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Helen Show Hosts 3rd Annual Empower the Community Event at DC Convention Center

Empower the Community is hosted by the Helen Show and will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th in DC

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Now in its third year, the annual Empower the Community event hosted by the Helen Show will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. and includes civic leader speakers Rep. Ilan Omar from the U.S. House of Representatives; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of AFL/CIO; and Tebabu Assefa, Co-Founder of the Annual Ethiopian Festivals.

Bringing together leaders from various sectors including business & finace, health & wellness, and education the annual Empower the Community was launched in 2017 by the producers of the Helen Show as a day-long program that includes panel discussions, entertainment, information on community resources as well as family-friendly events.

As a lifestyle show in its 16th seaon, Helen Show is a top-rated program on ebs tv reaching over 30 million viewers weekly in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora around the world. The show addresses a wide range of topics from business and health to family and self-help issues.

Below is a summary of the program for August 10th at the DC Convention Center.

POWER PANEL DISCUSSIONS
 
The Power of Civic Engagement:
Representative Ilhan Omar
Tefere Gebere, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO
Tebabu Assefa, Community Leader, Social Entrepreneur

Business Leaders Panel:
Josh Ghaim, Ph.D. is the Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.
Liben Hailu is the Chief Innovation Officer and Head of New Business Development and Brand Licensing for The Duracell Company
Ambaw Bellet, President, Photocure Inc
Lydia Gobena, Partner Fross Zelnick
 
Creative Panel:
Gelila Bekele, Model, Social Activist and Documentary Film Maker
Kelela Mizanekristos, Singer, Song Writer

Young Trailblazers:
Melat Bekele, Founder Habesha Networks
Dan Gebremedhin, Partner at Flare Capital Partners
Matheos Mesfin, Executive Director IEA Councils
Bofta Yimam , Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Motivational Speaker
 
 
PAVILION INFORMATION
 
Health & Fitness Pavilion:
Free Health Screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente,  Med Star Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, Dental Screening, Fitness Consultants, Marshal Arts, Yoga, Resources for Families with Special Needs, Giveaways and much more. Our partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles as well as Ethiopian American doctors.

Career Pavilion:
Job Fair
Career Resources in the Community
Hear high energy career motivational speakers
Learn Career Advancement tips
Participate in Informational Interviews
Receive mini career coaching
Assess your career aptitudes
Partner Organizations: 21st Century Community, Five Guys, Alexandria Workforce Development and American Job Center
 
Finance Pavilion:
Workshop for Small Businesses and Personal Finance

Kids’ Corner:
Reading Time/Games/Fun Exercises/ Art

ADDITIONAL SESSIONS

* Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorneys
* Warrior Moms- Special Needs Parenting
* Minding Your Relationships
* Beauty – Trends in Hair & Make Up 

Vendors will also be selling various artisan merchandise

EBS TV is the premiere media sponsor of the event

event-image


If You Go:
Saturday August 10th, 2018
11am – 8pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

Tickets can be purchased here

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Ethiopian Taye Gonfa Becomes Doctor in Greensboro After Decade as Refugee

With a stipend of $50 a month as a volunteer at an infirmary in a refugee camp Taye Gonfa spent a decade chasing his dream to become a doctor. (Photo credit: Khadejeh Nikouyeh -AP)

The Herald

By Nancy McLaughlin (Greensboro News & Record)

As a young boy, Taye Gonfa wanted to fly the planes that he often spotted above the family’s hut in Ethiopia.His aspirations were only as far as he could see, which was a world otherwise steeped in poverty. But there was his mom — unschooled and very pregnant with him when her husband drowned in a flooded river trying to get home from work — wanting so much more for him. She would be the first of many whose guidance would eventually lead him down the sterile hallways of Moses Cone Hospital — with “Dr. Taye Gonfa” on his badge.


He’s been very fortunate to have some doors open up for him,” said Dr. Bill Hensel, who was on the selection committee that offered Gonfa a residency at the hospital. “But don’t underestimate the fact that he has made his own luck and run through those doors.”

Gonfa, who arrived in the United States a decade ago and turns 38 this year, hopes he is leaving footprints for his two children and other refugees, especially, to follow. “I got to this point,” he said, “because I did not stop chasing my dream.”

The first time Gonfa would be on one of those planes he had seen as a boy was the flight to New York and then Greensboro as part of the United Nations refugee resettlement program.

The journey getting there began in high school, when he saw classmates signing up for one of the 60 competitive spots for medical school. As in some other foreign countries, medical school is a seven-year track starting in high school.

“I figured, ‘Why not?’” said the quick-witted and affable Gonfa, who speaks English with African and British influences. In 2000, during his second year in the program, he joined hundreds of other students in a massive protest against the government that erupted in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and spread throughout the country.

“The next day,” he said, “I went to my college library and tore the Ethiopian and Kenyan maps out of the world atlas.”Gonfa and some of the other students used them to flee to nearby Kenya where the rebels had settled.

Soon after crossing the border, he was arrested, turned over to a United Nations official and taken to a refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. In the camp, where Gonfa would be confined for the next eight years, he had shelter — and a ration of grain. “There was never enough food,” he said.

One day while taking a friend to the camp’s infirmary, he mentioned to the physician on duty from Doctors Without Borders about having started his second year in medical school before joining the rebellion. As the two continued to talk, the doctor suggested he apply as a volunteer in the infirmary, which came with a stipend of $50 a month.

“That was huge,” Gonfa recalled.

Gonfa was a marvel in the infirmary where most of the medical support staff had elementary or middle school education at best. Soon, he was delivering babies.

“You watch what the doctors do and then you do it,” Gonfa explained. He was just 19.

You can read more about Taye Gonfa’s journey in The Herald article here.


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Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste’s New Novel ‘The Shadow King’

Maaza Mengiste at BookExpo in New York City, May 2019. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — One of our favorite Ethiopian American writers, Maaza Mengiste, is set to release her latest novel, The Shadow King, in September 2019.

Maaza, who is also the author of the award-winning book Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, “again brings heart and authenticity to a slice of Ethiopian history, this time focusing on the Italian invasion of her birth country in 1935,” notes Publishers Weekly in a recent great review of The Shadow King.

“While Hirut, a servant girl, and her trajectory to becoming a fierce soldier defending her country are the nexus of the story, the author elucidates the landscape of war by focusing on individuals — offering the viewpoints (among others) of Carlo Fucelli, a sadistic colonel in Mussolini’s army; Ettore Navarra, a Jewish Venetian photographer/soldier tasked with documenting war atrocities; and Haile Selassie, the emperor bearing the weight of his country’s devastation at the hand of the Italians.”

The review adds: “In Hirut, Mengiste depicts both a servant girl’s low status and the ferocity of her spirit — inspired by the author’s great-grandmother who sued her father for his gun so she could enlist in the Ethiopian army — which allows her to survive betrayal by the married couple she serves and her eventual imprisonment by Fucelli, captured with horrifying detail by Navarra’s camera. Mengiste breaks new ground in this evocative, mesmerizing account of the role of women during wartime—not just as caregivers, but as bold warriors defending their country.”

Maaza, who is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at Princeton University, will hold a book talk and signing event here in her hometown of New York City at Strand bookstore on October 3rd.

“In this extraordinary, beautifully told epic, Hirut overcomes rape, violence, and imprisonment, finding the strength to fight for her country’s freedom and her own,” the Strand announcement states. “Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a searing story of ordinary women and the advanced army they courageously opposed. Set against the first real conflict of World War II, The Shadow King is a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.”

The idea for Maaza’s new novel morphed out of her trip to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow where she was able to research documents focusing on the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

“Working with these documents that had been kept through Mussolini’s era, I quickly realized I was reading a history that had been approved by censors,” Maaza recalls. “And all of these things—the newspaper accounts, the photographs that were taken—were part of a propaganda machine.”

As Publishers Weekly noted in a previous highlight:

“Mengiste started combing through journals, letters, and photo albums at flea markets to find personal photographs taken by soldiers and other records of the past not approved by officials. She found a photograph of an Ethiopian woman with a rifle. “I’d heard of these women,” Mengiste says, “but it wasn’t part of my consciousness. I started looking through old newspapers, and I suddenly found a line in an article about an Ethiopian woman who picked up her husband’s gun during battle and led his army. That inspired Mengiste to write about women’s role during wartime against the backdrop of the hardships faced in Ethiopia during WWII. “I want to reshift the masculine perspective on war,” she says, “so that we can begin to reframe women at the center of world history. After Mengiste started writing the novel, she mentioned her discoveries to her mother. “My mother said, ‘Don’t you know about your great-grandmother?’ It turns out that as a young girl, my great-grandmother, who was wed to a man much older than her — she was much too young to be married — sued her father for his rifle so she could go off to war, as opposed to her husband whom she didn’t know very well and didn’t like.” So coincidentally, the very sort of woman who inspired her novel was actually part of her own heritage.

Maaza’s first novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was chosen as one of 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian, and her writing has been featured in several publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New Times, Granta and Guernica. In 2018 Maaza won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was a former Fulbright Fellow. She received the Puterbaugh Fellowship in 2013 and was also nominated as a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2011. As a writer Maaza worked on the documentary features Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Maaza currently serves as a Board member for the non-profit organizations Words Without Borders and Warscapes.


‘The Shadow King’ will be released on September 24th, 2019. You can learn more and order your copy at amazon.com.

Related:
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste

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Gebrhiwet & Gidey Take 10,000M Titles at Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo, Netherlands

Hagos Gebrhiwet celebrates his victory in Hengelo, Netherlands on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 during the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships. (Photo: Jean-Pierre Durand)

IAAF

HENGELO, NETHERLANDS

Twelve days after his lap-counting error in the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Hagos Gebrhiwet made no mistakes in Hengelo on Wednesday (17), winning the men’s 10,000m in a world-leading 26:48.95.

The races doubled as the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. And, based on tonight’s results, Ethiopia will field two strong trios for the men’s and women’s 10,000m in Doha.

In a race of staggering quality – the best ever in terms of depth for one nation – the top six men finished inside 27 minutes with the first three finishing inside 26:50.

The women’s 10,000m, won by Letesenbet Gidey, was of a similarly high standard with the first 10 women – nine of whom are from Ethiopia – finishing inside 31:00.

On a still night with temperatures around 19C, the men’s race set off at a steady pace with the first 2000m covered in 5:25 and 3000m reached in 8:07. The large lead pack of about 14 men was strung out but all appeared to be running comfortably.

After passing through half way in 13:31 – just outside 27-minute pace for the full distance – Kenya’s Vincent Kiprotich Kibet moved into the lead, tracked by Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, Guye Adola and Abadi Hadis.

Belihu and Kiprotich were still at the front through 6000m while Yomif Kejelcha was positioned near the back of the lead pack. Hadis then took a turn at the front and, followed by Jemal Yimer Mekonnen, pushed the pace.

Eight men remained in the leading pack with 2000m remaining as Hadis still led while Kejelcha was still ominously biding his time. Selemon Barega and Gebrhiwet moved closer to Hadis with three laps to go, then Belihu hit the front of the pack – now down to six men – with 800 metres remaining.

Read more »


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Medical Education and the Ethiopian Exodus of Talent — Inside Higher Ed

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week's post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity. (Photo: St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Inside Higher Ed

By Wondwosen Tamrat

A 2012 study at Addis Ababa University showed that around 53 percent of medical students hoped to emigrate upon graduating, particularly to the United States and Europe.

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week’s post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity.

On May 3rd 2019, the Prime Minister (PM) of Ethiopia held a meeting with 3 thousand health professionals from all over the country to discuss the state of health services and the challenges health workers are facing. Although the Prime Minister declared that the meeting was “key for policymaking” the health professionals appeared to be unsatisfied with the way he addressed their predicament. In spite of the concessions and the many promises made, a wave of strikes continued across the whole country.

While the solution to this particular turmoil might be the immediate concern of the government, there is general recognition that the sector’s challenges extend far beyond the current standoff and need structural and systemic changes. The government vows to make additional efforts and changes with the involvement of relevant stakeholders at national and regional levels. One challenge that needs to be addressed is the migration of health professionals, especially physicians, a tendency that has seen little change over the years.

Healthcare and medical education in Ethiopia

At a global level Sub-Saharan Africa is known for the lowest density of healthcare workers. According to the World Health Organization, Ethiopia has a health workforce ratio of 0.7 against the recommended ratio of 2.3 per 1000 population that is considered to be imperative for health coverage and making meaningful health interventions. Ethiopia’s physician-to-population ratio of 1: 21,000 is also regarded as one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 1994 the government’s health development programs have had important impact on the sector’s growth. According to the Ministry of Health (2016) there has been a significant increase in health posts, health centers, hospitals and personnel including officers, nurses, midwives and health extension workers. The number of schools and colleges providing health education training has increased; the graduation output of public and private schools including higher education institutions has also grown more than 16-fold since 1999/2000. According to the Ministry of Education (2018) there are currently more than 80,000 undergraduate students who pursue studies in medicine and health sciences both in public and private higher education institutions.

Despite the efforts towards improving the healthcare system that have produced quantitative gains, many challenges remain. The system is still deficient in infrastructure and resources, quality of education, internal quality assurance systems, performance assessment and retention, skill distribution, regional disparities that result in poor motivation to work in rural areas, little inclination to specialize in disciplines where there are skill shortages and more.

In order to respond to these multi-faceted challenges, the Ministry of Health has devised several strategies including its popular “flood and retain initiative” designed to bring meaningful change to the number of available health workers at all levels. While some improvements have resulted through such interventions, it has not been possible to solve the various challenges of the sector in a fundamental way, including the migration of physicians who continue to leave the public sector and Ethiopia for greener pastures inside the country and elsewhere.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Israeli Musicians Use Stage to Promote Struggles

Ethiopian Israeli musician Yael Mentesnot gives an interview to The Associated Press, in her house in Tel Aviv, Israel on Sunday, July 7, 2019. A wave of Ethiopian Israeli artists have burst onto Israel's vibrant hip-hop scene, using the stage to promote their community's struggle against discrimination and police violence. (AP)

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — In his song “Handcuffed,” rapper Teddy Neguse addresses police brutality against young Israeli men of Ethiopian descent.

Although the song came out in 2017, it has reached new heights in the wake of street protests across the country following the killing of an Ethiopian Israeli teen by an off-duty police officer last month. This week the 23-year-old artist was invited to perform his song live on the popular news website Ynet.

“They want me trapped with handcuffs on my hands/they watch me with ten thousand eyes/they only see my skin color so they push me to the fringe,” he rapped.

Neguse said the lyrics are relevant all the time, but they carry extra meaning for him in the current circumstances.

“I felt that at that moment in the TV studio, that this is exactly the place for this song, the time for this song.”

Neguse’s appearance on Ynet illustrates the growing Ethiopian Israeli presence in the local music scene. But its theme also reflects the ongoing struggles against alleged racism and discrimination, some three decades after Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel.

Neguse and other young Ethiopian artists are using the stage to tell the public about their community’s experiences — in particular what they say is unchecked and widespread police brutality.

Large numbers of Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel via secret airlifts in the 1980s. The new arrivals from a rural, developing African country struggled to find their footing in an increasingly high-tech Israel.

Throughout the decades, Ethiopians have suffered discrimination. In the late 1990s, it was discovered that Israel’s health services were throwing out Ethiopian blood donations over fears of diseases contracted in Africa. Accusations have also been raised that Israel has deliberately tried to curb Israeli Ethiopian birth rates.

Today, Israel’s Ethiopian community numbers about 150,000 people, some 2% of its 9 million citizens. While some Israelis of Ethiopian descent have made gains in areas like the military, the police force and politics, the community continues to struggle with a lack of opportunity and high poverty rate.

Against this backdrop, Israeli artists of Ethiopian heritage are breaking out in the entertainment world, especially in the growing hip hop and dancehall scenes.

Adam Rotbard, the owner of Kolot Me Africa, a group that promotes African music in Israel, said a “wave of young Ethiopian musicians” has burst onto the music scene in the last year.

“They are not really in the mainstream so to speak, but they are building substantial fan bases through social media and the internet,” he said. Rotbard said issues like racism and routine police mistreatment are addressed in their music.

In his music video for “Handcuffed,” Neguse is dressed up as a soldier, riding a bicycle, when he encounters two policemen. The officers then, seemingly unprovoked, beat him up. The music video depicts a 2015 incident in which two policemen were filmed beating a uniformed Ethiopian Israeli soldier, sparking mass protests.

The most recent demonstrations erupted after the unarmed Solomon Teka, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in a Haifa suburb on June 30.

At the height of the unrest, protesters angrily swore at police officers, hurled firebombs, vandalized vehicles and set a car ablaze in the heart of Tel Aviv. Police say over 110 officers were wounded in the protests, and at least 150 protesters were arrested.

The officer in question, who has claimed the youth was accidentally hit by a warning shot he had fired at the ground, is being investigated by internal affairs and remains under protective custody.

“This time the protests feel more spontaneous,” said Efrat Yerday, chairwoman of the Association of Ethiopian Jews.

Yerday said the demonstrators’ anger and despair is long in the making, with a widespread feeling that police violence is not properly investigated.

“All of these people that attacked the youngsters unprovoked, they are exonerated, it’s astonishing,” she said.

The demonstrators are demanding greater police accountability. After the 2015 protests, the government established a committee to tackle racism against Ethiopian Israelis. It recommended that police wear body cameras. Since 2017 Israeli patrol and traffic police in some districts wear them.

But Yerday said the implementation of the body cameras has been slow. “The ones who beat up our kids don’t have them,” she said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that more officers will be equipped with body cameras in the future.

At a meeting called to discuss the matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Teka’s death a “big tragedy” and said “lessons will be learned.” But he also harshly criticized the demonstrations for turning violent.

Yael Mentesnot, 26, another up-and-coming Ethiopian Israeli musician, said that in the past, the community has been “restrained” and “we end up coming off a bit naive.”

This time, “the community has begun to really feel the despair,” she said.

“All the protests, they are not orchestrated, nothing there was organized,” she said. “Everyone went to the streets frustrated and released their anger.”

While most of Mentesnot’s young solo career has been filled with upbeat party songs, she said the recent events have inspired her to address the Ethiopian Israelis’ struggle.

“Our whole life is a struggle, we face challenges, and we overcome them,” she said. “I want the public to see it. To understand what we feel.”

Neguse said he is pleased that Ethiopian musicians are on the rise, but said the recent protests should be seen as “a call for help, a cry of an entire community.”

“I believe that everyone here has at least one Ethiopian artist on their playlist,” he said. “But there is still racism, so there is a kind of dissonance.”


Related:
Healing Ethiopian Anger – Jerusalem Post

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Spotlight: R&B Singer Mélat Kassa

Mélat Kassa. (Photo: The Austin Monthly)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 12th, 2019

In Austin, Texas, R&B singer Mélat Kassa is Homegrown Star

New York (TADIAS) — R&B singer Mélat Kassa loves her hometown, Austin, Texas and Austin loves her back. Her feature in Austin Monthly magazine highlighting her latest album notes that “the homegrown singer’s journey to the forefront of Austin’s burgeoning soul scene is fascinating and personal. Whether on the radio, at South by Southwest, or on the city calendar (Mayor Adler proclaimed December 14, 2017 as Mélat Day), it’s all but impossible to avoid Mélat Kassa’s music around town these days. With stirring vocals that exhibit an alluring dichotomy of vulnerability and confidence, the native Austinite has become a staple on city streets.” The album is scheduled to be released later this month.

Mélat, who is a first-generation Ethiopian American, has also been dubbed “Austin’s Soul Priestess” by the Austin Chronicle. While reflecting on her background the daughter of Ethiopian émigrés told the newspaper: “As a first-generation kid I have to create a brand-new culture.”

Create a culture she did as can be seen in her newest music video titled After All, which was first released exclusively on billboard.com last April. When asked about her artistic influences during her formative years Mélat points out that she grew up listening to a lot of Ethiopian music at home. “We listened to classic artists like Tilahun Gessese and Aster Aweke, but my mom was a big lover of Donna Summer and Diana Ross,” she told Billboard. “When my dad first came to the States in the ‘80s, the first concert he ever went to was Kool & the Gang. I remember he would play their CDs almost every weekend!”

In Mélat’s new video “the summery visuals represents Austin to the core — but not in the way that most people would expect,” Billboard notes. “The singer collaborated with local creatives that she felt deserved more visibility: Ethiopian-Eritrean director B.B. Araya, Austin’s Luxe Apothetique that contributed to wardrobe, and historic venue La Zona Rosa that was used as the video’s backdrop.”

This week Mélat tweeted: “It gives me chills thinking about how the visual feel of After All is the product of some of Austin’s most dope black creatives,” and we’re thrilled to share her creative work on Tadias.

You can read more about Mélat’s journey in The Austin Monthly article here.


Related:
R&B Singer Mélat Talks Black Girl Magic Inspiration Behind ‘After All’ Video: Exclusive (Billboard)

A New World Opens Up for Austin’s Soul Priestess Mélat (The Austin Chronicle)

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Spotlight: Vogue on Rising Singer Mereba

"Dawit and I wanted to capture the black elegance we've seen in our Ethiopian families throughout our lives," the rising Ethiopian-American singer Mereba tells Vogue about her new music video directed by Brooklyn-based Dawit N.M. "We incorporated these regal east African elements with colors and jewels." (Photo: Courtesy of Interscope Records)

Vogue

Rising Singer Mereba Serves Up Regal Beauty in Her New “Sandstorm” Music Video

Mereba has the kind of soft, hypnotizing vocals that can lull you into a meditative state no matter the subject. In “Sandstorm,” the second to last track on her self-produced debut album The Jungle is the Only Way Out, the rising Ethiopian-American singer laments the inevitable end of a relationship with deep—and hauntingly beautiful—introspection. “We were low, we were high, Jekyll, Hyde,” she coos in the opening lines of the slow groove breakup ballad, which also features a more tender side of her fellow Atlanta native, rapper J.I.D. “I let go of something that was comfortable in hopes of making space for something that was actually meant for me,” she explains of a longterm relationship that unraveled as she was finishing the album. “I’m a Virgo and we love really hard, but we ended up in this cycle, a lot like a sandstorm, that neither of us were happy in, so I jumped out of the eye of the storm.”

Tapping Brooklyn-based director Dawit N.M. to explore the song’s visual narrative, the music video illustrates the exquisite pain of an on-off relationship cycle. Inside a sprawling midcentury modern house in the West Hollywood hills, Mereba and her lover oscillate between silence and bursts of fleeting joy through a black and white filter. She only appears in vivid color during a series of interspersed close-up shots alongside J.I.D., her natural beauty radiating with dewy, strobed skin and a glossy chocolate brown lip, as well as washes of metallic ruby red shadow on the eyes to play off her crimson gem-encrusted neckpiece. “Dawit and I wanted to capture the black elegance we’ve seen in our Ethiopian families throughout our lives,” she explains of conceptualizing her beauty looks for the film. “We incorporated these regal east African elements with colors and jewels.”

Read more »


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Why Are Ethiopia’s Treasures in London?

A crown seized by British troops at the battle of Maqdala in 1868 in Ethiopia is pictured at an exhibition, “Maqdala 1868: A Reflection on the 1868 Siege and Battle at Maqdala," at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Ethiopia wants treasures like this to be returned, part of a growing call for the restitution of treasures taken by European countries during the imperial age. (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

LONDON—In a storeroom of the British Museum here sits a collection of 11 wood and stone tablets that nobody is allowed to see. They are Christian plaques, or tabots, that represent the Ark of the Covenant, and they belong—though belong in this case is a contested term—to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which believes only its priests should view them.

The tabots were seized, along with hundreds of other precious items—processional crosses, gold and silver jewelry, illustrated manuscripts—by the British army in 1868, after it defeated Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II at the battle of Maqdala. There is hardly a clearer case of officially sanctioned plunder: When Tewodros committed suicide, soldiers ransacked his treasury, then auctioned off their finds among their entourage to pay for the expedition. They had even brought along an expert from the British Museum to bid for some of the choicest items. The majority of the artifacts, some of which first passed through the hands of private owners, now sit in the collections of leading U.K. museums and libraries, even though Ethiopia has repeatedly asked for them back over the past century and a half.

Today, Ethiopia is asking once again, yet even in the case of the tabots—which are of limited use to the U.K., since literally nobody is allowed to see them—the answer is no. The British Museum’s best offer, made last month, was that it would consider the possibility of a long-term loan.

For many Ethiopians, the items seized at Maqdala are of vital importance—“a fundamental part of the existential fabric of Ethiopia and its people,” according to Hirut Kassaw, the country’s culture minister, who visited the U.K. in March and requested their return. To Britain, as with many of the objects gathered for its museums during the era of imperial expansion, the tabots mean relatively little by themselves—until, that is, someone asks for them back.

Requests for the permanent return of items taken without their owners’ consent, known as restitution, have gathered pace in recent years.

Read more »


Related:
UK Kidnapped this Ethiopian Prince in 1868, Still Refuses to Return His Remains

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up

Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years

150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II

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

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Spotlight: The Legacy of Haile Selassie Celebration at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

The event on July 23rd, 2019 marks the first time the former Emperor is being honored at an Ethiopian embassy compound since 1974. (Photo: Emperor Haile Selassie saluting as the National Anthems are played at the White House in Washington DC, February 18th 1967/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The legacy of Ethiopia’s last Emperor, Haile Selassie, will be celebrated at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. this month.

The event, which is scheduled to take place on July 23rd (Haile Selassie’s birthday), marks the first time the former Emperor is being honored at an Ethiopian embassy compound since he was overthrown by a communist military junta in 1974 and assassinated a year later while in custody.

According to organizers the gathering is part of a larger diaspora community engagement commemorating “African heritage” and paying homage to “pan-African leaders.”

The keynote speakers include the Mayor of D.C. Mauriel Bowser, the African Union Ambassador to the United States Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S Fitsum Arega.

The preliminary program shared with Tadias also highlights presentations featuring scholars, business professionals, diaspora associations, and corporate & non-profit leaders.

Among the listed guest speakers are Dr. Frank Smith, the Founder and CEO of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, who will be addressing “the importance of preserving history and culture.”


If You Go:
TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2019
EMBASSY OF ETHIOPIA
WASHINGTON DC, 20008
For more info Contact info@nfspro.org
202-344-5480

Related:
In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haile Selassie

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In Pictures: DC Event Featuring ZAAF Fashion Photos Taken in Afar, Ethiopia

The event hosted by the Ethiopian fashion brand ZAAF took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Ethiopian leather fashion brand ZAAF hosted a photo exhibition and a documentary presentation of its latest collection shot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression — known as one of the hottest places on earth. The event took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. on Monday, July 1st.


Related:

In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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Spotlight: Tommy T’s newest Single ‘Anchin’ Featuring Mahmoud Ahmed

Cover of Tommy T’s newest single 'Anchin' featuring Mahmoud Ahmed. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Four years go Tommy T (Thomas Gobena) — the Ethiopian-born bass player for the American punk band, Gogol Bordello — met up with legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed at a Stephen Marley concert in Washington D.C. where Mahmoud was performing a song for the opening. That same evening Tommy pitched a song idea to Mahmoud, which turned into a new single Anchin released online on Tuesday, July 2nd.

“I had a chance to share with him a concept of a song that I had worked on a while back, and he eventually agreed to collaborate,” Tommy told Tadias. “Out of the collaboration on this song I also got a chance to direct my first music video for this single.”

Anchin (Amharic for ‘you’ in feminine pronoun), is a follow up to Thomas’ first solo album entitled The Prestor John Sessions issued in 2009.

Tommy shares that the new single, Anchin, “fuses roots reggae with the very familiar sound of Ethiopia’s musical golden era, delivered by the incomparable booming voice of Mahmoud Ahmed.”

The self-released single launched on Tommy’s new platform, Afroxoid, “is a continuation of his work in exploring the vast world of afro-rhythms combined with an Ethiopian melody, and will guide the listener on a cross-cultural musical journey,” states the press release. “Amplified by the unmistakable voice of Mahmoud Ahmed and a universal message of LOVE, Anchin is sure to capture the imagination of audiences young and old worldwide.”

Tommy T, who was appointed as a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia in 2015, said he continues to serve in that capacity. “I have done several PSAs and visited schools doing advocacy work,” he told us. “More recently, I also worked on a song to highlight the work done by University of Alberta and St. Paul Hospital on midwife training.” He added: “The emphasis was to get the word out about how crucial it was for pregnant women to receive access to healthcare (or visit healthcare centers), which could cut maternal deaths by 50%. I produced a song with Zeritu and Tadele on vocals as well as worked with my brother Henock Temesgen who is also a musician. The project is scheduled to be released soon.

Tommy has also produced another full album for Abdi Nuressa who sings in Oromifa, which hopefully be out soon as well.

Anchin is now available on all digital platforms.

Watch: Tommy T featuring Mahmoud Ahmed – ANCHIN አንቺን


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In DC Sankofa’s Tax Break Wins Approval

The Washington, DC bookstore owned by Ethiopian-American filmmaker Haile Gerima and his wife Shirikiana Gerima, has won an approval of a ten-year tax break from the D.C. City Council. (DCist)

DCist

Sankofa’s Tax Break Wins Approval From The D.C. Council

A decades-old District institution on Georgia Avenue NW looks like it’s slated for a 10-year tax abatement, after the black-owned bookstore lobbied for relief from the city.

The D.C. Council was unanimous on Tuesday in its approval of a tax break for Sankofa Video Books & Cafe. Like all permanent legislation, the bill requires another vote at the council before heading to the mayor’s desk. There’s no date set for the second vote, though it could come as soon as July 9, according to the office of Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who introduced the legislation.

While the city has long used tax breaks and other incentives to entice corporations and developers, it has less frequently directed those tools towards retaining small businesses.

