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Pro-Temp Chie tells UL graduates: Go and change the narrative

The President Pro – Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert T. Chie has challenged graduates of the University of Liberia (UL) to go and change the narrative in the larger society, cautioning them to not join the bandwagon of many of the technical people who are not up to the task.

Serving as the Keynote Speaker on the second day of UL’s 102nd Commencement Convocation in Fendall, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Pro-Temp Chie told the graduates that Liberia depends on them to change the narrative.

“The future is yours and your destiny lies in your own hands. But always remember what Shakespear said: ‘life is like a candle on a stage …’ very brief. Make the most of it, while you can. Liberia depends on you to change the narrative,” said Hon. Chie.

He addressed the graduates on the topic “Science as a basic ingredient in a Political and Economic Recipe: Are you ready to change the narrative?”

The 102nd Graduating Class of the University of Liberia is named “Naa Neeni Ma,” which is translated in English as “The class of FRUITFULNESS.”

On Wednesday, degrees were conferred on 789 candidates from four colleges including the Thomas J. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, Environmental Studies and Climate Change, the School of Nursing and Midwifery Program, the William R. Tolbert College of Agriculture and Forestry and the College of Engineering.

The commencement exercise will continue on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Fendall, with the Lux in Tenebris Honors Scholars Graduating Class Research Symposium.

 The UL will over the next one week confer degrees on more than 2,000 candidates from Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Schools.

The Keynote Speaker, Pro-Temp Chie explained that the foundation of engineering, technology, agriculture, forestry and medicine and health, is science, therefore, all of the graduates will share that common parentage.

Addressing each of the colleges, Pro-Temp Chie indicated that despite the bountiful rain, vast stretches of land, trained manpower just like the graduates, an array of programs well-funded by the National Budget and the international donations and contributions, Liberia has failed in agricultural production.

“We import almost everything, including Oranges and pepper. Self-sufficiency in the production of rice, our staple food, remains elusive,” he said, adding that on average, Liberia imports approximately 250,000 metric tons of rice or 10 million of the 25 kg bags at the cost of US$140m annually.

“Leadership in the agriculture sector also remains elusive. One President after the other has tried various qualified personnel to run the agricultural sector, including managers from the private sector. Still, agricultural productivity remains very low,” Hon. Chie stated.

“… My young prospective graduates, are you ready to change the narrative in the political and economic recipe?” Pro-Temp Chie asked.

Further, he told graduates from the Engineering College that the Government of Liberia and its partners have spent hundreds of millions of US dollars since the end of the civil crisis to now in an attempt to provide reasonable and affordable electricity to various households and businesses. Yet, he said, power supply remains elusive.

“Some of the problems in the power sector can be put squarely at the feet of engineers and technicians. Prospective Electrical Engineers, your country is waiting on you to change the narrative,” Chie continued.

Talking about the health sector, Sen. Chie said the story is not different, explaining that funds from the National Budget to the health sector was 47.8m in 2018/2019, increased to 58.5m in 2020/2021 and projected at 66m in 2022, besides other funds from different sources.

Despite this revenue allocation, he said, the situation at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital has not improved much, neither have the health delivery systems throughout the country.

“I, therefore, challenge you, my fellow students, to come to the labor force with a new determination to change the status quo,” Pro-Temp Chie pleaded with the graduates.

Giving his perspective on the business enterprises in the political and economic recipe, Pro-Temp Chie argued that to grow the Liberian economy, the country has to export more than it imports goods and services, or at the minimum, try to achieve a balance between imports and exports.

“Only businesses can help the Government achieve this. You often hear the slogan: ‘Liberianization Policy; Liberians should not be spectators in their own economy.’ Yes, we agree, let us take a look at ourselves and the situation,” he added.

Pro-tempt Chie said he is of the conviction that the graduates from the four colleges are prepared fully to honor the daunting challenges of life in building a nation whose foundation is anchored on love, peace, humility, respect for one another and a resolve for freedom and justice.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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