The Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) has voted not to accept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s desire to address Ethiopians in North America during the Dallas tournament in July, but request it to be at a future tournament.
ESFNA’s official statement:
Dear Fellow Ethiopians,
After days of deliberations regarding the request from H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delivered by the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C., the ESFNA Board of Directors have voted not to accept the Prime Minister’s desire to address Ethiopians in North America during the Dallas tournament in July, but request it to be at a future tournament. There were multiple pressing factors that led the Board to postpone the invitation, most importantly:
- The request was received too close to the tournament and there were too many variables introduced by the prospect of the Prime Minister’s attendance—specifically to ensure the safety of all guests and attendees;
- The size of the venue is not large enough to accommodate the potential audience the Prime Minister’s presence would create (an unscientific poll posted on ESFNA’s Facebook page reached over 140,000 people organically);
- Most of the tournament-related particulars—including liability insurance—have already been in place, and the time constraint to rework those particulars will make it improbable if not impossible to guarantee the necessary changes would be accomplished in time.
However, the majority of Board Members were honored by the request. This is the first time an Ethiopian head of state has ever requested to attend any ESFNA’s annual tournament. It is a testament to ESFNA’s contribution to the North American Ethiopian community, and the North American community at large.
ESFNA is cognizant of the wave of change occurring in Ethiopia. Our hope is these reforms continue and become more participatory of every stakeholder of the nation. ESFNA is acutely aware of the energy and vigor with which the Prime Minister is harvesting from the Ethiopian people. We encourage everyone, including Prime Minister Abiy, to continue to engage with the Ethiopian community through peaceful dialogue so that current and future generations of Ethiopians will continue to come together.
It is our hope that the office of the Prime Minister and ESFNA will have an opportunity to revisit this outstanding invitation at a later time.
In conclusion, we would like to thank our fellow Ethiopians from across the world who e-mailed, called and used every form of media and social networks to voice their opinions on the letter of request.
We hope to see you in Dallas this summer.