Press Release: Eritrea Scholars and Professionals Gather to Devise a Roadmap for the Country’s Future

Press Release: Eritrea Scholars and Professionals Gather to Devise a Roadmap for the Country’s Future

Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy

Washington – More than 150 Eritreans gathered on August 14, 2021 at the Catholic University in the Eritrean Scholars and Professionals Workshop to discuss the current situation in Eritrea and its impact on the Horn of Africa, as well as begin planning for the time after the regime of Isaias Afwerki has ended.  The event, organized by the Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (ERIPS), was attended by more than 150 scholars and professionals in person, five dozen participating on Zoom live and an untold number otherwise online, including those from outside the United States.

150 Eritreans gathered on August 14, 2021 at the Catholic University in the Eritrean Scholars and Professionals Workshop to discuss the current situation in Eritrea and its impact on the Horn of Africa,

Numerous scholars made presentations or participated in the discussions, such as Prof. Bereket Habte Selassie, a retired professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who is a leading scholar on African law and government; Professor Kidane Mengisteab, an African Studies professor at Pennsylvania State University who has conducted research on traditional institutions in African governance, Professor Araya Debessay, an active participant in the Eritrean affairs since 1974, Dr. Saba T. Kidane, a Ph.D. graduate of the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, who is a conflict resolution expert and  Mr. Nureddin Abdulkadir who has served his country as an activist and community leader since the early 1970s.

The experts laid out the disastrous situation facing Eritrea at this time which includes political instability, conflicts and state collapse with a failed economy, financial instability, poverty, poor infrastructure, high unemployment, mass migration, refugee crisis, forced conscription, indiscriminate imprisonment and mental health problems that include post-traumatic stress disorder. Participants also highlighted the challenges of transitioning to a democratic governance and the imperatives of reintegrating soldiers and refugees back into the Eritrean society.

The Isaias regime has prevented the establishment of genuine democracy in Eritrea and has stunted its growth among succeeding generations. Therefore, participants called for the education of Eritreans on proper democratic discourse to ensure a smooth and stable transition and to prevent the democratic process from being hijacked once a new government is installed. Participants recommended that a process must be devised early on to identify qualified individuals through elections in their local communities whose main priority is the welfare of Eritrean citizens. They also highlighted approaches for encouraging mass participation in transitioning the country to democracy.

To successfully change the regime in Eritrea, which has not only caused the myriad of problems facing Eritrea itself but also the entire Horn of Africa region, the workshop consensus was that efforts must include building trust and cohesiveness among Eritreans, human and institutional capacity building, and united effort of all Eritrean political and civil society organizations for the primary goal of bringing swift and sustainable change in Eritrea. To effectively implement such a singular goal, participants called for a united front or congress.

The strategic location of the country and a vast number of Eritrean professionals in diaspora will aid Eritrea’s potential for being a hub of investments in the region.  However, because of Eritrea’s ruined economy under the current government, participants recommended that the fall of the regime should be followed by an Economic Forum with business leaders, investors, economists, and experts from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, etc. This can be a starting platform to adopt a solid policy for economic recovery and reconstruction of the country.

To recover from the negative impact in the region caused by the Isaias regime’s instigation and involvement in conflicts with its neighbors, participants recommended the formation of an alliance and collaboration with regional stakeholders to ensure peace, security and stability.  Participants further believe there must be work done on effective diplomacy with the United States, the European Union and other entities in the international community to secure peace in Eritrea and the Horn of Africa.

Participants of the workshop discussed in detail four highly important and timely topics in a roundtable format and presented their recommendations. The topics focused on the challenges and opportunities Eritrea will face post-PFDJ; the roles and responsibilities of Eritrean intellectuals in contributing towards the effort for political change; the challenges of reconstruction and social-economic developments; the mandate of Eritrean intellectuals in building trust and harmony amongst the Eritreans; and the need for Eritrean intellectuals in contributing towards peace, security and stability in the Horn of Africa. Participants of the workshop were also updated by ERIPS member Dr. Astier Alemseged about the Isaias regime’s refusal to collaborate with the WHO and the COVAX program and its refusal to the Eritrean public the protection that could be gained by the freely available CIOVD-19 vaccines. Participants of the workshop noted the atrocious and irresponsible acts of the Isaias regime as this is yet another harm it is inflicting to Eritreans.

