- India and Ethiopia relations go back about 2,000 years of recorded history. Indian traders flocked to the ancient port of Adulis, trading silk and spices for gold and ivory. Cultural and commercial relations started when a sizeable Indian community consisting of merchants and artisans came and settled in this ancient land in the latter part of the 19th century. There was movement in the other direction too. Thousands of people of Ethiopian origin became an integral part of Indian society along the West Coast of India. The fort of MurudJanjira in the State of Maharashtra stands as a symbol of African influence in India. These rich and varied exchanges in the ebb and flow of history have brought in their wake remarkable and often overlooked similarities in our traditions and cultures.
- The Siddis of African descent living in India have created a fusion of Indian and African styles of music that thrives today. The main food of Ethiopia Injera is similar to Dosas and Appamin southern India. The sight of women with heads covered and men wearing turbans is strikingly common in Ethiopian and Indian villages. Hospitality in humble homes in countryside of both Ethiopia and India begins with simple offerings because guests are treated as incarnation of god.
- Ethiopia and India had signed a Cultural Agreement in February 1983 and an Executive Programme of Cultural and Educational Cooperation for the years 1998-1999-2000 on 15 May 1998 with General and Financial provisions. A Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the year 2011-13 was under discussion but could not be concluded. A proposed draft Cultural Exchange Programme for the years 2018-2021, approved by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India is under consideration.
- Indian culture is promoted through various initiatives taken by the Mission and through cultural performances on various occasions by the Indian community. The Mission organizes various cultural events with the support of the Government of Ethiopia. ICCR-sponsored cultural troupes are hosted in Ethiopia and Djibouti with a number of performances.
- The Embassy has been actively promoting Indian culture in Ethiopia. Mission has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga and the 4th IDY was celebrated on 16th June 2018 at Hotel Intercontinental, Addis Ababa. The celebrations were organized with the support of local Yoga teachers, Indian community and enthusiasts. Government of Ethiopia was represented by H.E. Prof. AfeworkKassu, State Minister for Foreign Affairs as Chief Guest. Mrs.HeirutZemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Members of Parliament, several Ambassadors, diplomats and people from various walks of life participated. Legendary Ethiopian runner and youth icon Mr. Haile Gebreselassie participated and delivered his message on the occasion, which was widely appreciated. The total turnout was about 1500 which exceeded previous year’s participation of 1000 persons.Mission is also organising the Yoga Classes in the Chancery premises to spread the benefits of Yoga among Ethiopian nationals and expats. Good number of people is attending these weekly Yoga classes. Besides celebrating Gandhi Jayanti, Constitutional Day, SardarVallabhbhai Patel birth anniversary, etc., Yoga/meditation outreach programmes were also held in the Mission.
- The Mission participated in the 12th Ethiopian International Film Festival (ETHIOIFF) from 25 to 31 December 2017 with screening of three Amharic-subtitled Hindi films. Kathak and Rajastani folk dance performances were organized. The textile exhibition ‘Vastram – Splendid World of Indian Textile’ curated by Ms. Shelly Jyothi was mounted in Addis Ababa in December 2015. Ethiopian traditional dance troupe YeTemesgenLijoch, was sent to India in October 2015 for performance during IAFS-III. An Ethiopian cultural troupe performed in India during the Africa Day Celebrations from 25-26 May 2017 in New Delhi. During the celebrations of the Africa Day on 25th May 2018, a 10-member Ethiopian National Theatre Traditional Band visited India during 23 -31 May 2018 and gave performances in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Goa. This Mission also participated in the Asia Pacific Film Festival organized in Addis Ababa during 15-23 September 2018 organized a group of 12 Embassies from Asia Pacific countries. Hindi movie “Poorna: Courage has no limit” was screened during this film festival.An 8-member Indian Dance group from ICCR “Tanva Creative Group Ensemble” visited Ethiopia during 6-10 February 2019. They performed in Adama, Addis Ababa and Hawassa.
- NegeriLencho, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office of Ethiopia visited India from 19 to 27 March 2017 under ICCR’s Distinguished Visitor’s Programme. Ms.MeskeremAssegued, a renowned art critic in Ethiopia and Director, Zoma Contemporary Art Centre, Addis Ababa was sent to India from 21 February to 3 March 2015 under ICCR’s Academic Visitor’s Programme. Ms.ZenebuTadesseWoldetsadik, Ethiopian Minister of Women, Child & Youth Welfare was selected by ICCR in 2015 for the Distinguished Alumni Award for her outstanding contribution towards bilateral relations between India and Ethiopia in the field of promotion of welfare of women, children and youth in Ethiopia. Dr.KabaUrgesa, State Minister of Agriculture & Livestock of Ethiopia visited New Delhi to receive the ICCR’s Distinguished Alumni Award for the year 2018..
- Celebrations of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi: On 2 October 2018, Mission celebrated the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in the Chancery premises. This event was the launch of two years celebrations in Ethiopia. The event was attended by a large gathering comprising of Ambassadors, Diplomats, Ethiopian nationals and Indian community. Video of bhajan ‘Vaishav Jan Toh’ sung by famous Ethiopian singer Betty G., who has won three awards in three categories (Best Female Artist in Eastern Africa, Album of the Year & Revelation of the Year) in AFRIMA-2018 held in November 2018 in Accra, was also released through LED projection. Another video by Artists of Studio of Production RTD, Djibouti singing ‘Vaishav Jan Toh’ was also released. This is a special tribute from the singers of Ethiopia and Djibouti to Gandhiji on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary celebrations. On this occasion, commemorative postage stamps, sent by the Department of Posts, on Mahatma Gandhi were also released. This Mission has planned various activities during the period of two years. On 9th June, 2019, a Heritage Peace Walk was organized in the Piassa area, Addis Ababa to spread message of peace and non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi.