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2016 Armory Show: African Perspective Features Ethiopian Artist Emanuel Tegene

Artwork by Emanuel Tegene. Passport photo, 2014. Acrylic on Canvas 130 x 130 cm. (Image: Addis Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, February 12th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist Emanuel Tegene will be featured at the upcoming 2016 Armory Show, an international art exhibition taking place March 3-6th in New York City.

Emanuel Tegene, represented at the Armory Show by Addis Fine Art Gallery, “received training at Alle School of Fine Arts and Design in 2008. While at Alle, he worked for Saloon Ethiopia as a cartoonist, challenging himself to create subtle and elegant illustrations. Later working on projects as diverse as movie storyboards and book covers, he widened his practice as a way of evolving his language of artistic expression. Briefly traveling to Israel to live with his father, he continued to paint while working in the technology industry. Eventually he returned to Addis to live with his young son and wife, where he continues to practice as an artist, realizing his natural affinity to drawing and to recording his surroundings. As part of a movement of contemporary Ethiopian artists, Emanuel is largely occupied with exploring the possibilities created by artists who are responding to the changing cultural dynamics of the society around them.”

Emanuel’s artwork has been exhibited at the Ethiopian National Gallery, as well as at the African Union Golden Jubilee, the Institute of Ethiopian Studies Museum, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Ababa. Additional solo exhibitions showcased Emanuel’s work at Tobya Art Gallery in Seattle, and Galany Gallery and Alliance Ethio-Française in Addis.

According to the Armory Show website, “this year’s Focus will examine the artistic developments and manifold narratives arising from African and African Diasporic artists, emphasizing geographic fluidity and global connections.”

In 2015, Ethiopian Artist Elias Sime participated in the annual exhibition with his sculptures cited by Artspace as one of the 10 Best Artworks of the 2015 Armory Show.


If You Go:
March 3-6, 2016
Piers 92 & 94
New York City
www.thearmoryshow.com

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Screening: If Only I Were That Warrior

Poster for the documentary "If Only I Were That Warrior." (Courtesy of PLC and NYU)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American Author Maaza Mengiste and Ruth Ben-Ghiat will moderate a conversation with Director Valerio Ciriaci and Producer Isaak Liptzin following the screening of their documentary If Only I Were That Warrior at NYU on Thursday, February 11th.

The screening is being presented in collaboration with Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the NYU Department of Italian Studies.

If Only I Were That Warrior is a feature documentary film focusing on the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935. Following the recent construction of a monument dedicated to Fascist general Rodolfo Graziani, the film addresses the unpunished war crimes he and others committed in the name of Mussolini’s imperial ambitions. The stories of three characters, filmed in present day Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia – a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people.”


If You Go
Screening: If Only I Were That Warrior
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 6pm
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
www.casaitaliananyu.org

If Only I Were That Warrior – Trailer from Awen Films on Vimeo.

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11 Samples From ‘Éthiopiques’: A Brief History of Ethio-Jazz Cultural Exchange

Éthiopiques album covers. (Photos: Buda Musique)

Okay Africa

BY ABEL SHIFFERAW

It’s 2000 something. I’m holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon’s suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine dudes jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beatmaker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad’s car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers.

“Where did you get this?” He asks puzzlingly.

“The internet,” I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d’état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label’s tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.


Heavenly Éthiopiques cover. (Photos: Buda Musique)

Fast forward, 1997. The Paris-based record label Buda Musique, stumbles upon a collection of decades old Ethiopian music and releases Éthiopiques Volume 1: The Golden Years of Modern Ethiopian Music, a compilation of largely forgotten songs from an extraordinary period of musical experimentation. Funk, soul, jazz, rock—popular western and traditional Ethiopian music ground together into a dizzyingly fresh sound with subtle scents of bunna (coffee in Amharic) breezing through the music’s notes.

At the forefront of this musical explosion was Mulatu Astatke, the legendary jazz musician, who expertly meshed jazz and traditional Ethiopian melodies with a sprinkle of Latin-influenced rhythms. The result: Ethio-Jazz, a sweepingly beautiful sound of a certain unique tonality.

Buda Musique has released 29 Éthiopique compilations to date with gems on gems throughout the collection, ranging from traditional Ethiopian music while some focus on specific genres or highlight the works of certain artists such as Alemayehu Eshete, Asnaketch Worku, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Tilahun Gessesse. None of the compilations within the series feature the more contemporary synthesizer-based Ethiopian pop music.

The Éthiopiques series, made possible by an unexpected but beautiful cross-cultural exchange of extraordinary proportions, has naturally caught the attention of music-heads, audiophiles and producers alike. And with that brief history in mind, I present to you a list of ten modern tracks, all made in the new millennia, that have sampled Ethiopian music, expanding even further the deep multicultural history of Ethiopian, and by extension, all music.

Read more »


Related:
Amha Eshete & Contribution of Amha Records to Modern Ethiopian Music
How Ethiopian Music Went Global: Interview with Francis Falceto

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David Mesfin Behind Hyundai Super Bowl 50 Commercial

Ethiopian American Associate Creative Director David Mesfin (right) working on the production of the latest Hyundai Elantra car model television commercial for the 2016 Super Bowl game. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, February 5th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend an estimated 188.9 million viewers are expected to tune in to the most watched annual sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In addition, the National Retail Federation says Americans will spend more than $15.5 billion on food, décor and team apparel while taking part or organizing watch-parties for the 2016 championship game that’s being held in the San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday, February 7th.

And if you are in the business of creating television commercials, like Ethiopian American David Mesfin, it can’t get any better than having your ad run during the Super Bowl. David is one of the Associate Creative Directors behind the new generation Hyundai Elantra car advertising that will be airing during Super Bowl 50 as one of four spots from Hyundai this weekend.

“The cinematographer of the Hyundai spot was Janusz Kaminaki, Associate Creative Director, whom I have worked with in the past,” David told Tadias. “He mostly works on Steven Spielberg movies such as Bridge of Spies, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Lincoln.”

The Hyundai 30-second commercial touts a nifty new technology found in the car manufacturer’s Elantra brand — the voice-activated Blue Link Remote Start feature. The video, which was released on YouTube by Hyundai USA on February 1st, has already been viewed more than fifteen million times. The ad is aptly titled “The Chase” and shows a husband & wife team running for survival from a bear attack before the couple are saved by their high-tech Hyundai vehicle.

“Say you’re in a forest and you’re being chased by two bears, one of which we later find out is vegan,” David said. “You’d be in a mad dash to get to your car, right? Worse, there’s a lot of panic that comes with trying to open the doors and starting the car, all while stealing glances in every direction to make sure that bears haven’t arrived.” He added: “It’s a tricky situation to be in as a lot of victims in horror movies will tell you. Now imagine being able to circumvent all of that trouble by simply barking a command in your smart watch to start the car so when you get to the door, the engine’s already running, saving you precious time that could have otherwise been the difference between you escaping or getting eaten up for lunch. That, in a nutshell, is what “The Chase” commercial is all about.”

Watch: The Chase – Hyundai Elantra Super Bowl Commercial | Hyundai USA

This is not the first time that one of David’s work was shown during high-profile television broadcasts. The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil also featured a Hyundai ad in which he was the Associate Creative Director. Likewise in 2013 David was part of the team that engineered the “Hyundai Epic Playdate” Super Bowl advertisement. “That was a herculean task given the difficulty and amount of work that needed to be produced in a short amount of time,” David said then. “But overall my team and I are truly happy with the end result.”

David’s career in advertising began in 1986 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he was born and raised. “I know it sounds like a long time ago but I was only 12 years old at the time,” he said. “I used to spend a lot of time at a firm called Neon Addis — a design and advertising office. There I was exposed to many forms of visual communications, print ads, billboards, neon signs and more.”

Later, after he moved to the U.S. and commenced college in the 90s, David said he knew exactly what he wanted to do in life. He graduated with a BFA degree in Visual Communication from California State University, Long Beach. “I have been enjoying this wonderful field for quite some time now,” he said. “Thus far I have worked with multiple agencies and clients such as Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Isuzu, Farmers Insurance, Neutrogena, Network Associates, La-Z-Boy, Mandalay Bay, Walt Disney, Sony, Coldwell Banker, LA Phil, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Adidas, Oakley and MOCA.”


David Mesfin (right) on the set of the Hyundai Super Bowl 50 commercial. (Courtesy of photo)

What guides David’s art in terms of creativity? “Have a compelling message and idea that can solve the problem in a unique and interesting way,” he replied.

As to having his work shown during Super Bowl, David says it’s “by far the most humbling experience.”


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When Technology-Inspired Fashion Meets Architecture: Azmara Asefa’s Runway Collection

Ethiopian American Fashion Designer & Architect Azmara Asefa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Take one look at Azmara Asefa’s laser-cut leather jackets lined with mesh that acts as ventilation for hot summer days, or her 3D-printed wooden jewelry lines held together with gold posts — reminiscent of an architectural project — and you know that her fashion line is a bold runway collection.

Named after the 29-year-old owner and designer who was born in Ohio to immigrant parents from Ethiopia, the Azmara Asefa collection was featured in last October’s Phoenix Fashion Week — following a four month bootcamp session offering training in fashion business and marketing — and selected as one of 13 best emerging designers in the United States. It also stood out as one of the most technology driven fashion lines.

Azmara had prepared several pieces for smaller scale collections before recently rolling out her full and impressive Spring/Summer 2016 collection designed by her womenswear company based in Los Angeles with all materials made and assembled in American fair trade factories.


Azmara Asefa’s Runway Collection at the Phoenix Fashion Week final walk. (Courtesy photo)


Laser-cut leather moto jacket with diamond motif details that are inspired by Ethiopian motifs on traditional dresses. (Photo: Courtesy of Azmara Asefa)

“Fashion was always loved” Azmara told Tadias. “In the back of my mind it was always around, and part of it comes from watching older movies from the 1930s with my mom, and traveling and seeing how people dress.” But Azmara’s first love, since the age of 7, was architecture.

“My interest in architecture first peaked when I went to Ethiopia as a child and my family and I visited the Blue Nile waterfalls,” Azmara recalled. “It would be so cool to have a bridge here,” she remembered thinking. “And soon after that I started drawing and finding out more about what I needed to study in order to become an architect. I learned that math was required, for instance, and I prepared myself for the field.”

Azmara attended Miami University in Ohio where she majored in architecture and met one of her first mentors, Professor Gail Della-Piana. “She was the only Black professor in the architecture program, and her studios focused on culturally-centered projects including the design of a Native American center” Azmara said.

For her thesis Azmara studied refugee and migrant camps in the horn of Africa. “Often individuals at the camps would use what they wear as part of their shelter,” she noticed. “In the migration process individuals retained their culture, traditions and adapted to new situations by using the materials around them including their clothing” Azmara said.

She continued her studies in architecture at the graduate level at the University of Cincinnati, guided by her culture-centered focus. Adding courses in fashion to her class schedule Azmara found another mentor in Ann Firestone at the School of Design. Upon graduation Azmara worked as an architect in Ohio, Atlanta, London and Los Angeles including practicing at Gensler, the largest architecture firm in the world.

Azmara cited Zaha Hadid as one of her biggest influencers in architecture “as a woman of color who has this really great firm, is well-respected and has a really unique perspective.”

“If you look at one of Zaha Hadid’s buildings, you know she designed it,” Azmara added. “She has made her mark as someone who uses technology to generate her design concepts, and I love that, of course.”

In the world of fashion Azmara has several role models including Ethiopian-American couture wedding gown designer Amsale Aberra, technology-driven Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, and Kym Gold, Co-Founder of the True Religion brand who she met at Phoenix Fashion week.

“The link between architecture and fashion is strong, and the leap from architecture to fashion was simple to me,” Azmara admitted.

“Entrepreneurship in the Ethiopian community in Ohio is also really big,” Azmara pointed out. “I grew up surrounded by people who owned a lot of small businesses and were very enterprising.”

Following her participation at Phoenix Fashion Week Azmara decided to commit to creating her first full runway collection of what she called “bold, technology-driven, apocalypse-ready womenswear and accessories that are laden with culturally inspired symbols and yet remain minimal.”

Azmara is incredibly resourceful and creative in the materials she picks for her fashion line, which ranges from natural materials such as wood, silk and leather to meshes and neoprene (scuba fabric). Often she also inserts cultural references from her own heritage. Her 3D-printed jewelry line, for example, is “a play on Ethiopian wooden crosses and traditional diamond patterns.”

“Clothing as armor?” states her website. “Yes. We believe that when you are donned in bold architectural lines, laser-cut geometries, and intensely detailed 3D-printed accessories, you feel strong, bold and confident enough to make it through anything!”

Describing her latest collection Azmara said her intention was to make women feel empowered, confident, and to stand out.

“I am using the term ‘apocalypse-ready’ as a metaphor for my collection in a future-looking sort of way, and reminding ourselves that we all have the ability to overcome challenging events in our day,” Azmara added. “Internally, for the business it also give a really clear and decisive direction as a technology-focused brand. The clothes use architectural lines and silhouettes to enhance women’s forms in an artful, strong and flattering way.”

In addition to emphasizing a blend of architectural technology in her designs, Azmara is also keen on building a company firmly rooted in fair trade principles.

“I try to be very ethical so when I source fabric I want to be able to track it and make sure it is fair trade” Azmara told Tadias. “Right now my designs are produced in America and we can ensure that workers are getting a fair wage. I can see the factory — it’s just thirty minutes from where I live, and I can just drive down there and look at everything.”

Azmara also hopes to grow her ethically sourced runway collection and expand her base to Ethiopia while still making sure it remains fair trade. For now her company has partnered with the Women’s Refugee Commission with 10% of sales going towards their programs. “I really want to work more closely with them,” Azmara said “and do more than just provide proceeds. I want to provide something more immediate and tangible for the women they work with.”

As she prepares to launch a Kickstarter campaign this month, Azmara shared that she would love to design high-tech wearable technology and go digital in the second half of this year while continuing to incorporate architecture and designing pop-up shops in a multi-disciplinary trajectory later down the line.

“I think that growing up with people who came as immigrants to this country — and made the American dream come true for themselves — I was inspired by how the human spirit is so resilient” Azmara said. Her visionary debut runway collection says it all – intriguing, cutting-edge, and exuding resilience.


You can learn more about Azmara Asefa’s design work at www.azmaraasefa.com.

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Netflix to Stream Haile Gerima’s Film “Ashes and Embers”

The two-hour drama was written, produced and directed by Haile Gerima in 1982. (Image: Mypheduh Films)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ashes and Embers (1982) — a movie by award-winning filmmaker and Howard University professor Haile Gerima — is among the new titles that will be released on Netflix this month. The film won the FIPRESCI Prize for Forum of New Cinema at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival. According to the Columbus Dispatch “Ashes and Embers” will be available for on-demand Internet streaming on Netflix starting February 29th.

Ashes and Embers tells a story of “a disillusioned, African-American Vietnam vet (Anderson) [who] travels from Washington to Los Angeles to his grandmother’s farm in search of a better life.”

The Dispatch adds: “Ethiopian-American filmmaker (and LA Rebellion movement instigator) Haile Gerima’s Afrocentric survey of the American sociopolitical landscape is a potent mix of documentary realism, dreamlike narrative, and Godardian agit-prop.”

In The New York Times review of Ashes and Embers published on November 17, 1982, Janet Maslin wrote: ”Ashes and Embers ..explores the experience of a black Vietnam veteran trying to come to terms with American life. It’s a rambling, almost dreamlike film that drifts between Washington, where Ned Charles, its protagonist, (played by John Anderson) wanders past ghetto streets and war memorials; Los Angeles, where he hopes to find his future, and instead winds up in police custody; and the rural setting of his grandmother’s farmhouse. His grandmother is one of the main forces in the film, talking with Ned about his troubles, his culture and his history. Another key influence is his politically active girlfriend, often seen engaged in group discussions that are among the film’s most interesting sequences.”


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Lost Lion Population Found in Ethiopia

(AP photo)

The Washington Post

By Rachel Feltman

An expedition into a remote national park in Ethiopia has revealed a previously unknown population of African lions, suggesting that the species — which is categorized as “vulnerable” — may be more widespread than conservationists had hoped.

The Born Free Foundation announced the existence of the lions – confirmed with images taken by motion-activated cameras — in a news release Monday. Because the lions were spotted in Alatish National Park, which borders the Sudanese Dinder National Park, the researchers involved with the discovery hope that the population spans both countries. Altogether, the two parks could hold an estimated 200 lions.


An image of one of the newly discovered lions. (Born Free Foundation)

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
Hidden population of up to 200 lions found in remote Ethiopia (New Scientist)

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The Nile Project Kicks Off 2016 Africa Tour

The Nile Project at globalFEST NYC, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Karsten Moran for the New York Times)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, February 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The Nile Project 2016 Africa Tour, which kicks off next week with a live concert at an open-air theatre in Aswan Egypt, will be followed by a performance at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa on February 22nd.

Made up of over a dozen singers and instrumentalists the Nile Project blends traditional sounds from nations along the banks of the river including Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Egypt, collectively known as the Nile Basin countries.

This year, the Nile Project’s musical director is Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, founder and leader of Debo Band, while Ethiopian American education activist Agazit Abate serves as the collective’s program manager.

“We are also using this tour to launch our University Programs in Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania,” Mina Girgis, Nile Project Producer & CEO, announced in a press release. “Moving beyond the music, the Nile Project will be holding a series of workshops to engage students in better understanding the social, cultural and environmental dimensions of Nile sustainability. These workshops will also be an opportunity for attendees to learn about the project’s Nile Fellowships – a year long program for 24 student leaders at universities in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.”

In a New York Times review of the Nile Project’s performance at globalFEST last year Jon Pareles wrote: “The musicians had worked out the nuances of modes and rhythms to join one another’s songs, no longer separated by geography or politics.”

“The Nile Project is the performing side of an effort that also includes education in music and environmental issues, raising awareness of the entire Nile basin as an ecosystem,” Pareles added. “With such vibrant music, the good intentions were a bonus; the Nile Project was a superb example of what I call small-world music, of what happens to traditions in the information age.”

Ethiopian artists participating in the 2016 Africa tour include: Dawit Seyoum Estifanos (krar), Endalekachew Nigusie (Masinko) and singer Roza Kifle. Last year’s team featured Asrat Ayalew (kebero player); Endris Hassen (masinko); Jorga Mesfin (saxophone); vocalists Meklit Hadero and Selamnesh Zemene; as well as singer & traditional music dancer Mekuanent Melese.


You can learn more about The Nile Project 2016 Africa Tour at www.nileproject.org.

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Meet Genzebe Dibaba’s Coach Jama Aden

With Genzebe Dibaba clocking an astonishing 1500m world record of 3:50.07 last year, her coach, Jama Aden, tells Athletics Weekly's Cathal Dennehy how she did it. (Photo: By Albert Salame/Athletics Weekly)

Athletics Weekly

Much has been written about Genzebe Dibaba’s historic season in 2015, but less is known about the man who masterminded the Ethiopian’s journey into the record books, coach Jama Aden.

A former elite miler from Somalia, the 53-year-old Aden has been the world’s most successful middle-distance coach in recent years, having coached Dibaba, Taoufik Makhloufi, Ayanleh Souleiman and Abubaker Kaki to championship success..

However, it is his association with Dibaba for which he has become renowned. “I don’t have words to express his contribution in my running career,” Dibaba said in Beijing when Athletics Weekly asked about Aden. “He has such a big impact. I broke five world records since working with him.”

“I don’t have words to express his contribution in my running career. He has such a big impact. I broke five world records since working with him” – Dibaba on Aden

In a discussion which offers an unprecedented insight into her performances, Aden speaks to Cathal Dennehy about how he transformed Dibaba’s training, why he believes she can run 3:47 for 1500m, and why he thinks doping accusations levelled at her are borne out of jealousy.

Read the interview at AthleticsWeekly.com »


Related:
Genzebe Dibaba and Coach Jama Aden Target Two Marks (TADIAS)

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Landscape Architect Sara Zewde’s Urban Monument Design Has Brazil Buzzing

Ethiopian American Landscape Architect Sara Zewde. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Liben Eabisa

Published: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — In the Spring of 2011 Sara Zewde was on her way to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) to study landscape architecture when she found herself in the middle of a movement to preserve a historic Afro-Brazilian heritage site in the Pequena África (Little Africa) neighborhood of Rio De Janeiro. Today Sara, who works for a major U.S. architecture firm in Seattle, has the attention of Brazil’s second-largest city as it prepares to complete part of a design proposed by the Ethiopian American landscape architect before the 2016 Summer Olympics commence there in August.

“I was working in Brazil as a transportation trainer and my job was to consult on a specific project in the Pequena África section of Rio,” Sara recalled in a recent interview with Tadias. “And during that time they were conducting some excavation of the streets and they found the ruins of a very infamous slave port.”

In fact the discovery was the biggest slave port in the Americas. “22% of all the slaves brought to the Americas came through Rio de Janeiro” Sara pointed out. As a result “Brazil actually has more black people than any other nation other than Nigeria. It is a very African country.”

According to the Associated Press the discovery of the port named Valongo, “which was excavated as part of a multibillion-dollar project aimed at bringing big business to Rio’s long derelict port neighborhood, has sparked heated discussions about how Black heritage sites are handled in Brazil.”

Sara, whose urban planning Master’s thesis at MIT focused on the relationship between the African Diaspora and architecture was eager to assist. “I basically approached some of the activists on the ground about the topic and they were excited about my participation,” she told Tadias. “And five years later here I am. I ended up getting really involved and proposed a design that they can use.”

Sara’s proposal includes “a promenade around the old wharf, embellished with fluid shapes that echo the ‘rodas’, or circles, where people engage in the traditionally black Brazilian martial art of capoeira and samba music, which was born in the port district,” AP noted describing her vision. “African plants, such as the baobab tree, would evoke the space’s African soul and a concrete “ribbon” inscribed with historical details would guide visitors.”


Sara Zewde’s monument design to memorialize the Valongo Wharf in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Courtesy image)


(Courtesy of Sara Zewde)


Design by Sara Zewde. (Courtesy image)

In an article entitled “Sara Zewde has the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Paying Attention — And For Good Reason” the non-profit organization Next City noted on their website that “by July 2014, [Sara] was presenting a design proposal at a meeting in Rio’s city hall convened by the Mayor’s office. His representatives and those from the public-private partnership redeveloping the port were there, as well as private developers with a stake in Porto Maravilha, staffers from the federal agencies…and various community activists. Zewde’s audience also included Milton Guran, a Brazilian who serves on UNESCO’s International Scientific Committee and will help decide in the next year whether Valongo Wharf receives designation as a World Heritage Site.”


Sara Zewde’s design, as shown in this rendering, includes native African plants. (Courtesy of Sara Zewde)

What Rio’s leaders “are advocating for now is to build pieces of it before the Olympics,” Sara said. “So there is a huge push, as you can imagine, in terms of infrastructure and construction, just trying to make the city ready for all the visitors.” Some pieces of the design have already been completed, and currently Sara adds that they are “working on a budget and aiming to have at least a quarter mile of the design built before the Olympics.”

Sara, who is 29-years-old, was born in Houston. When she was about a year old her family, who emigrated from Ethiopia, moved to Louisiana where they resided until she was a teen. At the age of 13 her family moved back to Houston and lived there for another five years. “At 18 I moved away and I’ve just been kind of everywhere since then,” Sara said with a slight laugh. In between, she attended Boston University for her undergraduate education and MIT and Harvard for graduate school.

“I grew up in Louisiana where there is not a lot of Ethiopians, especially not 30 years ago,” she shared. “So basically I relied on what my parents told me about Ethiopia. So as a child I had the privilege of growing up with this romantic version of being in Ethiopia.”

The stories that Sara heard from her parents had a positive impact on her profession as an architect. “What that meant for me was that as an architect you need to romanticize, it’s a skill in architecture to be able to romanticize a condition. Your job as an architect is to make something beautiful so it takes a sort of deep understanding of what brings people joy.” She then shared the way her mother, who came from a rural part of Ethiopia called Yifat, told stories of her native home. “She does not talk about it the way people do in the media or books; she talks about it as if it’s all about joy for her.”

Embracing the stories she grew up with Sara ties it back to her focus as an architect. “Understanding people’s life experiences and understanding that joy in relationship to this long-term history, it’s a pretty powerful skill to use with whomever you work with, whatever their history, regardless of their condition,” she said while remembering to add a question: “What is it that brings them joy?”

Sara has traveled to Ethiopia twice — once when she was nine and then a second time ten years ago. “I plan to travel there next year and check it out,” she said. I am excited to see the energy; it seems like there is a lot going on.”

As for her ongoing project in Brazil, “I do the work on the weekends and after work,” Sara said. During the week she is busy at her full-time job at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, a landscape architecture office in Seattle.

This past Fall her employer’s website proudly highlighted Sara’s work on Rio’s urban monument design, which she presented at the first “Black in Design Conference” organized by her alma mater, Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The feature underlined how Sara had started this project while still a student at GSD and that “she continues to work in partnership with the Rio World Heritage Institute.”

“The firm that I am employed with, they do a lot of really great work,” Sara added. “My friends are working on the building of the National Museum of African American History on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which is opening this year. They focus on history and culture as an entry point for architecture. That’s why I wanted to work for them.”


Related:
Unearthing of Rio slave port sparks debate over black space (AP)
Young American helping Brazil memorialize the slave trade (PRI)
How a 29-Year-Old Designer Is Reinventing the Urban Monument (Next City)
Harvard School of Design: Sara Zewde Named National Olmsted Scholar (GSD)

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Spotlight on Ethiopia’s First Aikido Association & Training Center

Aikido demonstration with Tesfaye Tekelu in Hawassa, Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Updated: Monday, January 25th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The city of Hawassa in southern Ethiopia — located by the beautiful Great Rift valley lake of the same name — is also home to the country’s first Aikido center (dojo). The Hawassa dojo is the main headquarter for training in this modern Japanese martial art, which is a non-competitive practice developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the late 1920s. The term Aikido is often translated as ‘The Way of Harmony’ and the techniques emphasize self defense while simultaneously protecting an attacker from harm. Since the first official association was registered in Japan in 1942 aikido has spread across the globe.

