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Eritrea@25: Learning from the Past, Overcoming the Present and Envisioning a Bright Future

A wisdom is like a baobab tree, no one individual can embrace it.

The Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) cordially invites Eritreans and non-Eritreans to take part in the national dialogue on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Eritrean Independence.


Eritrea, as an independent country, is 25 years old. As Eritreans celebrate this milestone, they evidently engage in evaluation whether or not Eritrea has met the aspirations and dreams of its people for a better life worth the sacrifices of its people who paid the ultimate price through their loved ones and everything they had. EMDHR would like to utilize the Silver Jubilee of the Eritrean Independence as an opportunity to reflect and review the progress or lack thereof in the last 25 years. It is an occasion for us as a nation to pause, reflect, and draw lessons from the past for a better present and brighter future.

Eritrean and non-Eritrean intellectuals of diverse disciplines and experiences are cordially invited to participate in this initiative at which they have the opportunity to share their views, assessments and recommendations on different aspects - namely political, economic, social, cultural as well as environmental - with the wider public. By so doing they would be able to shape constructive public discourse on the basis of objective analysis and present feasible and practical steps towards solutions to the numerous challenges facing our country and its people.

The Initiative is premised on the following general assertions:

  • Eritrea and its people are faced with great and grave challenges that are critical to their survival and development.

  • There are better options and alternatives that can enable our country to meet the aspirations of its people.

  • In order to arrive at shared and common alternatives we need to seriously, sincerely and with open-mind dialogue among ourselves.

  • The role of Eritrean intelligentsia is essential in this respect and there is a huge reservoir of intellectual capital among Eritreans that is yet to be fully harnessed for constructive purposes of shaping public opinion and guiding collective action.

This initiative thus intends to mobilize and bring together this critical potential to engage and provide an objective perspective on the Eritrean experiences of the last 25 years. We hope that this will encourage not just the Eritrean intellectuals but also the people at large to be active participants in their national discourse and build a nation that caters the needs and meets the aspirations of its citizens.

Using diverse media, namely Paltalk panel discussions, seminars and media interviews Eritreans scholars and practitioners will have the opportunity to interact with Eritrean public in a highly sober, objective and constructive dialogues on the following and related themes. The public seminars, lectures, and panel discussions will be provided in either Arabic, Tigrigna, or English. Written submissions (in English) that meet the set standards will be considered for a publication on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Eritrean independence. The key themes considered in the initiative include:

Theme 1 - Economic Growth and Development

  1. Economic policy framework(s)

  2. Natural Resources Governance: Extractive, Land and Land Tenure

  3. Public Finance Management - Efficiency and Accountability

  4. Sovereign wealth management

  5. Private Sector and the role of PFDJ Businesses

  6. Sectoral Analysis on: Mining, Agriculture and Marine Resources (Fisheries), Manufacturing and Industrialization, Domestic and Foreign Trade, Infrastructure and Construction, The State of Financial Sector, Tourism, Communication and ICT Development.

Theme 2 - Public Services, Human Development and Humanitarian Situation (taking MDGs as yard sticks)

  1. Public Service Provision

    1. Policy Frameworks

    2. Health sector – primary health care and Infect

    3. Education sector – Primary and Tertiary and Higher education.

    4. Food Security and Nutrition

    5. Water and Sanitation – Provision Quality and Spread

    6. Energy and Energy Supply (Fuel, Electricity and Rural Electrification).

  2. Human development and Humanitarian Situation

    1. Unemployment and Poverty

    2. The State of the Eritrean Family

    3. Gender issues and the Rights of the Eritrean Woman

    4. The Eritrean Youth

    5. Migration and Human Trafficking

    6. Militarization of Society and its implications

    7. The State of vulnerable groups, eg. Orphans, people with disability, elderly, widows, etc.

Theme 3 - Political Governance, National Security and International Relations

  1. Political Governance

    1. Rule of law and constitutionalism

    2. Policy making, Institutions, accountability and participation

    3. Human rights and access to Justice

    4. Citizenry, representation, identity and nation-building

    5. The state of civil societies and their role

    6. The state of independent media

    7. The state of the broader Resistance Movement

  2. National Security

    1. Policy framework and strategy

    2. Actual and potential threats to national security

    3. National Service, its contribution and its consequences

    4. Border wars and conflict with neighbouring countries

  3. Diplomacy, Regional and International Relations and Cooperation

    1. Policy framework and strategy

    2. Bilateral relations with world powers and its consequences

    3. The status of the EEBC decision

    4. Regional integration and cooperation (e.g. IGAD and African Union)

    5. International (Arab League, Red Sea, the UN, etc.)

Theme 4 - Culture, Cultural Values and Heritage

  1. Policy framework and strategy

  2. Custom and tradition

  3. Historical and archeological heritage

  4. Religion and religious institutions

  5. Language and the linguistic development

  6. Traditional and modern Arts

Theme 5 - Environment and Climate

  1. Policy frameworks and strategy

  2. The state of ecology in Eritrea

  3. Climate change and its consequences - climate adaptation.

Time Frame

The Initiative will run from May 2016 to May 2017

We hope that many will take this opportunity to participate in the series of debates and encourage others to join. Participants are free to choose any of the above themes or other themes that are relevant to Eritrea in the context of the last 25 years. Send your expression of interest to Dr. Adane G.Meskel

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