|ሣህለ ወርቅ ዘውዴ|
|President of Ethiopia|
|Assumed office |
25 October 2018
|Prime Minister||Abiy Ahmed|
|Preceded by||Mulatu Teshome|
|Under Secretary-General, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union|
27 June 2018 – 25 October 2018
|Appointed by||António Guterres|
|Preceded by||Haile Menkerios|
|Succeeded by||Hanna Tetteh|
|Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi|
|Appointed by||Ban Ki-moon|
|Preceded by||Achim Steiner|
|Succeeded by||Hanna Tetteh|
|Ambassador to Senegal with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea|
Tesfaye Gebre Kidan
|Born||21 February 1950|
Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire
|Education||University of Montpellier|
Sahle-Work Zewde (Amharic: ሣህለ ወርቅ ዘውዴ, born 21 February 1950) is an Ethiopian politician and diplomat who is the current president of Ethiopia since 2018, being the first woman to hold the office. She was elected as president unanimously by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on 25 October 2018.
American business magazine Forbes, on its annual edition of the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, listed Sahle-Work as the 96th most powerful woman in the world, and the highest-ranking African woman on the list.
Early life and education
Born in Addis Ababa, Sahle-Work is of Amhara origin. She attended elementary and secondary school at Lycée Guebre-Mariam in Addis Ababa, after which she studied natural science at the University of Montpellier, France. She is fluent in Amharic, French, and English.
Sahle-Work was only the second woman to be appointed an ambassador in Ethiopian history (ambassador Yodit Emiru was the first woman to hold an ambassadorship). She served as the ambassador of both the communist People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and post-civil war Transitional Government of Ethiopia.
A veteran in the Ethiopian foreign service, Sahle-Work served as Ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea, from 1989 to 1993. From 1993 to 2002, she was Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). She later served as Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and was accredited to Tunisia and Morocco from 2002 to 2006.
Sahle-Work subsequently held other high level positions including Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
Career with the United Nations
Until 2011, Sahle-Work served as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).
In 2011, Ban appointed Sahle-Work as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). Under Sahle-Work, the Nairobi office became a more important UN hub for East and Central Africa, according to the 2012 Africa Yearbook.
In June 2018, Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Sahle-Work as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. She was the first woman to hold the post.
President of Ethiopia
Sahle-Work was appointed as president of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018, the first woman to serve in the role and the fourth president since the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition was elected in the newly established Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1995. She replaced Mulatu Teshome, who resigned in unclear circumstances[clarification needed], and Sahle-Work is expected to serve two six-year terms.
Although her role is largely ceremonial (with most executive power lying with the prime minister), Sahle-Work's election made her Ethiopia's first female head of state since Empress Zewditu. As of 2021, she is one of two serving female heads of state in Africa, alongside Samia Suluhu of Tanzania.
On 25 March 2020, Sahle-Work announced on Twitter that she has pardoned more than 4,000 prisoners in a move to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia. She also pardoned more than 1,500 prisoners on 2 April 2020.
On 19 December 2020, Sahle-Work commuted the death sentences of former Derg officials Berhanu Bayeh and Adis Tedla to life imprisonment. They had been granted safe haven in the Italian embassy soon after the Derg regime's collapse in 1991 and had been living there ever since. Italy refused to give them up because of its long-standing opposition to capital punishment. Berhanu and Adis had been sentenced in absentia to death in 2008, but were subsequently granted parole on 24 December.
- "Ethiopia gets first female president". BBC. 25 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
- Gebreselassie, Elias (27 October 2018). "Who is Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia's first female president?". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018.
- "Sahle-Work Zewde, the diplomat who's become Ethiopia's first female president". France24.com. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
"She is an Amhara, the ethnic group that ruled during the communist regime and was marginalised for a long time. The elite from this community would like to get back to business. The Amharas also supported Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. She will play the role of an internal ambassador to reduce any divisions that may exist within this community,” says Prunier.
- "Sahle-Work Zewde poised to be Ethiopia's first female president". borkena.com. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "Ethiopia appoints career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as Africa's only female president". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "Sahle-Work Zewde named Ethiopia's first woman president". Al Jazeera. 25 October 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- "Celebrating Ethiopian Women: Ambassador Sahle-work Zewde". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ethiopia). 22 March 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
- Haslach, Patricia (18 March 2015). "Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia M. Haslach at the Opening of the Second Annual Career Day on Women in Diplomacy". Embassy of the United States in Ethiopia. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
- Schemm, Paul (25 October 2018). "Ethiopia appoints first female president in its modern history in latest reform". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- "News Alert: Ambassador Sahlework Zewde to become Ethiopia's president". Addis Standard. 24 October 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia – Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) Archived 25 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine United Nations, press release of 27 June 2018.
- "Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia – Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU)". United Nations. 27 June 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- Tchounand, Ristel (25 October 2018). "Sahle-Work Zewde devient la première femme chef d'Etat de l'Ethiopie". La Tribune (in French). Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- Dahir, Abdi Latif (25 October 2018). "Ethiopia elects female president Sahle-Work Zewde". Quartz. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
- Mehler, Andreas; Melber, Henning; van Walvaren, Klaas (2012). Africa Yearbook Volume 8: Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2011. Brill Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 9789004241787.
- "Ethiopia's parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as president". Reuters. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- George Obulutsa (25 October 2018), Ethiopia's parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as first female president Archived 25 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters.
- "Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes First Ethiopian Woman President". Al Bawaba. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- Adebayo, Bukola (26 March 2020). "Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread". CNN. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- "Ethiopia pardons additional 1, 559 inmates". Fana Broadcasting. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Ethiopian war criminals able to leave Italian embassy after nearly 30 years