ERIPS plans to take a leading role in furthering the discussions begun during this event to successfully press for bringing socio-economic and political change and to create an Eritrea that allow its more than five million people to enjoy justice, experience prosperity and exist peacefully and harmoniously with its neighbors.

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6 comments

  1. Eritrean diaspora has been ineffective and has been convening several times to no avail. As long as the beliefs and myths that foreign enemies are lurking outside Eritrea to take advantage is in the head of the populace, Eritrea will remain eternally under HIGDEF. The sad observation is that such belief is also deeply entrenched in the Intellectuals of the opposition. Including those convening as described in this article.

    While the Intellectuals in the opposition recognise Isayas as the enemy, the distractions by such beliefs is enormous. The paranoia is beyond belief.

    Eritrean intellectuals instead of trying to affect policy at a higher level and dream they can be part of the government, they should galvanise their efforts into educating themselves and their people where things are going wrong. This way the people are well informed and when the change comes they can take matters in their own hands. As things stand even if Isayas is removed, Eritrea will continue to disappoint.

    The paranoia of Eritreans is beyond belief. Though in different camps, they are singing in unison in terms of buying Isayas’s wholesale ideology that others are trying to grab their country, this is including the United States.

    The United States is currently and seemingly supporting the WOYANE and in the eyes of the Eritrean opposition intellectuals the Conspiracy is Global and will undermine Eritrea and Eritreans.

    It’s a hopeless case. Talking and drafting policies is fruitless. Everyone wants to become a politician at a higher level which is seen by the grassroots in Eritrean diaspora as power grabbing.

    No matter how many times la crème de la crème of the diaspora meets up, change cannot be achieved. First and foremost they need to be the Think Tank of changing people’s perception before they can sit on the throne.

    They want someone to do the grafting in the ground for them and by the virtue of being Eritreans they want the Eritrean people to believe that they are better than the current government.

    I do recognise that the meeting wants to invovle and people to elect at a community level. But when the conspiracy of Eritrea being in danger and the concept of national Identity is not on the right track, I cannot see the Eritrean diaspora having the correct mindset to recognise the current government as the enemy.

    It is a case of of getting the balance right. Which enemy is bigger?
    1. Isayas
    2. Foreigners
    3. Eritreans who fail to recognise other Eriteans as Nationals.

    The concept of national identity is simply bunkrupt.

  2. The regime launched a total war in Tigray (about 10 months ago); it was done not in secrecy, as some would have it, but in contempt and complete indifference to the public (at home and the diaspora opposition abroad.) What Eritrea, the federal government of Ethiopia and the Amhara Regional forces did across the Mereb in the south was close to genocide. It was horrific to the eyes of the Western world, until the recent Afghanistan military/political debacle. And yet, the Eritrean elite have the audacity to discuss the future after the downfall of Isaias. They lack the boldness to debate and condemn the present horror exported, by none other than their their beloved Eritrea. What a scandal!!

  3. It is good to plan a road map for the bright future of Eritrea. But first it is better to be practical.. at this time the Horn Africa is passing through a challenging time which influences it’s future development. it is better for those who consider themselves as Champions of the Eritrean people to be reminded that it is a challenging time for all the horn people as long as external imperialist forces and a cancer of the horn (TPLF) existed.

    1. Petros! please consult my initial comment! Though you condemn Isayas you endorse his ideology. Not sure if I am addressing the Petros who was against the regime on human rights basis.

  4. It is important and very important. “I think such seminars are to assess the situation in Eritrea. After the fall of the Isaias regime, the country will be in a state of sluggishness again, and this requires collective action from all and a convergence of views on basic issues. The poor and sick citizen and the search for the restoration of educational and health facilities and the opening of the way for international companies according to the law that is agreed upon, and I mention this in the intervention in Arabic.

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