Please join Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Councilman Albus Brooks, and Denver Sister Cities International for the exciting kick-off of Global Exchange a speaker series for the international business community Global Exchange will offer direct access and introductions to Denver’s twelve Learn more
Explore Ethiopia and Kenya June 5 – June 22, 2015 Featuring stops in Sister Cities, Axum, Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya Trip Price $7397.00* *single supplement (Ethiopia $225) Inclusions: International and domestic airfare Ground transportation and transfers All overnight accommodations Learn more
Join us on Thursday, January 8th, 2015 6:00 – 7:00 pm Cocktails & Hors d’Oeuvres 7:00 Dinner State of the Agency Swearing in of the 2015 Board of Directors Recognition of 2014’s Outstanding Volunteers Keynote: Denver’s International Strategy Learn more
Colorado Gives Day 2014 December 9th Created by Community First Foundation in 2007, ColoradoGives.org makes fundraising simple for nonprofits and giving easy for donors. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statemwide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Learn more
The Worldwide Festival continues with The Worldwide Gala Sunday, September 7th McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Please join us at our annual fundraiser! We have visiting dignitaries and friends coming from our Sister Cities in Brest, France and Nairobi, Learn more
Picnic in the Park Saturday, August 17th 2:00 – 5:00 pm City of Axum Park
Worldwide Festival Sunday, September 7th McNichols Building Civic Center Park 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Become a sponsor! Vendor Sign Up Celebrate the art, crafts, food, dance and cultures of Denver’s ten Sister Cities! Entrance to the daytime fair Learn more
Wednesday, April 2nd 8:00 am – 9:15 am State Capital Building, Rotunda Join us as we celebrate and honor the sister city programs throughout the state and the many volunteers involved with these organizations. Sponsored by State Representatives Paul Learn more
Celebrate the Holiday with the Denver-Axum Committee Sunday, January 26th, 3-6 p.m. Africana Cafe, 5091 E Colfax Ave *Authentic Ethiopian Meal *Coffee Ceremony *Report on 2013 Trip to Axum Adult Members $25, Adult Non-Members $30 Students $20, Children (Under 12) $10 Purchase Learn more
- Axum is located in the northern region of Ethiopia.
- This over 2,500 year old city is reported to have been the capital city of the legendary Queen of Sheba. As archaeological expeditions take place, more artifacts are being discovered that attest to the high levels of engineering and architectural achievements of the Ethiopian empire. Obelisks built over 2,000 years ago still stand in the city, as well as the recently unearthed ruins of a complex and sophisticated palace that are claimed in legend to be that of the Queen of Sheba.
- The thriving commerce of this empire could be attributed to the minting of its own currency and establishment of a written language, Geez.
- When Christianity became the state religion in 350 A.D., Axum rose as one of the earliest holy cities in Ethiopia.
- The history of Axum dates back from about 2nd to 1st century BC
- The early city was located on the trade route between India, Arabia and Africa – the seat of a large empire that stretched from the Nile River in the west to southern Arabia
- It became one of the earliest holy cities in Ethiopia when Christianity became the state religion in 350 AD.
- The same year, the Saint Mary of Zion (Orthodox Church of Ethiopia) was the first church to be built. This church is reputed to house the Ark of the Covenant in its vault.
- Palace ruins outside of town are named for the Queen of Sheba (1000 BC) who lived in the area of Axum
- The Axumite Empire (100 BC to 1,100 AD) was one of the most powerful empires of the day. A highly advanced civilization, the Axumites developed writing and minted gold coins to carry out their maritime commerce with the Roman Empire, Persia, India, and China.
- Axum is a popular destination because of its ancient history and its artifacts. It plays a key role in the major industries in Northern Ethiopia – tourism and agriculture.
- In addition to the rumored original Ark of the Convent, the St. Mary of Zion Church houses an impressive collection of bibles, crosses and crowns of early rulers.
- The city is equally famous for its tall stelai (obelisks) located in a historic portion of the city. Among the greatest human architectural and engineering marvels, these upright stone works are carved from single granite blocks – many of the original are no longer standing, however, of the remaining standing stelai, the tallest is about 85 feet high.After the recent repatriation of on of the obelisks from Rome, having been taken there by Mussolini’s troups during WWII, Axum now has two standing obelisks. Most impressive is that tools and evidence have been found that the massive stelai were constructed and transported from 5 km in distance.
- An estimated seventy-five percent of the people in Axum are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
- Significiant religious celebrations are the T’imk’et Festival in early January, and Festival of Maryam Zion in early November
- Due to their historical value, UNESCO added Axum’s archaeological wonders to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1980
- In 2005, the country of Italy diplomatically returned a 24m tall, 1,700 year old obelisk to Ethiopia after soldiers from WWI had taken the engineering marvel back to Rome. As a symbol of national identity, the return of the obelisk was met with a joyous and large public celebration. In July 2008, the obelisk was fully erected and re-installed in the city of Axum.
