Interview: Semhar Araia on ‘East Africa Today’

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Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director of DAWN
Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director of DAWN

By East Africa Today,

‘East Africa Today’ gives Semhar Araia, Founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), a call to catch up on developments in the Horn of Africa.

Ms. Araia speaks to East Africa Today about the political and military stalemate between Eritrea and Ethiopia, examines whether the two countries will reconcile their differences and provides her assessment on the state of East Africa in the post-Meles Zenawi era. She also discusses the role the African diaspora has to play in shaping social and political developments in Africa beyond the simplistic views of just being a source of remittances. 

Ms. Araia also dissects the perceived divide between the African diaspora and Africans that are on the ground.

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Ms. Araia has over ten years experience as a United States foreign policy analyst and advocate on the Horn of Africa and Sudan, with a specialization in conflict resolution, development and diaspora engagement. She previously served as a Horn of Africa regional policy advisor for the United States Congress and various African and international non-profit organizations. She began her career as an attorney in the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission for the implementation of the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process.

Ms. Araia is a 2012 White House Champion of Change and the African Union’s Diaspora Awardee of the Year for her work with DAWN and supporting the African diaspora. She was one of 12 American changemakers selected to personally meet President Barack Obama to share her work. In the podcast she tells East Africa Today about her experiences with meeting President Obama and what East Africans can expect from the Obama Administration’s second term.

Ms. Araia has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Saint Thomas and a law degree from Marquette University Law School.