“I hope that the Sankofa example is a spark for protections to be put in place for small black businesses,” says Sankofa co-owner Shirikiana Gerima. “Legacy businesses who’ve been here through crack, through, in some cases, the riots, through gentrification—the latest devastation, they need to be supported in really, really concrete ways.”

As written, the bill exempts Sankofa from taxation for the coming decade, as growing property values in Pleasant Plains have left the business with a rising tax bill. This year, Sankofa owes $30,000 in property taxes, a 25 percent increase over the past decade, according to Gerima’s testimony to the D.C. Council. That number is projected to rise to $36,000 by 2022, according to D.C.’s chief financial officer. The CFO valued the abatement at $415,346 over a 10-year period, and determined that the business could survive without it.

But Gerima says that Sankofa is more than bookstore—it’s a community meeting place for “people who are thirsty to know about their culture and history.” She says all of the people who signed a petition and lined up to testify at the D.C. Council on Sankofa’s behalf earlier this June are a testament to that mission. “We’ve been out here working hard for a long time and the sustenance has been the growth of people around us and ourselves, too,” she says.

The shop sits just down the street from Howard University and a few blocks from the Metro PCS store in Shaw, which have been at the center of recent conflicts over who has a right to space in the city.

Gerima thinks the city needs to be involved in these discussions. “The government is a gatekeeper and they have a responsibility to look out for D.C. residents old and new,” she says.

In exchange for the tax break, the legislation requires that more than half of Sankofa’s employees live in D.C., with more than 30 percent of them living in Ward 1. Gerima says this measure won’t be a problem.

Read more »


Related:
In DC Haile Gerima’s Bookstore Sankofa Takes Tax Fight to City Council

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Ethiopia Coup Attempt Heightens Risk of Violent Balkan-style Split

There are strong parallels with Yugoslavia in the 1990s, where a federal state organised along ethnic lines broke up over similar tensions...In an ethno-federal state like Ethiopia is and like Yugoslavia was, power is very much claimed along ethnic lines...Ethnic parties, many of them with an openly chauvinistic message, have mushroomed. It would not take much to tip it over the edge. (Photo: A mourner holds the photo of Amhara president Mekonnen during a funeral ceremony in the town of Bahir Dar/REUTERS)

The Telegraph

Warnings over ‘Africa’s Yugoslavia’ as Ethiopia coup attempt heightens risk of violent Balkan-style split

The meeting was meant to have been top-secret. The men gathered inside the room were the most powerful in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

The agenda before them was incendiary: the removal of Asamnew Tsige, the regional security chief whose shadowy ambitions had chilled the Ethiopia establishment.

But somehow Mr Asamnew had got wind of what was afoot.

Unknown to the participants, a convoy of his loyalists, armed and dressed in unfamiliar camouflage, was advancing towards them along the palm-lined avenues of Bahir Dar, Amhara’s capital.

Moments after they entered Amhara’s regional headquarters, the meeting room would be splattered in blood and gore. The region’s president and his chief aide lay dead.

Survivors emerging from under tables ripped curtains off their hooks in a vain attempt to staunch the wounds of Amhara’s dying attorney-general. Events were only just getting underway.

Elsewhere in Bahir Dar, Asamnew loyalists reportedly attempted to storm the city’s police headquarters and state media building.

Hours later came more killings, the most startling of them all, as Ethiopia’s powerful army chief, Seare Mekonnen, and a visiting retired general were shot dead while they ate their dinner in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, 300 miles to the south.

The motivation for last weekend’s attacks, and whether they were even connected, remains unclear…

Whatever the truth, the assassinations have laid bare the profoundly disturbing dangers facing Ethiopia.

Under its dynamic young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia has been held up over the past year as one of Africa’s most promising states.

But beneath the exciting reforms, much of the country is seething. Some 3.2m people have fled communal violence that has erupted in pockets across the country in the past 18 months, more than in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia combined, leading to warnings of a humanitarian disaster.

Read more »


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Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

The Biggest Displacement Crisis That Almost No One Is Talking About

Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

Press Secretary Billene Seyoum (L) and spokesperson of the Primer Minister Negussu Tilaaun, speak during a press conference, in Addis Ababa last week. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Internet service is being slowly restored in Ethiopia after several days of blackout following last weekend’s deadly political drama.

According to network measurement data shared by the civil society group, NetBlocks, connectivity is currently “at 85% and rising toward levels observed prior to the total disruption with wifi hotspots coming online, although mobile data remains unavailable.”

NetBlocks also reports that social media and messaging apps are not yet fully accessible: “Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp web and CDN and some VPN sites are now restricted, with Telegram and YouTube also intermittently down.”

Attempted coup d’état

The Internet has been shut down across Ethiopia in the aftermath of the attempted military takeover of a civilian government in the ethnically delineated Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz regions last Saturday and Sunday.

The attempted coup, the scale of which has not been seen in Ethiopia since the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by a military junta in 1974, claimed the lives of several officials including Ethiopia’s army chief who was assassinated by his bodyguard at his home in Addis Ababa. Other victims included the governor and the attorney-general of the Amhara state, as well as at least 37 other individuals in Benishangul. The Prime Minster’s office said the violent campaign was led by a formerly imprisoned general who was killed amid a fire fight with federal security forces near Bahir Dar on Monday. Since then hundreds have been arrested in a nationwide security crackdown and the director of the country’s spy agency has been named the new head of the national army.

‘Thankfully Prime Minister Abiy escaped’


(PM Abiy Ahmed. Tadias photo)

For many Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia around the world, the tragic turn of events came out of nowhere in light of the hopeful democratic reforms being carried out by the popular new PM Abiy Ahmed who had issued amnesty to thousands of political prisoners last year including the renegade general behind the failed coup.

It was a “shock, but it could have turned out so much worse,” Tibor Nagy, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, told reporters while traveling in South Africa this week. “Thankfully, Prime Minister Abiy escaped this attempt, because there are many, many more people in Ethiopia who support his reforms than those who are opposed to them.” The American diplomat added: “I wish I could say that this is will be the last of these attempts, but no one can be certain.”

‘Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin’

“Internet users living abroad rejoiced hearing from friends and relatives for the first time in days,” NetBlocks noted citing Twitter conversations.

“So good to finally get WhatsApp messages from my family and friends in Ethiopia,” one user Kalkidan Mulugeta @Kalkidafrique declared. “No internet in 2019 cannot be the way forward.” She added: “Welcome back though, apparently only WiFi is turned on but we’ll take that.”

Another user Ruhama @ruhama_m_belay deadpanned: “Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin #Ethiopia.”


Related:
Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Crash Victims Refuse to Settle

Boeing 737 MAX fallout continues: The families of some victims of the crash on Ethiopian Airlines in March are not ready to settle, their lawyers told a Chicago judge on Thursday. (Reuters)

Reuters

737 MAX fallout continues as some Ethiopia crash victims refuse to settle

Boeing is grappling with the fallout of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX jet within five months, which prompted a worldwide grounding in March and a string of litigation.

The families of some victims of a second crash on Ethiopian Airlines in March are not ready to settle, their lawyers told a Chicago judge on Thursday.

American Airlines and United Airlines, which also operate the MAX in the United States, have pulled the planes from their schedules into early September.


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Boeing’s Mea Culpa Wins Over Ethiopian Airlines
Boeing CEO Calls Handling of 737 Max Crashes a ‘Mistake,’ Vows Improvements (USA Today)
In U.S. Fellowship Being Created in Name of Victim of Ethiopia Crash (AP)
U.S. House to Hold Second Hearing on 737 Max (The Washington Post)
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

A man reads the Reporter depicting the portraits of Ambachew Mekonnen, the president of the country’s Ahmara region, and of Gen. Seare Mekonnen, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, in Addis Ababa on June 24. (GETTY IMAGES)

Foreign Policy

Ethiopia Is at a ‘Very Critical Juncture’: After high-level assassinations, the country may still be in danger, says Human Rights Watch expert Felix Horne.

Ethiopia marked a national day of mourning on Monday after four government officials, including the governor of the Amhara region and the chief of the army, were assassinated over the weekend in dual attacks in Addis Ababa and Amhara’s capital city, Bahir Dar. State forces shot and killed Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige, a former political prisoner, who is allegedly responsible for the attacks, in Amhara state on Monday. Tsige was said to be resentful of perceived maltreatment by the central government, but there remains some confusion about the nature and precise planning of the attacks.

Amid an internet blackout that has forced many Ethiopians offline and restrictions on cell phone use, the country is still working to make sense of the consequences. Foreign Policy spoke to Felix Horne, an Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch, about the country’s regional politics, the record of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and what to look out for as Ethiopia confronts a volatile moment.

Foreign Policy: How do the events of the weekend fit into Ethiopia’s broader political landscape?

Felix Horne: Under Abiy’s leadership there’s been a lot of very positive human rights reforms, but one of the ongoing concerns has been the breakdown in security across wide parts of the country. And I think so far that insecurity has manifested itself in a lot of ethnic violence. At present, Ethiopia has over 3 million internally displaced people. Over this weekend, we saw a slightly different manifestation of that breakdown. While Abiy has earned a lot of praise for his human rights reforms, I think it’s clear that some of those actors that are not supportive of the regime have made their mark.

FP: What do we know about Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige? What is his relationship to Ethiopia’s broader politics?

FH: He was in the army. He was one of the individuals behind an alleged coup attempt in 2009, and he was released along with many political prisoners in 2018, and then he was quickly appointed to be the regional security head of the Amhara region.

FP: What should we know about the regional politics at play here?

FH: The dynamics of the Amhara region are interesting because on one hand you have the ruling party, so the Amhara Democratic Party who are part of the ruling coalition, and who are closely connected to Abiy. But at the same time you have the rise of Amhara nationalism, which has been very pronounced the last couple of years. So a lot of people ascertain that the appointment of Asaminew to his position as head of the peace and security bureau in the Amhara region was to appease the rising Amhara nationalists, and as part of an effort to make the ADP more appealing to a broader swath of the population. Now over the last couple of months, he has been engaging in a lot of really strong rhetoric, saying that Amharas need to arm themselves—that they are facing a lot of threats. There’s been a lot of negativity toward the federal government. He’s also been actively recruiting people to join local militias. Lots of rhetoric against the Tigrayan government of the neighboring region—there is a lot of tension along those borders. So he’s very much been a divisive figure. So he’s very much at odds with the ADP and with Abiy’s broader reform agenda, and I think the events of this weekend need to be seen in that context.

FP: Do you think that anything like this was on Abiy’s radar, and how do you think his response could shift the situation?

Read more »


Related:
Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia<

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Killings & Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, center, attends a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The Prime Minister sobbed openly at the service Tuesday for the military chief who was assassinated by his own bodyguard over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Economist

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

A YEAR AGO, on June 23rd 2018, Ethiopia’s newly-inaugurated prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took to the podium wearing a bright green T-shirt. Smiling and waving he offered hope to the tens of thousands of people who had flocked to a rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, in support of his promise to bring democracy to a country that has seen precious little of it.

Almost to the day a year later he again addressed the nation, this time on national television wearing army uniform to declare, stony faced, that his government had just thwarted a coup. It was a sharp reminder of the fragility of his democratic revolution.

Read more »


Related:
An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia


The coffin of assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen is taken away for burial after a state ceremony at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ANDREW MELDRUM

UPDATED: JUNE 25TH, 2019

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sobbed openly at a service Tuesday for the country’s military chief who was assassinated by his bodyguard over the weekend.

Abiy’s sweeping reforms since his election last year have been threatened by two violent attacks on Saturday in which the army chief and a retired general were killed in Addis Ababa and three regional officials were killed in Amhara province, north of the capital.

Brig. Birhanu Jelan, the deputy army chief, speaking at the service Tuesday in Millennium Hall in the capital, said Ethiopia’s security forces will fight to maintain the country’s unity and stability.

In the wake of the killings Abiy has ordered a security crackdown in which the general accused of leading the plot was killed Monday and more than 180 have been arrested.

The internet has been shut down since Sunday.

Eskinder Nega, a prominent rights activist, told The Associated Press that several members of his Baladera Council group have been detained in a wave of arrests by the security forces since Saturday’s killings.

Widespread arrests are taking place in Bahir Dar, the regional capital of Amhara, according to residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity for their security.

Abiy’s visible distress at the service is understandable, according to experts on Ethiopia’s politics.


Members of the military shed a tear during a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


Members of the military shed a tear during a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


The coffin of assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen rests in state during a state ceremony at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sobbed openly at the service Tuesday for the military chief who was assassinated by his own bodyguard over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

“The assassinations were a severe setback to Abiy and a wake-up call showing the fragility of his reform plans,” said Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at Chatham House in London.

“Abiy has shown tremendous bravery in his reform agenda and in trying to dismantle the military and security regime that had run Ethiopia. These attacks show that some of those threatened by his reforms are striking back. The danger is that Abiy will respond to this by becoming more authoritarian himself.”

The weekend assassinations in Addis Ababa and Amhara were “a blow to Abiy’s democratization agenda and may well worsen Ethiopia’s political and security crisis if key issues are not urgently tackled,” said William Davison, senior analyst on Ethiopia for the International Crisis Group.

“Abiy’s challenges include divisions within the ruling EPRDF party that are exacerbated by opposition challengers, including strong ethno-nationalist movements,” said Davison. “The consequent dysfunction of an until recently all-powerful ruling coalition is reducing government effectiveness and contributing to the insecurity. Unless this situation improves, then it will be difficult to create a conducive environment for the planned competitive elections next year.”


Related:

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)


Officials say the coup attempt occurred in Bahir Dar in northern Ethiopia. (Google map)

CNN

Ethiopian officials say a coup attempt on Saturday against the Amhara regional government has failed.

“We confirm there has been a coup attempt against the leadership of the Amhara regional state,” said Ethiopian Press Secretary Negussu Tilahun.

He said the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the regional capital, had failed.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a tweet that federal police have been authorized to “take action on the instigators.”

It was not immediately known who was behind the failed coup.

Separately, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a security alert saying it is aware of shots being fired in the capital, as well as violence in and around Bahir Dar.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In US, Las Vegas Gives Warm Welcome to Ethiopia Embassy Delegation – Photos

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega in Las Vegas meeting with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Assemblyman Alexander Assefa last week. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – In Las Vegas last week Assemblyman Alexander Assefa — who is the first Ethiopian American lawmaker elected to the Nevada State Assembly — was among the local elected officials who met with Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to the U.S., Fitsum Arega. The Ambassador’s trip to Las Vegas on June 18th was part of his ongoing engagement with the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States.

Ambassador Fitsum also met with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman in addition to holding a public forum with the Ethiopian community similar to his earlier visit to California. An announcement was also shared on Twitter that the Ambassador discussed the potential launching of an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Las Vegas in his discussion with Mayor Goodman.

“I thank City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman for meeting us and offer to facilitate Ethiopian opening service to Las Vegas,” Ambassador Fitsum said on Twitter. He also thanked members of the Ethiopian Diaspora as well as organizers of the town hall meeting:

Below are photos from the event shared on social media by Ambassador Fitsum Arega:


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Related:
In the West Coast, Ethiopia Appeals to Diaspora, African Americans to Invest
In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed

Ethiopians follow the news on television at a cafe in Addis Ababa, Sunday, June 23, 2019. Ethiopia's government foiled a coup attempt in a region north of the capital and the country's military chief was shot dead, the prime minister Abiy Ahmed said Sunday in a TV announcement. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ANDREW MELDRUM

UPDATED: JUNE 24TH, 2019

Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian army general accused of leading a failed coup in a restive northern region was killed Monday in a firefight with security forces amid a security crackdown in which more than 180 others have been arrested.

Brig. Gen. Asamnew Tsige was killed on the outskirts of Bahir Dar, capital of the northern Amhara region, Nigussu Tilahun, a spokesman in the prime minister’s office, told The Associated Press.

Ethiopian forces had been hunting down Asamnew since he and soldiers loyal to him attacked a meeting of the Amhara government in the regional capital Saturday, killing the regional governor and his adviser. The region’s attorney-general died of his wounds on Monday, according to local media reports.

The attack Saturday was followed hours later by the assassination in the national capital, Addis Ababa, of the chief of Ethiopia’s military and a retired army general by a bodyguard.

The killings were widely seen as an attack on Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pushed through sweeping reforms since his election last year.

Asamnew, the renegade general blamed for the violence, had been pardoned by Abiy after being jailed by the previous government for allegedly plotting a coup. He had recently used social media posts to incite a rebellion in Amhara, according to reports in the Ethiopian media.

The shootout in which Asamnew was killed comes as the government roots out others suspected of supporting the rebellion. Four high-ranking officials in Amhara, including the deputy head of security there, were taken into custody Monday, according to Abere Adamu, chief of the Amhara police commission. Another 178 people have also been arrested on suspicion of taking part in violence in the region, he said.

An internet shutdown has been in force across Ethiopia since Saturday’s killings.

Flags flew at half-mast throughout Ethiopia on Monday, which was declared a day of national mourning following Saturday’s violence. Addis Ababa was peaceful as soldiers stood guard in Meskel Square and manned roadblocks throughout the capital.


Security forces stand guard in Meskel Square in central Addis Ababa Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The 42-year-old Abiy has initiated sweeping political and economic reforms, including the surprise acceptance of a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea, the opening of major state-owned sectors to private investment and the release of thousands of political prisoners, including opposition figures once sentenced to death.

Although Abiy’s reforms are widely popular, some members of the previous regime are unhappy with the changes and the prime minister has survived a number of threats.

Last June, a grenade meant for Abiy killed two people and wounded many others at a big rally. Nine police officials were arrested, state media reported. In October, rebellious soldiers protesting over salaries invaded Abiy’s office, but the prime minister was able to defuse the situation.

Ethiopia is a key regional ally of the U.S. in the restive Horn of Africa region.

Tibor Nagy, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, said the latest violence was a “shock, but it could have turned out so much worse.”

“Thankfully Prime Minister Abiy escaped this attempt, because there are many, many more people in Ethiopia who support his reforms than those who are opposed to them,” he told reporters Sunday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Adding that “there are vestiges of the old regime” who are opposed to Abiy, Nagy said: “I wish I could say that this is will be the last of these attempts, but no one can be certain.”


Abiy Ahmed announced a failed coup attempt during a public address on TV Sunday, June 23, 2019, allegedly led by a high-ranking military official and others in the Amhara region. (ETV via AP)


Related:

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)


Officials say the coup attempt occurred in Bahir Dar in northern Ethiopia. (Google map)

CNN

Ethiopian officials say a coup attempt on Saturday against the Amhara regional government has failed.

“We confirm there has been a coup attempt against the leadership of the Amhara regional state,” said Ethiopian Press Secretary Negussu Tilahun.

He said the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the regional capital, had failed.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a tweet that federal police have been authorized to “take action on the instigators.”

It was not immediately known who was behind the failed coup.

Separately, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a security alert saying it is aware of shots being fired in the capital, as well as violence in and around Bahir Dar.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

She Married Emperor Haile Selassie’s Great-Grandson: Ariana Makonnen Tells Her Love Story

In an article published this week by Town & Country Magazine Ariana Makonnen shares how she and her husband, Joel Dawit Makonnen, met in Washington, D.C. (Photo: ANTWON MAXWELL)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – You may remember this great love story between a young American woman and an Ethiopian prince who met in a DC nightclub a few years ago. Their wedding celebration in 2017 had received international media attention.

In a recent personal essay published by Town & Country Magazine Ariana Makonnen, who is married to Joel Dawit Makonnen — the great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie — tells her story of how she met her future husband who happens to be a member of Ethiopia’s former royal family and “the oldest monarchy in the world” that traces its roots to “the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.”

The year was 2005 and Ariana had just quit a Ph.D. program in English and got a job in a clothing boutique in Washington, D.C.

“Little did I know, that decision would not just change my career and my education, but the direction of my entire life,” Ariana shares. “I grew up in a close, ethnically mixed, fun-loving family with my two sisters and brother. My father is a writer, former sociology professor, and foundation executive from Kentucky, and my mother is an executive in the world of arts and humanities from Guyana. We were steeped in the arts, passionate about education, and oriented toward service and social justice. We believed in offering the world more than you took, making it better than when you arrived.”

Love at first sight

One night that same year Ariana was out having fun with friends at a nightclub in D.C. when “a man approached us and told my friend and me that we looked like a “Bombay Sapphire ad,” a line that’s now famous in our families. He had this open, playful energy and he was really handsome. We connected right away, talking easily and laughing,” she recalls in the Town & Country article. “He told me that his name was Joel and that he was finishing his last semester of college at American University, completing a double degree in international business — one part at his “home” college in Nice, France, and then this second portion in America.” Ariana adds: “From that first encounter on the dance floor, we were instantly drawn together. He was so cosmopolitan, charming — born in Rome, he had attended boarding school in Switzerland, lived in Ethiopia, and was fluent in several languages. We talked about our families: He told me that his mother worked at the United Nations and that his father, who’d passed away, had been a captain in the Ethiopian Imperial Army.”

But Ariana did not learn Joel’s family background until after they started dating and when a friend causally mentioned it: “He jokingly said you know you’re dating a prince, right?” I looked at Joel. He nodded and smiled. I reacted with a bit of shock and a bit of awe. “Really?” I said. Finally, he said “Yeah,” but not much more. I was definitely curious, but we didn’t discuss it further then, because he made it seem like not that big of a deal, and because I could tell he didn’t want to delve much deeper.”

Haile Selassie


QUEEN ELIZABETH, EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE I OF ETHIOPIA AND PRINCE PHILIP AT A DINNER DURING THE QUEEN’S OFFICIAL VISIT ON FEBRUARY 2, 1965 TO ETHIOPIA. (KEYSTONE-FRANCE)

“Even before I met Joel, I knew about his great-grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia,” Ariana says. “Many West Indians, like my mother’s family, hold him in their greatest esteem.”

You can read Ariana Makonnen’s full article at townandcountrymag.


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Ethiopian Voted Best Airline in Africa

Ethiopian Airlines has been honored as the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ for the third consecutive year at the 2019 World Airlines Awards held in Paris on June 18th, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 21st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – For the third year in a row, Ethiopian Airlines has been voted the Best Airline in Africa at the 2019 World Airline Awards.

Presented during the Paris Air Show this week the award is considered one of the most prestigious recognitions in the global airline industry.

Ethiopian Airlines also received the top awards for ‘Best Business Class in Africa’ and ‘Best Economy Class in Africa’ at the event held on Tuesday, June 18th and hosted by Skytrax, the leading airline review and ranking website.

“I would like to sincerely thank first and foremost our global customers for the strong and consistent vote of confidence,” said the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam in a statement, noting that the airline services “more than 120 destinations worldwide with 115 ultra-modern fleet, offering excellent connectivity with one of the best travel experiences that helped us become the best airline in Africa and one of the frontrunners in the world.”

In a press release the company added: “While much has evolved in the industry, Ethiopian has stood the test of time and achieved most of its overarching goals, going halfway through its projected 15 year plan, Vision 2025. Ethiopian is now expanding its footprint to underserved global destinations and is serving global travelers with its signature Africa’s flavored Ethiopian hospitality onboard and in the air. True to form, the airline has also continued pushing the frontiers of aviation technology with the 21st century new generation fleet.”


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In the West Coast, Ethiopia Appeals to Diaspora, African Americans to Invest

Ethiopia’s L.A. Consul General Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni and Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega hold town-hall meeting in San Diego on June 16th, 2019 as apart of their current campaign to engage the diaspora. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – This past week Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, visited Southern California where he met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora as well as local elected officials in Los Angeles. He also made stops in San Diego (June 16th) and Las Vegas (June 18th), and is expected to travel to San Francisco Bay area on June 22nd as well as to Houston on June 23rd.

Ambassador Fitsum’s call for African American investors to engage in business ventures in Ethiopia got the attention of The Los Angeles Sentinel, “an African American-owned and operated newspaper that puts emphasis on issues concerning the African American community and its readers.”

The Sentinel enthused about Ethiopia’s outreach in its headline titled “Opportunities Abound in Ethiopia for African Americans” and highlighted the California trip by officials from the Ethiopian embassy.

“The government of Ethiopia is rolling out the welcome mat to African Americans to explore business opportunities and tourist destinations throughout the historic nation,” the publication noted.

“During a visit to Los Angeles on June 14, Ethiopian Ambassador Fitsum Arega outlined the many prospects for investors, companies and entrepreneurs to benefit by engaging with the country, which is experiencing an economic upswing under the administration of Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.”

Ambassador Fitsum shared that the U.S. company PVH — which owns brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and is the second biggest African trader — is partnering with the Ethiopian government for the first textile operation in Africa. “We have 53 factories in one place,” Ambassador Fitsum said.

Through his twitter account Fitsum also shared his meeting with the Mayor of LA Eric Garcetti:

The Sentinel added: “While Arega promoted Ethiopian business opportunities, he also encouraged investment possibilities in Africa.”

Several Chinese corporations are already involved with infrastructure and economic development projects throughout the African continent, and the Sentinel noted that “Ambassador Fitsum recommended that both African American and American firms do likewise.”

Fitsum’s visit to California also included a town hall gathering for the Ethiopian Diaspora in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Below are photos and tweets:


Ethiopian diaspora hold town-hall in L.A. on June 15th, 2019. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Ethiopia’s L.A. Consul General Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni and Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega hold town-hall meeting with the Ethiopian Diaspora in Los Angeles on June 15th, 2019. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Town-hall in San Diego on June 16th, 2019 (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Related:
In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

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Summer Previews of Ethiopian Art in the Diaspora – Media Roundup

The Addis Fine Art gallery, which was established in 2016 by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, has been cited by Artsy among the 27 rising galleries from around the world that are "shifting the global conversation around contemporary art." (Portrait of Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile courtesy of Addis Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine

By Liben Eabisa

Published: June 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — From New York to Chicago and London this summer has seen the opening of several exhibitions and global news coverage profiling Ethiopian artists. Below are a few highlights:

Elias Sime

Elias Sime’s current New York exhibition, Noiseless, at James Cohan gallery continues to receive rave reviews before it closes on June 29th. Most recently Sime’s exhibit was featured in Brooklyn-based online arts magazine Hyperallergic, which notes that the Ethiopian artist “makes wall sculptures from castoff computer parts that evoke the toxic dumping of these materials around the world.” In the review titled “Mosaics of Motherboards, Keyboards, and Wire” the writer John Yau says that Sime’s ‘Tightrope: I BURNED IT’ piece is among his favorite and shares that “it is made of hundreds of tiles covered in different hues of red, white, blue, and green insulated wire, woven into patterns and abstract configurations that are unique to each piece” adding “I don’t remember ever seeing Simes do anything like this before. He is always methodical and meticulous, but when he is pictorial and uses the computer components toward pictorial ends, he begins to lose me…This disruption infuses the work with staying power, as it pulls us into the realm of speculation and reflection.”


“Elias Sime: NOISELESS” at James Cohan Gallery, Chelsea, installation view: left: “Tightrope: Noiseless 23” (2019); center: “Tightrope: Noiseless 10” (2019)

As Tadias magazine reported a few weeks ago Elias is also gearing up for his first traveling U.S. museum exhibition later this year. The inaugural show will take place at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature a collection of his work created in the past ten years. According to organizers the exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Aida Muluneh

In its June issue The Atlantic magazine features an insightful piece by journalist Hannah Giorgis, who covers culture for the American publication, titled “The Photographer Fighting Visual Clichés of Africa,” and highlighting Aida Muluneh as “one of Ethiopia’s reigning image-makers.” Aida, who is a former Washington Post photojournalist and a New Yorker tells Hannah: “You can’t fantasize about making an impact in Ethiopia by being in New York or somewhere else…You have to actually be on the ground.” Hannah adds that “Muluneh’s vibrant acuity, as disorienting as it is alluring, has the power to evoke a place—Africa—and at the same time subvert conventional ideas about it.”


Denkinesh/Part One. (Aïda Muluneh)

You can read Hannah’s full article at theatlantic.com.

Merid Tafese

The work of Ethiopian artist Merid Tafese and his solo exhibit at Gallery Guichard in Chicago was also featured in Rollingout Magazine, which covers music, politics and culture with a focus on the African American community.

“For Merid Tafese his fondest memories are of his father’s extensive book collection, which would play a major role in him becoming an artist” the article notes. Merid’s exhibition is called “A Stream of Consciousness,” and as he told the magazine this is the first time in his two-decade career as a contemporary artist that he is represented by a gallery. “And the fact that the gallery is a Black-owned gallery makes it even more special,” Merid says. Merid’s work in this exhibit includes “a collection of easily five years work and change of medium, thought, mood.”


Artist Merid Tafese (Photo credit: Tony Binns for Steed Media)

Reflecting on the influence of his father’s international book collection on his work as an artist Merid — who is the sixth generation direct descendant of King Sahle Selassie — notes that “[At] a time of fear, terror and being disconnected from the rest of the planet, the collection of books was my scope to look beyond what was happening in my beloved country in the Dergue military junta time. [In] the same way, my art was my outlet and the only free space to be creative and say anything I want. So both the books and my creative process of doing art worked hand-in-hand contributed to my development as an artist.”

You can read Rollingout’s full interview with Merid Tafese here.

Julie Mehretu, Kebedech Tekleab and Mezgebu Tesema

The Wallace Art Gallery at Columbia University in NYC also has group show exhibiting the work of ten international artists including three who are Ethiopian: Julie Mehretu, Kebedech Tekleab and Mezgebu Tesema. The exhibit, which opened on Friday, June 14th is titled ‘After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Art’ and focuses on “how temporality shapes new forms of politics, history, subjectivity and the turn to neoliberal global politics.” According to the gallery “It features artists looking at countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Less than thirty years since independence from colonialism, the end of the Cold War brought down socialist governments and sparked a wave of upheaval among young African nations. The need to reimagine national narratives gave rise to a generation of artists that seek to make sense of the dramatic shifts witnessed by their countries.” The show is on view through October 13th, 2019.

