The internet is in a tizzy over news Ethiopia has appointed its first woman president Sahle-Work Zewde. An experienced diplomat, Zwede, 68, was named to the ceremonial post by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who recently appointed a cabinet, half of whom are women. Under the Ethiopian constitution, the Prime Minister has the executive power, while the president is more of a figure head position. Upon accepting her historic position, Zewde vowed to work on gender equality in Ethiopia. President Zwede stated:
“To make our dream of building a glorious country a reality, there is no detour or alternative other than a sustaining peace in this country. Therefore, I call upon all of you to safeguard peace on behalf of all mothers who would be affected when peace is disturbed.”
Zewde has held several positions with the United Nations. Most recently President Swede served as U.N. Director General in Nairobi, Kenya. Previously, President Swede served as the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General to the African Union. During the course of her career, she has served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Djibouti, France, Senegal and been accredited to Tunisia and Morocco (France) and Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea (Senegal). President Zewde’s appointment has been met with enthusiasm by heads of state and U.N. officials.
President Sahle-Work Zewde is currently the only woman head of state in the African Union.