Featured Section

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up

One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 22nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.K., Hailemichael Aberra Afework, is renewing his country’s call for the unconditional return of cultural and religious treasures that were looted by British troops at the Battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

More than a decade ago Ethiopia had officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures, that are being held at various locations in England. Unfortunately the request was rejected.

According to Thomas Ofcansky and David Shinn’s book entitled Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia, the British army had employed approximately 15 elephants and 200 mules to transport the bounty seized from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros II and several Ethiopian Orthodox Christian churches.

Speaking on how attitudes about the looted treasures have changed, Ambassador Hailemichael told The Art Newspaper in a recent podcast interview that “many people in Britain — the public at large, media, higher education, [those] interested in culture — are all sympathetic to Ethiopia’s demand for the return of these objects” and further hoped that individuals “would understand, the government would understand, the institutions will understand and accept this demand for the objects to be returned to Ethiopia.”

This month the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the U.K. helped to reignite a public dialogue on the topic of the Mekdela treasures when it made an offer to loan Ethiopia the items on a long term contract. V&A’s Director Tristram Hunt was quoted as saying: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

“My answer is a quick no,” replied the Ethiopian Ambassador, emphasizing that Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the items. “My government is not interested in loans, it is interested in having those objects returned.”

The gesture from V&A was made on the eve of the museum’s current exhibition that opened on April 5th showcasing its Meqdela collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

According to The Art Newspaper, among the nearly two dozen objects featured at the V&A show include “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry” that were forcefully removed from Ethiopia.

Hailemichael, who attended the opening, indicated that he appreciated the public awareness value of the V&A exhibition. “When you have something that was hidden away and locked in the room displayed, that in itself is something that we appreciate,” said the Ethiopian diplomat.

The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between the British army led by General Robert Napier while Emperor Tewodros II led the Ethiopian warriors. The primary goal of the British invasion, which has been called “history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation,” was to free a group of European missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros. The Ethiopian king had become upset after he failed to receive a reply to a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria proposing to establish diplomatic and military alliance with his European counterpart. In the end, Emperor Tewodros took his own life and avoided being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

The British rescue operation is estimated to have cost the British military some $9 million sterling, which converts to billion of dollars today.

Given that the issue is bigger than one museum, would Ethiopia bring up the matter with U.K.’s Foreign Office?

The Ethiopian Ambassador did not rule out the possibility. “I hope that the two governments will, down the road, begin to talk about these things,” he stated. “Not only government to government, but institution to institution…so there is quite a lot of understanding among the British public.”

Ambassador Hailemichael also dismissed the long-held myth that Ethiopia does not have the capability to properly store the objects should they be permanently returned. He mentioned the national museum in Addis Ababa along with other modern museums such as the ones in Lalibela, Axum, Gondar, and Harar as well as universities with active programs on cultural heritage management.

“The whole of Ethiopia is a museum of its cultural heritage,” Hailemichael said at one point during the interview.

“The Ethiopian churches have been custodians of such religious objects for centuries,” Hailemichael added. “And therefore the will is there, the capacity is there, the capability is also there, and it should not be an argument at all for not responding positively to the demand of the people of Ethiopia because we can take care of it.”


Photos: Although Tewodros turned the gun on himself in order to avoid being captured alive, the British soldiers took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain).


Related:
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

PM Abiy Visits Gondar & Bahir Dar as Part of National Tour

Since taking office earlier this month PM Abiy, pictured above in the historic city of Gondar on Friday, has embarked on a national tour across Ethiopia to promote unity. So far he has travelled to Jijiga, Ambo, Mekelle and Gondar. He is expected in Bahir Dar on Saturday. (Photo via Africa News)

Africa News

Updated: April 20th, 2018

Ethiopia Premier Abiy Ahmed on Friday morning arrived in the city of Gondar in the northern Amhara region. The trip forms part of his nationwide tour that started two weeks ago.

The state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate (FBC) reported that Abiy was received by head of the region, Gedu Andargachew and other top officials of the state.

As part of his itinerary, he is expected to address residents at the Gondar stadium. “Today’s meeting is parts of his plan to send messages of unity to the public across the country,” the FBC report added.

He will also deliver an address during the TANA Forum gathering to be held in Bahir Dar on Saturday.

Read more »


Related:
PM Abiy Names Cabinet (Reuters)
Ethiopia: Prime Minister Sidelines Military On Development Project (Stratfor)
No Quick Fix to Ethiopia’s Hard Currency Crisis, Says PM
Ethiopia Beats Ghana as Fastest-Growing Africa Economy for IMF (Bloomberg)
Ethiopia Ends Web Blackout, Raising Hopes of Reforms Under New PM (Reuters)
Ethiopia’s New Leader Makes Rare Outreach to Opposition (AP)
In Ambo, Ethiopia PM Asks for Patience as He Seeks Change (AFP)
Ethiopia’s new PM visits town that was center of anti-government protests (Reuters)
Ethiopia PM gets huge welcome in Ambo (Africa News)
US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing
In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)
Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Student in NYC Awarded Prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar Samuel Kebede. (Photo credit: Adam Sahilu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Samuel Kebede, a third year medical student in New York City has been awarded the highly regarded Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, which is the most prestigious scholarship program for international postgraduate students from the University of Cambridge.

“I am proud to be representing my country Ethiopia,” Samuel told Tadias. He is currently enrolled at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

According to Gates-Cambridge: “Funded through a $210 million donation by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the largest ever single donation to a UK university, around 90 scholars are selected each year from a pool of the most academically outstanding applicants to the University. The Scholarship also places an emphasis on selecting those with a proven interest in improving the lives of others by helping address the numerous challenges we face locally, regionally and globally.”

Professor Stephen Toope, Chair of the Trustees of Gates Cambridge and Vice-Chancellor of the University, explained in a statement that: “The Gates Cambridge scholarships are a perfect fit with the mission of the University – to make a real and significant contribution to society. They attract some of the best students from all over the world and from the most diverse backgrounds, and sustain a global network of leaders who will integrate the university’s values into everything they do. The class of 2018, including bright scholars from 28 nationalities, is a perfect example of the commitment to excellence and to leadership in the service of society that Gates Cambridge scholars exemplify.”

In his biography posted on the Gates Cambridge website Samuel shared:

I am originally from Ethiopia but also grew up in Zimbabwe and the Congo. Through my experience living in these different settings, the role of diseases, health disparities and environment made a lasting impact. This realization influenced my decision to gain the knowledge and research skills to prevent and control public health challenges in Africa. I came to the U.S. in 10th grade attending Mercersburg Academy before completing my BA in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate, I devoted much of my time to service in the Baltimore community and was involved in infectious disease projects in Ethiopia, Congo and Baltimore. As a current third-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, I’ve continued to learn more about HIV through a research project in Ethiopia. My time living in the U.S. also peaked my interest in preventable illnesses related to chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease). Delving deeper, I learned more about the growing burden of chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as they relate to the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases on the continent. I hope to be part of efforts for continued policy, practice and research development related to chronic diseases in Africa as a public health physician. I will study the MPhil in Public Health at Cambridge and am excited to be part of the diverse and passionate Gates Cambridge community!”

Congratulations Samuel! We wish you all the best in your studies as a Gates-Cambridge scholar!

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Pictures: Special Tribute to the Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Runway Show

A special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra, spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show, was held at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City on Friday, April 14th, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 14th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Amsale Spring 2019 Runway Show was held on Friday, April 13 at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City as a special tribute to the legacy of Amsale Aberra.

The acclaimed Ethiopian-American fashion designer passed away on April 1st surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

The deeply moving tribute on Friday, which was held on the terrace of Gramercy Park Hotel, featured a new launch of the Nouvelle Amsale collection and closed with a beautiful Ethiopian model wearing Amsale’s first bridal fashion design eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd.

Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the Founder and Creative Director of the fashion design house, AMSALE, one of the industry’s leading brands in the United States.

“For over 30 years, Amsale has been an icon for designs that are powerful in their simplicity. Drama, she believed, emerges when a single, striking detail is offset by a clean silhouette,” the company said in a statement.

Photos: Special Tribute to the Legacy of Amsale Aberra, Spring 2019 Bridal Runway Show

Regarding the Nouvelle Amsale Spring 2019 Collection the company added: “Designed for the modern and effortless bride who understands fashion but stays true to her personal style, the Spring 2019 NOUVELLE AMSALE collection reflects Amsale’s sense of timeless simplicity and understated glamour. Mikado and crepe fabrics highlight Amsale’s signature tailoring and clean lines. With her remarkable style comes a softer attitude shown in delicate layers of tulle and embroidered lace. Balancing chic and statement-making, the Spring 2019 collection also features dramatic taffeta ball gowns with low backs and ample volume.”

Amsale Spring 2019 Collection

“Inspired by cathedral elegance, this collection is expressed through dresses that are grand yet modern, designed for each individual bride in mind. Femininity is translated in form-fitting silhouettes, open backs and gently scooped necklines. Texture is shown with non-traditional lace and layered fabrication. AMSALE BLUE LABEL makes a statement with upscale ball gowns, pearl and crystal beading and draped bows. Unmistakably AMSALE, the Spring 2019 collection has stunning details, accentuating individuality with effortless elegance.”

A look back at the Tadias interview with Amsale Aberra

We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

“When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US House Approves Ethiopia Resolution H. Res. 128 Amid Objection on Timing

Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Chris Smith along with Ethiopian American activists hold a press conference on H. Res. 128 on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018. (Photo: Twitter @RepMikeCoffman)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 128 on Tuesday condemning Ethiopia’s human rights and governance record.

The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch welcomed the approval of H. Res. 128 stating that “The non-binding resolution, combined with recent statements from the U.S. Embassy in Addis, sends a strong signal to Ethiopia’s new prime minister that the U.S. expects significant reforms ahead.”

However, some U.S. lawmakers had expressed objection regarding the timing of the vote given that Ethiopia has just inaugurated a new prime minister who has made a commitment to the public to implement democratic reforms.

In an opinion article published on Tuesday in The Hill newspaper the senior Senator from Oklahoma, Republican James Inhofe, wrote: ‘Just one week ago, Dr. Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Ethiopia’s new prime minister on a mandate to improve these exact issues… We should give Prime Minister Abiy the opportunity to prove himself as a national leader before having the full weight of the United States House of Representatives tossed against him. A heavy-handed, strongly-worded resolution condemning his government, so soon after being sworn in, will severely curtail Abiy’s ability to enact needed reforms.”

The resolution calls on the U.S. government to base its future partnership with Ethiopia on the nation’s “demonstrated commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.” The resolution also calls on the U.S. State Department, in coordination with the Department of the Treasury, “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. “to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.”

Tuesday’s vote marked the first time in over 100 years of U.S.-Ethiopia relations that U.S. lawmakers had agreed to take up such a bill regarding Ethiopia.

HRW pointed out: “Resolution 128 was passed in large part because of Ethiopian-American voters concerned with the Ethiopian government’s rights record, who worked together to make themselves an important constituency. Their persistent efforts despite the efforts of the Ethiopian embassy and their Washington lobbyists led to an impressive 108 Congressional representatives from 32 states co-sponsoring this resolution. Hopefully they can build on this success and advocate for binding legislation on Ethiopia.”


Related:
Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
Ethiopia Frees Re-Arrested Journalists (AP)
A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II

Emperor Tewodros II who died during the battle of Meqdela in April 1868 [150 years ago this month], was born in 1818, marking his 200th birthday this year. (Image: Mereja.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This month Ethiopia will commemorate the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros II with planned events in Gondar, Debre Tabor and Addis Ababa.

