Remarks at the Victory of Adwa Dinner by HIH Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

By His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Washington, DC: March 12, 2022 

His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie
His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie addresses guests at the 2022 Victory of Adwa Dinner

My Dear Bishop, Honorable Lijs and members of the Balabatawinet (the Ethiopian nobility), distinguished award recipients, your excellencies, and beloved friends of Ethiopia …

Firstly, let me congratulate the great individuals honoured here tonight. Each year, we present a very small number of medals to commemorate the Victory of Adwa. Each of you have performed outstanding work for Ethiopia; for your communities in the diaspora and at home. As you remember Adwa, we remember you. We thank you.

Ours is a sacred mission tonight: to remember, to honour, to cherish, and to learn from the great sacrifice of the patriots of Ethiopia who united 126 years ago to repel a great invading Army. Emperor Menelik II and his Empress, Taitu, rallied all of Ethiopia to act as one, showing that great unity could be achieved without the loss of the many individual cultures, traditions, and languages of our many nations.

Ethiopia showed that it was capable of acting as a great nation on the world stage.

We are fortunate that you will soon here some brief remarks about the Victory of Adwa from our distinguished friend, colleague, and historian, Professor Tibebe Eshete, who was honoured with the award of a Victory of Adwa Medal this year for his scholarship.

Our Agafari, Pamela, Marchioness of Tana, will introduce him shortly, and after Dr Tibebe gives his keynote talk, Pamela will introduce the Crown’s Strategic Advisor, Gregory Copley, the Marquess of Tana, to speak briefly about our important current work.

My mission here tonight, and that of my wife, Le’ult Saba, is to thank you again for your support for Ethiopia and the role of the Crown in Ethiopia’s recovery. We have been engaged for so long in a struggle for the survival of our nation and our identity that it is difficult to comprehend that we have been under siege for almost a half-century since the murder of my Grandfather and so many other Ethiopian patriots.

And it was my Grandfather, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, and my Grandmother, Empress Menen, who, like Menelik and Taitu, resisted and ultimately repelled an invading Italian army less than a half-century after the Victory of Adwa. As at the Victory of Adwa, my grandparents worked with patriots — arbegnoch — from all parts of Ethiopia, who united to prove that they were part of a noble mission to preserve the great example of Ethiopia as a pinnacle of African dreams. As with Adwa, the second Italian-Ethiopian war saw victory culminated at the Battle of Gondar after six years of struggle.

History has determined that the millennia of Ethiopia’s unique history and culture should be a pillar which sustains Africa, so when Ethiopia is humiliated and broken, then so, too, is Africa. And for Ethiopia to retain and rebuild its prestige, its traditions and mission must be revered. We are, then, all servants to this task which God has set us.

And yet even after two great trials set for Ethiopia at Adwa and Gondar — and, of course, there were many more great challenges through our history, we were, again within a half-century, beset by the coup which overthrew our Empire, and began almost a half-century more of oppression.

We are now emerging from that dark period, but still face many threats and obstacles, not just from the internal divisions which were created, but by foreign powers funding and inciting internal threats. We see the light, but we have not yet reached it.

How do we retain optimism, identity, dignity, and resilience when we have grown old in these shadows of brutality, oppression, and pervasive lies? How do we know when hope may transform into victory?

Yes, we see rays of light. The first sales of electricity from our Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have begun to demonstrate that Ethiopia can be a great hydropower for the region, as Emperor Haile Selassie envisaged, but that it can take command of its destiny. The Prime Minister paid tribute to those whose vision created the Dam, and rightly saw that this was initiative which began with the Emperor.

And this year, as Ethiopians took up the celebration of Adwa — something your Crown Council has always maintained in exile — we saw that the battle lines have still not been overcome. Those in government who gained their position through the revolutionary period of the Dergue and TPLF attempted to say that the Victory of Adwa was nothing to do with Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu, and moved the Adwa celebrations away from Menelik Square in Addis Ababa. You may have seen the unofficial celebration of Adwa, which was not organised by the Government. It not only saw Menelik Square filled with peaceful and enthusiastic people waving the tricolor of Ethiopia and spilling out into neighboring areas of the city, it saw a predominance of young people.

