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Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Africa Addis Ababa 96,633,458 inhabitants 1,104,300 sq km 87.51 inhabitants/sq km birr (ETB) population evolution

Famous people from Ethiopia

Here is a list of famous people from Ethiopia. Curious if anybody from Ethiopia made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

Haile Selassie I


Haile Selassie I, born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history. At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the Second Italo–Ethiopian War. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia's becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring. His suppression of rebellions among the nobles, as well as what some western critics perceived to be Ethiopia's failure to modernize adequately, earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians. He has also received criticism from groups such as Human Rights Watch for allegedly ruling in a repressive and undemocratic manner.

Queen of Sheba

Person Or Being In Fiction

The Queen of Sheba was a monarch of the ancient kingdom of Sheba and is referred to in Yemeni and Ethiopian history, the Bible, the Qur'an, Yoruba customary tradition, and Josephus. She is widely assumed to have been a queen regnant, but, since there is no historical proof of this, she may have been a queen consort. The location of her kingdom is believed to have been in Ethiopia and Yemen.

Haile Gebrselassie

Olympic athlete

Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete. He won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 metres and four World Championship titles in the event. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon. Further to this, he won four world titles indoors and was the 2001 World Half Marathon Champion. Haile had major competition wins at distances between 1500 metres and the marathon, moving from outdoor, indoor and cross country running to road running in the latter part of his career. He broke 61 Ethiopian National Records ranging from 800 meters to the marathon, set 27 world records, and is widely considered one of the greatest distance runners in history. In September 2008, at the age of 35, he won the Berlin Marathon with a world record time of 2:03:59, breaking his own world record by 27 seconds. The record stood for three years. Since he was over the age of 35, that mark still stands as the Masters Age group world record.

Kenenisa Bekele

Olympic athlete

Kenenisa Bekele is an Ethiopian long-distance runner, who holds the world record and Olympic record in both the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres events. He won a double at the 2008 Summer Olympics in these events; he also won the 2004 Olympic title over 10,000 m. He is the most accomplished runner in IAAF World Cross Country Championships history, with six long course and five short course titles. He won the 10,000 m title at the World Championships in Athletics four times running from 2003 to 2009. Bekele was unbeaten over 10,000 m from his debut in 2003 until 2011, when he failed to finish at the World Championships final. At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics he became the first man to win both 5000 m and 10,000 m title at the same championships. Over 5000 m he has also won an Olympic silver, World Championship bronze, two African Championship titles and one All-Africa Games gold medal. He also won the 3000 metres title at the World Indoor Championships in 2006. Bekele is one of the greatest distance runners of all time, owning several world records and an array of medals. He is the older brother of Tariku Bekele, also an accomplished world-class distance runner.

Tirunesh Dibaba

Olympic athlete

Tirunesh Dibaba also known as Tirunesh Dibaba Kenene is an Ethiopian long distance track athlete and the outdoor 5000 metres world record holder. She is the current World and Olympic 10,000 metres champion. She has won in total five world track titles and five world cross country titles. She is nicknamed the "Baby Faced Destroyer." Born in the village of Bekoji, Dibaba was the 4th of 6 children. She is a member of the Oromo ethnic group, and was raised in the high-altitude Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region. She began doing athletics at the age of 14. She moved to the capital Addis Ababa in 2000. Dibaba is part of an athletic family, with older sister Ejegayehu Dibaba winning the silver medal in the 10,000m at the 2004 Summer Olympics and brother Dejene marked as a future star. Their sister Genzebe won the junior race at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships. 1992 and 2000 Olympic champion Derartu Tulu is also their cousin.

Meles Zenawi


Meles Zenawi Asres was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012. From 1989, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front, and the head of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front since its formation in 1991. Before becoming a prime minister in 1995, he had served the president of the transitional government of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995. In 1975, he left college to join the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, and opposing the Derg. After the overthrow of the dictator military regime, he was elected as a president of the transition Government and then as a Prime Minister. While his government was credited with reforms such as those that led a multi-party political system in Ethiopia, introduction of private press in Ethiopia and decreased child mortality rates, his government was also accused of political repression and various human rights abuses, curbing freedom of press. and dissent. Known by the media as one of Africa's strongmen, he was also an ally in the United States' "War on Terror".

Abebe Bikila

Olympic athlete

Abebe Bikila was a double Olympic marathon champion from Ethiopia, most famous for winning a marathon gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics while running barefoot. A stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honor.

Mengistu Haile Mariam


Mengistu Haile Mariam is an Ethiopian politician who was the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991. Effectively a dictator, he oversaw the Ethiopian Red Terror of 1977–1978, a campaign of repression against the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party and other anti-Derg factions. Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 at the conclusion of the Ethiopian Civil War, and remains there despite an Ethiopian court verdict finding him guilty in absentia of genocide. Some estimate that he was responsible for more than 2 million deaths.

Menelik II


Emperor Menelik II baptized as Sahle Maryam, was Negus of Shewa, then Nəgusä Nägäst of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state had been completed by 1898. Ethiopia was transformed under Nəgusä Nägäst Menelik: the major signposts of modernization were put in place. Externally, his victory over the Italian colonizers had earned him great fame: following Adwa, recognition of Ethiopia’s independence by external powers was expressed in terms of diplomatic representation at the court of Menelik and delineation of Ethiopia’s boundaries with the adjacent colonies. After defeating the Italians, he became the first black African king in modern history to engage in slavery of white European war captives held as slaves inside Ethiopia. Menelik expanded his kingdom to the south and east, expanding into areas that had never been under his rule, subjugating and incorporating the Oromo, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayta and other groups.

