UNESCO has been working with the education professionals and
all developing countries. This year’s “Education For All Conference”
been decided to be held in Addis. The responsibility of this task was
entrusted to the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA), which is led by
brave sons of Ethiopia, Dr Taye Woldesemiate - President, Ato Gemoraw
Kassa – General Secretary, Ato Abate Angore – Acting General Secretary,
Awoke Mulugeta – Deputy General Secretary, Mohammed Yimer and others.
It is evident that UNESCO/EI encourage government authorities to
participate in its plan to carry out the challenge of Education for All
2015. They have been negotiating their ways and working throughout the
taking governments various countries as a partner in the run.
UNESCO/EI jointly invited the regime in Ethiopia to come to this
as a partner and if need be defend its Education Policy. The invitation
the regime in a very awkward position. The regime was expecting
charge the cloned ETA, the puppet of the regime to organise Conference.
is humiliation for the regime such a significan task was, however, went
the persecuted ETA by the regime. Coming to the Conference would mean
accepting defeat and acknowledging proper ETA as a legitimate
of Ethiopian Teachers. Rejecting it means going in direct confrontation
against the funding organisations. Finally, the authority announced to
international community and donner countries, Weizero Gennet, the
Minister and Ato Tefera Walwa, would attend Conference.
UNESCO/EI representatives decided to extend the invitation to the
to join the Conference as professional colleagues, interested to
Ethiopian children. However, the regime’s puppet ETA requested that a
addressed to them as “ETA” be sent to invite them formally. However, to
their humiliation, that name was reserved by UNESCO/EI to the
bypassing the puppets.
Today, 30 July 2003, the Conference was formally opened at Ghion Hotel,
International delegates included:
1. Dr Mary Futrell, EI president, (USA)
2. Dr Linda Asper, EI Deputy G/S (Canada)
3. Mr Tom. Bediako, EI Africa Region Chief Co-ordinator (Ghana)
4. Joanne Edie, Director of International Programs for NEA,
5. Mr Walter Dresscher, AOb president (The Netherlands)
6. Mrs Lesely Auger, NUT president (UK)
7. Mr Steve Sinnott, NUT Deputy G/S (UK)
8. Ms Lucia Fry, VSO staff (UK)
9. South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda Teachers' Unions' representatives
Others international participants were:
1. British Embassy representative
2. Dutch Embassy representative
3. AU (African Union) Education Department representative
4. UNESCO?EI representative
5. ILO Regional Office representative
6.Two senior government officers from DFID (Department For
One hundred and ten (110) seats were planned for local delegates, one from each district
Ethiopia. However, 163 delegates turned up. Weighing the importance of
getting the message of “Education for All” across ETA managed to add
seats to accommodate the 67% extras.
After the delegates took their seats, the seat reserved for the
representatives remained empty. Genet and Tefera did not have the guts
show up, after confirming to the international community that they
attend. Although that was not a surprise to ETA (it would have been
surprise had they shown up their faces), this became unbelievable to
international delegates, who were positively expecting their presence.
(Incidentally, concerned members of the international delegates have
troubled themselves to go and meet the two agents of the regime this
afternoon. We will know by tomorrow, what reasons Gennet and Tefara had
given them for snapping the invitation of UNESC/EI. Oh, I am dying to
Dr Taye Woldesemiate, the President of ETA made a brief “WELCOMING”
which was received with standing ovation and pride. He then invited Dr
Futrell, the President of Education International to take the floor.
Mary’s speech ignited the hall. After explaining the need of the
and the plan of 2015, she paid tribute to Ethiopia, as a long standing
symbol of freedom of Africa. She pointed out the place of Ethiopia in
ancient history of the world and expressed her strong belief that the
country would overcome all the obstacles to regain her honour. She paid
tribute to ETA in words that ran like an electric current through the
of the audience. She said the reason Education International chose to
by ETA and its leaders is due to the genuine cause for trade and human
rights and dedication and commitment of its leaders to the profession.
support and standing by ETA of EI would continue as that was part of
international movement for the freedom of association. She then spelt
what EI expected from the Ethiopian regime. She urged the regime:
1. to open the sealed ETA offices,
2. release frozen bank accounts
3. bring to justice the killers of Mr Assefa Maru
4. secure the safe return of the General Secretary, Mr Gemoraw Kassa,
5. implement the Dakar resolution “Education for all” programme. She
reiterated that could only be possible by working with the ETA.
Dr Mary Futrell said “I am making this speech on behalf of the
members of EI across the globe. I am here to deliver their message.”
said that ETA set an example for all trade unionists across the globe
Symbol of 21 Century Trade Union bravery. Please tune to Deutsche
follow up in part what she sounded.
The other person who sent the delegates into flammable emotions was our
usual friend, Mr Steve Sinnott of NUT. Steve reiterated the speech of
Mary Futrell and paid unreserved appreciation for the exemplarily
21st Century Trade Union struggle for freedom, the Ethiopian Teachers
Association. ETA’s struggle had come that far. Steve said that ETA's
president was out of jail. It had deservingly earned the respect of
community of the whole world.
The Conference on “Education for All”
was one such evidence confirming that claim. Its mission, however, was
from complete. It had to double its efforts to achieve the plan of
every corner of Ethiopia to carry out the slogan of “Education For All
2015”. Steve noted that organisationally, there were still unresolved
issues. ETA’s offices remained sealed. Its bank accounts remained
Assefa Maru’s murderers roam at large. The General Secretary, Gemoraw
remained still in exile.
Referring to his own dreams, Mr Steve Sinnott
that his dreams for ETA had partially been fulfilled. He had free Dr
his right and Gemoraw Kassa on his left at a meeting in London with
Ethiopian community members at Irish Centre . That was repeated at NUT
Conference at Harrogate. Accoring to Steve, what was left was to
that rehearsal in Addis. That too would not be too long. After few
Steve promised to be back in Addis to have Dr Taye on his right and
on his left. To this, the delegates expressed their appreciation with a
applaud and cheers.
Mr Walter Dresscher, AOb president (The Netherlands) made a very
received speech, admiring the dedication of ETA and the need of
to the letter the Dakar resolution on education. Mr Walter promised
Netherlands teachers would stand by ETA in struggle for the rights of
teachers and freedom of education.
Ms Joanne Edie, Director of International Programs for NEA (EU) also
reiterated the same message with the emphasis on the bravery of ETA and
to carry out the UNESCO mission “Education for All”.
Mr Tom Bediako, EI Africa Region Chief Co-ordinator (Ghana), who has
behind ETA’s cause since ETA’s hardship started, gave a very moving
admiring as everybody else but as the first hand witness of the bravery
this trade unionists and reiterating to carry out the mission of
education to every child in Ethiopia.
International delegates rose up turn-by-turn and echoed the same
presented by Dr Mary Futrell and Mr Steve Sinnott and others.
In the Afternoon, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam was among the main
We do not have details of his speech. We will bring you by tomorrow.
The Conference will continue tomorrow.
What does this signify. I don't know about you, what you make out of
However, I see another victory for ETA. ETA snatched one prestigeous
from this regime. The regime became helpless in the face of clever
ETA. While the regimes delegates should have been entertaining
delegates, the show had been taken away by these brave sons and
Ethiopia. This the kind of victory every one should score in his area.
ETA is a trade union. It is delivering its reponsiblities. Let us all
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