Prime Minister Abiy among Chatham House Prize 2019 Nominees
Abiy Ahmed is nominated for his efforts to transform civic leadership and advance plural politics and free speech in Ethiopia, as well as for ending decades of hostility with Eritrea, progressing gender equality and injecting hope for a more peaceful and integrated Horn of Africa.
Within months of coming to power, Abiy Ahmed sought to rehabilitate Ethiopia’s decades-old authoritarian regime – releasing thousands of political prisoners, decriminalizing opposition groups and initiating reforms to repressive laws. He also appointed a gender-balanced cabinet along with the country’s first female head of state and first female president of the supreme court. Under Abiy, Ethiopia has moved from being one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists to a country with growing press freedom.
The prime minister’s swift action to bring about peaceful relations with Eritrea paid immediate dividends, bringing neighbouring countries into the fold and boosting plans for regional integration. The speed at which he opened civic space and moved to dismantle the politics of animosity and suspicion in the sub-region has been striking given Ethiopia’s entrenched political, security and economic challenges. He has fostered optimism about his potential to help develop good governance and effect positive change in national, regional and global affairs.
Abiy Ahmed’s dramatic appearance on the political scene in 2018, and the once unimaginable achievements registered within such a short period, make him a source of hope for the youth in Ethiopia and throughout Africa, the youngest continent in the world. He has become one of the new faces of African leadership – one that promotes ethical leadership, rights and freedoms, despite the risks this incurs, and his actions deserve recognition on the international stage.
The Chatham House Prize is presented to the person, persons or organization deemed by members of Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
The selection process is independent, democratic and draws on the deep knowledge of Chatham House’s research teams, making the Prize a distinctive and unique award in the field of international affairs.
A short-list of nominees is selected by the institute’s three presidents from a longer list submitted by the research programmes and departments in their areas of expertise. The recipient is then determined by Chatham House’s broad membership base on a one-member, one-vote basis. The award is presented on behalf of the institute’s patron, Her Majesty the Queen, representing the non-partisan and authoritative character of the Prize.
Source: Chatham House
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