Ezra Teshome


Before Bill Gates became a polio warrior, there was Ezra and the Rotarians | 

Gates Foundation

Celebrating Rotary's commitment to polio eradication, a display on the north side of the new Gates Foundation campus

For the record, Bill Gates couldn’t have become the world’s leading advocate for polio eradication if not for people like Ezra Teshome. People who wear sprockets on their heads.


I hung out on Wednesday night with a small gang of Seattle Rotarians, including Ezra and Bill Gates Sr., who had braved the winter storm warning (of, yeah, that dusting of snow) to celebrate Rotary’s 106th anniversary and its decades of commitment to seeing polio wiped off the face of the planet. Continue reading

Seattle’s Ezra Teshome, World Citizen & Polio Warrior | 

World Affairs Council

Ezra Teshome

Full disclosure: Ezra Teshome is one of my favorite guys.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Tonight, the World Affairs Council will honor Teshome as the 2010 World Citizen, along with a Nathan Hale HS teacher, Erin Lynch, for broadening her students’ minds. Lynch is being honored as WAC’s 2010 World Educator.

Teshome is perhaps best known for his many years of work getting kids in Africa (and elsewhere) immunized against polio. He’s a leading member of Rotary International, which has done more to fight polio than any organization — including even the Gates Foundation, which quotes Bill Gates here as saying so.

Teshome regularly visits the country of his birth, Ethiopia, where he participates in the vaccination campaigns and many other projects aimed at improving health and welfare. Here’s a profile the Seattle Times‘ Nicole Brodeur did after he returned from his latest trip to Ethiopia. And here’s an oldie-but-goodie column from my former colleague Robert Jamieson at the Seattle PI. And here’s a recent one in an Ethiopian newspaper (I like the fact that it’s based in Addis Ababa yet reports on Ezra as “local news.”)

We could all go on and on about Ezra. Yeah, I do know him well enough to call him Ezra. Turns out, he is also my insurance agent. I knew him before this, having written about him as a champion of global health and a leader in the local Ethiopian-American community. He became my agent by accident when my previous agents either retired or moved on and transferred our household account to other offices.

So, like a good neighbor Ezra is there. And there. And there. He’s all over the place, being a good neighbor to everyone in neighborhoods all over the world. Congrats Ezra! It’s recognition well-deserved.

Here’s a video interview with Ezra about him being named this year’s World Citizen: