“I challenge you to be part of the newer future of Ethiopia, working hand in hand to achieve sustainable development in our country,” Australia Awards Alumnus Bezabih Gebereyes told peers at a Welcome Home function hosted by the Australian Government at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 18 February 2015.
The function was designed to recognise Ethiopians who have recently returned home from their studies under a fully funded Australia Awards Scholarship. The ceremony was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Poster presentations by Alumni who had returned six to 12 months previously showcased development-focused projects they are leading in Ethiopia and added another dimension to the function. These initiatives testified to how high-quality education can translate into concrete benefits through the application of knowledge and skills on return.
From scientific research collaboration between the Ministry of Mines in Ethiopia and Australia to knowledge transfer within the Ministry of Mines on the effective integration of geosciences, geographical and cadastral data in GIS, and research being conducted at Haramaya University on the environmental challenges facing Lake Beseka in Ethiopia, the initiatives led by Alumni on return from their studies in Australia have a high impact on the communities they serve.
Opening the event, Australian Ambassador to Ethiopia, HE Mark Sawers, congratulated Alumni for completing their studies and returning to impart positive change. He stressed the important role Alumni play in the relationship between the two countries as they nurture the people-to-people links they established while in Australia.
“Scholarships are an important part of our bilateral relationship with Ethiopia […] and Alumni are central to this relationship,” said Ambassador Sawers.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mulugeta Tsegaye, representative of the Ethiopian Minister of Education, conveyed appreciation for the support received from the Australian Government through the Scholarship program over the years. He stressed the commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to enable its people to live a better life, and the investment it has made in higher education towards achieving this objective.
The function attracted about 20 guests, including Alumni from the Australia Awards and International Mining for Development Centre programs funded by the Australian Government, representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Through the Australia Awards initiative, the Australian Government offers long-term scholarships, as well as short-term fellowships. Since 2011, 165 Awards have been offered to Ethiopians and there are nearly 150 Alumni from the program in the country, which includes scholars from predecessor Australian Government-funded scholarship programs delivered prior to 2011.