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Conference on the Future of Ethiopia: Transition, Democracy, and National Unity

The Future of Ethiopia flyer Final Version March 16 (1)
Noting many disturbing events taking place today in Ethiopia, particularly in the Oromia Region, Vision Ethiopia, an independent network of Ethiopian academics and professionals, in collaboration with Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT) is convening a two-day long conference in Georgetown Marriot Hotel, Washington, D.C., March 26 and 27, 2016 under the topic and theme of “Transition, Democracy, and National Unity”.
The goal of the conference is to open a forum for reflection and bring together different political and civic organizations, religious and community leaders, and activists as well as independent scholars and professionals to deliberate on the critical themes of ways and means of resolving conflict and maintaining the national unity of Ethiopia.
The conference is divided in to six sessions addressing six different questions.

  1. How could faith institutions, civic movements, and social organizations help in conflict resolutions and facilitating democracy, unity and transition to a peaceful and democratic post-conflict Ethiopia?
  1. What could Ethiopians learn from the US policy towards Africa and the experiences of African countries in transitions to democracy?
  1. How should Ethiopian political organizations be understood? What are their roles and contributions in shaping the democratic struggle of the Ethiopian people and assuring peace and unity of the country in post-conflict Ethiopia?
  1. What is expected of Ethiopian women in the struggle and conflict resolutions to facilitate democracy and unity during the transition to a post-conflict Ethiopia?
  1. How should the current    economic, political, and social turmoil in Ethiopia be conceptualized, explained, and synthesized, and what are the most important ideas for shaping the future of Ethiopia?
  1. Quo Vadis? Where are we going? Who should do what to guarantee democracy, transition, and unity in post-conflict Ethiopia?
Read Aloud:   Press freedom is going down…

