Ethiopia is transforming and women are smashing the glass ceiling. In October 2018, Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, former Under Secretary-General in the United Nations, became President of Ethiopia, the first woman to serve in this position. In November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a new cabinet of 20 people – 10 men and 10 women. The Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Dr. Samuel Urkato Horka, is a former Research Associate at the Center for Governance and Sustainability. Minister Urkato received his PhD in Environment and Development Studies at Addis Ababa University (AAU) and served as president of Wolaita Sodo University. During his PhD studies at Addis Ababa University he joined the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston as an exchange student. He also served as Associate Fellow in the Coasts and Communities (IGERT) graduate program at UMass Boston, which was established in collaboration with Addis Ababa University. His research has focused on environmental management challenges in industry as well as on agriculture and environment.
Mr Abiy also appointed renowned human rights lawyer and activist Meaza Ashenafi as the country's most senior judge. Judge Meaza Ashenafi has also actively engaged with the Center for Governance and Sustainability and visited UMass Boston in April 2013 when she delivered a lecture on Entrepreneurship and Women's Rights in Ethiopia: The Creation of a Women's Bank (ENAT Bank) Meaza Ashenafi’s work to tackle the underage marriage of girls formed the basis of a Hollywood movie, Difret, that Angelina Jolie produced in 2014. The Center for Governance and Sustainability engages in Ethiopia through research, teaching, and training. UMass Boston and Addis Ababa University collaborate closely through the Coasts and Communities program.