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First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses Mandela Washington Fellows

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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Missing Ethiopian Runners in Oregon: 3 Found, Question of Asylum Remains

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

Oregon Live

By Ian K. Kullgren

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Oregon Live»

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

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Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela

(Photo courtesy: YALI - Young African leaders Initiative)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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

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

Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Photos: Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti, Mo Ibrahim

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 27th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Below are photos from the event:

Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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

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


26 JUL 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at IAAF.org »

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

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview

(Image courtesy: The White House)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is a description of events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leader Press Conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Getty Images)

By Alice Tidey | CNBC

July 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at cnbc.com »

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

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

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African Art Museum Prunes Plans for Home

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

The New York Times


JULY 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYT »

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Ukraine Rebels Surrender Downed Airliner Black Boxes to Malaysia

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

VOA News

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.N. Security Council resolution

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Urges Unimpeded Probe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerry condemns Russia

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

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

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

EU to increase sanctions

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

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

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

Putin response

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

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Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

(Image courtesy: Oprah Magazine South Africa and SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

2014 Face2face Africa Awards Preview

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

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

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

See the full results at iaaf.org »

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

Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records (TADIAS)

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Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism

(Image credit: © Fractal Element from Facebook)

BBC News

Updated: 18 July 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at BBC News »

Ethiopian Authorities Charge Nine Journalists With Terrorism) CPJ

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


July 17, 2014

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

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

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

Read more at CPJ Blog »

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

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American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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

Julie, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977, is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States and one of two Ethiopian-born artists whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (the other artist is Skunder Boghossian). Julie, who currently lives and works in New York, has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award. She had residencies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2003), and the American Academy in Berlin (2007).

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

Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

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

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

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

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Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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


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

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

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

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

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

Read the full story »

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

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

KPBS San Diego

By Matthew Bowler

Monday, July 14, 2014

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

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

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

Read the full story at KPBS San Diego »

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, July 12th 2014

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

Below is our video coverage of both events:

Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Below is the trailer:

Asni Documentary from Samuel Overton Photography on Vimeo.

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

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

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

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

Video: Captain Guta Dinka, The Man Who Saved Mandela

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Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Brooklyn – July 26

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meet Ethiopian Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Ted Vestal, PhD | OP-ED

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

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













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

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

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


July 4th, 2014

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

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

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

Tsige is Ethiopian born with British citizenship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

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

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BBC Reports Ginbot 7 Leader Andargachew Tsige Extradited From Yemen

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

BBC News

4 July 2014

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

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

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

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

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at BBC News.

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

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UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Opposition Leader Andargachew Tsige

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

The Guardian

BY Martin Plaut

Friday 4 July 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Guardian.

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

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

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

Yemen Times

By Bassam Al-Khameri

3 July 2014

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

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

The circumstances of his arrest remain unclear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New York Times


JULY 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYT.

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

(Images: Courtesy Massinko Entertainment)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club

Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Fútbol: The Beautiful Game at LA County Museum of Art

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meriam Ibrahim: Christian Woman Jailed in Sudan Freed Again

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

BBC News

26 June 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more and watch video at BBC News.

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Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

Meron Wudneh. (Photos via Miss Africa USA Org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for your support!”

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Shaun Evans | OP-ED

Published: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Egyptian Anchorwoman Suspended After Live Row With Ethiopia Envoy

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

Ahram Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

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2014 Skoto Gallery Summer Show Features Work by Wosene Kosrof

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, June 20th, 2014

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

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

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

If You Go:
Summer Show 2014
June 19 – July 31, 2014
529 West 20th Street,
New York, NY 10011
Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Saturday
11 AM – 6 PM
212-352 8058

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

(Photo courtesy Debo and Feedel Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musician Kibrom Birhane. (Photograph courtesy Tsehai Records)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 16th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Watch: Zelesegna : ዘለሰኛ/ by Kibrom Birhane

Watch: Kibrom Birhane – Broken But Beautiful

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 14th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Client: Hyundai Motor America

Spots: “Boom” and “Avoidance”


Executive Creative Director: Greg Braun

Creative Directors: Barney Goldberg and Tom Pettus

Associate Creative Director, Art: David Mesfin

Senior Copywriter: Nick Flora

VP, Director of Integrated Production: Jamil Bardowell

EP/Content Production: Brandon Boerner

Associate Creative Director: David Levy

Senior Copywriter: Ryan Durr

VP, HMA Account Services: Marisstella Marinkovic

Account Director: Lester Perry

Account Supervisor: Casey Nichols

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks

Director: Aaron Stoller

Managing Director: Shawn Lacy

Executive Producer: Holly Vega

Producer: Mala Vasan

Directors of Photography: Jess Hall and Jokob Ihre

Editorial Company: Union Editorial LLC

Editor: Jim Haygood

Vice President/Executive Producer: Megan Dahlam

Music Company: The Rumor Mill

Telecine Place: CO3
Online Place: Resolution

Record Mix Place: Eleven Sound

Mixer: Scott Burns

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

Production Company: Tool of North America

Managing Partner, Digital: Dustin Callif

Producer: Simi Dhillon

Managing Director, Live Action: Oliver Fuselier

Creative Director: Michael Sevilla

Creative Director: Bartek Drozdz

Senior Designer: Josh Jetson

Jr. Designer: Yuee Seo

Senior Developer: Simon Lindsay

Senior Developer: Richard Mattka

Senior Developer: Josh Beckwith

Tech Manager: Vincent Toscano

Head of Digital Production: Joy Kuraitis

Digital Producer: Simi Dhillon

Content Creators: Activator Pictures, ilovedust, Golden Wolf

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

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Eskinder Nega Awarded Golden Pen of Freedom at World Newspaper Congress

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


By Alastair Reid

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Journalism.co.uk.

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

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

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

Ahram Online

Monday 9 Jun 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more.

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

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

(Photos courtesy Coca-Cola and Teddyafro.info)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Face2Face Africa to Honor Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu at NYC Ceremony

(Image: Courtesy Face2faceafrica)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sam Liccardo Wins San Jose, California Mayoral Primary Election

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Thursday, June 4th, 2014

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

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

Read more at San Jose Mercury News.

Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo

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

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

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

The White House Blog

By John Podesta

Power Africa: Beyond the Grid

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

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

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

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

Examples of commitments to date include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo

Councilman Sam Liccardo. (Photograph courtesy Samliccardo.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published on May 30, 2014

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

Tadias Audio Interview With San Jose Mayoral Candidate Councilman Sam Liccardo

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 30th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Daily

By Tiffany Pritchard

29 May, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Screen Daily.

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In Israel Jerusalem Day is Also Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews

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

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

By Ben Sales

May 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at jta.org.

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Legendary African-American Author Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86

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


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

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

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

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

Read more.

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

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

Genzebe Dibaba. (Photo: Courtesy Athleticsweekly)

Tadias Magazine
By Sabrina Yohannes

Published: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ottawa Citizen

By Gord Holder

Out of the fog and into the record books.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

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

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DC Africa Day to be Commemorated with Grants to Eight Organizations

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

DC Office on African Affairs

Press release

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is Mayor Gray’s Africa Day Proclamation:

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

Learn more at www.oaa.dc.gov.

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San Jose Mayoral Candidate Liccardo Releases Amharic Campaign Literature

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read Sam Liccardo’s Amhraic message.

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

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Ethiopia’s Independent Publishers May Face Another Hurdle

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


By Guest Blogger

May 22, 2014

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

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

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

Read the full article at www.cpj.org.

Google Hangout About Zone 9 Bloggers

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

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

VOA News

May 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

Obama told reporters that it is good to get out.

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

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Bill Clinton, Marcus Samuelsson Unveil Harlem EatUp! Food Festival

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

AM New York


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

Samuelsson, the co-owner of Red Rooster, announced the creation of “Harlem EatUp!” Tuesday, a three-day food and cultural festival in Harlem set for next year.

He and Clinton joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and several of the neighborhood’s restaurants, businesses and community leaders to introduce the event that will showcase area eateries with music, free food and more from May 15-17, 2015…

Clinton, who set up the offices of his foundation in the neighborhood after he left the White House in 2001, said he’s always been a fan of the food and entertainment offerings in Harlem and has been impressed with its growth as a prime hot spot for New Yorkers and tourists.

He predicted that “Harlem EatUp!” will create economic benefits for the neighborhood for years to come.

Read the full article at AMNY.com.

New York’s Mayor De Blasio and President Bill Clinton joined restaurateurs Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster) to announce a new food festival coming to Harlem in May of 2015. Read more at News One NY.

Bill Clinton, Mayor de Blasio Announce New Harlem Cultural Festival (The Wall Street Journal)
President Bill Clinton And Mayor De Blasio Announce Harlem EatUp (News One New York)

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Dr. Elias Siraj From Temple University Presented Prestigious Service Award

Elias S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program and Diabetes Program. (Photo: Courtesy AACE)

Media AACE

Press Release

Elias S. Siraj, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., received the Outstanding Service Award for Promotion of Endocrine Health of an Underserved Population at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Las Vegas on May 17, 2014.

The Outstanding Service Award is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the endocrine care, health and service to an underserved population in the United States or abroad via leadership, long-term commitment, vision, innovation and impact.

“With my origins in Ethiopia, a country with large number of underserved population, I always thought I am fortunate to be where I am and it is my responsibility to give back in whatever way that I can,” said Dr. Siraj. “I am very humbled by the fact that AACE has recognized my contributions to the underserved populations in my country of origin, Ethiopia, and my adopted country, USA in such a manner.”

Dr. Siraj has made significant contributions towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of Ethiopia’s medical schools, including a key role in the launch of the country’s first Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program. He has also provided free care for endocrine patients, conducted significant research on diabetes in Ethiopians and provided leadership in organizations fostering collaboration between Ethiopian and US medical institutions or medical professionals.

Dr. Siraj is currently a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program and Director of Diabetes Program at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is also a Member of ABIM Subspecialty Board for Endocrinology.

More about Dr Elias S. Siraj

Dr. Siraj attended medical school in Ethiopia at Gondar College of Medical Sciences, Addis Ababa University. He was then awarded a scholarship to do residency and research training at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Subsequently, he completed his residency and fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Siraj is board certified in both endocrinology & internal medicine, and is an active member of several professional organizations. Currently he is Board Member of ABIM Endocrinology subsection and a Past President of Philadelphia Endocrine Society. A frequent national and international speaker, he has published multiple articles, abstracts and book chapters on diabetes and endocrine disorders. For his teaching efforts at Temple University, he was given “Excellence in Teaching Award” by the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Siraj is also very involved in clinical research and trials.

