Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Receives Hessian Peace Prize

Dr Abiy Ahmed (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed has received the Hessian Peace Prize in recognition to his achievements in the short time since taking office in April 2018.

Minister of Peace, Muferiat Kamil, received the award on behalf of the Prime Minister at a ceremony held yesterday in the Landtag, Germany.

Prime Minister Dr Abiy was declared winner of the award by the members of the Board of Trustees of Albert Osswald Foundation last August.

“In his first year in office, he released dissidents, fired corrupt officials, and sealed a historic reconciliation. For this, he now receives the Hessian Peace Prize,” said the Foundation in a statement.

“Prime Minister Dr Abiy has become the hopeful, especially through the conclusion of a peace treaty with the neighbouring country of Eritrea, it said.

For 20 years, the two states had been at a state of no war no peace. Domestically, PM Dr Abiy initiated political and economic reforms in the multi-ethnic nation of 105 million people.

“Abiy has scheduled free elections for May 2020. This year, his campaign to plant four billion trees for residents across the country made headlines,” the statement noted.

The Hessian Peace Prize, endowed with € 25,000 was established in 1993 by Albert Osswald, the former Prime Minister of the German state of Hesse.

It is awarded annually to people who have rendered “outstanding services to international understanding and peace”

Minister of Peace, Muferiat Kamil (holding flower) received the award on behalf of the Prime Minister (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali

The prize honors Abiy Ahmed Ali’s outstanding achievement for a historic peace declaration with the arch-enemy Eritrea. A 20-year conflict that has cost the lives of more than 100,000 people and has flared up again and again in recent years seems to be coming to a peaceful end. A process of reconciliation between the two states offers opportunities for the societies of both states and the East African region. These important developments and the resulting opportunities for a peaceful future are worthy of recognition. “Abiy Ahmed Ali is one of the great hopes on the African continent. We want to honor his commitment to peace with the Hessian Peace Prize and at the same time continue to promote it,” said Nicole Deitelhoff, Head of PRIF and member of the Board of Trustees.

The peace agreement and the reconciliation of the two neighbouring states based on it raise hopes for the stabilization of the entire region. The changes introduced by Abiy Ahmed Ali are also noteworthy domestically: since Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974, there has been no change of government in the country without bloodshed. The single party “Revolutionary Democratic Front of the Ethiopian Peoples” (EPRDF), which has been in power since 1991, is closely interwoven with the Ethiopian state, controls all levels of the federal system and has repeatedly, relied on repression. Abiy’s government is also supported by this coalition, but in the last year and a half it has made significant progress in political and economic liberalization. The increased public attention that followed the award of the Hessian Peace Prize could serve as a reminder not to stop now but to press ahead with these domestic reforms peacefully and integratively.

Abiy Ahmed Ali, born 1976 in Beshasha, Ethiopia, appointed Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April 2018. He belongs to the ethnic group of Oromo, who have long perceived themselves as marginalized in Ethiopia’s political system. He is the first Oromo to become Prime Minister.

A former soldier in the Ethiopian army, he studied computer and communications technology, cryptography, transformational leadership and business administration and received a doctorate in management and leadership from the University of Addis Ababa in 2017. He served in the Eritrean-Ethiopian border war from 1998 to 2000 and was Deputy Director of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), a secret service agency that monitors telecommunications and the Internet in Ethiopia, from 2007 to 2010.

He has been a member of the Ethiopian Parliament since 2010 and was Minister of Science from 2015 to 2016. He is a member of the political group of the Democratic Organization of the People of Oromo (OPDO), which is part of the single ruling party EPRDF. Since March 2018 he has been Chairman of the EPRDF. At 42, he is the youngest head of government in Africa.

About the Hessian Peace Prize

The Hessian Peace Prize was established on 16 October 1993 by former Hessian Prime Minister Albert Osswald and the foundation he established. It is awarded to people who have rendered outstanding services to international understanding and peace. Each year, a prize winner selected by the Hessian Peace Prize Board of Trustees receives the prize endowed with 25,000 euros. The PRIF advises the Board of Trustees on the selection and documents the award ceremony.

Previous winners of the Hessian Peace Prize

Source: Fana Broadcasting and Peace Research Institute Frankfurt