In 2017, Abiy Ahmed was largely an unknown figure in Ethiopia. Fast forward two years later, and Ahmed has won the Nobel Peace Prize for the peaceful political reforms he has brought on as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Ahmed took the reigns when the nation was in political disarray, but since then has brought back order without completely overthrowing the system. Within the country, Ahmed has been lauded for championing the role of women in politics—with 50 percent of cabinet made up of women. He has also released political prisoners – unfairly incarcerated journalists and activists from prisons – and has even welcomed criticism from opponents in a country where criticism was most often stifled by authoritarian leaders.
Internationally, his biggest achievement was bringing the conflict with Eritrea to an end. The two nations, which share a common culture and language, had been locked in a decades-long conflict that has brought immense misery to people who live on the border and to families split by the fighting. Now a treaty has ended the state of war, and a new era of peace, friendship, and comprehensive cooperation has been declared.
Many problems still plague Ethiopia and a safe future has yet to be secured, but there is hope knowing someone like Ahmed will be leading the way forward in the coming years.