Saturday, December 31, 2011

Supporting the Women of Ethiopia

December 31, 2011

Dear friend,

I hope you are as excited as I am by what 2012 may bring for all of us. Wouldn't it be amazing for all women in Ethiopia to be guaranteed their right to safe childbirth?

This goal is already being undertaken at the Hamlin College of Midwives.

Our partners at Hamlin Fistula International have committed themselves to eliminate the number of women suffering from childbirth injuries by becoming the center for training, research, prevention and care of obstetric fistula. Maternal health is an important target that the United Nations set in the Millennium Development Goals for 2015.

Right now, you have an opportunity to be part of the world's vision for better maternal healthcare. We at EGI have committed to work with our partners at Hamlin Fistula International to fully fund the education of eight midwives at the Hamlin College of Midwives. By earning a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery, these midwives will return to rural Ethiopian communities to prevent childbirth injuries and increase awareness, therefore saving millions of lives.

Instead of sending these students abroad, they are being taught in Ethiopia at a recognized institution of higher learning. Our Midwives Scholarship Fund's goal is to raise $140,000. Can I count on you to support the women of Ethiopia?

Please make a meaningful contribution today and close 2011 by helping send a midwifery student to college.

Best wishes this holiday season!


Samuel Gebru
President, Ethiopian Global Initiative

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sending Students to Ethiopia is Worthwhile and Meaningful

EGI hosted a reception at the United States Embassy
in Ethiopia for USCSE 2011 participants.
By: Ryan Olivieri
December 30, 2011

It’s hard to believe that EGI’s U.S. College Students for Ethiopia (USCSE) is only entering its second year. The success and excitement of last year’s pilot program was so inspiring that USCSE has become one of EGI’s most popular and well-known initiatives.

However, it’s not hard to see why. USCSE’s mission, "to tackle the shortage of a skilled workforce in Ethiopia, build a culture of volunteerism within Ethiopia, and to foster communication between Ethiopians and the Ethiopian diaspora," is both worthwhile and meaningful.

Last summer’s interns were able to help further these goals while also gaining valuable work experience in fields they are passionate about with Ethiopian-led organizations. USCSE is a truly unique program in the sense that it allows college students from the United States to be part of a greater good, while also catering to their own personal interests.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of Ethiopia's transformation, then we want to hear from you. Apply or learn more about USCSE today!

Ryan Olivieri is Director of Communication and Marketing of the Ethiopian Global Initiative. USCSE 2012 applications are due January 13, 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hakuna Sundays: Boston Area Networking Mixer

Click on the photo to enlarge

Sunday, January 8, 2012 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm
Harvard Yard Starbucks
1380 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Come attend the first Hakuna Sundays networking mixer of 2012 co-hosted by Africans in Boston (AiB) and the Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI). Hakuna Sundays is an AiB bi-weekly networking mixer open for all students and professionals in the Boston area. Mingle with new and familiar faces while sipping on complementary Ethiopian coffee provided by Harvard Yard Starbucks.

More information and RSVP: or 1-617-528-9434

Friday, November 18, 2011

Samuel Gebru's 20th Birthday

Picture: Dawn Colquitt-Anderson
Dear friend,

The Ethiopian Global Initiative's founder, Samuel M. Gebru, is turning 20-years-old on Sunday, November 20! Isn't it amazing that he is just 19? 

You can help celebrate Samuel's 20th birthday by making a $20 donation to EGI's General Fund. Your donation, in honor of his birthday, helps us continue our work. We strive to be a positive force for development in Ethiopia but cannot do this without the support of people like you.

Please consider joining EGI in celebrating Samuel's 20th birthday by making a contribution of $20 today. We cherish your support and look forward to doing great work with you!

The EGI Family

Monday, November 7, 2011

Summer 2012 Ethiopia Internship: U.S. College Students for Ethiopia

2011 U.S. College Students for Ethiopia participants
Are you a college student in the United States interested spending your summer in Ethiopia in an exciting internship program with a community service component? The Ethiopian Global Initiative's Summer 2012 applications for U.S. College Students for Ethiopia are now available. 

Entering its second year, the EGI project aims to bridge the communication and access gap between U.S. college students and Ethiopian organizations, create a thriving environment for volunteerism and community engagement and raise the consciousness of service to Ethiopia.

Learn more and apply here! Summer 2012 applications due November 28, 2011.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Societies Inspire Engagement

Photo: Dawn Colquitt-Anderson/EGI
By: Bethel Tsehai, M.P.H. (@bethel_tsehai)
October 30, 2011

A week ago, on Saturday, October 22, I attended the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference at Harvard University. BuildEthiopia provided a platform for participants and attendees to actively engage in exploring current issues facing Ethiopia and to seek solutions for those challenges. Students, professionals, educators, policy makers, activists, and community organizers came together to collaborative and mutually inspire.

Topics covered include social entrepreneurship and economic development, civic engagement, and exploring the millennium development goals in relation to Ethiopia. Mr. Tesfaye Yilma, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Ethiopia to the United States, spoke on the various threats Ethiopia faces in the future, in particular, poverty as the country’s top national security threat. On the positive side, the government is making efforts to ensure a transfer of knowledge and technology.

Mr. David Rice, Executive Director of New York University’s Development Research Institute, emphasized the need for and benefits of economic freedom in Ethiopia. Often times, international development issues stem from issues in leadership. In light of this statement, he asked some thought provoking and profound questions. In particular, he asked, “Can you have economic freedom and growth without criticizing the current government?” It’s imperative to realize that only in a free society does a country have complete economic freedom. He asked, “Could Steve Jobs do what he did in Ethiopia?” Think about it! In a free society, citizens are not only empowered, but entitled to pursue their dreams without hindrance. Failure or success of the individual is based on their own efforts and abilities and not dictated or controlled by the government.