Saturday, March 26, 2016
9:00: Welcome Coffee and Registration
9:30: Welcome by MC
Ms. Birtawit Girmaye: Studio Manager, Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT), Washington, D.C.
9:45: Opening Remarks
Vision Ethiopia: Professor Getachew Begashaw, Chairman
ESAT: Mr. Gizaw Legesse, Producer of “Ethiopia Nege” Show
10:00: Session A
The Roles of Faith Institutions, Civic Movements, and Social Organizations in Conflict Resolutions and Facilitating Democracy, Unity and Transition to Post Conflict Ethiopia
Moderator: Dr. Ashenafi Gossaye: Former Asst. Professor at Addis Ababa University, Fulbright Fellow and Faculty, University of Washington, Seattle, and Professional Urban Planner.
Blessings:Faith Organizations (Orthodox, Protestant, and Muslim)
Panelists: Dr. Assegid Habtewold: Coach, Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker and Former President of Addis Ababa University Students Union and EDP Leadership.
Mr Obang Metho: Executive Director, Solidarity Movement of New Ethiopia, and Human Rights Advocate.
Mr. Gashaw Gebre: Human Rights Advocate and Researcher, Virginia
Mr. Abiye Yassin Ibrahim: Activist and Coordinator, Addis Mieraf Team, Belgium.
Dr. Erku Yimer: Former Executive Director of Ethiopian Community Association in Chicago and Human Rights Advocate, Chicago, Illinois.
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Session B
The Role of the US Policy Towards Africa and the Experiences of African Countries in Transitions to Democracy: The Lessons for Ethiopia
Moderator:Professor Minga Negash: Professor of Accounting, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Panelists: Professor George Ayittey: Professor of Economics, American University, Washington DC, and President of African Freedom Foundation.
Dr. Anuradha Mittal: Executive Director, The Oakland Institute,
Oakland, California.
Professor John Harbeson: Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Graduate Center, City College of New York in CUNY and Professorial Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
3:30 Coffee Break
4:00 Session C
Understanding Political Organizations: Roles and Contributions of Political Organizations in Shaping the Democratic Struggle of the Ethiopian People and Assuring Peace and Unity of the Country in Post Conflict Ethiopia. 
Moderator: Professor Getachew Begashaw: Professor of Economics, Harper College, Chicago, Illinois.
Panelists: Mr. Aklilu Wendaferew: Member of the Executive Committee of Shengo,
Mr. Lencho Bati: Memebr of Executive Committee, Oromo Democratic Front
Mr. Neanin Zeleke: Foreign Relations Officer and Member of the Leadership Committee, Patriotic Ginbot 7.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
9:00: Welcome Coffee and Registration
9:30 Session D
Women’s Voice: Women’s Share in the Struggle and Conflict Resolutions to Facilitate Democracy, Unity, and Transition to Post Conflict Ethiopia.
Moderator: Ms. Lulit Mesfin
Panelists: Ms. Elsabeth Lakew:  Political Science Student, Howard University and Organizer at Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
Ms. Sewasew S.Johannessen: Manager, The Ark of The New Covenant Healing Ministry, Norway.
Ms. Asayesh Tamiru: Human Rights Advocate, Frankfurt, Germany.
Ms. Wessen Debela: Human Rights Advocate and member of Center for Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), Washington, DC and
11:30 Panel E
Ethiopian Scholars Forum 1: Conceptualizing, Explaining, and Synthesizing the Current    Economic, Political, and Social Situations, and Ideas for Shaping the Future of Ethiopia.
Moderator: Mr. Gizaw Legesse: Manager, IT Division, Department of Labor, Washington, DC
Panelists: Mr. Ermias Legesse: Former Deputy Minister of Government Communication, Author, and Human Rights Advocate.
Dr. Mesfin Abdi: Former Lecturer at Addis Ababa University and Researcher.
Professor Seid Hassan:  Professor of Economics, Murray State University, Kentucky
Professor Ezkiel Gebissa:  Professor of History, Kettering University, Michigan, President Elect, Oromo Studies Association
1:30:  Lunch Break
2:30: Session F
Ethiopian Scholars Forum 2: Quo Vadis? Where are we going to? 
The Un-Answered Questions: Who Should Do What to Guarantee Democracy, Transition, and Unity in Post Conflict Ethiopia?
Moderator:Professor Minga Negash: Professor of Accounting, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Panelists: Professor Teshome Abebe: Former Provost and Academic Vice President, Eastern Illinois University and Professor of Economics, Illinois.
Dr. Beyan Asoba: Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate and Member of the Oromo Democratic Front.
Professor Alemayehu Gebremariam (Al Mariam): Professor of Political Science, California State University, San Bernardino, Attorney at Law, and weekly blogger on Huffington Post.
Professor Messay Kebede: Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton, Ohio.
Closing Remarks on behalf of Vision Ethiopia
Dr. Ashenafi Gossaye

Read Aloud:   ESAT Radio Saturday October 12, 2013


    How do we expect unity of any form, when extremist Neftegnas trying to over ride non Nefetegnas Ethiopians ? If Nefetegna wings assume any power in Ethiopia there will be civil war and Oromos,Tigreans,Sidamas,Gonderes and Gojames and Afar will crush and destroy you, this time in perpetual terms.

  2. I think the most important discussion on the conference needs to be more about the current Ethiopian situation, especially how to form a transition body. Whether we like it or not woyane is on the verge of death. It may not even be a slow death. It could be a quick death and can be anytime. In that sense, is there a ready body that can keep Ethiopia as Ethiopia? Although, we all respect the different ethnic groups, going that way, thinking even in that perspective is risky. I would love to hear more of unity from the conference.

  3. This thing is already failed because it is a collection of opportunists like Lenco Bati and Beyan Asooba who were straggled long time ago to join Woyane, but failed after their leader, Lenco Lata was deported from Ethiopia by Woyane leaders and chauvinists like Sewasew Joahnesson, resists Neftenga despots like Alemayehu Gebremariam (Al Mariam) and Aklilu Wendaferew as well as social clients like Obang Metho. A collection of nonsense people can not bring any change, but they will create even more difficult climate that can lead to hinder a good relationship excepted in the future. This is nothing more than a 2008 of Kamal Gelchu, Lenco and Brihanu Negas illusionist project.

