Abelt was born in Germany. She worked as an aid worker in Rwanda from 1979 to 1983. Abelt was one of the many foreign nurses working in the western Oromia Region where she met her future husband, Dr. Negasso Gidada, who was also a student at Germany's Goethe University Frankfurt. Even though she held German citizenship, Regina became the First Lady of Ethiopia by virtue of her marriage to the then President Dr. Negasso.
- Katrin Sachse. "Something Absurd: Regina Abelt, German wife of the Ethiopian president, about her life as first lady". Focus Magazine (Number 26, year 2000). Retrieved 18 November 2015.
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