Search Results for 'abyssinian fund'

Photos: Abyssinian Fund’s NYC Event

(Photo Courtesy of The Abyssinian Fund)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, March 27th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The Abyssinian Fund held a successful fundraiser last week during its Young Professionals event held at Madiba Harlem on Thursday, March 12th. Organizers said they raised over ten thousand dollars.

The evening, which was sponsored by Uptown Magazine, Tadias Magazine and Madiba Harlem, included live music by Arki Sound, food and a silent auction including Ethiopian coffee pots from Azla Vegan, gift certificates to local Harlem businesses, signed photos of legends such as Muhammad Ali, Walt Frazier, and Willie Mays, an Eli Manning signed helmet, and fantasy experiences such as a trip to Napa Valley or a Rao’s dinner for 10. And a grand prize raffle of a round trip ticket to Africa courtesy of Uptown Magazine and South African Airlines.

Proceeds go to support the Abyssinian Fund’s programs in Ethiopia in coffee production “supplying training, equipment, educational, and economic support to coffee farmers who are producing the world’s best coffee.”

Tadias Interview With President of Abyssinian Fund Reverend Nicholas S. Richards

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Abyssinian Fund Event at Madiba Harlem

(Photo courtesy of The Abyssinian Fund)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our interview with the President of the Abyssinian Fund, Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, and his organization’s partnership with a farmer’s co-op in Ethiopia to produce premium coffee for export — a project that was born out of the historic first trip to Ethiopia in 2007 by members of the legendary Harlem-based Abyssinian Baptist Church during the celebration of the Ethiopian Millennium and the church’s bicentennial anniversary. The Abyssinian Fund is the only African American non-governmental agency operating in Ethiopia.

This week, the nonprofit organization is hosting a fundraiser at Madiba Harlem on Thursday, March 12th in order to support its ongoing programs in Ethiopia that includes “supplying training, equipment, educational, and economic support to coffee farmers who are producing the world’s best coffee.” The event will feature live music by Arki Sound, wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres from Madiba Harlem.

Organizers add: “There will also be a silent auction including exciting items such as Ethiopian artifacts and foods, gift certificates to local Harlem restaurants and businesses, signed photos of greats such as Muhammad Ali, Walt Frazier, and Willie Mays, an Eli Manning signed helmet, and fantasy experiences such as a trip to Napa Valley or a Rao’s dinner for 10 in your home. A grand prize raffle winner will receive a round trip ticket to Africa courtesy of Uptown Magazine and South African Airlines.”

The evening is sponsored by Uptown Magazine, Tadias Magazine and Madiba Harlem. Abyssinian Fund is a registered 501 C3 tax-exempt charity.

IF You Go:
The Abyssinian Fund Fundraiser
Thursday, March 12, 2015
From 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
46 W. 116th Street
New York
Tickets at
More info at

Video: Harlem Ethiopia Connection — Featuring President of the Abyssinian Fund

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Abyssinian Fund, Coffee, Harlem and Ethiopia Connection (TADIAS Video)

Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, the Co-founder and President of Abyssinian Fund, at his office in Harlem during an interview with TADIAS last week. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Reverend Nicholas Richards, President of Abyssinian Fund, is also the Assistant Minster at Abyssinian, the legendary African-American baptist church in Harlem. “Abyssinian Fund came as a result of two things,” Rev. Richards told TADIAS, speaking about the four-year-old organization. “I had a really deep-seated passion to become involved in Africa and African development from my first trip there when I was still in college, and also because of the Abyssinian Baptist church’s history.” He added: “Abyssinian Baptist church is 204 years old and it was founded by Ethiopians and African Americans. So when I got to Abyssinian Church, I wanted to find a way to really bring together my passion for African development and Abyssinian Baptist church’s own history. And that’s really how we started Abyssinian Fund together. And when we decided to work in Africa, Ethiopia was of course the logical place for us because the church has such a really strong and rich history with the nation of Ethiopia.”

Reverend Richards describes Abyssinian Fund as an independent NGO formed by the Abyssinian Baptist church with the goal to reduce poverty in Ethiopia. “We try to do that by partnering with local coffee farming communities to increase their incomes, to provide training and equipment for them, and at the same time encouraging them to reinvest in their communities,” Richards explained. He pointed out that his group is working to create a market in the U.S. for Abyssinian Fund coffee grown in Harar, where buyers and donors would be asked to pay premium price – at least a dollar above market value, and that would be re-invested into the partnering coffee farm co-op in Ethiopia.

“And so this work, if nothing else, I hope that it is able to bridge communities together,” Rev. Richards said.

Watch the following video for the full interview with Reverend Nicholas Richards of the Abyssinian Fund.

Video: Harlem – Ethiopia Connection – President of Abyssinian Fund (TADIAS TV)

Interview with Rev. Richards, President of the Abyssinian Fund

The Abyssinian Fund is the only non-governmental organization operating in Ethiopia founded by an African-American church. (Photo courtesy of the The Abyssinian Fund)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – As part of their bicentennial celebration, Harlem-based Abyssinian Baptist Church organized a historic first trip to Ethiopia in 2007 with more than 150 members. Their visit coincided with celebrations for the Ethiopian Millennium. Upon return, the church created a non-profit organization called The Abyssinian Fund (TAF) that is dedicated to sustainable development projects in Africa.

Today TAF is a partner with a co-op of 900 farmers in Ethiopia, assisting them with production of premium coffee for export. “We work with the farmers by helping them grow higher quality coffee beans so they can reinvest in their communities,” Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, President of the Abyssinian Fund, said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. “The farmers work with our field director Zerihun Tessema Fanta and field coordinator Demeke Hailu, who are based in Chaffee Jenette.” He added: “Together, our staff has over 40 years of expert coffee experience and agronomy training. We hire experts who introduce farmers to modern equipment, coffee nurseries and innovative techniques to produce better coffee.”

TAF is the only non-governmental organization operating in Ethiopia founded by an African-American church. And according to Rev. Richards, the NGO is making an impact not only in Ethiopia but also here in Harlem. “The Abyssinian Fund was born after a life-changing trip to Africa,” he said. “I became convinced that black people in America had to reconnect culturally and economically with Africa.”

Rev. Richards has made several trips to Ethiopia in the last couple of years. “Ethiopia means so much to me,” he said. “While I love how cosmopolitan and hip Addis has become, I continue to enjoy the rural experience of Harrar. I enjoy driving for long stretches in Harrar, where the scenery is filled with green plains and cattle grazing in small ponds.” He added: “It’s a great way to clear my head of all the stresses of living in New York.”

(Rev. Nicholas Stuart Richards – courtesy photo)

Reflecting on memorable moments that he spent in Ethiopia, Rev. Richards said: “On my first trip to a village I camped on the floor of the local school so we could conduct a research study. I’m an adventurous eater but village cooking is something else. I had to purchase two goats and oversee the slaughter for a week’s worth of tibs. Good times! Television depicts Africa as a place of poverty with desperate and warring people. This is not true. One visit to Ethiopia proves that.”

Rev. Richards pointed out that TAF has rekindled a long but dormant relationship between Ethiopia and the African-American church. “The Church was founded by a group of Ethiopian sea merchants and African Americans more than 200 years ago,” he said. “During this time, when church seating was segregated, the group decided to take a stand and start their own church.” He added: “The name, Abyssinian, is a sign of respect for those pioneering founders. The members officially organized to become The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, the oldest African-American Baptist church in New York State.”

How can the Ethiopian-American community get involved with the fund’s projects? “The Abyssinian Fund needs your partnership,” Rev. Richards said. “Ethiopian culture is so vibrant and there is a huge presence here in America. It would only make sense for all of us to get together and have a discussion about the needs of Ethiopia and how we can address them. Who better to speak on Ethiopia than those who have a personal connection with the country.”

