• British Council 75 years in Ethiopia

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 9, 2017: Established back in 1942 the British Council is celebrating its 75 years of service and long-lasting friendship to Ethiopia with partners, donors, customers and the general public through a series of interactive events.

    The British Council is the UK’s international agency for educational and cultural relations. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom; and changing people’s lives through access to education, art, skills, qualifications, culture, and society.
    Since 1942, the British Council in Ethiopia has engaged with generations of young people through a diverse range of educational and cultural programs mainly targeting the youth between the ages of 18 – 40. The organisation also works with diverse beneficiaries throughout the country and aims to engage 4 million young Ethiopians by the end of 2020.

    The journey of the British Council wasn’t always easy. Most educational establishments were closed and the British Council's future role was in doubt, as the new government was slow to develop a clear educational policy. The General Wingate was turned into a teacher training college in 1977, ending one of the British Council’s longest running commitments in the country. But even though its operations were limited significantly, the British Council was still represented.
    The British Council works with partners, both Ethiopian and from the UK, to showcase excellence, innovation, and creativity. It works for the benefit of individuals and institutions, for the mutual benefit of the UK and Ethiopia.

    The British Council works very closely with the Ethiopian Government and has done from the beginning. The General Wingate School which was co-funded by the Ministry of Education and the Peacekeeping English Project which is being run now in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense are living examples of this strong collaboration.

    The British Council is proud to have been a pioneer in so many things during these seven and half decades. To state just a few of the major undertakings that were successfully implemented during these seven and half decades

    • The establishment of the General Wingate School
    • The formation of the Anglo Ethiopian Society
    • Management of libraries (at the beginning through the British Institute and later on by establishing its own)
    • Production one of the first school television programs in collaboration with the Centre for Educational Development overseas
    • The establishment of the first ICT in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and
    • Establishment of the first Internet café

    The British council was also involved in projects that are at the heart of Ethiopians such as restoring Debre-Damo Monastery to its former glory.

    Currently, the British Council in Ethiopia is running several programmes that are highly impactful. With the Peacekeeping English project, the organisation trains future Ethiopian Peacekeepers to reach internationally accepted levels of English. Through the arts programme, the British council is working to establish new partnerships between Ethiopian, UK and East African artists & creative entrepreneurs to build the in-country capacity by creating networking opportunities and providing capacity building training. The pilot project Language for Resilience, the Department for International Development (DFID) funded Quality Education Strategic Support Programme (QESSP), East Africa Social Enterprise, the World Voice Programme, Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP), and the Horn of Africa Leadership & Learning for Action (HOLLA) projects are also the programmes that are currently being undertaken by the organisation. To illustrate the scale of the impact that we are having, In the past three years alone, through the different programmes we manage, we’ve reached more than four million people face-to-face and more than seven million through publications, broadcasting and digital channels. Our ambition is to reach many millions more over the next few years, continuing to change lives, create opportunities, build connections and engender trust through our cultural relations work. This, we believe, will lead to even stronger bonds built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect between the people of Ethiopia and the UK.

    The British Council in Ethiopia would like to express its deepest gratitude to its local partners, donors, customers, sponsors & the general public for making this event happen & for their support throughout the 75 years of its journey in Ethiopia. We have been celebrating this event for the past few weeks through a 12 weeks Facebook quiz campaign (which is still running and which anyone can join and win prizes), an internal quiz campaign, a launch of the Amharic (translated) website, and a one week long Blood Donation Week. Moreover, apart from the actual reception that will be taking place on 9 November 2017, a panel discussion, an open day by the teaching and exams operations, a tree planting exercise, the East Africa Social Enterprise Conference, and a former staff reception party will be taking place in the following weeks, until the end of 2017 (and beyond for some of the events) to mark this important milestone.

    For more information about the British Council please contact

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  • U.S. Embassy Launches Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program, Ethiopia

    Opportunities for American Scholars to Teach, Research and Collaborate in Ethiopia

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 8, 2017 – The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is pleased to announce the launch of the Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program - Ethiopia, which will bring American scholars to teach, research, and collaborate in over sixty academic disciplines from 2018-2019 in Ethiopia. The program is launched by the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, in partnership with Bahir Dar University, the University of Gondar, and the Institute of International Education (IIE).

