JAMAICA | Minister Olivia Grange Conferred with one of Ethiopia’s Highest Honours

JAMAICA | Minister Olivia Grange Conferred with one of Ethiopia’s Highest Honours

WASHINGTON DC March 5, 2023 - Jamaica’s Culture, Sports and Gender Minister Olivia 'Babsy’ Grange has been conferred with one of Ethiopia’s highest honours: The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia-GCSE.

The Grand Cross is the highest  of the five levels of the Order in the Ethiopian Solomonic Awards.

The Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia was founded by Emperor Menelik II in 1884-85, in his capacity as Negus of Shoa,1 and before he became Emperor of Ethiopia (in 1889). It is one of the older awards in the Imperial pantheon. It is currently awarded as a house order by the Crown Council of Ethiopia.[1]

The Order was established to honour foreign and domestic civilian and military officials and individuals for service to the country, and is considered the fifth ranking order of the Empire of Ethiopia alongside the Order of Menelik II.

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.

 His Imperial Highness The Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, grandson of Haile Selassie and Minister Olivia Grange admires her Order of The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia-GCSE after it was presented to her by the Prince.The presentation was made at at a special ceremony in Washington DC on Saturday March 4, 2023.|  Photo courtesy of Derrick Scott. His Imperial Highness The Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, grandson of Haile Selassie and Minister Olivia Grange admires her Order of The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia-GCSE after it was presented to her by the Prince.The presentation was made at at a special ceremony in Washington DC on Saturday March 4, 2023.| Photo courtesy of Derrick Scott.The occasion for the investiture was the annual celebration of the Victory of Adwa which is being celebrated over this weekend in Washington DC. The Victory of Adwa and the Victory of Gondar are two great military victories of Ethiopia under Emperors Menilek II and Haile Selassie I respectively, that marked turning points for Ethiopia, Africa and the world.

In conferring the award Prince Ermias said  Minister Grange was conferred with the award in recognition of the outstanding work she has done in Jamaica strengthening the relationship between Ethiopia and Jamaica. 

He said Minister Grange is now entitled to be referred to as Her Excellency Olivia Grange with the post nominal letters of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia award - GCSE

She was also recognized for being instrumental in bringing Prince Ermias to Jamaica and her efforts to build cultural and diplomatic bridges between Jamaica and the Ethiopian people.

In accepting the award Minister Grange said “today is a very special day for me. I have always dreamt of the day when I'll feel a part of the continent of Africa in addition to recognizing that my ancestors were predominantly african. The fact that I have been recognized by a nation in Africa, and particularly The Crown Council of Ethiopia, is something that has made me so overjoyed and overwhelmed, that I am pent up with emotion.”

Strategic Advisor to the Crown Mr. Gergory Copley places the The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia around the shoulders of Minister Olivia Grange at a special ceremony in Washington DC on Saturday March 4, 2023. Looking on at center is Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie. | Photo courtesy of Derrick Scott.Strategic Advisor to the Crown Mr. Gergory Copley places the The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia around the shoulders of Minister Olivia Grange at a special ceremony in Washington DC on Saturday March 4, 2023. Looking on at center is Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie. | Photo courtesy of Derrick Scott.Trying hard to hold back the tears, Minister Grange said I grew up hearing about Ethiopia because of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica, because Haile Selassi has been that symbol of the movement, And for me today to be recognized by the Crown Council and to be bestowed with the title of the Dame of the Grand Cross by His Imperial Majesty's grandson, Prince Ermias is something I have never dreamt would happen. But that is now a reality today.And so I am humbled, I am honoured, and I am a little overwhelmed.

I Accept this award on behalf of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica, because they are the ones who constantly said His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie is the symbol of Black Royalty. For me it's very important that I recognize that this honour that has been bestowed on me today, is one that I’ll have to ensure, that I carry that message of One Love in recognition that as a black Race we are equally  important as any other Race, and that we have a great history.

Also being awarded was author,  journalist, and cultural historian Barbara Blake Hanna  who was conferred with the honour of facilitating the recent formal visit to Jamaica of Prince Ermias and Princess Desta Saba to Jamaica and for her continued  promotion of Ethiopia and  Rastafari culture and history. 

On Friday Minister Grange paid a courtesy call on Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey  Marks at the Jamaican embassy in Washington DC. Later that evening Ambassador Marks hosted a dinner in honour of  Prince Ermias and Minister Grange.


Lead Photo Caption: Minister of  Culture, Sports and Gender, Olivia 'Babsy’ Grange being conferred with The Dame Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia, by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, grandson of Haile Selassie, on Saturday March 4, 2023 at a special ceremony in Washington DC | Photo courtesy of Derrick Scott.

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