The recent hostilities between Ethiopia and its northern Tigray region have escalated into a full-scale humanitarian crisis. With forces from neighboring Eritrea now involved in the conflict, there is a growing number of massacres reported in the Tigray region, both of Tigray people and Eritrean migrants. The worsening conflict has also affected the agricultural sector in Tigray, putting many at risk for starvation and in need of humanitarian aid. With access to information limited, the United Nations and the United States have called for de-escalation and removal of troops from the region. How will Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed respond to this request from the U.N. Security Council? What is the likelihood that the crisis worsens? To make sense of this complicated and volatile situation, we welcome former U.S. Ambassadors to Ethiopia Vicki Huddleson, David Shinn, and Patricia Haslach Aurelia Brazeal. The discussion will be moderated by FPRI Trustee and Chair of FPRI’s Africa Program, Ambassador Charles A. Ray.
David Shinn has been teaching in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University since 2001. He previously served for 37 years in the Foreign Service with assignments at embassies in Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritania, Cameroon, Sudan, and as ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. One of his positions in the State Department was director for East Africa and the Horn of Africa. He is the co-author of the Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia and China and Africa: A Century of Engagement. He has a Ph.D. in political science from George Washington University.
Vicki Huddleston is an American diplomat and expert on US—Cuban relations and African Affairs. She is the author of Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle with Castro’s Cuba, which is based on her three years in Havana as the head of the American diplomatic mission. Ambassador Huddleston served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. She was acting ambassador in Ethiopia, Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti, and Director and Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State.
Aurelia Brazeal retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008, with the rank of Career Minister, after a distinguished 40-year career. She was a pioneer in being the first to serve in newly created positions and is the first African American woman career Foreign Service officer to be promoted into the Senior Foreign Service and the first to be nominated as an Ambassador. She served most recently as Ambassador to Ethiopia, previously to Kenya, and initially to The Federated States of Micronesia. She also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific with policy responsibility for 22 countries.
Patricia Haslach specializes in global trade, international development, and conflict stabilization across geostrategically complex regions. As a Principal at Brooch Associates, Patricia works with client countries to construct and solidify national reputation-building in influential political, governmental, and third-sector circles.
Charles A. Ray served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Zimbabwe. In addition, he was the first U.S. Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, opening the Consulate General there in 1998. Ambassador Ray is a Trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Chair of the Africa Program. He is also currently a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Diplomacy, communications director for the Association of Black American Ambassadors, chair of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation Advisory Council, and a member of the board of the Cold War Museum.