    The Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program seeks to strengthen Ethiopian universities’ capacity to teach, research, and manage undergraduate and graduate programs. Qualified academics will be placed in faculty positions at Bahir Dar University or the University of Gondar in STEM fields, agriculture, humanities, law, public health, and more. The scholars will have the opportunity to engage in primary research with doctoral students, publish, teach, design curriculum, mentor students, and collaborate with faculty at their host institution. American citizens holding a Ph.D. or an equivalent professional or terminal degree, at any career stage including post-doctoral candidates and professors emerti, are eligible to apply.

    The United States has a long history of partnership with Ethiopians on improving education. We see our cooperation to strengthen Ethiopia's higher education system as a key component of our efforts to enable Ethiopians to achieve a more prosperous future.

    The deadline for applications is December 1, 2017. This first cohort of Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program - Ethiopia will cover the period February-July 2018. Deadlines for subsequent cohorts will be announced in early 2018 and will be for one year.

    Additional information about the Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars Program - Ethiopia and the application can be found at:

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  • Blind female Ethiopian rights lawyer shares 'alternative Nobel Prize'

    "I started my fight, not by telling people, but showing people that I'm able to contribute. I have one disability but I have 99 abilities"

    By Lin Taylor

    LONDON, Sept 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - At just five years old, Yetnebersh Nigussie's world went dark.

    After contracting a fever as a child, no amount of "holy water" or traditional medicine in rural Ethiopia was enough to stop Nigussie from losing her sight - and community acceptance.

    As far as her village was concerned, the girl was "cursed" and no longer had value as a daughter to bring in a sizeable marriage dowry. Her father eventually left.

    "It was not easy to accept for my family. Blind people are assumed to be unfit, invalid in the community. It is considered to be a result of a curse," said Nigussie, who believes her blindness was preventable and likely due to meningitis.

    "So everybody told my mum, 'Oh my god, it would be better if she dies,'" she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.

    Instead, Nigussie was sent to a Catholic boarding school for girls with disabilities in the capital Addis Ababa.

    There, her life changed.

    "I was lucky to be educated. Education was a turning point that changed my blindness into an opportunity," she said,

    Now 35 - and a human rights lawyer - Nigussie is among the winners of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as Sweden's alternative Nobel prize.

    "I started my fight, not by telling people, but showing people that I'm able to contribute. I have one disability but I have 99 abilities," she said, adding that she was one of just three women studying law at Addis Ababa University in 2002.

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  • One In 12 Deaths Globally Could Be Prevented By Exercising 30 Minutes Per Day

    Completing just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week could help you live longer and potentially prevent one in 12 deaths worldwide.

    That’s according to a new global study published in The Lancet journal, which shows physical activity is associated with a lower risk of premature mortality and heart disease.

    The researchers tracked 130,000 people in 17 countries in order to assess the affects of exercise on health.

    Reflecting on the research, experts have said that completing the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week could provide a cost-effective way of improving health globally.

    The researchers, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, wanted to track the health and fitness of people from different income background, so split participants into different bands.

    The study included participants from three high-income countries (Canada, Sweden, United Arab Emirates), seven upper-middle-income countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa), three lower-
    middle-income countries (China, Colombia, Iran), and four low-income-countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe).

    At the start of the experiment, participants were asked to record their level of physical activity via a questionnaire, including the type of physical activity they do and how often they do it.

    During follow ups that occurred after six and nine years, the researchers recorded rates of mortality among the group, with close analysis of deaths relating to heart disease and stroke.

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  • 39 New Peace Corps Volunteers Sworn in at U.S. Embassy

    Addis Ababa, September 15, 2017 – Charge d’Affaires Troy Fitrell administered the oath of service to 39 new Peace Corps Volunteers at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa today. These Volunteers will be working as English Teachers in the four administrative regions of Amhara, Tigray, Oromiya, and SNNP. With this new group there are now 130 Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia working in the three sectors of Health, Agriculture and Education.

