Swedish Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Urban Sjöström, has applauded the solid and long-standing diplomatic relationship between Liberia and Sweden, while urging Liberians, who have opportunities of studying in Sweden to remain ambassadors of their country.
Ambassador Sjöström urged a cohort of the Swedish Institute (SI) Scholars who will shortly depart the country to ‘develop wings and discover Sweden’ while studying to return as change agents to help build their country.
“When you go to Sweden…I advise you to remember your roots. Love it and be proud of it, where you have come from,” the Ambassador noted when he graced the 3rd Inspiration Day program of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network of Liberia (SIANL) held over the weekend in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Ambassador Sjöström said he was proud of the rich history between Liberia and Sweden, indicating that though they are two different countries, they have similar values and views on international affairs. He outlined that he was particularly proud of Liberia when the country stood for democracy and human rights in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by denouncing Russia’s invasion and standing for international values.
The Swedish envoy nudged the scholars to embrace the new culture they would experience in Sweden, cautioning them that the Swedish Society is more individualistic as compared to the Liberian, which is a communal society or a society of communities.
Sjöström commended members and officials of SIANL for organizing themselves into a network that has inspired young professionals in Liberia to pursue graduate studies in Sweden and challenged members of the network to inspire change in their little ways.
The crust of the Inspiration Day was to welcome scholars who have recently completed their studies and returned and inspire 13 SI scholars who are poised to depart soon. Returning and departing scholars were respectively installed as full and associate members of the network.
Returning scholars shared their practical life experiences during studies in Sweden and after returning to Liberia, while new scholars shared their expectations, outlining some of the things they wish to achieve while pursuing higher education in Sweden.
In a social media statement, SIANL’s Vice President Richard Baros Fully, on behalf of the leadership and members of the network, lauded Ambassador Sjöström for gracing the occasion and inspiring scholars.
He encouraged Liberian SI Scholars to remain steadfast in positively impacting rebuilding Liberia. “It’s our cardinal and shared responsibility to contribute our quotas, no matter how small they’re, to national development. We can be active participants in making and shaping every facet of the service delivery system we depend on,” he asserted.
He called for ‘collective engagement,’ which he says ‘definitely leads to transformation’ in a country like Liberia.
As of 2022, about 48 Liberians have had the opportunity to study in Sweden through the SI scholarship, with the bulk of the number returning home to contribute to Liberia’s development impactfully. The network’s president, Sam Samie Sumo, assured that more awareness would be created to show the way to acquire the scholarship to many Liberians.