Ancient, exotic Ethiopia is the cradle of human civilization and the only one of Africa’s 54 independent countries never to have been colonized. Today, its 100 million inhabitants rank it as the 12th most populous nation on Earth. The African Union is headquartered in Ethiopia’s booming capital, Addis Ababa, and direct flights link Addis to Washington, D.C., home of the largest ethnic Ethiopian community, by far, in the United States.
Yet relatively few Americans have traveled to Ethiopia, and little is known about the country other than the famines of the 1980s. Today’s Ethiopia, while still poor by any standard, nevertheless enjoys one of the world’s fastest-growing economies — with GDP expanding by an astounding 8% to 11% in each of the last four years. Ethiopia boasts the Hawasa Industrial Park — the largest of its kind in Africa — with companies investing in the venture from China, India, Belgium, France, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.
On June 27, The Washington Diplomat newspaper proudly features Girma Birru, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, as the focus of our next Ambassador Insider Series. Join the Diplomat’s news editor, Larry Luxner, at the Embassy of Ethiopia as he and Ambassador Birru discuss his country’s economic, political and regional challenges, as well as Africa’s enduring importance to U.S. foreign policy.
After the discussion, participants will enjoy a networking reception featuring Ethiopian cuisine and traditional coffee (which, by the way, also traces its origin to Ethiopia).
Ambassador Birru has represented Ethiopia in Washington since January 2011. Before coming here, he was Ethiopia’s minister of trade and industry for nine years, and minister of economic development and cooperation for six years before that. An economist by profession, Biru has held senior positions at the World Bank, the African Development Bank and various other institutions.
Mr. Luxner, who has written for the Diplomat since 1997, has reported from dozens of countries around the world, including Ethiopia. This will be Luxner’s sixth Ambassador Insider Series event; his previous interviews have featured the ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Barbados, Haiti, Iraq and the European Union.
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The Ambassadors Insider Series is an exclusive program hosted by The Washington Diplomat to meet and network with the city’s foreign envoys and learn about the countries they represent in an intimate setting at some of D.C.’s top venues. Our audited readership of more than 120,000 includes foreign diplomats, multilateral institutions, Capitol Hill lawmakers, State Department officials, Fortune 500 executives, academics and other points of influence in Washington.