As TAF continues to grow and expand it is also paying tribute to the diverse cultures in Harlem and finding ways to give back to a neighborhood that continually supports the church’s movement. TAF has created partnerships with approximately 17 local businesses in New York and 10% of every purchase goes to supporting the mission of The Abyssinian Fund.

Slideshow of photos courtesy of the The Abyssinian Fund:

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You can learn more about The Abyssinian Fund at

New York Times Highlights Abyssinian Fund

Above: The Rev. Nicholas S. Richards, head of the Abyssinian
Fund, an NGO that is financing the training of farmers working
to produce higher-quality products. Photo: The New York Times

Harlem Helps Raise Coffee in Ethiopia
Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New York (Tadias) – The New York Times highlights one of the latest projects by members of Harlem’s legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church: the Abyssinian Fund, the only nongovernmental organization by an African-American church operating in Ethiopia.

The NGO was officially launched last December at an event held at the elegant Harlem Stage, which was attended by a diverse group of people, including local politicians, business leaders, and diplomats.

According to NYT, the young organization has already hit the ground running. “It will soon be joining forces with a co-op of 700 coffee farmers in the ancient Ethiopian city of Harrar, with a mission to improve the quality of the farmers’ lives by helping them improve the quality of their coffee beans,” the newspaper reports. “The Abyssinian Fund will pay for specialized training and equipment to help the co-op’s farmers produce a higher-quality product so they can be more competitive on the international coffee market. Once their income has increased, part of what they make will then be set aside in a fund to support local development projects, like much-needed roads, schools or clinics.”

According Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, the church’s current pastor – who made a brief introductory remark at the fund’s launch VIP reception in December 2009 – the project was born out of the group’s historic trip to Ethiopia three years ago. Reverend Butts, who led over 150 delegates to Ethiopia as part of the church’s bicentennial celebration and in honor of the Ethiopian Millennium, told the crowd that the journey rekindled a long but dormant relationship that was last sealed in 1954 with an exquisite Ethiopian cross, a gift from the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie to African-Americans as a symbol of love and gratitude for their support and friendship during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. The cross has since become the official symbol of the church.

“The Abyssinian Fund is inspired by the pilgrimage taken by The Abyssinian Baptist Church to Ethiopia in 2007, “said Rev. Richards in an email after last year’s event. “We saw the biggest enemy Ethiopia faces is poverty, so on our arrival back in the USA, we dedicated our energy and love for Ethiopia to establish an organization dedicated to creating and supporting sustainable development.”

“The mission of the Abyssinian Fund is to reduce poverty in Ethiopia by increasing the capacity of farming cooperatives and by developing programs for the wider community, which will lead to sustainable improvements in health care, education and access to clean water, Rev. Richards said. “I strongly believe in the success of our goal to develop Ethiopia, one community at a time.”

According to the church’s official history, in 1808, after refusing to participate in segregated worship services in lower Manhattan, a group of free African Americans and Ethiopian sea merchants formed their own church on Worth Street, naming it the Abyssinian Baptist Church in honor of Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia.

Related from Tadias Magazine:
Harlem’s Legendary Church Launches Abyssinian Fund

Slideshow: See photos from the launch event in harlem:

Related Tadias Magazine stories:
African American & Ethiopian Relations (Tadias)

The Case of Melaku E. Bayen & John Robinson (Tadias)

Harlem’s Legendary Church Launches Abyssinian Fund

Board members of the newly formed Abyssinian Fund and president of the organization, Rev. Nicholas S. Richards, (far left), at a reception held on Friday, December 4th, 2009 at the Harlem Stage. (Tadias photo).

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New York (Tadias) – This past weekend we attended the launching of Abyssinian Fund, an NGO dedicated to fighting poverty in Ethiopia. The event was organized in Harlem by members of the legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church and was held on Friday, December 4th, 2009 at the elegant Harlem Stage.

The reception attracted local politicians, business leaders, and diplomats, including representatives of Ethiopia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

The evening also showcased an exhibition of recent images of Ethiopia by Photojournalist Robert E. Eilets. The photographs were auctioned and helped to raise $2,500 for the new organization.

“This was a terrific launch reception,” said Rev. Nicholas S. Richards, President of the Abyssinian Fund. “To see 240 persons, including political dignitaries, the business community and local residents concerned about reducing poverty in Ethiopia through economic development was fantastic.”

According Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, the church’s current pastor – who made a brief introductory remark at the VIP reception – the project was born out of the group’s historic trip to Ethiopia two years ago. The pastor, who led over 150 delegates to Ethiopia as part of the church’s bicentennial celebration and in honor of the Ethiopian Millennium, told the crowed that the journey rekindled a long but dormant relationship that was last sealed in 1954 with an exquisite Ethiopian cross, a gift from the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie to the people of Harlem as a symbol of love and gratitude for their support and friendship during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. The cross has since become the official symbol of the church.

“The Abyssinian Fund is inspired by the pilgrimage taken by The Abyssinian Baptist Church to Ethiopia in 2007, “said Rev. Richards in an email after the event. “We saw the biggest enemy Ethiopia faces is poverty, so on our arrival back in the USA, we dedicated our energy and love for Ethiopia to establish an organization dedicated to creating and supporting sustainable development.”

The organization hopes to raise one million dollars in the next five years. “ The mission of the Abyssinian Fund is to reduce poverty in Ethiopia by increasing the capacity of farming cooperatives and by developing programs for the wider community, which will lead to sustainable improvements in health care, education and access to clean water, Rev. Richards said. “I strongly believe in the success of our goal to develop Ethiopia, one community at a time.”

According to the church’s official history, in 1808, after refusing to participate in segregated worship services in lower Manhattan, a group of free African Americans and Ethiopian sea merchants formed their own church on Worth Street, naming it the Abyssinian Baptist Church in honor of Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia.

Slideshow: See photos from the event:

Related Tadias Magazine stories:
African American & Ethiopian Relations (Tadias)

The Case of Melaku E. Bayen & John Robinson (Tadias)

Harlem Pastor Brewing up Ethiopian Coffee Distribution Deal

Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, the Co-founder and President of Abyssinian Fund, at his office in Harlem during an interview with Tadias Magazine - July, 2012. (Photograph: Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

New York Daily News


He’s got a couple of beans up his sleeve.

The Rev. Nicholas Richards, founder of the Abyssinian Fund, a nonprofit that supports coffee farmers in Ethiopia, is in the middle of hashing out a distribution deal to launch an Aby Fund-branded coffee in the States, starting in the Big Apple.

“The Abyssinian fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners,” said Richards, an assistant minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

The Aby Fund, as Richards calls it, was founded in 2010 and supports 1,000 farmers from Chaffee Jenette village in Ethiopia, who have received $1 million worth of training and supplies from the Fund over the last five years.

The Abyssinian Fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners.
Richards envisions distributing Chaffee Jenette-grown coffee beans to such outlets as Fairway Market and Whole Foods Market, as well as restaurants and stores in Harlem, Union Square and Brooklyn. He hopes to ink deals in time to sell 1,000 bags of coffee this year, he said, adding there is a good demand for the Ethiopian-raised beans.

Read more at New York Daily News.

Video: Harlem Ethiopia Connection Featuring Rev. Nicholas Richards (TADIAS)

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Voting Begins For 2010 Top Ethiopian Websites of The Year

Above: The 2010 listing will include Alexa’s global ranking as
well as voters choices of the most popular internet resources.

Tadias Magazine and
By Teddy Fikre

Tuesday, August 17, 2010’s BC Radio in collaboration with Tadias Magazine will conduct a four-month online-poll for the 3rd annual listing of the “Best Ethiopian Websites of the Year.”

Encouraged by readers’ feedback, the 2010 categories will include Alexa’s global ranking as well as voters choices of the most popular internet resources pertaining to Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora.

Poll-takers will vote under three categories: News & Opinion, Entertainment News & Views (including music sites, videos, blogs, etc), and non-profit organizations.

