Abebe Gellaw is an exiled Ethiopian journalist; he is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is working on a book project, “Ethiopia under Meles: Why the transition from military rule to democracy failed.” He is also a steering committee member of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, an organization that seeks to bring about drastic socio-political changes through nonviolent struggle.
Gellaw holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Addis Ababa University and a post-graduate diploma in law from London Metropolitan University. He began his career in journalism in 1993 as a freelance writer focusing on human rights and political issues. He has worked for various print and online publications including the Ethiopian Herald, the only English daily in the country. Most recently he was a recipient of Stanford University’s Knight Journalism Fellowship and Yahoo’s International Fellowship in 2009. His op-eds, stories, articles and interviews have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the Far East Review, and Global Integrity’s “The Corruption Notebooks 2008.”
My interest in nonviolent struggle was first sparked “…when I got involved in the student union at the Addis Ababa University that was struggling for academic and political freedom. In 1993, 42 professors were fired from the university and the student union was disbanded. I’ve been personally involved in nonviolent action, when as a student I along with others took part in a number of protest rallies, sit-ins and hunger strikes. I have been particularly successful in using journalism as a vehicle of advocacy, mobilizing for a cause and as a means of exposing the abuse of power. I’ve learned that nonviolence is a powerful means to challenge tyranny and dissolve violence.”