Addis Fine Art’s Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile


Founders of Addis Fine Art Mesai Haileleul & Rakeb Sile. (Photo: Addis Fine Art)

Last, but not least, the Addis Fine Art gallery, which was established only three years ago by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, has been cited by Artsy – the online art collection and education platform — as being among the 27 rising galleries from around the world that are “shifting the global conversation around contemporary art.”

Addis Fine Art is Ethiopia’s first gallery to focus on contemporary art from Ethiopia and its Diaspora. Artsy notes: “It took an art dealer in Los Angeles and a business consultant in London to create Ethiopia’s most exciting young gallery. After attending the 1-54 African Art Fair in London, Rakeb Sile wondered why there weren’t more Ethiopian artists who were globally known. She discovered Mesai Haileleul, a gallery owner who had been in L.A. for 30 years selling Ethiopian art, and had not returned to his home country in decades. Sile went to L.A. to find him and lured him back to Africa, convincing him to dive into the local art market. The two opened a gallery in Addis Ababa, and it quickly became the go-to place for Ethiopian art, especially after opening a sister space in London to connect the artists with collectors in European markets.”

You can read the Q&A with Mesai and Rakeb at artsy.net.


Related:
Art Talk: Photojournalist Michael Tsegaye’s U.S. Exhibit ‘Crooked River’
In Pictures: Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC
Spotlight: ZAAF Fashion Photos Shot in Afar, Ethiopia at Smithsonian in DC

Liben Eabisa is Co-Founder & Publisher of Tadias.

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Art Talk: Photojournalist Michael Tsegaye’s U.S. Exhibit ‘Crooked River’

(Image by Michael Tsegaye)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: June 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When asked in a 2011 Tadias interview about what good photography is, Michael Tsegaye — whose upcoming U.S. exhibition ‘Crooked River’ is set to open at Cleveland Print Room in Cleveland, Ohio this month — had quoted the French art critic Jacques Leenhardt saying: “Photography is best when it emulates poetry,” portraying “not only the complex and problematic reality of the outside world, but also the way a person’s eye has seen it. It shows a person’s self-expression, a person becoming the poet we all have within us.”

“I think this is a very true statement,” Michael added.

In his own right, for the past several years, the Ethiopian photojournalist has been creating lyrical images inspired by his surroundings in Ethiopia and elsewhere, documenting whatever captures his eye at a given moment and exhibiting his work at numerous venues both locally and internationally while leaving the reactions and imaginations to the rest of us.

Many transformational events have taken place in Ethiopia since Michael Tsegaye shared his artistic philosophy with us in a Q&A eight years ago. The New York Times followed up with him in 2014 noting that “He captures sweeping panoramas, of markets springing up along newly built roads, or small details, like the cracked images on gravestones being moved to make way for development, or the rapidly disappearing communities in Addis Ababa that have been gentrified with new high-rises.” At the time Michael had astutely said: “I know the city is going to be different in 10 years. It’s going to be a memory for me, these pictures. You know the saying, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?’ That was in my mind when I took these pictures. I tried to work with that.”

‘Crooked River’

For his show in Cleveland, which is scheduled to open on June 21st and remain on display through August 3rd, the Cleveland Print Room Gallery has announced that Michael, who is currently their Creative Fusion International Artist-in-Residence, “will transform the gallery into the Cuyahoga River and its crooked bends from aerial photos and photographs from the riverbed.”

The Cuyahoga River in Ohio is best known for helping to launch the environmental movement in the United States in the late 1960s after the water shockingly “caught fire” due to high levels of pollution. According to the announcement: “As part of the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River catching fire on June 22, 1969, the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion: Waterways to Waterways Edition will bring together a group of international and local artists to focus on projects that connect the regenerative efforts for the Cuyahoga to global waterways.”

Below is a brief bio of Michael Tsegaye from his website:

“Born in 1975, Michael Tsegaye lives and works in Addis Ababa. He received his diploma in painting from Addis Ababa University’s School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002, but soon gave up painting after he developed an allergy to oil paint. He subsequently found his real passion in photography and has made of it not only a profession, but a way of expressing a very particular voice.”

“As a photographer I try as much as possible to escape being pigeonholed. I place myself among my peers (photographers and painters) across the world,” Michael says. “While the spirit of my culture — its traditions in music, poetry and literature — informs my photography, my goal is that of any artist: to understand my life and standpoint in the 21st century, and express these through art.”


If You Go
CROOKED RIVER, AN EXHIBITION BY MICHAEL TSEGAYE
FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019
5:00 PM 9:00 PM
CLEVELAND PRINT ROOM
(MAP)
www.clevelandprintroom.com

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Spotlight: Éthiopiques Revolt of the Soul Screens in Amherst, Massachusetts

The new documentary film, Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, will screen at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts on July 17, 2019. (Image: IDFA)

The Advocate

Amherst Cinema will screen Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul as part of its Sound & Vision film series focused on music in cinema this summer. The 70-minute 2018 documentary film in English and Amharic (with subtitles), was directed by Maciej Bochniak and focuses on the rich musical history of Ethiopia. In 1997, the Western world was first introduced to the country’s musical lineage and culture through the Éthiopiques CD series, created in a collaboration between French music journalist Francis Falceto and producer Amha Eshete who between 1969 and 1975 made 120 singles and 14 albums of Ethiopian musicians. The music was created by Eshete during a period of less repressive times when Emperor Haile Selassie tolerated African music influenced by Western genres such as soul, funk, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz.

But that all changed with a military coup in 1974, which lasted until 1991, according to the film’s synopsis on Amherst Cinema’s website. Eshete, who lived in exile in the United States for many years, speaks about the music of Ethiopia on the Éthiopiques CD series as does Ethiopian musician Girma Beyene, pianist and arranger for the Walias Band, and others. The film features animations, live performances, and recordings for Mistakes on Purpose, the 30th album in the CD series.


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

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Beautiful Harar in Photos

Harar, which is home to 82 mosques and over 100 shrines, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. (Photo: One of the holiest places in the city is the tomb of Sheikh Abadir, one of the city's founder. (DW)

DW

Considered as the fourth holiest Muslim city in the world, Harar is the center of Islam in Ethiopia.

A mosque for the women

The Jami Mosque is the only one where women are allowed to pray in the same building as the men. They enter through this small door on the right of the building, but it is also common to see them pray outside.


(DW)

City of peace

There are two churches within the city’s walls, the Medhane Alem church being the only Orthodox one. Residents of Harar are proud that their town welcomes all religions. In 2003, the city received the UNESCO Peace Prize for the peaceful cohabitation of many ethnic and religious groups. In recent years, however, there has been some tension around land issues and political representation.


(DW)

Shopping for fabric

Harar’s economy is also boosted by its fabric market. This street is called “makina girgir” because of the sound of sewing machines. It is often packed with women from the rural areas. They bargain for new fabric and then let the tailors – all men – prepare their new colorful dresses or headscarves.


(DW)

Bargaining for camels

About 40km (24.8 miles) from Harar, a famous camel market takes place twice a week. Up to 200 camels are sold within one morning, starting at about €500 ($565) per camel. The traders are usually Somali nomads. The camels are used both for transport and consumption.


(DW)

Read more and see photos at dw.com »


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In Pictures: Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC

Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019. (Photo: CMA)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: June 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Below is a slideshow of photos from last week’s Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City.

The well-attended event organized by the CMA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) and the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) was held on Sunday, June 2nd and included Ethiopian music, Eskista dance, a coffee ceremony and an interactive arts workshop inspired by artists from Ethiopia such as Ezra Wube, Addis Gezehagn, Elias Sime, Afewerk Tekle as well as singer and songwriter Gigi.

ECMAA is also hosting an outdoor family friendly spring fair this weekend at the Riverbank State Park in Manhattan (See details below).

Here are images from Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York courtesy of the museum:


If You Go:
ECMAA SPRING FAIR
Sunday, Jun 9th, 2 pm to 6 pm
Riverbank State Park
New York, New York 01002
Click here to get tickets

Related:
In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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River Spirit in Nile Magazine: From Ethiopia to Egypt Photos by Chester Higgins

The following article and photos are published here with permission of the photographer, Chester Higgins, Jr. See below for detailed explanations. (Right: in Yebelo, Ethiopia: Left: The Valley of the Kings in Egypt/© Chester Higgins)

Nile Magazine

Betsy Kissam with photography by Chester Higgins

Ethiopians speak of “children of the river” — yewenz lejoch in Amharic, the country’s official language. This phrase characterises people living near and relying on the water of a river for travel and nourishment, whether for their own needs or for the crops and livestock they depend on. The Blue Nile, Ethiopia’s most celebrated river, rises in the northern highlands and then journeys down into the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The depth and originality of the cultural legacy threading through the ancient cultures that flourished along this river challenges the imagination and awaits comprehensive analysis.

Roughly 200 years have passed since the study of the ancient Egyptian civilization began as a discipline. More recently, Egyptologists and archaeologists, in conjunction with efforts in Egypt, are concentrating on what’s buried beneath the sands of Nubia (in Egypt and Sudan) and Kush (Sudan). And in Ethiopia, archaeology is expanding under East African archaeologists and others from abroad.

Today, most Egyptologists recognize Egyptian culture as an African invention. In his 2010 book, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, Toby Wilkinson writes “The origins and early development of civilization in Egypt can be traced back to at least two thousand years before the pyramids, to the country’s remote prehistoric past.”

New York photographer Chester Higgins sees the Nile as a cultural thread; for the past four decades, he has been visually documenting Blue Nile cultures and seeking connections between the ancient people who made up the empires of Aksum (modern Ethiopia), Kush (Sudan) and Kemet (Egypt). Along this river, ancient excavators crafted sacred stone houses of worship out of solid mountains by chiseling away rock—rather than erecting a structure block by block.

At the source and mouth of the Nile River are found the only monumental stone monoliths in Africa—phara-
onic and Aksumite obelisks. Images on Egyptian and Nubian tomb and temple walls bring to life symbols and the accouterments of early spiritual practice; when photographs of these are juxtaposed with those of rituals enacted in Ethiopia today, they focus links between “children of the river” in Egypt and Sudan—and farther south in the highlands of Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile.

Similarities in Higgins’s photographs, illustrate cultural connections up and down the river.

Much of the belief expressed today in our Abrahamic religions is rife with comparisons predicated on shared iconography and philosophy introduced millennia ago by people who honed their faith along the Nile River.


Ancient people left messages in stone, and skilled stone masons created precise structures from rock in situ along the Nile River. This is the exterior of the monolithic stone Church of St. George, in Lalibela, Ethiopia. The church was painstakingly fashioned out of solid volcanic rock in a cruciform structure, approximately 12 metres high, and standing in a 25 x 25 metre wide pit. The town of Lalibela is around 640 km north of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and today cares for 11 monolithic, rock-cut churches, which were erected in and around the year 1200. The buildings today are a living place of worship; they are home to a community of priests and monks, as well as being a place of pilgrimage for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. (© Chester Higgins)


The monumental stone Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel [in the Egyptian part of Nubia] has been dropping jaws since it was first hewn from a Kushite mountain some 3,300 years ago. Stepping into the temple’s Great Hall, the visitor is met by eight statue-pillars of Ramesses II portrayed as Osiris, god of resurrection. At the very back, the temple’s Sanctuary, which is illuminated by the rejuvenating rays of the rising sun twice a year. (© Chester Higgins)

There is something mystical, even supernatural, about the Blue Nile. When Herodotus identified Egypt as “the gift of the Nile” in the 5th century b.c., he had no knowledge of the source of the Blue Nile in the highlands of contemporary Ethiopia — 6,000 feet above sea level. But anyone who has witnessed the watery turmoil created by the Ethiopian summer rains can appreciate the otherworldly beauty of the frothing reddish volcanic soil in this water and its menace as it hurtles down mountainsides, tracking through ancient gullies and joining to form swift flowing streams, tributaries and then the impressive Blue Nile River.

The might of this river slices gorges through volcanic rock, creating sheer canyon walls, some more than 4,000 feet deep. Twisting and turning, juxtaposing broad sweeps with tight curves, the water turns north and drops down into the deserts of Sudan and Egypt. By the time the river reaches the desert at Khartoum in Sudan, where it commingles with the White Nile to form the Nile River, its elevation is 1250 feet having fallen nearly 5,000 feet in 900 miles. By the time the Nile reaches the Giza pyramids, its elevation is barely 64 feet. Before modern dams interrupted the flow, the Blue Nile carried about 80% of the water and fertile silt that transformed Egypt’s parched desert plains: surely the “gift” that Herodotus recognized.

The Nile’s water rises at a time when other rivers are lessening. Unsuccessful at working out an explanation for this phenomenon, Herodotus wrote “I was particularly anxious to learn from [the Egyptian priests] why the Nile, at the commencement of the summer solstice, begins to rise, and continues to increase for a hundred days—and why, as soon as that number is past, it forthwith retires and contracts its stream. . . .”

In the 1st century b.c., 400 years after Herodotus, Diodorus recorded “the Ethiopians. . . say, that the Egyptians are a colony drawn out from them by Osiris; and that Egypt was. . . made land by the river Nile, which brought down slime and mud out of Ethiopia.”

The boundaries of Ethiopia today on the Horn of Africa are not the designation accepted by the ancients that referred vaguely to the home of black people living south of the Mediterranean Sea.


Left: The deity Thoth in the Tomb of Ramesses V (KV 9) that was later extended by his nephew Ramesses VI, in the Valley of the Kings [in Egypt]. Thoth holds a was sceptre (staff of authority), and sports a bull’s tail attached to the back of his kilt. Right: A Waka priest displays a staff of authority in Yebelo, Ethiopia. Contemporary Ethiopians, who honour the sacredness of nature, worship the sky deity Waka. The staffs of both the current Ethiopian example, and the ancient Egyptian version, end in distinctive curved forks. (© Chester Higgins)

The Blue Nile remained an ongoing siren song for the Greeks, Romans and other Europeans into the 15th, 16th, up to the 20th century — even after 16th and 17th-century Portuguese and Spanish Jesuits, accompanied by Ethiopian Emperors, visited and “discovered” the source of the Blue Nile, which they recorded in their travelogues published in Europe. In the 18th century, Scottish explorer James Bruce detailed his own version in his 1790 book, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile.

Even with the source of the Blue Nile revealed and the Ethiopian rains recognized in Europe as the cause of its flooding, the river still guarded its mystery. For parts of its journey, narrow canyons protect the waters from everyone but the hardiest explorers, concealing much of the river’s exquisite beauty from all eyes except those of local highlanders, who themselves, it is said, rarely descend to the riverbed when it passes through gorges choked by volcanic rock, crocodiles and often malaria.

As late as 1925, the British Consul for Northwest Ethiopia, Major R. E. Cheesman, upon arriving in the country, was astounded to discover that “the latest maps showed the course of the Blue Nile as a series of dotted lines” — a substantial challenge for this 20th-century European as it had been for earlier travelers.


Stone obelisks are found along the Nile in Ethiopia and Egypt. In Aksum, Ethiopia, this 20-metre-high monolith stands tall in a field of such obelisks, which served as royal tomb markers. Aksum was a wealthy trading empire. At the Aksumite royal necropolis, false, or spirit doors were often placed at the base of the largest obelisks and above the entrances to tombs. This false door, featuring a finely carved ring pull door handle, was placed at the base (formerly southern face) of the now-fallen Obelisk #1—thought to have been the largest obelisk ever attempted to be erected: 32.6 meters long, and weighing 517 tons. (© Chester Higgins)


Obelisks in Egypt, erected in pairs in front of temples and topped with pyramidions, appear to function like billboards advertising a pharaoh’s accomplishments, and are dated by the pharaoh’s reign. Less well understood, Aksumite obelisks have been dated anywhere from around the 5th century b.c. to early a.d.; without inscriptions from rulers, the dates are open to conjecture. False doors in Egypt were placed outside tombs, within tomb chapels and in royal memorial temples, providing a focus for offerings to sustain the ka (divine essence) of the deceased. Like many elements of Egyptian funerary practice, they also served to emphasise the conspicuous wealth and social status of the tomb owner. This false door is in the tomb chapel of the mastaba of Khenu, near the top of the causeway of King Unas at Saqqara. Khenu was a 6th-Dynasty official who served the cult of Unas, the last ruler of the Old Kingdom’s 5th Dynasty (ca. 2375–2345 b.c.). © CHESTER HIGGINS

Many scholars believe that 18th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s famous expedition to Punt, portrayed on her temple walls at Deir el-Bahari, situates Punt on the southern coast of the Red Sea
placing it in the proximity of contemporary Ethiopia. It is known the Egyptians built boats that were able to be deconstructed and reassembled in order to carry the boats around the Nile’s treacherous cataracts and sail the Red Sea. Other trade references to Punt were recorded by pharaohs as early as the 5th Egyptian dynasty.


A papyrus ferry on Lake Tana at the headwaters of the Blue Nile, in the Ethiopian highlands. This sort of craft seems to have barely changed since ancient times. (© Chester Higgins)


The pageantry of Timkat, the Ethiopian Epiphany Day—a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ—is celebrated by Orthodox Christians throughout Ethiopia. It echoes the joyous festival of Opet, recorded on Luxor Temple walls in Egypt, below. (© Chester Higgins)


Renewal is a strong theme for both rituals. Opet priests honor the Holy Family of Waset (Thebes/Luxor): they celebrate the union of the supreme deity Amen with his companion/wife Mut, and their son Khonsu, by bringing the sacred statues of the three deities from their shrines at Karnak Temple to visit the Temple of Luxor. Images on the wall of Luxor Temple show priests carrying the statues on their shoulders through crowded streets, and then by boat on the river. For Timkat, the high priests transport on their heads the churches’ sacred tabots (a replica of the Ark of the Covenant) through streets teeming with revelers, to join other tabots at a water source. (© Chester Higgins)


(© Chester Higgins)


(© Chester Higgins)


Left: Abu Haggag Mosque at Luxor Temple, Egypt. The mosque sits atop part of the ruins of Luxor Temple. It was built as a shine to a local saint, Sheikh Yusuf al-Haggag, who is credited for introducing Islam to Luxor. Sacred places often remain hallowed to successive faiths, and the mosque here stands on the site of an earlier Christian church. Right: An altarpiece from the Moon Temple at Yeha, Ethiopia. Around a.d. 330, Aksum’s Emperor Ezana made Aksum into one of the earliest Christian states, which saw the replacement of the Aksumite crescent and disk religious symbols with the Christian cross. On this site today, next to the Yeha Temple is an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church monastery. (© Chester Higgins)

Much later, in the 4th century a.d., Ethiopia became a Christian country after Aksumite King Ezana converted to Christianity. Bound by this faith, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church entered into relations with the Coptic Church in Egypt, although these ties were often interrupted and conflicted. But the selection of Abunas, or Ethiopian Popes, came out of Egyptian monasteries until the 20th century when this link was severed by Emperor Haile Selassie.

Egyptologist Wallis Budge documented communication between Egyptian rulers and Ethiopian kings, foreshadowing the tension between the two countries today over down stream access to Nile water. In his 1928 book, A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, Budge wrote about a seven-year famine in 11th-century Egypt: “it is said that the Khalifah Mustansir-b-Illah, thinking that the Abyssinians had turned the Nile out of its course, sent an embassy loaded with rich gifts to the king of Abyssinia, and asked him to let the Nile return to its old bed.”


A priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church with two deacons at the Blue Nile Falls, near the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The “tails” on the vestments are an enigma, although they resemble the leopard pelts worn by the ancient Egyptian priests who presided over funerary rites, called sem priests. Depictions in Egyptian temples and tombs suggest that priests wore actual pelts, but nearly all of the rare surviving examples are made of painted linen. (© Chester Higgins)

Budge further recorded the words of an 18th century Ethiopian King, in the midst of a diplomatic disturbance, “the Nile would be sufficient to punish you, since God hath put into our power his fountain, his outlet, and his increase, and that we can dispose of the same to do you harm. . . .”

It seems there was interface among children of the river. But it is too early to know how much and whether this shared cultural legacy along the Nile dates back millennia or centuries, and if influence traveled upriver or down — or in both directions.



Left: BETSY KISSAM is a freelance writer and member of ARCE – NY. For the past four decades, she has been traveling with photographer Chester Higgins along the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Currently she is working with Higgins on a book project about the sacred passage of faith along the River Nile. Right: CHESTER HIGGINS is the author of eight books of his photography. Most recently he co-authored the book, Ancient Nubia: African Kingdoms on the Nile. For additional info see chesterhiggins.com and #chesterhiggins12.

Related:
Photos: Chester Higgins Honored by Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative

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Poorly Mapped: Dinaw Mengestu’s Essay in The New Yorker

Inside my family’s home, I could lay full claim to being an Ethiopian; on the streets of Addis Ababa, however, I had to contend with the obvious facts. - Dinaw Mengestu (Photo: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

The New Yorker

On my first day in Ethiopia, my aunt Aster asked me not to leave the house. “Stay home,” she said. “Don’t go outside alone.” Her father, my grandfather, had built the house forty years earlier, shortly after his eighth and final child was born. I had lived there for the first two years of my life, before my mother, my sister, and I left to join my father, who had migrated to America in 1978, in the wake of Ethiopia’s Communist revolution. It had been twenty-five years since I or anyone in my immediate family had been back to Ethiopia. My aunt, whom I met for the first time when I landed in Addis Ababa, told me that in the years since we had left practically nothing had changed in the bedroom that my mother, my sister, and I had shared. “Everything is the same,” she told me. “Even your mother’s shoes are still there.”

My aunt lived in the house with her teen-age daughter. She assured me that it had everything I needed to fill my day until she came home from work: satellite television, an Internet connection, and American food that she had bought especially for me.

There was no explanation for my aunt’s determination that I stay home, nor did I ask her for one. Before my arrival, in the fall of 2005, contested elections had led to protests and mass arrests, which my aunt shrugged off as benign affairs that were more frightening to us in the West than to the people who lived through them. “You have to understand,” she said. “We’re fine. We go to work. We live our lives.”

I didn’t tell my aunt that I had come to Ethiopia with what looked to be a hand-drawn map of central Addis Ababa, the best one I could find on the Internet. That map was vital to an idea that I had formed as a teen-ager—that I could recover everything that had been lost in migration if I found my way back to Ethiopia and walked the streets of Addis Ababa, visited the graves of relatives I couldn’t remember, and stood in front of the palace where Emperor Haile Selassie had been arrested.

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President Sahle-Work Zewde Speaks at 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Canada

President Sahle-Work Zewde. (Photo: WD2019 website)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – This week in Vancouver, Canada more than 8,000 civil society leaders, academics, activists and journalists are gathering for the Women Deliver 2019 Conference,” the world’s largest international convention focusing on today’s most pressing issues dealing with gender equality. Among the main speakers featured include Ethiopia’s first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde, who is set to address the global gathering during the event’s kick-off program on Monday, June 3rd along with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

According to the organizers the President of Ethiopia will participate in a high-level panel moderated by BBC News journalist Lyse Doucet with participants that include Environmental Activist Farwiza Farhan, Women’s Rights Advocate Natasha Mwansa, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau, and the United Nations High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth Dr. Alaa Murabit.

The Women Deliver 2019 Conference is taking place in Vancouver, Canada from Monday, June 3rd to Thursday, June 6th.

It is “the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century,” notes the event’s website. “It will serve as a catalyst for advocates working to achieve a more gender equal world. The conference will present new knowledge, promote world-class solutions, and engage a broad spectrum of voices. It will focus on several issues from health, nutrition, education, economic and political empowerment to human rights, good governance, and girls’ and women’s agency and equality.”

Below is a brief bio of President Sahle-Work Zewde as provided by the conference organizers:

SAHLE-WORK ZEWDE

Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the fourth and first woman President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018.

She spent her first professional years in the Ministry of Education. She later joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988 and started her long diplomatic carrier as ambassador to Senegal with accreditation to Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and the Gambia. She served in Djibouti and IGAD- Inter Governmental Authority on Development for 10 years before moving as ambassador of Ethiopia to France, Tunisia and Morocco and Permanent Representative to UNESCO. After her return to Ethiopia she was appointed Permanent Representative to the African Union and Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

President Sahle-Work Zewde joined the United Nations in 2009 and served as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General/SRSG/ and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) thus becoming the first African woman to become an SRSG.

In 2011, she was appointed as the first dedicated Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) at the level of Under-Secretary-General. In June 2018, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Ms. Zewde as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU). She was the first woman to hold these three positions at the United Nations.

Ms. Zewde is a mother of two boys. She speaks Amharic, French and English fluently.


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Lemn Sissay Wins the PEN Pinter Prize

Poet and Playwright Lemn Sissay Wins the PEN Pinter Prize. Lemn Sissay said: ‘What I like about this award is that it is from a great writer and a great organisation.’ (Photo: Lemn Sissay photographed in Canterbury Cathedral/The Observer)

The Guardian

Judges laud ability to forge beautiful words from sorrows as he sees it as sign to continue

Lemn Sissay has won the PEN Pinter prize, set up in memory of playwright Harold Pinter. Sissay, 52, who was an official poet for the London 2012 Olympics, grew up in care and has spoken about how he was imprisoned, bullied and physically abused by staff. He later made documentaries about the search for his family.

Writer Maureen Freely, one of the judges, said: ‘In his every work, Lemn Sissay returns to the underworld he inhabited as an unclaimed child. From his sorrows, he forges beautiful words and a thousand reasons to live and love.”

Sissay, who was FA Cup poet in 2015, said: “I met Harold Pinter when I was 36. We were on stage at the Royal Court. I was too intimidated or self-conscious to speak to him. And so I will now. ‘Thank you’.

“What I like about this award is that it is from a great writer and a great organisation. I accept it as a sign that I should continue.”

Lemn Sissay: ‘A childhood in care almost broke me – I needed to shine a light on it’

The poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster will receive the award at a ceremony at the British Library on 10 October.

Read more »


Related:

My Name Is Why: New Book by LEMN SISSAY

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

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Ethiopia’s Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi Meets U.S. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer — In Pictures

Ethiopia's Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 31st, 2019. (Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: June 1st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi is currently visiting the United States and has met with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer as part of her working trip.

Appointed by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last fall Meaza, who is a women’s rights activist, is Ethiopia’s first female Chief Justice. She rose to international prominence in the late 1990s following her successful court case in Ethiopia that resulted in an end to the tradition of kidnapping girls for marriage. That case was the subject of the award-winning 2013 film Difret.

Meaza and Breyer met at the judge’s office in Washington D.C on Friday accompanied by Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Fitsum Arega.

“Justice Breyer emphasized the importance of rule of law and the independence of the judiciary to ensure peace and development,” Fitsum shared on social media after the meeting.

Below are photos:


Ethiopia’s Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 31st, 2019. (Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)


(Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)


Related:
Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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PM Abiy’s VOA Interview Annotated

File photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C., July 26th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

VOA News

PM Abiy: ‘All of My Intention and Action Is Aimed at Elevating Ethiopia’

WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave his first interview to a Western news organization when he spoke to the Voice of America’s Horn of Africa service reporter Eskinder Firew, in Addis Ababa, in Amharic. These highlights from their conversation have been edited for brevity and clarity.

For the past year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has led Ethiopia through dramatic changes. Entrenched ethnic tensions and complex regional conflicts have posed ongoing challenges to the young leader’s reform agenda, but he remains resolute in his desire to make the most of his time in office. Abiy spoke to VOA’s Eskinder Firew about Ethiopia’s relationship with neighbor Eritrea, judicial reforms and the imprint he hopes to leave.

Eskinder Firew: On the occasion of your first anniversary as prime minister, you said, “I am only planning to elevate Ethiopia to high standards, awaken the public and lift up a country that is hanging its head. I don’t have any other ill intentions other than that.” What did you mean by that?

Abiy Ahmed: I don’t believe that it’s proper to stay in power for long periods of time. And as long as I have power, I believe that I should use that to change people’s lives. But within my efforts working to bring change, there may be errors — but all of my intention and action is aimed at elevating Ethiopia.

My agenda is not to use certain groups. To attack certain groups. Or to push specific groups or oppress people. What I am working on is work that elevates Ethiopians. That’s what I want, and that is what I do.

I can confidently say that I will not be involved in killing people or benefiting by illegal means by taking away from other people’s pockets as long as I am in a position of leadership.

Firew: In your message to the government and people of Eritrea on the occasion of Eritrea’s Independence Day, you expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to remain committed to jointly addressing all outstanding issues the countries face. What are these “outstanding issues”?

Abiy: If we take the problem between Somalia and Kenya, we want Eritrea and South Sudan, along with Ethiopia, to help one another and provide support to solve these issues. We know that any problem between Somalia and Kenya can spill over toward us. Because of this, we would like to work together to solve it.

There is a wide-ranging issue as it relates to South Sudan. We don’t think that Ethiopia alone can solve the problem, and the same when it comes to the problem between us and Eritrea.

And there are also problems between Eritrea and other countries, too. So this is a region that has a lot of problems. But additionally, this is also a region that wants to move in the direction of integration.

Firew: The border closing between the two countries (Eritrea and Ethiopia) has continued until today. What is the situation currently?

Abiy: ​When the peace process started between the two sides, we saw the borders were widely opened on both sides. We can say that people were moving to and from — not like foreign countries, but movement similar to what happens within a country. There weren’t strict controls. And many people came from there to here, and from here to there. But that was not the only thing. Ethiopian opposition members who were based in Eritrea returned to Ethiopia, and Eritrean opposition members based in Ethiopia returned to Eritrea.

