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Karibu! My name is Lilly Bekele-Piper and I am the Creator and Executive Producer of Selam & Hello. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, moved to the United States as a toddler, and have been back in East Africa for 16 years (4 in Addis, 12 in Nairobi!). My parents raised us on injera (thanks, Ima!), and the courageous stories of our people that have always inspired and challenged me. My roots, my heroes - are my parents, Solomon and Atalfim. We moved all around the US when I was young: North Dakota (frostbite! snow! more frostbite!), Illinois (da Bears!), Indiana (nothing to say here), Kansas (tornadoes are real), and eventually South Carolina (complicated!) where I lived for over a decade. I studied Communication at Wake Forest University (BA) and Higher Education at Harvard University (Ed.M.) I have spent two decades in
international development, education, and strategic communication and have worked with multinational organizations such as Harvard University, the United Nations, the World Bank, and USAID. All of my experiences have left an indelible mark on my identity and I am proud to be an Ethiopian, an immigrant, a Black woman and mother, and part of the Pan-African diaspora. My life's calling is at the intersection of the creative arts and justice. I find deep joy in gathering people to organize, to celebrate, to tell stories - and I believe there is room for everyone at the table. You can hear more of my story from my Dadasphere talk, on the show Checkbox Other or read more about my Nairobi life in this feature on Design Mom.
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