Meseret Defar

Olympic athlete

Meseret Defar Tola is a female long-distance runner from Ethiopia who competes chiefly in the 3000 metres and 5000 metres events. She has won medals at top-tier international competitions including Olympic and World Championship gold medals over 5000 metres. She broke the world record in the event in 2006, broke it again in 2007 and held it until 2008, when fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba beat her time. Defar has been successful in the 5000 m at the Olympic Games, taking gold at the 2012 London Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She has experienced similar success in the World Championships, taking silver in 2005 Helsinki Championships and gold at the 2007 Osaka Championships. She has reached the 5000 m podium at every global final since 2004. Defar holds the indoor records for the 5000 metres, 3000 metres and two-mile run. She has dominated the 3000 m indoor event, winning four consecutive gold medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships from 2004 to 2010. She is also a two-time champion at the All-Africa Games, a four-time medallist at the African Championships and a two-time gold medallist at the World Junior Championships.

Liya Kebede

Fashion Model

Liya Kebede is an Ethiopian born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress who has appeared three times on the cover of US Vogue. According to Forbes, Kebede was the eleventh-highest-paid top model in the world in 2007. Since 2005, Kebede has served as the WHO's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

Abeba Aregawi

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Abeba Aregawi Gebretsadik is a Swedish middle-distance runner who specialises in the 1500 metres. Her personal best for the event is 3:56.54. Aregawi is the current world champion in 1500 metres. Abeba was born in Ethiopia and hold a double Swedish/Ethiopian citizenship and represented her birth country in middle-distance until December 2012. Abeba is married to an Ethiopian man with Swedish citizenship and has lived in Stockholm 2009-2012. She now lives without her husband in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She represents the Stockholm-based club Hammarby IF. She was naturalized as a Swedish citizen in the summer of 2012, and has represented Sweden in international competition since December 2012.

Angel Melaku

Hip hop Artist

Fershgenet Melaku, better known as LoLa Monroe, is an Ethiopian-born American rapper, model and actress.

Marcus Samuelsson


Marcus 'Joar' Samuelsson is an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem in New York City and three other restaurants.

Mulatu Astatqé

Musical Artist

Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian musician and arranger best known as the father of Ethio-jazz. Born in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Mulatu was musically trained in London, New York City, and Boston where he combined his jazz and Latin music interests with traditional Ethiopian music. Astatke led his band while playing vibraphone and conga drums—instruments that he introduced into Ethiopian popular music—as well as other percussion instruments, keyboards and organ. His albums focus primarily on instrumental music, and Astatke appears on all three known albums of instrumentals that were released during Ethiopia's Golden ’70s.


Deceased Person

Onuphrius or Onoufrios, venerated as Saint Onuphrius in both the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Catholic Churches; Venerable Onuphrius in Eastern Orthodoxy and Saint Nofer the Anchorite in Oriental Orthodoxy, lived as a hermit in the desert of Upper Egypt in the 4th or 5th centuries.

Hailemariam Desalegn


Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe is an Ethiopian politician who has been Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2012. Under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Hailemariam was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2012. When Meles died in August 2012, Hailemariam succeeded him as Prime Minister, initially in an acting capacity. He was then elected as the Chair of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, the ruling party, on 15 September 2012. He was elected as the Chairperson of the African Union at the 20th AU Summit on 27 January 2013.


Alternative rock Artist

Kenna Zemedkun, known professionally as simply Kenna, is an Ethiopian-born American musician, philanthropist and technology creative. His track "Say Goodbye To Love" was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 2009 Grammy Awards. Kenna is the founder and producer of the Summit on the Summit clean water initiative, and also partnered with Justin Timberlake to re-launch Myspace.

Wilfred Thesiger


Major Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, CBE, DSO, FRAS, FRGS, also known as Mubarak bin London was a British explorer and travel writer.

Elvan Abeylegesse

Olympic athlete

Elvan Abeylegesse is an Ethiopian-born Turkish middle and long distance track and field athlete who runs in the disciplines of 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m, but also 10000 m, 2 miles and cross country. She is the former world-record holder for 5000 m, at 14:24.68.

Mohammed Aman

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Mohammed Aman Geleto is an Ethiopian middle distance runner. Born in Asella, He is the winner of the 800-meter final at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. He also won consecutive 800 m titles at the 2009 and 2011 African Junior Athletics Championships. Aman was the inaugural winner of the 1000 metres race at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore. He won a silver medal in the 800 m at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics, finishing behind Leonard Kirwa Kosencha who set a world youth best. He ran an Ethiopian record to win his semi-final heat at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, but finished last in the event final. In September he improved his Ethiopian record to 1:43.37 minutes behind David Rudisha at the Rieti Meeting, then ended Rudisha's 34-meet winning streak at the Notturna di Milano, beating him by seven hundredths of a second in a time of 1:43.50 minutes. He won 800 m final in the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul as the youngest gold medalist athlete.

Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi


Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi is a Saudi Arabian/Ethiopian businessman and billionaire who lives in Ethiopia and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As of 2011, Forbes has estimated his net worth at $12.3 billion, making him the 63rd richest person in the world. This listing also ranks him as the richest person in Ethiopia and the second richest Saudi Arabian citizen in the world. As of March 2013, Forbes ranked Al Amoudi as the second richest black person in the world. Al Amoudi made his fortune in construction and real estate before branching out to buy oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco. He is said to be the largest foreign investor in both Sweden and Ethiopia.

Maryam Yusuf Jamal


Maryam Yusuf Jamal is a Bahraini middle distance runner. She is the first Bahraini athlete to win an Olympic medal, a bronze medal in the 1500m women's race, in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Born in Ethiopia, 2005 was her first full season. She gained the national record and ran the fastest 3000 m of the year, with a time of 8:28.87 at a race in Oslo. Jamal is a two-time world champion in the 1500 m, having won at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships in Athletics. She represented Bahrain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, finishing fifth in the 1500 m final. Jamal has also had much success at regional competitions: winning two gold medals at the 2006 Asian Games in addition to the Asian Cross Country Championships in both 2007 and 2009.

