It was an historic moment when Washington, DC’s Mayor Vincent Gray and Addis Ababa’s Mayor Dirba Kuma signed a sister city agreement between their respective cities on December 11,2013. It was just about 110 years since the United States first established diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1903 by a treaty of Amity and Commerce signed by US President Theodore Roosevelt and Ethiopia’s Emperor Menelik II.
The objective of the accord was to strengthen the closer relationship between the residents of the two great cities. Their focus was on cultural education, youth engagement, economic development and information exchange.
The first project of the Addis DC sisterhood relationship was a cultural education where nearly 47,000 DC public school children in over 100 schools were exposed to the Ethiopian food. Under the guidance of the executive office of Mayor Muriel Bowser and in partnership with the Office of the DC Public Schools, Little Ethiopia DC and Chef Etete of the former Etete Restaurant worked together for about a year in preparing the different chefs of the schools learn the Ethiopian food so that they can serve the students for breakfast, lunch and dinner on June 4, 2015. This day was celebrated as the Ethiopian International Food Day.
Chef Etete gave an inauguration luncheon for about 50 guests that included the chefs of several schools and community members from both the sister cities so that these get experience about the food before they teach their students.
Mayor Bowser proclaimed the day as the “ Ethiopian International Food Day “ and was presented to Little Ethiopia DC by the mayor’s Secretary of State. Among the guests who attended the event included the Grand Son of Emperor Haile Selassie I, prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, former Haile Selassie I University president Dr. Aklilu Habte, the executive director of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum and other invited guests. At the schools event was a cultural shows and the famous Ethiopian Coffee ceremony.