Ethiopia’s promise, potential at a crossroads

Coffee delivers a taste of Ethiopia to Americans daily. Coffee beans were discovered in Ethiopia, and a morning Starbucks is generally as close as most Americans get to that African nation.

Ethiopia hit closer to home last week, however, when UC Davis plant biology researcher Sharon Gray was killed by rock-throwing rioters outside the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. Gray’s car was pelted and she became the first foreigner to die in anti-government protests that have already claimed hundreds of Ethiopians since last November.

Sharon Gray, 30, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher, was killed in Ethiopia while riding in a vehicle that was stoned by protesters in the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Gray, who worked in the university’s plant biology department, was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research.

Sharon Gray, 30, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher, was killed in Ethiopia while riding in a vehicle that was stoned by protesters in the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Gray, who worked in the university’s plant biology department, was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research.

In the wake of Gray’s death, Ethiopia’s domestic tensions seem to have worsened. Last Sunday, Ethiopia’s leader declared a six-month state of emergency, recognizing the growing unrest and hoping to quell further political violence.   Read more