Ethiopian Prime Minister wins Nobel Peace Prize

PM Abiy Ahmed at an inauguration event in Addis Ababa. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia
PM Abiy Ahmed at an inauguration event in Addis Ababa. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia

LWF hails “powerful and daring story of peace building” and hope

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) congratulates the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has been awarded the 2019 Nobel peace prize for his role in resolving the long-running tensions with neighbouring Eritrea.

In making the announcement on 11 October, the Nobel Committee said it hoped the award would “help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea”. It noted that the prize also recognises the efforts of other “stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in the east and northeast African regions.”

“Gentle rain” on people thirsting for peace

Congratulating the Prime Minister LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge, said “we are encouraged that a powerful and daring story of peace building is being recognized. This is a sign of encouragement and hope to all people in situations of conflict: peace is possible.”

Applauding the news, he noted that, for the second year in a row, the award has highlighted “powerful and inspiring stories of transformation” from the African continent. The 2018 Nobel prize was awarded to Congolese doctor Dr Denis Mukwege, who heals victims of sexual violence in conflict, and to Yazidi human rights activist, Nadia Murad, herself a survivor of rape by Islamic State fighters.

When the peace accord between Ethiopia and Eritrea was signed in July 2008, Junge wrote a letter to the heads of the Lutheran churches in both nations saying: “The news of the peace agreement between the two countries “comes like a gentle rain falling down on people around the world thirsting for a message of peace”. 

We are encouraged that a powerful and daring story of peace building is being recognized.
Martin Junge, LWF General Secretary

Ongoing support of churches

He said the accord, which formally ended more than two decades of conflict between the neighbouring nations, was “an answer to the prayers of people of God around the globe for many years.” Junge said the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea (ELCE) can continue to play an important role in promoting peace and reconciliation in the East African region.

Including almost nine million people or 10 percent of the population, the EECMY is the largest member of the LWF. An LWF World Service program in Ethiopia also supports refugee and host communities and assists with agricultural development through small-scale irrigation schemes, technical support and training in water supply management.