Building a Bridge for Peace and Unity with the Ethiopian community in the UK

8 Apr 2019

In his first significant public engagement since arriving in the United Kingdom to take up his new post, Ambassador Fesseha Shawel addressed over a thousand members of the Ethiopian community in London on 16thMarch at an open diaspora forum at the Embassy. Held under the theme, “Building a Bridge for Peace and Unity”, the Forum honoured the Prime Minister’s call for Ethiopians across the world to come together and reject division, in favour of unity. To assist this process, the PM urged Ethiopia’s most senior diplomats to reorient the focus of their activities towards a more people-centred diplomacy.

The Ambassador, in the spirit of peace, unity and forgiveness, began his remarks by offering his apologies on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, and diplomats and staff, for any unjust treatment members of the diaspora had experienced in the past, caused knowingly or unknowingly, by individual or institutional practices within the Embassy.

He applauded the community in London for being some of the most enthusiastic supporters of the reform process to date, hoped they would continue to play as significant a role going forward and assured them that he and his team would be at their disposal going forward.

With a view to realising the Prime Minister’s vision of a democratic, just and prosperous society, where human rights are fully respected and the rule of law is upheld, the Ambassador noted a number of reform successes including: a commitment to holding free and fair elections in 2020; the unconditional release of political prisoners and journalists; the open invitation to previously exiled political parties, organisations and their supporters to return home to play an active role in the country’s development; the end of the Ethio-Eritrea stalemate, reestablishment of friendly diplomatic relations and the resultant peace dividend throughout the region; the selection of a gender-equal cabinet and the appointment of women to the Presidency, as Chief of the Judiciary and as Chair of the Electoral Board; and the advancement of the political philosophy of “Medemer”, in English “coming together”, which has seen the public unite behind the reforms.

The Ambassador acknowledged current challenges in ensuring the rule of law, unresolved administrative boundary issues, displacement, anti-change agents working against the reforms and corruption and lack of good governance. But he expressed his belief that with the active engagement and collaboration of Ethiopians at home and abroad, these challenges would be overcome.

Ambassador Fesseha announced a number of key reforms that would improve service delivery within the Embassy before highlighting the Embassy’s strategic plans and priorities for the upcoming year. H.E. concluded by opening the floor for questions and comments, and a wide-ranging discussion ensued on what role the Diaspora could play in support of the changes underway in Ethiopia.

Since the Forum, Ethiopians in the UK have responded to the Ambassador’s call, enriching the Embassy with their ideas and experience by engaging the Embassy in a number of initiatives. To mention a few: the holding of a special exhibition, “Remembering Adwa”; a series of meetings to establish a Diaspora Peace and Unity Coordinating Community; the recognition of Ethiopian restaurateurs as Cultural Ambassadors by H.E Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport; fundraising initiatives for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund, the Tossa and Reppi communities; and Ethiopians4Ethiopians, a platform to discuss the mental health challenges in the Ethiopian community.

Latest News

Browse all
The first Ethiopian Diaspora Festival since the establishment of the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency is set to take place in Addis Ababa between 27-29 August 2019. All Ethiopian community members in the United Kingdom are invited to join diaspora from around the world to attend the Festival.
26 Jul 2019
Ethiopian Diaspora Festival 2019
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is among nominees for the 2019 Chatham House Prize, presented to the person, persons or organization deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations. Other nominees are Sir David Attenborough and Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
19 Jul 2019
Prime Minister Abiy among Chatham House Prize 2019 Nominees
Much to the chagrin of most Ethiopians, as well as Ethiopia’s development partners, an attempted coup took place on the 22 June 2019 in Bahir Dar, the capital of the Regional State of Amhara. Five officials were killed in the foiled coup, led by the ringleader Brigadier General Asamenew Tsiege.
16 Jul 2019
A shortcut to power is a wrong cut to power
London hosted government ministers and officials, the diplomatic community, journalists, academics and members of civil society, in the first-of-its-kind Global Conference on Media Freedom. Ethiopia was represented by Ambassador Fesseha Shawel and Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Billene Seyoum.
12 Jul 2019
Ethiopia takes part in first Global Conference on Media Freedom
Parliament approved a $13.4 billion budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year that began on 8th July. Compared to the previous budget year, this year’s is 12% higher. The government says it will increase investments in key sectors such as agriculture, energy and mining. It also plans to attract more FDI.
9 Jul 2019
Parliament approves $13.4 billion 2019/20 budget
Around 17 British energy companies will be visiting Ethiopia from 14th – 19th July as part of the Energy Catalyst Mission. The key objectives of the mission are to help companies applying for Energy Catalyst Round 7 to obtain an understanding of the energy access issues in Ethiopia and gain links to potential partners.
8 Jul 2019
British energy firms visit Ethiopia to explore opportunities
State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina, announced plans to grant two telecom licences to private firms and sell a 49% minority stake in Ethio Telecom – a venture that will see foreign multinationals entering one of Africa’s largest markets. The firms are expected to enter Ethiopia’s telecoms market by 2020.
7 Jul 2019
Ethiopia opens telecoms market to foreign investment
On 29th June, the Embassy hosted an exclusive event celebrating Ethiopian food and culture with renowned Ethiopian chef and Guild of Food Writers nominee, Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam, in the presence of Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Fesseha Shawel Gebre, and around eighty guests.
5 Jul 2019
Chef Yohanis: Putting Ethiopian Food on the Culinary Map
Coca-Cola highlights Ethiopia’s investment potential in new campaign. The Going Big in Ethiopia campaign features companies engaged in coffee, textiles, logistics, manufacturing and other industries, talking about the vast opportunities the Ethiopian economy offers to global investors.
28 Jun 2019
Going Big in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines, was voted the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ (for the third consecutive year), ‘Best Business Class in Africa’ and ‘Best Economy Class in Africa’ at the 2019 Skytrax World Airlines Awards. On 21st June the airline marked its 6-month anniversary of the direct flight from Manchester to Addis Ababa.
26 Jun 2019
Ethiopian Airlines voted ‘Best Airline in Africa’ + Manchester celebrates 6-month anniversary
In their first adventure together, Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness head to Ethiopia, where they drive through stunning landscapes of Ethiopia to reach the Afar Triangle - the hottest place on earth! Top Gear Producers and presenters said that filming in Ethiopia was the “highlight” of the series.
25 Jun 2019
Top Gear: Ethiopia episode highlight of the series