The Ethiopian-American Yohannes Abraham - photo via White House
CAIRO – 1 July 2020: The American Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has selected the Ethiopian-American Yohannes Abraham to be part of his post-election transition team that will be tasked to build a governing infrastructure in case Biden won the elections scheduled to be held in November.
The information below has been illustrated in an article written in Arabic by Veteran state's Al-Ahram journalist and editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Weekly and Al-Ahram Online Ezzat Ibrahim. The article is published in the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies.
Yohannes was hired to oversee the Day-to-Day operations, a matter of high value for Egypt given the current situation. Despite the fact that who leads the transition team responsible for selecting officials and the preparations of the new president’s entry to the White House is not that crucial.
All the odds are available for winning of both Donald Trump and Biden, therefore it is very important to be aware of the details taking place backstage amid this crucial stage on both regional and international levels.
Biden has recently selected former Delaware Senator – also led his transition as Vice President in 2008- Ted Kaufman to lead his current transition team. Kaufman was part of former President Barack Obama’s transition team and contributed to legislation that has transferred the power from former President George Bush to his successor Obama.
Kaufman has previously said in a press statement that Biden’s transition team will prioritize the following values, ideological and background diversity, Skills to deal with the most complicated challenges in society, integrity and high standard morality to serve American people and not private interests, and transparency to sustain confidence and vision during all the previous stages.
Abraham was born to Ethiopian immigrant parents, graduated from the prestigious University of Yale, received a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University.
He previously worked as chief of staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, led by Valerie Jarrett, a close friend, and advisor of former President Obama.
Abraham also served as chief operating officer of the Obama Foundation in Chicago, known as a devoted Democratic who is loyal to Obama, and a social activist who seeks an elected position as he belongs to the progressive bloc in the Democratic Party.
He once described himself during an interview with Los Angeles Times newspaper as “We are not politicians, we are Obama’s people”, in an obvious reference to his long friendship with Obama. He later joined the faculty of Harvard Kennedy School as a professor.
The rise of Abraham in American politics reflects the capability of the Ethiopian community in the US to present political leaders due to the community’s eagerness to have their children well educated once they make it to the US, which is a highly noticed matter in different locations of the American society.
One of these role models, is the Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the member of the American Political Science Association (APSA), Menna Demessie. The latest speech of the Congressional Black Caucus on the Ethiopian dam issue was full of fallacies, as it mentioned what is called the “Ethiopian sovereignty” over the Nile river.
Demessie is also a member of a supreme committee formed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from the prominent Ethiopian immigrants, the committee promotes the international Ethiopian politics.
According to the last statistics, The Ethiopian community in the capital city of Washington is estimated at 50 thousand individuals.
In addition to Abraham, Avril Haines, the former deputy national security advisor and deputy director of the CIA, will manage the transitional team's national security and foreign policy file.
Many observers consider the appointment of Haines as a sing of Obama’s era’s dominance over the Oval Office. Pro-Israel groups considered her appointment as an approach against the Hebrew state in Biden’s administration, as Haines has previously signed along with other senior officials in Obama’s administration a letter by J street complaining about the absence of the Palestinians’ rights during a previous Democratic National Committee conference.
According to press reports, Haines was managing the Columbia World Projects program, and includes expertise from the previous Obama administration, funded by a variety of donors, including a Saudi businessman, a Lebanese billionaire, brother of a former prime minister, and the daughter of one of the senior owners of media institutions in Turkey, a businessman from the state of Chile, and a billionaire real estate from Hong Kong, which made the institution subject to criticism, such as the Clinton Foundation, and raises serious questions about conflicts of interest after Haines assumed an important role in Biden's transitional administration.