“Challenges to Christian Family and the Role of the Church” – Seminar of the Ethiopian Scholarship Association KASHA (KAAD Association from the Horn of Africa)

|   Afrika, Aktuelles, Seminare, Veranstaltungen, Reisen

On 12 November 2022, KAAD alumni and current scholars met in Addis Ababa to discuss the transmission of faith in the family and transmission of values.

The event was accompanied by Dr. Marko Kuhn, head of the KAAD Africa department, and two KAAD scholars not native from Ethiopia but currently living and working in the country. Nakai Munikwa (Zimbabwe) talked about her work in the war zone of Tigray, where she works for UNICEF and is primarily concerned with nutrition and deficiency symptoms in children. Argaw Fantu from the papal agency Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Father Groum Tesfaye SJ, long-time spiritual director of KASHA, also contributed with presentations to the discussions and conversations. The presentations were afterwards reflected in small groups in the afternoon. These discussions were overshadowed by the difficult social situation, particularly by the challenging issue of ethnicity and violence in Ethiopia. The question that recurred repeatedly was how it is possible that Ethiopia – despite the strongly religious and mostly Christian orientation of the people and society – is almost eaten up by ethnic divisions, hatred and violence. This led to the need for distinction between intrinsic spirituality and outwardly displayed religion. The search for identity is easily leading to division and demarcation. This negative identity search must find a way to change itself through spirituality and humanity, thus becoming an integrative formation of identity. In this explosive political situation, the recent Disarmament and Armistice Treaty offers hope. Just on the day of the seminar, representatives of the Tigray rebels and the central government in Addis Ababa signed an agreement that sets out the roadmap for the desired peace agreement. In the Kenyan capital, they agreed to begin disarming the TPLF rebels on 15 November. An African Union (AU) committee is to oversee implementation. At the same time, foreign forces and militias that were actively involved in the war are to withdraw from the region. In addition, the signing parties want to work together to ensure that humanitarian aid gets to where it is urgently needed. The families of many KAAD scholarship holders are also suffering from the two-year blockade of humanitarian aid (food delivery) and the separation from any communication infrastructure. For them this attempt at peace offers new hope.

In addition to participating in the KASHA seminar, Marko Kuhn held network talks with alumni and representatives of church and society as well as German institutions during his five-day trip to Ethiopia including the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, the General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, the Nunciature, the German embassy and employees of Foundations such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) or the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).

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Nakai Munikwa from Zimbabwe together with the newly admitted Ethiopian scholarship holder Saron Tamire presenting the group work to the participants.