Since the days of his training in Germany in the early 1990s, Dr. Siraj has been engaged in helping his native country Ethiopia in patient care, medical education and research. In research, he has made significant contribution to our understanding of the characteristics of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in Ethiopia and published several papers and abstracts. Regarding patient care, he has provided free medical care to patients with diabetes and other endocrine conditions at various hospitals.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Dr. Siraj to the health care system in Ethiopia is in medical education. Over the years, Dr. Siraj has significantly contributed towards the education of medical students, residents and endocrine fellows at five of the country’s medical schools. To be highlighted is the key role Dr. Siraj played in the launching of the first ever Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa. He was also instrumental in the creation of partnership between Temple University and Addis Ababa University.

Dr. Siraj also serves as Vice President of People to People Inc. (P2P), which is a nonprofit organization established in the US, by physicians of Ethiopian origin to support the Ethiopian Health Care system. Within P2P, Dr. Siraj has been instrumental in the conception, launching and ongoing leadership of the Annual Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education which is conducted annually in Washington, DC since 2009. He has also facilitated the creation of partnerships between Ethiopian medical schools/hospitals & partner institutions in the US.

Dr. Siraj is also an ardent patient educator and advocate for underserved people both here in the US and in Ethiopia. He has led and participated in various initiatives targeted at African Americans and Ethiopian immigrant population in the US through community outreaches, publications as well as frequent radio & TV interviews.

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Kenenisa Bekele & Tirunesh Dibaba Dominate Great Manchester Run

(Photos: www.tiruneshdibaba.net and Flickr/Thomas Faivre-Duboz)


May 18, 2014

Manchester, United Kingdom: Ethiopian athletics legends Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba eased to victory in their respective races in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.

Bekele, a three-time Olympic gold medallist on the track, raced alongside world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya for much of the 10 kilometres course.

However, the 31-year-old — who indicated he may have an equally glorious career ahead of him in road racing when he won his debut marathon in Paris in April — kicked away in the final 400 metres to finish in a time of 28 minutes 23 seconds.

Kipsang, also fresh from a marathon triumph in London, where he set a new course record, came in five seconds back, while South Africa’s Steve Mokoka was some distance back in third.

Read more.

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

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Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State

(Photo: UNPO.org)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Saturday, May 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The legislature of the state of Minnesota, which is home to the largest Oromo population in the United States, has condemned the recent police violence directed against student protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia state. In a resolution signed earlier this week the Minnesota State Senate urged the Obama administration to pressure the Ethiopian authorities to respect human rights.

“Whereas, Oromo students in Ethiopia started protesting on April 25th, 2014, to stand against the government’s plan to substantially expand the municipal boundaries of Addis Ababa because, according to students, the expansion would threaten communities under regional jurisdiction,” the resolution stated. “Whereas, under this proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master plan, the boundaries would include 15 more communities in Oromia; it would take the authority of Oromia Regional State on the Oromo farmers and give it to Addis Ababa city; and the students are concerned that the displacement of Oromo farmers and students will have a negative effect on the land and citizens.”

The lawmakers noted: “The Oromo people make up nearly one-half of Ethiopia’s population; and whereas, the government has reported that there are at least nine students dead, but other estimates have reached 47, witnesses report that at least 70 people are wounded; and whereas, on May 9th, 2014, an Oromo rally to protest the killings and imprisonment of peaceful Oromo protesters in Ethiopia and to demand the perpetrators be brought to justice was held at the Minnesota State Capitol.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Minnesota that it supports the Oromo community and condemns the violence against them, and urges the United States government to pressure the Ethiopian authorities to respect human rights and democratic process.”

Below is copy of the resolution:

The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

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Summer Stage NYC Presents Teddy Afro and Hahu Dance Crew — July 5th

(Images: SummerStageNYC and DireTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian pop superstar Teddy Afro and the Addis Ababa-based dance crew, Hahu (winners of 2011 Ethiopian Idol), will perform at this year’s SummerStage in New York on July 5th. The free outdoor concert is part of an annual three-month music festival highlighting “performances spanning World and American music, modern dance, spoken word, electronic music, and family programming.”

The announcement notes that “Over the past ten years, Teddy has emerged as the number one voice in Ethiopia, breaking records for album sales and show attendance. He is known far and wide as the rising star of East Africa. Using Reggae rhythms combined with traditional sounds his songs are sung exclusively in the national language of Ethiopia, Amharic. Influenced by Ethiopian Maestro Tilahun Gessesse and international Reggae superstar Bob Marley, he sings of freedom from tyranny and self-emancipation.”

Hahu Dance Group is a contemporary group that aims to promote Ethiopian culture, art and indigenous knowledge globally. Hahu “represents Ethiopian multiculturalism, by including four traditional dancers each hailing from different ethnic groups, showing a true sense of community. The groups early works were inspired by the poor Addis neighborhoods and performances were focused on community awareness creation and empowerment,” the announcement states.

Also scheduled to share the stage with the Ethiopian artists is Noura Mint Seymali – one of Mauritania’s  nationally beloved music stars.

Central Park SummerStage is an open air venue, located at Rumsey Playfield, which is right off the 5th Avenue and 69th Street entrance to Central Park.

If You Go:
Saturday, July 5 at 3:00 PM
Rumsey Playfield – Central Park
New York, New York
You can learn more at www.facebook.com/SummerStageNYC

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Amharic Most Commonly Spoken African Language in Eight U.S. States

Little Ethiopia Neighborhood in L.A., CA (Photograph courtesy Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, May 15th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Slate magazine staff writer Ben Blatt, made maps of languages other than English that were spoken in the United States. His map of the most commonly spoken African language shows that Amharic tops the list in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, Washington, Virginia and West Virginia. The most commonly spoken African languages in the U.S. are Kru, Yoruba, and Ibo.

Below is the map courtesy Slate.com.

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EAC to Endorse Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council Seat

Tom Hucker. (courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, May 16th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — In a recent response to an online Q&A with Ethiopian American Council (EAC) – after applying for the organization’s endorsement – Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat, said he strongly supports the establishment of a center that is dedicated to the Ethiopian community in Maryland.

“Preserving each culture’s history and heritage is a continual challenge in our diverse area and our rapidly changing society,” Hucker said. “I would support the use of County capital funds for such a museum and cultural center, and I would be happy to organize state lawmakers to support state bond funding as well.” He added: “I think the State of Maryland would be likely to support this project in our capital budget.”

The candidate also pointed out that he was an “original co-sponsor” and vocal advocate of the Maryland DREAM Act to allow all Maryland students to attend state colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates regardless of their status.

Mr. Hucker, 47, is currently a second-term member of Maryland’s House of Delegates from District 20 (representing, among other areas, Takoma Park and Silver Spring). Tadias Magazine has learned that EAC has decided to back Mr. Hucker in the upcoming Democratic primary after receiving “satisfactory answers” on various issues of interest to Ethiopian Americans.

“Our federal immigration system is a disaster,” Hucker noted, emphasizing the need for a national solution “It causes tremendous hardships for families and is a drag on the U.S. economy. I fully support efforts to move undocumented immigrants to citizenship as quickly as possible, to make their families whole, to allow them to access critical services, and to encourage them to contribute towards income taxes, social security, and other parts of our social safety net.”

He was asked to share his ideas on how to increase voter participation among Ethiopian residents of the state. “I would like to solicit the input of community leaders regarding what they think would be effective strategies to increase voter participation,” he answered. “But personally, I think we should identify issues of particular interest to community members, develop positions on those issues, print materials and lawn signs in Amharic as well as English, distribute them in restaurants, groceries, coffee shops, and other community businesses, work with other community media such as newspapers to encourage voting, and organize a social event to attract community members at a restaurant a few blocks from the early voting poll at the Silver Spring Civic Building, hold it on one of the evenings during the early voting period June 12-19, and escort voters from the party to the polling place to vote.”

Hucker is the third candidate that EAC has supported this election season, including Sam Liccardo, who is running for Mayor of San Jose, California, and Isiah “Ike” Leggett, the incumbent Executive of Montgomery County who is seeking re-election.

Mr. Hucker has also received endorsements from Montgomery County’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Hispanic Democratic Club, the Green Democrats, the AFL-CIO, and former NAACP CEO and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Kweisi Mfume.

You can learn more about the candidate at tomhucker.com.

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PBS Interview with Ethiopian American Author Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new book 'All Our Names.' (PBS)

PBS NewsHour


Dinaw Mengestu talks about his new novel “All Our Names,” which narrates the story of a young black man who comes of age in post-colonial Africa and the young white woman who meets and falls in love with him in a small Midwest American town. Mengestu spoke to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about lost and found identities and a collision of worlds.

Life in post-colonial Africa and the civil rights era in the United States aren’t typically compared, but Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new novel “All Our Names,” saw those moments in history as an echo of each other.

“We tend to think of what happens in post-colonial Africa as very distinct from what happens in the U.S., but when I began to put those narratives side by side, I thought, well, after the end of colonialism we had something similar in America,” Mengetsu told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown.

Read more.

Book: ‘All Our Names’ by Dinaw Mengestu (NYT)

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Police Request More Time for Zone 9 Bloggers Investigation

Zelalem Kibret & Tesfalem Waldyes being escorted out of an Addis Ababa court. (Photo: Global Voices)

Global Voices Online

14 May 2014 6:26

Last Wednesday, Ethiopian bloggers Atnaf Berahane, Zelalem Kibret and Natnael Feleke (all members of the Zone 9 blogging collective) and journalists Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye were brought before an Addis Ababa court for the first time since their detention on April 25. At the brief hearing, police requested more time for their investigation.

According to their attorneys, the detainees will face charges related to accepting assistance from a foreign NGO and “inciting violence through social media.”

The six men and women, along with bloggers Befeqadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, and Mahlet Fantahun — also members of the Zone 9 group – were arrested in late April and have been in detention ever since. All are influential writers on political and social issues in Ethiopia and have played an active role in organizing political debate and protests online.

The hearing was closed to the public, despite many attempts by diplomats and others to attend.

Read more.

UN human rights chief condemns crackdown on journalists in Ethiopia (UN News Center)
Global Voices Calls for the Release of Nine Journalists in Ethiopia (TADIAS)
Jailed Zone Nine Bloggers Spark Ethiopia Trend on Social Media (BBC)
Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Nine journalists and bloggers arrested in Ethiopia ahead of Kerry visit (The Guardian)
Six Members of Zone Nine Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (TADIAS)

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Led by Firehiwot Dado, Ethiopian Women Sweep 2014 Prague Marathon

The 2011 NYC Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia dominated the women's race at the 20th Prague International Marathon in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sunday, May 11, 2014. (Associated Press)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Monday, May 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia towered over her competition in the women’s division at the 2014 Prague International Marathon on Sunday, finishing the race in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 34 seconds.

Per AP: Firehiwot “crossed the finish line leading the Ethiopian sweep of the first six places in the women’s race, ahead of Fantu Eticha and Ashete Bekere.”

