Meet the Team

  • The People Behind the Fellowship

    Meet the Team

Founder & Executive Director

Rediate is a first generation Ethiopian-American and founder of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship. Through learning the importance of forming identity as a diaspora through her own experiences, Rediate started EDF as a medium to build bridges between the educated diaspora and Ethiopia. Rediate has worked for social action organizations including the Clinton Initiative, America Reads Program leading education efforts through community partnerships in low-income areas. Upon moving back to Ethiopia, she worked for World Vision Ethiopia as a journalist, and then built the communication department at Selam Children’s Village. Rediate discovered her passion for social impact media while working as an international Field Producer/Production Coordinator for Girl Rising. Most recently she worked in Ethiopia and Uganda to complete an internship with the renowned Population Media Center. She received her B.A in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications at Arizona State University and her Master of Communication Management degree at University of Southern California.

Rediate Tekeste

Founder and Executive Director of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship
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Program Director

Meseret is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the program director of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship program. After receiving her BS and BA from the University of Denver, Meseret attended Regis University, where she received her MS in Biomedical Sciences. She then went on to work as an affiliate faculty member at two institutions: Regis University and Red Rocks Community College. As a faculty member, she discovered her love of teaching and mentoring students. Meseret has completed the Ph.D. program from Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, after successfully conducting her dissertation research on the factors that lead to the persistence of women in undergraduate science and technology majors at Ethiopian universities. Currently, Meseret works as a postdoctoral research associate at Ohio State University. Through EDF, Meseret hopes to equip Ethiopians in the Diaspora with the skills and opportunity to serve their country of origin in a meaningful way. She is particularly excited to see how Fellows and organizations dedicated to women’s advocacy will mutually benefit from one another.

Meseret Hailu, Ph.D.

Program Director of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship
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Strategy Advisor

Fitsum Alemayehu was born and raised in Ethiopia and migrated to California in 2012. While in Ethiopia, Fitsum worked as an International Development worker with field experience, addressing global issues of poverty alleviation, and community-oriented program development. He has helped set-up and maintain field offices in Ethiopia which focused on child sponsorship and community development. Leading initiatives by partnering with community mobilizers, Fitsum found that strategy and infrastructure was essential to social impact. Fitsum is currently obtaining his Masters of International Public Policy and Management from University of Southern California. Through EDF, Fitsum hopes to empower the Diaspora population to understand and be part of the economic and social development of Ethiopia.

Fitsum Fanta

Strategy Advisor of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship
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Associate Director

Nicole was born in Nairobi, Kenya and lived there until she was 11 years old. Nicole received a B.A. in Biology from Lubbock Christian University, and a Master of Science degree in Global Health from King’s College in London. At EDF, she provides organizational support and manages the day-to-day tasks in order to support the organization’s overall mission. Nicole is also responsible for evaluating the impact of all EDF programs – as an African in the diaspora, she believes in the vision and purpose of EDF and is very excited to see the long-term impact a program such as EDF can have in Ethiopia’s development sector.

Nicole Kemei

Associate Director of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship
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Public Relations and Social Media Associate

Selome was born in Addis Ababa and moved to the U.S when she was 5 years-old. She lives in Northern California since and has a B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Radio TV and Film from San Jose State University. She’s served as the PR for Sigma Theta Psi, the Ethiopian Student Association, and Black Student Union. She is currently serving as the program coordinator for Young Ethiopian Professionals in Action. YEPA provides an outlet for young Ethiopians in the Bay Area to network and develop professionally, mentor the youth and engage in community outreach. She enjoys mentoring the youth group at her church, and finding ways to stay involved with the Ethiopian community. Selome is excited to contribute to the growth of her country while mobilizing the diaspora community through social media!

Selome Tekle

Public Relations and Social Media Associate
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Deborah Atwater, Digital Marketing and Branding Consultant

Deborah is a student at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where she is completing a B.S. degree in Business Administration and emphasizing in Marketing. Deborah is also currently the Marketing Associate at USC’s Black Alumni Association. As a digital marketing creative, her expertise ranges from web development to graphic design and brand development. She strives to combine her passion for community mobilizing with her skills as a digital communicator. Deborah has used her skills to help EDF make an impact on Ethiopia and its young professional diaspora.

Board of Advisors


Dr. Kim Osborne, Strategy Advisor

Founder & CEO at ShinePath LLC; Chief Strategic Communications Advisor, United States Department of Defense

Hellen Kassa, Ethiopia-based Field Director

Consultant at The Africa Group;
Freelance Media & PR Specialist

Dr. Tekeste Teclu, Leadership Advisor

Ph.D in Management and Leadership studies; Director of Management and Leadership department at Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology;University of Northern Iowa International Visiting Professor

Paru Yusuf , Startup Strategy Advisor

Partner at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund; Board Chair Asante Africa Foundation

Kip Stringfellow, Fundraising Advisor

Director of Business Development at Groceryships, an LA-based health nonprofit

Dr. Deginesh Worku, Cross-culture Identity and Mental Health Advisor

Psychologist and expert trainer for Ethiopian Diaspora Communities; Founder Peace of Mind Counseling

Obse Lubo, R.N, BSN, Health and Non-profit Advisor

Founder and Executive Director for East African Medical Relief Foundation; R.N at Stanford Hospital

Dr. Mahlet Tekeste, Lead Identity Advisor

Psychology postdoctoral fellow; Psy.D from the University of Denver, Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Aida Solomon, M.C.M– Branding and Storytelling Advisor

CEO of HabeshaLA Creative Agency; Communication Management Master at University of Southern California

Leke Work, M.A.– Finance Advisor

Master of Organization Leadership; Financial Advisor for Ramsey County; Founder of WeCare Services