Elias Wondimu, founder and director of Tsehai Publishers, will this week receive one of the Ethiopian Crown’s most distinguished awards: the Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II.
The award was founded in 1924 during the reign of Empress Zauditu and intended for highly distinguished individuals. After the exile of the Crown during the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution, all decorations, imperial orders, and titles were mandated to be sanctioned by the Crown Council of Ethiopia in accordance with the pre-1974 Constitution.
“I am humbled for being selected for this honor and it shows the importance of the work we do,” Wondimu said. “This award is the result of our staff, supporters, and the authors who came with their stories.”
Elias Wondimu was born in Ethiopia but, against tremendous odds, has distinguished himself as one of the leading publishers in African literature and academia in the United States. Tsehai Publishers is based at the Marymount Institute of Loyola Marymount University. Tsehai’s latest imprint, the Harriet Tubman Press, seeks to give voice to African-American authors and scholars.
His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie describes Elias Wondimu as, “A national treasure, not only of the United States, but of his native Ethiopia. By preserving history, and particularly by preserving it on such a detailed level, and yet with the full understanding of context, he preserves the national identity of Ethiopians and Africans, and contributes to a greater understanding of Ethiopia and Africa by people outside the continent.”
The president of the Crown Council of Ethiopia will present the award at the Army and Navy Club at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., on February 25, during the 6th Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner.
Tsehai Publishers can be found online here.