In 2005 the late sociologist and professor Don Levine, who practiced and wrote extensively about Aikido in addition to his scholarly work on Ethiopian society, formed the foundation for Aikido Ethiopia with his first mentee Tesfaye Tekelu. After pursuing several years of intensive training at dojos around the world and completing leadership and training courses in Petaluma, California Tesfaye received his first black belt in 2009. With his second black belt Tesfaye is now the highest ranking Aikido practitioner from East Africa.

Hawassa’s original dojo was part of a broader project entitled ‘Action for Youth and Community Change’ (AYCC) that functioned as an NGO run by youth leaders. In addition to an aikido center, the project incorporates a circus (One Love Theater), a girls empowerment program (Long Live the Girls), a health education and recreation center, a visual and music program, and a library.


(Photo Courtesy of Aikido Ethiopia)

“The principles of Aikido are part of the foundation of the entire AYCC project” Tesfaye tells Tadias. “The bigger picture was that whether it’s music, theater, or even a library or resource center it all had an Aikido component as its base.” This includes a primary focus on developing conflict resolution skills, non-violent communication and peace education. In partnership with Aiki Extensions, a U.S. based non-profit focusing on applying Aikido principles off-the-matt, AYCC provides programming and resources to approximately 400 youth in Hawassa. AYCC’s circus, theater shows, sports and arts exhibitions currently reach an audience of over 75,000 individuals. As one of the leaders of AYCC Tesfaye wants the participating youth “to not just engage in the activities, but also to be in charge of running the project and leading it.”

Two months ago, Tesfaye launched a crowdfunding campaign that successfully raised approximately $30,000 to secure land in Hawassa to build Ethiopia’s (and East Africa’s) first fully furnished Aikido center and dojo. With additional financial assistance of $70,000 from the Japanese Embassy for construction Aikido Ethiopia’s new dojo, named in memory of Don Levine, plans to serve 1,000 youth and local community members and provide high quality mats for Aikido practice as well as AYCC’s One Love Theater circus.


(Photo Courtesy of Aikido Ethiopia)


Don Levine shows Tesfaye Tekelu his very first Aikido technique in 2005. (Photo: Aikido Ethiopia)


In January 2015 Tesfaye celebrates the first Aikido black belt tests administered in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

“I’m hoping to take Aikido Ethiopia to the next level,” Tesfaye says as he describes plans to build the new space. “It is our vision to develop the compound as an inclusive environment dedicated to teaching Aikido. The dojo in Ethiopia welcomes everybody to engage in training across borders, and aims to promote a unified Pan-African relationship bearing in mind the Aikido spirit of being open-hearted.” Tesfaye also seeks to build an international connection with Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo) in Japan while continuing the partnership with Aiki Extensions and Peace Dojos International.

Last January Tesfaye’s Sensei, Richard Strozzi-Heckler, traveled to Ethiopia to administer the first six black belt tests in Hawassa. “All six of the tests were unequivocally superior in technique, execution, finesse, and spirit,” Strozzi-Heckler shared in a reflection piece.

The new batch of black belt practitioners are poised to help expand Aikido nationally in Ethiopia with dojos scheduled to be established in Addis Ababa, Gondar, Bahir Dar, Mekele, Adama (Nazret), Arba Minch, Shashamene, Wolaita Sodo, Dire Dawa, and Harar in 2016.

“I think Aikido Ethiopia has a strong base and foundation,” Tesfaye says enthusiastically. “We’re in a transformation period right now.”


Related:
The Art of Peace, Tesfaye Tekelu’s Journey and Ethiopia’s First Aikido Dojo

Aikido Ethiopia Association

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Liya Kebede in Historic Super Bowl 50

Designed by Liya Kebede, Lemlem for Super Bowl 50

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Design by Liya Kebede’s Lemlem Featured in Historic Super Bowl 50 Collection

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede is one of 50 notable fashion designers who has created a one-of-a-kind bespoke football in celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of Super Bowl, which is scheduled to take place in San Francisco Bay Area on February 7th, 2016. The designer footballs were developed through a collaboration between the National Football League (NFL) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

Time magazine reports: “The two organizations have collaborated on 50 bespoke designer footballs that will be up for auction from Jan. 20 through Feb. 14 on the NFL Auction site” with proceeds going to the NFL Foundation.

Other featured Super Bowl 50 fashion designers include Kenneth Cole, Tadashi Shoji, Prabal Gurung, Clare Vivier, and Rachel Roy.

The Lemlem brand, founded by Liya Kebede, produces Ethiopian hand-woven cotton scarves, women’s clothing and children’s dresses made by traditional artisans in Ethiopia.


Liya Kebede. (Photo: Lemlem)

“We are pleased to partner with the NFL once again on this creative endeavor, which highlights CFDA Members unique talents and passion for creativity while giving back to youth and important fundraising initiatives,” said Adam Roth, the CFDA’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. “With our collaboration, the NFL offers a unique take on the iconic football, particularly for women who care about fashion and also love the game.”

Read more at Time.com »


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Ethiopian Airlines Announces New Flights From Addis Ababa to NYC

(Photo by Gediyon Kifle/Tadias File)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines announced Thursday that it will offer new service between Addis Ababa and New York City’s JFK airport starting in June.

“Flights from Addis Ababa to JFK will depart Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings, and will return from JFK to Addis Ababa the same evening,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a press release. “Flights will make an intermediate stop in Lomé, home base for Ethiopian Airline’s partner ASKY Airlines, in both directions.”

The airline said it “will be deploying the most modern aircraft in the world on this flight, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which not only offers unparalleled onboard comfort to passengers, but is also the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft with its lower fuel usage and noise emissions.”

Read more at ethiopianairlines.com »


Related:
Photos: Ethiopian Airlines Inaugurates Flight Connecting Addis, LA, Dublin

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Bofta Yimam Named Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4

WTAE Channel 4 has promoted Ethiopian American journalist Bofta Yimam as its Weekend Morning Anchor.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, January, 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Investigative reporter Bofta Yimam, who won the 2013 Regional Emmy Award (Nashville/Mid-South Chapter) for excellence in the ‘Continuing Coverage’ category — while nominated for three awards overall by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences — has been promoted as Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television (WTAE). The network announced that Bofta’s new post commences on Saturday, January 30th, 2016.

“Bofta is a talented journalist who is passionate about the Pittsburgh community,” WTAE President and General Manager, Charles W. Wolfertz III said in a statement. “She has been a strong asset to Action News Investigates and we look forward to her help in maintaining our dominance in the weekend mornings.”

Bofta said she is “thrilled and honored to have this opportunity at WTAE Channel 4 and look forward to joining the #1 morning news team.” She added: “Pittsburgh is a beautiful city that I love exploring. I’m excited to continue my journey here.”

The Ethiopian American journalist, who is a native of Washington, D.C. and a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park, is also a recipient of several media professional awards including the 2011 Regional Edward R. Murrow Best Breaking News Story Award, the 2009 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award as part of “Crime and the City” coverage, and the 2008 Community Broadcasters Association Best Breaking News Story Award.

In a 2013 interview with Tadias, Bofta recounted how she got her start in journalism with her first job in the small town of Dalton, Georgia (population 40,000). “I left the D.C. metropolitan area and really jumped at the opportunity to be able to be on air..and do the things that I wanted to do,” she said. “The training just continued and I kept meeting more people who were mentors, who offered more advice.”

Bofta went on to work at a cable station and at a CBS affiliate in Macon, Georgia before receiving three Regional Emmy nominations and winning one while working in Memphis.

“There are so many different avenues of journalism that you have to put yourself out there, and have a kind of go-for-it type of mentality, because you can’t just hope” she says. “You gotta get the skill sets and be willing to hit the ground running.”

In a press release Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 said that “during her nearly three years as an Action News Investigates reporter, Bofta has uncovered wasteful spending and wrong doing. One investigation revealed able bodied drivers illegally taking handicapped spots in Port Authority parking lots, and her story on elder abuse exposed the failure to track cases in Western Pennsylvania, pushing authorities to take a closer look at the problem across the state.”

In addition to her reporting WTAE shares that “Bofta served as Special Events Chairwoman of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, helped organize the Robert L. Vann Media Awards program, and was recognized for her journalism coverage of the African-American community of Western Pennsylvania.” Bofta was a guest speaker for events organized by Young Ethiopian Professionals and Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp, as well as lent her voice to sing “the National Anthem for the Race for Every Woman 5K, which helps raise funds for breast cancer awareness among Ethiopian and Eritrean women.”

Watch: Bofta Yimam Emmy Award Acceptance Speech 2013


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Move Over Ray-Ban, Jembere Eyewear is Here

(Photos: Courtesy of Jembere Eyewear)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Three years ago, after a lengthy career of more than ten years in the eyewear industry, Ethiopian American Abaynesh Jembere decided to establish her own brand of high-quality, fashionable sunglasses, which she aptly named Jembere.

“I decided it was time for me to follow my dream of becoming an entrepreneur,” Abaynesh tells Tadias. “Luckily I had a lot of experience working with eyewear so I had the relationships and knowledge of what I needed to do.”

The NYC-based business sources its materials from top eyewear suppliers in Italy and Germany and manufactures the eyewear in Asia. “Our beautiful lens cloths are handwoven in Ethiopia,” Abaynesh adds. “It was very important to us to have a piece of our brand made in Ethiopia.”


Image courtesy: Jembere Eyewear

While the company has so far only sold items directly from their online site, their eyewear products have been featured on Essence magazine, and last May Jembere’s founder Abaynesh was featured in The Root’s list of “10 African Artists and Entrepreneurs You Should Know.” In 2016 Jembere plans to include additional retailers as part of their expansion.

Abaynesh, who grew up in Seattle, was born in Sudan and moved to the United States when she was barely 2 years old. “I took my first trip back to Ethiopia when I was 18 years old. I was truly inspired and fell in love with our culture,” she shared. “I knew then that whatever I was going to create was going to bridge fashion and culture — my culture — together. That’s when Jembere, which is the Amharic word for ‘my sunset’ was born.”


Abaynesh Jembere, founder of Jembere Eyewear. (Courtesy photos)

“As a child you couldn’t keep me away from my mother’s heels, red lipstick and eyeliner, which by the way, to this day, the latter two are still my staple items,” Abaynesh admits. As a teenager she was certain that she wanted to become a designer and pursued those dreams by enrolling in the Design & Merchandising program at Drexel University.

“My goal is to create products for the fashionable and culturally aware customer,” Abaynesh tells Tadias. “Eyewear is just the beginning of my catalog of products, and I am excited for 2016 as I work hard on launching some new items.”


You can learn more about Jembere Eyewear at www.jembereeyewear.com.

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Debo Band’s New Album ‘Ere Gobez’

Debo Band. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Ere Gobez is the title of Debo Band’s newest album, which is scheduled to be released this Spring on FPE Records.

“Thrilled to announce the release of our sophomore album, Ere Gobez, coming out May 20, 2016,” Debo Band announced. The Boston-based Ethiopian American band was in New York City this past weekend “doing some pre-release promo and setting up tours for Summer and Fall.”

The label describes Debo Band’s new album as “the bold, grooving follow-up to their acclaimed debut. The large ensemble is known for its fun, danceable dives into Ethiopia’s rich musical worlds — from Orthodox Christian liturgy to hot-and-sweaty club sounds.”

“Debo Band raises the roof on the Ethiopian musical past,” the record company adds. “They imagine what Duke Ellington, while on his famed African tour, might have played with the Addis Ababa Police Orchestra (“Blue Awaze”)..They invent the jams of the Ethiopians who served in the Korean War and brought back influences from East Asia (the catchy Okinawan song Hiyamikachi Bushi).”


The cover for Debo Band’s new album ‘Ere Gobez.’ (Courtesy photo)


Pre-orders can be made through @pledgemusic at the Debo Band website. Pledgers get a download of the album in a couple weeks.

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MLK’s Invitation from Haile Selassie in 1964

Martin Luther King, Jr. (photo courtesy uscitizenpod.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A few months before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Martin Luther King Jr received a letter from the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on July 13th, 1964 inviting him to attend the 73rd birthday anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie.


(invitation to Martin & Coretta King from Emperor Haile Selassie. Photo courtesy: The King Center).

Coincidentally that same year both MLK and Haile Selassie had made the shortlist for the Nobel Peace Prize; for the latter it followed the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (African Union’s predecessor) the previous year in May 1963.

“The first nomination for Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1963. The Norwegian Nobel Committee..received this nomination from an earlier Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, American Friends Service Committee, (The Quakers) in Philadelphia,” states the website for the Nobel Prize. The nomination, signed by the AFSC Board of Directors, stated:

African leaders, who are perhaps most aware of racial tensions, are in several striking cases seeking to create a spirit of reconciliation and to use methods that will not increase the likelihood of violence. These leaders have been influenced and are being encouraged by the example of MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr., whose work to resolve serious conflicts without violence is also helping to reduce in the United States the indiscriminate bitterness that condemns international organization, and in particular the United Nations, because of the participation of people of non-white races and of the concern to promote “the dignity and worth of the human person” regardless of race.

A second request from AFSC subsequently asked for the nomination to be transferred to 1964, which the Nobel Prize Committee agreed to do as they received a second nomination for MLK from the Swedish Parliament. Both MLK and Haile Selassie were two of the 13 individuals on the shortlist out of 43 candidate submissions in 1964.

Martin Luther King, Jr was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, becoming the youngest African American to receive the honor. Diplomat and political scientist Ralph Bunche was the first African American to win a Nobel Prize in 1950 while Albert John Luthuli, President of the African National Congress in South Africa, was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960.

In his acceptance speech recognizing the civil rights struggle in the United States MLK said: “After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time…I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history..I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits..When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.”

MLK met an untimely death, assassinated in 1968. A year later — and just five years after sending his invitation to Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King — the Washington Afro-American newspaper reported that Haile Selassie went to MLK’s tomb following a State visit and “stood silent for a moment at the grave of the slain civil rights leader and then left for a speech and honor presentation at Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater.”


(Source: Washington Afro-American Newspaper, July 15th, 1969)

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr Day and the 30th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring his life and civil rights legacy.

Watch MLK’s full Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:


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Video: President Obama Shows His Coptic Cross From Ethiopia

President Barack Obama talks with Ingrid Nilsen during YouTube's post-State of the Union interview live from the East Room of the White House on Friday, January 15, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 16th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A coptic cross from Ethiopia is among President Obama’s gifts that were given to him as keepsakes from ordinary people that he met around the world. In an interview with YouTube personality Ingrid Nilsen on Friday at the White House, Obama — who is the first sitting U.S. President to visit Ethiopia — revealed what he carried in his pocket to remind himself of the stories of individuals he met and the encouragement they gave him. In addition to the Ethiopian cross he carried he also shared additional items including rosary beads from Pope Francis and a lucky poker chip from a biker in Iowa given to him in 2007.

“Ever since I started running for office people started handing me things when I.. speak to a crowd,” President Obama explained in a video posted on the White House website. “Now I have a habit that I always carry around — and I have a whole bowl full of them and I can’t carry all of them around — but I will pick out a few things that I just stick in my pocket to remind me of all the people that I have met along the way and the stories they told me.”

Regarding the rosary beads that Pope Francis gave him Obama said it means a lot to him “because I so admire him and it makes me think about peace and promoting understanding and ethical behavior.”

“If I feel tired or I feel discouraged sometimes I can kind of reach into my pocket and I say yeah that’s something that I can overcome because somebody gave me this privilege to work on these issues that’s going to affect them, I better get back to work,” Obama said.


Related:
Obama Aide Yohannes Abraham Gives Keynote Address at YEP’s 5th Anniversary Gala
In Ethiopia, Obama Praises Contributions of Ethiopian Americans
President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

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The Weeknd Scores Oscar Nomination

The Weeknd is the first Ethiopian artist to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. (Rap-Up.com)

Rap-Up

The Weeknd can add Oscar nominee to his résumé. The singer-songwriter scored a nomination at the 88th annual Academy Awards, it was announced today.

His chart-topping hit “Earned It” off the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack is up in the Original Song category. His fellow nominees include Lady Gaga and Diane Warren (“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground), Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes (“Writing’s On the Wall” from Spectre), David Lang (“Simple Song #3” from Youth), and J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty (“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction).

A humbled Weeknd took to Twitter to react to the honor. “It can’t get more surreal than this. thank you for the recognition @TheAcademy . truly a proud moment,” he tweeted.

Read more at Rap-Up.com »


Related:
Tadias Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
The Weeknd First Winner at 2015 American Music Awards
The Unstoppable Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd): Rebel with Harmony
The Weeknd Interview: Abel Says Grew Up Listening to Aster Aweke & Mulatu Astatke
The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) to Guest Star in TV’s Hottest Hip-Hop Drama ‘Empire’
Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World? (NY Times)
Inspired by Michael Jackson, The Weeknd Goes from Rebellious Songwriter to Chorus Lover
The reclusive artist talks ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ (Radio.com)

With dark tales of sex and drugs, is the Weeknd the next face of R&B? (The Guardian)

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Ethiopia Film ‘Lamb’ Makes American Debut, Gets U.S. Distributor

Yared Zeleke (C) at the premiere of 'Lamb' in New York on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — With its spectacular cinematography and solid storytelling the award-winning Ethiopian film, Lamb, continues to generate international buzz while making its U.S. debut at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival in California earlier this month as well as at Lincoln Center’s New York Jewish Film Festival on Wednesday evening.

Brooklyn-based company, KimStim, has likewise recently announced that they have acquired distribution rights to the film in the U.S. and plan a theatrical release in Spring 2016.

Variety named the Director, Yared Zeleke, as one of its “10 Screenwriters to Watch” as Lamb became the first Ethiopian film to be screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won ‘Best Feature Film’ later that same year at the Milan Film Festival.

The Los Angeles Times notes that Lamb “is a vision of Ethiopia that the average American might not expect: craggy emerald peaks, picturesque villages, a priest blessing a family for a festive religious celebration.”

Describing his decision to shoot the film in his native land Yared told the LA Times: “I wanted to do it in Ethiopia because it was my home. Despite the dictatorship and war and famine and poverty — I had even grown up in a slum — I still feel I had a fairy-tale childhood. There was a lot of love and good food and colorful characters and incredible Christian festivities that I’d grown up with. In Ethiopia, there is no colonial legacy. The culture is untouched. It’s a dream for a filmmaker and storyteller. Beauty and heartache, it’s there.”

The soundtrack to the film includes music by Krar Collective and Debo Band.


At the screening of ‘Lamb’ in New York City on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)


Related:
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)

Watch: Lamb Official Trailer

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Howard University Returns Sacred Manuscript to Ethiopia’s Debre Libanos Monastery

Howard University Delegation Photo: (Top) Blain Zehrun, Dr. Alice Ogden Bellis, Dr. Alton B. Pollard, III, Lawrence Rodgers. Debre Libanos Photo: Tesfa Tours.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Howard University has sent a delegation to Ethiopia’s Debre Libanos Monastery to return a sacred, 14th-15th century manuscript that belonged to the Christian holy site. The university announced that the ancient document was part of one of the largest collections of Ethiopian sacred artifacts housed in the United States.

“The 240-piece collection was originally gifted to Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD) in 1993 by the late Dr. André Tweed, a prominent psychiatrist and alumnus of the University,” stated Howard University’s press release. “The manuscript is a rare text that provides historical insights into early Christianity and the connection between African and Judaic cultures and traditions.”

“The manuscript, known as Tweed MS150, contains two different texts: the Acts of Paul and the Acts of Serabamon,” the press release added.

The announcement highlighted the university’s “long-standing commitment..to honor the rich heritage and cultural artifacts throughout Africa, in particular Ethiopia.” By deciding to return the manuscript to its original source, Dr. Gay L. Byron, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, says that they “wanted to set an example for other schools, museums and institutions around this county and even throughout the world for what it means to have rare manuscripts actually in their rightful home of origin.”

Echoing similar sentiments, student Lawrence Rodgers, who is traveling to Ethiopia as part of the delegation, shares: “being able to travel to this ancient country and to be able to visit some of the oldest Christian churches in the world, seeing this rich Christian heritage on the continent of my ancestors is something that is very meaningful to me.”

Howard University alumni Memhir Dr. Zebene Lemma, Head Priest at Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Virginia, is also joining the delegation and adds that “this manuscript was written by Ethiopians. So returning the manuscript is a huge impact for Ethiopian church history, and it establishes a strong relationship with Howard University.”

Howard University, which was established in 1867, is a historically African American, private university located in Washington, D.C.


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Ethiopian Artists Featured in Kennedy Museum Exhibit ‘Encounters Beyond Borders’

(Artwork by Ethiopian painter and mixed-media artist Wosene Worke Kosrof/wosene.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University is featuring three Ethiopian artists — Salem Mekuria (Boston, MA), Wosene Kosrof (Berkeley, CA) and Julie Mehretu (NYC) — in its upcoming exhibition entitled Encounters Beyond Borders: Contemporary Artists From The Horn of Africa, which brings together eight contemporary artists from the Horn of Africa, now residing in either North America or Europe.

“Pursuing international trajectories in the contemporary art world, the artists re-figure indigenous artistic content, thereby visually articulating multi-directional and transnational flows, frictions, networks, and mobilities within and between the continents of Africa, North America and other world spaces,” The Kennedy Museum of Art said in an announcement. “The works included in the exhibition become a means for understanding transnational complexities of diasporas, political unrest in the Horn and broader stories of migration.”

Additional participating artists in the exhibition include: Mohamed Hamid (Sudan/Columbus, Ohio), Dawit L. Petros (Eritrea/Canada/NYC), Rashid Ali (Somalia/London), Elsa Gebreyesus (Eritrea/Canada/Washington DC), Yegizaw Michael (Eritrea/Seattle) and Andrew Cross (England).

“These artists are exhibited together for the first time, guest-curated by Andrea Frohne, an Associate Professor of African art history at the School of Interdisciplinary Arts, College of Fine Arts at Ohio University,” the Museum said. “An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Friday, Jan. 22 from 5-7 p.m. Frohne will lead a gallery walk prior to the reception at 4 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.”

—-
If You Go:
Encounters Beyond Borders: Contemporary Artists from the Horn of Africa
Jan 22-May 29th
Kennedy Museum of Art
Ohio University
536, 100 Ridges Circle
Athens, Ohio
www.ohio.edu

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Meet Abai Schulze: Owner of Zaaf Collection, a Luxury Handbag Brand from Ethiopia

Abai Schulze is the founder of Ethiopian handbag brand Zaaf Collection based in Ethiopia. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 9th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Long before she launched Zaaf Collection, a luxury handbag business headquartered in Ethiopia, Abai Schulze spent her earliest years in Wollo Province and then in Addis before entering an orphanage at around age four and moving to America seven years later. “It had naturally shaped me in a dynamic way,” Abai recalls of her childhood in Addis. “Being adopted at a later age meant that I had a certain amount of attachment to Ethiopia.”

In addition, her adoptive family encouraged her to keep up with her written and spoken Amharic. “I became part of a large and loving family, and benefitted from excellent education and many opportunities to experience travel near and far,” she shares. That included earning a degree in Economics from George Washington University and returning back to Ethiopia on a number of occasions. “Across my secondary school and college years, my driving passion and vision were centered around using my education and experiences to create economic opportunities in my country of birth,” Abai told Tadias. At the same time Abai also pursued training in fine arts and design. “So it all came down to a convergence of both opportunity and passion,” she adds. “I understood the value of my education, and I was determined to leverage the potential and trends of my home country. My passion derives from the reality that design and creative expressions of “physical creation” had always been a driver for me, even as I spent my university years focused on the hard facts of economics.”

The name for her luxury handbag business, Zaaf, is the Amharic word for tree. “At the same time it is a simple word with symbolic meaning across all cultures,” Abai said. “I was inspired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ethiopian culture and heritage, while bring out beautiful new branches of creativity and functionality, it is a theme that works well — most of our products are named after Ethiopian trees.”

Zaaf Collection started out with a small team of six, and has now grown to seventeen including artisans and administrative staff. “Our artisans work hard and we are always focused on quality control and continuous improvement in all we do,” Abai emphasizes. “We all take great pride in our work, and we operate as a team. I make sure we engage in times of team building that bring encouragement and motivation to all of us, and underscores the sense of purpose and excitement we have in bringing forth this vision and these beautiful products. Our team will continue to grow in number, along with skills and capacity.”


ZAAF workshop in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

The leather and hand-woven textiles that ZAAF uses to make its bags are all sourced from Ethiopia and produced by local artisans. “Real economic development is about producing top quality products using unique cultural, natural, and human resources that can find a place at the highest levels in the global marketplace,” Abai explained. “So the vision is really very big — it is about setting standards of excellence and innovation; it is about demonstrating and affirming that we can be a top fashion brand competing with the biggest names in the world in terms of both creative design and quality.”

Asked about her plans for expansion and where she sees her brand in 10 years time, Abai says “Ethiopia is the birthplace of ZAAF, and will serve as the foundation of a luxury lifestyle brand as we expand out to draw on the rich heritage and culture that can be found across the continent. In ten years we want to be a widely recognized and sought after brand that equates “Made in Africa” with brilliance in craftsmanship, artistry, and deep cultural roots.”


Model with Zaaf Collection handbag. (Courtesy photo)

Zaaf Collection, which launched two years ago, has already been showcased at New York Fashion Week and featured in Vogue, Elle and Lucky magazines. Last month Abai — who is the recipient of the UNESCO Tremplin 2014 Prize for Entrepreneurship and one of the finalists for the 2015 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship — was a speaker at the UNESCO conference in Paris themed “Emergence in Africa.”

“We are off to a good start,” Abai says. “I look forward to rewarding and exciting things ahead.”


You can learn more about Abai Schulze’s work at zaafcollection.com

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Genna Photos From Around the world

An Ethiopian worshipper at Cairo's Orthodox Cathedral, January 7th, 2015. (Reuters)

BBC

Communities from Europe, Africa and the Middle East marked the event – each with their own unique traditions – on Thursday, in line with the Julian calendar.

