of animal proteins that contribute to carbon emissions.

Read more »


Related:
Time Profiles Ethiopian Scientist Segenet Kelemu, Director General of ICIPE
Marcus Samuelsson to Host New PBS Show Celebrating Food, Art, Culture & Immigrants in America

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Spotlight: Hamelmal Abate in New York

(Photo: Courtesy of Africology)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 10th, 2018

Ethiopian Gold Series Featuring Hamelmal Abate in NYC Hosted by Africology

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian music star Hamelmal Abate, who won the best traditional music prize at the 2017 All African Music Awards this past November, will be performing live in New York City this week.

Hamelmal is being hosted by Africology as part their Ethiopian Gold Series with the concert taking place at the new Yeresso lounge in Harlem on Friday, January 12th.


Hamelmal Abate. (Photo: Facebook)

“Fresh from winning The AFRIMA Awards in Nigeria, the Ethiopian musical icon Hamelmal joins us in Harlem, New York City to celebrate the holidays and pay homage to the local musical legends who paved the way,” the announcement says.

“Hamelmal is currently working on her 9th studio album with Africology’s DJ Sirak.”


If You Go:
Ethiopian Gold Series Featuring: HAMELMAL ABATE
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 9:00 PM –
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 4:00 AM EST
YERESSO LOUNGE
2400 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard (7th Ave)
(140th and 141st Streets)
New York City, NY 10030
Click here to buy tickets

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Revisiting the Works of Ethiopia’s 17th-Century Philosopher Zera Yacob

Near Lalibela, the location of Zera Yacob’s cave. (Photo: Magnum)

Aeon Media

The African Enlightenment: The highest ideals of Locke, Hume and Kant were first proposed more than a century earlier by an Ethiopian in a cave

The ideals of the Enlightenment are the basis of our democracies and universities in the 21st century: belief in reason, science, skepticism, secularism, and equality. In fact, no other era compares with the Age of Enlightenment. Classical Antiquity is inspiring, but a world away from our modern societies. The Middle Ages was more reasonable than its reputation, but still medieval. The Renaissance was glorious, but largely because of its result: the Enlightenment. The Romantic era was a reaction to the Age of Reason – but the ideals of today’s modern states are seldom expressed in terms of romanticism and emotion. Immanuel Kant’s argument in the essay ‘Perpetual Peace’ (1795) that ‘the human race’ should work for ‘a cosmopolitan constitution’ can be seen as a precursor for the United Nations.

As the story usually goes, the Enlightenment began with René Descartes’s Discourse on the Method (1637), continuing on through John Locke, Isaac Newton, David Hume, Voltaire and Kant for around one and a half centuries, and ending with the French Revolution of 1789, or perhaps with the Reign of Terror in 1793. By the time that Thomas Paine published The Age of Reason in 1794, that era had reached its twilight. Napoleon was on the rise.

But what if this story is wrong? What if the Enlightenment can be found in places and thinkers that we often overlook? Such questions have haunted me since I stumbled upon the work of the 17th-century Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692), also spelled Zära Yaqob.

Yacob was born on 28 August 1599 into a rather poor family on a farm outside Axum, the legendary former capital in northern Ethiopia. At school he impressed his teachers, and was sent to a new school to learn rhetoric (siwasiw in Geéz, the local language), poetry and critical thinking (qiné) for four years. Then he went to another school to study the Bible for 10 years, learning the teachings of the Catholics and the Copts, as well as the country’s mainstream Orthodox tradition. (Ethiopia has been Christian since the early 4th century, rivalling Armenia as the world’s oldest Christian nation.)

In the 1620s, a Portuguese Jesuit convinced King Susenyos to convert to Catholicism, which soon became Ethiopia’s official religion. Persecution of free thinkers followed suit, intensifying from 1630. Yacob, who was teaching in the Axum region, had declared that no religion was more right than any other, and his enemies brought charges against him to the king.

Yacob fled at night, taking with him only some gold and the Psalms of David. He headed south to the region of Shewa, where he came upon the Tekezé River. There he found an uninhabited area with a ‘beautiful cave’ at the foot of a valley. Yacob built a fence of stones, and lived in the wilderness to ‘front only the essential facts of life’, as Henry David Thoreau was to describe a similar solitary life a couple of centuries later in Walden (1854).

For two years, until the death of the king in September 1632, Yacob remained in the cave as a hermit, visiting only the nearby market to get food. In the cave, he developed his new, rationalist philosophy. He believed in the supremacy of reason, and that all humans – male and female – are created equal. He argued against slavery, critiqued all established religions and doctrines, and combined these views with a personal belief in a theistic Creator, reasoning that the world’s order makes that the most rational option.

In short: many of the highest ideals of the later European Enlightenment had been conceived and summarised by one man, working in an Ethiopian cave from 1630 to 1632. Yacob’s reason-based philosophy is presented in his main work, Hatäta (meaning ‘the enquiry’). The book was written down in 1667 on the insistence of his student, Walda Heywat, who himself wrote a more practically oriented Hatäta. Today, 350 years later, it’s hard to find a copy of Yacob’s book. The only translation into English was done in 1976, by the Canadian professor and priest Claude Sumner. He published it as part of a five-volume work on Ethiopian philosophy, with the far-from-commercial Commercial Printing Press in Addis Ababa. The book has been translated into German, and last year into Norwegian, but an English version is still basically unavailable.

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Time Profiles Ethiopian Scientist Segenet Kelemu, Director General of ICIPE

Dr. Segenet Kelemu is the Director General of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Nairobi, Kenya. The Ethiopian native is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead icipe. (Image. Time.com)

TIME

This Ethiopian Scientist Is Saving Lives by Studying Insects

Segenet Kelemu has always been a discoverer. As a scientist, she would achieve breakthroughs–“Crack the constraints,” as she puts it–and feel euphoric. But she came to a realization: “So you do research, you publish the paper–and then what?”

Having constructed an international network of biotechnology laboratories in Africa and now serving as director general of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology–a research facility in Nairobi that solves problems posed by insects to public health–Kelemu ensures that research reaches people.

Thanks to improved seed and farming technology, the ICIPE has been able to control grain pests and improve soil, now reaching at least 20,000 Ethiopian farmers.

Read more at Time.com »


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Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

The news was a major triumph for youth protesters across Ethiopia who have been demanding political reform for the past couple of years. But the question remains: Will the ruling party follow through on its latest promise? (Reuters photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 6th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stunned Ethiopians around the globe when he announced plans to free political prisoners at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Wednesday in order to facilitate political dialogue. Hailemariam also declared the shutting down of the country’s atrocious Ma’ekelawi detention center.

The news was a major triumph for youth protesters across Ethiopia who have been demanding political reform for the past couple of years. But the question remains: Will the ruling party follow through on its latest promise?

As Yacob Hailemariam, an attorney based in Addis Ababa who was a former senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, told the New York Times: “It was absolutely not clear what the Prime Minister was saying. The whole thing is filled with vague statements and vague promises. He was very equivocal, and we will have to wait to see what he really meant.”

U.S.-based organization Human Rights Watch was also cautiously optimistic stating in a press release that “While the government did not say how and when this would occur, doing so would be an important step toward ending longstanding political repression and human rights abuse in the country.”

HRW added: “Numerous questions remain regarding timelines for implementation, who qualifies as a “political prisoner,” and how many detainees will be freed. Will the release only include well-known figures like Bekele Gerba, an ethnic Oromo politician detained since December 2015? Or will the thousands of ordinary detainees held in military camps and police stations, often without charge, for peacefully protesting against government policies also be freed? What, if any, conditions will be placed on those released?”

In regards to the closure of the Ma’ekelawi center, which has been used as torture chamber by successive Ethiopian regimes including the current one, former Zone9 blogger Soleyana Gebremichael who is now with the Ethiopia Human Rights Project says: “That’s very symbolic — whenever you think of torture, you think of Maekelawi. It might not mean torture is not going to happen in Ethiopia anymore, but it by itself is symbolic.”

In its coverage The Washington Post quotes an apt editorial by Addis Standard from last year describing Ma’ekelawi, as “a time defying institution which has been around for more than half a century, and has been used (and abused) for the same purpose: to detain, without due legal process, people alleged to have committed grave crimes against the state, the people and the constitution.”

Moreover, as Human Rights Watch points out: “Does the government’s announcement signal a new approach to dissent in Ethiopia? Will people be allowed to protest peacefully, without fear of arrest, intimidation, or politically motivated charges?”

We hope the next steps will include allowing the formation of a truly multi-party federal system in Ethiopia.


Related:
Is 2018 the year Ethiopia’s great quest for peace pays off? (The London Economic)
Ethiopia: Closure of “torture chamber” could signal new chapter for human rights (Amnesty)
Ethiopia to release political prisoners, says prime minister (BBC)
Ethiopia Says It Will Close Notorious Prison and Free Some Inmates (NYT)
Ethiopia to Release Political Prisoners in Attempt to Ease Unrest (The Wall Street Journal)
Ethiopia to Consider Pardoning Some Members of Opposition Parties (VOA)

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Ethiopia to Free Political Prisoners (BBC)

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. (Getty Images)

BBC

In a surprise move, Ethiopia’s prime minister has announced the release of political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

Hailemariam Desalegn told a press conference the move was designed to allow political dialogue.

But it is unclear exactly who will be released – or when it will take place.

Ethiopia, a staunch ally of the West, is accused by rights groups of using mass arrests to stifle opposition.

Amnesty International welcomed Mr Hailemariam’s announcement, saying it could signal “the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia” – although warned the closure of Maekelawi detention centre should not be used to “whitewash” the “horrifying” events which took place under its roof.

Rights groups have previously accused the government of using anti-terrorism laws to jail its critics.

Who are the political prisoners?

Those held in jails across the country include opposition activists from the Amhara and Oromia regions, which were at the centre of anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region, and journalists who have criticised the government, says BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza.

The prisoners also include UK citizen Andargachew Tsege, who was seized in 2014 when changing planes in Yemen and forced to go to Ethiopia, where he had been sentenced to death in absentia for his political activities against the state.

It is difficult to know exactly how many “political prisoners” there are, but our correspondent estimates there are about 1,000 held under the country’s anti-terrorism proclamation, including high profile leaders from the opposition.

However, there are another 5,000 cases still pending, made up of those arrested after a state of emergency was declared in October 2016, he adds.

Will they actually be released?

The government has given no timeline on the release of the prisoners – including those still awaiting trial – or explained exactly who is considered “political” and who is not.

Read more »


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Abel Tilahun’s Exhibit ‘Vital Signs’ Curated by Meskerem Assegued Opens in DC

Artist Abel Tilahun splits his time between his Addis Ababa studio and Washington, DC, where he has taught as an adjunct professor at American University and Marymount University. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Abel Tilahun’s upcoming exhibition entitled Vital Signs will open at the American University Museum in Washington, D.C. on January 27th, 2018 featuring the artist’s multidisciplinary interest in sculptural installation, video art, drawing, and painting.

The event’s press release notes “intellectually fresh and moving, Abel’s work represents an unwavering voice of his generation.” Abel, who currently divides his time between his Addis Ababa studio and Washington D.C., was one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Financial Times OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices award for visual art. The Vital Signs exhibit is curated by Ethiopian Anthropologist and Co-Founding Director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC), Meskerem Assegued.


Abel Tilahun’s artwork. (Courtesy images)

Abel’s new exhibit “explores universal human experience through the manifold meanings we associate with the human body, its parts, its sustenance, and its loftiest ambitions” the announcement adds. “At the heart of [Abel's] work are traces of both the cutting edge and the long arc of history. His art considers both the distant realms of an almost forsaken planet in ‘Solo,’ and the microscopic realm of the beating heart in ‘Heart of Gold.’ With this zooming in and out, however, there is no whiplash. The common thread is the way in which Abel’s work foregrounds the value of the human experience within widely divergent contexts.”


Abel Tilahun, Whirlwind, 2014. Print on archival paper, 44” x 84.” (Courtesy of the artist)

Abel has shown solo exhibitions Odyssey? (2017) at Alliance Ethio-Francaise (AEF) in Addis Ababa, Interface Effect (2014) at AEF, A Generation Projected (2010) at ASU’s Cloyde Snook Gallery, and Blueprint (2007) at AEF. Abel’s notable group shows include Curvature of Events, curated by Meskerem Assegued at the New Master’s Gallery of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in Germany (2014-2015), which traveled to the National Museum of Ethiopia in 2015. Abel has presented artist lectures at Independent Curators International in NYC, Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, the National Museum of Ethiopia, AEF, ASU, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, among others.”


If You Go:
VITAL SIGNS
Artist: Abel Tilahun
Curator: Meskerem Assegued
January 27- March 11, 2018
Jan 27: Gallery Talk 5–6 pm, Opening 6–9 pm
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 885-1300
www.american.edu/museum

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Harar: Ethiopia’s City of Saints the Best Place in the World to Visit in 2018

In Ethiopia, Harar’s old town is a maze of alleys lined with colorful walls. (National Geographic)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 1st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s beautiful ancient city of Harar has been selected by the editors of National Geographic magazine as among the best places in the world to visit in 2018.

Harar — a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized in 2006 for its cultural heritage — is home to many mosques some of which date back to the 10th century as well as over a hundred shrines for saints. Harar’s historical architectures include the famous five gates of the city, the Medhane Alem Cathedral, Jami Mosque built in the 16th century, and the residence of Haile Selassie’s father, Ras Mekonnen who served as Governor.

Ethiopia’s colorful and ancient city of Harar is also considered the fourth holiest city in Islam and known as the City of Saints. “From the late 16th century to the 19th century Harar was an important trade centre between the coast and the interior highlands and a location for Islamic learning” UNESCO states. The city’s “townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.”

Along with the city of Harar, National Geographic recommended Sydney, Australia; Oaxaca, Mexico; Vienna, Austria; Hawaii, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Cleveland, Ohio, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania and San Antonio, Texas as top places to visit in 2018.

“Tourists in northern Ethiopia rarely travel to the laid-back east, anchored by the enchantingly contradictory city of Harar,” the National Geographic notes. “The ‘City of Saints’ boasts 82 mosques, as well as Ethiopia’s best beer, strongest khat (an ubiquitous narcotic plant), and highest quality coffee.”

Read the list at nationalgeographic.com »


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The 10 Best Tadias Arts & Culture Stories of 2017 in Pictures

Beteseb Painting Session at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2017. (Photo by Victor Mayeya Odori)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As we close 2017 and wish our readers a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year, we also look forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2018 with you.

The first issue of Tadias Magazine was launched in 2003 with the purpose of creating a platform that connects the Ethiopian American community and chronicling both the successes and challenges of the Ethiopian experience worldwide. Looking back we are happy to say that as documented in the rich archives of our publication Ethiopian Americans of all generations have risen to new heights in various fields and disciplines including in the sciences, arts, business, as well as serving as advisors to the President of the United States and as global cultural icons.

Below are the ten most popular stories that we featured this past year:

Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC

In June 2017, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. hosted an evening of painting and Ethiopian Jazz “under the summer skies” with Beteseb Center and Feedel Band. We featured the Beteseb art program when it was first launched two years ago as a weekly Saturday painting session for amateur artists in a rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. We are delighted to see the program is still going strong.

Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival in New York

Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American play “In the Gray” was featured at the 2017 United Solo Theatre festival in New York City this past September. Antu was the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the festival, which is the largest solo theatre festival in the world. The 75-minute storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethiopian-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

Four Ethiopians on 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List


From top left: Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee, Saron Tesfalul, Vice President, Bain Capital; Lilly Workneh, Senior editor, Black Voices, HuffPost; and Awol Erizku, Artist. (Photos: Forbes)

In November Forbes Magazine released its influential annual list of 600 young trailblazers in 20 different industries. The 2018 list features four Ethiopian American professionals in their twenties working in finance, media, art & style as well as law & policy. The Ethiopian Americans highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list include Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee in New York City; Saron Tesfalul, Vice President at Bain Capital in Boston; Lilly Workneh, Senior Editor, Black Voices, HuffPost in New York; and Awol Erizku, Artist, also from NYC.

Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation


Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile honored with a GE video installation on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Professor Sossina Haile, an expert in materials science and fuel cells research, was one of 12 female scientists who were honored in September with a spectacular video installation, projected on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, as part of a display called “Unseen Stars” recognizing “outstanding women in science.”

Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Names Yohannes Abraham 2017 Fellow


Former White House advisor Yohannes Abraham. (Courtesy Photo).

Yohannes Abraham was a 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School this Fall. “Yohannes Abraham has not only had a front row seat, but was an active participant in the complex process of shaping national and international policy [under President Obama],” said Cong. Bill Delahunt, Acting Director of the prestigious institution. “His willingness to share his White House experience with students will provide them a rare first-hand perspective on the challenges of governing.” Yohannes served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

New “Deseta Emojis” App on iTunes Celebrate Everything Ethiopian


(Courtesy of Deseta Design)

In your next text message you may now include Deseta Emojis to express yourself with Ethiopian humor. The digital icons often used to communicate ideas and emotions comes courtesy of Deseta Design. Announcing that its keyboard app contains over 200 small emojis Deseta Design says that the current collection is available for download on the App Store (Android version coming soon). Deseta emojis include icons of injera, buna, jebena and goursha. The images “celebrate everything Ethiopian in all of its glory,” says Maro Haile, owner of Deseta Design, an NYC-based online creative venture.

