“Wonderful project and dinner event”, “wonderful award ceremony… absolutely beautiful, gorgeous venue and interesting personalities,” “beyond our expectations” etc are some of the comments we have received from guests of the historic 2014 Bikila Award Gala Dinner. By all accounts, the inaugural Award, held on 27 September 2014, was a huge success. It was attended by more than 300 guests. All the invited distinguished guests were able to attend and address the audience. All but two award recipients were at hand to receive their awards. The achievements of recent graduates of professional programs and post graduate studies were also recognized.
The warm late September evening started with a cocktail reception and concluded with a boisterous dance party. In between, the night was interspersed with delicious dinner, masterfully produced video presentations, inspiring speeches, delectable dessert and melodic jazz music. Guests barely moved from their chairs, except during intermission. They intently heard the Honorable David Macdonald, Dr. Gabisa Ejeta, Dr. Menbere and the award recipients speak about challenges and successes.
The two award recipients who were unable to attend did also send video and e-mail messages accepting the award. The audience was thrilled to see in person Dr. Taffara Degafe, one of the lead architects of banking and civil aviation in Ethiopia, and hear him talk about his last meeting with Abebe Bikila, soon after the Olympic hero had been confined to wheelchair as the result of car accident. Eager to preserve the memory of this magical night, guests lined up to have their picture taken on the red carpet with the logo of Bikila Award in the background.
Thank you to all, particularly our volunteers, sponsors and distinguished guests, who made the first Bikila Award a very successful celebration of excellence.
Looking forward to see you next September.
Keynote Speaker, Hon. David MacDonald.
Guest of Honour, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta.
Guest of Honour, Dr. Menbere Aklilu.