Axumite Heritage Foundation
Established in 1993, the Axumite Heritage Foundation (AHF) is a subsidiary of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Inc., a non-profit, community-based organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. ECDC was founded in 1983 to respond to the needs of the growing Ethiopian population in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1992, ECDC became a voluntary agency, designated by the State Department to resettle refugees across the United States. It is now a national organization that works for newcomers from around the world.
During a visit to Ethiopia in 1992, ECDC President Tsehaye Teferra observed the loss and damage that had occurred to objects and sites of cultural importance in Axum. The dilapidated state of the former Governor’s Palace (the ’Inda Nebri’id) left a particularly vivid impression on him. Growing up in Axum, he remembered it as a place held in high regard by the community. After the overthrow of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, the building was used by the new Marxist Derg regime as a military barracks and prison. Dr. Teferra decided that a place that had grown to be associated with the abuses of the Derg should be transformed into a place of education and community development.
Soon after, ECDC developed a plan of action to restore the 'Inda Nebri'id and turn it into a cultural center that promoted the unique heritage of Axum. The Axumite Heritage Foundation was established to implement this plan and oversee the creation of a new Axumite Heritage Library, a museum, and eventually the Institute of Axumite Studies. AHF took on stewardship of the ’Inda Nebri’id, and its renovation was completed at a cost of $100,000. The AHF then solicited and shipped book donations and educational materials to the ’Inda Nebri’id, which opened its doors as a public library in 2002.