Who is Meles Zenawi

Meles Zenawi Asres (Ge’ez: መለስ ዜናዊ አስረስ Mäläs Zenawi Äsräs) died in office as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on August 20, 2012 after a long health battle. He was born as Legesse Zenawi Asres. He changed his first name from Legesse to Meles (nom de guerre Meles, which he later adopted in honour of a university student and fellow Tigrai Meles Tekle who was executed by Mengistu’s government in 1975) while fighting the Russian supported Derg military government.

Meles Zenawi was born in the town of Adwa, Tigrai, in northern Ethiopia, to an Ethiopian father from Adwa and a mother from Adi Quala, Eritrea. He completed from grade 1 to grade 8 in just 5 years. He was awarded a scholarship to complete his high school studies in Addis Ababa (Ethiopian capital) at the General Wingate High school. Up on successfully completing his high school in great distinction, he studied medicine at Addis Ababa University medical faculty (at the time known as Haile Selassie I University) for two years before interrupting his studies in 1975 to join the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Meles Zenawi took power after the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) marched to Addis Ababa on May 20, 1991.

From 1985, he was the chairman of the Tigrai Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year, and has been serving as prime minister until his death on Aug 20, 2012.

Meles Zenawi was also a very strong ally of the United States’ “War on Terror”.

Meles Zenawi acquired an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the Open University of the United Kingdom in 1995 and an masters of science in economics from the Erasmus University of the Netherlands in 2004. In July 2002, Meles received an honorary doctoral degree in political science from the Hannam University in South Korea.

Zenawi was married to Azeb Mesfin, a former rebel fighter in TPLF and currently a member of parliament, with whom he had 3 children.

Meles Zenawi Biography in Amharic

24 Responses

  1. roman
    roman September 4, 2012 at 3:40 am · Reply

    i am proud of you Meles. you were and are one of the best heroes of Ethiopia. we are on your side.

  2. Getu
    Getu September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm · Reply

    Rest in peace. What a huge loss for Ethiopia and Africa!

  3. Selam
    Selam September 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm · Reply

    May the lord keep the children of Ethiopia safe and sound at this very difficult time.

    Who is going to take over as the PM of the country? I hope God has chosen the right person to rule this country.

    We all need to pray for the people of Ethiopia.

  4. NN D
    NN D September 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm · Reply

    AFRICAN Luminary Leader The Founder of African Union ( AU ) and Commission for Africa ( CA ). A small Statue African Big Man Short, Brilliant, Sharp and Extraordinary Cleaver.
    THE PRIME MINSTER OF ETHIOPIAN MELES ZENAWI Has Been REMEMBERED and regarded as a Luminary Successful Leader for ETHIOPIA who has ACHIEVES many of a Benchmarks of Developments for Ethiopian’s Never Reach before in Every Direction.
    I Already Missed you and thank , the days the weeks and the years to come you will be Missed Greatly AM Proud of You.
    MY CONDOLENCESS to the Family of The Great PM MELES ZENAWI and The People of Ethiopian.
    NN D London

  5. kelemework
    kelemework September 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm · Reply

    u did what u had been to do.I remember u 4ever & u will live in my heart. God bless you WODI ZENAWI.

  6. abreham meaza
    abreham meaza September 5, 2012 at 12:13 am · Reply

    he’s my hero. I’ll never see like him.

  7. rich
    rich September 5, 2012 at 12:43 am · Reply

    i’m deeply sad b/c of our pm Meles death but in my heart he is always with me we will never find such kind of person or leader God rest his life in peace.

  8. Abrsh
    Abrsh September 5, 2012 at 12:55 am · Reply

    Z developmental hero may rest in peace.this time ethiopia needs z clever leader in z horn of africa.as we know z situations r not good. it is z terror area,so z next leader has to b wise to keep our greatness in z area and keeping z stability.i hope z former pm recommended who shall b z next pm of ethiopia.if he didn’t,i m sorry he made a mistake. this is what leadership means. But i believe meles did it bc meles lived for future. Hopefully God is wiz u!

