The All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD) has welcomed President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s announcement of his plan to begin to host an annual “Diaspora Conference on National Development.”
In his first State of Nation Address (SONA) to the 55th Legislature on Monday, January 29th, at the Capitol, Pres. Boakai stated among others that he was proposing an annual Diaspora Conference on National Development, because Liberians in the diaspora are an integral part of the nation. “Our Liberian brothers and sisters in the Diaspora are an integral part of our nation – they are an extension of our national pride. They share in our nation’s happiness and sadness. They are readily responsive to the needs of family members and friends in times of difficulty. Liberians in the Diaspora have a stake in the future of Liberia and my Administration will be intentional about ensuring that their stake in Liberia is fully harnessed. I have therefore proposed an annual Diaspora Conference on National Development.”
The President commended the actions of the 54th Legislature and the past administration for their actions to remove the unfair burden of citizenship against Liberians, who have chosen to explore opportunities in other parts of the world. He is glad that the slogan, “Once a Liberian, always a Liberian,” now has true meaning.
He promised to establish clear and predictable policies and links where diaspora Liberians can play more meaningful roles in their country’s future.
In 2017, then VP Boakai was named the first “Dual Citizenship Personality of the Year” by ALCOD. This decision was criticized by some members in diaspora because it was seen as a testimony that then Candidate Boakai had a good relationship with diaspora Liberians as compared to other candidates, who were in the race for the Presidency. ALCOD’s decision was based on then VP Boakai’s advocacy for Dual Citizenship in Liberia.
Some recipients of ALCOD’s “Dual Citizenship Personality of the Year” have been former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, George M. Weah, Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, Cllr. Archibald Fitzhubert Bernard, Representative Acarous Moses Gray, Representative (Speaker) Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, and Representative Kanie Wesso.
ALCOD’s Eminent Chairman, Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee said President Boakai has been a longtime advocate for dual citizenship and Liberians on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
“Between 2006 and 2008, then VP Boakai joined The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) to advocate for Liberians on TPS/DED, to be granted Permanent Residence status in the US. Then Vice President Boakai continued this immigration advocacy beyond 2008 and whenever he was in the US, he met with city, state and federal officials in Rhode Island, Minnesota, and other states to make the case for Liberians. “Liberians on TPS/DED then are now benefiting from Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) and becoming Permanent Residents. Other Liberians benefiting from LRIF are those continuously present in the United States of America since November 20th, 2014,” Eminent Wettee disclosed.
He further stated that because of the President’s leadership role in advocating for his fellow Liberians in the diaspora for dual citizenship, ALCOD made him their “2017 DIASPORA PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR”.
Meanwhile, ALCOD is appealing to President Boakai to consider as one his of legislative agendas to remove the restrictions in the current dual citizenship law.
“In preparation of the ‘Diaspora Conference on National Development,’ ALCOD is willing to work with the Office of the President to help set up the agendas which will include but not limited to – ‘Out of Country Voting, Diaspora Free Zone – Diaspora Economy Village,’ and making ‘Once A Liberia Always A Liberia Constitutional.’”
All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), which includes the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), Liberian Advocacy for Change (LAFC), Federation of Liberia Communities in Australia (FOLICA), United Liberian Association of Ghana (ULAG), Liberian Association of Canada (LAC), and Conference of Liberian Organizations in Southwestern United States of America (CLOSUSA). ALCOD represents more than 500,000 Liberians living in the diaspora and advocating for dual citizenship and out-of-country voting for diaspora Liberians.