Search Results for 'tsehai publishers'

Video: Tsehai Publishers’ Elias Wondimu Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu receiving the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: November 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Wondimu, Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers, was recognized with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Award at Loyola Marymount University on November 3rd, 2018. Elias was one of five honorees from the University’s community that were nominated for the award. As part of the award ceremony Elias’ life story, as written by David Johann Kim, was performed by actor Desean Terry in a drama narrative.

The Center for Reconciliation & Justice at Loyola Marymount University annually honors winners of the Hidden Heroes award by selecting “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives.”

“I was really happy that my dad saw it with me,” Elias said of the ceremony, which took place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University’s Murphy Hall.

Watch: Elias Wondimu, Founder of Tsehai Publishers, Receives Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

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TSEHAI Publishers Turns 20, Launches Book Under Harriet Tubman Press

From Left: Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press; TSEHAI Publishers Founder Elias Wondimu, Congressmember Karen Bass and CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye at the launch event for 'Voices from Leimert Park Redux,' the debut book by Harriet Tubman Press, an imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, in Los Angeles, California on October 14th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — TSEHAI Publishers celebrates its twentieth anniversary this month along with the launch of the first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

Founded by Ethiopian American publisher Elias Wondimu, TSEHAI Publishers — which is located at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles — is the only African or African-American owned press housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011). “The launch of this historic imprint boldly reinforces the necessity and value of giving place for our voices in the national and global discourse on race, culture, the arts and so many more important facets of our collective humanity,” says Elias.

The book launch event was held in front of the Vision Theatre in Leimert Park on Saturday, October 14th sponsored by PEN Center USA and LA Review of Books. The program included live readings by the poets featured in the inaugural publication highlighting the “diverse voices of Los Angeles” and speeches by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye, as well as Elias Wondimu and Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press and the press’ first book Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

“It is going to be a great continuation of LMU and TSEHAI’s Harriet Tubman Press’ engagement in the Leimert Park Community,” Elias added.

Click here for updates on Facebook.

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In Pictures: Tsehai Publishers’ Temsalet DC Book Signing at Library of Congress

Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University hosted a book signing for 'Temsalet' at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Photo: Yoseph Wondimu )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, July 11th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Below are photos from last month’s Temsalet Book Signing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. hosted by Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University.

The program, which was held on Saturday, June 25th included a presentation by Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu and a book talk by Editor Mary-Jane Wagle featuring Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women published by Tsehai last year.


Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City

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Tsehai Publishers & LMU Host DC Book Signing of Temsalet at Library of Congress

Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University will host a book signing for 'Temsalet' at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Photo: Cover image of the book Temsalet)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Continuing their East Coast ‘Experience TSEHAI’ presentation series, California-based Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University announced they will be hosting a book talk and signing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Tsehai Publishers is one of the only remaining independent presses affiliated with a university that focuses on African literature and Pan-African voices.

The program at the Library of Congress on Saturday, June 25th also includes a book talk by Editor Mary-Jane Wagle featuring Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women published by Tsehai in 2015 and a presentation by Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu.

(Poster courtesy of Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University)

The book Temsalet highlights 64 remarkable Ethiopian women photographed by award-winning Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh including Amsale Gualu, the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines; Meaza Ashenafi Mengistu, Founder of Enat Bank and prominent lawyer who was depicted in the award-winning film Difret; Marta Mesele Woldemariam, Ethiopia’s first female construction tower crane operator; Meshu Baburi Dekebo, women’s activist and founder of the Jalala Women’s Association; actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo; children’s television program creator and producer Bruktawit Tigabu Tadesse; and art curator and cultural activist Meskerem Asegued Bantiwalu.

If You Go:
Experience TSEHAI at the Library of Congress
Saturday, June 25 at 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, D.C.
Click here for tickets
More info at:


Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in NYC

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Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in NYC

At the NYC book launch for Temsalet -- 64 profiles of Ethiopian women role models -- at the Schomburg Center in Harlem on Saturday, April 16, 2016. (Photograph: By Kidane M. for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, April 18th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Call of Ethiopia — a poem by the distinguished African American writer Langston Hughes — was read by Elias Wondimu during his presentation of Tsehai Publishers on Saturday, April 16th in the lobby of the Schomburg Center in Harlem dedicated to the poet. Tsehai Publishers is one of the only remaining independent presses affiliated with a university that focuses on African literature and Pan-African voices. Saturday night’s program also included a book talk by Editor Mary-Jane Wagle featuring Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women published by Tsehai in 2015.

During her presentation Mary-Jane Wagle highlighted some of the 64 remarkable Ethiopian women photographed by award-winning Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh and featured in the book including Amsale Gualu, the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines; lawyer and women’s bank founder Meaza Ashenafi Mengistu (who was also the attorney and real-life inspiration for the award-winning film Difret); Ethiopia’s first female construction tower crane operator, Marta Mesele Woldemariam; women’s activist and founder of the Jalala Women’s Association, Meshu Baburi Dekebo; actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo; children’s television program creator and producer Bruktawit Tigabu Tadesse; and art curator and cultural activist Meskerem Asegued Bantiwalu.

The presentations by Elias Wondimu and Mary-Jane Wagle were followed by a book signing session. Guests enjoyed Ethiopian food and coffee catered by Bunna Cafe as well as Sheba Tej and wines from Ethiopia, Chile, and South Africa served by Tsion Cafe.

This event was part of the Tadias Salon Series and co-hosted by Tadias Magazine, Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University.

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Tadias Hosts Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers at Schomburg

Temsalet is a book featuring the stories and images of 64 accomplished Ethiopian women. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, April 08, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Join us on Saturday, April 16th for the New York book launch & presentation featuring Temsalet – a photographic portrait of sixty-four phenomenal contemporary Ethiopian women who have broken through age-old barriers to advance in their fields. Temsalet‘s editor, Mary-Jane Wagle, will be present to give a book talk followed by a book-signing, and Elias Wondimu will present Tsehai Publishers — one of the only remaining independent academic presses in the United States dedicated to African literature and Pan-African voices.

Edited and compiled by Mary-Jane Wagle with photography by Aida Muluneh, Temsalet is a project of the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Association and is published by Tsehai Publishers of Los Angeles, California.

This event is brought to you as part of the Tadias Salon Series and co-hosted by Tadias Magazine, Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University.

If You Go:
Tickets: $17 per person (Limited space available Click here to RSVP)
WHEN: Saturday, April 16, 2016
From 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
WHERE: Schomburg Center in Harlem
515 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037

(Ethiopian hors d’oeuvres & drinks will be served)

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Tsehai Publishers Strives for a Better Africa and Ethiopia

Tsehai Publishers was founded by Elias Wondimu and focuses on printing scarcely distributed books from Ethiopia. (Photo via Tsehai Publishers)

The Los Angeles Loyolan

By Kaitlin Perata

“When you think of Africa, what are the first three things that come to mind?” This is the first question I was asked when I began working at Tsehai Publishers at the beginning of the semester. Like I’m sure most of us would, I had trouble coming up with a sufficient answer to the question. It is for precisely this reason that Elias Wondimu, exiled Ethiopian journalist and current CEO of Tsehai Publishers, founded the company.

Finding few books on Ethiopia in the United States, Wondimu sought to fill a hole in the American book market by venturing into previously unchartered waters and creating his own publishing company that would simultaneously print scarcely distributed books and raise the standard of integrity in the publishing industry.

“The lack of positive narratives about my country led me to a path of discovery about the realities of all marginalized societies – including Africa, women and the poor among us. Institutions who control what stories get told controls our true information that we consume, our perceptions and by that our future society,” Wandimu said when discussing his motivation for launching Tsehai.

Tsehai means “the sun” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, but Wondimu also named the publishing company after his late mother. The company was founded in 1998 with the intention of sharing his passion for Ethiopian and African issues, correcting media misinformation and bias about Africa, fostering intercultural dialogue and social justice and providing a platform for African creativity and knowledge to flourish. In 2007, Tsehai joined forces with LMU’s Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts and from that partnership the Marymount Institute Press was born, embodying the Institute’s mission statement.

Read the full article at The Los Angeles Loyolan »

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New Book From Tsehai Publishers Chronicles the Formation of the OAU

(Photo courtesy Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

You can learn more and support Tsehai Publishers at

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Q & A with Elias Wondimu of Tsehai Publishers

Elias Wondimu, Publisher & Editorial Director of Tsehai Publishers, at his office at Loyola Marymount University in Southern California on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. (Photo credit: Missha Scott)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – In sixth century Ireland, a king was asked to adjudicate one of the world’s earliest legal cases concerning book piracy. A monk named St. Columba had admitted copying by hand, apparently without permission, a manuscript that belonged to another writer. The original author accused St. Columba of theft and illegal copying, arguing that the book was his brainchild. In his famous ruling against the pirate-monk, the king pronounced: “To every cow belongs her calf, to every book belongs its copy.” In other words, only the publisher has the legal right to control its intellectual property.

This brings us to the modern day piracy of Mengistu Hailemariam’s memoir that was recently scanned and distributed without authorization from the book’s copyright holder Tsehai Publishers. Unlike St. Columba, however, the responsibile party in the Mengistu case remains, at least for now, faceless behind the computer screen, and communicates only via a website based in Europe. The copyright infringers claim justification under the “Son of Sam Law,” an American law designed to prevent criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes.

We recently spoke to Elias Wondimu, Publisher & Editorial Director of Tsehai Publishers about the controversy.

TADIAS: Thank you Elias for your time. Please tell us about the recent unauthorized distribution of Tsehai Publishers’ Mengistu Hailemariam’s memoir. What exactly happened?

Elias Wondimu: On Jan. 14th, Debteraw, an EPRP affiliated website based in the UK along with Finot Radio, scanned the book and distributed it for free on the Internet. The group explicitly stated that their actions were in protest of Col. Mengistu Hailemariam’s book. This was done maliciously, attempting to punish the publisher for daring to produce the book. They also hoped to discourage us from publishing future books by Col. Mengistu or similar authors that they don’t agree with.

In “About us” section of their website, it states that they are “campaigning” for “free and independent media.” But, their recent actions have shown the hypocrisy of their claims. By trying to silence me as a publisher, they violated all notions of freedom of press and freedom of expression. Apparently, for this sect of the EPRP, “free and independent media” refers only to publications that align with their own views.

TADIAS: Where were you when you first learned of this? How did you feel?

EW: When I first heard the news, I was in my office working on our next book, a memoir by Rita and Richard Pankhurst, which was to be released next month. Since we’re in the final stages of editing, I was working late on a Friday night. At 9:00pm I received a phone call from a friend. He asked me in a distressed voice if I knew what had happened. When I said that I didn’t, he directed me to the website, where I saw the article. I clicked on the link and saw the entire book I had worked so hard on download onto my computer. At first I thought it was just a prank or some sort of a bad joke and didn’t take it seriously. I couldn’t even fathom something like that being done.

The first thing I did was to see if there was any altered content in the scanned file. I noticed that, while it contained all the front matter such as the contents, copyright page, and publisher’s note, I noticed that six pages at the end had been removed. These pages contained our best books that we thought that our readers should know and other upcoming Tsehai Publishers books. Even now, I am still puzzled why they did this.

Thinking they will take it down when they realized what they have done, so I didn’t do anything. But, when Monday came around I realized the gravity of the situation, and that I would have to take legal action. There are no words to describe the frustration I felt. After working so hard and devoting my life to the cause of freedom of press in Ethiopia and around the world, I could not imagine that something so devastating could happen. But, although I was discouraged and angry, I knew that I had to keep fighting for what I believed in.

TADIAS: Please tell us more about the book. How did you obtain the content?

EW: It has now been almost seven years since I was introduced to Col. Mengistu. Since I received the first manuscript, my staff and I have worked tirelessly to bring the book to press, preserving the highest quality of publication that is accustomed with Tsehai. As I wrote in the Publisher’s Note, this book is the first time in our long history that an Ethiopian leader has written a book, sharing his experiences after leaving office. Even though Emperor Haile Selassie was the first to write a two-volume political memoir while in power, throughout Ethiopian history, none of our leaders lived longer to tell us their experiences and challenges while ruling the country. However, we have had many chronicles, most of these were written much later on by people who had a political bias either for or against them.

This book gives us an unparalleled window into how the government was run. It also presents some of the major issues in our history, such as how the Derg was formed, and how some of the major governmental decisions were made, how the Somali war was started, and Ethiopia’s victory came about. Despite what others or even I might think about Col. Mengistu himself, I am proud to give the first unadulterated first-hand account from an Ethiopian leader. The publication of this book is a historical moment, and I wholeheartedly stand behind its publication.

TADIAS: has issued the following comments in justifying their actions: “Mass murderer and brutal dictator Mengsitu Haile Mariam (exiled in Harare, Zimbabwe) has written a 500+ pages book that has been published by Tsehai Publisher[s] of Los Angeles. This mass murderer has not yet atoned or paid for his horrendous crimes and the mass killings of the Red Terror. He now hopes to benefit from the sale of his book of lies. We strongly feel that this criminal should be tried before a court of law and should be hindered from benefiting from his crime. Thus, we have published the book in PDF and we are posting it for free usage of all interested readers.” They also say that they are legally justified. What is your response and what steps are you currently taking to halt the piracy?