Wacth the video at BBC.com »


Thousands of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia made their way to city of Lalibela. (Getty Images)

Click here to see more photos of Christmas celebrations from around the world »


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The Red Moon Letters: Memories From Ethiopia

Gladys Fellows serves Emperor Haile Selassie a hamburger during a fundraiser for the Red Cross in Addis Ababa in May 1953. (Courtesy Kristin Fellows)

Tadias Magazine
BY Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The Red Moon Letters is a new photojournalism book project on Ethiopia by documentary filmmaker Kristin Fellows. The book, which is currently being released via weekly online installments, is based on a collection of letters that the author’s grandmother, Gladys Fellows, wrote when she resided in Ethiopia between 1947-1954.

Gladys’ husband, Perry Fellows, had been appointed to serve as Economic and Industrial Advisor to Emperor Haile Selassie following the end of World War II and Italy’s defeat in Ethiopia. Perry and Gladys Fellows relocated from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa in 1947 at the request of Ethiopian Economist Yilma Deressa — who was then Ethiopia’s Vice Finance Minister and later Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the United States.

Prior to becoming Emperor Haile Selassie’s advisor Perry Fellows was Chief Engineer for public works administration in the United States during a time when the nation was just coming out of the depression era in the 1930s. “He was in charge of a national system that built roads and bridges to help develop the country’s infrastructure and give people jobs at the same time,” Kristin told Tadias. “He oversaw more than 5,000 projects. It was a jobs program for the public interest. A lot of our infrastructure dates back to that time.”

In the introduction to The Red Moon Letters Ethiopian historian Dr. Bahru Zewde notes that the first official contacts between Ethiopia and the United States during this period were made in 1943 during Yilma Deressa’s visit to the United States. “The U.S. response,” Zewde writes, “came in the form of an extension of their Lend-Lease to Ethiopia and the sending of a technical mission in May 1944. The latter, known as the Fellows Mission, could be said to have laid the groundwork for the subsequent American involvement in Ethiopia.”

“The Fellows Mission was named for Perry (my grandfather) who headed up the project.” Kristin states. “Pleased with the Technical Mission’s evaluation of his country’s industrial and economic prospects, Haile Selassie directed his Minister of Foreign Affairs & Ambassador to the United States, Yilma Deressa, to court Perry, and offer him a position as the Emperor’s Director of Industry and Economic Planning in April 1947.” The report prepared by Mr. Fellows was subsequently published by the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. While in Ethiopia Mr. Fellows also served as Chairman of the Board at Ethiopian Airlines in its early years. The Fellows also sponsored the education of over 30 children during their 7 year stay.

Kristin first visited Ethiopia when she was 11 years old. She returned in 2008 when preparing to write about her grandmother’s letters. More than sixty years after her grandparent’s trip Kristin now shares the insights gleaned from their experience in Addis Ababa during this post WWII era of renewal and reconstruction. Through weekly letters diligently written every week to her eldest son — Kristen’s father — Gladys captured both palace life as well as everyday adventures as residents of Addis Ababa.

“It’s been 12 years since I first started working on this book,” Kristin tells Tadias. “And instead of waiting to publish after completion, I have decided to post installations on my blog on a weekly basis and look forward to receiving feedback from readers in the process.” Kristin plans to publish the entire content as a book in the near future. In the process of conducting research for the book Kristin has also shared the work with historians Dr. Bahru Zewde and Dr. Richard Pankhurst.

As for the title of the book, Kristin named it The Red Moon Letters after reading about an incident described in one of Gladys’ letters. One evening in 1953 her grandparents had been woken up in the middle of the night with the house staff banging on their windows and motioning for them to come outside. Quite startled the couple did not know why the house staff was upset. The staff pointed to the night sky and the presence of a red moon, demanding why it was red. Gladys tried to muster up a scientific explanation in the limited Amharic she had learned, but the staff would have none of the explanation. Instead they told Gladys and Perry that the last time there was a red moon in the sky was the night before the Italian invasion, and they wanted to know if this was a bad omen and if they should head to church to pray the entire next day. “It was a significant story,” said Kristin, because it made her realize why her grandparents traveled all the way to Ethiopia in the first place: to assist in uplifting the country following the Italian invasion during World War II.

“My grandfather loved Ethiopia, and he was very meticulous about his work,” Kristin says. And as a result her family now has a deep connection to the country, people and cultures. The Red Moon Letters is a personal attempt to share the Fellows’ everyday experience in Ethiopia during this unique time, and to provide an alternate view of the era.

Below is a chapter from The Red Moon Letters posted on January 5th, which provides a backstory of how Perry Fellows came to serve as one of the Emperor’s advisors.

http://theredmoonletters.com/2016/01/05/3/

and here is an excerpt of one of Gladys’ letters that the book is based upon:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
16 February 1953

I was awakened at 3 am last night by a knock on our bedroom window. Thinking one of the guards had bumped into it accidentally, I didn’t respond. But almost at once it came again so I called out, “What do you want?” In urgent tones the guards whispered they needed to speak to Perry.

Worried there might be thieves, I woke him up immediately and the two of us rushed out into the freezing cold night wearing nothing but our old, thin p.j.’s.

There we found the guards, neither of whom speak any English, anxiously beating their heads with their hands. They practically pushed Perry around to the back of the house and pointed up at the moon, which was a startling red. I have never seen anything like it before.

Perry spent much of the following hour trying to calm them down with assurances that everything was all right, but they were not so easily satisfied.

When the cook came in this morning, I asked him why the guards had been so frightened. He told me the only other time Ethiopians had ever seen a red moon was the night the Italians came. I tried to explain to him that it was probably just some atmospheric condition – a little hard with my limited Amharic and his limited English. And though he is smart and rather modern in his thinking, I could see he was still concerned. He said the old men would not believe it after all they had suffered.

When Adamaso came to work, he too was very unhappy, as he is one of the older ones here. The guards wanted to know if they should go to church and pray all day.


Related:
Have You Seen Ethiopia AD in the New York Times Lately?

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Why Did U.S. Close Ethiopia Drone Base?

In the following article Foreign Policy magazine looks at various reasons why the U.S. decided to abandon its drone base in Ethiopia including possibly strained diplomatic relationship over human rights issues. (FP)

Foreign Policy

BY JOHN HUDSON, SIOBHÁN O’GRADY

Although State Department officials maintained that the move had nothing to do with bilateral differences between the U.S. and Ethiopia, some experts speculated that Addis Ababa may have had reservations about hosting the U.S. drones.

Terrence Lyons, a regional expert and associate professor at George Mason University, told FP that the base’s closure could signal “the U.S. is having difficulties with its relationship with Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s authoritarian ruling government won nearly 100 percent of the national vote in May and has come under fire from human rights organizations that claim it has unfairly cracked down on journalists and activists. Domestically, the ruling party has also had to face some unrest in the Muslim community, where many believe the government has overstepped its boundaries and interfered with the country’s official Islamic authority.

“It could be that from the Ethiopian government side, being seen as one of the countries supporting drone bases killing Muslims in the region might have been problematic,” Lyons said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria O’Connell denied that bilateral tensions were involved in the decision and said it was “based on Africom’s assessment of the situation and the usefulness” of the base.

Read the full article at foreignpolicy.com »

Related:
US Stops Flying Drones From Ethiopia
White House Confirms Existence of U.S. Military Drones in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia Film ‘If Only I Were That Warrior’ Screens at Best of Diaspora Festival

Megabi Woldetensae, an eyewitness to the 1937 "Yekatit" massacre at the monastery of Debre Libanos, is one of the characters featured in the new documentary film "If Only I Were That Warrior." (Photo: Awen Films)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 1st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The new documentary film on Ethiopia, If Only I Were That Warrior, will be screened at the Best of African Diaspora International Film Festival on January 9th, 2016 in New York City.

“We are proud to present this year, in the context of the Best of the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, the screening of ‘If Only I Were That Warrior,’ organizers announced. The film will be showing at Teachers College, Columbia University as part of the festival’s three-day program from January 8th to January 10th and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker.

If Only I Were That Warrior, which was shot in Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, narrates personal stories from the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. It was inspired after the director Valerio Ciriaci and producer Isaak Liptzin attended a 2013 panel discussion held at New York University concerning the recent unveiling of a statue in Italy honoring the fascist war criminal Rodolfo Graziani — Mussolini’s top enforcer in Ethiopia during the occupation in the late 1930s. Strangely enough, more than seven decades later, “Graziani was honored with a mausoleum and memorial park, built at taxpayers’ expense, in a village south of Rome,” BBC reported in 2012. “He was notorious as Benito Mussolini’s military commander in colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons.”

In Ethiopia, among Graziani’s numerous crimes against humanity, is the brutal Yekatit 12 massacre following a failed assassination attempt against him in February 1937. Graziani unleashed a war of retribution and terror in Addis Ababa and across the country indiscriminately slaughtering as many as 30,000 Ethiopians and imprisoning many more. According to BBC Graziani who was denounced by the League of Nations and brought in front of the United Nations War Crimes Commission “was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for war crimes in 1948 but was released from jail after serving only two years, and died in 1955.”

The NYU panel “prompted the two young filmmakers to research the Italian occupation of Ethiopia and understand why it was remembered so little and with such radical divergences,” Centro Primo Levim (CPL) — which also hosted a screening of the documentary last Spring — stated in a press release. “Their quest became a film project on the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia and its unresolved legacy exposing it both from an Italian and an Ethiopian perspective.”

CPL adds: “The film moves from contemporary debate into the history of the invasion through the work of major historians of colonialism like Angelo Del Boca and Richard Pankhurst. Historian of fascist Italy Mauro Canali and cultural historian Ian Campbell accompany the public through the history of the occupation as documented in the Italian and Ethiopian national archives. In recent years, scholars have placed Italian war crimes in Greece, Yugoslavia and Africa under the spotlight allowing, among other things, a new approach to the study of fascist racism and a debate on international intervention, post-war justice as well as the effect of lingering prejudice and an unspoken past.”

The Massacre of Debre Libanos – If Only I Were That Warrior CLIP from Awen Films on Vimeo.


If You Go
Best of African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF)
Screenings of ‘If Only I Were That Warrior
When: Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 2pm
Where: Teachers College, Columbia University
The Chapel
525 W. 120TH ST
New York, NY 10027
Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com
More info & schedule at: www.nyadiff.org

Related:
Tadias Book Review: Jeff Pearce’s ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia


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Tadias Spotlight: Five Ethiopian-Led Initiatives for Social Change

School children in Nazret/Adama, Ethiopia (photo courtesy: Seeds of Africa Foundation).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, December 31st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – In our end-of-the-year spotlight Tadias features five Ethiopian-led grassroots Diaspora initiatives that focus on leadership & service, education, environment & social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and the arts.

Leadership & Service: Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship


(The first class of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows. Image: Deseta Design).

When two Ethiopian Americans, Rediate Tekeste and Meseret Hailu, sent out a survey via social media in early 2015 to assess their millennial peer’s views and interests regarding their sense of cultural heritage and connection to Ethiopia they were surprised with the 400 enthusiastic responses they received to their queries. They took the feedback and launched the first Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship, which provides youth with leadership, service and creative storytelling skills while participating in a 6-month program in collaboration with local-led partner organizations in Ethiopia. The first class of Fellows just completed their service and recently shared their experiences with Tadias. Fellow Tewodros Ayele worked with the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia focusing on the intersection of education and leadership. “Ethiopia welcomed me with open arms from the day I arrived, and for the past six months has shown me how much a part of her I am” he shares. As Tewodros plans to pursue a PhD in Education in the coming year he says “I look forward to what the future holds for me and I know whatever comes into my life will be led by the desire I have to give back to Ethiopia.” Fellow Liat Desta adds “I have learned that as an Ethiopian Diaspora member, I have a duty to help this country, that I call home, grow.” Fellow Ebanezere Tadele likewise was captivated by the unique experience to lead and serve in Ethiopia. “Being in Ethiopia has been such a blessing,” he states. “The beautiful country always makes me reconsider and re-prioritize my beliefs and perspective. It forces me to open up my eyes, mind, and heart to what I hold dear. This experience has truly changed my life, directed me and pushed me to grow in ways I couldn’t have expected.” For Naome Seifu her trip as a Fellow was the first she ever took to Ethiopia. “Not only have I taken a step into my future, but I’ve learned more about myself” she says. Having completed the fellowship Naome has decided to stay for two more years with a full-time job as a Creatives Coordinator for a new channel launched in Addis. The fellowship experience is equally “one of the best decisions of my life” says Eden Mesfin. “Watching my deep connection to Ethiopia, how I have invested myself in the people and groups I spent time with each day has been the most enriching experience.” Eden has also received job offers and plans to stay for another year. “It’s an honor to dedicate your work and life to seeing change in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is my heart, and I am proud to continue my life here” she tells Tadias. We congratulate the first class of 2015, and look forward to many more young leaders participating in programs developed by the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship. Learn more at Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship.

Environment & Social Entrepreneurship: Dir Biyabir


(Bee Keeping program, Sebeta Nunnery, Ethiopia. Photo: Dir Biyabir).

Dir Biyabir Anbessa Yasir (when spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion) is a popular Ethiopian proverb that captures the significance of collaboration for success. Haeran Fisseha, a graduate of Stanford and Michigan State University with degrees in Industrial and Electrical Engineering, founded the non-profit Dir Biyabir and developed a network to mobilize resources for the reduction of extreme poverty by investing in people and building their capacity to help themselves. While most NGOs spend a certain percentage of their capital on overhead, the leadership team of Dir Biyabir covers their own expenses so that 100% of the proceeds go directly to fund local initiatives in Ethiopia. Dir Biyabir focuses on impact, accountability, efficiency, transparency, and the empowerment of individuals through various programs including environmental rehabilitation, academic sponsorship of students, building of infrastructure, and the provision of vocational training and social entrepreneurship training for women in various communities such as: bee keeping and dairy farming skills for Ethiopian orthodox nuns at Sebeta; handicraft made from doum palm leaves to generate income for Afar women; poultry farming business training for rural school girls; and support of a hand-made cotton textile enterprise for survivors of leprosy in Addis Ababa. Dir Biyabir’s non-existent overhead as well as comprehensive social entrepreneurship and environmental rehabilitation programs offer a unique, local-driven and effective way to promote long-term, positive change in rural communities across Ethiopia. Learn more at Dir Biyabir.

Education: Seeds of Africa Foundation


(School children in Nazret/Adama, Ethiopia. Photo: Seeds of Africa Foundation).

This past August Former Miss Ethiopia, Atti Worku, received the 2015 Diaspora Youth Excellence Award in recognition of her work with Seeds of Africa — a non-profit focused on providing Pre-K to 12th grade education for youth in Nazret/Adama while incorporating a holistic community development program including adult literacy, health education and small business funding to their families. An Adama native, Atti Worku, created Seeds of Africa in 2006 launching educational programs in her mother’s backyard. Following her studies in sustainable development, education and social movements at Columbia University Atti launched the Dream School Initiative in 2014 to fundraise for a state-of-the-art education facility and has already raised $1.3 million of its $2.2 million goal. “It will meet the most rigorous international academic standards and prepare its students to succeed in high school, college and beyond” Atti says. “Our goal is to move beyond traditional aid models, providing more than just short-term relief efforts by giving our community the skills they need to support themselves and rise above poverty.” Learn more at Seeds of Africa.

Arts: Kenna’s One-for-One Artist Platform


(Musician Kenna Zemedkun. Image: Songs for Flight Campaign Video).

Shortly following his Grammy nomination Ethiopian-born musician and social activist Kenna (Née Kenna Zemedkun) set off with friends on a mission to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, in an initiative called “Summit on the Summit” — an effort to raise awareness about the global clean water crisis. Born in Addis and raised in the United States, the issue of access to clean water was a personal one for the artist whose father had suffered from waterborne diseases as a child in Ethiopia. “If he hadn’t survived, I wouldn’t be here” Kenna told Tadias. “That is what resonates with me.” His climb not only raised awareness but also helped prevent cuts in congressional funding for clean water initiatives. In 2015, Kenna has taken his social activism to another level as he independently produces his new LP entitled Songs for Flight, which he launched on the world’s first One-For-One Artist platform. Seeking a sustainable, social entrepreneurship slant that includes donating 50% of the profits to international causes that the artist and his fans care about Kenna states “My inheritance is my driver for the causes I have chosen. Water (human right) for my father and his struggle as a child and the continued struggle of so many to have access to clean, safe drinking water. Women’s rights because of my mother and sister. And the Arts because it has been the vehicle for me to be able to focus on the causes my family and I care about.” Watch Kenna’s video on One-for-One Artist platform and learn more at Kenna.com.

Grassroots Organizations & Philanthropy: Africans in the Diaspora


(Siiqqee Women’s Development Association in Ethiopia. Photo: Africans in the Diaspora).

While working in the non-profit world with multilateral organizations such as UNDP and Human Rights Watch, and managing the Africa portfolio in more than 20 countries through the Global Fund for Children, Solome Lemma says she “saw first hand the ways that African were moving, shaking and transforming their communities — from Egypt to Zambia to Senegal to Ethiopia.” It got her thinking about how “African ideas, innovations, skills and resources exist, and yet we continue to be painted as a continent of need and dependency. This needed to change,” she said. After meeting a like-minded colleague from Zimbabwe, Zanele Sibanda, Solome co-founded and launched Africans in the Diaspora (AiD) to “consolidate the financial, intellectual, and social capital of Diaspora Africans and advance change on the continent.” Her organization follows a three-pronged approach to development that includes: a funding platform that Diaspora Africans can utilize to support local, grassroots organizations in African countries; development of an expertise network to facilitate collaborations between Diaspora and Continental Africans; and amplifying the voices of people committed to contributing to the continent’s progress. “The idea of giving back is something I have carried for a while,” Solome says. “As someone who has dedicated all of my studies and work to Africa, I often asked myself, what’s the best role for me as an African? How do I give back responsibly? How do I use the access and privilege that I have had and transfer it back home?” To date AiD has collaborated with 13 organizations on the ground in 7 African nations. AiD has partnered with International Development Exchange (IDEX) and plans to work with four women’s organizations in Ethiopia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Kenya in the coming year. Learn more at Africans in the Diaspora.


Related:
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015

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Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures

Genzebe Dibaba celebrates winning 1500m World title in Beijing on August 25, 2015; Obama visits Ethiopia and Zone 9 bloggers receive the 2015 Press Freedom Awards. (Photo: Getty Images, Reuters and Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – Amid political tension and tragedy that dominated headlines in 2015 there were also many uplifting stories including Genzebe Dibaba being named the 2015 World Athlete of the Year to the Zone 9 bloggers receiving the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards. 2015 was also the year that U.S. President Barack Obama became the first-ever sitting American President to visit Ethiopia.

We wish all of you the best in the coming year! And we look forward to covering more stories in 2016.


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

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Launch of Ethiopic Studies Program at University of Toronto

A community public forum was held by Bikila Award for the establishment of an Ethiopic Studies program at the University of Toronto on Saturday December 19, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Alpha Abebe

Published: Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Toronto — The Bikila Award organization in Toronto, Canada has launched a campaign to raise funds and support for a future Ethiopic Studies Program at the University of Toronto.

The initiative began when Dr. Michael Gervers, Professor of History at the University of Toronto, made an impassioned speech at the 2015 Bikila Awards about the importance of documenting, preserving, and teaching ancient Ethiopic history. Professor Gervers currently teaches a course entitled ‘Cultural History of Ethiopia,’ and has helped to digitize the contents of over 100,000 ancient Ethiopic manuscripts and books through an initiative called Mäzgäbä Se’elat—treasury of Ethiopian images.

Professor Gervers proposed that an endowment be established to fund a Chair and Program in Ethiopic Studies. He also made a generous offer to personally match donations made to the endowment up to $50,000. “The endowment will support courses in Ethiopic Studies for undergraduate and graduate students, with a particular focus on Ge’ez language and the rich cultural and intellectual history of Ethiopia,” states the University of Toronto campaign page. A group of Bikila Award organizers and past recipients began to mobilize the Ethiopian community to take up Professor Gervers’ challenge.

Both the Centre for Medieval Studies and Department in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto quickly threw their support behind the initiative and facilitated a $50,000 match contribution from the university. They will also help to design and implement the prospective program.

With the initial endowment established, the Bikila Award organized a community forum to launch an awareness and fundraising campaign within the Ethiopian community. The forum was held on December 19th, 2015 at the University of Toronto and was attended by over 200 people from across the province.


The event was held at the University of Toronto on Saturday December 19, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Guest speakers at the forum included: Dr. Gelila Tilahun, who worked with Professor Gervers and others to develop statistical dating methods for historical documents; Professor Suzanne Akbari, Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto; Alpha Abebe, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Oxford; Dr. Fikre Germa, Family Physician at Brantford General Hospital; and Ato Tessema Mulugeta, President of Bikila Award, Inc. The foremost scholar of the Ge’ez language alive today, Professor Getatchew Haile, also joined the panel discussion via Skype.

Several people from the audience shared their enthusiasm and support for the initiative during the discussion period. There was a jubilant mood in the room, and a wide consensus that this was an exciting opportunity that the community wanted to support.

Over $20,000 was raised by the Ethiopian community at the forum and through online donations made by people from as far as France. While fundraising efforts will continue in order to achieve the larger vision of a full Ethiopic Studies Program, the university has announced that it will begin by offering a course in Ge’ez this coming academic year.


To learn more about the initiative and/or make a donation please visit: https://slate.adobe.com/cp/ODPLq/

About the Author:
Alpha Abebe is a doctoral candidate in International Development at Oxford University. Her research interests include African diasporas, diaspora engagement in development, the sociology of migration, and the politics of race and ethnicity.

Related:
2015 Bikila Award Ceremony in Toronto

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Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015

Images of some of the top Ethiopia-related arts & culture stories covered by Tadias in 2015. (File photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — – 2015 was a vibrant year filled with acclaim and awards for several emerging artists of Ethiopian heritage including the musician The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) and filmmaker Yared Zeleke. Singer and songwriter Mizan Kidanu likewise earned praise from Rolling Stone Magazine as she released her first EP album. As we approach the end of the year here are 10 Arts & Culture headlines that top our list.

The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye)


Prince (right) presented The Weeknd with the award for favorite album – Soul/R&B for “Beauty Behind the Madness” at the American Music Awards in L.A., California on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. (Photo: AP)

By far the biggest Ethiopian name to emerge on the global music scene in 2015 is The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye). The Ethiopian-Canadian superstar’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” won favorite album in the Soul/R&B category at this year’s American Music Awards in Los Angeles last month. The Weeknd accepted the coveted prize from the American musical legend, Prince. But the best is yet to come for The Weeknd as he has been nominated in multiple categories for the upcoming 2016 Grammy Awards including for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. “These kids, you know, they don’t have a Michael Jackson,” The Weeknd told the New York Times earlier this Summer. “They don’t have a Prince. They don’t have a Whitney. Who else is there? Who else can really do it at this point?” BET noted: “Though Prince can still really do it, Weeknd has a point. His latest album, Beauty Behind the Madness sat atop the Billboard 200 for three consecutive weeks (the first since Taylor Swift’s 1989 to do so), and broke the Top 10 in more than ten countries.”

Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’


Actors Kidist Siyum and Rediat Amare with director Yared Zeleke at the premiere for Lamb at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

Yared Zeleke’s brilliant movie Lamb, which is the first Ethiopian film to be an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, is also Ethiopia’s Oscar entry for 2015 under the Best Foreign Language film category. Yared’s film won ‘Best Feature Film’ at the 2015 Milano Film Festival, and the Guardian declared that “Yared Zeleke’s sharp eye for the culture of his homeland is showcased in this tremendous ethnographic debut…What’s most exciting about Lamb is that it is entirely from the inside out.” In an interview with Tadias Yared who attended New York University’s film school said: “For me, it’s not only about cinematic art but your point of view as a citizen of the modern world. I am a “cultural omnivore” of Ethiopian origin who tries to make sense of this vast, complicated world through the work I do. Film is a powerful medium to get your point across and/or engage in a dialogue with a wider audience.” Lamb is scheduled to premiere in the United States on January 13 at the 2016 New York Jewish Film Festival’s opening night. Read more »

Elias Sime’s Exhibit at James Cohan Gallery in New York


Elias Sime’s “Tightrope 7,” a collage of reclaimed electronic components adorned with items such as buttons and batteries. (Credit: Elias Sime & Adam Reich/James Cohan, New York/Shanghai)

Ethiopian artist and sculptor Elias Sime’s latest works were exhibited at James Cohan Gallery in New York from September 10 to October 17, 2015. The series called Tightrope included artwork made from the “discarded innards of computers and machines,” that Elias gathers from “Merkato’s Menalesh Tera section in his hometown of Addis Ababa.” In its review of Elias’ work the New York Times observed that he “makes complex monumental art from tiny parts.. painting like abstract pieces, stitched from yarn, of biomorphic forms in grays and browns. Mr. Sime has said that the title refers to the precarious balance a city must maintain to survive and thrive, and “Tightrope 7” might be read as a bird’s-eye view of Addis Ababa, now in the midst of a disorienting transformation.” Read more »

Chester Higgins’ Homage to Ethiopia


Priest in the Abuna Yemata cave at 8, 600 feet. Hawzein, Ethiopia. 2011. (Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr.)

The acclaimed American photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. presented an exhibition called Zéma at Skoto Gallery in New York City in May 2015. Higgins has been photographing Ethiopia since he first traveled there in 1973. Some of his stunning images of the country include iconic Christian and Muslim religious sites such as the Sof Omar Cave in Bale and the St. George church in Lalibela, as well as the Omo people in Southern Ethiopia. Describing his latest exhibit Higgins states that Zema is “a love song celebrating Ethiopia’s unique landscape and people as well as impressionistic imagery honoring ancestral spirits along the Blue Nile.”

