Girma Wolde-Giorgis

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Girma Wolde-Giorgis
ግርማ ወልደ ጊዮርጊስ
President+girma woldegorgis.jpg
President of Ethiopia
In office
9 September 2001 – 7 October 2013
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Hailemariam Desalegn
Preceded by Negasso Gidada
Succeeded by Mulatu Teshome
Personal details
Born (1924-12-28) 28 December 1924 (age 93)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Political party Independent

Girma Wolde-Giorgis (Ge'ez: ግርማ ወልደ ጊዮርጊስ; born 28 December 1924[1]) is an Ethiopian politician who was the President of Ethiopia from 2001 to 2013.[2] He was the second person to hold the office of President since the founding of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in 1995.

Political career[edit]

He was elected President on 8 October 2001, as a relatively unknown and a surprising choice, by a unanimous vote of the Ethiopian Parliament.[3] The Ethiopian presidency is largely a symbolic office with little power. Most of the power is vested in the hands of the Prime Minister. Presidents serve two six-year terms. Girma was re-elected as President on 9 October 2007.[4]


Girma was born in December 1924 in Addis Ababa.[5][6] He first attended an Ethiopian Orthodox Church school and later joined the Teferi Mekonnen School in Addis Ababa where he followed his education until the Italian invasion. The school was then renamed "Scuola Principe di Piemonte" (Prince of Piedmonte School) for the Crown Prince of Italy, in Addis Ababa.

Between 1950 and 1952, he received certificates in Management (from the Netherlands), in Air Traffic Management (in Sweden) and Air Traffic Control (in Canada) under a training programme sponsored by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He was one of the first Ethiopians in the Ethiopian airforce dominated by American technicians. Girma tried to motivate Ethiopians to join the airlines and wrote a book on fundamentals. He was an activist and in the Inter Parliamentary Summit in Yugoslavia, he condemned the apartheid system in South Africa.[7] Girma speaks Afan Oromo (Oromiffa), Amharic, and English fluently.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Girma Wolde-Giorgis is from the plurality Oromo ethnic group. He is married and has five children. Girma is a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He is widely renowned for his usual presence at Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Meskel Demera Festivals.

Government service[edit]

Experience in non-governmental offices[edit]

Between 1965 and 1974:

  • Board member of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce
  • Representative for Australian Trade Mission in Ethiopia
  • Founder and Director of the Ghibe Agricultural Association
  • Founder and Director of the Keffa and Illubabor Timber Processing Industry

While in the then province of Eritrea before 1990:

  • President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society – Eritrea Branch (Asmara)
  • Board President of Cheshire Home
  • Managing Director of Leprosy Control Organization

Upon returning to Addis Ababa in 1990, he served as Board Member of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society and Head of its International Logistics Department.

He launched an environmental protection association called Lem Ethiopia in March 1992 to date serving as Vice President of the Board of the Association.

Two days before Ethiopian Christmas, on January 5, 2014 he made a clear statement on Ethiopia TV, calling for pacification between Ethiopia and Eritrea, calling it his last personal task and fight. He is coordinating from his office a group of people trying to launch peace talks, after fifteen years of disagreements, culminating in the Ethio Erithrean war[8] of 1998–2000.

Official biography[edit]

Indian author Sivakumar K.P. has produced the official biography of Girma Wolde Giorgis. The book, Under the Shade of a Gaashe, was released on 15 July 2015 at the official residence of the former president.[9][10][11] Micro Business College is the publisher of the Ethiopian edition. The author acknowledges the role of Abera Tilahun, founder and president of Micros Business College in Ambo in introducing him to the former president and financing the publishing of the book.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Negasso Gidada
President of Ethiopia
Succeeded by
Mulatu Teshome