The great revival of Ethiopia is not based on old people looking back. It is based on young people looking forward, confident that the past has affirmed their identity of nobility and their unique mission.

We have much still to do. Great scholars, such as Dr Tibebe and our newly-appointed Blaten Geta, Dr Gizachew Tiruneh, both here tonight, are helping rebuild the process of educating Ethiopians and the world of the historic truths which made Ethiopia a durable civilization these past three millennia and more. We thank God for them and their sacred work. Another great Ethiopian scholar, Dr Edward Vestal, a Knight Grand Cross of the Star of Honour, is here with us in spirit tonight, and helped sponsor this event, as he did with the Victory of Gondar Dinner in London last November.  So, too, is Nicholas Melillo, who helped sponsor the important Victory of Gondar dinner last November. He was recently promoted, with much gratitude, to the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of Honour for his ongoing energy in supporting the cause of Ethiopian unity and the restoration of its honour. With us in spirit tonight, to, are two other sponsors of this great event: their excellencies Owen and Carole Lee Whitman. We thank them, too, for their generosity in helping to sponsor this gathering.

And all of you will have noticed the beautiful works of art created here to celebrate Ethiopia’s Crown. They are the work of the great artist, Kelly Fawaz, who was honoured here tonight, as well, with the Victory of Adwa Medal.

We have founded the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society, which is charged with bringing together all the learning about Ethiopia’s geographic, geophysical, its other resources, and water data, and to understand the full sociological dynamic of our vast realm. The great Ethiopian Scholar, Gerazmach Dr Wolde Tadesse, has been elected the first President of the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society, and we look to you all to help make this great endeavour a reality.

We have much more to discuss, but tonight is not the time to do more than reflect on the great lessons of the victories at Adwa and Gondar, and the great victory we need to win by restoring Ethiopia to unity, prosperity, and dignity.

Your Crown has been exceptionally busy, every day of every week, attempting to achieve the revival of our nation. We will not cease. And I thank you for being part of the journey we make together. I asked how we retain optimism, identity, dignity, and resilience through the darkness. The answer is you.

God Bless You. God Bless Emperors Menelik and Haile Selassie. God Bless the Ethiopian People and our beautiful land. Our mission is noble. Thank you.

Major General Gregory Copley’s Remarks at the Victory of Adwa Dinner

By Major General Gregory Copley, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Tana, and Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Washington, DC: March 12, 2022

Major General Gregory Copley
Major General Gregory Copley, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Tana, addresses guests at the 2022 Victory of Adwa Dinner

Your Imperial Highnesses, Your Eminence, Honorable Lijs and members of the Balabatawinet, distinguished award recipients, your excellencies, and beloved friends of Ethiopia …

An incredible rising of the many peoples of Ethiopia joined with inspirational leadership under Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taitu to ensure that the Battle of Adwa changed history. Few battles change history, but Adwa did. Adwa restored the cohesion and dignity of the Ethiopian People, and renewed their unique claim to be one of the important and enduring civilisations in history.

The unique alignment of the stars which gave us Adwa created a shining example for Ethiopians to follow, and hope to all Africa and much of the rest of the world. Following that example was never going to be easy, and yet Ethiopians under Emperor Haile Selassie were sufficiently inspired by it to again defeat an even greater invading force less than 50 years later.

Then, within the subsequent century, Ethiopia was to face even greater challenge, by a series of people governed by an alien ideology. This may have been the most insidious challenge of all, because those who overthrew Ethiopian governance in 1974 and 1990 knew that the spirit of Adwa would once again prevail, unless they could destroy that spirit once and for all.

Today, however, after the fall of two successive communist tyrannies in Ethiopia, it is the spirit of Adwa which still motivates Ethiopians to resist attempts to destroy three millennia of Ethiopian Solomonic culture. You have just heard from His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias — himself of the Solomonic line — and Professor Tibebe how important the Victory of Adwa remains to Ethiopians.

Without Adwa, modern Ethiopia’s legitimate right to identity, pride, prestige, and leadership would be much harder to grasp.