On the bright side, Ethiopia’s GDP is growing at a progressive double-digit rate. In light of this growth, it is vital for donor countries to partner with the African Diaspora. It is clear that Africa needs an African solution! Frankly, the African Diaspora needs to step and think outside the box and develop new and innovative ways to approach the difficulties of Ethiopia and Africa in general.

Through capacity building, enhancing social media and technology, and engaging in social entrepreneurship, Ethiopia will become a self-sustaining and successful country. There is hope and it begins with one word: ENGAGEMENT!

Bethel Tsehai, M.P.H., is Project Manager of the Midwives Scholarship Fund at the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sustainable Programs that Empower

Photo: Oxfam America
By: Abel Tadesse, M.H.S. (@Abel_Says)
October 27, 2011

I came across an article published on October 24, 2011 by Oxfam America entitled With Insurance, Loans, and Confidence, this Ethiopian Farmer builds her resilience. These are the kind of stories that I love to read as it gives hope and allows an individual to see the glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

There is definitely hope for Ethiopians that depend on agriculture and livestock as long as there is a system to support their long-term needs. For example, Selas Samson Biru from the article is a farmer who participated in a crop insurance program where she was able to secure "payout for a crop" insurance in case harvesting fails due to drought. Further, the Oxfam America program opened the door to financial loan options. Surely enough, the program continues to provide support, guidance and encouragement to Ethiopian farmers. In Selas' case, she was even able to take advantage of the loan program to obtain "her own pump" to help in irrigation system for her crops. These programs exemplify that any human being can learn and apply smart sustainable investment practices as long as there is a seed of empowerment.

The article mentions challenges such as expensive fertilizers. It is also evident that there is inaccessibility of such programs to other regions of Ethiopia and the ongoing drought in Horn of Africa is not helping the conditions as well. However, these shouldn't be a surprise to us and become an obstacle to our work towards development. Rather, we should learn from these positive stories and pursue innovative programs that continue the efforts to develop financial and human resources. Of particular importance is the intellectual capital of the Ethiopian diaspora.

It is undeniable that the diaspora has an abundance of experts familiar with Ethiopia's condition and can deliver intellectual and financial support. To use these resources efficiently, it will be important to create social awareness through various channels such as networking events and conferences that nurture collaboration and attract individuals and organizations that aim to implement sustainable programs that educate and empower Ethiopians.

As exhibited in the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference on October 22 at Harvard University, EGI also contributes to improve the lives of Ethiopian communities in Ethiopia and abroad by setting the value of networking, sharing ideas, learning as well as motivating and collaborating with organizations and individuals for the betterment of Ethiopia.

Abel Tadesse, M.H.S., is Director of Project Development of the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BuildEthiopia: Technology and Reaspora

Moderator Elizabeth N. Ngonzi discussing with speaker
Teddy Ruge at the 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference.
(Photo: Dawn Colquitt-Anderson/EGI)
By: Emily Weinstein (@emyli_rose)
October 25, 2011

The 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference held this past Saturday, October 22 at Harvard University was a tremendous success. BuildEthiopia is described as “an international gathering of students, educators, professionals, community organizers and policy makers designed to seek solutions for the challenges Ethiopia faces in the 21st Century.” During BuildEthiopia, EGI’s President Samuel Gebru stressed the six pillars of the conference, illustrating the ways in which one can contribute to Ethiopia's prosperity:

  • Network with other like-minded individuals who are passionate about making Ethiopia a better place to live and work.
  • Share your ideas on how to help Ethiopia grow and how to promote unity amongst students and professionals in the diaspora.
  • Learn from speakers who share their experiences, successes and mistakes and also answer your important questions.
  • Collaborate with participants to seek practical solutions to some of the issues facing Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora.
  • Build a global network of individuals like you and connect with them to continue sharing your ideas and solutions.
  • Motivate your friends to turn your ideas into action through the resources and networks of the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Throughout the day, the conference also adopted another theme: the impact of social media, the availability of technology, and other methods of individual and creative representation on the African continent. The Co-founder of Project Diaspora, Teddy Ruge, presented thought-provoking insights on the technological advancements sweeping across Africa, explaining how the mobile phone revolution is connecting the continent with the statement, “mobile is the pencil rewriting Africa's story.” In response Samuel Gebru tweeted, “Social media can be a solution to help the Ethiopian diaspora connect, volunteer and build a sense of community.”

The concept of “Africa 3.0” discussed at BuildEthiopia applies not only to the technology rapidly making its mark on the African continent, but also the return of the African diaspora to their native countries and the subsequent reversal of the “brain drain.” Affectionately termed “reaspora,” these educated Africans once left their homes in Uganda, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, etc. and relocated to the U.S. and Europe seeking to further their education. These concerned Africans are now returning to their countries of birth seeking solutions to socioeconomic issues.

When reflecting on the events of the day, everyone agreed that one of the most important conclusions was that Africa needs an African solution. The most effective way to create transformation in Africa is to commission the knowledge and experience of those who know the ways in which their home countries function.

I am proud that the 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference was another success for the Ethiopian Global Initiative; it will certainly not be the last. Thanks to all the participants and organizers who made BuildEthiopia possible. I hope to see everyone at next year's conference from October 6-8, 2012.