Long Distance Runner Almaz Ayana: 2017 World Athlete of the Year Finalist


Almaz Ayana. (AP photo)

Our highlight of Olympic champion and world 10,000m titleholder Almaz Ayana’s second nomination for the World Athlete of the Year award last month was one of the most viewed stories of the year on the Tadias website. Almaz was the winner of last year’s Female World Athlete of the Year prize given by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). We wish Almaz Ayana continued success as she represents Ethiopia in future world events.

In New Release Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz

This year musician Meklit Hadero released one of her best albums yet. The CD entitled When The People Move, The Music Moves Too includes a beautiful tribute to Meklit’s own musical role models hailing from Ethiopia and the United States in a song called I Want to Sing for Them All (watch the video above). As Vibe magazine points out: “I Want to Sing For Them All is her musical manifesto, and how she intertwines both of the music of American and Ethiopian heritages.” Meklit adds: “We came to this country when I was about two. I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music. But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”

Gebisa Ejeta Receives $5M Grant for Grain Research


Gebisa Ejeta is an Ethiopian American plant breeder, geneticist and Professor at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the World Food Prize for his major contributions in the production of sorghum. (Photo: Purdue)

Per AP: “Gebisa Ejeta received the four-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Journal and Courier reported. “It is the second foundation that has donated to the cause. It’s very helpful a grant such as this for the kind of programs that they support in developing countries because it allows us to engage beyond the normal boundaries we operate,” Ejeta said. Ejeta developed a hybrid sorghum seed that’s drought-tolerant and resistant to striga, which strips food sources from its nutrients. Ejeta is credited with helping feed hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa with his work developments.”

Marcus Samuelsson to Host New PBS Show Celebrating Food, Art, Culture & Immigrants in America


Marcus Samuelsson, pictured outside his Red Rooster Harlem, will travel across the United States from DC to the Bay Area in California to spotlight the cuisine in local immigrant communities. (Photo: by Matt Dutile)

Next year Marcus Samuelsson is set to Host a New PBS show, tentatively titled No Passport Required that highlights food, art and culture 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. “No Passport Required will celebrate America’s diverse cultural mosaic as Samuelsson travels to under-explored parts of American cities to showcase the people, places and culinary flavors of immigrant communities,” PBS announced, noting that the series will premiere in 2018.


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

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Entrepreneur Bethlehem Alemu Nominated African Female Leader of the Year

Bethlehem T. Alemu whose boundless entrepreneurial energy and creativity epitomizes the fearless spirit of Ethiopia's new generation has been nominated as African Female Leader of the Year, this time by African Leadership Magazine. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

December 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Eight years ago when we first featured an interview with entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, we found her to be just as driven and fearless as she is today. “I’m thinking you might enjoy hearing a grassroots perspective on eco ethical fashion from Ethiopia,” she wrote to Tadias in 2009, bringing to our attention her up-and-coming footwear company. “It is my great pleasure to introduce our firm, SoleRebels to you.”

Since then we’ve witnessed SoleRebels become a global brand with locations spanning four continents including Europe, Asia and North America. And Bethlehem, who was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2011, has risen to be an admired and respected business leader with Forbes Magazine declaring her a year later as one of Africa’s Most Successful Women. Subsequently Bethlehem’s inspiring story was shared by CNN, BBC, VOA and many other international news outlets.

In a recent article highlighting Bethlehem’s diversifying portfolio CNN Money noted “Ethiopian shoe designer hopes for repeat success with coffee, while Daily Coffee News added: Ethiopia’s Garden of Coffee Blooms Again with New Addis Roastery.

This year the African Leadership Magazine has nominated the trailblazing Ethiopian businesswoman as African Female Leader of the Year. “This recognition is open to an African woman who has defied the odds, risen above the patriarchal systems in the continent to positively affect the continent or influence women to aspire for excellence in various fields,” the publication announced, stating the winner will be decided thorough an open online vote that’s currently underway on its website.

“I love the fact that the winner will be determined by peoples vote – you and me and everyone,” says Bethlehem.


You can learn more and support Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu at www.africanleadership.co.uk.

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Ethiopia: Poet Lemn Sissay Announces UK Scholarship For Exceptional Students

The writer Lemn Sissay, chancellor of the University of Manchester. (Photo: The University of Manchester)

Press Release

The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester’s Chancellor, Lemn Sissay, has attended a special event in Addis Ababa to officially extend a transformational student scholarship to Ethiopia.

Talented candidates from Ethiopia will now be able to apply for places through the University’s Equity and Merit Scholarships, which currently fund students from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to take a postgraduate course that isn’t available in their home country.

Now into its eleventh year, Equity and Merit has helped more than 200 students who have a desire to learn skills that will transform their home countries, build their careers and implement projects which have benefitted thousands of local people.

Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet with Ethiopian heritage who regularly visits the country. In his role as Chancellor, he is the ceremonial head of The University of Manchester and has been supportive of a number of new initiatives such as a scholarship for black male law students. He said: “I am very happy that during my time as the University’s Chancellor the Equity and Merit Scholarships have been extended to Ethiopia, a country that I know well and love. I have seen first-hand what a difference these scholarships make to people.”

Lemn launched the scholarships at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa last night (20 December) alongside senior representatives from the Ministry of Education and local universities and Dr Alula Pankhurst from the University of Addis Ababa.

Dr Pankhurst is an alumnus of the University of Manchester, where he obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology. His links to Manchester don’t end there however, as he is also the grandson of Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette who was also a staunch champion of Ethiopia during World War II, and was born in the city in 1882.

The Equity and Merit Scholarships announced at the event are now open for applications from exceptional individuals who can demonstrate both academic excellence and a commitment to the economic or social development of their home communities.

The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors. The University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors covers students’ living costs, flights to the UK and visas.

In the past the students have used their newly gained knowledge to fight diseases such as malaria, build low-cost housing for slum dwellers or bring electricity to remote communities. In many cases the scholarships have not just transformed the students’ lives but those of their people living in their home towns or cities.

Joanne Jacobs, from the University’s International Office, oversees the Equity and Merit Scholarships. She said: “Equity and Merit scholarships really do change lives. The students we’ve had over the last ten years have all been exceptional and have made a genuine contribution to the development of their countries.

“Ethiopia has close links to The University of Manchester through our alumni and our Chancellor, and we are really happy that there has been such support at the event tonight.”

One of the University’s current Ethiopian students is Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, a PhD student in Development Policy and Management. He said: “Manchester is a great place of academic excellence, diversity and also socio-economic and political history.

“I would say to my fellow Ethiopians try your best to join The University of Manchester and have an amazing opportunity of reigniting your academic and non-academic career.”


Equity and Merit applications for Ethiopia open on 20 December and close on 31 January 2018. Visit the dedicated web page for more information and to apply.

Related:
In Pictures: Tadias Salon Series Featuring Poet & Author Lemn Sissay in NYC

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Meklit’s New CD Among KQED’s 10 Best Albums of 2017

Meklit Hadero's latest album ‘When the People Move the Music Moves Too,' which was taped in Ethiopia and the U.S. receives a big thumbs up among the 10 Best Albums of 2017 by the San Francisco Bay Area television station KQED. (Photo: Instagram)

KQED

The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2017: Meklit, ‘When the People Move the Music Moves Too’

Oakland singer-songwriter Meklit has belted out funk with James Brown’s saxophonist, covered indie rock hits with sweet soulman Quinn DeVeaux, and collaborated with musicians from across Northeast Africa for the Nile Project, a visionary NGO she co-founded. Her translucent voice finds a cozy home in every far-flung setting, but she’s never sounded as free and grounded as on When the People Move the Music Moves Too, which was released this past June on Six Degrees Records.

A creative breakthrough born out of bandstand experimentation, the album weaves together Meklit’s Ethiopian roots with a propulsive menagerie of African-diaspora grooves. As the album’s title suggests, Meklit captures the way culture and beats evolve as people move across regions and continents. Her lyrics evoke the love and ache for worlds left behind, but tracks like the soaring opener “This Was Made Here” also speak to the ecstatic power of self-reinvention.

Recorded in Addis Ababa, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco, the album is a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning LA songwriter and producer Dan Wilson, renowned for his work with Adele, the Dixie Chicks, and Taylor Swift. Rather than trying to fit the uncategorizable Meklit into a neat, pop niche, he expands her textural palette with guest artists Andrew Bird (on violin and whistling), the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and top-shelf session players from LA.

Seminal Ethiopian vibraphonist-composer Mulatu Astatke once instructed Meklit to find her own voice beyond Ethio-jazz. With When the People Move, she’s clearly risen to the challenge…

Read more »

Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz


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Spotlight: Addis Video Art Festival

Photo from previous Addis Video Art Festival. (Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

December 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month the second Addis Video Art Festival takes place at various locations in Ethiopia’s fast-changing capital exploring the notion of “love triangle” and featuring works by a diverse group of international artists interpreting unique personal vantage points formed as a result of constant mobility, forced or otherwise.

The festival, which will be held from December 24th, 2017 to January 03, 2018 “presents works that translate new positions that are created from the experience of moving or changing between place, time and or identity,” the press release states, adding that love triangle “implies a connection and ties between three entities; the subject and two objects. Due to a surge in development, many residents of the city of Addis Ababa will be relocating to new neighborhoods. For those who move their sense of belonging is no longer singular, instead they are tied between yesterday and today, here and there.”

The video presentations are scheduled to be screened at Alle School of Arts and Design at both the opening and closing reception, as well as at Addis Fine Arts, Addis Ababa Museum, the National Gallery, British Council, Fendika Cultural Center. A public screening is also scheduled at various locations including Merkato, Sidist Kilo, Arat Kilo, Biherawi and supermarkets in Bole.

In explaining their selections for this year’s festival organizers note that:

The theme of love triangle appears in many manifestations from the intimately personal to the socio-political-environmental to the cosmic. While the mechanics of triangulation has uses in politics, psychology, social sciences, and in the interpersonal politics of love, the essential method is always the same: by converging measurements taken from two distinct points, a more confident result is found, validating the data, be it time, space, or people, from the perspective of multiple observers. In this way, the complexity of the human experience is portrayed more accurately. However, triangulation also points out absences as space is filled from all sides in a balancing act that correlates to the other sides, one can easily find what is not contributing to the whole.

The press release adds:

One video work surveys the aesthetics of demolished sites around Ethiopia and questions the ideology they represent, an ideology that does not value the culture, identity, and social morals of the region. Another video work takes us to India where the landscape becomes a political conversation in which different perspectives of history and mythology are explored, from a riverbed of trash to a 28th story rooftop. The video works show us that this triangulation can also be a disgusting and seemingly infinite loop of economics and human labor in which vulnerable people are currency.

Some of the highlighted Ethiopian artists include Mulugeta Gebrekidan, Martha Haile, Helina Metaferia and Yacob Bizuneh.

ADDIS VIDEO ART FESTIVAL 1st Edition from Addis Video Art Festival on Vimeo.


If You Go:
You can learn more about the festival at www.addisvideoartfestival.net.

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OP-ED: Ethiopian Legacy of Canadian Robert Thompson by Fikre Germa

In the late 1980's as a young student in Canada Ethiopian physician Fikre Germa, pictured above (standing) 21-years-ago with his his father Dr Germa Amare, Robert Thompson, his wife Evelyn Thompson, and a visiting friend, met and befriended Thompson (Center) who lived in Ethiopia from 1944 to 1958 and also served as vice-Minster of Education. The following piece submitted to Tadias is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Fikre Germa. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Tadias Magazine
Op-Ed

By Dr. Fikre Germa

Updated: December 15th, 2017

Ontario, Canada (TADIAS) — In 1988, I arrived in Vancouver anxious to find a way to continue my medical studies and establish myself as a physician. I had little social support and even less money but a hunger for connections with Ethiopia, my home country. And I made them. I found injera. I met other Ethiopians. But I never expected that one of my strongest connections would be a retired Canadian, a former teacher, missionary, and politician.

Most Canadians who recognize Dr. Robert (Bob) Thompson’s name likely recall him as a politician and former leader of the Social Credit. Few know that between 1944 and 1958 he helped Ethiopia rebuild, or that he later befriended and mentored young Ethiopian immigrants in British Columbia.

I first met Thompson at an Ethiopian community event in Vancouver in the late 1980s, where he stood out as the only foreigner in the midst of many Ethiopians. I introduced myself and received an invitation to his home where he was going to host another Ethiopian mixer.

As our relationship evolved over the years he became a mentor and grandfather figure to me. I admired him for having learned to speak and write Amharic and for his enduring love for Ethiopia and its people and potential. Like many others in the Ethiopian Diaspora at the time, I found it difficult to identify confidently with the Ethiopian culture because our family had fled a country in turmoil after a Marxist coup in 1974. From Thompson, I gained a deeper appreciation of my homeland’s contribution to language, literature, faith, and culture. I also absorbed Thompson’s respectful and sustainable model for developing Ethiopia’s potential, one I would try to apply in my own work for Ethiopia.

Thompson, who was born in the United States to Canadian parents and raised in Alberta, had been a teacher and a chiropractor before World War II. Between 1941 and 1943, he served as an instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During his service, he became friends with a chaplain who had known Emperor Haile Selassie while he lived in exile in Great Britain during the 1936 Fascist occupation of Ethiopia. The chaplain recommended Thompson to the emperor as someone who could help Ethiopia rebuild.

In 1944, Thompson, his wife, Hazel, also a chiropractor, and their children went to Ethiopia, where he worked with the government and the Sudan Interior Mission (now Serving in Mission).

I was elated to learn that Thompson had lived in Ethiopia and served under Haile Selassie for a number of years. Thompson was seconded to the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. One of his first assignments was to organize the curriculum and supervise the teachers at Ethiopia’s first high school, the newly opened Haile Selassie Secondary School. Later he became its head master. Emperor Haile Selassie I, himself the Minister of Education, appointed Thompson first as the Superintendent of Schools of Kaffa Province and later as Deputy Minister of Education. The nation’s public school system needed rebuilding because the occupiers had destroyed educational structures and not allowed many Ethiopian children to go to school.

Thompson’s mandate was to establish schools in the capital city of each of the twelve provinces and in all of the main provincial towns. Thompson flew to Britain, India, Canada, and the United States, recruiting teachers for Ethiopia. In twelve months, twenty-six schools were opened. Within five years, the Ethiopian school population grew from zero to almost ten thousand. He used to say that it is the teachers who loved Ethiopia that were very effective as opposed to those who had a lot of degrees — he was very attentive to culture and human relationship.

The Emperor, a devout Christian and head of the Office of the Ethiopian Coptic Church, quickly felt a bond with Thompson and gave him freedom to tackle the tasks that Thompson felt were a priority. Thompson became an intimate friend of the Emperor, whom he respected, and a confidante and mentor to the royal family, who referred to him as Fikurab, a term of respect and endearment.

One project that greatly pleased the Emperor was Thompson’s proposal to build a leprosarium for the Arise people in the Rift Valley in Shashamane, one of the most under developed areas of Ethiopia. The Arise were semi-Nomadic and fiercely independent; leprosy had brought them much sorrow. The Ethiopian government agreed to supply the land for this leprosarium and Sudan Interior Mission supplied the staff and supplies. Herein, Thompson was able to integrate his philosophy of having government agencies work together with non-governmental agencies to achieve a common goal. This was his belief based on the growing understanding that in many situations the private sector can do things cheaper and more efficiently than a bureaucratic government.

Years later, in his book entitled From the Marketplace, Thompson wrote, “The expertise of such agency personnel is rarely obtainable through normal channels of government recruitment. It has been estimated that a dollar spent in this way and down to earth, close to people project is worth at least $4 of government onset aid.” Through these experiences, Thompson grew in his understanding of human nature and the most diplomatic ways to accomplish political ends.

Thompson also wanted to help the Arise become self-supporting by teaching them to farm. When my father, Germa Amare, and I visited Thompson and his second wife, Evelyn, in 1996, we learned about the egg project. On one trip to Alberta he purchased twenty eggs of certified Rhode Island Reds and carried them in a basket for more 24 hours in his flight back to Addis Ababa. At the leprosarium, he gave four eggs to five families from the hospital and village. They were not to eat the eggs but to use them for breeding. All twenty eggs hatched and by the end of the year there were over a hundred chickens. Within a few years, there were millions of Rhode Island Red chickens throughout southern Ethiopia. The Emperor was pleased and joined the lepers in nicknaming Thompson, Abbadoro, Father of the Chickens. The egg project illustrates what that he always said — that the first principle of development aid is that must be practical.

On his return from Ethiopia in the 1950s, Thompson adapted his experience in education and government to service in Canada. He first earned a master’s degree in Educational Studies. He had supported the Social Credit Party of Alberta in his youth, and in 1958, he became active again. In 1961, he became leader of the Social Credit Party of Canada; under his leadership, and that of deputy leader Réal Caouette, the Social Credit won thirty seats in the 1962 election, and played a role in the balance of power during that minority government and those of 1963 and 1965. In 1967, Robert Thompson became a Progressive Conservative. He served as a Member of Parliament for Red Deer, Alberta from 1962 to 1972, serving on many standing committees including that for external affairs.

