Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia is the 2019 Nobel Peace Laureate
One of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed upon individuals who promote peace in our chaotic and conflicted world is the Nobel Peace Prize. Laureates are recognized by an international committee that considers achievements in the fields of fraternity, conflict resolution, and disarmament. In 2019, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed became the recipient of this recognition, and it is important to consider his work and achievements in this regard.
PM Ahmed was voted and appointed to Ethiopia’s highest political office in April 2018. He took office in the midst of a period of national unrest, an unfortunate situation that is not so uncommon for this African country. As is the case in other regional jurisdictions, the nature of the conflict is based on ethnic discord. The Tigray people have managed to position their members in many of Ethiopia’s highest governmental and military posts, thereby undermining political participation of the Amhara and Ororo ethnic groups, which also engage in sectarian infighting. This conflict has raged since 2017, and it has resulted in many casualties, injustice, and political imprisonment.
It so happens that PM Ahmed’s mother is Amhara and his father is Ororo. He has considerable military experience in the intelligence field, and is also a cunning politician. His electoral campaign was subtle but effective, and he did not waste time in implementing a series of reforms at the domestic and foreign levels. His background in signal intelligence allowed him to realize the importance of press freedom for the purpose of keeping people informed and engaged in public debate, and this measure resulted in Ethiopia achieving a substantial improvement in the World Press Freedom Index.
Under PM Ahmed’s mandate, thousands of individuals formerly incarcerated for their political views have been liberated, and he has strongly supported public awareness campaigns about the need for Ethiopians to work together towards a better future instead of wasting time on ethnic disputes. Another measure that was certainly evaluated by the Nobel Peace Prize committee was the peace agreement that PM Ahmed formulated with his Eritrean counterpart. The protracted war between the countries that has continued since 1998 over a complicated border matter is quickly coming to an end; moreover, families from ethnic groups that extend across the border are being reunited.
Having a Nobel Peace Laureate as a leader is now a point of pride for the citizens of Ethiopia, but PM Ahmed still has a lot of work ahead of him. Since he is still in the early stages of his mandate, living up to this prestigious award will be challenging.
Photo Credits: PM Abiy Ahmed at an inauguration event in Addis Ababa by Aron Simeneh is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)Public Domain Dedication