Sahle-Work Zewde

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Sahle-Work Zewde
ሣህለወርቅ ዘውዴ
Sahle-Work Zewde.jpg
5th President of Ethiopia
Assumed office
25 October 2018
Prime MinisterAbiy Ahmed
Preceded byMulatu Teshome
Under Secretary-General, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union
In office
27 June 2018 – 25 October 2018
Appointed byAntónio Guterres
Preceded byHaile Menkerios
Succeeded byHanna Tetteh
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi
In office
2011–2018
Appointed byBan Ki-moon
António Guterres
Preceded byAchim Steiner
Succeeded byHanna Tetteh
Personal details
Born (1950-02-21) 21 February 1950 (age 71)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire (present day Ethiopia)
Political partyIndependent
EducationUniversity of Montpellier

Sahle-Work Zewde (Amharic: ሣህለወርቅ ዘውዴ; born 21 February 1950) is an Ethiopian politician and the current President of Ethiopia, being the first woman to hold the office. A career diplomat, she was elected president unanimously by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on 25 October 2018.[1]

Sahle-Work was previously Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.[2]

American business magazine Forbes, on its annual edition of the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, listed Sahle-Work as the 96th most powerful woman in the world, and the highest-ranking African woman on the list.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Addis Ababa,[4] Sahle-Work attended elementary and secondary school at Lycée Guebre-Mariam in Addis Ababa, after which she studied natural science at the University of Montpellier, France.[5][6] She is fluent in Amharic, French, and English.[7]

Career[edit]

Diplomatic career[edit]

Sahle-Work was only the second woman to be appointed an ambassador in Ethiopia's history (Ambassador Yodit Emiru was the first woman to hold an ambassadorship).[8][9]

A veteran in the Ethiopian foreign service, Sahle-Work served as Ambassador to Senegal,[10] with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea, from 1989 to 1993.[8] From 1993 to 2002, she was Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).[11][12] She later served as Ambassador to France,[10] Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and was accredited to Tunisia and Morocco from 2002 to 2006.[13]

Sahle-Work subsequently held other high level positions including Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.[13]

Career with the United Nations[edit]

Until 2011, Sahle-Work served as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).[14]

In 2011, Ban appointed Sahle-Work as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).[15] Under Sahle-Work, the Nairobi office became a more important UN hub for East and Central Africa, according to the 2012 Africa Yearbook.[16]

In June 2018, Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Sahle-Work as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.[13] She was the first woman to hold the post.[15]

President of Ethiopia[edit]

Sahle-Work was appointed as President of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018, the first woman to serve in the role[17] and the fourth president since the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition was elected in the newly established Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1995.[18][19] She replaced Mulatu Teshome, who resigned in unclear circumstances, and Sahle-Work is expected to serve two six-year terms.[7]

Although her role is largely ceremonial (with most executive power lying with the Prime Minister), Sahle-Work's election made her Ethiopia's first female head of state since Empress Zewditu. As of 2021, she is one of two serving female heads of state in Africa,[7] alongside Samia Suluhu of Tanzania.

On 25 March 2020, Sahle-Work announced on Twitter that she has pardoned more than 4,000 prisoners in a move to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia.[20] She also pardoned more than 1,500 prisoners on 2 April 2020.[21]

On 19 December, Sahle-Work commuted the death sentences of former Derg officials Berhanu Bayeh and Adis Tedla to life imprisonment. They had been granted safe haven in the Italian embassy soon after the Derg regime's collapse in 1991 and had been living there ever since. Italy refused to give them up because of its long-standing opposition to capital punishment. Berhanu and Adis had been sentenced in absentia to death in 2008, but were subsequently granted parole on 24 December.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ethiopia gets first female president". BBC. 25 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  2. ^ Secretary-General Appoints Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia his Special Representative, Head of United Nations Office to African Union Archived 7 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine United Nations, press release of 27 June 2018.
  3. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  4. ^ Gebreselassie, Elias (27 October 2018). "Who is Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia's first female president?". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Sahle-Work Zewde poised to be Ethiopia's first female president". borkena.com. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Ethiopia appoints career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as Africa's only female president". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Sahle-Work Zewde named Ethiopia's first woman president". Al Jazeera. 25 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Celebrating Ethiopian Women: Ambassador Sahle-work Zewde". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ethiopia). 22 March 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  9. ^ Haslach, Patricia (18 March 2015). "Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia M. Haslach at the Opening of the Second Annual Career Day on Women in Diplomacy". Embassy of the United States in Ethiopia. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  10. ^ a b Schemm, Paul (25 October 2018). "Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  11. ^ "News Alert: Ambassador Sahlework Zewde to become Ethiopia's president". Addis Standard. 24 October 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  12. ^ Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia – Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) Archived 25 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine United Nations, press release of 27 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia – Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU)". United Nations. 27 June 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  14. ^ Tchounand, Ristel (25 October 2018). "Sahle-Work Zewde devient la première femme chef d'Etat de l'Ethiopie". La Tribune (in French). Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  15. ^ a b Dahir, Abdi Latif (25 October 2018). "Ethiopia elects female president Sahle-Work Zewde". Quartz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  16. ^ Mehler, Andreas; Melber, Henning; van Walvaren, Klaas (2012). Africa Yearbook Volume 8: Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2011. Brill Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 9789004241787.
  17. ^ "Ethiopia's parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as president". Reuters. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  18. ^ George Obulutsa (25 October 2018), Ethiopia's parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as first female president Archived 25 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters.
  19. ^ "Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes First Ethiopian Woman President". Al Bawaba. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  20. ^ Adebayo, Bukola (26 March 2020). "Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread". CNN. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Ethiopia pardons additional 1, 559 inmates". Fana Broadcasting. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  22. ^ Ethiopian war criminals able to leave Italian embassy after nearly 30 years

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mulatu Teshome
President of Ethiopia
2018–present
Incumbent