The Fiends of Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (FEDTF) is organized in accordance with the Delaware General Corporation Law. The FEDTF is a not-for-profit organization. All of the money donated to FEDTF will be used exclusively to pursue the organization’s objectives and to keep it in proper operation with maximum accountability and transparency.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The FEDTF Board of Directors is the apex governance body. It comprises of ten(10) persons* drawn from the diaspora globally. Functions of the Board of Directors include:

  • Provide overall leadership and set the strategic direction, policy, oversight and accountability of the EDTF
  • Appoint the EDTF Secretariat Executive Director (ED) and Deputy Executive Director of the EDTF
  • Approve an appropriate executive compensation for the EDTF Staff as needed, including developing an annual budget
  • Approve the EDTF Operational Manual detailing project submission procedures, formats, report submissions…etc
  • Review and approve project funding requests of Implementing Organizations
  • Establish appropriate Board Committees that will assist the Board to function smoothly and ensure proper accountability
  • Commission periodic reviews of the EDTF
  • Secure the cooperation of Regional and appropriate Federal government organs for the efficient and smooth implementation of EDTF ‘s overall objectives and activities
  • Adopt its own rules of procedure and
  • Perform an annual evaluation on any hired staff as applicable

Gabriel Negatu, Interim Chair

Mr. Gabriel is Director General for Eastern Africa at the African Development Bank (ADB). He has portfolio management responsibility for lending and non-lending operations valued in excess of US$ 9 billion in 13 countries. His portfolio mix includes sovereign and non-sovereign operations, policy-based operations, sector-wide projects, transaction advisory services, analytics and knowledge products. Prior to his current position, Mr. Negatu founded and directed the Bank’s Economic & Financial Governance Department and was responsible for economic/financial reforms in over 30 countries during the height of the global financial crisis. He started his carrier in the Bank’s Policy & Compliance Review Department where he managed relations with stakeholder groups and mainstreamed innovations such as impact assessment, harmonization and alignment.

Mr. Negatu completed advanced studies in several universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University Business School and the University of Manchester. He is a widely sought after speaker and investment strategist featured in leading publications on Africa.

Lulite H. Ejigu, Treasurer

Ms. Lulite Hailu Ejigu is Executive Director in Risk Management at JP Morgan Chase, a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries across the globe. Ms. Ejigu provides Risk Oversight for the Residential Mortgage and Home Equity Portfolio and Risk Policy Management and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. She has extensive financial industry experience in Operations, Process Engineering, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Compliance Advisory and Credit Risk functions across the Commercial and Home Lending businesses. She has been recognized as a Market Leader in Dallas as well as a Diversity and Inclusion champion in different capacities across the firm. Most notably, she is a member of the Consumer & Community (CCB) Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council and serves as the Texas Co-Chair of “Women on the Move” in Risk Management. Outside of JP Morgan Chase, Ms. Ejigu is the founder and CEO of MAMO Worldwide, an organization whose mission is to serve, restore, and connect individuals with rare essentials for the advancement of the communities they serve. Ms. Ejigu holds an Executive MBA from Texas A&M University – Commerce with a focus on Global Operations and Strategic Management, as well as a BA in Psychology with a minor in Communications Studies from Texas Tech University. Ms. Ejigu enjoys dancing, hiking and traveling, and serve as a proud member of her local church, Shoreline City, located in Garland, TX.

Dr. Menna Demessie, Secretary

Dr. Menna Demessie is the Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) where she leads research and policy initiatives that affect African Americans and people of African descent. She is the founder and co-managing editor of CBCF’s Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research. She worked on democratic governance and gender equality in Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and received the 2016 DC Mayor’s Award for Community Advocacy Award for lobbying for the interests of African communities in Washington D.C. She is the chair of the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED), one of the oldest Ethiopian diaspora youth organizations in the United States promoting academic excellence, community service, and cultural heritage . She received her joint PhD in public policy and political science from the University of Michigan and received the Congressional Research Award from the Dirksen Congressional Center. Dr. Demessie conducted the first and only empirical and qualitative study of the influence of African congressional caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives and its influence on U.S. African foreign policy. She is an adjunct professor at the University of California Washington Center, alumni board member on the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, serves on the Board of Visitors at Western Reserve Academy, and is an advisor on the Congressional Fellowship Program Advisory Committee for the American Political Science Association. Dr. Demessie enjoys performing the spoken word, comedy, playing piano and basketball.