The athletics news website letsrun.com notes: “Dado, 30, is the most accomplished runner in the field by a wide margin, highlighted by her 2011 victory in the New York City Marathon in a personal-best 2:23:15 and her three straight victories in the Rome Marathon between 2009 and 2011.”

The men’s category was won by Patrick Kipyegon Terer of Kenya, followed by his fellow countryman Evans Kiplagat Chebet and Cuthbert Nyasango of Zimbabwe.

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

Video: Reception For Ethiopian NYC Marathon Winners at Queen of Sheba Restaurant (2011)

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A Mother’s Day Tribute to Ethiopian Women

Photo Courtesy: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, May 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — In a Mother’s Day tribute to Ethiopian women around the world, the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) has gathered a collection of essays, poems and photos reflecting motherhood.

Among the featured contributors include Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengstie, exiled journalist Serkalem Fasil (wife of Eskinder Nega), migrant domestic workers issues activist and filmmaker Rahel Zegeye (a former migrant worker from Ethiopia who currently resides in Beirut, Lebanon), as well as Meron Ahadu, Dr. Tsehai Berhane-Selassie, Dr. Menna Demessie, Tizita Belachew, Helen Afework, Fekerte Gebremariam and Tsigereda Mulugeta.

The tribute to Ethiopian women also recognizes imprisoned Ethiopian female journalist Reyot Alemu, winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

In a statement Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, President of CREW said: “For generations, Ethiopian women have played major roles in their society. They are the center of the family and shouldered immense responsibilities. They are strong and courageous fighters for freedom. They have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go to achieve equality. The major obstacles in women’s advancement in Ethiopia are the abject poverty and the traditional harmful practices that hinder women’s progress. Because of these, women have continued to face enormous hardships. On the other hand, their resilience in the face of all impediments is quite amazing.”

You can read the “Tribute to Ethiopian Mothers” at www.centerforethiopianwomen.org.

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A Powerful Message From First Lady Michelle Obama on the Tragedy in Nigeria

(Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, May 10th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — On this Mother’s Day weekend U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama extended her thoughts, prayers, and support to the parents of the 276 Nigerian girls that were abducted last month by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

“I want to take a moment to honor all of the mothers out there and wish you a happy Mother’s Day,” the First Lady opened the weekly broadcast address usually delivered by her husband. “I also want to speak to you about an issue of great significance to me as First Lady and more importantly as the mother of two young daughters.”

Mrs. Obama added: “Like millions of people across the globe my husband and I are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night. This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education. Grown men attempting to snuff out the aspiration of young girls.”

Below is the video of the First Lady’s address released by the White House:

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Obama to Abebe Gellaw: You Screwed Up My Ending, But That’s OK (Video)

Abebe Gellaw interrupted President Obama during the end of a speech to Democratic National Committee in San Jose, California on Thursday, May 8, 2014. (Video and photograph by Associated Press Newslook)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Friday, May 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — President Obama was heckled by Ethiopian journalist and activist Abebe Gellaw while delivering a speech to the Democratic National Committee in San Jose, California on Thursday.

“President Obama! Freedom for Ethiopia!” Abebe shouted at the end of Obama’s address. “Freedom! Freedom for Ethiopia, sir!”

The President, who is well experienced handling such incidents was quick on his feet. “Hold on,” Obama responded. “I agree with you, although why don’t I talk about it later because I’m just about to finish.”

He later added: “You kind of screwed up my ending, but that’s OK … We’ve got free speech in this country, which is great, too.”

It’s to be remembered that Abebe staged a similar protest against the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during a discussion on the sideline of the G8 summit at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC two years ago this month.

USA Today reported that in California yesterday “[Abebe] appeared to be supportive of Obama and handed out a letter he said he sent to the president about helping ‘the oppressed people of Ethiopia.’”

In the letter, [Abebe] described himself as “an exiled journalist and freedom activist trying to raise the voices” of the people of Ethiopia.

Video: Obama to heckler ‘You screwed up my ending’ (Associated Press via USA Today)

Obama almost loses his cool with heckler at DNC fundraiser (Daily Mail)
President gets the better of a heckler (FOX 4)
President Obama’s Africa Policy: Just Right or Not Enough? (TADIAS)

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Historic New York Medhanialem Church Moves into New Bronx Home (Video)

The inauguration ceremony for the new Bronx building purchased by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church took place on Friday, May 2nd and Saturday, May 3rd, 2014. (Photograph: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, May 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — One of the oldest Ethiopian churches in New York, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church, which had gathered at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan for over three decades, has officially moved into a newly purchased property in the Norwood section of the Bronx (302 East 206 Street). Last weekend, the dedication program included an all-night vigil prayer held on Friday, May 2nd as well as a procession of the Ark and a celebratory lunch on Saturday, May 3rd.

The following is a video and photo coverage of the event.

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Killings in Ethiopia Outrage Minnesota’s Oromo Community

Secretary of State John Kerry meeting nurses and workers during a visit to the Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 1st, 2014. (Photograph credit: Reuters)

Minn Post

By Ibrahim Hirsi

Members of Minnesota’s Oromo community plan to rally Friday in St. Paul and are calling for a hunger strike to mourn the deaths of student demonstrators gunned down last week by Ethiopian security forces in Addis Ababa.

Oromo students and others in Ethiopia have been protesting since April 26 a plan to develop the capital Addis Ababa, saying the proposal will displace farmers in the city outskirts, erase significant landmarks and dismantle the rich culture and identity of the ethnic Oromo people. Because the Oromia region surrounds Addis Ababa, an expansion of the city will mean a further blow of the region and its people, who have been marginalized for decades, they say.

Addis Ababa city officials argue the plan will develop and improve the city — one of the fastest growing cities in Africa — and its surrounding suburbs.

Thousands of people, mostly university students, took their anger and frustration to the streets of Addis Ababa to express their disapproval of the plan unveiled in April. The ongoing demonstration erupted in violence May 1, the day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Ethiopia as part of a tour of Africa.

There are conflicting reports about casualties, with government officials saying the death toll has grown to 11 and witnesses counting nearly 50 dead.

Read more.

The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian American Council Endorses Sam Liccardo for San Jose Mayor

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

San Jose, CA (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian American Council (EAC) announced that it will be supporting Council Member Sam Liccardo in his bid to become the next Mayor of San Jose. Liccardo represents San Jose’s downtown neighborhood (District Three) in the San Jose City Council and he is is one of five candidates running for the city’s top position. The primary election will take place on June 3rd, 2014.

“The EAC endorsement joins those of organizations and individuals who recognize the need to sustain and grow small businesses in the area,” the Ethiopian American Council announced in a press release. “Many Ethiopian-Americans in San Jose are entrepreneurs and small business owners.” EAC added: “Two of Liccardo’s catch-phrases are “Small Is Beautiful” and “Start Up San Jose.” His “Start Up” initiative focuses on improving the relationship between City Hall and small businesses with a focus on enabling entrepreneurs to procure vacant business spaces in the downtown area.”

Liccardo states that his efforts as a councilman include making San Jose a safe place to live and do business. “I wrote the plan to make San José safer not by spending more, but spending smarter: using pension savings to hire 200 more cops, implement cost-saving technologies, and restore community policing. Without increasing city spending, I’ve launched successful efforts to cut red tape to create middle class jobs, provide tutoring for hundreds of youth, install energy-efficient streetlights, and improve parks,” he noted in a statement posted on the city’s election website. “Our campaign for a smarter, more innovative government has earned the support of over 100 Silicon Valley tech leaders [and] former Mayor Susan Hammer.”

In its press release EAC, which raised over $5,000 as a contribution to Mr. Liccardo’s mayoral campaign last month, also highlights that the candidate’s “focus on environmental and traffic problems in the city has also gained him the endorsement of the Sierra Club.”

“He is also looking for ways to recycle industrial or factory sites in the city, increase the ability of the local airport to be a jobs engine, and other initiatives, such as decreasing the time for business permits, to grow the ever-important small business sector that contributes so much to a city’s economic vibrancy,” EAC emphasized. “His social concerns regard leveraging libraries and community centers as job training centers; he wants to make San Jose a place that grows its own talent, especially among “the thousands of kids trapped on the wrong side of the achievement gap.” His ideas and his focus on small businesses, increasing employment, revamping the city’s aesthetics, and lowering crime appear to make him an excellent leader and servant for entrepreneurial immigrant populations.”

Before his election to his current post in 2006 Liccardo (age 44), who is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard University Law School, served as a criminal prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office. “My grandparents started a small grocery store here in the 1940s,” he shared in his statement. “I was raised to love San José as they did, and will lead our city with honor.”

San Jose Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo. (Photo: Courtesy The Ethiopian American Council – EAC)

You can learn more about Councilmember Sam Liccardo at www.samliccardo.com.

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Scholars at Risk ‘Gravely Concerned’ About University Lecturers Arrested in Ethiopia

Professor Zelalem Kibret of Ambo University is among the bloggers arrested last week. (File Photograph)

Scholars at Risk

May 6th, 2014

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about reports that Professor Zelalem Kibret, lecturer of law at Ambo University, and Befikadu Hailu, former lecturer and current staff member at St. Mary’s University College, were arrested and detained last week. SAR calls for letters, faxes and emails respectfully urging authorities to investigate the situation, to secure the scholars’ immediate release or, pending their release, to explain publicly the circumstances of Professor Kibret’s and Mr. Hailu’s arrest and on-going detention.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 330 universities and colleges in 35 countries dedicated to protecting the human rights of scholars around the world and to raising awareness, understanding of, and respect for the principles of academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of expression, opinion, thought, association and travel. In cases like this, involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, Scholars at Risk investigates hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.

Scholars at Risk understands that, on April 25-26, 2014, police took into custody six alleged members of bloggers’ group “Zone9 forum”, including scholars Professor Kibret and Mr. Hailu. Reports indicate that Professor Kibret was arrested while on campus at Ambo University. They also indicate that police searched the offices and homes of the scholars and bloggers, and that they seized computers and literature. It is believed that the arrests are a reaction to the bloggers’ announcement, on April 23, that they would resume publishing after seven months of inactivity. Professor Kibret, Mr. Hailu and the bloggers are reportedly charged with inciting violence through social media and creating instability in the country. SAR understands that the detainees are being held incommunicado at Makelawi prison and that family members have not been permitted to visit.

Absent any additional information which may explain these events or clarify our understandings, the facts as described suggest that Professor Kibret and Mr. Hailu were arrested as a result of nonviolent expressive activity, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is party. This raises not only serious concerns for the detainees’ well being, but for the ability of intellectuals generally in Ethiopia to exercise their right to free expression.