I am not here to reiterate the wonder of Adwa, or of Menelik or Haile Selassie. You have heard it tonight, and you know it in your hearts and from your learning. You saw it with the great outpouring of youth in Menelik Square in Addis Ababa less than two weeks ago.

The young people of Ethiopia want their history so that they can claim their future.

My goal tonight is to let you know that the Ethiopian Crown remains the beating heart of the history of Ethiopia. The Crown works every day to restore that great serenity of soul, that sense of identity, to all Ethiopians. The Crown Council of Ethiopia, which Emperor Haile Selassie had the sense to integrate into the Ethiopian Constitution in 1955, remains a living institution dedicated to Ethiopia’s protection. The Ethiopian Crown has never gone away. It continues unbroken as the Crown of Ethiopians, and therefore of the embodiment of unity.

Prince Ermias, the President of the Crown Council, has developed unparalleled access to leaders around the world, in a way which politicians — especially those of Ethiopia’s 1974-2018 era — could not hope to achieve. Now, daily, the Crown Council is in contact with its network of friends and contacts across the globe. You will have seen the multiple visits by Prince Ermias to countries where he has had unique access to leaders. And, in recent years, this has turned into an opportunity for the elected Ethiopian Government to the extent that Nigerian ambassadors and diplomats have been invited to join these missions. More such visits are actively being planned, and they have the potential to do great things for Ethiopia and its prestige.

All this work, and much more inside Ethiopia, is undertaken by the Crown Council without the benefit of any tax or other government funding base.

It exists on the donations of individuals, many of them foreigners; and on the goodwill and soul of Ethiopians who yearn for a return to a time of Ethiopian greatness of spirit.

All of you Ethiopians here tonight represent that incredible feeling for the sacredness of Ethiopia, but turn to see all the non-Ethiopians present.

They, too, have been motivated by the spirit of Adwa. They have become part of the great diversity of Ethiopian peoples.

Indeed, events such as this dinner not only renew the faith of us all, but contribute to the operating budget of the Crown. Each birr and every dollar is a blessing which helps to restore the greatness of Ethiopia, and each adds to the humility and bond between the Crown and all Ethiopians.

Soon, you will learn more about one of the great Crown projects: the creation of the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society. This Society, which has just elected the internationally-renowned Ethiopian scholar, Gerazmach Dr Wolde Tadesse, as its inaugural President, aims to create a non-profit organisation which can be of invaluable service to Ethiopia.

It will begin to gather together all of the vital statistics of Ethiopia to create a center where all of Ethiopia’s terrain is mapped, where all its mineral and other resources can be understood, where its waterways are known, its sociology and history comprehensively documented, and much more. It will combine geology and geophysics; it will employ space-based resources and great human knowledge so that Ethiopians and foreign investors have the tools to develop the nation to its fullest potential.

We are in the process of creating this Society as an Ethiopian legal entity, and we will find a permanent home for it in Ethiopia, using modern technology to link it to all the learning and teaching institutions of Ethiopia. In this, we have been strongly guided by the example of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, which has already developed a sister-relationship with our Ethiopian Society. The Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, His Excellency John Geiger, is with us tonight. He has been honoured by the Crown for his dedication in establishing this great endeavour for Ethiopia.

This leads us to the other question which is always close to our lips, And that is: how can we ensure that the Crown Council can function safely at home in Ethiopia? How close are we to seeing that greater formal reunion of the Crown into the legal framework of Ethiopia?

There are ways for this to be accomplished which ensure that constitutionally-based, elected government remains forever in the hands of the Ethiopian People. The Crown must be above politics, and yet part of every level of society. This is how Emperors Menelik and Haile Selassie saw Ethiopia’s future.

How can the Crown be peacefully restored to the land? One thought is that we must acquire a working office for the Crown in Ethiopia, and this would also be a home for the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society and our Water Initiative for Africa. I would be happy to talk with any of you who may be interested in helping to make this a reality.

It is vital that we demonstrate on the ground that the Crown is always there, and is always committed to supporting the Ethiopian People. The underlying truth of all of this is that the Crown is you, and you are the Crown. What you do for the Crown you do for yourself.

Crown Council Statement on Passing of Patriarch Abune Merkorios

By His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

His Holiness Abune Merkorios I,
Patriarch of Ethiopia 
1938 – 2020
His Holiness Abune Merkorios I,
Patriarch of Ethiopia
1938 – 2022

It is with great sorrow that the Crown Council of Ethiopia marks the passing of Our Holy Father, His Holiness Patriarch Abune Merkorios I, the fourth Patriarch of Ethiopia.  We join with Orthodox Christians and all people of faith in our country in mourning this deeply holy man.

Known as Abba Ze-Libanos Fanta before being elevated to the episcopacy, His Holiness was born in southern Beghemidir Province (Gondar) and received traditional training and church learning at the highest levels from important monasteries in Gojjam and Beghemidir.  He became a monk in 1968 and was consecrated as Bishop of the Diocese of the Ogaden with the name Abune Merkorios in 1978. His Holiness was later named as Archbishop of Gondar, where he served from 1980 to 1988.  Upon the death of Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot in 1988, the then Archbishop Abune Merkorios was elected as Patriarch of Ethiopia and was enthroned in August of that year.  His Holiness was the fourth patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to be enthroned since the church gained its independence from the Coptic Orthodox Church.

During the tumult surrounding the fall of the Derg regime in 1991, the new EPRDF government dethroned Abune Merkorios. His Holiness was exiled, first to Kenya and then to the United States, where he was joined by those members of the Holy Synod who rejected his removal from the Patriarchal Throne.  This led to a schism between the exile church and the church inside Ethiopia.  Efforts to heal this rift continued sporadically for 26 years, finally coming to fruition in 2018 when His Holiness Abune Merkorios returned to Ethiopia accompanied by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.  This was a promising example of recent attempts at reconciliation in our homeland. Under the terms of the reconciliation, Their Holinesses the two Patriarchs, Abune Merkorios and Abune Mathias, shared the Patriarchal Throne as co-Patriarchs, a shining example of how all things are possible when one embraces the path of peace and reconciliation.

Those of us who knew His Holiness personally cherished him as a great father, spiritual guide, and good friend. While he shared the challenges of exile with us, his bravery in returning from exile inspired us, and his love and magnanimity were a model for everyone. His bravery began a healing process we must all strive to continue, not just in the Orthodox Church but across Ethiopian society. If Patriarch Abune Merkorios can return home to live in peace with all of his people, each of us can too.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to His Holiness Patriarch Abune Mathias, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum and Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haimanot; to the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; and to all those who mourn this great and Holy father.

May His Holiness’ blessings be upon us.

Crown Council Statement on the Anniversary of Adwa, 2022

By His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Ethiopia defeated Italy’s invading armies at the battle of Adwa 126 years ago. Ethiopians celebrate that victory on Yekatit 23 each year. Celebrations in Addis Ababa on that date traditionally take place at Menelik Square, the site of the famous statue commemorating the victorious emperor, Menelik II.

This year, public anticipation and support for these celebrations was larger than ever. This was a heartwarming affirmation of the central place that the Ethiopian Crown holds in the story of Ethiopia’s unity and freedom.

But we still have lessons to learn from this moment. For forty years, our victory at Adwa spared us the horrors of war. When fascist armies occupied our country in 1936, our mothers and fathers fought five long years of resistance. When Menelik’s successor, the Emperor Haile Selassie, returned to Ethiopia in 1941, he stood before Menelik’s palace and called for forgiveness. “Do not return evil for evil,” he told all who would listen. Nearly every Ethiopian has heard stories of their relatives who fought and died to defend our country in that war. How many of us would have the strength to make that same call for forgiveness?

For forty years, our victory at Adwa gave us peace. But this peace would never again last as long. Twice in the next generation we fought wars against Somalia. And at the end of the century, we fought a senseless war against our Eritrean cousins, only recently independent. In between these international crises, we spent some fifteen years locked in a civil war while our people starved. Thirty years after the fall of the Derg, memory of those years leaves us yearning for justice. But we remember one lesson, “Do not return evil for evil.”