The government affiliated Fana Broadcasting cited Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam as stating that the program, which is set to take place from April 10th to 16th, will include panel discussions and exhibitions.

Emperor Tewodros has been making international news lately as the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK made an offer last week to loan Ethiopia the treasures that were looted by British troops following the battle of Meqdela in 1868.

The British campaign was waged 150 years ago this month to free a group of missionaries who were being held by Emperor Tewodros at his Meḳdela fortress after he failed to receive a reply for his diplomatic overtures and a letter that he had sent to Queen Victoria requesting military assistance and British experts.

Although Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive, the British took his young son, Prince Alemayehu Tewodros (who died as a teenager while in exile in Britain). They also left with a large loot of irreplaceable Ethiopian treasures that are currently housed at various locations in England.

Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

In 2007 Ethiopia’s president sent Queen Elizabeth II a formal request for the remains of Prince Alemayehu. As the BBC noted at the time: “The young prince was not the only thing the British took from [Meqdela] – they reportedly needed 15 elephants and nearly 200 mules to carry away the treasures that Tewodros had accumulated. Many of them are still in Britain and the Queen has some of them – notably six of the very finest illuminated manuscripts, which are part of the royal collection in Windsor Castle.”

Some of the loot is currently on display at the V&A museum in London including “a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewelry,” The Art Newspaper noted quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt who said: “They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum.”

According to Fana Broadcasting the Ethiopian government has rejected claims that it is negotiating with the Victoria and Albert Museum of the UK to bring the Meqdela treasures, looted 150 years ago, on long-term loan to the country. “On the contrary we have intensified our efforts for the restitution of all our treasures taken after the battle of Maqdala,” Culture and Tourism Minister Hirut Woldemariam said. Fana adds: “The minister insisted that Ethiopia will further strengthen its demands for the return of treasures from museums and libraries and individuals. There were no discussions about the treasure coming through loan as Ethiopia is the rightful owner of the treasures.”

Regarding the commemoration of the 200th Birthday of Emperor Tewodros Hirut said: “Emperor Tewodros has played significant role in trying to unite the country and modernizing the country as well as establishing and organizing libraries.”


Related:
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

How Ethiopic Script Was Introduced to Modern Computers: Interview with Fesseha Atlaw

Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 6th , 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Just a couple of decades ago it was unthinkable to see Amharic and other Ethiopian languages on our phones, computers, and other electronic devices. Today, however, Ethiopic script is ubiquitous and is used in many applications including in our communication via text messages and on social media.

We were curious to find out when and how Ethiopic Script was introduced to modern computers, so we reached out to Ethiopian-American Engineer Fesseha Atlaw, founder of the first Ethiopic software company, Dashen Engineering, and an early pioneer of digitized Ethiopian script.

Fesseha was among those profiled here some 25 years ago in an article titled “Legends of Ethiopic Computing” for his role as the producer of the first usable Ethiopic word processor. The article noted: “Ato Fesseha is best known in the field of Ethiopic computing for providing the genesis for the concept of computerizing the Ethiopian alphabet.”

“The Ethiopian script has come a long way since it was first applied to a computer program in the early 1980s,” Fesseha says. “We have made a lot of progress in the last three and a half decades, and I get emotional when I think of how far we have come in just 30 years.”

While working with the Unicode Technical Consortium in the early 90s (where he was the only African participant for 30 years) Fesseha was also responsible for proposing and pushing Ethiopic script to be the computer name instead of Geez or Amharic. “This I did consulting with Ethiopian linguists,” Fesseha explains. “The implication for this name selection was huge. It not only permanently codifies the computer reference to the language to be associated with Ethiopia but also correctly credits that the alphabet origination or development belongs to all Ethiopians.”

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

For Fesseha it was his passion for writing in Amharic rather than his profession in the tech industry that initially inspired him to design the first known Ethiopic Script Software. “I loved writing in Amharic as far back as I remember,” recalls Fesseha in an interview with Tadias.

In fact he was barely 15 years old when a high school play that he wrote got the attention of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin and was staged at the National Theater garnering him a “thumbs up” review in the Ethiopian Herald and a full page interview on Ethiopia Dimts (የኢትዮጵያ ድምፅ).

Years later, after Fesseha moved to the United States and became an engineer working for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the heart of Silicon Valley, he still wanted to continue his writing and had contacted people in Ethiopia to send him an Amharic typewriter. But there was one huge problem.

“I discovered that it was a capital crime to smuggle an Amharic typewriter out of Ethiopia,” Fesseha says. “It was a political punishment to discourage free expression and dissemination of pamphlets and other material by opponents of the military government of Mengistu Hailemariam. As the saying goes ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ so they did not want anybody to have this writing machine.” He adds: “I even contacted Olivetti in Italy that manufactured Amharic typewriters for the Ethiopian market. They told me that they had a contractual obligation with the Ethiopian government not to sell the typewriters outside of Ethiopia.”

“Necessity is the mother of invention” Fesseha says, explaining that he decided instead to develop a software using the Ethiopic alphabet. Of course there was no such thing as Windows Operating System at the time and personal computers were at very early development stages — home computers were not even in the radar — and buying one was an expensive endeavor. Fesseha rented the cheapest IBM computer (8086 Micro processor) and a “noisy” DOT Matrix printer for $380 per month.

“It was very crude process,” he recalls. “I had to design screen font and printer font separately for each letter pixel by pixel and grid by grid.”

Fesseha held his first major demonstration at Stanford University in the mid-1980s. “It was a well attended event,” Fesseha shares. “Many people came including the touring Ethiopian delegation to the U.S.” Shortly thereafter in 1986/87 Fesseha gave his first interview to Voice of America’s Amharic service.

The touring Ethiopian delegation eventually extended an invitation to him to do a similar demonstration in Ethiopia, which ended up with him hosting a workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. “It was a dramatic day because Mengistu showed up unannounced,” Fesseha chuckles remembering the moment. “All of a sudden they cleared out the room and a whole bunch of military people with machine guns came in. I kind of sensed that it might be Mengistu and he was not my favorite guy. I had demonstrated against him, I used to write articles in U.S. newspapers about the atrocities and killings at that time, so I was a bit nervous to meet him face-to-face.”

Just as Fesseha guessed, after a few hours of waiting, Mengistu strolled right into the room with his entourage heading straight to the demo table to meet Fesseha. “So I quickly wrote on the screen his favorite slogan: “Hulum Neger Wede Tor Ginbar,” (“ሁሉም ነገር ወደ ጦር ግንባር”), Fesseha says. “To my relief Mengistu found it humorous and smiled from afar.” Although Mengistu was impressed and asked a lot of questions there “was not much productive follow-up afterwards,” Fesseha notes. He returned to California and continued on improving on it and making it available to the public “without any help from the Ethiopian government.”


Fesseha Atlaw hosting the first Ethiopic software workshop at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa in the mid 1980s. (Courtesy photos)

What were the most significant milestones in digitizing Ethiopic Script?

“The most important development in the history of Ethiopic software came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Voice of America (VOA) international service gave Xerox a contract to develop multilingual computers and one of the languages they requested was Amharic,” Fesseha says. “Collaborating with Joe Becker from Xerox I pushed for “Ethiopic” to be the unicode name in the Unicode list of languages,” Fesseha emphasizes. “I am proud of that struggle and I consider it to be my biggest contribution. Now the computer knows our alphabet as ‘Ethiopic’ and even a brand new computer will be able to display and allow you to write Ethiopic characters without having to download or install fonts or programs.”

What is Unicode?

“Unicode is an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different computer platforms and software programs. Ethiopic was included in the Unicode standard in 1990. I feel honored to have had a part in the inclusion of Ethiopic in the Unicode standard working with the founder of the Unicode Consortium himself, Dr. Joe Becker of Xerox Corporation. I have been working with Dr. Becker and others in proposing improvements and additions to the set of Ethiopic characters. Members come from high tech companies including IBM, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. While I was at Hewlett Packard and Dashen Engineering I participated representing the two companies, now I am an individual member since I no longer work at HP. I am still the only member from Africa.”

What is the state of Ethiopic in 2018?

“The state of Ethiopic is thriving as never before,” says Fisseha enthusiastically. “Now almost all, I would say 90%, of software applications can easily be done in Ethiopic.” Some of these include Amharic Translation such as in Google browser, as well as Amharic OCR and Amharic Natural Language Processing.

“Regarding the Amharic OCR (Optical Character Recognition), it’s a relatively new technology even for English language users,” Fesseha explains. “The way it works is, the computer takes a picture of a character and matches it with a UNICODE equivalent. The implication is huge. We can now search for a sentence or a word in old scanned books or Amharic documents that were written long time ago before the advent of Ethiopic Software. It also means you can now edit old books and scans as the OCR engine converts any written Ethiopic into editable format after it has been scanned as PDF.”

As for Amharic Natural Language Processing, “this is where a computer can actually read a book for you (in a synthesized voice) and one can also give instructions to the computer via natural spoken language,” Fesseha adds. “Again the implication is immense. You can speak to the computer or mobile device in Amharic and it will start writing your words. You can do this within an application or cut and paste the written words into any application like Facebook or Twitter or Excel etc. This natural Language processing AI is also allowing us to have our own robot that takes instructions and provides an answer in Amharic (Much the same way as Alexa of Amazon and Siri of Apple). One young developer has called his robot “Meron.” An actual sample conversation looks like this:

ጤና ይስጥልኝ
ጤና ይስጥልኝ ስሞትን ማን ልበል?
ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ
ሰላም ፍሥሓ እባላለሁ ፣ ሜሮን እባላለሁ
አማርኛ ትችያለሽ ?
አዎ
ጎበዝ

Fesseha points out that modern graphics design and animation can likewise easily be done in Amharic and cites examples such as TV program graphics, neon signs and animated words and phrases.

“The sky is the limit,” Fisseha enthuses. “The basis for all this was the foundation that was set some 30 years ago to include Ethiopic in the globalized world language ranks.” Now many young Ethiopians such as MetaAppz, Ethiocloud, Agerigna and many many more have taken it to the next level and are developing applications at a very fast rate.”

There have been some recent discussions and debates about whether or not Ethiopic should be used to write Afaan Oromo, and Fesseha who also advises the Oromo community in helping to standardize Qube writing system, adds that he does not believe in imposing Ethiopic on anyone.

“That’s a political issue that Oromos must decide on their own as to the value of using Ethiopic script for Afan Oromo” he says. “As you know Oromiffa has several dialects so Qube is not standardized yet and there are some related technical issues that we are working to resolve at the moment.”

“Some 40 years ago, Oromo intellectuals felt that Ethiopic/Geez script was too cumbersome to computerize and developed the Qube system,” shares Fesseha. “Now in 2018, Ethiopic can do everything a Latin script can do and in my humble opinion, if Afaan Oromo started using Ethiopic, it would be easier to have Google translate and other technological advances include Afaan Oromo and the rich Oromo language can benefit from the technology sooner than later. I will continue to do my best to help in this regard. I call on Oromo scholars to consider using Ethiopic to write Afaan Oromo not for political reason but for simple technical reasons. Ethiopic script belongs to all Ethiopians like Adwa belongs to all of us.”


Cover of an old Afaan Oromo Bible መጫፈ ቁልቁሉ reprinted from the 1800′s version.

Ethiopic Unicode has had characters that represent unique Afaan Oromo sounds such as “በዻኔ” “ዻባ” “ዼሬሳ” … These are not new developments but have been incorporated in the Unicode some 30 years ago as shown in this chart.

