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Seattle’s Ezra Teshome, World Citizen & Polio Warrior

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:


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.