  4. Selam All !
    my warmest greetings to you all . Having said that are not tired of convening redundant similar conferences ? are we organizing to find a solution or just to show a show?or just for academic purpose ? how many similar conferences have been organized? Press releases released? Resolution passed? declaration declared and memorandums singed?
    How many coalitions formed? Fronts Organized? task forces created ? transitional arrangements declared? did they achieve any thing? Why? You know the answer !
    How many new organizations formed to find a political solution for Ethiopia ?
    to forge unity among different Ethiopian political forces here in diaspora and back in Ethiopia ? did we achieve any results?The answere is crystal clear !NO
    What are the root cause of our weakness? do you think a lack of Acadamic papers? a lack of conferences?and reaolutions and political declarations ?or lack of new umberella super organisation? or coaltion?
    You all know the correct answer !
    The answer is a lack of collective good will, determination and genuine commitment !
    The lack of creating organisational capacity and capability, confidence, discipline and lack of vision to stand and fight in unison !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Are you ready to commit yourself, for the common purpose of freedom equality and democratic governance in our beloved country Ethiopia !
    To be frank and honest to you all the Ethiopians are tired of empty cry cry and simple political declarations! The country needs our determination For a collective Action ! Action ! Action in Unison !!!!!!!!
    If you are not in a position to correct out past political mistakes and move on Please Stay At home just write your papers and post it on cyber Space !
    most of us have killed our past , present and busy killing our future !
    Let almighty God save ethiopia !
    Melkamu Thewodros , Germany

  5. Who are the neftegna ??
    I think that you are confused and confusing others.
    Fabricated history does not give substance to vacuous tales.For the past 25 years it is the TPLF that is ruling the country, and they are going to be around forever as long as our would-be politicos are busy chasing neftegna ghosts.
    Forty years of ghost chasing and endless talks, scores of political parties and what not, have produced 0 0 0. It looks as if new ghosts will come to free Ethiopia, to give power to absentee politicos.
    Better wake up. When are we going to face our realities?

    Did you notice the picture in the article’s individuals last names and first names ? Most of the names represent and reflect distinct Amhara first name and Amhara last names. How could bunch of power hungry Showa Amhara individuals attempt to represent Ethiopia.
    This picture remind of “EXCLUSIVE SHOWA AMHARA TRIBALISM ( ESAT )”.

    • Do you agames know that 89,000,000 hate you fuckers. Even if that 10% of reading this it’s more than the whole Tigray put together. Stop wasting your time on the key board we don’t want you.

  7. Kudos for assembling a distinguished group of panelists. A couple of suggestions, on “The Roles of Faith Institutions, Civic Movements, and Social Organizations in Conflict Resolutions and Facilitating Democracy, Unity and Transition to Post Conflict Ethiopia” panel, you definitely need to add faith group representatives on the panel. While the listed panelists can talk about the civic movements and social organizations, it is only fare to include subject matter experts from the faith community to have a credible discussion. Second, having a discussion on the future of Ethiopia without deeply involving the youth, who are the future of Ethiopia, is a grave oversight. It is not too late to put together such a panel. I am sure you know there are dynamic young Ethiopians who deeply care about their country. All you need is to reach out to them and invite them to participate.
    Your effort is appreciated. Looking forward to what looks to be an excellent conference.

  8. Do you think only Drs. and Phd holders can solve the existing problems in Ethiopia.I don’t think so. You need to have real politicians who have real experience in Ethiopian politics be speakers otherwise you end up talking nonsense, thus wasting you time.

  9. I have seen 2 OLF leaders like Beyan Asoba, Lencho Bati and others but I don’t see any Amhara in here, you need to include Amharas in your discuession because Amharas have been sufferred by woyane and Derg.

