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Ethiopians Recognized with Prestigious EU Schuman Awards

Photo by Anteneh Aklilu

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In a historic first, the European Union (EU) has awarded its prestigious Schuman EU Award to more than six Ethiopians for their outstanding contributions in various fields.

The awards ceremony, held at the EU compound on Thursday, May 30th, was attended by Daniel Bekele, Chief Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The Schuman EU Award recognizes individuals who have made significant strides in promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights, tolerance and equality. This year’s Ethiopian recipients include the founder of the Horn of Africa Human Rights League, the founder of the Fendika Cultural Center, the chairman of Stand for the Environment, and a representative from the Ethiopian Association of Women Lawyers.

“This is a tremendous honor for these Ethiopian leaders, and a testament to the important work they have done to advance critical causes within their communities and beyond,” said Bekele. “It is a proud moment for Ethiopia to be so well-represented among the recipients of this prestigious EU award.”

The Schuman EU Award was first presented in 2017 in Myanmar, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the European Union’s founding. The award aims to empower individuals and strengthen diplomatic ties by fostering greater communication and understanding.

The award is named after Robert Schuman, a French politician, scholar and activist who lived from 1886 to 1963. Schuman was one of the founding fathers of the European Union, as well as instrumental in establishing other vital European and transatlantic institutions in the aftermath of World War II.

“These Ethiopian honorees have demonstrated the same spirit of leadership and vision that Robert Schuman embodied,” Bekele commented. “Their contributions have helped to advance democratic principles and human rights, and this recognition by the EU is well-deserved.”

The award ceremony in Addis Ababa marks the first time the Schuman EU Award has been presented to multiple Ethiopians, highlighting the growing influence and impact of the country’s civil society leaders on the global stage.

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