Love for Country: Abiy Ahmed Won’t Attend Nobel Prize Media Interview
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed may break the tradition of the Nobel Prize Committee as he has chosen to stay back home to face home issues than traveling to Norway to feature in the traditional Nobel Peace media interview.
The Nobel Peace media interview is a further publicity strategy for Nobel Price winners. But Prime Minister Ahmed may have more work to do at home over political crises in Ethiopia.
Abiy was awarded the prize in October for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
Ahmed’s decision to not attend the traditional press conference when he collects his Nobel Peace Prize next week as generated heavy criticism.
Nobel Committee Secretary, and Director of the Nobel Institute Olav Njølstad told the media that Mr Abiy’s decision is problematic for the committee.
“The Nobel Institute and the Nobel Committee had wished that Abiy Ahmed had agreed to meet Norwegian and international media. We have been very clear about this and also explained that for a number of reasons we find the situation highly problematic,” he told NRK Media.
“I believe [the reasons behind] are related to the challenges he’s facing in his country, and also partly to do with his religious faith and personal humility,” he added.
Mr Abiy’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told Reuters news agency that the prime minister had to make priorities given the “extensive program” and his responsibilities back home.
She added that this had been agreed upon in consultation with the Nobel Institute.
She also said that it is culturally unacceptable for Ethiopians to show off.
“At a personal level, the humble disposition of the prime minister rooted in our cultural context is not in alignment with the very public nature of the Nobel award,” she told Reuters.
Mr Abiy will arrive in Oslo on 9 December, a day before the ceremony.
He was awarded the prize in October for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
His peace deal with Eritrea ended a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war.