There needs to be a system where there is control and a custom-check system. And we need that capacity so that it would be possible to know what people are bringing in and out. There is a concern that if we leave the borders opened uncontrolled, that it would be difficult to prevent problems. We want to ensure that, if people are going from Ethiopia to Eritrea or from Eritrea to Ethiopia, it has to be for peace, development and tourism.

Firew: Regarding change in Ethiopia and legal reforms, some people say that, if the measures taken are enough, we would see the results. But because the measures taken aren’t enough, we see continuation of some things. What’s your response?

Abiy: ​Everyone should get equal treatment in the face of the law. It should never be used as a tool for revenge. When we respect the rule of law, it should be in accordance to that. So, when a government takes action, there are some who say that this decision was made by someone from my ethnic group or my community. But unless this thinking is gone or is depleted, it threatens the possibility of protecting the rule of law.

Within just this past year, there are so many people that could be jailed or face detention. Thousands are in prison charged with national security, corruption and displacement, etc. There is no need to put so many people in such a situation, because we want to reduce crime and not add prisoners. But we still have people undergoing these legal processes through the federal and regional levels. But this is not because we are not taking action, it is because we are in the process of focusing on clamping down on crimes that are serious. On the other hand, if we don’t think that the law doesn’t apply to all equally, we can’t have a sustainable future.


Related:
From Ethiopia With Love: PM Abiy Pens Open Letter to Diaspora Youth

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In DC Haile Gerima’s Bookstore Sankofa Takes Tax Fight to City Council

Ethiopian-American filmmaker and professor Haile Gerima's bookstore Sankofa that's located near Howard University in Washington, DC has been an oasis of Pan-African culture since it opened more than twenty years ago. But now as gentrification threatens its existence the small business is fighting back with a tax abatement bill scheduled for a public hearing on June 3rd, 2019. (Photo: Facebook)

WUSA9

DC gentrification threatens black-owned bookstore, cafe near Howard University

Sankofa was founded in 1998 and named after the famous film by its owners Haile and Gerima.

“Being in D.C. has been a lot of work in terms of our relationship with the city,” Gerima said. “Now with gentrification, the relationship has become more hostile so that the taxes we have to pay each year – $30,000 – is completely outrageous.”

The owners have taken their fight to the D.C. Council where a bill would free that tax burden for the next 10 years.

“What we’re facing now with gentrification is what we’ve been facing since we’ve been here,” Gerima said. “On steroids.”

It’s a move they hope will keep the culture they’ve worked so hard to preserve for the last two decades.

“It’s all about the Benjamins, my sista (sp), it’s all about the Benjamins,” Yilma said.

Sankofa is home for many, including those looking to learn about the African experience.

“There’s a lot of history to learn here at Sankofa,” Sampson Meskel said.

“We are quite proud of what we have here,” co-owner Shirikiana Gerima said.

“When everybody benefits when everybody co-exists it’s good,” Yilma, a customer, said.

The owners want supporters to show up and show out. The tax abatement bill to save Sankofa is scheduled for a public hearing at the Wilson Building Monday, June 3 at 10 a.m.

“I don’t want the city to feel like they’re doing me a favor,” Gerima said. “They should be saying ‘thank you Lordy’ because businesses like this have contributed to the strength of the city.”


You can learn more and help Sankofa stay open at http://support.sankofa.com.

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From Ethiopia With Love: PM Abiy Pens Open Letter to Diaspora Youth

(Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 26th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has written an open letter addressed to young people in the Diaspora reminding the next generation that Ethiopia also belongs to them and they should take direct stake in its future.

“I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia,” PM Abiy said in his letter. “On my various travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in.” He added: “As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation.”

In the letter — which has been already shared hundreds of times on social media since it was released on Saturday, May 25th — the Prime Minister emphasized five key areas of how Ethiopians around the world can be engaged in activities over the summer including organizing volunteer work in Ethiopia, participating in discussion forums in their adopted countries, and thinking about “knowledge transfer” such as collecting books, computers and other resources for the upcoming Addis Ababa City library.

“Generate ideas and solutions and share them with us,” he said. “I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future.”

Below is the full text of the letter:

From Abiy Ahmed: Message to Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora

Dear Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora,

I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia. On my various bilateral-centered travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in. You understand ‘Medemer’ and always have sought ways to be unified as one. Your sensitivity to the needs of others and the immediate action you take to help is at the core of Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope. A place of mystical wonders, cultures, rich traditions with a colorful mosaic of people whose faiths are as strong as her people.

Today, Ethiopia is experiencing a resurrection of hope. Hope that you have fought for from a distance. Hope that you and your parents, near and far, have prayed for. Hope that you held on to even when at times it seemed impossible. You held an enduring love and an unwavering faith in the possibilities of Ethiopia being a great nation. You never lost sight of light that leads to hope. As such, you dressed up and flaunted your Ethiopian identity at your school’s international day celebration; you hosted Ethiopian day and, proactively engaged in policies of your host nations that may concern the betterment of Ethiopia. You proudly held up Ethiopia’s flag wherever you could and defended your country’s glorious history. It is my wish you continue sharing in your various spheres of influence all that makes Ethiopia great.

It is also my wish that you seize the current prevailing opportunities and good will to contribute to your country when it needs you most. Alongside our greatness, we also shoulder as a country, many challenges and responsibilities that requires our concerted efforts as Ethiopians. As you know the rainy season in Ethiopia is upon us and schools are closed. Similarly, where most of you reside, the summer break is also ahead of you. I hope during the period you will take time to think about your country and the ways in which you can act in its favor. Many of the pleasures and conveniences you enjoy in the respective countries you live in have all been built on solid foundation. The roads you drive on, the playgrounds and parks you play in, the libraries in which you study – those that came before you planted these seeds, watered them and nurtured them until they bloomed.

As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation. While my administration and I work tirelessly to build a democratic country, I welcome you to come home during the rainy season and to take part in the new experiences, be a part of the tangible and sustainable developments being made in every corner and direction, teach us to do things differently and better with your immeasurable knowledge, and to simply enjoy the various tourism attractions and destinations Ethiopia, your home country, has to offer.

While the needs are plenty and the opportunities to contribute even greater, I call upon you to at least engage in the following five things during the Ethiopian rainy season and your respective summer breaks:

1. Do not lose hope on your country. Focus your energy and drive on the seedlings of hope for they will soon flourish into reality with our collective efforts. Believe that we have the capacity to change; to act and to make history. Let not temporary obstacles be a defining factor.

2. Be a vehicle for knowledge transfer to Ethiopia. Introduce novel ways of doing things. Collect books, computers, medical equipment and other technologies where you are so that you may change the lives of your brothers and sisters here that need you. Develop digital libraries and enable students in Ethiopia to have free access to resources. Come and volunteer to teach skills and courses in schools here.

3. More importantly, you must organize yourselves to collect catalogues of books and other print materials in as many languages as possible for the newly announced library that is to be constructed in Addis Ababa as to ensure Ethiopia’s next-generation leaders, doctors, scientist, educators and interest of all fields do not leave Ethiopia to research any topic of interest whether it is for graduate, undergraduate, masters or PhD programs.

4. Come and volunteer your time in various establishments throughout the country and share your knowledge and skills of modern and innovative service delivery. Ethiopia calls on the diaspora community to serve your home country through various types of volunteer activities such as the #EveryDayWeCleanEthiopia cleaning and cleansing initiative and the four billion tree planting project.

5. Organize various youth discussion platforms in which you can share ideas on current challenges in the country and opportunities for overcoming them. Present study papers and discuss among yourselves; generate ideas and solutions and share them with us.

I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future. With the rapid changes, Ethiopia’s societal needs are insurmountable and evident. The resources that are at the disposal of the diaspora community are immeasurable. Our collective efforts are paramount in stabilizing the paradigm shift and one of the key ways to do so is through philanthropic endeavors and volunteerism.

Similarly, I want to remind us all about our the most important sector that the Ethiopian diaspora can make a meaningful contribution in which will have an almost immediate impact – the tourism sector. Ethiopia boasts a total of nine UNESCO Heritage sites with eight of the nine sites being cultural sites with one natural site. While tourism has lagged in the past, Ethiopia has introduced many reforms making tourism one of the key priority sectors for investment. It is no secret; tourism has compounded impact. Tourism contributes to local small and medium scale businesses, generates profits at every level of the sector, creates sustainable jobs. Ethiopia will benefit from the tax revenues generated and income across all regions will increase. Tourism, by far, creates the most direct effect within the sector specially in lodging, restaurants, transportation, museums and retail.

Here is where the diaspora community support is important for tourism by being the ambassadors of all things Ethiopia, encouraging global destination management agencies to turn their face towards Ethiopia and even, chaperoning groups to visit Ethiopia. It goes without saying that the diaspora holds many of the pertinent keys that will accelerate the growth and sustainable development of this country.

While Ethiopia was built to be a great nation, I write this letter to affirm that you are needed in strengthening the pillars of Ethiopia as part of the elaborate mosaic of diverse people that comprise it. Greatness is only achieved when Medemer is our collective cause; a strong, unified Ethiopia that is filled with endless possibilities for her children today, tomorrow and generations to come.

Welcome home to Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed Ali

Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


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Meet the Ethiopian-American Candidate Running for City Council in Idaho

Ethiopian-American Tecle Gebremichael, who serves as a petroleum supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves, is running for a City Council seat in Boise, Idaho. Tecle told the Idaho Statesman newspaper that his goal is to bring a new perspective to the council as a West Boisean and a new American.

Idaho Statesman

A new candidate entered the race for Boise City Council on Thursday, marking the fourth person running for seats on the council.

Tecle Gebremichael, an Ethiopian refugee who came to Boise in 2012 and became an American citizen in 2017, said in a phone interview that his goal is to bring a new perspective to the council as a West Boisean and a new American.

“I think my campaign started from gratitude,” he said. “I came here with a couple of pairs of shoes, and this country was able to provide everything I need.”

Gebremichael serves as a petroleum supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves. He is working on a degree in political science from Boise State University and will graduate in a few semesters, he said.

He is also a nationally accredited language-service provider and a soccer coach for Nations United under Idaho Rush Soccer Club. His past jobs include a role as a computer lab monitor at College of Western Idaho and as a legislative intern in the Idaho Statehouse. The Idaho Office for Refugees awarded him with the Refugee Success and Integration Award in 2014.

Three of the six council seats are up for grabs every two years. In November, Boise voters will choose candidates for Seats 1, 3 and 5. Boise has at-large council elections, and the numbers don’t represent any seniority or privilege. In a release announcing his candidacy, Gebremichael said he had not yet made a choice on which seat he would seek.

Seats 1 and 3 are open. Council President Lauren McLean, who announced her bid for mayor on Monday, is in Seat 1, while Councilmember Scot Ludwig, who said he would not run again, is in Seat 3. Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg is in Seat 5. She has not announced whether she will run again.

Decisions on specific seats do not need to be made until the filing deadline of Sept. 6.

Others running for council includes Brady Fuller, Jimmy Hallyburton and Debbie Lombard-Bloom. Fuller announced he would run for Seat 1, while Hallyburton and Lombard-Bloom have said their intention is to run for Seat 3.

The election is Nov. 5.


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From Rural Ethiopia to UC Berkeley

Lelisa Bera is graduating on Wednesday, May 22, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. (Photo: UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley

From Farming in Rural Ethiopia to Graduating from UC Berkeley

Growing up in rural Ethiopia, Lelisa Bera knew that getting an education wasn’t a given. It was a privilege that many parents couldn’t afford to give their children.

He was born in a village in the Oromia Region called Dawo Saden, where his mom and dad worked as farmers. They spent long hours in the fields harvesting vegetables and grains, and tending to cattle and goats. By age 5, Lelisa began to help his parents with the labor.

“There was not much to inspire you to go to school,” he says. “I would see one student going to school from one area, another from a different area. But for most kids, their families needed them to stay home and help at the farm. There’s a very high illiteracy rate.”

When Lelisa turned 7, his mom decided that he would go to school. It was a long walk — three hours, round trip — and Lelisa didn’t own a pair of shoes. But his mom hoped education would be a worthwhile investment, so she pushed her son to make the daily trek.

On Wednesday, May 22, Bera, now 32, will receive his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley. It’s an accomplishment that he sees not as an ending, but as a launching-off point for sharing what he’s learned at Berkeley with the world.

And without a teacher who gently encouraged him to think bigger, he might never have made it to where he is today.

Read more »

Watch: UC Berkeley students long journey to graduation started in Ethiopia (abc7news)


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UPDATE: Pics From ZAAF Fashion Photo Show at Smithsonian in DC

The event hosted by the Ethiopian fashion brand ZAAF took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Ethiopian leather fashion brand ZAAF hosted a photo exhibition and a documentary presentation of its latest collection shot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression — known as one of the hottest places on earth. The event took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. on Monday, July 1st.


Related:

In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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In New York Ethiopian Cultural Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts

Photo: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association event in New York City. (Tadias archive)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Next month an interactive arts workshop inspired by artists from Ethiopia including Ezra Wube, Addis Gezehagn, Elias Sime, Afewerk Tekle as well as singer and songwriter Gigi is set to take place at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City.

The event organized by the CMA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) and the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) will be held on Sunday, June 2nd from 10am to 5pm. Organizers note that the cultural festival will also feature traditional dancing (Eskista) and a coffee ceremony.

Below are brief descriptions of the art workshops:

Collaborative Subway Mural inspired by Ezra Wube in Fine Arts:

Ezra Wube is an Ethiopian New Yorker telling stories about NYC through animation and vivid imagery. Wube’s work reflects on the movement of the city. You can see his piece at the Fulton Street Station called Fulton Street Flow! How would you use art to beautify a subway station? Join us in creating a collaborative subway mural integrating our many cultures!

Dreamy Cityscapes inspired by Addis Gezehagn in Fine Arts:

Addis Gezehagn paints dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of urban landscapes rising above the ground. Each patch of color he uses represents buildings and doors. At the program young artists can use cutouts of color, paintings, magazine pages, and even their own colored drawings to layer squares to construct a cityscape.

Recycled Topographies inspired by Elias Sime in the Gallery:

Elias Sime is an Ethiopian artist using recycled materials to create relief sculptures and assemblages that look like looks like topographical maps or aerial views of complex city systems. We will use recycled materials as well as decorative materials like beads and pom poms to create our own relief sculptures inspired by Sime’s work and Ethiopia.

Afewerk Tekle Windows in the Clay Bar:

Using the artist Afewerk Tekle’s stained glass pieces as inspiration, design your own stylized clay tab, in a fractured stained glass visual!

Building Stained Glass Windows with Afewerk Tekle in the Media Lab:

Using either the stained glass style slab from Clay Bar, or found materials in the Media Lab, add motion to your stained glass pieces!

Sounds of Gigi in the Sound Booth:

Using melodies inspired by the famous Ethiopian singer Gigi, create your own songs layered over her fusion of contemporary and traditional soundscapes!


If You Go:
Ethiopian Cultural Festival
Sunday, Jun 02, 10 am to 5 pm
At CMA, 103 Charlton Street, New York
Click here to get tickets

Related:
In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega (right) at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 16, 2019 during an event highlighting Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy hosted by Your Ethiopian Professionals Network (YEP) in partnership with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT). (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Yesterday a forum was held in Washington, DC titled “Deep Dive on Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy,” which was hosted by YEP, in collaboration with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT).

The YEP event was in addition to the “Ethiopia Partnership Forum” that was hosted by the U.S. State Department in DC on Thursday.

The ‘Deep Dive’ discussion was held at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and featured presentations on Ethiopia’s startup economy exploring the innovative and burgeoning IT sector as well as emerging creative industries including film, fashion and the arts.

Below are photos from the event:


Related:
U.S. State Department hosts “Ethiopia Partnership Forum”

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Why There Is A Need For A Long-Term Investment Model In Ethiopia – Forbes

An aerial view of a new industrial park built in Hawassa, Ethiopia. (GOOGLE)

Forbes

In the last several years, a growing number of global apparel companies have begun having their products manufactured in Ethiopia. For these firms, Ethiopia has become the new low-wage frontier. The East African country now competes with Bangladesh, Vietnam and other South and East Asian nations for a share of the massive volume of global garment production. In this competition, Ethiopia has the dubious distinction of offering the lowest pay anywhere in the worldwide clothing supply chain—and that’s the main reason the big brands are drawn there.

But increasingly it has become clear that these firms need to invest more resources into Ethiopia both to make their make production profitable and sustainable over time, and to ensure that Ethiopians are better off because of their presence. Among the steps they will need to take are to increase wages, enhance training, and help provide housing and other basic necessities to the young women who come from around the country to work in the clothing factories. The challenge these firms face in Ethiopia is to balance the pressures to reduce the costs of production with the realization that to succeed over the longer term, they will need to invest more money. This longer-term view is in tension with what many Wall Street investors and analysts are expecting them to do, driven in part by a mistaken understanding of directors’ legal duties to shareholders.

For the last half-century, most analysts and investors have embraced an antiquated investment model that focuses heavily on maximizing short-term shareholder returns. They have focused on these short-term returns at the expense of longer-term wealth creation for corporations and society at large. This focus took shape in the 1970s, when economist Milton Friedman and then others asserted that corporate CEOs are merely agents of shareholders, responsible for conducting business in accordance with shareholders’ core interest: maximizing stock prices. In an often-quoted 1970 article in The New York Times Magazine, Friedman wrote that corporate executives have a fiduciary duty to conduct business in accordance with the desires of shareholders, which he defined as making “as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.”

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid (AP)
Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Leaked Audio: Before Ethiopia Crash Pilots ‘Raised Boeing Safety Fears’

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines' pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS. They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times. But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people. (Getty Images)

BBC

American Airlines pilots confronted Boeing about potential safety issues in its 737 Max planes in a meeting last November, US media are reporting.

They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times.

Boeing reportedly resisted their calls but promised a software fix.

But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines’ 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people.

Currently 737 Max planes are grounded worldwide amid concerns that an anti-stall system may have contributed to both crashes.

Boeing is in the process of updating the system, known as MCAS, but denies it was solely to blame for the disasters.

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines’ pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS.

Boeing vice-president Mike Sinnett told the pilots: “No one has yet to conclude that the sole cause of this was this function on the airplane.”

Later in the meeting, he added: “The worst thing that can ever happen is a tragedy like this, and the even worse thing would be another one.”

Boeing declined to comment on the November meeting, saying: “We are focused on working with pilots, airlines and global regulators to certify the updates on the Max and provide additional training and education to safely return the planes to flight.”

Read more »


Related:

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopian CEO on Future of 737 Max (NBC)

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam speaks out about whether or not his airline will ever fly a Boeing 737 Max 8 again following the deadly crash in March that left 157 dead. "This should not happen again to any airline, even a single life should not be put at risk," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said. (NBC News)

NBC News

Ethiopian Airlines CEO wants rigorous review of Boeing 737-MAX planes following fatal crash

Two months after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board, the CEO of the airline said his crews and passengers have lost confidence in the Boeing 737-MAX and he wants the company to conduct a more thorough review of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday, Tewolde Gebremariam said that the airline doesn’t yet know if it will fly the Boeing 737-MAX planes again. But he said, “At this stage I cannot, I cannot fully say that the airplane will fly back on Ethiopian Airlines. It may, if we are fully convinced and if we are able to convince our pilots, if we are ever to convince our traveling public.”

However, he also said that if the planes were back in service, Ethiopian Airlines would be “the last airline to fly them again.” “We have not got a time to discuss on the return to service and we have made it very clear on several occasions we would not be the first one to return their airplane back to air.”

Gebremariam said it’s not enough for Boeing to only review the “MCAS” anti-stall system believed responsible for the fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. He wants a much more rigorous review of the plane.

“We strongly believe that entire flight control system needs to be reviewed,” he said.

“It’s very abnormal for a new airplane to have two accidents, fatal accidents in a span of five months,” he said. “These are brand new airplanes.”

Read more »


Related:
Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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UK Kidnapped this Ethiopian Prince in 1868, Still Refuses to Return His Remains

British soldiers kidnapped Prince Alemayehu in 1868 after they stormed and looted his father’s mountain-top palace in Ethiopia following the Battle of Maqdala. 150 years later UK is still rejecting Ethiopia's request to return his remains so he can properly be reburied at home. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s request to repatriate the remains of Prince Alemayehu is once again being rebuffed by England.

The young Prince was kidnapped by British soldiers following the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago and transported to England along with tons of stolen Ethiopian treasures.

“The Queen has sparked a diplomatic row after refusing to allow the bones of a ‘stolen’ Ethiopian prince buried in the grounds of Windsor Castle to be repatriated,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Prince Alemayehu was brought to England after his father, Emperor Tewodros II, killed himself as British forces stormed his mountain-top palace in northern Ethiopia in 1868.”

Prince Alemayehu, who died at the age of 18, eleven years after his kidnapping ordeal, is buried next to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

The Daily Mail notes that “the Ethiopian government demanded the return of his remains 12 years ago and has grown increasingly frustrated at being rebuffed by Buckingham Palace.” The report added: “Last night Fesseha Shawel Gebre, Ethiopia’s ambassador to London, urged the Queen to consider how she would feel if one of her deceased relatives was buried in a foreign land. ‘Would she happily lie in bed every day, go to sleep, having one of her Royal Family members buried somewhere, taken as prisoner of war?’ he asked. ‘I think she wouldn’t.’”

The Ethiopian government has emphasized that they would stick to their request to return Prince Alemayehu’s remains at every opportunity they have to meet with members of the British government.


Related:
The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

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A CNN Hero, A Midwife, MeTooEthiopia: 3 Great News Stories You May Have Missed

(Photos: CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu, midwife Selamawit Lake and image from Shades of Injera Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 10th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A CNN Hero from Ethiopia, an award-wining midwife, and the burgeoning #MeTooEthiopia movement that began as an Instagram post launched by an Ethiopian American activist in the Diaspora are among the timely human-interest stories that have received international coverage this week, but unfortunately has garnered very little media attention in our community.

Below are brief summaries and links to each story:

CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu

CNN celebrated Freweini Mebrahtu, a U.S.-educated chemical engineer and owner of the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products factory in Ethiopia — that produces its own patented reusable menstrual pad — as its 2019 CNN Hero for her efforts in creating public awareness about women’s health in the country and dispelling the traditionally negative perception surrounding menstruation.

“More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free,” CNN notes. “Mebrahtu, also worked for years to end the stigma around this issue by speaking to students at schools.”

As Freweini told CNN: “The whole goal was not only making the pads, but also attacking the cultural baggage to it.”

Read more »

Award-wining Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta

NPR featured a Q&A session with Ethiopian Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta who was named one of this year’s five champions by the International Confederation of Midwives.

According to NPR, “the group picked the five from nominations submitted by members from 122 countries. The goal was to honor midwives who’ve made an impact in their community. Fenta, 30, works at the Tibebe Ghion Hospital in Bahir Dar City in Ethiopia and is the department head and a lecturer of midwifery at Bahir Dar University.”

NPR also noted that eight year ago, when Selamawit was just 22-years-old, she led a crusade for higher pay for midwives in Ethiopia, where a majority of her colleagues earn about $56 to $84 a month. “We are not paid fairly,” Selamawit said.

Read more »

#MeTooEthiopia: ‘Assault is a crime, not a culture’

Public Radio International (PRI) recently highlighted the growing online campaign under the hashtag #MeTooEthiopia, which started out on the Instagram page called “Shades of Injera” in 2014 before it was transformed into a global platform for the rights of Ethiopian women a few months ago following the release of the explosive documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’

Describing efforts to promote #MeTooEthiopia PRI noted that: “on International Women’s Day this year the page featured the face of the country’s first female president photoshopped onto an image of Rosie the Riveter.”

PRI spoke with one of the Ethiopian Americans running the Instagram page who declined to share her real name — and goes by ‘S’ in the interview “because she wants to continue to post questions and speak freely about sensitive topics” and “has received threats over things she’s posted.”

PRI adds: “S. says the R. Kelly documentary made her ask, “Who are the men in their own Ethiopian community who prey on younger women?” Within days, hundreds of women and some men began sharing their own stories of sexual assault. “Everyone was saying, ‘I’ve actually never shared this before. This is my first time saying it,’” says S. “People were desperate to do something and, you know, get their story out.” The response was so overwhelming that they created a separate website called #MeTooEthiopia with the tagline, “assault is a crime, not a culture.”


Related:
Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

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Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

Boeing knew about 737 Max safety problems two years before the deadly Ethiopia and Indonesia crashes, according to a statement released by the company this week. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft/Boeing)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Boeing was aware of the software problem with its 737 Max aircraft as far back as 2017, long before the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10th of this year that killed all 157 on board as well as the prior Indonesian Lion Air accident that took the lives of 189 passengers.

Boeing made the stunning admission in a press release this past weekend noting that it discovered a software related issue with the 737 Max two years ago, but it deemed the now globally grounded airplane safe after an internal examination.

“In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements,” the statement said. “When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues.” The press release added: “That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.”

In the case of the Ethiopia crash, investigators have preliminarily ruled that a malfunctioning software flight data sensor was to blame for the accident and that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane.

The Boing revelation also comes on the heels of a recent Times article entitled “Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet” listing complaints of poor-quality manufacturing at one of its plants that raises more questions about Boeing’s overall credibility on the matter.

“Boeing is issuing a display system software update, to implement the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature before the MAX returns to service,” the press release added.

But a recently released study shows that the public is skeptical. “In a survey of 1,765 fliers conducted by Barclays Investment Bank, 44 percent of respondents said they would wait a year or more before flying the 737 Max, compared with 39 percent who said they would do so within a few months of its reentry into service,” The Washington Post reported yesterday. “Only 20 percent said they would fly on a Max as soon as the grounding order is lifted, and 52 percent said they would rather fly on another type of aircraft.”


Related:
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

According to a new study released this week by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights "Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide," AP reports. (Photo: Global Apparel Forum)

The Associated Press

Correction: Ethiopia-Garment Workers’ Pay story

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — In a story May 7 about (topic), The Associated Press reported erroneously that the apparel retailer Gap sources clothing made in Ethiopia. Gap does not source clothing made in Ethiopia and the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights regrets its error in identifying Gap in its report about labor in Ethiopia.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are the world’s lowest paid at $26 a month

By ELIAS MESERET

Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says.

The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks.

“The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95.

Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for many international brands employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales.

The new report is based on a visit earlier this year to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. Ethiopian leaders often show off the industrial park, 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Addis Ababa, to visiting foreign dignitaries.

According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members. “I’m left with nothing at the end of the month,” one factory worker, Ayelech Geletu, 21, told The Associated Press last year.

The minimum monthly living wage in Ethiopia is about $110), according to Ayele Gelan, a research economist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

“Given relatively little training, restive employees have protested by stopping work or quitting altogether. Productivity in the Hawassa factories typically is low, while worker disillusionment and attrition are high,” the report says.

Ethiopian politics are also unexpectedly disrupting factory operations. “The Ethiopian government should address ethnic tension in Hawassa and elsewhere,” the report says.

It calls on the government to implement a long-term economic plan for strengthening the apparel industry and establish a minimum wage that ensures decent living conditions.

Abebe Abebayehu, head of Ethiopia’s Investment Commission, told the AP that most garment and apparel factories prefer to locate in places with low labor costs.

“If that was not the case, Chinese companies wouldn’t have come to Ethiopia,” Abebe said. He also questioned the report’s monthly pay figure of $26 per month: “That is a basic salary but in Ethiopia the factories also provide a workplace meal and other services.”

___
Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

Related:
Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Spotlight: VOA’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

Negussie Mengesha who began his journalism career in the U.S. as an Amharic reporter at Voice of America in the 1980's is now the head of VOA’s Africa Division overseeing the agency’s nearly 125 hours of weekly programming in 16 languages on radio, television, and digital platforms to the African continent - reaching nearly 51 million people weekly. (Photo: VOA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Voice of America (VOA) has been a voice for the voiceless in Ethiopia for many decades, and one of the main people behind this effort is Negussie Mengesha, who started out as young reporter then became an editor, Amharic Chief and is now the Director of the Africa division for VOA.

In the following video Negussie explains how he fled Ethiopia in the 1970s and became a refugee in Sudan before relocating to the U.S. all because he was unable to practice his profession as a journalist in his home country due to the repressive government at the time.

Thanks to the current reforms underway in Ethiopia Negussie was able to return to Ethiopia for the first time in four decades last October. In addition to an emotional visit to his parents’ burial grounds, Negussie said one of the highlights of his trip was meeting with PM Abiy Ahmed.

“I thanked him for opening up the political space and for allowing the media to operate freely,” Negussie said. “That meeting for me was very, very important.” He added: “Freedom of the press is close to my heart. I have seen journalists killed because they wrote freely, because they exposed corruption, mismanagement or also injustice.”

As to VOA he said: “This place is more than a workplace for me, it’s like my family. I started out as reporter, then became a senior editor, then became the Amharic Chief.”

Negussie says VOA is planing to strengthen its presence in Ethiopia and added: “Hopefully one day we will have a VOA 24/7.”

Watch: Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia


Related:
Freedom of Expression: Newly Vocal Ethiopians Debate an Uncertain Future
After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension
World Press Freedom Day events raise alarm on fake news (AP)
Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Mulatu Astatke Coming to Chicago

Mulatu Astatke is coming to Chicago this month for a sold-out concert at Garfield Park Conservatory on May 14th, 2019. (Photo: Alexis Maryon (C) 2013 for Harmonia Mundi)

Chicago Reader

Mulatu Astatke continues his Ethio-jazz evolution

Vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke has a seamless way of fusing the music of his native Ethiopia with jazz and Latin music (and you can hear a little bit of R&B in that mix too). On paper this esoteric brew might seem like an acquired taste, but in reality it’s just one worldly step away from Lonnie Liston Smith, Atlantic-era Les McCann, or any other 70s musician who tweaked jazz to follow popular tastes without watering down their sounds. On Astatke’s 1966 debut album, Afro-Latin Soul, he blended Ethiopian melodies with Latin jazz so skillfully that an inexperienced listener would never know either genre had been altered, but Astatke was bringing a different spice to the table. He recorded that album and its follow-up, Afro-Latin Soul Vol. 2, while living in New York, but though his work at the time reflected the musical culture of his adopted city, he never forgot the sounds of his homeland—and in the early 70s, he brought his hybrid style back to Africa, becoming one of the founders of the Ethio-jazz movement.

