Oct 11, 2019

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Why it matters: Ahmed was selected for his part in helping restart peace talks with neighboring Eritrea after years of conflict. The award is also meant to "recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions."

The big picture: Ethnic tensions are flaring up in Ethiopia with an estimated 3 million Ethiopians internally displaced. The Nobel Committee said that it recognizes that some people will criticize it for handing out the award to Ahmed too early, but "believes it is now that [his] efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement."

Some of Ahmed's accomplishments:

  • Ahmed's government helped normalize diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti following many years of political hostility.
  • Ahmed has mediated conflicts between Kenya and Somalia over a continuing dispute about rights to a marine area.
  • Ahmed played a key role in getting the Sudanese military regime and opposition to negotiate an agreement following major protests.

Go deeper: Ethiopia and Eritrea declare end to cold war

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MIT, Harvard professors win Nobel Prize in Economics for research on poverty

Photo by Jonathan Nickstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Three professors who studied ways to alleviate poverty won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science on Monday, the AP reports.

Why it matters: With their research, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both of MIT, and Michael Kremer of Harvard introduced a new approach to addressing global poverty by dividing the issue into more manageable questions. Duflo, 46, is the youngest person and 2nd woman ever to receive a Nobel Prize in Economics.

Go deeper: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Keep ReadingArrowOct 14, 2019

Egypt and Ethiopia take dam dispute to Russia

The dam, as of 2017. Photo: Gioia Forster/picture alliance via Getty Images

A tense debate over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam — which will be Africa’s largest dam — will continue in an unlikely location this week: Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Why it matters: Egypt fears the $4 billion dam will disrupt the flow of the Nile, which supplies nearly all of the desert country’s fresh water. Ethiopia, which views the dam not only as an economic boon but as a point of national pride, claims Egypt is attempting to trample its sovereignty and economic development.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019

News Shapers: National Security

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice on the Axios stage last Friday. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Friday morning, Axios' Politics and White House Editor Margaret Talev hosted a series of one-on-one conversations on the news of the day, focused on topics around national security and international relations.

Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Ambassador to the United States

European Union Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, discussed relations between the EU and the U.S. around tariffs, and the recent decisions made regarding Turkey's offensive in Syria. He discussed how the conflict between Syria and Turkey fundamentally weakens the relationship between the EU and the U.S., and stressed the need for collaboration and strengthening our alliance.

  • On tariffs: “[They’re] bad for the U.S. economy and very bad for the European economy…There are no winners in tariff wars.”
  • On shifts in foreign investment: "You see industrial manufacturing slowing down in the US...with the instability, people outside the US don’t want to take the risk."
  • On China: "Only if we work together can we ensure that China plays by the rules — and where rules need to be amended it can be done with maximum consensus from countries around the world."
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) focused on the ongoing impeachment inquiry and drew from constitutional history in his discussion of the role of the presidency and Congress.

  • On how the Founders designed U.S. government: We’re in a period of rediscovering we’re not co-equal branches...our constitution was written by people who were overthrowing kings and replaced it with a government by the people.
  • On the role of presidency: The President’s main job is to make sure that laws are faithfully executed, and we have the power to impeach the president if he doesn’t do that.
  • On the role of Congress: "Congress is the most important branch of the government. We must return to the original design of the constitution — we have this imperial presidency that is completely off the rails."
  • On Republican colleagues' reaction to the decision on Turkey: "It’s amazing to me that my Republican colleagues are willing to call out the President for his betrayal of the Kurds, but refuse to call out the President for his betrayal of Americans."
Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations discussed her recent memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, the crisis in Syria, and the Nobel Peace Prize this past Friday.

  • On Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: “I’m hopeful that the peace will sustain itself and that normalization will continue.”
  • On whether the U.S. has clearly sent a message to Turkey on its position in Syria: "Yes. The position is green light."
  • On the impeachment inquiry: For Democrats, this is so bad it’s beyond political calculation. What they’re saying is: if we don’t stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law, then when?
  • On the current political climate's impact on foreign policy decisions: "We’re losing a sense of what is normal. When we lose that, we lose any compass in how to affect the national interest...We’ve got to remember what normal is and get back to it"

Go deeper: EU ambassador: Turkey and Syria conflict "weakens the alliance we have", Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump "wants to be a king"

Thank you, Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Keep ReadingArrowOct 14, 2019