Sahle-Work Zewde has become Ethiopia’s first woman President. Zewde has been serving for a long time in the world of diplomacy, representing Ethiopia in many African countries. The country will finally get its first woman president after President Mulatu Teshome steps down on Thursday.

Zewde, until recently, served as the Special representative of the UN Secretary-General to the African Union, whose headquarters is in Addis Ababa. She has also held the position of UN Director General at its offices in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

She recently resigned from her position as the UN representative, paving way for her new position of President.

Who is Sahle-Work Zewde?

  • Sahle-Work Zewde was born and raised in Addis Ababa.
  • She attended her elementary and secondary school at Lycee Gebremariam in Addis Ababa. She further studied natural science at the University of Montpellier, France.
  • After nine years of stay in France, Zewde returned to Ethiopia with a purpose of serving her country.
  • Zewde’s diplomatic carrier started in 1989, before Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) ended its guerrilla war to take over government position.
  • She is the second women to hold any Ambassadorial position in the history of Ethiopia.
  • She has also served in French speaking African countries like Senegal, Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissaw.
  • In 2011, Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General at the time, appointed her as Director General of the UN office in Nairobi (UNON).

“Service is my passion, especially serving a country and serving a cause.” – Sahle-Work Zewde

Zewde, in an interview earlier, expressed her love for serving the country. She said: “I have been a civil servant all my life and public service has been the core of my life. I started working at the Ministry of Education and grew up to its fullness internationally. Being at service is indeed my passion.”

She is all set to take over the position after the joint session of the two legislative houses vote her to the role. The vote is seen as a mere formality, as per reports.

In May 2018, Zewde had met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Nairobi. Abiy was on an official visit to the country and visited the UN offices, where she was still the head. Zewde will now hold a role where she will work closely with the PM in administering over 100 million Ethiopians.

Outgoing President Mulatu Teshome has held the post since October 2013.

Featured image credit: United Nations Information Centre

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