Scholars at Risk therefore respectfully urges appropriate authorities to investigate the situation and to secure the scholars’ immediate release or, pending their release, to explain publicly the circumstances of Professor Kibret’s and Mr. Hailu’s arrest and on-going detention, including any charges against them and the basis for such charges; to ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, free expression and freedom of association; and to ensure their well being in custody, including disclosure of their current location and access to counsel and family.

Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn:

- respectfully urging the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation and to secure the scholars’ immediate release or, pending their release, to explain publicly the circumstances of Professor Kibret’s and Mr. Hailu’s arrest and on-going detention, including any charges against them and the basis for such charges;

- respectfully urging the appropriate authorities to ensure that these scholars’ cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, free expression and freedom of association; and

- respectfully urging the appropriate authorities to ensure their well being in custody, including disclosure of their current location and access to counsel and family.

UN human rights chief condemns crackdown on journalists in Ethiopia (UN News Center)
Global Voices Calls for the Release of Nine Journalists in Ethiopia (TADIAS)
Jailed Zone Nine Bloggers Spark Ethiopia Trend on Social Media (BBC)
Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Nine journalists and bloggers arrested in Ethiopia ahead of Kerry visit (The Guardian)
Six Members of Zone Nine Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Brutal Crackdown on Oromo Students

(Image credit: © Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch

MAY 5, 2014

Nairobi – Ethiopian security forces should cease using excessive force against students peacefully protesting plans to extend the boundaries of the capital, Addis Ababa. The authorities should immediately release students and others arbitrarily arrested during the protests and investigate and hold accountable security officials who are responsible for abuses.

On May 6, 2014, the government will appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for the country’s Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record.

“Students have concerns about the fate of farmers and others on land the government wants to move inside Addis Ababa,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Rather than having its security forces attack peaceful protesters, the government should sit down and discuss the students’ grievances.”

Since April 25, students have demonstrated throughout Oromia Regional State to protest the government’s plan to substantially expand the municipal boundaries of Addis Ababa, which the students feel would threaten communities currently under regional jurisdiction. Security forces have responded by shooting at and beating peaceful protesters in Ambo, Nekemte, Jimma, and other towns with unconfirmed reports from witnesses of dozens of casualties.

Protests began at universities in Ambo and other large towns throughout Oromia, and spread to smaller communities throughout the region. Witnesses said security forces fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters in Ambo on April 30. Official government statements put the number of dead in Ambo at eight, but various credible local sources put the death toll much higher. Since the events in Ambo, the security forces have allegedly used excessive force against protesters throughout the region, resulting in further casualties. Ethiopian authorities have said there has been widespread looting and destruction of property during the protests.

The protests erupted over the release in April of the proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan, which outlines plans for Addis Ababa’s municipal expansion. Under the proposed plan, Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary would be expanded substantially to include more than 15 communities in Oromia. This land would fall under the jurisdiction of the Addis Ababa City Administration and would no longer be managed by Oromia Regional State. Demonstrators have expressed concern about the displacement of Oromo farmers and residents on the affected land.|

Ethiopia is experiencing an economic boom and the government has ambitious plans for further economic growth. This boom has resulted in a growing middle class in Addis Ababa and an increased demand for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. There has not been meaningful consultation with impacted communities during the early stages of this expansion into the surrounding countryside, raising concerns about the risk of inadequate compensation and due process protections to displaced farmers and residents.

Oromia is the largest of Ethiopia’s nine regions and is inhabited largely by ethnic Oromos. The Oromos are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group and have historically felt marginalized and discriminated against by successive Ethiopian governments. The city of Addis Ababa is surrounded on all sides by the Oromia region.

Given very tight restrictions on independent media and human rights monitoring in Ethiopia, it is difficult to corroborate the government crackdown in Oromia. There is little independent media in Oromia to monitor these events, and foreign journalists who have attempted to reach demonstrations have been turned away or detained.

Ethiopia has one of the most repressive media environments in the world. Numerous journalists are in prison, independent media outlets are regularly closed down, and many journalists have fled the country. Underscoring the repressive situation, the government on April 25 and 26 arbitrarily arrested nine bloggers and journalists in Addis Ababa. They remain in detention without charge. In addition, the Charities and Societies Proclamation, enacted in 2009, has severely curtailed the ability of independent human rights organizations to investigate and report on human rights abuses like the recent events in Oromia.

“The government should not be able to escape accountability for abuses in Oromo because it has muzzled the media and human rights groups,” Lefkow said.

Since Ethiopia’s last Universal Periodic Review in 2009 its human rights record has taken a significant downturn, with the authorities showing increasing intolerance of any criticism of the government and further restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and association. The recent crackdown in Oromia highlights the risks protesters face and the inability of the media and human rights groups to report on important events.

Ethiopian authorities should abide by the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which provide that all security forces shall, as far as possible, apply nonviolent means before resorting to force. Whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, the authorities must use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. Law enforcement officials should not use firearms against people “except in self-defense or defense of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.”

“Ethiopia’s heavy handed reaction to the Oromo protests is the latest example of the government’s ruthless response to any criticism of its policies,” Lefkow said. “UN member countries should tell Ethiopia that responding with excessive force against protesters is unacceptable and needs to stop.”

Read more.

Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)

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Global Voices Calls for the Release of Nine Journalists in Ethiopia

Zone Nine bloggers in Addis Ababa, all arrested on April 25. (Photograph credit: By Endalk/Global Voices)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Global Voices, an online network of bloggers, activists, writers, and translators from 137 countries, is calling for the release of nine journalists arrested in Ethiopia last week. In a statement the organization said it is “particularly saddened” that four of its translators — Befeqadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Zelalem Kibret and Edom Kassaye — are among those detained.

“We are outraged by this flagrant violation of our friends’ rights to free expression and deeply concerned for their safety. We cannot remain silent,” the statement added. “Blogging is not a crime. On May 3 — World Press Freedom Day — we as a community demand that Ethiopian authorities release our blogger colleagues and friends, and all other jailed journalists in Ethiopia.”

Six bloggers from the Zone 9 collective and three freelance journalists were rounded up from various parts of Addis Ababa in a coordinated, two-days, federal police raid last weekend. Those imprisoned also include Atnaf Berahane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke (of the Zone 9 group) and journalists Asmamaw Hailegeorgis and Tesfalem Waldyes. The authorities have charged all of them with “working with a foreign organization to incite public violence.” Their court case has been adjourned until May 7th.

“Since 2012, the Zone 9 blogging collective has worked to foster civic engagement and critical commentary about social and political issues in Ethiopia,” noted the statement from Global Voices. “Despite difficult conditions, they have exercised their right to free expression in the interest of promoting peaceful dialogue and debate.”

Click here to read the statement at globalvoicesonline.org.

BBC Trending: Jailed Zone Nine Bloggers Spark Ethiopia Trend on Social Media
Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Nine journalists and bloggers arrested in Ethiopia ahead of Kerry visit (The Guardian)
Six Members of Zone Nine Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

New Book From Tsehai Publishers Chronicles the Formation of the OAU

(Photo courtesy Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS)– Selected speeches delivered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963 at the inaugural meeting of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), along with beautifully illustrated portraits, biographies, and other facts about member countries are all part of an upcoming book by Tsehai Publishers entitled Uniting A Continent. “This book is the first of its kind, as it showcases the founding of the OAU and exemplifies the rich and unique cultural heritage of each African nation,” the publisher announced via Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding platform, where a campaign has been launched to fund limited print editions.

Tsehai Publishers also announced that the book includes rare photographic highlights of Secretary Generals as well as an overview of OAU’s history featuring its formation and the challenges and successes in the last fifty years.

The book  ”includes historic speeches made at the organization’s inception, the founding charter of the OAU, and a timeline of significant milestones during the organization’s history, including maps, flags, emblems, geographical information, and interesting facts about each member country. It also presents the dates of independence, the dates the country joined the OAU/AU, and the names of the current heads of state.”

“We believe this book contributes to the telling of a necessary story, for we cannot understand and plan for Africa’s future unless we appreciate the challenges and triumphs of the continent,” the announcement added. “The book’s modern layout and engaging facts will appeal to a broad audience. Both children and adults will be able to pick up the book and learn new information that is difficult to find anywhere else.”

Belwo is a video message about the project from Elias Wondimu, founder of Tsehai Publishers:

You can learn more and support Tsehai Publishers at www.indiegogo.com.

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Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State

Photo: Addis Ababa University Students Urge John Kerry to condemn the police violence against fellow students in Ambo -- a town located in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. (Picture: Twitter.com May 1, 2014 )

VOA News

May 01, 2014

Witnesses say Ethiopian police have killed at least 17 protesters during demonstrations in Ethiopia’s Oromia region against plans to annex territory to expand the capital, Addis Ababa.

Authorities put the protest-related death toll at 11 and have not said how the demonstrators were killed. The main opposition party says 17 people were killed while witnesses and residents say the death toll is much higher.

Residents say that an elite government security force opened fire on protesters at three university campuses.

The demonstrations erupted last week against plans by the Ethiopian government to incorporate part of Oromia into the capital. Oromia is Ethiopia’s largest region and Oromos are the country’s largest ethnic group.

Oromos say the government wants to weaken their political power. They say expanding the capital threatens the local language, which is not taught in Addis Ababa schools.

Ethiopian officials say the master plan for expansion was publicized long ago and would bring city services to remote areas.

They accuse those they call “anti-peace forces” of trying to destroy Ethiopia’s ethnic harmony.

Read more at VOA News.

Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Full Transcript: Secretary of State John Kerry’s Comments to the Press in Ethiopia

John Kerry with staff and patients at Gandhi Hospital in Addis Ababa on May 1st, 2014. (Photo: state.gov)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New York (TADIAS) –Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the following remarks during a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today where he begun a three country tour of Africa that also includes stops in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. I’m really pleased to be back in Africa and to be back in Addis Ababa, a city of enormous energy, and in a country that is really changing and on the move. I had a series of very productive meetings this morning with my foreign minister counterparts and African Union counterparts, and also have just concluded a meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam.

I think it’s fair to say that Ethiopia, in terms of its economy and in other ways, is really on the move, and it is a place that is generating enormous energy. All you have to do is drive through Addis, as I have several times in the last hours, and you see the economic activity, you can see the numbers of cranes and construction that is taking place, and it provides a snapshot of the country’s rapid development. It is no wonder that Ethiopia is one of the eight African economies that is one of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world.

The United States remains committed to supporting Ethiopia’s growing prosperity, and we do that because strong commercial ties and this rate of development are critical to having shared prosperity, critical to providing opportunity to the broad population, and they also – it helps to provide stability and helps to provide the capacity for Ethiopia to be able to lead in some of the other initiatives that are so critical to stability in the region.

We want to say a special word of commendation to Ethiopia and its leaders for the work that they have done along with AU partners in addressing some of the continent’s most difficult problems. As part of the UN’s AU mission in Somalia, Ethiopia has helped to liberate towns from al-Shabaab, and they are working diligently to promote reconciliation. They’ve been a key partner in that effort.