After his retirement from politics, Thompson taught political science at Trinity Western College in British Columbia and worked in its administration. And he continued to serve Canada and Ethiopia through diplomacy. When Emperor Haile Selassie visited Canada in 1963 and in 1967, our centennial year, Lester Pearson, the prime minister asked Thompson to act as the Emperor’s aide-de-camp, meeting the Emperor in New York, before escorting him to Ottawa. Robert Thompson said that the Emperor’s visit allowed him to renew friendship with members of the Ethiopian party who had been personal friends in Ethiopia. One was the Ethiopian foreign minister Ketema Yifru, who had been one of his students in Addis Ababa.

The 1967 visit proved quite memorable. Thompson met the Emperor on April 30, in Vancouver and was in attendance at a dinner. The Emperor was seated with the newly appointed Governor-General, Roland Michener, Prime Minister Pearson and John Diefenbaker, Ketema Yifru, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister and Manassie Haile, the Ethiopian Minister of the Pen, equivalent to the Canadian Secretary of State. Robert Thompson had also taught him in high school.

Thompson, who was seated across from the Emperor, recalled the Emperor pointing at the miniature medals on my dinner jacket. Thompson recounted:

He then sent Menassie Haile to ask why I was not wearing my Ethiopian decorations. I replied simply that I didn’t have any. When Menassie Haile relayed my answer, the Emperor shook his head and frowned. He later called his Foreign Minister, Ketema Yifru, who carried the message to me, “This is no time for making jokes. Where are your Ethiopian medals?” I again replied, “Truly, my Emperor, you have not given me any. After dinner, Menassie Haile came to me stating that the Emperor was very embarrassed and wanted to invest me immediately with the proper decorations. Ketema Yifru had already been sent to bring the appropriate medals from the Emperor’s quarters. I explained that this could not be done because Canadians were not allowed to receive decorations from foreign nationals. This rule has been broken frequently, but never without the consent of the government. After an impromptu conference, Mike Pearson and Paul Martin related their problem to me. They wanted to accommodate the Emperor and suggested a compromise. The new Canadian award, the Order of Canada, was to be officially inaugurated on July 1, 1967, so I could accept the decoration as long as I did not publicize the matter until after the first of July, when the reciprocal awards would be possible and formally correct. Later that evening, the Emperor invested me with the Order of Ethiopian Star, and made it seem as though I was doing him a favour in receiving it.”

Eventually, Thompson’s contributions to Canada were recognized with the Order of Canada.

As I have said, Thompson’s views on international development influenced me; they shaped my own volunteer work in global health in Ethiopia and elsewhere. Drawing on his own experience in a one-room school in Alberta, he believed in practical education. He remembered the degree of motivation that came from having to use the resources and materials were at hand. He thought practical education was needed for adults as well as youth. He said the mature students contributed with life experiences.

He was cautious about the use of technology, saying said that all too often sophisticated Western technologies had little to offer the villages of Ethiopia. Aid experts are slowly coming to realize that a village’s needs cannot be satisfied by the advanced Western technology or the cast-offs of Western industry. Thompson also acknowledged that aid must also share of the values of freedom.

Of all things that really touched me was Dr. Thompson’s view that world peace could only come through following the highest law, the law of love and self-giving. In his political memoir, A House of Minorities 1957-72, he wrote:

It will come from true charity between nations, not simply the giving of material aid but the personal sacrifice necessary to understand and help with the problems of others. Satisfactory progress for any nation or people comes not from technical training but from God-endowed wisdom. This wisdom respects the human being as a divinely created creature whose very nature demands freedom. Progress to this end is a matter of education and training.

He also said, “I believe it’s our responsibility as a people, as a nation, to help others less fortunate than ourselves attain such wisdom aside from direct political and economic involvement.”

Dr. Robert Thompson died at age 83 on November 16, 1997, in Langley, the site of Trinity Western University. Today, you can find a Canadian-Ethiopian treasure, at the university, the archives of Dr. Robert N. Thompson (1914–1997).

When my father and I have visited his archives, we were deeply touched by the resources available on him and on Ethiopia, and by the Ethiopian flag squarely sitting comfortably in the archives.

Robert Thompson also inspired my present focus on supporting cultural wellness through community engagement and supporting the development of an Ethiopian language program and an Ethiopian Studies program at the University of Toronto.

For me, cultural wellness is as important as physical wellness and plays a significant role in global health. We are here because of our interest in Ethiopia, in higher education, and our communities.

Like Robert Thompson, let’s each continue to strengthen bonds between Canada and Ethiopia and contribute well to the education and well-being of our youth and communities.


Related:
Ethiopia: Retracing Haile Selassie’s State Visit to Canada 50 Years Ago

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DC: ‘A Taste of Ethiopia’ Art Show Featuring Nahosenay Negussie’s Work

(Artwork by Nahosenay Negussie)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

December 12th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center (CHACC) in Washington D.C. is hosting an exhibition entitled “A Taste of Ethiopia” featuring the artwork of Ethiopian painter and graphic designer Nahosenay Negussie along with a reception on Friday, December 15th.

“My art considers the object as a social indicator, a ‘sign bearer,’” says Nahosenay in his artist statement. “Considered as instruments of political power, ideological vehicles, demonstrations of ostentatious luxury and economic power, but also as incarnations of emotions and experiences, the historical archetypes of decorative arts consummately provide me with useful material.”


Nahosenay Negussie. (Photo: CHACC)

Born in 1987 in Addis Ababa, Nahosenay studied Graphic Design at Addis Ababa University Alle School of Fine Arts and Design. He graduated with honors in 2013 and co-founded ‘Moged’ Fine Arts Studio.

“During his stay in art school and after graduated he participated in different artistic activities, workshops, charity programs and showed more than eight group exhibitions,” states the press release. Nahosenay has exhibited his work in several places including “the National Museum, UNECA, Radisson Blue Hotel, Alliance Ethio-Francis and Alle School of Fine Arts,” while his paintings are found among public and private collectors in Ethiopia and internationally.


If You Go:
“A Taste of Ethiopia”
Opening reception Friday, December 15th (6PM to 9:00PM)
Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center
3200 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave,
SE Washington, DC 20032
202.505.1938
info@chacc.org
www.chacc.org

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Ethiopian Community Backs San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s Re-Election Bid

The Mayor of San Jose, California Sam Liccardo, pictured above speaking to the Ethiopian community in 2015 at an event hosted by the Ethiopian American Council, has kicked off his re-election campaign for 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of EAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

December 12th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Members of the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) attended the kick-off event on Monday evening for the re-election bid of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo who announced that he is running for a second term next year.

The Mayor has been a close ally of the City’s Ethiopian community and in the past four years and most recently was featured as a special guest at the 2017 Enkutatash celebration hosted by EAC in September.

In discussing his intention to run for re-election with the press this past Summer Liccardo said “he wants a second term to tackle issues such as the critical lack of affordable housing in San Jose, create more opportunities for youth and make neighborhoods safer,” notes the San Jose Mercury News. “The primary election is scheduled for June of next year, with a possible run-off in November if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.”

Mercury News adds: “Liccardo said he spent his first term working to rebuild public safety, improve fiscal resiliency, confront poverty, expand opportunity and make City Hall as innovative as the San Jose community.”


(Image: courtesy of EAC)

Liccardo’s accomplishments as Mayor outlined in a recent press release and campaign literature distributed during the event held at Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (357 E Taylor Street) on December 11th included “settling pension reform battles; creating thousands of jobs for at-risk youth through San Jose Works; bringing in tech employers, revitalizing downtown; reducing veteran and chronic homelessness and converting decaying motels into low-cost apartments; and leading the rebuilding of flood-wracked neighborhoods.”


Learn more about Mayor Sam Liccardo’s re-election bid at www.samliccardo.com.

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Ethiopian-American Labor Leader Tefere Gebre Awarded Peace Prize

Tefere Gebre with Fr. Sean McManus. (Baltimore Post Examiner/ by Bill Hughes)

Baltimore Post Examiner

WASHINGTON – Tefere Gebre, a stalwart of the cause of organized labor, was given a “Roving Ambassador for Peace” award in a ceremony, near Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Gebre, a native of Ethiopia, is an Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO. According to the program notes, he became in 2013, the “first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO.”

In 1975, at age 13, Gebre was forced to leave his native homeland. Ethiopia was being ripped apart by warring factions. He walked hundreds of miles across the desert to reach a safe haven in the Sudan. From there, Mr. Gebre was blessed by gaining “refugee status” and soon emigrated to America, and then to Los Angeles, California.

The award ceremony was held in the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, on the eighth floor, at 815 16th Street, NW, with a splendid view of the White House and Washington Monument. There was close to a capacity audience in attendance.

There are 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO. The national union is governed by its Executive Council with its long term President, Richard Trumka at the helm; along with his second in command, Liz Shuter. She holds the office of Secretary-Treasurer and is also a leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Mr. Gebre is now the third-ranking leader of the AFL-CIO.

Friends and family members of the honoree, Mr. Gebre, were in attendance. They were joined by officials of the AFL-CIO, staff members and office workers. Last year peace prize winner, Elizabeth “Liz” Powell, Secretary-Treasure of the American Postal Workers Union was there, as was Fred Mason, the President of the Maryland State and D.C., AFL-CIO. He is also a well-known social justice activist in Maryland, particularly, in Baltimore, Annapolis, and in the District of Columbia as well.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian-American Tefere Gebre Re-elected Executive VP of AFL-CIO

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Art: Aida Muluneh Brings ‘Photography in Ethiopia’ to Cairo, Egypt Today Reports

Screencap of Aida Muluneh giving a talk in an interview with Casa África, December 6, 2017 - Casa Africa/Youtube Channel

Egypt Today

Aida Muluneh to give ‘Photography in Ethiopia’ talk on Dec. 27

CAIRO – Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh will give a talk at Darb 1718 on Wednesday, December 27, about her career and her ultimate goal in helping to change the global view of Africa.

Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Muluneh spent much of her childhood between England and Yemen, settling first in Canada and eventually in the USA. She graduated in 2000 from the Washington D.C’s Howard University, majoring in film with a degree from the communication department. She would then go work at the Washington Post, honing her photography skills before she focused her efforts on artistic expression.

Muluneh’s work has been exhibited across numerous countries, such as South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the USA, England, China and much more. Some of her photography is also permanently exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.

Muluneh is the proud recipient of 2007′s European Union Prize for ‘Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie’ in Mali and the 2010 winner of the RAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy.


Related:
Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018 (TADIAS)
Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

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Spotlight: New Ethiopia Film ‘Yenegen Alwoldim’ Screens in NYC

The movie screening of 'Yenegen Alwoldim' at University Settlement Houston Street Center in New York city on December 10th, 2017 will include a Q&A session with the producer Fortuna Moges. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

December 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month a new award-wining Amharic drama from Ethiopia entitled Yenegen Alwoldim by filmmaker Fortuna Moges will screen in New York City. Sponsored by ECMAA (Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association) the event is scheduled to be held on Sunday, December 10th and will also feature a Q&A with the filmmaker as well as remarks by Dr. Shimelis Bonsa from New York State University.

The film, which is based on a true story, takes place in 1978 in Addis Ababa and is a reflection on how young people coped and used sports to conceal their political activities during the height of the Red Terror period, an era memorialized for its brutal Bolshevik style elimination of real and perceived ideological opponents by Marxist cadres of the Derg regime.

Fortuna Moges says the movie is an adaptation of an Amharic book called EPRP and Sport. “Even though the setting is mainly in Addis Ababa in 1978, the story represents the youth of the period,” Fortuna explains in her artist’s statement. “The lead character, Adugna, is a coach of Abri Kokeb football club, financially supported by Mercato merchants. Adugna is married and lives with the love of his life Lensa, a beautiful young lady who has witnessed the tragic killings of her father and only brother by revolutionary guards and subsequently suffers a miscarriage. Lensa then becomes pregnant again and Adugna is excited to be a father.”

Sadly Adugna — who dreamt of building a successful club and had no interest in politics — ends up getting ensnared anyways in the toxic social environment simply because of his association with the players that he coaches, the majority of whom happen to be secret members of the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP), the main opponent of the ruling Derg. They “use football as their only cover to survive and overthrow Derg,” Fortuna says. “They left no stone unturned to realize their political vision.”

Fortuna who was born and raised in Ethiopia studied film and art at Addis Ababa University where she earned her undergraduate degree.

“We see the life of that generation through the ups and downs of Adugna,” She says speaking of her debut film Yenegen Alwoldim.


If You Go
ECMAA presents screening of ‘Yenegen Alwoldim’
December 10th, 2017 @ 3pm
University Settlement at the Houston Street Center
Address: 273 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
Tickets and more info at www.ecmaany.org

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Marcus Samuelsson to Host New PBS Show Celebrating Food, Art, Culture & Immigrants in America

Marcus Samuelsson, pictured outside his Red Rooster Harlem, will travel across the United States from DC to the Bay Area in California to spotlight the cuisine in local immigrant communities. (Photo: by Matt Dutile)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next year Marcus Samuelsson is set to Host a New PBS show, tentatively titled No Passport Required that highlights food, art and culture 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.

No Passport Required will celebrate America’s diverse cultural mosaic as Samuelsson travels to under-explored parts of American cities to showcase the people, places and culinary flavors of immigrant communities,” PBS announced, noting that the series begins production this year and will premiere in 2018.

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).”

“Chasing flavors has been my lifelong passion,” shared Samuelsson. “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.”


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

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2 Runners Die in Ethiopian Road Race

Two deaths overshadow this year's Great Ethiopian Run, an annual 10-kilometre road running event founded by Haile Gebrselassie and held in Addis Ababa since 2001. According to AP, two runners passed away during the race that took place on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 from what is said to be medical problems. (Photo: Facebook)

Associated Press

By Elias Meseret

2 runners die in Ethiopian road race

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Organizers say two competitors have died in the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) Great Ethiopian Run road race.

Organizers didn’t identify the two runners or give causes of death. Police said medical experts suspect heart problems could be the cause of both deaths.

On their Facebook page, organizers say: “The two runners collapsed and were taken to a hospital but they didn’t make it. We will provide more details in the coming days.”

Eyewitness Mikias Desalegn says one of the runners collapsed moments after finishing the race and was “rushed into an ambulance.”

Around 45,000 people competed in Sunday’s race, including Olympic 5,000 meter champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya and former world half-marathon champion Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands.

The Great Ethiopian Run was started by the country’s distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie in 2001 and is the largest road race in Africa.


Related:
Great Ethiopian Run 2017 in Pictures:

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Meet Miss Universe Ethiopia 2017

Miss Universe Ethiopia 2017, Akinahom Zergaw, at the 66th Miss Universe national costume show in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, November 18th, 2017. (Photo: Global Beauties)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

November 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s Miss Universe Ethiopia, Akinahom Zergaw, has arrived in the United States where she is set to participate in the 2017 contest taking place in Las Vegas on Sunday, November 26th.

The 22-year-old management and fashion design student from Addis Ababa has been taking part in the preliminary shows including in the national costume competition that was held on Saturday, November 18th at Planet Hollywood.

“Coming from a large family of over 10 brothers and sisters, [Akinahom] loves spending time with her siblings who are her close friends,” The Miss Universe Organization states. “Whenever Akinahome has the opportunity she takes the chance to travel to the outskirts of the city. She is on a mission to share the Ethiopian culture, tradition and customs with the world. Akinahom hopes to make Ethiopia proud and bring light to her country.”


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Gebisa Ejeta Receives $5M Grant for Grain Research

Gebisa Ejeta is an Ethiopian American plant breeder, geneticist and Professor at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the World Food Prize for his major contributions in the production of sorghum. (Photo: Purdue)

AP

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University professor has received a $5 million grant to help develop hybrid grain seeds that will resist parasite weeds.

Gebisa Ejeta received the four-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Journal and Courier reported. It is the second foundation that has donated to the cause.

“It’s very helpful a grant such as this for the kind of programs that they support in developing countries because it allows us to engage beyond the normal boundaries we operate,” Ejeta said.

Ejeta and his researchers are hoping to expand the knowledge between the parasite weed gene that attacks sorghum. He also hopes young entrepreneurs in developing countries will be mass producing the seeds at the end of the four years.

Ejeta grew up in a one-room thatched hut in Ethiopia and eventually became a professor at Purdue. He developed a hybrid sorghum seed that’s drought-tolerant and resistant to striga, which strips food sources from its nutrients.

Ejeta is credited with helping feed hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa with his work developments.

He also received the 2009 World Food Prize for his work after spending 15 years designing the hybrid seed. The prize is considered the top global honor for scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food.


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Spotlight: Four Ethiopians on 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

From top left: Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee, Saron Tesfalul, Vice President, Bain Capital; Lilly Workneh, Senior editor, Black Voices, HuffPost; and Awol Erizku, Artist. (Photos: Forbes)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

November 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Forbes Magazine has released its influential annual list of 600 young trailblazers in 20 different industries. The 2018 list features four Ethiopian American professionals in their twenties working in finance, media, art & style as well as law & policy.

