Co-Founder and Secretary
All four of my grandparents were emigrants to the United States, where I was born two generations later, so I have always been interested in the stories of those who came to this country from elsewhere. And while teaching at UC Berkeley I listened to other emigrant stories told by those of my students who were either newcomers themselves or whose parents were emigrants. This background has made me familiar with the struggles and successes of emigrant generations and admiring of the contributions of emigrants and their children to the American communities in which they settle.
My interest in Ethiopia began in childhood when I listened to my mother read letters from Ethiopia written by my family’s friends, the Harold and Polly Kurtz family, who lived in Ethiopia during the decades leading up to the 1974 Revolution. It was Jane Kurtz, one of Harold and Polly’s daughters, who would later to introduce me to Frew Tibebu, who had arrived in the U.S. in 1980 among refugees from the violence and trauma of the Revolution. I was excited to learn of Frew’s desire to start an organization dedicated to collecting the stories of members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, and together we founded the Ethiopian Diaspora Stories Project. Our website shares the stories of the Diaspora: Stories of traumatic departure. Stories of new beginnings. And stories of homegoings and homecomings.