Sahle-Work Zewde - Ethiopia News in Politics Today

Sahle-Work Zewde was born on 21 February 1950), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and well-regarded diplomat representing Ethiopia at global, continental and regional organizations including the UN, the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had also served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to various countries. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

Before her appointment in Central African Republic, she was Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. She has also served as director-general for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, posts that she held since 2006.

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Ms. Zewde has also served as Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the UNESCO and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco. From 1993 to 2002, she served as Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea . She is a natural sciences graduate and is fluent in Amharic, French and English.

Sahle-Work Zewde Full Biography
2018 Ethiopian members of parliament elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. Ms Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat who has now become Africa’s only female head of state.

Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women. After being sworn in, President Sahle-Work promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia.

Addressing parliament, she also pledged to promote peace: “I urge you all, to uphold our peace, in the name of a mother, who is the first to suffer from the absence of peace.”

Prior to her appointment, Sahle-Work served as both the special representative of the United Nations’ secretary-general and the head of the UN office to the African Union.

She will replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned in unclear circumstances and is expected to serve two six-year terms.

“Mulatu has shown us the way for change and hope, he has shown life continues before and after leaving power. I call on other to heed his example and be ready for change,” Sahle-Work said in a speech in parliament on Thursday.

According to Ethiopian law, the prime minister occupies the highest seat of power, but the position of president carries important symbolic weight and social influence.

Ethiopia’s parliament has named Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first woman president.

In a unanimous vote on Thursday during the second Special Joint Session of Ethiopia’s two houses of parliament – the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of the Federation – lawmakers picked the career diplomat for the largely ceremonial role.

Prior to her appointment, Sahle-Work served as both the special representative of the United Nations’ secretary-general and the head of the UN office to the African Union.

She will replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned in unclear circumstances and is expected to serve two six-year terms.

“Mulatu has shown us the way for change and hope, he has shown life continues before and after leaving power. I call on other to heed his example and be ready for change,” Sahle-Work said in a speech in parliament on Thursday.

According to Ethiopian law, the prime minister occupies the highest seat of power, but the position of president carries important symbolic weight and social influence.

Sahle-Work under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed would influence and empower people who was elected in April and has unfurled a sweeping programme of reforms in the country.

In mid-October 2018, Abiy appointed a 20-person cabinet in which half the posts were assigned to women. They include Defence Minister Aisha Mohammed and Muferiat Kamil who leads the newly-created Ministry of Peace, responsible for police and domestic intelligence agencies.

“If the current change in Ethiopia is headed equally by both men and women, it can sustain its momentum and realise a prosperous Ethiopia free of religious, ethnic and gender discrimination,” Sahle-Work said on Thursday.

A voice for women
During her diplomatic career, the 68-year-old was head of the UN office to Kenya and acted as Ethiopia’s ambassador to several countries including France, Djibouti and Senegal.

Born in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Sahle-Work Zewde studied in France and is fluent in English, French and Amharic – Ethiopia’s main language.

In her first address to parliament, Sahle-Work stressed the importance of unity and promised to be a voice for women.

“Government and opposition parties have to understand we are living in a common house and focus on things that unite us, not what divides us, to create a country and generation that will make all of us proud,” she said.

“The absence of peace victimises firstly women, so during my tenure I will emphasise women’s roles in ensuring peace and the dividends of peace for women”.

Sahle-Work’s appointment makes her Africa’s only serving female head of state.

– Sahle-Work Zewde Biography and Profile


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