Isaias Afwerki

Isaias Afwerki
Isaias Afwerki in 2002.jpg
1st President of Eritrea
Assumed office
24 May 1993
Acting: 27 April 1991 – 24 May 1993
Preceded byPosition established
President of the National Assembly
Assumed office
24 May 1993
Preceded byPosition established
Leader of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice
Assumed office
15 June 1994
Preceded byPosition established
Leader of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front
In office
4 October 1978 – 15 June 1994
Preceded byRomodan Mohammed Nur
Succeeded bySebhat Ephrem
Personal details
Born (1946-02-02) 2 February 1946 (age 72)
Asmara, British Military Administration (Eritrea)
Political partyPeople's Front for Democracy and Justice
Spouse(s)Saba Haile
Children3 (Abraham, Berhane, Elsa)
Alma materAddis Ababa University
Signature

Isaias Afwerki (also spelled "Afewerki"[1], Tigrinya: ኢሳይያስ ኣፍወርቂ [isajas afwɐrkʼi]; born 2 February 1946) is the first President of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence in 1993. He led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) to victory in May 1991, thus ending the 30-year-old Eritrean War of Independence. Isaias is the leader of the country's sole legal political party, People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). He has been cited for human's rights violations by the United Nations and Amnesty International. In 2015, Reporters Without Borders ranked Eritrea under the government of President Isaias Afewerki last in its press-freedom index for the eighth year running.

Personal life and education

Isaias Afwerki was born on 2 February 1946 in the Aba Shi'Aul district of Asmara, Eritrea.[2][3] His father was Afwerki Abraha and mother was Adanesh Berhe.[citation needed] His father, a native of Tselot village, just outside Asmara, was a minor functionary in the state Tobacco Monopoly.[2][3] His mother was descended from Tigrayan immigrants from the Enderta area.[2][3] Isaias has three sisters (Nardos, Tsigereda, and Ariam) and five brothers (Amare, Erimias, Amanuel, Ephrem, and Paulos).[2] He is a cousin of former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.[4][5]

Isaias was educated at the Prince Makonnen High School (PMSS). In the early 1960s, he joined the nationalist Eritrean student movement.[6] In 1965, he began his studies at the College of Engineering at Haile Selassie I University (now called Addis Ababa University) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[6]

Isaias is married to Saba Haile[7] and has two sons (Abraham and Berhane) and one daughter (Elsa).[citation needed]

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