Musician Thomas Gobena (Tommy T) Appointed UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia

In October 2015 Tommy T (Thomas Gobena) was appointed as UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian American musician, who is a bass player for the New York-based gypsy band Gogol Bordello, follows in the footsteps of UNICEF Ambassadors Marcus Samuelsson, Aster Aweke, Abelone Melesse and Hannah Godefa. At a signing ceremony held at the UN agency’s office in Addis Ababa Tommy said: “I hope I will be an Ambassador who will awaken hope, inspire action, and nurture kindness and respect to all. I hope with all my heart that my modest contribution will be inspiring to as many youth as possible because inspiration fuels hope.” We congratulate Tommy and we wish him all the best in both his artistic and social endeavors!

Meklit Hadero at TED Talk

In this video from this past summer TED Senior Fellow Meklit Hadero speaks about how everyday sounds (nature, language and silence) inspire her creativity. “As a singer/songwriter people often ask me about my influences or as I call them my sonic lineages,” says the Ethiopian American artist. “And I could easily tell you that I was shaped with the Jazz and Hip-Hop that I grew up with, by the Ethiopian heritage of my ancestors, or by the 1980s pop on my childhood radio stations, but there is another genre. How do the sounds that we hear everyday influence the music that we make?” She says “the world is alive with musical expression,”as she explores popular Amharic interjections. “We are already immersed.”

Mizan Kidanu’s New EP

Another talented artist from Ethiopia to watch for in the coming years is singer and songwriter Mizan Kidanu whose newly released debut EP Dark Blue is already receiving high praise and national media profile in the United States including features on NPR. Rolling Stone recently ranked her EP as one of the 20 Best R&B Albums of 2015 along with The Weekend and Ethiopian American singer Kelela Mizanekristos. Mizan Kidanu who was raised in Ethiopia relocated to the U.S. four years ago. “Her choice of relocation after graduating from college in Delaware was decisive in that it exposed her to whole ecosystems of musicians and showed her, from the benefit of other artists’ experiences, that talent is not the prerequisite of success,” Heran Abate wrote two years ago in a Tadias article profiling Mizan. Rolling Stone notes that Mizan “knows how to make songs that make you move, too: “Looking For” casts her as the seductress over a throbbing club beat, but her “what are we looking for” chorus reveals unease over whether she’ll be embraced or rejected.” We wish Mizan continued success! Read more »

Marcus and Maya Samuelsson

Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile traveled to Ethiopia earlier this year with a CNN crew led by their friend TV host Anthony Bourdain. Marcus and Maya shared their personal stories and welcomed Bourdain to their family homes while proudly showing the world the rich and communal nature of food preparation in their birth country. It was refreshing to see an international spotlight being focused on the beautiful culture of the Gurage of Ethiopia to which Maya belongs as well as the nation’s coffee tradition and Addis Ababa’s emerging skateboard scene among other highlights. Tadias was a proud partner with CNN and Food Republic in organizing an advance screening of the show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on October 9th, 2015. The sold-out evening featured a conversation with Marcus about behind-the-scenes stories and experiences. In addition, the event included a Q&A session and film trailer presentations by Julie Mehretu regarding the U.S. premiere of Difret and Teddy Goitom’s Afripedia platform. Read more »

National Museum of African Art Presents Haile Gerima’s Acclaimed Films


Haile Gerima’s films were featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in D.C. from November 6th to 14th, 2015.(Courtesy image)

In November 2015 the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. hosted a week-long screening of Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima’s most critically acclaimed films including Adwa: An African Victory, Bush Mama, Sankofa, and Teza. The program — produced in collaboration with Positive Productions Inc., Minab Arts, Humanities D.C., and the Diverse City Fund — was entitled “Streams of a River African and African-American History and Identity in Haile Gerima’s Films” and was followed by panel discussions led by artists, activists and scholars. The award-winning director is also working on a new film called Yetut Lij. Read more »

Tadias Interview With Real-life Inspirations for Award-Winning Film Difret


Difret Producer Mehret Mandefro, Women’s Rights Activist Aberash Bekele and Lawyer Meaza Ashenafi (Photo: Tadias)

Indiewire has called Difret one of the 12 best films about girls and women of 2015. Tadias Magazine caught up with the real-life inspirations for the award-winning Ethiopian film — Aberash Bekele and her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi as well as Producer Mehret Mandefro — during the movie’s U.S. premiere in New York City in October 2015. Below is our conversation with three of the women behind Difret about the case that launched a global spotlight on the practice of abduction for marriage (telefa) and the educational efforts underway to end it.


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

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Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

A painting by Ethiopian artist Yosef Lule (Past and Future I, 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 40 cm), one of the works featured at the upcoming inaugural exhibition of Addis Fine Art Gallery in Ethiopia. (Courtesy of AFA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, December 26th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Fine Art announced that it will launch its new gallery in Addis Ababa on January 9th, 2016 with an inaugural exhibition featuring contemporary Ethiopian artists including Dawit Abebe, Workneh Bezu, Tamrat Gezahegne, Yosef Lule, Leikun Nahusenay, Emanuel Tegene and Michael Tsegaye.

The group exhibition entitled Addis Calling “celebrates the breadth and depth of artistic practice in Addis Ababa through the presentation of works by seven contemporary artists who live and work in the capital,” Addis Fine Art said in a press release. “The exhibition — a vibrant mix of painting, photography and mixed media — reflects the dynamic artistic activity in Addis Ababa today.”

Founded by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, Addis Fine Art gallery aims to represent established and emerging international artists primarily from Ethiopia and the Diaspora.


Founders of Addis Fine Art Mesai Haileleul & Rakeb Sile. (Photo: 2015 Addis Fine Art)

Addis Fine Arts’s official website states that “AFA strives to promote the work of Ethiopian artists on a global stage, increasing their visibility and inscribing their practice within the global language of cultural production.”


If You Go:
Addis Calling Exhibit
Jan 9th through Feb 12th, 2016
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

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Bekele Gerba Arrested Over Land Protests

Bekele Gerba pictured at the NPR office in Washington, D.C., August 2015. (Photo: Mahafreen H. Mistry/NPR)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 25th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian opposition leader and former political prisoner Professor Bekele Gerba — who visited Washington, D.C. this past summer to raise human rights concerns with U.S. officials — has been arrested again, this time in connection with the massive student-led protests rocking Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

OFC chairman Merera Gudina told Reuters that police arrested Bekele on Thursday, December 24th along with the OFC’s Assistant Secretary Dejene Tafa. “They suspect that our party and some of our members are part of the protest movement, that we have been inciting the demonstrations,” Merera told Reuters. “We do not know when Bekele and Dejene will be released or be charged for anything.”

In 2011, after his meeting with researchers from Amnesty International, he was arrested on what Gerba believed were “trumped-up terrorism charges, often used in Ethiopia against political dissidents.” NPR states. “In court he made remarks that have been widely circulated in Ethiopia and beyond: “I am honored to learn that my non-violent struggles and humble sacrifices for the democratic and human rights of the Oromo people, to whom I was born without a wish on my part but due to the will of the Almighty, have been considered a crime and to be unjustly convicted.”

“Bekele Gerba was languishing in a high security Ethiopian jail, hearing the cries of fellow prisoners being beaten and tortured,” NPR noted in a recent profile of Bekele Gerba.

Addis Standard published a bio of Bekele Gerba in May 2015 highlighting that the father of four “graduated with a BA degree in foreign language and literature from the Addis Abeba University (AAU) and taught in Dembi Dolo and Nejo high schools in western Ethiopia..and went to Adama Teachers’ College, 98kms south of Addis Abeba, where he taught English and Afaan Oromo. Suspected of allegedly supporting students’ riot that took place a year before, Bekele was dismissed in 2005 by the college. He then came to Addis Abeba where he taught in two private universities for two years until he was employed in 2007 as a full time lecturer by the AUU where he continued teaching English. Bekele’s political career began in 2009 when he joined the opposition party, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), as a member of the executive committee and head of the public relations department. Bekele participated and lost in the 2010 parliamentary elections in which the ruling EPRDF claimed more than 99% of the seats in parliament.”

Related:
Ethiopian opposition figures arrested over land protests (Reuters)
Ethiopia Opposition: 80 Killed in Protests Against Land Plan (AP)

U.S. State Department, Human Rights Organizations Address Crackdown on Protestors in Ethiopia
Crackdown Turns Deadly In Ethiopia As Government Turns Against Protesters (NPR)
US Concerned About Protester Deaths in Ethiopia (VOA)
At least 75 killed in Ethiopia protests: HRW (AFP)
‘Unprecedented’ Protests in Ethiopia Against Capital Expansion Plan (VOA News)
Ethiopians on Edge as Infrastructure Plan Stirs Protests (The New York Times)
Opposition: More Than 40 Killed in Ethiopia Protests (VOA News)
Violent clashes in Ethiopia over ‘master plan’ to expand Addis (The Guardian)
Protests in Ethiopia leave at least five dead, possibly many more (Reuters)
Why Are Students in Ethiopia Protesting Against a Capital City Expansion Plan? (Global Voices)
Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch)
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Returning to Ethiopia by Dinaw Mengestu

In the following essay published this month by Guernica magazine, Ethiopian American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu reflects on returning to Ethiopia. (Photograph: The MacArthur Foundation/Getty Images)

Guernica Magazine

By Dinaw Mengestu

Growing up, we had strange bedtime rituals. In Peoria, Illinois, when my sister and I were very young, my father would sit between our beds and tell us stories of animals who fought, lied, and cheated their way through the jungle world he invented for us. There were dense forests, green hills, and rivers. There were lions, crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, and laughing hyenas, which my father, in his raspy scarred voice, would imitate. The heroes of the stories were always two mischievous monkeys who could cheat all the other animals who, while taller, stronger, and more ferocious than them, lacked their wit. In the end the monkeys always found refuge at the top of the tallest trees—a vantage point from which, in retrospect, they would have had a clear view of all the havoc they had caused.

As a child, I didn’t think of the stories as being particularly related to Ethiopia, or, on a broader scale, Africa. I didn’t think about where this landscape, with trees that, according to my father, were larger than anything I could imagine, came from, or what these animals, whom my father spoke of as if real intimates, were doing in the crowded and deeply divided bedroom my sister and I shared. They were ordinary fictions, bedtime tales invented wholesale each night, sprung effortlessly from my father’s mind like a long, deep breath. And so there he is, in both memory and imagination, straddling the narrow space between our beds with these stories that my sister and I were both desperate to hear, clueless as to how far they had traveled to wash up, as if by accident, in Middle America.

My father, of course, eventually stopped with the stories. He might have done so because we no longer asked him to tell us them, or because we were old enough to read on our own, or because it was the mid-1980s, and Caterpillar, where my father worked, was going through a round of layoffs that would bankrupt my parents’ plans of buying their first home. Or perhaps he stopped because suddenly, everywhere we turned, Ethiopia, or one tragic version of it, was staring back at us. There it was on the evening news, dying of hunger, and there it was in the well-intentioned questions of strangers who must have been baffled to hear my father declare that he was a political exile, one who had fled a civil war, the same one that was helping cause the famine. I became conscious around then of my father’s politics and that growing consciousness meant eschewing childish things. I saw how he read and watched the news with an almost religious devotion. I remember him voting for Reagan as a newly minted US citizen, because Reagan, like my father, hated the communists, both in Russia and the ones who had taken over Ethiopia. I remember staying up past my bedtime to watch the news of the US bombing of Libya. It was a strangely celebratory mood in our apartment—my father applauding the president as he spoke from the Oval Office, and then, later, calling the White House to share his overwhelming, wholehearted support. The Libyans weren’t communists, but Gaddafi was a tyrant, just like Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam. On the scale of things, Tripoli wasn’t that far from Addis Ababa, and now, after that evening, who knew where in Africa America’s bombs might land next.

Read more at Guernicamag.com »


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U.S. State Department, Human Rights Organizations Address Crackdown on Protestors in Ethiopia

At a funeral for protesters killed in Ethiopia's Oromia region over Addis Ababa "masterplan." (Photo: BBC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, December 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — As protests in Ethiopia continue to grow over land administration and urban expansion issues in Oromia region, so are the procession of mourners at the burial services for those killed by Federal police in the last three weeks.

Human Rights Watch said on Friday that “Ethiopian security forces have killed dozens of protesters since November 12, 2015 in Oromia regional state, according to reports from the region. The security forces should stop using excessive lethal force against protesters.”

At least 75 killed

HRW added: “Police and military forces have fired on demonstrations, killing at least 75 protesters and wounding many others, according to activists. Government officials have acknowledged only five deaths and said that an undisclosed number of security force members have also been killed. On December 15, the government announced that protesters had a “direct connection with forces that have taken missions from foreign terrorist groups” and that Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force will lead the response.”

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, took to social media to weigh in. She tweeted “Ethiopian Prime Minister’s concerning rhetoric could portend violent crackdown against #OromoProtests.” Ambassador Power pointed her followers to an Amnesty International warning that “Anti-terror rhetoric by Ethiopia’s government could escalate into a brutal crackdown on protesters.”

US Concerned

The U.S. State department also released a statement on Friday, December 18th noting that “The United States is deeply concerned by the recent clashes in the Oromia region of Ethiopia that reportedly have resulted in the deaths of numerous protestors. We greatly regret the deaths that have occurred and express our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. We urge the government of Ethiopia to permit peaceful protest and commit to a constructive dialogue to address legitimate grievances. We also urge those protesting to refrain from violence and to be open to dialogue. The government of Ethiopia has stated publicly that the disputed development plans will not be implemented without further public consultation. We support the government of Ethiopia’s stated commitment to those consultations and urge it to convene stakeholders to engage in dialogue as soon as possible.”

“Protests by students began in Ginchi, a small town 80 kilometers southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, when authorities sought to clear a forest for an investment project,” HRW said: “Protests quickly spread throughout the Oromia region, home of Ethiopia’s estimated 35 million Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group. The report added: “They evolved into larger demonstrations against the proposed expansion of the Addis Ababa municipal boundary, known as the “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan. Approximately 2 million people live in the area of the proposed boundary expansion and many protesters fear the plan could displace Oromo farmers and residents living near the city.”


Related:
Crackdown Turns Deadly In Ethiopia As Government Turns Against Protesters (NPR)

US Concerned About Protester Deaths in Ethiopia (VOA)
At least 75 killed in Ethiopia protests: HRW (AFP)
‘Unprecedented’ Protests in Ethiopia Against Capital Expansion Plan (VOA News)
Ethiopians on Edge as Infrastructure Plan Stirs Protests (The New York Times)
Opposition: More Than 40 Killed in Ethiopia Protests (VOA News)
Violent clashes in Ethiopia over ‘master plan’ to expand Addis (The Guardian)
Protests in Ethiopia leave at least five dead, possibly many more (Reuters)
Why Are Students in Ethiopia Protesting Against a Capital City Expansion Plan? (Global Voices)
Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch)
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Hosts NYC Fundraiser for Seeds of Africa Foundation

Atti Worku at Seeds of Africa Foundation fundraiser in New York, December 8th, 2015. (Photo: Sunny Norton)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 18th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Seeds of Africa Foundation held another successful fundraiser in New York continuing Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s campaign to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Adama/Nazret in Ethiopia.

To date the non-profit has raised over $1.3 million of its total $2.2 million goal to fund the creation of the educational institution. “It will meet the most rigorous international academic standards and prepare its students to succeed in high school, college and beyond,” Atti says.


Questlove and Atti Worku. (Photo credit: Sunny Norton)

“The event celebrated the organization’s mission to educate and nurture children and their families by providing quality education and community development programs in Adama, Ethiopia with The Dream School Campaign,” Seeds of Africa Foundation says in a statement. “Featured in WABC, NBC, Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, D Magazine and more, Seeds of Africa is a leading organization offering a successful business model for assisting communities in Africa with the tools to accomplish educational and entrepreneurial development.”

“The Founder Atti Worku, Miss Ethiopia 2005 and a former fashion model, created the organization in 2006 after seeing a gap in access to quality education and community development programs for children, young adults and other communities in her home country of Ethiopia.”

During the NYC event, which was held on Tuesday, December 8th, entertainment was provided by Questlove — founding member of musical group The Roots and Musical Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — who performed a curated DJ set list including Prince, Michael Jackson, and Blondie.


You can learn more about Seeds of Africa at www.seedsofafrica.org.

Related:
Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Receives Diaspora 2015 Youth Excellence Award
Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for School Initiative in Nazret
Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s Dream School Initiative in Nazret, Ethiopia
Interview with Atti Worku: Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

‘Unprecedented’ Ethiopia Protests

The student protests have spread quickly through the Oromo region that surrounds the capital. Farmers and other citizens have been joining the demonstrations, VOA News reports. (Photograph via Twitter)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

December 17, 2015

ADDIS ABABA — Students from the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia have been protesting for three weeks against an urban expansion plan around the capital that they fear will lead to land grabs without proper compensation. Security forces have clashed with demonstrators, killing at least five people this week.

The student protests have spread quickly through the Oromo region that surrounds the capital. Farmers and other citizens have been joining the demonstrations.

The government accuses some of the protesters of trying to destabilize the country.

Restricted access

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for his safety, said security forces deployed to the region are controlling many access points to stop more people from joining the movement.

“Most of the protesters are farmers,” said one resident. “They came from the rural village into the town. The defense forces, already some of them left to the local areas, to the rural village. The police is also arresting some of those participants.”

The Ethiopian government says it can confirm five deaths from clashes with security forces, while opposition groups say 60 people have been killed so far.

Amnesty International said Wednesday the protests are being “violently suppressed.”

Protests against the “Addis Ababa Integrated Regional Development Plan” also erupted in April 2014, resulting in mass arrests and several dozen deaths during clashes with security forces.

Expansion plan

The master plan is an expansion blueprint for the capital. Citizens in the surrounding Oromia federal regional state say they are concerned the proposed infrastructure will gobble up their land and endanger their cultural heritage. Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, making up about a third of the population.

The government promised to hold inclusive consultations on the master plan after the 2014 protests. Opposition leader Merera Gudina of the Oromo People’s Congress said those discussions were never held.

“We try several times, they refused. Then we tried to organize open public meetings, again they refused, they blocked us,” said Gudina. “Then what we got is this. People are really fed up of this government, their life, especially the young people are fed up of everything.”

Merera is calling for the scrapping of the master plan and transformation of the regional government. The government says the master plan has not been implemented yet, though opposition groups allege that farmers already are being evicted.

Stress points

Protests in Ethiopia are rare. The ruling party has been in power since 1991 and won all seats in parliament during the last national elections in May.

Tensions are there, however, said Hallelujah Lulie of the Institute of Security Studies.

“I think what we are witnessing is an unprecedented level of protests. And I don’t think the security forces and the government was prepared for such level of movement,” said Lulie. “And also I believe, it showed us the ill-preparedness of the state to handle such kind of demands.”

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. Still, almost a third of its population lives below the poverty line, and millions of people are being affected by an ongoing drought this year.


Related:
Ethiopians on Edge as Infrastructure Plan Stirs Protests (The New York Times)
Opposition: More Than 40 Killed in Ethiopia Protests (VOA News)
Violent clashes in Ethiopia over ‘master plan’ to expand Addis (The Guardian)
Protests in Ethiopia leave at least five dead, possibly many more (Reuters)
Why Are Students in Ethiopia Protesting Against a Capital City Expansion Plan? (Global Voices)
Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch)
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Protests Put Ethiopians on Edge (NYT)

Roadblocks in Wolenkomi, which is located about 34 miles outside of Addis Ababa. (Twitter/@wdavison)

The New York Times

By JACEY FORTIN

BURAYU, Ethiopia — There are creeping signs of tension in this small town on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital. Small groups of federal police officers prowl the streets, eyeing taxi stands and coffee shops. On a side road near the town center, a rectangle of black soot and a single burst tire mark the site where a bus recently went up in flames.

One resident, who asked that his identity not be revealed because he feared persecution for speaking openly, said this whole town had been on edge, especially after the security forces quickly quelled a protest this week.

“There are rumors that two students died, but we don’t know their names because the government uses different ways to keep its actions secret,” he said.

Since late November, dozens of violent confrontations have erupted in towns across Ethiopia’s central Oromia Region, home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress opposition party, estimates that at least 50 people have been killed in clashes with security personnel over the past few weeks, affecting dozens of towns across Oromia.

This protest movement is “far, far bigger” than anything the country has experienced since the governing party came to power in 1991, Mr. Merera contended. In towns outside the capital, witnesses have reported fatalities, ransacked buildings, and gunfire.

Protesters and opposition party members say they are fighting against an urban plan — commonly referred to as the master plan — that would link infrastructure development in Addis Ababa with that of surrounding towns in Oromia, including Burayu. Critics say the plan threatens the sovereignty of Oromo communities.

Read more at NY Times »

Related:
Opposition: More Than 40 Killed in Ethiopia Protests (VOA News)
Violent clashes in Ethiopia over ‘master plan’ to expand Addis (The Guardian)
Protests in Ethiopia leave at least five dead, possibly many more (Reuters)
Why Are Students in Ethiopia Protesting Against a Capital City Expansion Plan? (Global Voices)
Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch)
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

U.S. Premiere of Yared Zeleke’s ‘Lamb’

The crew of Lamb on the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival, 2015. (Photo: Yared Zeleke/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 14th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Yared Zeleke’s film Lamb will premiere in the United States next month on opening night at the 2016 New York Jewish Film Festival. Lamb is the first Ethiopian film to be an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar this year.

“Yared Zeleke’s remarkable feature debut tells the story of young Ephraim, who is sent by his father to live among distant relatives after his mother’s death. Ephraim uses his cooking skills to carve out a place among his cousins, but when his uncle decides that Ephraim’s beloved sheep must be sacrificed for the next religious feast, the boy will do anything to save the animal and return home” the announcement states.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Protests Over Addis ‘Master Plan’

Students mourning at Haramaya University after at least ten students were reportedly killed and hundreds injured by police across Ethiopia's oromia region. (Photograph shared widely on social media/ Global Voices)

The Guardian

By Endalk Chala

Updated: Friday 11 December 2015

At least 10 students are said to have been killed and hundreds injured during protests against the Ethiopian government’s plans to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland.

According to Human Rights Watch, the students were killed this week when security forces used excessive force and live ammunition to disperse the crowds.

The students were protesting against a controversial proposal, known as “the master plan”, to expand Addis Ababa into surrounding Oromia state, which they say will threaten local farmers with mass evictions.

According to the Ethiopian constitution, Oromia is one of the nine politically autonomous regional states in the country, and the region’s Oromo people make up the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.


(Photograph: STR New/Reuters)

Read more at The Guardian »


Related:
Protests in Ethiopia leave at least five dead, possibly many more (Reuters)
Why Are Students in Ethiopia Protesting Against a Capital City Expansion Plan? (Global Voices)
Yet Again, a Bloody Crackdown on Protesters in Ethiopia (Human Rights Watch)
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Audio: DJ Mengie on New Massinko Remix Featuring 10 Ethiopian Artists & Single Bati

New Massinko remix single 'Bati' featuring Gigi and Yeshi Demelash. (Photo Courtesy: Massinko)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The latest project by NYC-based DJ Mengie and Massinko label is an upcoming album called Reggaetopia, produced in partnership with Tesfaye Tekelu, featuring remixes of traditional Ethiopian sounds with world-music and dancehall beats and an emphasis on Ethiopian musical instruments.

DJ Mengie says the album, which is scheduled for release in 2016, presents ten contemporary musicians both from Ethiopia and the Diaspora. The artists include Aster Aweke, Gigi, Abby Lakew, Edel Abbity, Betty Melaku, Tokichaw, Tigist Afework, Sara Abate, Nesanet Sultan, Bini Dana, Asne Abete, Haileye Tadesse, Sammigo, Yeshi Demelash and Micaya Behailu.

Massinko released a single from the album this month entitled, Bati, featuring the talented vocalists Gigi (Ejigayehu Shibbaw) and Yeshi Demelash, which is available on iTunes.

In the following audio conversation with Tadias DJ Mengie talks about the new album:


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End the Gun Epidemic in America

(Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Obama Aide Yohannes Abraham Honors Girls’ Education Activist Sonia Shah

Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to President Obama, at the Sonia Shah Organization dinner in Chicago, November 20th 2015. (Photo: The Sonia Shah Organization)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Yohannes Abraham, special assistant to the President, was in Chicago where he delivered the Keynote address and a message from First Lady Michelle Obama to attendees of a fundraising dinner in support of a girls’ education program run by the Sonia Shah Organization.

The non-profit is named after the late Sonia Shah, the youngest intern in President Obama’s 2012 Campaign.

“Sonia Shah, an exceptionally bright 17 year old young girl, born and raised in the US and Europe, went to build a state-of-the-art girls’ school in order to offer free education to poor girls in the village of Kangra Pakhtoonkwa Pakistan, where only 3 out of 10 girls ever go to school,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “However, when Sonia’s young life was tragically cut short at the age of 18, her mother, Iram Shah, decided to establish and run the Sonia Shah Memorial School.”

Yohannes, who is also Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, said: “As a star in our campaign, she did a wonderful job.”

“Abraham read out the message of Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the US, who conveyed her greetings to those gathered to celebrate the Sonia Shah Organization and encouraged young people to take charge of their futures through education,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

“With your continued commitment to expanding opportunities for learning, you are truly honoring Sonia’s legacy of compassion and dedication,” added Michelle in her message.

“We were incredibly honored to have Yohannes Abraham, special assistant to the President, as the keynote speaker at our fundraising event last week,” the Sonia Shah Organization said in a Facebook post. “He brought a letter from First Lady Michelle Obama with him lauding Sonia Shah Organization for focusing on one of her passions: girls’ education.”

Yohannes was also the keynote speaker at the Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) organization’s 5th anniversary gala last month in Alexandria, Virginia.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune »


Related:
Video: Yohannes Abraham’s keynote at YEP 5- Year Anniversary Gala — November 7th, 2015

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Inaugural Design Week Addis Ababa Hopes to Give Wider Platform for Local Artists

Ethiopia's 1st Design Week will launch with a pop-up event in Addis Ababa on Saturday, December 12th, 2015. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s first annual Design Week launches in Addis Ababa this month with a line-up of local talents from a range of fields including technology, fashion, food, architecture, industrial and interiors design.

