An American philanthropist and university lecturer has asserted that for any country to carry on a speedy development will require inclusion of every citizen in the socio-economic process.
Dr. James Simon made the observation when he was honored by students of the University of Liberia (UL) for his intervention in their academic sojourn.
He said people must not learn to envy others when they excel in the society, and those excelling should also take into consideration that they alone cannot make the society better without the involvement of all.
He pointed out some of the socio-economic benefits as better and quality education, vocational training, safe environment, job opportunities amongst others.
He said when people excel, they must also look back at others, who lag behind to create the corridor that will allow them go through to become productive and be part of the economy.
“Without conscience of looking back to get others be part of the socio-economic program of a country, that country is doomed to chaos as there will arise more deviants,” Dr. Simon told the students.
He said it was with such an idea that he and other Liberians in the United States rallied around to gather medical materials to bring to the UL during the Ebola crisis and still working on other programs that will help to bring in many other educational materials for the university.
He asserted that socio-economic inclusion helps to unite people to take collective approach to national development, and failure to do also yields division thus causing people to consider the welfare of a country to be for only a particular group.
He then expressed gratitude to the students for the honor bestowed upon him, adding, “I am more delighted that Liberian students can recognize me for contributing to humanity to make me feel identified with Africans in a well designed gown.”
UL Student leader Daniel T. Woart, in a brief interview about the honor, said they saw it expedient to show their gratitude because Dr. Simon’s contributions have impacted lives of many students at the university.
He said Dr. Simon has initiated programs that have enabled Liberians to travel to the United States to earn their graduate and post graduate degrees, while others are looking up to the day that they too will benefit from the same gesture.
Dr. Simon is a professor at the Department of Plant Biology and Plant Pathology as well as Director of New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Program at the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
In direct connection, he serves as chairperson on Rutgers University Committee on strengthening university linkages with the University of Liberia.
He is on UL and Cuttington University (CU) students’ records for personally initiating mobilization of philanthropists to donate medical supplies to both universities during the Ebola crisis.
He currently works with Liberian students under the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) program at the Rutgers University to ensure their success.