  10. Let us speak and act democracy. We oppose the ‘Woyane’ for lack of democracy of whatever degree, but some of our comments show we are no different.
    Any ‘Ethiopian”interested person’ has a right to open discussion on any political issue(do not ask me the site). Let us start from this ‘ABCD’of Human rights. Do not expect any other person to speak for you. They are speaking their views and positions. That is it. If you have a different view and position, do the same.
    I agree any open discussion will have its own value to initiate more people for a similar action.The pioneers must be respected. However, any attempt to exclude political ideas or trying to replace political ideas by more compromising ones labeling them ‘extreme’ is undemocratic and dangerous.This is what ‘Woyane’ did with ‘OPDO’ and ‘APDM’ and others. The real discussion and negotiation, between our ‘extreme’ political ideas, is yet to come.

  11. Please Don’t use this assemblage as a play ground to show off superiority in your academic. Make it simple and focus on issues like democracy, food
    security,poverty reduction,corruption and good governance. It is wise to think out of the box like to find out if there is any small window of opportunity to work with progressive individuals within the ruling party. Does it sound crazy? It might work.

  12. The main problem of starting with Ethiopian unity politics is that this perspective has always been hijacked from the starting point by media attention seeker individuals, psychologically, moral sick and controversial individuals rather than starting with individual experts who have a relevant conflict resolution knowledge based on Ethiopian people’s culture. Why this process must starts by professor Mesfin’s Showa Amhara internal circle, Dr./proff’s club, while here are so many genuine Ethiopian experts on this issue? Do you think that Ethiopian people’s unity will be restored by self declared pseudo politicians and media attention seekers like Lenco Bati who is lying year after year on Habesha mass media but he considers himself as politician. We know that those individuals are always running behind the problem of poor Ethiopians and crying for their own psychological needs. they think that they can make their own food out of Ethiopian people’s political problems. Ethiopian people’s problem can not be solved by those old foggy opportunists. It is better for people like Obang Metho, Beyan Asoba,Eskil, and cos not to hide themselves behind ghost Show Neftengas.

  13. My message to Obang Metho, Lenco Bati, Beyan Asoba, Ermias Legesse (second times OPDO man),George Ayittey and Ezkiel Gebissa is welcome alle of you to the Grande sons of Minillik’s club project and the Showa Amahara’s internal circle for doing nothing politics.

  14. The power hungry Nefetegnas,The hidden Islamist, the foreign agents.
    Most of these disgruntled power hungry individuals in the picture represent single minority tribe (Showa Amhara/Nefetegna) and there are also few individuals hidden Islamist extremist whom hidden agenda is to degrade Ethiopia and islamasize Ethiopia, and of course there are some within this picture who are financed by Egypt’s government who’s mission is to Creat chaos within Ethiopia and Ethiopians in order to stop the mega hydro dam project.

  15. first of all we need to ask the to change their conforance name “Future of Ethiopia ”
    second We “Qeerroo Oromoo” says those guys not represent us. b/c at this time only #OromoProtests which government killed more than four hundred seventh (470), thousands are oppressed until. but those called 4 this conforance make for us many names ‘sessionalist, narrow nationalist, extremist of sth, … and so on.
    third we start playing then, us we start finishing. u who calls this enjoy the show by getting free ticket. more than this if u like to unit for future of Ethiopia stand with us and let involve u’r people.
    fourth respect our activitist, our slogans, our identity, our language(afan Oromoo), respect our self rule, respect our loved lands, …
    fifth let wake up who on sleeping b/c time 11:45, and also who was ‘axesist, mililikist, …, u have no place in modern Ethiopia.

  16. We need open mind If we want to make any change. The change must start from ourselves. I know nothing about this planned meeting except the ad. I see no wrong in this meeting. The organizers did not claim to provide all the solution to our political problems. The organizers did not claim that the meeting is a fair representation of Ethiopian political groups and ideas. They have just tried to make it representative and invited those willing to participate (inviting those they like would be wrong). I hope the participants will not claim to represent any group(unless represented by a political group)or they will not claim to speak for all of us.Then, What would be wrong in this meeting? Is it Lencho who has no right? Is it the Showa Amhara that has no right? Is it professor Mesfin who has no right? They all have a right to speak their ideas and views. It is up to you to agree or disagree with their ideas.You can also throw it into trash. But it is better to respect their ideas and try to draw them to your ideas and views if you think you have a different idea and view. If you deny any ones right to speak, I afraid to say this ‘you are not better than woyane’.