“Founded by Creative Director Metasebia Yoseph, Design Week Addis Ababa (DWAA) was established in an effort to provide an international platform both emerging and established artists, artisans and designers of all kinds, while promoting Addis Ababa as a global design capital,” organizers said in a press release. “It also advocates for the implementation of projects that incorporate a design-centered approach to Ethiopia’s development challenges, which Yoseph describes as, “development by design.”

“Made possible by cooperative partnerships with both local and international organizations, DWAA aims to develop programs that strengthen local innovation and creative economies through lectures, workshops, trainings, and events that enhance the true potential of East African ingenuity.”


If You Go:
Public Exhibition
Saturday, December 12th
Sunday, December 13th
11am to 6pm
Location: Mosaic Hotel, Bole Medhanealem
Tel. (+251) 913-742-847
www.designweekaa.org


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

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Ethiopia Hosts First African Circus Arts Festival

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. (Image: VOA Video)

VOA News

Circus groups from seven African countries showcased their skills over the weekend at the first African Circus Arts Festival in Ethiopia.

Juggling, balancing, gymnastics and other circus tricks were on display.

The circus is an up-and-coming art form in Africa.

Most of the performers are young people who come from difficult backgrounds.

Sabrina Pezzei organized the event. She said it helps young people gain confidence in themselves.

“It gives them also the opportunity to be socialized. It gives the opportunity to perform on stage and to be proud of themselves. It gives them self-esteem, self confidence.”


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Reading by Award Winning Poet & Playwright Lemn Sissay

UK-born Lemn Sissay is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and broadcaster. (Photo: BBC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 30th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — British-born Ethiopian poet Lemn Sissay will present selected readings from his celebrated body of work this coming weekend in Takoma Park, Maryland.

The event that is hosted by Tayitu Cultural Center in collaboration with Takoma Radio, Blessed Coffee and Carpe Diem Arts — will feature an Ethiopian coffee ceremony by Blessed Coffee.

Per the author’s website: “Sissay was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics. His Landmark Poem, Guilt of Cain, was unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu in Fen Court near Fenchurch St Station.”

In addition to writing several poetry books, articles, and plays “a BBC TV documentary, Internal Flight, as well as a radio documentary entitled Child of the State were both broadcast about his life. His Ted Talk has close to a million views.” Lemn Sissay was 21 years old when he wrote his first book Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist.

—-
If You Go:
Friday, December 4, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Historic Takoma building
7328 Carroll Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland
Limited seating
Click here to RSVP
For more info call 301-802-2812


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Genzebe Dibaba and USA’s Ashton Eaton Named World Athletes of the Year

Genzebe Dibaba and Ashton Eaton -- the female and male IAAF World Athletes of the Year for 2015. (Getty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and USA’s Ashton Eaton have been named the 2015 World Athletes of the Year.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) made the announcement on Thursday “after outstanding and memorable seasons which saw both athletes break world records and strike gold at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015,” IAAF News reports.

“Both athletes set world records during 2015, Eaton in the decathlon and Dibaba in the 1500m, and won gold medals in these events at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.”

“I am humbled and honoured to receive this award from the IAAF,” said Genzebe via Twitter. “It feels so good to be the World Athlete of the Year.”

Genzebe and eaton cover
Ashton Eaton of the United States and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2013. (Photo credit: IAAF)

Read more at IAAF.org »


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Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards

Soleyana S. Gebremichael and Endalk Chala of Zone 9 bloggers at CPJ's 25th International Press Freedom Awards ceremony in New York City on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015. (Photo credit: Jeffrey Phipps/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers were honored with the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards on Tuesday in New York City.

The Ethiopian blogging collective shared the prestigious CPJ award with other journalists from Malaysia, Paraguay and Syria.

The ceremony, which took place at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on November 24th, was hosted by ABC World News Anchor David Muir and chaired by Hearst CEO Steven R. Swartz.

Members of Zone9 include: Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, Befekadu Hailu, Soleyana S. Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye. At the NYC event on Tuesday, however, only Soleyana and Endalk were present to accept the awards.

The New York Times called the Zone 9 case “one of the world’s most widely followed press-freedom cases,” that began with their arrest in April 2014 under Ethiopia’s controversial anti-terrorism legislation.

Four of the bloggers were cleared of terrorism charges last month while the remaining were freed over the Summer just prior to President Obama’s historic visit to Ethiopia in July.

Ethiopia has released several journalists from prison this year including the Zone 9 bloggers and Reeyot Alemu, but CPJ says the country is still “holding around a dozen journalists in jail in relation to their work.”

Below are photos from the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards honoring Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers:


Related:
Audio: Interview With Zone 9 Bloggers Soleyana S. Gebremichael & Endalk Chala

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The Weeknd First Winner at 2015 American Music Awards

Prince presenting the first award at the 43rd American Music Awards to Ethiopian-Canadian musician The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. (Photo: Twitter/@theweeknd)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-Canadian music star The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) was one of the early winners, for favorite album in Soul and R&B, at the 2015 American Music Awards on Sunday.

The Weeknd received the award for his newest album, Beauty Behind the Madness.

“Prince, who earned a rousing applause, presented the first award of the night to the Weeknd for favorite album,” AP reports. The ceremony, which was hosted by Jennifer Lopez. was held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California.


Prince, right, presents The Weeknd with the award for favorite album – soul/R&B for “Beauty Behind the Madness” at the American Music Awards, Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. (Photo: AP)


Related:
The Unstoppable Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd): Rebel with Harmony
The Weeknd Interview: Abel Says Grew Up Listening to Aster Aweke & Mulatu Astatke
The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) to Guest Star in TV’s Hottest Hip-Hop Drama ‘Empire’
Can the Weeknd Turn Himself Into the Biggest Pop Star in the World? (NY Times)
Inspired by Michael Jackson, The Weeknd Goes from Rebellious Songwriter to Chorus Lover
The reclusive artist talks ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ (Radio.com)

With dark tales of sex and drugs, is the Weeknd the next face of R&B? (The Guardian)

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Tizita Project Announces Five Ethiopian Artists Featured at Miami Art Basel

Artist Merid Tafesse and Curator Dr. Desta Meghoo during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 19th, 2015. (Photo: Malik Desta/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Five artists from Ethiopia will be featured for the first time at this year’s Miami Art Basel, one of the largest art events in the United States.

The Ethiopian artists include Desta Hagos, Daniel Taye and Merid Tafesse, as well as works by the late Ermias Mazengia and Mathias Lulu (who both passed away in 2013).

The 2015 Miami Art Basel takes place from December 3rd – 6th in Miami Beach, Florida.

“It is the first in the 13-year history of Miami Art Basel that Ethiopian art or African art in this context will be presented,” said the curator Dr. Desta Meghoo J.D, who was formerly Managing Director of the Bob Marley Foundation, during a press conference held on Thursday morning at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC.

“It is important to note that Miami gets over half a million visitors just for this particular event,” Dr. Desta said. “That’s a lot of eyes, ears, curiosity for art and a major opportunity for us to expose Ethiopia through contemporary fine art.” She added: “We are very happy to get the support that we’ve received especially from luminaries like the iconic painter Desta Hagos who is arriving here next Monday.

During the press conference Dr. Desta was joined by one of the featured artists Merid Tafesse who also spoke to reporters.

Below is an audio and photos from the press conference:


You can learn more at www.tizitaproject.com.

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Ethiopian-Belgian Artist Ermias Kifleyesus

Ermias Kifleyesus is an Ethiopian-born artists based in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo credit: © Paul Kusseneers)

The Culture Trip

By Joacim Nielsen

Tackling the difficult task of portraying concepts such as globalisation, inequality and the past into works of painting, sculpture and installation, Ethiopian-Belgian artist, Ermias Kifleyesus, is certainly not afraid of tackling tricky subjects. He creates works that are multifaceted – using materials he stumbles across in everyday life. We take a look at Kifleyesus’ latest works of art, creating art in standard phone booths.

Being a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and now based in Brussels, his art reflects the different cultures and the parted and fragmented world he knows: billboard commercials, retro film posters and old kitsch oil canvases melt together to show a globalised world with little coherence.

Gallery owner and Kifleyesus’ exhibitor Paul Kusseneers explains that the artist works in multifaceted ways. A rather odd method takes place in international telephone booths: ‘Kifleyesus curled some posters together and placed them in phone booths where people are calling family and friends across the globe…he placed a pen and people started drawing on it’. As he was explaining this, Kusseneers pulled out a poster cut in several pieces, brown-edged and full of all kinds of different alphabets, squiggles and drawings.


Ermias Kifleyesus | © Paul Kusseneers and the artist

The idea behind this project was to demonstrate that these phone booths in immigrant neighbourhoods across different cities in Europe were a link to the rest of the world. They create a gateway to greater understanding, where all manner of people can communicate and many languages can be spoken.

Kifleyesus calls it ‘an open source’, alluding to the collaborative nature of the project. The final result even involved the removal of the wooden shelves on which callers would lean, encrusted with dirt they made interesting additions to Kifleyesus’ later installation. For Ermias Kifleyesus, it is not necessarily essential to create an artwork from scratch, but rather to carefully gather together objects that represent moments in time, unique pieces of forgotten history to be unified by him into a single art-form.

An ideal recent example of this is Kifleyesus’ collection of several old canvases by unknown artists, purchased from a flea market in Amsterdam. When he had gathered a suitable selection, Kifleyesus duplicated, cut and drew on the canvases to create a piece portraying fractured and unique works of art.

Read more »


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Seeds of Africa NYC Fundraiser for Dream School Initiative in Adama, Ethiopia

Seeds of Africa foundation was established in 2006 by former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku. (Courtesy images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – Seeds of Africa Foundation has announced that it will host its annual New Yorkers for Seeds fundraiser event on Tuesday, December 8th in Manhattan. The non-profit, which was founded by Atti Worku (Miss Ethiopia 2005), shares that “the event will celebrate the organization’s mission to provide quality education and community development programs in Adama, Ethiopia through the Dream School Initiative.”

Launched in October 2014, the Dream School Initiative aims to raise $2.2 million in two years to fund “the creation of an Ethiopian academy and community center to serve up to 600 students, their families and the Adama community at large.”

“It will meet the most rigorous international academic standards and prepare its students to succeed in high school, college and beyond,” the press release said. “Featured in WABC, NBC, Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, D Magazine and more, Seeds of Africa is a leading organization offering a successful business model for assisting communities in Africa with the tools to accomplish educational and entrepreneurial development.”

Earlier this year Atti Worku was honored with the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award. The prize, which is given annually by the U.S.-based research and youth advocacy organization AYE, celebrates “the achievements of a dynamic young African leader in the Diaspora.” The former Miss Ethiopia, who graduated from Columbia University in 2014 focusing her studies on sustainable development, education and social movements, has raised over 1.3 million dollars so far to build a state-of-the-art education facility in her hometown of Nazret/Adama in Ethiopia.

Tadias Magazine is a media partner for the December 8th fundraiser, which features a DJ performance by Questlove; Actor & Producer Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, The Following, 24, The Good Wife); Musician Cakes da Killa; and Alexander Soros, Founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation.

Cocktails will be served courtesy of Owl’s Brewery.


If you go:
New Yorkers for Seeds Annual Fundraiser
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
6PM – 7PM: VIP Reception with Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
7pm – 10PM: Evening Program
Studio 450
450 West 31st Street, NY, NY

You may purchase tickets for the Dec. 8th event here:

www.seedsofafrica.org

Related:
Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku Receives Diaspora 2015 Youth Excellence Award
Atti Worku Raises $1.3 Million for School Initiative in Nazret
Former Miss Ethiopia Atti Worku’s Dream School Initiative in Nazret, Ethiopia
Interview with Atti Worku: Founder of Seeds of Africa Foundation

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African Diaspora International Film Festival Features ‘Ethiopia – Past & Present’

Three Ethiopian films, Bilatena, If Only I Were That Warrior and Asni are part of the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival being held in NYC from November 27th to December 13th, 2015. (ADIFF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 13th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s African Diaspora International Film Festival, which kicks off on November 27th in New York City, features three recent Ethiopian films including Rachel Samuel’s Asni: Courage & Glamour in Ethiopia, Kinfe Banbu’s Bilatena, and the U.S. premier of Valerio Ciriaci’s If Only I Were That Warrior, a documentary about the Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian films are scheduled to be screened on Saturday, December 12th at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Organizers said the filmmakers will be present for a Q&A following the screenings of their films.


If You Go:
ADIFF 2015: ETHIOPIA- PAST & PRESENT

Below is the schedule and trailers:

Asni: Courage & Glamour in Ethiopia
December 12th at 4pm
Buy tickets

Asni Documentary from Samuel Overton Photography on Vimeo.

“It was a privilege for me to direct a documentary on this extraordinary artist who is as much a cultural icon to Ethiopians as Billie Holiday is to Americans and Edith Piaf to the French. Asnaketch lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. But to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia, particularly in 50’s and 60’s was impossible. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, “Azmari.” which the church deemed as, “…those not going to heaven.” So this doc is as much about my country, my music, my culture as it is about this original being, Asnaketch, who is a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.” – Rachel Samuel, Director. Directed by Rachel Samuel, Ethiopia, 2013, 80 min., documentary in Amharic with English subtitles

Bilatena
NY PREMIERE
December 12th at 6pm
Buy tickets

Abi, a dynamic and resourceful twelve year old boy, lives with his mother Degua and his 26 years old university graduate unemployed brother Zelalem (Zele). Abi, who is a hard working boy with two jobs, supports his poor mother and his older unemployed brother through their day to day lives. But when their mother dies of Hepatitus B and Abi is also infected by the virus, Zele must face the big challenge of supporting his own life and keeping his younger brother alive by earning the 20,000 Ethiopian birr per month needed for his brother’s medication. Directed by Kinfe Banbu, 2014, Ethiopia, Drama, 105 min, Amharic w/ English subtitles.

If Only I Were That Warrior
US PREMIERE
December 12th at 8:30pm
Buy tickets

The stories of three characters, filmed in present day Ethiopia, Italy and the United States, take the audience on a journey through the living memories and the tangible remains of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia — a journey that crosses generations and continents to today, where this often overlooked legacy still ties the fates of two nations and their people. Directed by Valerio Ciriaci, 2015, 72min, USA | Italy | Ethiopia, documentary in English, Italian and Amharic with English subtitles.


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A Video-Art Exhibition at Ethiopian National Museum by Curator Meskerem Assegued

Curated by Meskerem Assegued the exhibition at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa (November 13th to December 4,th 2015) also features work by US-based Ethiopian artist Abel Tilahun. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — A video-art exhibition entitled “Curvature of Events” curated by Ethiopian anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Founder & Director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center, opens this week at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa.

Meskerem initiated the video art exhibition based on pieces “she selected from the permanent collections at the Old Masters Gallery, the New Masters Gallery and the Sculpture Collection [in Dresden, Germany] dating from the mid-1500s to the early 1900s, but excluding the last 100 years from 1914 – 2014.” The works were initially exhibited last year at Germany’s Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) — one of the oldest museums and cultural institutions in the world.

Curvature of Events is brought to Addis Ababa by the Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa in collaboration with the Ethiopian National Museum and Zoma Contemporary Art Center.

The featured video artists include Abel Tilahun (Ethiopian) who teaches at American University in Washington D.C., as well as Gunter Deller (German) and Barbara Lubich (Italian). The press release noted: “A dance video choreographed by Christian Canciani from Palucca Hochschule Fuer Tanz Dresden for the opening will be incorporated as part of the exhibition.”

“The exhibition is a window into the way Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic artists depicted their society and how artists of our time interpret that perception relating it to the present,” the press release says.

Meskerem, who is also behind the recent successful exhibit at James Cohan Gallery in New York by Ethiopian artist Elias Sime, has worked with several prestigious art festivals including Venice Biennale (2007), Dak-Art Biennale (2004), as well as organizations in the United States such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Santa Monica Museum of Art.

“Meskerem Assegued’s curatorial career goes back over twenty years,” adds the press release. “During the last sixteen years she has curated several exhibitions in Europe, Africa and North America. She is interested in contemporary artistic expressions that deal with historical and socio-cultural contexts. She believes all social issues are relevant everywhere regardless of socio-political, socio-economic and geographical differences.”


If You Go:
Video Art Exhibition at the Ethiopian National Museum
CURVATURE of EVENTS
BAROQUE. ROMANTICISM. VIDEO
Curator: Meskerem Assegued
Nov. 13 Dec. 4, 2015

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Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch

This one-of-a-kind gold wristwatch, a Patek Philippe 1954, that once belonged to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was pulled from a Christie’s auction in Geneva on Monday, November 9th, 2015. (Photo: Hodinkee)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Christie’s Geneva skipped its planned auction of Haile Selassie’s personal wristwatch on Monday after a judge in Switzerland issued a freeze order siding with the family of Ethiopia’s former Emperor, led by his grandson Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie who argued that it was probably stolen property.

The family said their lawyers in Geneva were able to obtain the court order in time and served Christie’s prior to the scheduled auction on November 9th, 2015.

“This is just the beginning and we will not stop until we get to the bottom of it,” Prince Ermias said during a phone conference with Tadias Magazine. “Clearly there is a need for further due diligence in this case. Ultimately it’s about the truth and the reputation of Christie’s.”

According to Christie’s the watch, an 18k gold perpetual calendar Patek Philippe, was commissioned in 1954 “as a gift for Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and presented during his official visit to Switzerland in November that year.”

Christie’s claims that years later the Emperor gave the vintage, personal timepiece as a gift to “an eminent personality, whose descendant is now disclosing it to the world.” Today the watch is estimated to be worth between five hundred thousand and one million dollars.

Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie says he wants to know who that “eminent personality” might be?

Last week, in a letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Perazzi, Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department, Ermias wrote: “As it is well-known in Ethiopia’s sad history, my grandfather was treated with unspeakable indignities and his property confiscated without benefit of law. Included in the properties stolen was belongings and personal property.” He added: “Nothing was left.”

The family believes that the wristwatch was illegally confiscated from their grandfather during his confinement in the 1970′s. He was never given due process of law.

“I recognize that Christie’s-Geneva is a reputable auction house,” Ermias said. “I can only assume that Christie’s is unaware of the history of provenance of this watch, and that it is probably illegally taken property.” He warned the European art business institution stating: “I believe that Christie’s would not want to be a party to any furtherance of these illegal transactions.”


Related:
Haile Selassie’s wristwatch pulled from auction block (The Washington Post)
Ethiopian Emperor’s Patek Philippe Pulled From Christie’s Sale (Bloomberg)
Ethiopian-Americans irked at auction of Haile Selassie watch (The Denver Post)
Haile Selassie’s Grandson Seeks Halt of Christie’s Watch Auction (TADIAS)
Made for an Emperor — A one of a kind Patek Philippe Watch (Christie’s Geneva)
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)


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Haile Selassie’s Grandson Seeks Halt of Christie’s Watch Auction

A unique watch especially made as a gift for Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1954 is being auctioned by Christie’s Geneva. (Photograph: Haile Selassie at Addis Ababa Palace in 1962. Credits: Christies.com/Alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, November 7th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The grandson of Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie and his extended family are calling for the indefinite postponement of an imminent Christie’s auction in Geneva involving a wristwatch that was their grandfather’s personal possession, and one that they believe was illegally confiscated from him.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Perazzi, Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department, Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie requested that the auction of the watch — presently scheduled for November 9th, 2015 — be “postponed indefinitely in order to allow time for a proper adjudication of the actual ownership of the watch.”

According to Christie’s the watch, an 18k gold perpetual calendar Patek Philippe 2497, was commissioned in 1954 “as a gift for Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and presented during his official visit to Switzerland in November that year.”

Christie’s claims that years later the Emperor gave the vintage, personal timepiece as a gift to “an eminent personality, whose descendant is now disclosing it to the world.” Today the watch is estimated to be worth between five hundred thousand and one million dollars.

In response to another family member’s request to halt the auction Christie’s insisted they will not disclose the name for “confidential reasons” maintaining that the auction is legitimate.

“Our specialists have run all the checks on the piece (authenticity, provenance and history of the watch),” wrote Stephane Von Bueren, the International Business Director of Christie’s in Switzerland. “We own visual proof that the watch was given by his Highness to someone he knew very well at the time.”

But the grandson, Ermias S. Haile Selassie, says he wants to know who that “eminent personality” might be?

“As it is well-known in Ethiopia’s sad history, my grandfather was treated with unspeakable indignities and his property confiscated without benefit of law,” Prince Ermias wrote. “Included in the properties stolen was belongings and personal property.” He added: “Nothing was left.”

“I recognize that Christie’s-Geneva is a reputable auction house,” Ermias continued. “I can only assume that Christie’s is unaware of the history of provenance of this watch, and that it is probably illegally taken property.” He warned the European art business institution stating: “I believe that Christie’s would not want to be a party to any furtherance of these illegal transactions.”

The family, we are told, has also retained attorneys in Geneva and are weighing several legal options. They have also contacted the Swiss Police as well as INTERPOL seeking assistance in launching an investigation.


Related:
Made for an Emperor — A one of a kind Patek Philippe Watch (Christie’s Geneva)
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)


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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015

Abugida designs at the 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week, October 22nd, 2015. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The fourth edition of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week was held on October 22nd at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.

The annual runway event, which this year showcased the work of 17 African designers, was followed with a special private presentation at the Italian Embassy Ambassador’s residence on October 24th.

“This year’s event was extra special as we had Sara Maino, Senior Fashion Editor & Head of Talent at Vogue Italia, attending the event” organizers said in a statement.

Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week also arranged a panel discussion on promoting African fashion and designers to the international market. Panelists included Sara Maino (Vogue Italia); Marian Spadafora (Italian Designer); Anna Getaneh (Founder of African Mosaique); and Aurelia Calabro (UNIDO).

Below are photos from the 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week:


Related:
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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National Museum of African Art Presents Haile Gerima’s Acclaimed Films

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in D.C. features screenings of and discussion with Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima, November 6th to November 14th, 2015. (Courtesy images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias staff

Published: Friday, November 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Opening tonight the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. is hosting week-long screenings of Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima’s most critically acclaimed films including Adwa: An African Victory, Bush Mama, Sankofa, and Teza .

“Each screening will be followed by a panel discussion with activists, actors, journalists, and scholars,” the museum announced.

The program, entitled Streams of a River African and African-American History and Identity in Haile Gerima’s Films, is presented in partnership with Positive Productions Inc., Minab Arts, Humanities D.C., and the Diverse City Fund.

In Adwa, which screens today, “Gerima uses paintings, rare historical photographs, music, recreations, and interviews with elders to tell the story of the 1896 battle in which the Ethiopian peoples united to defeat the Italian army.” Panelists include Kwasi Bonsou; Attorney Gabriel J. Christian and Associates, LLC & Founder of In-iversial Development of Ras Tafari; Greg Carr Professor of African Studies, Howard University, and Adjunct Faculty at Howard University School of Law; and Dagmawi Woubshet, Associate Professor of African American literature at Cornell University.


If you Go:
November 6
6–10 p.m.
Adwa: An African Victory
USA, Germany, 1997, 97 min., Amharic with English subtitles
Full information and RSVP

November 7
2–6 p.m.
Bush Mama
USA, 1979, 97 min., English
Full information and RSVP

November 11
6–10 p.m.
Sankofa
USA, Ghana, 1993, 125 min., English
Full information and RSVP

November 14
6–10 p.m.
Teza
Ethiopia, Germany, 2008, 140 min., Amharic and German with English subtitles
Full information and RSVP


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Meet Golf Player Aberon M. Bauchau

Aberon Michael Bauchau, a golf player from Ethiopia, trains in New York. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Bethelhem T. Negash

Published: Monday, November 2nd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to New York is a long one and it gives one passenger, Aberon Michael Bauchau, a chance to consider his mixed emotions. On one hand, the 20-year-old Bauchau is leaving his Ethiopian family and friends and the place where he grew up. On the other hand, he is pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer.

With his family’s support and unmatched hope of finding sponsorships and scholarships, Bauchau landed in New York on May 10th, 2015. Ever since his arrival all he does involves golfing; what he eats, drinks, reads, plays and practices has mainly to do with golfing.

In golf terminology, Bauchau has a handicap score of three. His dream is to lower his handicap score and make a name for himself in the golf world. But for Bauchau, Ethiopia, can no longer cradle his dream with the limited access and resources for the game of golf. It was time to get out of his comfort zone and make his dreams come true.

Bauchau has been looking at his passport for hours now. It is an American passport. He was born in Orange County, California. However, his days of living in California are counted and his memory of it very faint. He has no distinctive recollection of the land he was born in, except images of it he collected from the stories told by his family,and movies and video clips he grew up watching. This is his first visit to the United States of America in eighteen years.

Bauchau didn’t think life in the U.S. would be easy. He is trying to fit in to the American lifestyle, yet still each step has its own challenges and obstacles to tackle down. Living with his aunt in a small apartment in Harlem, he is very much aware of his expenses, which he tries to minimize every chance he gets, even if it means walking over 50 blocks a day to cut the cost of the subway fare. Everyday, he trains by himself at Randall’s Island Golf Center after paying 14 dollars for a bucket of 110 golf balls. He monitors his swings and positions and scores through a video record of his phone. For Bauchau, the various phone applications on his phone are the only coaches and caddies he can afford right now.

It was during a summer trip to South Africa when he was six that he took his first swing to learn the game of golf. A family friend, Haile Ghebreezigabher, an Ethiopian club professional golf player, introduced him to the game. Bauchau, however, didn’t only want an introduction to the game; he wanted golf to be more than a hobby. He wanted a relationship with the game — a lasting one. He didn’t predict the love of this game would make him leave his parents, family and friends behind at one point in time.

What motivates Bauchau to pursue golf including during the weekends and while on vacation from school is the ‘feeling’ that overcomes him when he becomes one with the ball, which mutes the world outside. “When I went to play at St. Andrews in Scotland, I had a real exposure and broad view of the game, its rules and techniques. I fell even deeper in love with the game. Everyone in the tournament came to see me play. I guess it didn’t make sense to them to see an Ethiopian golf player among them.” He takes a long sip from his bottled water and adds, “But I kept my focus on the ball. After all, its all about me and the ball.”