In addition, Ethiopia is also taking a leadership role with respect to IGAD and the efforts to try to resolve the killing and the impending potential of enormous famine and devastation in South Sudan. The unspeakable violence of Sudan really makes the urgency of these kinds of efforts painfully clear. I thank the Prime Minister Hailemariam for the service of Ethiopian troops in Abyei and Darfur, and for working so hard to facilitate a dialogue between the government and rebel forces. That is something we are continuing to work on even right now and in the next few days.

Acts of violence against civilians on both sides in South Sudan are a reminder of the unbelievable capacity for cruelty on this planet when sectarianism, when violence of one tribe or one race against another, is unleashed. We have, all of us, vowed to try to do our best to prevent that kind of violence. And this is precisely the kind of violence that the people of South Sudan fought so hard for so long to try to escape. And the United States and other countries were all deeply involved in the effort to try to help make that happen with the comprehensive peace agreement, with the referendum, with the ultimate independence of the nation. Both President Kiir and Riek Machar need to, each of them, condemn the brutal attacks that are taking place against innocent people, and they need to condemn the perpetrators of this violence. Leadership is needed.

Yesterday, the United Nations commissioner was here, spoke out about the potential of famine. I would echo those warnings, but more so I would even go further and underscore that a kind of personal violence, a personal anger between two leaders should never be permitted to take an entire nation in the direction that South Sudan is currently spiraling downwards.

Those leaders need to do more to facilitate the work of those people who are trying to provide humanitarian assistance, which was part of the agreement back in January – that that assistance should be able to get in. And clearly, we all have a responsibility, whether we live in Africa or come from another country, no matter what our concerns on the planet today, we need to try to prevent the widespread famine that could conceivably flow from the violence that is taking place there now.

Those who are responsible for targeted killings based on ethnicity or nationality have to be brought to justice. And we are actively considering sanctions against those who commit human rights violations and obstruct humanitarian assistance. And we discussed this this morning with each of the foreign ministers and with the AU, and the foreign ministers each agreed that it is important that sanctions be on the table as one of the tools to try to end the impunity and begin to create accountability.

Today’s U.S.-AU High-Level Dialogue helped to deepen our partnership and will help to deepen it going forward in coordination with our efforts to tackle some of the continent’s most challenging conflicts. The United States is very, very proud to work with the AU in this effort, and we will continue to support the African Union mission in Somalia, as well as the AU’s efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, where the LRA-related deaths have declined by 75 percent. That is an effort that we will also continue.

We will also continue to provide counterterrorism assistance to help Nigerian authorities to develop a comprehensive approach to combat Boko Haram, while at the same time respecting civilians and respecting human rights.

And finally, as Ethiopia works to confront the continent’s challenges, I made clear to Ethiopian officials that they need to create greater opportunities for citizens to be able to engage with their fellow citizens and with their government by opening up more space for civil society. I shared my concerns about a young Ethiopian blogger that I met last year, Natnail Feleke, who, with eight of his peers, had been imprisoned. And I firmly believe that the work of journalists, whether it’s print journalists or in the internet or media of other kinds, it makes societies stronger, makes them more vibrant, and ultimately provides greater stability and greater voice to democracy. To support economic growth for the long term, the free marketplace of ideas matters just as much as free markets. It’s a testament to the strength of our friendship with Ethiopia that we can discuss difficult issues, as we do, even when we disagree on one aspect of them or another.

The United States and Ethiopia will continue to work together for a more prosperous Africa where extremism is countered by opportunity and where private sector investment and trade agreements prove that the lives of the African people will be made better through those initiatives; where we will strengthen, broadly, surrounding economies, including the American economy, even as we engage in those efforts.

So we remain committed to our partnership with Ethiopia, with the AU, with Africa, and again, I say it’s a great privilege for me to be back here in a region where we have been considerably – where we have been expending a considerable effort and energy over these years, and where we will continue to stay engaged.

I’d be delighted to answer a few questions. I’m not sure how that’s – are you going to do that?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. I’ll follow up for you. The first question will be from Scott Stearns of VOA.

SECRETARY KERRY: Make sure we get some local.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on the issue of South Sudan, with what’s going on there and what can be done about it, with civilians being targeted based on their ethnicity, United Nations says the international community must take all possible measures to protect populations from another Rwanda. Does South Sudan approach genocide, and what can be done about it? Troops and sanctions, those seem to be the two things you’ve been discussing today. How can you help integrate AU troops into a UN operation in South Sudan so you don’t have two lines of security?

And on sanctions, United States has a mechanism in place, as you said, so why not on your own or on U.S. own, sanction Salva Kiir and Riek Machar today, if you are reflecting on their personal anger? And did you receive any word of cooperation from the Kenyans, the Ugandans, and the Ethiopians today that they would join you in those sanctions?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me answer it. With respect to the question of genocide, there are very disturbing leading indicators of the kind of ethnic tribal targeted nationalistic killings taking place that raise serious questions, and were they to continue in the way that they have been going could really present a very serious challenge to the international community with respect to the question of genocide. It is our hope that that can be avoided. It is our hope that in these next days, literally, we can move more rapidly to put people on the ground who could begin to make a difference.

Now you said, you asked about the question of both troops and sanctions as being the two tools – there’s a third tool, and I’ll talk about each of the tools. We still hope that visits with serious discussion, with clear implications to the leadership about what is at stake and what the repercussions may be if they do not begin to move in a different direction, that that kind of effort might be able to make a difference. No promises – might.

This has been very frustrating. I had many conversations with both Riek Machar and President Kiir during the period of December and January when this was spinning up into the conflict it is today, and I was frankly disappointed by both individuals’ responses at that period in time. Now since then there have been many interlocutors and many efforts. The IGAD effort, which we’ve been engaged in, UN, other high level visits, and we are very hopeful that the message is finally getting through.

President Kiir, as you know, released four remaining detainees in the last days. We are hoping that that now opens up the possibility of a mediation and dialogue that could take place anywhere in the next few days, and that that could have an impact on the outcome.

But with respect to the fundamentals, I remain convinced and each of my foreign minister counterparts today – from Uganda, from Kenya, and from here in Ethiopia – agreed that the greatest single difference will be moving rapidly with UN Security Council imprimatur of support to get forces on the ground who could begin to separate people and provide safety and security. That’s imperative.

Simultaneously, we believe that the possibility of sanctions also remains a reality, and the simple answer to your question is we are absolutely prepared to move on our own. We may well move on our own. But each of the foreign ministers today accepted the responsibility for also doing sanctions, and each agreed that it is, in fact, important that the regional players engage in that – in unison, together, and I believe that they will be considering that over the course of these next days also.

So it’s our hope that we can reach the different individuals who have been responsible for this violence. Some of it, I think you all know, it comes from certain independent generals who have their own agenda. And so it’s not just reaching Kiir and Machar, it’s also reaching those other players. But the place to start is the place where it started and that is with the former vice president, with the current president of South Sudan.

I will also draw a distinction. The current president of South Sudan is the elected, constitutional president of a country, and Mr. Machar is a rebel who is trying to unconstitutionally take power by force. And there is a clear distinction. There is no equivalency between the two as far as we are concerned. And we talked about that today, and I think Mr. Machar needs to think clearly about that, particularly in the wake of Bentiu and Bor, and what the implications may be for the future.

So this is a time to get even more serious, even more focused; there’s much greater urgency, and that’s why I’m here and that’s what President Obama wants all of us to try to do in these next days.

MS. PSAKI: The next question is from Brooke Worku from Ethiopian TV.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. You mentioned earlier that you have talked with the prime minister of Ethiopia. What were the issues that you discussed with the prime minister? And you also stated that there is lots of economic activity happening in the city. Will the U.S. provide any support to Ethiopia to further (inaudible) those economic activities? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, the United States is already providing – we’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars here in Ethiopia, and we’ve been deeply involved. This morning I visited the Gandhi Memorial Hospital where we have a major division of the hospital, which is dedicated to dealing with HIV/AIDS, and that has been an enormously successful program. As I said today, in 2004, there were 35 – there were about what – 15,000 young people receiving anti-retroviral drugs here in Ethiopia. Now there are 335,000. In 2004, there were 2.7 million people who were infected with HIV/AIDS. Now that’s been cut by more than a third and it’s going downwards. Now we are looking at the potential of children whose parents are HIV-positive, that these – that the children can be born HIV-free. So we’ve made enormous advances, and that’s an American-Ethiopian cooperative effort through PEPFAR. In addition, we are engaged in economic development initiatives, and we will continue to do so.

We discussed all issues today, a broad cross-section of issues about the region, about the AU, about Ethiopia, about South Sudan, about Somalia, about terrorism. And I think we had a very in-depth discussion including about the question of the constitution and the political playing field, the elections that will come up next year, and so forth.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Anne Gearan of The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, your end-of-April deadline for an Israeli-Palestinian outline peace deal has passed and talks, I guess, are at best now on hiatus. In hindsight, would you have done anything differently, and do you think the parties were simply not ready to make the hard choices you asked of them? And looking forward, is now the time to put a comprehensive American peace plan on the table in lieu of a negotiated one that didn’t come to pass over the last nine months?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Anne, let me just say first of all that, to begin with, the date of April 29th became irrelevant several weeks ago. And it became completely irrelevant when the talks were suspended. So the combination of the appeal to 15 different treaties when – at the time when the prisoners exchange did not take place, then combined with the reconciliation unilaterally with Hamas, which came as a complete and total unannounced event, without any heads-up, so to speak, at the moment of important negotiations, that resulted, obviously, in the suspension which we’re living with now, which is the state of play and has been for the last days.

That said, both parties still indicate that they feel it’s important to negotiate and want to find a way to negotiate. So we believe the best thing to do right now is pause, take a hard look at these things, and find out what is possible and what is not possible in the days ahead. As I have consistently said, I think peace is to the benefit of both parties – benefit of Israel, and benefit of the Palestinians. Both leaders took serious steps in order to engage in this discussion. What has not been laid out publicly and what I will do at some appropriate moment of time is make clear to everybody the progress that was made. These eight months, eight months plus were not without significant progress in certain areas. And I don’t think anybody wants to lose that progress.

So I personally remain convinced that as each sort of work through the reasons that things began to become more difficult in the final hours, there may be quiet ways within which to begin to work on next steps. But one thing I know, the fundamentals of this conflict will not go away, and importantly, I believe both parties have a very real interest in wanting to try to find a way to make progress.

So it’s time for pause, but it’s also time to be reflective about the ways in which one might be able to find a common ground even out of these difficulties.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Give this gentleman – I want to give him a shot.

MS. PSAKI: Okay, go ahead.

SECRETARY KERRY: I know he was very impatient. I’m going to –

MS. PSAKI: He’s the boss.

