Cultural Diversity Newsletter
Welcome to this issue of the Cultural Diversity Newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to help bring about a greater understanding and tolerance of the many peoples and cultures on this planet. Each month we choose a new country to write about.
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This issue covers a country with an ancient history that we generally don't hear much about.
The population of Ethiopia, formerly called Abyssinia, is extremely varied. The about sixty million inhabitants are a mixture of many ethnic origins and over 70 different languages are spoken. Amharic is the official language, while Arabic and English are also spoken by many. The capital and largest city, Addis Ababa, has a population of about two million.
In the 1870's, Egyptian forces attacked Ethiopia, but were defeated. Ethiopia won a battle with the Sudanese in 1889, though the Ethiopian ruler was killed in the battle. Ethiopia became attractive to European nations after the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, and Italy tried to grab Ethiopia, but was soundly defeated in 1895. However, the Ethiopians weren't so fortunate in 1935, when under Mussolini the country was again invaded. Emperor Haile Selassi, who ruled Ethiopia from 1930 until 1974, appealed in vain to the League of Nations to stop the Italians.
In 1952, Eritrea was joined into a federation with Ethiopia, with UN approval, which resulted in a long war and Eritrean independence in 1993. Since then, conflicts have occurred between the two nations, as well as with other countries, such as the Sudan and Somalia.
Literacy is a first requirement, because a person who can read is in a position to expand his or her knowledge. Language instruction should cover the person's own language, as well as another commonly used language. English would be a good choice, because probably more books have been published in English than in any other language.
Education should further cover basic nutritional information and hygiene. Students should also be taught about the customs, cultures and religions of the more than forty ethnic groups in this culturally diverse part of the world. A tolerance of viewpoints other than one's own is vital in achieving political stability.
The Ethiopian rulers should help the general population by teaching them how to help themselves and others. Broad, basic education as outlined above, would do a great deal to help bring that about. Second, the government should set about improving relationships with neighboring countries and its own provinces. This is done by dialog and giving their people a voice in decision making processes. The gulf of enmity can be bridged, for no matter how many differences exist, we are all people, with very similar hopes and dreams.
Finally, with political stability attained and a literate population, effective measures should be taken to lessen the impact of droughts and other natural disasters, and to build an extensive network of good roads, electrical power and telecommunications, as well as schools and hospitals where they are needed. With that, Ethiopia could become a model to the rest of Africa and the world.
That's all for now, this month. Until next month! Stay well and productive!