Bauchau says he is often engulfed with nostalgic feelings of family, friends and his life in Addis. Sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming.

“My passport says this is my home. I used to dream a lot about this home of mine” he says, squinting his eyes over the recorded video of his shots for a few seconds and adds, “But when I got here, home wasn’t here.”


About the Author:
Bethelhem T. Negash is a student at Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.

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Obama Aide Yohannes Abraham Gives Keynote Address at YEP’s 5th Anniversary Gala

Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to President Obama, was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) annual event in Alexandria, Virginia on November 7th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 8th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Yohannes Abraham delivered the keynote address at the 5th Anniversary Gala of Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP) organization on Saturday, November 7th in Alexandria, Virginia.

Abraham, who is a Special Assistant to President Obama, is also the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, he served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign.

This year’s event, which was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Nunu Wako, also featured comedian Meskerem Bekele, the Dankira Cultural Music Group, as well as music by Dj Rasta, and include an Ethiopian dinner and cash bar.

Young Ethiopian Professionals (YEP), which was founded in 2010, is a networking group that has built a platform for Ethiopian professionals in various sectors to meet and share resources among each other. In an interview with Tadias Magazine last year YEP’s Co-Founder & Executive Vice-President Shimelse Mekonnen said that YEP also provides mentoring programs for college and high school students. YEP is “a non-profit organization with volunteers, such as myself, who strive to build a community of diverse professionals,” Shimelse told Tadias. “We offer free tutoring, educational workshops and inspirational events to our members.”

Below are videos from YEP’s 5th Anniversary Gala:

Learn more at www.yepnetworks.org

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Afripedia: A Creative Hub for African Visionary Artists

Afripedia founders Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe (top) at NYC's New Museum incubator. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 29th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Growing up in Stockholm, Sweden Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe, self-taught filmmakers, longed to diversify the creative scene in the West and to share the voices of musicians, fashion designers and artists from Africa and the African Diaspora. In the last five years Teddy and Senay have traveled to 10 African countries with Ethiopia as their first stop. The global trek culminated with the release of five documentary episodes last year featuring the work of “visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, and cultural activists” from 6 African countries: Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Earlier this year, in April 2015, the two filmmakers were presenting their work in Barcelona when they received an invitation for a one-year residency at the New Museum’s incubator (New Inc.) in New York City to further develop their new platform, Afripedia.

Teddy and Senay describe their project as “a documentary series about the creative forces reshaping the image of Africa and told by African visionary artists who are pushing the boundaries of visual self-expression.”

“We realized that the films we made weren’t going to represent the whole talent base in Africa,” Teddy tells Tadias Magazine. “And we asked ourselves, how can we build a better platform so that more people can come together and share their work and network?” They have now re-envisioned Afripedia as more than just a series of films, and transformed their idea into one that could be better described as social entrepreneurship.

“We want to build a hub, a destination, where we can find, connect and hire talents,” Teddy adds. “The vision would be that five years from now we’ve created thousands of jobs through this platform. Whether the New Museum wants to find a new artist or a film production company is seeking a new director they can hire new talent from this platform, which includes individuals from the African continent as well as African Diaspora.”

“I just want to emphasize that this is not something that we can do by ourselves,” says Senay Berhe. “This is really a collaboration between curators and creatives” and a way for Africans to know what other fellow Africans are doing creatively across the continent.


Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe at their workspace inside the New Museum’s incubator in New York. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine)

Senay was drawn to film at an early age, and remembers accompanying his uncle to weddings and being allowed to stand behind the camera while taping was in progress. He spent most of his days at his friend’s film school where he familiarized himself with editing tools in the multimedia labs and by age 14 he had decided that he wanted to be a filmmaker. Eventually he got an opportunity to work as a production assistant.

Teddy’s interest in film grew out of his work in photography and event production. In the late 90s he produced a music documentary series entitled Stocktown Underground after traveling to the United States, Australia, Japan and Brazil to document independent musicians and their efforts to remix music from different parts of the world. The series was released online in 2002 and broadcasted on TV in Sweden, Spain and Brazil. The DVDs are still selling in Japan as a collectors item.

“At the time Africa wasn’t on our radar,” Teddy says. “But after sharing Stocktown Underground with an online audience we saw the power of people connecting and discussing the creative work online, and we understood that there is a lot more content out there.”

The Afripedia film series and platform grew organically out of this initial experiment, and when YouTube was launched in 2005 Teddy and Senay realized that it would be an ideal platform to share film and moving pictures highlighting the African talent base.

“We were just a collective of artists trying to bring out new voices and we thought the Internet was the perfect way to do that. That’s actually when I got more interested in film and took it more seriously” Teddy shares.

With Afripedia, the co-founders chose to broaden their scope beyond music. “How about including the art scene, film, and what people are doing in the contemporary field in general?” they asked. They shared a Google document with fellow artists to get recommendations of individuals to network with. In 2010 they connected with a photographer who was documenting the fashion scene in Soweto and produced their first 30 minute pilot from South Africa. The pilot entitled Stocktown x South Africa was picked up by CNN and several online sites upon its release, and as interest in the film grew the project expanded to include additional series.

It’s an ambitious commitment to highlight the African creative marketplace, but the co-founders of Afripedia are inviting all Africans (both residing in the continent and in the Diaspora) to connect with each other. While in residence at New Inc. they are working on a business plan to identify funding and resources to develop and manage the platform, which they say will be curated in the first stage and transformed into an open-access site with minimal editorial control in the later stages.

“We want to change the perception that people have about Africa, and to make the creative scene more inclusive of these new voices” Senay says. Speaking of his friends in Sweden Senay adds, “A lot of my friends they have so little knowledge about what is happening on the continent.”

The Afripedia film series have been previously screened in Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris and Kigali as well as shown at the New York City Film Festival, Selam Festival in Addis Ababa, and at a cultural center in Lalibela, Ethiopia. They also recently launched the first virtual reality music video in Africa, which was shot in Addis Ababa for Ethiocolor Band and released on YouTube and via Android and Iphone apps.

The full version of Afripedia’s five episodes is scheduled to be released online on the new Afripedia platform in September 2016, and a few weeks from now, on November 15th, Afripedia’s co-founders will also be presenting the platform at a film and music festival at the National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York where artists featured in the series will be in attendance.

Watch: The first Virtual Reality music video in Africa, that was shot in Addis for Ethiocolor band


You can learn more about the project at Afripedia.com and the New Museum incubator program (New Inc) at www.newinc.org.

The Ethiocolor 360 mobile App can be downloaded for Android and iPhone.

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CNN on the Heartwarming Movie Lamb & the Challenges of Filmmaking in Ethiopia

'Lamb': Ethiopia's first Cannes-selected film. (Image: CNN video still)

CNN

By Colin Hancock and Daisy Carrington

Ethiopia is not a country known for its burgeoning film scene. Even the capital city, Addis Ababa, only boasts 20 cinemas.

It’s also not an easy place to make a movie, but that didn’t stop filmmaker Yared Zeleke, whose first feature film, “Lamb,” was also the first Ethiopian film ever to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Film is hard no matter where you are, but in a place like Ethiopia, what’s difficult becomes almost impossible,” admits Zeleke.

“There are so many difficulties facing young filmmakers in Ethiopia today. There aren’t proper support systems in the country. We have to work on that, and I hope Lamb will open the minds and hearts of all Ethiopians to nurture real storytelling and cinema in this country,” he adds.

Unique challenges

According to the country’s filmmakers, the biggest challenge facing the industry is that, well, there is no industry.

“I spend from my pocket… I have other businesses, that’s why I survived. There are a lot of filmmakers in Ethiopia who are really trying to do it without any profit,” admits Arsema Worku, whose film, Imnet, is one of the most popular in Ethiopia right now.

“There are no sponsors for filmmaking because most of the investors would rather spend on other aspects,” she says.

Despite the lack of funding, there are many still determined to nurture the talent that does exist in the country. Addis Ababa University, for one, has recently added a film program to its curriculum.

“(The film industry) is at graduate level, but it’s progressing,” says Behaila Wassie, a film student at the university.

“There are some entertaining, visionary filmmakers coming. Hopefully, we are going to give a lot to the world.”

Read more at CNN.com »

Related:
Director Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’ is Ethiopia’s Official Submission to Oscars
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Tadias Interview With Real-life Inspirations for Award-winning Film Difret

Difret producer Mehret Mandefro, telefa victim Aberash Bekele and lawyer Meaza Ashenafi. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 26th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Tadias Magazine caught up with the real-life inspirations for the award-winning Ethiopian film Difret — Aberash Bekele and her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi as well as Producer Mehret Mandefro — last week during the movie’s U.S. premiere in New York City.

Below is our conversation with three of the women behind Difret about the case that launched a global spotlight on the practice of abduction for marriage (telefa) and the educational efforts underway to end it.


Related:
Difret Coming to Theatres Near You (TADIAS)
Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)


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Difret: Petitioning US to End Child Marriage

Actress Tizita Hagere who plays Hirut Assefa and Meron Getnet as Meaza Ashenafi, her lawyer, in the Ethiopian film Difret, which is released in the United States on Friday, October 23rd, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

GirlsNotBrides.Org

When Aberash was 14 years old, she was kidnapped for marriage. She was taken to a hut, locked up and assaulted by her would-be husband. She knew she had to fight back. When she received another visit from her abductor, she saw her chance. She grabbed the gun he had left leaning against the wall and ran out of the door. Chased by her husband and his friends, she shot him.

Aberash was accused of murder and, after 2 years in court, the judge ruled that she had acted in self-defence. Her trial set a precedent and made it possible to outlaw bride kidnapping in Ethiopia. The film ‘Difret’, which will open on October 23rd in the United States, tells her incredible story.

Difret – Official Trailer from Truth Aid on Vimeo.

Read more at GirlsNotBrides.Org »


Related:
Tadias Interview with the Women of Difret
Difret Coming to Theatres Near You (TADIAS)
Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)


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Photos: Advanced Screening of CNN’s “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia”

Marcus Samuelsson, Teddy Goitom, and Julie Mehretu at the advanced screening of "Parts Unknown: Ethiopia" at Ginny's Supper Club in Harlem, NYC on Monday on October 19th, 2015. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — This past Monday on October 19th, Marcus and Maya Samuelsson hosted a special advanced screening of CNN’s “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” episode at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The show, which is also scheduled to air on CNN this coming Sunday, October 25th, features the Ethiopian-born couple accompany their friend TV host Anthony Bourdain as he explores their birth country’s unique and diverse cuisine.

The advance screening was organized in partnership with CNN, Food Republic and Tadias Magazine, and followed by a conversation with Marcus about behind-the-scenes stories and experiences. In addition the event included a Q&A session and film trailer presentations by Julie Mehretu for the upcoming U.S. premiere of Difret and Teddy Goitom’s Afripedia.

The staff at Red Rooster prepared a special creative Ethiopian menu for the evening featuring doro wot, kitfo taqitos and fried shiro balls.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says.

Below are photos from the advanced screening at Ginny’s in New York on October 19th:


Related:
Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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Difret Coming to Theatres Near You

From left: Attorney Meaza Ashenafi, actress Tizita Hagere, Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari and Executive Producer Angelina Jolie-Pitt in Hollywood, California, December 9, 2014. (Credit: shesthefirst.org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Difret is opening in several U.S. theatres this Fall kicking off with a screening at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York City on Friday, October 23rd.

The award-winning Ethiopian film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, also opens in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area at AFI Silver (Silver Spring, MD), and on the West Coast at San Diego’s Digital Gym on October 30th, 2015.

The NYC opening weekend includes Q&As with the real-life inspirations for Difret, Meaza Ashenafi and Aberash Bekele, as well as Tizita Hagere (the actress who plays Hirut), Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and Executive Producer Julie Mehretu in conversation with Marcus Samuelsson.

Difret is “based on the inspirational true story of a young Ethiopian girl and a tenacious lawyer embroiled in a life-or-death clash between cultural traditions and their country’s advancement of equal rights,” the press release states. “When 14-year-old Hirut is abducted in her rural village’s tradition of kidnapping women for marriage, she fights back, accidentally killing her captor and intended husband. Local law demands a death sentence for Hirut, but Meaza, a tough and passionate lawyer from a women’s legal aide practice, steps in to fight for her. With both Hirut’s life and the future of the practice at stake the two women must make their case for self-defense against one of Ethiopia’s oldest and most deeply-rooted traditions. DIFRET paints a portrait of a country in a time of great transformation and the brave individuals ready to help shape it.”

DIFRET release trailer from Tambay A Obenson on Vimeo.


If You Go:
Difret opens in NYC on 10/23
Lincoln Plaza Cinema
1886 Broadway New York, NY 10023
The Box Office opens 20 minutes before the first show.
For showtimes call 212 757-2280
Customer Service Information: (212) 757-0359
Buy tickets here.

Opening dates for other cities:
November 4, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Winchester, VA at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
November 6, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Hartford, CT at the Real Art Ways
November 9, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Anchorage, AK at the Bear Tooth Theaterpub (one night only)
November 13, 2015
DIFRET Opens in
Columbus, OH at the Gateway Film Center
Minneapolis, MN at the St. Anthony Main
Vancouver, WA at the Kiggins Theater
Hanover, NH at the Hopkins Film Center (one night only)
November 18, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Boulder, CO at the International Film Series (one night only)
November 20, 2015
DIFRET Opens in Denver, CO at the Sie FilmCenter
November 30, 2015
DIFRET Plays in Vicksburg, MO at the Strand Theater (one night only)

Related:
Julie Mehretu on Helping to Make the Powerful Ethiopian Film Difret (Vogue)


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World Premiere of Antu Yacob’s Play ‘Mourning Sun’ to Open in New York

Playwright and actress Antu Yacob's play 'Mourning Sun' opens in NYC November 6, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The world premiere of Antu Yacob’s Mourning Sun, a new play set in Ethiopia and New York, opens next month at the West End Theatre in Manhattan.

Mourning Sun tells a love story between Ethiopian teenagers, Biftu and Abdi, that gets crudely interrupted by a forced arranged marriage resulting in Biftu becoming a fistula patient. Abdi finds refuge from his loss by getting himself immersed in a new culture in New York City, trying in vain to forget the past.

The Ethiopian-born playwright and actress, Antu Yacob, says the theatrical production is inspired by stories of various women that her physician sister shared with her while volunteering at the Addis Ababa Fistula hospital. “It’s actually a hopeful story,” Antu says. “They will end up meeting later in life.”

Like many young people their age around the world the play’s main characters, Biftu and Abdi, were “obsessed with Michael Jackson,” says Antu, “and less about the cultural mores that would eventually change their lives forever. With a first act set in Ethiopia and the second in New York this play follows Biftu and Abdi as they navigate young love with the mental, emotional and spiritual effects of irreversible fistula.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University, grew up in California and Minnesota before moving to New Jersey where she currently lives. Her television and film credits include a co-starring role in NBC’s Law & Order as well as a lead role in Walking in Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and a supporting role in Inspiration (SVA Film/Kaelan Kelly-Sorderlet). She has presented Mourning Sun at Crossroads Theater Company’s Common Ground Festival and Project Y Theatre’s Racey Plays Series.

“Her writing is moving, deep, and raw,” says Michole Biancosino, Artistic Director of Project Y Theatre. “She manages to bring to light the simple and beautiful moments in a difficult life.”

In addition to Antu, who also acts in the play, the cast for the NYC premiere of Mourning Sun includes Arlene Chico-Lugo (The Jackson Heights Trilogy, Theatre 167), Shamsuddin Abdul-Hamid (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Charles Everett (Next, Here Arts Center), Fadoua Hanine (xoxo I.B. Singer, Target Margin), Kevis Hillocks (King Lear, Public Theatre), John P. Keller (Jackson Heights 3AM, Theatre 167).


If You Go:
Mourning Sun by Antu Yacob
directed by Ari Laura Kreith
November 6-December 6
at the West End Theatre
263 W. 86th St., 2nd Fl.
www.theatre167.org/mourning-sun

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Watch Meklit Hadero at TED Talk

Meklit Hadero. (Photo: Video still TED Talk 2015)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, October 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — In the following video TED Senior Fellow Meklit Hadero speaks about how everyday sounds (nature, language and silence) inspire her creativity. “As a singer/songwriter people often ask me about my influences or as I call them my sonic lineages,” says the Ethiopian American artist. “And I could easily tell you that I was shaped with the Jazz and Hip-Hop that I grew up with, by the Ethiopian heritage of my ancestors, or by the 1980s pop on my childhood radio stations, but there is another genre. How do the sounds that we hear everyday influence the music that we make?”

“The world is alive with musical expression,” she says as she explores popular Amharic interjections. “We are already immersed.”

Watch: Meklit Hadero: The unexpected beauty of everyday sounds | TED Talk


Related:
Meklit Hadero, The Nile Project at the Lincoln Center in New York
An Interview with Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero
Photos: Meklit Hadero at Artisphere in DC
Tadias Interview: The Irresistible Meklit Hadero Blends Ethiopia and San Francisco

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Songs We Love: Mizan, ’7 Billion (NPR)

Raised in Ethiopia and relocated to New York, Mizan Kidanu has been playing piano since she was seven; it and her voice are the only elements that make up "7 Billion." Her EP "Dark Blue" comes out Nov. 6. (NPR)

NPR

By Kiana Fitzgerald

If you backtrack through the few songs Mizan has on her SoundCloud page or YouTube profile, you get the sense that she’s not in this to become famous, or a pop star, or an idol. She doesn’t sing about money or lust. She doesn’t lip sync in her videos, nor does she frolic in made-up alternate universes. And her latest offering, the contemplative “7 Billion,” is no different.

Raised in Ethiopia and relocated to New York, Mizan Kidanu has been playing piano since she was seven; it and her voice are the only elements that make up “7 Billion.” She hits the same somber keys time and time again, laying down a simple, chilling foundation so she can get something off her chest: “I’m the center of my world, but 7 billion have a say,” she sings. “7 billion have a heart, 7 billion find a way.”

Read more at NPR.org »


Related:
Tadias Interview With Mizan Kidanu

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Zone 9 Bloggers Acquitted of Terrorism

The Zone 9 bloggers. (Photograph credit: Endalkachew H/Michael)

CPJ

October 16, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the acquittal by an Ethiopian court today of four Zone 9 bloggers charged with terrorism. Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, and Natnail Feleke, jailed since April 2014, are scheduled to be released today, while exiled blogger Soleyana S. Gebremichael was acquitted in absentia, news reports said. A fifth Zone 9 blogger, Befekadu Hailu, was acquitted of terrorism charges but is being held on charges of inciting violence, the reports said. His bail hearing is set for Wednesday.

“We are elated that the terrorism charges against the Zone 9 bloggers are dropped and urge the court to dismiss the criminal charges against Befekadu Hailu,” said CPJ’s East Africa representative, Tom Rhodes. “Ethiopia should be listening to critical voices to strengthen democracy and development, not jailing them. We call on authorities to immediately release all other journalists imprisoned in relation to their work.”

In July, five other journalists and Zone 9 bloggers who were jailed in the same case — Editor Asmamaw Hailegiorgis; freelancers Edom Kassaye and Tesfalem Waldyes; and Zone 9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahum and Zelalem Kibret — were released from prison. In late 2014, Ethiopian authorities were holding at least 17 journalists in prison, including the Zone 9 bloggers, in relation to their work, according to CPJ’s prison census. Many have been released. Ethiopia is ranked fourth on CPJ’s list of the 10 most censored countries.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian Bloggers Cleared of Terrorism Charges
Zone 9 Bloggers Recognized With International Press Freedom Awards
International Press Freedom Awards Goes to Zone 9 Bloggers from Ethiopia

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UNICEF Appoints Musician Tommy T Gobena National Ambassador to Ethiopia

Tommy T (Thomas Gobena), the Ethiopian-born bass player for the New York-based multi-ethnic gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, has been named a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia. (Photo: UNICEF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Following in the footsteps of Aster Aweke, Abelone Melesse and Hannah Godefa, U.S.-based Ethiopian musician Thomas Gobena (Tommy T) has been appointed as a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia.

At a signing ceremony held on Wednesday at the UNICEF office in Addis Ababa Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of UNICEF Ethiopia, said: “Tommy’s ambassadorship has come at a time when UNICEF Ethiopia is seeking to engage with a wide range of the diaspora groups to get their understanding and support for children’s issues in Ethiopia. Reaching out to this group is critical as they can relay information fast to their communities and have also a strong awareness raising capacity.”

“A U.S. Citizen of Ethiopian descent, Tommy moved to Washington D.C. at the age of sixteen, and is a bassist for Gogol Bordello, a Gypsy punk band, since 2006,” UNICEF said in a press release.

“Tommy T. has been an advocate for UNICEF’s work since 2014 and is keen on empowering youth. Thus, he has participated in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on HIV/AIDS awareness entitled “Your life; Your decision” produced by UNICEF in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and UNAIDS.”

“I hope I will be an Ambassador who will awaken hope, inspire action, and nurture kindness and respect to all,” Tommy added speaking of his new title. “I hope with all my heart that my modest contribution will be inspiring to as many youth as possible because inspiration fuels hope.”

Watch: Musician Thomas “Tommy T” Gobena — “My life My decision” campaign (UNICEF Ethiopia)


Related:
Tadias Interview with Tommy T (Thomas Gobena)

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3 Ethiopian CEOs Ranked Among Top 100 Emerging Business Leaders in Africa

Choiseul 100 Africa 2015: Economic Leaders for Tomorrow. (Image: Institut Choiseul)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the second year in a row the Paris-based Institut Choiseul has released its influential ranking of young African business leaders, the Choiseul 100 Africa, dedicated to identifying “those who carry the economic growth and development of Africa, and embody the renewal of the continent.”

The 2015 list includes three Ethiopian CEOs: Ermias Eshetu (Ethiopia Commodity Exchange); Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (SoleRebels); and Henok Teferra (ASKY Airlines).

Beyond those three Chief Executive Officers other young Ethiopian leaders appear in the Choiseul 200: Sara Menker (Gro Ventures); Adam Abate (Apposit); Rakeb Abebe (GAWT International Business); and Alpha Mengistu (Diageo Ethiopie).

“The Choiseul 100 Africa is an original annual study” says the press release from the French research institution that studies geoeconomics and international relations. “It identifies and ranks young African leaders of 40 years old and under who will play a major role in the development of Africa in the near future.” The list includes “growing business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, [and] investors” who “embody the dynamism and renewal of a whole continent and carry the hopes of an entire generation.”

In a statement the President of Institut Choiseul, Pascal Lorot, commented on the growing capital flows towards Africa, which last year reached an estimated 80 billion U.S. dollars. “The figure should rise up to 100 billion in 2015,” Lorot said. “This remarkable dynamic is linked to the emergence of a group of young economic leaders, well-trained, open to the world and connected to major economic and informal flows worldwide, grown out of globalization.”

The press release added: “In response to new needs new businesses emerge. Finance, NICT and service sector are among the most represented sectors.”

The emergence of women in influential positions is also another topic mentioned in the new list that names 60 female business leaders in the current edition of the Choiseul 100 Africa.

Click here to read the full list: Choiseul 100 Africa 2015 »


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Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus Samuelsson

(Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine will take center stage on CNN’s “Parts Unknown” episode this month as TV host Anthony Bourdain explores the country’s unique and diverse food heritage accompanied by his friends Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile.

Marcus and Maya will host a special advanced screening of the show on Monday, October 19th at 7pm at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The advance screening, which is organized in partnership with CNN, Food Republic and Tadias Magazine, will be followed by a conversation with Marcus about behind-the-scenes stories and experiences.

A DJ will be spinning Ethiopian tunes in between the screening which starts at 8pm. In addition, specialty cocktails and light bites will be provided and Ethiopian-focused small plates will be available for purchase as well as cash bar.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says. The episode featuring Ethiopia has been rescheduled to air on Sunday, October 25th, 2015.


If You Go:
Advanced Screening of “Parts Unknown: Ethiopia” with Marcus
Monday Oct 19, 2015
7:00 PM
Ginny’s Supper Club
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY
21 and over
$25 admission limited seats and table service available on a first-come, first-served basis
Click here to purchase tickets

Related:
Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015

Photo courtesy: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week (HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The 2015 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week will take place on October 22nd at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.

The 4th edition of the event will showcase the work of fifteen African designers. Organizers say that this year’s program partners include the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Development Cooperation and UNIDO.

“The objective is to create awareness in the fashion industry through capacity building and unite the industry with key players in Africa and abroad,” the press release said, noting that its presentations last year were highlighted in Vogue Italia and CNN, the latter of which featured an interview with Hub of Africa Fashion Week founder Mahlet Teklemariam.


If You Go:
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
October 22, 2015
Millennium Hall – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
More Info and Tickets:
www.hubfashionweekafrica.com

Related:
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Director Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’ is Ethiopia’s Official Submission to Oscars

Actors Kidist Siyum and Rediat Amare with director Yared Zeleke at the premiere for Lamb at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Director Yared Zeleke’s film Lamb is Ethiopia’s official submission to this year’s Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Feature category. Lamb won the Best Feature Film award at the Milan Film Festival in September and has received enthusiastic international reviews.

In May 2015 Lamb became the first Ethiopian feature to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The feature tells the story of an Ethiopian boy, Ephraïm, who bonds with a sheep as he is sent away from home following the death of his mother. Ephraïm soon learns that the sheep he befriended may have to be sacrificed for a feast and plots a way both to save the lamb and find his way home again.

Tadias Magazine recently interviewed Director Yared Zeleke following the premiere of Lamb at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa.

For the 88th Academy Awards “the total number of films submitted this year fell just shy of the record 83 films that were submitted in 2014,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. Other submissions from the African continent include Twilight of Shadows (Algeria), Run (Ivory Coast), Aida (Morocco), and The Two of Us (South Africa).

