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
Message from Ambassador Teferi on the occasion of New Year 2022 and Ethiopian Christmas (Genna). The year 2021 has shown us that although our challenges are great, each of one us, as Ethiopians, has the courage and determination to rise up and meet them, and that we should look forward to a future of peace, prosperity, unity, and opportunity.
6 Jan 2022
Message from the Ambassador
Following the successful launch of the e-visa process in 2018, the Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency has announced the commencement of the Digital INVEA application aimed at modernising, simplifying and integrating its service offering. We, therefore, recommend all prospective customers to visit www.digitalinvea.com.
26 Oct 2021
Notice: Important Changes to Consular Services
As a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia has through the years amply demonstrated its commitment to the UN Charter. UN agencies, in particular, those in the humanitarian area also had a long presence in Ethiopia providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to millions. It goes without saying that Ethiopia appreciates all the support that these UN agencies have been extending…
1 Oct 2021
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release on the Expulsion of UN Officials
A collection of Ethiopian artefacts that were looted by British soldiers during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868 are set to be returned to Ethiopia following a poignant handover ceremony at the prestigious Athenaeum Club in London on 8th September 2021. The objects were procured by the Scheherazade Foundation through auctions and private dealers.
9 Sep 2021
Artefacts looted in Maqdala in 1868 to be returned to Ethiopia
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum, held on 2 September 2020.
2 Sep 2021
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Northern Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara, and Tigray Regions) - 26 August 2021, Addis Ababa 
26 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 26 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia - 20 August 2021
20 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 20 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray 12 August 2021
12 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 12 August 2021
Reaffirming our commitment to the protection of refugees, we request the UN Human Rights Commission to correct the biased and partial opinions of its rapporteur. We also call the Commission and other international humanitarian organizations to help our efforts of rescuing the refugees from the imminent danger they are in and assist our efforts of investigating the issue.
7 Aug 2021
A Response to the Statement by the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Regarding the Situation of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia
The Government will take all the necessary measures to ensure that these sacred places and other institutions are well protected and call on the international community to condemn this heinous act of the TPLF.
6 Aug 2021
Press Statement on Protection of Cultural Sites
The Government of Ethiopia has been committed to the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire that it has declared on 28 June 2021 in a bid to give respite to the people of Tigray and make use of the farming season. Regrettably, the TPLF has failed to reciprocate.
6 Aug 2021
Statement on preoccupying issues in Ethiopia and the way forward
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray.
5 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 5 August 2021