Vikram Chatwal


Vikram Chatwal is an American hotelier. In April 1999, at the age of 28, he created Vikram Chatwal Hotels, an independent hotel group of six luxury hotels in three cities. The flagship in the hospitality group is the Dream Hotel. Chatwal has received media attention due to his connection to Lindsay Lohan.

Tewodros II


Téwodros II was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1855 until his death. He was born Kassa Haile Giorgis, but was more regularly referred to as Kassa Hailu. His rule is often placed as the beginning of modern Ethiopia, ending the decentralized Zemene Mesafint.

Derartu Tulu

Olympic athlete

Derartu Tulu is an Ethiopian long distance track, road and marathon athlete. Derartu, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, grew up tending cattle in the village of Bekoji in the highlands of Arsi Province, the same village as Kenenisa Bekele. Derartu is the first black African woman to win a gold medal which she won in the 10,000m event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. The race, where her and Elana Meyer raced for lap after lap way ahead of the rest of the field launched her career. She sat out 1993 and 1994 with a knee injury and returned to competition in the 1995 IAAF World Cross Country Championships where she won gold, having arrived at the race only an hour before the start. She was stuck in Athens airport without sleep for 24 hours. The same year she lost out to Fernanda Ribeiro and won silver at the World Championships 10,000. 1996 was a difficult year. At the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Tulu lost her shoe in the race and had to fight back to get 4th place. She also finished 4th at the Olympic Games where she was nursing an injury. In 1997 she won the world cross country title for the second time but did not factor in the 10,000 metres World Championships. 1998 and 1999 she gave birth, but came back in 2000 in the best shape of her life. She won the 10,000 metres Olympic gold for the second time. She had also won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships title for the third time. In 2001 she finally won her world 10,000 track title in Edmonton. This was her third world and Olympic gold medal. She has a total of 6 world and Olympic gold medals.

Menelik I


Menelik I, first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia, is traditionally believed to be the son of King Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, ancient Queen of Sheba. He is alleged to have ruled around 950 BC, according to traditional sources. Tradition credits him with bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father upon reaching adulthood. According to the Kebra Nagast, King Solomon had intended on sending one son of each of his nobles and one son of each temple priest with Menelik upon his return to his mother's kingdom. He is supposed to have had a replica made of the Ark for them to take with them. Upon the death of Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. According to legend, he founded the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia that ruled Ethiopia with few interruptions for close to three thousand years. A counterpoint to this legend is that kings of Ethiopia are only attested in record from the 700's BC, when there was a kingdom named D'mt located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia that existed during the late 8th to 5th centuries BC. Few inscriptions by or about this kingdom exist. As a result, it is not known whether Dʿmt ended as a civilization before the Kingdom of Axum was established on the Red Sea coast in the 400's BC, evolved into the Aksumite state, or was one of the smaller states united in the Aksumite kingdom possibly around the beginning of the 1st century AD.

Abraham Verghese


Physician-author Abraham Verghese is Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He is also the author of three best-selling books, two memoirs and a novel. In 2011, he was elected to be a member of the Institute of Medicine. He was born in Ethiopia to parents from Kerala, India who worked as teachers. He was raised as a Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christian. Verghese, his father's Christian name, being Malayalam for George, is a very common Suriyani name. In 2009, Knopf published his new book and first novel, Cutting for Stone. in 2010, Random House published the paperback version of the book and since that time, it has risen steadily up the bestseller charts, ranking #2 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction list on March 13, 2011. It has been on the New York Times list for well over two years.

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh


Ismaïl Omar Guelleh is the President of Djibouti, in office since 1999. Guelleh was first elected as President in 1999 as the handpicked successor to his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977. Guelleh was re-elected in 2005 and again in 2011; the 2011 election was largely boycotted by the opposition amid complaints over widespread irregularities. He is often referred to in the region by his initials, IOG. Guelleh has been characterized as a dictator, and his rule has been criticized for by some human rights groups.

Sileshi Sihine

Olympic athlete

Sileshi Sihine is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. Sihine achieved a silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as at the 2005 World Championships and 2007 World Championships as well as a bronze medal in 2003. He also picked up a silver medal in the 5000 m at the 2005 World Championships.

Genzebe Dibaba

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Genzebe Dibaba is an Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner. She is the sister of three-times Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba, and the cousin of former Olympic champion Derartu Tulu. She was the 2012 World Indoor Champion for the 1500 m and holds the Ethiopian record for the distance with her best of 3:57.77 minutes. She represented Ethiopia at the 2012 Summer Olympics and has twice competed at the World Championships in Athletics. She was highly successful as a junior athlete, having won two junior world cross country titles and one world junior 5000 m gold medal.

Teddy Afro


Teddy Afro is a popular Ethiopian singer.

Julie Mehretu

Visual Artist

Julie Mehretu is an artist, best known for her densely layered abstract paintings and prints. She lives and works in New York City. Mehretu shares her New York studio with her partner, the artist Jessica Rankin.

Aster Aweke


Aster Aweke is an Ethiopian singer living in the United States.

Iyasu V


Iyasu V, also known as Lij Iyasu was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia. His baptismal name was Kifle Yaqob. Because he was never crowned emperor, he is usually referred to as Lij Iyasu, "Lij" meaning child, especially one born of royal blood. His excommunication by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church prevented him from being referred to publicly as Iyasu V.

