January 10, 2013 | Press Release

FDD Welcomes Former Ethiopian Official as Visiting Fellow


Washington, DC – The Foundation for Defense of Democracies proudly welcomes Dawit Giorgis, a former senior official in the Government of Ethiopia, as a visiting fellow.

“We are delighted to have Dawit join the FDD team,” said FDD President Clifford D. May. “His work on the implications of the expansion of radical Islam in Africa will be integral to FDD’s foreign policy analysis in the year to come.”

During the infamous Ethiopian famine, which began in 1983, Giorgis served as the country’s Commissioner of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. Prior to that, he was the Permanent Secretary (Deputy Minister) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, and later Governor of Eritrea — which had not yet won its independence.

In 1985, Giorgis sought asylum from the Ethiopian communist regime in the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen.

After his defection, Giorgis worked as a research fellow at Princeton University, where he wrote many articles, and an autobiographical account entitled Red Tears. Giorgis then moved back to Africa, where he consulted for the United Nations and other international agencies over the next 22 years. He also served as a research fellow at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and has written numerous articles and two other books.

“I am excited to work with FDD,” Giorgis said. “A lot is happening in Africa now that merits a closer look. Combating radical elements in Africa is vital to the interests of both the American and African peoples, and I look forward to focusing my research on this and other issues while at FDD.”

Giorgis received an LL.B. from Haile Selassie University in Ethiopia and an LL.M. in International Law from Columbia University. He speaks English and French.

To arrange an interview with Giorgis, or discuss FDD’s work in any other policy area, please contact David Donadio at [email protected].


The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a Washington-based non-profit, non-partisan policy institute dedicated to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.