Ethiopia’s Democratic Opening One Year Later: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

April 10, 2019
09:00 am - 11:00 am

About the Event

One year after the inauguration of Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister, Ethiopia continues to be the world’s most exciting democratic breakthrough. Since his appointment, Prime Minister Abiy has initiated a series of broad economic, legal, and political reforms; appointed well-respected human rights leaders to key, independent government commissions; and encouraged the return of and met with opposition parties and exiled journalists and activists.  However, these reforms are fragile. Increasing ethnic tensions and conflicts with slow government responses, a struggling economy, slow implementation of electoral reforms and incomplete government messaging threaten the transformation.

In this panel discussion, Seife Ayalew, Yoseph Badwaza, Kassahun Follo and Obang Metho examined the success, opportunities, and challenges of Ethiopia’s democratic transformation at this one-year anniversary.

About the SPEAKERS

Seife Ayalew is the Executive Director of the African Civic Leadership Program, Ltd. (ACLP), which provides capacity-building support to existing and emerging rights-based civil society leaders and organizations.  Seife is a human rights lawyer with experience in Ethiopian non-government organizations, human rights advocacy groups, and academic institutions.

Yoseph Badwaza is the Senior Program Officer for Ethiopia at Freedom House, which supports civil society organizations in Ethiopia. Yoseph previously directed the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia.

Kassahun Follo is the Executive Director of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), which has a membership of 650,000 employees under its umbrella organizations of about 700 local labor unions affiliated with nine national industrial federations. He also is the General Secretary of the newly-established Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions.

Obang Metho is the founder and Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, a non-political and non-violent social justice movement of that advocates for and facilitates dialogue and engagement between Ethiopia’s ethnic communities. A respected human rights activist, Obang has briefed officials at United Nations, the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress and the Council for Foreign Relations and been interviewed by the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and VOA.

Tiffany Lynch is Program Officer for Ethiopia at the National Endowment for Democracy.

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