Mek’ele University today awarded honorary doctorates to four distinguished individuals on its 23 graduation ceremony. The awardees are Tigrigna music icon Kiros Alemayehu, rock star and Irish humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof and Max and Kathryn Robinson, founders of Nicholas Robinson School in Mek’ele city.
Kiros Alemayehu, was a songwriter, singer and influential artist that is dubbed as the king of Tigrigna music by many. He popularized Tigrigna songs through his albums to the non-Tigrigna speaking Ethiopians. A memorial library is under construction in Wukro near his birthplace. Kiros’s wife and sons received the award on behalf of him.
Sir Bob Geldof, an Irish singer-songwriter, author and international activist, is widely recognized for responding to a BBC news report from Michael Buerk about the famine in Ethiopia by mobilizing the world to do something through his organization, Band Aid.
Geldof wasn’t present to receive the award but made an acceptance speech read for him in which he said he is proud that his name is associated with Ethiopia. His award was given to him through two Ethiopian representatives that are survivors of the famine for which his role was honored.
Max and Kathryn Robinson are being honored for the school they founded twelve years ago. The British couple started a school primarily for children of disabled veterans of the armed struggle against the military regime. They received their award in person and Mr. Robinson made his acceptance speech in Amharic to the delight and applause of the graduating students.
The couple set up a foundation, Rainbows for Children, that has built a school with the help of the Tigray Disabled Veteran’s Association (TDVA) to provide education primarily for children of disabled veterans who were unable to support and educate their children until Kathryn and Max stepped in. Since then a primary and secondary school have been constructed and construction is underway on a special needs unit while construction for a technical school is to begin next year.
The patron of the foundation, Rainbows4children, is the renowned BBC journalist, Michael Buerk, who was awarded the Golden Nymph award at the Monte Carlo festival for his reports on the famine from Korem in Ethiopia, first broadcast on 23 October 1984.