Emily Weinstein is an Event Manager at the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Left to Right: EGI Vice President for Operations Leul Yohannes, EGI Director of Marketing Ryan Olivieri, HSBA
Executive Director Denise Jillson, EGI President Samuel M. Gebru, EGI Event Manager Emily Weinstein. (Photo: EGI)

The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI) formally joined the Harvard Square Business Association (HSBA) on Friday, October 21, 2011, in a meeting in Cambridge, MA, United States. Joining HSBA will bring EGI into a 101-year-old network of over 400 local and international organizations, universities, businesses and much more. EGI looks forward to developing relationships with members of HSBA and thanks HSBA's leadership for a warm welcome.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 BuildEthiopia Conference Successfully Held

Photo: Dawn Colquitt-Anderson Photography/EGI
Cambridge, Mass., United States, October 23, 2011 – The Ethiopian Global Initiative’s (EGI) 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference convened yesterday at Harvard University. BuildEthiopia brought a significant amount of students, educators, professionals, community organizers and policy makers together to seek solutions for the challenges Ethiopia faces.

BuildEthiopia began with an address from The Honorable David P. Maher, Mayor of the City of Cambridge, who welcomed attendees and expressed his enthusiasm in the relationship between the City of Cambridge and EGI. Mr. Kagnew F. Asfaw, the North America Regional Director of Ethiopian Airlines, followed Mayor Maher’s remarks by delivering the keynote address, which focused on the success of Ethiopian Airlines as an example of how Ethiopian-led businesses can thrive in Ethiopia using their intellectual capital.  

EGI’s President, Mr. Samuel M Gebru, also addressed attendees during the opening session. Mr. Gebru encouraged BuildEthiopia attendees to be thoughtful and active participants.  He stressed the importance of the six pillars of the BuildEthiopia Conference, and advised participants to network, collaborate, and motivate each other to create solutions during and after the event.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Update on Keynote Address by Ethiopian Airlines CEO

EGI regrets to inform participants of the upcoming 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference that Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, will not be able to deliver the keynote address.

Attributing his absence to urgent issues, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines expressed his regrets. "I feel very disappointed to miss the opportunity," said Mr. Gebremariam, adding, "It would have been a special privilege and honor for me to address such worthwhile event."

Mr. Kagnew F. Asfaw, North America Regional Director of Ethiopian Airlines, will deliver the keynote address on behalf of Ethiopia's national flag carrier. Online registration deadline is October 19 at 11:59pm EST. Read more here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Magic of a Bitten Apple

A picture taken of my MacBook and me in 2010.
By: Samuel M. Gebru (@smgebru)
October 5, 2011

In the world of technology, Steven P. Jobs is a common name. Along with his colleague and competitor William H. Gates, III, the two are some of the few at the helm of technology as godlike figures. And with due credit, too.

That was, until today. This evening over dinner, a classmate told me that Jobs passed away. I told him that he was bluffing and that Jobs just had cancer and retired from his role as Apple Inc.’s CEO. As I said that, I received breaking news email alerts confirming true what I hoped was false. Inspiringly, my twitter and facebook feeds are filled with status updates on his passing as I write this.

I will forever know Steve Jobs, amongst other reasons, as the man who wore the same type of blue jeans and black turtle neck every day. His swag became a brand of its own. Steve Jobs was a businessman who envisioned and innovated. He engineered the digital empire we know today as a bitten apple.

An activist and inspirational leader of many sorts, Jobs’ message of living life for today and making meaning of it on all accounts continues to inspire me. One can only hope to be in the ranks of amazing humans that have made an impact in how we think, operate and envision. Although he will be missed, his profound impact is in the “i” forever.

Samuel M. Gebru is President and Chairman of the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Conference Preparation is Building Up!

Preparation for the 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference is fully underway. We are especially grateful for the support we are receiving from the Harvard University African Students Association, our Venue Sponsor.

Today we confirmed our conference rooms and venue for October 22. We will be using Maxwell Dworkin Hall, Harvard University's home for the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as the conference venue. 

Maxwell Dworkin Hall was built in honor of the mothers of Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates, III and Microsoft President Steven A. Ballmer. As home of engineering and applied sciences, Maxwell Dworkin Hall symbolizes the importance of building Ethiopia though not only engineering but also envisioneering ideas for the future.

Click here for more information on the conference and to register online for free!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines CEO to Deliver Keynote Address at 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 9, 2011 – Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI) President Samuel M. Gebru announced today that Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam of Ethiopian Airlines is one of the keynote speakers at EGI’s 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, United States.

Sharing his excitement, Mr. Gebru stated that EGI “is happy to highlight the work of Ethiopian Airlines and of Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, a career employee that built his way to the helm of Africa’s aviation success story.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BuildEthiopia Conference Webpage Launches

Interested in learning more about the 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference at Harvard University on October 21-22, 2011? Click here and visit the conference webpage and register today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Volunteering…it sure is rewarding!!

By: Abel Tadesse
August 10, 2011

Have you heard about the Daily Challenge by meyouHealth? If not, I highly recommend that you check it out. There are so many interesting topics that come out to do different things, testing if it helps your well-being. No worries, I am not part of the meyouHealth team, but I love what I see in their websites!

Last week in the Daily Challenge announcement, they posted one of my favorite challenges to users, visit a website to learn about local volunteering opportunities. Right away, users including myself and other colleagues and friends of mine started responding with their comments marking it “DONE!” 

While reading the “why it matters” section of the post, I knew that our communities do have wonderful volunteers. At the same time though, I was surprised to see so many individuals volunteering in their own communities giving their time to Church activities, nonprofit organizations, local food drives, supporting their children school sport teams...the list goes on and on.