Fesseha emphasizes that the development of Ethiopic Script incorporated the participation of many individuals over the years in helping to fine-tune the process. He notes: “From the beginning it was a community-based effort and the credit goes to lots of people and especially the young engineers who are continuously refining the use of Ethiopic in various technology platforms.”


You can learn more about the history of Ethiopic Software and contact Fesseha Atlaw at fesseha@optmax.com or through www.ethiopicsoftware.org.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A Charismatic Young Leader Tries to Calm Ethnic Tension in Ethiopia

In his inaugural speech PM Abiy Ahmed called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital. (EPA)

The Economist

IN ITS three decades of existence, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has gone through only two leaders. Neither came to power through a competitive vote. So it was with a sense of novelty that Ethiopians awaited the outcome of a secret ballot held on March 27th to determine the new chairman of the coalition and, by extension, the country’s prime minister.

The result was also historic. Abiy Ahmed (pictured) won the backing of 108 party bigwigs, while 59 went for Shiferaw Shigute, his closest rival. On April 2nd Mr Abiy was sworn in as prime minister, making the 42-year-old Africa’s youngest leader. He will also be the first in modern Ethiopian history to identify as Oromo—from the largest, and lately the most rebellious, of the country’s ethnic groups…

He takes office on a wave of goodwill. Taxis across Oromia are emblazoned with his photo. Activists abroad tweeted their support. Even in Addis Ababa, the capital, where locals are wary of his ethnic nationalism, there is optimism. In his inaugural speech Mr Abiy apologised for the government’s killing of protesters. He called for unity and talks with opposition groups. And he promised to make peace with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s long-standing enemy. “He sounded like Obama,” gushes Asrat Abera, a resident of the capital.

Read more »


Related:
In Ethiopia Internet Returns, Maekelawi Closed, PM Visits Jijiga on Peace Mission
Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Delivers Hopeful Inauguration Speech (Video)

Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)
Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

One of several processional crosses that were among the items looted during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 4th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the UK is offering to loan Ethiopia its own treasures that were looted by British troops at the battle of Meqdelā in 1868.

Ethiopia officially asked for restitution of the country’s looted treasures that are being held at various locations in England more than ten years ago, but unfortunately the request was rejected.

It’s also worth noting that the latest noncommittal gesture from V&A comes on the eve of the Museum’s exhibition due to open on April 5th showcasing its Meqdelā collection on the 150th anniversary of the battle.

“On show will be 20 items, including a priestly gold crown, a gold chalice (both 1735-40), several processional crosses and imperial jewellery,” The Art Newspaper noted. “The formal opening will be attended by Ethiopia’s minister of culture and tourism, Hirut Woldemariam, and the ambassador to the UK, Hailemichael Aberra Afework.”

“They would be sent to Ethiopia on long-term loan, so ownership would remain with the museum,” the publication stated quoting V&A’s director Tristram Hunt. “This offer is likely to put pressure on other UK institutions that hold seized Ethiopian material, including the British Museum and the British Library.”

In a related story The Guardian argued: “The offer is significant given the pledge by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the return of African artefacts would be a “top priority” for his administration.”

The Battle of Meqdelā took place in April 1868 between British soldiers led by Robert Napier and Ethiopians led by Emperor Tewodros II. Per Wiki: “In March 1866 a British envoy had been dispatched to secure the release of a group of missionaries who had first been seized when a letter Tewodros II had sent to Queen Victoria requesting munitions and military experts from the British, delivered by an envoy, Captain Cameron, had gone unanswered. They were released; however Tewodros II changed his mind and sent a force after them and they were returned to the fortress and imprisoned again, along with Captain Cameron.” In the end, Tewodros took his own life in order to avoid being captured alive as the British closed in on him at his mountain fortress in Meḳdelā.

The Guardian added: “The loan proposal has been welcomed by the Ethiopian state and campaigners, but Hunt said it was a complex debate and it was important not to extrapolate a “blanket policy”. He told the Guardian: “You have to take it item by item and you have to take it history by history. Once you unpick the histories of the collections it becomes a great deal more complicated and challenging.”

We’re not exactly sure why returning looted property to its rightful owners is complicated and challenging, but you can read both articles at the following links:

V&A opens dialogue on looted Ethiopian treasures (The Art Newspaper)

Looted Ethiopian treasures in UK could be returned on loan (The Guardian)


Related:
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian American Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra Passes Away

Acclaimed Ethiopian American wedding fashion designer Amsale Aberra has passed away at the age of 64. Born in Addis Ababa in 1954, Amsale who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, was the founder and creative director of the bridal label Amsale, one of the industry's leading brands in the United States. (Photo: WE tv)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

April 2nd, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — We are deeply saddened to report that Amsale Aberra, Ethiopian-American Founder and Creative Director of the bridal and fashion design house, AMSALE, passed away yesterday (April 1st). A statement from the company shares that Amsale “was surrounded by close friends and family at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital” where she was being treated for uterine cancer.

We featured a profile of Amsale Aberra on the first print version of Tadias Magazine in 2003. Sharing how she built her fashion house, Amsale reminisced about her days growing up as a teenager in Ethiopia and her love of making clothes. “Trying to make something by hand is always something that I liked…At the time I didn’t know there was such a profession as designer” she told Tadias. Amsale had initially studied commercial art and pursued a degree in political science after she arrived in the United States in the early 70s before she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.

“When I attended FIT that’s when I truly felt like this is what I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up being a designer,” Amsale told Tadias in an interview on July 2011 shortly after her launch of the Amsale Girls Reality TV show.

In 1996 Amsale opened her flagship salon on Madison Avenue in New York and has since launched several lines including the elaborate Kenneth Pool Label (2003) and Nouvelle Amsale (2015).

Speaking about her work as Creative Director Amsale told Tadias that when she “started with AMSALE, which is about simplicity, it just needed to be very clean, and simple and modern. But all brides are not like that. Some brides may want something a little more elaborate.” So she designed and launched the Kenneth Pool collection that she described as having “more shimmer, embroidery, it’s very bold, very dramatic but yet it’s still very sophisticated.”

Numerous celebrities have dressed in AMSALE gowns for the red carpet including Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Angela Bassett, and Salma Hayek. Her bridal and evening wear has been worn by actors in films such as Something Borrowed, When in Rome, and Runaway Bride as well as on TV including in Grey’s Anatomy, Oprah Winfrey Show and The View.

Amsale had shared the design process that her team undertakes as incorporating inspiration and keeping in mind that everyone won’t fit the same style.

“I really am very practical,” Amsale had said when speaking about her bridal designs. “I mean does it work? Is it something not just only beautiful but is it functional? Brides will look beautiful if they are comfortable. The point of the whole day is for the bride to have fun after she looks amazingly beautiful.”

Amsale, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1954, also shared her enthusiasm and admiration for the current generation of youth who are pursuing their dreams as designers, and offered a few words of wisdom for them: “What I really want to say to anyone is basically believe in yourself and don’t ever think it’s easy. It is hard and you have to keep that passion. You have to find a way to show it without quitting. Eventually things will happen. And that’s what I would say to all designers.”

Amsale was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a Trustee and alum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and served on the international advisory board of the Ethiopian Children’s Fund. Amsale is “survived by her husband and partner, Clarence O’Neill Brown, known as “Neil”, her daughter Rachel Amsale Brown, her father Aberra Moltot and her half-sister Aster Yilma. Amsale was 64 years old.”

In a statement Neill Brown said: “Amsale was not only an inspiration to the company, but someone who inspired and impacted everyone around her with her strength, kindness, and humility. Working side by side we spent 360 degrees of our life together, and I know only too well both her creative genius and her infinite goodness. Words cannot express the personal loss that we feel, but we are comforted by the avalanche of support we’ve received and the commitment of our team to carry on Amsale’s legacy.”

Watch: Tadias Magazine’s Interview With Bridal-Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra

Watch: Tadias TV Exclusive – Inside Amsale Aberra’s Luxury Manhattan Boutique


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Model Gelila Bekele on OkayAfrica 100 List

The OkayAfrica website features Ethiopian Model and activist Gelila Bekele on their 00 Women 2018 list—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. (Photo: OkayAfrica)

OkayAfrica

100 Women: Gelila Bekele Is the Ethiopian Activist Building Solutions to Help Her Community Thrive

The Ethiopian model and activist wants to make sure that “Africa isn’t a dumping ground for foreign aid”—here’s how she’s doing it.

Gelila Bekele, is an Ethiopian model, activist, filmmaker and self-proclaimed “village girl” who is fiercely advocating for the people of her community.

Bekele is dedicated to fostering growth and long-term sustainability in Ethiopia’s rural areas—places where she proudly calls home. For her, it’s all about supporting her local community and addressing the barriers that young people face to receiving education, clean water and more. “It all starts from your home,” says Bekele.”

When it comes to seeing her community thrive, Bekele believes that It’s all about intention and follow through. One of her primary goals is to “make sure Africa isn’t a dumping ground for foreign aid, and really making sure that we are apart of the conversation in every level.”

She emphasizes the need for Africans to be in control of our own destinies—this message is wholly reflected in the work she does.

Learn more about Bekele and her work as a community builder in the video below.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Swears in New Prime Minister (AP)

Abiy Ahmed, the newly elected chair of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is sworn in as the country's Prime Minister, Monday, April 2, 2018. Ethiopia's legislature has elected young and outspoken Abiy Amhed as prime minister, amid hopes that he will be able to quell sustained anti-government protests in Africa's second most populous nation. (AP photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Associated Press

BY ELIAS MESERET

Updated: Monday, April 2, 2018

New prime minister takes office in Ethiopia amid hopes he can quell ongoing protests

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Young and outspoken Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in Monday as Ethiopia’s prime minister, amid hopes he will be able to quell the sustained anti-government protests that have rocked Africa’s second most populous nation.

Abiy was elected by Ethiopia’s parliament, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned in mid-February as a result of widespread protests that have taken the lives of several hundred people, mainly in the restive Oromia and Amhara regions.

“This is a historic moment,” said Abiy in his inaugural address to Ethiopian lawmakers. “This is high time for us to learn from our past mistakes and make up for all the wrongs done in the past . we understand there are a lots of problems that need to be solved with great urgency.”

Abiy apologized for the deaths of civilians in the violent protests. He said his administration will strive to solve grievances by discussion rather than by force, provide more space for opposition parties, fight corruption and focus on respect for rule of law.

The new leader said he aims to open up a fresh dialogue with arch-foe Eritrea and called upon Ethiopia’s diaspora to more actively take part in the country’s affairs.

Abiy is the first Oromo politician to become Ethiopia’s prime minister since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power in 1991. It is hoped he will be able to bring an end to the protests that have been raging since late 2015 to press for wider political freedoms and the release of opposition figures. The Oromo people, the largest ethnic group of Ethiopia’s 100 million people, have long felt marginalized both politically and economically.

A former Lieutenant Colonel in the army and head of Ethiopia’s Science and Technology ministry, Abiy, 42, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.

Many welcomed the new leader.

“I think this is a very important step toward the overall democratization and stability of the country,” said Kiya Tsegaye, a lawyer and political analyst. “But he needs the support of the people around him, especially top party officials to implement his reform measures.”

Prominent opposition leader Merara Gudina expressed cautious optimism over Abiy’s election, saying the future of Ethiopia’s peace and stability depends on the policies of the incoming leader and his party.

“What he aims to achieve depends on what his party allows him to do,” Merara said, adding that Abiy was elected by Ethiopia’s ruling party and not directly by the population through a general election. “But still it goes without saying that a change in personalities within the leadership may bring changes in terms of bringing better ideas that may ultimately lead to national reconciliation.”

