A Warm LMU Welcome for Ethiopian Prince

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Prince Ermias
TSEHAI Founder Elias Wondimu, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, LMU President Timothy Law Snyder, Princess Saba Kebede, Welela Makonnen (Photograph by Nick Belohlavy).

Loyola Marymount University welcomed another world figure when His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie of Ethiopia visited the Westchester campus in April.

The prince in exile met first with President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., and presented him with a cross of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The gesture was in keeping with a Selassie family tradition: when the prince’s grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie, would travel, he would often present his hosts with a similar cross. The presidents of Howard University, Harvard University and Princeton University were among the recipients, and now LMU.

Prince Ermias then attended a reception at the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture, and the Arts and the campus offices of TSEHAI Publishers, whose publisher, Elias Wondimu is an Ethiopian journalist in exile. Wondimu has published many histories, cultural and political books focusing on broadening the knowledge and appreciation of Ethiopia.

LMU student Welela Makonnen introduced the prince at the reception. Makonnen, the U.S.-born daughter of two Ethiopian immigrants, spoke movingly of gaining a deeper understanding of her Ethiopian heritage through her internship at TSEHAI. She remarked that she was profoundly honored to have met the prince on a previous occasion and took pride in welcoming him and his wife, Woizero Saba Kebede, to LMU.

In his remarks, Prince Ermias thanked the crowd of about 150 guests and praised Wondimu for his work to keep Ethiopian literature and history in front of scholars and general readers. Recent TSEHAI titles include: “Elite Characters in Ethiopian Novels,” “Africa's Resurgence: Domestic, Global and Diaspora Transformations,” and “Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women,” a striking photographic and biographical look at remarkable women. The publishing house also established Harriet Tubman Press, an imprint that will focus on African-American scholarship and literature.

In recent months, LMU has hosted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, President Bill Clinton, and Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III.