As some of you may know, writing and speaking about a topic starts from the self. I volunteer as a Project Manager at the Ethiopian Global Initiative and I vouch that volunteering there is the most rewarding hobby of my own. With that being said, I challenge you to volunteer in your communities and if you really want a challenge, work with international groups to share your talent and skills as a volunteer to help communities globally. 

In my case, I help impact the lives of women in Ethiopia through training skilled midwives. What are you doing? Now, that's a rewarding challenge!

Abel Tadesse is Project Manager of the EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ethiopian Global Initiative Hosts Ceremony at U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa high school student, Bitanya Yosef, explains
how she thinks the paintings relate to the presentation
on the topic of Juvenile Delinquency. (EGI Photo)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, August 9, 2011 – U.S. College Students for Ethiopia (USCSE), a project of the Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), hosted a closing ceremony for its Youth Community Dialogue participants at the Embassy of the United States of America on Saturday, August 6.

The Youth Community Dialogue is a USCSE summer program that helps Addis Ababa high school students communicate effectively and creatively to their peers and community members about issues important to them in their local neighborhoods. Through this Dialogue, USCSE promotes a culture of volunteerism and community engagement among local youth, while developing their analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.

For five weeks, 20 participants engaged in stimulating discussions and prepared presentations on issues ranging from “Youth Self-Expression” to “Juvenile Delinquency,” under the guidance of U.S. and Addis Ababa University students. Participants had the opportunity to speak and interact with Diaspora professionals that returned to Ethiopia to contribute to the country’s development. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

EGI Luncheon at Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro

Come learn about the Ethiopian Global Initiative's Midwives Scholarship Fund and a portion of your bill will fund the education of students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia.

Where: Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro, 7020 Commerce Street, Springfield, VA 22150
When: Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Information: or +1-617-528-9434

Click here for facebook event page.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

EGI Statement on Horn of Africa Drought and Famine

Saturday, July 30, 2011
Somalis from southern Somalia carry their belongings
as they make their way to a new camp for internally
displaced people in Mogadishu Somalia, Saturday July
30, 2011. (AP / Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Cambridge, Mass., United States

Roughly 100 million people inhabit the Horn of Africa, consisting of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. It is a region that is unfortunately known for the seemingly endless problems of wars, droughts, famines and diseases.

The Ethiopian Global Initiative is deeply concerned by the current drought and famine situation plaguing millions of people in the Horn of Africa. We applaud the international community’s efforts to quickly respond to the regional malnutrition and starvation of the people. The effects of famine also include the spread of epidemics and the increase of mortality rates.

It is nothing short of a scandal for humans to suffer from famine in the 21st century. With the technological and economic advancements over the past decades, famines, regardless of location, should be a thing of the past. Food security and healthcare must be placed as a top priority for governments in the Horn of Africa and other developing states.

The vulnerability of pastoralists, who are at the mercy of nature, and poverty are two important causes of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. We at the Initiative believe that a long-term development strategy is necessary to combat the problems of food security. Emergency aid is indeed useful, but we encourage the Horn of Africa’s governments, intellectuals and diaspora to come together to find long-term solutions that are sustainable and meet the needs of the people.

Some of the poorest of the world’s poor live in the Horn of Africa, and it is not fair or justifiable to them to live at the hand of the international community’s generosity. The Ethiopian Global Initiative reaffirms its commitment to Ethiopia’s transformation, forming a long-term development strategy that focuses on economic prosperity, literacy, improved access to healthcare and the status of children, youth and women.

Samuel M. Gebru
President and Chairman

Leul Yohannes
Director of Operations

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ethiopian Global Initiative Announces 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference

Cambridge, Mass., United States, July 6, 2011 – The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), today, announced its second annual conference to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 21 and 22, 2011. Officially known as the BuildEthiopia Conference, it will feature an array of sessions designed to engage participants to seek solutions for Ethiopia’s development challenges.

EGI President Samuel M. Gebru stated that the conference would be a significant gathering of bright minds. “We want to challenge participants by making them think outside the box and collaborate beyond their personal interests and disciplines to seek solutions that can holistically build a better Ethiopia.”

BuildEthiopia was chosen as the name of the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s annual conference because it emphasizes the mission of the Initiative, which is to combine the wealth of knowledge and resources of students and professionals for the transformation of Ethiopia. In 2007, Ethiopia reached the year 2000 on its own calendar, and attention was given to the idea of an Ethiopian Renaissance as a revival of Ethiopian values, culture and innovation. By focusing on holistic development, BuildEthiopia will create ways to engage bright minds to help chart Ethiopia’s future through investing in human and social capital.

“BuildEthiopia is a platform for innovation, networking and creating solid partnerships. It will bring students and professionals to Cambridge who are in the business of transforming Ethiopia through critical projects and ideas,” said EGI Director of Development Tezeta G. Roro.

Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Samuel sits down with "The Benchmark"

In this interview with The Benchmark with Kallie Ejigu, Ethiopian Global Initiative President Samuel Gebru opens up about his background, motivations for continuing his nonprofit work and his life goals. The exclusive interview with Kalkidan “Kallie” Ejigu, held at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C., gives an in-depth look into EGI’s beginnings and some of its projects. Samuel and Kalkidan discuss what it actually means to combine and capture the social and intellectual capital of students and professionals in order to reverse the brain drain. Samuel also explains two flagship EGI projects, the Midwives Scholarship Fund and U.S. College Students for Ethiopia. More information can be obtained by contacting EGI.

