A Nobel Laureate
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has given the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (PhD). The historic win places the 43-year old among 99 candidates who won one of the most prestigious honors since it was founded in 1901.
The committee cited his efforts to resolve the border conflicts with neighboring Eritrea, as well as his determination to forge a peaceful and cooperative co-existence among neighboring nations, in the midst of a troubled region that knows more conflicts than the ideals he has been championing.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in a dispute for two decades, since relations were terminated back in 1998. He also mediated conflicts among factions in Sudan, South Sudan and the lingering issues between Kenya and Somalia.
These efforts were also noted by the Nobel Peace Committee.
“Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict,” the announcement read.
Since taking over the top political position of a nation of more than 100 million, he has been credited with releasing political prisoners, for advocating for an open democracy, for bringing a feminist agenda to his government and for promoting freedom of press that was non-existent a mere years ago, among others.
Abiy has also been criticized for the displacement of people, for the lack of security and high unemployment in all parts of the nation, while focusing on headline grabbing antics, including the planting of trees, estimated to be more than 350 million planted in a single day.
“This is a huge congratulation for Ethiopia and friends of Ethiopia,” Billene Seyoum said at a hastily arranged press conference mere hours after he was announced as the winner. “This recognition is historic; it raises the profile of Ethiopia at the global stage. More importantly, it is also a testimony of the hard work that has been going on over the past year and a half.”
Abiy who is hosting leaders of neighboring countries in the capital for the inauguration of the Unity Park, inside the National Palace due to open publicly on Monday, communicated to the world via social media.
“I am humbled by the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. My deepest gratitude goes to all committed and working for peace. This award is for Ethiopia and the African continent. We shall prosper in peace,” he said on his personal twitter page.
He was congratulated by world leaders, among many, the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, an ally of his reforms.
“You showed great courage by taking the first steps toward reconciliation with your neighbor Eritrea and in doing so, have given millions of people a chance for peace,” she said.