SECRETARY KERRY: I want to make sure we get a fair distribution here.

QUESTION: Thank you, thank you. Yeah. Well, I have only two questions for you, sir.

SECRETARY KERRY: I may have invited the hardest question of the day now. (Laughter.) But one question. Fair enough?



QUESTION: So let me choose. You have raised both issues of Natnail Feleke, who is a blogger (inaudible) –


QUESTION: — (inaudible). So these things are repeating very much from the times of Eskinder Nega and others to our young brothers. So is it lip service, or are you seriously concerned about the arrests? Because these guys are social activists using the social media, they were advocating freedom, democracy, and participation as a citizen. So we really demand a genuine answer from you. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, when I stand up in public, and I say something, I try to be serious about it, and I think the fact that I’m doing that is serious. And when I raised him by name in my comments today, I am raising a very legitimate concern. We are concerned about any imprisoned journalist here or anywhere else. And we raise this issue elsewhere. And we believe that it’s very important that the full measure of the constitution be implemented and that we shouldn’t use the Anti-Terrorism Proclamations as mechanisms to be able to curb the free exchange of ideas. And in my meetings with all public officials, I will always press the interests of the political space being opened up and being honored. And so we have previously called for the release of these individuals, and that is the policy of our government, and it’s a serious policy.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very, very much. Appreciate it. Good to be with you.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Kerry Remarks on South Sudan With Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom
Kerry Urges Press Freedoms for Ethiopia (AFP)

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Kerry Urges Press Freedoms for Ethiopia

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (R) meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 1, 2014 (AFP Photo)


May 1st, 2014

Addis Ababa – US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Ethiopia on Thursday to allow greater freedoms for civil society and journalists, expressing concern for a group of bloggers and journalists arrested last week.

“They need to create greater opportunities for citizens to be able to engage with their fellow citizens and with their government by opening up more space for civil society,” Kerry told reporters.

Rights group accuse Ethiopia of having one of the most closed press environments in the world.

“I am raising a very legitimate concern, we are concerned about any imprisoned journalist here or anywhere else,” Kerry added, following a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Washington is one of Ethiopia’s largest donors, and Kerry urged Addis Ababa to support a free press as an essential precursor to a legitimate democracy.

“The work of journalists, whether it’s print journalism or the Internet or media of other kinds, makes societies stronger, makes them more vibrant and ultimately provides greater stability and greater voice to democracy,” he said.

Nine people were arrested last week on charges of “serious criminal activities”. Rights groups said they were journalists and bloggers targeted in a sweeping crackdown against free speech.

Read more.

Jailed Bloggers Spark Ethiopia Trend on Social Media (BBC News)
Kerry Responds to Kristof ‘s Tweet About Arrests of Bloggers in Ethiopia (TADIAS)
Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Nine journalists and bloggers arrested in Ethiopia ahead of Kerry visit (The Guardian)
Ethiopia jails nine journalists, renews press crackdown (CPJ)
Arrests Upstage Kerry’s Ethiopia Visit (Human Rights Watch)
Six Members of Zone Nine Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (TADIAS)
Ethiopia: Multiple arrests in major crackdown on government critics (Amnesty.org)
Kerry Going to Ethiopia: Will He Stand for Free Press? (Inner City Press)
Six Members of Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (Global Voices)
World Press Freedom Day 2014 (TADIAS)

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New Film by Rachel Samuel Profiles Legendary Musician Asnaketch Worku

Director Rachel Samuel (above) features the life of Asnaketch Worku in new film 'Asni' (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The first time that Rachel Samuel met Asnaketch Worku, she was shocked. The famous artist was “bedridden in her two room house, sick and laying on her bed in the living room,” recalled Rachel, who is the Director of Asni: Courage Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia, featuring the life of one of Ethiopia’s legendary musicians.

“This was not the Asnaketch I remembered from that black and white ETV video when I was little” Rachel added: “But that shock didn’t last more than a few minutes. As she started telling us about her past, the strength of her soul immediately became apparent.” Rachel was mesmerized by “how candid, direct and passionate about life” she found Asnaketch to be. ”She seemed to me to be a rare breed. Thinking of her in conservative Ethiopia in the 1950-60’s I wanted to know more,” Rachel added.

Once dubbed The Lady With the Krar for her trademark choice of the traditional Ethiopian music instrument, Asnaketch Worku, who died three years ago at the age of 76, was one of the most popular Ethiopian singers of her time — whose legend Rachel is now trying to revive through the big screen. “I thought her story needed to be told,” Rachel said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. “I didn’t want yet another great Ethiopian artist to slip away without honoring their artistic contribution internationally.”

The film took a little over four years to complete as Rachel and her husband worked on the personal project whenever they had the time and chance. “Asnaketch revealed herself slowly as we got to know each other over the years, and once trust was established, to get the best of her took a few interviews,” Rachel shares.

Locating historical footage was a significant challenge. “Ethiopian Television, which is the only source in the country, was difficult to deal with,” Rachel admits. The film was edited and co-produced by filmmaker Yemane Demissie who is also an Associate Professor at NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television.

Prior to her latest venture as a documentary filmmaker, Rachel spent many years working for some of the biggest advertising agencies in San Francisco. “But whenever I had to manage photo-shoots, I always wanted to be behind the camera,” she pointed out. “So one day, I talked to my art director asking him if he knew someone I can learn photography from. He said he just might. That incredible man that taught me photography was Mark Leet.”

“I remember walking into his studio on South Market, with its high ceiling, lights, cameras all over the place. He handed me an Olympus OM1 and said ‘here, take this camera, here are bunch of films, go shoot and come back next week and show me your work.’ That’s how it all started,” Rachel recalled.

It was not until she met Asnaketch, however, that Rachel decided to make a full length documentary. “Asnaketch was an incredible person,” she enthused. “In Ethiopian society, we often especially as women, don’t do what we’d like to do because of yilunta, Asknaketch knew herself and lived the way she wanted to. That’s the [film's] takeaway.”

Below is the trailer for Asni:

“Asni” will screen in New York on Thursday May 1st at 6:30pm at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU (721 Broadway room 006). Rachel Samuel will be present to discuss her work. Learn more about the film at www.asnithemovie.com.

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Kerry Responds to Kristof ‘s Tweet About Arrests of Bloggers in Ethiopia

Secretary of State John Kerry and author Nicholas Kristof. (Photo credit: Department of State and WEF)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Tuesday April 29th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Secretary of State John Kerry responded to a tweet from New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof regarding the recent arrests of several independent journalists and bloggers in Ethiopia. Soon after news of the crackdown in Addis Ababa broke on social media this past weekend, Kristof had tweeted saying “Let’s hope that when John Kerry visits Ethiopia in coming days, he’ll forcefully raise issue of imprisoned bloggers & journalists.”

Kerry who is visiting Ethiopia this week as part of a three country tour of Africa (including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola) assured the award winning journalist that the matter remains high on his agenda. “Important issue,” Kerry replied. “US will stay committed to helping promote & protect press freedom in all corners of world.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch organization notes that “on the afternoon of April 25, police in uniform and civilian clothes conducted what appeared to be a coordinated operation of near-simultaneous arrests. Six members of a group known as the “Zone9” bloggers – Befekadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Abel Wabela – were arrested at their offices and in the streets. Tesfalem Weldeyes, a freelance journalist, was also arrested during the operation. Edom Kassaye, a second freelance journalist, was arrested on either April 25 or 26; the circumstances of her arrest are unclear but all eight individuals were apparently taken to Maekelawi Police Station, the federal detention center in Addis Ababa, the capital. The arrests also came days before Ethiopia is scheduled to have its human rights record assessed at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review in Geneva on May 6.”

All of the accused have been charged with “inciting public violence” and colluding with “a foreign organization.”

Below is the twitter exchange between Kerry and Kristof:



Ethiopian Government Charges Journalists With Inciting Public Violence (VOA News)
Arrests Upstage Kerry’s Ethiopia Visit (HRW)

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Arrests Upstage Kerry’s Ethiopia Visit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Ethiopia this week. (Photograph: Kerry gestures as he asks a reporter to repeat a question during a news conference in New Delhi, India June 24, 2013/REUTERS)

Human Rights Watch

APRIL 28, 2014

(Nairobi) – The Ethiopian authorities should immediately release six bloggers and three journalists arrested on April 25 and 26, 2014, unless credible charges are promptly brought.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who is scheduled to visit Ethiopia beginning April 29, should urge Ethiopian officials to unconditionally release all activists and journalists who have been arbitrarily detained or convicted in unfair trials. The arrests also came days before Ethiopia is scheduled to have its human rights record assessed at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review in Geneva on May 6.

“The nine arrests signal, once again, that anyone who criticizes the Ethiopian government will be silenced,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “The timing of the arrests – just days before the US secretary of state’s visit – speaks volumes about Ethiopia’s disregard for free speech.”

On the afternoon of April 25, police in uniform and civilian clothes conducted what appeared to be a coordinated operation of near-simultaneous arrests. Six members of a group known as the “Zone9” bloggers – Befekadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Abel Wabela – were arrested at their offices and in the streets. Tesfalem Weldeyes, a freelance journalist, was also arrested during the operation. Edom Kassaye, a second freelance journalist, was arrested on either April 25 or 26; the circumstances of her arrest are unclear but all eight individuals were apparently taken to Maekelawi Police Station, the federal detention center in Addis Ababa, the capital.

The police searched the bloggers and journalists’ offices and homes, reportedly with search warrants, and confiscated private laptops and literature. On April 26, another journalist, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis of Addis Guday newspaper, was also arrested and is reportedly detained in Maekelawi.

The detainees are currently being held incommunicado. On the morning of April 26, relatives were denied access to the detainees by Maekelawi guards, and only allowed to deposit food.

Human Rights Watch released a report in October 2013 documenting serious human rights abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment,unlawful interrogation tactics, and poor detention conditions in Maekelawi against political detainees, including journalists. Detainees at Maekelawi are seldom granted access to legal counsel or their relatives during the initial investigation phase.

The Zone9 bloggers have faced increasing harassment by the authorities over the last six months. Sources told Human Rights Watch that one of the bloggers and one of the journalists have been regularly approached, including at home, by alleged intelligence agents and asked about the work of the group and their alleged links to political opposition parties and human rights groups. The blogger was asked a week before their arrest of the names and personal information of all the Zone9 members. The arrests on April 25, 2014, came two days after Zone9 posted a statement on social media saying they planned to increase their activism after a period of laying low because of ongoing intimidation.