In order to ensure the integrity of the poll the two sponsoring blogs will be excluded from “Readers’ Favorite Picks,” and the winners will be announced at the end of December both on and BC radio. Voters’ top choices from the non-profit category will receive a certificate of recognition along with feature stories on Tadias Magazine and BC Radio.

The voting process will end on 17th December 2010. If you do not see your favorite website on the drop-down menu, please do not be alarmed. Send the name to We will update the list on a regular basis.

Good luck.

Readers’ Pick: The Official 2010 Voting Platform Sponsored by Tadias Magazine & Browncondor
Vote for Your Favorite Ethiopian News and Opinion Website (A – E)

View Results

Readers’ Pick: The Official 2010 Voting Platform Sponsored by Tadias Magazine & Browncondor
Vote for Your Favorite Ethiopian News and Opinion Website (E – Z)

View Results

Readers’ Pick: The Official 2010 Voting Platform Sponsored by Tadias Magazine & Browncondor
Vote for Your Favorite Ethiopian Entertainment, News & Views Website (Art, Sports, Events, Music, Videos, Radio, TV, Blogs, etc)

View Results

Readers’ Pick: The Official 2010 Voting Platform Sponsored by Tadias Magazine and Browncondor
Vote for Your Favorite Nonprofit Organization Geared Toward Ethiopia & The Diaspora

View Results

About the Author:
Teddy Fikre is the founder of and host of BC Radio.

Note: If you do not see your favorite website on the drop-down menu, please send an email to We will update the list on a regular basis.

Abaynesh Asrat Honored with People of Distinction Humanitarian Award

Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) & Board Member of Hamlin Fistula USA. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) is among the 2014 honorees of the People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards. As a long-time board member of Hamlin Fistula USA foundation Abaynesh has been at the forefront of the campaign to treat and prevent fistula, which is a childbirth-related injury affecting thousands of women in Ethiopia as well as various countries around the world. As the National Fundraiser Chair for the ‘Tesfa Ineste’ campaign Abaynesh successfully mobilized the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States to contribute toward the building of a regional hospital, the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center, in 2009.

Her continued involvement in the fight against fistula includes advocacy to expand educational institutions in Ethiopia with a special focus on training more midwives. In 2014 the Hamlin College of Midwives enrolled 21 Ethiopian students for the Bachelor of Science degree, increasing the total count of midwifery students to 89. “The opening of the Hamlin College of Midwives, about 12 kilometers from Addis Ababa, is the key to tackle, and even eradicate completely, this devastating childbirth injury” Abaynesh said in an interview with Tadias earlier this year. “I think, as we did a phenomenal job collectively to build the Harar Center, we can once again use our intellect and our financial support, individually and collectively, three-fold, toward the education of more students to graduate from the Hamlin Midwifery College.” Her suggestion to add a clause banning the inappropriate taking of photos and videos of fistula patients in the Bill of Rights for patients with obstetric fistula was recently approved.

Abaynesh’s New York-based non-profit, Nation to Nation Networking, works with various international organizations, including the United Nations, to bring together leaders from the private and public sectors by providing a networking platform to initiate collaborations across cultures and professions. In the past, Abaynesh has also been named one of New York Women’s Agenda Galaxy Women (2004), Ambassador of Peace (2005) and also received the Chairmanship Volunteer Award (2005). In 2007 Abaynesh was part of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church delegation that traveled from Harlem to Ethiopia in celebration of the legendary Church’s second centennial and Ethiopia’s millennium.

Abaynesh Asrat will be honored tonight with the second annual People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The event, hosted by talk show host Al Cole from CBS Radio, recognizes “inspiring and dedicated ‘Unsung Heroes’ who are making our world a better place.” Al Cole, the Director of People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards and Master of Ceremonies, launched the accolade in 2013 to celebrate “Unsung Heroes (as well as “Sung” Heroes) to share their stories of courage, humility and success.”

Tadias Magazine congratulates Abaynesh Asrat on the well-deserved recognition.

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Revisiting Graziani’s Atrocities in Ethiopia

A few months ago, the Italian town of Affile erected a controversial monument to Fascist military leader Rodolfo Graziani who was once known as "the Butcher of Ethiopia." In response, a panel discussion to shed light on Graziani's war crimes during the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 13 at Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Image from Ethio-Mixer flyer)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS)- The early days of 1937 were one of the most horrifying in Addis Ababa’s history. Fascist Italy’s top general, Rodolfo Graziani, had given orders to his troops to unleash terror and mass murder against the country’s civilian population; this was revenge for the Ethiopian resistance’s attempt to assassinate him.

Ambassador Imiru Zeleke was one of the people swept up in the wanton violence and taken as Prisoner of War. Ambassador Imiru will be speaking about his experience at an event in Silver Spring, Maryland on Thursday that is designed to highlight Graziani’s record as a war criminal in Ethiopia.

According to organizers, other panelists at the event include survivors of families of those who perished under Graziani’s command. Mr. Fesseha Dawit, member of the Ethiopian Genocide Committee (EGC), whose three uncles were executed at the time is also listed as a speaker. He is the grandson of Kentiba Gebru Desta, Mayor of Gonder, who was a member of the first official Ethiopian diplomatic delegation to the United States in 1919. Mr. Tamrat Medhin, also a member of EGC and President of Little Ethiopia Organization, whose mother and grandmother were POWs after his great uncle Dejatch Fikre Mariam Abatechan was killed fighting fascist forces in the vicinity of Addis Ababa, as well as Mr. Nicola A. DeMarco, who served in the Axum Obelisk Return Committee, and Dr. Akilelu Habte will take part in the event.

This program is being organized by Ethio-Mixer, a weekly events series, and in light of recent developments in Affile, Italy, where Benito Mussolini’s top enforcer in Africa is being celebrated as a hero with the newly constructed memorial that is partly paid for by public funds.
If You Go:
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
8221 Georgia Ave,
Silver Spring, MD
Ethio-Mixer / Little Ethiopia DC

Village’s Tribute Reignites a Debate About Italy’s Fascist Past (NYT)
Italy memorial to Fascist hero Graziani sparks row (BBC)
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2011 Kwanzaa-Genna Holiday Celebration: Special Appearance by Miss Africa USA

Miss Africa USA 2011, Ghyslaine Tchouaga of Cameroon (right), is the guest of honor at this year's Kawnaza-Genna holiday celebration on Monday, December 26, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Miss Africa USA by DJ Photography)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Source: Little Ethiopia DC & African Heritage

December 24th, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Little Ethiopia DC and African Heritage is pleased to announce the 8th annual joint holiday celebration of Genna (Ethiopian X-mass) and Kwanzaa, a nonreligious holiday honoring the legacy of African American life, to be held on Monday, December 26th in Washington, D.C.

This year’s activities include a special appearance by the current Miss Africa USA, Ghyslaine Tchouaga of Cameroon, and traditional performances by the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, as well as food, drinks, music and a candle lighting ceremony. Almaz Tilahun from Ethiopia will perform the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony while Thomas an African American trained dancer will perform the unique traditional Ethiopian shoulder dance “Iskista.”

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration with each day of the week dedicated to one of seven principles: Umoja (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination); Ujima (collective work and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics); Nia (purpose); Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith). All are based on values prevalent in African cultures. “The objective of the event is to establish unity and a working relationship among two diverse communities – Ethiopian and African Americans – whose long relationship dates back to 1808 with the establishment of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. Formal diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and America commenced in 1903.

When the fascist Italian military power occupied Ethiopia in 1935 during World War II, to avenge its defeat 40 years earlier in Adwa, the African American community in Washington DC, New York and other cities organized in large numbers to raise funds in defense of Ethiopia. In his 1954 visit to the United States, Emperor Haile Selassie expressed his gratitude for the support given by the Black community to the people of Ethiopia in their heroic battle against the Italian occupation.

