Daniel Mekonnen

Community Service

Daniel has a proven track record in community service. In Eritrean diaspora circles, in particular, he is known as a dedicated community mobiliser and civil society leader. Among other things, he served as the Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of Eritrean diaspora grassroots movements that led to the organisation and implementation of the Geneva Mass Rally of June 2015. With more than 5000 participants (Eritreans and their international supporters), at that time the 2105 rally was the biggest such demonstration of Eritreans and their supporters, condemning human rights violations in Eritrea. 

Between November 2014 and June 2016, he also served as co-facilitator of a task force of Eritrean diaspora grassroots movements that submitted voluminous amount of information to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, helping the Commission to make a sound conclusion on the issue of crimes against humanity in Eritrea. During his time in South Africa, he co-founded the first post-independence Eritrean youth movement, the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR), and served as Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of the Movement that organised the Movement’s Founding Congress, held in October 2004 at the University of Pretoria.

Daniel is also a co-founder of PEN Eritrea in Exile, which is part of PEN International, the global movement of writers and artists. As part of his commitment to PEN Eritrea, he collaborated with Tedros Abraham and Abraham T. Zere in co-editing Uncensored Voices: Essays, Poems and Art Works by Exiled Eritreans (2017), which is a join publication of PEN Eritrea, PEN Austria and the Swiss-German PEN Centre (DSPZ). Daniel is the first recipient of a two-year joint fellowship of DSPZ and the International Cities of Refugee Network (ICORN) (2015-2017).