By His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia
A number of church services, conferences, dinners, and concerts have been organized over the years to commemorate anniversaries of the birthday of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile-Selassie I. But this year was especially important. On July 23, 2012, we celebrated the 120th anniversary of his birth, and thanked God for giving all of us around the world — those who have steadfastly upheld the memory of our late Emperor — another opportunity to reflect on his life and his contributions to his Nation and the World.
One significant and poignant event which took place on the afternoon of July 22, 2012, was a conference at Howard University in Washington, DC, to discuss Ambassador Zewde Retta’s latest book, The Government of Emperor Haile-Selassie I.
Ethiopians of different political persuasions were, in this gathering, able to conduct an extremely civil discourse, outlining the merits and shortcomings of the late Imperial Government. This was a significant transformation in the tenor of discussion, after 40 years of seeing the memory of the late Emperor vilified by some.
Certainly, the demonization of the late Emperor extended beyond him to also those patriotic and able Ethiopians who served in his Government from 1930-1974. The generation of Ethiopians who were born after 1974 were, as a result, denied the comfort and embrace of their true history. It is only now that with the recent publications, interviews, and lectures by a very rare crop of prominent Ethiopians who served in government positions in the Ethiopian Imperial Government, and a similar discourse from foreign academics, that a dispassionate discussion is now taking place in the evaluation of our history during the years of Imperial governance and the decades which followed.
Emperor Haile-Selassie achieved so much during his reign; he brought Ethiopia into the modern age. However, he was able to achieve this with the leadership of talented and self-sacrificing patriots, some with traditional education and others educated at the best Universities around the world. As we commemorate him, we should also commemorate those who worked, fought, and strove with him to bequeath us a proud legacy.
We trust and hope that we will continue with this promising start by following the example of the Ambassador and other distinguished individuals to document their experiences and demonstrate their willingness to educate the new generation of Ethiopians about their history.
The Ethiopian youth deserve to know their history. This generation must also be unrelenting in demanding from those who have served in public office and have knowledge about important aspects of our history to share their experiences. It is through education, research, and by examining facts that the start of discernment commences in evaluating and understanding our collective successes and challenges.
We pray that it will not be long before similar conferences can be held in Ethiopia. We also trust that Ambassador Zewde Retta’s book — currently available in Amharic — will be translated into different languages for wider readership. It is through these processes that we can debate, learn, and start healing from a momentous and controversial part of our history.
His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, was married on February 25, 2011, to Lady Saba Kebede in a private ceremony in the Washington, DC, area. They are shown here following the wedding.
IMPERIAL SOCIETY APPLIES FOR TAX-EXEMPT STATUS
The Imperial Society of St George of Lalibela has applied for tax-exempt status. Donors may pledge the amount they intend to donate and send in their contribution once the tax exempt status has been issued.
The Crown Council of Ethiopia is pleased to announce that a comprehensive book about the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela has been prepared and posted on the Society’s website. Click HERE to read the Foreword to this important publication.
The Foreword highlights that Ethiopia has a deep rooted spiritual, cultural and historical heritage that represents the longest unbroken chain of cultural continuity in the history of the world. This has enabled it to uphold the dignity of people of African heritage and to become the source of African identity and beacon of African independence. As it is the root of Judo-Christian heritage as well as the fabric of the Muslim faith, Ethiopian culture is a world treasure that must be preserved. Concerns regarding the erosion of Ethiopian cultural heritage are expressed and some corrective action are proposed.
The Foreword also stated that the raison d’etre for publishing the book is to show case that the true history of a nation includes the history of all the people in the country; the major contributors to the wellbeing and dignity of the nation; all religions practiced in the country’s boundaries; as well as that of all Monarchs of different lineage, and of other leaders who have served at the helm of Ethiopian society. Thus it embraces all Ethiopian people in its inclusiveness and promotes national unity, which has been and continues to be the role of the Ethiopian Crown.
In addition, on behalf of all Ethiopians past and present as well as of future generations, the Crown Council of Ethiopia most gratefully acknowledges and extends its heartfelt thanks to all those who have saved written and photographic record of Ethiopia’s ancient heritage. It says that what they have preserved will help future generations of Ethiopians maintain their national pride and identity, assured in the knowledge that their culture has contributed to the beautiful mosaic of world heritage. All Ethiopians are, indeed, most indebted to each and every one of them.
