Marlboro College presents coffee entrepreneur in alumni series

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MARLBORO — Marlboro College Alumni Speaker Series welcomes Ethiopian coffee entrepreneur Dagmawi Iyasu, Class of 1998, for a personal reflection titled "Ethiopians: The Coffee People," on Thursday, Oct. 24. The talk will take place at 4 p.m. in Apple Tree, and is free and open to the public.

A serial entrepreneur, public health practitioner, and coffee researcher in his homeland of Ethiopia, Iyasu will discuss the role of culture and technology in human resource and sustainable development — and of course coffee. His informal talk will be followed by Q&A over a cup of - you guessed it - awesome coffee.

"It seems like my life revolves around coffee," says Iyasu. He and some partners also won second prize in the Make It on Main Street competition in Wilmington, and are planning to open a coffee shop/collective there. "Coffee is addictive socially — I love the people it brings together."

Iyasu is the program manager for Africa at Grounds for Health, a Vermont-based NGO focusing on cervical cancer prevention in coffee-growing communities around the world. He is also an advisor for Ethiopia-based YA Coffee Roasters and Slow Brew Coffee Safaris, companies that his wife, Sara Yirga, owns and manages, where he researches the potential of domestic consumption and coffee tourism in Ethiopia and other African countries.

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