EW: Professional publishers publish books coming from various political and ideological quarters and by people who have been involved in all kinds of activities. This does not mean publishers agree with the contents of the book they publish. Publishers are not politicians or judges. They are not agents of censorship. They believe in freedom of expression, in the intelligence of the reading public, its capacity to separate the wheat from the chaff and to make informed judgments. This is precisely the perspective of Tsehai publishers also.

The claim “that they are legally justified” is a false one. There is no law that permits the violation of copyright laws. In fact, what they did is nothing less than a blatant violation of internationally accepted copyright laws.

Currently, we have retained a law firm known for its intellectual property law, including copyright and book publishing works. Our attorney, Steven Rohde, is the Past President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, and vice president of PEN USA. Among many accomplishments, representing a different client a few years ago, Mr. Rohde personally took the California Son of Sam Law to the California Supreme Court and the law was struck down as a violation of the First Amendment protection for free speech and free press. So, Debteraw and its associates have seriously misunderstood the nature of the Son of Sam Laws and their legal status.

TADIAS: We also understand that this is Tsehai Publishers’ 10th year anniversary. Congratulations. Do you have any plans for the anniversary?

Thank you! Even though Tsehai was started couple of years earlier, it was ten years ago this time that I dedicated my full time attention into it. So we are very excited to celebrate a decade at Tsehai.

To celebrate the anniversary, we decided last year to publish a book every month in 2012. Because of the recent events, we were forced to postpone the publication of our first book this month. But we are determined not to let the unfortunate circumstances hold us back any more than this. We plan to get back on track and plan to release a book every month from February on.

We are also planning to host public events in selected cities in the coming months. If your readers would like to be informed or to get involved, we highly encourage them to visit and Like us at our Facebook page.

TADIAS: Please tell us briefly about Tsehai Publishers’ inception and key works in the past ten years.

Living in Los Angles in the mid 1990s, I noticed a major void in the publishing field on the subject of Ethiopia. Hardly any literature was available on Ethiopia, and what was there was seriously incomplete and flawed. I was tired of waiting for change to happen, and decided to take matters into my own hands. I founded Tsehai in 1997 with just this aim. Tsehai was named after and dedicated to my mother who had passed away the same year. In 2001, I left a job at UCLA and began running Tsehai full time. Since then Tsehai has published over 60 books, started three academic journals, and founded three imprints—African Academic Press, Marymount Institute Press and Chereka Books.

Over the years we have published many books that I am very proud of, one of which is The Conquest of Abyssinia. In the current religious and social climate in the world, Ethiopia is at the crossroad of fundamentalism, and has experienced it all. This book gives the first hand account of what happened during the tumultuous religious conflict in Ethiopia. Another notable book is Ethiopia and Eritrea, which was published originally in 1952. The book documents the struggle between the Unionists and Separatists in Eritrea. Currently, situations in Eritrea are not going well. Although the areas are separated politically, people are beginning to understand that they need a common ground. Because of the Separatists hold a monopoly over the literature available, the young Eritreans are not able to access information about their grandfather’s struggle to reunite with Ethiopia. This book is our contribution to the people of Eritrea, giving them back a piece of their lost history. Finally, our book The Evolution of the Ethiopian Jews addresses the ever-increasing number of Ethiopian Jews that now live in Israel. The book documents their incredibly complex history, from a captivating Ethiopian perspective. Similarly, all our books are selected and published to address issues that are affect our understanding and engagements among ourselves today.

TADIAS: What about the various journals you have started. What inspired them?

EW: Early in 2000, I was working at UCLA for Azlan a journal of Chicano Studies. The journal had been founded 30 years ago by Chicano students who were looked down on because of their Mexican heritage. These students realized that if there was to be any hope for their own academic future and next generations, they would need a forum for Chicanos to publish, which was non-existent at the time. The journal is now a major international academic platform and most scholars who published in it are leading figures in the field internationally. This story inspired me to do the same for Ethiopian Studies, which was just as lacking on the market. Except the one at Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, all the scholarship on Ethiopia was produced by European and American institutions. This was the impetus to begin the academic journals at Tsehai.

Our first journal was the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (IJES), which is now currently available on JSTOR. IJES was the first academic journal to be started by an Ethiopian institution outside of Ethiopia. With the help of leading scholars in the field, we created a nurturing environment where academicians could publish scholarly theoretical and empirical papers and their research findings on Ethiopian social, political, economic, cultural and historical issues.

Our second journal is the Ethiopian Journal of Religious Studies (EJRS), which tackles the complex religious climate of the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is the home of the major religions in the world, but there was previously no forum where we can study or document its development. EJRS is the first religious Ethiopian journal, and is breaking new ground on this fascinating subject.

Our most recent journal is Ethiorica, which combines the words “Ethiopia” and “America” or “Africa.” Although Ethiopia has a very long and rich literary culture, there is currently no platform for burgeoning writers to show their talent. Because of this, there is no stimulating forum for inspiring and promoting Ethiopian literature, particularly among the youth. Ethiorica was our way of addressing this issue. The journal gives a platform for the best new writers to showcase their writing.

TADIAS: We know that you are also in the process of launching a children book series, tell us about it?

EW: We created an imprint called Chereka Books and it is dedicated to bringing accessible, joyful, and child-friendly illustrated books to children and young readers. These books are intended to entertain, inspire, and educate the children their culture and history. Currently, we have about twenty books in different stages of development and we will announce the details soon. In the mean time, you can be sure that the stories, illustration and production of the books will be as good or better than the many books that we have produced in the past.

TADIAS: Please share with us about yourself as well (where you grew up, how you developed your passion for publishing)

EW: I was born and raised in Addis Ababa. Although I had originally planned to pursue a career in medicine, I gave up that path and resolved to become a journalist. I believed that this would enable me to make the greatest difference for my country and in the world.

In September 1994, I left Addis to participate in the Twelfth International Ethiopian Studies conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing. But, my three-week travel plans became indefinite when the government clamped down on the press. Later that year, I joined the Ethiopian Review magazine in Los Angeles, serving as its editorial staff for the next six years. In these years, I got to work with many scholars, political activists and public intellectuals on issues of local and global interest.

As a journalist, I had fought for freedom of press and expression, and these experiences made me realize that I wanted to continue this through publishing. I cared deeply about Ethiopia, and wanted to make my contribution by publishing and distributing works of scholarship on Ethiopia by Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians throughout the world. After founding Tsehai, I realized how very rewarding the experience could be, and devoted myself fully to it. Today, with our three imprints, we publish a diverse list of books and journals, and we endeavor to encourage the acquisition of knowledge, and to bring quality and diversity to the publishing industry for many generations to come.

TADIAS: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we have not asked you about?

EW: I would like to remind your readers of one fundamental issue. Circumstances in Ethiopia and elsewhere show how precious freedom of expression is. Without freedom of expression, there is no progress, no development, no democracy, and no vibrant culture. Ethiopia has lost many of her brilliant children because they stood up to defend freedom of expression. According to my humble opinion, it is our duty to struggle for freedom, equality, and justice to defend the freedom of expression of all Ethiopians, at home and in the Diaspora.

Last but not least, I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you to the many who came out in our support, donated money, purchased books, called and emailed to show their solidarity. We are also grateful to the wonderful editors, authors, staff and interns who work so hard to contribute knowledge that heals our wounded souls. You all are our heroes, so thank you!
Illegal PDF of Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Memoir – By Donald N. Levine (TADIAS)
Ethiopia: Copyrights and CopyCrimes – By Alemayehu G Mariam (Ethio Media)
In defense of Tsehai Publishers – By Fikre Tolossa (Ethiopian Review)

Tsehai Launches Harriet Tubman Press

Tsehai Publishers in collaboration with Loyola Marymount University is launching a new imprint called the Harriet Tubman Press focused on African American fiction, nonfiction and academic titles. (courtesy Image)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The California-based Tsehai Publishers in partnership with Loyola Marymount University has announced the launch of its new imprint: The Harriet Tubman Press for African-American Literature (HTP), adding to its collection of books on Ethiopian and African history.

Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu will be managing the new imprint. “We chose the name Harriet Tubman for several reasons,” Elias said in a statement. “To follow her example in paving a new path towards an equal and just society; in honor of our ancestors who endured so much to provide us our freedom; and to proclaim our commitment to document and share our stories to the world over.”

The joint press release from LMU and Tsehai Publishers stated: “HTP will be the newest imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, which is housed in the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts at Loyola Marymount University. Until now, TSEHAI has specialized in publications about African politics, history, social justice and literature. HTP will provide a home to books that share stories by African-American writers and scholars about what is happening in the United States.”

“Harriet Tubman Press will provide a new home for both established, as well as up-and-coming literary writers and scholars who strive to give authentic voice while chronicling the challenges and triumphs of their communities,” Elias shared.

In Pictures: Tsehai Publishers’ Temsalet DC Book Signing at Library of Congress
Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City

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Photos from L.A.’s Little Ethiopia: Tsehai Poetry Jam

Above: Singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero at Tsehai Poetry Jam,
May 31, 2009 @ Messob Restaurant in L.A.’s Little Ethiopia.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New York (Tadias) – An intergenerational poetry reading and panel discussion examining four decades of Ethiopian immigrant’s life in the U.S was held this past weekend in Los Angeles.

The Tsehai Poetry Jam, which was presented in cooperation with PEN USA, the Ethiopian Heritage Foundation and Tsehai Publishers, was held at Messob Restaurant & Lounge, located in the official neighborhood of Little Ethiopia on Fairfax Avenue.

A similar event in Chicago is scheduled for early July in conjunction with the The Fourth Annual Tsehai conference.

Below are photo highlights from the L.A. event courtesy of Tsehai Publishers.

Photos by Richard Beban

Ethiopian Publisher Elias Wondimu to Receive Hidden Heroes Award at LMU

Elias Wondimu, who is a Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA is one of five awardees who will be honored on November 3rd with the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American publisher Elias Wondimu has been named the recipient of the 2018 Hidden Heroes Recognition Award at Loyola Marymount University in California. The annual award is given by the university’s Center for Reconciliation & Justice to “individuals and groups who exemplify justice and reconciliation in their lives” LMU stated. “Each awardee will be honored through the telling of their story in a dramatic performance.”

Elias, who is Founding Director of TSEHAI Publishers at the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture, and the Arts at LMU, is one of five honorees chosen from the nominated faculty, staff, alumni, and students from Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School.

“This year’s theme for the Hidden Heroes Recognition is ‘reconciliation,’” the announcement said. “The awardees selected are those who work mostly ‘under the radar’ to build bridges for justice and repair broken human relationships, similar to the life of St. Joseph, patron saint of the CSJ Community and its LMU Center for Reconciliation and Justice.”

Tsehai Publishers celebrated its 20th anniversary last October alongside the launch of its first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press, entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux. Tsehai Publishers is the only African/African-American owned press that is housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011).

Elias told Tadias that he is on his way back to the U.S. from Ethiopia to accept the award after having recently returned in September to his homeland for the first time in almost 25 years following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s invitation to exiled Ethiopians to come home. Elias is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the recently launched Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

LMU’s press release added that “as part of the recognition award, Wondimu’s life story will be enacted on stage as a dramatized narrative as written by David Johann Kim and acted by Desean Terry. The award ceremony and performances will take place on Saturday, November 3rd at Loyola Marymount University at Murphy Hall.”

If You Go:
To RSVP click here. This event is free and open to the public.

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Professor Lemma Senbet Focuses on Ethiopian Diaspora After Successfully Leading AERC

Dr. Lemma W. Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park has returned to the United States after five years leading the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), based in Nairobi, Kenya. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 12th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – After a successful five-year term as the head of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) — a Kenya-based non-profit organization that conducts independent research concerning the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa – Professor Lemma W. Senbet, an internationally recognized leader in finance studies has returned to continue teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“I am now back in Washington from an incredibly satisfying five-year Africa journey in the service of the Motherland,” Professor Lemma told Tadias. Before leaving the U.S. to lead AERC Lemma had shared with us in an interview that he “will be embarking on strategies for full global integration of AERC and its visibility beyond Africa as an organization that is at the cutting edge of best policy research practices.”

In 2015 under his leadership AERC received the highest possible rating as the most transparent think tank in the world. According to a report released by Transparify AERC was one of 31 major centers of research worldwide, out of 169 examined, that was given a five-star rating. The list included several American policy research establishments such as the Center for Global Development, Pew Research Center, Stimson Center, Woodrow Wilson Center and the World Resources Institute.

Last year Dr. Lemma was also one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. The conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility.”

Now back in the U.S. Professor Lemma shares that his next steps involve working with the recently formed Diaspora committee that will help to raise funds for Ethiopia. His background as an economist as well as his non-political, non-partisan and fact-based approach to complex issues will certainly bring a much-needed skill set to the group — which also includes several highly qualified individuals whose work we have previously featured in Tadias such as Dr. Bisrat Aklilu, retired United Nations official; Elias Wondimu, Publisher of Tsehai Publishers; Dr. Menna Demissie, Vice President of Police Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director of Black Rhino Group & Executive Advisory and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure; and Obang Metho, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and a noted human rights activist.

In his departing speech to his colleagues at AERC, Professor Lemma told his audience that he will continue to advocate for Africa once he returns to the U.S. and he has already hit the ground running.