THE CROWN COUNCIL HAS DECIDED TO CHANGE ITS DIRECTION FROM THE REALM OF POLITICS TO CULTURAL PRESERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND HUMANITARIAN PROGRAMMES
In his Keynote Address, at the Black Tie Dinner given to Launch the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela and to Commemorate the 112th Birth of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I, on July 24th 2004, at Charleston South Carolina, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, President of the Crown Council, made the first public announcement that the Crown Council has decided to change its direction from the realm of politics to cultural preservation, development, and humanitarian programmes.
Prince Ermias said that the decision was reached by the Crown Council after extensive discussion during 2003 and 2004. He added that it had proved to be a wise decision as it has already opened the door for closer cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Community in the USA. Furthermore, it will enable the Crown Council to promote that additional assistance be given for Development Programmes in Ethiopia.
More detailed information will be posted in the Current Events section of this website. All relevant websites will be adjusted accordingly to reflect this decision.
July 28th 2004.
THE LAUNCHING OF THE IMPERIAL SOCIETY OF ST. GEORGE OF LALIBELA ON 24TH JULY 2004, AT CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, WAS A MAJOR SUCCESS
One hundred distinguished guests participated in the Launching Ceremony of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela and the Commemoration of the 112th Birth of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I, on July 24th 2004.
Former Ambassadors, retired US Army and Air Force Generals, Church leaders, Industrialists, University Professors, Doctors and renowned Artists, some of whom came from as far away as California, attended the ceremony. Ethiopians professionals participated with their families dressed in Ethiopian traditional dress, which added meaning and festivity to the occasion.
Messages of Welcome were received from the Mayor of Charleston Joseph P. Riley, Jr., and from Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Furthermore, His Holiness Pope John II; King Juan Carlos of Spain; The Duke of Braganca of Portugal; H.E Dr. Asfa Wossen Asrate Kassa, Chairman of the Executive Board of Orbis Aethiopicus in Germany; and Mr. Joseph Brumit, former Manager of Ethiopian Airlines during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, all sent messages of Congratulation. Prince Ermias announced that Lij. Estifanos Mengesha Seyoum, who had planned to attend the ceremony but was unable to do so, had expressed his regret to him over the telephone, and added that he was supportive of the Mission of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela.
Prince Bekere Fikre Selassie in his Welcoming Address expressed his heart felt thanks to all those who had helped the Crown Council to come this far and also give it hope to be worthy to meet the challenge of the responsibility entrusted to it. Prince Bekere said “As each of us is called upon to give back what he has received from his country, the educated man possesses precious assets of infinite value both to himself and his nation, which he must also share with humanity,”
Both the morning presentation on “The Current Situation of Ethiopia” by Melake Selam Haddis Woldeyesus and the afternoon session on “The Case of Ethiopia” by The Honorable Mussie Hailu were well attended. The Video Presentations and the Question and Answer Sessions made the meeting more participatory. Many of the participants expressed interest to join the Society and also promised to recruit other members. Some participants also said that they will visit Ethiopia to see the historical and religious sites.
The major message of Melake Selam Haddis’s presentation was that “During the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, religion was accepted to be a private matter and the whole territory of the country was believed to belong to all Ethiopians. It is a great pity that our country is now regressing to separatism when the whole world is increasingly becoming one.” He added “I most sincerely believe that if the Ethiopian people are widely made aware of the efforts made to dismantle their traditional form of peaceful coexistence, they will not choose turmoil over peace.” Furthermore, he said “major collective action needs to be taken soon by all Ethiopians, as none of us whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other, will be able to escape the adverse impact that will result if things fall apart.”
In concluding Melake Selam Haddis added that Ethiopian history, its ancient Orthodox Church and the Monarchy still have relevance to the Ethiopian way of life. He said that “History is the base from which we learn our previous mistakes, and on which we build our future plans. Our religion is the root of our core being that maintains us steadfast to overcome all adversity and also helps to propel us to achieve higher goals. The System of Government under the Monarch is Ethiopia’s heritage that can still be used to serve the people, even without being part of the Government of the day.”