The Ethiopian Americans highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list include Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee in New York City; Saron Tesfalul, Vice President at Bain Capital in Boston; Lilly Workneh, Senior editor, Black Voices, HuffPost in New York; and Awol Erizku, Artist, also from NYC.

Below are their bios:

Tsion Gurmu
Legal Fellow, African Services Committee

Inspired by her family’s experience as asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Tsion Gurmu launched an initiative at the African Services Committee to provide pro bono legal help and social support for black LGBT refugees fleeing anti-homosexuality legislation in their home countries. The NYU law grad especially focuses on refugees affected by HIV/AIDS.

Saron Tesfalul
Vice President, Bain Capital

Specializes in consumer retail area, working on big deals for Bain Capital’s $9.4 billion North America private equity fund. Had previously been a consultant with Bain & Co.

Lilly Workneh
Senior editor, Black Voices, HuffPost

An immigrant from Ethiopia, Workneh is the Senior Editor for Huffington Post’s Black Voices, an initiative that seeks to elevate marginalized voices on a mainstream media platform. She manages both its editorial and social content, tripling reach in her tenure. One of the best parts of running a leading website dedicated to black culture? Interviewing Oprah.

Awol Erizku
Artist

Born in Ethiopia and raised in the South Bronx, Erizku earned an MFA at Yale. Best-known for shooting the artful Instagram photo of Beyoncé announcing she was pregnant with twins in early 2017, he had already made a mark on the art world map in a series of exhibitions challenging the dominant white aesthetic. He produced one of his best-known pieces while he was an undergrad at Cooper-Union: “Girl With a Bamboo Earring,” a photo of his sister that recalls the classic portrait by Vermeer. Based in Los Angeles, he’s had solo shows in New York, London, Brussels, L.A. and Miami and his films and photos have screened at MoMA in New York.

Read the full list at Forbes.com »


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Ethiopia: Retracing Haile Selassie’s State Visit to Canada 50 Years Ago

Haile Selassie during a state visit to Canada in 1967. This week his grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, travels to Canada to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historical journey. (Photograph: Library and Archives Canada)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

November 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Fifty years ago this year before Haile Selassie departed from Palm Springs, California to begin a state visit to Canada — becoming the first foreign head of state to make the opening call in celebration of Canada’s 100th year anniversary — he spoke to a large crowd at UCLA in Los Angeles applauding the Golden State for its world class college & university programs. “The Emperor’s praise of the California system of higher education brought his audience of 4,000 to its feet for four standing ovations,” writes Professor Theodore Vestal of Oklahoma State University in his book The Lion of Judah in the New World, noting that UCLA conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree upon the Ethiopian leader. “UCLA was an appropriate place to honor Haile Selassie. Almost 1000 Peace Corps volunteers had trained there for service in Ethiopia and other countries, and its law school had a cooperative program with Haile Selassie I University. Haile Selassie presented the UCLA library with antique illuminated manuscripts written in Ge´ez on parchment.”

Following his UCLA tour Haile Selassie was off to Canada arriving in the country via Vancouver, British Columbia on April 26th, 1967. “Haile Selassie was the first of some 60 heads of state to visit Canada’s centennial celebration,” Vestal notes, with the trip including stops in Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal.


May 2, 1967: Haile Selassie was the first dignitary to have been welcomed at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Canada. (Photo: Library and Archives Canada)

The one-week trip, however, was not without controversy. The sixties were a time when turmoil was brewing back home and the media was beginning to ask uncomfortable questions regarding political developments in Ethiopia. Vestal adds that “en route to Ontario [the Emperor] issued an announcement that all questions to his press conference had to be in writing and submitted in advance,” which did not at all impress the local journalists documenting the activities surrounding the state visit.

“The edict apparently was made in response to what the emperor thought had been rude treatment on the west coast by Canadian reporters who peppered him with embarrassing questions about what was happening in Ethiopia,” Vestal observes. “His pronouncement was anathema to the proud Canadian press. At the same time 14 Ethiopian students were demonstrating in front of the Ethiopian mission to the UN in New York City protesting the treatment of fellow students at Haile Selassie I University. The protestors were carrying signs saying “Down with Haile Selassie and his Clique.”..this was the first time Americans saw Ethiopians demonstrating against HIM. Times were changing in Ethiopia.”

Nonetheless the official trip itself was very successful in terms of advancing relations between Ethiopia and Canada. “In Ottawa, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson greeted the emperor and accompanied him to a guard of honor ceremony at Canada’s 100th birthday flame in front of the gothic parliament building,” Vestal says. “Haile Selassie received assurances from Pearson that Ethiopia would receive more foreign aid from Canada. The emperor announced that he soon would appoint an Ethiopian ambassador to Canada. In Addis Ababa, there was already a Canadian ambassador at work.”

Haile Selassie concluded his trip to Canada in Quebec City following a brief meeting with Prime Minister Pearson and short speech hailing “cultural diversity as enriching nations.”

Fifty years later the emperor’s grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, will make a private, commemorative visit to Canada this week with planned events in Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton. According to the announcement “the purpose of the visit to Canada, from November 15th-19th, 2017, apart from invited engagements, is to commemorate the half-centenary of the State Visit to Canada of Emperor Haile Selassie I, in 1967. The 2017 private visit is designed to enhance fundamental Ethiopian-Canadian relations.”

Sponsored by the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) and the Zahedi Center the visit by Prince Ermias is being coordinated with the knowledge of the current government of Ethiopia, “but not at Government expense or in an official capacity,” the announcement states. “No official discussions will take place during the visit, nor will the visit touch on political issues relating to either country.”

Prince Ermias took similar trips to Australia earlier this year and Jamaica the previous year in honor of the 50th anniversary of Haile Selassie’s state visit to those countries as well.

In Ottawa Prince Ermias, who is 57 years old, will be recognized by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), which will induct him as an Honorary Fellow.

In addition organizers say the tour in Canada will include at least two events that are open to the public. On Saturday, November 18th at 1pm, Prince Ermias will give a presentation on youth violence and hope at All Nations Full Gospel Church and on Sunday, November 19th, along with wife Princess Saba Kebede, Prince Ermias will attend mass at Menbere Berhan Kidest Mariam (St. Mary) Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Toronto.


Related:
OP-ED: Ethiopian Legacy of Canadian Robert Thompson by Fikre Germa
Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica
Tadias Interview With Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie

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Spotlight: African Culture and Design Festival Features Jomo Furniture

(Photo: Jomo Furniture)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

November 12th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Jomo Furniture, founded by Ethiopian American artist and industrial designer Jomo Tariku, continues to garner international attention. This week, the U.S.-based company — which was featured at the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF) that took place from November 9-12 in Lagos, Nigeria — will also be showcased at African by Design’s Middle East launch of its exhibition in Dubai, UAE.

The African by Design exhibit included designers from seven Sub-Saharan nations this past March in Ghana, and according to the press release the upcoming event taking place from November 13-18, 2017 will “play host to Africa’s most diverse design exhibition in a prestigious celebration of the very best in African textiles, sculptors and installations.”

Jomo’s African themed furniture particularly celebrates ancient Ethiopia as well as Kenya while creating elegant household items such as stools, chairs, tables and other movable articles for use in residences, boutique hotels, and office lobby. “As a young boy growing up in Ethiopia, he was always drawn to the eclectic art, souvenirs, and furniture pieces his father collected during his travel throughout Africa and beyond,” Jomo Furniture notes on its website. “That combined with spending two summer breaks at a local furniture builder in Addis Ababa, catapulted his interest in furniture making and design.”

According to the media release the talented exhibitors at African by Design Exhibition include: “award winning Transformist, Ini Archibong, Nigeria; Ethiopia and Kenya-inspired Jomo Furniture; and Kofar Mata Dye Pit, whose dyeing technique is encapsulated by the history of the ancient city of Kano.”

In addition, the press release note that the work of African by Design participants “fall between three categories; Furniture/Product Design, Textile Design and Environmental Design and promises to be a multi-sensory experience-taking visitors on a journey through the beauty and complexity of diverse cultural influences. African by Design will also be the first exhibition of its kind to inspire a dialogue about the business of design; looking at its potential to contribute to local economies through manufacture and employment.”


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

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

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Book Talk: History of Haile Selassie University & Higher Education in Ethiopia

Graduation Ceremony: Haile Selassie I University, 1971. (Photo: akliluhabte.org)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

November 10th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next month the Tafari Makonnen School Alumni Association in North America and the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association will host a book presentation and discussion at Columbia University featuring the new Amharic book by Dr. Aklilu Habte entitled History of the Haile Selassie I University: Development and Expansion of Higher Education in Ethiopia.
 
In his memoir Dr. Aklilu, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1929, brings forth an intimate knowledge of the evolution of higher education in Ethiopia that’s drawn from his personal experience not only as a graduate of the University College of Addis Ababa (that later become Haile Selassie I University and now Addis Ababa University), but also from his subsequent tenure as a lecturer in Education, Dean and President of the University from 1969 to 1974. Dr. Aklilu earned his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba (Canada) in 1955, and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Education from Ohio State University in 1956 and 1958.


(Photo: akliluhabte.org)


(Photo: akliluhabte.org)

Dr. Aklilu also worked for three years as Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs in Ethiopia before joining the World Bank in 1977 where he served as Director of Education and Training for 10 years and then as Special Advisor on Human Resources Development to the Vice President of the Africa region for 3 years. He later worked for the United Nations as Chief of UNICEF’s Education Division and Special Advisor to the Executive Director for 3 years.


If You Go:
DATE: DECEMBER 03, 2017, 2:00–4:00 pm 
PLACE: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, 420 West 118th Street, New York,
Altschul Auditorium, 1st floor, SIPA, Room 417, 
(By subway: Take # 1 train to 116 Street Station on Broadway)
Organized by: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) of NY, NJ & CT and
Tafari Makonnen School Alumni Association in North America (TMSAANA).

Audio: Dr. Aklilu Habte Reflects on the Development of Higher Education in Ethiopia


 
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Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana Named Finalist for 2017 World Athlete of the Year Award

IAAF announced that Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana has made the short list for the 2017 World Athlete of the Year Award. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

November 7th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — For a second year in a row Ethiopia’s Olympic champion and world 10,000m titleholder Almaz Ayana has been named a finalist for the World Athlete of the Year award.

She was the winner of last year’s Female World Athlete of the Year prize.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Monday that the male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2017 will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 in Monaco on Friday 24 November.


IAAF World Athlete of the Year 2017 finalists announced. (Getty Images)

The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Men -
Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)
Mo Farah (GBR)
Wayde van Niekerk (RSA)

Women -
Almaz Ayana (ETH)
Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE)
Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)


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Spotlight: Wayna Nominated for Two All Africa Music Awards

Singer-songwriter Wayna is heading to Nigeria this month to compete as a nominee for two All Africa Music Awards. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

November 3rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Wayna has been nominated for the 2017 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) that’s set to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from November 9th to 12th.

The Ethiopian-born artist is named a candidate in two categories: Best Female Artist Inspirational Music and Best Female Artist East Africa.

Wayna received the nominations for her recent music video You are not alone, which she released on Facebook last March in honor of Women’s History Month.

“Wayna Wondwossen from Ethiopia used her AFRIMA nominated single You are not alone to advocate and fight against domestic violence and girl child right,” organizers announced in a press release. “The former Grammy awards nominee reach out to African women through this awesome single.”

The video features images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that the Ethiopian-American musician encountered at the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017. The song shows solidarity with “women and girls in my native Ethiopia, for reproductive rights, for equal pay, and to put an end to violence against women and girls everywhere” Wayna says. “I say to all my sisters, mothers and daughters: You are not alone.”

According to AFRIMA only “8 ladies are nominated this year but only one goes home with the trophy.”


You can help Wayna bring home the gold by voting here for Best Female Artist Inspirational Music and Best Female Artist East Africa.

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Interview: Why Samuel Gebru is Running for City Council in Cambridge, MA

Samuel Gebru is a candidate for a City Council seat in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – When we first featured Samuel Gebru in Tadias Magazine a few years ago as the Founder of the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative (EAYI) he was barely 19 years old. Today Samuel, who turns 26 next month, is running for a City Council seat in Cambridge, Massachusetts with elections to be held on Tuesday, November 7th.

“If elected I will be the second Ethiopian-American in Massachusetts to hold office,” Samuel tells Tadias in a recent interview. “The first one was the late Tsegaye Mekonnen also known as ‘Mike.’ Samuel was referring to the former Councilman for the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts who passed away in 2011. Samuel adds that he is following in Mekonnen’s footsteps: “Mike was a successful and respected City Councillor. He came to America in the 1960′s during Haileselassie’s time and was elected into office in the 1980′s, so if I am elected I am honoring his tradition.”

“My key platform and the reason why I am running for City Council is because I believe that economic inequality and affordable housing are the biggest issues in Cambridge,” Samuel says. “So I am committed to economic and social mobility, ensuring that every resident in our city has the resources, the access and the opportunities that they need to be successful. That’s why I am running.”

Samuel points out that Cambridge is a very well-resourced city and home to the globe’s most prestigious higher education institutions and biotechnology corporations. “We have Harvard, MIT, Kendall Square, and all the leading biotech companies in the world are headquartered here,” Samuel says. “The problem, however, is that because of our relative prosperity we tend to overlook the poverty that we have in the city.” Samuel adds: “Thirteen percent of Cambridge families with children live in poverty. Of our single mother households one third of those families live in poverty. And people are cost burdened. A lot of people struggle with their rent because rent has skyrocketed 43% in the last decade. So we have some real issues and I want to make sure that we are continuing to talk about these issues at the City Council level.”

Samuel explains that one of the qualities he loves about Cambridge is that it strives to be accommodating of everyone. “About one third of Cambridge’s population are immigrants,” he says. “We are also a very progressive city.” He adds: “We have been a sanctuary city for over 32 years. When you are talking about progressivism and making sure that everyone is included, this is the hub of that. And I am running because I want to ensure that this tradition continues.”

“As you know I have been politically active for over 13 years,” Samuel reminds us, highlighting that among his many past activities detailed in his campaign bio is that as a high school student he sat for three years as an executive committee member on the Family Policy Council for the city of Cambridge, an official board that’s chaired by the mayor of Cambridge. Samuel was recommending policies on children, youth and families to the City Council and the City Manager, and he was the only youth to ever have a seat on the executive committee.

“I was in monthly meetings with all the city’s department heads during that time,” he recalls. “So I have gotten a glimpse first-hand of city government, policy making and I want to be able to continue to have a seat at the table to make sure that no one in our city gets left behind.”

What’s his message to the Tadias readership?

“The message is simply that we must be involved,” Samuel says. “We Ethiopian Americans need to participate in the political process and we need to be registered to vote.” He emphasizes: “It’s not enough to be a citizen. If you are a citizen of this country and you are not a voter you do not matter in America. I want the Tadias audience across the U.S. to know what politicians know. For example, for me, if somebody requested to meet me you know what the first thing that I do? I check their voting history because I want to know that you vote. I want to know that you are an active voter because if you are not, then why are you meeting with me? And that’s what every politician in this country does. They want to know that you vote.”

Samuel says like many young people he is frustrated by the often divisive and rancorous tone of the conversation among Ethiopians in the Diaspora that oftentimes conflate out of context U.S. domestic politics with Ethiopian politics. “It’s okay to disagree or agree to disagree and have different perspectives,” Samuel says. “After all we are a diverse community and not homogeneous, but we also have to learn how to take a break from our differences to acknowledge and support each other as well as embrace our similarities even when we have opposite opinions because that’s how democracy works. At the end of the day our interests are the same, we just happen to have various methods and ways of expressing it. When one of us is succeeding, all of us are succeeding.”

Samuel adds that “this is not unique to Ethiopians only” rather a widely-felt growing pain symptom shared by many newly arrived immigrant communities. “When you are new you’re not only invested in the politics of your adopted homeland in the United States, but you are also heavily invested in the politics of your native homeland,” Samuel says. “However, what I have noticed with lots of us Ethiopians is that we are too preoccupied by what happens in Ethiopia that we tend to disengage from what happens here.”

“Of course, on the federal level we’ve been successfully involved before,” Samuel observes. “Ethiopians for Obama did a very good job of registering Ethiopians in Virginia and other states. We have done an amazing work on that level, but on the local level what we have to remember is that if you care about safe streets, clean water, early education, local economic growth, housing, zoning, development and other matters that affects our daily lives directly here in America these issues are handled at the city level and that’s why I am running.”

By running for City Council Samuel is blazing a trail for Ethiopian-American youth to be engaged at the local level, and raising important points that we should all be thinking about.


You can learn more about Samuel Gebru at www.gebruforcambridge.com

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Spotlight: Oasis Jimma Juice Bar Owner Opens Community Center in NYC

Abduselam (Abdi) Abajebal, owner of Oasis Jimma Juice Bar & Ethiopian Café in New York. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Oasis Jimma Juice bar — named after owner Abdi Abujebel’s birth place in Ethiopia — is a popular spot in Harlem offering nutritious smoothies and food as well as gems of wisdom on better living.

“This is where it all begins,” Abdi tells us during a recent visit, gesturing towards a glass-case on the wall containing a large world map with a bold arrow pointing right at Jimma, Ethiopia. The map is plastered with currencies from across the globe, mirroring the eclectic composition of the city of New York and its people who hail from all corners of the world.