    Volunteers sworn in today are the fourth group to serve under the Promoting English Language Learning in Ethiopia (PELLE) project. Each of these Volunteers will begin teaching at least 3 sections of English class in local high schools to grade 9 or 11 students. English language skills are increasingly a baseline requirement for competitiveness in international education as well as in business. It can open vast opportunities and helps Ethiopian young people to connect with the world.

    Peace Corps Volunteers live and work within small communities around Ethiopia. They often become members of those communities and collaborate closely with local counterparts including teachers, administrators, and advocates to implement various projects in a way that fits each community’s needs. This joint approach to program development ensures broad support and investment from community members, resulting in better and more sustainable results. Projects cover a wide range of issues, including promoting gender equality, literacy, youth leadership, and technology use among youth.

    All 39 of these new Volunteers are heading to their communities having completed 3 months of training before taking the oath of service today. The training covers teaching methods, pedagogy, and a special practicum English classroom teaching of over 1,000 local students. Volunteers also received 125 hours of training in Amharic, Afan Oromo, or Tigrigna so that they can engage with their communities in their own languages. This inauguration brings the total number of Peace Corps Volunteers who have worked in Ethiopia to over 3,600 since its inception

    About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to contribute towards solutions for the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development.


    Remarks by Troy Fitrell, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy at Peace Corps Ethiopia Swearing-In Ceremony U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa September 15, 2017 (As prepared for delivery)

    Selam nau and indemen walachihu! Aqam Aqam! Kemey Wu’elkum! Good afternoon!

    My duties as Charge d’Affaires require me to perform many functions, but this is my first opportunity to swear in a new group of Peace Corps Volunteers. As I do so, I am keenly aware of the remarkable commitment the Volunteers are making with the next two years of their lives.

    I am aware of the profound partnership their service represents with the people and Government of Ethiopia. And, I am aware of the historical weight of the event, as you join a long and proud tradition of Peace Corps service in Ethiopia, dating back to the first group in 1962.

    In fact, Ethiopia was among the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to establish a program, and the first group of almost 300 Education Volunteers landed in Addis Ababa in September of that year.

    With all of these things on my mind, I can assure you that I am both humbled and honored to be administering the oath of service to our new Peace Corps Volunteers sitting here this afternoon.

    Undoubtedly, after their past 12 weeks of training in communities around Butajira and Mekele, they are more than prepared, and more than eager, to begin the service they chose to undertake. I know the communities that they will soon call home are anxious to have them join their schools and become their neighbors.

    I am likewise newly arrived to Ethiopia, and I know you will experience Ethiopia in a very unique and intimate way. As I travel the country, I look forward to visiting some of the areas where you teach and live, where you engage in English camps and the Girls Leading Our World camps that prioritize leadership and empowerment for girls and young women. I want to meet those community members you will soon call friends and colleagues, and see whether you have mastered the art of hosting a coffee ceremony or making dorowat. Your next two years in Ethiopia will shape who you are and how you understand the world, while your contribution to your community will last long beyond your time here. And years from now, I hope that the spirit of volunteerism will continue to drive you to improve opportunities for others whether in the U.S. or elsewhere.

    Though I have the privilege of being Chief of Mission, the 130 Peace Corps Volunteers and Trainees currently serving in Ethiopia are also our country’s ambassadors. Your mission of promoting world peace and friendship is straightforward and powerful with its three goals that have guided the Peace Corps since 1961: For further information, call 011-130-7033

    1) To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained Volunteers.
    2) To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
    3) To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

    You spread goodwill and build enduring relationships with Ethiopians at a grassroots level and in areas that those of us at the Embassy can’t get to very often. I can’t tell you how many times people of many countries have enthusiastically shared with me their stories about how Peace Corps Volunteers have influenced their lives for the better and encouraged them to reach potentials they often had not imagined were possible. Over the years, more than 3,600 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Ethiopia. In addition to education, they have worked in agriculture, health, tourism, economic development, conservation and natural resource management.