The Emperor invited two Washingtonians, Duke Ellington, the jazz king who grew up in the Shaw/ U Street neighborhood and Professor Leo Hansberry who started the first African Studies department in Howard University. Hansberry collaborated with Dr. Melaku Beyan, the first Ethiopian to graduate from Howard University in creating the African Studies department. The Emperor gave both Ellington and Hansberry the Ethiopian Medal of Honor.

After Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by a military dictatorship the Congressional Black Caucus led by Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm strongly supported Ethiopians in America to be given Extended Voluntary Departure Status from 1977 up to 1982 until the situation in the homeland improved.

Our joint celebration is an effort to strengthen the value, unity and diversity among people. We can continue to build a relationship of respect and mutual inclusion in everything we do by working, praying, dancing, eating, singing, celebrating together.

If You Go:
Kwanzaa Celebration 2011
Monday, December 26th
1320 Good Hope Road
Washington D.C., SE
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Photos: 2011 Kwanzaa-Genna Holiday Celebration

The Saint Yared Choir Performs At The U.N. Tellman Chapel

Above: The Saint Yared Choir of Washington D.C was featured
as special guest at NNN’s event held the U.N. Tellman Chapel
on Sunday, December 6, 2009.

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Saturday, December 12, 2009

New York (Tadias) – The Saint Yared Choir of Washington D.C. gave a breathtaking concert at The United Nations Tellman Chapel last week.

The event, hosted by Nation to Nation Networking (NNN), a non-profit organization based in New York, featured vocal ensembles of diverse backgrounds including: The Inspirational Voices of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, The Hai Tien Chorus, and The Children’s Theatre Company of New York.

The St. Yared Choir was established by the Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church (St. Mary’s) in Washington D.C, to celebrate the life and work of St. Yared, a composer and a choreographer who lived in Aksum in the 6th century AD.

According to Ayele Bekerie, a Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, “Zema or the chant tradition of Ethiopia, particularly the chants of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, is attributed to St. Yared…he is credited for inventing the Zema of the Church; the chant that has been in use continuously for the last almost 1500 years.”

The voices and choreographed movements of the St. Yared D.C choir was led by Mr. Moges Seyoum, recipient of the 2008 National Heritage Fellowship for his “artistic excellence” and “cultural authenticity” – the highest honor in folk and traditional arts awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The concert’s theme: “Building bridges across cultures and fostering a broader understanding among peoples and communities of all nations.”

The afternoon musical testimony of diverse faith was moving and enchanting.

Proceeds from the event is going to fund NNN’s annual International Youth Assembly and the completion of the organization’s Adolescent Resources Centers in Africa and the Caribbean.

Slideshow: More photos from the U.N. Tellman Chapel

Video: St. Yared Celebration at St. Mary’s in D.C. 3 years ago

Leo Hansberry, Founder of Ethiopian Research Council

Historian and anthropologist William Leo Hansberry's research was posthumously edited by Joseph E. Harris and printed in two volumes by Howard University Press: "Pillars in Ethiopian History" (1974), and "Africa and Africans as Seen by Classical Writers" (1977).

Tadias Magazine
By Ayele Bekerie

Published: Monday, February 23, 2009

New York (TADIAS) – William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965) was the first academician to introduce a course on African history in a university setting in the United States in 1922. He taught a History of Africa, both ancient and contemporary, for 42 years at Howard University. He gave lectures on African history both in the classrooms and in public squares here at home and in Africa. Thousands of students and ordinary people took his history lessons and some followed his footsteps to study and write extensively about historical issues. Among the seminal contribution of Hansberry is the academic reconstruction and teaching of Ancient African History. His proposal to develop an Africana Studies as an interdisciplinary field not only visualized the centrality of African History, but also laid down the groundwork for eventual establishment of Africana Studies institutions in the United States and Africa.

Hansberry, who studied at Harvard, Oxford and University of Chicago, was an exemplary scholar-activist. He firmly and persistently engaged in disseminating historical knowledge on Africa beyond the classroom. Even though he was not able to complete his PhD dissertation, he evidently demonstrated a remarkable research and writing skills. It is time for Howard University to recognize the immense contributions of Hansberry by organizing a major conference and by naming the Department of African Studies, William Leo Hansberry Department of African Studies. He served as a research associate to the great African American scholar, W.E.B. DuBois. Among his former students were Chancellor Williams (The Destruction of Black Civilization (1987) , and John Henrik Clarke (the author of several books, author of the blueprint for Africana Studies at Cornell University, the distinguished professor of African History at Hunter College, a leading theorist and the founder of the African Heritage Studies Association).

This great man of antiquity, founder of the Ethiopian Research Council, the forerunner of Ethiopian Studies, and genuine friends of African students, died without getting his due recognition from Howard or elsewhere. In fact, it was close to his time of death that he got a few recognitions in his country. His great accomplishments were duly recognized in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia and Nigeria. To this date, no building or sections of building has been named after him at Howard. This is in contrast to former prominent professors of Howard, such as Alain Locke.

Conceptualizing, writing and teaching what Leo Hansberry calls pre-European History of Africa and Africana Studies at a time of open denial and advancement of notion of African inferiority will always remain as his great legacy. In fact, I like to argue that William Leo Hansberry might have been the person who coined the word Africana. One of the most comprehensive outlines he prepared is entitled “Africana and Africa’s Past” and published by John Doe and Company of New York in 1960.

(Photo of William Leo Hansberry)

The term eventually became a useful conceptual word for interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies in the field of Africana Studies, that is, the study of the peoples and experiences of Africa, African America, the Caribbean as well as the Black Atlantic by gathering and interpreting data obtained from a range of disciplines, such as History, Political Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Literature and Biology. My department is named Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University with interdisciplinary focus on Africa, African America and the Caribbean. Until very recently, Africana Center was the only center that has used the term Africana. Now institutions like Harvard and others have adopted the conceptual word. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the approaches and writings of William Leo Hansberry on History of Africa as well as Africana Studies in light of the findings of the last forty years.

Claims made by Leo Hansberry, such as the African origin of human beings, the migrations of human beings out of Africa to populate the world, the link between the peoples and civilizations of Egypt, Nubia and Alpine Ethiopia, the civilizations of Western Sudan in medieval times, are no longer in dispute. Several archaeological and archival findings have confirmed his claims. Lucy or Dinqnesh, the 3.1 million years old human-like species, currently touring the major cities of the United States, is major evidence affirming Africa’s place as a cradle of human beings.

The intervention of enslavement and massive economic activities associated with it suppressed, distorted or destroyed much of the facts and histories of Africa. Hansberry and his associates argued tirelessly and fearlessly, in spite of academic ostracism and harassment, to research, construct and teach African history. The publication of UNESCO History of Africa in 8 volumes and the establishment of Departments of History and Africana Studies in the United States, Europe and Africa, particularly in the 1960s, are clear evidence of the correctness and rightness of Hansberry’s approach to history. Hansberry’s diligent and determined search for Africana Antiqua is rooted in his now famous proposition: “It was, in the main, the ruin which followed in the wake of Arab and Berber slave trade in the late Middle Ages and the havoc was wrought by the European slave trade in more recent times that brought about the decline and fall of civilization in most of these early African states.”

He then framed his argument for persuasion in the following manner: “On the strength of the now available information about ancient and medieval Africa, together with the published reports relating to the continent in Stone Age times, it is now certain that Africa has been, throughout the ages, the seat of a great succession of cultures and civilizations which were comparable in most respects and superior in some aspects to the cultures and civilizations in other parts of the world during the same period.” In fact, it is time for Oxford, Harvard and University of Chicago to posthumously award him an honorary doctorate degree.