Watch: Closing Remarks – AERC Executive Director Prof Lemma Senbet

Professor Lemma Senbet Leads AERC to Top Global Index Ranking
Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

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In DC, Diaspora Ethiopians Receive Royal Medals at Adwa Celebration

(Photo: Courtesy of Negarit)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 20th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This coming weekend at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests will gather for a black tie event hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and head of The Crown Council of Ethiopia. The event is both a celebration of Ethiopia’s historic victory at Adwa as well as to give out honorary medals to selected individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

This year the most prestigious award the “Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II,” which was founded in 1924 during the reign of Empress Zauditu, will be bestowed on Elias Wondimu, the Editorial Director & Founder of Tsehai Publishers in Los Angeles, California. In a statement Prince Ermias shared that Elias is being honored for preserving “the national identity of Ethiopians and Africans, and contributing to a greater understanding of Ethiopia and Africa by people outside the continent.”

In addition Denver, Colorado-based businessman Mel Tewahade, among others, will be given the “Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor” (GOSE) during the private ceremony to be held on February 25,2017 at the Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner, according to Gregory Copley, a Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia.

The newspaper Negarit — The Journal of The International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders — notes that the annual event, now in its sixth year, commemorates the victory of Emperor Menelik II over invading Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896.

Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica (TADIAS)

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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15 Arts & Culture Stories of 2016 in Photos

Poet Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in New York at a Tadias Salon Series event on August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This has been a very productive and busy year for us beginning with the launch of Tadias Salon Series in Spring 2016 featuring the NYC release of the book Temsalet & Tsehai Publishers Presentation at the Schomburg Center in Harlem followed by a sold-out live show over the Summer with renowned British-born Ethiopian poet and author Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s Supper Club/Red Rooster Harlem. In Fall 2016 Tadias Magazine hosted Marcus Samuelsson at SEI in DC for a book signing and afterparty celebrating the release of his latest publication entitled The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. In addition we were honored to attend the first Ethiopian American Policy Briefing held on June 8th, 2016 at the White House as well as being one of the emergng new media presenters at the 2016 Diasporas in Development conference held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on October 12th, 2016.

But, as always, the most exciting part of our job was covering some of the biggest Ethiopian Diaspora arts and culture stories including the recent historic appearance of legendary singer Mahmoud Ahmed at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City and classical pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa’s phenomenal NYC show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Furthermore, Mulatu Astatke’s one-of-a-kind live performance at the Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) was held on September 9th, 2016, which was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute.

Below are a few images of the top arts and culture stories of 2016 curated from the Tadias instagram Page:

Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert on October 23rd, 2016

(Photo by Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

Mahmoud Ahmed performed live at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, becoming the first major artist from Ethiopia to give a solo concert at the world-famous venue. The 75-year-old Ethiopian cultural icon, who is one of Ethiopia’s most eminent musicians, played at Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage and brought the audience to its feet for several songs. Read more and see photos »

Ruth-Negga: One of Top Movie Stars of 2016


34-year-old Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has become the talk of Hollywood and Oscar mentions following her highly acclaimed performance in the new civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.” Ruth who was born in Addis Ababa grew-up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter on how she became an actress, Negga replied: “You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything. There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play.” This month Vogue magazine declared “the Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga has become a star for our time.” Read more and see photos »

Congratulations to artist and instagrammer Girma Berta who won the 2016 Getty Images Grant

(Photo by Girma Berta)

Photographer Girma Berta, an instagrammer and artist from Ethiopia, was the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram Grant. “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color,” Getty Images said. The grant is for videographers and visual artists who feature local stories and document “underrepresented communities around the world.” Read more and see photos »

Mulatu Astatke Live at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016


Mulatu Astatke returned to New York City for a live show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 9th, 2016. The concert, which was part of the MetLiveArts program, was presented in collaboration with the World Music Institute. “Known as the father of Ethio-jazz, composer and multi-instrumentalist (vibraphone, piano, keyboard, organs, and percussion) Mulatu Astatke leaped to international fame in the ’70s and ’80s with his unique mix of Western traditional Ethiopian music and admirers like Duke Ellington and John Coltrane,” stated the announcement from The Met. “Known for his fearless experimentation, his music begins and ends with improvisation.”

Poet & Author Lemn Sissay Featured at Tadias Salon Series event in NYC on August 9th, 2016

Photos by Anastasia Kirtiklis for Tadias

Thank you again to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 for a sold out Tadias Salon Series show at Ginny’s Supper Club as Lemn Sissay shared his incredible life journey & poems from his new book Gold From the Stone, and Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna (@waynamusic) gave a soul-shaking music performance, along with DJ Mengie. Special thanks to Marcus Samuelsson and Ethiopia Alfred as well as our sponsors for making it happen.

Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Phenomenal Show in Harlem

Ethiopian Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa at Ginny’s Supper Club in New York on Sunday, November 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

This year the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York featured a special Ethiopia-inspired dinner menu prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson followed by a live performance by classical Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa. Girma’s amazing concert on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 included his original compositions that evoke “Ethiopian melody making,” as he told the audience, “decorated” with sounds of the classical music tradition in combination with Ambassel, Bati, Anchihoye and Tizita based on Ethiopian music’s unique tone scale system. Read more and watch video »

LA’s Azla Vegan Family Ethiopian Restaurant Featured on U.S. National Food Network TV Show

(Photo: Owners of Azla Vegan Nesanet Teshager Abegaze and her mother Azla Mekonen at Coachella Festival in Los Angeles, California)

Los Angeles, California, which is home to the only official Little-Ethiopia neighborhood in America, is also headquarters for Azla Vegan, a family-owned Ethiopian restaurant — located near the University of Southern California (USC) — that we featured in 2013 in an interview with owner Nesanet Teshager Abegaze as it first opened. This year, Azla Vegan was featured on the Food Network‘s television episode of “Cosmopolitan Comfort: Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia-inspired furniture at 2016 International Dubai Design Week

(Photo: Jomo Design Furniture, Actuel Urban Living)

Ethiopia-inspired furniture by U.S.-based Jomo Tariku, Founder of Jomo Design Furniture and Hamere Demissie of Actuel Urban Living was featured at the 2016 international Dubai Design Week festival in October. Jomo and Hamere’s works were selected as submissions from design weeks around the world including Design Week Addis Ababa, highlighting “the modern-inspired minimalist spirit of traditional Ethiopian design made locally by skilled artisans.” Hamere Demissie’s Actuel Urban Living previewed “a collection of furniture, rugs and textiles with a refined organic feel, while Jomo Design Furniture will display a contemporary take on traditional African chairs crafted in hardwoods, inspired by African hand carvings, baskets and traditional woven textiles,” according to the media release from Dubai Design Week.

Ethiopian American Reporter Bofta Yimam Named Weekend Morning Anchor at Action News 4 Pittsburgh

Ethiopian American journalist Bofta Yimam was promoted as Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television in 2016.

Congratulations to Bofta Yimam who was promoted to Weekend Morning Anchor at Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 Television (WTAE) this year. Bofta received three Emmy nominations and won the Regional Emmy Award (Nashville/Mid-South Chapter) for excellence in the ‘Continuing Coverage’ category in 2013. “There are so many avenues of journalism that you have to put yourself out there, and have a kind of go-for-it type of mentality,” Bofta shared in a past interview with Tadias. “You gotta get the skill sets and be willing to hit the ground running.” Read more and watch video »

Ethiopia-Italy Film “If Only I Were That Warrior” Released on DVD

(Image courtesy of Awen Films)

The new documentary film If Only I Were That Warrior — which chronicles the reactions of the international Ethiopian and Italian community regarding the recent building of a memorial for the Fascist General, Rodolfo Graziani (“The Butcher of Ethiopia”) in his hometown of Affile, Italy — has finally been released on DVD and is also now available for streaming online. Read more »

Alegntaye: Ethiopian Hip-Hop Artist Teddy Yo Featured in New Africology Video

(Teddy Yo 2016 new music video ‘Alegntaye’ produced by Africology)

NYC-based music & entertainment company Africology this year released their first music video production entitled “Alegntaye” featuring popular Ethiopian hip-hop artist Teddy Yo and Joe Lox.

Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Ethiopia

Julie Mehretu. (Photo by Joseph Maida)

Renowned Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu returned to Ethiopia this Summer for her inaugural show at The Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Addis Ababa. The exhibition entitled Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show — which was jointly presented by the Gebre Kristos Desta Center and the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa — was opened on July 8, 2016 and remained on display through August 6, 2016.

Celebrity chef and Author Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster book Offers a Taste of Multicultural Harlem

‘The Red Rooster Cookbook’ (2016) by Marcus Samuelsson pays homage to modern Harlem. (Photo: Book cover)

“When chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, he envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. Named after a historic neighborhood speakeasy, the modern Rooster reflects all of that, from the local art showcased on its walls, to the live music blaring from its performance spaces, to the cross-cultural food on its patrons’ plates and the evocative cocktails in their hands.” Read The Times review at »

Ethio-American Playwright Antu Yacob’s One Person Show ‘In the Gray’

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

What does it mean to be Ethiopian American? The answer depends on who you ask, but for Playwright Antu Yacob — whose parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was barely five years old — the identity is not as clear-cut. In the Gray is the title of Antu’s latest one-person show, which explored precisely this question when it was staged in New York City as part of the Women in Theatre Festival by Project Y Theatre in Manhattan this past summer. “In the Gray” features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota. “I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview following her show. As a playwright Antu says she tries “to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” Read more and see photos »

Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

The film ‘Hairat,” which documents one man’s nightly ritual near Ethiopia’s historic city of Harar, is directed by Jessica Beshir. (Courtesy photo)

Last but not least, a big thumbs-up to Director Jessica Beshir whose documentary short film Hairat from Ethiopia was selected this year to be featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. “This is a visual and lyrical exploration of the nightly ritual between a man in Eastern Ethiopia and his feral companions,” the Sundance Institute wrote describing Hairat in a press release. In the film Director Jessica Beshir, who was born in Mexico City and raised in Ethiopia, “returns to the city of her childhood to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.” Jessica’s short film is one of 68 works from around the world that will be screened at Sundance from January 19th through 29th, 2017. Read more »

Ethiopia: 2016 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2015
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014
Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
Top 10 Stories of 2013

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Photos: Imperial Exile Book Event at Tsion & Wayna at Rockwood Music Hall

Keith Bowers autographs his book "Imperial Exile" at Tsion in Harlem on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 29th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Earlier this week at Tsion Cafe in Harlem former BBC executive producer Keith Bowers held a book talk and signing featuring his new book Imperial Exile, which has just been published in the United States by Tsehai Publishers, highlighting Emperor Haile Selassie’s refugee years in Bath, England from 1936 to 1940.

Keith Bowers, author of Imperial Exile, making a book presentation at Tsion Cafe in Harlem on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

Imperial Exile book event at Tsion in Harlem on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

At Tsion in Harlem on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias)

See more photos from this event held on Tuesday, September 27th on our Faceboook page at

Wayna Performs at Rockwood Music Hall

Wayna live at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Saturday, September 24th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias Mag)

Last week the Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna was back in New York City where she gave another memorable performance at Rockwood Music Hall as part of a special live showcase of “An Acoustic Gold Evening” presented by NYCROPHONE.

In addition to her show at Rockwood Music Hall “Wayna has performed across the US and abroad – including shows at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Essence Fest, the White House, the Blue Note and Blues Alley,” the media release states. “In 2015, she joined the iconic Stevie Wonder as a supporting vocalist and soloist in his live band, touring extensively with the Songs In the Key of Life Tour and in various performances throughout the US and Canada.”

Wayna at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Saturday, September 24th, 2016. (Photo: Tadias Mag)

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Imperial Exile: New Book Shines Light on Haile Selassie’s Refugee Years

New book, Imperial Exile, chronicles the refugee years of former Emperor Haile Selassie in Bath, England during the Second World War. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 15th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Here comes a captivating publication shining a spotlight on the previously unexplored period of the public life of Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie during his years as a refugee in Bath, England from 1936 to 1940. The book entitled Imperial Exile by Keith Bowers, a former executive producer for the BBC, will be released in the U.S. this month by Tsehai Publishers. “With the plight of refugees constantly in the news” this profile “is as timely as it is intriguing,” states the press release.

“Emperor Haile Selassie was forced to flee Ethiopia to escape the invading armies of the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini,” Tsehai Publishers notes. “Imperial Exile reveals the full depth of the debilitating struggles that all exiles face. It tells the story of how the emperor is nearly crushed by a myriad of financial, political and personal pressures before a sudden twist of good fortune intervenes. The book is packed with beguiling eyewitness anecdotes, supported by a range of rare and fascinating photographs of both Britain and Ethiopia.”

In his endorsement of the book historian Richard Pankhurst states: “The important period of the Emperor’s exile in Bath has not received much attention. This thoroughly researched book fills the gap.” Scholar Ian Campbell, author of The Plot to Kill Graziani, adds: “it is a must-read for anyone interested in the modern history of Ethiopia.” And British political commentator and writer Jonathan Dimbleby argues that the book “adds substantially to the story of this important and fascinating world figure.”