Prior Oscar submissions from Ethiopia include The Athlete directed by Rasselas Lakew & Davey Frankel for the 83rd Academy Awards, and Difret directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari for the 87th Academy Awards.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter »


Related:
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Ethiopian Man’s 4,500-year-old DNA Reveals Surprise About African Ancestry

Mota cave in Ethiopia, where researchers found the body of a 4,500-year-old man whose DNA was still preserved. (Photo: Kathryn and John Arthur via LA Times)

Los Angeles Times

By Karen Kaplan

DNA from a man who lived in Ethiopia about 4,500 years ago is prompting scientists to rethink the history of human migration in Africa.

Until now, the conventional wisdom had been that the first groups of modern humans left Africa roughly 70,000 years ago, stopping in the Middle East en route to Europe, Asia and beyond. Then about 3,000 years ago, a group of farmers from the Middle East and present-day Turkey came back to the Horn of Africa (probably bringing crops like wheat, barley and lentils with them).

Population geneticists pieced this story together by comparing the DNA of distinct groups of people alive today. Since humans emerged in Africa, DNA from an ancient Africa could provide a valuable genetic baseline that would make it easier for scientists to track genome changes over time.

Unfortunately, such DNA has been hard to come by. DNA isn’t built to last for thousands of years. The samples of ancient DNA that have been sequenced to date were extracted from bodies in Europe and Asia that were naturally refrigerated in cooler climates.

That’s what makes the Ethiopian man so special. His body was found face-down in Mota cave, which is situated in the highlands in the southern part of the country. The cool, dry conditions in the cave preserved his DNA, and scientists extracted a sample from the petrous bone at the base of his skull. The resulting sequence is the first nuclear genome from an ancient African, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Science.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times »


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The Sci-Fi Romance Film From Ethiopia ‘Crumbs’ Opens in U.S. Theaters

Advertised as Ethiopia’s first science fiction film, 'Crumbs' is a futuristic romantic drama. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — A new Ethiopian short film Crumbs, which is being hailed as the country’s first “post-apocalyptic sci-fi romance” opens in several U.S. theaters this month including in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver.

In New York Crumbs is scheduled to run for one week at the Cinema Village in Manhattan from October 23rd to October 29th. The film’s Addis Ababa-based Spanish writer and director Miguel Llanso is expected to be in attendance for the NYC screenings on October 23rd and Oct. 24th.

The Hollywood Reporter calls Crumbs an “outlandish and imaginative sci-fi” noting that the 68-minute movie makes “potent use of spectacularly extraterrestrial locations in the country’s sunbaked far north town of Dallol; the film takes an exotic and sometimes surreal approach to what’s essentially a simple, touching love story.”

The movie also features talented Ethiopian actors including Daniel Tadesse and Selam Tesfaye. The producers of the film are Llansó (Lanzadera Films), Daniel Taye Workou and Meseret Argaw (Birabiro Films).

“Set in an unspecified epoch after a “big war” whose consequences have severely depopulated the planet, Crumbs posits a micro-civilization where the mass-produced tat of the late 20th century is revered as valuable, even holy.”

Watch: Crumbs trailer


Related:
‘Crumbs’: Rotterdam Review (The Hollywood Reporter)
Ethiopia’s first post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie looks beautiful and bizarre (The verge)

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Tadias Interview: Grammy-Nominated Ethiopian American Musician Kenna

Kenna is a Grammy® and Emmy Award®-nominated Ethiopian American artist. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 5th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) The last time that we featured Kenna (Née Kenna Zemedkun) in January of 2010 the Grammy and Emmy-nominated Ethiopian American singer was leading a team of celebrity friends to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s largest stratovolcanoes, in an effort to raise more awareness about the global clean water crisis — a personal initiative that Kenna says was inspired by his father’s story as a child survivor of a water-born disease. Kenna also served on the Arts & Policy Roundtable for Americans for the Arts as well as the UN Entrepreneurs Council and the brain trust for Fortune 500 Businesses on the economics of altruism.

Five years later Kenna, who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in the U.S., is combining social activism with the production of his upcoming third album Songs For Flight, which is expected to be released in 2016 featuring his latest single Sleep When We Die.

“I am in this for change in music,” Kenna tells Tadias. “Its time has come.”

“It’s difficult to convince a very greedy industry to be philanthropic with music,” Kenna says recently announcing the first One-For-One Artist campaign and promising to donate 50% of his profits to deserving causes and social issues around the world that he and his fans care about.

As a One-For-One Artist Kenna seeks “a social entrepreneurial slant to make a sustainable model that includes the fans and how they can contribute to the well-being of the artist and their world at the same time at a considerably significant level.”

Kenna lists three social causes that are close to his heart: Human Rights (Water), Equality (Women’s Rights) and Arts & Education. “My inheritance is my driver for the causes I have chosen,” he says. “Water (human right) for my father and his struggle as a child and the continued struggle of so many to have access to clean safe drinking water. Women’s rights because of my mother and sister. And the Arts because it has been the vehicle for me to be able to focus on the causes my family and I care about.”

Kenna is taking his campaign on the road with a sponsored worldwide tour that includes stops in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Chennai, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Paris, London, New York, Haiti and Mexico City.

Asked about artists from East Africa that have inspired him Kenna says, “Wayna is always inspiring. The Weeknd is great and has Ethiopia on his heart. Also Avi Wassa and Cabra in Israel are representing us as well. Very cool to be on the journey and learn so much from others.”

“I think it’s just my responsibility to lead by example,” Kenna tells Tadias. “Hopefully it’ll become an option for the many artists I know believe similarly to me. I have had a cool group of friends and allies who have been encouraging, but this is a very lonely path,” Kenna shares. “I can only hope that the people of my culture can be a part of the journey with me and support the mission that will help Ethiopia the most because it is my heart.”

Kenna | One For One Artist : Go to www.kenna.com to fund the music #SongsForFlight from Translator Labs on Vimeo.


Learn more about the campaign at kenna.com

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Beteseb Painting Sessions in DC Catching On with Ethiopian College Students

Beteseb Art painting session in Washington D.C., Saturday, September 26th, 2015. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 1st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the past nine months an organization called Beteseb Art has been hosting weekly Saturday painting sessions for amateur artists at a small rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington D.C. The program was launched by Ethiopian artists Aleme Tadesse and Solomon Asfaw.

“I stopped in there last night quite randomly while looking for a place to eat in DC” one participant shared on Facebook regarding her discovery of Beteseb’s program. “$30 pays for a canvas, paint, wine, beer, snacks, use of easel, brushes, and apron. With lots of love and encouragement from organizing artists it looks like everyone was having a great evening and making great art.”

And neither do you have to be an artist to take part in the program. One of the regulars is Nathaniel Abebe, a Computer Science student and former President of the Ethiopian Students Association (ESA) at the University of Maryland. “For me it’s the quality of time spent and the kind of people that you meet here,” says Nathaniel who recently completed his first artwork at the gallery. Not having any prior experience in painting, Nathaniel enjoys the social aspect of the gathering. “Initially I brought my 13-year-old sister, who was visiting from Ethiopia over the summer, but eventually I got involved and now I am in charge of publicity, website, reaching out to students and the larger community.”

Founders Solomon Asfaw and Aleme Tadesse envisioned providing a “creative environment for individuals as well as groups” not only to create art, but to also jumpstart a movement for youth to spend their time in more rewarding ways.

“We are trying to redefine weekend pastime,” says Aleme Tadesse who leads the social painting sessions over wine and music targeting young people in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. “You don’t necessarily have to go to a shisha bar to have a good time.”

The Beteseb evening program has become popular among local college students. When Tadias stopped by at last Saturday’s session the room was filled with University of Maryland Students including the current president of the Ethiopian Student Association at UM and her predecessor. Beteseb has likewise conducted more outreach and offered painting sessions at the annual Ethiopian soccer tournament. In the summer Beteseb offers two sessions from 11am to 2pm.

“The first painting session was held at the house of Nini Legesse, Founder of Wegene Foundation,” Aleme says. The program has now expanded to include weekend sessions from noon till 5pm for kids ranging in age between 3 to 18, and providing both supplies and “art-trained creative enablers” on hand to provide guidance and encouragement.

Below are photos from Beteseb Art’s painting sessions:

—-
If You Go:
Beteseb Art Weekly Paint Session
Every Saturday: 7PM – 10PM
in Adams Morgan
2448A 18th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
www.beteseb.org

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In Metema, Ethiopia Cracked Down on People Smugglers (BBC)

Metema, in Ethiopia's north-west, was once a people smuggler's paradise. (BBC News)

BBC Africa

By Emmanuel Igunza

Metema, Ethiopia – It was from here that Haimanot, aged just 16, gathered all her belongings, borrowed 3,000 Ethiopian birr ($140; £95) and crossed the border into Sudan in search of a better life.

She travelled at first on foot under cover of darkness and with the help of an Ethiopian smuggler, who had promised to take her first to Sudan’s capital Khartoum, then on to Libya.

“I was not in school and I could not find a job here in Ethiopia, so I decided to make the journey to Europe to try and make something out of myself,” she tells me.

But she never made it out of Sudan.


Haimanot, 16: “It was the scariest period of my entire life”

Read more at BBC News »


Related:
Despite Border Crackdown in Ethiopia, Migrants Still Risk Lives to Leave (The Guardian)

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Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’

Yared Zeleke, Director of Lamb, premiered his film at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 28th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Following the premiere of the first Ethiopian film, Lamb, at this year’s Festival de Cannes, Director Yared Zeleke recently screened his feature at Ethiopia’s National Theatre in Addis Ababa. Lamb tells the story of an Ethiopian boy, Ephraïm, who bonds with a sheep as he is sent away from home following the death of his mother. Ephraïm soon learns that the sheep he befriended may have to be sacrificed for a feast and plots a way both to save the lamb and find his way home again.

Zeleke’s film has received enthusiastic international reviews including being dubbed “sheer brilliance” by The Guardian, and won ‘Best Feature Film’ at the 2015 Milano Film Festival. Lamb is set to be released in theaters in France on September 30th, and while it was screened earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, Zeleke says the U.S. premiere is “yet to be determined.”

Below is Tadias Magazine’s Q&A with Director Yared Zeleke:

TADIAS: You mentioned having been raised by your grandmother and reminisce about her coffee ceremony and storytelling skills. How did the communal experience of narrating stories over Ethiopian coffee influence your own storytelling passion?

YZ: My grandmother, Tafesech Zeleke, raised me in Mesalemia, Addis Ababa with lots of love, good food and great stories. She was known in the neighborhood for her kindness as well as terets. I think had she lived and been educated in the U.S., like I was, she would’ve been a filmmaker herself. And a great one! She was just gifted at capturing your imagination about places and people within and outside of Ager-bet (homeland). This left an indelible impression on me.

TADIAS: Your prior short films including Housewarming — highlighting the experience of an Ethiopian refugee in New York City — explore the challenges of migration and identity formation. You’ve also shared that Lamb “is a semi-autobiographical drama,” which ties to your own “personal and inescapably political” journey. How has making films helped you to navigate these themes? How do you feel now that you live back in Addis?

YZ: For me, it’s not only about cinematic art but your point of view as a citizen of the modern world. I am a “cultural omnivore” of Ethiopian origin who tries to make sense of this vast, complicated world through the work I do. Film is a powerful medium to get your point across and/or engage in a dialogue with a wider audience.

(Still image from Lamb film)

I chose to make Lamb my first feature, for both personal and political reasons. Although the story is close to me, I was aware that one of its core themes being loss — especially during childhood — is something many souls can relate to. The connection that people (from all walks of life) have had so far with first the script and now the film is a testament to my dream realized.

In the perceptions of many Westerners, Ethiopia has become synonymous with famine. This story, on the other hand, shows a boy obsessed with cooking. This is because, along with the problems of population pressure and changing climate, the country continues its ancient and rich culinary culture. As another example, Ethiopia is perceived to be a desert. Having shot parts of the film in the world’s only Afro-alpine forest (in the Bale Mountain region), the audience is in for a surprise as most of the mountainous country is far from being a desert. The art of cinema should take and engage an audience into the unexpected, be it geographic or psychic. I hope to continue making films that are more about connections rather than clichés, while revealing rarely seen worlds and faces in the global cinema.

(Still image from Lamb film)

TADIAS: Prior to obtaining an MFA at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts you had embarked on studying farming/agriculture in Norway. Can you tell us more about your original interest in farming?

YZ: That is a good question. Prior to pursuing film I was a young idealist who wanted to give back to my country of origin by working on an issue that is paramount to Ethiopia — farming. As what it means to be an Ethiopian to this day is, for the most part, a farmer, I wanted to work with agriculture in order to help the country ensure food security as well as sustainable farming practices to help develop its economy. I was very passionate about this, and after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in International Development with a focus on natural resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa at Clark University in Massachusetts, I went to get a Master’s at the Agricultural University of Norway. Deep down, however, I wasn’t happy with my studies and wished to do something else — to tell a story. One day I thought to myself if Ethiopia was as prosperous, peaceful and progressive as Norway what would I do with my life? And it became clear to me that film was my calling as a medium to share our stories with the world.

TADIAS: Who were your primary role models when you shifted your career from agriculture to film directing? Which individuals inspire you in your craft?

YZ: I am not only inspired by film directors (Robert Bresson, Stephen Frears, or Shekhar Kapur), but by writers (Tolstoy), musicians (Muluken Melesse) and political activists (Mandela) as well.

TADIAS: What are the joys and challenges of participating in the film industry in Ethiopia?

YZ: The joys of filmmaking in Ethiopia are primarily that the country remains untouched culturally and untapped in potential talents. There are so many stories to be told in the country. And there are growing opportunities.

Like any film, each and every process was just an absolute challenge in every way. But the most difficult for me was the Ethiopian bureaucracy. One can control most factors of filmmaking, more or less, but a bureaucracy is beyond me. The ultimate threat being that your project is in a constant state of danger from being shut down over the smallest issue. The authorities did however allow us to make the film. We also obtained sponsorship from Ethiopian Airlines, which is government owned. The airline moreover provided an enormous amount of logistical support with the transportation of both crew and, especially, equipment to and within the country. Without this help, we certainly would not have been able to make the film on time.

What I learned from the experience can be summarized by one of the traditional female names in Amharic as well as the title of my first documentary project— “Tigist Means Patience”. To make a meaningful film in a place like Ethiopia, you will need an enormous amount of patience and time. Be prepared to invest years of your life there. Be prepared for a lot of explaining. Be prepared for a lot of suspicion. Both the government and people are sensitive about their image, and rightly so, after decades of bad publicity, which has been primarily about political upheavals, war and famine with nothing being told about the positive aspects of the country.

I also discovered many new things. It is a very interesting transitional period right now as the nation fast forwards into the future, leaving its traumatic past behind. The economy is booming and the Diaspora who once risked everything to escape are coming back to rebuild. There is an awakening taking place there, as in the rest of the continent. This homecoming is the time for Africans to redefine who we are for the world and, especially, us. Re-appropriating our memory and what it means to be a citizen. Being a filmmaker at this point in Ethiopia’s (3,000 year) history is, therefore, extremely important. The entire process of making LAMB was made within the conditions of a country trying desperately to pull out of poverty and transcend into something new. I am, of course, very proud to be part of that wave of change.

TADIAS: You recently successfully premiered Lamb in Ethiopia. What was the audience reaction? How did it feel to bring your journey back home?

YZ: At the world premier of Lamb in Ethiopia at the National Theater, about half of the audience were international while the other half were Habeshas. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was virtually no difference in the response and reaction to the film between both audiences. Ethiopians who approached me after the screening were just as appreciative and positive about the film as “Ferenges” have been around the world. And as an Ethiopian, the reaction of my people is much more significant to me. So it meant a lot that they were so encouraging.


Related:
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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Krar Collective Has Audience on its Feet at Lincoln Center

The UK-based Ethiopian traditional music group Krar Collective performing live at the Lincoln Center David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City on Thursday, September 24th, 2015. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 25th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — If you missed Krar Collective’s stellar show at Lincoln Center’s Atrium last night you have one more chance to join them at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan this evening.

The London-based Ethiopian traditional music trio’s performance had the crowd leaping to its feet with their final rendition of a traditional Guragigna song at Lincoln Center on Thursday night.

Led by Temesgen Zeleke, a former student of Mulatu Astatke, the father of Ethio-Jazz, Krar Collective uses a minimal band set consisting of traditional and electronic Krars (harps), Kebero (drums) and accompanied by soaring vocals to create sounds that blend traditional Azmari ambience with contemporary sounds of rock and jazz. Lincoln Center describes their sound as “a rootsy yet contemporary take on traditional music from Ethiopia based on other-worldly modes and driven by hypnotic rhythms.”

Below are photos from Krar Collective’s show at Lincoln Center on Thursday, September 24th, 2015.


If You Go:
Krar Collective at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)
Friday, September 25th at 10:30 PM
196 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Doors open at 10:15pm
Price $10 (Ages 21 and over)
Click here for tickets

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Benyam & Isaac Kinde Featured as “10 Scientists Who Are Making Their Mark”

Isaac Kinde (left) a Baltimore biotech star aims to detect cancer mutations early, while his younger brother Harvard Medical student, Benyam Kinde, explores how gene expression molds higher brain function. (S.N.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Science News magazine has named brothers Benyam and Isaac Kinde among the world’s ten up-and-coming scientists who are likely to make lasting impact in their fields.

“To identify some of the early-career scientists on their way to more widespread acclaim, Science News surveyed 30 Nobel Prize winners to learn whose work has caught their attention.” the magazine said announcing the list. “From those names, Science News editors chose 10 to feature in this special report. All have demonstrated high-caliber research leading to noteworthy achievements.”

The older brother Isaac Kinde, 31, who serves as Chief Scientific Officer at Baltimore-based biotechnology startup PapGene, “credits his supportive family and years of hard work for his scientific success,” Science News highlights. “His tenacity is probably fueled by his active lifestyle — he’s an avid biker — and his devotion to coffee, which he says is rooted in his family’s Ethiopian culture. ‘It’s almost in our blood. I can’t literally say that, because I’m a scientist,’ Kinde says. ‘But, almost.’” Science News adds: “PapGene’s sensitive technologies are based on tests Kinde helped develop as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with cancer researcher Bert Vogelstein. Spotting cancer early requires finding a few rare, cancer-associated genetic alterations among large amounts of normal DNA. That’s made more difficult by the DNA reader’s error rate. Kinde and colleagues created a way to chemically label and mass-copy sections of DNA to identify the real mutations.”

Benyam Kinde, 27, is studying how genetic modifications affect brain activity at the cellular level. “Many people view the brain as the last frontier of human health research. We still don’t know very much about how individual cells in the brain coordinate the activity of higher-level function that defines us as humans,” Benyam tells Science News. “This mystery is one that Kinde, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Harvard Medical School and MIT, aims to solve. He is interested in how chemical modifications of DNA affect brain function, focusing on a protein nicknamed MeCP2. When this protein is damaged or missing, it changes the activity of multiple genes and causes Rett syndrome, a disorder marked by developmental delays, seizures and autism-like behaviors.”

Read more at ScienceNews.com »


Related:
Benyam Kinde: Gene expression and Rett syndrome (Science News)
Isaac Kinde: Finding cancer via altered genes (Science News)

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U-Michigan Names Dr. Lia Tadesse Head of Center for Reproductive Health

A former Addis Ababa hospital CEO and maternal health champion Lia Tadesse selected as executive director of University of Michigan's Center for International Reproductive Health Training. (Photograph: U-Michigan)

University of Michigan

Press release

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While an Obgyn resident in Ethiopia, Lia Tadesse saw too many women suffer and die simply because they didn’t have access to proper care. She vowed she’d pursue a path in Obgyn to help prevent such deaths in her home country.

Now, the former hospital executive will play a key role in improving maternal health in Ethiopia as the new executive director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) at the University of Michigan.

“I saw women die from preventable deaths and I knew I had to get involved with efforts to help stop it,” says Tadesse, M.D., M.H.A., who is known in Ethiopia as “Dr. Lia.”

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead a center that will play a critical role in saving lives and empowering women. Women are the anchors of their families and communities. Stronger, healthier women lead to more stable families and ultimately, a more productive country.”

CIRHT, based in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the U-M Health System, launched in 2014. In this first phase, the center is working with nine medical schools in Ethiopia to help integrate comprehensive reproductive health training for aspiring doctors, nurses and midwives. There are currently 5,922 medical students and interns, 266 Obgyn residents and 57 faculty under the program. This pre-service training helps to ensure that, even before graduation, providers have the knowledge, technical skills and insight to provide women with the full range of reproductive health services they need.

Women’s health continues to be a particularly urgent development issue in Ethiopia where the maternal mortality ratio is 420 for every 100,000 births, among the highest in the world. That compares to a maternal mortality ratio of 28 per 100,000 in the U.S., 8 per 100,000 in the U.K. and 3 per 100,000 in Norway.

During the next five years, the Center aims to expand the program to other countries in Africa and Asia. Globally, reproductive health issues are a leading cause of poor health and death of women of childbearing age. As a result, women in developing countries disproportionately experience unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections leading to disability or death.

Tadesse has an extensive background in work improving women’s health. Most recently, she served as project director of the country’s Maternal and Child Survival Program implemented by Jhpiego, where she oversaw programs to improve the capacity of health facilities and skilled birth attendants to provide high- quality care to women and newborns.

“Dr. Lia has devoted her entire career to improving the health and lives of women in Ethiopia,” says Timothy R. B. Johnson, M.D., Bates Professor and Chair of the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have someone with her rich expertise in the field help lead our efforts to ensure women have access to high quality comprehensive reproductive health services. She will play a critical role in our institution’s efforts to reduce maternal deaths across the globe.”

Tadesse also served as the CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa Ethiopia between 2007 and 2010 (when it was known as St Paul’s General Specialized Hospital). St. Paul’s Hospital was the first site to begin working with U-M in 2012, adopting an integrated medical curriculum that includes comprehensive reproductive health training and pioneering a new approach in Ethiopia. As CIRHT expands its comprehensive pre-service reproductive health training to the eight other medical schools throughout the country, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College is the Center of Excellence for this effort.

She was nominated for a “women of excellence” award by the Association of Women in Business in Ethiopia in 2014.

Dr. Lia Tadesse’s other posts at St. Paul have included vice provost for academic programs and research services, vice provost for medical services and assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology.

Prior to coming to St. Paul, Tadesse was a senior obstetrician and gynecologist at the Federal Police Referral Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was responsible for managing obstetric and gynecologic patients in maternity, labor and gynecology wards and providing family planning and other reproductive health services.

“There have been many efforts to improve women’s health in Ethiopia but there are still significant gaps,” Tadesse said. “CIRHT will help fill some of those gaps by preparing future doctors, nurses and midwives to care for girls and women and save lives.” Tadesse says.

“Maternal mortality is too high in Ethiopia and most deaths are preventable. Improving reproductive health services is a critical part of the foundation of our country. If we are able to integrate comprehensive reproductive health services for students so they can be skilled, competent and compassionate health givers, we can make a monumental impact on improving access to quality care throughout Ethiopia and the region.”


Learn more about CIRHT on its website: cirht.med.umich.edu

Related:
University of Michigan becomes a key partner in Ethiopia’s medical revolution
$25 M grant backs U-M project to curb maternal deaths in Ethiopia, other developing nations


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Taitu Cultural Center Kicks-Off 15th Anniversary Celebration in October

(Photographs courtesy of Taitu Cultural & Educational Center)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The Taitu Cultural and Educational Center (TCEC) announced that the first of multiple events planned to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year kicks-off on October 2nd in Washington, D.C. with an evening highlighting the center’s past accomplishments and future plans.

Since it was established in August 2000 the independent artists organization based in the U.S. capital has hosted over “176 monthly poetry nights in which over 2800 amateur and professional writers and poets participated,” says the founder, Ethiopian-born playwright and poet Alemtsehay Wedajo.

Alemtsehay shared that in addition the center has staged and financed “four poetry events in Ethiopia and ‘African Poetry Night’ in Swahili, Arabic, English and French.”

In 2013, the organization opened a library and research center in D.C. dedicated exclusively to Amharic publications — the first of its kind in the U.S. The original collection featured more than 900 Ethiopian books and rare periodicals, including newspapers, biographies, children’s books, fiction, political journals, comedy and poetry publications.

“As TCEC celebrates 15 years of community service, we embark on a journey of taking on even bigger challenges,” Alemtsehay says. “Starting with the 2015/16 academic year, TCEC will expand its tutoring and mentoring Program to Maryland and make this critical service available to an even larger number of students. TCEC is also working on a plan to acquire a building that will serve as its home and a hub for Ethiopian arts and culture in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and beyond.”

Alemtsehay notes that TCEC has planned three major programs for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons to celebrate its 15th year anniversary. The first event is scheduled on October 2nd in Washington, DC.


If You Go:
Taitu Cultural and Educational Center
15th Anniversary Celebration
October 2, 2015 at 7:00PM
2815 36th St NW, Washington, D.C.
(St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church)
www.tayituculturalcenter.org

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First Urban Rail Service Opens in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's new $475-Million China-Built tramway opened in Addis Abada on September 20, 2015. (BBC video)

BBC News

Ethiopia’s first modern urban commuter rail service has been launched in the capital Addis Ababa.
The $470M project, which was mostly funded by China’s Exim Bank, is the first fully electrified train service in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hundreds of people turned up for Sunday’s launch and enjoyed free rides on the trains, which are being touted as the solution to the city’s growing road transport problems.

Emmanuel Igunza attended the launch of the commuter train in Addis Ababa.

Read more and watch video at BBC News »


Related:
Modernizing Ethiopia Opens $475-Million, China-Built Urban Rail (Bloomberg News)
China in driving seat as Ethiopian capital gets new tramway (AFP)

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Post New Year Events in New York City

(Courtesy Photo: Ethiopian Community Association at the 2014 African Day Parade in Harlem, New York)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Post New Year Ethiopian Day Picnic & Cultural Exchange Day

New York (TADIAS) — There are two upcoming post Ethiopian New Year family-friendly events taking place in NYC: an Ethiopian Day Picnic on Sunday, September 20th and a Cultural Exchange Family Day on October 9th, 2015.

