The 3rd Bikila Award Ceremony September 2016

The 3rd Bikila Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner was a tremendous success

“Growing wings” is the penultimate imagery of the poem enthrallingly recited by Chancellor-Poet Lemn Sissay at the third annual Bikila Award held on Saturday, September 24, 2016. It was also the imagery picked up by Teddy Kassa when he delivered his decidedly presidential acceptance speech that left the audience speechless (Teddy was one of this year’s Bikila Award winners of academic excellence and scholarship award). Thus, “growing wings” is a fitting imagery capturing the essence of the successful 3rd Bikila Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner.

Chancellor-Poet Lemn Sissay
Lemn Sissay taking selfe wth MC Samra and Abel.
Honourary Guest Speaker, Dr. Brook Lakew, Associate Director of NASA.
Honourary Guest Speaker, Professor Sossina Haile.

What made this year’s event special was that it was attended by several hundred guests gathered from three continents: Africa, Europe and North America. The audience had the pleasure of hearing from a member of the Canadian Senate, Senator Don Meredith. The Senator’s brief remarks were followed by Bikila Award, President, Tessema Mulugeta’s welcoming speech. Chancellor-Poet Lemn Sissay, who delivered his most anticipated keynote speech, emphasized the importance of family and belongingness. The planetary scientist, Dr. Brook Lakew reminded the guests, particularly the younger generation, they must prepare, organize and network to achieve excellence. The very unassuming Dr. Sossina Haile highlighted the hard work she put in to become a world class scientist. She recalled how she would take early morning bus ride to attend courses that were not prerequisites to earn degrees, and the tricks she would use to get her parents from “no” to “yes” to allow her fit all kinds of extracurricular activities between her studies and part time jobs.

Dr. Alula Pankhrust receiving the Lifetime Achivement Award from Chancellor Lemn Sissay.
Dr. Fikre Germa, Professional Excellence Award Winner.
Dr. Girma Bitsuamlak, Professional Excellence Award Winner.
Left to right: Chancellor Lemn Sissay, Dr. Alula Pankhrust and Tessema Mulugeta, President of Bikila Award.

When Dr. Alula Pankhurst began delivering his acceptance speech in flawless Amharic, some in the audience must have said “did I have too much wine or is this some kind of simultaneous translation?” Dr. Alula was one of the three award recipients who gave a distance inctly Ethiopian touch to the occasion by wearing Ethiopian traditional costumes. The audience was captivated by the heartfelt videotaped acceptance message of Dr. Richard and Rita Pankhurst for being selected winners of the 2016 Bikila Lifetime Achievement Award.

Artist Alemtsehay Wodajo, the recipient of the 2016 award for excellence in arts, once again proved her artistic sensibility by masterfully delivering a carefully crafted acceptance speech. The recipients of the professional excellence award had also very important messages to share with the audience. Dr. Fikre Germa shed light on the significance of the fledgling emergency medicine in Ethiopia. Dr. Girma Betsuamlak, the other professional award winner, explained the benefits of mentoring to both mentees and mentors. Dr. Tegest Hailu and Dr. Gezahgn Wordofa, recipients of this year’s community service excellence award, reminded the audience that humanitarian deeds are still the domain of the average person. The acceptance speeches of Nishan Zewge-Abubaker and Yohannes Melkie, the other two academic excellence award winners, crystallized the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Artist Fantahun Shewankochew and Ethio-Zema band added splendor to the celebration of excellence playing classical and modern Ethiopian tunes. The event was brilliantly hosted and executed. The energy and enthusiasm of the audience were high until the very end. The red carpeted photo booth was busy with guests lining up to preserve the memory of the great evening.

The Bikila Award expresses its heartfelt gratitude to volunteers, sponsors and the community for making the third annual Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner a great success. You all helped Bikila Award to grow wings and soar.

Thank you!

Teddy Kassa with Senator Don Meredith.

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