A book release is scheduled in Washington D.C. on September 22nd at the Library of Congress hosted by Tsehai Publishers with author Keith Bowers in attendance.

On his website Bowers shares: “I love both Bath and Ethiopia, places which are at the heart of Imperial Exile. I have lived in Bath since 2013 and enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the city on my bike as well as the exquisite surrounding countryside. My first trip to Ethiopia was in 2001 and I was instantly entranced by the country’s history, culture, music and cuisine. Before that I worked for the BBC for 20 years and started the Correspondent international TV programme.”

If You Go:
Book release events for Imperial Exile

Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 (12 noon-1pm)
Venue: The African & Middle Eastern Reading Room at the Library of Congress
Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

Date: Saturday, September 24th (3:00pm)
Venue: The Arta Ale restaurant
Address: 2310 Price Avenue
Silver Spring, MD

You can learn more and purchase the book at

New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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

Lemn Sissay at Ginny’s in New York on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016. (Photo: Anastasia Kirtiklis for Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Our latest Tadias Salon Series, held in NYC on Tuesday, August 9th, featured a sold-out live show with renowned British-born Ethiopian poet and author Lemn Sissay at Marcus Samuelsson’s Ginny’s Supper Club/Red Rooster Harlem. The dinner and entertainment program included a musical performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter Wayna as well as an eclectic collection of Ethiopian music by DJ Mengie.

Special thanks goes to our sponsors Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) and ECMAA, as well as our partners Ginny’s Supper Club, Ms. Ethiopia Alfred and Massinko Entertainment.

Below are photos from the event:

Tadias Salon Series: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City

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Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing

Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), speaking at the White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, June 17th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — On June 8th, 2016 the White House Office of Public Engagement convened its first Ethiopian American Policy Briefing where leaders representing a diverse sector of the community — including non-profits, small business ventures, young professionals organizations, faith-based groups and academia members — attended and participated in the historical gathering. Tadias Magazine was honored to attend the briefing.

Hosted by senior administration officials Daniel Yohannes, U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, and Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the briefing was organized by Henock Dory of the White House Office of Public Engagement with panels moderated by Dr. Menna Demissie, Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The briefing focused primarily on the Obama Administration’s domestic policy priorities through panel discussions presented by Administration experts featuring White House initiatives in education, healthcare, criminal justice reform, small business policy and civic engagement.

The purpose of the event was to brief leaders from the growing Ethiopian American community – students, faith leaders, young professionals, and business leaders – on Administration priorities, while also offering a forum for White House officials to hear directly from the community on issues facing Ethiopian Americans in United States.

Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and former CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation gave the opening remarks encouraging greater civic engagement among the Ethiopian American community.

“While I’m very proud of my heritage, history, culture, and tradition of Ethiopia, I am equally proud of the unmatched opportunity that this country, the country that I chose, has provided to me,” Ambassador Yohannes shared. “America’s melting pot is the recipe for success, and as daughters and sons of Ethiopia born there, or the first, second and third generation born here we’re a part of that mix. I stand before you precisely because I’ve been where you are today. I can tell you first-hand that what we make of our immigrant experience is up to us. So I encourage you to get informed, get educated, and get involved.”

Ambassador Yohannes summed up his key message of getting informed by stating: “Whether we teach ourselves something new on our own, or attend this country’s best schools, never stop learning. Education is key.” He also called for civic engagement at the local, state, and national levels and emphasized that “we should not stay on the sidelines, insulated or isolated. Rather we must help the community we call home, contributing our talents whether it’s in our schools or communities.”

Henock Dory of the White House Office of Public Engagement. (Photo: Tsehai Publishers)

Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff of the White House of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. (Photo: Tsehai Publishers)

The White House Office of Public Engagement shared helpful resources for further engagement opportunities during the briefing including information on the Reach Higher Initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, Health Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, and the Minority Business Development Agency.

Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Yohannes Abraham, gave the closing remarks and encouraged the continuation of this dialogue in the wider Ethiopian American community.

White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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Temsalet: 64 Profiles of Ethiopian Women Role Models — NYC Book Launch April 16

The NYC book launch & presentation for Temsalet takes place on Saturday, April 16th. (Click here to RSVP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Today “nearly 65 percent of Ethiopians are young people under the age of 25; the future of Ethiopia is in their hands,” states the introduction to Temsalet, an intimate photo journal compilation of 64 women who may serve as role models for the country’s vast, diverse and resourceful millennial generation. “About half, or nearly 30 million, of those young Ethiopians are girls who will share their country and their future with the young boys they are growing up with.”

The women featured in the book range in age from their 20s to 90s, and include many firsts in their professions including the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines, the country’s first female neurologist, first female professor with full rank, first female Olympic marathon gold medalist, first Ethiopian woman to have a solo art exhibition, and Ethiopia’s first female construction crane operator.

Edited and compiled by Mary-Jane Wagle with photography by Aida Muluneh, Temsalet is a project of the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Association and is published by Tsehai Publishers of Los Angeles, California.

“We started writing this book because we want Ethiopian girls and young women to know that there are phenomenal women,” Saba Gebremedhin, Executive director of NEWA, and Mary-Jane Wagle, the book’s Compiler and Editor, co-wrote in the introduction. “We want them to be able to imagine how they can realize their dreams by reading the stories of some of these women. We hope the women in this book will be Temsalet - role models – for them.”

Join us on Saturday, April 16th for the New York book launch & presentation featuring Temsalet. The editor, Mary-Jane Wagle, will be present to give a book talk followed by a book-signing, and Elias Wondimu will present Tsehai Publishers — one of the only remaining independent academic presses in the United States dedicated to African literature and Pan-African voices.

This event is brought to you as part of the Tadias Salon Series and co-hosted by Tadias Magazine, Tsehai Publishers and Loyola Marymount University.

If You Go:
(Click here to RSVP)
Tickets: $17 online, $20 at the door. Kids free.
WHEN: Saturday, April 16, 2016
From 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
WHERE: Schomburg Center in Harlem
515 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037

(Ethiopian hors d’oeuvres & wine will be served)

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Tribute to Ethiopia Scholar Don Levine: Reflections & Photos

Prof. Donald N. Levine signing his book at Tsehai Publishers journal launching ceremony in Los Angeles -- November 27, 2006 at Ramada Hotel / Culver City. (Photograph courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, April 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Professor Donald N. Levine, who passed away on Saturday, April 4th at the age of 83, is being remembered by his friends in Ethiopia and the Diaspora as a beloved Ethiopianist, educator, sociological theorist, author, collaborator, advocate, mentor, sensei and friend.

In addition to his well-known credentials as a respected scholar of Ethiopian studies, Levine was also an Aikido sensei and the co-founder of the first Aikido dojo in Awasa, Ethiopia.

Below are reflections and photos sent to us from Don Levine’s friends and colleagues in the U.S. and Ethiopia. Feel free to send us your own reflections at We’ll keep this page updated.

From Tesfaye Tekelu
Aikido Ethiopia & Awasa Youth Campus

“Don was a mentor, a teacher, a sensei and in many ways a father figure to me. I have known him for more than 12 years and he has taught me, trained me, supported me like a father would a son. He was the architect of our project. He helped me found Aikido Ethiopia and the Awasa Youth Campus (Action for Youth & Community) and supported and guided us until the last day of his life. He loved our country and the people, and he was talking about Ethiopia days before he passed away. We will cherish his work and continue working on what we started in our country. Rest in peace, Ethiopiawiwu ye Selam Arbegna.”

From Dag Andargachew
Washington, D.C.

Dag Andargachew and Don Levine. (Courtesy photo)

I’ve known Don’s work for many years and had the pleasure of meeting him 15 years ago when he was in the Bay Area for a meeting. We kept in touch since then and got to hang out again in 2003 when he came back to California to visit an Ethiopian that was imprisoned. Afterwards we went to Yoga Mandala in Berkeley for their 1st anniversary yoga session which was my first ever yoga class!! After that day I was a regular student at that studio till I left the Bay Area and have been hooked on yoga ever since! Thank you Don!!!!

Fast forward a few years and I was living in Addis for a couple of years and had the honor to help Don with administrative staff – organizing meetings, meet and greet events etc. when he came to Ethiopia in Jan 2008, to meet with human rights activists & leaders as well as recently released journalists. I also had the privilege to organize a meeting for him with Gash Mesfin (Prof. Mesfin), who had also been recently released from prison. It was an awesome opportunity for me to sit amongst these two giants and listen-in to their conversation, debate and old stories.

I have driven with Gash Liben to Awasa to check out AYC’s overall progress as well as the setup of the dojo and saw him in action in his beloved Aikido.

It was a pleasure to be around Don and to see him interact with ease with the young, not so young, important officials/diplomats and not so important people attentively and with respect!

Interestingly I found out that my Dad was an undergrad student at AAU when Don first came to Ethiopia and was one of the people that taught him Amharic. I’m glad they got to hang out after so many years in Chicago when my Dad was visiting, and again in Addis when Don visited last.

Don is a true sensei in the whole sense of the word!!

From Mel Tewahade
Denver, Colorado

Don Levine (second from right) with Menze family in Amhara region of Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

I am blessed to have known Dr. Don N. Levine. The God that created heaven and earth is pleased in this Easter day, to receive his servant and our friend into his kingdom. May his writing and teaching touch many lives forever and ever. He has willingly accepted and loved being Ethiopian. He dedicated 55 years of his life studying, writing, teaching, advocating and praying for Ethiopia and Ethiopians. He encouraged all of us to dig deeper into the spirit of Menze and Shoa. He also showed us to live our lives with abundance. He reminded me that Queen of Sheba took gold and incense when she visited King Solomon in Jerusalem. He motivated us to develop our skill of negotiation that our ancestors had once mastered. He showed us how to express what we want with class and dignity using what our ancestors called Wax and Gold. He wanted to show Ethiopians not to be ashamed of our history and heritage. For that alone I am eternally grateful. Gashe Liben, as he is called by his Ethiopian name, We will continue your work and be true to ourselves. May you rest in peace.

From Elias Wondimu, Founder of TSEHAI Publishers
Los Angeles, California

(Courtesy of Tsehai Publishers)

I was blessed enough to work with Gash Liben on several initiatives. To mention a few, he was an editorial advisor and author of TSEHAI Publishers, editorial board member and regular contributor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, and a founding board member and senior scholar of the Ethiopian Institute for Nonviolence Education and Peace Studies, but most of all he was one of the few people who took time to answer any questions that I may have. For me, I lost a mentor, a major supporter, and a collaborator on all of my projects, and an author extraordinaire that I had the privilege of publishing his very last book (Interpreting Ethiopia) among other writings and his classic book: Wax and Gold.

The reaction of our people from across international borders is not due to one or few of his successful writings, but it is due to his life-long engagement with Ethiopia and his advocacy to her citizens’ dignity wherever they might be. What we lost today is not only an acclaimed scholar, but a dear friend of our people and a citizen of the world who cares deeply for its future.

From Professor Ayele Bekerie
Mekele, Ethiopia

Professor Donald Levine, the Ethiopianist Insider Remembered

It was June 2004 and the Honorary Doctorate recipients for the 2004 Addis Ababa University Commencement were assembled in the Office of the University’s President prior to our march to Genet Hall of the Sidist Kilo Campus where the Commencement ceremony took place. Among the recipients were Professor Donald Levine, the Late Professor Ali Mazrui and Professor Ephrem Isaac. I accompanied Professor Ali Mazrui to the event from the US. As we passed the Ras Mekonen Hall, Professor Levine looked up the door of the Hall and excitedly pointed the motto of the University posted at the top. He asked us if we know the meaning of the motto written in Ge’ez.

Kulu Amekeru Wezesenaye Atsneu,” Professor Levine read the motto loud. He then quickly shared with us the meaning as if to free us from the instant question he posed to us. The motto, which translates to “Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good,” was known to Professor Levine since his time as a Professor in the then Haile Selassie I University over fifty years ago. The motto became part of our conversation as we marched to Genet Hall. This anecdote typifies the nature and personality of Professor Levine and his extraordinary immersion into Ethiopian history, culture and society.

Professor Levine has always maintained an insider view, that is, he studied the language, assumed the position of being empathic with the culture and looked at the history and culture of the people Ethiopia from the inside out. Professor Levine was so intimate with the field of Ethiopian Studies that he was able to produce, as most agree, two outstanding and classical books on aspects of Ethiopian culture and society: Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (1967) and Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of Multiethnic Society (1974).

While Wax and Gold demonstrates the extent and depth of Professor Levine’s understanding of the nuances and complexities in Amharic language and the people who speak it, Greater Ethiopia expanded his scholarly reach within Ethiopian Studies and he ably argued in favor of Ethiopian multiethnic identity. These two books are by far widely quoted and referenced works in the field of Ethiopian Studies. Of course, Professor Levine wrote 5 books and a hundred journal articles. He successfully conducted scholarly works in Social Theory, Ethiopian Studies and the Martial Arts.

Professor Levine to many Ethiopians at home and abroad is known as Gashe Liben. This is an earned name. He earned the most gracious and affectionate title as a result of his remarkable accessibility to Ethiopians and their organizations, be it in social, cultural, educational and political settings. Gashe Liben prefaced many books authored by Ethiopian or Ethiopianist scholars. He contributed a great deal of articles for various journals in Ethiopian Studies. He organized international conferences and gave many media interviews. Gashe Liben helped several Ethiopians with their immigration cases.

