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.

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