  9. kindie
    kindie September 5, 2012 at 12:59 am · Reply

    I’m really sorry for missing the one dedicated his life to the prosperity of the people. He had given his life for the people he loved. Let God give rest for his soul and I would like to express MY CONDOLENCESS to the Family of The Great PM MELES ZENAWI and The People of Ethiopia

  10. Wold
    Wold September 5, 2012 at 1:24 am · Reply

    I express my heartfelt condolences on the sad, sudden and untimely passing away of our P.M. H.E. Meles Zenawi, the history maker hero.
    Ethiopia as well as Africa has lost a great leader who had been well-educated, visionary and versatile enough to set high standard of goals and benchmarks to develop our country and Africa.
    He will always be rememberd for his knowledge based leadership and remarkable development of our country.
    I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the bereaved family, the government of Ethiopia and all Ethiopians.
    We have to follow his footprints and do our best to develop our country and accomplish our P.M’s visions

  11. Shimels Gebrehiwet
    Shimels Gebrehiwet September 5, 2012 at 3:00 am · Reply

    I can’t believe his death still,but his death is more bad to the country than his family , when he was alive he may do so many incredible transformations to the country . In short period of time the country will inter to the middle developed countries . Anyway God doesn’t allow to him to be alive . GOD REST HIM IN PEACE !!!

  12. yasin
    yasin September 5, 2012 at 7:40 am · Reply

    we missed one of greatest sons of Africa

  13. Wold
    Wold September 6, 2012 at 2:07 am · Reply

    we miss you lot our dear P.M Meles Zenawi, we miss ur knowledable speech, ur confidence for development, ur vision, ur transformational leadership, ur multi-professional knowledge etc………………………… anyway what can we do we have lost our hero may God rest your soul in peace we are greatly proud of you.
    R.I.P Dear P.M. Meles Zenawi
    God Bless Ethiopia

  14. ashenafi
    ashenafi September 23, 2012 at 5:41 am · Reply

    u were a surprising and unique human being with an amusing qualities. may God bless u your soul.

  15. Gw
    Gw November 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm · Reply

    We as Ethiopian, African and the whole human being who stunned for justice, peace, development and democracy lost the great pro- poor, outstanding and extraordinary knowledgeable African leader. He sacrifices his whole life for peace, development and to strengthen democratic right of the Ethiopian people.

  16. Eba Mala
    Eba Mala December 13, 2012 at 2:44 am · Reply


  17. kefyalew gebre
    kefyalew gebre February 4, 2013 at 4:40 am · Reply

    We lost the best minded person of Africa. RIP.

  18. Hanan
    Hanan February 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm · Reply

    ‘we lost a master mind leader!
    not only Ethiopia even missed Africa.’

  19. Berhe Berhane
    Berhe Berhane March 21, 2013 at 9:25 am · Reply

    Meles, you were an extraordinary leader; superb mentor and a man of vision for Ethiopia, Africa and the world at large. You master-minded Ethiopia’s development to its perfect level; we do hope that the young and dynamic generation that you have left behind will fill up the gap and take the initiative to continue with your legacy. May God place your soul in eternal peace.

    Berhe Berhane

  20. Abelxyz
    Abelxyz June 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm · Reply

    During his lifetime, Meles Zenawi was the most unappreciated political leader but in his death, he is the most mourned in which all Ethiopians were grief stricken. Inarguably he was exceptionally brilliant politician, far-sighted visionary leader, not only in the battle fields during war times but also in solving multifaceted problems at peace times. PM Meles was a progressive African realist, socially humble, principled, and gifted in identifying emerging problems and in working hard in seeking solution. Though it is sad to see nature has robbed one of the best African minds, we celebrate his life as he has used it for the good of society.

  21. ALEM A.
    ALEM A. August 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm · Reply

    In simple description Meles Zenawi was the candle for our mother Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Ethiopian-Canadians in the Greater Vancouver Area Have Now Raised a Total of $106,355 USD in Support of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project | The GERD Support Team in Vancouver, BC, Canada

    [...] The Meles Zenawi run was held appropriately at Stanley Park, reflecting the green legacy of Meles Zenawi. Since we started the campaign earlier this spring, we have raised a total of $106,355 USD – [...]

  23. gelila
    gelila October 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm · Reply

    rest in peace…proud of u

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