Ethiopia’s Olympic gold medalist runner, Haile Gebrselassie, said the peaceful transfer of power is a win-win situation for all Ethiopians.

“The new leader’s election has answered many Ethiopians’ questions,” Haile told The Associated Press, saying that Abiy should implement his pledges without delay. “His inaugural address today has the ability to bring together not only Ethiopians, but countries in the region as well.”

Abiy will be Ethiopia’s third prime minister since the former military junta, the Derg, was overthrown in 1991.

Ethiopia in February declared its second state of emergency in two years amid the ongoing protests that effectively crippled transportation networks and forced the closure of businesses. On Saturday, Ethiopian officials said that more than 1,000 people have been detained since the latest emergency rule was put in place.

The U.S. Embassy in the capital, Addis Ababa, commended the peaceful transfer of power, saying it is the first time a living leader has handed over power in Ethiopia’s recent history.

“We stand ready to support the government’s rapid implementation of democratic and economic reforms and look forward to the lifting of the state of emergency,” the U.S. embassy said in an email sent to The Associated Press.


Related:
Herculean Task Awaits Abiy Ahmed on Human Rights in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Seeks Calm With a New Leader (The New York Times)
Ethiopia chooses new leader from protest-hit region (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia faces new prime minister in bid to calm protests (AP)
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition approves Abiye Ahmed as prime minister (Reuters)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

11-year-old Naomi Wadler’s Eloquent Speech at Our Lives Rally in DC

Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old from Alexandria, Va. delivered a speech at the March for Our Lives rally in D.C. on March 24. Naomi was born in Ethiopia. (Reuters)

The Washington Post

The story behind 11-year-old Naomi Wadler and her March for Our Lives speech

The youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives rally Saturday made one of the biggest splashes with an eloquent speech urging the nation not to forget black women, who are disproportionately represented among the victims of gun violence.

Naomi Wadler, an Alexandria fifth-grader, became a hashtag, a meme shared around the world, praised by celebrities who included actress Lupita Nyong’o and comedian Eddie Griffin. The 11-year-old was heralded as future presidential material.

But Wadler hasn’t seen any of that: She’s not on social media.

“I have been accustomed to not Google myself, so I haven’t seen everything,” Wadler said Sunday in a phone interview during her spring break beach trip. “My speech might not have caused a giant impact on society, but I do hope all the black girls and women realize there’s a growing value for them.”

That was the focus of her 3-minute, 30-second speech, which was repeatedly interrupted by roars of applause.

“I am here to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Wadler said. “I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”

Wadler was born in Ethi­o­pia and attends a school where nearly six in 10 students are white, a third are Hispanic and 6 percent are black. Her mom is white, and her dad, a recreational hunter, is black.

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh Featured in W Magazine

Photographer Aida Muluneh from Ethiopia is featured in the "Being: New Photography 2018" exhibition, which is the current edition of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)'s New Photography series in New York. The group show, which opened on March 18th, will be on display through August 19, 2018. (Photo: By Aida Muluneh, Local Understanding, 2016/Courtesy of the artist via W)

W Magazine

Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh’s Body Painting Pictures Will Stop You In Your Tracks

Aida Muluneh’s photographs are showstoppers—quite literally. Combining the shocks of color and crisp geometries of abstract painters like Frank Stella and the disturbing micro-thrills of Man Ray’s fashion pictures (see: the mysterious extra pair of hands in slide 2, or the unlikely angle and skin color of the model’s reflection in slide 4) with the body painting, materials, and traditions of her native Africa, Muluneh’s pictures are designed to short-circuit your eye. They always stand out in a crowd, even in a group exhibition like “Being: New Photography 2018,” MoMA’s current survey of the photographic landscape where Muluneh’s work is featured. Although she was born in Ethiopia in 1974, as a child Muluneh lived in Yemen, Cyprus, England, Canada, and the U.S.—and therefore, as she has said before, felt like an outsider everywhere. After working as a photojournalist with the Washington Post, she returned to Ethiopia to explore her heritage through her photography. Now, after founding the Addis Foto Fest in 2010, Muluneh creates African images that speak to the world.

Read more and see the pictures at wmagazine.com »


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Faces US Human Rights Bill Vote

Rep. Mike Coffman (center) is one of the sponsors HR128. (Photo: Ethio-American Civic Council/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 24th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Next month the U.S. Congress is scheduled to vote on a resolution condemning the continuing violations of constitutionally guaranteed human rights in Ethiopia.

Among other issues the resolution denounces “excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces; the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists, and political leaders who exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression and the abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle political and civil dissent and journalistic freedoms.”

The resolution entitled H. RES. 128 has gained momentum and urgency in recent days picking up nearly 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives as Ethiopia has devolved into another round of political turmoil and state of emergency.

Ethio-American Civic Council, a community advocacy group based in Colorado, stated via social media that they “now have 98 co-sponsors in the House and 25 co-sponsors in the Senate.”

“I’m happy to announce that after months of hard work (by all involved) #HRes128 is scheduled for a vote the week of April 9,” Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, one of the main backers of the bill twitted this week. “The fight for respect of human rights & inclusive governance in #Ethiopia continues.”

The resolution calls on the U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, “to apply appropriate sanctions on foreign persons or entities responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any nationals in Ethiopia as provided for in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act; and stand by the people of Ethiopia and support their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.”


Related:
Diaspora’s Role in Helping to Shape Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Mulatu Astatke Always in Motion

Mulatu Astatke is revered for being the father of Ethio-jazz. (Music in Africa)

Music in Africa

Mulatu Astatke remains a musician in motion

Ethiopian jazz master Mulatu Astatke will be taking a break from his extensive 2018 European concert tour to play at the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival in South Africa. This should come as no surprise given that he has been in global motion ever since his parents sent him to study aeronautical engineering in North Wales in 1956.

But Mulatu soon began trumpet lessons instead – he enrolled in London’s Trinity School of Music. While in London he heard performances by Caribbean and West African musicians that evoked his memories of the big bands he had enjoyed back home in Ethiopia. These performances pushed him to consider new a direction.

Mulatu was the first African student to enrol at what would soon become the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1958. There he traded in his trumpet for the vibraphone. In 1960 he lived in New York City, where he spent more than six years taking part in the world of American jazz, interacting with Latin musicians, making records and performing in concerts.

By the time Mulatu returned to Ethiopia later that decade, he had developed the concept of Ethio-jazz and was actively experimenting with this hybrid musical style. Ethio-jazz draws on multiple trends from the American jazz scene, including bebop and modal jazz combined with melodies and harmonies in the Ethiopian modal system.

Melding of sounds

Mulatu’s innovations were anchored by his childhood memories of traditional Ethiopian secular and church music. It was further inflected by harmony classes at the Berklee School and welded by the experience of hearing and playing jazz in London, Boston and New York City.

Mulatu’s pieces over the course of his career retain these early musical influences and a highly original mixture of sounds from places experienced on his lifelong itinerary.

An example is Mulatu’s signature piece ‘Yekermo Sew’ (A Man of Experience and Wisdom) which was featured in the soundtrack of American independent filmmaker and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch‘s 2005 film Broken Flowers and then circulated across the world. Composed following Mulatu’s return to Ethiopia in the late 1960s, ‘Yekermo Sew’ takes its title from a traditional Ethiopian Christian New Year’s blessing in Amharic, the national Ethiopian language.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Spotlight: The Universal Language of Artist Fikru Gebre Mariam’s Ethiopia Paintings

The graphic theme of Fikru Gebre Mariam's art, which he has totally embraced, is a genre of contemporary Ethiopian painting representing a motif of Ethiopian women engaged in daily tasks. (EDGIC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 22th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The first time that we featured Fikru Gebre Mariam in Tadias Magazine in 2009 he was an up-and-coming artist commuting between his studios in Paris and Addis Ababa. The Tadias profile, which was written by the late American sociologist and scholar of Ethiopian culture and history Donald Levine, described Fikru’s works as expressed in geometric abstraction. “They convey a blend of rich hues, emotional intensity, immediacy of impact, and a touch of austerity,” Levine wrote. “Even so, there is no mistaking the deeply Ethiopian flavor of these paintings. They display hints of Ethiopian miniatures and church paintings. They are imbued with African earth tones. They use the colored garments of Harari women. They capture the somber mood of much Ethiopian life.”

Fast forward to 2018, Fikru Gebre who is now based in Ethiopia full time is an internationally acclaimed artist and sought after by art lovers from around the world.

This week, the Arts Division of EDGIC Fine Art, Luxury & Media Corporation that caters to high-end global art collectors highlighted Fikru in a press release as their “STOP Times UP” feature saying: “The vision of selected Ethiopian EDGIC Artist Fikru Gebre Mariam saw the uprising of emotive influences that sought creation as “At the Red Light” original Art. He appreciates that the way of NOW is to subjugate oppression with the voice of what was once the voiceless through the veracity of experiences to power awareness in embracing unity for equality to be the order of the day.”

EDGIC added: “To this end, Fikru Gebre Mariam brings forward the feminine consciousness to stand as a red light against the atrocities of misused male power. EDGIC Art Division recognizes the value that this great artist brings to the table of mankind and the current climate that has seen the upsurge of Times UP movement to accept that the art of this millennium defines people for peace to be the known reality of mankind. International acclaim has followed Fikru Gebre Mariam over the years, yet his humility is ever present as he acknowledges the power of preserving his art for generations of people to follow the integrity of standing tall in the very nature of their truth.”

Fikru is a graduate of the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts — founded by prominent artist Ale Felege Selam — where he was a protégé of instructor Tadesse Mesfin, who Levine said “not only taught him painterly skills but gave him a graphic theme which he would embrace, struggle with, and grow through, ever since.”


You can learn more about Fikru Gebre Mariam and his work at http://fikrugebremariam.edgic.eu/ and you can view some of his paintings at https://www.pinterest.com/fikru-gebremariam-paintings/.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

NYC Students Help to Connect Young Ethiopian Professionals

Michael Andeberhan, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), model and filmmaker Gelila Bekele, fashion designer Tizita Balemlay and attorney Lydia Gobena are speakers at the "Network to Networth" event that will take place in New York City on March 28th, 2018. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 20th, 2018

NYC Students Create Network Event Platform for Young Ethiopian Professionals

New York (TADIAS) — A student-led initiative in New York is helping to create a greater platform for young Ethiopian professionals to network with established business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Diaspora.

This month an event called “Network to Networth” is scheduled in New York City for March 28th at Doux Supper Club in midtown Manhattan featuring panelists from Wall Street, as well as the legal, film and fashion industries.

Noel Daniel, a finance major at Pace University in NYC who is organizing the event, told Tadias that the purpose is “to foster meaningful connections that could lead to mentorships, partnerships, internships and even leads for jobs and career opportunities.” Noel added that they aim to establish “a relaxed and entertaining” environment as an alternative to “clubbing and bar-hopping” that could actually result in “real opportunities and valuable information.” Noel’s team has already held similar gatherings in Washington, D.C. and Addis Ababa with success while highlighting managers of multinational corporations as well as owners of both small, medium and large private companies.

Panelists at the New York event include attorney Lydia Gobena, Partner at the top intellectual property law firm Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu. Lydia is also owner and designer of the jewelry line, Birabiro. Additional panelists include Michael Andeberhan, Executive Director at MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) and a member of the Global Asset Owner and Consultant team; model and filmmaker Gelila Bekele who is featured in several beauty campaigns including those for Diesel, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Pantene and L’Oreal; as well as Tizita Balemlay, Founder & Creative Director of @pluggednycstore whose merchandise and designs have garnered support from stars like Rihanna, Jhene Aiko & Lil Yachty.