Abdi, who opened the health-conscious juice bar in the busy intersection of Broadway and 125 street five years ago has already expanded to a second location on 139th street, and is set to inaugurate a community center next door.

“It will be a gathering place for neighborhood generated activities including Ethiopian cultural dance class, poetry reading, yoga, marshall arts, and much more,” Abdi says. “It’s to encourage local residents to share their skills and give lesson to community members.” He emphasizes that he wants community members to feel welcome to receive and give courses.


Oasis Jimma Juice Bar and Ethiopian Café in NYC. (Courtesy photo)

Abdi’s moving personal story that brings him from Jimma to Kenya to New York was recently profiled in Bon Appétit magazine in an aptly titled piece: “The Refugee Juice Bar Owner Who’s Defied Pretty Much Every Odd There Is.”

Abdi recounts how he had to fend for himself after his father passed away, moving from place to place as a teenager and ending up in a refugee camp in Kenya before getting an opportunity to emigrate to New York in 2004. Not long after his arrival to the United States Abdi learned that his poor health condition was primarily a result of being a diabetic. Abdi had to make a personal choice. He could learn to eat healthier or he could continue to chow down on processed or junk food as he worked three jobs at Newark Airport. He pauses as he reflects on how his father had served as a holistic doctor for his village, the memory of which pushes him not only to heal himself through a healthier and more nutritious diet, but to make the same options available for the community in Harlem.

Customers young and old stroll in and are personally greeted by Abdi as he juggles the telling of his story with making sure each client is quickly and generously served at Oasis. Most are repeat customers who already have a favorite choice that he calls out as he sees them.

Abdi’s face beams as he gets to talk about his new community center venture opening this Sunday (October 29th) which he named the Oasis Power House. It has been a long journey from Jimma to New York via a Kenyan refugee camp, but Abdi is determined to keep growing his holistic health business, including the possibility of making Oasis Juice Bar a franchise and the Oasis Power House as a free resource center on every block. The vision is compassionate and grand and Abdi is building it one happy customer at a time, gladly encouraged by the Oasis motto: Drink Your Food!


If You Go:
Oasis Power House Inauguration
600 W. 139th Street
New York City
Phone: (646) 918-6729
All are welcome. Event is family friendly.
Program starts at 1pm
http://oasisjjb.com

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Ethiopian-American Tefere Gebre Re-elected Executive VP of AFL-CIO

Tefere Gebre (right), the executive vice-president of AFL-CIO, has been re-elected to a four-year term along with President Richard Trumka (center) and Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (Left) – Labor Tribune photo.

Labor Tribune

AFL-CIO elects top officers at 2017 Convention in St. Louis

Delegates to the AFL-CIO 28th Constitutional Convention in St. Louis have elected Richard Trumka (UMWA) as president, Liz Shuler (IBEW) as secretary-treasurer and Tefere Gebre (UFCW) as executive vice president. In addition, delegates elected 55 vice presidents, who will serve as the Executive Council for a four-year term.

TEFERE GEBRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Tefere Gebre begins his second term as executive vice president. In 2013, Gebre became the first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO. Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, Gebre fled state-sanctioned violence and emigrated to Los Angeles as a teenager. A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, Gebre has devoted his entire life to the values of democracy, justice and helping workers organize to achieve a voice at the workplace. Before coming to the AFL-CIO, Gebre led the Orange County Labor Federation. As executive vice president, Gebre has focused on building strong labor-community partnerships at the local level through the movement’s central labor councils and state federations.

“These are tough times for our country, our movement, and our communities,” Gebre said. “But in the face of these challenges, I have hope of a brighter day, a stronger tomorrow and an America with liberty and justice for all. As executive vice president I pledge to do my part, lead with my heart and never stop fighting.”

Click here to read the full article »


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Ethiopia: 2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week in Pictures

Photo from the 2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week. (courtesy of HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 20th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The 2017 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week recently wrapped up in Ethiopia’s capital displaying an eclectic collection of styles from twenty one designers representing seven African countries and models from five nations.

The featured designers included: Mafi (Ethiopia), Yordi (Ethiopia), Adama Paris (Senegal), Anayngo Mpinga (Kenya), Samra Luxury Leather Collection (Ethiopia), Ejig Tibeb (Ethiopia), Ratatouille (Ethiopia/Brazil), Russell Solomon (Nigeria), House of Eden (Ethiopia/USA), Ye’Fiker (Ethiopia), Ayni’s Design (Ethiopia), Mantsho (South Africa), Lali (Ethiopia), Mustafa Hassannil (Tanzania), Zaaf (Ethiopia), Arnold Murithi (Kenya), Tg’sh (Ethiopia), Fetel Design (Ethiopia), Yohannes Sisters Couture (Ethiopia).

The two-day runway show was held on Friday, October 6th and Saturday 7th, 2017.

Below are photos from the 2017 Hub of Africa Fashion Week:


Related:
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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A Night of Hope for Ethiopia at Wegene’s Annual Fundraising Event in VA

Photo: From past Wegene Foundation event. (By Tsedey Aragie/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will host its annual fundraising event this weekend with the theme “A Night of Hope” that’s scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 21st at The Waterford in Springfield, Virginia.

Wegene is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year and was established by by a group of like-minded friends in D.C. metropolitan area as a way to give back and assist “less fortunate and disadvantaged children and their families in Ethiopia.” Wegene focuses on “overcoming three critical barriers in the seemingly unbreakable poverty cycle: little or no education, poor housing, and family instability.”

Tadias had featured an interview with the foundation’s inspiring Founder, Nini Legesse, as part of our “Women’s History Month” series in 2012. Nini was one of the fourteen community leaders from the East African Diaspora that was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Nini said: I founded Wegene in 2000 with similarly inspired friends who like me had left their home country in their teenage years.”


Photos: 2015 Wegene Ethiopian Foundation Annual Fundraising Dinner (Tadias)

Nini added: “We felt morally obligated to give back. Even though my friends and I feel grateful for the security, opportunity, education and better life that we enjoy in our adoptive country, the United States, we wanted to assist those who have less opportunities in Ethiopia. The goal of Wegene is to enable hardworking, poor families to meet their daily needs and send their children to school in a sustainable way.”

The 2017 event will feature dinner, music and presentations.

—-
If You Go:
A Night of Hope: Wegene’s 17th Annual Fundraising Gala
Saturday, October 21 at 7:00 PM – 1:00 AM EDT
The Waterford Springfield VA
Click here for Tickets
www.wegene.org

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Spotlight: Manale Dagnew’s New Designs Support Girls’ Education in Ethiopia

Ethiopian designer Manale Dagnew's new collection of accessories are produced with motifs and colors from Ethiopia's North and South and raises funds for Girls' Education. (Photo courtesy: Manale International)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born designer Manale Dagnew spent several years in New York and Paris successfully creating couture wedding gowns and evening wear prior to returning to Ethiopia and “rediscovering the beauty of her cultural heritage.” Soon thereafter she designed original accessories including scarves, wraps, neckties and pocket squares celebrating the diversity of her native country with a philanthropic purpose of giving 10 percent of all sales to educational initiatives for girls in Ethiopia.

“The collection’s designs are inspired by the practice of the North’s traditional weaving and the South’s intricate body painting,” says Manale. “More than just raising awareness of African art and culture from my homeland, I want to make a real difference and positively impact education for girls in rural regions of Ethiopia.”

“During the initial phases of this effort, Manale will work with established schools and learning centers to improve the lives of local children and their families,” the press release adds. “Once a revenue stream is more established, the goal is to start new schools for primary education and also training academies for graduates to learn job skills in the Belessa, Gayent, and Addis Zemen regions.”


Learn more about Manale Dagnew’s designs at www.manaleinternational.com.

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She Met Her Prince (for Real!) at a D.C. Nightclub

Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen were married on Sept. 9 in a lavish ceremony in Temple Hills, Md. Mr. Makonnen is the great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

Few love stories resemble a fairy tale as much as the courtship and marriage of Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen. Of course, it helped that the groom is an actual prince and the bride has a prominent lineage of her own.

Mr. Makonnen, known as Prince Yoel, is the 35-year-old great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. And Ms. Austin, 33, is of African-American and Guyanese descent; her maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.

As the couple noted on their wedding website, their union happened when “Old World aristocracy met New World charm.” The old and new combined on Sept. 9, in a marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states.


Guests watched as at least 13 priests and clergymen helped officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony. (Photo: The New York Times)

The festivities began with a ceremony at the Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, Md. In an incense-filled sanctuary, guests in stockinged feet watched as at least 13 priests and clergymen helped officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony between Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin, who just days before had converted to the religion. Hours after the ceremony, the pair celebrated with a formal reception at Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Va., with 307 guests, amid gold sequins, platters of Ethiopian food and preboxed slices of Guyanese black cake for people to take home.

Their marriage had been more than a decade in the making. In the nearly 12 years since they first met on a dance floor at the Washington nightclub Pearl, in December 2005, Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin have pursued degrees, jobs and, at times, each other. Eventually, planning a wedding just became the next item on this ambitious couple’s to-do list.

Read more »


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TSEHAI Publishers Turns 20, Launches Book Under Harriet Tubman Press

From Left: Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press; TSEHAI Publishers Founder Elias Wondimu, Congressmember Karen Bass and CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye at the launch event for 'Voices from Leimert Park Redux,' the debut book by Harriet Tubman Press, an imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, in Los Angeles, California on October 14th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — TSEHAI Publishers celebrates its twentieth anniversary this month along with the launch of the first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

Founded by Ethiopian American publisher Elias Wondimu, TSEHAI Publishers — which is located at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles — is the only African or African-American owned press housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011). “The launch of this historic imprint boldly reinforces the necessity and value of giving place for our voices in the national and global discourse on race, culture, the arts and so many more important facets of our collective humanity,” says Elias.

The book launch event was held in front of the Vision Theatre in Leimert Park on Saturday, October 14th sponsored by PEN Center USA and LA Review of Books. The program included live readings by the poets featured in the inaugural publication highlighting the “diverse voices of Los Angeles” and speeches by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye, as well as Elias Wondimu and Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press and the press’ first book Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

“It is going to be a great continuation of LMU and TSEHAI’s Harriet Tubman Press’ engagement in the Leimert Park Community,” Elias added.


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After Killing Two, Gunman Fled to Ethiopia

Sileshi Simeneh, 54, left, the father of Kedest Simeneh, is pictured in his Springfield, Va., home with his youngest child, Christina Simeneh, 12. At right is a framed photo of Kedest Simeneh surrounded by candles. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

After a Young Couple Was Killed, Alleged Gunman Fled to Ethiopia. He May Never Face Trial.

The former college soccer player was gunned down in his own home, shell casings scattered around his body, police said. His girlfriend’s body was found a couple of miles away, slumped against a tree with a bullet through her head.

Authorities are confident they know who carried out the brutal double slaying in Northern Virginia last December. A witness places an aspiring rapper at the scenes of the killings. A Fairfax grand jury indicted him for murder. Detectives know where he lives.

Yet, nearly 10 months later, Yohannes Nessibu remains a free man. He was spotted strolling down a street in recent months. On Twitter, he still promotes a mixtape that features him rapping about shooting a woman.

Nessibu, 23, is out of reach because he boarded a flight to his native Ethi­o­pia, just before police closed in on him, the victims’ families say. The families say he’s now the subject of an international tug of war: The United States wants him returned to stand trial, but Ethi­o­pia refuses because it bars the extradition of its own citizens.

Read more »


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New Ethiopian-American Radio in Colorado

Endale Getahun in KETO studio in Aurora, Colorado. The radio station, KETO 93.9, which was launched on Ethiopian New year last month, is the only Ethiopian FM radio station in the U.S. (Photo: Aurora Sentinel)

Aurora Sentinel

New Ethiopian-American Radio Aims to be Immigrant Voice in Aurora, Colorado

AURORA | Metro Aurora’s newest radio station has been broadcasting for less than a month. But the low power FM station’s presence on the air represents a 17-year journey for a radio station dedicated to the immigrant community of Colorado’s most diverse city.

When 93.9 KETO-FM launched on Sept. 11, the Ethiopian New Year, it represented almost two decades of work for Endale Getahun, an Ethiopian immigrant whose dream has been to provide immigrants from across the world who live in Aurora a voice of their own.

“Sept. 11 we were on air. We got our license on Aug. 30 and the transmitter arrived on Aug. 8, which was my birthday. It was an awesome birthday gift,” Getahun said. “And the (immigrant) community was surprised. Some of them didn’t know (we were going to be on.) They were just switching the dial and found us.”

While the radio station is in its infancy, it’s broadcasting music and other news programs. But in the coming months, it plans to do everything from provide a platform for law enforcement officials, including the FBI and Homeland Security, to reach out to the immigrant community to broadcasting Aurora City Council meetings in 11 languages.

“We want to be the ear and mouth of the community,” Getahun said. “We want to attract other speaking communities to fill the programming. After (we attract more programming) we will use radio animation to make sure certain programming airs at certain times. And we will have a week’s worth of programming saved online as well.”

Getahun said there’s still work to do to fully realize his dream of what KETO can be including gathering more equipment to allow for things like call in shows. But after 17 years of work to make the station a reality, everything after getting the station on the air is the easy part.

“Building a capacity is much easier than getting to hear. Getting it (on the air) was the hardest part,” Getahun said.

Read more »


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NYC: International Day of the Girl 5k Run & Panel for Ethiopia Hosted by GGRF

(Photo Courtesy: Girls Gotta Run Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), which employs a successful method of combining athletics, education and others skills-training to empower young women in rural areas in Ethiopia, is hosting an “International Day of the Girl 5k Pop-Up Run & Panel” in New York City on Wednesday October 11th. The run and panel discussion is hosted in recognition of the International Day of the Girl.

For the past five years October 11th has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl, honoring the world’s 1.1 billion girls who are “a source of power, energy, and creativity.”

According to the United Nations “the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”

The event announcement adds: “Girls Gotta Run is the only non-profit organization in Ethiopia that uses the national sport of running as an innovative approach to creating safe spaces, ending child marriage, and expanding access to secondary school for vulnerable girls. All proceeds generated by the 5k pop-up run and panel discussion will go towards providing GGRF Athletic Scholarships for girls in Ethiopia.”

Following the run, a panel discussion will take place at Shutterstock HQ at Empire State Building, with various “female changemakers and running ambassadors, exploring the creation of safe spaces through running and how sport can be a community empowerment [and] mobilization tool.” Panelists include Mekdes Mersha, Model & Clinical Researcher; Beatrice Frey, UN Women Communications Specialist and Sport Portfolio Coordinator; Alison Désir, Founder of Harlem Run & Run 4 All Women; Jessica Zapotechne, Founder of Girls Run NYC & Black Roses NYC; and Candice Huffine, Model & Founder of Project Start.

“The IDG GGR 5k pop-up fun run will start at 6 pm at Shutterstock HQ and run along the West Side Highway,” Organizers say. “All runners are welcome.”


If You Go:
Click here to RSVP

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Ethiopia: 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows Tell Their Stories

Abinet Tasew, a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Ethiopia (pictured above), is the author of the following article. (US Embassy Addis)

US Embassy Addis

By Abinet Tasew, 2017 Fellow

The fellowship is a game changer

The name of the program, “Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders,” itself was my inspiration to apply. I learned about the program two years ago from the radio; someone talked about “Young African Leaders,” then associated it with two great leaders I love the most – Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. I thought about two things: how prestigious the program will be and how great young African minds will come together. I looked back at my accomplishments and I told myself that I fulfill all the requirements. I was confident when I wrote my application; I was sure that I would be one of the 2015 fellows. I made it as a semi-finalist, proving me right, but I ended up being an alternate candidate. Guess what I told myself, “This is the result of quotas for the program, and it has nothing to do with me.” I pulled myself together and reapplied. This time, I made it as a finalist and I become a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow. The program is prestigious and I met great, young African minds and hearts.

The fellowship is a game changer. I never thought that a six-week experience could have this huge impact on my worldview.

Read more »


Related:
“Applying To MWF was one of the best decision I have ever made” — By Tigist Seife Haile
Former Mandela Washington Fellow Gersam Abera Shares Advice for 2018 Applicants
“The Mandela Washington Fellowship was a life changing experience” — By Azeb Gebresilassie Tesema
Four tips to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship program — By Helina Stiphanos, 2017 Fellow
What inspired you to apply? — By Melaku Girma Lemma, 2017 Fellow
Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

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Tirunesh Dibaba Wins Chicago Marathon

Tirunesh Dibaba won the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 8th, 2017 with the second-fastest time ever recorded at the event. (Getty Images)

LetsRun.com

CHICAGO – Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, who during her illustrious career has won 12 global titles including three Olympic golds, added a new accomplishment to her CV today — she won her first marathon as she captured the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:18:31 – the second-fastest time ever recorded in Chicago. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was second in a massive new pb of 2:20:22 (previous pb of 2:24:45).

