On November 10th, the Ethiopian Embassy and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), jointly organised an event where presentations were given by veteran broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and renowned cultural historian Gus Casely-Hayford on the BBC documentaries on Ethiopia that they produced this year.

On arrival, guests were greeted with a coffee ceremony and its wafts of incense and could wander around exhibitions.

Ambassador Berhanu Kebede opened the evening event to an audience of more than 650. In his speech, he praised Jonathan Dimbleby, “whose name has been associated with Ethiopia for more than a generation” and Gus Casely-Hayford, whose recent BBC programme played an important role in informing the British public of Ethiopia’s rich history and culture.

Celebrated travel writer Frances Linzee Gordon, who wrote the first two editions of the Lonely Planet’s travel guide to Ethiopia, chaired the evening.

 (l-r) Jonathan Dimbleby, Frances Linzee Gordon and Gus Casely-Hayford

Gus kicked off the evening with an illustrated talk based on his hugely acclaimed Lost Kingdoms of Africa BBC TV series (BBC 4, repeated on BBC2) saying “If you are in any way interested in culture, history or living archaeology, you will find Ethiopia enormously satisfying.”

Jonathan said Ethiopia is changing and that it has a positive future. He appreciated the resilience, the “grit” of Ethiopians and showed footage from his highly successful BBC TV series Jonathan Dimbleby: an African Journey, depicting thriving markets and the construction boom in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Though Ethiopia faces challenges that all African countries face, he recognised that Ethiopia had made huge progress especially in attaining “eight, nine even ten per cent growth rate”.

An exhibition and an illustrated talk were also held on the RGS premises in the afternoon, promoting the natural resources and wildlife in the Gambella Regional State.


On the day, guests had access to the RGS collection of historical maps and books from Ethiopia Collections and there were Ethiopian dancers and a photo exhibition. The evening debate was followed by a reception at the Embassy.

The Ethiopian Embassy would like to thank the event sponsors – the Christensen Fund, Ethiopian Airlines, Pittards Leather, South West Energy, Altau Gold, Journeys by Design and Flowerworld, who supplied the stunning exotic flower displays.

Congratulations to Tony and Eleanor Redshaw, who won a return flight ticket in the Ethiopian Airlines competition on the night.

The Ambassador’s speech and press release from the event are available on demand. Please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Wednesday, 15 December 2010 18:05)