    The 39 of you who will swear-in today represent the 17th group of Volunteers since the reestablishment of the post in 2007, and will be working in communities of Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray. With the active support of the Ministry of Education, Education volunteers will work as classroom teachers in Secondary schools as you teach English as a foreign language. You will offer training opportunities for teachers, support English language camps and clubs, and participate in a variety of other community based activities to increase the skill sets of students and families in their host towns and villages. I think we can all agree these activities are highly worthy of support by our Peace Corps Volunteers.

    I share Brannon’s strong commitment to supporting the education sector as key to the comprehensive development efforts that are ongoing in Ethiopia. I am likewise very grateful to the Ministry of Education for welcoming this Peace Corps program as a development partner in

    Before I swear you in, let me take a moment to recognize those already in service and those who have served in the past. Would the Volunteers currently in service please stand up and be recognized for your work on behalf of the United States and Ethiopia?

    Now I’d also like to ask our former Peace Corps Volunteers to stand up. Though not all are able to be here today, there are many of you among us at the Embassy. I can say from personal experience that those of you who have gone on to Foreign Service careers have made tremendous contributions. I can say from experience that those FSOs who were PCVs bring with them the curiosity, conviction and courage that we need to be good diplomats and representatives of the United States abroad.

    And one more group I’d like to recognize is the Peace Corps Ethiopia staff. Would you please stand up? Finding good, safe sites for all of these Volunteers, preparing them for the service they will experience and providing them support on all days, and at all hours, is definitely not an easy job. We greatly appreciate your commitment to the program and to the Volunteers who depend on you. Amaseganehlu!

    I am also very grateful for the support the Volunteers receive from the Ethiopian communities in which they live. Far more than simply facilitating the Volunteers’ work, community support is the  basis for the friendships that have bound Volunteers to their countries of service for more than five decades.

    Trainees, you are the guests of honor today. On behalf of the U.S. Government and the people of the United States, I thank you for that hard work and for the commitment you are about to make. In volunteering for this duty, you have left behind your families, friends and homes – everything that is familiar -- in order to work side-by-side with the people of Ethiopia, thereby rising to President  Kennedy’s challenge of so many years ago. You represent American goodwill and compassion at its best, and all of us here today are proud of you for the commitment you are about to make.

    Your task will not be easy and much will be expected of you. But I am confident that you will make the most of this unique privilege to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers. I have no doubt that it will be one of the most profound and transformative experiences of your life.

    Now, if you’re prepared to commit the next two years of your lives to Peace Corps service and to the Ethiopian communities in which you’ll be working, please stand, raise your right hand, and repeat after me: “I, (state your name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

    So help me God.”
    Volunteers, thank you, and good luck!

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  • Too much sitting linked to shortened lives:study

    (Reuters) - People who spent a lot of time sitting at a desk or in front of a television were more likely to die than those who were only sedentary a few hours a day, according to an Australian study that looked at death rates during a three-year period.

    Researchers, whose results appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the link between too much time sitting and shortened lives stuck even when they accounted for how much moderate or vigorous exercise people got, as well as their weight and other measures of health.

    That suggests that shifting some time from sitting to light physical activity, such as slow walking or active chores, might have important long-term benefits, they added.

    “When we give people messages about how much physical activity they should be doing, we also need to talk to them about reducing the amount of hours they spend sitting each day,” said Hidde van der Ploeg, the new study’s lead author from the University of Sydney.

    Of more than 200,000 adults age 45 and older, van der Ploeg and her colleagues found that people who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die during the study than those who sat less than four hours daily.

    That doesn‘t, however, prove that sitting itself cuts people’s lives short, she noted, adding that there could be other unmeasured differences between people who spend a lot or a little time sitting each day.

    The team surveyed about 220,000 people from New South Wales, Australia, between 2006 and 2008, including questions about participants’ general health and any medical conditions they had, whether they smoked and how much time they spent both exercising and sitting each day.

    Then the research team tracked responders using Australian mortality records for an average of almost three years, during which 5,400 - between two and three percent - died.

    They found that the extra risk tied to sitting held up regardless of whether people were normal weight or overweight, how much time they spent working out and whether they were healthy or had pre-existing medical conditions.

    Van der Ploeg said too much sitting may affect blood vessels and metabolism by increasing fats in the blood and lowering “good” cholesterol levels.

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