More importantly, he always offered his advice, critical but balanced, with regard to current issues of Ethiopia. He always cautioned fellow Ethiopians to seize the moment and get engaged with the modernization of Ethiopia informed by tradition. He urged us to stop missing opportunities.

To me, Professor Levine’s seminal contribution in the field of Ethiopian Studies was his definition and articulation of what he calls the Ethiopian national epic. The professor argued that Kebre Negest is a national epic or mythology. A people with national epic, according to him, are a people with deep-rooted identity. A people confident of their identity are capable and willing to defend it. True, the mythology has to be expanded and should include the multiple mythologies of our people. But as a tribute to Professor Levine, we should all agree that our multiethnic identity is founded on a great epic of a great people.

From Kidist Tariku, Coordinator of Ethiopia’s Long Live the Girls program
Hawassa, Ethiopia

We are very sad to lose such a loving and intelligent man. His name and work always remains in our organization’s history. He is our founder; he will always be respected and loved for what he did for our community. May his soul rest in peace.

Long Live the Girls is a girls’ empowerment program through creative writing initiative founded in 2012 through a partnership between Action for Youth & Community Change & Break Arts: International Arts & Education Collaborative. Using creative writing to spark the imagination and see the world as if it could be otherwise, our model for engagement is unique — we create safe spaces for girls and women to speak and write with freedom, often using both political and poetic documents as the springboard for conversation, writing & performance.

From Dr. Theodore M. Vestal
Professor Emeritus, Oklahoma State University

Ted Vestal. (Courtesy photo)

A Tribute to Professor Donald Levine

Ethiopia lost a stalwart friend, scholar and benefactor of the common good with the death of Professor Donald Levine this week in Chicago. His books about Ethiopia, especially Wax and Gold and Greater Ethiopia, are classical studies of the society, history, and culture of the Land of Prester John that so fascinated him. His many articles and public addresses about Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa leave a profound legacy for Ethiopians to ponder in the years to come. His thoughts about Ethiopia and prescriptions for its future were informed by his life as superbly trained American academic and public intellectual.

Don came to Chicago fresh out of high school and took advantage of the University of Chicago’s accelerated degree program begun during the university’s presidency of Robert Hutchins. In a seven year span from 1950 through 1957, he completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology and went to Ethiopia to undertake field work. He resided in a rural Manz, an Amhara area and learned firsthand about the people and their ways. He studied Amharic and could converse with the subjects of his research. He then became a professor at Haile Selassie I University where he was teaching during the attempted coup in 1960. Levine joined the faculty at his alma mater, the University of Chicago, in 1962 and rose through the academic ranks to become Professor of Sociology and holder of the endowed Peter B. Ritzma chair. He also served as Dean of the College in the 1980s.

Levine’s teaching, speaking, and writing about Ethiopia reflected his grounding in the Chicago method of higher education characterized by independent thought and criticism that is created in the interest of the progress of society. In his continuing dialogue with and about Ethiopia, Don was open-minded and welcomed different points of view. In the process of doing this, he extended the bounds of understanding and wisdom about that ancient land. He epitomized the great professor of cultural studies: one who lived and worked among the people, took part in their festivals and celebrations, learned the language, and studied the literature and great books of their tradition. This “Dean of Ethiopianists” as I fondly called him, set a high bar for those who aspire to study and understand Ethiopia.

I met Don for the first time when we served as international election observers in Addis Ababa during the 1992 general elections. As a two-man team, among other things, we visited several precincts and noted some concerns about electoral activities that were included in the African-American Institute’s An Evaluation of the June 21, 1992 Elections in Ethiopia. We subsequently met in Ethiopian-related meetings all over the world, and he was a pleasure to be with. His devotion to searching for the truth about Ethiopia was inspirational. He will be missed.

From Chuck Schaefer
Valparaiso University, Indiana

(Courtesy photo)

Don Levine will be genuinely missed. He had a profound influence on Ethiopian studies. As his grad student, mention of his name open doors for me in Ethiopia even in the dark days of the Derg in the mid 1980s. Deans and/or Vice Ministers may not have always agreed with Don’s “greater Ethiopia” thesis, but they knew it and respected the deep sociological analysis that was at its core.

He was the father of American Ethiopianists. His rapacious appetite for all things involving Ethiopia meant that he served on dissertation committees of sociologists (of course), anthropologists, religious scholars, historians (including myself), linguists, political scientists and probably in a number of other disciplines both here and in Great Britain. To a degree he defined the Ethiopian character in the waining years of the Imperial era, and his “wax & gold” dichotomy ensured that all subsequent scholars had to reckon with Ethiopians as complex, conniving, compassionate peasants and peers alike.

Perhaps Don’s most enduring contribution was his deep understanding of social mobility up and down Ethiopia’s feudal ladder. This made writing a dissertation that would pass his inspection a difficult task, for the normal tropes like social classes had to bend and mend themselves to the realities of Ethiopia’s multiple paths to upward and, simultaneous, downward mobility. Even simple translation had to either be thrown out or appropriately nuanced. For Don, western univocal translation of texts was like paring down a Rembrandt painting to a charcoal sketch, for he was transfixed by the ambiguity inherent in Amharic, its texture, rich meanings and multiple depths of interpretation.

I dropped by Don’s house to discuss an issue related to the 1960 coup d’etat this past summer while Don and Andrew DeCort were editing proofs of “Interpreting Ethiopia.” To the last he was a scholar and a teacher.

I will miss him.

From Ashenaphy Fentie
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ashenaphy Fentie. (Google Profile)

Donal N. Levine, a distinguished and great Ethiopianist of all time just passed away at the age of 83. He published important works such as, “Greater Ethiopia”, “Wax and Gold” and “Translating Ethiopia”. GREATER ETHIOPIA is his iconic book that I suggest as a must-read by every Ethiopian. As far as impartiality, evident history and the common past of the Horn are the concerns, I personally do not know any other single writer, both from Ethiopia and abroad that can be credited like Levine. He was much more patriotic to Ethiopia than even those Ethiopians, who think they are historians.

Those of you, who are not familiar with Levine and his works, please, read “Greater Ethiopia” and some of his journals on Ethiopian Studies, then you will find out for yourselves who this man really was. He actually was one of the very reasons that brought me into the study of history. I’m so so inspired by him, and very sad we lost him so soon. Regarding the history of Ethiopia and the Horn in general, I believe, no other single writer has ever taken us as far as Levine already did. His sociological studies of the Horn conducted in the late 1960s and his related conclusive theory of the study were incredibly proven to be accurate 40 years later, by the young and contemporary science of Population Genetics.

Rest in peace, our hero Donald Nathan Levine. Thank you for your irreplaceable and immortal contributions in the history and sociology of our beloved Ethiopia.

From Mulugeta Wodajo
Bethesda, Maryland

I had known Don for close to 60 years when we were both graduate students at Chicago and Columbia University, respectively. His two books on Ethiopia, Wax and Gold and Greater Ethiopia have been considered “must read” classics about our country’s society, history and culture ever since they were first published in the 1960s and ‘80s, respectively. He had recently completed another book for publication also on Ethiopia. He had shown me the finished manuscript of that book less than a year ago; hopefully it will see the light of day very soon. Additionally, he had previously published three major books and numerous articles in professional journals in his field of expertise, social anthropology, that were highly valued by experts in that field. He was a highly regarded professor of sociology at Chicago University until his retirement a few years ago and continued to do so from time to time, even after his retirement..

While doing field work for his first book, Wax and Gold, in Menz in the late 1950’s, he took on the name “Liben”, after a close Menzie friend he got to know well during his field work. Many of his Ethiopian friends, including myself, used to call him by that name until the very end. That pleased him a great deal as one could see from his reaction when called by that name. More recently, he also adopted the name of “Gebre Ethiopia” as he considered himself a genuine servant of our country.

I will greatly miss Don. He was one of the few friends left from those bygone years. He has now joined the great Ethiopian scholars – Ethiopian as well as foreigners – gone forever from our midst. May he rest in peace!

From Alemayehu Fentaw Weldemariam
Boston, Massachusetts

From right: Don, Alex and Hans. (Courtesy photo)

In memoriam: Donald Nathan Levine, 1931-2015

I have known Donald Levine at close range. He was a great friend, spiritual father, and mentor. I would have called him “an intellectual soulmate,” as he has referred to me in a note he wrote on his last book, Social Theory As Vocation (2015). To give you a sense of his generosity, when he learnt that I ended up jobless and without a means to support myself and my family in Addis Ababa after my return from Europe as a result of Jimma University’s decision to dismiss me from my teaching job in absentia, he extended his helping hand. He sent me money and books on several occasions whenever he finds people traveling to Addis Ababa. He was a frequent interlocutor from a distance and we used to exchange tones of emails between Addis Ababa where I was living and Chicago where he was based. Then I came to the US upon his invitation in October 2011. I audited one of his seminar courses on George Simmel at the University of Chicago, practiced aikido on the matt under him at the University of Chicago Dojo, arranged for me to audit Nathan Tarcov’s seminar course on Leo Strauss at the Committee on Social Thought, and generously vetted me to be part of one of the panels in the International Conference on George Simmel in 2011. It was also a great honor and pleasure to have helped him with two of his last books, Interpreting Ethiopia and Social Theory As Vocation, in which he has generously acknowledged my assistance.

Levine was a keen student of Ethiopian civilization for over half a century. His initial scholarly encounter with Ethiopia dates back to 1958 when he, as a young postdoctoral fellow, started his ethnographic work living among the “extraordinarily handsome people in a setting of great natural beauty and [an] [idyllic] climate” of North Shoa, Ethiopia, which “offers a gate through time to a state of being that is richly medieval.” (1965). That ethnographic fieldwork resulted in his Ethiopian classic Wax & Gold (1965). In the realm of Ethiopian studies, he is also most famous for his magisterial book Greater Ethiopia (1974), which has long been considered a major contribution to understanding the phenomena of ethnic diversity and national unity in Ethiopia. Shortly before his death, he managed to put together a collection of essays on Ethiopia, Interpreting Ethiopia (2014), in which he offers his observations on the ethos and worldview, education and literature, history, politics, and cross-national connections of the cultural area that he calls Greater Ethiopia. Levine’s oeuvre is the outcome of a serious scholarly odyssey through Ethiopian civilization over space and time. He has travelled extensively through every quarter of the cultural area that he fondly calls “Greater Ethiopia” –from Massawa to Jimma, from Addis to Aksum. His intellectual odyssey pushed the frontiers of Ethiopian Studies, extending the reach of his research from the culture of the Amhara, in Wax & Gold, to that of a multiethnic society, in Greater Ethiopia, from Aksum As a Seedbed Society to Reconsidering Ethiopian Nationhood, as necessitated by the advent of the internet and immigration.

In explaining what provided the bond that has continued to link him with Ethiopian over the years, he went on record, in one of his personal communication with me, saying: “the greatest thing in life is “aimless camaraderie,” as Frank H. Knight called it. Much of what has bonded me to Ethiopians over the years has been the joy of aimless camaraderie in their company.” Those of us who had the privilege to meet him in Chicago or Addis know what he means by the joy of the interaction in aimless camaraderie with fellow Ethiopians.

Besides his scholarly engagement with Ethiopia, Levine was also an activist. His more activistic engagement dates back to his critical 1961 article on Haile Sellassie’s authoritarianism, which cost him his teaching job at the Haile Selassie I University. He was an ardent advocate of freedom in Ethiopia. More often than not, he voiced his concerns for academic freedom, free press, free association, free and fair elections, and loyal opposition in Ethiopia. It was in the spirit of public service that he gave a testimony before the U.S. Congress on the human rights abuses of the Dergue in 1976, engaged himself in a critical analysis of the Addis Ababa University fiasco in 1993, gave a spirited acceptance speech in defense of academic freedom at the award of an honorary doctorate from Addis Ababa University in 2004, where he emphasied the traditional mission of AAU as a university by reciting the Geez motto: “Kulu Amekeru Wezesenaye Atsneu” (Examine everything, and hold fast to what is best). Indeed, the dialogic turn that he brought to bear upon sociology and Ethiopian studies has also oriented his activistic engagement. It has been his lifelong wish and prayer for Ethiopians of all generation and walks of life to transcend the limitations inherent in their cultures soda as to dissolve the either/or metazez wey meshefet (“obey or rebel”) mentality through dialogue.

In both his scholarly and activistic odysseys, what always strikes me as quite distinctive of Levine is the strength of his character. He was as much courageous in his scholarship as much as he was in his activism. In his activism, he never succumbed to fears of retribution. He criticized the incumbent as well as the opposition in an even-handed manner. In his scholarly pursuits, he refused to succumb to political correctness, which he once described to me in a personal communication as: “Political correctness is the hobgoblin of little minds. That’s the kind of statement that corrupts the search for truth, IMHO. The Janjero who committed human sacrifice can be glossed as culturally inferior to the Dorzes who created polyphonic music and beautiful weavings as central expressions of their cultures.”

