ABOUT THE FORUM
The Ethiopian Forum comprises three separate panel discussions. Each panel discussion will include a panel host and two panelists. The panel discussion is aimed at clarifying the root causes of the ongoing political and armed conflict in Ethiopia and will draw envisioned solutions that will result in peace and prosperity for all Ethiopians. The panel discussion will also seek to identify what role the U.S. should play in Ethiopia and the consequences of the ongoing crisis on regional and U.S. national security.
THE REASON FOR THE FORUM
The ongoing armed conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigrai region's government is one of many recent manifestations of the deep-seated animosity that exists between the different political and ethnic factions that make-up the modern Ethiopian state. While there is consensus that deep-seated bitterness exists between the different political and ethnic factions that make up the Ethiopian state, there is no agreement among the noted factions as to the cause of the animosities or how the hostilities could be put to rest. Western government officials, scholars, diplomats, and journalists have all offered different arguments to explain the never-ending tension within Ethiopia. None of the presented Western solutions have gained wide acceptance within Ethiopia, and some of the noted solutions have threatened to exacerbate the issue further. If a solution to the Ethiopian issue is to be found, it must be an Ethiopian solution put forward and agreed upon by its political leaders.
THE FORUM PANELISTS
On December 25, 2020, the National Election Board of Ethiopia announced that it would take place on June 5, 2021. The following political organizations are participating in upcoming elections: The Prosperity Party. The Tigray People's Liberation Front. The Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice. The Oromo Federalist Congress. The Oromo Liberation Front. Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Forum panelists are drawn from the leadership of six of the Ethiopian political parties contesting seats in the scheduled general elections.
THE FORUM'S FIRST PANEL DISCUSSION
The First Panel Discussion took place on February 2, 2021. The Honorable Jim Moran hosted the panel. The panelists were Dr. Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and Mr. Ibrahim Aden, a senior member of the Central Committee of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).
THE HONORABLE JIM MORAN
Former Congressman Jim Moran represented Virginia’s 8th Congressional District from 1991 to 2015, where he was known for his bipartisan leadership and ability to resolve complex issues. He served on the Appropriations, Foreign Affairs, Banking, Housing and Finance, and Government Reform and Oversight committees during his 12 terms in the U.S. Congress.
As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he was Chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment, a senior member on the Defense and Military Construction subcommittees, Foreign Operations, Labor, Health and Human Services and Ranking Member of the D.C. and Legislative Branch subcommittees
DR. MERERA GUDINA
LEADER OF THE OROMO FEDERALIST CONGRESS (OFC)
Dr. Merera Gudina is an Ethiopian politician and opposition leader. He is the leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a political party representing the Oromo people in the scheduled 2021 Ethiopian general elections. The OFC is a federalist and Oromo nationalist opposition political party in Ethiopia. The organization is opposed to the ruling Prosperity Party (PP).
Dr. Gudina began his college education at Addis Ababa University (AAU) but was imprisoned for seven years due to participating in protests against the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam. After his release, Dr. Gudina went to Egypt to complete his education at the American University in Cairo. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Institute of Social Studies at the Hague in the Netherlands
MR. IBRAHIM ADEN
SENIOR MEMBER OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE OGADEN NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (ONLF)
Mr. Ibrahim Aden is a senior member of the Central Committee of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). The ONLF serves as an advocate and defender of the human rights of the Somali people in the Ogaden region and is one of the six major political organizations participating in the scheduled 2021 Ethiopian general elections. The Ogaden Somali territory lies between Oromia to the West, Afar land to the Northwest, the Republic of Djibouti to the North, Kenya to the South and the Somali Republic to the East. The Somali people who inhabit the Ogaden region are agro-pastorals people with a single language, culture, and socio-economic structure.
Mr. Aden graduated from Concordia University with degrees in Business Management and Organizational Leadership.
WELCOME & OPENING REMARKS
Welcome & Opening Remarks from Mr. Michael Stopford, former Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Communications with NATO and the UN Chief of Staff
Introduction of former Congressman Jim Moran
MODERATOR WELCOME & PANELIST INTRODUCTION
Former Congressman Jim Moran to introduce panelists
Dr. Merera Gudina, Leader of the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC)
Mr. Ibrahim Aden, Senior Member of the Central Committee of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)
10:40 - 11:30 AM
Moderated discussion by panelists
Panelists will field questions from vetted Ethiopian citizen leaders
Ms. Seena Jimjimo, Executive Director of the Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association (OLLAA)
Ms. Hodan Dualeh, Executive Director of Resolve Ogaden Coalition
SUBMIT A QUESTION FOR A PANELIST OR THE ENTIRE PANEL