Elias Wondimu

Elias Wondimu is a social entrepreneur, knowledge broker, institution builder, please and cultural ambassador. He is the CEO and President of TSEHAI Corp., a global knowledge company, and founding director of TSEHAI Publishers and its four imprints. Since the 2011 closure of Howard University Press, TSEHAI is the only African or African American publisher housed in an American or European university. In this unique position, Elias plays a crucial role in filling the global knowledge gap on Ethiopia and Africa. Currently, Elias is a lecturer at the LARB/USC Publishing Workshop; a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities; Resident Scholar at Loyola Marymount University; contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books; and advisor to the Ethiopian manuscript collection program at Princeton University. Elias has received several awards and commendations, including Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II by the Crown Council of Ethiopia (2017); Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation (2007); featured in Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles (2008); and received the Innovative Global Project Award by Loyola Marymount University (2014). He also appeared in many national and international media outlets including NPR, BBC, Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles Times, and more.

Henok Tesfaye

For over twenty years, Mr. Henok Tesfaye has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of U Street Parking, Inc. (USP), a company he founded in 1998. Under Mr. Tesfaye’s leadership, USP has become a premier parking company in the highly competitive parking market in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Mr. Tesfaye’s efforts proved successful when U Street Parking, Inc. was awarded multi- million-dollar contracts to manage parking facilities at five of the busiest airports on the East Coast, adding Orlando International Airport earlier this year. Mr. Tesfaye is also involved in the real-estate sector, at United Investments with multi-million dollar properties currently in development within the DC Metropolitan Area. Mr. Tesfaye has been featured in multiple publications. The Washington Post described him as “a District of Columbia entrepreneurial success story, a savvy and focused business with good standing within the community.” Mr. Tesfaye is a Board Member at Capital Bank and the Washington Architectural Foundation, as well as a member of numerous civic and professional associations including the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Enterprise Development Group, and the National Parking Association. Mr. Tesfaye also plays an important role in giving back to the community. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Mary Joy Foundation USA, a non-profit organization that seeks to help children and seniors in his homeland, Ethiopia.

Kassahun (Kassy) Kebede

Kassahun (Kassy) Kebede has served as a director of WorldSpace since 2005. He is the founder and managing partner of PANTON Capital Group, a New York based credit arbitrage hedge fund established in February 2004. From 1995 to 2004, Mr. Kebede worked at Deutsche Bank in a number of positions, ending as the head of a bank-wide management task force concerned with measuring, assessing and reducing the bank’s exposures (trading and loans) in Latin America. Previously, Mr. Kebede worked in the Global Markets Division focusing on the bank’s exposure in Asia and Latin America. Mr. Kebede also served as the head of equity derivatives and a member of the division’s Management and Commitment Committees. He originally joined Deutsche Bank in 1995 as head of European fixed income derivatives. From 1994 to 1995, Mr. Kebede was head of the credit derivatives department at Merrill Lynch. From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Kebede was employed at Bankers Trust. Mr. Kebede earned a M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Marquette University in 1985. Source: WorldSpace, Inc.

Lemma W. Senbet

Lemma W. Senbet is the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, and former Executive Director/CEO of African Economic Research Consortium (AERC: www.aercafrica.org), the largest and oldest economic research and training network in Africa. Prior to Maryland and AERC, he was a distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and held the Charles Albright Endowed Chair. Prof Senbet has achieved global recognition for his extensive and widely cited contributions to corporate finance, international finance, and financial sector reforms and development. He has received numerous recognitions for his impact on the profession. He has been elected twice as director of the American Finance Association and is a past president of the Western Finance Association (WFA). In 2000, Prof Senbet was inducted into the Financial Economists Roundtable (FER), a distinguished group of world-wide financial economists. In 2006, he was inducted into the Fellow of the Financial Management Association (FMA) in recognition of his career-long distinguished scholarship. In 2005, Prof Senbet was awarded an honorary doctorate by Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia’s flagship university. In 2012, he was awarded the Ethiopian Diaspora (SEED) award for exemplary lifetime achievements and community service. Prof Senbet has advised the World Bank, the IMF, the UN, AfDB, and various agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Africa on such issues as financial sector reforms. Regarding his role in the US financial industry, Prof Senbet was a director of Fotris Funds and is currently an independent director for the Hartford Funds.

Minelik A. Getahun

Ambassador Minelik Alemu Getahun is a 2021 Fellow with Harvard University, Advanced Leadership Initiative. Prior to his current position,  Mr. Getahun served as Assistant Director General (ADG), Global Issues Sector, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) December 2014-December 2020 and oversaw Programs covering Traditional Knowledge, Building Respect for Intellectual Property (IP), IP and Global Challenges as well as External Relations. Before joining WIPO. 