Read more »


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Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas

Elias Sime. (Photo by Mekbib Tadesse)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 30th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is set for his first major traveling U.S. museum exhibition this year starting at Wellin Museum of Art in New York in the fall followed by shows at Akron Art Museum in Ohio, the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

According to organizers the first exhibition at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will be held from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature work by the Ethiopian artist spanning over a decade. The exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Elias’ latest body of work titled Noiseless is also currently on display at the James Cohan Gallery in New York City.

As the Wellin Museum notes “Elias Sime (b. 1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Addis Ababa. He is highly regarded as an artist and as the co-founder of the ZOMA Museum, the only contemporary art museum in Addis Ababa, with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.”

Below is an overview of the exhibition courtesy of Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College:

“The exhibition Elias Sime: Tightrope marks the first major museum show to focus on the work of contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968). Sime’s brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages feature found objects including thread, buttons, bottle caps, electrical wires, and computer detritus. The exhibition highlights the artist’s work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled “Tightrope,” alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist’s development. Repurposing salvaged electronic components, such as circuits and keyboards, Sime incorporates the refuse that results from technological advancement, and points to the urgency of and different approaches to sustainability. A post consumerist critique, the artist’s work is a commentary on the fact that countries in Africa are often the repositories of e-waste imported from elsewhere in the world. The work also incorporates redundant technologies from the former Soviet Union and the the West, highlighting Ethiopia’s complex political past. The resulting abstractions reference landscape and the figure, and often employ patterning drawn from traditional Ethiopian textiles. The title “Tightrope” refers to the precarious balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment. Featuring over 20 works of art of varying scales, including new work created by the artist to debut in this exhibition, Elias Sime: Tightrope explores the breath of Sime’s work which focuses on interconnectedness as both a literal and conceptual practice.”

Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime and features contributions by Tracy L. Adler; Meskerem Assegued, anthropologist, curator and founder of the Zoma Museum; Karen Milbourne, Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This book will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and Delmonico Books • Prestel.”

Additional dates for Sime’s other museum exhibitions are as follows:

Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio – February 29 – May 24, 2020

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri – June 11 – September 13, 2020

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada – December 12, 2020 – April 18, 2021


You can learn more about the Wellin Museum of Art at www.hamilton.edu/wellin

Related:
Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

ELIAS SIME, Tightrope: Noiseless, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is back in New York City with a new exhibition called Noiseless that opened at James Cohan gallery on Saturday and remains on display through June 29th. This is the Ethiopian artist’s third solo multidisciplinary exhibition at the gallery.

“Elias Sime creates intricate, wall-mounted works on a monumental scale from discarded technological components—including salvaged motherboards and electrical wires—that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to his hometown of Addis Ababa,” the press release stated. “Sime meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into abstract compositions. Sometimes his idea dictates the material, while other times the material dictates the idea. Sime titles this body of work “Tightropes,” in reference to the precision and discipline required to walk across a tightrope, as well as the tenuous balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment.”

The press release continued: “NOISELESS features ten new large scale works from Sime’s “Tightrope” series, which demonstrate the breadth and dexterity of the artist’s practice. The exhibition’s title is a reference to the creative space of free association engendered by silence. As the artist notes, “Noise is often associated with unpleasant sounds. Noise can also seem to create words, or words can be part of noise. Words channel our thinking along familiar paths towards realistic images. The absence of noise allows our minds to create unfamiliar and abstract images. The works in NOISELESS “aim to reflect the unfamiliar and abstract images created in the mind in the absence of noise.” I BURNED IT, 2019, is one of the largest and most prominent pieces presented in NOISELESS. After years of weaving the colorful wires on the small panels that make up the piece, Sime burned the surface, exposing the copper behind the colorful insulation. He remarks: “Nature is full of vibrant colors, which we humans not only enjoy, but often expect to see. I burned the surface of the painstakingly created colorful piece to invoke a dialogue about the identity of colors.”


ELIAS SIME Tightrope: Noiseless 11, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Elias Sime’s bio courtesy of James Cohan gallery:

Elias Sime (b. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has exhibited extensively around the world. Working with his long-time collaborator, curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime co-founded and designed the Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2009 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” Zoma Museum celebrated its grand opening in its new location in March of this year. Sime’s work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to the North Dakota Museum of Art. The artist designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence, London and Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; North Dakota Museum of Art; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Chicago, IL.


If You Go:
Elias Sime
NOISELESS | APR 27 – JUN 29
James Cohan gallery
533 W26 ST
New York
www.jamescohan.com

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Africa Youth Forum in Ethiopia Eyes Continental Demographic Shift

In Ethiopia 41% of the population is under the age of 15. (Photo: Young teenager with two girls in the village of Berhale, Afar Region/alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2019

Pan African Youth Forum Kicks Off in Ethiopia With an Eye on Continental Demographic Shift

New York (TADIAS) — Currently, an estimated 75% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35. And in Ethiopia — where the 2nd Annual Pan African Youth Forum got underway today at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa — the median age is 18 with 60% of the population below the age of 25. More than 40% of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15.

This could either be an opportunity or a problem depending on how well each country on the continent is preparing its youth for the future. According to World Population Review “with a 2019 population of approximately 110.14 million, if Ethiopia follows its current rate of growth, its population will double in the next 30 years, hitting 210 million by 2060. Most of the world’s population growth in the next 40-50 years is expected to come from Africa, and Ethiopia will be a large part of the growth.”

“From a demographic point of view, this calls for a paradigm shift towards the recognition and support of the youth to harness their potential by building capacity for quality education and skills improvement, health and well-being, good governance, human rights and accountability, employment opportunities, leadership skills, empowerment and entrepreneurship,” notes The African Union Commission, which is hosting the forum in Ethiopia this week.

The press release adds that Moussa Faki Mahamet, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), will be launching the “1 million by 2021 Initiative”, focusing on investing in employment, entrepreneurship, engagement, and education opportunities for African youth across the continent “while leveraging partnerships and private sector opportunities.” This initiative is scheduled to be launched via a Pan African Youth Forum under the theme “Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the Gap and Reaching African Youth.”

The African Union Commission says “Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development; mobilizing and catalyzing capital growth for youth-led start-ups; nurture start-ups; skills transfer hubs; internships and apprenticeships; digital skills; job centers; digital skills; leadership programs and exchange programmes. The initiative will bring together key continental players in the development space and the private sector to pool together resources and opportunities, within a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and Pan-African lines.”


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Addis Abeba’s Vision of New City Library

Addis Ababa. (Photo via CNN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 23rd, 2019

Addis Abeba’s City Administration Shares Vision of New City Library

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Abeba’s City Administration just shared its new vision for a city library and it’s impressive. In a recent tweet by Addis Standard, a brief video of the library plan reveals the project as scheduled to be built across from the Parliament building and situated on approximately 38,000 square meters of land. The city library is slated to have theater halls and meeting spaces as well as include an adult and children’s library sections.

Currently there are several children’s library initiatives including through the non-profit organizations Ethiopia Reads and Whiz Kids Workshop. To date Ethiopia Reads has launched over 80 public school and mobile libraries across the country, which serves over 100,000 children per year. Ethiopia Reads has also trained 150 librarians to date. The award-winning television series, Tsehai Loves Learning, launched by Whiz Kids Workshop has also expanded to include a classroom library project that provides children’s story books, flash cards, and 32 episodes of the TV series on DVD to enhance early childhood literacy skills.

For adult readers, a brief compilation of public and academic libraries in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Abeba, which was published in Against the Grain (Vol 20, Issue 1) by Marie Paiva lists Addis Ababa University as housing a multi-branch academic library with over 500,000 items as well as the Addis Ababa Public Library that is accessible for all residents, which holds mostly text collections in English. There is still a great need for more libraries and related resources in the city as well as greater opportunities for librarian training. Addis Abeba’s new city library project is a positive step in the right direction, and we hope will include texts and content that are multi-lingual and extensively diverse in subject matters.


Related:
Spotlight: Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser’s Library Foundation For Ethiopia

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Music: Dexter Story’s ‘Bahir’ Featuring Hamelmal Abate is Tribute to Ethiopia

Dexter Story's new album features mesmerizing collaborations with diverse artists including Kibrom Birhane, Sudan Archives, Haile Supreme, Hamelmal Abate and Endeguena Mulu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — One of the most captivating songs on Dexter Story’s latest album Bahir is called Shuruba, which is performed by the award-winning Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate.

“The songs are informed by my recent graduate studies on Africa and Ethnomusicology, and they feature vocalists and musicians whom I deeply respect and admire,” says Dexter who is a student at UCLA. In a recent interview with Afropunk the American musician also named Tilahun Gessesse, Bezunesh Bekele, Asnaketch Worku and Mahmoud Ahmed as some of his artistic influences.

“In light of the recent plane fatalities in Ethiopia and our nation’s focus building walls as opposed to bridges, I hope that Bahir touches hearts and brings a small measure of peace and healing to these challenging times,” Dexter added. “I am humbled by the positive response it has gotten and am grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to listen.”

In his interview with Afropunk Dexter shared that he initially saw Hamelmal perform live in L.A. during an Enkutatash celebration a few years back. “I watched her work the band and the audience into an incredibly high energy, while maintaining her poise and intonation to perfection,” he said. “She is from the beautiful multi-ethnic Eastern city of Harar and is considered one of the queens of Ethiopian music. I feel incredibly lucky that she is on Bahir.”

The other songs on Dexter’s new album include Techawit, Bila (featuring Kibrom Birhane), Gold (Sudan Archives), Ras (Haile Supreme), Mamdooh, Buna Be Chow (Jimetta Rose), Electric Gurage, Jijiga Jijiya (Marie Daulne), Chemin De Fer, Desta’s Groove, Shuruba Song (Hamelmal Abate), Bahir (Endeguena Mulu),
Abebaye (Marie Daulne).

As Afropunk notes: “Since beginning to record under his own name in 2012, Story has favored a kind of pan-African jazz/funk sound, drawing upon both the great LA music community and his ethnographic studies for inspiration and musical muscle. And the one sound that he’s taken to more than others, is the music of Ethiopia.”


You can learn more about Dexter Story and his new powerful album at https://dexterstory.bandcamp.com.

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Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

(Illustration: #MeTooEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Selemawit Tefera Kelbessa — a former Ethiopian Airlines hostess who had moved to the U.S. three years ago — was the victim of a heinous acid attack by one of her roommates in Maryland in 2018, and this past week she killed herself after having been hospitalized for nearly a year. This heartbreaking news reveals the pervasive gender-based violence that remains underreported by media outlets both in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora. However, a new and bold movement fueled by young grassroots activists has created an online platform under the hashtag “MeTooEthiopia” along with the unequivocal tagline: “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture.”

Accompanied with poignant photos and illustrations on its website the #MeTooEthiopia movement collects and shares witness testimonials that narrate the gut-wrenching processes of dealing with life-long trauma as a result of experiencing gender-based violence. The hope in this work is to break the silence around gender-based violence and prevent similar tragedies moving forward.

“Due to the severity and prevalence of such crimes, we see fit to stand on behalf of victims and bring attention to this issue,” the MeTooEthiopia organizers state on their website, emphasizing that the mission is to create awareness about “gender violence, childhood marriage and acid attack among Ethiopians around the globe” and “to provide a safe platform for victims and survivors to speak, and to connect victims with resources that can help them heal and take action.”

As BuzzFeed News highlighted in a feature last month “the spread of hashtags and testimonies across social media are forcing communities in Ethiopia and across the diaspora to confront a topic that has routinely been ignored. Created by Ethiopian American women in light of an explosive documentary about R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, #MeTooEthiopia has shown hundreds of Ethiopian women and men that they are not the only ones carrying trauma as victims from sexual violence.”

BuzzFeed adds that “#MeTooEthiopia acknowledges the specific cultural barriers women face when it comes to speaking up about sexual violence: the shame surrounding it, and the difficulty of empowering women in a society that denounces feminism as a Western product that has no place in Ethiopian culture.”

While the current political climate in Ethiopia has included a new wave of female participation in top posts in the political sector, including appointing a female head of the Supreme Court, a female president, as well as having half the Cabinet positions filled by women politicians, there is plenty of work left to do to protect the rights of women and girls. Describing Ethiopia’s new leader in this era, PM Abiy Ahmed, BuzzFeed notes that “many believe he could be the first modern-day leader to actively champion women’s rights in the country. But movements like #MeTooEthiopia want to send a message loud and clear to Abiy and his cabinet: Gender parity in the government is not enough if women are still getting abused.”


Selemawit Tefera. (Photo: Facebook)

Describing Selamawit’s horrific attack #MeTooEthiopia shared that “in 2018, Selemawit lived with four Ethiopian male roommates in Hyattsville, Maryland. After finishing her shift on a Saturday evening, Selamawit returned to her house. She then entered the kitchen, where she came across one of her roomates: Bekre Abdela. Abdela was holding a container of sulfuric acid. He splashed the acid on her face and body. She stayed in a hospital for several months after suffering second and third-degree burns. Before Selamawit took her own life on April 12th, 2019, she was hospitalized for nearly a year and had undergone numerous skin grafts. She had permanently lost sight in her right eye. Her left eye had a chance of recovering, restoring parts of her vision, which was a good news for her as she planned to study Information Technology. She was planning to have reconstructive surgery, however, the funds were hard to come by. That was, until people began to raise funds for that, her living expenses and other medical bills.”

In a petition hosted on the Change.org website and addressed to PM Abiy, the group also stated: “We believe this matter deserves immediate and intensified action on all levels. From education to bringing cultural evolution to providing services and resources for the victims and ensuring those who inflict such harm be held accountable for these crimes.” So far, the petition has received over 3,000 signatures.

Despite the deep sadness felt in reading the testimonials on the #MeTooEthiopia site, there is an undercurrent of perseverance, dedication and willpower that is strongly present. It is time to bring this discussion to the forefront and #MeTooEthiopia sums up this spirit with this Instagram post: “We Can Do It!”

And we should!


You can learn more about #MeTooEthiopia at metooethiopia.com and sign the petition at www.change.org.

Related:
Setaweet: Addis Ababa is Home to a Burgeoning Women’s Movement

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Worknesh Degefa Wins Boston Marathon

Worknesh Degefa breaks the tape to win the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa cruises to Boston Marathon title

BOSTON (AP) — Worknesh Degefa had never set foot on the Boston Marathon course before she toed the start line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Monday morning.

It didn’t stop the 28-year-old Ethiopian from conquering it on her first trip down the famed route.

Degefa broke away from the rest of the field early and ran alone for the last 20 miles to win the women’s Boston Marathon.

Degefa crossed the finish line in Boston’s Back Bay in a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes, 31 seconds.

She is the eighth Ethiopian woman to win the race, and the third in seven years. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, coming in at 2:24:13. American Jordan Hasay was third, crossing the line in 2:25:20. Defending champion Des Linden, who represented the United States in the marathon at the past two Summer Olympics, finished fifth in 2:27:00.

“Winning the Boston Marathon is super special to me,” Degefa said. “Even though I’d never seen the course before, last year I watched all the marathon coverage. I kept that in my mind.”

And for most of the race she kept the rest of the field far behind her.


Worknesh Degefa wins the women’s division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

It was Degefa’s first major marathon victory. She won the Dubai Marathon in 2017, setting an Ethiopian national record.

Linden took advantage of a rainy and windy course with temperatures in the 30s to claim last year’s title in the slowest time for a women’s winner in Boston since 1978.

A heavy band of rain moved through Hopkinton at the start line about 6:30 a.m. but tapered to a drizzle and then stopped before the women’s race began. It didn’t rain during the race, allowing the Ethiopian and Kenyan contingents to push the pace.

A half marathon specialist, Degefa took her first lead after Mile 4 headed into Framingham, followed by Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba and Kenya’s Sharon Cherop. Degefa increased the margin between Mile 5 and 6 and opened a 20-second advantage by Mile 7.

“I knew that I had some speed, so I pushed myself after Mile 5,” Degefa said.

Degefa’s pace slowed in the final three miles and she looked behind her a few times to try to glimpse one of her fellow competitors.

Kiplagat became visible again in the distance around Mile 25, but there was no time for her to close the sizeable gap.

Despite not being able to get on the podium for a second straight year, Linden had a lot of support on the course. The crowd serenaded her with loud cheers when she was introduced. At the finish, a young girl held a sign that read “Des 4 Prez.”

On a day in which the marathon fell on April 15 for the first time since the April 15, 2013 bombings, Linden said it had lots of significance for the city and for herself.

“That run down Boylston was very special to me,” Linden said. “I feel like I’ve built a name for myself in this community with these fans and they really appreciate what I’ve done over the years.

“It’s also a sign that I’m pretty old that they actually know me now.”


Related:
Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

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In Pictures: Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show

Amsale released four Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week in NYC on Friday, April 12th, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Amsale New York unveiled its Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week on Friday, April 12th in New York City. The wedding brand that was launched by the late Ethiopian-American fashion designer Amsale Aberra, who passed away last year, also announced the launch of its new ecommerce website as well as the Amsale Retailer Partner Program and the incorporation of 3-D technology into its design and development process.

“The newly debuted program is a revolutionary app-driven initiative to reward brick-and-mortar retailers with their fair share of ecommerce revenue and align the interest of the stores, the bride and the brand to ensure that the consumer has a seamless and convenient shopping experience,” the company said in a press release.

The Amsale x You collection was among the latest designs featured at the Spring 2020 runway show as well as online.

“Amsale was an early adopter of CAD design tools in its development process, endowing it with
a digital database of 32 years of perfected couture design patterns. Amsale’s most celebrated couture
dress designs from its library are now accessible and have empowered brides to choose, using a simple
interactive tool, the elements that best reflect their personal style,” added the press release. “With Amsale x You, we virtually invite the bride into our design room, to peruse our library and empower her to design her own bespoke wedding dress,” said Sarah Swann, Chief Creative Officer of Amsale New York.

Additional Amasale collections that were revealed at the fashion show included Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale and Little White Dress.

Below are photos from the Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show held in New York City on Friday, April 12th:


Related:
Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra

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Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

All smiles - Gelete Burka after winning the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)

IAAF

Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka Take Paris Marathon Titles

Ethiopia’s Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka prevailed at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 43rd edition took place on Sunday (14).

Milaw clocked 2:07:05 for a comfortable 20-second victory over compatriot Asefa Mengistu while Burka crossed the line in 2:22:47, five seconds clear of another Ethiopian, Azmera Gebru.

With his victory, Milaw put an end to Paul Lonyangata’s dominance in Paris, the 26-year-old Kenyan who was looking for a third successive victory in the French capital, a would-be record. Lonyangata had picked up a slight injury last week when he slipped and fell in training, but it wasn’t a big enough setback to keep him from the start line…


Abrha Milaw after his victory at the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)

Milaw made a big surge with three kilometres remaining, building a four-second gap on Lonyangata and Mengistu, and nine on Gachaga, at 40km, hit in 2:00:30.

He forged on unchallenged to secure the 2:07:05 victory, clipping 20 seconds from his previous best and sealing a second successive French road success after his win at the Nice-Cannes Marathon last November.

“The conditions were tough,” Milaw simply said.

Mengistu, a past winner in Seoul, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, came home second in 2:07:25, well outside his personal best, while Lonyangata rounded the podium in 2:07:29, 1:19 slower than the time he clocked last year.

Morhad Amdouni, the European 10,000m champion, was the first Frenchman, finishing eighth in 2:09:14 in his debut over the distance.

Burka impresses with blistering kick

The women’s race was as fierce as expected…Burka, who was the fastest woman in the field, lived up to her favourite’s role to capture her second marathon victory in 2:22:47. Grebu finished five seconds in arrears as Abreha came home third in 2:23:35, six seconds ahead of Calvin whose 2:23:41 performance broke the French national record.

Read the full article at IAAF.org »


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Spotlight: Mehret Mandefro’s ‘The Loving Generation’ up for Webby Award

Mehret Mandefro is the co-Director and co- Producer of the documentary 'The Loving Generation' that has been nominated for the 2019 Webby People’s Voice Award. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Mehret Mandefro in Tadias she was promoting the award-winning film Difret at a screening in New York, which was attended by the movie’s real-life inspirations Aberash Bekele as well as her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who is now the head of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court.

In prior years we had also selected Mehret as part of our 2012 women’s history month profile and highlighted her background as a physician, filmmaker, anthropologist and social change activist as well as a former White House Fellow during the Obama administration.

In her latest film project The Loving Generation — which she co-directed and produced with Lacey Schwartz — Mehret who is now based in Ethiopia and works as an Executive Producer and Social Impact Director for Kana Television, tackles the still archaic view of race here in the U.S.

The press release about the documentary notes that “The Loving Generation tells the story of how a generation of Americans born to one black and one white parent experience race and identity in a divided United States.” The film takes its title from the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country, and focuses on people born between 1965 and 1985. The documentary is the “first series of its kind to train a lens on this particular generation of Americans, many of whom have become recognized leaders in their respective fields.”

Mehret shares that The Loving Generation has been nominated for The Webby People’s Voice Award and voting by the public is currently underway. According to its website the award, which the New York Times has dubbed “The Internet’s highest honor,” recognizes 7 categories of media projects including websites, video, apps, games, and podcasts. “Members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of The Webby Awards,” states the award website. “In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. Each year, The Webby People’s Voice Awards garners millions of votes from all over the world.”


You can learn more and vote for ‘The Loving Generation’ at https://vote.webbyawards.com.

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Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List

The Pen America reading list includes Maaza Mengiste's novel 'Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.' (Photo: Pen)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 9th, 2019

Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List By PEN America

New York (TADIAS) — PEN America has released a great reading list, which includes Maaza Mengiste’s novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, in preparation for its upcoming book talk highlighting a new anthology on refugee lives. The anthology titled The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives features a collection of writings by 17 refugee writers compiled by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and includes a submission by Ethiopian American author Maaza Mengeste.

According to PEN: “As a response to President Trump’s 2017 action of closing borders from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Viet Thanh Nguyen edited a collection of eclectic refugee voices to refute stereotypes. With essential voices from around the globe, this clamorous assortment of essays reminds readers of our cosmopolitan society and the need to maintain empathy with our global neighbors.”

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: A Novel, Maaza Mengiste

“This historical fiction shines light on the Ethiopian revolution of the 1970s—a moment often glossed over in the Western world—while crafting a gripping original story. Mengiste contrasts mellifluous, emotive language with grandiose, often grotesque, depictions of civil war. A tribute to the importance of love and family even in the grimmest times, this novel is a testament to human resilience.”


Maaza Mengiste. (Photo: M.M.LaFleur)

Maaza, whose upcoming second novel The Shadow King is scheduled to be released in September 2019, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Maaza is also the “writer for the Ethiopia segment of GIRL RISING,” a feature film that tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 developing countries around the world. Maaza’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International.


If You Go:
PEN Out Loud: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Maaza Mengiste
Friday, April 26, 2019 at 7:00PM
Strand Book Store
Rare Book Room, 3rd Floor
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Click here to buy tickets

Related:
Timely New Book ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ by Owner of Buunni Cafe

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Q&A: Ethiopia’s First Female Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi

Human rights defender and women’s rights activist Meaza Ashenafi became President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in November 2018. (Photo: by Papillon pierre)

African Arguments

Meaza Ashenafi was appointed President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in November 2018. How is she faring?

As Meaza Ashenafi was introduced to the stage at the LSE Africa Summit last month, the audience went wild with rapturous woops and applause. Here she was! The first ever woman to be Ethiopia’s Chief Justice! The founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association! The architect of Ethiopia’s first women’s bank! The justice crusader whose defense of a 14-year-old child bride was immortalized in the critically-quite-liked Angelina-Jolie-executive-produced 2014 film Difret!

As Ashenafi adjusted the mic, a smile on her face, the spectators settled down. A few looked at one another in giddy anticipation at hearing this giant of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s brave new Ethiopia speak. And then she started…quietly at first, and then a little louder, and then quieter again.

The short address that followed contained little that was provocative or controversial. Ashenafi responded to her rock-star entrance by performing a gentle pan-flute-solo of a speech about the importance of rule of law and Africa’s untapped potential. Rather than exuding charismatic authority, the hugely accomplished 55-year-old was quietly measured, calm and compassionate. In other words, she exhibited the qualities one should probably look for in an arbiter of justice.

African Arguments caught up briefly with the Chief Justice after her speech to hear more about her first five months in the job.

You are now the ultimate guardian of justice in your country, but that is a very abstract concept. How would you define justice in concrete terms in the context of Ethiopia?

Justice is applying and interpreting the law, but not only that. It is also about making sure justice is served. We have to make sure trials are fair and speedy and that due process is followed. We will be satisfied in terms of delivering justice when people have access to courts, physically as well as financially, and when we have impartial and competent judges in place. Justice will be served when people can lose a case, but be comforted that the process was followed.

Read the full interview at africanarguments.org »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day

Ethiopian Airlines has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3, 2019. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines has been selected as the official carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day conference that will take place in Addis Ababa next month. This year’s conference will mark the first time in the event’s 26-year history that it will be held in Ethiopia.

According to UNESCO — the organizer of the annual international conference collaborating jointly with the Ethiopian Government and the African Union Commission — the theme of this year’s gathering is aptly titled Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.

UNESCO has announced that the two-day conference will be held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa from May 2-3, 2019.

UNESCO notes that the event “will serve as an opportunity to explore and discuss new issues and obstacles facing the press in electoral times, as well as the media’s capacity to help build a culture of peace and reconciliation. The Day will also examine concerns such as the safety of journalists (both online and offline), and how we can better push back against a growing climate of disinformation.”

Ethiopian Airlines, the event’s designated carrier, anticipates providing transport service for more than a thousand guests from around the world who are traveling to Addis for the meeting. “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.”

The announcement from UNESCO adds that “the main celebration in Addis Ababa will feature two plenaries, various breakout sessions, a youth newsroom, a photo exhibition, a cartoon exhibition, and a film screening. In addition, UNESCO in collaboration with a local university is organizing its annual Academic Conference on the safety of journalists.” There will also be pre-conference events organized by partner organizations on May 1st, 2019. As the World Press Freedom Day conference is underway in Addis Ababa UNESCO says that there will also be simultaneous events held across the globe.

For Ethiopia the conference signifies a remarkable change in just over 12 months, from having a reputation of being one of the “worst jailers of journalists in the world” to hosting World Press Freedom Day. It is worth emphasizing that at the present moment there are no journalists in prison in Ethiopia.


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Addis Fine Art Exhibit Puts Focus on New Generation of Ethiopian Photographers

(Photo by Girma Berta)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A new generation of Ethiopian photographers are redefining the way people perceive Ethiopia both at home and internationally. Among them are Girma Berta and Eyerusalem Jiregna whose latest works are set to go on display at Addis Fine Art Gallery in Addis Ababa, from April 9th through May 25th, 2019, in an exhibition titled From Our Perspective: Young Ethiopian Photographers Changing the Gaze.

“They represent the new voices in contemporary Ethiopian photography, pushing the boundaries of the medium and questioning the definitions of documentary photography,” the gallery stated in a press release. “Their works have been exhibited internationally and selected to adorn Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new public and private offices.”

Girma Berta (b.1990) is the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram grant. As Getty Images noted: “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color.” Addis Fine arts adds: “As one of the first photographers to travel to Eritrea once the blockage was lifted in June 2018, his new Asmara series documents Eritrea’s capital frozen in time. Berta, who is self-taught, uses a combination of street photography and graphic design to create images of passers-by with a painterly quality. Berta’s use of digital media, to produce and present his artworks, is in itself a commentary on the digital revolution underway across Africa. He represents the vibrancy of the millennial African.”

Eyerusalem Jirenga

“Eyerusalem Jirenga (b.1993) is an exciting emerging artist and fashion designer based in Addis Ababa,” the press release shares: “Shot in the walled city of Harar, her series titled The City of Saints, documents a living history.”

“Informed by her experience in design, Jirenga specialises in evocatively bright and discerning portraits, enliven with distinctive and striking colour detail,” states the Addis Fine Art press release. “Her use of rich textures and colours plays against the crisp focus of her photographs, enhancing their warm, visually stimulating effect. Eyerusalem Jirenga has received considerable acclaim for her work both within Ethiopia and internationally. She has exhibited in the New York photography festival Photoville 2016 and participated in the New York Times Portfolio Review 2016.” Eyerusalem has also participated in solo and group shows in Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York City.


If You Go:
More info at https://addisfineart.com.

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Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream

Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed last Sunday outside the Marathon clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: "The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage." (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

By HANNAH GIORGIS

Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »


How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots


Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)

CNN

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »


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Timely New Book ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ by Owner of Buunni Cafe

Author Sarina Prabasi and her husband Elias Gurmu at their coffee shop Buunni Cafe in NYC. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 31st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Timely, funny, and poignant the new book The Coffeehouse Resistance is “part coming-to-America story, part lyrical memoir, and another part activist’s call to action.”

We featured the book’s author Sarina Prabasi and her husband Elias Gurmu in 2014 in an interview at their Manhattan-based speciality coffee shop Buunni Cafe, which they had opened soon after the couple moved to New York from Addis Ababa in 2012.