Leo Hansberry did graduate work at Oxford, Harvard and Chicago Universities and yet none of them were prepared to award him with a PhD degree. His intellectual strategy to dismantle the lingering impact of enslavement by researching and teaching about ancient African civilizations was challenged aggressively, both from within and from without throughout his academic career at Howard University. He taught for over forty years at Howard University in the history department. Thousands of students took his African history courses, and yet his title did not go beyond an instructor.

In the absence of promotion and grants, he persisted in teaching and researching Africa in antiquity. He was denied a grant from the Rosenwald Fund and his Rockefeller grant was terminated while he was studying at Oxford University. He did manage to get a Fulbright scholarship that allowed him to visit sites of antiquities in Africa. Throughout his ordeals, his source of great strength was his wife, Myrtle Kalso Hansberry, who not only supported him, but she also collaborated in his research by serving as “his research assistant, translator, grammarian, and counselor.” In addition, she taught for many years in the Public School System of the District of Columbia. At present, his two daughters are the custodians of his writings and manuscripts. It is my hope that they will be able to find an appropriate institution to house his works.

Leo Hansberry was born in 1894 in Mississippi. His father taught history at Alcorn College, a historically Black Institution of Higher Learning. No information is provided on his mother. His early years (1894-1916) coincided with era of Jim Crow, Negrophobia, and constitutional disenfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans. He was also exposed at the same time to a tradition of resistance and Black Nationalism. Leo Hansberry, however, came from a family with rich intellectual tradition, including his niece, Loraine Hansberry, the great playwright and author of a Broadway play A Raising in the Sun. His parents, both educators, nurtured him with self-pride and self-worth so as to instill in him a desire to pursue a pioneering academic field with a persistent focus on Africana Studies and history of Africa, particularly ancient Africa.

(Photo of Playwright and author Loraine Hansberry, Leo Hansberry’s niece)

Leo Hansberry inherited his father’s library, for his father died while he was young. Home schooling (long before it became a common practice in the United States) might have been the reason behind his confidence and determination to pursue “Africana Antiqua” in his own terms. His father’s library served him as a source what John Henrik Clarke, his former student, calls ‘more and more information’ on Africa. According to Kwame Wes Alford, a major breakthrough in his search for Africa took place after he read W.E.B.DuBois’s book The Negro (1915). The book provided him with ‘more information’ on African long history, cultures and civilizations. The book freed him from a state of psychological bondage. Later in his academic career, he became an important source of information on African history to W.E.B. Dubois.

Leo Hansberry studied at Harvard University from 1916 to 1920. It was during this period that he read all the books suggested by DuBois’s reading list. He got his masters at Harvard, but left Harvard before earning a PhD degree.

By 1920, Hansberry recognized the conceptual importance of interdisciplinarity, the cross-discipline approach to a field of study, and, in fact, became the first African American scholar to establish African Studies in the United States. In 1922, he actually became the first scholar to develop and teach courses in African history at Howard University. African history was not offered in any of the American universities at that time.

Hansberry had meaningful relationships with WEB DuBois, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the founder of the United Negro Improvement Association, James Weldon Johnson, the author of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ Carter G. Woodson, the author of The Miseducation of the Negro and Frank Snowden, the author of Blacks in Antiquity.

“Hansberry led the African American and Diaspora contingent in support of Ethiopia as president of the Ethiopian Research Council (ERC) during the Italo-Ethiopian War.” ERC is a forerunner of Ethiopian Studies. His vision of broader conception of the field, however, was not pursued when the field is established in Ethiopia. The field is defined by focusing on not only alpine Ethiopia, but also on the history and cultures of northern Ethiopia. Southern Ethiopia and the histories and cultures of the vast majority of the people of Ethiopia did not get immediate attention. Furthermore, the idea of Ethiopia is a global idea informed by histories and mythologies of ancient Africa. In other words, the idea and practice of Ethiopia should be broadened in order to integrate the multiple dimensions of Ethiopia in time and place.

Leo Hansberry writes with such simplicity and clarity, it is indeed a treat to read his treatises. The renowned Egyptologist W.F. Albright of Johns Hopkins University noted the considerable writing skill of Hansberry. He acknowledged the “vivid style and clearness and cogency” of Hansberry’s writing.

Leo Hansberry counseled and assisted African students for 13 years at Howard University. Among the students who took his class was Nnamide Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria. He was also a good friend of Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister of Ghana. Hansberry was instrumental “in founding the All African Students Union of the Americas in the mid-1950s.” “With William Steen and the late Henrietta Van Noy, he co-founded in 1953 the Institute of African-American Relations, now the African-American Institute” with its headquarter in New York City. According to Smyke, Hansberry was also the “prime mover in the establishment of an Africa House for students in Washington.”

(Photo: Nnamide Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, was one of Leo Hansberry’s African students)

In 1960 his former student Dr. Azikiwe, the first elected president of Nigeria, conferred on him the University of Nigeria’s second honorary degree, and at the same time inaugurated the Hansberry School of Africana Studies at the University. In 1964 Hansberry was selected by the Emperor Haile Selassie Trust to receive their first prize for original work in African History, Archaeology, and Anthropology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 1963, Hansberry gave a series of lectures in the University of Nigeria at Hansberry College of African Studies, Nsukka Campus. His main topic was “Ancient Kush and Old Ethiopia.” He described it as “a synoptic and pictorial survey of some notable peoples, cultures, kingdom and empires which flourished in the tropical areas of Nilotic Africa in historical antiquity.”

With regard to his sources, he used the English translations of Egyptian, Assyrian, Nubian and Ethiopian manuscript documents and inscriptions. He cited Breasted’s Records of Ancient Egypt; Luckenbill’s Assyrian Records; Budge’s Annals of Nubian Kings; and Budge’s History of Nubia, Ethiopia and Abyssinia. The Classical references are to be found in various modern editions of the authors mentioned. Access to archaeological reports may be found in the great national and larger university libraries. For the introduction to the history of ancient Nubia, A.J. Arkell’s History of the Ancient Sudan may be read with considerable profit.

His subtopics were Cultural and Political Entities (The peoples and cultures of Lower Nubia, 3000 -1600 BCE ; Kerma Kushites of Middle Nubia, 2500 – 1500 BCE; Kushite kingdoms of Napata and Meroe in Lower Middle and Upper Nubia, 1400 BCE – 350 CE; Peoples and cultures of the Land of Punt (Eritrea and the Somalilands), 3000 BCE – 350 CE; The Ethiopian (‘Abyssinian’) kingdom of Sheba (according to the Kebra Nagast), 1400 to 100 BCE; and the Ethiopian Empire of Aksum, 100 BCE to 600 CE. These geographical and historical designations have been conformed by a series of archeological studies in the last fifty years. It is also clear from this important chronology that Ethiopia is a term used by both Nubia and present-day Ethiopia.

In his sub-topic II, he outlined, in greater detail, some notable primary sources of information.

1. Egyptian traditions concerning Punt or Ethiopia as the original homeland of Egypt’s most ancient peoples and their culture.

2. Kushite traditions (as recorded by Diodorus Siculus) to the effect that Egypt was ‘at the beginning of the world’ nothing but a vast swamp and remained such until it was transformed into dry land by alluvium brought down from the land of Kush by the River Nile.

3. Kushite traditions (as recorded by Diodorus Siculus) to the effect that earliest ‘civilized’ inhabitants of Egypt and the basic elements of their civilization were derived from a common ancestral stock.

4. Genesaical traditions (Genesis X) to the effect that the Ancient Kushites and the Ancient Egyptians were derived from a common ancestral stock.

5. Egyptian historical records detailing numerous peaceful commercial missions from Egypt to Kushite countries and the Land of Punt for the purpose of procuring many valuable and useful products which were lacking in Egypt but abundant in ‘the good lands of the south.’

6. Egyptian inscriptions on stone and other types of written records commemorating defensive and offensive efforts of various pharaohs to the safeguard Egypt from military attacks and invasions by Kushites pushing up from the South.