The major message of the Hon. Mussie Hailu’s presentation was the importance of national unity and effective leadership at all levels. He said that “Throughout its history, it (Ethiopia) has remained the focus of outside invaders. Particularly since the 16th century, it has repulsed time and time again the aspirations of expansionists and colonial powers. Its various nations, nationalities and people, have linked together for centuries, intermingling and interacting with each other. For the last century they have stood together during peace and adversity as one country. Through this unity, heroism and sacrifice, Ethiopia has remained the only non-colonized state in Africa becoming the beacon of independence and freedom for Africa, and colonized peoples around the world.”
Speaking about leadership, Hon Mussie Hailu said that “to alleviate poverty requires committed leadership at all levels of society, from the village to district, state to national and international communities.” Talking about the need to eradicate poverty he added that “we should bear in mind that people in poverty must be empowered through organization and participation in planning and in implementation of the issues that affect them, thus ensuring they become partners in the overall development process.”
In his Keynote Address which was the major highlight of the event, Prince Ermias stated that the objective of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela is to preserve the ancient history of Ethiopia, its peoples deep rooted Orthodox Christian faith and also the country’s heritage of its administration under the Monarchy.” He said that “history has proved that HIM Emperor Haile Selassie was, indeed, a great man who has left his undeniable mark on his country, Africa, the Caribbean and on the whole world.” He added that since his appointment as President of the Crown Council in 1993, “we have contributed to rehabilitate the name of my distinguished grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie I, and we have also kept the Imperial Family engaged in Ethiopian Affairs, even in the Diaspora.”
Furthermore, Prince Ermias pointed out that “due to lack of a well established office and administrative machinery, we are regrettably losing a great deal of opportunity to assist our country.” Thus, he emphasized the need to establish a well staffed office in Addis Ababa to help the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela and the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children to direct aid from the world for Development Projects in Ethiopia. The Prince also announced his plan to request all Heads of all Christian Churches to Launch a Joint Appeal to request for the return of all religious and cultural artifacts that had been taken out of Ethiopia during the Communist regime and kindly requested all the participants to assist in this major undertaking
The Meeting of the Society will be an Annual Event that will be held on HIM Haile Selassie’s birth date on July 23rd of each year. The Annual Meeting in July 2005 will be held in Washington, DC. The Members of the Society are requested to organize subsequent meetings in their respective regions.
July 28, 2004
THE CROWN COUNCIL WELCOMES WITH JOY THE REQUEST FROM MEMBERS OF THE LUSO ETHIOPIAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION, TO ALSO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE IMPERIAL SOCIETY OF ST. GEORGE OF LALIBELA
At the Launching Ceremony of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela, both Prince Bekere and Prince Ermias were delighted to receive the request from the Luso Ethiopian Friendship Association in Portugal for all 100 members of the Association to also become members of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela.
The Portuguese Association was formed during the visit of HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie to Portugal, in August 2003. Since then, close ties have been established with the Duke of Braganza and members of the Luso Ethiopian Friendship Association.
Prince Ermias said that “This major step by members of the Portuguese Association to become the first members of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela bears witness to the long existing friendship between the peoples of Portugal and Ethiopia. It also establishes the new Luso Ethiopian Friendship Association on solid grounds.”
28 July 2004
THE CONTRIBUTION OF MELAKE SELAM HADDIS WOLDEYESUS AND THE HONORABLE MUSSIE HAILU HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE CROWN COUNCIL
The Crown Council of Ethiopia awarded Melake Selam Haddis Woldeyesus the Medal of The Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela. The award was made at the Launching Ceremony of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela and the Commemoration of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie’s Birth Date which was held on 23rd July 2004, at Charleston South Carolina.
Melake Selam Haddis was recognized for his contribution to uphold and promote the importance of Ethiopia’s ancient history, the people’s deep rooted Orthodox Christian faith, and the country’s historic heritage under the Monarchy, all of which have been closely interlinked for many centuries.
The Honorable Mussie Hailu was given the both the Medal of the Imperial Society of St. George of Lalibela and the first Annual Award for his outstanding contribution to support Development and Humanitarian Programmes and for his tireless effort to promote peaceful coexistence at the national, regional and international levels.
All Ethiopians should be proud of individuals of such integrity and dedication.
