Ambassador Fesseha concludes his tour of duty

15 May 2020

On 10th May, Ambassador Fesseha and his family departed the United Kingdom following the relinquishment of his appointment as Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Ambassador Fesseha assumed his duties in the UK in March 2019, bringing with him almost 30 years of experience having served at Diplomatic Missions in Juba, Nairobi, Mogadishu, and Cairo, as well as in various posts within Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a very productive year in London, Ambassador Fesseha further strengthened Ethio-UK relations and renewed the Ethiopian government’s relations with its extensive diaspora, overseeing the establishment of a range of diaspora support fora, which all support the new Ethiopian Diaspora Agency.

The Ambassador’s tenure saw the Embassy opening its facilities for the first time, for use by the Ethiopian community and culminated with him hosting his maiden Town Hall meeting with over 1,200 Diaspora held under the theme “Building a Bridge for Peace and Unity”.

Speaking in March 2019, the Ambassador said, “I was encouraged by and elated with the sense of unadulterated patriotism of Ethiopians who live here in the United Kingdom and am very keen to further enhance my engagement with them.”

Various events have since been hosted at the Embassy including book launches, charity fundraisers, talks, business roundtables and even the Embassy’s first art exhibition!

One of the major events of 2019 which the Ambassador oversaw was perhaps the historic ceremonial hand-over of locks of hair of one of Ethiopia’s most popular Emperors – Tewodros II – at the National Army Museum in London. The return revitalised the wider restitution issue both in the UK and abroad, and saw H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport, on her debut visit to the UK urge museums to return looted artefacts to their rightful home.

The Ambassador also spoke at a range of seminars and events including an Overseas Development Institute event entitled Financing the future of the Belt and Road in Africa, and a briefing at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London on Ethiopia’s domestic reforms and priorities in the Horn of Africa.

Among his final duties, the Ambassador accompanied the Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen at the first UK-Africa Summit in London, which brought together leaders from 21 African countries and potential investors, days before the UK left the European Union.

During his tenure, the Embassy was also presented with the BRAAD Award (British Award for African Development) for “The Embassy with Outstanding International Relations in 2019“.

At the conclusion of his posting, the Ambassador commented:

“My work in consolidating the vibrant and productive relations my country enjoys both with Her Majesty’s Government and the people of the British Isles would not have been possible without the excellent engagement we enjoy with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the House of Commons All Party Group on Ethiopia and a growing galaxy of British businesses. I would also like to commend all the dedicated and hardworking staff who keep the Embassy running, even during these uncertain times.”

In an excerpt of the Court Circular published in The Times newspaper, Mr Alistair Harrison, Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, said “By command of The Queen, [I] telephoned His Excellency Mr Fesseha Shawel Gebre this morning in order to bid farewell to [him] upon relinquishing his appointment as Ambassador from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Court of St James’s.”

We wish His Excellency all the very best in his new posting.

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