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    Welcome to the Fellows' Blog

    Every other week from September through February meet us back here to find a new post by our 2017-2018 cohort of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows.

  • Our Fellows

    Saba Alemnew

    Saba holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Communications from the University of California, Davis. Upon graduation, she joined Triage Consulting Group as a Consultant providing reimbursement review services for some of the largest health systems in the United States.

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  • Our Fellows

    Maceda Alemu

    Maceda Afework Alemu graduated from Dartmouth College in June 2014. At Dartmouth, she majored in Geography with a focus on International Development, minored in International Relations and completed a certificate in Global Health Studies. After graduation, she served as a Program Coordinator with the Center for Health Equity at the Geisel School of Medicine.

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  • Our Fellows

    Meron Begashaw

    Meron Begashaw is a recent graduate of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health - she graduated with a Master’s degree in Public Health. Prior to and during graduate school, Meron held a number of health-related positions, including program assistant at The California Wellness Foundation working in women's health and diversity in the health professions and an intern at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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  • Our Fellows

    Eden Mekonen

    Eden Mekonen graduated from Occidental College where she majored in Critical Theory and Social Justice and minored in Interdisciplinary Writing. While at Occidental, Eden became passionate about equitable, multicultural education and diverse representations of underrepresented groups, through community-based learning classes where she applied identity-based theoretical frameworks to community social issues. She is interested in participating in the capacity building of programs and activities, and believes this allows for sustainability as opposed to dependency.

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By Saba Alemnew


Ever since I arrived to Ethiopia, I have noticed that public spaces are predominantly occupied  by men. Whether it is the streets I walk on, the taxis I take, or the cafes I go to, I’ve noticed that men tend to outnumber women. I have also noticed that women are often expected to behave passively.  So I was quite surprised when I heard about an active feminist group here in Addis Ababa called Setaweet.

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Meron2By Meron Begashaw

As a member of an active immigrant Ethiopian community in Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to experience the pleasures of our culture, traditions, and, with much fervor, our holidays on the grandest of scales. As an Orthodox Christian, I can, for example, attest to the elaborate, deeply spiritual, and somewhat comparable-to-Ethiopia experience that is the Timket holiday in Los Angeles. This annual celebration of Epiphany is arguably one of the largest – in both the number of partakers and the scope of festivities – in the Diaspora. In my imagination, nothing can compare to celebrating holidays in the land that originated the ornate practices we replicate in the Diaspora. This is one of the reasons why I was so excited to celebrate Meskel, the holiday whose devotees commemorate the finding of the Christian True Cross, for the first time ever in Ethiopia.

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Alem Kib New

By Eden Mekonen


unnamedAt the start of our pre-departure training in Los Angeles, we learned about the “Four H’s of Acculturation” – these being Honeymoon, Hostility, Humor, and Home. As someone who’s admittedly oscillated between humor and hostility, I sometimes feel as though a fifth “H” should be included for “Humbled.” Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia in general, has truly been a humbling experience for a compass-dependent and GPS reliant person, such as myself. I like to think of Google Maps as the reliable friend who you can always count on to help you out when you literally don’t know which way to turn; the friend you could always depend on to guide you whenever you take a misstep. However, as GPS isn’t widely used or accessible in Addis Ababa, navigating around the city has proven very challenging for me.

While this isn’t my first stay in Ethiopia, in previous visits I’ve often relied on directionally-savvy family members for geographic guidance. However, having come back to Addis this time around as an Ethiopian Diaspora Fellow,

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