“Our goal is to build efficient networking with long lasting benefits,” Noel shares, promising an inspiring evening for young professionals to network within their Diaspora community. Tadias is proud to be a media sponsor for the March 28th Q&A panel/mixer.


If You Go:
Network to Networth – NYC
Wed, March 28, 2018
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
Doux Supper Club
59 W 21st Street
New York,
Click here to RSVP and buy tickets

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Watch: The Talented Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia on NBC’s “Little Big Shots”

The Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia on NBC's television show "Little Big Shots" on Sunday, March 18th, 2018. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 19th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The talented Kiriku Brothers from Ethiopia were featured on NBC’s hit series “Little Big Shots” on Sunday, March 18th, with host Steve Harvey declaring: “This is the greatest act I’ve ever seen on Little Big Shots!”

Little Big Shots is an American variety television show that highlights children demonstrating talents and participating in conversation with Harvey.

“Steve Harvey couldn’t believe what was happening on the Little Big Shots stage when Ethiopian duo, The Kiriku Brothers, brought their high-flying act to the show,” Yahoo News enthused. “The kids, apparently, met at circus camp, as kids do, and practice their routine for four hours every day. Which is necessary if you’re going to be pulling off the crazy stunts these kids were performing.”

The culture editor of the 2Paragraphs website added: “One of the most memorable and unique performances on Season 3 of Little Big Shots is delivered by the Kiriku Brothers. The foot juggling Kiriku Brothers have all kinds of tricks, including where one of the older ones uses his bare feet to juggle a younger brother with nothing else but his feet. (Note: the Kiriku Brothers aren’t all related.) The Kiriku Brothers troupe hails from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This isn’t the Kiriku Brothers first time on television. Two of the brothers were just on Spain’s Got Talent in February. Spanish singer/actress and Spain’s Got Talent judge Edurne Garcia hit her Golden Buzzer for the Kiriku Brothers.”

Watch: Little Big Shots – The Kiriku Brothers (Episode Highlight)


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ethiopia: Diaspora Reacts to Firing of Tillerson and What It Means for Africa

The recently fired US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is greeted by Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu as he arrives at Addis Ababa airport on March 7th, 2018. (Photo: EPA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 18th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — It was supposed to be Rex Tillerson’s first trip to Africa as America’s top diplomat, but it turned out to be his last one.

“So what was the point of it all?,” asked a poignant article published by the Washington Post following Trump’s unceremonious firing of Tillerson last week. “Couldn’t he have just stayed home and sent Africa an email?”

From a public relations point of view, as Reuters points out: “Tillerson’s main aim appeared to be clearing up the mess left by President Donald Trump’s reported dismissal of some African nations as ‘shithole countries’ in addition to promising “$533 million in humanitarian aid and some pat remarks about security and not getting too cozy with China.”

The Washington Post piece adds: “the administration no doubt needed to do something to soften the blow of President Trump’s “shithole countries” remarks (though Tillerson sidestepped the issue at news conferences)… Ultimately, many Africans in the countries he visited were unimpressed.”

In a follow-up story featured on Sunday, March 18th titled “In Africa, Trump’s firing of Tillerson a New Sign of Neglect,” The Associated Press highlights the perspective of Africans as well as members of the African Diaspora including Ethiopian Americans.

Befekadu Hailu, a prominent Ethiopian blogger, told The Associated Press that “Africans have nothing to take Trump seriously. He already proved himself ethno-centrist and exclusivist, no friend to Africa.”

Regarding the removal of Tillerson while making his inaugural visit to the continent, Ted Alemayhu, an Ethiopian-born American who is running for Congress to represent California’s 39th District, told AP: “That, in my opinion, is adding insult to injury.”

The Associated Press notes: “While in Africa, Tillerson tried to project a more positive image of the continent, saying its rapid economic growth and fast-growing populations mean its future is increasingly linked to America’s. He visited some of Africa’s most prominent economies in Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia and highlighted U.S. security issues with stops in Chad and Djibouti… Tillerson also sought to reassure African nations that aid would continue even as the Trump administration pursues deep cuts in foreign assistance.”

AP states “unlike Trump, recent U.S. leaders engaged substantially with Africa. Bill Clinton created a signature trade program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and George W. Bush launched an HIV treatment program, PEPFAR, that has boosted the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients across Africa. Barack Obama enjoyed goodwill throughout the continent, even though some in Africa felt he fell short of expectations as the son of a Kenyan man. Trump has not indicated any possible initiatives for Africa.”

Read the full article at the washingtonpost.com »


Related:
Diaspora’s Role in Helping to Shape Better U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Ethiopia
Trump Fires Tillerson (UPDATE)
In the end, no one was more surprised that Tillerson was fired than Tillerson
Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up
Tillerson Calls Ethiopia ‘A Young Democracy’
A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia
Ethiopia Pictures: Yirgacheffe Coffee for Tillerson, Ethiopic Script Tie for Lavrov
Tillerson, in Africa, Dodges Questions on Vulgarity and Trolling (NYT)
Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile Creates Another Groundbreaking Fuel Cell

Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile developed the first solid acid fuel cells. Her team's new discovery presents a significant step toward lower fuel cell costs and more sustainable energy, according to a study published last month in the journal Nature Energy. (Photo: (Northwestern University)

Northwestern University

New Fuel Cell has Exceptional Power Density and Stability

A team of researchers led by Northwestern Engineering professor and fuel cell pioneer Sossina Haile has created a new fuel cell offering both exceptional power densities and long-term stability at optimal temperatures, a discovery that heightens the viability of incorporating fuel cells into a sustainable energy future.

“For years, industry has told us that the holy grail is getting fuel cells to work at 500-degrees Celsius and with high power density, which means a longer life and less expensive components,” said Haile, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of applied physics at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “With this research, we can now envision a path to making cost-effective fuel cells and transforming the energy landscape.”

The study, titled “Exceptional power density and stability at intermediate temperatures in protonic ceramic fuel cells,” was published February 12 in the journal Nature Energy. Sihyuk Choi, a postdoctoral fellow in Haile’s laboratory, served as the paper’s first author.

Though recent research had demonstrated the potential of some protonic ceramic fuel cells to offer environmentally sustainable and cost-effective electric power generation, those cells’ high electrolyte conductivities failed to produce anticipated power outputs.

“While it was known that some electrolytes have high conductivity at 500-degrees Celsius, somehow the electrodes were not working well in the complete fuel cell,” Haile said.

“It’s exciting to think about where we are now and where we can go.”

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation
Outstanding Women in Science: Tadias Interview with Professor Sossina Haile

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ethiopia on Capitol Hill’s New Hype Cafe

Samuel Mengistu and Hanna Tesfamikael, owners of Hype Cafe on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Laura Hayes)

Washington City Paper

Ethiopian Traditions Come Alive at Capitol Hill’s New Hype Cafe

The meaning behind the name Hype Cafe doesn’t make itself known until about an hour after you leave the welcoming spot on Capitol Hill that opened this month. That’s when the rush of caffeine from your cup of electrifying Ethiopian coffee practically smacks you.

Hype Cafe is from engaged couple Samuel Mengistu, who is from Ethiopia, and Hanna Tesfamikael, who is from Eritrea but grew up in Ethiopia. “I came up with the name,” Tesfamikael says. “You drink coffee in order to get energy. You get hyper. Let’s just call it hype.”

At their coffee shop in the former Il Capo di Capitol Hill space, the owners will bring traditions from home to D.C., including coffee ceremonies on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Since we were kids, coffee is basically a part of life,” Mengistu says. “I tasted my first coffee when I was six. In Ethiopia there’s a way of doing coffee. There’s a first round, second round, and third round. The third round is very light. The grown-ups don’t drink it, they just taste it and the kids come in. As long as they put a lot of sugar, we can drink it.”

If you’re judging, think about how much caffeine is in childhood elixir Mountain Dew.

Beyond being strong, Ethiopian coffee is well known for its intense smell. Mengistu and Tesfamikael explain that coffee grown at high altitudes, as it is in Ethiopia, releases the best aroma. They exclusively brew Arkibuna coffees.

Right now pastries are served along side coffee and espresso drinks but the couple will debut a menu of sandwiches and Ethiopian veggie sampler platters after the grand opening in early April. There are about 50 seats inside and once the weather warms up, they’ll add tables outside.

For now Hype Cafe is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. It may stay open later once it offers food. Tesfamikael points out that there aren’t too many places in the neighborhood that stay open late.

Hype Cafe, 1129 Pennsylvania Ave. SE


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Trump Fires Tillerson (UPDATE)

Trump has fired U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo. (Photo: Tillerson with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa last week/AP)

Fired via Twitter: How Trump soured on Tillerson as his leading diplomat

When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly warned Rex Tillerson to possibly expect a pejorative tweet from President Trump over the weekend, the secretary of state failed to fully understand that it was a gentle signal to him that he was about to be fired.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asleep in his Nairobi hotel room early Saturday morning fighting a stomach bug when White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called to wake him around 2 a.m. to relay a terse message from President Trump: The boss was not happy.

The president was so eager to fire Tillerson that he wanted to do so in a tweet on Friday, but Kelly persuaded Trump to wait until his secretary of state was back in the United States from Africa, two people familiar with the conversation said. It was Tillerson’s first trip there since Trump disparaged parts of the continent as “shithole countries.”

But Kelly had also warned Tillerson to possibly expect a pejorative tweet from Trump over the weekend, a State Department official said. Tillerson failed to fully understand that the chief of staff was gently signaling to him that he was about to be fired.

And so, just over four hours after Tillerson’s government plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday morning, the secretary of state learned of his dismissal from a tweet Trump issued just minutes after The Washington Post first reported the news.

Read more »

Reuters

Trump ousts Secretary of State Tillerson, taps CIA director Pompeo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!” Trump said on Twitter.


Related:
In the end, no one was more surprised that Tillerson was fired than Tillerson
Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up
Tillerson Calls Ethiopia ‘A Young Democracy’
A Look Back at Obama’s Visit to Ethiopia
Ethiopia Pictures: Yirgacheffe Coffee for Tillerson, Ethiopic Script Tie for Lavrov
Tillerson, in Africa, Dodges Questions on Vulgarity and Trolling (NYT)
Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Ethiopian Lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie Receives Prestigious Helen Keller Award

Ethiopian lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie is being honored with the Spirit of Helen Keller Award. It's named for an American who promoted the rights of women and people with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of Light for the World)

VOA News

By Salem Solomon

Ethiopian Disability Rights Advocate Champions Opportunities for Women

Yetnebersh Nigussie had opportunities other girls in rural Ethiopia can only dream of.

Unlike her peers growing up in Wollo province, Nigussie wasn’t married off as a young girl or forced to work at home.

Instead, she devoted herself to learning.

Nigussie moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, and pursued an education, eventually earning a law degree and founding the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development, a group that advocates for the rights of disabled people in her home country.

What makes Nigussie’s accomplishments especially noteworthy are the challenges she overcame.

Nigussie lost her sight at age 5 after contracting meningitis. But where some see obstacles, Nigussie, now 36, sees potential.

“I believe challenges are opportunities. So we human beings are created to change challenges into opportunities,” she told VOA’s Amharic Service in a phone interview last week. “That’s why I always tell [people] that, when I turned blind at the age of 5, that brought a new opportunity. I would have never been educated had I not been blind. All my siblings and the children in my area, in my age [group] — none of them have gotten educational opportunities.”