Mahmoud Ahmed


Mahmoud Ahmed is an Ethiopian singer of Gurage ancestry. He gained great popularity in Ethiopia in the 1970s and among the Ethiopian diaspora in the 1980s before rising to international fame with African music fans in Europe and the Americas.

Miruts Yifter

Olympic athlete

Miruts Yifter is a former Ethiopian athlete and winner of two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. His date of birth is often given as 15 May 1944, though there is some uncertainty about this. His name is also sometimes spelled as Muruse Yefter.

Yohannes IV


Yohannes IV, born Lij Kassay Mercha Ge'ez, was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1872 until his death.

Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw


Ejigayehu Shibabaw, known by her stage name Gigi, is one of the most successful contemporary Ethiopian singers worldwide. Coming from an ancient tradition of song originating in the Ethiopian Church, she has brought the music of Ethiopia to wider appreciation and developed it in combination with a wide variety of other genres.

Tariku Bekele

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Tariku Bekele is an Ethiopian long-distance runner, who specializes in the 5000 metres. He is the younger brother of Kenenisa Bekele. He is the fourth fastest Ethiopian ever over 5000 m and 3000 metres. His indoor 3000 m best of 7:31.09 ranks him as the fourth fastest of all-time in the event. He was the 10,000 m bronze medallist at the 2012 Summer Olympics. His first major victory came at the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships, where he won the 3000 m gold medal. He was the 2006 World Junior Champion over the distance and also won a cross country junior bronze medal that year. He took a continental silver medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games. Tariku has finished in the top eight of 5000 m finals at the 2008 Summer Olympics and at the World Championships in Athletics in 2005 and 2007.

Fatuma Roba

Olympic athlete

Fatuma Roba is an Ethiopian long distance runner from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, most known for winning a gold medal in the women's marathon race at the 1996 Summer Olympics. She finished fourth at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics. Roba also won three straight Boston Marathons from 1997–1999, earning her the nickname "Our Lady of Boston". The three-time Boston champion narrowly missed a fourth straight title in 2000, coming in third in the closest finish in race history. She also won the Rome City Marathon in 1996, the Portugal Half Marathon in 2001 and the Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon in 2004. She was the 10,000 metres bronze medallist at the 1993 African Championships in Athletics.

Saladin Said


Salah El Din Ahmed Said, also known as Salhadin Said or Saladin Said, is an Ethiopian international footballer who currently plays for Wadi Degla in the Egyptian Premier League.

Amsale Aberra


Amsale Aberra is an Ethiopian-born American designer and entrepreneur. Her main field of design is in couture wedding gowns, and her flagship store is located on Madison Avenue in New York City. In addition to her flagship location, her gowns are also sold at fine bridal boutiques such as Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. She is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and a Trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Amsale Aberra is professionally known as Amsale.

Youssouf Hersi

Soccer Midfielder

Youssouf Hersi is an Ethiopian-Dutch professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers.

Binyam Mohamed


Binyam Ahmed Mohamed is an Ethiopian national and United Kingdom resident, who was detained as a suspected enemy combatant by the US Government in Guantanamo Bay prison between 2004 and 2009 without charges. He was arrested in Pakistan and transported first to Morocco under the US' illegal extraordinary rendition program, where he claimed to have been interrogated under torture. After some time, Mohamed was transferred to military custody at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Mohamed's military Personal Representative at the time of his Combatant Status Review Tribunal reported that he had admitted that he had trained in the Al-Qaeda terrorist training camp Al Farouq. Mohamed has since said that the evidence against him was obtained using torture and denied any confession. The US dropped its charges against him, and eventually released him. He arrived in the United Kingdom on 23 February 2009. Together with other detainees, he filed suit against the government for collusion by MI5 and MI6 in his torture by the United States. In February 2010, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that he had been subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities". in which the British Intelligence services had been complicit. The government awarded him £1 million compensation in settlement in 2011.

Taytu Betul

Military Commander

Taytu Betul was an Empress Consort of the Ethiopian Empire and the wife of Emperor Menelek II of Ethiopia.

Gelete Burka

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Gelete Burka is an Ethiopian middle-distance and long-distance runner. She was born in Kofele in the Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region, the same district as double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie. Gelete was the short course champion at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She is a three-time medalist at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, her best performance being a gold medal win in the 1500 m in 2008. She is a four-time participant at the World Championships in Athletics and represented Ethiopia at the Olympics in both 2008 and 2012. She has also medalled on the regional stage, having been the runner-up at the 2010 African Championships in Athletics and the gold medallist at the 2007 All-Africa Games. She is the African record holder for the mile run and the indoor 1500 m.

Daniel Lemma


Daniel Lemma is a Swedish-based musician/singer-songwriter. His music is firmly connected to an American tradition of roots music, with visible ties to early blues and gospel. He has referred to singers such as Lead Belly and Pops Staples as being very influential to him- but also artists such as Chuck Berry, James Brown and Bob Dylan. Daniel Lemma was born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, but came to Sweden as an infant. He formed his first bands in his teens, and couple of years later he moved to Gothenburg. In the mid nineties, Lemma was a part of the group Mo Blues. He later moved to New York, where he recorded an album that was never released due to a legal dispute. After returning to Sweden in 2000, Lemma recorded the soundtrack to Josef Fares' movie Jalla! Jalla!. Morning Train, the album containing that single, went gold and served as a breakthrough to a much wider audience. Daniel Lemma has released three albums for Warner Music: Morning Train, Meeting at the Building and Dreamers and Fools. He has also released three albums on his own label Dextra Music: Somebody on Your Side, Rebound and Telescope. He has also made music for various films and theatre-projects.

