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Not Your Average Organizer: Ambaye T.


It’s not everyday that a community organizer in New York is from a country across the Atlantic Ocean and in the Horn of Africa. A member of the Summer Organizer class of 2011, Ambaye T. is a rising senior studying International Relations at Syracuse University, and he calls Ethiopia home.

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Ethiopia, Ambaye considers himself someone who has pursued the American dream. He loves the United States, and it was President Barack Obama who prompted his interest in American politics. He feels a connection to President Obama because of their African ancestry (Ethiopia and Kenya share a border) and is impressed by his respectful intentions while working within the international community. Why is Ambaye “in” to support President Obama?

“I believe he is the best candidate for the job in all meanings of the word.”

Upon learning about Ambaye’s family, it is no surprise that he has a knack for politics. His grandfather, who he considers to be his role model, was an Ethiopian politician who first implanted his love of politics. His mother, who works for UNHCR—the United Nations Refugee Agency—is a strong Obama supporter despite living across the world in Ethiopia. In fact, it was his mother who urged him to apply for the Summer Organizer program.

Ambaye was drawn to the program because he has always wanted to make a change in the community. Within his first week, Ambaye has already held a voter registration drive at Syracuse University and contacted countless voters. He finds working within the community to be immensely rewarding and finds the passion people have for politics to be both interesting and informative.

You can follow Ambaye’s and other summer organizers across the country’s adventures this summer by following #SumOrg11 on Twitter:. If you are interested in joining Ambaye by getting involved in your community, send us an email at [email protected]

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