Ethiopian nation building project group has finalized preparation to conduct its follow up symposia overseas as an extension of similar deliberations it carried out in country at Bishoftu this year in two rounds. The first stops will be Washington DC and LA areas in the US scheduled to take place on December 11 and 12 and 15 and 16 2018, respectively. The objective is to continue engaging Ethiopians and soliciting thoughts and conversations that will enrich the Ethiopian nation building endeavor.
It is to be recalled that the symposiums held in country produced extremely valuable in puts. The first event was held in January 2018 in the presence of representatives of the federal and regional governments, and all sections of the society. Minister Muferiyat Kamil, Minister of the newly established Peace Ministry (then head of the Ideology Advancement Center at the Prime Minister Office) opened the first symposiums with a keynote speech where she urged Ethiopians to make the nation building agenda a national movement to surmount the country’s existing challenges.
The papers presented by prominent scholars and thinkers looked into the theories and issues of nation building as a concept, as well as into the Ethiopian realities and prospects to build Ethiopia’s nationhood and consolidate on a solid foundation. Following the presentations emerge equally valuable conversations and recommendations. The ultimate intention of this non-governmental initiative is to develop a guiding national roadmap for Ethiopian nation building.
The 1st symposium titled “Nation Building in Ethiopia: The Quest for an Enduring Direction” and the 2nd one “Change within Continuity” were jointly organized by the Institute for Democratic Electoral Assistance, the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute and Norway-based Aadland Consult.
The organizers, and many more Ethiopians, believe that over the past several decades, successive governments in Ethiopia have been preoccupied with the task of building or establishing centralized government structures. In the process, a very important national agenda: i.e., nation building has been overlooked due to exclusive focus lent to building the necessary governance infrastructure. As such, the country continues to face challenges that pose serious threats to national unity, civil harmony, and social cohesion.
More wide range and inclusive efforts must be made to consult all Ethiopians on taking inventory of their thoughts on how Ethiopians can better develop a strong sense of common belonging anchored in integrated nationhood giving much importance to the issue of optimal ways of managing diversity and accommodating differences that undoubtedly culminate in the forging of shared values and histories that constitutes a collective Ethiopian identity.
In light of the aforementioned intent, the initiators believe that Ethiopia needs to advance grand and successive nation building plans of action. That is why this project on Nation Building in Ethiopia was initiated as a matter of urgency by bringing together all governmental and non-governmental institutional actors in a common platform. Accordingly, this initiative was designed and rolled out by concerned citizens in 2016 in collaboration with supportive institutions, namely: the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute (EFRSSI), International Institute for Democratic Electoral Assistance (IDEA), and the Norway-based Aadland Consult. EFRSSI has played a leading role in bringing government support and recognition to the project while International IDEA played pivotal roles in coordinating all activities and logistical arrangements. Similarly, a critical contribution for the success of the project came from Aadland Consult (Norway) in inducing the Norwegian government to consider the significance of the project by providing financial support for expediting planned activities.
The principals of the project and the core working group members have now decided to expand the project to the Ethiopian Diaspora community in USA and Europe including compatriots in the nine regional states and two city administrations of the Ethiopian federal system. To this end, actionable plans are being developed and the process of implementing these has started in earnest.