Dibaba’s victory was much-deserved as well as she hammered from the gun. She ran her first 5k in 16:09 (that’s 2:16:09 pace) but five women were still with her at halfway. Shortly after that it became a two-person battle between Dibaba and Kosgei as Kosgei did her best to stay with Dibaba, who often was swerving from side to side to prevent Kosgei from drafting off of her. A 5:15 20th mile gave Dibaba a sizeable lead, which only grew to the finish.

With Dibaba’s victory assured, the only drama was how well everyone else would hold up until the finish as all of the five women in the lead pack at halfway ran a positive split.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba dusts women’s field at Chicago Marathon (The Chicago Tribune)

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Friends Partner to Open 95-Seat Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant in Virginia

Longtime friends Philipos Mengistu and Daniel Solomon opened Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant on Van Dorn Street near the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia on Monday. (Photo: Alexandria Times)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Philipos Mengistu, owner of the popular NYC restaurant Queen of Sheba, has partnered with his childhood friend Daniel Solomon of Virginia to open Makeda — a new 95-seat Ethiopian restaurant and bar located in Alexandria.

Makeda, which is located at 516 S. Van Dorn St., “features traditional and authentic Ethiopian fare,” notes The Alexandria Times newspaper. “Chef Senait “Mimi” Tedla is running Makeda’s kitchen.” The new menu includes traditional fare alongside Makeda Tibs, Quanta Firfir, Assa Dullet, and Assa Goulash. Extra food options at Makeda include rice and pita bread as well as a kids meal section. “In addition, Makeda will offer gluten-free injera and is working to make sure its menu caters to health-conscious eaters,” says Philipos.

The food news site DC Eater adds: “The plan is to create a vibrant bar scene. The restaurant features a full lineup of beer, wine, and liquors, and plans to offer live music in the evenings.”

Philipos and Daniel have known each other for more than four decades going back to their growing up days in Ethiopia. Solomon has been a resident of Alexandria since the early 90s and looked forward to opening an Ethiopian restaurant with Philipos.

“We opened [Queen of Sheba] to introduce Ethiopian food to New Yorkers and to serve the international community. We’ve loved sharing with family and friends and now we’ve brought that experience to Alexandria,” Philipos tells The Alexandria Times as Makeda opened its doors last week.


Related:
Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant opens on Van Dorn Street (The Alexandria Times)
Manhattan Restaurateur Exports Latest Ethiopian Restaurant to Alexandria (DC Eater)

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Kelela Explains Why ‘Very Personal’ Debut Album Took So Long to Finish

Ethiopian-American singer Kelela performs at the Quebec City Summer Festival on July 15. (Getty Images)

Newsweek

If you’ve never listened to Kelela’s music, then you probably don’t know how long people have been waiting on her. You’ve probably never heard the complaints that she’s taken too long to release her first studio album. And you probably don’t know that although fickle, the grievances are warranted, given the success of her first two mixtapes, 2013’s seductive Cut for Me and 2015′s hypnotizing Hallucinogen.

She’s heard the gripes. But sharing vulnerabilities with the world isn’t easy. Doing so takes a certain level of thoughtfulness and respect. Kelela knows that too, which is why she took her time before finally releasing her first studio album, Take Me Apart, on Warp Records on Friday.

“I sort of had to have all of the experiences that I am speaking on throughout the album. And it’s part of the reason why it’s taken so long. It’s all very personal and sort of drawn from my actual experience,” she told Newsweek during a phone call Thursday.

“I sort of embarked on making some sort of project when I was working on the mixtapes,” she said. “It essentially meant that I was compartmentalizing on some level so that there could be a narrative, a story.”

The narrative the Washington, D.C. native tells on Take Me Apart is one of confusion, loss and clarity.

Read more »


Related:
Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Spotlight: US Ethio-Jazz Band Debo Makes Debut in UK and EU

Debo band. (Photo by Joe Del Tufo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 6th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month Debo Band will make their debut performance in the United Kingdom and European Union countries with concerts in the cities of London, Ljubljana, Vienna, and Munich.

Founded by Ethiopian-American Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen Debo Band focuses on original compositions drawing homage to the Ethio-Jazz sounds of the 60s and 70s. The band’s latest album, Ere Gobez, was released in 2016. Debo Band is currently working on their third LP and will go into the studio in 2018.

Since 2006 Debo Band has performed across the United States and Canada, as well as in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Brazil.

Debo Band members include “Bruck Tesfaye (vocals), Danny Mekonnen (tenor saxophone), Gabriel Birnbaum (tenor saxophone), Marié Abe (accordion), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Harjinder Singh (guitar), Adam Clark (bass) and Danilo Henriquez (drums).”


If You Go:
Oct 15: The Water Rats––London, United Kingdom
Oct 17: Cankarjev––Ljubljana, Slovenia
Oct 18: Porgy & Bess––Vienna, Austria
Oct 19: Kösk––Munich, Germany
Details for the shows can be found at http://www.deboband.com/shows

Video: NPR – All Songs Considered – Field Recording Featuring Debo Band

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Ethiopia: Almaz Ayana Nominated for 2017 World Athlete of the Year Award

Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

October 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Olympian and World 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana has been nominated for the 2017 World Athlete of the Year award.

The Ethiopian long distance runner, who was also the winner of last year’s Female World Athlete of the Year prize, won the 10,000 metre race at this year’s World Championships held in London this past summer.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced that “a three-way voting process will determine the finalists. The IAAF Council will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook and Twitter later this week; a ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ will count as one vote.”

IAAF adds: “Voting closes on 16 October. At the conclusion of the voting process, three men and three women finalists will be announced by the IAAF. The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017.”


Related:
2017 WORLD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – WOMEN’S NOMINEES

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Cyclist Tsgabu Grmay Sings With US Team

Cyclist Tsgabu Grmay, who is the current time trial champion in Ethiopia, has signed with the U.S. road racing team Trek–Segafredo for the 2018 season. (Getty Images)

News 24

Ethiopian climber Tsgabu Grmay has joined Trek for 2018, the American team announced on Monday.

The 26-year-old, the African time-trial champion two years ago, joins from Bahrain.

He has ridden five Grand Tours including the last two Tours de France.

Read more »

Tsgabu Grmay signs with Trek


Twenty-six-year-old Tsgabu Grmay is the current Ethiopian Time Trial champion and combines his TT-skills with a predilection for long climbing efforts. (Lampre Media)

Cycling News

Trek-Segafredo announced the addition of two riders to their 2018 roster on Monday, completing their line-up for the coming season. 26-year-old Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and 20-year-old Italian trainee Nicola Conci will join the American WorldTour team next year.

Grmay, the reigning time trial champion in Ethiopia, got his start with MTN-Qhubeka in 2012 and spent three seasons with the team before jumping to the WorldTour with Lampre-Merida. After two years there, he joined Bahrain-Merida for 2017. A three-time time trial champion and two-time road race champion in Ethiopia, he finished fifth overall at February’s Tour of Oman.

“I’m very happy about this move. Trek-Segafredo really stood out for me because they offer a very professional guidance for their athletes. I am confident that within this team I can continue my development as a rider in the best circumstances,” Grmay said in a team press release.

“I really like stage races because they suit me better than one-day races. Of course, it would be a dream come true if one day I would be able to win a stage race. But let’s take it step by step. I want to keep learning and improving and will give it my all, and who knows, maybe one day, achieve that ultimate goal. In the meantime, I will honor my jersey, my team and my country. Being the first Ethiopian rider ever who turned pro, I feel the support of the whole country standing behind me and that gives me the strength to keep going until the bitter end.”

Read more »


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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week Preview

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The sixth edition of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week (HAFW) — an international runway show featuring both established and up-and-coming designers from across the African continent — will be held in Addis Ababa from October 5th to 8th, 2017.

Supported by Vogue Italia/Talents the 2017 events will take place at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Centre. Organizers announced that this year’s program includes panel discussions, master classes, presentations and a pop-up shop at Sapphire Addis Hotel.

“HAFW is extremely proud with the line-up of close to 35 participating designers, international models, and fashion makers from across the African Continent,” the media release states. “Vogue Italia /Vogue Talents will be scouting for talents to take part at Milan Fashion Week 2018.”

The announcement adds:

“Since inception in 2010 HAFW has been able to assist in the transformation and development of the continental fashion industry. Fashion must be thought of in business terms and HAFW has endeavoured to connect emerging and established designers with, buyers, manufacturers, distributers and investors in order to grow the continental fashion industry to reach its potential.”

Participating designers are shown below:

1. ADAMA PARIS – SENEGAL
2. ANYANGO MPINGA – KENYA
3. ARNOLD MURITHI – KENYA
4. AYNI’S DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
5. EDEN ASBEHA – ETHIOPIA
6. EJIG TIBEB – ETHIOPIA
7. FETEL DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
8. LALI – ETHIOPIA
9. MAFI – ETHIOPIA
10. MUSTAFA HANSANNIL – TANZANIA
11. PALESA MOKUBUNG – SOUTH AFRICA
12. RATATOUILLE – ETHIOPIA
13. REPUBLIC OF LEATHER – ETHIOPIA
14. ROOI – NIGERIA
15. RUSSEL SOLOMON – NIGERIA
16. SAMRA WORLD CLASS LUXURY LEATHER – ETHIOPIA
17. TG’SH – ETHIOPIA
18. YE’FIKER – ETHIOPIA
19. YOHANNES SISTERS COUTURE – ETHIOPIA
20. YORDI – ETHIOPIA
21. ZAAF – ETHIOPIA

PARTICIPATING DESIGNERS PRESENTATION

1. AACHERA – KENYA
2. AIDICHO – ETHIOPIA
3. ENZI – ETHIOPIA
4. EYERUSALEM ABERRA – ETHIOPIA
5. FALONE RUSAMAZA – RWANDA
6. KOMATRE DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
7. MENABE JEWLERY – ETHIOPIA
8. NEEMA – KENYA
9. NIGISTI – ETHIOPIA
10. PARSHYGIAN JEWLERY – ETHIOPIA
11. ROOTS IN STYLE – ETHIOPIA
12. TIYAA – ETHIOPIA
13. YE’TSEDEY – ETHIOPIA
14. ZIM TIBEB – ETHIOPIA


If You Go:
More info at www.hubfashionweekafrica.com.

Related:
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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Ethiopia Movie Lambadina Comes to DC

Lambadina is Messay Getahun's first feature film (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian film Lambadina will make its Washington, D.C. premiere next week. Directed by Messay Getahun, Lambadina features 9-year-old Joseph, the abandoned son of Solomon, who finds refuge in another home and falls in love with the daughter (Ruth) in the new family. Showing resilience and overcoming several obstacles in life Joseph eventually emigrates to the United States taking a riveting journey from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles.

“The beginning part of the film has elements of true events” explained Messay Getahun in a Q&A with Tadias last year pointing out that parts of the narrative are autobiographical.

“It’s a story of a split that happens between a father and son during uncertain times in Ethiopia.” Messay shares. “That portion of the story is actually my personal story. My dad was involved in politics. I was about 6 years old and a new government was coming to power, so I based the story from some childhood memories I had of an era that I thought was important for the source of the film.”

Regarding the title Lambadina Messay tells Tadias that the word is “an Ethio-Italian word which means ‘lantern’ or ‘night light.’ The definition represented the theme of the film, which is about overcoming the obstacles that life throws at you. I also wanted a one-word title. Something foreign enough but yet easy enough to pronounce. We wanted to make a universal film. Something the older generation, the younger generation, Africans and non-Africans could watch,” Messay says. “Finding a good balance was essential.”


If You Go:
Lambadina Premieres in DC
October 12th & 13t
The Miracle Theatre
535 8th Street, SE
Washington DC 20003
www.lambadinamovie.com

Watch: ‘Lambadina’ official trailer [HD]:

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Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018

(© Aida Muluneh)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Photographer Aida Muluneh from Ethiopia will be featured in the upcoming Being: New Photography 2018 exhibition, which is the current edition of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s New Photography series in New York.

MoMA announced that the show that will be on display next Spring (March 18 – August 19, 2018) “investigates charged and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity in recent photography and photo-based art, presenting works by 17 artists working in the U.S. and internationally.”

MoMA’s press release notes: Being: New Photography 2018 “is constituted primarily of works made since 2016, both by artists who are just starting out in their careers, some showing in New York for the first time, and by others with more established practices who, in some cases, have been supporting the field of photography through teaching or creating other platforms for production. For all the artists, this will be the first exhibition of their work at the Museum.”

“While personhood is something that we all share, also inherent in these representations is the recognition of difference, which is especially urgent in our current moment,” says organizer Lucy Gallun who is an Assistant Curator of the museum’s Department of Photography. “Universality in humanity does not mean sameness.”

Aida was born in Ethiopia in 1974, but left the country when she was five years old and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, Aida graduated with a degree in Film from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She later worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Post exhibiting her work in-between throughout the United States. Aida returned to Ethiopia in 2007. Her images are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the Museum of Biblical Art, as well as various private galleries and collections in New York and across the country.


If You Go:
Being: New Photography 2018
March 18, 2018–August 19, 2018
www.moma.org

Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

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From Dishwasher to Millionaire, Ethiopian Refugee Achieves American Dream

Tashitaa Tufaa drives one of his company's largest school buses, which seats 70 pupils, in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 9, 2017. Tufaa's company owns nearly 300 buses. (Photo: Abdi Mohamud for VOA)

VOA News

By Tigist Geme

MINNEAPOLIS — When Tashitaa Tufaa first arrived in Minneapolis from Ethiopia in 1992, he remembers craning his head skyward in disbelief. Looking up at the tallest skyscraper he had ever seen, he began counting the stories until he couldn’t count anymore. Eventually, he found out the building had 55 floors.

It was a long way from Negele Arsi district in the Oromia region of Ethiopia where he grew up. As a child, he worked alongside his 13 siblings on the family farm.

Now he’d have to do other types of work. He thought he had a fluent command of English that would open doors in the job market.

“But I found out that I didn’t after I came to Minneapolis,” he said.


Tashitaa Tufaa, owner, CEO and president of Metropolitan Transportation Network Inc., at the company’s headquarters, in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 9, 2017.

So he began as a dishwasher at the Hilton Hotel, earning $5.65 an hour. Eventually, he held as many as three jobs at once, including ones at manufacturing companies and another as a security guard.

The small paychecks of those days are long gone for Tufaa, who is now president of a successful bus company.

Each day, Metropolitan Transportation Network carries more than 15,000 children to schools, field trips and other destinations in Minneapolis and other Minnesota cities. The multimillion-dollar transportation company has more than 300 employees and recently moved to a new, larger operations center.

‘I do not believe in giving up’

The road to success hasn’t been easy, but Tufaa believes his experience shows that for those willing to work hard, anything is possible.

“I do not believe in giving up,” he told VOA.

Tufaa came to the U.S. as a refugee. He had been a school teacher in Ethiopia and was also active in politics. Following the fall of Ethiopia’s communist Derg regime in 1991, he helped campaign for the Oromo Liberation Front in his native Oromia region.

When his party withdrew from the transitional government after a fallout with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Tufaa no longer felt safe in the country and decided to leave.

“I was a political asylee. I didn’t like or agree with the Ethiopian government,” he said.

While working his menial jobs in the U.S. he also earned his master’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Minnesota. After obtaining the degree, he worked for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.


A fleet of Metropolitan Transportation Network buses in a parking lot at the company’s headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 2017.

Dishwashing and factory work were not enough to provide for his family, so he took an evening and weekend job as a shuttle driver, transporting senior citizens and people with disabilities to and from work.

“As a result I fell in love with transportation and I call myself an addicted driver,” he said with a chuckle.

He left his city job after a conflict with a supervisor and began driving taxis. But other drivers complained that he worked long hours and favored shorter trips to avoid long queues at the airport.

Eventually the taxi company fired him and, with no other options, he decided to strike out on his own.

“To do a business, you need to face a challenge. You can’t start business if there is luxury,” Tufaa said.

Starting with one van

After sketching out their idea for a transportation company in 2003, Tufaa and his brother began delivering handwritten letters to public school districts seeking contracts. He started with his wife’s single minivan transporting homeless children.


Tashitaa Tufaa chats with mechanics and drivers at Metropolitan Transportation Network’s maintenance shop in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 2017.

Tufaa — who had once aspired to be a diplomat — says his negotiation and bargaining skills paid off. Their service was rated as excellent by public school districts and the business grew.

The business has steadily grown and now includes a fleet of nearly 300 buses and vans that take children to schools across the state. In 2012 Tufaa was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association in Minneapolis.

Since the beginning, Tufaa says, he prioritized the safety and punctuality of the children his company serves.

“I will not accept for my kids to arrive in school one minute late,” the father of five said. “I make sure that is the case for all the children we serve.”

Minnesota has long, snowy winters. Although buses typically drop off kids and leave, MTN pays its drivers to wait until the children get inside their homes or are met by an adult.

Employees marvel at his ability to grow the business without sacrificing his values.

“When I joined everything all I was hearing was, ‘We want to be more like a family,’” said Charles Marks, an assistant transportation manager at the company. “We kept that tradition and that makes the drivers come back every year. I always keep an empty chair next to my desk for anyone who wants to come and talk.”

Tufaa believes in building and empowering communities to be self-sufficient. He is active in the local Oromo community.

Estimated at 40,000 by the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population outside of Ethiopia in the U.S.