A Human Rights Watch report in March described the technologies used by the Ethiopian government to conduct surveillance of perceived political opponents, activists, and journalists inside the country and among the diaspora. It highlights how the government’s monopoly over all mobile and Internet services through its sole, state-owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, facilitates abuse of surveillance powers.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom in Addis Ababa “to discuss efforts to advance peace and democracy in the region.” Kerry should strongly urge the Ethiopian government to end arbitrary arrests, release all activists and journalists unjustly detained or convicted, and promptly amend draconian laws on freedom of association and terrorism that have frequently been used to justify arbitrary arrests and political prosecutions. The Obama administration has said very little about the need for human rights reforms in Ethiopia.

“Secretary Kerry should be clear that the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on media and civil society harms ties with the US,” Lefkow said. “Continued repression in Ethiopia cannot mean business as usual for Ethiopia-US relations.”

Six Members of Zone 9 Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia

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Six Members of Zone Nine Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia

Six bloggers arrested on April 25th in Addis Ababa. (Photographs from Global Voices Online/by Endalk)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, April 26th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Six members of the independent Ethiopian blogging collective, Zone Nine, were arrested on Friday in Addis Ababa. The police crackdown, Amnesty International said, also targeted freelance journalists and leaders of the opposition Blue Party. Those detained include bloggers Befeqadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kiberet, Natnael Feleke, Abel Wabela, and journalist Tesfalem Waldyes as well as friend of the Zone 9 group and freelance journalist Edom Kasaye.

Global Voices Online reported: “News of the arrests first broke on Twitter, where fellow bloggers and social media users voiced support for those arrested and expressed their own fears about what may be to come.”

According to Amnesty International: “The Zone 9 group had temporarily suspended their activities over the last six months after what they say was a significant increase in surveillance and harassment of their members. On 23 April the group announced via social media that they were returning to their blogging and activism. The arrests came two days later.”

“These arrests appear to be yet another alarming round up of opposition or independent voices” Claire Beston, Ethiopia researcher at Amnesty International, said in a press release. “This is part of a long trend of arrests and harassment of human rights defenders, activists, journalists and political opponents in Ethiopia.”

Friends and family members report on social media that their loved ones are now being held at Maekelawi detention center in Addis Ababa. “The detainees are being held incommunicado. Family members of those arrested reportedly went to Maikelawi on the morning of Saturday 26 April, and were told they could leave food for the detainees, but they were not permitted to see them,” Amnesty International stated.

Amnesty International’s press release also mentions the arrest last month of seven female members of the Blue Party while participating in a run celebrating International Women’s Day in the capital, Addis Ababa, and calling for the release of political prisoners. The women were released after ten days in detention.

“With still a year to go before the general elections, the Ethiopian government is closing any remaining holes in its iron grip on freedom of speech, opinion and thought in the country” said Claire Beston.

Matthew Russell, founder of Inner City Press, noted that next week, US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Addis Ababa. “Will he be raising the issue? We’ll see.”

Ethiopia: Multiple arrests in major crackdown on government critics (Amnesty.org)
Six Members of Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia (Global Voices)

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Ethiopia: A Little Light For Returnees From Saudi Arabia

Over 150,000 Ethiopians were expelled from Saudi Arabia in late 2013 and early 2014. (Photo: A returnee makes a phone call to contact her family after arriving in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport/© ERCS)


April 25th, 2014

“There is nothing more comforting for separated families than hearing the voices of their loved ones. It heals the pain of separation,” said Mulugeta Jaleta, who runs the Ethiopian Red Cross Society’s family links programme.

In November and December last year, around 24,000 Ethiopians returning from Saudi Arabia were sheltered in five temporary sites set up in Addis Ababa. “The phone service we provided helped returnees let their families know that they had arrived home safely,” added Mr Jaleta.

One of the beneficiaries, Mohammed Idris, whose parents live in a remote area of Arsi Zone in Oromia region, said, “My mom breathed a sigh of relief when she heard I was alive. Thanks to the Red Cross, I made the call at the right time when my mom was frantic with worry because of the sudden loss of contact.”

Mohammed’s mother had refused to eat and was unable to sleep for days after she heard the news of the hardships facing returnees following Saudi Arabia’s decision to send foreign migrants back to their places of origin.

Easing the suffering

Another beneficiary, Zein Yimam, said she was feeling better after talking to both her father and mother, who live in North Wollo Zone about 430 kilometres north of Addis Ababa. “I was so happy to be able talk to my father and mother, who were very worried by what was happening,” she said.

“Most of the returnees didn’t have mobile phone or access to a regular phone service at the temporary shelters, and thus had no means of letting their families know their whereabouts,” said Mr Jaleta, adding, “In all, the returnees made around 15,000 domestic and 9,000 international phone calls, enabling them to restore and maintain contacts with their families and loved ones both at home and in Saudi Arabia.

“The provision of the phone call service significantly eased the psychological suffering of the families of the returnees,” remarked Saira Gulzar, an ICRC delegate who participated in the operation.

Refugees sheltered in Ethiopia and other separated families also benefited from this service. In 2013, the ICRC and Ethiopian Red Cross Society jointly facilitated over 12,000 phone calls for refugees – mainly Sudanese and South Sudanese nationals – in Ethiopia, enabling them to get in touch with their families in their respective home countries.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. An Ethiopian returnee from Saudi Arabia makes a free phone call to contact his family with the help of an Ethiopian Red Cross Society volunteer. (© ERCS)

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Society of Ethiopians in Diaspora: 22nd Annual Dinner and Awards Gala in DC

Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) will hold its 22nd Annual Awards Gala at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, May 25th, 2014. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Professor Donald N. Levine, Obang Metho, Menbere Aklilu, Ambassador Zewde Retta and the late Rachel Beckwith, along with five “outstanding students,” are among those that will be honored at this year’s award dinner hosted by SEED (Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora), which is scheduled to take place on May 25th at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C.

Beginning with its inaugural event held in 1993, SEED has been highlighting the achievements of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia who “stand out as role models from among the educators, scientists, artists, religious leaders, high school and university students and community leaders without any preference for education and career category.”

Dr. Belay Abegaz, M.D., a cardiologist and founder of CHFE, is being recognized this year for his pioneering contributions to cardio-care for children in Ethiopia. “SEED salutes Dr. Belay Abegaz as an exemplary and outstanding physician and as a role model to so many fellow Ethiopians,” the press release noted.

SEED added that it is honoring Menbere Aklilu as a distinguished role model to women in general: “We salute her in admiration of her rise from homelessness to richness through determination and hard work, in appreciation of the positive contributions she has made by exemplifying the higher ideals and standards of our community, in recognition of her inspiring entrepreneurial excellence, as well as community and civic responsibilities, and for representing the Diaspora Community with dignity and sterling character.”

Professor Donald N. Levine, Ph.D. will be acknowledged for “his lifelong dedication to preserving the history and culture of Ethiopia and Ethiopians through his writings, in appreciation of his many other positive attributes and the higher esteem he is being held in the Ethiopian community.”

Likewise Ambassador Zewde Retta is being featured “for his prolific writings and ability to touch us deeply, for having enriched us intellectually as well as for appealing to our collective conscience to remember and preserve our history.”

The SEED 2014 Outstanding Student Honorees include Mahlet Kirubel, Herrana E. Addisu, Luladay Price, Hewan Tilahun and Michael Mekonnen.

If You Go:
SEED Annual Award Dinner
SUNDAY, May 25th, 2014 at 6:30pm
Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center
3800 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20057
Phone: 202-687-3200
$75.00 for adults
$85.00 at the door
$35.00 for children under 12
Contact: 609- 407-0496 or 234 -380-1533
More info at www.ethioseed.org.

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Press TV: Ethiopia’s Jailing Journalists, Statement of Fear — CPJ

(Image: www.presstv.ir)

Press TV

Mon Apr 21, 2014

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohamed Keita, Africa advocacy coordinator for Committee to Protect Journalists, from New York, about Ethiopia cracking down on freedom of press and independent journalism critical of the Ethiopian government.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: How would you characterize the government’s relationship with journalists in Ethiopia at the moment?

How concerned are you about individuals like Eskinder Nega who is serving an 18 year term; Woubshet Taye, 14 years; a very famous case of Reeyot Alemu – 1,000 days and counting, in prison; and then of course as mentioned in the report Somali journalist Mohamed Aweys Mudey sentenced to 27 years in prison – starting that sentence in February.

Keita: Yes we are extremely pre-occupied by the health especially of Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye. Their health has deteriorated in custody and they have been denied adequate medical attention.

Authorities have also conducted reprisals against them hardening or harshening the detention conditions; or moving them from prison to prison; or denying family visits.

And we are extremely pre-occupied because unfortunately Ethiopia has already a precedent where back in 1998 a journalist dies after being denied adequate medical attention while in jail. That journalist was also in jail for writing articles. So there is a very sad precedent.

Press TV: Ethiopia is not the only country that jails journalists of course. Why do you think these particular journalists have been imprisoned? There are many others who operate in the country and who haven’t caught the attention of the authorities?

Keita: Yes, these journalists are some of the most prominent in Ethiopia and we believe they were jailed in order to silence others.

Read more and watch video at Press TV.

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Buzunesh Deba & Mare Dibaba Take Second & Third Place at 2014 Boston Marathon

Buzunesh Deba and Mare Dibaba. (Photographs courtesy Boston Athletic Association -- B.A.A)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Monday, April 21st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian athletes Buzunesh Deba and Mare Dibaba took second and third place in the elite women’s division at the annual Boston Marathon today. Both runners broke a course record last set in 2002 by Margaret Okayno of Kenya.

Kenyan Rita Jeptoo was the winner of this year’s women’s competition — also finishing the race in a record 2 hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds.

Among the men Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, California (a naturalized U.S. citizen from Eritrea) became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years. He was followed by Wilson Chebet of Kenya (the runner-up), and his fellow countryman Frankline Chepkwony who came in third.

Below are twitter updates from the event organizers:



Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records: She and Coach Jama Aden Target Two Marks
Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Wins 4th Elite Women’s Bolder Boulder Title in Colorado
Kenenisa Bekele & Tirunesh Dibaba Dominate Great Manchester Run
Led by Firehiwot Dado, Ethiopian Women Sweep 2014 Prague Marathon
Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon, first U.S. victor in decades (Reuters)
Buzunesh Deba Ready for Boston (TADIAS)
Ethiopians Catching Up at the Boston Marathon (The Boston Globe)

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Meb Keflezighi Becomes First American Male to Win Boston Marathon Since 1983

Meb Keflezighi breaks the tape to win the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21st, 2014. (AP)



Mon Apr 21, 2014

BOSTON –(Reuters) – Meb Keflezighi on Monday became the first U.S. male athlete to win the Boston Marathon in three decades as onlookers chanted “USA! USA!,” an emotional performance in a city still recovering from last year’s fatal bombing attack.

Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea but is now a U.S. citizen, pulled ahead of a pack of elite African runners a little more than halfway into the race and held off a late challenge by Kenya’s Wilson Chebet to finish in two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds.

