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UL pledges commitment to Kofi Annan ideologies

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By Winston W. Parley

The President of the University of Liberia (UL) Rev. Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson says UL remains committed to the ideologies of the late former United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kofi Atta Annan, noting that the institution looks forward to forging partnerships that will continue to foster peace, security, and conflict resolution.

Dr. Nelson renewed the university’s commitment to Dr. Annan’s ideologies in a speech he delivered Wednesday, 18 August at the One UN House during the observance of the Third Anniversary of the Death of the Global Icon and memorializing his legacy with the implementation of the Kofi Annan Living Memorial (KALM).

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“The University of Liberia remains committed to the ideologies of the Late Dr. Kofi A. Annan and as we memorialize his death today, we look forward to forging partnerships that will continue to foster peace, security, and conflict resolution,” said Dr. Nelson at the anniversary observed by the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT), Government of Liberia, Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, the UN System and other organizations.

Through KAICT, the University of Liberia runs a curriculum that has components for leadership, patriotism, human rights, conflict transformation, and other practical things which are basic tools for community engagements as a way of preparing emerging men and women as Ambassadors for conflict prevention.

Dr. Nelson reflected that KAICT was established through a joint resolution of UL Faculty Senate and the University of Liberia Council and later endorsed by UL Board of Trustees as well as the then Visitor of the University of Liberia, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.

“This was to the honor of the Late Dr. Kofi Atta Annan. Since its establishment in 2006, the Institute has partnered with many institutions including the Kings College London, the Africa Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Bradford, UK, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC),” he said.

He added that within the context of the United Nations transformative and ambitious global development framework, the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Institute continues to also train many segments of Liberia’s youth in leadership skills, conflict prevention, and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Liberia’s Foreign Minister Dee – Maxwell Saah Kemayah said he graced the ceremony in representation of President George Manneh Weah, telling the gathering of how the president has reiterated his admiration and respect of the values and principles that the late Dr. Annan stood for.

Minister Kemayah noted that though Dr. Annan is gone, his values and principles still live on, adding that it is therefore in the right direction that three years after his death on 18 August 2018 that they had assembled to memorialize him.

The Liberian Chief Diplomat described the late Annan as an astute global statesman and icon who had an unwavering resolve and commitment towards enhancing and upholding human dignity.

“His life in terms of his service had at its core the need to further peace, stability, and security globally,” Minister Kemayah said.

He assured Liberian women that they can count on the Government of Liberia as a dependable partner in working along with them, reminding women leaders at the program that President Weah is a Feminist – in – Chief and remains committed to it.

Madam Olubanke King – Akerele, Liberia’s former Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Board, Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment (ABIC), said following Dr. Annan’s death, she suggested to the UN System the need to establish a living memorial of the deceased.

She recalled that the Institute for Conflict Transformation conceived in 2004 in the inaugural address of former UL President Dr. Al – Hassan Conteh was subsequently transformed to the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation.

“So this is why this living memorial that we have here, this is where it is coming from; this is the Genesis,” Madam King – Akerele explained.

Madam King – Akerele said the initiative has four components which include training of young diplomats, establishing and promotion of SDGs Clubs, workshops for training other schools, and development of educational boards, adding that each of these components is addressing various sectors. 

Gracing the program, former UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks said she was honored because of the life, work, and critical role that the late Dr. Annan played in bringing peace to Liberia.

Additionally, Dr. Weeks said she was also honored because it was during her tenure as President of the University of Liberia, home to the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation that the Kofi Annan Living Memorial was launched.

She thanked former Minister Akerele for her relentless efforts and as well as the team members and organizations including KAICT, ABIC, Government of Liberia, the UN System, and all who continue to support peace and calm. 

Prof. T. Debey Sayndee, Director, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, University of Liberia, said they had gathered to celebrate the third anniversary of the death of a noble son of Africa, Dr. Annan, who served as UN Secretary-General during a very turbulent period but was very successful in many ways.

Prof. Sayndee noted that Dr. Annan still had a lot of dreams on his plate when the cold hands of death snatched him away. He said the team worked tirelessly to try to keep Annan’s legacy alive primarily because of the work he did and also guided by statements which he made very pointedly when he commemorated his predecessor who had died in a search for peace.

Quoting Dr. Annan, Prof. Sayndee said “What better way can we memorialize this man than to keep his dream and his work alive,” adding that today this statement has now been turned around to Annan himself.

He recalled that UL inaugurated KAICT in October 2006 in honor of Secretary-General Annan’s valuable contributions to conflict resolution and transformation in Africa, particularly in Liberia, which under his leadership the United Nations helped to transform civil war to democratic elections.

Mr. Uchenna Emelonye, Country Representative, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said he was pleased to welcome the gathering at the One UN House, and acknowledged the role that Madam Akerele and her team have played in pushing Annan’s legacy.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-ul-returns-to-blended-learning-semester/

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