Advocacy

Nigussie has built her career on advocating for people with disabilities. In recognition of her accomplishments, she will receive the prestigious Spirit of Helen Keller Award, presented by the nongovernmental organization Helen Keller International, at a May 2 gala in New York.

First presented in 1959, the award is named for an American activist who was deaf and blind. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Keller gained fame for her lectures, writings and advocacy work promoting the rights of women and the disabled.

“Receiving the Spirit of Helen Keller Award is a great thing because Helen Keller has been my source of inspiration that I am living. We believe in the same thing: telling people not to focus on our disabilities, [but] rather on our abilities,” Nigussie said. “Helen was always saying that ‘I don’t know what darkness is, but I know there is a light.’ So it’s a great thing to be associated with such a fantastic hero who has been always my inspiration in life.”

Recognizing contributions

Now, Nigussie wants to honor women making an impact across the globe with a separate award: Her Abilities, which she will give out annually in partnership with Light for the World. Nigussie is an adviser to the Austria-based organization.

The award will recognize women making an impact in the areas of health and education, rights, and sport and culture. It is open to women with disabilities worldwide.

“The reason we decided to focus on women with disabilities is that we believe they face double, and sometimes triple, discrimination,” Nigussie said. “We need to spotlight their work and make sure that they are visible to the world. … So it’s very much in line with my personal motto: I have one disability and 99 abilities. So we’re not going to focus on the one disability. We’re going to talk about their 99 abilities — or more — and we’re going to celebrate their achievements, their greatness.”

Nominations for the award will open July 2, and winners will be announced in December.

Overcoming barriers

An estimated 15 million people in Ethiopia live with disabilities, and they often lack access to resources and protections while facing stigmatization and a heightened risk of poverty and social isolation. According to the World Health Organization, Africans with disabilities face significant gaps in their access to welfare, education, vocational training and counseling services.

Nigussie’s organization, the Ethiopian Center, has sought to address these barriers through job training and publications. For example, it offers an online guide to Ethiopian hotels, restaurants and offices that are accessible to people with disabilities.

The activist also hopes to continue advocating for legal changes, including overturning a restriction that makes it illegal for deaf people in Ethiopia to drive.

Nigussie said she is humbled by the recognition and motivated to do more.

“I believe all these challenges would lead people with disabilities, in particular in Africa, to make sure that they overcome the challenge,” she said. “No challenges are coming to stop us. They are coming as a puzzle for us to solve.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Spotlight: Emahoy Tsegue Mariam Guebru’s New CD and Last Recordings

(Photo courtesy of The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation) )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The renowned classical pianist and composer Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru has released her last recordings, a CD of new compositions called The Visionary.

The Ethiopian nun, who turns 95 years old this year, lives inside the Ethiopian monastery in Jerusalem. She gained international following after her solo compositions were published in the Ethiopiques 21 CD series by the French label Buda Musique ten years ago.

The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation announced that her latest album, which was issued in February, is self published in limited edition and only a few hundred copies are available via the foundation’s website.

Born as Yewubdar Gebru in Addis Abeba on December 12, 1923 Emahoy Tsege Mariam fled communist Ethiopia in the 1980′s for a solitary life in Jerusalem playing piano everyday, seven days a week. Her greatest compositions include the “Homeless Wanderer,” a beautiful and pensive piece that is reflective of all her other works.

Some of the tracks in her new CD, “The Visionary,” include: Have you seen Assayehegn?, Extract from Rainbow Sonata, Woigaye, don’t cry anymore, Farewell Eve, Famine Disaster 1974 , Homage to Ludwig Beethoven, Jerusalem, The Phantom, Reverie, Quo Vadis, Ave Maria and Quand la Mer Furieuse.

Regarding her fascinating life story it is fair to say that Emahoy has seen it all when it comes to the ups and downs of the turbulent history of modern Ethiopia in the past nine decades. As a teenager in the late 1930′s her family “was taken as prisoners of war by the Italians and deported to the island of Asinara, north of Sardinia, and later to Mercogliano near Naples,” shares The Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music Foundation. “After the war, Yewubdar resumed her musical studies in Cairo, under a Polish violinist named Alexander Kontorowicz. Yewubdar returned to Ethiopia accompanied by Kontorowicz and she served as an administrative assistant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later in the Imperial Body Guard where Kontorowicz was appointed by Emperor Haile Selassie as music director of the band.”

Later, young Yewubdar, who grew up in a privileged family (her father was Kentiba Gebru) and studied violin in Switzerland as a young girl, “secretly fled Addis Abeba at the age of 19 to enter the Guishen Mariam monastery in the Wello region where she had once before visited with her mother,” the foundation adds. “She served two years in the monastery and was ordained a nun at the age of 21. She took on the title Emahoy and her name was changed to Tsege Mariam.”

Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam – The Homeless Wanderer from aloido on Vimeo.

In the 1960s Emahoy had studied Saint Yared’s 6th-century music in Gondar. And barely a decade later she would survive the mayhem following the 1970′s communist revolution. Emahoy’s first record was released in 1967 in Germany through the assistance of Emperor Haile Selassie with subsequent piano compositions released in 1973, the proceeds of which were used to assist orphanages.

At Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru’s request both her published and unpublished compositions have been donated to her foundation to continue to provide disadvantaged children with the opportunities to study classical and jazz musical genres.

“Her life is full of teaching moments for young people, artists and students,” said her niece Hanna M. Kebbede, who resides in Falls Church, Virginia. “She has endured a lot. It is a uniquely Ethiopian story, but at the same time the lessons are universal.”


You can learn more and buy the new CD at www.emahoymusicfoundation.org.

Related:
From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

How Ethiopia Influenced British-Ethiopian Singer Izzy Bizu’s Music

23-years-old, British-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Isobel Beardshaw, better known as Izzy Bizu, tells Okay Africa about the millions of plays on her debut album, A Moment of Madness, and how she's been influenced by her Ethiopian roots. (Image courtesy of RED Music)

Okay Africa

How Ethiopia Influenced Izzy Bizu’s Viral Pop Hits

At just 23-years-old, British-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Isobel Beardshaw, better known as Izzy Bizu, has already shared the stage with music’s finest including Sam Smith and Coldplay.

While her talents behind the mic seemingly fell on her lap, it was through her Ethiopian roots that she fully discovered her unique, acoustic sound. What started as a mere outlet to escape the struggles of boarding school has now become a dream come true.

But music wasn’t always the goal. Izzy Bizu’s career goals first began with animals. Although she wanted to be a vet, she soon learned the difference between hobbies and passions. At the age of 15, she auditioned for a teenage girl-band, singing “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. Just one week later, she was in the recording studio.

Fast forward to 2018, Izzy’s debut album, A Moment of Madness, has clocked in over 225 million global streams and her hit single “Diamonds” sits at the #11 spot at Urban AC radio. If that’s not enough, she still manages to find time to travel back home and give back to the communities in Ethiopia.

How would you describe your sound?

Soulful, raw, rhythmical, reminiscent.

Tell us about your Ethiopian background and how it plays into your music.

My mum is Ethiopian, and we often spent holidays there when I was younger. The country is incredibly beautiful and spending time outside of the city allowed me to escape into another world. And I’m sure this played a part in my love of poetry and writing.

Ethiopians also love to dance. There was always music everywhere, which also had an impact in my love and appreciation of music. I also feel because of my mixed heritage that I am a bit of a world traveler, and this also plays an important part in my lyrics and how I see the world.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Tillerson in Ethiopia Media Round Up

Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu (center R) gives a red carpet welcome to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (center L) at Addis Ababa Airport on March 7, 2018. (Reuters photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Unfortunately human rights was not center stage as many had hoped this week as U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson arrived in Ethiopia on Wednesday at the start of his first diplomatic trip to Africa that will also take him to Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria.

The major focus of the trip included counterterrorism, building security alliances, institutions, trade and investment, as well as the role of China on the African continent. Reuters noted: “Tillerson is using his first diplomatic trip to the continent to bolster security alliances on a continent increasingly turning to Beijing for aid and trade. The United States is the leading aid donor to Africa but China surpassed it as a trade partner in 2009. Beijing has pumped billions into infrastructure projects, though critics say the use of Chinese firms and labor undermines their value.”

Regarding Ethiopia’s current political turmoil and state of emergency Tillerson reiterated the U.S. position articulated in the U.S. embassy press release last month stating that more freedom is the solution, not less. “We share and recognize concerns over incidents of violence,” he told a news conference in Addis Ababa after meeting Ethiopia’s foreign minister. “We do firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom.”

In addition, Tillerson highlighted the historic relationship between Ethiopia and the United States, which formally began more than a century ago during Emperor Menelik’s time. Ethiopia is America’s oldest African ally. “This is a very, very longstanding relationship, more than 100 years,” Tillerson said. “Ethiopia is a large-population country, they are an important security partner in areas that I’ve already touched upon, and we also see Ethiopia’s journey towards democracy – I think 27 years now, which is a long time, but it’s a young democracy, and as I indicated, democracies are challenging.” He continued: “It’s not easy to take a country forward as a democracy. And so we’re here also to support Ethiopia’s journey towards a democratic society and institutions.”

But Tillerson did not meet with opposition or rival political leaders “the kind of encounters past secretaries of state routinely undertook to emphasize the importance of pluralism, and to hedge against sudden changes in government,” wrote The New York Times.

In Ethiopia Tillerson was dogged by Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment on his first day on the continent. “It didn’t take long for President Donald Trump’s derogatory comment about African nations to come up in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to the continent as top U.S. diplomat,” Bloomberg reported. “At a press conference with African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a journalist asked Faki and Tillerson whether the U.S. should apologize for the remark. The reporter said the comment, which Trump has denied, is something that Africa’s still digesting.” Eventually, as Bloomberg adds: Faki assured reporters that the incident was over and his brief discussion with Tillerson on Thursday morning had focused on areas of cooperation, such as the possibility of the U.S. providing financial support for an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. “I believe that this incident is of the past,” Faki said. “This partnership has produced results. It is useful for both parties.”

Yet another topic that is grabbing international headlines relating to Tilerson’s trip to Ethiopia is the fact that his Russian counterpart was also visiting Addis Ababa at the same time. In an article titled “US, Russia Trade Blame as Diplomats Fail to Meet in Africa” The Associated Press pointed out: “They could have run into each other sipping coffee in the lobby, perhaps at the bar at Ethiopia’s finest hotel. But U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov didn’t meet, and now both countries are trading accusations about who’s to blame.”

AP added: “The top American and Russian diplomats warily circled each other in Africa, where both are paying official visits this week. As their two countries trade accusations over Syria, Ukraine and even the Oscars, their governments are trolling each other with barbs on social media. Russia said that both Tillerson and Lavrov were staying at the lush Sheraton Addis resort while in Ethiopia, where Tillerson met Thursday with the country’s outgoing prime minister and with the African Union Commission’s chairman. It was unclear how long the two overlapped in the Ethiopian capital.”


Related:
Tillerson Calls Ethiopia ‘A Young Democracy’
Tillerson and Lavrov Book Same Ethiopian Hotel—and Can’t Agree on a Meeting (Bloomberg)
Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson (Reuters)
Trump’s comments on Africa cast pall over Tillerson’s long-awaited trip (The Washington Post)
Tillerson’s Ethiopia visit to stress US interest-based diplomacy: analyst
Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda
Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

In Pictures: Black Tie Adwa Victory Dinner in DC Hosted by Prince Ermias

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie hosts the 2018 Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 6th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Ethiopians celebrated the 122nd anniversary of the Victory of Adwa. A black tie dinner was hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, in Washington, D.C. on March 3rd in commemoration of the historic event.

