In Oslo, the capital of Norway, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week.
Taking the stage of the most prestigious peace prize, the first Ethiopian to do so, the Prime Minister reflected on his humble beginning, peaceful co-existence, human rights, and his vision of the future and the philosophy of Medemer that has sustained his political journey so far.
“War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back. I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield. I have seen older men, women and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells. You see, I was not only a combatant in war. I was also a witness to its cruelty and where it can do to people,” he read from a prepared speech.
The chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen. started the festivity with a speech followed by music from Betty G. Some if the attendants wore colorful dresses reflecting the diversity of Ethiopia – the day highlighted the story of Ethiopia, with its 100th recipient.
“Prime Minister Abiy, the award bestowed upon you today rests on three major achievements. First, your crucial role in creating peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Second, your efforts to build democracy in Ethiopia by strengthening civil liberties and developing institutions. And third, but not least, the award is given to you for your contribution to peace and reconciliation processes in East and North East Africa,” she said in a speech that preceded Abiy’s.
The 43-year-old, credited for starting the engagement with neighboring Eritrea, for embracing the ideas of democracy and human rights, gender equity and the principles of the environment has been given the endorsement of the international community while his political honeymoon at home continues to slide.
In the midst of the rise of the displaced people of Ethiopia, civil unrest and high unemployment and dwindling foreign investment, the nation’s long promised national election that is due to happen early next year has also become an open debate, a lofty dream for some.
In Oslo, he refused to be engaged to journalists and the media as has been the custom of the ceremony and refused to take part in a slew of events held in honor of him. While his stardom was evident in Norway, the organizers rambled why he would miss the chance to take part in its festivities – a once in a lifetime opportunity for him and his nation.
In the capital, he was welcomed by thousands of people, showing his concentrated support in the capital.