Liberia’s Ambassador to the US, Mr. Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, is seeking partnership with two US higher institutions of learning — Louisiana State University and Georgia Gwinnett College.
Amb. Sulunteh is opting for the partnership so that it would afford young Liberians the opportunity to “drink of the great fountain of knowledge” at those higher institutions of learning in the US.
“We will welcome the opportunity to further discuss such a partnership,” he told administrators of both institutions when he addressed their commencement convocations separately on May 14 and 15, respectively.
Speaking at the graduation exercises of Georgia College on May 14, the Liberian Ambassador saluted Liberia Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, who had gone to attend the ceremony because his daughter, Ms. Michelle Samukai, was among the graduates. Ms. Samukai was an intern with the Liberian Embassy in Washington D.C. last summer.
Amb. Sulunteh told both audiences that about 62 percent of the Liberia’s population comprise of youth, between the ages 15 to 35. “Majority of this group lacks basic skills and education. Liberia’s health care system needs a transformation for any future challenges, and its infrastructural development is in dire need. Consequently, Education, health and infrastructure are three top priorities for the government in its agenda for transformation,” he stated.
While celebrating the successes of the graduates at both Louisiana State University and Georgia Gwinnett College, he told them, “As we join you today in celebrating the achievements of these students, our hearts are aching that many Liberian youths would wish that someday somehow, they too could have such opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that will prepare them for service to their villages, communities and the larger Liberian society.”
He reminded his audiences that Liberia, which is a tiny West African nation, needs each of the graduates now more than ever before in its post-Ebola recovery effort. Adding, “Liberia’s post-Ebola challenges are the government’s top priorities.”
The Liberian diplomat used the occasions to extend on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia immense thanks and appreciation to the people of the United States and the international community for the tremendous support to the fight of the deadly Ebola virus disease that attacked the West Africa Region, specifically, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “The outbreak of this deadly disease in March 2014, and the robust response of the world is an example of this extraordinarily new global realization of which I speak.”
He specifically told everyone at the Louisiana State University graduation that Liberia has a historical relationship with the State of Louisiana. “The State of Louisiana is a place of historic importance to the continent of Africa. Our forefathers tell us that between 1718 and 1750 slave traders transported thousands of captive Africans to Louisiana from the coast of Senegal in West Africa. By 1840, New Orleans had the biggest slave market in the United States, which contributed greatly to the economy. Today, New Orleans has become one of the wealthiest cities in the United States.”
“History also tells us that the first 10 presidents of Liberia were African Americans. Since then, majority of succeeding Liberian presidents have been African Americans or descendants of African Americans. Many of these returnees were educated in American schools. These returnees carried with them American traditions and cultures that impact our life styles today in Liberia. Many streets and cities in Liberia are named for cities in the United States, including the city of “Louisiana,” a settlement named for your beautiful state, Louisiana.”
The Liberian Ambassador spoke to the Louisiana State University’s graduation on the theme: “Preparing Global Citizens and Celebrating Diversity.” At the Georgia Gwinnett College, he used the topic: “Impacting A Global Society.”
He reminded both graduates that their faculties were certificating and sending them out to become “ambassadors,” who will impact their world. “As you leave these walls today, you have been given the requisite tools, the knowledge and skills that are not only necessary, but sufficient to positively impact the world. Whichever continent you will go, make the best representation of your Alma Mater and America’s dream to make the world a better place for all mankind.”
He further told the graduates that their years of study at both institutions have prepared them to become global citizens that are well equipped to serve in a global village with diverse challenges.
“Your commencement convocation today is an endorsement that you are smart, you are spirited and that you are prepared to always seek solutions to the challenges of our one world.”
“The United States is not the world, and as you graduate here in the United States, allow the world to experience the greatness of an American education. Unfortunately, your participation is no longer optional, it has become imperative.”
“Your challenge as you leave these walls is to determine what your impact as an individual and as a collective group of university graduates will have on your world.
Indeed, the World is yours and you must own it with all of its challenging difficulties; including the pressing and insurmountable needs of humanity; and the uncompromising and demanding voice of social justice that refuses to be quieted by traditional means.”