Ethiopian exchange student to speak at Aledo conference – Quad

by Selam

ALEDO — Local women are invited to take a break from holiday craziness for a special Christian conference called Untangled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at The Slammer Bed Breakfast.

Conference speakers will include singer/songwriter Chris Walters of Camanche, Iowa; Lori Boruff and Deb Bowen, both of Aledo, who are authors and speakers; and Amen Gabre, a 17-year-old exchange student from Ethiopia, who has worked with Ms. Bowen and is passionate about women’s rights in Africa.

“We wanted to launch a speaking platform for Amen to talk about special experiences she’s had,” Ms. Bowen said of the student, who spent the last school year at Davenport Central and is completing high school at Scattergood Friends School outside Iowa City. Ms. Gabre received a full scholarship from an anonymous donor.

Ms. Gabre’s essay about the book “The Bold Countryside Girl” by Beza Tamerat, a distant relative of hers, won first place in the 2016 Iowa Letters About Literature program, in the high-school division.

“I was just blown away by the depth of a girl her age,” Ms. Bowen said, noting Ms. Gabre’s talented-and-gifted program teacher at Central “really challenged her, and told her she could do it.”

Ms. Bowen encouraged Ms. Gabre to expand her essay for her “A Book by Me” series, short books for students written and illustrated by students. The series includes books on the Holocaust, human rights, veterans, and other heroes.

Ms. Gabre’s book is “The Plight of Ethiopian Girls,” and it’s about her life and the struggle for young Ethiopian women. It was illustrated by Faith Mutum of Rock Island.

“It’s very personal to me since I was a pre-teen when I witnessed young girls in a small village being circumcised,” Ms. Gabre wrote in a recent email. “I’ve never been able to forget their screams as their elders tortured them

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