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Current Challenges for Democracy in Ethiopia

The recent democratic developments and human rights situation were intensively discussed amongst the participants of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s (FES) Youth Leadership Training Programme during the second module at the beginning of August 2017. The three day workshop took place at the Red-Cross Training Centre in Addis Ababa.

Apart from theoretical basics, the trainees learned from some practical insights provided by  the former Ethiopian President, Dr. Negasso Gidada and the well-known Human Rights Council Dr. Dan Yirga on applicability of those concepts. Both elaborated on their professional experiences and emphasized various aspects in the Ethiopian context.

As the FES expects its trainees to reach public leadership roles in their future professional life, the intake also focused on the preparation for public speaking. Therefore, a simulated TV talk show on “Democracy vs Development” offered an opportunity to formulate clear ideas about the topic and to practice exchanging opinions and views in an entirely setup TV studio arrangement.

The next day, the trainees had the opportunity to hear from one of the most important European Diplomats in Addis Ababa, Colonel Sandy Wade, Head of Political, Press and Information Section of the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia, about the importance of standards of democracy and human rights in the European Union’s Foreign Policy in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. It came to light that in practice a value-based approach will always have to be balanced against interest-based Realpolitik.

After these very interesting inputs, the FES is looking forward to seeing its trainees again for the next seminar on economic development!