African refugees in St. Louis: From exodus to resettlement; Gedlu B. Metaferia

Addressing the many reasons for population displacement, conflict, and genocide in Africa, Gedlu Metaferia also examines the effects of famine, disease, and underdevelopment that have caused such massive morbidity rates after decolonization in the late 50s and early 60s. The presentation high-lights the ethical dilemma of foreign assistance, credits, loans, and structural adjustment that has caused capital flight and increased funding for armaments for human rights suppression. Issues of transparency and accountability of U.S. tax dollars spent in Africa and the ethical responsibility of the U.S. government and people in alleviating human rights violations and poverty in Africa will also be explored. There are two issues of resettlement in the United States – humanitarian and political – to consider. Looking at the diverse African demography in St. Louis, the speaker will also discuss the pain of social adjustment and the challenge of anchoring families with hope and prosperity, noting first-hand gratitude for American compassion and experience as an immigrant nation.

Gedlu B. Metaferia was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After studying public health and tropical medicine in Ethiopia, to be a health officer (sometimes termed a rural physician or bare foot doctor) at a local university, he left in 1976 because of human rights violations and mass killings in Ethiopia (“Red Terror”) in the 70s and early 80s. He came to St. Louis in 1982. As one of the prominent Ethiopians in the Diaspora, he has worked tirelessly on the issues of African famine, sustainable economic growth, conflict resolution, restorative justice, and tolerance. He is the founder and executive director of African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri/Ethiopian Community Association of Missouri. A freelance writer, he serves on numerous not-for-profit boards and is the recipient of many awards.