The book launch announcement adds: “When Prabasi and her husband move from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to New York City with their young daughter in 2011, they start a thriving coffee business, grow their family, and live their American Dream. After the 2016 election, they are suddenly unsure about their new home. Reclaiming the tradition of coffeehouses throughout history, their coffeehouses become a hub for local organizing.”

As Elias says: “In Ethiopia we don’t talk about coffee, we talk around a coffee gathering.”

“This is a book we all need right now – a powerful memoir of a mother, business woman and activist who tells a coming-of-age story around the idea of coffeehouses as a nexus of family, community, and political action,” shares a reader of The Coffeehouse Resistance giving it a thumbs up under the community review section on goodreads.com. “It is a beautiful story that crosses multiple cities and covers various significant times in the author’s life,” adds another reviewer. “I very much enjoyed how coffee served as backdrop and connector weaving together various chapters of the story…learning about the culture of coffee in Ethiopia. The themes of home, love, connectedness, and optimism shine through.”

The book launch party is scheduled for April 9th at the newest Buunni location in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood.


If You Go:
Launch Party: The Coffeehouse Resistance
Buunni Coffee
4961 Broadway, New York, NY 10034
Click here to RSVP

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Anti-stall System ‘Caused Ethiopia Crash’

Boeing anti-stall system 'caused Ethiopia crash,' according to investigators looking into a B-737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 on March 10th, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. (Photo: Airplane part at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa/Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

Reuters

Updated: MARCH 29, 2019

WASHINGTON – Investigators looking into a Boeing 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people have reached a preliminary conclusion that an anti-stall system was activated before the plane hit the ground, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the matter.

U.S. safety investigators have reviewed data from the “black boxes” that were aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, four people briefed on the investigation told Reuters on Thursday. A preliminary report is expected as early as next week, the U.S. officials said.

The plane crashed on March 10 shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.

Investigators of a deadly 737 MAX crash in Indonesia in October have also focused on the new anti-stall system, called MCAS. Boeing on Wednesday said a planned software fix would prevent repeated operation of the system that is at the centre of safety concerns.

Boeing’s fastest-selling 737 MAX jet, with orders worth more than $500 billion at list prices, has been grounded globally by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other regulators, although airlines are still allowed to fly them without passengers to move planes to other airports.

The manufacturer said it had developed a training package that 737 MAX pilots are required to take before the worldwide ban can be lifted, proposing as it did before two deadly crashes that those pilots do not need time on flight simulators to safely operate the aircraft.

On Thursday, a lawsuit against Boeing was filed in Chicago federal court by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The lawsuit alleges that Boeing had defectively designed the automated flight control system. Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuit.

The amount and quality of training that Boeing and airlines provided to 737 MAX pilots is one of the issues under scrutiny as investigators around the world try to determine the causes of two 737 MAX crashes within five months.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Boeing’s development process and what Boeing disclosed about MCAS.

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Monday that a new blue ribbon commission will review how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new aircraft.

U.S. and European regulators knew at least two years before the Indonesian crash that the usual method for controlling the 737 MAX’s nose angle might not work in conditions similar to those in two recent disasters, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a document.

The European Aviation and Space Agency (EASA) certified the plane as safe in part because it said additional procedures and training would “clearly explain” to pilots the “unusual” situations in which they would need to manipulate a rarely used manual wheel to control, or “trim,” the plane’s angle.

Those situations, however, were not listed in the flight manual, according to a copy from American Airlines seen by Reuters. Boeing declined to comment on the EASA document.

NEW: Lawsuit Filed Against Boeing in U.S. Federal Court


Ethiopian official says plane crash report due this week


AP photo

The Associated Press

By Elias Meseret | AP March 26

Ethiopian official says plane crash report due this week

ADDIS ABABA — A preliminary report on a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people will be made public soon, but it may take months to finish the final report, a spokesman for the country’s transport ministry said.

“A date has not been set but it will be released later this week,” Mussie Yiheyis told The Associated Press Tuesday, adding that a high-ranking government official will announce the preliminary result.

“The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, France’s BEA and an Ethiopian Transport Ministry department have been conducting the investigation,” he said. “It has been conducted as per International Civil Aviation Organization rules and regulations.”

On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the pilots who flew the plane that crashed on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, had trained on “all appropriate simulators,” rejecting reports that they had not been adequately prepared to handle the new aircraft.

There is speculation that the software could have contributed to the crash as well as to the crash of another Boeing 737 Max, a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October.

Regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths shortly after take-off, an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max 8 planes around the world.

The preliminary report could come as early as Wednesday, the date that the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee has scheduled a public hearing on federal oversight of airline safety. Daniel Elwell, acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator; Calvin Scovel, the Transportation Department inspector general who is investigating approval of the Max; and Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, are scheduled to testify, but not anyone from Boeing.

Senators’ questions likely will focus on how much the FAA knew about anti-stall software on the Max that was not disclosed to airlines and pilots until after the Lion Air crash, and why it approved the software. It’s the focus of investigations into both crashes because it automatically points down the nose of the plane to avoid an aerodynamic stall, and there’s evidence that pilots of both jets struggled to deal with it.

The New York Times reported Monday that pilots from five airlines tested current and updated software on a Boeing flight simulator. During a test that recreated conditions on the Lion Air flight, the pilots had less than 40 seconds to override the software before the plane uncontrollably plunged toward Earth, the newspaper said, citing two unidentified people involved in the testing.

Pilots can flip one switch to reverse a move by the software to point the nose down, and they can disable the software by flipping two switches at their knees.

Pilots involved in the simulator testing followed those steps and kept the plane under control using the current anti-stall software, the newspaper reported. The Lion Air pilots, on the other hand, had received little training on the system and it was only after the plane crashed that Boeing first notified pilots of the system’s existence.

Jason Goldberg, a pilot who has flown the Max 8 and is spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, said the anti-stall system “has significant control over the aircraft — it can pitch the nose down very significantly.”

He said it was “inexcusable for Boeing to omit this information from the pilot manuals for training. It’s a serious breach of trust.”

American Airlines has taken its 24 737 Max 8 planes out of the schedule at least through April 24.

On Saturday, Boeing confirmed that updated software will rely on data from more than one sensor before it automatically pushes the nose down. The system won’t repeatedly lower the nose as it seemed to do with Lion Air, and the software-controlled movement won’t be as abrupt. The update must be approved by the FAA and other countries’ regulators.

“We’re hopeful that Boeing will come up with a fix, but the process can’t be rushed,” Goldberg said.

He wouldn’t discuss Saturday’s simulator testing but said the union is pleased that Boeing and the FAA are taking input from pilots in testing the fix.

Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, had been using five of the Max 8 planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more. The airline has not made a decision on whether or not to cancel that order.

Boeing has invited more than 200 pilots, technical experts and regulators to its factory in Renton, Washington, for a briefing Wednesday on the software update.

Tom Krisher in Detroit and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.


Related:
Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing in US
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award

Ethiopian Airlines emerged as the ‘African Champion of the year‘ at the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum, which is taking place in Kigali from March 25, 2019. Ethiopian Airlines was awarded for their intra-african partnerships, reaching 40 countries on the continent, the Africa CEO Forum said in a statement.

By Africa-OnTheRise

Ethiopian Airlines hailed as “African Champion of the year” at Africa CEO Forum Awards 2019

Ethiopian Airlines won the accolade of ‘African Champion of the year‘ at Africa CEO Forum Awards 2019 for their intra-african partnerships, reaching 40 countries on the continent. The award was received by the airline’s CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam.

“I would like to start by thanking everyone who has supported us after the tragic accident that happened to us two weeks ago. We promise to keep up the good work for the good of the African continent,” Gebremariam said in his acceptance speech.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Chief Questions Max Training Requirements
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Dallas Doctor From Ethiopia Uses Homeland Words in Practice

In this Jan. 28, 2019 photo, from left, physical therapist Binu Aramath helps Wegayehu Cheko with her leg movements as Neurologist Mehari Gebreyohanns and Cheko's daughter Hareg Wolde watch at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Chekol is from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and is recovering from a stroke she had last September. (The Dallas Morning News via AP)

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS – When Hareg Wolde arrived in the emergency room to see her mother, doctors gave her grave news. Her mother had suffered a massive stroke, they said, and she might not live through the night.

The Dallas Morning News reports Wolde was shocked. Just the day before, her mother, 68, had been strong and limber. She had climbed up and down the stairs of their Garland house with ease, cooked meals and cared for Wolde’s two young children. Now she lay unconscious, her right side paralyzed.

The situation would be upsetting for anyone. But Wolde, who is originally from Ethiopia, felt bewildered. Not only had she never heard of a stroke, but her native language, Amharic, has no term to describe the world’s second leading cause of death.

Her predicament is not uncommon in Dallas. Amharic is the fourth most commonly spoken language at Parkland Hospital after English, Spanish and Vietnamese. North Texas is home to as many as 40,000 Ethiopian immigrants and one of the fastest growing African-born populations in the United States.

Language and cultural barriers contribute to poorer health among immigrants and ethnic minorities, said Dr. Mehari Gebreyohanns, a neurologist with UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. Like Wolde, Gebreyohanns was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

To help improve outcomes, Gebreyohanns introduced a new term in Amharic for stroke: ye-angol tikat, or “brain attack.”

In January, he published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing that found broad support for the new term among Amharic speakers in North Texas.

The term “brain attack” benefits native English speakers, too, he said.

“‘Stroke’ is a very abstract term for people,” said Gebreyohanns, who sees patients at Parkland and at the neurology-focused Zale Lipshy University Hospital. “They have heard the term ‘stroke,’ but still when they come here they ask me, ‘What happened? Is it my heart?’”

When he saw Wolde later that first day, Gebreyohanns used ye-angol tikat to explain what had happened to her mother.

“It draws a very nice parallel with ‘heart attack,’” he said.

In a heart attack, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart become blocked, damaging the heart muscle. In a stroke, blood vessels supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain become blocked or rupture, killing brain cells.

He told Wolde that the parts of her mother’s brain that control movement and speech had been damaged.

“But don’t worry, I will be with you. She will get treatment,” he told her, Wolde recalled.


Hareg Wolde helps her mother Wegayehu Chekol with the assistance of physical therapist Binu Aramath during a physical therapy session at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Chekol is from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and is recovering from a stroke she had last September. (Carly Geraci/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

A word for ‘stroke’ never developed in Ethiopia because the country has faced widespread poverty, instability and a shortage of doctors to educate the public.

Gebreyohanns left the country in 1986 when he was 19 after surviving The Red Terror, a reign of persecution by its communist regime.

“They would take young people from their homes and kill them,” he said. “Many times, they would leave the body in the streets all day. We’d be walking as kids and we’d see bodies in the street.”

He lost two of his brothers during that period.

Gebreyohanns arrived in the United States alone on a student visa. He worked a variety of jobs to save for tuition and rent, including as a bell man at the Sheraton Dallas. He graduated from Georgia State University and then Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999.

Now he is taking his stroke education campaign to Ethiopia. Last summer, he launched a partnership between UT Southwestern and a large regional hospital in the northern city of Bahir Dar. The hospital serves 7 million people but has no neurologists on staff and lacks basic brain-scanning equipment.

Under the partnership, UT Southwestern experts will teach local medical personnel in Bahir Dar the basics of neurology and, each year, will send doctors and doctors-in-training to help care for patients there. There are also plans to establish a resource center for autism, which Gebreyohanns said appears to be unusually common now in Ethiopia. The center would provide care for autistic children and partner with UT Southwestern neurologists on studies of the condition’s genetics.

Gebreyohanns has also been in touch with Ethiopia’s health ministry about launching a public education campaign around stroke.

Explaining strokes to rural populations in Ethiopia comes with extra challenges, he said.

“First, you have to explain it’s not something caused by a spirit,” he said. “You have to say, ‘This is a real organic disease.’ Then you have to explain it’s in the brain. Then you have to teach them it’s the blood vessels in the brain.”

He has launched a similar campaign in Dallas, speaking on Amharic radio programs and making presentations about stroke warning signs and risk factors at local gatherings and at holiday feasts.

Had her mother fallen ill in Addis Ababa, said Wolde, her relatives may not have taken her to a doctor. Instead, she might have seen a priest and received holy water.

“People think it’s devil stuff,” she said. “Nobody has this kind of knowledge.”

Here, her mother recuperated at Parkland for several weeks before coming home and continuing physical therapy.

“She will be fine,” said Wolde, managing a smile after helping her mother through a grueling workout.

“If people know (about strokes), they will rush to take them to a hospital,” said Wolde. “That’s a good thing.”


Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com. This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Dallas Morning News

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Ethiopian Airlines Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines is pushing back against recent U.S. media reports that sought to cast doubt on the pilot training standard of Africa’s oldest and best-managed airline.

In the wake of the March 10th crash of Flight ET302 — that is hauntingly similar to the tragedy involving another Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia a few months prior — Ethiopian airlines has expressed its disappointment and frustration that U.S. mainstream news outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, are seeking to shift blame to Ethiopia’s flag carrier and its award-winning and longstanding pilot training program. It is worth noting that Ethiopian airlines has a 75-year history as a customer of Boeing.

“Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes all the baseless and factually incorrect allegations written in The Washington Post dated March 21, 2019,” the Airline said in a press release referring to a headline in The Post titled: Ethiopian Pilots Raised Safety Concerns Years Before Fatal Crash, Records Show. “All the allegations in the article are false defamations without any evidence, collected from unknown and unreliable sources and meant to divert attention from the global grounding of the B-737 MAX airplanes.” The Washington Post article had cited a 2015 complaint “filed before the Max 8 was in use” with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration by an unnamed Ethiopian pilot claiming dissatisfaction about an “allegedly flawed training programs and poor safety procedures.”

Ethiopian airlines responded that it: “operates with one of the highest global standards of quality and safety performances certified by all National, Regional and International regulators like the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the FAA, EASA, IOSA and ICAO and other national regulatory authorities,” adding that “Ethiopian is one of the leading global airlines with modern fleet, high standards of infrastructure, highly automated with the latest ICT (information and communication technology) and one of the most modern operating systems.”

The airline also shared that it “has seven full flight simulators (Q-400, B-737NG, B-737 MAX, B-767, B-787, B-777 and A-350) to train its pilots and other airlines pilots” and “has invested more than half a billion dollars in infrastructure just in the last 5 years, which is not common for a typical airline.”

All B-737 MAX airplanes have since been temporarily grounded globally while investigators continue their probe on the cause of ET 302 tragic crash.

Ethiopian Airlines also criticized The New York Times for its headline that declared: Ethiopian Airlines Had a Max 8 Simulator, but Pilot on Doomed Flight Didn’t Receive Training.

“Ethiopian Airlines expresses its disappointment on the following wrong reporting of the @nytimes,” the airline answered on Twitter tagging the newspaper. “The pilots had also been made aware of, and well briefed on the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA following the Lion Air accident.” Ethiopian Airlines emphasized that “the content of the airworthiness directive has also been well incorporated in all pilot training manuals, operational procedures and working manuals” and further noting that “the B-737 MAX full flight simulator is not designed to simulate the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) problems.”

Ethiopian Airlines had previously emphasized that the pilot in command of ET302, Captain Yared Getachew, was an experienced pilot who had accumulated 8,100 hours of flying time.

In its press statement Ethiopian airlines urged “all concerned to refrain from making uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation. International regulations require all stakeholders to wait patiently for the final result of the investigation.”


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines chief questions Max training requirements (AP)
Ethiopian Airlines was a symbol of national pride. Then disaster struck (CNN)
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Spotlight: The Haile-Manas Academy, A New World Class School in Ethiopia

Image from a video introducing the upcoming Haile-Manas Academy, co-founded by Ethiopian American author & philanthropist Rebecca Haile, pictured above as a child in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When the Haile-Manas Academy (HMA) opens its doors in Debre Birhan in 2020 it will be be among the top high schools in Ethiopia featuring international-standard curriculum and a brand new educational facility.

The private school is co-founded by Lawyer, Mother, Author and Businesswoman Rebecca Haile whose work we first featured in Tadias in 2007 when she published her memoir titled Held at a Distance: My Rediscovery of Ethiopia.

“The Academy will be a world-class co-educational secondary boarding school for 400 students of promise recruited from across the country and admitted without regard to financial circumstances,” says Rebecca. “It will be a model school in and for Ethiopia – the first of its kind.”

Rebecca, who lives in New York City, says she is inspired, like many Ethiopians around the world, by Ethiopia’s new-found optimism and sense of collective civic responsibility ushered in by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“The timing is right for this transformative undertaking,” states the website for the Ethiopia Education Initiatives (EEI), the U.S.-based organization that’s overseeing the building of the high school. “With a GDP of just $783 per person (PPP $2,100), Ethiopia is burdened with an antiquated education system, yet it has the world’s fastest growing economy in 2018, and a population of over 105 million with a median age of just 18.” EEI adds: Ethiopia is ready to transform itself into a regional leader and economic powerhouse – but Ethiopia’s young people, its greatest asset, must be equipped to forge the way forward. An investment in the Haile-Manas Academy is an investment in Ethiopia’s future – in educating its future leaders and its most engaged and impactful citizens.”

The official ground-breaking for the Haile-Manas Academy was held three months ago and “guests included government officials, community leaders, representatives from various organizations” as well as Rebecca’s friends and family.

“Beyond the ceremony, it was exciting to see a couple hundred construction employees working in parallel on over a dozen school buildings, many of which are already at first floor level,” Rebecca shares. “We are making great progress!”

For Rebecca, who is the daughter of Professor Getatchew Haile — one of the foremost experts in the ancient Ethiopian language of Ge’ez — her passion for education come naturally.

“It certainly wasn’t easy to be a refugee, to start completely over in a new country (central Minnesota to be precise),” she writes on the EEI website. “But for me, and for my sister and fellow board member Sossina, education was the key that unlocked every door. We had access to excellent schools and generous scholarship programs ensured that if we worked hard we could take advantage of every opportunity we qualified for.”

Ethiopian architect Fasil Giorghis is one of the project leaders helping to build the HMA campus with “beautiful, contextually appropriate buildings and a focus on local materials and sustainability,” says Rebecca who co-founded the school together with her husband, businessman Jean Manas, also an immigrant to the US. “In October 2018 we engaged Rama Construction, a top contractor. Along the way, we sought and received the support and good counsel of innumerable people in the U.S. and in Ethiopia, as well as critical financial commitments.”

The Board of Directors of EEI include Rebecca’s sister, world renown academic scientist Dr. Sossina Haile, as well as Former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, Reuben Brigety; Mr. Jean Manas, Chairman of the Board; Dr. Liben Hailu, Chief Technology Officer at Duracell, a Berkshire Hathaway Company; and Ms. Caroline Brown, founder at Brown & Peisch, formerly Partner at Covington & Burling, LLP.

Below is a video narrated by Rebecca Haile introducing The Haile-Manas Academy and the inspiration behind the new school:

HMA Anthem from Haile Manas Academy on Vimeo.


You can learn more about The Haile-Manas Academy and support the Ethiopia Education Initiatives at ethiopiaeducationinitiatives.org

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Filmmaker & Actor Leelai Demoz Named Associate Artistic Director at Steppenwolf

Filmmaker and Actor Leelai Demoz. (Photo: PerformInk Chicago)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 18th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Filmmaker & Actor Leelai Demoz has been appointed as Associate Artistic Director at the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

According to PerformInk “Demoz is a founding partner of Small Ax, a digital production company/agency based in Venice, California, where he produced the award-winning film “DIFRET” (2014 Sundance World Cinema and 2014 Berlin Panorama Audience Awards).”

“When I was a young actor growing up in the Chicago area, acting meant only one thing: Steppenwolf Theatre. The members of the ensemble epitomized the craft and art of acting. So to be cast in “The Grapes of Wrath” and playing the National Theatre in Great Britain as a 20-year-old was a life-changing experience.” Demoz said. “Now, after a career as a film and television producer in NY and Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to be considered for this job. I can’t think of a better place than Steppenwolf to be collaborating with so many artists who are asking fundamental questions about our community and our world. I look forward to bringing my experience, energy, passion, naiveté, and unbridled enthusiasm to my new position. I thank the Board, the staff, David Schmitz, and Anna Shapiro for this incredible opportunity. When I was acting, I was always asking the question ‘Who am I?’ Now I am most interested in the question, ‘Who are we?’ To quote Anna, I’m ready to ‘get in here.’”

“Leelai Demoz is a talented producer, administrator, artist and film maker,” says Executive Director David Schmitz. “With his variety of professional experiences, he will immediately add value to the range of projects happening at Steppenwolf at any given moment. As a department head and leader of the artistic office at Steppenwolf, he will be collaborating throughout our organization and our community, and I am thrilled that he is joining our talented staff.”

PerformInk notes that Leelai was “nominated for an Academy and Emmy Award for the documentary film “On TipToe,” which is a profile of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and was directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Eric Simonson. His other work has been seen on MTV, Discovery, Travel Channel and BET. He also directed a set of ‘get out the vote’ public service announcements for the Clinton Foundation featuring LL Cool J and Alicia Keys.” Demoz also currently serves as a Board member for The Schoolhouse Foundation and Action Civics California.


Related:
Interview with Filmmaker Leelai Demoz (2009)

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UPDATE: Flight ET302 Black Box Review

A priest cries at a mass funeral at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Thousands of Ethiopians have turned out to a mass funeral ceremony in the capital one week after the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash. Officials have begun delivering bags of earth to family members of the 157 victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is going to take such a long time. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Updated: March 17th, 2019

‘Clear Similarities’ in Boeing Crashes, Ethiopia Minister Says (AP)

ADDIS ABABA — Preliminary information from the flight data recorder of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed a week ago and killed 157 people shows “clear similarities” with an earlier disaster involving the same kind of Boeing aircraft in Indonesia, Ethiopia’s transport minister said Sunday.

The disclosure came as thousands marched in the capital of Addis Ababa, accompanying 17 empty caskets at a funeral for the Ethiopian victims of Flight 302. The caskets were empty because authorities have said that recovering and identifying the remains will take months.

The crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 on March 10 and that of a Lion Air plane in Indonesia in October — both of them Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliners — have prompted the United States and other countries to ground the aircraft.

The flight recorders from Flight 302 that went down shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa for Nairobi were recovered “in a good condition that enabled us to extract almost all the data inside,” Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges told reporters.

Information collected so far from the flight data recorder has indicated “clear similarities” between both crashes, she said. Both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were sent to Paris for analysis by the French air accident investigation agency BEA.

Moges did not elaborate on what the similarities were.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration already has said satellite-based tracking data showed that the movements of Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed off Indonesia, killing 189 people.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

Suspicions emerged that faulty sensors and software may have contributed to the crashes.

Moges said the Ethiopian government intends to release detailed findings within a month.

At the memorial service earlier in the day, some of the relatives who marched behind the flag-draped coffins were overcome with grief and fainted.

The service came one day after officials began delivering bags of scorched earth from the crash site to family members of the victims because of the problems with identifying the remains.

Family members said they were given a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) sack of dirt from the crash site. Many relatives already have gone to the dusty field outside Addis Ababa where the plane went down to pay their respects.

Mourner Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.

“He was such a good person,” Bilew said. “He doesn’t deserve this. He was the pillar for his whole family.”

Boeing Black Box Review Begins in France, Aviation World Waits (Reuters)


Men unload a case from a diplomatic car from the Ethiopian Embassy outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. The black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 arrived in France on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Reuters

By Richard Lough, Aaron Maasho

Updated: March 15th, 2019

PARIS/ADDIS ABABA – Investigators in France on Friday examined the black boxes of a Boeing 737 MAX that crashed in Ethiopia, as a spooked global airline industry waited to see if the cause was similar to a disaster in Indonesia months before.

Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa last weekend, killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving Boeing’s flagship new model after a jet came down off Indonesia in October with 189 people on board.

In both cases, pilots asked to return minutes into flight.

The international repercussions are huge. Regulators have grounded the 737 MAX around the world, and the U.S. planemaker has halted next deliveries of the several thousand planes on order for a model intended to be the future industry workhorse.

Parallels between the twin disasters have frightened travelers worldwide and wiped almost $28 billion off Boeing’s stock market value.

U.S. aviation authorities say information from the wreckage in Ethiopia plus newly-refined data about its flight path indicated some similarities.

Two sources said investigators retrieved from the wreckage a piece of a stabilizer, which moves the nose up and down, that was set in an unusual position – one similar to that of the Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia.

(GRAPHIC: Ethiopian Airlines crash interactive – tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

“NOSE-DIVE”

Pilots were waiting anxiously for the investigation.

“Looking at the crash site photos, the aircraft appears to have nose-dived,” Paul Gichinga, former head of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, told Reuters.

“The pilot must have gotten some sort of indication that maybe the airspeed was unreliable or something and decided, instead of climbing and going to sort out the problem up there, the best thing was to return to have it sorted.”

Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker, has said the 737 MAX is safe, though it plans to roll out a software upgrade in the coming weeks. It continued to produce at full speed at its factory near Seattle, but paused shipments.

French authorities have possession of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, though Ethiopia is formally leading the investigation and U.S. experts are in Paris and Addis Ababa too.

First conclusions could take several days.

The New York Times said the Ethiopian captain, Yared Getachew, initially reported a “flight control” problem in a calm voice before asking to return in panicked tones three minutes into the flight. “Break break, request back to home,” he told controllers, the newspaper reported, citing a person who had reviewed the communications.

The jet initially flew below the minimum safe height for its climb, then once at higher altitude was oscillating up and down by hundreds of feet, all at abnormal speed, the Times said. It then disappeared from radar over a restricted military zone and lost contact with air controllers five minutes after take-off.

FAMILIES “STUCK AND EMOTIONAL”

In Ethiopia, grieving relatives have been visiting the charred and debris-strewn field where the jet came down to pay last respects. Only fragments remain, meaning it may take weeks or months to identify all the victims who came from 35 nations.

Some families stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday complaining about lack of information.

Israeli Ilan Matsliah flew to Ethiopia hours after confirming his brother was on board, thinking it would be quick to find remains for burial in accordance with Jewish tradition.

“More than 24 hours is a problem for us. But I have been here for more than 96 hours,” the 46-year old told Reuters.

“We are now stuck in the same place, the same as Monday. We are very emotional.”

With heightened global scrutiny, the head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee said a report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up for release in July or August.

A preliminary report focused on maintenance, training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor.

As the ripple-effect from the Ethiopia crash spread, Canada’s biggest carrier Air Canada suspended financial forecasts for the first quarter and the year, two days after its MAX jets were grounded. It had expected the MAX to deliver significant savings on fuel and maintenance costs.

A potential new Chinese order for more than 100 jets worth well over $10 billion was thrown into doubt.

Legal experts said even non-U.S. families of the Ethiopia victims may be able to sue Chicago-based Boeing in the United States – where payouts are larger – as eight of the dead were American and plaintiffs may argue liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by executives.

Boeing, one of the biggest companies by market capitalization on the Dow Jones and a darling of the market, has seen its shares lose 13 percent since the crash.

Its shares had hit record highs just a week before, having risen a stunning 52 percent since the end of December, and were still up 19 percent year-to-date.

‘My child! My brother!’: As mourners gather at Ethiopian Airlines crash site, an agonizing search for remains (The Washington Post)


Ethiopia to Send Plane’s Black Box Abroad, as Grief Grows (AP)


Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET and YIDNEK KIRUBEL

Updated: March 13th, 2019

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Asrat Begashaw said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments. “What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said. An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

An aviation expert says investigators can expect to find multiple factors as they look for the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157. The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the latest version of the widely used jetliner. (March 11)

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

The U.S.-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Asrat, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, told the AP that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.

The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has identifying them should take five days.

More devastated families arrived at the crash site on Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.


‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash


The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were discovered on Monday. (Photo: Rescuers work at the scene of the crash near Debre Zeit on Monday, March 11, 2019/AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The “black box” voice and data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Sunday have now been recovered. Recovery of the voice and data recorders may help investigators find out the cause of the plane’s crash shortly after the pilot sent a distress call and given permission to return to the airport.

Officials have reported that there are no survivors from the flight that crashed near Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) and carried 157 people including Ethiopian Airlines crew on its way to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

“The flight data recorder (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second, while the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) preserves the recent history of the sounds in the cockpit, including the conversation of the pilots,” explains Wiki. “The FDR and CVR give an accurate testimony, narrating the aircraft’s flight history, to assist in any investigation.”


Related:
Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Flight ET302 Black Box Review Begins

Men unload a case from a diplomatic car from the Ethiopian Embassy outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. (Reuters photo)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho, Leigh Thomas

Updated: March 17th, 2019

Experts begin examining Ethiopia jet cockpit recorder

PARIS/ADDIS ABABA – Investigators hunting for the cause of the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed all 157 people on board have begun studying the cockpit voice recorder, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said on Saturday.

Experts say it is too soon to know what brought down the Boeing 737 MAX 8 on March 10, but aviation authorities worldwide have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAXs, as concerns over the plane caused the company’s share price to tumble.

A spokesman for the BEA agency said downloading the data from the recorder retrieved from wreckage was expected to take four to five hours. The BEA also issued a photo showing the recorder intact but dented by the impact of the plane’s crash into a field minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

“We are waiting for the results. We are making all the necessary efforts to identify the cause of the accident,” Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges told reporters in Addis Ababa.

“This kind of investigation needs considerable amount of time to reach concrete conclusions”.

The Ethiopian carrier said DNA testing of the remains of the people on board flight 302 may take up to six months, and it offered bereaved families charred earth from the plane crash site to bury. Passengers from more than 30 nations were aboard.

Dagmawit said temporary death certificate had been given, and a final one would be issued in two weeks time. Collection of DNA samples from relatives had begun.

Victim identification would be done to scientific international standards, and internationally-recognised organisations such as Interpol were going to be involved in the process, she said.

