Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions: Finfinne Times's First Experiment of Recognition

September 12, 2009

For any society, its new year represents a milestone where that society celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another. It is an opportunity for members of that society to look back at its outstanding accomplishments, remember the outstanding contributions of its lost ones, and plan for a refreshed start.

The official celebration of Ethiopian New Year is on September 11 (September 12 during a leap year). During this month, many communities in East Africa celebrate their new year in various forms on different dates. Irrecha is celebrated in late September by Oromos. Meskel, which is officially celebrated on September 27 (September 28 during a leap year), is arguably the biggest holiday among the Guraghe community. It is also widely celebrated by many other communities in Ethiopia. The Sidama and Walayita people also celebrate their New Year in the same season, if not month.

For anyone who grew up in Ethiopia, or at least in certain parts of the country, the unique experience of a natural transition from the rainy season of June, July, and August to the sunny September month with the blossom of the fields is quiet remarkable. For a careful observer, it is as though nature itself celebrates that transition time that the people only joined in its natural formation. This natural phenomenon lives on irrespective of our social ups and downs or political views.

In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its first trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and a Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions (MEOLC.)

This recognition of Ethiopian Outstanding Accomplishments and remembrance of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions transcend political differences. These recognitions are in the spirit and tradition of our rich collective culture, a value system that is lost to so many including members of our communities. As Ethiopia’s current President Obbo Ghirma Weldeghiorghis alluded to recently, the rich cultural values our people possess should not be underestimated.

In the spirit of our values, Finfinne Times does not name a living person as a person of the year and his or her accomplishment as a personal accomplishment. One person’s accomplishments are reflections of the contributions of many. In many cases, these contributions are also made by individuals and institutions beyond Ethiopia’s borders. Therefore, the recognitions of Ethiopian Outstanding Accomplishments are without disregard to any of the contributions or the contributors.

Similarly, the Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to the Ethiopian society during his or her entire life but passed away in the just ended year is also in the spirit of our rich values. In both cases, our value system removes selfish sentiments from the commitment to serve the community. Such value system was well established in the consciousness of our society and building on it is only befitting to our expressed Ethiopian Renaissance Agenda.

The first trial recognition of Ethiopian Outstanding Accomplishments for 2001, Ethiopian Calendar, is made in the following categories: Academy, Arts, Business, Economics, Entertainment, Environment, Ethiopian Renaissance, Journalism, Literature, Music, Politics, Public Service, Science and Technology, and Sports.

Remembrance of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions will be made in the same categories in the future. The first trial of remembrance, for 2001 E.C., is made in the Arts and Business categories.

Both the recognition and remembrance are made based on the data that was available to Finfinne Times at the time of publication. Therefore, by no means would Finfinne Times claim to have exhaustive data and by extension the recognition and remembrance in all categories to be exhaustive. This is exactly the reason why both are considered this year as an experiment for a future more involved exercise.

Finfinne Times hereby invites our esteemed readers to submit for consideration their choices of outstanding accomplishments and contributions each year any time before September 12.


Ethiopian Outstanding Accomplishments of the Year (EOAY)

Academy

World Food Prize Award (Professor Gebisa Ejeta) 2009 InterPACK Excellence Award (Professor Dereje Agonafer)

Arts

The project to create a modern version of the Krar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab (Artist Mulatu Astatke)

Business

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’s strategic plan, as elucidated by Dr. Eleni Zeude Gebremedhin.

Economics

Projection by The Economist Magazine: According to this projection, Ethiopia has the fourth fastest growing economy in the world in 2009.

Entertainment

Germany’s next top model (Sara Nuru)

Environment

Representing Africa at the upcoming international climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ethiopian Renaissance

A half day conference in the summer of 2009 on Oromo faith tradition in Atlanta, Georgia

Journalism

Ethiopian Review’s interview with Isaias Afewerki, Eritrea’s President, in Asmara, Eritrea

Literature

The Ethiopia Reads continued project

Music

Two Grammy Award nominations both in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance categories (Kenna Zemedkun and Wayna Wondwossen)

Politics

Judge Birtukan Midheksa’s courageous letter titled “My Word” in defense of the rule of law

The bold discussion by the Forum for Democratic Dialogue (FDD) to amend or change Article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution in order to remove the phrase “including and up to secession,” as well to make Afaan Oromo one of the official languages in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) “soul-searching” exercise announcement to the public that it will make a peaceful power transfer in its party in a three step process over the next five years

The discussion forum on Ethiopian-Eritrean issues that opened a door for a possible new chapter for the public on the relationship between the two countries, nearly 16 years after Eritreans were led to secede from Ethiopia

Solidarity Movement for Justice and Democracy's call and activism for peace in Ethiopia

Public Service

2009/2010 White House Fellow (Dr. Mehret Mandefro)

Two dynamic young White House Aides (Addisu Demissie and Yohannes Abraham)

Science and Technology

Modeling Polymers to improve the efficiency of solar cells, a National Science Foundation funded research by Dr. Mesfin Tsighe

Sports

Kenenisa Bekele’s 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters double championships and Golden League’s Championship


In Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions

Business

Duguma Hunde (194? - 2009). Considered to be the third richest man at the time of his death, Duguma Hunde owned DH Gheda Industries. His conglomerate of factories produced some of the basic necessities of the Ethiopian people, such as blankets, galvanized iron sheets, paint, flour, and so on.

Music

Tilahun Gessesse (1940 – 2009). Tilahun’s works of music spanned nearly half a century and are regarded by many to have touched many homes and souls throughout Ethiopia