Girma Wolde-Giorgis

Girma Wolde-Giorgis is an Ethiopian politician who has been President of Ethiopia since 2001.

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Girma Wolde-Giorgis (Amharic: ግርማ ወልደ ጊዮርጊስ; born December 1924) is an Ethiopian politician who has been President of Ethiopia since 2001. [1] He is the second person to hold the office of President since the founding of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in 1995.

Political career

He was elected President on 8 October 2001, as a relative unknown and a surprise choice, by a unanimous vote of the Ethiopian Parliament.[2] The Ethiopian presidency is largely a symbolic office with little power. Most of the power is vested in the hands of the Prime Minister. Presidents serve six-year terms. Girma was re-elected as President on 9 October 2007.[3]


Girma was born in December 1924 in Addis Ababa. He first attended an Ethiopian Orthodox Church school and later joined the Teferi Mekonnen School in Addis Ababa where he followed his education until the Italian invasion. The school was then renamed "Scuola Principe di Piemonte" (Prince of Piedmonte School) for the Crown Prince of Italy, in Addis Ababa.

Between 1950 and 1952, he received certificates in Management (from Holland), in Air Traffic Management (in Sweden) and Air Traffic Control (in Canada) under a training programme sponsored by the International Civil Aviation Organization. He was one of the first Ethiopians in the Ethiopian airforce dominated by American technicians. Girma tried to motivate Ethiopians to join the airlines and wrote a book on fundamentals. He was an activist and in the Inter Parliamentary Summit in Yugoslavia, he condemned the apartheid system in South Africa.[4] Wolde-Giorgis speaks many languages fluently. They are: Afan Oromo (Oromiffa), Amharic, Tigrinya, Italian, English, and French.[citation needed]

Personal life

Girma Wolde-Giorgis is from the plurality Oromo ethnic group. He is married and has five children. Girma is a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He is widely renowned for his usual presence at Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Meskel Demera Festivals.

Government service

  • 1941: Enlisted at the Ethiopian Military Radio Communication set up by U.K.
  • 1944: Graduated from the Oletta Military Academy as a Sub-Lieutenant
  • 1946: Joined the Air Force in and took various Air Management courses
  • 1948: Became assistant teacher in air navigation and flight control
  • 1951: Became Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Planning at its establishment
  • 1955: Became head of Civil Aviation of Eritrea (Eritrea, at the time, was federated)
  • 1957: Assumed the post of Director General of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and was Board member of the Ethiopian Airlines during the same period.
  • 1961: Became member of the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) of the Imperial Ethiopian Parliament
  • Elected speaker of the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) of the Imperial Ethiopian Parliament for three consecutive years.
  • Helped win a seat for the Ethiopian Parliament in the International Parliamentary Union and attended conferences of the IPU in Switzerland, Denmark and former Yugoslavia and was elected as Vice President of the 52nd Meeting of the International Parliamentary Union.
  • Served as Manager of the Import and Export Enterprise (IMPEX).
  • Served as deputy Commissioner of the Peace Programme drawn up in 1977 by the provisional military government of Ethiopia (Derg) to settle the Eritrean problem peacefully.
  • 2000: Became member of the House of Peoples' Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) after winning in the Becho woreda constituency, Mirab Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region, as an independent candidate in the second round elections

Experience in non-governmental offices

Between 1965 and 1974:

  • Board member of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce
  • Representative for Australian Trade Mission in Ethiopia
  • Founder and Director of the Ghibe Agricultural Association
  • Founder and Director of the Keffa and Illubabor Timber Processing Industry

While in the then province of Eritrea before 1990:

  • President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society- Eritrea Branch (Asmara)
  • Board President of Cheshire Home
  • Managing Director of Leprosy Control Organization

Upon returning to Addis Ababa in 1990, he served as Board Member of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society and Head of its International Logistics Department.

He launched an environmental protection association called Lem Ethiopia in March 1992 to date serving as Vice President of the Board of the Association.