A quilted life: interview with Hannah Yilma

SOURCE: Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7765

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.


Born in Ethiopia, Hannah Yilma is a retired diplomat whose career included working with the United Nations (UN) in areas as diverse as communications and peacekeeping, a short stint as the owner of a boutique and as a businesswoman in Addis Ababa. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the Haile Selassie I University in Ethiopia. She retired as the Director of the UN Information Centre (Pretoria) in 2005. Prior to this appointment, Hannah held the post of Associate Spokesman in the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General (at that time, Kofi Annan). And prior to this posting, she served as a Political Affairs officer in the Situation Centre in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 1995-1998. She participated in two field missions; the UN Protective Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia, from 1994 to 1995, and the UN Observer Mission to South Africa (UNOMSA), from 1992-1994, as Civil Affairs Officer and Peace Observer, respectively. Before joining the UN in 1991 as an Information Officer in the Department of Public Information, Hannah was employed in the private sector for 15 years. Currently living in Pretoria, she continues to be actively involved in various capacities in non-governmental work, as well as in the diplomatic corps in South Africa. She engages in conversation with Vasu Reddy about growing up in a prominent Ethiopian family, about her life in Ethiopia, London and New York. Hannah speaks candidly about what her parents and grandparents meant to her, including the meaning of life in relation to war, age, location, family, well-being, democracy and identity.