President Sirleaf Commends Liberians for Contributions to 13 Years of Sustained Peace; Pays Host to American Hip-hop Star Akon.

Thursday, 20th October 2016
President Sirleaf  chats  with Mr.  Olof Skoog, Vice Chairman of the United Nations Peace Building Commission.
President Sirleaf chats with Mr. Olof Skoog, Vice Chairman of the United Nations Peace Building Commission.
Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged and commended the contributions of Liberians toward achieving, maintaining and sustaining the level of peace currently being enjoyed spanning over the last 13-years. “Liberia is proud of the 13-years of peace” President told the gathering.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the commendation on Thursday, October 20, 2016 in the Ball Room of the Monrovia City Hall, when she delivered a “Special Statement at a “Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Sustaining Peace through transition in Liberia organized by the Government of Liberia and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission to ensure that the root causes of conflict are being addressed during and beyond the transition and what the support to sustaining peace in Liberia should look like in post-UNMIL era.
We could not have achieved it if we did not have citizens who believe in peace and really want to decry violence because their hope last in a peaceful nation that will improve upon opportunities that they will enjoy, maintain and sustain.

President Sirleaf used the occasion to also commend organizers and participants at the forum, including the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, youths and women representatives for their efforts in making sure that Liberians and members of the international community sustain and maintain the peace. President Sirleaf however lauded Ambassador Olof Skoog, Vice Chairman of the United Nations Peace Building Commission for - in a very strong way being able to help the Liberian people to achieve sustained peace.
President Sirleaf further praised Ms. Gwendolyn Myers, Youths Representative and Ms. Frances Greaves, Chairperson of the Civil Society Movement of Liberia for the able manner in which they represented their constituents at the ceremony.

President Sirleaf recalled that even though over the last 13-years, every Liberian have been working assiduously for achieving, maintaining and sustaining the peace, but noted that these gains were over- shadowed by three shocks of setback including - difficult economic times, the shock of the Ebola that we fixed, and the shock in the traditional prices of Liberia’s exports - rubber and iron ore coupled with the transition of the United Nations Missions in Liberia. President Sirleaf assured the gathering that her administration will continue on the path of peace toward holding the 2017 through democratic free and transparent elections.
Also speaking at the forum, Madam Francs Greaves, Chairperson, National Civil Society Council of Liberia assured participants at the ceremony that Liberians are a people that can easily coming together to confront anything that is of embarrassment to them. She said with this experience, even in the absence of (UNMIL), Liberians can take their destiny into their hands by maintaining and sustaining the peace.
For his part, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Liberia, Farid Zarif noted that even though the United Nations Peace Building Commission is one of the brains behind the forum of helping Liberians to maintain and sustain the peace, however according to him: “There is no evidence to proof that there is anything suspicious going on in Liberia”.
The SRSG said the purpose of the forum is to see what kind of support is needed in helping Liberians in maintaining and sustaining the peace, after UNMIL’s departure. “Therefore, I have no doubt that the people of Liberia will continue to maintain and preserve the peace and stability of this country, after UNMIL departure”, Ambassador Zarif noted.

It can recalled the Government of Liberian and the United Nations Peace Building Commission jointly endorsed  a revised statement of mutual commitments (SMC) on May 2, 2016 that highlights five key peacebuilding priorities namely security sector development, rule of law promoting national reconciliation, promoting inclusive and peaceful elections and humans rights in 2017.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has paid host to Senegalese-born American hip-hop star Akon on Thursday, October 20, 2016 in furtherance of “Light To Learn” - an initiative that highlights the positive impacts of investment in Africa’s sustainable power and education, and the importance of developing both sectors as they propel Liberia and the continent towards a better and brighter future.

The Liberian leader welcomed the Senegalese-born American hip-hop star Akon to Liberia and applauded him for getting out of the capital city and going into the rural areas of Liberia to perform something she said is laudable in order to give education a boast.  President Sirleaf used the occasion to inform Akon about the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant that was once destroyed during the civil conflict but comes online in December of this year. According to her, when completed it is not going to be enough to serve the entire population that is while for us, we welcome this initiative.  

Responding, Akon congratulated President Sirleaf for her excellent leadership role exhibited over the years. He said lot of times we try to move away what is consider normal in order to change the paradigm. He said though we try to be innovative in finding solutions, challenges are inevitable. He assured President Sirleaf of his support to education, which according to him will magnify the point of our understanding and no matter what the challenges are, “we are going to try to put together our resources to help”, he said.

The American star said he was happy to be back in Liberia that has made so much progress over the last few years. He furthered he’s in Liberia to contribute to Liberia’s progress and shifting a new paradigm in lifting Liberia. He commended President Sirleaf for the warm reception given him and for the audience. Akon did a symbolic lighting up the communities around two Bridge Partnership Schools the J.W. Pearson Elementary School in Monrovia and Zuluyee Public School in the Ganta City, Nimba County - using solar-generated lighting technology.

The “Light to Learn” initiative is aimed at bringing clean, affordable and endless energy that will in turn bring about beneficial changes such as empowering schools to use technology to support teachers in lesson preparation and classroom management; making use of digital libraries with access to hundreds of books at a child’s fingertips possible, even in remote communities. Akon and delegation were accompanied to the office of the President by Liberia’s Minister of Education, George Werner.