Donald Levine is a towering figure in Chicago sociology and social thought in the same league as Robert Park, George Mead, Albion Small, John Dewey, Edward Shils, and Arnaldo Momigliano. Hi sociological oeuvre includes critical interpretations of Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton, S.N. Eisenstadt, and above all Georg Simmel. In the realm of social theory, his work focused on bringing into fruitful dialogue, if not reunifying the sociological traditions and imaginations, in a book venture that he titles Visions of the Sociological Tradition (1995). One evening during my visit at the University of Chicago in November 2011, as we were walking to his home where he generously hosted me for the first week, he started telling me how sociology used to be as big as Humpty Dumpty and how it had a terribly great fall in the 1960s. And after Humpty Dumpty had that fateful fall and it broke into pieces, all sociologists and social theorists that came “couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.” That was exactly what he wanted to do with his magisterial book Visions of the Sociological Tradition in which he wrote, “For most of its first century as an institutionalized discipline, the proponents of sociology envisioned it as a unified field. The vision was elusive and consensus hard to come by. Yet for all their profound differences about what sociology should be and do, its principal spokesmen —figures like Durkheim, Simmel, Weber, Park, and Parsons—agreed that sociology should be framed as a coherent enterprise demarcated by clear and defensible boundaries. The narratives constructed by Park and Burgess, Sorokin, Parsons, and others were part of the more general effort to justify’ such a unified vision.”(259)

In his Festschrift, Hans Joas and Charles Camic extol Levine’s achievements in the field of social theory as follows:

the idea that dialogue among different intellectual perspectives is a paramount cognitive and ethical objective in its own right, particularly in the context of the current postdisciplinary age—receives its fullest development at the hands of University of Chicago sociologist Donald N. Levine, whose extensive writings on the subject provide the point of departure for the twelve essays in this volume. As a distinguished theorist and historian of sociological thought, Donald Levine has been closely familiar with these pluralist currents within sociology throughout his career….

Donald Levine, sociologist and former dean of the College, 1931-2015 (UChicago News)‎
Friend of Ethiopia Don Levine Passed Away

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Conference of Diaspora Ethiopian Women Focuses on Elections & Civil Society

At last year's International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora. (Photo: by Kebadu Belachew)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — How do you hold elections without the role of civil society? That’s the primary question, organizers say, that panelists will try to answer at the 4th Annual International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora when they gather this coming weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The conference hosted by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) will be held on March 7th at the Silver Spring Sheraton. The day-long program includes discussions focusing on the impact of Ethiopia’s Societies and Charities Law, which severely restricts the activities of nongovernmental organizations, including women’s associations.

“Because of this Law, these organizations are not likely to have any impact in the upcoming 2015 elections,” CREW said in a statement. “The conference will create an enabling environment for networking among participants to challenge the Society and Charities Law and advocate for the respect of basic human rights, women’s right and the rule of law in the country.”

Guest speakers include Dr. Tsehai Berhane-Selassie, Mr. Kassahun Yibeltal, Dr. Melakou Tegegn, Dr. Erku Yimer, Ms. Soliyana G. Michael, and Mr. Obang Metho.

In addition, CREW said, their event features the screening of Hayal Hayl, a documentary film by Elias Wondimu of Tsehai Publishers, which looks at non-violent movements that brought about fundamental social changes in the 20th century.

If You Go:
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Registration starts at 9:00 AM
Silver Spring Sheraton
8777 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland

Photos: 3rd International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora

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

Musician Kibrom Birhane. (Photograph courtesy Tsehai Records)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 16th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Watch: Zelesegna : ዘለሰኛ/ by Kibrom Birhane

Watch: Kibrom Birhane – Broken But Beautiful

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

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Haile Selassie’s Africa: A Legacy Ignored by a Generation

(Photo: Courtesy Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
Book Talk

Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — In a new book by Dr. Belete Belacehw Yihun, entitled Black Ethiopia published by Tsehai Publishers, the diplomatic history of Ethiopia and the legacy of Haile Selassie is revisited with the scales of history rebalanced to show more sides of the embattled leader. According to Dr. Christopher Clapham at the Centre of African Studies at Cambridge University, “This book tells the remarkable story of how Ethiopia seized the diplomatic leadership of Africa.” While many historical materials on Haile Selassie’s diplomatic efforts remain inaccessible to the general public, Belete’s book is among the few compiled resources on Ethiopian diplomacy in modern Ethiopia, which studies the time period between 1956 and 1991 as Ethiopia took the reigns of African diplomacy that continued in subsequent governments.

“If we are to truly understand the events of the present, we must look to the past for answers,” adds Elias Wondimu, founder of Tsehai Publishers. “We must look with a critical eye toward the past and examine why events happened and why people are perceived and ultimately preserved a particular way.” The scarcity of compiled documentation of Ethiopian diplomacy, especially in a time of great change and modernization, makes this book a particularly valuable piece of history.

Just over two years ago, on the the eve of the fifty year anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) was celebrated as the new AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia opened its doors for its inaugural summit to large fanfare. The celebration included the unveiling of a bronze statue of one of the most famous leaders of the organization, Kwame Nkrumah. A quote from Nkrumah was inscribed in front of the statue in golden letters, “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God. Africa must unite.” The quote epitomizes the significant role that Ethiopia played towards the founding of the OAU.

Nkrumah, the leader of the Casablanca Group, fought for a completely united Africa under the motto “One continent, one nation”. Nkrumah’s contributions to African unity are invaluable, and yet the statue has stirred debate not just in Ethiopia, but worldwide as Nkrumah’s legacy is only one part of OAU’s origins. Emperor Haile Selassie, who was a uniting figure among the different factions, is another person who played a major role in convincing African leaders to bypass their ideological divisions to work together. As a well-regarded international statesman of his time, Emperor Haile Selassie led the way to the establishment of the OAU in Addis Ababa in 1963.

Dr. Theodore M. Vestal, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, sums up Ethiopia’s impact on African politics in the following way, “Ethiopia has a long history of leadership in the Pan-African Movement, the complicated mosaic of continental and regional political and economic association liberation movements and mediation efforts.” Undoubtedly Haile Selassie was a major part of this tradition as he set a standard of statesmanship that has helped to advance Ethiopia and all of Africa towards a united global force.

You can learn more about the book at

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Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora

At the 2014 International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora. (Photo: by Kebadu Belachew)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The lively and diverse crowd at the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora — that was held at the Sheraton in Silver Spring, Maryland this past weekend (Saturday, March 22nd) — featured several speakers (both women and men) discussing current issues affecting Ethiopian women globally. Some of the presenters participated via Internet from Colorado, Kentucky and California.

The conference commenced with a motivational speech by Chereace Richards, a successful business woman and author of Faith, Focus, Action: The Journey to Becoming Who You Are, followed by a segment of Dagmawi Yimer’s movie Like a Man on Earth, a moving story of Ethiopian migrant workers in Libya. “We showed the clip of the film and Dagmawi gave a brief speech,” said Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, President of CREW (Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women) who organized the conference. “The movie and his speech left a lot of people in the audience sobbing.”

Others presenters included data visualization expert Jomo Tariku, as well as the editor and senior researcher of the Bahrain-based Rima Kalush, an advocate for migrant rights in Middle Eastern countries. Dr. Maigenet shared that during her several previous communications with Rima, who joined the conference online from Caliofrnia, she never asked about her birth country. “To me, she is just a powerful and strong woman from the Middle East who is defying her own culture and works for migrant workers,” she said. “And at the conference, I asked where Rima was from originally and she said she is from Libya.” She added: “What a story to tell. Thank you, Rima, for all what you are doing. You are a role model to all.”

In a letter to supporters and participants Dr. Maigenet added: “Our first session began at about 10:30 a.m. by bringing Drs. Minga Negash and Seid Hassan via Skype from Colorado and Kentucky, respectively. [The speakers] set the framework for the conference by explaining the push and pull factors of migration in general and Ethiopian outmigration in particular. ”

Another panel was focused on the current situation of Ethiopian women migrant workers in the Middle East and about the returnees from Saudi Arabia. “Our moderator was the young and vibrant, Dr. Menna Demissie, who is senior policy analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation,” Dr. Maigenet said. “Speakers on this panel included filmmaker Dagmawi Yimer, technologist and designer Jomo Tariku,  Researcher Helen Afework, and our own Genet Derbe, a social worker and the treasurer of CREW.”

Speaking of Helen Afework, a young researcher and a graduate student at the European Masters in Migration Studies in Germany who is currently in New York on a fellowship program at the National Domestic Workers Association to study domestic workers in the United States, Dr. Maigenet said she became the recipient of the 2014 CREW scholarship sponsored by Tsehai Publishers.

“She read on Tadias Magazine the coverage about our upcoming 3rd conference and wrote us,” Dr. Maigenet recalled her conversation with Helen. “We contacted her and interviewed her. She was really God-send, and because of her extensive work on domestic workers in the Middle East, she became our 2014 CREW scholarship recipient.”  The scholarship is designed to encourage Ethiopian women researchers to present their papers and findings at CREW’s annual conferences. “With more sponsors we hope to invite at least two Ethiopian women researchers every year,” she said. “There are many who wrote us to sponsor them, but due to our limited resources, we were unable to do that.”

Tadella Fanta, a gender specialist with many years of experience in Ethiopia and other countries, addressed “the gendered nature of migration” based on research she had conducted regarding Ethiopian migrant workers in Yemen and Sudan. “She is one of the founding members of CREW, which has provided her a platform to present her research papers,” Dr. Maigenet said.

Dr. Maigenet noted that “a lot of people inquired later about how we brought all these dynamic young professionals and senior scholars [together],” Dr. Maigenet said. “It was through contacts from the National Press Club roundtable that was organized by Tadias Magazine in December 2013 where we were introduced to a number of the panelists.”  Dr. Maigenet also thanked additional media sponsor ESAT television and radio and CREW member Birtwait Girmay who is a producer, Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service, Netsanet LeEthiopia radio, Addis Dimtse Radio, and ECADForum.

CREW looks forward to hosting a fundraising event in May.

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Poet-Playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin

Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin. (Cover Illustration: Ezra Wube/Tsehai Publishers)

Tadias Magazine
By Dagnachew Teklu

Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Washington D.C (TADIAS) – The life and accomplishments of Ethiopian poet and playwright, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, was celebrated last Friday in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. The event highlighted Fasil Yitbarek’s book entitled Soaring on Winged Verse, which is the official biography of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin — one of Africa’s most important literary figures. The gathering, which was hosted by Taitu Cultural Center during its popular monthly poetry night YeWeru Gitm Mishit on July 26th, was attended by a large number of people from the Ethiopian community including families and friends of the late Poet Laureate who would have marked his 77th birthday this August.

The biography was printed by Tsehai Publishers in 2011 and is dedicated “to those whose creative inspirations springs from their love of Ethiopia.” In his book, Fasil chronicles the remarkable story of Mr. Tsegaye’s humble beginnings in rural Ethiopia from the town of Boda, near Ambo, to become one of the most recognized men of letters in the country as well as one of the most prolific and acclaimed writers of his generation. The poet’s distinguished resume spans luminary works of more than 45 plays and an influential collection of Amharic poetry entitled Isat Woy Abeba (Blaze or Bloom).

Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin passed away in February 2006 at the age of 69 while receiving medical treatment in New York. His body was flown back to Ethiopia and buried at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.

In a Q&A with Tadias Magazine, Fasil said Soaring on Winged Verse is based on several interviews, which he conducted in New York with the late Tsegaye some ten years ago at the poet-playwright’s request.

“We used to meet once a week for a couple of hours and I was able to record about 30 cassettes on various occasions,” Fasil said. However, Tsegaye passed away before they completed the interviews for the book, and he fondly recalled their weekly sessions as “unforgettable moments in my life.” Fasil said he was able to fill the gap through further research of both published and unpublished sources.

“I was lucky to be chosen by Tsegaye to write this book.” Fasil added.

Yodit Tsegaye, one of Tsegaye’s daughters agreed, “We really appreciate Fasil’s determination to finish the memoir,” she said. “This book tells us what we didn’t know about our father.”

Below are photos from the event.

You can learn more about the book and order your own copy at “Soaring on Winged Verse” is also in the process of being translated into Amharic.

Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Ethiopian Poet Laureate, Dies at 69 (The New York Times)
Tadias Interview: Samuel Wolde-Yohannes on his Book ‘Ethiopia: Culture of Progress

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New Coffee-table Book Highlights Ethiopian Diaspora Success

Image credit: Tsehai Publishers.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu, winner of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant,” is one of several Ethiopian-Americans highlighted in an upcoming coffee table book by California-based Tsehai Publishers. The publication documents the professional success of first and second generation Ethiopians in the United States and the Diaspora.

Additional features include entrepreneurs, artists, authors, musicians, and scientists such as Dr. Sossina M. Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology and an expert in materials science and fuel cells; Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged, Director and Curator of the Department of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences and the paleoanthropologist who discovered the 3-year-old Selam (nicknamed Lucy’s baby), which lived 3.3 million years ago in Ethiopia and is considered the earliest known such fossil excavated in the history of Paleontology; Dr. Dagmawi Woubshet, Assistant Professor of English Literature at Cornell University; as well as chef Marcus Samuelsson, artist Julie Mehretu, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Wayna (Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen), and Grammy-nominated musician and philanthropist Kenna (né Kenna Zemedkun), who in 2010 led a group of celebrity friends to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise awareness about the international clean water crisis.