A Metropolitan Transportation Network bus picks up students for summer school in Minnesota, Aug. 8, 2017.

Tufaa advises and mentors employees interested in starting their own business. In fact, since 2012, three former employees have started their own successful transportation companies.

“The greatest gift I think you can give people like you is that it can be done and I feel like I’ve done that,” Tufaa said.

This, he says, is a lesson for all African immigrants pursuing their American dream.

“When a person is free, you can do anything,” he said. “So appreciate what you have, work so very hard, and get rid of the wrong pride we have back home that if you have a college degree you have to be in a professional line [of work] and you can’t dig the potatoes or do the dishes. Work is work and go out there and do what is available. Be proud of it.”


Related:
Ethiopian Restaurants Foster Community in Silver Spring (Associated Press)

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Fall Arts Preview 2017: Kelela’s New Album

Kelela Mizanekristos, known mononymously as Kelela, is a second-generation Ethiopian American singer and songwriter. (Getty Images)

Metroweekly

After a busy and occasionally harrowing summer, 2017 looks set to wind down in style — musically, anyway…

Anyone who found themselves captivated by Kelela‘s mixtape and subsequent EP can look forward to the October 6 release of Take Me Apart, the second-generation Ethiopian-American artist’s first full studio album. It may have been a long time coming, but the single “LMK” promises a fierce, captivating work of otherworldly electro-R&B that will be well worth the wait.

Read more at Metroweekly.com »


Related:
Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Spotlight: Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation

Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile honored with a GE video installation on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 25th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Professor Sossina Haile, an expert in materials science and fuel cells research, was one of 12 female scientists who were honored last week with a spectacular video installation, projected on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, as part of a display called “Unseen Stars” recognizing “outstanding women in science.”

We featured Ethiopian American scientist, Sossina Haile, several times including in a profile interview in 2011 in which she told Tadias: “I delight in the discovery. When results make sense and we are able to explain something, I am thrilled. When that discovery has potential to solve critical societal problems, I am ecstatic.”

“Grand Central station is the epitome of New York — a place of connection,” Forbes magazine notes highlighting the GE sponsored show. “A myriad of train lines intersect and pass through the terminal, making it home to about 750,000 passengers daily. One of the most captivating aspects of Grand Central is the celestial ceiling, dating back to 1913. Today, Grand Central’s ceiling is being transformed, unveiling 12 portraits of female scientists, the hidden stars of science. This incredible light show is honoring women who have made significant breakthroughs in all fields of STEM and have shaped our society, whether we know it or not.”

The Grand Central installation was on display through Thursday, September 21st, and included “custom-designed animations, based on the iconic constellations, [that illuminated] the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal.” The faces of 12 female scientists and engineers appeared in an animated journey at the following times:

Tuesday, September 19 (7:30 p.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
Wednesday, September 20 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
Thursday, September 21 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)


Related:
Outstanding Women in Science: Tadias Interview with Professor Sossina Haile

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

Antu Yacob performing her one-person show, In the Gray, at the United Solo Theatre festival in New York City on September 17th, 2017. (Photo: Kidane Mariam for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 18th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American play “In the Gray” was featured at the 2017 United Solo Theatre festival in New York City this past Sunday. Antu was the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the festival, which is the largest solo theatre festival in the world.

The 75-minutes storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethiopian-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

In the Gray is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.

Below are photos taken during a tech rehearsal prior to the show as well as following the performance:

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

Watch: Clips from Antu Yacob’s play “In the Gray” taped during tech rehearsal on 9/17/2017 (TADIAS)

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.

The film Conjure, which she produced and acted in premiered at the 2017 Hip Hop Film Festival in August and won several awards including the Vanguard award (writer and director Adrian Luke Sinclair) and Best Supporting Actor award (Charles Richard Barboza). Likewise the Netflix series Gypsy in which Antu makes a guest star appearance as Sasha Knolls is currently playing.

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


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

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Ethiopia Film ‘Breathe in the Roots’ Director Interview

Tsedey Aragie interviewing filmmaker Indrias G. Kassaye. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last month we featured the D.C. premiere of Breathe in the Roots, a new film by Director and Producer Indrias G. Kassaye that features a young Brooklyn-based African American teacher’s journey of discovery to Ethiopia.

Indrias Kassaye is a writer, photographer, and producer who “believes in the importance of storytelling that champions the voices and experiences of local communities and everyday people.” After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Indrias moved back to Ethiopia with dreams of contributing to the development of his country and the African renaissance in general.” In his latest film Indrias tracks Ty Christen Joseph’s (Chris) “journey from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s holiest pilgrimage sites, on horseback – documenting his once-in-a-lifetime experience and showcasing a side of Ethiopia that mainstream media rarely covers.”

Tadias caught up with Indrias, Chris and some audience members following the Washington, D.C. screening at the Anacostia Arts Center.

Watch Video:

The Anacostia Art Center screening was the first of a series of screenings, photo exhibitions and discussion sessions in the DMV area.

The next event entitled “Filmmaker Shop Talk” is scheduled for Saturday, September 16th at Gateway Media Art Center in Mount Rainier, Maryland, followed by a screeening at Busboys and Poets in Hysattsville, MD on October 17th.

In addition, Port Of Harlem magazine is organizing a showing of ‘Breathe in the Roots’ at Alexandria Black History Museum in Virginia on October 26th.


(Courtesy photos)


Related:
Watch: Breathe in the Roots trailer (A film Directed & Produced by Indrias G. Kassaye)

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2017 Bikila Award Recipients Announced

The 4th annual Bikila Award ceremony takes place in Toronto, Canada on Sept. 23, 2017. (Bikila Award Org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s Bikila Award recipients include musician and composer Mulatu Astatke who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Miruts Yifter, one of the greatest middle distance runners of all-time who died last year at the age of 72, will be recognized posthumously with the Professional Excellence Award “for his distinguished and legendary achievement in long distance running and as a world class athlete, double Olympic Gold winner and Ethiopian hero.”

The annual award ceremony and dinner, which takes place every September in Toronto, Canada, is named for the iconic marathon Olympian Abebe Bikila who captured the world’s imagination on September 10th, 1960 when he stormed the Rome Olympics barefoot becoming the first African to win an Olympic gold and setting a world record.

Organizers note that the Bikila Award “is created mainly to empower young people to reach their highest potential and to celebrate their achievements with the 2017 Academic Excellence and Scholarship Award given to students Wudassie Tamrat, Yonas Nigussie, Sarah Edo and Dagmawit Aberham.

In addition, Bikila Award, Inc. states that it will honor Dr. Edemariam Tsega and Dr. Frances Lester Tsega with the Professional Excellence Award for their “distinguished achievement as compassionate and dedicated physicians, and for playing a key leadership role in advancing medical care and education in Ethiopia and Canada.” The 2017 event will also recognize Dr. Enawgaw Mehari with the Community Service Excellence Award “for his philanthropic contributions in founding People to People (P2P) as a dedicated practicing physician, and for improving healthcare awareness and education,” as well as Dr. Fitsum Tariku who will be given the Professional Excellence Award “for his distinguished achievement as a scholar and researcher in building engineering, whole-building performance analysis and hygrothermal modeling.”

Photos from past Bikila Award Ceremonies:


Previous winners of the Bikila award include Ethiopian-Canadian pop music superstar Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) as well as Dr. Taffara Deguefe and the Pankhurst Family who were honored last year with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. (Courtesy photographs)

The keynote address this year will be delivered by Ted Alemayhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), while the honorary guest speaker is Professor Suzanne Akbari who is the Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Professor Akbari has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Ethiopic studies program at the University of Toronto, the first of its kind in North America.

Entertainment will be provided by Barnes/Woldemichael Ethio Jazz Quartet.


If You Go:
The 2017 Bikila Award Celebration and Dinner
September 23rd, 2017
At Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Canada
www.bikilaaward.org

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Spotlight: Yohannes Sisters From Ethiopia Showcase During NY Fashion Week

(Courtesy of The Yohannes Sister's Couture)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – It’s fashion week in New York City and the Yohannes Sisters are here from Ethiopia to showcase their emerging brand this weekend at PLITZS New York City Fashion Week that will be held at Hotel Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 9th.

With designs labeled as Lioness Arising and Enat the talented siblings, Lily and Zeze Yohannes, who are based in Addis Ababa combine traditional Ethiopian design and fabric with Western aesthetics to create their own original style. As the fashion website Style Cartel points out: “by threading love into every nook and cranny, their designs are nothing less than majestic, empowering, and personally yours.”


(Photo: PLITZS New York City Fashion Week)


The Yohannes Sisters in New York. (Photo: Instagram)

The Lioness Arising collection symbolizes the “Ethiopian woman that broke barriers and was confident to be herself,” Lily Yohannes told Style Cartel during the 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week. “And the second [collection] is called “Enat” which means “mother” in Amharic, and we were honoring moms. I know moms are special, but Ethiopian moms specifically have been through so much. So this was our way of honoring them. That’s why we were basically using traditional materials to represent the Ethiopian woman.”


If You Go:
PLITZS New York City Fashion Week
Hotel Venue – New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania
Sat, September 9, 2017
7:00 PM
401 Seventh Avenue & 33rd Street
18th Floor Grand Ballroom
New York, NY
Click here for more info

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Tebabu Assefa, Sara Mussie Brief Congress on Benefit Corp for Africa

Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie. (Photo: Maryland State Arts Council)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 10th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The husband and wife team of Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie who are owners of Blessed Coffee — one of America’s first Benefit Corporations — are scheduled to brief Congress this week on their Maryland-based socially responsible and grassroots business model that can be used to improve business-to-business and people-to-people relations with Africa.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8) and the founders of US-Africa Diaspora Business Council (US-ADBC) are hosting the Congressional Briefing, which is “organized to present the Benefit Corporation for Africa Initiative (BCAI) to policy makers, the African Diplomatic Group, international development organizations, U.S. & U.S.-African Diaspora business leaders and the media,” the press release said. “In 2010, Maryland became the first state to pass legislation enabling businesses to register as Benefit Corporations, a new class of corporation that is explicitly formed to create a positive material impact on society and the environment. Congressman Raskin, then the MD State Senator, authored the legislation. To date, more than 31 states, including New York and California, have enacted similar legislation.”

Tebabu and Sara’s venture, which we featured here exactly six years ago this month, was founded in 2011 and is the nation’s second Benefit Corporation. Blessed Coffee (BC) is “based on a farmer to your cup direct market link that is geared towards development in coffee growing regions in Ethiopia, as well as in communities in the U.S. where the coffee is sold. As such, BC offers investment and profit sharing partnership to 323,000 coffee farmers in Ethiopia (representing over 1.5 million families), organized under a small coffee famers cooperative union,” the briefing announcement said.

This past Spring Tebabu and Sara’s work were also praised by US Senator Ben Cardin during the US Senate Foreign Relation Committee Hearing on Private Sector Engagement in International Development held on May 7th, 2017. In a 2016 interview with Bethesda Magazine, Congressman Raskin noted, “Blessed Coffee embodies everything a Benefit Corporation strives to be…It is a totally locally rooted business with an international conscientiousness devoted to community, but also devoted to the excellence of its product.”

The upcoming Congressional briefing announcement adds: “Tebabu and Sara titled and branded their dynamic social business as Virtuous Exchange (VE) – better than Fair Trade. US-African immigrant communities have massive untapped human and financial resources to positively impact social and economic development in Africa. Tebabu & Sara’s core conviction is that VE can leverage the power of Benefit Corporations and social businesses to achieve economic, social and environmental development in Africa and the U.S.”

Tebabu and Sara have received several awards, including the 2012 “Champions of Change” honor from the Obama administration, several Congressional citations from members of the U.S. Congress, the 2017 Green Business Award from Bethesda Magazine and the 2014 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from StartUpAfrica.


If You Go:
CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING FOR BENEFIT CORPORATION FOR AFRICA INITIATIVE
12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, Rayburn HOB, Room S 215, 45 Independence Ave, SW Washington DC

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Spotlight: Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American Play “In the Gray” in NYC

Antu Yacob will perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play "In the Gray" on September 17th, 2017 at the annual United Solo theatre festival in New York City. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month Antu Yacob will become the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the United Solo Theatre festival in New York City when she performs her one-person show, In the Gray, on September 17th at the largest solo theatre festival in the world.

The 75-minutes storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethio-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

“I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu told Tadias. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me.” Antu says she tries “to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way.”

In the Gray is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.

Antu was invited as a guest speaker to play excerpts from an edited version of the show this Summer at the Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp in Harrisonburg, Virginia where she led a theatre workshop for the children. “I was very happy with the feedback,” shared the Ethiopia-born actress and playwright who immigrated to the U.S. when she was five years old. “It was well received both by the kids and their parents.” In addition, Antu was also one of the panelists at this year’s “Empowering the Community Weekend” event run by the Helen Show in D.C. on August 26th.

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

Watch: In The Gray by Antu Yacob Preview Video

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.

The film Conjure, which she produced and acted in premiered at the 2017 Hip Hop Film Festival in August and won several awards including the Vanguard award (writer and director Adrian Luke Sinclair) and Best Supporting Actor award (Charles Richard Barboza). Likewise the Netflix series Gypsy in which Antu makes a guest star appearance as Sasha Knolls is released and currently on.

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


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

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

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

Click here to buy tickets

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

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In LA, Little Ethiopia Fest to Honor ‘Dir Biyaber’ Mutual Assistance Association

The 2017 Little Ethiopia Cultural Street Festival in Los Angeles will be held on Sunday, September 10th. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 2nd, 2017

Los Angeles (TADIAS) – Since 2002 when the city of Los Angeles officially designated the neighborhood on Fairfax Avenue between Olympic and Pico Boulevard to be recognized as “Little Ethiopia” — making it the first street in the United States to be named after an African nation — the Ethiopian American community has been hosting a popular outdoor festival every second Sunday of each September to celebrate Enkutatash.

This year the festival will honor the local Edir named Dir Biyaber Mutual Assistance Association, which has a membership of 2,000 families and representing over 10,000 individuals.

“This organization has done a great service in our community,” says Nikki Legesse of the Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center, adding: “they are going to be the keynote speakers and they will be recognized by various dignitaries at the festival.”


The Little Ethiopia neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph: Little Ethiopia Business Association)


(Photos: TADIAS)

According to the 2017 festival announcement: “Dir Biyaber Edir Mutual Assistance Association, was established on September 1, 2014 for the purpose of providing monetary assistance for funeral expenses. The association acts like a low-cost funeral insurance service for its members here in the U.S. The members pool their money to cover the high cost of burying loved ones. Members pay a one-time membership fee and a minimum affordable monthly amount, so that the emotional struggle of losing a family member is not compounded by financial difficulties. Continuing the Ethiopian cultural tradition of Edir, the association encourages its members to attend services to comfort and support the families in times of emergencies.”

The Little Ethiopia Street Festival and Enkutatash celebration takes place on Sunday, September 10th and as always features live music, food, vendors, and a cultural dance performance. Invited guests include city officials and other dignitaries.


If You Go:
The 2017 Annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Fairfax Avenue (Between Olympic & Whitworth)
Los Angeles, California
For more info call: 323.360.4431 or 310.877.3530
www.littleethio.com

Related:
Mayor of San Jose to Attend Enkutatash
Ethiopia Fest Chicago 2017 Ready for Enkutatash Celebration

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Tariku Shiferaw’s First International Solo Exhibition at Addis Fine Art London

Tariku Shiferaw. (Photo via Anthony Philip Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Tariku Shiferaw will hold his first international solo exhibition at Addis Fine Art’s London project space from September 14th to October 8th, 2017. The exhibition entitled Erase Me is also the gallery’s inaugural show at their London location.

Tariku’s latest body of work “interrogates the concept of mark-making both physically and metaphysically,” states Addis Fine Art’s announcement. “Using titles of songs from Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae music, these paintings embody both the experiences and struggles expressed through music by Black artists…In appropriating song titles as painting titles, the work automatically inherits the references, identities, and the history portrayed through the songs.

Tadias profiled the Ethiopian-born, LA-raised and New York-based emerging artist last year focusing on his collection of paintings that he described as featuring “contradictions, glitches, interruptions, and disagreements in a system.” In addition, this past Spring Tariku’s work was part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, an influential annual exhibition held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City that’s considered the leading contemporary art show in the world.

Addis Fine Art gallery shares that in Tariku’s upcoming display “every song used to title paintings tells a story that refers to a certain reality. The work becomes a reference of a reference, much like a signifier to another symbol. This creates repetitive patterns both aesthetically and conceptually. Subtle, yet intricate works that overtake a space with authority, these paintings are placeholders for Black bodies, creating a literal way of being “seen” in a society that does not often see the “other.”

ABOUT TARIKU SHIFERAW


Tariku Shiferaw. (Instagram)

Tariku Shiferaw (b.1983) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work deals with mark-making in ways that addresses both the physical and the metaphysical spaces of painting and societal structures. At the age of nine, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya with his family and shortly after immigrated to the U.S. He spent the latter part of his childhood in Los Angeles, California. He studied for his bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2007 and later attained his MFA at Parsons The New School for Design in 2015. Shiferaw has exhibited throughout New York and Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include The 2017 Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museums’ Debtfair project (New York, 2017); Hard Cry, Lubov (New York, 2017); Life Sized, Anthony Philip Fine Art (Brooklyn, 2016); Introduction 2016, Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, 2016); The LA Art Show, Werd Gallery (Los Angeles, 2016); ATAVAST, Roomservice/Standard Practice (Brooklyn, 2015); New Work New York, 1st MFA Biennial Presented by St. Nicks Alliance & Arts@Renaissance (Brooklyn, 2015).


