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Cablegate: Embassy Addis Ababa Nominates Girma Abebe for Fsn

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #1132 1141409
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231409Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0397

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001132

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF EXECUTIVE OFFICE, HR/OE/PC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT APER AFSN
SUBJECT: EMBASSY ADDIS ABABA NOMINATES GIRMA ABEBE FOR FSN
OF THE YEAR

REF: STATE 028557

1. Nominee: Mr. Girma Abebe. Official Position Title:
Political Specialist. Grade: FSN-11. Total Years of Service:
16. Type of Appointment: DH.

2. BEGIN NOMINATION TEXT: Girma Abebe, Addis Ababa's senior
Political Section Foreign Service National, one of the most
senior FSNs in our Mission, with nearly two decades of
dedicated work, is nominated by FSNs and the entire Mission
for FSN of the Year in recognition of his exemplary work.

3. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: Girma played a critical role
supporting the sudden influx of TDY personnel handling
security, information exchange, and humanitarian crisis
resulting from Ethiopia's incursion into Somalia. Girma's
analysis of ethnic and religious violence in the Ogaden and
elsewhere was critical in our assessment for Washington. His
assessment of the Somali clans and support structure of the
ONLF insurgent group helped us understand the linkages
between the Ogaden and Ethiopia's fighting in Somalia. Girma
helped us navigate among Muslim and Christian sects, factions
and groups as we began engaging all religious faiths in
dialogue to better understand conflict and to defuse friction.

4. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: Girma was our key analyst during
the historic 2005 national elections, one of the most
transparent and open elections in Africa, and the ensuing
violence and government marginalizing of the opposition.
Through personal courage in the face of threats from
opposition and government groups, Girma arranged meetings,
exposing us to influential people not met by diplomats and
human rights groups, and provided accurate information of
what the U.S. needed to do to encourage political dialogue
and openness. He fearlessly investigated human rights
problems, making our Human Rights Report the most
hard-hitting and respected thus far. We are pushing the
government for political space for the opposition to ensure
transparency in the 2010 election and improve human rights.

5. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: As FSN Committee President for ten
years, Girma helped us revise the FSN handbook, improve
medical options and raise FSN salaries. His program of FSNs
co-hosting new American military families to post is unique
among sponsorship programs in Africa. He pioneered support
groups for FSN families facing financial hardship.

6. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: Our security threat assessment
rose dramatically due to extremists infiltrating into
Ethiopia from Somalia. Girma worked his extensive contact
network to help us assess the threat and gain accurate
information for Washington. Girma supported USAID and NGO
groups as we assessed the Ogaden crisis, helping us look
beyond humanitarian relief to forge an integrated strategy
for the entire country in health, education, development and
nutrition as a long-term solution to Ethiopia's problems.
USAID and the Ethiopian government are advocating a similar
approach.

7. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: Girma is creative, innovative and
dedicated to helping us understand the fundamental problems
in different ways, to develop sustainable solutions and new
ideas to tackle poverty. Girma helped us establish the
American Chamber of Commerce, only the third in sub-Saharan
Africa, to meet our "trade not aid" approach. It will help
us expand trade, create jobs, build capacity and give hope
for a better tomorrow.

8. NOMINATION TEXT CONT'D: Girma is without exception one of
the most accomplished, innovative thinkers and courageous
risk takers. He would stand as an exceptional FSN of the
Year recipient in the line of past winners. END NOMINATION
TEXT.

9. CITATION TO READ: In recognition of unparalleled
commitment and dedication to the pursuit of U.S. national
strategic interests and uncommon courage in advancing human
rights.

10. Mr. Girma's position description and performance
standards for the position were thoroughly reviewed by the
Joint Country Awards Committee. The Committee certifies that
the employee's performance of all important job elements
substantially exceed normal requirements.
YAMAMOTO

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