Today, our country has pulled back once more from the edge of disaster. We have fought another war against our own brothers and sisters, a war that posed again the question Adwa asked and answered: will our country survive as one? We must reject the temptations of tribalism, of ethnic federalism, of divisions that will break our country every bit as viciously as foreign colonialism. We must remember the blessings of peace, and do everything we can to secure them. We must be magnanimous to each other, and to all sides in our family struggle: “Do not return evil for evil.”

Forty years after Menelik’s victory at Adwa, the Italian occupiers tore down the statue of Menelik. Today, the statue stands strong, and the foreign invaders are gone. Our country is wounded, shaken, but still united. Our people have gathered at the statue to celebrate our victory, and remember its lesson of unity and strength. Some reject that lesson, preferring to think only of their own tribe. But this simply polarizes our people further than before. Polarization leads only to war, and war is not a solution. It is a vicious cycle.

We break that cycle when we work together without compromising our principles. We need to learn from our unique heritage of tolerance and wisdom. Our victory at Adwa and our resistance to fascist occupation were the foundations of our support for African independence from colonialism. They guided our efforts to support freedom fighters in Zimbabwe and South Africa. They guided our negotiations as intermediaries in the conflicts in Biafra, in Congo, and between Morocco and Algeria. They guided our decision to send peacekeeping troops to Congo, Sudan, and Somalia. How far we have fallen that we should think now of receiving such help from others, instead of offering it to the world once more.

Adwa is the lesson we have forgotten, that it took all of us working as one people. We will reach our full potential by once again standing together as one, as we did at Adwa 126 years ago. This will be our greatest victory, a victory which will embed peace, justice, and forgiveness into the very foundations of our society.

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta
January 25, 1934 – November 11, 2021

Emebet-Hoy Hannah Mariam Meherete Selassie Dereje has released the following statement on the passing of her mother, Her Highness Princess Sophia Desta, who will be deeply missed. Our condolences go to Hannah and to the rest of Princess Sophia’s family.

Princess Sophia (then titled Emebet-Hoy) was born in Jimma, Ethiopia on January 25, 1934 to Ethiopia’s great war hero Ras Desta Damtew, and Her Imperial Highness Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie. Princess Sophia was thus a granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw. When Ethiopia was occupied by the forces of Fascist Italy in 1935-1941 her father Ras Desta Damtew remained behind to lead Ethiopian forces on the southern front. He was captured and summarily executed by the fascists in February 1937. Her mother Princess Tenagnework was forced to go into exile with her children and the rest of the Imperial family to avoid capture by the fascist forces. The family first went to Jerusalem where the young Emebet-Hoy Sophia and her cousin Princess Ejegaheu Asfawossen spent their childhood. Princess Sophia later attended school in Alexandria, Egypt and afterwards joined her sisters to continue her education at Clarendon School in the United Kingdom.

Emebet-Hoy Sophia pursued her higher education at Froebel Institute at the University of Roehampton where she graduated with a BA in Education majoring in teaching. She was married in January 1959 in Addis Abeba to Captain Dereje Haile Mariam, son of war hero Haile Mariam Mamo, and was elevated by her grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie to the rank of Princess. She was widowed when Captain Dereje was killed fighting to put down the attempted Imperial Guard coup d’état of December 1960.

Princess Sophia Desta established a private institution, the Entoto International School which she ran personally. The school offered scholarships for students who came from underprivileged backgrounds thus giving them opportunities to achieve higher quality education. She was also involved in the many philanthropic efforts of the Imperial family including establishing Cheshire Ethiopia and working with the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) which provided support and training for young Ethiopian women and helped to enhance their livelihood. Princess Sophia will be best remembered for selflessness, generosity, her tireless charity work and avid interest in the education and welfare of not just Ethiopian children but all children and humanity alike.

