President Sirleaf Holds Meetings in Turin, Italy

Saturday, 1st September 2007
President Sirleaf with mayor Sergio Chiamparino of Turin.
President Sirleaf with mayor Sergio Chiamparino of Turin.
Photo Credit: Charles Nelson/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says a positive wind of change is blowing across the African continent, but adds that the good news which is gradually developing; do not get the attention it needs.
 
The President spoke today in Turin, Italy, when she addressed the United Nations Turin Retreat 2007. The retreat, which will run from August 31-September 2nd 2007, was convened by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to enable his senior most managers know each other better, exchange ideas, and reflect on the experiences to date and the challenges ahead of the Organization.

The Liberian leader chronicled the growing trends in democracies in Africa, saying that today the continent has 18 democracies and that 21 countries have qualified for the first stage of debt relief. She also added that significant gains have been made in reducing the level of poverty in spite of difficulties. Speaking on Liberia’s current geo-political status, President Johnson Sirleaf stressed that the 2005 elections marked a turning point in country’s history. She emphasized that her government will have to build Liberia’s human resource and capacity as well as ensure that the benefit of growth be equitably distributed for development to be sustained.

For his part, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who spoke on the topic ‘My vision for the United Nations’, stressed the importance of results in the work of the U.N.’ He said the Organization has a limitless agenda and that this time should be the era of change. Mr. Ban also emphasized that the pendulum of history has swung and challenged his colleagues not to repeat the failures of Rwanda, Bosnia or Darfur.
 
In another development, the authorities of the State of Turin have pledged to forge closer ties with Liberia. The pledge was made today when President Johnson Sirleaf and entourage called on Turin Mayor Sergio Chiamparino and state officials. The Turin officials announced that five (5) scholarships in the area of engineering will be granted to Liberian students at the University of Turin’s 2007-2008 academic year. They also called on Liberians to take advantage of education in Turin, which is referred to as ‘the international capital of training’.
 
President Johnson Sirleaf thanked the State of Turin for the gesture and pledged to ensure that Liberian students take advantage of the education opportunities in Turin. The President has concluded her visit to Italy.