The Ethiopian Day picnic, which is hosted by the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA), will take place at Sakura Park, Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

“Come and relax at our family play day,” the ECMAA announcement says. “Bring your favorite games and picnic chairs.”

The Cultural Exchange Day scheduled later on October 9th is sponsored by the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) and takes place on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. ESAC’s Cultural Exchange Family Day also features food, a coffee ceremony and live music.


If You Go:
Ethiopian Day Picnic
Sunday, September 20th 2015
Time: 1:00 PM
Sakura Park, Riverside Drive
(Between 122nd and 123rd Streets)
Phone: 201.282.9898
Directions via Google Maps

ESAC Cultural Exchange Family Day
Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee
Friday, October 9, 2015 From 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
310 East 42nd street between 1st and 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10036
RSVP & Ticket at www.eventbrite.com

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Remembering Friend of Ethiopia Joan Kindell

Joan Kindell receiving a golden bracelet from Emperor Haile Selassie in 1965. (Photo courtesy: Mel Tewahade)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 17th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Last Friday morning at 10am on September 11th 2015, friends of Joan Kindell gathered at the Fisher Funeral Home Chapel in Denison, Texas to say goodbye to a great friend of Ethiopia who passed away at the age of 86 earlier this month.

Mrs. Kindell’s first job in Ethiopia from 1958 to 1960 was at the library at Jimma University, which was then called the Jimma Agricultural Technical School, where her husband Dr. Clyde Kindell was the Co-Director. Mrs. Kindell later gave birth to their daughter, Kay Kindell Neasbitt, in Jimma before the family moved to Harar, where Dr. Clyde Kindell served as the last American President of Alemaya (Haramaya) College from 1960 to 1966. The Kindells had arrived in Ethiopia in the late 1950s through the U.S. technical assistance program, Point Four, and an invitation from Ethiopia to help build the fledgling formal education system in the country.

Dr. Kindell recalled one of the couple’s many meetings with Emperor Haile Selassie who encouraged Dr. Kindell to learn Amharic. “So one day my wife and I had the Emperor over for dinner and all his family and other dignitaries were present,” he told Tadias in an interview conducted in 2013. “I finally managed the courage to say, ‘Your Majesty, Ene bizu amarigna memar alchalkum.’” Dr Kindell continued: “He sort of chuckled, and never bothered me about my language skills again.”

Since leaving Ethiopia in the summer of 1966 Mr. and Mrs. Kindell have kept their life-long ties to Ethiopia through their many students and family friends including Neamen Tewahade, who gave a eulogy at the funeral, and his brother Ethiopian filmmaker and businessman Bemelekot (Mel) Tewahade who just finished a documentary based on Dr. Clyde Kindell’s work in Ethiopia.

“They are an incredibly beautiful couple,” Mel. said. “After the funeral in Denison, Texas we drove 3 hours north to central Oklahoma, her birthplace, to lay her in her final resting place.”

Below are a few images courtesy of Mel Tewahade:


Emperor Haile Selassie and Dr. Clyde Kindell. (Photo courtesy of Mel Tewahade)


Saying goodbye to Mrs. Kindell. Dr. Clyde Kindell (second from right) along with the Tewahade family at the funeral in Dennison, Texas on Friday, September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)


Bemelekot Tewahade at her funeral in Denison, Texas on Friday, September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)


Neamen Tewahade giving a eulogy at the funeral of Mrs. Joan Kindell in Denison, Texas on September 11th, 2015. (Courtesy photo)


Joan Kindell. (Family photo)


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Zone 9 Bloggers Recognized With International Press Freedom Awards

(Photograph credit: Endalkachew H/Michael)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) awarded this year’s International Press Freedom prize to members of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 blogging collective: Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, Befekadu Hailu, Soleyana S Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye. Six of the nine bloggers were arrested in April 2014 in connection with their online advocacy work.

“By awarding the Zone 9 bloggers with its International Press Freedom Award, CPJ recognizes the important role that bloggers play in environments where traditional media are weak or have been all but shuttered by financial hardship and direct or indirect state attacks,” CPJ said in a press release.

Two of the six imprisoned bloggers, Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kiberet, have since been released from prison after spending over a year behind bars.

CPJ also highlights that Soleyana S Gebremichael, Endalk Chala and Jomanex Kasaye remain in exile. “Soleyana has been charged in absentia.”

“The Zone 9 blogging collective was formed in May 2012 in response to the evisceration of the independent press and the narrowing of space for free expression,” CPJ said. “The name, “Zone 9,” is derived from the zones in Kality Prison, the main jail where Ethiopia’s political prisoners, including several journalists, are held. While Kality Prison is organized into eight different zones, the bloggers refer to the entire country as “Zone 9” because of Ethiopia’s lack of democratic freedoms,” one of the bloggers told CPJ.

The press release noted: “In July 2015, weeks before U.S. President Barack Obama visited the country, Ethiopian authorities released Mahlet and Zelalem.”

CPJ added that Ethiopia has released “at least six journalists from prison in 2015, but is still holding around a dozen journalists in jail in relation to their work.”


Related:
Journalists From 4 Countries to Get Press Freedom Awards
International Press Freedom Awards Goes to Zone 9 Bloggers from Ethiopia

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First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC

2015 Premiere of AfrikCan Festival in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
by Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

First Annual AfrikCan Festival in NYC Kicks Off Sept 18-20th

New York (TADIAS) — Showcasing the African continent’s greatest musical talents as well as its diversity through food, music and the arts, the first annual AfrikCan Festival will take place at La Marina in New York City this week from September 18th – 20th.

“AfrikCan aims to highlight the exceptionalism and greatness of Africa and its people” says the festival’s Facebook page. The Pan-African event promises a stellar line-up of musicians including: top Nigerian artists Jidenna, Wizkid and Ayo; multi-platinum award-winning South African singer Lira; Grammy-nominated Francophone duo Les Nubians; Congolese musician Young Paris; Ghanaian singer Wiyaala who won ‘Songwriter of the Year’ and ‘Best Female Vocal Performance’ at this year’s Vodaphone Ghana Music Awards; and Brooklyn-based Afro-indie band Osekre.

Africology is a media partner helping to organize and facilitate the first AfrikCan Festival in New York City, and its Co-Founder, Ethiopian-born Sirak Getachew, who recently released an Africology Clothing line, will also be DJing at the festival. “We’re looking to book innovative and new Ethiopian and East African acts for the following yearly festival” DJ Sirak told Tadias.

The opening party organized by Africology and hosted by Tigist Selam of Goursha will take place at Studio 21 on Friday, September 18th.


If You Go:
Friday, September 18th
Opening Party at Studio 21
59 West 21st Street, NY, NY 10011
Doors open at 10pm
No Cover. RSVP info@africologymedia.com

AfrikCan Festival NYC
September 19th & 20th
Door 4pm
La Marina NYC
348 Dyckman Street, NY, NY 10034
AfrikCan.com

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Author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg

Bethlehem A. Gronneberg, author of "The Alphabet Takes a Journey...Destination Ethiopia." (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Interview with Ethiopian Children’s Book Author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg

New York (TADIAS) — When Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg, a mother of three boys and a Software Engineering Manager who works and lives in North Dakota, returned to Ethiopia on a family vacation in 2008 an idea for a children’s book based on her birth country was already percolating in her head.

Eight years later some of the photos that were taken during the trip, mostly by her husband and sister-in-law, became part of a new book that Bethlehem released this year called The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia.

Bethlehem’s superbly illustrated book takes children on a playful and educational journey to Ethiopia as the Amharic alphabet plays host to their guests, the latin letters. “At the airport, letter A was greeted by the first Feedel family,” Bethlehem writes. “Then, all at once, the seven forms of A lined up in a row to be sounded out: uh, oo, ee, ah, ay, eh, oh.”

“I love to tell a story in a way that’s understandable to children,” Bethlehem tells Tadias. “I grew up watching Ababa Tesfaye and his manner of transmitting information to young kids is something that has remained with me to this day.”

Bethlehem says that her book is designed to be enjoyed both by children and parents. “It is multi-layered in that both adults and kids of all ages and from different backgrounds can use it and enjoy it because they can learn the Amharic language and words,” she says. “For example, ‘D’ is for ‘Drum’ and that’s kebero and the D family has the sounds of ‘duh, doo, dee, dah, day, deh, doh,’ so the book captures the symbols along with images.”

She adds: “And for kids of Ethiopian origin they can relate to it and take pride in the rich culture and the beautiful landscape that we have in Ethiopia while others get to learn about a unique and interesting place while diversifying their perspective about the world.”

Earlier this summer Bethlehem’s family traveled to Ethiopia once again and hiked up 13,500 feet above sea level in the Simien mountains. “It was so gorgeous, so fresh, you feel very proud. My husband and my sister-in-law took the majority of the pictures in the book,” Bethlehem says. “Including the one of the Blue Nile Falls.” Some of the remaining images were derived from an eclectic collection retrieved from friends who had visited Ethiopia as well as from Ethiopian Airlines.

Bethlehem was born and raised in Addis Ababa and attended Addis Ababa University prior to working at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) office in the capital. She now resides in Fargo, North Dakota and overseas projects and manages teams working on healthcare related software at Intelligent InSites, a Fargo based software company. Her children’s book, The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia is catalogued at the Library of Congress.


You can learn more and purchase the book at www.bethlehemgronneberg.com.

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Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year With Mahmoud Ahmed — The Washington Post

At 74, Mahmoud Ahmed still has a command presence onstage. (Courtesy of Mahmoud Ahmed)

The Washington Post

By Chris Richards

When Mahmoud Ahmed opens his mouth to sing, his voice trembles. This isn’t some stylish affectation and it certainly isn’t stage fright. That lovely wobble you’re hearing is one of Ethiopia’s brightest and longest-burning stars attempting to wrangle an entire spectrum of human emotion into his vowels. It’s the sound of a national hero who, at 74, still sounds as stately as he does emotive.

On Friday, Ahmed will ring in the Ethiopian New Year at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. It’s a large but relatively cozy venue for the singer, especially considering that the District boasts the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ahmed’s native Addis Ababa.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
NYC Enkutatash Celebrations at Bunna, Queen of Sheba Restaurant & Tsion Cafe
Little Ethiopia Street Festival & Enkutatash Celebration in Los Angeles
Enkutatash in Chicago: Ethiopia Fest to Celebrate New Year
San Jose’s Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Ethiopian New Year

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Ethiopia’s Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu: One of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators

Quartz magazine names ​Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu as one of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators. (Image: Quartz)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 10th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder of the footwear company SoleRebels, has been named one of Africa’s 30 Leading Innovators by the U.S.-based business news publication Quartz magazine.

Quartz announced that it launched the list this year to showcase “Africa’s stories through a lens of innovation.” The magazine says the winners were selected “for their groundbreaking work, thought-leading initiatives, creative approaches to local problems and yes, for being African innovators.”

Bethlehem, 35, founded SoleRebels ten years ago in her hometown of Addis Ababa. “The shoe company, which works with local artisans, is now a global brand with exports to over 30 countries,” Quartz says. “A huge part of the attraction is that SoleRebels uses old rubber from truck tires to make its shoe giving it a unique eco-friendly twist on fashion.”

“We selected shoes because we saw that footwear was an excellent platform to begin to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible craft heritage and artisan talents that we have here in Ethiopia with the world,” Bethlehem says.

The magazine adds: “Alemu is re-imagining style in Africa. But more importantly, she is having an impact on the local economy by channeling the talents of artisans into job opportunities.”


The 30 African innovators on Quartz inaugural list are from 15 countries. (Images: Quartz magazine)

Click here to see the full list »


Related:
International Women’s Day: Interview With Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store
People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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Little Ethiopia Street Festival & Enkutatash Celebration in Los Angeles

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival and Enkutatash celebration in Los Angeles will take place this coming weekend featuring live music, standup comedy, fashion show, food, and cultural dance performances.

“The cultural festival, which marks its 14th anniversary this year, is an officially designated city event that celebrates the diversity of LA,” says Berhanu Asfaw, President of the Little Ethiopia Business Association.

Little Ethiopia, which lies on the stretch of Fairfax Avenue in the Pico­ Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, has a high concentration of Ethiopian businesses and restaurants as well as a significant number of residents of East African ancestry.

Berhanu told Tadias that the city’s Attorney, Mike Feuer, will attend the 2015 festival on Sunday, September 13th. “We also expect other officials from the City Council and perhaps the Mayor if his schedules allows,” Berhanu adds. “We have sent the invitation.”


Little Ethiopia area businesses in Los Angeles. (Photograph: Courtesy of Little Ethiopia Business Association)


(Image: Courtesy of Little Ethiopia Business Association)


If You Go:
The 14th Annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival
Sunday, September 13th, 2015
Fairfax Avenue (Between Olympic & Whitworth)
Los Angeles, California
For more info call: 323.360.4431 or 310.877.3530
www.littleethio.com

Related:
Enkutatash in Chicago: Ethiopia Fest to Celebrate New Year
San Jose’s Flag Raising Ceremony in Celebration of Ethiopian New Year

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The Ethiopian Prince Kidnapped by Britain

Seven-year-old Prince Alemayehu was captured – along with many national treasures – in 1868. His remains are held in Windsor Castle but pleas for their return have been rebuffed. (Photo: Northwestern University)

The Guardian

By Maaza Mengiste

This Ethiopian Prince Was Kidnapped by Britain – Now it Must Release Him

You see him first as he was soon after his father’s death: a seven-year-old boy staring, stunned, into the camera. He sits on a cloth-covered bench, next to a shield and a strip of animal hide. Around his shoulders, a long shamma drapes and gathers at his folded ankles. You note his bare feet, the way one toe, curled upward and tense, hints at the emotions he is keeping guarded. He wears the silver-baubled necklace that will travel with him from Ethiopia to England, the one also seen in pictures where he is made to sit for Julia Margaret Cameron and other photographers. His mother, if still alive, will soon die unexpectedly, leaving him in the hands of the same British men who came to confront his father. But for now, he has not lost everything.

This photograph of Prince Alemayehu was taken during the 1868 Napier expedition, a British military incursion into Maqdala, Ethiopia, to rescue three dozen European prisoners. His father, Emperor Tewodros, took captives when his letters to Queen Victoria were ignored. Led by Sir Robert Napier, the punitive mission was extravagant: 13,000 soldiers, 8,000 auxiliary workers, and thousands of followers in search of adventure or a story. Several, like Richard Holmes of the British Museum, also came in search of loot.

In the end, Emperor Tewodros released the prisoners unharmed, then committed suicide rather than surrender. What happened next would be described as a “deluge of fire” and one of the greatest looting orgies ever undertaken in the name of the British empire. Alemayehu, by now an orphan, was put on board the Feroze, the same ship as Holmes, who was taking back to Britain the largest haul of stolen artefacts in Ethiopia’s history. The objects went into British museums and libraries. Alemayehu became a ward of Queen Victoria and, despite his continual pleas to be returned to his homeland, he died aged 18 in England. He was buried at Windsor Castle, where he remains. A plaque, “When I was a stranger, ye took me in,” marks his vault.

Today, we can recognise Napier and his forces for the marauders that they were. We can acknowledge the imperialist arrogance that would kidnap a young boy and trumpet the achievement through newspapers and photographs. The generosity of hindsight might even explain why Alemayehu’s pleas to return home were refused. But there is no longer any excuse for that same refusal and arrogance. There is no viable reason to continue to hold his remains hostage. He has become, like the sacred and valuable objects still in British museums and libraries, a possession.

Read more at The Guardian »


Related:
Photo of Prince Alemayehu Among Astonishing Portraits Unseen for 120 Years
Interview with Selam Bekele: Her Short Film on Exiled Life and Death of Prince Alemayehu Tewodros

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2015 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education in DC

(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, September 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — During a 2012 gathering of experts convened by Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) Department of Global Health & Population and Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI), Ethiopia’s Health Minister, Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, had described the challenges of brain drain that his nation faces and how that impacts access to health care stating: “There are currently more Ethiopian doctors working in Chicago than in Ethiopia.

In recent years, however, the growing collaboration in knowledge sharing initiatives between Ethiopian-born health professionals residing in North America and their colleagues working in Ethiopia has increasingly changed the medical services and health care delivery landscape.

Some of the best ideas come from the Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education that’s held annually in the Washington, D.C. area, which this year is scheduled to take place in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday September 26th.

Key topics that will be highlighted at the upcoming conference include “disaster management and response with a special focus on the Ebola epidemic, injury and trauma in the Ethiopian setting, new licensure exam and requirements for medical school graduates and physicians in Ethiopia, Diaspora partnership projects as well as abstract and poster presentations on health-related topics relevant to Ethiopia,” People to People Inc. (P2P), the U.S.-based Ethiopian American non-profit organization that puts together the yearly professional gathering, said in a statement. Additional subjects that will be discussed include “overcoming cultural barriers to better advocate for autistic kids in the Ethiopian community in the D.C. metropolitan area” as well as “setting up Cardiology training programs in Ethiopia.”

P2P announced that the association has partnered with the Network of Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare Professionals (NEDHP), to host the “7th Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education.”

“We are hoping that this conference will follow and build on the success of the previous ones,” the press release stated. “We would like to invite all Ethiopian health care professionals and educators in the Diaspora as well as others who work in related fields to attend the conference.” P2P added: “In order to widen the scope and reach of this conference, we have invited several partner organizations working with Ethiopian healthcare professionals in the Diaspora as well as Alumni Associations of the older medical schools in Ethiopia to participate and invite their membership to attend our conference.”

The conference will also feature presentations entitled “Bahir Dar University Medical School and its International Collaborations” by Getachew Muluken, MD; “Collaborative Agreement for Research and Training: An institutional collaboration between Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Belgium and University of Gondar” by Dr. Ermias Diro; and “My Experience at an Ethiopian Emergency Department” by Dr. Tsion Firew.

A Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Professor Demisse Habte, President of Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Pediatrician and former Dean of AAU Faculty of Medicine,” the press release said. The “Young Rising Star Award” will be given to Pediatrician and Associate Professor Dr. Sisay Yifru, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at University of Gondar (Ethiopia’s first public health institution) and a “Community Service Award” will be presented to Woizero Marta Wolde-Tsadik and Ato Demeke Tekle-Wold of Project Mercy.

P2P said this year it will also give out two special awards to Professor Dennis Carlson, Former Dean of Gondar Public Health College (1964-67) and to Tadias Magazine.

We are honored and grateful to receive the award!

Below are photos from past conferences as well as registration information for the upcoming conference.


(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)


(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)


(Photograph from past conference courtesy of People to People, Inc.)


If You Go:
Date: Saturday September 26th, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sheraton Pentagon City
900 S. Orme Street, Arlington, VA 22204
Telephone: (703) 521-1900
On Site Registration Fee:
Physicians and all other Professionals: $75.00
Residents, Fellows and Students: $25.00
(Fee will cover cost of food and refreshments)
More info and update at www.p2pbridge.org

Related:
University of Gondar Med School Re-graduates 500 Alumni at 60th Anniversary
Tadias Interview: Dr. Enawgaw Mehari on Pan-African Health Conference

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Marcus & Maya Samuelsson Join Chef Bourdain’s Ethiopia Feature on CNN

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For the upcoming sixth season of Parts Unknown episode on CNN this Fall, Ethiopian-born chef, restaurateur and author Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Gate Haile join TV host Anthony Bourdain in his travels and exploration of Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine.

“It’s always good to have a friend with a close association and personal history in a country, so we’re going to take a very personal look at that place,” Bourdain says.

On his CNN show “the world-renowned chef, bestselling author and multiple-Emmy winning television personality travels across the globe to uncover little-known destinations and diverse cultures.”

The episode featuring Ethiopia is scheduled to air on Sunday, October 25th, 2015. For updates, please visit Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN.

Below are a few images courtesy of Maya Haile:


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


(Courtesy photo)


Skateboarding in Addis. (Courtesy of Maya Haile)

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The First Trailer for Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’

Actors Kidist Siyum and Rediat Amare with director Yared Zeleke at the premiere for Lamb at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015. (Getty Images)

Indiewire

By Tambay A. Obenson

It made its World Premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, marking the very first time in Cannes Film Festival history that an Ethiopian film has screened as an “Official Selection.” Yared Zeleke’s “Lamb” hails from Slum Kid Films, an Ethiopia-based film production company co-founded by Ama Ampadu, which aims to discover and nurture emerging talent in Ethiopia, as well as to support the development of Ethiopian filmmaking.

“Lamb” tells the tale of nine-year-old Ephraim and his constant companion, a sheep named Chuni. Ephraim’s affection for Chuni deepens after he loses his mother to famine. Consequently, his beloved father sends him and Chuni far away from their drought-stricken homeland, to live with distant relatives in a greener part of the country. Ephraim soon becomes a homesick outcast who is always getting into trouble. When his uncle orders him to slaughter Chuni for the upcoming holiday feast, Ephraim devises a scheme to save the sheep and return to his father’s home.

Director Yared Zeleke holds an MFA in Writing and Directing from NYU. He has written, produced, directed and edited several short documentary and fiction films, and worked under director Joshua Litle on his award-winning documentary “The Furious Force of Rhymes,” which was also profiled on this blog, last year.

“Lamb” was selected to screen in the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the 2015 Cannes festival – a program created to recognize young, promising talent and to encourage innovative and daring storytelling on film.

A first trailer for the film has surfaced and is embedded below; however, it’s for the film’s French release, meaning it’s subtitled in French, not English.

Read more at Indiewire »


Related:
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie (L) and the author Asfa-Wossen Asserate, his grandnephew. (Photos: Haus Publishing)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 31st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The world does not seem to want to forget Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s last Emperor who has been gone for more than forty years, continuing the debate regarding his complicated legacy as both a reformer and an autocrat. And in November 2015 a new book from Haile Selassie’s grandnephew, Asfa-Wossen Asserate, is slated to be released by Haus Publishing and distributed in the U.S. by the University of Chicago Press.

Asserate’s book entitled King of Kings: Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia provides an authoritative, insider’s perspective and a refreshingly balanced look at this fascinating international figure who was the global face of Ethiopia for most of the 20th century.

To be sure Haile Selassie governed a much different Ethiopia than today with a population three times less and a country dominated by a handful of politically connected feudal landlords that were either related to or favored by the royal palace. From his vantage point as a close family member the author — who is the grandson of Ras Kassa Haile Darge and the son of Ras Asserate Kassa– shares his personal memories of the Emperor as well as a rarely told and candid behind-the-scenes account of palace politics, family feuds and coup d’etats that eventually led to the coronation of Haile Selassie in 1930, and forty four years later, his swift downfall and unceremonious removal from power.

No challenging event in Ethiopian history, however, could better encapsulate the triumph and tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie than his historic appearance before the General Assembly of the League of Nations in 1936 — only six years after he took power. Asserate, who currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany, notes: “The forces of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy had invaded Ethiopia and the exiled monarch made a moving appeal to the world’s conscience. The words he spoke that day have gone down in history: ‘Catastrophe is inevitable if the great states stand by and watch the rape of a small country.’” Five years later in 1941, after Mussolini’s Blackshirts were driven out of Ethiopia by British and Ethiopian forces “he returned in triumph to reclaim the Ethiopian throne.”

Asserate’s book is also timely not only because there is a renewed interest in Haile Selassie by a new generation of artists, researchers and historians, but also because this year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, which was created in 1945 with the active participation from the Ethiopian leader.

Asserate’s description of the Emperor’s attempt at modernization, especially the fast-paced changes that were taking place in the capital Addis Ababa in the 1950′s, reminds one of today’s much publicized development projects in the city than activities taking place six decades ago: “Gradually, an urban infrastructure arose –with metalled roads, wide boulevards, shops, factories and warehouses, hotels and guest houses, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, plus a handful of cinemas. In addition, this period saw construction of new administrative blocks, schools and hospitals, as well as embassy buildings. The city’s growth attracted entrepreneurs and businessmen, advisors, educators and adventurers from all four corners of the world.”

Asserate adds: “And yet in many respects the center of Addis Ababa continued to resemble the residential seat of some 19th-centurey German provincial ruler rather than an international capital in the mid-20th century. The heart of the city was occupied by the imperial palaces: the Genete -Leul Palace, the emperor’s own residence at the time, and the Menelik Palace complex, also known as “the big Gebbi‘, with its numerous buildings, including the palace ministry. This was also the site of the Aderash, the cavernous hall that hosted regular state banquets, and which could accommodate up to three thousand people.”

King of Kings: Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is full of captivating details that only an insider could share; it is written with great poise and warmth for the enigmatic leader while at the same time cognizant of the swelling unhappiness and criticism the Emperor faced from his own people impatient with the pace of change.


Related:
Haile Selasse still Debated 40 Years After his Death (RFI)
From The Guardian Archive, 24 August 1974 Ethiopia’s Fallen Aristocrats
Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia
Review of ‘Long Ago and Far Away’: A Novel Set In Ethiopia by John Coyne

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Mare Dibaba Wins Ethiopia’s 1st Women’s Marathon at 2015 World Championships

Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia after crossing the finish line to win gold in the women's marathon final during Day 9 of the 2015 IAAF world track and field championships in Beijing, China on Sunday. (Getty Images)

The Associated Press

By Pat Graham

Mare Dibaba won the first women’s marathon title for Ethiopia at the IAAF world track and field championships Sunday, holding off Helah Kiprop of Kenya in a sprint to the finish.

Dibaba finished in two hours 27 minutes 35 seconds in Beijing, but needed to pick up the pace after entering the stadium to beat Kiprop, who finished one second behind. Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain earned the bronze.

Two-time champion Edna Kiplagat was in contention until the end but faded to fifth place.

With the stadium in sight, Dibaba kept checking her watch, waiting to make her move. Just after entering the tunnel, she took control and raised her arms after crossing the line.

She certainly has a fitting name for a champion. However, she’s not related to Ethiopian long-distance greats Tirunesh and Genzebe Dibaba.

Read more »

Photos: Mare Dibaba Wins Women’s Marathon – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015


Related:
Genzebe Storms to 1500m World Title (Video)

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