Berhane Adere

Olympic athlete

Berhane Adere Debala is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specialises in the 10,000 metres and the half marathon. She was world champion over 10,000 m in 2003 and world champion in the half marathon in 2002. Adere works for UNICEF as a goodwill ambassador for girls' education. Adere held the African record for 10,000 metres in a time of 30:04.18, set at the 2003 World Championships, where she won gold. The African record was broken at the 2008 Olympics by Tirunesh Dibaba, who became the first African to run under 30 minutes. Adere won the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2002, and the bronze medal in the 2001 World Half Marathon Championships. She was the gold medallist over 3000 metres at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships She won the 2006 Chicago Marathon with a personal best time of 2:20:42. She won the Chicago Marathon again in 2007 and the Dubai Marathon on 18 January 2008. Adere also won the 2007 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon. She was the top female finisher in the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon, in which she recorded the fastest ever half marathon on American soil with a time of 1:07:52, breaking her previous best by over 25 seconds. She saw off a challenge from Ana Dulce Félix to win at the Great North Run in September, completing the half marathon in 1:08:49. In 2012 she had two races, both in October in Britain, where she was runner-up at the Great Birmingham Run and third at the Great South Run.

Abune Merkorios


Abuna Merkorios was the fourth Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church elected after the death of Abuna Takla Haymanot in May 1988. Merkorios remained Patriarch for three years until 1991, when the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front triumphed over the Communist military junta known as Derg in Addis Ababa. Known before his elevation to the episcopacy as Abba Ze-Libanos Fanta, he was born into the minor nobility of Beghemidir Province. He was considered something of a liturgical expert, and served for many years at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa. Abba Ze-Libanos was raised to the rank of Bishop by Patriarch Abuna Takla Haymanot in 1976 over his home province of Beghemidir, taking the name Merkorios. Abuna Merkorios served as Archbishop of Gondar until he became Patriarch of Ethiopia in 1988. Abune Merkorios' tenure of Archbishop of Gondar included the period known as the "Red Terror" in Ethiopia, and which was carried out with particular brutality in the town and province of Gondar under the governorship of Melaku Teferra, a particularly notorious member of the Derg. Abuna Merkorios would later face accusations of not only having kept silent during the horrors of the "Red Terror" in Gondar, but of having a particularly close relationship with Governor Melaku. In a sign of the favor of the Derg regime, in 1987 Abune Merkorios was appointed as one of a very small and select group of clergy to serve as a member of the Shengo, the national parliament set up by the Derg when it proclaimed the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that year. He remained a member of the parliament until his enthronement as Patriarch These allegations of closeness to the Communist Derg regime helped undermine the Patriarch, when the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power.

Lelisa Desisa


Lelisa Desisa Benti is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specialises in road running competitions. He gained his first international medal at the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships, where he took the 10,000 metres gold medal.

Girma Wolde-Giorgis


Girma Wolde-Giorgis is an Ethiopian politician who was the President of Ethiopia from 2001 to 2013. He was the second person to hold the office of President since the founding of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in 1995.

Luciano Violante


Luciano Violante is an Italian judge and politician, Member of Parliament since 1979. He is particularly interested in questions of justice, the struggle against the Mafia and institutional reform.

Tiki Gelana

Olympic athlete

Erba Tiki Gelana is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who competes in marathon races. Her personal best of 2:18:58 hours is the Ethiopian national record for the event. She won the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon and the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. She won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics with a time of 2:23:07, a new Olympic record.

Dejen Gebremeskel

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Dejen Gebremeskel is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who primarily competes in track events. His personal best of 12:46.81 minutes for the 5000 metres ranks him as the fifth fastest of all time for the distance. He was the 5000 m silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics and took the bronze medal over that distance at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. He won his first track medals as a junior, coming second at the African Junior Athletics Championships, then taking the bronze medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He was a finalist at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2010 and 2012. He is a three-time winner of the Carlsbad 5000.

Adane Girma


Adane Girma is an Ethiopian footballer. He currently plays for Saint-George SA, and is a member of the Ethiopia national football team. He has scored 8 goals for the national team since his first appearance in 2006.

Tekle Haymanot

Deceased Person

Tekle Haymanot or Takla Haymanot was an Ethiopian monk who founded a major monastery in his native province of Shewa. He is significant for being the only Ethiopian saint popular both amongst Ethiopians and outside that country. According to Tesfaye Gebre Mariam, Tekle Haymanot "is the only Ethiopian saint celebrated officially in foreign churches such as Rome and Egypt." His feast day is August 17, and the 24th day of every month in the Ethiopian calendar is dedicated to Tekle Haymanot.

Gete Wami

Olympic athlete

Getenesh Wami Degife is an Ethiopian former long-distance runner who competed in cross country, track, and road events. Her brother, Mulugeta Wami, is also a professional marathon runner.

Abdullah al-Harari


Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Harariyy was a Harari scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. Living and teaching in Beirut, Lebanon, he is noted as the founder of Al-Ahbash.

Makonnen Wolde Mikael

Military Commander

Ras Mäkonnen Wäldä-Mika'él Guddisa, also Makonnen Wolde Mikael Gudessa or simply as Ras Makonnen, was a general and the governor of Harar province in Ethiopia, and the father of Tafari Mäkonnen, later known as the Emperor Haile Selassie I. His father was Fitawrari Woldemikael Guddessa of a noble family of Oromo origin. Makonnen was a grandson of Negus Sahle Selassie of Shewa through his mother, Leult Tenagnework Sahle Selassie. As such, he was a first cousin of Emperor Menelik II.

