"This conference will not end without the adoption of a unified African Charter ... We cannot leave the meeting room without creating a single African organization ... If we fail, we will have abandoned our responsibilities towards Africa and its peoples ... If we succeed here and only here, we will have justified our existence "
Speech by Haile Selassie I, at the Addis Ababa Conference, May 1962.
"Ras Tafri Makonnen" nicknamed "Haile Selassie I" (means Power of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit), was the last Ethiopian Emperor, born on July 23, 1892 in Ejersa Goro, Ethiopian Empire, in Harar Province, and died on August 27, 1975. He was born in a conservative orthodox family of a royal bloodline, his father was the chief advisor to the Emperor "Menelik II", in addition to the royal line (through his maternal grandfather). Father of four daughters and two sons, he is known for his intelligence, diplomacy and nobility and has many other titles, such as: Elect of God, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah and King of Kings of Ethiopia.
He held various diplomatic posts: governor of the Ethiopian province of Sidamo in 1907, and governor of Harar province until 1909, then crowned King of Kings of Ethiopia in 1928 and emperor in 1930. He also played the most important role in the accession of Ethiopia to the League of Nations in 1923, then to the United Nations in 1948.
He is one of the founders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) - the African Union today - created one year after the recommendations of the Addis Ababa Conference, May 1962, in which he delivered his famous speech. Addis Ababa was chosen as the headquarters of the OAU in 1963 when the founding Charter was signed.
It is said that his reign lasted half a century and witnessed many events, including the Italian aggression against Ethiopia in October 1935, the Second World War and the liberation of Ethiopia in 1941. His famous historical speech made at the League of Nations, which later became one of the most important anti-fascist symbols, should be pointed out. He has also participated in several African conferences, including the Monrovia Conference in Liberia in 1961, which called for unity and cooperation among African countries, as well as the Lagos Conference in 1962 and other conferences.
Haile Selassie was known for his keen interest in education and as an eloquent proof: he donated a palace of his three palaces to create a university. In 1924, he traveled the world with some of the provincial governors of Ethiopia, visiting Egypt and Jerusalem, as well as several European cities, including Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva, Athens and Brussels.
The Egyptian President "Abdel Fattah al-Sisi" and the African leaders, on February 10, took part in unveiling the statue of late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, erected for the first time at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia. In 1968, President Gamal Abdel Nasser attended the inauguration ceremony of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral with the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. Not only that, but the cornerstone of the new building was laid by Egypt in 1965, at a ceremony attended by President Gamal Abdel Nasser who donated 150,000 pounds for the construction of the cathedral. In 1973, during the reign of former President Anwar el-Sadat, Egypt welcomed the Ethiopian emperor, received by the president himself in a huge ceremony, confirming the fact that 88 years have passed marking the roots of Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.
Prepared by the Research Unit of the African Youth Bureau.