Ethiopia ponders on proposed Diaspora Day celebration

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Addis Ababa, 13 June 2014 (WIC) – Deliberations are underway to launch an annual Ethiopian Diaspora Day celebrations aimed at promoting the Diaspora’s engagement in the country’s overall affairs.
A proposal is being jointly developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Ethiopian Diaspora Association.
“Marking a Diaspora Day will enable us to strengthen the Diaspora’s engagement with his/her country as well as within themselves,” Dawano Kedir, state minister at MoFA, said adding that the day could also serve as a platform to recognize the role of members of Diaspora.
At a panel held today at Hilton Hotel and attended by Ethiopians residing abroad and Diaspora returnees, deliberations were held on the proposed dates to mark the week-long commemoration.
The proposed dates include, from August 10-16, from September 14-20 and from January 9-15. These are the times when most Ethiopians come back to their country, some due to breaks and others for holidays, according to Faisel Alia, Diaspora Participation Affairs Director General at MoFA. The panel was aimed at gathering inputs from stakeholders on the proposed dates before making a decision, he said.
The proposal is founded on Ethiopia’s Diaspora policy which was adopted in December last year.
“Establishing a continuous communications exchange with the Diaspora is identified as one strategy to achieve the goals of the Diaspora policy and celebrating a Diaspora Day is one way of doing that,” Faisel added.
The Diaspora Day is planned to be marked with various activities including symposiums, sports and entertainment among others. The primary location of the celebration will in Ethiopia but those unable to come could participate in celebrations that will be held in Ethiopian embassies and consulate offices around the world, Faisel said.