Like her siblings and other family members Princess Sophia Desta enjoyed a very close relationship with her grandfather, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie and was a frequent visitor at the Jubilee Palace. She accompanied His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I on several foreign state visits, most notably visits to Yugoslavia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Princess Sophia Desta was among the members of the Imperial family that were imprisoned by the Marx-ist Derg regime upon the overthrow of the Ethiopian Monarchy in September 1974. She endured impris-onment under harsh conditions for 14 years, finally being freed in 1988. She first settled in Geneva, Switzerland and later in London, where she died on November 11, 2021. She is survived by her sister Imperial Highness Princess Seble Desta, her daughter Emebet Hoy Hannah Mariam Meherete Selassie Dereje, her grandson Lij Desta Asfaw, many nephews and nieces and family members.

She will be dearly missed by her family and friends by whom she has long been held in great affection.

Emebet Hannah Mariam would like to express her deep felt thanks and gratitude to all those near and far who have expressed their sadness at the passing of her mother.

May God rest the soul of Princess Sophia among the blessed, and may her memory be eternal.

On the Passing of H.I.H. The Duke of Harrar

HIH The Duke of Harrar

HIH The Duke of Harrar

A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of His Imperial Highness the Duke of Harrar, Prince Wossen Seged Makonnen Haile Selassie (August 21, 1947 – November 10, 2021) after a long illness. His Imperial Highness was 74.

Prince Wossen Seged, (commonly referred to as “Paul”) was born in Addis Ababa, on the 21st of August, 1947 to Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Makonnen Haile Selassie and Princess Sara Gizaw, the Duke and Duchess of Harrar. He was thus a grandson of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw of Ethiopia. After the death of his father Prince Makonnen in May 1957, Prince Wossen Seged succeeded as Duke of Harrar just a few months before his 10th birthday. Prince Wossen Seged attended Millfield School and Gordonstoun School in the United Kingdom as well as the Leysin American School in Vaud, Switzerland. He was among the members of the Imperial family to be imprisoned by the Derg regime following the overthrow of the monarchy in 1974 under harsh conditions and was released in 1989. Many of us in exile in the diaspora worked to free him and the other prisoners in our family for years without success.

Prince Wossen Seged had an independent mind and a keen sense of observation. Like so many of his generation, he was politically a progressive. He always had a place in his heart for the less fortunate among us, which made him popular with the Ethiopian people. He paid the price of imprisonment solely because of the accident of his birth. After his release, he carried the pain of those years with quiet dignity. He had been given responsibility by His Majesty at a young age. This and his suffering under the Derg must have been a great burden to him. But his personality and charisma never diminished. His humility and personal charm were infectious to all who knew him. He lived an exceptional life.

We remember his wife Connie Quave for the years of life they shared together. Our prayers in these difficult days ahead are with her and his brothers, Prince Mikael Makonnen, Prince Tafari Makonnen, and Prince Beede Mariam Makonnen. May God comfort them and the entire Imperial family, and may He rest the soul of Prince Wossen Seged in paradise.

On the Passing of Lij Sebastianos Beyene

Lij Sebastyanos Beyene

Lij Sebastyanos Beyene

A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia

We are saddened to report a great loss to the Ethiopian royal family and to all friends of Ethiopia, the death of Lij Sebastianos Beyene (September 18, 1960 – July 25, 2021). Sebastian was the son of Lij Samson Beyene and Koremtit Andargachew. He was a great-grandson of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I through the emperor’s first-born daughter, Princess Romanework. Sebastian went to Entoto International and Sandford English School for elementary and junior high school. He was fortunate to be abroad during the revolution that overthrew the Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, and he remained in exile in England for some time. He attended Kings School, Bruton, in Somerset, and took his A-levels in history and geography at Abigdon School, Oxford. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, President of the Ethiopian Crown Council, was Sebastian’s roommate at Santa Barbara, and his close life-long friend. Recalling that friendship, Prince Ermias said, “Sebastian was such an important part of my life. We shared so much together, so many memories. So many parts of my life remained alive in him. So much of my life’s collective memory was held in his hands. We cannot fill the vacuum left by his death, but something good can come out of it. We can use his memory to remind us of all that we have lost, and to find strength for the healing that is still to come.”

We ask everyone to join us in remembering a departed friend, to join us in praying for him, and to join us in remembering all of the family we have lost in recent years.

