For organizing and leading the Oromo community in Australia to great results, for championing and integrating Oromummaa in the community, and for role-modeling volunteerism in the greater Australia.
Mr. (Obbo) Aliye Geleto Anota was born in Oromia and migrated to Australia in January of 1999 through Kenya. Upon arriving in Australia, he took the opportunities available in the lucky country and focused on his education. Over the years, he has earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Network Computing from the Monash University, a Master of Commercial Law degree from the Deakin University, and a Master of Engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University). He currently works as Head of the Information Technology Department in one of Melbourne’s highly regarded colleges.
Over the last four years, Mr. Aliye Geleto’s academic achievements and career growths were accomplished while he was also leading the Victoria’s Australian Oromo Community Association, established in 1984 by the first Oromo pioneers who migrated to Australia as refugees.
Organizing and Leading the Australian Oromo Community in Victoria
In November 2006 Mr. Aliye Geleto was elected as the president of the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria and has been an influential figure in implementing many positive changes for Oromo communities at large. He has been re-elected in July 2009 to lead the Association for additional three years.
The Australian Oromo Community Association holds regular annual events that motivate and uplift members of the community; it also unrelentingly advocates for Oromia and the Oromo people by exposing human rights abuses in Oromia and plights of refugees in the Horn of African region and adjacent countries.
Under the leadership of Mr. Aliye Geleto, the Australian Oromo Community Association has grown into a vibrant organization that can serve as a model for other Oromo community associations all over the globe. Mr. Aliye Geleto, and all other officials and volunteers of the Association exemplify how a team of dedicated individuals can impact, not only their local communities, but also the global Oromo communities.
For starters, the Association recognizes Oromo college/university graduates by holding a graduation ceremony in the presence of parents and other members of the community. This well-attended event celebrates the academic achievements of first-generation and subsequent generation Oromo immigrants in Australia. In 2010 the graduation ceremony was held for a fourth consecutive year.
After attending the 2007 graduation ceremony, Dr. Mohammed Hassen, the leading scholar of Oromo history, said in the March 2008 Newsletter of the Oromo Studies Association:
“From the beginning to the end the whole ceremony was truly exhilarating. It was a ceremony of joy, of recognition of achievements, display of the coming of age of the Oromo youth, when the wellspring of Oromo yearning for prayer and blessing was overflown with happiness, kindness of heart and their goodness as human beings and beauty of character was on display. The flood of feeling which welled up through the hall transformed the ceremony from an ordinary graduation to an exhilarating emotional time when the depths of Oromo patriotism overflowed with yearning for liberation of Oromia. I was carried on the wings of joy to the promised land of free Oromia, the time when our people are no longer subjected to daily massacre, imprisonment and torture; plunder of property, endless degradation, shameful abuses, dehumanizing humiliation, under the tyranny of the wretched of the earth. For a few moments, I tested the sweet and fresh air of free Oromia in my mind.”
In addition to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of graduates, the Association also holds workshops targeted towards the youth; and the workshops are provided by Oromo professionals in the areas of education, employment and the law. Such workshops are great examples of how Oromo professionals can give back to the community by helping young Oromos get exposure to various areas of specializations.
Championing and Integrating Oromummaa in the Community
Under Mr. Aliye Geleto’s leadership, Victoria’s Australian Oromo community has embarked on a new chapter. The highly anticipated Oromia @ Federation Square is an example of the new chapter. An Oromo cultural festival, including food, a fashion parade, music and dances, Oromian coffee ceremony and many more, and held at the largest square in Melbourne, Oromia @ Federation Square was just held for a third time on December 19, 2010 in the presence of Oromo community members and dignitaries of the Australian government as well as other festival attendees. This year’s event also included a reenactment of the Irreechaa ceremony.
The annual Oromia @ Federation Square has become the event where Oromummaa is celebrated with the global village.
Just before this year’s Oromia @ Federation Square was to be held, members of the Australian Oromo community – dressed in cultural attires – hit the Melbourne rush-hour streets to distribute pamphlets about the upcoming event and to increase the awareness about the Oromo people. It is commitments such as these that propel a community towards excellence and great results.
Mr. Aliye Geleto is also the Ambassador of the Oromo in Australia. Together with delegates of Oromos from various States in Australia, he met with representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, in April 2010.
Regarding the meeting, Mr. Aliye Geleto wrote:
“The meeting was arranged to discuss a vast number of issues regarding current level of persecution towards the Oromo people in Ethiopia and neighboring countries. The meeting was very fruitful, and a number of issues relating to human rights violations by the current regime were tabled and discussed at the meeting.”
Role-Modeling Volunteerism in the Greater Australia
Besides serving the Oromo community, Mr. Aliye Geleto also volunteers in the greater Australian community. For instance, under the leadership of Mr. Aliye Geleto, members of the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria (AOCAV) had shown a great sense of commitment to help their fellow Australians affected by the bushfire in February 2009 by making financial contributions to the fund established to assist with the rehabilitation of the victims of the Black Saturday bushfire. A number of the community members also volunteered and participated in various projects undertaken by the Red Cross and SES (the State Emergency Services) in the bushfire-affected areas.
Mr. Aliye G. Anota gives interview to a local TV station. Sign reads “Oromia: Valley of Tears.”
In July 2009 Oromia was represented at the Harmony Day March in Melbourne, where Oromos joined thousands of Victorians to celebrate multiculturalism, oppose racism and support diversity in Victoria, Australia. Mr. Aliye Geleto was interviewed by the local television station about the Oromo people during the march.
In June 2009, in recognition of his invaluable contribution and service to local communities, Mr. Aliye Geleto and two other Oromo community leaders were awarded Certificates of Appreciation from the Hon. Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, at a special award ceremony held at the Melbourne Bowling Club.
It is with great pleasure and pride that Gadaa.com recognizes Mr. Aliye Geleto as the OROMO PERSON OF THE YEAR 2010 for organizing and leading the Oromo community in Australia to great results, for championing and integrating Oromummaa in the community, and for role-modeling volunteerism in the greater Australia. Thank you, and all other officials, volunteers and elders of the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria for your invaluable service to local communities as well as the global Oromo community.
Closing with Mr. Aliye Geleto’s own remarks from July 2009:
“A person can pray all day long for things to happen, but if they do not take some action, they will not see any results. We can reach our goals and dreams if we turn our focus and energy to pursue those goals and dreams. Get up and take some action. From our actions, we learn and grow.”