Meselech Melkamu

Olympic athlete

Meselech Melkamu is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. She defeated Meseret Defar to win the 5000 m gold medal at the 2008 African Athletics Championships but she is better known for her 29:53.80 run over 10,000 m which ranks her second on the all time list, behind only world record holder Wang Junxia. She is the fourth woman in history to break the 30 minute barrier and one of three Ethiopian's to accomplish the feat. From 2012 onwards she began to compete in road races and won the Frankfurt Marathon in a course record of 2:21:01 hours.

Bezunesh Bekele

Olympic athlete

Bezunesh Bekele is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specializes in cross-country running and marathons.

Tilahun Gessesse


Tilahun Gessesse was an Ethiopian singer regarded as one of the most popular of his country's "Golden Age" in the 1960s. During the 1960s, he became famous throughout the country, nicknamed "The Voice". He raised money for aid during the famines of the 1970s and 1980s and earned the affection of the nation, being awarded a doctorate degree by the University of Addis Ababa and also winning a lifetime achievement award from the Ethiopian Fine Art and Mass Media Prize Trust. In his later years he suffered from diabetes. He died on 19 April 2009 in Addis Adaba shortly after returning from America. Tilahun was honoured with a state funeral attended by tens of thousands of his fellow citizens.

Ejegayehu Dibaba

Olympic athlete

Ejegayehu Dibaba Keneni is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. She is a member of the Oromo ethnic group from the high-altitude Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region. She is the third child of six, her younger sisters Tirunesh and Genzebe are also international long distance athletes, and brother Dejene is marked as a future star. Like her sister Tirunesh, her cousin Derartu Tulu is a double Olympic gold medalist. Ejegayehu beat her cousin to take the silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics, her two bronze medals at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics were behind her sister winning the gold in the final sprint. She took part in a 7 km race at the Memorial Peppe Greco in September 2010 and took second place behind Sylvia Kibet. Ejegayehu made her debut over the marathon distance at the 2011 Chicago Marathon and, even though she was well-beaten by Liliya Shobukhova, she was the runner-up and made the third fastest marathon debut with her time of 2:22:09 hours. Ejegayehu Dibaba is 1.60 m tall and weighs 46 kg.

Haile Gerima

Film Director

Haile Gerima is an Ethiopian filmmaker who lives and works in the United States. He is a leading member of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, also known as the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers. His films have received wide international acclaim. Since 1975, Gerima has also been an influential film professor at Howard University in Washington, DC. He is best known for Sankofa, which won numerous international awards.

Baruch Dego

Soccer Midfielder

Baruch Dego is an Israeli-Ethiopian football player. He currently plays for Hapoel Ashkelon in Israel's Liga Leumit. Dego, who grew up in Maccabi Ironi Ashdod F.C., was transferred to Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C. in 2000/01, and won a championship and three national trophies. In 2004/05, he was the only player to score for Maccabi in the UEFA Champions League group stage. He scored two goals against Ajax Amsterdam in the local win 2–1, one goal from penalty against Juventus and another penalty goal at Bayern Munich. Maccabi's fans saw Dego as one of the main reasons for Maccabi beloved captain Avi Nimni's dismissal in August 2003, and when Dego's adoptive father, David Tshuva, spoke to the press against Maccabi the fans called Dego to leave to the city rival. After the 2004/05 season, he did that and transferred to Hapoel Tel-Aviv. After spending 3 seasons with Hapoel Tel-Aviv winning two more Israeli State Cup he moved to Maccabi Natanya that at the time was coached by German legend Lothar Matthäus where he lasted only couple of months and playing only one official match before he was released by the club and signed two year contract with his youth club F.C. Ashdod not able to show the same ability from the start of his career . Until at January 2010 transfer window he reunited with his former coach Nir Klinger at Nea Salamis Famagusta FC .

Amha Selassie

Noble person

Amha Selassie, GCMG, GCVO, GBE was the last reigning Emperor of Ethiopia. First proclaimed Emperor during the unsuccessful coup attempt by the Imperial Guards against his father Haile Selassie I in December 1960, he initially went along with this proclamation under duress. The coup collapsed within days and the Emperor Haile Selassie was restored. Amha Selassie was again proclaimed on the deposition of his father by the Derg on 12 September 1974, but he never accepted this proclamation as legitimate, and in any case this brief reign was ended with the abolition of the Ethiopian monarchy in March 1975. He was again proclaimed in exile on 8 April 1989. This time he sanctioned the proclamation and accepted its legitimacy. Born as Asfaw Wossen Taffari, in the walled city of Harrar, to Dejazmach Tafari Makonnen, then the governor of Harrar and future Emperor of Ethiopia, and his wife Menen Asfaw, on 27 July 1916. After his accession his full reign name was His Imperial Majesty Emperor Amha Selassie I, Elect of God, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah and King of Kings of Ethiopia.

Barre Adan Shire Hiiraale


Barre Adan Shire, also known as Barre Hiiraale, Barre "Hirale" Aden Shire, or Abdikadir Adan Shire, is a former Minister of Defense of the Somali Transitional Federal Government. He was previously the TFG Minister for National Reconstruction and Resettlement. Hiiraale was also the Chairman of the now defunct Juba Valley Alliance, which controlled Southern and Southwestern Somalia, including the nation's third-largest city, the strategic port town of Kismayo. During his time in office, Hiiraale presided over the country's largest autonomous area, as well as commanding an extensive militia.

Tafari Benti


Brigadier General Tafari Benti was the Head of State of Ethiopia, and chairman of the Derg, the ruling junta. His official title was Chairman of the Provisional Military Administrative Council.

Gebregziabher Gebremariam

Olympic athlete

Gebregziabher Gebremariam is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. He established himself at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, winning the junior title in 2002 and two silver medals in the senior races in 2004. He represented Ethiopia over 5000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics, taking fourth place. He was the 2009 World Champion in cross country. He made his marathon debut at the 2010 New York City Marathon and won the race in a time of 2:08:14. He was third at the Boston Marathon in 2011 with a personal best of 2:04:53 hours. He is married to long-distance runner Werknesh Kidane.

