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ESFNA 2014 Fan Scholarship – Emnet Shibre

Best Essay – 2014

The people of Ethiopia possess an undeniable beauty, a remarkable work ethic, and a powerful sense of community. In 2013, the Ethiopian diaspora was collectively distressed as they learned about the mistreatment of fellow Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia after the end of an amnesty period for undocumented workers. The Ethiopian people did not remain silent in light of the tragic and abhorrent events that took place in Saudi Arabia. Rather, Ethiopians throughout the world utilized their communities and began to actively seek to end the violence and torture of Ethiopian workers in Saudi Arabia. They led protests against Saudi Arabian embassies in various countries, donated money to help the return of Ethiopian workers to Ethiopia, and raised awareness about the plight of their fellow countrymen. The protests against Saudi Arabia took place primarily in November of 2013 and sent a wave of indignation throughout Ethiopian communities across the globe. From the United States to Sweden to Canada to Germany, a remarkable number of Ethiopians stood up for the rights of fellow Ethiopians. In doing so, the diaspora showed the tremendous amount of power that lies in rallying together for a cause. They effectively put pressure on the Ethiopian and Saudi governments to repatriate the Ethiopian workers, and, more importantly, they gave voice to the voiceless.

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