- The Axum-Denver relationship began when Daniel Yohannes, the late Councilman Hiawatha Davis, Tsegaye Hailu, and others prepared an application for Axum to become Denver’s ninth sister city.
- After nearly 20 years of civil war and recurring drought and famine, the city of Axum needed peace loving people from around the world to reach out and embrace it.
- Recognizing the many similarities between Axum and Denver, the relationship evolved into a natural fit. Axum was a gateway between the east and west, as Denver is becoming today. Economic well-being in both cities came from natural resources and dedication to the environment.
- On January 20, 1995, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb signed the proclamation and declared the day as Axum Day. On November 12, Mayor Webb, First Lady Wilma Webb, Lieutenant Governor Gail Schoettler, and Daniel Yohannes led a delegation of ten prominent officials and business leaders on a visit to Axum. The people of Axum turned out in mass lining the streets of the city and giving the delegation a royal welcome. To commemorate the occasion, a Denver Street was named in the middle of Axum.
- The long-term goals of DSCI in Axum are to improve the health and welfare of its citizens through improved water and sanitation facilities, which will help the Axum economy that is heavily dependent on the tourist industry.
- The last several years have led to numerous cultural, educational, and humanitarian initiatives.
- Forty thousand dollars was secured in collaboration with MSU Denver to build the Gessesso School, which opened in the summer of 2012.
- Nine tons of books were raised in a book drive for the University of Axum and two water pumps were donated to the Axum water department.
- By partnering with the Tigray Association, the Axum committee raised $30,000 to purchase and deliver a septic truck to Axum.
- Nine hundred and fifty visitors were hosted in Denver for the 2012 Tigray Association’s International Conference, including several Ethiopian dignitaries.
- The Axum committee also facilitated a two week study abroad program for three professors and 15 students from MSU Denver.
- Culturally, the committee has sponsored a month long historical photo exhibition of Axum at the Denver Public Library. Other smaller initiatives have also taken place, such as the sending of cameras to Axum in order to document the lives of the community members to ultimately be shared on DSCI’s website.
- After a 2002 feasibility study by a team of professionals from Denver, a low-cost, low-tech and sustainable water treatment facility was designed to make the existing ground water source more potable. With the assistance of Denver Water laboratory equipment and supplies were purchased to establish a water quality testing lab. Lab technicians were also trained. However, before the treatment plant could be build, the groud water yiend fell dramatically and the government decided to build a pipeline from a more sustainable source in a nearby town.
- Through a grant with Proctor and Gamble, the committee was able to provide water purification packets and education to over 600 students, families and teachers at Hawelti School. Absenteeism was reduced significantly in the school year.
- A grant from DSCI provided funds to complete a latrine at Hawelti School.
- Leak detection equipment donated by Denver Water was sent to help alleviate the water shortages. Volunteer Denver Technicians trained staff in Axum to operate the equipment.
- DSCI and the local Ethiopian community have been raising funds and after 14 years were finally able to acquire a septic truck from Denver Wastewater Management. With the help of the Humanitarian Assistance Program of the DOD and USAID, the truck is on its way to Axum at the time of this posting. The septic truck will provide badly needed maintenance of pit latrines and help alleviate the sanitation problem of the city.
- DSCI has hosted several Ethiopian officials on visits to Denver and facilitated art and pen pal exchange programs. The committee continues to give talks and exhibit Ethiopian artifacts to Denver Metro school children through our “City in a Suitcase Program”.
- An annual picnic is held at the City of Axum park and a celebration each January at a local Ethiopian Restaurant which bring a taste of Ethiopian culture to Denver residents.
- The committee continues to lead delegation trips to Ethiopia. Our 2012 delegation donated 8 C.U.R.E. Kits to Saint Mary of Zion hospital.
The Axum Committee meets every the second Wednesday of every month.
The long-term goals of DSCI in Axum are to improve the health and welfare of the citizens, through improved water and sanitation facilities, which in turn will help the City’s economy that is heavily dependent on the tourist industry. In 2010, we completed the PUR pilot program and latrine at the Hawelti Elementary School, initiated the sale of affordable water-purification packets in shops in the City, continued the pen-pal and City in a Suitcase programs, and recently facilitated the acquisition and shipment of a septic tank truck. We furthered our Partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver in improving facilities at the University in Axum and their construction of Gessesso School. The Axum Committee is always in need of new members to volunteer their time and ideas to help meet these goals, and to participate in DSCI activities.
Chair: Chuck Kreiman