Participants at Ethiopian workshop design leadership retreats

Forum federalism expert Dr. Asnake Kefale (wearing eyeglasses) – speaks to a group of Ethiopian workshop participants. To his right are Gizaw Angulo, expert, Council of Nationalties from the Southern Nations; Emanuel Adenew, conflict process leader, Oromio Administrative Security Bureau; Elias Mohammed, advisor to the President on Public Organization, Somali Regional State; and Equbay Tesfayohannis, advisor Ministry of Federal Affairs.

About 30 representatives from seven of Ethiopia’s states, as well as its federal agencies and its international partners recently attended a three-day workshop in Addis Ababa, held May 25 May 27, 2010, to design a series of leadership retreats.

The coming five-day Federalism Leadership Retreats will be conducted throughout the country between 2010 and 2011. Those attending will include leaders from different levels of government, as well as participants from civil society, business, political parties and media.

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

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Selome Taddesse, who has extensive experience in designing and delivering transformational leadership training throughout Africa and elsewhere. She was supported by three federalism subject matter experts:

  • Dr. Bertus de Villiers, originally of South Africa and now of Australia, and
  • Drs. Asnake Kefale and Assefa Fisseha of Ethiopia.

The event was co-organized with Ethiopia’s House of Federation, the country’s upper house.

The main output of the design workshop was to produce an outline of federalism and leadership learning modules to be used in the future 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. The Forum plans on holding a similar workshop for non-governmental participants in early July.

Participants emphasized the importance of linking leadership qualities and competencies to building Ethiopian federalism and resolving conflict as well as the need for leaders to challenge their assumptions and paradigms about their role as leaders in developing federalism in Ethiopia. Participants expressed their strong approval of the leadership development exercises that were deployed at the Addis event and with the interactive methods that were employed.

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

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