Part One

Part Two

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ethiopian Global Initiative Announces U.S. College Students for Ethiopia Class of 2011

Cambridge, Mass., USA, May 31, 2011 – The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), today, unveiled its first group of college students that are traveling to Ethiopia from the United States under its newly launched project, U.S. College Students for Ethiopia (USCSE). 

USCSE aims to combat the shortage of skilled professionals in Ethiopia by encouraging both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian students from the United States to volunteer and intern in Ethiopia, as a way to reverse “brain drain” and promote consciousness of service in Ethiopia. The final students, selected on their merits and desire to work in Ethiopia, were chosen from a highly competitive U.S.-wide application pool of students.

On the occasion of announcing the first USCSE cohort, the Class of 2011, Project Manager Yordanos Eyoel expressed her excitement at the possibilities ahead for EGI and the students. “I am exceptionally proud of USCSE’s inaugural class! These are talented students from some of the best universities in the country and it is inspiring to see their commitment to give back to Ethiopia. They certainly will add tremendous value to their host organizations.”

USCSE brings students from the United States to Ethiopia, working with locally based Ethiopian public and private sector organizations. While in Ethiopia, the students will undertake a collaborative project with counterpart students from the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia’s flagship public university. USCSE aims to build longstanding relationships between students from the United States and Ethiopia through its efforts to tackle the “brain drain” problem. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Infant Deaths Drop After Midwives Undergo Inexpensive Training

Lynn Johnson/National Geographic, via Getty Images
By: Samuel M. Gebru
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Training midwives is very important to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. 

A recent New York Times article by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., entitled Infant Deaths Drop After Midwives Undergo Inexpensive Training, underscores the importance and progressive results of training traditional midwives in modern medicine. 

McNeil highlights studies that have been conducted with Zambian midwives, concluding that relatively inexpensive training programs can produce results that save hundreds and thousands of lives. 

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Global Initiative is continuing its six-year partnership with Hamlin Fistula International by providing full scholarships for eight students at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia. The 2011-2015 project is relatively inexpensive when compared with undergraduate education in the United States. 

EGI will fully fund eight students at $4,000 per student per year. That means for $16,000, EGI will be able to fully fund one student that will, in turn, impact the lives of hundreds and thousands of rural Ethiopian mothers-to-be. That's about $140,000 for four years.

Instead of curing obstetric fistula, or funding it, EGI and the Hamlin College of Midwives are focusing on solving the root causes of obstetric fistula: lack of maternal healthcare and lack of awareness. 

By supporting the Ethiopian Global Initiative's Midwives Scholarship Fund, you will help EGI fund the training of Ethiopian midwives to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. Saving lives is as easy as clicking here and making a donation. 

Samuel M. Gebru, an undergraduate student at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, serves as President of the Ethiopian Global Initiative.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrating the Midwives that make Healthy Mothers

An Ethiopian midwife visits a pregnant
patient at home. Ethiopia. (Source)
By: Abel Tadesse
Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI) continues its efforts in meeting the objectives outlined in the Midwives Scholarship Fund (MSF). On this day May 5, 2011 the MSF team echoes its support for the celebration of International Day of the Midwife, recognizing all midwives throughout the globe.

Midwives play critical role during and after pregnancy to the mother as well as to the newborn and family. They are key to reaching out to the communities especially in developing countries where there is limited access to health care professionals.

As we celebrate the International Day of the Midwife, we need to make a note that there is a momentous amount of work that needs to be done surrounding access to education to midwives and other healthcare professionals.

The World Health Organization Assistant Director, Dr. Flavia Bustreo, released a statement today addressing the importance of strengthening the midwives workforce throughout the world. Dr. Bustreo further explained that it is no question that we need to accelerate our focus to reinforce the need to meet the Millennium Development Goals Four and Five as the statistics show a high prevalence of maternal and child mortality rate; 350,000 women and 3.6 million newborns die each year globally.

EGI is working to support MDGs Four and Five through the Midwives Scholarship Fund. Through this project, we plan to provide full scholarships to students at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia, where students will complete a four-year program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery.

There is no doubt that this project will increase education access to midwives, mothers, families and communities throughout Ethiopia and in result a decrease in maternal and child deaths.

Abel Tadesse holds a Master of Health Sciences from George Mason University. He is Project Manager of the EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Celebrating EGI at New York's Awash

Assistant Project Manager Blayne M. Tesfaye (R) poses
with an attendee. (See photos here)
By: Blayne M. Tesfaye
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Sunday night, I attended the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s (EGI) New York Fundraiser and Networking Mixer. Besides being a great opportunity to meet others interested in the work EGI does, the mixer also provided a chance to fundraise for U.S. College Students for Ethiopia (USCSE), an EGI project for which I am Assistant Project Manager.

The Awash Ethiopian Restaurant, which was generous enough to donate a portion of the night’s proceeds to USCSE, hosted the mixer. After we had a chance to eat the amazing Ethiopian food (mm…doro wat!) Samuel Gebru, EGI’s President, spoke about how EGI came to be and its importance as a global organization aiming to bring about transformation in Ethiopia.

I then had the chance to express what I think is the significance of a program like USCSE, which gives American and Ethiopian-Americans the chance to explore internships with Ethiopian-led organizations in Addis Ababa. As Samuel put it, these students and the new connections they make with Ethiopian students can play an important role in reversing the “brain-drain” of professionals from Ethiopia to Europe and the U.S.