As families wait for the results from the investigation, Ethiopian Airlines is planning to hold a service on Sunday in Addis Ababa, at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, where many of the country’s past rulers are buried beneath its pink stone spires.

EARTH FROM THE CRASH SITE

“We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organise,” said one family member who asked not to be named.

Papers given to the families at the Skylight Hotel on Saturday said death certificates would be issued within two weeks, and an initial payment made to cover immediate expenses.

The return of remains – most of which are charred and fragmented – would take up to six months, the papers said, but in the meantime earth from the crash site would be given.

Abdulmajid Sheriff, a Kenyan whose Yemeni brother-in-law died, said the family had already held a service.

“We are Muslims we didn’t care about that (earth). We did yesterday our prayers at the mosque and that is all for us.”

Around 100 relatives, including the brother and father of pilot Yared Getachew, gathered at a memorial for the victims at the Kenyan embassy.

“His dream was to be a pilot,” said Meno Getachew Tessema, 39, Yared’s brother. “He was diligent, hardworking, he had a consistent work ethic. I would like to emphasize his record and that he was a rising star at Ethiopian Airlines.”

Flight data has already indicated some similarities with a crash by the same model of plane during a Lion Air flight in October. All 189 people onboard were killed. Both planes crashed within minutes of take off after pilots reported problems.

The grounding of the 737 MAX jets has had no immediate financial impact on airlines using the planes, but it will get painful for the industry the longer they do not fly, companies and analysts said on Friday.

Boeing plans to release upgraded software for the 737 MAX in a week to 10 days, sources familiar with the matter said.

The U.S. planemaker has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash.


‘My child! My brother!’: As mourners gather at Ethiopian Airlines crash site, an agonizing search for remains (The Washington Post)


Ethiopia to Send Plane’s Black Box Abroad, as Grief Grows (AP)


Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET and YIDNEK KIRUBEL

Updated: March 13th, 2019

The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Asrat Begashaw said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice records of the flight’s last moments. “What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said. An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.

While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.

“Similar causes may have contributed to both events,” European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.

An aviation expert says investigators can expect to find multiple factors as they look for the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157. The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8, the latest version of the widely used jetliner. (March 11)

Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

The U.S.-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. “Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action.”

Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Asrat, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, told the AP that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.

The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has identifying them should take five days.

More devastated families arrived at the crash site on Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.


‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash


The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were discovered on Monday. (Photo: Rescuers work at the scene of the crash near Debre Zeit on Monday, March 11, 2019/AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The “black box” voice and data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Sunday have now been recovered. Recovery of the voice and data recorders may help investigators find out the cause of the plane’s crash shortly after the pilot sent a distress call and given permission to return to the airport.

Officials have reported that there are no survivors from the flight that crashed near Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) and carried 157 people including Ethiopian Airlines crew on its way to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

“The flight data recorder (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second, while the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) preserves the recent history of the sounds in the cockpit, including the conversation of the pilots,” explains Wiki. “The FDR and CVR give an accurate testimony, narrating the aircraft’s flight history, to assist in any investigation.”


Related:
Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Africa’s Women Are Rising: OP-ED by President Sahle-Work Zewde (FT)

Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde: for young women particularly, seeing other women in leadership positions and non-stereotypical professions helps to expand their horizons © Getty

Financial Times

By Sahle-Work Zewde

Africa’s women are rising to challenge gender discrimination

Change is sweeping Africa. Systemic barriers to gender equity are falling and a growing number of women leaders are reshaping the continent.

Across the continent, women are increasingly challenging traditional norms by claiming positions of power and influence in our public arenas. Rwanda, Seychelles and my own country of Ethiopia now have cabinets split evenly along gender lines, with some of the most powerful posts occupied by women.

A new generation of African leaders is investing in social and human capital, universal health coverage, education and gender equality. This is a story that’s particularly important to tell as we approach International Women’s Day.

Globally the proportion of seats held in parliament by women has slowly risen from just 12 per cent in 1997 to 24 per cent in 2018. Amid this, a handful of African countries stand out. In Rwanda, over 60 per cent of members of parliament are women, and in Namibia, South Africa, Senegal and Mozambique, at least 40 per cent of parliamentarians are women.

This represents a dramatic shift in representation, inclusion and democratisation of opportunity. For young women particularly, seeing other women in leadership positions and non-stereotypical professions helps to expand their horizons. For institutions and governments, tapping the full potential of their talent pools brings diversity of perspectives and experience when hard decisions must be made.

But to enable more women to serve as leaders, we need to redistribute power and ensure equal pay at work. The International Labour Organization estimates that the gender pay gap is higher in sub-Saharan Africa than any other region in the world.

Gender equality and respect for women’s rights starts at home, where power and wealth are still in the hands of men. Yet women tend to spend more out of household budgets on providing for their families than men do. A report launched today, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, reveals that gender equality in the workplace is still a far cry. The Global Health 50/50 report: Equality Works, which looks at the policies and practices of nearly 200 organisations active in global health, shows that seven out of 10 of such organisations are headed by men.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Pictures: Girls Gotta Run in Ethiopia

The Girls Gotta Run team in Bekoji Ethiopia. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – In honor of International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated around the world today, we are featuring excerpts from a recent photo-journal from the Bale Mountains authored by Meghan Hicks, Managing Editor of iRunFar, who documented the work of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation in Ethiopia. As Meghan points out, the U.S. nonprofit “awards scholarships to girls and young women in Bekoji to give them elevated access to education, health care, organized run coaching, life-skills development, and more.”

If Bekoji sounds familiar that’s because the town is also home to some of the greatest athletes in the world including Olympic gold medal-winning long-distance runners Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, Derartu Tulu and Fatuma Roba.

In her article below, which includes intimate photographs of the GGRF program participants, Hicks takes us to the inaugural Bekoji 100 Mile Relay that took place this past January.

——–
Jaybird Deep Dive: Bekoji 100 Mile Relay (iRunFar)


The 2019 Bekoji 100 Mile Relay participants at Bale Mountains National Park the day before the relay. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

The sun has just risen, bathing the 48 of us in light the color of a wheat field ready for harvest. The air is cold and dry here at 10,000 feet above sea level, so our warm, damp breaths condense into silvery clouds about our faces as we nervously laugh, take selfies, and jog in place. Our group is composed of 15 teenage girls hailing from the town of Bekoji which is located exactly 100 miles away and where many Ethiopian elite runners train, 27 adult visitors from several countries, and six organizers and coaches. Starting in moments, we’ll all take turns running five-kilometer road segments from here to Bekoji, thereby enacting the inaugural Bekoji 100 Mile Relay…

The tarmac road upon which we run dissects the northern finger of Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park, home to baboons, warthogs, nyala, and dozens of other wildlife species…At about 24 kilometers into the relay’s route, the road crests its high point in the Bale Mountains, at 11,700 feet above sea level. Those of us who are visiting from low altitude are lightheaded and woozy, while the Bekoji girls, who live at 9,000 feet, are almost unaffected. That said, this is the first time the girls have ventured and run this high–or this far from home, for that matter, this is a huge adventure for them. Meskarem, who is running now, just doubled over to vomit on the side of the road.


The Girls Gotta Run team warms up ahead of a speed workout in the grass fields. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)


A girl strides it out while warming up for the relay in front of farmlands that are dormant in the dry season. (Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks)

GGRF coach Fatia Abdi shrieks in Amharic and the bus screeches to a halt. She and a group of people sprint off the busses and to Meskarem’s side, offering her a sip of water and a couple supportive hands on her back. These mountains are today’s first tangible obstacle…

The GGRF girls are accustomed to obstacles, or at least that which Westerners would perceive as significant challenge: poverty; limited access to pretty much every basic resource such as clean water, clothing, and nutritious food; decreased access to education; it goes on…Describes Kayla, who has been a part of the American nonprofit GGRF since 2011 and who lived in Ethiopia for four of these years to help develop its programs, “Girls face an enormous number of challenges in their personal and social lives, especially around adolescence, including early marriage, dropping out of school, domestic violence, social isolation, limited economic opportunity, and more.” To address this, GGRF provides three-year academic and athletic scholarships to girls starting around age 12 or 13, the average age of early marriage in Bekoji. The program’s goal is to supply girls with the tools they need to successfully navigate their volatile teenagerhood.

“GGRF also works with each girl’s mother,” says Kayla, “to help them gain access to the resources and skills that allow them to support themselves and their daughters in school and otherwise.” In Bekoji, GGRF supplies scholarships and support to 60 girls and their 60 mothers.

The point about GGRF’s run training must be emphasized. Bekoji is a running town. Not everyone runs, but hundreds do and pretty much everyone understands the sport’s national importance. Ethiopian Olympians galore have come from and trained in Bekoji. Think Kenenisa Bekele, Derartu Tulu, and Tirunesh Dibaba, okay? Running is a lifeblood of Bekoji, and a GGRF cornerstone.

“Running has become a space in Ethiopia where women have been able to express power through sport, to create their own educational and economic opportunities nationally,” emphasizes Kayla. “We work with the idea of using sports to renegotiate the norms of what it means to be an adolescent girl in Ethiopia.”

Read more the full article and see photos at irunfar.com »


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Spotlight: Ethiopian Sirak Seyoum Ready to Climb Mount Everest

High altitude climber Sirak Seyoum, photographed in Peru three years ago, is scheduled to climb Mount Everest from April to June 2019. What’s more Sirak’s fundraising will also help Addis Abeba City Administration’s new trust fund to assist street children. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – His goal is to climb to the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth, and plant an Ethiopian flag to exemplify this new era of optimism and change in Ethiopia. If he succeeds Sirak Seyoum, an Electrical Engineer from Nevada and an elite high altitude climber, will become the first Ethiopian to conquer the world’s tallest mountain, which has been in his sights for the past ten years.

Sirak first shared his adventures as an avid mountain climber with Tadias in August 2009. “I knew after climbing my first peak, I have found my passion,” he told us then. “A passion similar to life itself, life doesn’t stop if the going gets hard, we simply rise up and keep moving.”

Reflecting on his aspirations to climb Everest Sirak had vowed: “Practice will be my top priority until the day comes for me to do this mission.”

And practice he has for more than a decade, trekking faraway peaks from Mt. Chopicalqui and Mt. Pisco in South America to White Pinnacle in Nevada, USA. “He is the only Ethiopian who has already conquered so many mountain peaks in some of the remotest parts of the world, where the Ethiopian flag was quietly raised at the highest points of continental regions,” states Sirak’s fundraising page. “He is taking 11 years worth of extreme mountain climbing experience, to the top of the world April-June 2019.”

What’s more Sirak’s fundraising will also help Addis Abeba City Administration’s new trust fund to assist street children.

“As part of the recent socio-political change sweeping through Ethiopia, Addis Abeba City Administration has launched a trust fund that began the work of caring for 2865 street children (as of March 1, 2019) who flood in from regional states with no means for survival,” the announcement said. “Sirak has arranged with the city government to donate 10% of all funds raised to support this initiative.”


You can learn more and support Sirak at www.gofundme.com.

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Spotlight: Ethiopian Movies at New African Film Festival in Maryland

Three new Ethiopian films: Fig Tree, Found in a Dream and Fortuna will be screened at the 2019 New African Film Festival at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Images: Courtesy AFI)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian selections at this year’s New African Film Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland includes three movies from the Diaspora highlighting the diversity of present-day Ethiopian global experience, from being a refugee in Europe to growing up as an adopted child in Australia to an Ethiopian-Israeli story of love and separation during the turbulent 1980s.

In the film Fortuna (French and Amharic with English subtitles), Ethiopian actress Kidist Siyum plays a teenage girl named Fortuna whose family, like thousands of other Ethiopian migrants, had braved the Mediterranean in search of a better life on the other side of the sea. But Fortuna has not heard from her parents since they landed on the shores of Lampedusa, Italy. “Together with other refugees, she is given shelter for the winter in a Catholic monastery in the Swiss Alps,” the filmmakers share in their synopsis. “This is where Fortuna meets Kabir, a 26-year-old refugee with whom she falls desperately in love. Their relationship develops in secret until the day Kabir mysteriously disappears following a police raid.”

Helen Kassa’s Ethio-Australian film Found in a Dream is also slated to screen at the 2019 New African Film Festival. “Set in Australia and Ethiopia, Found in a Dream explores the journey of a young adopted Ethiopian-Australian man struggling to find his path,” the announcement said. “Abeselom (Sammi Obamah) is a drug dealer living in Melbourne. Experiencing isolation and navigating between doing what is right and doing what he must to survive, Abeselom’s world is changed when he meets a young nurse named Netsanet (Netsanet Tefera). Found in a Dream is about love, culture and, ultimately, finding comfort within connection.”

The third film tilted Fig Tree (Ye Shola Zaff) takes place in Addis Ababa at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War in the late 1980s. Fig Tree is directed by Ethiopian-Israeli filmmaker and writer Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian. “Sixteen-year-old Mina (newcomer Betalehem Asmamawe) lives with her brother and grandmother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper,” notes the film summary. “The family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where Mina’s mother awaits. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend, who lives in the woods so as to evade being drafted into Mengistu Haile Mariam’s army. When Mina hatches a scheme to save Eli, everyone and everything seems set against her. Fig Tree offers a rare opportunity to better understand the impact of civil war on the lives of ordinary people — and it pulls no punches.”


Learn more about the New African Film Festival at AFI Silver: https://silver.afi.com.

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The Concept Behind the Adwa Pan-African University: Interview with Dr. Ayele Bekerie

Professor Ayele Bekerie in New York, November 2018. (Tadias photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Establishing the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was a monumental moment in history. It was a nod of acknowledgement for Ethiopia’s maintenance of its independence from colonization as well as its deep support for the decolonization of the African continent. A new university is now being established as Adwa Pan-African University (APAU), and it is envisioned as a timely gift from Ethiopia to Africans worldwide.

The university, which is set to be built on a beautiful 150 acres in the foothills of Adwa, will have a panoramic view of the town’s legendary mountains — where the scene of Ethiopia’s resounding victory against the invading Italian forces occurred on March 1st, 1896. APAU will serve as one of the leading centers of academic research and study exploring contemporary and historical Pan-African issues.

In an interview with Tadias, Professor Ayele Bekerie, who is managing the project, said that the new institution is also a tribute to Ethiopian history and the triumph at Adwa that marked “the beginning of the end of colonization around the continent and beyond.”

“Why are we establishing a university as opposed to a museum? asked Dr. Ayele. “Because university is a place where knowledge is produced; it’s a place where you have a sense of permanency.” He added: “It’s a cultural institution in which we are able to study all issues pertaining to the African people. You research it, write about it, analyze it, critique it, evaluate it and in the process you generate knowledge. And once you have knowledge and data then you can utilize that information to engage and converse with the world on your own terms and with your own original ideas.”

The land for the university was donated “with the generosity of the people of Adwa as well as the regional and federal governments,” Dr. Ayele said. “The Ethiopian government has given us initial seed money of 200 million birr to build the school.” Dr. Ayele pointed out that it’s equally important to mention that the idea to build APAU came from citizens, not the government. “We are also looking at several other sources of local, regional and international funding including partnerships with UNESCO and the African Union.”

Dr. Ayele, who is an Ethiopian-American scholar is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the PhD Program in Heritage Studies as well as Coordinator of International Affairs department at Mekelle University’s Institute of Paleo-Environment and Heritage Conservation. He is also a contributing author in the acclaimed book, One House: The Battle of Adwa 1896 -100 Years, and the author of the award-winning book Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles. Dr. Ayele was back in the U.S. this past fall promoting the concept for Adwa Pan African University among his academic colleagues in the United States and within the Ethiopian community in the New York/Tri-state area. His stops included Cornel University where he was previously an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center before returning to Ethiopia; as well as Columbia University, The Schomburg Center in Harlem, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“Part of my trip here was to recruit scholars that can help us build this momentous institution,” Dr. Ayele told Tadias. “In fact a very prominent Pan-African scholar at Cornell University, who was my former advisor, is willing to come and work with us is in building the curriculum and so it’s those kind of scholars not only from the U.S. but also Africa who are eager to participate and we are happy to attract.”

Dr. Ayele noted that in April 2018 a major international conference was held in Adwa, to discuss the launching of the new university, where invitees included scholars from the United States, Europe and Asia.

“At that conference we identified the key tasks that needed to be carried out in order to bring the establishment of the university into reality,” Dr. Ayele said. “We constituted four committees: on curriculum, architecture, fundraising, as well as documentation and archive.”

Dr. Ayele says this effort also includes identifying existing African cultural centers across the globe. “For instance you have the Mandela Center in South Africa,” notes Dr. Ayele. “You have the Senghor Cultural center in Senegal, you have the Nkrumah and Du Bois cultural centers in Ghana, and they have this fascinating museum that houses Adwa collections at St. Petersburg in Russia, because Russia was an ally of Ethiopia during the battle,” Dr. Ayele continued. “The Russians worked as Red Cross volunteers and were strong supporters of the Ethiopian cause, which the world does not know, and because of that they have an excellent collection from the battle. So this university is going to link itself to all of these various institutions.”

In terms of its curriculum, Dr. Ayele shared that they’ll start with a graduate program and the major fields will focus on humanities, social sciences, information sciences and technology. Dr. Ayele said some scholars who came for the international conference last April also suggested that they include military science primarily “to demonstrate that the battle of Adwa was not a fluke – there was specific military tactics and strategies that were utilized in order to decisively defeat the Italians,” Dr. Ayele emphasized. “So we have to build on that tradition and study the military science of African people.”

Dr. Ayele added that “it is not too difficult to start with a graduate program. In general it requires that you identify Pan-African scholars in the world and ask them to supervise the research work of students who are going to enroll in our program. So we intend to start with Masters and PhD level curriculum, and after that depending on the strength that we have, we’ll start an undergraduate program.”

“The vision is that students will be recruited from all corners of Africa as well as the Diaspora and acceptance will be merit-based,” Dr. Ayele shares. “The center of excellence is Pan-Africanism, meaning defining, analyzing, interpreting and advancing Pan-African issues. So it’s not going to be an ordinary university. It’s going to be a stand-alone institution that will be studying, promoting, protecting and explaining the interest of the African people as well as finding a way for Africans to live in peace with themselves and in peace with the rest of the world. That’s our vision. So when we open this institution we are not going to limit our activities only to Ethiopia, Africa or a particular ethnic group or tribe; we’re going to link ourselves as a member of the globe so it will enable us to think and look at and search for the bigger picture,” Dr. Ayele argued. “That’s very important especially in the context of what’s going on now.” He said: “Because it’s when you start to project yourself beyond your immediate identity that you start to kind of recognize the enormity of your own history and making it richer.”

Ayele reminds us that the first important congress of Pan-Africanism was held in London in 1900, four years after Ethiopia’s victory at the battle of Adwa. “What’s interesting is that immediately after the victory at the Battle of Adwa a Pan-Africanist by the name of Dr. Benito Sylvain — a Haitian who used to live in Paris — traveled to Ethiopia to congratulate Menelik, and had extended an invitation to the Emperor to attend the London conference.” Although Menelik did not travel to England personally he appointed Dr. Sylvain to represent Ethiopia at the gathering. “What’s important here is that 4 years after the victory at the Battle of Adwa you have Ethiopia being engaged in Pan-African issues,” Ayele said. “Of course in those times the most pressing issue was colonialism, and therefore this movement established first to articulate the interests of African people, and then to fight against colonialism. So that particular conference is directly linked to Adwa and there is a historical Pan-African connection there.”

The building of the university is also in line with agenda 2063, which is a resolution passed by the African Union “projecting what kind of people we are going to become, and the kind of unity that we’re going to establish by the 100th anniversary of the AU,” Dr. Ayele explained. “That was resolved during the 50th anniversary of the African Union some few years back. So now we are at a moment where Africans are thinking, critiquing and evaluating what they regard is their place in the world.”

As the concept paper for the university shared with Tadias highlights:

The Battle of Adwa is well documented and its literature can be found in almost all the major libraries of the world. Institutions of higher learning, and in some cases, high schools have incorporated the Battle and its outcome in their curricula. And yet at the very site of the battlefield, in Adwa, there are no battlefield markers, museums, or monuments. Historically, while Adwa signifies resistance and freedom to the people of Africa, Adwa remains unmarked and undeveloped. The historic victory appears to have more significance outside than inside the country. It is therefore critical to capture the dynamics and meanings of the victory at Adwa for posterity and for the generations to come. Hence, there was a widespread call and a succeeding unanimous approval, locally and internationally, for the establishment of Adwa Pan-African University (APAU).

Adwa is the spark for the global Pan-African Movement. Adwa imparts can do-ness and affirms the possible. It is undoubtedly a source of inspiration for anti-colonial struggles. This key symbol of resistance and freedom deserves a permanent institution to document and narrate the Battle. It is therefore necessary to establish an institution that is capable of perpetuating the victory and its Pan-African implications for generations. It is in this context that the need for the establishment of APAU was announced and measures for its implementation were adopted. APAU, which is the first of its kind, strives to immortalize the victory at the 1896 Battle of Adwa. The lessons from the preparation to the Battle, the coming together of virtually all Ethiopians in defense of their country and ultimately their victory remain historic and educational. The lessons are the basis for the establishment of a Pan-African institution of higher learning. Successfully repulsing the colonial aggressor imparts lessons valuable to all freedom lovers in the world.


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

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Financial Times Interview With Abiy Ahmed

This is Abiy Ahmed's first one-on-one interview with the international media since he took office as Prime Minister of Ethiopia last April. (Photo: Abiy Ahmed is pushing an agenda of 'privatization with zero corruption' © Aron Simeneh)

The Financial Times

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Africa’s new talisman

It is the compound from which Emperor Menelik II conquered swaths of territory, where Haile Selassie passed judgment until he was toppled by a Marxist revolt in 1974, and from which Meles Zenawi, strongman prime minister until his death in 2012, plotted an Asian-style economic miracle on the Nile.

Surveying the same 40-hectare plot in the centre of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Abiy Ahmed, the most talked-about leader in Africa, sets out his grand plans for transforming Ethiopia…

In Mr Abiy’s first one-on-one interview with the international media since he was catapulted to the premiership last April, he alternates between homespun prophet, hard man and visionary leader. He mixes humour with a tactile arm-grab worthy of LBJ. His sentences, delivered in proficient English, are laced with biblical references, big data and Michael Jackson. Committed to opening up Ethiopia’s closed political system, he is fascinated by the nature of popularity.

“If you change this,” says Mr Abiy, gesturing to the rubble-strewn compound and the rapidly changing skyline in the capital beyond, “you can change Addis. And if you can change Addis, definitely you can change Ethiopia.”

Improving his own surroundings, he says, is a metaphor for the transformation of a country that has, for 15 years, been the best-performing economy in Africa, but whose authoritarian government provoked a sustained popular uprising.

On his first day, he says, he ordered an overhaul of his office. In two months, what had been a dark and austere interior became a blindingly white luxury-hotel-style affair, replete with wall-to-wall videoconferencing screens, modern art and sleek white rooms for cabinet meetings and visiting delegations.

Cluttered storage rooms are now pulsing data banks and the ground floor is a California-style café — white, of course — where the premier’s mostly western-educated young staffers can sit and brainstorm. “I want to make this office futuristic. Many Ethiopians see yesterday. I see tomorrow,” he says. “This place has gone from hell to paradise.”

Read the full article at ft.com »


Related:
PM Abiy Ahmed Named Among Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2019

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Quartz Africa on Design Week Addis Ababa

Founder Metasebia Yoseph. (Design Week Addis Ababa)

Quartz Africa

Design Week Addis Ababa wants to turn Ethiopia’s growing economy into a creative one

Addis Ababa is determined to rebrand itself as a global city, with a hi-speed train and high-rise buildings quickly replacing its old-world charm. Part of what will maintain its distinction is the proper recognition of Ethiopia’s historic culture.

And why shouldn’t the city market its culture to the world, and its own citizens, asks Design Week Addis Ababa founder, Metasebia Yoseph.

Yoseph was born and raised in the United States but joined the returning Ethiopian diaspora in 2013. With art history as a major, she came back to gain work experience in the national museum but found that Ethiopia’s cultural and historical artifacts were often neglected. She returned to the US to complete a graduate degree in communication and came back to convince Ethiopian businesses that what they need was a good PR strategy.

It was a hard sell, but the 35-year-old convinced an old family business to start a Facebook page. It was Ethiopia’s weavers, carpenters and your designers reinventing an old craft that she was more interested in selling, though. Local businesses would rather work with suppliers in Dubai or Cape Town “because that is being perceived as the best.”

“This disconnect between the commercial, creative and cultural was really what I was trying to fill the gap in,” she says.

Joseph started Design Week Addis Ababa in 2015, mostly out of her own pocket with one sponsor on board, French beverage giant Castel, who produce Ethiopia’s Rift Valley wine.

This year was a turning point though: political optimism under president Abiy Ahmed has brought more attention to Ethiopia’s capital. Tourism Ethiopia has come on board, designating it as a “destination event,” and Heineken signed up as an event sponsor.

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: Design Week Addis Ababa 2019 (TADIAS)

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Spotlight: Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser’s Library Foundation For Ethiopia

Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser, Founder of the Library Information Foundation For Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: February 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — If it was up to Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser — an Ethiopian-American social entrepreneur in Oakland, California who is the Founder of the Library Information Foundation For Ethiopia (LIFFE) — every child in his native country would have free access to a library and computer within walking distance of their home. The motto on his organization’s website says it all: “A country that reads is a country that leads.”

The vision for the foundation started more than two decades ago. At the time Ahmedin was a recent graduate of Cal State Hayward University where he studied accounting. Soon after graduation he organized a group of friends and enlisted Stanford University to ship 5,000 new books to Addis Ababa University, including his own college textbooks.

Since then Ahmedin’s non-profit organization has opened 22 libraries in Ethiopia, including at Sululta, Dejen, Bethlehem D/Zeyt, and Mekane Iyasus D/Zeyt Secondary Schools, the Future Generation Schools in Kara Kore, Kore Lafto, Mekanisa and Ambo, as well as Azezo Higher Preparatory School in Gondar, Afar Semera University and Kaliti Prison.

Ahmedin who is preparing to go to Ethiopia this month tells Tadias that his next project will focus on opening a library at a high school in Jimma.

Ahmedin’s work to establish libraries across Ethiopia has been compared to that of Andrew Carnegie, albeit without the American steel magnate’s unlimited financial resources. “At the dawn of the 20th Century, wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie began creating his legacy by building libraries across this country,” the CBS owned KPIX-TV in San Francisco enthused in local broadcast featuring Ahmedin’s work a year and half ago. “That’s sort of what Ahmedin Mohammed Nasser has done, but he laughs when asked if he’s a wealthy man.” KPIX added: “His is a legacy created not from the wallet, but from the human heart.”

“Without libraries what have we?,” the late American author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury once famously mused. “We have no past and no future.”


To learn more about Ahmedin’s foundation and get involved please visit www.1liffe.org.

Related:
Watch: Oakland Man Sends Books, Computers To Ethiopia, Creating 22 Libraries (KPIX CBS SF Bay Area)

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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Meet the Music Mogul Bringing Motown Back – InStyle

Ethiopia Habtemariam, a first-generation Ethiopian-American, is the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records. This year in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary Ethiopia is releasing a documentary on the legendary American record label. (InStyle)

InStyle

Ethiopia Habtemariam has been working in the music industry since she was a 14-year-old intern at LaFace Records in Atlanta. After turning that job into a full-time position right out of high school, the wunderkind shot straight to the top. Now, at 39, as the executive vice president of Capitol Music Group and the president of Motown Records, she is one of the most powerful women in music. Habtemariam is respected for her ear (with an impressive roster of signed artists like Justin Bieber, Ciara, and J. Cole) and her resolve. “Anyone I’ve ever signed, I really believe in,” she says. “And either you get it or you catch on eventually.”

Most recently, she was responsible for bringing rap trio Migos to Motown, which helped lead to the label’s new awakening. For Motown’s 60th anniversary this year, she’s releasing a documentary on its soulful roots and building on innovative successes like Netflix’s animated series Motown Magic. “I’m bringing back f—ing Motown,” she says, smiling. “That’s badass. This is the most legendary label in music. When you think about what started in a small neighborhood in Detroit and all its superstars [e.g., the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes] who went on to touch the world with their music — I want to remind people of that.”

Leading lady: “The reality is there aren’t many women or women of color who have ever been presidents of a company,” she says. “Having my family’s support from the beginning was dope because that’s not common for immigrant parents, especially in the music space.” Today, the first-generation Ethiopian-American is determined to link arms with like-minded ladies. “If you’re the only woman in the room, that’s a problem,” she says. “Once you have power and people are listening to your voice, you have to include other women.”

Music to her ears: Corporate meetings play a large part in Habtemariam’s day-to-day schedule, but she still carves out time for what she loves most: finding and developing young artists. “I have to stay close to the music and do the things that feed me,” she says.

Read more »


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Jomo Design at Black Artists & Designers Guild Spring Preview

Jomo Tariku, owner of Jomo Furniture, in New York City on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 showcasing his work during the spring preview hosted by the Black Artist & Designers Guild. (Tadias photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Updated: February 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — From the Nyala chair — inspired by the mountain antelope that is endemic to Ethiopia– to the Kebero and Mukecha stools as well as the Ashanti seats from Ghana and the Maasai chair from Kenya, there is nothing like Jomo design when it comes to contemporary furniture style representing a diverse array of African aesthetics.

Jomo Furniture, founded by Ethiopian American designer and entrepreneur Jomo Tariku, was featured in New York City at the spring preview of the Black Artist & Designers Guild (BADG), which was held on Tuesday, February 12th at Décor NYC in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

“BADG (Black Artists + Designers Guild) is a curated collective of Black Artists and Designers throughout the African diaspora,” states the organization’s website. “We create contemporary art, textiles, furniture, interiors, and architecture for bespoke residential, commercial and hospitality spaces.”

