The Nobel Peace Prize awarded today honors Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his leadership in reaching the historic 2018 peace deal with neighboring Eritrea that brought the two nations’ “frozen war” to an end. Long considered an intractable conflict, Abiy brought new life to a peace process that had been stalled for the better part of two decades.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during his visit to Washington, D.C. last year. (Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser/ Flickr).
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during his visit to Washington, D.C. last year. (Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser/ Flickr).

USIP would like to extend our congratulations and appreciation to Prime Minister Abiy, who managed to rekindle dormant talks between the two neighbors. Abiy’s move provided a surge of hope for citizens of both Ethiopia and Eritrea who spent the previous 20 years isolated from one another despite immense ethnic and cultural ties.

“Prime Minister Abiy’s bold actions have made peace possible, where it was once a distant possibility,” said USIP President and CEO Nancy Lindborg. “We are both heartened and inspired by Abiy’s ability to orchestrate a breakthrough for his people and the people of Eritrea.”

The impact of this peace deal has reverberated throughout the region, as Ethiopia and Eritrea are now working together toward the resolution of long-standing regional tensions in order to build stability in the Horn of Africa.

“The Nobel Prize for Peace underlines the leadership that Prime Minister Abiy has demonstrated, particularly in his first 100 days as prime minister and in opening a dialogue to ends years of frozen conflict with Eritrea,” said Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs. “In the coming months and years, continued leadership and courage are critical to shepherd Ethiopia through a fragile, complex transition and agreeing on a new social contract for the entire country. The Horn of Africa and world are watching with both hope and concern for Ethiopia's success.”

In addition to the historic peace agreement, the Nobel Committee praised the 43-year-old prime minister’s effect on other peace and reconciliation processes in East and North Africa, as well as the extensive domestic reforms enacted in his first 100 days in office—which included granting amnesty to political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing outlawed opposition groups, dismissing officials suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian society.

USIP believes that peace is possible, practical, and above all, a process. Abiy has shown that even in the most protracted of conflicts, where optimism for peace is waning, it can be achieved if people remain committed to those principles.

Related News

In Memoriam: George P. Shultz

In Memoriam: George P. Shultz

Sunday, February 7, 2021

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) mourns the death of George P. Shultz, a World War II veteran, economist, and academic whose expertise earned him prominent cabinet-level appointments during the Nixon and Reagan administrations. As President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, Secretary Shultz helped to shape U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy at a pivotal moment in history.

Statement on Ethiopia by the Senior Study Group on Peace and Security in the Red Sea Arena

Thursday, November 5, 2020

News Type: Announcement

As members of the bipartisan senior study group on peace and security in the Red Sea arena, we are watching with grave concern the situation in Ethiopia. While many of the facts remain unclear, the risks of escalation are certain: Intrastate or interstate conflict would be catastrophic for Ethiopia’s people and for the region and would pose a direct threat to international peace and security. The acceleration of polarization amid violent conflict would also mark the death knell for the country’s nascent reform effort that began two years ago and the promise of a democratic transition that it heralded.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

USIP Announces Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowships

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is pleased to announce three new Jennings Randolph senior fellows for 2020-2021. These fellows will conduct research and publish in their areas of expertise while engaging with experts at USIP headquarters and in the field. Established in 1988, USIP’s Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship Program is a foundational component of the Institute’s peacebuilding mission. The fellows become an integral part of USIP’s work and contribute to thought leadership and research efforts.

USIP Names Joseph Sany as Vice President of Institute’s New Africa Center

Thursday, October 15, 2020

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace is proud to announce Joseph Sany as the first vice president of the Institute’s new Africa Center. With over 20 years of experience working at the forefront of peacebuilding in Africa, Sany brings with him a deep understanding of the challenges facing the continent and a strategic vision for top-down and bottom-up approaches to build peace and improve governance.

View All News