A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia
The International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders hosted the annual Victory of Adwa Dinner at Washington, D.C.’s Army & Navy Club on March 4, 2023. This white-tie gala event is held every year under the patronage of Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie I and President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia. The Victory of Adwa Dinner celebrates the triumph of Ethiopian forces under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II over the Italian army at the northern Ethiopian town of Adwa on March 1, 1896.
This great battle preserved Ethiopia’s independence, guaranteed her being treated as a sovereign state by the colonial powers of the day, and heralded the movement for freedom across colonized Africa and the African diaspora. The Ethiopian Crown, in addition to celebrating this great event in Ethiopian and African history with a gala dinner, also holds an investiture where individuals who have contributed to advancement of the cause of Ethiopia are recognized with the bestowal of Imperial Orders and Medals.
A special investiture was held in the afternoon before the dinner for those receiving Imperial Orders, while the Victory of Adwa Anniversary Medals were awarded at the dinner itself. A silent auction was also held during the dinner to benefit the Crown Council.
This year the dinner was honored with the presence of a distinguished ministerial delegation headed by Her Excellency the Honorable Olivia Grange, Jamaican Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and member of the Jamaican Parliament for St. Catherine Central district since 1997. Also present with the Jamaican delegation was Her Excellency the Honorable Audrey Marks, Ambassador of Jamaica to the United States and Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Ethiopia’s Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States, Ambassador Zelalem Birhan, was also present at the dinner.
In his welcoming remarks, Prince Ermias spoke of celebrating the “Spirit of Adwa” and thanked those present for their contributions towards that spirit. A benediction was given by the Reverend Memher Abunu Mammo before the meal. Lij Asfaw Shiferaw Sahle, a descendant of Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, was invested as a Member of the Order of the Seal of Solomon. Lij Asfaw gave a speech on the legacy of the Battle of Adwa and the role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in that era.
Following the presentation of Adwa Medals to the deserving individuals, one of the awardees Woiz. Yeshimebet T. Belay gave a speech of thanks. In the final presentation of the evening, Prof. Giovanni Ruffini, CSE, and Deacon Solomon Kibriye, CSE, gave a presentation on the Crown’s fundraising drive for the Renovation of Holy Trinity Cathedral which is underway. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie was appointed as the Cathedral’s Renovation Fundraising Ambassador in a special ceremony held at Holy Trinity Cathedral during his visit in November of last year.
The following individuals were invested with High Orders of Imperial Ethiopia:
- Her Excellency the Honorable Olivia Grange – Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
- Lij Asfaw Shiferaw Sahle – Member of the Order of the Seal of Solomon
- Yitayil Berhanu – Bestowed with the title of Lij
- Daniel Stephenson – Knight Commander of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
- Dr. Marakay Rodgers – Dame Commander of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
- Rev. Dr. Vance Whippo – Knight Commander of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
- Román I. Rodriguez – Knight Commander of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
- Barbara Blake-Hannah – Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
The following individuals were honored with the Adwa Medal
- Rev. Memhir Abunu Mammo
- Lij Yitayil Berhanu
- Woiz. Almaz Yigizaw
- Adam von Gootkin
- Woiz. Yeshimebet T. Belay
- Woiz. Betel Sheba Tekeste
- Engineer Thomas Barfield
- Woiz. Gelila Sebhatu
- Capt. Lij Nebyat Demessie
- Lij Tedla Melaku
- Woiz. Elizabeth Dinella
The 127th Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa, and the memory of Emperor Menelik II, Empress Taitu Bitul, and all the heroes of that great victory were thus celebrated with the dignity and majesty that they are owed.
For those wishing to support Prince Ermias and the Ethiopian Crown in their effort to raise funds for the renovation of Holy Trinity Cathedral, please visit and donate at: