Minister of Culture, Sports, and Gender Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has been awarded one of Ethiopia’s highest honours: The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia-GCSE.
Emperor Menelik II established the Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia in 1884-85 to honour foreign and domestic civilian and military officials and individuals for their service to the country. It is one of the older awards in the Imperial pantheon and is currently awarded as a house order by the Crown Council of Ethiopia.
The Grand Cross is the highest of the five levels of the Order in the Ethiopian Solomonic Awards. Grange’s Investiture was made by the Crown Council of Ethiopia, at the command of His Imperial Highness the Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, grandson of Haile Selassie, on Saturday at the Army Navy Club Hotel in Washington, DC. The occasion for the Investiture was the annual celebration of the Victory of Adwa, celebrated over the weekend in Washington, DC.
In conferring the award, Prince Ermias said Minister Grange was recognized for her outstanding work in Jamaica, strengthening the relationship between Ethiopia and Jamaica. She was also recognized for her instrumental role in bringing Prince Ermias to Jamaica and her efforts to build cultural and diplomatic bridges between Jamaica and the Ethiopian people.
Minister Grange was overcome with emotion upon receiving the award. She accepted it on behalf of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica, which has consistently recognized Haile Selassie as a symbol of Black Royalty.
Grange said, “It’s very important that I recognize that this honour that has been bestowed on me today. It is one that I’ll have to ensure that I carry the message of One Love, especially in recognition that as a Black Race, we are equally important as any other Race. Plus, that we have a great history.”
On Friday, Minister Grange paid a courtesy call on Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks. The call was at the Jamaican embassy in Washington, DC. Later that evening, Ambassador Marks hosted a dinner in honour of Prince Ermias and Minister Grange.