Hagos Gebrhiwet

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Hagos Gebrhiwet is an Ethiopian long-distance runner and current World Junior Record holder in the 5000 meters.

Getaneh Kebede

Soccer Forward

Getaneh Kebede is an Ethiopian international footballer. He currently plays for South African Premier Soccer League club Bidvest Wits. Before his move to Wits, he was named best player and top scorer of the Ethiopian Premier League of 2012/13.

Abune Paulos

Religious Leader

Abune Paulos was Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. His full title was "His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum and one of the seven serving Presidents of the World Council of Churches."

Gebre Mesqel Lalibela


Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, also called simply Lalibela, which means "the bees recognise his sovereignty" in Old Agaw, was negus or king of Ethiopia and a member of the Zagwe dynasty. He is also considered a saint by the Ethiopian church. According to Taddesse Tamrat, he was the son of Jan Seyum and brother of Kedus Harbe. Tradition states that he reigned for 40 years. According to Getachew Makonnen Hasen, his reign was from 1181 to 1221. He is best known as the king who either built or commissioned the monolithic churches of Lalibela.

Malik Ambar

Military Person

Malik Ambar was an Ethiopian born in Harar, sold as a child by his parents due to poverty. He was eventually brought to India and remained enslaved by the people that bought him. Nevertheless in time he created an independent army that had up to 1500 men. This army resided in the Deccan region and was hired by many local kings. He also founded the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra on the site of a previous village. He eventually rose to become a very popular Prime Minister of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate, showing his administrative acumen in various fields. Malik is also regarded as a pioneer in Guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. He is credited with having carried out a systematic revenue settlement of major portions of the Deccan, which formed the basis for many subsequent settlements. He died in 1626. He is a figure of veneration to the Siddis of Gujarat. He humbled the might of the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur and raised the falling status of the Nizam Shah.

Yosef Ben-Jochannan


Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan, also known as Dr. Ben, is an African-American writer and historian.

Hayle Ibrahimov

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Hayle Ibrahimov is Ethiopia-born Azerbaijani international middle and long distance track and field athlete, mainly competing in the disciplines of 3000 metres and 5000 metres. He holds the Azerbaijani records in both these events. Ibrahimov was the winner of the 3000 m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in 2013, having been the silver medallist two years earlier. His bronze in the 5000 m 2010 European Athletics Championships was Azerbaijan's first medal in the history of that tournament. He represented his country at the 2012 London Olympics.

Tadese Tola


Tadese Tola is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. He has represented Ethiopia at World championship level in cross country, road running, and on the track. He made his first impact in 2006, helping the Ethiopian teams to bronze medals in the junior race at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the 20 km race at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships. He won a silver medal at the All-Africa Games in the 10,000 metres and ran at the 2007 World Championships. He has largely focused on road running since 2008, scoring wins at the New York City Half Marathon and San Silvestre Vallecana. He made his marathon debut in 2009 at the Chicago Marathon and won on his second attempt at the Paris Marathon. He was the bronze medallist in the marathon at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics.

Fikru Teferra

Soccer Forward

Fikru Teferra Lemessa is an Ethiopian football striker. He currently plays for University of Pretoria in the South African Premier Soccer League.

Alemayehu Eshete

Musical Artist

Alemayehu Eshete is an Ethiopian Ethio-jazz singer active since the 1960s who primarily sings in Amharic. Eshete's talent was recognized by colonel Rètta Dèmèqè who invited the young singer to perform with Addis Ababa's famous Police Orchestra. Eshete had his first hit in 1961 before moving on to found the orchestra Alèm-Girma Band with Girma Bèyènè. Over the course of 15 years, Eshete released some 30 singles until the arrival of the communist Derg junta, which forced Eshete and many other artists into exile. Alemayehu Eshete has since gained fame in Europe and the Americas with the release of Buda Musique's Ethiopiques series of compilations on compact disc. Ethiopiques Volume 9 is devoted entirely to recordings of Eshete's earlier music, and Volume 22 covers his career between 1972 and 1974. Other songs have also appeared on Volumes 3, 8, 10, and 13 or the series. In 2008 Eshete toured the United States with fellow Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed, backed by Boston's 10-piece Either/Orchestra.

Deriba Merga

Olympic athlete

Deriba Merga Ejigu is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. He mainly competes in the marathon. He finished fourth in that event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and went on to win the Boston Marathon the following year. His personal best for the distance is 2:06:38 hours. He also competes in half marathon races and his time of 59:14 minutes in 2008 was the fastest that year. He won the 2006 Paris Half Marathon and took the gold medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games a year later.

Senait Ashenafi


Senait Ashenafi is an Ethiopian-born actress in the United States who played Keesha Ward in General Hospital from 1994 to 1998. She has also worked as a dancer, singer, and model. She is the daughter of the Ethiopian composer and ethnomusicologist Ashenafi Kebede and the sister of Nina Ashenafi Richardson, a judge in Florida. Senait attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, where her father was a professor, and graduated with a degree in Drama in 1988. She went on to be a guest star on shows such as A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Mad About You. Upon leaving the role of Keesha Ward on General Hospital in 1998, Senait went on to star in the movie, Honeybee, in 2001. For the weekend of November 24-25, 2012, Senait was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for public intoxication.

