post Celebrate Pan-Africanism

November 3rd, 2010

Filed under: Events — Lissan Magazine @ 10:38

Celebrating Pan-Africanism through Emperor Haile Selassie
Ethiopian Global Initiative
November 2, 2010

By Samuel M. Gebru

On this day, November 2, 80 years ago in 1930, Haile Selassie was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia at the Cathedral of Saint George in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Ethiopia’s last Emperor, Haile Selassie, was born on July 23, 1892. He is generally regarded as the father of African unity and the face of the Pan-African movement. Emperor Haile Selassie reigned for 43 years and 314 days and was one of the world’s most well regarded leaders during his era. Loved by some, hated by others, Emperor Haile Selassie’s unflagging commitment to Africa’s independence movement and to strengthening the African diaspora should be recognized by all Ethiopians, Africans and people of African descent worldwide.

It has been 118 years since Teferi Mekonnen, His Majesty’s given name, was born in Eastern Ethiopia. He died on August 27, 1975 in unknown circumstances after being put under house arrest by the military-run Government of Ethiopia that reigned from 1974 until 1991. After the Emperor’s corpse was buried under his bathroom, his remains were excavated in 1991 when Northern rebels toppled Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s Government. In 2000, a formal funeral was given to Emperor Haile Selassie presided by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, although the current Government of Ethiopia was reluctant to recognize the Emperor’s formal burial as a State Funeral.

The work of Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and many others was inspired by the leadership and statesmanship exhibited by the “Lion of Judah.” Emperor Haile Selassie is also responsible for expanding the foreign bases of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and promoted literacy and advancement within Ethiopia and the African continent. As a founding father of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, he was a resounding pillar to the sovereignty of the continent.

The Ethiopian Global Initiative is going to work with the Crown Council of Ethiopia to organize a yearlong celebration of the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie from July 23, 2011 until July 23, 2012, culminating in a celebration in Addis Ababa in honor of what would have been his 120th Birthday. EGI wants to celebrate the life and achievements of the Emperor as it relates to the Pan-African movement that he helped engineer. It is imperative that we work in collaboration with the Crown Council of Ethiopia and other Ethiopian cultural, youth and civic organizations both within Ethiopia and abroad so that the Emperor’s birthday celebration may be inclusive and appropriate.

One important way EGI will celebrate the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie is by undertaking a global “Haile Selassie 120th Birthday Day of Service” that will include Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians giving back to their local communities. Whether it is cleaning a park, reading to children or cooking food for the homeless, the “Haile Selassie 120th Birthday Day of Service” would strive to celebrate the work of the Emperor. The service events would be held on July 23, 2011 simultaneously throughout the world. Participants would be able to post their pictures, photos and blog articles to a central website that would strive to showcase the legacy of the Emperor on the African diaspora. The “Haile Selassie 120th Birthday Day of Service” will launch a yearlong celebration of the Emperor’s life and achievements.

To get involved please email: or call +1-617-528-9434.

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