Obituary: Ambassador Imru Zelleke

An Ethiopian envoy was one of the eyewitnesses of the Addis Ababa perpetrated by Rodolfo Graziani.

ADDIS ABABA – The eldest son of Bejirond Zelleke Agidew and Woizero Azaletch Gobena, Imru Zelleke was born in Addis Ababa on Nehase 21, 1916 (August 27, 1923).

Imru attended school in Switzerland when his father was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to France and the United Kingdom and Representative at the League of Nations. He continued his schooling in Teferi Makonnen as well as Haile Selassie I schools in Addis Ababa.

As a young boy, during the Fascist occupation, he was an eyewitness of the horrendous massacre perpetrated by Graziani in Addis Ababa.

Shortly thereafter, he was interned together with his mother and siblings together with thousands of other Ethiopians in the notorious Italian concentration camp in Danane, Somalia from 1928 to 1930.

Starting very young, Imru Zelleke served in the Ethiopian Government from 1933-1949 in various capacities, starting in the Ministry of Interior under Tsehafi Tezeaz Wolde Giorgis, and then in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He participated in the Paris Peace Conference and the first UN General Assembly in 1937 as well as numerous UN and international conferences thereafter. He served as Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Chief of Protocol, and Director General of the European and United Nations Departments. He was Chargé d’Affaires in Stockholm and Paris, and Ambassador to Germany.

After managing his import-export business in Ethiopia, Imru Zelleke rejoined the government in 1959 as Ambassador to Ghana followed by an ambassadorship to Scandinavia. He was Minister of State, Ministry of Commerce and Industry when the military coup that toppled the Imperial rule began in 1967.

Imru Zelleke went into exile to the United States in 1968, where he held various executive positions in business and banking.

After retirement, he lived the rest of his days in Virginia continuing his engagement in Ethiopian public affairs through his writings, advocacy and engagement in civil society.

Imru Zelleke died peacefully on Friday, October 21, 2022 in Virginia. He was 99 years old.


Featured Image Caption: Ambassador Imru Zelleke (August 27, 1923 – October 22, 2022) [Photo (c) Jeff Pearce]

The post Obituary: Ambassador Imru Zelleke appeared first on Ethiopian Monitor.

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