After speaking to the group, I had some amazing individual discussions with attendees. It was great to be able to discuss the work that the USCSE team has been working hard on with people who were full of encouragement and great ideas. Many of the mixer attendees took a keen interest in USCSE’s work and were incredibly willing to do anything they could to help out with our work in whichever way they could. It was really special to have friends and family, both my own and others’, come to the mixer and really engage with EGI.

Blayne M. Tesfaye, Assistant Project Manager of EGI’s U.S. College Students for Ethiopia, is a graduating senior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Note on Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfere's Death

The late Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfere of Afar (WIC Photo).
Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfere, spiritual leader and traditional king of the Afar people, passed away on April 24. Enthroned in 1945, he was ruler of the Afar Kingdom of the Ethiopian Empire until 1974 when the military junta of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam forcefully abolished the monarchy. The Sultan of Afar left to exile in Saudi Arabia while leading the Afar Liberation Front, a coalition member that helped topple Colonel Mengistu's brutal government in 1991. 

Interestingly, most people do not know much about Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfere. Admittedly, neither do I. Upon hearing of his death, I did a quick google query to learn as much about him. The Sultan was a staunch Ethiopian patriot, a defender of the people. On a recent email listserv, I said the following on his death.

It is high time we chronicle our history and learn from religious, political, social, economic and cultural leaders about our past. People such as the late Sultan of Afar are crucial in our quest to continue our discovery of Ethiopia. It strikes me as being odd why we Ethiopians don't engage in oral and written history projects that can be archived for future generations.

This is yet another Ethiopian gem lost. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

EGI New York Fundraiser

The Ethiopian Global Initiative is hosting a fundraiser and networking mixer on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 6:00pm in New York City. You're invited to enjoy dinner at Awash Ethiopian Restaurant and a portion of your bill will be given to EGI! 

Support an international organization of students and professionals dedicated to launching and supporting innovative social programs in Ethiopia. Learn more by visiting and joining us on facebook at

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
947 Amsterdam Ave
(between 106th St & 107th St)
New York, NY 10025
Manhattan Valley
Nearest Transit: 103rd Street (1), Cathedral Parkway (B, C)

Questions? Call EGI at 617-528-9434 or email

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Childbirth Injuries and Midwifery: Speaking From the Heart

Doctors Catherine and Reginald Hamlin
during their early days in Ethiopia.
By: Abel Tadesse
March 10, 2011

March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day. Most of us celebrate the women in our lives daily. Whether it is calling our mothers to say thank you or expressing the love we have for our sisters, we all have different forms to show our appreciation to the women in our lives. As we celebrated and recognized women’s day, for many mothers in developed countries, pregnancy is the most exciting time as they look forward to growing life within their body and then bringing it to the world.

This is not the case in many developing countries like Ethiopia especially in rural areas where a mother-to-be can experience an agonizing weeklong labor all by herself. I recently watched a trailer for a documentary called A Walk to Beautiful where a woman expressed how her pregnancy, which led to a weeklong labor, ruined her marriage as it resulted in a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula. The husband noticed her condition, which includes loosing functions of the bladder, so he decided to leave her to marry another woman. It was unbearable to watch the complete trailer, and note this is not even the whole documentary! I kept on telling myself that these are the mothers and sisters of my own in Ethiopia. What was even worse about seeing the horrors of obstetric fistula is that this childbirth injury was eradicated from the U.S. in 1895.

EGI President Samuel M. Gebru (in suit) poses with Dr.
Catherine Hamlin (right) in August 2006 at the Addis
Ababa Fistula Hospital.
For me, understanding the condition of fistula really is an eye opener and I believe individuals like you and I can take actions together to eradicate this traumatic childbirth injury in Ethiopia as well as other developing countries. Using our own skills, we can make pregnancy and childbirth "a joyful experience" as Dr. Catherine Hamlin, founder of the Hamlin Fistula Hospitals of Ethiopia, defined it. For me, my action first started when I joined the Ethiopian Global Initiative, fully supporting the Midwives Scholarship Fund. The mission of the project is to improve access to healthcare education, specifically midwifery as it is found to be a sustainable solution to improve the areas of maternal and child health. The success of this program will help build the foundation stronger, and further increase the amount of Ethiopia’s healthcare professionals. The project is raising funds to sponsor eight women at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia.

It may be difficult for one to fully commit to volunteering as we all have our own personal endeavors, but I am a strong believer that the smallest contribution counts for the success of the EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund. In the long run, the eradication of obstetric fistula, turning a woman's worst experience during childbirth to a joyful celebration, is a goal for us when each International Women’s Day comes by.

Just as I have joined, helping expand the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s mission in expanding education for health, I invite you and your friends to do so.

Visit the EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund webpage by clicking here. Abel Tadesse holds a Master in Health Sciences degree from George Mason University and is Project Manager of the EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

EGI President Speaks at Black History Month Dinner in Washington, D.C.

EGI President Samuel Gebru delivers
speech on "The Promise of Ethiopia:
Unity Beyond Borders." Photo Credit.

Washington, D.C., March 3, 2011 – On Monday, February 28, 2011 Ethiopian Global Initiative President Samuel M. Gebru delivered a speech entitled “The Promise of Ethiopia: Unity Beyond Borders” at the annual African Heritage and Unity Celebration.

The event, organized by Tamrat Medhin of the Ethiopian American Constituency Foundation, was held at Etete Restaurant, a prominent Ethiopian restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s historic Shaw Neighborhood.

In his speech, Samuel explained why Ethiopia is important to African Americans. “Ethiopia to African Americans was and still is an institution; it’s an identity, much beyond just a state with clearly defined borders. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the torch barrier of African unity and self-determination. Ethiopia was a home for all oppressed people of African descent, a place where they would find unity in diversity.”

