Civil society workshop maps out Ethiopian leadership retreats

Planning leadership events. From right to the left: Solomon Tesema, (in a white checkered shirt) General Manager, Beyeso HC (private limited company); Tekalign Fanta Director Governance and Human Rights, Justice for all Prison Fellowship Ethiopia; Adugna Hirpa, youth mission coordinator of Evangelical Christian Fellowship Ethiopia; Abebe Kassahun,General Secretary, Addis Ababa University Student Union; Heyrat Seman, General secretary, Addis Ababa youth Association; A.Yele Chamiso, (wearing eyeglasses) President, Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party; and Abdul Hafiz Kemal, Senior expert, Ethiopian Islamic Affairs.

Thirty two representatives from a wide range of Ethiopian organizations attended a three-day workshop recently held in Addis Ababa to plan and prepare for a series of federalism leadership retreats in 2010 and 2011.

The workshop was organized jointly by the Forum of Federations and the House of Federation of Ethiopia.

Workshop participants hailed from civil society organizations, major political parties, religious bodies, the business sector, media organizations, donor agencies, student unions, and youth associations.

The participants identified seven major topics areas they want included in the upcoming leadership retreats, namely: Conflict Management and Resolution; a Theoretical and Comparative Overview of Federalism; Ethiopian Federalism; Federalism and Democracy; Federalism, Development, Resource-Sharing in Federal systems; Good Governance, and Leadership Values and Communication Skills.

The retreats will provide a unique opportunity for leaders in this young federation to learn from the experience of other federations and more importantly to reflect on how they can contribute to deepening federalism in Ethiopia as a key element for sustainable peace and development.

The July 5 7, 2010 event was opened by Habtamu Ninni, the Secretary General of the Secretariat of the House of Federation and facilitated by Ms. Selome Taddesse who has extensive experience in designing and delivering transformational leadership training throughout Africa and elsewhere.

She was supported by federalism subject matter experts Dr. Asnake Kefale and Mr. Tsegaye Regassa of Ethiopia. The Forum’s Program Advisor, Teshome Mekonnen, also spoke briefly.

The main output of the design workshop was to produce an outline of federalism and leadership modules to be used in the retreats, as well as national and international case studies and the methods for facilitating effective dialogue and concrete action planning during the upcoming five-day Leadership Retreats.

This workshop is the second of its kind. The first was held for representatives from seven of Ethiopia’s nine states, federal agencies and international partners on May 25-27 2010. The purpose of this second workshop is to secure participation from leaders of civil society organizations and thereby have a stronger nongovernmental participation in the retreats.

The German Foreign Office is funding the Forum’s work in Ethiopia, for which it has provided the Forum with almost $1.2 million for 2009 and 2010. The Forum is to provide information and training to leaders within Ethiopia’s federal system on conflict management and how to better use federal institutions and related channels of communication.

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