Dr. Teferra is founder and president of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Inc. which was established in 1983. His leadership and vision have shaped ECDC from a start-up agency with an initial budget of less than $100,000 to a major community-based organization with an annual budget of over several million. ECDC now offers a wide range of cultural, economic, educational, and social services at the local and national levels through its headquarters operations and through ECDC African Community Center (ACC) branch offices in Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Arlington, Virginia.
While meeting the many challenges of running a multifaceted organization, Dr. Teferra is also active in civic, professional, and local community affairs. He frequently lectures locally and nationally on African issues and cross-cultural studies and has testified before Congress. He has served as Chair of the Resettlement Committee of Refugee Council USA and as a member of its Finance Committee; and Vice Chair and Chairman of the Virginia State Refugee Advisory Council. He was appointed by the Arlington County Board to serve as a founding member of the Arlington County, Virginia, Multicultural Commission; as well as a member of the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Task Force for Arlington’s Future, and the Diversity Dialogue Task Force . Dr. Teferra currently serves as a member of the Board of InterAction; the Board of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization in Arlington, Virginia.
A native of Ethiopia, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra received his undergraduate degree from Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa. He then earned an M.S. in Applied Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he also served as a Research Associate in the School of Languages and Linguistics. Dr. Teferra was an instructor at The Catholic University of America and the Foreign Service Institute and was an Assistant Professor in the African Studies and Research Center at Howard University. He served as a cross-cultural instructor in the Peace Corps’ in-country training program and taught at several institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia before coming to the United States as a UNESCO Fellow in 1972.
Recognition and Awards
- Selected as a White House Champion of Change in 2012.
- Received the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago’s Pioneer Award for Leadership, Advocacy and Networking in October 2009.
- Honored in May 2008 by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) for his many years of public service to Ethiopian and Africans in Diaspora.
- Honored by Bank of America in 2006 with a Local Hero Award of Excellence for contributions as president of ECDC and the Enterprise Development Group through support to low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs.
- Honored by the City Council of the City of Los Angeles in 2005 with an Award of Appreciation for his contributions to improving the lives of refugee and immigrant newcomers to the United States.
- Recognized in 1991by former President George H.W. Bush for outstanding record of community service.
- Recognized in 1991 for outstanding contributions to the country by then Ambassador at Large and U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious.
Vice President of Programs and Community Engagement
Allene Wright serves as the Vice President of Programs and Community Engagement. She provides overall direction for ECDC’s resettlement and integration programs, developing strategic direction for the work of the department in alignment with the mission and goals of ECDC. She ensures deliverables comply with program funding requirements and is also engaged in development and community engagement efforts. Allene received a B.A. in German from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Director of Finance
Azeb provides management, control and administration of all fiscal operations of ECDC its and its branch offices. Ms. Tadesse has over 12 years of finance experience. She has an MBA from Strayer University in Arlington, Virginia.