The World Affairs Council of Seattle, a non-partisan leading foreign affairs forum in the Pacific Northwest since 1951, announced the 2010 World Citizen award goes to Ethiopian Ezra Teshome for his leadership in working to eradicate polio in Ethiopia.
The award is also in recognition of Ezra’s efforts for engaging and educating Washingtonians about the impact of global health issues, the Council announced this week.
Ezra, who lives in Seattle, United States, will receive the award on November 19 at the city’s town hall.
Through the service organization Rotary International, Ezra, 54, has spent nearly a decade leading volunteer teams to Ethiopia to help immunize children against polio.
A long-time Rotarian, Ezra led groups on annual trips to administer the polio vaccine to children in Ethiopia, immunizing about 200 children per day – efforts for which he was named by TIME magazine as one of ten Global Health Heroes at their Global Health Summit.
“Ezra has inspired hundreds and hundreds of Americans and Canadians to travel overseas with our Rotary groups to accomplish the ambitious goal of totally eradicating polio from the African continent,” said Ralph Munro, fellow Rotarian and former Washington Secretary of State.
Ezra also arranged the delivery of ambulances to his home town in Ethiopia, led teams to build more than 100 homes for poor women, helped to build a library and computer center in Addis Ababa which is now used by 500 children every day, and established micro-credit programs to help families become self-sufficient.
Ezra emigrated from Ethiopia in 1971 and enrolled at Highline high school shortly after going to the United States.
In 1973 he graduated from Highline and went on to Seattle University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and pre-law.
In 2004 he became a leader of a comprehensive plan to bring safe water to the most critical area in Ethiopia, an ongoing project for which he has raised millions of dollars.
Ezra’s work to help build international awareness and understanding in Seattle, leading efforts to build a local Ethiopian Church and providing invaluable counsel to the Pacific Science Center as an advisor to their blockbuster exhibit “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia,” is also recognized.
Each year the World Affairs Council honors two individuals from Seattle who have contributed significantly to public understanding of international relations, community involvement in world affairs, and local understanding of cultures, societies and economies from around the world.
The Council said Erin Lynch is the other winner and is named World Educator in recognition of her significant contributions to international understanding in the classroom and to the development of international resources for the benefit of other educators.
Watch Ezra Teshome interview with Stan Emert on Public Exposure
Source: Capitalethiopia and youtube.com