Before WIPO, Mr. Getahun served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations Offices in Geneva and in Vienna and other international organizations in Switzerland and in Vienna. He was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Switzerland and (non-resident) to Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. He was the legal advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, and has held different diplomatic positions. He holds a Master’s degree in Public International Law from University College London and a Bachelor of Laws from Addis Ababa University. He served as a member of the African Union Commission on International Law.

Yehenew T. Walilegne

Yehenew Tsegaye Walilegne is Senior Legal Counsel at the World Bank Group (WBG), based in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the WBG, Yehenew was Legal Officer at WHO (Geneva) where he handled international law, constitutional law, and international civil service law matters for eight years. Yehenew has also worked as Lecturer in Law and Assistant Dean of Addis Ababa University School of Law; Rule of Law Project Manager and Head of Project Office with UNDP Sudan; Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and in-house counsel for the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation.

Yehenew has co-authored a book on Ethiopian labor and employment law, and a monograph on international migration, health and human rights. He has also published a number of articles on the hydro politics of the Nile Basin; labor market flexibility and employment and income security; state of emergency and human rights in peer-reviewed journals. Yehenew earned his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree (Distinction) in 1997 from Addis Ababa University School of Law, Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Law in 2001 from Dalhousie University Law School (Nova Scotia, Canada), and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Human Rights Law (summa cum laude) in 2004 from Notre Dame University Law School (Indiana, United States). He has also attended highly coveted short courses in international law and forced migration at The Hague Academy of International Law and the UN International Law Commission and the University of Oxford.

Dr. Zaki Sherif

Dr. Zaki Sherif is a Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine through the GHUCCTS program. He completed his studies and training programs at Howard, Georgetown and Stanford Universities. Dr. Sherif is also a medical scientist specializing in cancer research and translational medicine. Among his notable accomplishments are discovering novel genetic mutations in breast cancer and identifying biomarkers for early diagnosis of liver cancer. Dr. Zaki Sherif has numerous scientific publications, sits on the editorial boards of six scientific journals and reviews over two dozen research papers annually for over twelve journal publications. He has been recognized for his scientific work with national and international awards including the Hall of Fame Society for Science and Technology, American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) and the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SSED) among many others. Dr. Sherif has mentored and graduated over 90 MD’s, and PhD’s in the last two decades; served as a United Nations’ visiting scholar / professor at Addis Ababa University Faculty of Medicine; submitted a blueprint proposal to the Ethiopian Government on cancer center design and operation and made trips to Ethiopia on medical missions and peace negotiations. Dr. Sherif has also been a very active participant in local and international Ethiopian Muslim communities serving as a founding member of Badr Ethiopia and First Hijrah Foundation in the United States.

FOUNDING ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS

An 18-member EDTF Advisory Council is appointed by H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed with a global mandate. Its principal functions were:

  • Provide advice on mobilizing the Ethiopian Diaspora Community globally to make financial contributions to the EDTF Account on a timely and sustained basis to ensure the realization of the EDTF objectives;
  • Promote the establishment of chapters globally in cities and countries with significant presence of Ethiopians to increase the EDTFs outreach and resource mobilization;
  • Serve as a discussion forum for the formulation of strategies for adequate resource development and funding of development projects within the mission framework of the EDTF;

PROF. ALEMAYEHU G. MARIAM, Council Chair

Professor of Political Science and Attorney at Law, California State University

DR. BISRAT AKLILU

Senior Development & International Affairs Advisor

ELIAS WONDIMU

President and CEO of TSEHAI Corp.

GABRIEL NEGATU

Director General, Eastern Africa, African Development Bank

KASSAHUN KEBEDE

Founder and Managing Partner of Cepheus Growth Capital and Panton Capital Group

PROF. LEMMA W. SENBET

William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, University of Maryland, College Park

LULITE H. EJIGU

Executive Director, Risk Management Strategy & Advisory at JP Morgan Chase

DR. MENNA DEMESSIE

Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation INC.

MIMI ALEMAYEHU

Managing Director, BlackRhino Group

MINELIK A. GETAHUN

Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organizations

OBANG METHO

Executive Director, Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, Human Rights Activist

ROBSAN ITANA

President and CEO, Global Translation & Interpreter

TAMAGNE BEYENE

Public Figure, Human Rights Activist

TASHITA TUFAA

President and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Network (MTN)

YEHENEW WALILEGNE

Counsel at The World Bank

NAJIB MOHAMMED

Architect, Manager of Facility Operations, Washington Convention Authority

HENOK TESFAYE

President and CEO, U Street Parking, Inc.

DR. ZAKI SHERIF

Professor, Howard University College of Medicine