Sylvia Pankhurst was a vocal anti-Fascist activist during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her anti-Fascist activities led her to take interest in Ethiopia. She saw that Ethiopia would be a victim of Italian Fascism and wrote extensively in defense of Ethiopia urging that the League of Nations should be stronger, should have teeth to establish proper sanctions that really would stop the aggression. She wanted to see the Suez Canal closed and wanted the sanctions to include petrol. Ms Pankhurst made several other exemplary contributions to Ethiopia including raising funds for Ethiopia’s first teaching hospital and writing extensively on Ethiopian art and culture. Her research was published as Ethiopia, a Cultural History.
Dr. Richard Pankhurst
Emulating his mother’s love for Ethiopia, Dr. Richard Pankhurst has become a renowned scholar whose longtime interest and career in Ethiopia is widely recognized in academic circles and Ethiopian society at large. Dr. Pankhurst advanced Ethiopian causes and worked tirelessly to remedy the international injustices committed against Ethiopia including putting pressure on the Italian government to return the Axum Obelisk stolen during the Fascist occupation which resulted in the return of the obelisk to Ethiopia in 2008. Similarly, Dr. Pankhurst is currently among a group of concerned professionals forming a national committee for the return of treasures looted by the British Expeditionary Force from Mekdella, Gonder in 1868.
Mrs. Rita Pankhurst:
After working for six years in the Public Division of the National Library of Ethiopia. Rita joined and later headed the University College of Addis Ababa Library. After its merger with other institutions to form the Haile Selassie I University, Rita was appointed the first University Librarian, (1964) and organized the main University Library in a new purpose-built John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. She has been closely involved in the work of the Friends of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (SOFIES) and for many years was Chair of the Committee in charge of the Institute’s lecture series.
Dr. Alula Pankhurst:
Dr. Alula Pankhurst has twenty years of professional experience in Ethiopia working for a number of international donor and Ethiopian organisations, and researching poverty and related issues. He is a lead researcher of the Wellbeing Dynamics in Ethiopia longitudinal research project tracking community change. His other positions have included: Advisor, Wageningen University Disaster Studies, Linking Emergency Assistance with Food Security Project; Principal Investigator, World Values Survey Ethiopia; Anthropology team leader, Ethiopian Home Gardens project.
Dr. Alula Pankhurst is Young Lives Ethiopia Country Director, whose aim is to shed light on the drivers and impacts of child poverty, and generate evidence to help policymakers design programs that make a real difference to poor children and their families.
Bikila Award is honoured and congratulates The Pankhurst Family for being selected as the 2016 Bikila Lifetime Achievement Award winners, for their distinguished achievements and longstanding love of Ethiopia, for their exceptional and enduring contributions as professional and scholars to the study and preservation of Ethiopian history.