BADG’s site adds that their mission is to “create a global platform showcasing the works of Black Artists + Designers of the African diaspora who are passionate about creating art, home furnishings, interior and exterior spaces around the world.”

In addition to Jomo Furniture the spring preview also included works by Malene B. Atelier (ceramics), Lisa Hunt (fine art), Kelly Marshall (photography), Nasozi Kakembo (textiles), Marie Burgos (furniture), Livvy & Neva (pillows), Sheila Bridges Home (wallpaper), Da Brand (home accessories), and Studio Lani (Lighting).

In 2015 a book published by Thames & Hudson titled, Contemporary Design Africa — the first of its kind — dedicated a section for Jomo’s designs along with fifty artists from Africa and the Diaspora “all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors.”

Jomo tells us that his furniture is available for licensing, and the designs could be manufactured for any potential large orders including “pieces for lodges and hotels as well as any residences that want to create unique spaces.” We couldn’t agree more.


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

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Spotlight: Generation ‘Anbessa’ New Ethiopia Movie at Berlin Film Festival

'Anbessa' is making its world premier at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2019 Berlin Film Festival is underway this week and the Generation section of the program features a new film from Ethiopia titled Anbessa, which is executive produced by model and humanitarian Gelila Bekele. In the film a young boy from the Ethiopian countryside named Abisef recreates himself as a lionheart hero in response to the unsettling modernization and construction that is altering his life and community forever.

“You know, hyenas aren’t the bad ones,” his mother tells Abisef in one poignant conversation referring to the people from the city who want to buy her home so they can develop condos. “These days it’s humans you should fear.”

In a review titled ‘Anbessa’ Critiques a Country through the Eyes of a Child,’ Redmond Bacon points out that : Anbessa is the Ethiopian word for “Lion” — a creature accorded symbolic status in the country’s mythology. The Lion of Judah, for example, was used on their old imperial flags and currency, and can still be found around the streets of Addis Abeba today. It is also strongly related to Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s defining figure that Abisef often swears by. Thus, by dressing up as a lion and pretending to banish the hyenas — a metaphor for the land dealers who want to take his house — Abisef stands strong as a symbol of the country’s pride under such hardship.”

The website for the 2019 Berlin Film Festival adds: “Abisef and his mother defy the newly-built housing estate which is like all the other ones springing up all over Ethiopia and continue their life within the traditional village community: grazing their animals, tending their gardens and picking fruit off the trees. Abisef’s hut lacks electricity, but the windows of the surrounding high-rises outshine the moon at night. Abisef scours the new city’s streets for electro-junk and builds a spaceship with an engine. His mother recounts ancient legends. Real estate developers buy up more land. Abisef feels increasingly threatened, stalked by the invisible hyena that haunts the area. With a sensitive grasp of her protagonist’s emotional reality, the documentary filmmaker and camerawoman Mo Scarpelli traces Abisef’s transformation into Anbessa, the lion.”


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Meet Ethiopian American Tsion Yared: High School Runner of the Year in Florida

High School student-athlete Tsion Yared has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year. (Photo: Pine Crest School)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 9th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American student athlete Tsion Yared has won the most prestigious award in high school sports. Tsion, a student at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year and is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

“The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Yared as Florida’s best high school girls cross country runner,” the press release said. “Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award, Yared joins an elite alumni association of past state award winners in 12 sports.”

“Tsion had a remarkable track season last spring, and that propelled her into her best summer of training and her best cross country season ever,” said Paul Baur, Pine Crest Cross Country and Track & Field Program Head. “Her individual accomplishments are staggering, but how she brought the team together this season — despite our injuries — and to a finish on the podium for the seventh year in a row, will be something her teammates cherish forever.”

According to Pine Crest School, ‏Tsion is “one of only 15 girls to have won three or more Cross Country State Championships in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) history.” The press release added: “Earlier this year, Tsion was named Broward County Runner of the Year by South Florida The Sun Sentinel, and named the 2018 Class 2A Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association.”

The award website also notes that Tsion “has maintained a weighted 4.85 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her senior year of high school this fall.”


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Edelawit Hussien’s New Film Reflects on Her Generation in Ethiopia & Diaspora

Filmmaker Edelawit Hussien. (Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Edelawit Hussien, a 23-year-old Ethiopian filmmaker who is living between New York and Berlin recently shared her upcoming short film with Tadias, which follows three Addis Abeba-based teenagers on a road trip to Lake Langano.

“My work aims to explore dual identity and global exchange motivated by my Ethiopian upbringing within an American context,” Edelawit tells Tadias.

“After graduating from New York University where I studied politics, film, and African studies, I worked within the commercial and branded film sphere before relocating to Berlin to exclusively work on independent filmmaking.”

The film tilted Wallahi, I Will Be Somebody “takes inspiration from the energy of Ethiopia today, a time of excitement and change,” Edelawit adds. “With its growing art community, young people are looking to connect the traditional with the modern as well as build a bridge between Ethiopians within the nation and in the Diaspora. These endeavors have manifested into music, art, fashion, culture and cinema.”

In the short film the three teenagers — Tefera, Omar and Miki — are in an uncertain stage of their lives, “that youth all over the world experience,” explains Edelawit. The film’s Indiegogo page describes how “this uncertainty ranges from how they will make a living, and what kind of life they see for themselves, to how to maintain the joys of their youth.”

According to the project’s website, as the audience, we will also “see how their surrounding affects them as the city evolves and as do the residents. Through a series of vignettes, we are transported in time and space from an elderly couple drinking macchiatos at a Piazza cafe to kids selling toys at a busy roundabout. With poetic moving image chopped throughout the work, the film carries an experimental twist in its meditation on the changing notions of culture, city landscape and societal expectation through an honest look at the youth experience in this evolving time.”

Edelawit shares that the film’s producer is 28-year-old Ethiopian-Swedish Adelia Shiffraw who is currently working in commercial and film production sector in New York City. The filmmaker describes Adelia as an artist who “supports the amplification of minority voices and the preservation of their stories and experiences through film with particular interest in narratives exploring race and representation in a global context.”

Why are they making this particular film?

Edelawit quotes from a play by Suzan-Lori Parks’ noting: “You should write it down because if you don’t write it down then they will come along and tell the future that we did not exist.”


You can learn more about Edelawit Hussien’s new film and support her fundraising campaign at www.indiegogo.com.

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Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Campaign

Addisu Demissie will run the 2020 US Presidential Campaign of Senator Cory Booker. (Photo: 50+1 Strategies)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 4th, 2019

Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

New York (TADIAS) — U.S. Political Consultant Addisu Demissie has been hired to manage the 2020 presidential campaign of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who announced his candidacy for the White House on Friday, February 1st.

Addisu, an Ethiopian American, is a graduate of Yale University as well as the law school. This past November he managed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s winning campaign. In 2016 Addisu was the National Voter Outreach Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Prior to that he successfully led Cory Booker’s election in 2013 as he ran for Senator in New Jersey. Addisu started his campaign management and community mobilization career as the Ohio Get Out The Vote Director for Obama for America in 2008.

Addisu who currently lives in Oakland, California is also the Founding Principal of 50+1 Strategies, a national political consulting firm launched in 2012.

Below is Addisu’s bio courtesy of 50+1 Strategies:

“Addisu’s first love is developing and implementing sophisticated community organizing programs, which he has done during three presidential campaign cycles in 2004, 2008, and 2016. Following President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, Addisu was selected as the first National Political Director for the President’s political organization Organizing for America. Later that year, the Washington Post named him one of the “Ten Young Black Aides To Watch” in the Obama Administration. At OFA, Demissie played a key role in mobilizing and coordinating grassroots support for the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, federal student loan reform, and the Affordable Care Act. In the years since, Addisu served as Senior Advisor to California Assemblymember David Chiu’s 2011 mayoral campaign; as the general consultant for several California municipal, initiative, and independent expenditure campaigns during the 2012 campaign cycle, and as Campaign Manager for Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) successful special election campaign in 2013. Most recently, as the National Voter Outreach and Mobilization Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Addisu oversaw the development of organizing programs for Democratic base communities and state operations for 37 states. Addisu is a 2001 graduate of Yale University, 2008 graduate of Yale Law School, and a member of the state Bar of California.”


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DC: Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg to Attend the State of the Union Address

Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl, will attend the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of her state's senior U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our interview with Ethiopian children’s book author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, a mother of three boys and a software engineer who works and lives in North Dakota. This week Bethlehem, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of uCodeGirl — a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage young girls to aim for careers in the high-tech industry — is in Washington, DC to attend the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, February 5th as a guest of the senior U.S. Senator from North Dakota John Hoeven.

“Bethlehem is doing tremendous work in the Fargo region, helping prepare young women to be the next generation of innovators and tech entrepreneurs,” Senator Hoeven said in a statement. “This aligns with
our efforts to bolster STEM education and continue advancing technology as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth.” The Senator added: “That’s why we featured Bethlehem’s work during our State of Tech conference in 2017 and why we’re so excited to have her in D.C. for this year’s State of the Union address.”

Bethlehem said that she is delighted by the invitation and the attention it will bring to her organization. “It is a great honor to be recognized at the national level for uCodeGirl,” Bethlehem told Tadias. “Our vision is to see a world where the people who create and build technology mirror the people and societies for which they build.”

Bethlehem shares that her organization “inspires and equips young women with leadership traits, computational design thinking skills, aka coding, and entrepreneurial mindset so that they can confidently chart their own pathways to economic independence and become creators of future tech innovations.” She sees this invitation as “a tribute to the young women we serve. They are the heart of our program as well as the coaching and support of women professionals in STEM as mentors.”

The press release from Senator Hoeven noted that “In addition to her work with uCodeGirl, Gronneberg serves on the Governor’s Innovative Education Task Force of North Dakota and as an adjunct instructor of
computer science at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She was recently named the 2018 YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, was honored by the Women Economic Forum, a global conference for women leaders and entrepreneurs, and was a recipient of the 2016 Bush Foundation Fellowship.”


You can learn more about uCodeGirl at www.ucodegirl.org.

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BBC: Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye’s TruLuv Granola in Ethiopia

Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Blayne Tesfaye, Co-Founder of TruLuv Granola, a health food small business based in Ethiopia. (Photo: BBC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — TruLuv Granola is a start-up in Ethiopia that makes and distributes healthy snacks to local businesses including cafes, supermarkets and hotels. Co-Founded by Ethiopian-American Blayne Tesfaye the small venture epitomizes the creative and optimistic spirit of a new generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs who are part and parcel of Ethiopia’s present efforts to reform and revitalize its growing economy.

“Blayne Tesfaye is a woman who means business,” enthused a BBC World News broadcast, Newsday, in a recent highlight. “An Ethiopian-American, she recently quit her job to start a business selling healthy snacks to the people of Addis Ababa.” BBC added: “With her majority female staff, she is excited about the economic opportunities that the government of Abiy Ahmed is helping to create.”

Startup Mentoring — a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany that supports small companies in developing countries — described the idea behind TruLuv Granola noting that: they seek to be the world’s source for healthy, sustainable, and convenient snacks crafted with Ethiopian flavors” and adding that the snacks are designed for “Addis Ababans living busy and active lives, but lacking delicious and nutritious snacks to fuel their hard work and big adventures on-the-go.”

Blayne told BBC News that TruLuv Granola also aims to support the economy with their practice of sourcing “directly and transparently from Ethiopian small holders as much as possible.”

BBC asked Blayne: how does the ongoing reform play into her ambitions?

“I think the current political situation gives us a lot of hope for the future,” Blayne says, noting that if she was to ask PM Abiy to make one change it would be to create “a more transparent bureaucratic situation.”

As for her long-term goals for TruLuv Granola, Blayne says their vision is to become an international brand as “the world’s favorite healthy Ethiopian food.”

Click here to listen to the interview on Newsday (BBC World Service) »


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Volkswagen Eyes Ethiopian Assembly

The German automaker said: "As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry." (Photo: The 2020 Volkswagen Passat/VW)

Just Auto

Volkswagen has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia which should lead to local vehicle assembly using some locally made components.

Over the last decade, GDP growth in Ethiopia was above 8% – one of the highest worldwide, the automaker noted.

“Ethiopia is a priority and focus country for Germany under the G20 ‘Compact with Africa’ initiative,” the automaker said in a statement.

Volkswagen will focus on establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localisation of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of a training centre. It will also work closely with the Ethiopian higher education and training institutions for skills development and capacity building of local talent.

VW said: “As one of the fastest growing economies and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Saharan Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry.”

Ethiopia becomes the third country in Sub-Saharan Africa to sign a MoU with Volkswagen. It follows Ghana and Nigeria who both signed MoUs in August 2018. In Ghana, Volkswagen will establish a vehicle assembly facility and conduct a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solutions concept. In Nigeria, Volkswagen implemented a phased approach of vehicle assembly with long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.

Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles in South Africa since 1951. In Africa, Volkswagen also has vehicle assembly operations in Algeria, Kenya and Rwanda.

“Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region has a bright outlook to develop into an automotive growth market of the future,” VW added.


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PM Abiy Ahmed Named Among Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2019

Foreign Policy Magazine's list of 100 global thinkers of 2019 include Ethiopia's dynamic prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. (Illustration by FP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — What do Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, former U.S. President Barack Obama and the newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City have in common besides being some of the most inspiring leaders of our time? They are all part of Foreign Policy magazine’s 10th annual special edition of global thinkers.

In announcing the list this month the magazine said: “A decade ago, in launching the series, FP’s then-editors wrote: In a year of worldwide economic crisis and dangerous wars, of radical innovation and newfound realpolitik, street revolution and blunt rhetoric, we could think of no better way to make sense of it than through the big ideas of those who shape our understanding of the world…So this year we decided that there was no better way to explicate our current, wildly complex moment — and peer into the year ahead — than to focus once more on the thinkers and doers who had a profound impact on the planet in the last 12 months. The idea is not to honor do-gooders (though we feature plenty of them) but to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential people in the world—for better or worse.”

Per Foreign Policy Magazines Highlight:


Illustrations by Foreign Policy

Abiy Ahmed
PRIME MINISTER OF ETHIOPIA

“In less than a year in office, Abiy Ahmed has already made history in Ethiopia by forging peace with its neighbor Eritrea. The move reunited families and reopened long-dormant trade networks. Now Abiy is focused on healing Ethiopia’s own divisions, and his status as the country’s first leader from the restive Oromia region has given many of his constituents hope that he’ll succeed.”

Barack Obama
FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

“Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House showed what an intellectual can and cannot achieve in the world’s most powerful office. His much-maligned but deeply deliberative approach to decision-making helped steer the global economy through its worst crisis since the Great Depression. His renewed emphasis on diplomacy secured a nuclear agreement with Iran, a global compact on climate change, and a fresh arms reduction treaty with Russia. To be sure, Obama’s presidency had many flaws — most notably its failure to adequately address the Syrian civil war. But the importance of Obama’s accomplishments, and of the eloquence and dignity with which he went about his day-to-day work, grows more evident every time his successor holds a press conference or types a tweet.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK


AP photo

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez channeled the rage triggered by Donald Trump’s presidency into something that was once almost unthinkable in the United States: victory by a 29-year-old Latina democrat over a white male Democratic Party machine politician. Now the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, she stands at the forefront of a newly resurgent progressive movement, whose candidates are winning elections on pledges of universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform.”

You can read the full list at foreignpolicy.com »


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Houston to Replace L.A. as New U.S. Destination for Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it's restructuring its entire U.S. network shifting its Los Angeles gateway to Houston and increasing frequency to Washington D.C. and Chicago. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This coming summer the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, will replace the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California as Ethiopian Airlines new destination in the United States. The airline said in a press release that the change is part of the company’s plan to restructure its entire American network in order to offer passengers “the best possible connectivity and shortest routes” between the U.S. and Africa.

The upcoming Houston flights, which will be served by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, will operate three times per week to Addis Ababa via West Africa. “The new Houston flights will be the only connection between Houston and Africa and will facilitate the travel of the huge African community in the Houston area, as well as oil and other companies doing business in the continent,” the announcement said.

The press release also highlights that flights out of Washington D.C. will be increased from current daily to ten weekly flights. “The new additional three flights will pass thru Abidjan with service continuing on to Addis Ababa,” the airline said. “The current three weekly flights to Chicago will be increased to five weekly flights. From the planned daily flights from the New York area to Addis Ababa, four will be served via Lomé from Newark and three will be via Abidjan from JFK Airport.”


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The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)

This article has been updated to reflect that PM Abiy's office has clarified its initial announcement noting that Ethiopia will host next year's World Economic Forum on Africa, not the 2020 WEF, which is always held in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa, which brings together thousands of public and private sector leaders from around the globe, will be held in Ethiopia. The office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the announcement this past Wednesday following Abiy’s visit to Davos, Switzerland where he met with German Engineer and Economist Klaus Martin Schwab who founded the World Economic Forum in 1971 as an international institution for public-private cooperation.

“The PM & Prof Schwab discussed the importance of a collaborative approach among government, private sector, civil societies in addressing key global challenges,” PM Abiy Ahmed’s office shared via Twitter, adding that “they agreed that Ethiopia will host WEF in 2020.”

According to the WEF website, “The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.”

The event next year will mark the second time that the international forum is being held in Ethiopia. The country hosted the regional version of the gathering in 2012. The 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in September.


Related:
Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Spotlight: Addis Calling III Group Show at Addis Fine Art Gallery

Addis Fine Art Gallery prepares for new show, Addis Calling III, scheduled to open on January 29th, 2019 in Addis Ababa featuring up-and-coming artists Tizta Berhanu, Yohannes Tesfaye and Frew Kebede. (Photo: Addis Fine Art/Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Fine Art Gallery, which focuses on contemporary fine art collections from Ethiopia and the Diaspora, will host its third annual group exhibition next week titled “Addis Calling” featuring emerging local artists.

The gallery announced that this year they are presenting works by Frew Kebede, Tizta Berhanu and Yohannes Tesfaye. The show is set to open on January 29th and will be on display thorough March 23rd, 2019.

Below are preview images and descriptions of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery:

Yohannes Tesfaye (1978) focuses on two and three-dimensional paintings in acrylic, oil on canvas, wood, fiberglass and a variety of mixed media. His paintings reference African traditions and culture. Using contemporary materials and techniques, his current work examines the practice of ritual tribal scarification in a twenty-first century artistic and historical context.

Tizta Berhanu’s (1991) main inspiration is human emotion in all its facets, portraying her subjects expressing love, hate, sadness, loneliness etc. Trying to capture the true emotion underneath the surface of their skins. Her paintings are often ambiguous, almost unrecognizable, painted with broad confident brush strokes in deep intense colours. Blues, purples and deep-sea greens, dominate the canvasses creating an almost uncomfortable atmosphere wherein the viewer comes voyeuristically close to the emotions of the portrayed.

Frew Kebede (1982) is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums but his current focus is painting. As a musician, Jazz music plays an important part in his life and is one of his main inspirations. In his paintings, he is exploring the visual aspects of jazz music, transforming notes and rhythm into paint and brushstrokes creating colourful, vibrant canvasses, engaging the viewer into seeing things from different perspectives.


If You Go:
Addis Calling III Exhibition
January 29th – March 23rd, 2019
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

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National Geographic: Ethiopia’s ‘Church Forests’ Center of Hope for Conservation

Priests, scientists, and local communities are partnering to save the less than five percent of forests that remain in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: The Debre Mihret Arbiatu Ensesa church, which looks from above like a bright pinwheel, is surrounded by trees. But the hot, dry fields are only a few steps away/National Geographic)

National Geographic

When Alemayehu Wassie Eshete was a boy, he went to church each Sunday. He would make his way along the dry, dusty roads between the wheat fields in his home province in northern Ethiopia. At the end of the trip was the prize: a literal step into another world.

The churches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church—the dominant religious group in Ethiopia, with nearly 50 million members—were almost always nestled in patches of vibrant, shady forest. Forests, the church’s religious belief goes, were like the clothes surrounding the church at the center—as much a part of the religious space as the church building itself. Wassie would step out of the hot sun and into a beautiful, cool world filled with chattering birds and fragrant plants, a small hotspot of both biodiversity and spirituality.

“From an ecological perspective, it’s like going from hell to heaven,” he says. “You go from dry, hot fields into the beautiful forest. Anyone would see that as beautiful, but for me, the forest is more than that. It’s also a spiritual place where nature is perfect, and you pray to God.”

But when Wassie grew up and started studying biology and science, he realized that the forests he loved were few and far between. In school, he was learning about how important forests were for the ecological health of different parts of the world, and he asked himself: Where are our forests, here in northern Ethiopia? Why are there so few patches left?

Over the past century, nearly all of the native forests in the South Gonder province have disappeared, cleared to make way for wheat fields and grazing land—agricultural endeavors that support the region’s rapidly growing population. Many of the church forests, though, remain, protected by their religious stewards and the communities around them. They are tiny fragments of a lost past, and the center of hope for conservation and future restoration.

Read more and see photos at nationalgeographic.com »


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Kamala Harris jumps into presidential race

Today is MLK Day and one of our favorite U.S. senators, Kamala Harris of California, has just announced that she is running for President in 2020. The Associated Press notes that Senator Harris launched her presidential bid as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the senator sees herself as another leader in that fight. She would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds. (AP photo)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Vowing to “bring our voices together,” Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds.

Harris, who grew up in Oakland, California, and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field. She made her long anticipated announcement on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I am running for president of the United States,” she said. “And I’m very excited about it.”

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid. “They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now,” Harris says in the video . “The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values.”

On ABC, she cited her years as a prosecutor in asserting: “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else.”

Harris launched her presidential as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the California senator— who has joked that she had a “stroller’s-eye view” of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — sees herself as another leader in that fight.

She abandoned the formality of launching an exploratory committee, instead going all in on a presidential bid.

She plans a formal campaign launch in Oakland on Jan. 27. The campaign will be based in Baltimore, with a second office in Oakland.

Harris joins what is expected to be a wide-open race for the Democratic presidential nomination. There’s no apparent front-runner at this early stage and Harris will face off against several Senate colleagues.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both launched exploratory committees. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are also looking at the race.

If Booker enters the race, he and Harris could face a fierce competition for support from black voters.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, is also considering a campaign. Several other Democrats have already declared their intentions, including former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro.

Harris launches her campaign fresh off of a tour to promote her latest memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” which was widely seen as a stage-setter for a presidential bid.

She is already planning her first trip to an early primary state as a declared candidate. On Friday, Harris will travel to South Carolina to attend the Pink Ice Gala in Columbia, which is hosted by a South Carolina chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which Harris pledged as an undergraduate student at Howard University. The sorority, founded more than 100 years ago, is a stronghold in the African-American community.

South Carolina, where black voters make up a large share of the Democratic electorate, is likely to figure heavily into Harris’s prospects. And early voting in Harris’s home state of California will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests, which could give Harris a boost.

Harris’s campaign team is already taking shape and includes several veterans of Democratic politics.

Juan Rodriguez, who ran Harris’s 2016 Senate campaign, will manage her presidential bid. Her sister, Maya Harris, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton, will be the campaign chair. The veteran campaign finance lawyer Marc Elias will serve as the Harris campaign’s general counsel, and Angelique Cannon, who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, will serve as national finance director. David Huynh, who was Clinton’s director of delegate operations in 2016, will serve as a senior adviser. Lily Adams, a Clinton campaign alum who has worked as Harris’s spokeswoman, will be communications director.

Her staff says she plans to reject the assistance of a super PAC, as well as corporate PAC money. She’s invested heavily in cultivating a digital, small-dollar donor network before her presidential bid.

Before her 2016 victory in the Senate race, Harris made her career in law enforcement. She served as the district attorney in San Francisco before she was elected to serve as attorney general.

Harris is likely to face questions about her law enforcement record, particularly after the Black Lives Matter movement and activists across the country pushed for a criminal justice overhaul. Harris’s prosecutorial record has recently come under new scrutiny after a blistering opinion piece in The New York Times criticized her repeated claim that she was a “progressive prosecutor,” focused on changing a broken criminal justice system from within.

Harris addressed her law enforcement background in her book. She argued it was a “false choice” to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement.

She “knew that there was an important role on the inside, sitting at the table where the decisions were being made,” she wrote. “When activists came marching and banging on the doors, I wanted to be on the other side to let them in.”

Harris supported legislation that passed the Senate last year that overhauled the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sentencing rules.

Harris is framing her campaign through her courtroom experience. The theme of her nascent campaign is “Kamala Harris, for the people,” the same words she spoke as a prosecutor, trying a case in the courtroom.


Related:
How Kamala Harris Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary
Meet Julián Castro: The Young Texan Running for U.S. President in 2020

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Spotlight: Ethiopia’s DJ Rophnan Nuri at Coke Studio Africa 2019

Ethiopian DJ, song writer, composer and producer Rophnan Nuri is among 25 of Africa’s talented artists chosen to participate at the 2019 Coke Studio Africa TV show. (Photo: Courtesy Rophnan Nuri Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In Ethiopia young people are in love with Rophnan Nuri — the Addis Ababa-born and raised DJ, song writer, composer and producer who has introduced his own version of a popular world music genre employing digital instruments to mix traditional beats from all corners of the country. His debut album Netsabraq, which was released last May, is one of the first records of electronic dance music issued in Ethiopia.

“My music speaks to my generation,” says Rophnan, who is affectionately known as Rophy, on Facebook. “As time travels us equally all together, we vibrate the same. Music is like our #1 language, which I’m blessed to speak.”

Next month the entire continent of Africa will get to know Rophnan Nuri when he performs at Coke Studio Africa 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. Coke Studio has announced that Rophnan is one of “25 of Africa’s talented artists” scheduled to appear on their annual television event that’s set to kick-off in February. “Rophnan will be making his big debut on the show, paired with Zambian rapper Chef 187,” the announcement said. “On top of lending his voice, lyrics, compositions and extraordinary mix of Ethiopian traditional sounds with electronic dance music (EDM) on the collaborations, Rophnan will also be producing all of the pairing’s music fusions.”

The media release adds that “celebrated for his distinct style of mashing up traditional Ethiopian music elements in music production, Rophnan is a pioneer in the genre of EDM and is today counted among the leading African acts creating innovative sounds while defining new frontiers for African music.”

The press release quotes Rophnan as stating that “technology allows you to be what you want to be” and that “electronic music is the new thing as it represents my generation. It’s like the new jazz.”

Other up-and-coming Ethiopian music artists selected to take part at this year’s Coke Studio Africa include Mahlet GebreGiyorgis, Bisrat, Abush Zekele and Yared Negu.


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Watch: Sara Menker on How Her Company is Filling US Data Gap Left by Shutdown

Sara Menker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gro Intelligence, discusses how the U.S. government shutdown is impacting the distribution of agriculture data and what her company is doing to alleviate the problem. (Photo: Bloomberg TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In the following Bloomberg interview aired on Thursday, January 10th, New York-based Ethiopian entrepreneur Sara Menker, Founder & CEO of Gro Intelligence, explains how the U.S. government shutdown is affecting the availability of official agriculture data and what her company is doing to fill the gap by providing traders, farmers and policymakers free access to their worldwide database.

“We are a data analytics company focused on all things agriculture globally,” Sara told Bloomberg News describing what her company does. According to the company’s website, “Gro Intelligence bridges the data gaps across the global agriculture sector, empowers decision makers, and creates a more connected, efficient, and productive global food industry. Gro’s leading edge software automatically harvests disparate data, transforms it into knowledge, and uses machine learning to make predictions.”

Right now during the U.S. government shutdown traders are not getting access to critical reports and forecasts and Gro is stepping up to the challenge of making that data accessible.

“What we have done is that we have built a data platform that at this point ingests over 40 million unique data sets that are related to global agriculture in any way, that have amassed over 500 trillion data points that’s linked to agriculture,” Sara says. “We basically leveraged that to build a predictive engine using a series of machine learning algorithms to build our own forecast model. So when the government shutdown occurred the first thing we did was to say “you know what? we should provide free access to data because a lot of databases were going down and some numbers were not updating.” And we knew that we have access to all sorts of data sets that were being reported from other parts of the world that can help to fill the gap.”

In a follow-up update on Facebook, Sara shared that at noon today Bloomberg was reporting Gro Intelligence estimates live on their platform in place of U.S. government data.

Watch: How Gro Intelligence Is Filling the USDA Data Gap Left by the Shutdown


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Spotlight: Design Week Addis Ababa 2019

(Photo: Courtesy of Design Week Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: January 10th, 2019

Addis Ababa (TADIAS) — This year’s Design Week Addis Ababa will kick off on February 11th for a one-week celebration of the best innovations in architecture, urban planning, industrial and interiors design, technology, fashion, food, art and multimedia.

“This biannual community event coordinates local and international designers, artists, artisans, workshops, galleries, showrooms, cultural institutions, hotels, companies, and entrepreneurs through a distinctly collaborative platform for creative, cultural, and commercial engagement,” the announcement notes.

Past participants of Design Week Addis Ababa include Jomo Design Furniture and Actuel Urban Living who were both selected to present at the highly regarded international Dubai Design Week.

Organizers of the 2019 Design Week Addis Ababa have also announced that the Nairobi Design Week will present a special installation produced in partnership with UK design firm NEON, which was made possible by the British Council’s New Art New Audiences (NANA) grant. Local partners include Tourism Ethiopia, Kana Television & Studio, Flawless Events, Zeleman Productions, and Hyatt Regency. They also have programming partnerships with the Alliance Ethio-Française and the Global Shapers Community-Addis Ababa.


If You Go:

You can learn more about Design Week Addis Ababa at designweekaa.org

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.



 

 

 

 

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