Obama meets Lucy, attends state dinner in Ethiopian capital
July 31, 2015 And to round out the week that was, we share some more bits you might have missed from President Obama’s visit to the continent. In Addis Ababa, the US president arrived at the African Union headquarters to meet the commission’s chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for discussions on trade and regional security.
Also on the agenda was the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Islamist group Boko Haram’s violent campaign in Nigeria and elections in Burundi.
Throughout his tour, President Obama’s focus was that Africa and its nations can aspire to a bigger role in the global economy, and the United States was ready to be a partner.
While addressing the AU, President Obama emphasized that every human deserved to be treated with decency and respect.
“We must uphold the inherent dignity of every human being. Dignity. The basic idea that by virtue of our common humanity, no matter where we come from or what we look like, we are all born equal, touched by the grace of God. Every person has worth, every person matters, every person deserves to be treated with decency and respect,”
He went on to acknowledge the continent as the “cradle of humanity” as he spoke on democracy, corruption, the rule of law and employment.
“Throughout much of history mankind did not see this. Dignity was seen as a virtue reserved for those of rank and privilege, kings and elders. It took a revolution of the spirit over many centuries to open our eyes to the dignity of every person. Around the world generations have struggled to put this idea into practice in laws and in institutions. So too here in Africa. This is the cradle of humanity. The ancient African kingdoms were home to great libraries and universities. But the evil of slavery took root, not only abroad, but here on the continent. Colonialism skewed Africa’s economy and robbed people of their capacity to shape their own destiny. Eventually liberation movements grew and fifty years ago in a great burst of self-determination, Africans rejoiced as foreign flags came down and your national flags went up.”
Later on, President Obama was hosted to a state dinner by the Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, where he was introduced to Ethopia’s oldest resident “Lucy”- a three million year old skeleton discovered in 1974.
In his toast, Obama complimented Ethiopia and raised his glass “to another century of friendship, to our one human family and to our bright future”.