July 28th 2004
THE CROWN COUNCIL OF ETHIOPIA DISASSOCIATES ITSELF FROM THE HAILE SELASSIE I INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
The Haile Selassie I International Development Foundation, which made its debut at the celebration of the centennial of Ethiopian/American relations, at Howard University, On March 25th 2004, is neither a part of, or is it associated with the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children. The later Foundation works under the Crown Council of Ethiopia and is chaired by HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie.
It is also to be noted that the e-mail address given by the Haile Selassie I International Development Foundation as haileselassiefund.org, has no connection with the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children, which is often referred to, in short, as the Haile Selassie Fund.
In view of the confusion created by the Haile Selassie I International Development Foundation, the Crown Council of Ethiopia considers it as its duty to advice the general public worldwide, to always verify the source of information whenever approached by a Foundation that is said to be established in the name of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.
The Crown Council and Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children can be reached at: Fax Number 1-843-795-9845. E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIH PRINCE ERMIAS SAHLE SELASSIE AND HIS WIFE WIZERO GELILA FESSEHA SEPARATE
The Crown Council of Ethiopia regrets to announce that, the Chairman of the Crown Council, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie and his wife Wizero Gelila Fesseha, have been separated since April 2003. Further developments will be announced in due course.
Since the Foundation known as The Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children operates under the umbrella of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, the Crown Council also hereby announces that Wizero Gelila Fesseha is no longer the Co-Patron of this Foundation.
It is with great joy that the Patron of the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, announces that two of the recipients of scholarship from the Foundation, namely the two brothers Ermias and Endrias Hailu Zewede have been recognized on the year 2003, “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.” (Volume 69, Page 1315 and 1316.)
The Book is a an annual publication that presents “A Biographical Compilation of the Year’s Most Outstanding Men and Women in American Universities and Colleges.” Ermias and Endrias Hailu Zewede have been recognized for their all round accomplishment in academics, sports and social services.
Since then, the two brothers had secured two posts as Assistant Lecturers at the University of Southern Carolina, where they have now completed one year of their Masters Degree. The brothers who are both Graphic Designers say that their main objective is to portray Ethiopia in good light - a service that is much needed!
Prince Ermias extends his heart felt Congratulation to Ermias and Endrias. Sincere Congratulations also go to their parents Ato. Hailu Zewde and Weizero Demekech Habtewold for having brought-up such fine young men whose love, diligence and community spirit complements their God given talents. Prince Ermias said “Those who had helped to select the scholarship students and all those who had taken part in their education should take particular satisfaction in a job well done! Ermias and Endrias have made us all proud!”
FIVE MORE SCHOLARSHIP STUDENTS GRADUATED IN MAY 2004
On May 8th, 2004, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie attended the Graduation ceremony at La Roche College, Pennsylvania, of five more scholarship recipients from the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children. Out of the twenty-two full scholarships granted through the Foundation, to date, fourteen students have received their BA Degree. The remaining eight are due to graduate in 2005.
At the luncheon organized by the Ethiopian group to celebrate the Graduation, the students and their parents expressed their heart-felt thanks to Prince Ermias for having given the students the opportunity to gain higher education. Furthermore, the students pledged to be of service to their country.
In turn, Prince Ermias expressed his appreciation to the students for having been such good Ambassadors for their country. He also thanked Mr. Tsegaye Kassa and Mr. Abey Tedela who had accompanied him to the Graduation, as well as others who were not present at the Graduation, but who had helped the students in various ways to benefit from higher education. These include: Board Members of the Pacem in Terris Institute at La Roche College in Pennsylvania; Dr. Richard Stevens; Ms. Mary McDavid; Major General Oliver Peacock; Mr. Noah Samara; Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Copley; Mr. Mussie Hailu; Mr. Giovani Ruffini; and Mr. Dawit Yohannes.
THE FOUNDATION IS REGISTERED IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, Patron of the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children is delighted to announce that, on May 12th, 2004, the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, registered the above Foundation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In order to expedite the establishment of the Foundation’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa, it is presently registered as the “Haile Selassie Aid Ethiopia” and has been granted a Certificate of recognition bearing the number 1590. As soon as all the requirements under the Ethiopian law are fulfilled, the name will be changed to “The Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopian Children”, so as to be in line with the name by which it is known worldwide.
Prince Ermias extends his warm Congratulations and his heart felt thanks to all those who had worked tirelessly to bring the Foundation back home.