If You Go:
Addis Fine Art Project Space
Tafeta, 47 – 50 Margaret Street
London, W1W 8SB, UK
Tel: +44 7931557544
hello@addisfineart.com

Exhibition Hours:
14 Sept: Opening Reception (6-8pm)
16 Sept: Artists Talk with Sharon Obuobi (2-4pm)
17 Sept – 8 Oct: Mon to Sat 11am-6pm
Admission: Free
www.addisfineart.com

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Spotlight: New “Deseta Emojis” App on iTunes Celebrate Everything Ethiopian

(Courtesy of Deseta Design)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 25th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — For your next text message you may now include Deseta Emojis to express yourself with Ethiopian humor.

The digital icons often used to communicate ideas and emotions comes courtesy of Deseta Design. Announcing that its keyboard app contains over 200 small emojis Deseta Design says that the current collection is available for download on the App Store (Android version coming soon). Deseta emojis include icons of injera, buna, jebena and goursha.

The images “celebrate everything ethiopian in all of its glory,” says Maro Haile, owner of Deseta Design, an NYC-based online creative venture, whom we featured here three years ago highlighting her Ethiopia inspired holiday cards.


(Image: Courtesy of Deseta Design)

So how does this cool looking app work?

According to Deseta Design the emojis work in several ways including “a sticker pack that you can use while you are in iMessages and a keyboard that you can use in multiple messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook.

Deseta Design states: “As messaging apps keep evolving and new platforms keep getting introduced – such as Snapchat, Fitbit – we will continue to release new versions that will work with them as well.”


Click here to download Deseta Emojis on iTunes.

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Wayna Ethiopian New Year Concert at Joe’s Pub NYC to Honor Bezunesh Bekele

Joe's Pub in partnership with Tadias Magazine presents a celebration of Ethiopian New Year with Grammy-nominated songstress Wayna and the music of Bezunesh Bekele (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — For the upcoming Ethiopian New Year Wayna will perform at a special midnight concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City, honoring Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele.

Wayna who spent a better part of the year performing with Stevie Wonder as a soloist and supporting vocalist, has previously performed at the Kennedy Center, the White House, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note along with a 3-month performance residency in Ethiopia in 2016. The Ethiopian American Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter started her one-of-a-kind tribute to Bezunesh this summer with a show at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Maryland held this past June.

The late Bezunesh Bekele — who was once dubbed the “First Lady of Addis” and the “Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia” in the 1960′s and 70s — was a popular and one of the most iconic Ethiopian female singers of her generation.

Below is a Tadias exclusive video from Wayna’s first show paying tribute to Bezunesh Bekele:


If You Go:
Wayna at Joe’s Pub
Friday, September 8 at 12 AM
Joe’s Pub at The Public
425 Lafayette St
New York, New York 10003
Click here to buy tickets

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Helen Show Brings Empower the Community Event to DC

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 19th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Helen Mesfin from the popular Helen Show on EBS TV is launching a trailblazing annual event entitled “Empower the Community” in Washington, D.C., combining her broadcast experience with her professional work in the hospitality industry, and creating 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 26th, 2017.

Panel discussion topics include “The Power of Civic Engagement” featuring Menna Demissie, who is Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus; Henock Dory, former White House Policy Advisor for the Obama Administration’s Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs; and Yodit Tewolde, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, and legal analyst. Additional speakers include Dr. Senait Fisseha, MD, JD Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director of International Programs at the Susan T. Buffett Foundation; and Dr. Debrework Zewdie, Distinguished Scholar at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

“Empower the Community Weekend is a groundbreaking new event that will bring together the largest East African community in the Washington D.C. Metro Area,” Helen says. “The event provides panel discussions, entertainment, empowering information on education, career, arts, finance, health & wellness, giveaways and much more.” She adds: It’s focused on providing resources and family centered activities. We will have various pavilion and activities engaging families with information they need to live productive lives and thrive.”

Helen says the program will also include kids corner with activities such as “reading time, games, fun exercises, art and a booth by D.C. United Soccer Clinic.


Empower the Community Weekend will be launched Saturday August 26th, 2017 by the producers of Helen Show on EBS TV. (Courtesy photos)

Here is a summary of parts of the program on August 26th from 11am-7pm at the Washington Convention Center

Empower Youth: follow your passion. Actress Azie Tesfay; Director/Producer Messay Getahun; Author Michael Asmerom, and Graphic Designer Heli Amare.

Business Leaders Panel: Getting To The Top: Strategies for breaking through the glass ceiling with successful Ethiopian American business leaders. Tefere Gebre, Executive VP AFLCIO, Meskerem Tadesse Director of Center for Minority and Business and Professor of Business Administration and 2 more to be announced next week.

Health & Fitness Pavilion:
Free health screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente, American Kindy Fund, 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. 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:
Hear high energy career motivational speakers. Learn career advancement tips. Participate in informational interviews. Receive mini career coaching. Assess your career aptitudes. Partner organizations include 21st Century Community, YEP – Your Ethiopian Professionals, Alexandria Workforce Development and MBC.

Finance Pavilion:
Topics covered include raising money savvy kids, financial responsibility, creating generational wealth, dealing with college debt, getting your credit right, securing your family’s financial future, and home buying 101. Partner organization are Primerica, CLRA group and Your DMV Team.

Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorney Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu
Fear NOT, Know Your Rights as Immigrants – 11am
Surviving the Stop – How to Engage with Law Enforcement 1:00pm
Teaching Kids & Young Men What to Expect and Know

Warrior Moms – Special Needs Parenting
Leah Tesfa, Birollei Debela and Salem Hagos

Entertainment
Wayna, Ras Nebiyou, Ethiopian Traditional Band, Abel Dureyew, Comedian Gergish and more.

Vendors at the event will also be selling various artisan merchandise

If You Go:
Saturday August 26
11am -7pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

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Spotlight: Indrias Kassaye’s Ethiopia Film ‘Breathe in the Roots’ Screens in DC

Still shot from the new film 'Breathe in the Roots' by Indrias G. Kassaye. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 18th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Washington D.C. Director and Producer Indrias G. Kassaye’s new film Breathe in the Roots will be screened at the Anacostia Arts Center on Saturday, August 19th starting at 4 pm. The documentary features a young Brooklyn-based African American teacher’s journey of discovery to Ethiopia.

According to the media release, “the ‘work in progress’ screening presents Ty Christen Joseph’s (Chris) quest to discover more about his African ancestral heritage. The film tracks Chris’ journey from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s holiest pilgrimage sites, on horseback – documenting his once-in-a-lifetime experiences and showcasing a side of Ethiopia that mainstream media rarely covers.”

Indrias Kassaye is a writer, photographer, and producer who “believes in the importance of storytelling that champions the voices and experiences of local communities and everyday people. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Indrias moved back to Ethiopia with dreams of contributing to the development of his country and the African renaissance in general.”

“Indrias is the author of ‘Beyond the Throne: The Enduring Legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I’ (Shama, 2001). He has worked with UNICEF in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. He has also worked on media projects in South Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa.”


Breathe in the Roots is about a regular guy engaging with regular people on a journey of discovery that few have attempted before. (Courtesy photo)

“The film delves into what it means to grow up without knowing where your ancestors came from, and offers one man’s unique path to reclaiming a lost heritage.”


(Courtesy photo)

The Anacostia Art Center screening will be the first of a series of screenings, photo exhibitions and discussions sessions across the DMV area.


If You Go:
Click here to learn more and RSVP your seat for the DC screening.

Watch: Breathe in the Roots 3 min sampler (A film Directed & Produced by Indrias G. Kassaye)

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Ethiopia Fest Chicago 2017 Ready for Enkutatash Celebration

(Image courtesy: The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Enkutatash is around the corner and so is the fourth annual Ethiopia Fest Chicago, a colorful September festival in the “Windy City” marking the Ethiopian New Year.

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), host of the weekend celebration scheduled for September 9th, announced that their holiday gathering this year features live music, food, fashion show, cultural performance and a gursha contest.

“We are really excited to see Ethiopia Fest continue to grow bigger and better each year,” said Dibora Berhanu, Events Director of the ECAC’s Auxiliary Board. “This year we have all five hours packed with great entertainment and an array of vendors.” She added: “It will be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon [celebrating] the beautiful Ethiopian culture.” The program also includes traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and poetry reading by up-and-coming artist, Tigist Dadi.

The non profit organization said it’s expecting up to a thousand people to attend. “This Festival is a wonderful opportunity for Ethiopians in Chicago and other members in the community to engage in festivities to celebrate the New Year,” the press release stated. “The attendees include the Greater Chicago Ethiopian community, adoptive communities, the African and African Diaspora communities, as well as many people who travel from all over the Midwest.”

The press release notes that the festival organizers have partnered with Ethiopian Airlines and offering a raffle of a round-trip ticket to any Ethiopian Airlines destination in Africa. “We also have many local sponsors including The Wild Hare, New City Moving, The African Life, The Meeting Point, Safari Lounge & Ethiopian Cuisine, Ian Sherwin Gallery, and Selam Ethiopian Kitchen” states the press release.


If You Go:
Admission is only $5 and free for children under 5. You can purchase your tickets online or with cash at the door. For more information on Ethiopia Fest Chicago, please visit ethiopiafestchicago.com.

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Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Names Yohannes Abraham 2017 Fellow

Yohannes Abraham served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama and as Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council. (Courtesy Photo).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Yohannes Abraham will be a 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School. The prestigious institution announced that Yohannes “will guide students through discussions on how White House staff develop and advocate for policy priorities, advance nominations, and manage crises.”

“I can’t think of a more important time to invest in the next generation of public servants,” Yohannes shared in a statement. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to join this community as a Fall Fellow.”

“Yohannes Abraham has not only had a front row seat, but was an active participant in the complex process of shaping national and international policy,” said Cong. Bill Delahunt, Acting Director of the Institute of Politics. “His willingness to share his White House experience with students will provide them a rare first-hand perspective on the challenges of governing.”

Yohannes served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

The press release states Yohannes’ White House experience put him “in the middle of many of the highest profile confirmation, legislative, and communications battles of President Obama’s second term.”

The announcement notes that “Abraham first began working for then-Senator Obama during his Iowa Caucus campaign in 2007. He went on to serve as Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director in the 2008 general election, helping turn Virginia blue for the first time in 44 years. During President Obama’s first term, Abraham served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda.”

The Institute of Politics at Harvard University was established in 1966 in honor John F. Kennedy, America’s youngest president to be elected. According to its website: “Since its founding half a century ago, the Institute has used its programming and activities to ignite passion, appreciation and respect for politics and public service.”

Yohannes added: ““If there is a subset of students that leave my study group more likely to pursue a career in public service, I will consider my time as a Fellow a success.”

—-
Related:
Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham

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Prevail: New Film in the Making About Ethiopia’s Resistance Against Fascism

The amazing story of Ethiopia's resistance against Fascist Italy's invasion. It's an epic tale of courage, betrayal, faith, love and a proud nation that refused to back down. (Photo from the book Prevail)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The recent publication entitled Prevail — focusing on rarely told personal stories from Ethiopia’s victory over fascist Italy during World War II — is now being converted into a documentary film. Written by Toronto-based journalist and author, Jeff Pearce, Prevail features profiles of heroes including Jagama Kello, Ambassador Imru Zelleke, Lekelash Bayan, Lorenzo Taezaz, African-American pilot John Robinson and Emperor Haile Selassie.

“This is our story and unless we tell it no one else is going to do it for us,” says Bereket Kelile of Sacramento, California who is helping to fundraise for the film project. “It was above-the-fold front page news in the New York Times and other big newspapers at the time, but today it’s not a very well known event. The really urgent part is that there are still people alive from that era, so we are kind of racing against the clock to get them on tape. Unfortunately, we have already lost valuable people in recent years such as Jagama Kello and historian Richard Pankhurst.”

Bereket, who was born and raised in the U.S., first learned about the book after reading the Tadias interview with Jeff Pearce three years ago. He later purchased the book and wrote his own review for the website Medium that led to an introduction and friendship with Pearce.

“Jeff has done his homework,” Bereket says. “It’s a well-researched book. In addition to narrating the story from the Ethiopian point of view what I like about what Jeff says is that from the non-Ethiopian perspective it’s a story that’s very much relevant even here,” Bereket explains. “It had an impact in this country as well. African-Americans were concerned about it and there were thousands of people in Harlem, for example, lined up to volunteer to fight for Ethiopia.”

The online fundraising page for the Prevail film project (www.gofundme.com/ethiopiawins) notes some of the few astonishing facts about the war including that “everyone from Gandhi to Trotsky, from Josephine Baker and Langston Hughes to Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw, had an opinion about it; a Broadway play was shut down over it; Marconi, a Fascist, was trying to build a microwave weapon to fight the British because of Ethiopia; about 20,000 Black Americans marched on one day alone over it on August 3, 1935, and there were other massive protests in America and around the world; It inspired a 17-year-old Nelson Mandela.”

The war was full of atrocities including the massacre of “tens of thousands of Ethiopians over a three-day period, and thousands more taken to concentration camps, where about half of them died.” And finally “it ended with an astonishing rescue against overwhelming odds. A true tale of underdog victory.”

Bereket shares that their initial goal is to raise $50,000 to cover the interviews that will be conducted in Ethiopia, England and the United States as well as to pay for archival footage.


Click here to learn more and contribute towards the making of Ethiopia Prevails (a film).

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Almaz Ayana: Queen of 10,000 Metres

Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the World Athletics Championships Women's 10000 Metres final in London, August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Reuters

Olympic champion Almaz Ayana Destroys Field to Win 10,000 Metres at World Championships

Ethiopian Almaz Ayana destroyed the field to win the 10,000 metres at the World Championships on Saturday, finishing around 300 metres clear of her rivals in her first race of an injury-plagued season.

The Olympic champion began pulling away from the field after 10 laps, sweeping past back markers who were made to look sluggish in comparison.

She finished in 30:16.32 seconds, well outside the world record she set when she won in Rio last year but still enough to win by an astonishing 46.37 seconds, by far the biggest margin in championship history.

Ayana’s compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the former world and Olympic champion, added to her impressive collection of medals when he took the silver with Kenya’s Agnes Tirop in third.

“I am very happy to win this title, much more than when I won the Olympic gold because I have been sick this year and didn’t expect it. In fact, this was my first race of 2017,” Ayana told reporters.

A repeat of her world record-breaking performance in Rio was never on the cards after a slow, tactical start to the race in which the field crawled around the first lap in 81 seconds.

But the last two thirds of the race was reminiscent of Ayana’s extraordinary run last year where she also blew away the field.


Almaz Ayana and Tirunesh Dibaba celebrate after winning gold and silver medals at World Athletics Championships – women’s 10000 metres final – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Read more at Reuters.com »


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Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist

Kelela (photo courtesy: Alice Chiche/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

The New York Times

By JON PARELES, JON CARAMANICA and GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The Playlist: Kelela Wants Answers

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. You can listen to this Playlist on Spotify.

Kelela sings about a potential one-night stand in “LMK,” the single preceding her official debut album, “Take Me Apart,” due Oct. 6, after four years of sporadic releases. “LMK” isn’t a flirtation — it’s a negotiation, close to an ultimatum. Her potential partner can’t expect romance, can’t say the wrong thing and has to “let me know” fast: “I ain’t gonna wait if you hesitate,” she announces. The encounter takes place in the subterranean ambience of a production by Jam City with wavery bass tones, chattery percussion and countless layers of Kelela’s nonchalant voice ricocheting through the haze. “It ain’t that deep,” she shrugs, but it’s not exactly casual, either. JON PARELES

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Julie Mehretu’s New Towering Project

Julie Mehretu was recently inducted in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. ((Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Julie Mehretu, a MacArthur Foundation “genius,” is executing a monumental new commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Harlem, New York — The artist Julie Mehretu has been flying awfully close to the sun.
Soaring midair on a mobile platform inside an unused Harlem church, she has been working and reworking two towering paintings taking shape on opposite walls, a monumental commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

For the last 14 months the vaulted neo-Gothic nave has served as Ms. Mehretu’s temporary studio as she executes the most physically demanding, politically charged and collaborative work of her career. Later this month, her paintings will be installed in the museum’s atrium, where they will remain on view for more than three years.

“These are my most American paintings,” said Ms. Mehretu, 46, running her hand through her crop of dark curls as she contemplated the two radiant and complex canvases, each stretching 27 feet by 32 feet.

Ms. Mehretu made her first marks on the canvases in the days right after the November election. It was her shock that moved her to rapid action and she said the current “miasma” informed her improvisational language of roiling calligraphic brush strokes and erasures. She is interested in what “gestural abstraction” — her intuitive and personal expression — ”can conjure in this political moment,” she said, adding that the works “are trying to make sense of where we are in our country right now.”

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


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

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