Below are photos from the event:


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Institution Building, Ethnic Conflict, Sudan Refugees on Tillerson Ethiopia Agenda

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 6th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — On Monday senior officials at U.S. State Department held a private briefing for members of the African Diaspora regarding Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Africa this week.

In Ethiopia Tillerson will meet with both the outgoing Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu. During his meetings Tillerson will encourage building and strengthening democratic institutions based on protection of human rights, civil rights as well as promoting tolerance.

In addition, the U.S. is also very concerned about the recent ethnic fighting between Oromo and Somali ethnic groups that has displaced nearly one million people, and the subject is certain to come up during the meeting.

Furthermore, the talks will include a discussion about the ongoing climate-induced drought in Ethiopia and possible solutions.

U.S officials emphasized Ethiopia’s complex role in regional security among other areas of interest that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will discuss with Ethiopian officials this week. Ethiopia’s role in the region includes both being a major peacekeeping troop contributor and host of hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan as well as home of the African Union.

The State Department says Tillerson’s mission is “to further our partnerships with the governments and people of Africa. In particular, to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment. During his trip, he will also meet with U.S. Embassy personnel and participate in events related to U.S. government-supported activities.”

This U.S. diplomatic excursion follows the global firestorm sparked in January by President Trump’s reported “shithole” remarks in reference to the African continent and its people. Trump denies making the comment.


Related:
Strikes Spread in Restive Ethiopia Region Before Tillerson Visit (Bloomberg)
Russia suggests Tillerson-Lavrov meeting in Ethiopia this week
Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

Spotlight: Influential Women of the Diaspora: YEP Women’s Power Hour

(Photos courtesy of YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — March is women’s history month in the United States and the Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian professional networking organization, YEP, is hosting an upcoming event titled “Women’s Power Hour” featuring influential women of the Diaspora.

“Women are the backbone of our families and communities, and this Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating them in all their glory,” YEP said announcing the event that will be held at Marriott Marquis on Thursday, March 22nd. “Hear from influential women of the Diaspora as they share their unique stories and experiences of navigating life as women of color in America.” YEP adds: “Successful and inspiring leaders in media, tech, health, and more will delve into their struggles and wins in both their personal and professional journeys.”

Panelists include Dr. Lekidelu Taddesse, Director of Hematology Lab and Surgical Pathology at Howard University; Helen Mesfin, Host of the Helen Show on EBS; Hawi Dibaba, Senior Developer at Booz Allen Hamilton; with film producer Mignotae Kebede as the panel moderator.

“Walk away with tips and insight on self-care, becoming your best professional self, and ways to foster sisterhood,” the announcement says. The evening will begin with a panel discussion and move into a structured networking power hour.”


If You Go:
Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (EDT)
Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Ave NW
George Washington University Room
Washington, D.C. 20001
Click here to RSVP

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Film at New African Film Festival

Filmmaker Indrias G. Kassaye's new documentary '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)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 4th, 2018

Ethiopia Film ‘Breathe in the Roots’ Screens at New African Film Festival

New York (TADIAS) — This month Ethiopian filmmaker Indrias G. Kassaye’s new movie Breathe in the Roots will be screened at the 2018 New African Film Festival that’s held annually at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The documentary features a young American teacher’s journey of discovery to Ethiopia. Per the announcement: “The film tracks Ty Christen Joseph’s (Chris) journey on horseback from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s holiest pilgrimage sites, documenting his once-in-a-lifetime experiences and showcasing a side of Ethiopia many rarely get to experience.”

The 14th Annual New African Film Festival is set to take place from March 8th to March 18th, 2018. In a statement the organizers added: “The festival showcases the vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the continent.”

Breathe in the Roots is scheduled to be shown at the festival on Friday, March 9th and will include a Q&A with both the director Indrias G. Kassaye and subject Ty Christen Joseph.

Indrias Kassaye is a producer, photographer, and writer “who believes in the importance of storytelling that champions the voices and experiences of local communities and everyday people.”

Tadias caught up with Indrias, Chris and some audience members following the film’s Washington, D.C. screening at the Anacostia Arts Center last Summer. A video of the conversation is below:

Watch Video:


If You Go:
‘Breathe in the Roots’ (Ethiopia) at New African Film Festival
Friday, March 9, 7:15
Q&A with director Indrias G. Kassaye and subject Ty Christen Joseph
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center,
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Click here for tickets.

Watch: Breathe in the Roots 3 min sampler (A film Directed & Produced by Indrias G. Kassaye)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch: CNN African Voices Spotlights Former Ethiopian Model Anna Getaneh

Anna Getaneh is an acclaimed former international model, a humanitarian and social entrepreneur. She is also the founder and Creative Director of African Mosaique, a clothing design, manufacturing and retail company that collaborates with established and emerging African designers. (Photos: Pinterest)

CNN

Anna Getaneh: A model for humanity

Former Ethiopian model Anna Getaneh walked runways for Chanel. She now paves a path for poor children in her country.Source: CNN


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: The Victory of Adwa, An Exemplary Triumph to the Rest of Africa

Painting of Emperor Menelik II at Battle of Adwa in 1896. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Ayele Bekerie, PhD

March 1st, 2018

This year marks the 122nd anniversary of Ethiopia’s historic victory of Adwa

Ethiopia (TADIAS) — In 1896, March was a historic month in Ethiopia, which drew the attention of the whole world. It was significant because of Ethiopia’s spectacular victory over the invading European nation – Italy, at the Battle of Adwa. According to the writing of the historian and social researcher Donald Levine, the black African nation, Ethiopia, irreversibly beat a European power ever since the domination of Europe over Africa.

When we think of and remember the Victory of Adwa, we should always recognize that the Ethiopian people, all together, were willing to sacrifice their lives in fighting against the foreign invader and maintain their national unity. Adwa is a common aim and a common future plan. We need to clearly understand the principle Adwa proved to us and express our ownership of the victory in practical terms. If Africa has to write and promote its own history, it will be obligatory to follow the Adwa principle. Adwa has been an icon for the anti-colonization struggle. Adwa has been an inspiration and hope for all the oppressed people.

Zewdie G/Silassie states the importance of the Victory of Adwa as, “this [victory] that covered the European sky with clouds of sadness gave courage and hope of independence for people, in Asia or Africa, who were oppressed by the colonizers.”

The renowned historian, researcher and pan-African scholar W.E.B. DuBois commented on the Victory of Adwa noting that, “other people who are under colonization have to continue to fight for independence by taking Adwa as an example. They need to be determined to fight harder and make clear to the whole world that they don’t have to compromise living in freedom.”

The history of Adwa is a history that inspired African brothers and sisters who were deprived of their freedom by colonizers or racist regimes for a continued struggle. The victory served as a propelling factor for anti-colonial and pan-African movements that started in the 20th century and also helped them to establish institutions, such as the African Union.

Colonization was a power-based racist ruling system. It was a system that was filled with violence, abuse, resource exploitation or looting and was derogatory. When it was initially established, it was meant to keep Europeans superior and Africans inferior at all times. However, this hypocritical goal was dismantled by the determined struggles of Africans for freedom, following the example of Adwa.

The colonizers used to conceal their malevolent aim of coming to Africa by saying that they were coming to Africa to help Africans educate and develop.

The imperialists’ colonization conference took place in 1884-85 in Berlin, Germany. This was a conference to negotiate the scrambling and partitioning of Africa without causing conflicts among the colonial powers themselves.

Africans had struggled against European colonization since its beginning and their struggles have been documented in history. The Algerians had fought against the French colonizers for over 17 years. In their struggle, they had used Islamism as their unifying instrument. Other nations also had similar struggles. Nevertheless, it hadn’t been possible for Africans to overcome their colonizers who had been all equipped with modern weapons, medications, technologies and industrial power.

The Sudan fighters in Omdurman had sacrificed a lot to defeat the British colonizers. In 1898, the Sudan lost 11,000 fighters while the Brits lost only 49 fighters. This was because the fighters of the colonizer led by General Kitchener were equipped with automatic machine guns.

Samori Touré of Mali fought the French colonizers for about 16 years in Guinea and Mali, with 30,000 soldiers and horseback fighters using home-made and imported weapons. This African anti-colonial hero was captured and exiled to Gabon and died there in 1900.

Furthermore, among the different people who resisted and fought against the colonial powers were the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe in 1896, the Asante people of Ghana in 1900, the Herero people of Namibia in 1904, and the Maji Maji anti-colonial forces of Tanzania in 1905-07.

Among the anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century, the Kenyan land and freedom movement, Zimbabwe’s freedom war from 1965-79, the Mozambique struggle from 1961-74, as well as Angola, Guinea Bissau, and Cape Verde’s movements are worth mentioning.

Yet, Ethiopia was the only nation that combated and overcame the colonial power. Ethiopia was able to protect its sovereignty as a result of the preparation for fighting at equal capacity and weapons: gun to gun, artillery to artillery, without being excelled by the technology the enemy had. Moreover, the people’s cooperation and ability to understand one another contributed a great deal towards the victory.

Virginia Lee Jacobs has put the exemplariness of Adwa – hence Ethiopia, for Africans in three ways. Ethiopia was an example for other African nations in their fight for freedom and against colonization. Ethiopia firmly imprinted her pride as a giant immovable mountain by refusing and winning white racist supremacy and served as a light of freedom for others. Finally, Ethiopia is a visible, tangible, living African icon of freedom.

When we also look at the colors of flags, several African countries, upon independence, chose to adopt the basic colors of the Ethiopian green, yellow and red flag as their symbol of freedom and identity, though arrangements vary.

Even out of Africa, if we look at the colorful carnivals celebrated all over the world by Caribbean decedents in Brooklyn, New York; Toronto, Canada; London, England; Miami, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the colorfulness comes from the green, yellow and red flags.

The well-known Reggae singers, including Bob Marley, had the three basic colors on their jackets, belts or drums. Thus, the choice of these colors to represent their freedom and identity including flags by about 30 African and Caribbean countries wasn’t accidental, but it was because they viewed Ethiopia as an icon of freedom and associated their historical fight for freedom with that of Ethiopia.

African leaders who led the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles and later who became leaders of their respective free nations witnessed the following about Ethiopia:

Kwame Nkurmah, while he was in school in London, said, “As long as Ethiopia is free, we all believe that Africa will one day be free.”

The first president of Guinea Ahmed Sékou Touré, on his part, said, “The Ethiopian people are great people. They are great Africans; they have bravely fought and preserved their freedom, and they showed the way to freedom to the whole Africa.”

The great anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela also gave an unforgettable description of Ethiopia by saying that Ethiopia is the source of his African identity.

Adwa is a reminder for the current proud generation to fight against any enemy for the sake of their identity, history, culture and religion. Ethiopians were victorious over the invading Italian force by having consciously gathered information, designed strategies, and being well prepared in advance. Further, they were united.

The deep love and knowledge that Adwa instilled in black people had astonishingly re-erupted after 40 years when the enemy invaded Ethiopia again and massacred thousands. Black Harlemites wanted to join the resistance against the Fascist invaders.

The outstanding victory of Adwa showed that African struggles could end colonization. The victory inspired people to fight for their freedom. Adwa is a timeless victory that enabled Africans all over the world to grow and prosper by maintaining their freedom and peace.