“The book is an attempt to change global perception of Ethiopia by focusing on the many accomplishments of successful younger Ethiopians living throughout North America and Ethiopia today,” said Elias Wondimu, the book’s Publisher and Editorial Director. “These individuals are the sons and daughters, and younger siblings of those who lived through the 1970s Ethiopian political turmoil. By focusing on these individuals, we want to tell their parents’ story of resilience and share with the world the proud heritage that they commonly inherit as Ethiopians.”

Elias said the book’s working title, Yezare Abebawoch: Yenege Frewoch, is borrowed from the famous line by the former Ethiopian television children show host Tesfaye Sahlu. “In his infinite wisdom each time before telling a story, Ababa Tesfaye used to address his captive television audience — the children of yesteryear’s — as ‘flowers of today, seeds of tomorrow,’” he said. “The book focuses on these individuals who are doing beautiful work today, creating seeds for an even more wonderful future. It is the flowers of today that create the seeds of tomorrow. We are also trying to inspire Ethiopian children with these stories.”

Tsehai Publishers is seeking public funding for the book via Kickstarter, an online funding platform. Click here to learn more and support the project.

Image credit: Tsehai Publishers.

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Illegal PDF of Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Memoir

The recent online distribution of the unauthorized, scanned copy of Mengistu Haile Mariam's book is receiving strong criticism. (Photo: From the book cover)

Tadias Magazine
Professor Donald N. Levine

Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The leaders in the EPRP organization who authorized the scanning and posting of the book published by Tsehai Publishers on committed an act that was illegal, unethical, and imprudent. To my mind, that marks it as “un-Ethiopian.”

As I have come to know Ethiopians in many traditions and walks of life, at first hand and through the reports of numerous scholars, I find them essentially law-respecting, ethical, and prudent human beings. Whether it is in observing the laws enacted by an Oromo gumi gayo assembly, a Sidamo town meeting, or Tigrayan court of justice, Ethiopians traditionally express a strong sense of devotion to validly formulated laws and judicial pronouncements. (This trait captured me memorably when, after the new Constitution of 1955 was published, janitors could be seen in the Department of Justice leaning on their brooms and studying it closely!)

Again, whatever religious belief system they follow – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or the worship of Waaq – Ethiopians exhibit a keen sense of respect for moral standards. What is more, I have found Ethiopians of many classes and ethnic groups to be mature in cautioning against impulsive and socially destructive behaviors. Indeed, what I have glossed as the culture of Wax and Gold reflects a wish to avoid saying things that will illicit negative reactions from those with whom they associate.

The brazen act of the website in scanning and posting the text of Tiglatchn by Mengistu Haile Mariam is patently illegal and so repeats the very behavior that they condemn. On this point, a number of attorneys have assured me that such action stands in clear violation of international and national copyright laws. Although the responsible party claims justification by virtue of a “Son of Sam Law” which prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories, Colonel Mengistu, however, has not been paid for this book. The publisher not only gave him no money for the manuscript but stands to incur a loss in producing this publication.

It is, moreover, unethical, since it violates commonly shared ethical standards by virtue of responding to a displeasing act with an effort to destroy the perpetrator.

Finally, it is doubly imprudent. On the one hand, illegally posting this manuscript in digital form only serves to increase exponentially the distribution of what this website has condemned as a “book of lies.” Indeed, the point should be emphasized that such a wide distribution will likely strengthen the credibility and endurance of Mengistu’s claims rather than their condemnation. What is more, it aborts the opportunity that publication provides for serious critical scrutiny of a book that patently contains a great number of unsustainable claims. This action might also discourage the Press from publishing a memoir of the EPRP.

On the other hand, the attack on Tsehai Publishers reinforces a tendency among Ethiopians to vilify and defame one another when they disagree. As I have argued for decades, this tendency stands to impede the formation of productive public discourse and to reinforce cycles of violent conflict.

The victim of this triply unscrupulous revenge, Tsehai publisher Elias Wondimu, is a truly heroic Ethiopian, who has invested a huge amount of his life in producing a harvest of publications that can help Ethiopians understand themselves and appreciate their rich traditions and complex society. I can think of no more appropriate response by all Ethiopians, including enlightened EPRP members, than to proceed forthwith to and order three books. It would be no less appropriate to send a contribution to the Press for the legal defense fund, which they will need to resolve the legal aspect of this unfortunate affair.

About the Author:
Donald N. Levine served as the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching interests focus on classical social theory, modernization theory, Ethiopian studies, conflict theory and aikido, and philosophies of liberal education.

Q & A with Elias Wondimu of Tsehai Publishers (TADIAS)
Ethiopia: Copyrights and CopyCrimes – By Alemayehu G Mariam (Ethio Media)
In defense of Tsehai Publishers – By Fikre Tolossa (Ethiopian Review)

Remembering a Poet Laureate: Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin’s 75th Birthday Anniversary

Poet Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedhin. Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr. (©

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Tuesday, August, 23, 2011

New York (Tadias) – A special celebration honoring the life and work of Ethiopia’s Poet Laureate, the late Tsegaye Gebremedhin, will be held in Addis Ababa and Washington DC throughout the year.

“Family and friends of the late Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin are celebrating the poet’s 75th birthday anniversary and his work,” the press release states. “Author of around 34 plays in Amharic and about 10 plays in English, along with several volumes of poetry Gabre-Medhin is widely recognized as among Ethiopia’s most prolific and acclaimed writers. As part of an ongoing effort to keep his literary legacy alive, family and friends are organizing a year-long series of events in Addis Ababa and Washington DC.”

A few years ago, in an essay entitled A Short Walk Through His Literary Park, Professor Negussay Ayele described the writer’s earliest influences: “Poet Laureate Tsegaye is of the generation—numbering a dozen or so who are extant — of Ethiopian men of letters who were born during the crucible of the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s. As such, his early childhood gestation period was molded by the trauma of that war of aggression against which his patriot father fought. Born in the vicinity of Ambo and the environs of the source of Awash River in Shewa region, the young Tsegaye was also influenced and shaped by the subcultures, languages and the blending of his Oromo and Amhara heritages. Indeed, as he was to relate later on, he considers himself as one who represented an Ethiopian amalgam or bridge between the two cultures. And it did not take long for this child prodigy not only to absorb Oromifa and traditional Zema and Qine in Ethiopic (Ge’ez) as well as Amharic in the traditional neighborhood church school but also to rapidly learn English in the contemporary modern school or Asquala. Indeed, the young genius, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, was barely a teen when in 1942 (Eth.Cal.), he wrote his first play, The Story of King Dionysus and of the Two Brothers, and saw it staged in Ambo Elementary School. It was watched by, among others, Emperor Haile Sellassie himself.”

And one of our most favorite definitions of Ethiopia comes from our own Poet Laureate. “The Ethiopia of rich history is the heart of Africa’s civilization,” he wrote. “She is the greatest example of Africa’s pride. Ethiopia means peace. The word ‘Ethiopia’ emanates from a connection of three old black Egyptian words, Et, Op and Bia, meaning truth and peace, up and upper, country and land. Et-Op-Bia is land of upper truth or land of higher peace.” No one has put it more eloquently. Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin is a revered soul who brought out the best of his homeland – her stunning peaks and valleys, her triumphs and struggles, and always reminding us to rise and grow into our best selves.

If You Go:
26th August,6:30 pm – Book launch
Historical Plays of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (in Amharic)
(Addis Ababa University Press, 2011)
Performance of excerpts by Taytu Cultural Center
Admission: Free
Unification Church, 1610 Columbia Rd. NW
Washington DC

The official biography of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin Soaring on Winged Verse:
The Life of Ethiopian Poet-Playwright Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin By Fasil Yitbarek
(Tsehai Publishers, 2011)
December 2011 – Book launching (biography in English), Washington D.C.
August 2012 – Book launching (biography in Amharic), Addis Ababa
For more information, please contact:

New Book Advocates For Education Reform In Ethiopia

Book Cover: Tsehai Publishers released a new book entitled:
“Education, Politics, and Social Change in Ethiopia” – making
a compelling case for education reform in the African nation.

Tadias Magazine
Article contributed by Sean McEvoy

Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Education, Politics, and Social Change in Ethiopia analyzes the historical and cultural events that have shaped modern Ethiopia and displays them through a panoramic view. Edited by Paulos Milkias, Professor of Humanities and Political Science at Marianopolis College in Canada, and Messay Kebede, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dayton University in Ohio – the book compiles several articles concerning the past, present and future of Ethiopian education. Through the perspectives of philosophers, political scientists, economists, historians, anthropologists, and university researchers, the book displays a multidisciplinary analysis of the complexities influencing the future of Ethiopia.

“I recommend this book to anyone interested to feed their intellectual-soul on education, development, and politics in Ethiopia” says Dr. Worku Negash, Vice President of Administrative Services at Mission College in California.

This book is comprised of articles, including Towards a Critical Ethiopian Theory of Education by Maimire Menasenmay, The Curse of English as a Medium of Instruction in the Ethiopian Education System by Tekeste Negash, and The Challenge of Modernity: Western Education and the Demise of Feudalism in Ethiopia. Each author approaches the issue of Ethiopian education from a different perspective, sharing theories and critiques that span across several academic disciplines. Although the authors speak through different lenses, the need for educational reform echoes as the resounding message in the book. The Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA) believes that education is the “single most important change needed to hasten the socio-economic development of poor nations like Ethiopia.” But it is not only the availability of education that is needed to better Ethiopia socially and economically; the quality and method of teaching is essential to solving Ethiopia’s problems in the twenty-first century.

The articles included in this book were presented and debated at a workshop on “Education and Social Change in Ethiopia” held at the University of Dayton on May 13th and 14th, 2006. The workshop highlighted features of modernization in many African nations, which did not adequately address the issue of education reform.

Education, Politics, and Social Change in Ethiopia critiques the benefits and drawbacks of a western system of education, emphasizing the correlation between education and politics. In order to educate all Ethiopians, not just the privileged few, on the politics and ideologies of regimes who have governed Ethiopia in the past, a new system of educational goals must be implemented. The current content and guiding principles of Ethiopian education are not conducive to the creation of an educated people capable of promoting economic prosperity, democratic values and national integration. To have these changes occur it is not enough to only change the person in power. It needs to be reflected in the system of education. In essence, the effectiveness of an educational system should be tested and strengthened in order to assist a new generation of citizens to solve global dilemmas.

The multi-disciplinary approach used in this book demonstrates the interpretive nature of reform, and that our best solutions will come from multiple sources. Dr. Damtew Teferra, Director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa praises this book as “a must read by all those interested and engaged in Ethiopian education.”

You can purchase the book at:

The Ethiopian American Community Weighs In On Health Care Reform

Above: Little Ethiopia – Los Angeles, California. (Photo courtesy
of Tsehai Publishers, May 31, 2009).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New York (Tadias) – Congressman Mike Honda, (D-CA), Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Ethiopia and Ethiopian Americans, has released a statement on health care reform submitted by various Ethiopian American organizations. Honda represents the 15th Congressional District of California, which includes Silicon Valley, home to a sizeable Ethiopian immigrant population. Below is the press release from the Congressman’s office:

For immediate release
October 28th, 2009

Over the past several months, the debate on health care reform has produced extensive dialogue amongst many communities in our nation. From dining room tables to talk radio, our country has engaged in a uniquely American process fueled by the diversity of opinions we enjoy.

This is why today, as Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Ethiopia and Ethiopian Americans; I am honored to present statements on health care reform submitted by the Ethiopian American community. These statements have been offered by the community to ensure that their voices are heard during these historic times. I formed the Caucus in 2003 with the goal of providing a legislative voice to the Ethiopian American community, and to strengthen a long-established relationship between Ethiopia and the United States. As the largest immigrant group from the African continent, Ethiopian Americans extend themselves to every aspect of American society, thereby making a real impact on American culture.

Health care is a critical issue to the Ethiopian American community. Presently fewer and fewer Ethiopians have health insurance, and therefore cannot afford good medical care. Much like countless other Americans, many hard working Ethiopian Americans are employed in the hospitality services and small business industries. Many jobs in these sectors fail to provide any health insurance benefits to employees and their families. As a result, most of members of the community are not in a position to get preventive help and basic medical services. In addition, many original Ethiopian refugees from the 1970 refugee admission boom are starting to become eligible for Medicare. These issues allow the Ethiopian American community to provide unique insight into the current debate.

While we all may have different ideas about how best to achieve health care reform, there is a fundamental consensus that the need for health care reform is dire. The following statements show that opening up the conversation to all areas of our diverse nation provides for a healthy and robust debate.

Statement by the Citizen’s League of Ethiopian-Americans

Statement by the Ethiopian Heritage Foundation

Statement by the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc.

Statement by the Life’s Second Chance Foundation

Statement by Ethiopian Community Services Inc,

Statement by Ethiopian Community and Cultural Center

Statement by Ethiopian Americans United

If you are interested in submitting your own statement, I encourage you to contact my office and ensure your voice is heard. The Congressional Caucus on Ethiopia and Ethiopian-Americans works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia and is a legislative voice for Ethiopian-Americans across the United States. The Caucus serves the Ethiopian-American community as it continues to grow in population and influence, and supports the community’s interests both here and in Ethiopia.

