Accepted paper:

Voice for the voiceless? Ethiopian Diaspora Influence in Homeland Politics


Abel Kemal Endashaw

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper will be understand the transnational political activism among the Ethiopian diaspora and see if they have any influence in the homeland politics but also in their host countries by lobbying host governments to promote their causes to get international attention.

Paper long abstract:

In 2016 Ethiopia has been caught by ongoing wave of protests by two of the largest ethnic groups in the country - the Oromo's and the Amhara's. Soon, the main causes of the protesters have changed and both groups started to demand more economic and political rights. The Ethiopian diaspora was following events very closely. Ethiopia has a sizable number of Diaspora population scattered around the world and these Diasporas are known to be very active participants in homeland politics. Unlike in the past, they were not only following these two protests, but they were also trying to be part of the conversation in real time with the help of new forms of communication. By doing that they have played a key role in becoming a voice for the voiceless by informing the outside world about what's happening inside the country as there was an information gap. It's evident by looking at the online conversation that the Ethiopian Diaspora is having during these two protests, their political participation and activism has increased. But, little is known to what extent their involvement in the homeland politics have real and tangible influence in the politics back home and if they have put pressure on the government to change courses. To this end this paper hopes to examine and understand the changing dynamics of the Ethiopian diaspora influence in their homeland politics by looking at these two protests as a starting point.

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The African diaspora: to live away to exist at home?