About the author:
Ayele Bekerie is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of PhD Program in Heritage Studies and Coordinator of International Affairs at Mekelle University’s Institute of Paleo-Environment and Heritage Conservation. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. Ayele Bekerie is a contributing author in the acclaimed book, “One House: The Battle of Adwa 1896 -100 Years.” He is also the author of the award-winning book “Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles” — among many other published works.

Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Is Ethiopia the Inspiration Behind the Black Panther Movie?

The new movie Black Panther is a big hit in Ethiopia as it is in the U.S. and around the globe. The Washington Post reports "Ethiopian audiences, in particular, have warmed to the movie," because of the similarities between the history of Ethiopia, which has never been colonized, and the film's fictional country of Wakanda, "a hidden mountain kingdom that was the only country in Africa not to be colonized." Ethiopia is Wakanda, “minus the techno-utopia,” says Tsedale Lemma, editor of Addis Standard. (The Washington Post by Paul Schemm)

The Washington Post

Africa’s real Wakanda and the struggle to stay uncolonized

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The Marvel Comics movie “Black Panther” has wowed audiences across the United States and around the world, including Africans who have cheered on the African superheroes and their fictional Kingdom of Wakanda.

There is a little something for everyone in Wakanda for Africans. The show’s designers seem to have attempted to incorporate stylistic elements from all over the continent to create the film’s look, as this one impressive Twitter thread has documented.

Ethiopian audiences, in particular, have warmed to the movie, and more than a few have cited their own country as the inspiration for Wakanda, a hidden mountain kingdom in the movie that was the only country in Africa not to be colonized.

Indeed, Ethiopia itself has the distinction of being the sole country on the continent to resist the European scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, when the continent was divided up into colonial possessions.

In fact, a bit like Wakanda, Ethiopia, or Abyssinia as it was once known, was also long shrouded in mystery for Europeans during the Middle Ages, a mythical Christian kingdom of great wealth, surrounded by hostile Muslim states, hidden in the mountains and home to the legendary Prester John.

A number of Ethiopians have noted on social media the similarities between Wakanda and Ethiopia. Among them is Tsedale Lemma, editor of the Addis Standard, one of the few independent media outlets in the country, who took time out of reporting the country’s state of emergency to say that Ethiopia is Wakanda, “minus the techno-utopia.”

How much the legend of Ethiopia influenced “Black Panther” creator Stan Lee is up for debate, but the character first appeared in 1966, three years after Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie visited the United States and President John F. Kennedy, treating the world to the spectacle of African royalty claiming centuries of lineage.

Read more »


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Addis Ababa Among 10 Coolest Cities in the World to Visit in 2018

Addis Ababa. (Photo by Black Tomato via Forbes.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Forbes magazine has named Ethiopia’s sprawling capital Addis Ababa among its list of the 10 coolest cities around the world to visit in 2018.

Forbes says Addis Ababa represents the very fabric of Ethiopia, which is “home to more than 80 nationalities, it’s a cultural epicenter and gateway to an ancient world.”

The magazine adds: “The fascinating Ethnological Museum is one of Africa’s top museums, but the real hidden highlight of Addis is its late-night scene, which is hosted in atmospheric underground jazz clubs. Close an evening with Ethio-Jazz and discover a fusion of traditional music, Afro-funk and jazz.”

Addis Ababa is one of three African cities highlighted by the business publication as the best international holiday destinations for this year. The 2018 list includes Nagasaki, Japan; Puebla, Mexico; Malacca, Malaysia; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Arequipa, Peru; Cairo, Egypt; Brazzaville, Congo; Medellin, Colombia; and Leon, Nicaragua.

See the full list at Forbes.com »


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Social Media, Diaspora & State of Emergency Press Roundup

(Image from a study on social media use in Ethiopia and the Diaspora mapping frequency of hate and dangerous speech. Courtesy of the University of Oxford)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 25th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The significantly polarized social media environment regarding politics among Ethiopians in the Diaspora is receiving renewed press attention, perhaps as a contributing factor in Ethiopia’s current state of heightened ethnic politics. In a recent article published by the Open Democracy website Rene Lefort points out “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.”

“Social media users in America are stoking Ethiopia’s ethnic violence,” declared the title of another story by Public Radio International (PRI). “The Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S. uses social media to great effect in shaping coverage of events back home, especially the protest movement that has pummeled Ethiopia for more than two years,” says freelance journalist James Jeffrey, author of the PRI piece. “During that time, social media has proved itself a double-edged sword in Ethiopia: It’s capable of filling a need for more information due to limited press freedom and frequent blanket shutdowns of mobile internet, but also of pushing the country toward even greater calamity.” Jeffrey adds: “Since 1995, Ethiopia has applied a distinct political model of ethnically based federalism to the country’s heterogeneous masses — about 100 million people who speak more than 80 dialects. In a country as diverse as Ethiopia, the cumulative effect of ethnic slander should not be underestimated, observers note, especially where historical grudges exist between main ethic groups.”

Meanwhile Ethiopia is back under another State of Emergency and as The Economist notes that: “the declaration appears at odds with recent signs that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was willing to allow more democracy. In August it lifted a ten-month-long state of emergency, imposed after protests in 2016. The new state of emergency appears to have been triggered by the resignation the day before of Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister. Hailemariam said he was bowing out to allow for “reforms”, but his departure has opened up a succession struggle within the EPRDF, which has governed Ethiopia since it first seized power as a band of rebels in 1991.”

Last week the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia released a press statement that strongly objected to the decision to suspend normal constitutional procedures and urged its oldest Africa ally to instead focus on widening the democratic space by encouraging “greater freedom, not less.” The press release stated: “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.”

The EU has also issued a communiqué saying “only a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders – authorities, opposition, media, civil society – will allow for a peaceful and durable resolution of the crisis.”


Related:
Study on Social Media Use in Ethiopia Maps Frequency of Hate and Dangerous Speech

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A White Wedding During Red Terror (BBC)

The digital photo archive, Vintage Addis Ababa, show how people carry on with life in exceptional circumstances. (Image: Genet and Aynalem exchanging vows in the presence of a priest and guests at her father’s house in 1978 during the height of the Red Terror/Vintage Addis Ababa)

BBC News

By Philipp Schütz & Wongel Abebe

Love can often flourish in the most hopeless of situations.

And so it was for Aynalem and Genet who married each other in 1978 during the height of Ethiopia’s brutal Red Terror.

The bloodshed began a year earlier, when Marxist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam took control of Ethiopia and launched a lethal campaign against his enemies.

Thousands of people died during his crackdown, with hundreds of thousands more forcibly resettled.

But this didn’t stop Aynalem and Genet from exchanging their wedding vows in Sendafa, a small city just outside the capital, Addis Ababa.

Photos from this day have been compiled by the digital archive, Vintage Addis Ababa, to show how people carry on with life in exceptional circumstances.

A long courtship

The couple met in 1973 when they lived in the same neighbourhood.

A year later, the country’s imperial government was overthrown by the Derg communist regime, paving the way for Mengistu’s rule.

The chaos that followed upended their lives in ways they could not have imagined.

Aynalem had hoped to marry Genet early, as soon as she finished high school.

But in 1978 she was arrested for taking part in an opposition protest and jailed for three months.

“Living under the Derg regime was not easy,” Genet says. “The fear in the atmosphere hindered our joy from being complete.”

Read more and see photos at BBC.com »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Update Regrading the Situation in Ethiopia

Recently freed opposition leaders Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba. (Photo: Twitter)

Bloomberg

Updated: February 27, 2018

Ethiopia Authorities Order Security Forces to Quell Protests

Ethiopian authorities ordered the country’s security forces to “take all the necessary measures” to deal with anti-government agents in the restive Oromia region.

The so-called Command Post, which is administering a state of emergency declared on Feb. 16, must deal with “illegal forces” in Oromia if they “do not refrain from their destructive actions immediately,” according to a statement published Tuesday by the ruling-party funded Fana Broadcasting Corp.

The government has been struggling for more than two years to end sporadic and often deadly anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. The Oromo and Amhara communities together make up more than half of Ethiopia’s population, Africa’s largest after Nigeria. Activists from both groups claim that minority ethnic Tigrayans, who are about 6 percent of the population, dominate an authoritarian government.

One person was killed this week and seven were wounded as protests continue in Nekemte, an Oromia market town about 242 kilometers (151 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa, Oromia spokesman Addisu Arega said in a Facebook post Tuesday, citing reports received by the regional government.

Government forces blocked leaders of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, including Chairman Merera Gudina and Secretary-General Bekele Gerba from entering Nekemte on Sunday, said Beyene Petros, who heads the Medrek coalition of opposition parties that includes the OFC. Merera was freed from prison in January and Bekele this month as part of a mass release of more than 7,000 detainees first announced by the government in January.

Read more »


Related:
NEWS: STANDOFF AS SECURITY FORCES DETAIN RECENTLY RELEASED OPPOSITION POLITICIANS, INCLUDING DR. MERERA GUDINA AND BEKELE GERBA, NEAR NEKEMT IN WESTERN ETHIOPIA (Addis Standard)
Ethiopia releases 1,500 prisoners (REUTERS)
The Economist on Ethiopia’s Current Political Climate
Diaspora: Why Should U.S. Solve Ethiopia’s Domestic Problem?
Crisis in Ethiopia: elections, and fast! (Open Democracy)
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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Read more »


Related:
Vice Magazine Features Hailu Mergia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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: Emperor Tewodros, Emperor Yohannes IV, Emperor Haile Selassie, Empress Zewditu and Emperor Menelik/ Graphic Design by Heli Amare)

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Stanford Names 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.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Time Profiles Ethiopian Scientist Segenet Kelemu

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Woman in California Helps Domestic Violence Victim From Ethiopia

Menbere Aklilu of Richmond, California helped bring to the U.S. 23-year-old domestic violence victim Messy Negussie whose face was burned when her ex-fiancé threw acid on her. Menbere and Messy are from the same town in Ethiopia. (Photo: KTVU)

KTVU

Bonded by tragedy, Richmond woman houses Ethiopian domestic violence victim

RICHMOND, Calif. – To hear her story, you’d be surprised to see that 23-year-old Meserep Negussie, or Messy, can have a smile on her face.

Richmond’s Menbere Aklilu, or Memby, says she saw Messy’s harrowing story on Facebook. Visible scars on Messy’s face tell a painful tale from when her ex-fiancé threw acid on her.

“When I met her she was crying day and night,” said Aklilu. “But now she realizes there’s a light.”

Messy arrived from Ethiopia two months ago. She said everybody there was afraid and that the people don’t like to see her face.

The acid burned her face, chest and arms. She and Memby are from the same village in Ethiopia. Memby says when she heard of the brutal attack she had to help. First, sending money, and then flying 22 hours to meet the young woman she’d only heard of online.

But the two had a shared story. When Memby was pregnant she too was a victim of domestic violence from her then husband.

“He burned me with a cigarette and after that he gave me three days to pull my own teeth,” Aklilu said.

Memby says she was lucky and able to get away, and that’s why it’s important that she helps this young woman get back on her feet. She’s opened up her home to a total stranger and is paying it forward, arranging medical treatment and operations, helping to make messy whole again.

She tells Memby that seeing her face in the mirror doesn’t scare her anymore.

Messy is a trained cook in Ethiopia, and is now mastering her craft and helping out at Memby’s restaurant – Salute in Richmond. And you may think this is a great present for messy, as it surely is, but the true gift is for Memby.

“It’s Christmas and she’s here with me and my house is more warm,” Aklilu said. “And it’s a Christmas gift for me.”

“I want to keep her here. I will do some paper work. I will ask for help and she will stay.”



Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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:

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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


 
Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Archives

Categories


Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.