October 22, 2010, is the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s fourth anniversary. This year marks a special transition to our organization. With our humble beginnings on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge as a 13-member group ranging from 6th graders to 12th graders, we have grown into an organization that has networks and members in North America, Europe and Africa.
The road has not always been straight for us. Considering the limited resources of our organization of students and young professionals, we have gone above and beyond our call of duty. The genuine goal to see Ethiopia develop is what the Initiative is about. Combining and capturing the social and intellectual capacity students and young professionals have for Ethiopia’s transformation is not merely a nicely worded mission statement. It is the governing principle of our lives.
Aside from contributing to Ethiopia’s transformation, the Ethiopian Global Initiative aspires to work with people globally that have an affiliation with Ethiopia—be it the Ethiopian diaspora or the “friends of Ethiopia.” Ethiopia’s friends include those who have served in Ethiopia as volunteers, adopted Ethiopian children and those who show affection towards Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Global Initiative wants to work as a catalyst for community engagement and socioeconomic development in our communities worldwide. This, of course, sounds nice but is also a lofty challenge.
We have seen that not having a central and strong Ethiopian community in Washington, D.C. has impacted us. The recent death of 27-year-old Ethiopian American Ali Mohammed was not an accident—it was a gross murder and should be called that. There are many Ethiopians in the diaspora that would have benefitted from our sense of unity. Our communities are impacted by imprisonment of young males, homelessness, lack of resources, mentorship and education, strong ethno-political animosity, amongst others.
The hopelessness that our community faces does not need to be there. While it is important to be concerned about matters in Ethiopia, we must take care of our communities abroad, too. Taking care of our communities does not mean rallying together when someone’s home tragically burns down or when someone is murdered by cowards, but by regularly showing love, appreciation and unity—andinet in Amharic.
The Ethiopian Global Initiative will be completing its overhaul on January 1, 2011, the beginning of our new fiscal year. The projects and management we plan to roll out is aimed to position the Initiative as a strong member of the communities it works for. In the coming weeks we will be releasing more and detailed information on the projects and programs that we will launch in 2011 and I encourage all to join our planning efforts.
On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Ethiopian Global Initiative, I personally extend an invitation to all Ethiopians to strengthen one another by committing to combine and capture their individual and collective strengths and resources with the Initiative. As for who is an Ethiopian, the answer is simply everyone as it is the cradle of mankind!
Samuel M. Gebru