Ten Refugees, One Journey: Eskinder Negash
Eskinder Negash (Photo: Jim Gaffey)
Born in Ethiopia in 1956, Eskinder Negash enjoyed a happy childhood with his 12 brothers and sisters – but that changed in 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was removed from power by a Soviet-backed military coup.
The communist regime executed dozens of Ethiopian leaders and persecuted potential opponents.
In 1980, Negash fled alone to Sudan, where he became the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) first staff member in that part of the country.
Later, sponsored by the IRC, he was admitted to the U.S. and posted to the IRC office in Los Angeles. He graduated from Cal State University, and held a series of high positions with California-based refugee agencies and support groups.
He is now Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Meet the other distinguished refugees honored at the IRC's 2010 Freedom Award Dinner in New York: