By Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington DC, August 07, 2012
In what could be dubbed as the most participatory and exceptionally engaging event ever, "Festival Tigray 2012", studded with multi-tailored informative, exhilarating, and fascinating activities, attracting an all time record high number of attendees climaxed by a cultural extravaganza and an extraordinary musical and dance show on Saturday night at the Crown Plaza Exhibition Center in Denver Colorado, wound up last Sunday.
The Festival which was sponsored and organized by the Union of Tigryans in North America /UTNA/ presented multifarious activities that kicked off with UTNA conference on Thursday August 2, 2012. During the conference the leadership of the organization and members representing branch chapters all across the US and Canada congregated and extensively deliberated on the performance of UTNA since the last confab a year ago this time.
The conference charted out and prioritized activities designed to be executed during the upcoming two years. The conference especially paid due attention to accelerating projects in the pipe line and implement new projects. The most cardinal issue that the conference participants took note and underlined was the Grand Renaissance Dam that has become the rallying agenda in our country.
In this regard they moved a motion and resolution to the effect that all members of UTNA shall individually and collectively contribute towards the triumph of the gigantic project by directly taking part in the purchase of Bonds and the extension of needed contributions.
They also emphasized for need to coordinate their efforts and directly streamline their activities with the overall drive and initiative of the nation by underscoring their stamina and focus to realize projects charted out by the organization in Tigray. Programs which were distinguishing features of the Festival this time around incorporated Youth Night with activities that included, an open discussion forum, fashion show, Poetry, Drama, music, soccer and basket ball games, other recreational activities and an outing program of picnic in some remote lush area on Sunday.
Last Saturday August 4, 2012 the menu of the Festival was devoted to a public meeting with invited dignitaries who came all the way from Tigray National Regional State of Ethiopia. Mr.Tewodros Hagos, Central Committee member of the TPLF and Executive Committee member of the EPRDF briefed the Congress on the multi-faceted achievements in Ethiopia in general and in Tigray in particular. The Executive Committee member of the EPRDF Mr. Tewodros Hagos also held a meeting with the general public and briefed them on current issues in Ethiopia in general and the obtaining current Socio-economic and political climate in Tigray.
TDA’s annual conference was also held in the presence of Ambassador Tewolde Gebru, Executive Director of TDA International who apprised the participants of the accomplishments of TDA to-date and the challenges that lie ahead. He presented an appraisal of the accomplishments of TDA in building new schools, amenities, in furnishing schools, libraries and laboratories by enumerating and demonstrating the job done. After a thorough appraisal, the members of TDA North America made a solemn pledge to enhance their participation in the pious mission of TDA and realize its long held objectives.
Mr. Abraham Gebremedhin, Executive Director of the Diaspora Affairs Department within the Tigrai National Regional State also briefed the participants on the opportunities for investment in Tigray . In the course of the morning session the officials apprised the audience on topical and timely issues and gave answers to pertinent questions on the existing conducive environment in the country in general with special focus on the auspicious investment climate in Tigray and the inviting conditions set by the National Regional Government to lure the Diaspora to partake in the national development drive.
The highlight of the Five-day confab was underlined by the commitment and determination of the attendees of the 38th Congress of UTNA and indeed by the members of the Tigray Community worldwide to honor the 40th anniversary of the birth of UTNA by holding a Special International Festival in Tigray, Mekelle, Ethiopia by August 2014 and pledged to carry on and realize the huge task on schedule and to implement yet other new projects in given and identified areas designated by the actual need on the ground.
This year's splendid array of programs saw their apex when the premiere of a historic film entitled Feqri Gedli, a startling film which recounted love in the midst of the 17-year old armed struggle waged to institute a constitutional, just, equal and democratic society on the ashes of the centuries old unjust polity was screened. A new leadership of UTNA Central Committee and an Auditing Committee were elected by the congress to lead the organization until the next election is held after two years.