Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, President of the Crown Council, spoke on Monday, February 28, 2011, at the annual African Heritage and Unity Celebration on the contributions which Ethiopia has made to African self-determination.
The event was organized by Tamrat Medhin, of the Ethiopian American Constituency Foundation.
In his opening remarks, Prince Ermias said that it was invigorating to see a new generation of Ethiopians from the Diaspora participate in celebrating our common heritage. He continued by saying that “it is these young men and women who see beyond borders that are learning of their past in order to charter a better future for the next generation.”
He continued: “As events in North Africa and other parts of the world are reeling in a series of challenges of good governance and economic opportunities we need to take note of events around us.” He concluded his remarks, telling the audience that “it is through a greater awareness of our common destiny that we can further galvanize the work of our forefathers in striving for excellence both at the individual and collective level in keeping the vision of United Africa alive both in terms of building democratic institutions and making gains on the economic front. Our unity in diversity is our greatest strength.”
Four other speakers also shared their experiences at the event. Retired Washington D.C. City Councilor Frank Smith spoke about the economy behind enslavement and the interconnectedness of the American Civil War and the African struggle for independence.
Captain Getachew Wolde Mariam spoke about his experiences in the Imperial Ethiopian Bodyguards and the proud and valiant contributions Ethiopia made to global peacekeeping in the Congo and South Korea. Samuel Gebru, President of “Ethiopia without Borders” made an eloquent case for Ethiopia being an icon for all who cherished freedom and that the youth will continue to propagate this proud tradition. The last speakers were young representatives of Israel At Heart Organization, who shared with the audience their experiences as proud Israelis of Ethiopian descent and their continuing desire to learn more about their counterparts in other parts of the Ethiopian Diaspora and their great desire to engage with them in learning and sharing about one another and their common heritage.
The Chairman of the Washington, D.C. City Council, the Honorable Kwame Brown, attended the event, as did representatives of many other organizations and businesses.