The Booker Washington Institute (BWI), the premier vocational institute in Kakata, Margibi County, over the weekend graduated 315 students during its 65th commencement ceremony
Of the graduates, 238 were males and 77 females, with 46 of them coming from the Agriculture Department. And of that number, 36 were males and 10 females.
The institute was established by the late President Charles Dunbar Burgess King. During an official visit to the United States of America in 1922, President King was asked by a reporter to name anything of significance that he would like to take back to his country. The President said, “If it were possible, I would like to take Tuskegee Institute with me back to Liberia.” Even though it was not physically possible to transport Tuskegee Institute from the United States to Liberia, President King’s vision of a Tuskegee type institute in Liberia was fulfilled in 1929 when Mrs. Olivia Phelps Stokes, an American Philanthropist, in cooperation with the Board of the Methodist Church in the U.S.A. and the Liberia government established BWI. As a result of this joint venture, BWI opened its doors in 1929. Since then, the institute has produced professionals and technocrats for both governments and private sectors across the globe.
The program’s keynote speaker, Sweden’s Ambassador to Liberia Lena Nordström, spoke on the topic: “Framing the Narrative of Employability, Equality and Empowerment for Liberian Youth.”
Amb. Nordström said BWI has endeavored for many years to contribute to Liberia’s stock of academic and technical excellence, “and today, the institute is seen as an 87 year-old incubator of young technicians.”
She said like any institution, BWI has faced and may continue to face challenges, but its contribution to Liberia can be felt across many walks of life. Amb. Nordström’s speech was delivered on her behalf by Elisabeth Hårleman, head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia.
“Listening to some Liberians and following the history of BWI, I can say this institute continues to work towards living up to its mission of providing education and training to produce middle level technicians that are self reliant.”