7. Biblical and Rabbinical traditions, and the testimony of Flavius Josephus concerning the relationships of Moses, the great Hebrew lawgiver, with the Ancient Kushites.

8. The surviving annals of Nubian kings on the Kushite conquest of and relationships with, Egypt in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE; notably: -

a. Piankhy’s Conquest Stele
b. The inscriptions of king Taharka
c. The Memphite stele of King Shabaka
d. Tanutamen’s reconquest stele

9. Biblical, Assyrian and Classical (Greek and Roman) historical references and traditions concerning the national and international activities of Kushites kings of the 8th and 7th centuries BCE.

10. Surviving Nubian Annals on the careers of Kushite kings who flourished between the 7th century BCE and the 6th century CE, notably: -

a. Inscriptions of Aspalta – 6th century BCE
b. Stele of Harsiotef – 4th century BCE
c. Stele of Nastasen – 4th century BCE
d. Inscriptions of Netekaman and Amantere – 1st century BCE
e. Stele of Amenrenas – 1st century BCE
f. Stele of Teqerizemani – 2nd century CE
g. Stele of Silko – 6th century CE

11. Myths, legends, traditions and historical reference relating to peoples and cultures of Ancient Kush and Old Ethiopia which are preserved in the surviving writings of Classical (Greek and Roman) poets, geographers and historians; notably: -

a. Homeric and Hesiodic traditions concerning the ‘blameless Ethiopians.’
b. Arctinus of Miletus and Quintus of Smyrna on the exploits of ‘Memnon Prince of Ethiopia’ in the Trojan War.
c. Classical traditions (as preserved in Ovid’s Metamorphoses) concerning the unusual misfortunes of Cephus, the king, and Cassiopeia, the queen, of Old Ethiopia, and the extraordinary experiences of their daughter, the princes Andromeda.
d. Herodotus, ‘the father of history’, on the ill-fated attempt of Cambyses, king of Persia, to invade the homeland of the Ancient Kushites.
e. Stories of Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus concerning the mutiny of the mercenaries in the Egyptian army and their enrollment in the military service of the King of Kush.
f. Heliodorous’s Aethiopica on the disastrous attempt of a Persian governor of Egypt to seize emerald mines belonging to the Kushite domain.
g. The alleged visit of Alexander of Macedon to ‘Candace, Queen of Kush’ according to the remarkable (but no doubt apocryphal) story preserved in the Romance of Alexander the Great, which is attributed, perhaps without foundation, to Callisthenes of Olynthus.
h. Diodorus Siculus’ account of the attempted religious and political reforms of Ergamenes, king of Kush in circa 225 BCE.
i. Plutarch and Dion Cassius on the friendly relationships between Cleopatra and the Queen of Kush.
j. Strabo, Pliny the Elder, etc., on a. the invasion and defeat of the Romans in Upper Egypt by the queen of Kush; and b. the subsequent defeat of the Kushite queen and the invasion of her country by a Roman Army.
k. Numerous Greek and Latin references to the unstable political and military relationships between the Kushites and the Roman and Byzantine overlords of Egypt during the period between the 1st and 6th century CE.
l. John of Ephesus on the circumstances under which Christianity became the State religion of Nubia towards the middle of the 6th century CE.

12. The Kebra Nagast and the Book of Aksum on the traditional history of Ethiopia from the 14th century BCE until the 4th century CE.

13. Ethiopian traditions concerning Queen Makeda (c. 1005 – c.955 BCE) who is generally believed by the Ethiopians, and by many others, to have been ‘the Queen of Sheba’ of Biblical renown.

14. The text of a long historical inscription – commemorating the military exploits of a powerful, but unnamed Ethiopian warrior king – which was anciently inscribed on a great stele set up in the Ethiopian seaport –city of Adulis where it was seen and copied by Cosmas Indicopleustes in c. 530 CE but which has since disappeared, and is now known to us only through Cosmas’ copy.

15. Four long inscriptions on stone set up by the Aksumite king Ezana (c. 319 – c. 345 CE); the texts of three of these commemorate Ezana’s achievements while he was still a devotee of the ancestral religion, while the text of the fourth and last is an account of events which occurred after his acceptance of Christianity as the State religion of his empire.

Here are some excerpts taken from Hansberry’s article on a history of Aksumite Ethiopia:

“The ancient kingdom of Aksum, according to its own annals and other reliable testimony, transformed itself into a Christian state about the year A.D. 333, which was, it will be remembered, only about a decade after Christianity had been made the state religion of the Roman Empire.” (p. 3-4)

“The present kingdom of Ethiopia is history’s second oldest Christian state. For several centuries after it became a Christian nation, the kingdom of Axum shared with the Byzantine Empire universal renown as one of the two most powerful Christian states of the age; and, of the Christian sovereigns of that period, none deserved and enjoyed more than certain Axumite kings, a wider reputation as Defenders of the Faith.” (p. 4)

Although relationships between the Byzantine Empire and the Christian kingdoms of Ethiopian lands were rather close during the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, the continued decline of European Civilization, as an aftermath of the barbarian invasions and the rise and expansion of Islam, put an end to such relationships for several hundred years.” (p. 4)

“In the time of the Crusades, relationships between the Ethiopian Christians and the European brothers of the same faith were, however, revived, and considering the great distance which separated them – remained exceptionally close until well down into early modern times.” (p. 4)

“During these centuries, the old kingdom of Aksum was more commonly known in European lands as the Empire of Prester John; and mutual intercourse between those widely separated parts of Christendom exercised a profoundly significant influence upon the course of world affairs that period. For it was out of European efforts, first, to re-establish, and then, to maintain, relationships with the Empire of Prester John, that arose those international developments which ultimately resulted in the discovery of America and the establishment of the ocean-route to Indies.” (p.4-5)

“Toward the end of the 18th Century, Edward Gibbon declared that Ethiopia in the Middle Ages was ‘a hermit empire’ which ‘slept for a thousand years, forgetful of the world by which it was forgot.’ As the proceeding review indicates, it is now known that this point of view is widely at variance with the historical facts; but is it quite true that, despite the significant part that Ethiopia long has played in mankind’s stirring and storied past, the world at large, at least in our own times, is singularly unfamiliar with the history of that ancient land.” (p. 5)

William Leo Hansberry’s life is a reflection of the struggle of African Americans to recover and reclaim their past. It is also an integral part of the rich intellectual tradition of the African Diaspora. It is a persistent attempt, in spite of the enormous difficulties, to construct and own one’s own historical memory. It is after all history that guides the present and the future. Hansberry charted a great tradition of intellectual discourse and community activism, which are still important attributes for the 21st century.

Publisher’s Note: This article is well-referenced and those who seek the references should contact Professor Ayele Bekerie directly at:

About the Author:
Ayele Bekerie is an Associate Professor at the Department of History and Cultural Studies at Mekelle University. He was an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. Bekerie is a contributing author in the highly acclaimed book, “One House: The Battle of Adwa 1896 -100 Years.” He is also the author of the award-winning book “Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles” — among many other published works.

Tadias’ 20 Favorite People of 2008

By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 29, 2008

New York (Tadias) – Here are our 20 favorite people of the year that we interviewed and/or featured their work in 2008. The numbers are not rankings of their achievements. We look forward to 2009. Happy New Year!

20) Selam Mulugeta (Former Obama Campaign Staffer)

Ethiopian-American Selam Mulugeta worked as a staff member for President-Elect Obama’s successful 2008 campaign for the White House. Ms. Mulugeta, who formerly served as a Congressional staffer and Special Assistant to Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), founder and Chair of the Congressional Ethiopia and Ethiopian American Caucus, served as a Field Organizer for the Obama/Biden campaign in Northern Virginia. Obama won the state on November 4th, 2008, becoming the first Presidential candidate from the Democratic party to do so in more than 40 years. Read more about Selam Mulugeta.