Among the women, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo notched her second consecutive win of the race, smashing a 12-year course record with a blistering time of two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds, reeling in American Shalane Flanagan, who had set a punishing pace as she led the women for the first 20 miles of the 26.2-mile (42.2-km) race…Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia was second and compatriot Mare Dibaba third. They too turned in faster performances than the previous course record of 2:20:43 set in 2002 by Margaret Okayno of Kenya.

Among the male runners, Wilson Chebet of Kenya finished second and Frankline Chepkwony, also of Kenya, was third.

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, last year’s winner, did not finish, race officials said.

Read more at Reuters.

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya breaks the tape to win the women’s division of the Boston Marathon. (Photo: AP)

The defending champion Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa did not finish the race. (Photo: ESPN)

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Buzunesh Deba Ready for Boston

New York City marathon runner-up Buzunesh Deba. (Photograph: news.wsxnyc.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Sabrina Yohannes

Published: Saturday, April 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — After placing second at the New York City marathon in November, when Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia was preparing for next Monday’s 2014 Boston marathon, she came down with a respiratory infection that cost her several weeks of training starting late January. She expected that interruption to affect her race at the New York City half marathon, which took place on March 16, in temperatures below the freezing point.

“It was very cold, and my muscles were tight,” said Buzunesh. “I was with the leaders til about 8 miles, I think.” Things changed at a turn on the course. “I was at the back of the pack when a strong wind came and it flung me back, and after that I was separated from the group,” she said in an interview. “It was very windy and I couldn’t close the gap. After that, at about 9 miles, it was again very windy, and there wasn’t anyone near me, and I got left behind.”

Nevertheless, in a field that included reigning Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Sally Kipyego, 2013 Frankfurt and 2011 Boston marathon champion Caroline Kilel of Kenya and others, the New York City resident Buzunesh managed to finish second behind Kipyego in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 59 seconds.

“Based on that result, I believe I’ll run well in Boston, with God’s help, because it’s my best time,” said Buzunesh. “In 2011, when I ran 2 hours and 23 minutes [to place second in the New York marathon], I had run 1:09:55 [for the half marathon].”

Her 2014 half marathon finish and its nearly 1-minute improvement on her personal best (PB) was all the more meaningful because of her interrupted training in the lead-up to the race. “In fact, when I went into the race, I was thinking I may even be forced to drop out because I’d been sick and might not have enough energy,” she said.

“The training I’ve done after that has gone well to date,” she said this week from her winter training base in high-altitude Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she spent most of the time since mid-December, before leaving Thursday for Boston. “I believe that that New York half marathon PB will help me in Boston, and it gives me confidence.”

“This year, we’ve increased the speed work she does,” said her husband and coach Worku Beyi, adding that she upped the number of fast repetitions of 400m, and that she has also prepared for the hills on the Boston course. “The place where we train in Albuquerque is very hilly,” he said. “We did our last long run on Sunday.”

He is aware of the challenges Buzunesh, whose fastest marathon time is her 2011 New York 2:23:19, faces in Boston. “Right now, Buzuye is 10th on the entry list in Boston in terms of time,” he said, using an affectionate form of his wife’s name. “They are very tough opponents.”

The stacked line-up for Monday’s women’s race includes Ethiopians Mare Dibaba, who ran 2:19:52 in Dubai in 2012 and won in Xiamen, China in 2:21:36 this January, and former world 10,000m silver medalist Meselech Melkamu, who won Frankfurt in 2012 in a course record 2:21:01.

The field also includes a bevy of fast Kenyans like the defending Boston champion and favorite Rita Jeptoo, who won October’s Chicago marathon in 2:19:57, current Chicago and former Boston runner-up Jemima Sumgong (PB 2:20:48), Eunice Kirwa (PB 2:21:41), and former Boston champions Sharon Cherop (PB 2:22:28) and Kilel (PB 2:22:34).

“We come hoping to win,” said Worku. “One thing I admire about Buzuye is that she has no fear.”

It was running with no fear that took Buzunesh to eight marathon wins in the United States including course record wins in the 2011 San Diego and Los Angeles marathons (defeating Mare Dibaba in the latter).

It was running with no fear that took Buzunesh twice to the podium in the prestigious New York City marathon, where in 2011, she finished behind compatriot Firehiwot Dado but ahead of runners like the former world half marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya, who had won London in 2:19:19 just seven months prior; and Kilel, who had a PB nearly a minute faster than Buzunesh going in to the race.

“She puts her hard work on display,” said Worku. In the 2013 New York marathon, Buzunesh ran from the front along with her training partner Tigist Tufa, maintaining the pace she had trained for, and disregarding the field behind her, building up a lead of nearly three minutes at one point.

She was only caught in the final miles of the race by then-London champion Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya, who won ahead of Buzunesh’s 2:25:56 second place. The women left in Buzunesh’s wake included the world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, who had run 2:19:50 for second place in London a year earlier.

Both the New York and Boston races are among the major marathons of the world, assembling top fields.

Buzunesh’s 2014 half marathon PB may not result in a subsequent marathon PB in Boston, like it did in 2011 in New York. “I’ve heard the weather is variable: One time, it’s warm; another time, windy; another time cold,” she said. “The weather will be decisive, and there’s also the fact that I don’t know the course, so I’ll know better when I’m in the race.”

Buzunesh was entered in the Boston marathon in 2012, but didn’t run it due to an injury. Last year, she had run the Houston marathon in January, placing second there in 2:24:26, and she was in New Mexico during the running of the 2013 Boston marathon on April 15, when bombs went off near the finish line several hours into the race. With masses of non-professional runners on the course and spectators lining it, the explosions left three dead and many seriously injured.

“We were watching coverage of the race on television, when we saw what happened,” said Buzunesh. “I was so shocked.”

“It’s tragic what happened last year,” she said. “This year, the security level will be increased. It will be like New York was last year. It was very good. They had greatly increased security measures from the start all the way to the finish line.”

Race organizers and Boston law enforcement officials have outlined tightened security procedures and an increased police presence leading up to and on race day this year.

“I don’t think there’ll be anything to be concerned about or anything to fear for us elite athletes or the mass runners,” added Buzunesh.

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa won the men’s race last year, and gave his medal to the City of Boston afterwards as a gesture of empathy for what the city and its residents experienced. Lelisa is back this year, and favored to win again, after a spectacular year. He added a world championship marathon silver medal in Moscow last August to his April Boston win, which itself came after a victory in Dubai that January. He won a fast Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) half marathon this February.

Kenya’s reigning Chicago champion Dennis Kimetto is regarded as Lelisa’s toughest opponent, and his compatriot, the former 10K world record-holder Micah Kogo, will also be looking to upgrade his 2013 Boston second-place finish.

The strong 2014 field includes Ethiopians Gebre Gebremariam, the former world cross country and 2010 New York marathon champion, who was third in Boston in 2011 and 2013; former Los Angeles marathon champion and 2014 Dubai runner-up Markos Geneti; and 2013 Rotterdam champion and 2012 Chicago third-placer Tilahun Regassa.

American Ryan Hall, who was third in Boston in 2009 and has since finished just off the podium twice, is also coming to the race from Ethiopia, having spent time training there.

Others coming from Addis Ababa include the nation’s 2013 world championships 10,000m bronze medalist Belaynesh Oljira, who was 5th in the Dubai marathon last year, and the 2012 and 2013 Tokyo marathon runner-up Yeshi Esayias in the women’s race.

The Boston marathon takes place on the Patriots’ Day holiday celebrated in Massachusetts on Monday, April 21, with the elite women’s race kicking things off at 9:32am Eastern time, while the men’s race starts shortly thereafter.

The race will be televised live throughout the U.S. on the Universal Sports channel.

Lelisa Desisa Delivers an Ethiopian Victory Amidst Sporting Disappointments

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Haile Selassie’s Africa: A Legacy Ignored by a Generation

(Photo: Courtesy Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — In a new book by Dr. Belete Belacehw Yihun, entitled Black Ethiopia published by Tsehai Publishers, the diplomatic history of Ethiopia and the legacy of Haile Selassie is revisited with the scales of history rebalanced to show more sides of the embattled leader. According to Dr. Christopher Clapham at the Centre of African Studies at Cambridge University, “This book tells the remarkable story of how Ethiopia seized the diplomatic leadership of Africa.” While many historical materials on Haile Selassie’s diplomatic efforts remain inaccessible to the general public, Belete’s book is among the few compiled resources on Ethiopian diplomacy in modern Ethiopia, which studies the time period between 1956 and 1991 as Ethiopia took the reigns of African diplomacy that continued in subsequent governments.

“If we are to truly understand the events of the present, we must look to the past for answers,” adds Elias Wondimu, founder of Tsehai Publishers. “We must look with a critical eye toward the past and examine why events happened and why people are perceived and ultimately preserved a particular way.” The scarcity of compiled documentation of Ethiopian diplomacy, especially in a time of great change and modernization, makes this book a particularly valuable piece of history.

Just over two years ago, on the the eve of the fifty year anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) was celebrated as the new AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia opened its doors for its inaugural summit to large fanfare. The celebration included the unveiling of a bronze statue of one of the most famous leaders of the organization, Kwame Nkrumah. A quote from Nkrumah was inscribed in front of the statue in golden letters, “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God. Africa must unite.” The quote epitomizes the significant role that Ethiopia played towards the founding of the OAU.

Nkrumah, the leader of the Casablanca Group, fought for a completely united Africa under the motto “One continent, one nation”. Nkrumah’s contributions to African unity are invaluable, and yet the statue has stirred debate not just in Ethiopia, but worldwide as Nkrumah’s legacy is only one part of OAU’s origins. Emperor Haile Selassie, who was a uniting figure among the different factions, is another person who played a major role in convincing African leaders to bypass their ideological divisions to work together. As a well-regarded international statesman of his time, Emperor Haile Selassie led the way to the establishment of the OAU in Addis Ababa in 1963.

Dr. Theodore M. Vestal, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, sums up Ethiopia’s impact on African politics in the following way, “Ethiopia has a long history of leadership in the Pan-African Movement, the complicated mosaic of continental and regional political and economic association liberation movements and mediation efforts.” Undoubtedly Haile Selassie was a major part of this tradition as he set a standard of statesmanship that has helped to advance Ethiopia and all of Africa towards a united global force.

You can learn more about the book at store.tsehaipublishers.com.

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Addis Ababa Ranks Third Among Global Leaders

Addis Ababa city view. (Photo: ketchum blog)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Ababa ranks number three among 34 cities in low-and-middle-income countries dubbed most likely to become global leaders in the next two decades.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S.-based management consulting firm A.T. Kearney compiled the list which measures “everything from business activity to workforce health and security.”

The Indonesian capital Jakarta topped the list followed by Manila, Philippines.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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