  17. Date 03/18/2016
    Conference on the Future of Ethiopia: Transition, Democracy, and National Unity – See more at: https://zehabesha.com/conference-on-the-future-of-ethiopia-transition-democracy-and-national-unity-2/#sthash.quyWP1ui.dpuf
    Conference of the Future of Ethiopia
    At Marriott hotel
    Washington DC
    Dear All conference members,
    Just,to remind you that,me too “I Have a Dream !!!”One day you professional
    dreamers stick together to coordinate the Ethiopians struggle.So you can get experience from Jr Martin Luter King.
    What Did Martin Luther King Do to Progress the Civil Rights Movement?
    Martin Luther King, Jr. did many things to bring greater equality to America and to ensure civil rights for all people regardless of race. The major things that Martin Luther King did were to:
    Bring publicity to major civil rights activities and efforts
    Emphasize and encourage the importance of non-violent protest and resistance.
    Provide leadership to the African-American civil rights movement
    These two things came to shape the civil rights movement, in large part because of King’s contributions and achievements.
    I would like to thank All of you for taking your time to discuss about Ethiopia regarding : Transition, Democracy, and National Unity – at the conference-on-the-future-of-ethiopia-transition-democracy-and-national-unity. Really,I am appreciating you All the fact that you want to share with us your knowledge and insight about the roles and responsibilities of professionalism for Ethiopians;that Ethiopia can benefited from good government.I believe that,your conference will contribute to the Ethiopian people to cnvince them that they could really thrive in such an environment;specially at this oakwood situation, when the so called “the dying government” is denying the reality you All mightbe the professionals messengers.
    Also, I really appreciate the advice you will be able to give us from different perspectives and angles.
    Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do in the future for giveback and comment to your team.By the way it is rare to find such a bunch of professionals in one conference. In the mean time,don’t forget those who don’t like good deed are always ready to disturb whenever they see such kind of professionals roll.
    I wish you All the best, and I will keep you updated regarding your experience there in U.S.A. at Washington DC, Marriott hotel.
    Abiy Ethiopiawe

  18. Oromoo-Qeerroo be ware.
    Who among these showed up in confronting the wayyaanee torture with you.
    History is clear. Oromoos have negotiated for democracy and equality with the Habasha starting with Menelik up to the present. They always won and Oromoos always lost. Especially the last negotiation with Wayyaanee with the usual intervention of the foreign powers. The present call for unity is a dejavue of the past.
    Stop touching fire with some one else’s hand.

  19. Oromoo-Qeerroo be ware.
    Who among these showed up in confronting the wayyaanee torture with you.
    History is clear. Oromoos have negotiated for democracy and equality with the Habasha starting with Menelik up to the present. They always won and Oromoos always lost. Especially the last negotiation with Wayyaanee with the usual intervention of the foreign powers. The present call for unity is a dejavue of the past.
    Stop touching fire with some one else’s hand.

  20. What is needed is not theoretical discussion and conferences. The immediate solution is to build transitional emergency government all inclusive. Just donot waste time on conferences. This is the intelectual suicide. Build transitional government immediately.
    Those of you who are suffering from tribal sickness I recommend you go to a hospital. Most of the people who are going to participate are Amharas. Ethiopia needs democracy and the rule of law. ONE MAN ONE VOTE.

  21. I call upon the African professor to let the suffering of hungry people in the Ethiopian Empire known to the world again. The ” intellectuals” from the Empire r fighting for power. I ask their rational and timely concerns. We r going to lose close to 19 million people. When we lose; Africa loses; Oromia loses. We cannot afford to keep quite. The current government did not find lasting solutions for hunger in the Empire; our people need bread that saves lives. I call upon all people and speakers to stress about the food security and suffering of the the unprivileged

  22. i like, that is the way as professional to stand-together their own country, to forgive the past evil poletical system of Ethiopia that was/is strongly affect the citizen. so we are coming to think as one for our country development,democracy’s,securities,peaces and peacefully. even, if we have different poletical ideologies that are not separate our unified

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