19) Bekele Geleta (The New Boss at Red Cross)

Ethiopian-born Bekele Geleta, 64, was appointed Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 2008. Mr. Geleta previously served as General Manager of International Operations for the Canadian Red Cross. He spent five years in prison in Ethiopia, but later served as a Cabinet Minister and the Ethiopian Ambassador to Japan. He went to Canada as a refugee in 1992 with his wife, Tsehay Mulugeta, and their four sons. He started a new career in humanitarian work in Ottawa , serving with Care Canada, Red Cross and other organizations, which eventually led to this current prestigious post. Read our interview with Bekele Geleta.

18) Beejhy Barhany (Founder, BINA Cultural Foundation)

Beejhy Barhany (pictured above with her husband at the Ethiopian Millennium celebration concert at Joe’s Pub. on Saturday, May 31, 2008), is the Director of BINA Cultural Foundation and the chief coordinator of the 2008 Ethiopian Millennium Events Series in New York, which included a concert, an art exhibition, a film festival and an interfaith panel discussion. Tadias Magazine congratulates Mrs. Barhany on a successful series of events.

17) Chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, is best known as the co-owner of New York’s finest Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit. After having excelled at the Swedish side of his culinary heritage, Mr. Samuelson traveled extensively throughout the African continent, and shared with us some of the most profound lessons that he learned about Pan-African cuisine. He culminated his journey with his award-winning book, The Soul of a New Cuisine, and a new African Restaurant. Read our interview with Marcus Samuelsson.

16) Haile Gerima (Award Wining Director)

Ethiopian-born director Haile Gerima (pictured above left with Tunisian Culture Minister Abderraouf Basti) scooped several international awards in 2008 for his new film “Teza”. Tadias Magazine congratulates Mr. Gerima on his well deserved recognition. Read More.

15) Yohannes Gebregeorgis (CNN Hero)

Yohannes Gebregeorgis, one of the Top Ten CNN Heroes of 2008, was recognized by CNN for his remarkable efforts to bring free public libraries and literacy programs to thousands of children in Ethiopia, including the country’s first Donkey Mobile Library. Mr. Gebregeorgis, 59, was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States as a political refugee in 1981. He eventually put himself through college, earning a graduate degree in library science and worked as a Librarian in San Francisco for nearly two decades before embarking on his current project. He currently lives in Ethiopia. Read our interview with Yohannes Gebregeorgis.

14) Getatchew Mekurya (king of Ethiopian saxophone)

The legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya stole the show at a historic concert on August 20, 2008, at Damrosch’s Park in NYC. “The concert closed with a gripping performance by Mr. Mekurya, the king of Ethiopian saxophone…” noted a columnist for The New York Times, and we couldn’t agree more. We likewise salute Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete, who both performed at the show. Read more.

13) Aida Muluneh (Photographer)

Photographer Aida Muluneh, whose current exhibition is being hosted by Berlin’s Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (through November 1st, 2009), established an NGO in 2008 to train a new generation of African photographers to compete in the global media industry while reshaping the image of Africa to reflect their personal experiences. Read More.

12) Dr. Ebba Ebba (Founder, Gemini Health Care Group)

Dr. Ebba Ebba (above left), founder of Gemini Health Care Group, a non-profit established to provide health care to Ethiopian children, hosted two notable events in 2008: a health care forum in July at George Washington University and a fundraiser in Atlanta to benefit the building of a children’s hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read more.

11) Philipos & Sara (Queen of Sheba Restaurant in New York)

Philipos & Sara of the Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant in New York demonstrated why crowds are flocking to their midtown Manhattan eatery at the first Annual Choice Eats tasting event organized by The Village Voice in 2008. Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant was one of thirty-three favorite restaurants of Voice food critic Robert Sietsema, author of Secret New York. Sietsema has reviewed more than 2,000 restaurants in the last 14 years and this year’s Choice Eats covered samples from all corners of the world. Read more about this event.

10) Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru (The Ethiopian Nun Pianist)

Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru, the 85-year-old Ethiopian nun and renowned classical pianist and composer, performed at a sold out benefit concert for the first time in 35 years in June, 2008, in Washington, DC. She captured an eager audience, along with seven young performers who shared the stage with her. Read more.

9) Artist Assegid Gessesse (“Memory Tourist”)

Assegid Gessesse exhibited his spirited mixed media prints in 2008. “I am a memory tourist,” Gessesse says referring to our favorite print entitled ‘Addis Abeba’ – a vivid collage reflecting architecture, the urban/rural dichotomy, and use of space. Read More.

8. Teodross “Teo” Avery

What does Teodross “Teo” Avery have in common with jazz giants Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and Arturo Sandoval? They all have graced the stage of The Blue Note, one of New York’s legendary jazz clubs. Teo, a talented Ethiopian-American musician is carving his own niche in hip-hop jazz. He has recorded and collaborated with powerhouse musicians including: Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Shakira, Wu Tang Clan, Ethiopian artists Abegaz Shiota and Henok Temesgen, and Amy Winehouse. Films such as Love Jones, Brown Sugar and Beauty Shop also carry songs he has either written or produced. His own lyrics entitled New Day New Groove and My Generation capture the proactive, idealistic and determined energy of his generation. Read the interview with Teo Avery.

7) Zelela Menker

Zelela Menker’s OP-ED pieces on Tadias in 2008 advocating for the election of Barack Obama generated a healthy discussion. We first met Zelela Menker while covering an Obama rally in New York on Feb 2, 2008. Zelela was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (MHC) in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she majored in Critical Social Thought with a concentration on Health Disparities and Healthcare Policy. Read More.

6) Kedist Geremaw (Obama Organizing Fellow)

Kedist Geremaw, a health care administrator in Washington, D.C., was one of the 3,600 individuals who were selected and trained as an Obama Organizing Fellow during the summer of 2008. Mrs. Geremew has accomplished much as an Obama Organizing Fellow, and the creativity, dedication, and optimism that she and her colleagues displayed was inspiring, commendable, contagious, and has our respect and recognition. Read more about Mrs. Geremaw.

5) Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & CEO of NNN

Ethiopian-born Abaynesh Asrat was recognized with “The Sojourner Truth Award” in 2008, which is given each year by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. Abaynesh is a member of Harlem’s legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church delegation to Ethiopia in 2007, which took place as part of the church’s bicentennial celebration and in honor of the Ethiopian Millennium.

4) Professor Donald Levine

Professor Donald Levine’s thoughtful and insightful opinion articles during the Presidential Campaign of 2008 was much needed and appreciated by our readers. He is a colleague of President-Elect Barack Obama from their teaching days at the University of Chicago. He is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology and his research and teaching interests focus on classical social theory, modernization theory, Ethiopian studies, conflict theory and aikido, and philosophies of liberal education. Read More.

3) Professor Ayele Bekerie

Dr. Ayele Bekerie ‘s scholarly papers on historical topics, such as the story of St. Yared, the great Ethiopian composer, choreographer and poet, who lived in Aksum almost 1500 years ago, was one of the most popular articles among our readers. Ayele Bekerie, an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center of Cornell University, is the author of the award-winning book “Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles” (The Red Sea Press, 1997). Bekerie’s papers have been published in scholarly journals, such as ANKH: Journal of Egyptology and African Civilizations, Journal of the Horn of Africa, Journal of Black Studies, the International Journal of Africana Studies, and the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Bekerie is also the creator of the African Writing System web site and a contributing author in the highly acclaimed book, “ONE HOUSE: The Battle of Adwa 1896-100 Years.” Bekerie’s most recent published work includes “The Idea of Ethiopia: Ancient Roots, Modern African Diaspora Thoughts,” in Power and Nationalism in Modern Africa, published by Carolina Academic Press in 2008 and “The Ancient African Past and Africana Studies” in the Journal of Black Studies in 2007. Bekerie appears frequently on the Amharic Service of Voice of America and Radio Germany. He is a regular contributor to Tadias Magazine and other Ethiopian American electronic publications. His current book project is on the “Idea of Ethiopia.” Read More.