Prince Ermias on “PRAISE”

PRAISE is a Christian-oriented talk program which is the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), airing every weeknight in primetime. TBN president Matt Crouch and his wife Laurie serve as the primary hosts of the show. On this segment, Matt & Laurie Crouch welcome Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie for an extended interview in Rome. Click the following link to see the interview:

Taking Hope in Our New Year and New Beginnings

From the President of The Crown Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, as Ethiopia Marks a New Government and a New Year

His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, in sending heartfelt greetings for the New Year of 2014 which Ethiopians recently celebrated, has asked for reflection on the creation today of the nation’s new Government.

He noted: “Ethiopians did their duty on June 21, 2021 and voted in national elections, the first struc-tural move toward democracy since the coup almost five decades ago against the Emperor moved us from the path of progress. Today, even as the nation suffers from drought and the tragedies of communal fighting, made worse by grave international interference, we have brought forth a new Government which more closely mirrors the pub-lic will.”

“As with all governments in all democratic societies, there are challenges and there are those who did not see the results they wanted. But we have seen our nation, which has so many more regional and other unique facets than most societies, move along the path of accepting a process whereby we can see the will of the majority reflected and we can see a path for future peaceful changes through the ballot box.”

He continued: “As I noted when the Crown Council urged Ethiopians to participate in the elections, we have en-dured so much since the coup which occurred 47 years ago, and we cannot afford to allow our beloved Ethiopian family to fall into even worse suffering and ignominy. I asked us all to come back together because there was no other way for us to rebuild the greatness of purpose which has guided us for more than three millennia.”

“Today, as our New Year of 2014 shows its early light, we have indeed moved forward, despite what, to the out-side world, must seem like overwhelming odds. We must take heart in this. We can now see that our future is com-ing back into our hands. We must welcome the reality that we have a newly-elected Government sworn into office, and give the Prime Minister and Government the support and space to do what they have been elected to do.”

Prince Ermias concluded: “Let me repeat what I said earlier; that the Crown Council offers all of its services to help resolve the disputes over the future management of our great Nile River which Ethiopians truly see as a re-source for humanity over which they have been given great responsibility. This is, in fact, an issue which we can see as the cornerstone of a Grand Bargain, worthy of an Emperor Haile Selassie or an Anwar as-Sadat, to bring prosperity to our entire region.”

“Again, my fellow Ethiopians: Congratulations on creating our new Government. We can take great hope and pride in this first step. We are Ethiopian and proud of our great history. God Bless You in this New Year. God Bless Ethiopia.”

Juneteenth and the Global Freedom Struggle

A Statement by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Crown Council applauds the passing of legislation this week to recognize Juneteenth as a Federal holiday in the United States of America, and we join the African- American diaspora in celebrating this special occasion. Juneteenth commemorates the day — June 19, 1865 — when a Union Army order first enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in the state of Texas. It has since grown into a symbol of freedom from slavery for the entire Black diaspora in the United States of America.

The story of Juneteenth is a story with close parallels to Ethiopian history. Ethiopia’s emperors struggled to eradicate slavery in the nineteenth century. The Emperor Tewodros II’s first attempts to end the practice in the 1850s predate those of the United States. Enforcement of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was slow, uneven, and often depended on force of arms. Likewise, under the Emperor Menelik II and the Emperor Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s central government pushed for the abolition of slavery but encountered strong opposition from powerful regional landowners. Not until 1942 did Ethiopia enshrine abolition of slavery into law in its own form of Juneteenth.

In the following decades, Ethiopia became a world leader in the cause of freedom. Ethiopia’s struggle against fascism and triumph over its invaders had inspired Africans at home and in the diaspora. As Black Americans fought the civil rights struggle in the United States, African freedom fighters turned to Ethiopia for inspiration and support in the struggle to end colonialism. We were instrumental in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity — the symbol of Africa’s new-found freedom — and we are still the home of its successor, the African Union, today.

But this journey remains unfinished. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council, noted: “Juneteenth is the celebration of a pivotal event in human history. But a turning point is never the end of the story. Over the past year, events throughout the world have taught us that the struggle for full freedom is not yet over. As Ethiopians go to the polls this month, we pray that Ethiopia’s leaders will act with the wisdom and courage necessary to give our people ever greater freedom.”