For more information, please call (202) 225-2631 or visit:

Meklit Hadero and Todd Brown at the de Young Museum in San Francisco

Art News
Source: San Francisco
10 June 2009

The de Young Museum hosts Meklit Hadero and Todd Brown: Light, Shadow, and the Quiet Song Between through June 27th as part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Artist-in-Residence Program in the Kimball Education Gallery. Read more at San Francisco

Ethiopia native MEKLIT HADERO is a singer, musician, cultural activist, and previous director of the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco. Meklit has lived in twelve cities, on three continents, and her musical explorations span cultural influences and genres. In December of 2007, Meklit released her first recording, titled Eight Songs. She is the recipient of a 2008 Individual Grant from the Belle Foundation for Arts and Culture. Currently, she is organizing a group of Ethiopian Diaspora artists from across North America to return to Ethiopia for a festival of traditional music at the end of this year. Meklit was selected as a 2009 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Global Fellow. The TED conference is a large gathering of artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and designers who are at the cutting edge of their fields. Along with Brown, she is a central composer, lyricist and co-founder of the musical ensemble Nefasha Ayer. Listen to Meklit’s work: MEKLIT HADERO.

Related: Meklit Hadero at Tsehai Poetry Jam in L.A.

Photos from L.A.’s Little Ethiopia
Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New York (Tadias) – An intergenerational poetry reading and panel discussion examining four decades of Ethiopian immigrant’s life in the U.S was held earlier this month in Los Angeles.

The Tsehai Poetry Jam, which was presented in cooperation with PEN USA, the Ethiopian Heritage Foundation and Tsehai Publishers, was held at Messob Restaurant & Lounge, located in the official neighborhood of Little Ethiopia on Fairfax Avenue.

A similar event in Chicago is scheduled for early July in conjunction with the The Fourth Annual Tsehai conference.

Below are photo highlights from the L.A. event courtesy of Tsehai Publishers.

Photos by Richard Beban

For an Ethiopian Painter in Paris, new levels of public recognition

Fikru Gebre Mariam in his Paris Studio - 2005 (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Donald N. Levine

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009

New York (Tadias) – Featured in exhibitions in two prestigious French galleries in Autumn 2008, Galerie Alternance in the north and Galerie Cabotse in Paris, the work of Fikru Gebre Mariam has reached new levels of both aesthetic power and public recognition. The moment is ripe for looking back at Fikru’s oeuvre and taking a fresh look at his artistic development.

Inspired to pursue an artistic career after winning an award at age 13 at the International Children’s Painting Exhibition in Beijing, Fikru began formal study at the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts, founded a half-century ago by the distinguished artist Ale Felege Selam, who introduced modern methods of teaching drawing and painting, which he had studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1950s. There he became a protégé of instructor Tadesse Mesfin, who not only taught him painterly skills but gave him a graphic theme which he would embrace, struggle with, and grow through, ever since. The motif was a variant of a genre of contemporary Ethiopian painting sometimes glossed as “2 women,” a phrase used to represent women doing everyday tasks like spinning and making pottery, as shown in one of his paintings. Although some Ethiopian artists often dismiss their works in this genre as mere touristic products, not expressive of their true selves, others have turned it into a serious genre. In Fikru’s hands, it became a vehicle for one epiphany after another. He has gone from depictions of groups of women standing, to more abstract representations, often with masks, to purely abstract creations.

At each phase similar qualities strike the viewer. They convey a blend of rich hues, emotional intensity, immediacy of impact, and a touch of austerity. If asked to compare them to European artists, I would say that Fikru’s compositions offer a blend of Modigliani figures in a Giacomettian “Still Ladies” stance presented with Braquean geometric abstraction. In a conversation with the artist, Fikru let me know that Braque was indeed his favorite artist. Even so, there is no mistaking the deeply Ethiopian flavor of these paintings. They display hints of Ethiopian miniatures and church paintings. They are imbued with African earth tones. They use the colored garments of Harari women. They capture the somber mood of much Ethiopian life.

The Dream – 120×120 cm – Oil on canvas – 2004. Upcoming
shows – 2007: solo exhibition National Museum, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia. 2007: May 1-30: solo exhibition, Galerie François 1er,
Aubigny sur Nère (18700), France. Opening on May 5th at 5pm.
2008: summer: Galerie Alternance Guy Lignier, Hardelot, France.

Blue dream 100×81 cm Oil on canvas 2004. Painting by Fikru
G/Mariam (Addis Ababa & Paris).

The world of Ethiopian painters is, like much else about contemporary Ethiopian life, divided between those who have remained at home and attempted to be true to Ethiopian realities, and those who have emigrated and whose offspring evince a passion to emulate Western styles to a high degree. With studios in Paris and Addis Ababa, where he spends half a year each, Fikru savors all he can of both worlds. He insists that it is essential for his art that he remains close to his Ethiopian roots–and indeed has continued to live in his father’s gibbi until now. At the same time, Fikru finds it no less essential to spend half of each year abroad. As he wrote me, “I believe the freedom of being out of Ethiopia has amazing value in my life and work. Both in Europe and the U.S., especially in Paris . . .visiting museums and art galleries bring dramatic important changes in my work. It is like seeing yourself in the big mirror, even if you think you know yourself.”

Seriousness but not somberness is immediately evident when one meets the artist–a rugged, good-looking, almost athletic Ethiopian male in his mid-thirties. He could be, and really is, an assiduous businessman. He works without stop, producing a seemingly endless flow of polished products. His studios in both cities are packed with canvasses like rush-hour traffic. This enables him to live fairly inexpensively and yet maintain a wealth of paintings for sale, in contrast to Ethiopian artists in the Diaspora who often find it difficult to make ends meet.

Even so, it is not mainly a commercial motive that drives his prolific output. His social conscience remains alive and well; his many awards include posters against AIDS and for Family Planning. Beyond that, Fikru’s being patently manifests his relation to art as a vocation in the deeper sense. It offers him a constant challenge to let his spirit grow. This is one reason why I believe his work has such an impact on viewers. It certainly had on me.

That said, the exceptional value of the art of Fikru Gebre Mariam may lie in its capacity to mediate Ethiopian and Western worlds, yet at a level that marks him as one of Ethiopia’s most acclaimed international painters.

Learn more about Fikru Gebre Mariam at

About the Author:

Donald N. Levine is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Chicago. “He is the author of many books, chapters and articles on Ethiopia and has had direct involvement in Ethiopian affairs since the 1960s. His works on Ethiopia include: Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (1965), now reprinted by Tsehai Publishers and Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society (1974), a second edition of which, with a new preface was published, in 2001. Other publications include Visions of the Sociological Tradition (1995) and, most recently, Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Learning.” (The Ethiopian American.). Professor Levine’s research and teaching interests focus on classical social theory, modernization theory, Ethiopian studies, conflict theory and aikido, and philosophies of liberal education.

Cocktails for Reading: Oct 11th in Washington D.C.

By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, October 9, 2008

New York (Tadias) – Bernos in collaboration with Ethiopia Reads and Tsehai Publishers announced the launch of ‘Cocktails for Reading’ a social networking event for readers, publishers, authors and writers in the Ethiopian American community. Aimed at promoting reading among Ethiopians, the first gathering is scheduled to take place on October 11th at Touchstone Gallery in Washington D.C.

“The format is simple,” Bernos Founder Nolawi Petros tells Tadias. He describes it as “a party promoting reading among Ethiopians with cocktails, speakers, books, and souvenirs thrown in the mix.” The Cocktails for Reading website includes a signup email list and takes advantage of online Google and Yahoo calendar reminders as well as popular social networking site Facebook to attract a diverse population of attendees.

The October Cocktails for Reading event will be hosted by Elias Fullmore from the Burntface music group and featured keynote speakers include CNN Hero Yohannes Gebregeorgis of Ethiopia Reads and Elias Wondimu, Founder of Tsehai Publishers and Distributor. The event will also host tables for authors who will be selling their recent books and participating in book signing. Invited participants to include Nebiyou Mekonnen, Fasil Yitbarek, Dej. Zewde Gebresellasie, Andarge Asfaw, Getachew Metaferia, Tewodros Abebe and Tayitu Entertainment.

Bernos is an innovative clothing company that creates high-quality, eye-catching t-shirts featuring African themes.

Ethiopia Reads works to improve literacy and create a culture of reading in Ethiopia, in order to bring hope, vision and educational skills to this generation of Ethiopian children. They plant libraries for children to provide quality reading materials, publish books in local Ethiopian languages and train teachers and librarians to nurture a love of reading and books.

Tsehai Publishers and Distributors is a publishing company founded with the intention of spreading currently absent knowledge about underserved communities, such as the African Diaspora.

Cocktails for Reading, Saturday October 11th, 2008 at 5:30pm (Touchstone Gallery, 406 7th Street NW 2nd Flr, Washington, DC 20004. For more information about the event please email

Books by Ethiopian Writers That Travelers to Ethiopia May Read

Book covers for Maaza Mengiste's 'Beneath the Lion's Gaze,' Asfa-Wossen Asserate's 'The Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie,' Nega Mezlekia's 'Notes Form the Hyena's Belly' and Abraham Verghese’s 'Cutting for Stone.' (Images:

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – In their travel section published today The New York Times highlights three books for first-time visitors to read before going to Ethiopia so they may acquaint themselves with the history and culture of the country.

We liked the choice of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Ethiopian-American author Dinaw Mengestu. As the Times notes “In his first novel, Mengestu evokes two cities: Washington, D.C., where the protagonist Sepha Stephanos currently lives in exile, and Addis Ababa, the city where he was born. His father had been murdered during Ethiopia’s Red Terror, and Sepha was trying to make a life in the United States. Seventeen years later, he still did not feel settled. Our reviewer wrote that Mengestu is particularly adept at capturing conversations between immigrants: “He gets, pitch perfect, the warmly abrasive wit of the violently displaced and their need to keep alive some textured memories — even memories that wound — amid America’s demanding amnesia.”

Here are additional books by Ethiopian writers that travelers to Ethiopia may also find educational:

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze

We recommend Maaza Mengiste’s debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze that depicts Ethiopia in the 1970s, when the country was undergoing a political revolution. The military had just deposed an archaic monarchy system with a promise of peaceful change. But what followed Emperor Haile Selassie’s removal was anything but peaceful. The country would soon plunge into unimaginable violence. (Tadias Q & A with Maaza Mengiste)

Notes Form the Hyena’s Belly

Also worth checking out is the highly acclaimed work by Ethiopian author Nega Mezlekia, Notes From the Hyena’s Belly, which is the winner of the Governor General’s Award and a Library Journal Best Book of 2001. “Part autobiography and part social history, Notes from the Hyena’s Belly offers an unforgettable portrait of Ethiopia, and of Africa, during the 1970s and ’80s, an era of civil war and widespread famine.”

Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone is “an epic novel about a young man’s coming of age in Ethiopia and America. From fascinating social and political portraits of Ethiopia in upheaval, Cutting for Stone zooms into a territory where few have gone before: the drama of the operating theater and the mysteries inside the human body. There can be no doubt that this novel is the work of a seasoned writer who has led many lives in many places.” (Tadias review of Verghese’s ‘Cutting for Stone’ and Tadias Interview with Dr. Abraham Verghese)

King of Kings: The Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia

Asfa-Wossen Asserate’s recent book 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. It helps that the author is Haile Selassie’s grandnephew. (Tadias Review: New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie).

There are many more wonderful books on Ethiopia at

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Meklit Hadero To Perform At Bernos’ 4th Anniversary

Above: Meklit Hadero will perform at the Warehouse loft in
Washington D.C. on May 29, 2010. (Photo Credit: Tsehai

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Friday, May 14, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero will headline the concert at Bernos’ four year anniversary event in Washington, D.C. next weekend on May 29th, 2010.

The Ethiopian-born artist has been attracting national attention with the release of her new album On A Day Like This. Reviewers have compared her voice to that of the legendary singer Nina Simone. “Once you hear her smooth and silky voice it will be hard to forget it,” NPR’s Allison Keyes recently reported.

Hadero obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science before moving to San Francisco to pursue her true love – music. NPR’s guest host described Hadero’s sound as “a unique blend of jazz, Ethiopia, the San Francisco art scene and visceral poetry.” “It paints pictures in your head as you listen,” she adds.

The upstart fashion company Bernos says that it is excited to host Hadero at its upcoming celebration.

“Every year is a milestone for Bernos. We wanted to do something different this year. We are influenced by African arts and music. One can see it reflected throughout our t-shirts, photoshoots and in our blog. It is an honor to have Meklit Hadero perform at our 4th year anniversary,” said Beshou Gedamu, business partner at Bernos. “She is an amazing artist with a powerful voice that resonates. In addition we’ll have Munit and Betty ‘Bsheba’ Tekeste open for her. We are looking forward to a night of musical bliss.”

If You Go:
The event takes place at the Warehouse loft in Washington D.C. on May 29, 2010. Learn more and buy tickets at

Listen here to NPR’s Interview with Meklit Hadero:

Meklit Hadero “Leaving Soon” music video from Salvatore Fullmore on Vimeo.







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