Gezahegne Abera

Olympic athlete

Gezahegne Abera is an Ethiopian athlete, winner of the marathon race at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Born in Etya, Arsi Province, Gezahegne's first international competition was the 1999 Los Angeles Marathon, where he finished fourth, behind three Kenyans. That earned him a place in the Ethiopian 1999 World Championships team, where he finished eleventh. Later in the 1999 season, Gezahegne won his first international marathon by finishing first at Fukuoka marathon in Japan. He won this marathon again in 2001 and 2002. In 2000, Gezahegne finished second in the Boston Marathon. At the Sydney Olympics, the marathon race came down to two Ethiopians, Gezahegne and Tesfaye Tola, and Kenyan Erick Wainaina. At the 37 km mark, Wainaina tried to make a break, but 2 km later Gezahegne surged to the lead and held the position to the finishing lane. At 22 years old, Gezahegne was the youngest marathon champion since Juan Carlos Zabala in Los Angeles 1932. In 2001, Gezahegne won the World Championships by a mere second ahead of Simon Biwott from Kenya to become the first person to achieve an Olympics-World Championships marathon double. In 2003, Abera won the London Marathon in 2:07:56. At the 2003 World Championships, Gezahegne had to abandon the race due to injury, but he was selected in the Ethiopian 2004 Olympic team. Again. injury kept him from the race. His wife Elfenesh Alemu was also selected to the 2004 Olympic team, finishing fourth in the women's marathon.

Dennenesch Zoudé

Film Actor

Dennenesch Zoudé is a German actress. Zoudé is principally employed in television. She has been married since October 2009 to Italian film director Carlo Rola and lives in Berlin and Monte Carlo.

Emebt Etea


Emebt Etea Bedada is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who competes in road running competitions. She emerged quickly as a junior runner with an African Junior Championships double in the 1500 metres and the 3000 metres. She was a junior bronze medalist at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2008. She moved away from middle-distances in 2009 and began competing in half marathons and marathons. She won marathons in Brescia and Venice in 2012. She also won the team gold in the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships with the Ethiopian women's team. Her marathon best is 2:25:53 hours. Her younger sister Korahubsh Itaa was the 2009 World Youth Champion in the steeplechase and broke the world youth best for the 2000 m distance.

Alemayehu Bezabeh


Alemayehu Bezabeh Desta is an Ethiopian-born athlete who represents Spain internationally. He competes in middle- and long-distance running on the track, and also in cross country. His brother, Sisay Bezabeh, is also a professional runner and represents Australia internationally. In December 2010 Alemayehu Bezabeh was arrested as part of Operation Galgo, an investigation by the Spanish Guardia Civil into an alleged doping ring among athletes in Spain, having been caught red-handed carrying a bag of his own blood for a blood transfusion.

Fuad Ibrahim

Soccer Forward

Abdusalam Abas Ibrahim, known as Fuad Ibrahim and Ibee Ibrahim is an Ethiopian footballer currently playing for AC Kajaani in the Finnish Ykkönen.

Dinaw Mengestu


Dinaw Mengestu is an award-winning American novelist and writer. In addition to two novels, he has written for Rolling Stone on the war in Darfur, and for Jane Magazine on the conflict in northern Uganda. His writing has also appeared in Harper's, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. He is Lannan Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University. Since his first book was published in 2007, he has received numerous literary awards, and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

Aklilu Habte-Wold


Tsehafi Taezaz Aklilu Habte-Wold was an Ethiopian politician under Emperor Haile Selassie. He was foreign minister of Ethiopia from 1947 to 1958 and Prime Minister from 1961 until shortly before his death.

Afewerk Tekle

Painting Artist

Afewerk Tekle was one of Ethiopia's most celebrated artists, particularly known for his paintings on African and Christian themes as well as his stained glass. Born in Ankober to Feleketch Yamatawork and Tekle Mano, Afewerk grew up under the Italian occupation during the Second World War. Following the war, in 1947, Afewerk decided that he wanted to help rebuild Ethiopia and elected to travel to England to study mining engineering. Before departing, Afewerk, together with other students leaving to study overseas, was addressed by Emperor Haile Selassie. Afewerk recalls being told "you must work hard, and when you come back do not tell us what tall buildings you saw in Europe, or what wide streets they have, but make sure you return equipped with the skills and the mindset to rebuild Ethiopia". Afewerk had already shown talent as an artist as a child, decorating several walls in his home town. Whilst at boarding school in England, this talent was recognised and encouraged by his teachers. As a result, Afewerk was persuaded to switch from engineering and enroll in Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. He then went on to the Slade School of Art where he studied painting, sculpture and architecture.

Sofia Assefa

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Sofia Assefa is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specializes in the 3000 metres steeplechase. She finished thirteenth at the 2009 World Championships and fourth at the 2009 World Athletics Final. She also competed at the 2008 Olympic Games without reaching the final. Her personal best times are 9:09.84 minutes in the 3000 metres steeplechase, achieved in August 2012 at the Olympics in London, United Kingdom; and 15:59.74 minutes in the 5000 metres, achieved in July 2007 in Liège.

Berhanu Nega


Berhanu Nega was elected as mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the Ethiopian general elections, 2005. He is a founding chairman of the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice and a Deputy Chairman of Coalition for Unity and Democracy, for whom he served as chief election campaign strategist. He is also the co-founder of Ginbot 7, an opposition party.

Yenew Alamirew

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Yenew Alamirew is an Ethiopian middle and long distance runner.

Werknesh Kidane

Olympic Track and field Athlete

Werknesh Kidane, is an Ethiopian long distance running athlete who competes in both 5000 and 10,000 metres. She has won numerous medals at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and represented Ethiopia at the Summer Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2012. She was the silver medallist at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics and a gold medallist at the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Azeb Mesfin


Azeb Mesfin Haile is the widow of former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. She is the founder and patron of Ethiopia's National Initiative for Mental Health. In early 2009, she was appointed deputy head of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray by its CEO Abadi Zemu.