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US Embassy launches ‘Ethiopia Debates’
From Left: Melaku Ayenew, Nick Barnett, Amanda Jacobsen, Lea Mehari at the launch of Ethiopia Debates

US Embassy launches ‘Ethiopia Debates’

The United States Embassy in Addis Ababa is launching Ethiopia Debates as a nationwide program to encourage university students to debate and help improve their speaking skills and debate techniques.

With vital funding provided by the embassy, the initiative is to use workshops and other practical initiatives and ultimately host a national competition in Addis Ababa to pick a victor among debaters and participants from 12 universities. It’s to be a yearlong process that is to end next summer.

“This activity brings the art of debate and peaceful dialogue to support the country’s reform efforts,” Amanda Jacobsen, the Public Affairs Officer with the Embassy, said. “Debate is essential to creating leaders; Participation in debate cultivates essential leadership and public speaking skills in young students.”

The United States continues to be a partner in Ethiopia’s development, with noted financial contributions in youth development programs and provide generous grants for such unique initiatives within the country.

“All we do in Ethiopia is to help Ethiopians gain the skills and the know-how they need to lead their country forward,” Nick Barnett, the US Embassy spokesman told a press conference on Wednesday held inside the American Center, located within the National Archives and Library Agency (a.k.a.Wemezekir). “We are excited to see the reaction as we create a space for constructive and fact focused debates among young people,” he said.

Debate clubs within secondary schools are popular among American students.

“Youth empowerment is at the heart of what we do at the US embassy and how we continue to support the reform efforts of the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,” Amanda told The Reporter.

The National Debate Club is to be implemented by the Center for Community Development (CefCoD), a local charity organization.