He continued, articulating how the first Ethiopian delegation to the United States in 1919 spoke out against racial segregation and left a standing invitation to all African Americans to repatriate to Ethiopia. Samuel emphasized the notion of “Ethiopia Without Borders” and its meaning.

“‘Ethiopia Without Borders’ is a concept that African Americans have cherished…One of the Black regiments in the U.S. Revolutionary War was known as Allen’s Ethiopians…Homer in The Odyssey referenced to all the lands south of Egypt as being Ethiopia. This is from a document written around the 8th Century B.C.”

Youth involvement as the primary vehicle to continue the historic 200 years of relations between African Americans and Ethiopians was underscored. Samuel explained that, “Celebrating the heritage of all African people, both within the homeland and abroad, must be a matter of a realization of our own individual and collective potential as a people who have been historically, political and economically marginalized. This is what Black History Month should be about today, not just for 28 days but also for 365 days.”

Three other speakers shared insight on Ethiopia’s importance to the Black world. H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, spoke the contributions Ethiopia made to African self-determination. Retired Washington, D.C. City Councillor Frank Smith spoke about the economy behind enslavement and the interconnectedness of the American Civil War and the African struggle for independence. Lastly, retired Captain Getachew Wolde Mariam, spoke on his experience in the Imperial Bodyguard of Ethiopia and the contributions Ethiopia has made to global peacekeeping, including in the Congo and South Korea.

The African Heritage and Unity Celebration in Washington, D.C. was an important way for the Ethiopian Global Initiative to continue its outreach work. Some Ethiopian-Israeli youth attending the event, representing Israel at Heart, expressed their desire to begin EGI activities in Israel.

The Chairman of the Washington, D.C. City Council, the Honorable Kwame Brown, attended the event and commended Samuel Gebru’s speech. He expressed his interest in learning more about EGI and exploring ways that the District of Columbia could support and partner with it.

Representatives of many other organizations and businesses also attended the event. Organizer Tamrat Medhin hailed the speakers as having eloquently pointed out the importance of the past and how to chart a new future.

A copy of “The Promise of Ethiopia: Unity Beyond Borders” is available on the EGI website.

About the Ethiopian Global Initiative
The Ethiopian Global Initiative is an international nonprofit organization that combines and captures the social and intellectual capital of students and professionals for the transformation of Ethiopia through a new generation of socially responsible leaders. Working throughout the world, the Initiative serves as a catalyst for community-based projects to promote civic engagement and economic prosperity.

Media Contact


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

City Councillor Nate Holden supports the Ethiopian Global Initiative

See related press release here. Check out photos from the EGI Los Angeles Networking Mixer here.

EGI's President works with Maryland Ethiopians

Meeting with some members of the Montgomery County
Ethiopian Sister City Committee at Abyssinian
Ethiopian Restaurant. Photo Source: click here.
This past weekend, our President was in Washington, D.C. One of the things he did was meet with representatives of the Montgomery County Ethiopian Sister City Committee. The meeting took place at Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland. Check out Samuel's thoughts on the meeting here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Summer 2011: Apply to Intern and Volunteer in Ethiopia

Be among the first to take part in the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s newest project, U.S. College Students for Ethiopia!

Join a cohort of 12-15 highly-motivated, passionate undergraduate and graduate students as an intern in your field of interest: the arts, banking and microfinance, education, the media, government, NGOs, or trade and sales.

Experience life in the vibrant, multicultural city of Addis Ababa and participate in weekend excursions throughout the entire country. 

To apply, click here. The application deadline is March 15, 2011. 

For more information, contact

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ethiopian Global Initiative Successfully Hosts Los Angeles Networking Mixer

EGI President Samuel Gebru discusses with retired
Los Angeles City Councillor Nate Holden on EGI's
work for 2011 and how he could get involved.

Los Angeles, Calif., USA, February 26, 2011 – The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), an international nonprofit organization that operates in several countries, successfully hosted its first U.S. West Coast event in the Little Ethiopia district of Los Angeles yesterday, February 25.

“The EGI Los Angeles Networking Mixer was our first outreach event in the West Coast and despite the weather it went very well,” said EGI President Samuel Gebru.

Berhanu and Getahun Asfaw, brothers and co-owners of Messob Restaurant, agreed. Encouraged by EGI’s vision, they welcomed the organization to host the networking mixer at their restaurant.

Berhanu Asfaw, who serves as President of the Little Ethiopia Business Association, welcomed EGI to Los Angeles for future events pledging to assist the organization. “You are doing great work and we will help connect you with the community here so that EGI’s mission expands to all people,” said Berhanu.

Prominent community members attended the networking mixer, including the leading filmmaker in Ethiopia, Theodros Teshome, who recently directed the movie Abay vs. Vegas that aired in the 19th Annual Pan African Film Festival.

The event featured retired Los Angeles City Council Member and the father of Little Ethiopia, the Honorable Nate Holden. Councillor Holden praised EGI’s vision and expressed his deepest appreciation for the work it aims to achieve.

When learning more about EGI’s beginnings, Holden jokingly said, “Samuel, I was about 9-years-old when I became active in my community, so you’re late to have started at 13.”

Holden endorsed EGI, agreeing that U.S. College Students for Ethiopia, its project designed to send college students to Ethiopia on intern and volunteer opportunities, is a great way to begin reversing the brain drain that damaged Ethiopia particularly between 1980 and 1991.

