Sahlework Zewde is an Ethiopian diplomat, currently serving as President of Ethiopia, the first female to hold the office. She was elected President by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on October 25, 2018.Zewde was previously a diplomat, serving as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde studied natural science at the University of Montpellier, France. She is fluent in Amharic, French and English.
A veteran in the Ethiopian foreign service, Zewde served as Ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea, from 1989 to 1993. From 1993 to 2002, she was Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). She later served as Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco from 2002 to 2006.
Zewde served as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA). Previously, she also held a number of other high level positions including as Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and as Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
In 2011, Zewde was appointed to the position of Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She was the first person to hold the post at the level of Under-Secretary-General.
She was appointed as President of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018, the first female to service in the role.