Defining the Future of Ethiopian and US Relations
Eskiner Nega, an Ethiopian Journalist arrested in 2011 and found guilty under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for indirectly publicly criticizing the government while reporting on the Arab Spring, has been imprisoned for 18 years.
Many developing countries, aside from Ethiopia, have differing government structures and laws that involve varying perspectives when it comes to the press, or expression of opinion. Mr. Nega’s line of work and personal experience has influenced him to reflect and demand change for the sake of his country.
Today’s society tends to lean towards a democratic approach, where press is valued and freely flows. Historically, the United States has taken the lead in constructing a strong democracy, and having no reservations on sharing that with others. The U.S. has emphasized that in order to sit at the international table and participate in the conversation, you must be able to speak up and contribute a constructive unified voice and establish partnerships to overcome global challenges. Nega fears Ethiopia is not getting its point across in a unified matter, and this calls for some type of reorganization. The combination of Ethiopia’s strategic geographic placement and sizeable population reaching 100 million, with the United States’ ability to lead in international arenas, would compose the perfect duo of countries in combating global issues.
Being a part of the international conversation and taking action to better the world not only requires the need to facilitate partnerships but also demands a comprehensive education to serve as the basis for developing and acting on strategies and solutions. This is why it is incredibly important to invest in the world’s emerging leaders and provide them with the resources to represent their country’s voice for future success on the international scale. As Nega states, there is space for transformative vision. Organizations in Ethiopia, such as the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia (ILAE), have taken social responsibility and international leadership to heart and are applying that to the transformation of Ethiopia by investing in tomorrow’s leaders. ILAE’s mission is to create a generation of leaders who will help transform Ethiopia by offering a global education that nurtures students to discover their purpose, challenges them to think critically, empowers them to set and surpass their own standards and inspires them to contribute positively to their own country.
The United States can play a significant role in supporting this. In this age of democracy, the U.S. can continue to be a resource and guide to the development of Ethiopia, but in a way that empowers Ethiopia from the ground up, like ILAE does, rather than directly intervening. This gives Ethiopia the opportunity to develop their own leaders who value a strong presence at the table as key players, for not just the enhancement of Ethiopia, but for the overall upward mobility for the rest of the world by working together.