Ethiopian Men and Women of the year 2002 is pleased to recognize the following greatest Ethiopian individuals as “Ethiopian Men and Women of the year 2002” for their commitment, dedication and accomplishment in their field.

Dr. Tewolde Gebre Egziabher – Environmental Scientist and activist

Tewolde Berhan was born in 1940, graduated in 1963 from the University of Addis Ababa and took a doctorate from the University of Wales in 1969.
He went back to the University of Addis Ababa and was Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1974-78. From 1978-83 he was keeper of the National Herbarium, from 1983-91 President of Asmara University and from 1991-94 Director of the Ethiopian Conservation Strategy Secretariat. Since 1995 he has been General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia, which is effectively Ethiopia´s Ministry of the Environment.

During the 1990s Tewolde put much of his energy into the negotiations at the various biodiversity related fora, especially the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In this time he built up a strong group of well prepared African negotiators who began to take the lead in the G77 and China group. This effectively began to change the geo-political balance of power in the negotiations: Africa came out with united, strong, progressive positions (such as no patents on living materials and the recognition of community rights).

This influenced and strengthened the G77 and China´s negotiating positions.

Tewolde was instrumental in securing recommendations from the OAU encouraging African countries to develop and implement community rights, a common position on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), and a clear stance against patents on life. Tewolde also guided the drafting of the OAU model legislation for community rights, which is now used as the common basis for all African countries.

At the 1999 biosafety negotiations in Cartagena, Colombia, Tewolde was the spokesperson for the majority of the G77 countries, called The Like-Minded Group. These negotiations ended in a deadlock, but reached a successful conclusion in Montreal in January 2000. Tewolde´s leadership of the Like-Minded Group in the negotiations played a key role in achieving an outcome – against strong USA and EU opposition – that protects biosafety and biodiversity and respects traditional and community rights in developing countries.

Biosafety negotiations – flashbacks Third World Network
“Tewolde Berhan G Egziabher, the spokesperson of the Like-Minded Group (Group of 77 & China) at the Montreal and Cartagena talks and who has been involved in the biodiversity negotiations since the Nairobi Conference in 1991, reflects on his experience as a negotiator from the Third World at the biosafety talks.”

They came. They talked. And weasled. And left The
“There was, however, one genuine hero: Tewolde Egziabher, a slight, asthmatic Ethiopian who heads his country’s environment protection agency. Twice, by the sheer force of his somewhat diffident personality, he turned the whole conference around. On the first occasion, the summit seemed set to take a big step backwards by giving the World Trade Organisation, which allows no obstacle to free trade, the power to override international environment agreements.”

Haile Gebresselassie – the greatest distance runner of all times.

Haile was born in the province of Arsi in Central Ethiopia. Arsi is a fertile region in the central Ethiopian plateau that has produced great long-distant runners like Derartu Tulu, Fatuma Roba, and of course, Haile Gebreselassie. Haile was inspired by his countrymen, the Ethiopian marathon legend, Abebe Bikila and also 5k and 10k Olympic gold medalist Miruts Yifter. As a child he had to run 10 kilometers a day each way to go and come back from school. At age 16, without any formal training, he entered the Addis Ababa marathon, and finished in 2:42.

Haile rose to international prominence in 1992 when he won the 5000m and 10,000m World Junior championships. In 1993 at the Stuttgart World championships, he won the 10,000m and got second in the 5000m. Haile set his first World Record in the 5000m in 12:56.96 in Hengelo, Holland in 1994. By breaking the 6 year old world record of Said Aouita.

In May 1995, Haile broke Moses Kiptanui’s World Record in the 2 miles race by clocking 8:07.46. Only a week later, Haile broke the world record in 10K by clocking a new speed of 26:43.53 in a race in Hengelo, Holland. Haile won another victory in the World Championship 10,000m by earning a gold medal. A 12:44.39 record in the 5K race in Zurich, in August brought the number of world records broken by Haile to four. Before the end of the year, Haile had broken two world records; one in indoor 5K in 13:10.98, and another one in 3K in 7:30.72.

The following year (i.e., 1996), Haile devoted most of his time in preparing for the upcoming Atlanta Olympics where he wanted to repeat the double wins in 5K and 10K of his childhood idol, Miruts Yifter. In Atlanta in the 10K race, Haile followed Kenyan Paul Tergat around until the final lap, then he passed Tergat and went on for a gold medal, in an Olympic record time of 27:07.34. Tergat got silver in 27:08.17 and Salah Hissou of Morocco got bronze in 27:24.67. However, the hard track in the Atlanta Olympics custom made for sprinters hurt Haile’s feet into leaving blisters. Haile, therefore, was unable to compete in the 5K and bring one more gold for his country.

However, the win at the Olympics earned Haile a hero status along with the legendary Abebe Bikila, and Mamo Wolde. Haile won more record in the same year. In February of 1997 in Stuttgard, Germany, Haile set a new world record in 1500m by clocking 3:32.39. With this win and world record, Haile Gebrselassie showed excellent versatility by moving down and performing so well at an event he doesn’t normally compete in. On Feb 20th Haile once again broke a world record by clocking 12:59.04 in indoor 5K race in Stockholm, Sweden. This was Haile’s 7th world record.

In Hengelo, Holland on May 31st Haile and Noureddine Morceli went after a million dollars, which went to the winner who broke 8:00 minutes for the 2 mile race. However, Haile was by himself as Morceli dropped out in the middle, and ended up running 8:01.08, a world record; but out of the money. On July 4th 1997, in Oslo, Norway, Haile had an outstanding 10K race where he had a huge lead by himself, lapped the rest of the world class field , and set a new 10K world record at 26:31.32. In the following month, Haile Gebrselassie went and got another 10k World Championship to be followed by another in Zurich, on Aug 13th, 1997 where he once again won a 5K race by setting a new world in 12:41.86, three seconds better than his previous mark.


1999 World Championships, champion, 10,000 meters
1999 World Indoor Championships, champion, 3,000 meters
1999 Oslo and Zurich Grand Prix events, champion, 5,000 meters
1998 Helsinki Grand Prix, champion, 5,000 meters (world record)
1998 Hengelo Grand Prix, champion, 10,000 meters (world record)
1998 Grand Prix Final, champion, 3,000 meters
1997 World Championships, champion, 10,000 meters
1996 Olympic Games, champion, 10,000 meters
1996 Zurich Grand Prix, 2nd, 5,000 meters
1995 World Championships, champion, 10,000 meters
1993 World Championships, champion, 10,000 meters
1993 World Championships, 2nd, 5,000 meters
1992 World Junior Championships, champion, 10,000 and 5,000 meters

Gashe Abera Molla – Social Activist

Gashe Abera Molla - Social Activist

Derartu Tulu – The first woman to win a gold medal at two separate Olympic Games

Berhane Adere (ETH ) 3000m/5000m ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 2002 – FEMALE

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