Meet Sahle-Work Zewde: Ethiopia’s First Woman President


By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Reuters

A body of Parliament members in a Northeast African nation have given that continent its only female head of state.

According to BBC/Ethiopia, Ethiopian lawmakers have chosen Sahle-Work Zewde (pictured) to be the Horn of Africa nation’s first woman president in the country’s modern history. Very recently, the stage was set when Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed selected female appointees to 50 percent of his cabinet positions.

However, a new government position recently became open when Mulatu Teshome, Ehtiopia’s former president, gave a surprise resignation.

Sahle-Work is a long-time Ethiopian diplomat who began her national career as a figure for foreign relations in 1989. At that time, she began her tenure as an ambassador to the African nation of Senegal. Her position was also accredited to the African nations of Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Cape Verde, and Guinea Bissau.

In 1993, Sahle-Work went on to become a permanent representative of East Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development. She has held several other high-level positions as an Ethiopian diplomat, including Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union.

Sahle-Work has also served as an Ethiopian representative for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and as the Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. The 68-year-old global  dignitary received her formal education at the elite University of Montpellier in France.

The modern-day appointment of Sahle-Work to the position of Ethiopia’s President is compared to the rise of Askala Maryam Zewditu, the first Empress of the Ethiopian Empire. Empress Zewditu was Ethiopia’s de facto ruler from 1916 to 1930. She was formally the last prevalent Empress in the history of the world.

After being sworn in on October 25 as Ethiopia’s President, Sahle-Work vowed to support peace and help grant women reforms in her nation. “I urge you all, to uphold our peace, in the name of a mother, who is the first to suffer from the absence of peace,” Sahle-Work said.

Sahle-Work is Ehtiopia’s fourth president in the nation’s modern era, which began in 1855.




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