“EGI is doing a great working in terms of recruiting young people…to participate in supporting social programs not only for just EGI but also for Ethiopia.” He underscored his desire to help, declaring, “In fact, I plan to join them!”

The President of the Ethiopian American Chamber of Commerce, Negest Legesse, shared her willingness to work with EGI, particularly on its project the Ethiopian American Census. “We have done a lot of work in the 2010 U.S. Census and to count all Ethiopians in the United States is our goal. I am happy to share what we have done with EGI so that we can begin the steps to form a nationwide partnership,” she said.

Representatives from other nonprofits and businesses were also in attendance. They thanked EGI for the networking mixer and said that it was a prime opportunity to begin discussions on how to collaborate with others.

EGI plans to continue hosting networking mixers with partner organizations and its friends, working to expand its global reach. The events will revive existing connections and build new ones that will enrich the work of EGI.

About the Ethiopian Global Initiative
The Ethiopian Global Initiative is an international nonprofit organization that combines and captures the social and intellectual capital of students and professionals for the transformation of Ethiopia through a new generation of socially responsible leaders. Working throughout the world, the Initiative serves as a catalyst for community-based projects to promote civic engagement and economic prosperity.

Media Contact


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ethiopian Global Initiative to Host Los Angeles Networking Mixer in Little Ethiopia

Click to enlarge.

Los Angeles, Calif., USA, February 24, 2011 – The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), an international nonprofit organization that operates in several countries, will host a networking mixer in the Little Ethiopia district of Los Angeles, California on Friday, February 25 at 6:00pm. 

The event will feature EGI President Samuel Gebru, who will be joined by some of the leading members of the Los Angeles Ethiopian community as well as several business, cultural and academic community members. 

Samuel underscored the importance of the networking mixer. “EGI aims to attract driven people to this networking mixer who are willing and can contribute their skills to the growth of EGI and Ethiopia,” adding that, “this event is purposefully open to people young and old, Ethiopian and not, so we can spread awareness about EGI’s work for 2011.”

The President of the Little Ethiopia Business Association, Berhanu Asfaw, congratulated EGI, saying that it was high time for the community to utilize their skills for Ethiopia. “Messob is very happy to host the Ethiopian Global Initiative in Little Ethiopia tomorrow.”

EGI plans to continue hosting networking mixers with partner organizations and its friends, working to expand its global reach. The events will revive existing connections and build new ones that will enrich the work of EGI.

The networking mixer will be held on Friday, February 25 at 6:00pm at Little Ethiopia’s Messob Restaurant on 1041 South Fairfax Avenue. Visit for more information.

About the Ethiopian Global Initiative
The Ethiopian Global Initiative is an international nonprofit organization that combines and captures the social and intellectual capital of students and professionals for the transformation of Ethiopia through a new generation of socially responsible leaders. Working throughout the world, the Initiative serves as a catalyst for community-based projects to promote civic engagement and economic prosperity.

Media Contact 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tadias Magazine Interviews EGI founder Samuel Gebru

Above: Samuel Gebru, a student at Concordia College,
heads the Ethiopian Global Initiative – EGI.
New York (Tadias) – 19-year-old Samuel Gebru has ambitious plans. The Founder of the Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI), formerly the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative (EAYI), wants to transform Ethiopia one project at a time, using strategies and programs to reverse the brain drain or retain skilled professionals at home. The undergraduate student at Concordia College, a private liberal arts school in Moorhead, Minnesota, says he was drawn to action by two events that deeply affected him when he was just 13-years old. He tells us that in 2004, he traveled to Ethiopia and was exposed to the odd juxtaposition of poverty and wealth. But the real catalyst for his organization did not come until later that year when he watched Oprah Winfrey’s highlight of the problems associated with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. Oprah’s guest was Dr. Catherine Hamlin, the Australian gynecologist who in 1959 moved to Ethiopia and eventually founded the Addis Ababa Fitsula Hospital. “As a young 13-year-old, I was shocked to hear about obstetric fistula’s existence and I was further embarrassed that an Australian, and not an Ethiopian, committed over 50 years of her life to help the women of Ethiopia,” says Samuel. “It was shocking obviously because the last fistula case in the United States, for instance, was in the 1800s with the closing of the New York City Fistula Hospital…It was also embarrassing because when most Ethiopian professionals left Ethiopia, she stayed and did our job. Regardless, I was inspired and decided it would be best to organize an effort in the Boston area to raise funds for their work. We called ourselves the Ethiopian Team (E Team).”

Read the full article on Tadias here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Celebrating 2010 and moving ahead at the Ethiopian Global Initiative

2011 has officially begun and we at the Ethiopian Global Initiative family would like to celebrate our achievements from 2010 before we move ahead with our goals for 2011.

2010 Achievements

Open Meetings
EGI held open meetings in Washington, D.C. and Boston in January designed to build public awareness of our projects and goals for 2010.

2010 EAYI Conference
We began planning efforts for our June conference in March. Known as the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative at the time, our goal was to change names to the Ethiopian Global Initiative, gain international exposure and networks.

Canada Outreach
In May EGI started to discuss with friends in Canada about building networks in Canada to attract new members, donors and friends. Soon, a Regional Director was appointed to help in these efforts.

Research Associate Opportunity
This past summer EGI brought on college students and graduates to serve as Research Associates in the Cambridge Office. They helped plan projects and build contacts that have continued to work with EGI.

Read more on EGI's official website by clicking here.

Important Information

© 2010 Ethiopian Global Initiative, Inc. Material may be republished with credit to this blog and/or the original author. The views and comments expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of the Ethiopian Global Initiative, Inc.