2) Ted Alemayuhu (Founder & Chairman of USDFA)

Ethiopian-born Ted Alemayuhu (pictured above right with friends – Russell Simmons left – at Cipriani Wall Street on October 17th, 2007), is the Founder & Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa (USDFA). He was one of the featured keynote speakers at the 2008 Health Disparities Conference at Columbia University. Mr. Alemayuhu is preparing to host the gathering of over 20 African First Ladies for their first-ever U.S.-based health summit on April 20-21, 2009, at the RAND Corporation in Los Angeles. Read More.

1) Tibarek (Tadias’ Favorite Person of the Year!)

Eight year old Tibarek, who traveled with her adoptive mother from their home in New York to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to knock on doors for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, is our favorite person of the year! We choose Tibarek not only because we love her charismatic personality, but also because she symbolizes the diversity and vibrancy of the Diaspora’s next generation. Read more.

Editor’s Note: The numbers are not rankings of their achievements. We honor each person listed. Happy 2009!

Interview with an Ethiopian American Obama volunteer

By Liben Eabisa

New York – We contacted a volunteer for Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and sent our questions via email. Here is our interview with Adey Fisseha, law student here in New York and Harlem resident.

Tadias: Adey, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. We understand that you attend law school here in New York. Please tell us a bit more about yourself.

Adey: Before going to law school, I worked in DC in a number of policy positions but had never participated in politics until the 2004 Presidential elections. I was so disillusioned by the results of the 2000 election that I volunteered to go to Florida and “get out the vote” in the week immediately before the election. It was another disappointing result.

Tadias: How did you get involved in the Obama campaign?

Adey: Like many, I first heard Senator Obama speak when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I was impressed by Senator Obama’s oratory skill and was moved by his message – that we have to redraw the political map by appealing to the many issues on which a large cross section of the population agree. I decided to get involved because his candidacy is drastically reshaping how Americans view and practice politics. His vision moves us away from politics rooted on false divisions based on race, gender, ethnicity, and region towards one based on shared goals.

Adey Fisseha

In his first book, “Dreams of My Father,” Senator Obama recounts his experiences organizing among the low-income residents of Chicago’s South side. It is the skills developed working among disenfranchised people – of seeing complicated issues from multiple vantage points, bringing people who were on opposite sides of the spectrum together that I think are critical for the next President. The next President will have the monumental task of re-establishing civil and Constitutional Rights dismantled during this administration. Who better for the task than Senator Obama who taught Constitutional law and practiced as a Civil Rights lawyer.

Tadias: What is your role as a campaign volunteer?

Adey: This is a grassroots campaign. Volunteers can create their own events or participate in events that have been organized by other volunteers. For instances, on Thursday a classmate and I created a post on the Obama website that we planned to stand outside of the Union Square subway and hold up signs and hand out materials. At least 10 other Obama supporters signed up through the website and joined us. On Friday, I joined a group of people who had decided to do a visibility event outside of the 145th street subway station.

Tadias: We also understand that you have been active trying to reach Ethiopian Americans. How are you doing that?

Adey: There is a massive outreach scheduled for this weekend in Harlem. As a part of that effort we have asked Ethiopians’ who support Obama to pass out literature at the two churches based in Harlem.

Tadias: A significant number of older Ethiopian Americans, at least those that we have talked to, say that they will vote for Hillary because Obama will not win the general election. How do you answer that?

Adey: In the general election, the Democratic candidate will not only need the support of the democratic base but will also need to attract the independent vote. In Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Obama picked up a significant portion of the independent vote. Further, he has also shown the ability to appeal to republicans. These indicate that he would make a strong contender in a general election.

Tadias: There was a high profile Harlem endorsement recently that was widely covered by the media. Reverend Calvin Butts, head of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, who led a 150 member delegation to Ethiopia this fall, has endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton. How serious a blow is that to your efforts?

Adey: I believe that Senator Obama has strong support among the residents of Harlem.

Tadias: The media is split on the question of whether Harlem is for Hillary or Obama. But a recent article by the New American Media had a headline that declared “Obama Has Harlem Locked.” Is Harlem really Obama country?

Adey: I believe that Senator Obama has strong support among the residents of Harlem.

Tadias: How can people get involved?

Adey: There are a number of ways that people can help. One: Vote. New York’s primary is on Tuesday, February 5th. Polling stations are open from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. You must be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary in New York. Every vote counts — the New York primary is not winner-takes-all. Delegates are awarded proportionally so it is critical that everyone go out and vote. If you are registered, you can vote now at the Board of Elections’ Borough Offices. The Manhattan office is located 200 Varick St., 10 Fl. Borough Offices are open this weekend and on Monday 9:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. and on Election Day until 9 p.m.

Two: Recruit. Talk to at least five additional people about why you support Senator Obama. Call and remind those people to vote on Tuesday.

Three: Contribute. 22 states are voting on Tuesday and buying ads, airtime, posters etc costs a tremendous amount of money. The race for the Democratic nominee is unlikely to be a decided on Tuesday as the race continues the campaign will require funds to continue to get its message out to voters. The purchase of T-shirts, sweatshirts and other items from the Obama Campaign website is also another way to donate to the campaign. To contribute go to the Obama website. To purchase T-shirts etc go to the Obama online store.

Four: Volunteer. Even if you only have an hour there are plenty of volunteer opportunities. The website lists volunteer opportunities throughout the country. New York residents can find volunteer opportunities at Residents of other states should go to the main website and click on state.

Tadias: Thank you, Adey. Good luck!

Mesgana Dancers Arrive in New York

Photo by Steven Dyer of VicRae Inc. for Tadias Magazine.

New York – The much anticipated young dancers of Ethiopia (pictured above with actor/singer Leon yesterday) have arrived in New York to kick-off their millennium celebration tour in the United States.

After a morning appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, they were hosted by actor Leon, best known for starring roles in The Temptations, The Five Heartbeats, Cool Runnings and The Little Richard Story, for a bus tour of New York City.

The troupe of 11 girls, ages 7 to 12, will also be hosted by Reverend Calvin Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, one of the oldest, largest and most affluent African American churches in the United States.

According to the church’s official history, in 1808, Ethiopian merchants in New York alongside a few African Americans established the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a.k.a. (ABC).

The church’s official logo, an Ethiopian Cross, was personally presented by Emperor Halie Selassie in highly publicized ceremony in 1954 in Harlem, New York.

Meanwhile, ABC has announced that it is sending 200 churchgoers, dignitaries and media to Ethiopia in September to celebrate the millennium in commemoration of the Church’s 200 years anniversary.

The dance troupe is scheduled to perform at New York University’s Skirtball Center for Performing Arts on Sunday, August 12th.


Mesgana (an Amharic for gratitude), “represents the hope this tour will bring to the girls of Ethiopia”, says the press alert released by the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, a non-profit organization based in Murray, Utah, and the tour’s primary organizer.

The group is also scheduled to perform in Washington, DC, Columbia, MD, Evanston (Chicago), IL, Atlanta, West Orange, NJ, Denver & Boulder, CO, Salt Lake City, Murray, & St. George, UT, San Jose, Palo Alto, Ontario/Upland, and Los Angeles (San Fernando), CA.

According to the tour organizers, for two hundred to five hundred dollars a year sponsors can send a student to a private school in Ethiopia.

Currently 800 students are enrolled in the program.

The tour also benefits Ethiopia Reads, another non-profit organization founded in 2003 by Yohannes Gebregeorgis and led by the celebrated children’s author Jane Kurtz. The group establishes libraries in schools in Ethiopia and has published many books in Amharic.

Tadias Magazine is proud to be the media sponsor of the New York Tour. To buy tickets for the New York show, CLICK HERE.







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