Ethiopian Heritage Festival in DC attracts thousands

Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America

The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America (EHSNA) held its 2nd annual festival in Washington DC at Georgetown University from June 27 – 29. The festival drew thousands of Ethiopians, American-Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia. Some came from as far as Seattle, Atlanta, and Canada.

The program was opened on Friday, June 27, by EHSNA President Dr Shakespeare Feyissa, and brief remarks by Prof. Maurice Jackson, Department of History, Georgetown University.

Prof. Maurice Jackson, Department of History, Georgetown University, speaks at the opening ceremony of Ethiopian Heritage Society North America's 2nd annual festival in Washington DC, July 27 - 29, 2012.

Friday’s program included reception, an art show and discussion on Ethiopian culture.

On Saturday, the main part of the Festival started with cultural shows at the Georgetown University Stadium. Families with their children came in thousands to enjoy the festival, educate their children about Ethiopian culture, meet old friends, sample Ethiopian food, and buy books and Ethiopian cultural items.

On Sunday, the main event was the cultural shows by various artists who performed songs from several Ethiopian ethnic groups, and introducing the guest of honor.

This year’s EHSNA Guest of Honor was His Grace Abune Meletsedik. EHSNA honored him for his life-time achievement, for his contribution to the preservation of Ethiopian heritage, and for strongly speaking out in defense of the human rights of all Ethiopians. His recent call on all Christians to come to the defense of Ethiopian Muslims who are being brutalized by the ruling Woyanne junta is a demonstration of his greatness as a religious father and an elder statesman.

His Grace Abune Melketsedik

Abune Melketsedik was received with a standing ovation and cheers when he entered the stadium accompanied by several priests and EHSNA officials. Secretary General of EHSNA, Ato Yeshitila Araya, read a brief biography of Abune Melketsedik, and Dr Shakespear Feyissa presented him with a plaque.

With highly successful events for the second year in a row, EHSNA has established itself as a great Ethiopian cultural institution that promotes Ethiopia’s 3000 years old heritage.

Ethiopian National Transitional Council

Ethiopian National Transitional Council officials Dr Fisseha Eshetu, Wz. Fifi Derso, Ato Dereje Demissie, and Ato Abebayehu Alula were present in person at the festival to explain the Council’s mission and answer questions.

Representatives of Ethiopian Review, ESAT and Addis Dimts Radio were also present to meet their audiences and readers in person, get feedback, and answer questions.

Congratulations for a job well done to EHSNA’s executive committee, board members, and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event successful. Special thanks to Georgetown University for making its facility available to the festival, and to the United States of America and the City of Washington DC for making Ethiopians feel welcomed.