This week, we bring you the concluding part of my message to the St. Teresa Convent graduating class of 2014/15. Read on:
To sustain the peace we have all enjoyed in the past thirteen years, we need more than ensuring food security and providing functional social amenities. In actual fact, what remains cardinal to sustainable peace is the active involvement of young women in peace building. Gender equality brings to peace-building new degrees of democratic inclusiveness and social capital recovery. Indeed, peacebuilding may well offer the single greatest opportunity to redress gender inequalities and injustices of the past while setting new precedents for the future.
Women of the future could also play important roles in the process of peace, as volunteers, as advocates and as activists. This tripe ‘A’ approach could be used anywhere and in any profession or discipline.
As young women, we should volunteer for peace. Find time to join youth based and youth led Organizations and offer your time, knowledge and skills. We should find work with relief aid agencies and contribute to reducing direct gender based violence in our society.
In our respective future endeavors, we could act as the agent of change by mediating in conflicts, serving as trauma healing counselors and who knows, policymakers. We can contribute as educators and participants in all peacebuilding peacemaking and peacekeeping programmes.
The mobilization and contribution to peace should not be the sole responsibility of one gender, group, organization, our government and we need to invest more for peace.
Formidable African women like Winnie Mandela, Leyman Gbowee and President Ellen Sirleaf have laid a strong foundation for younger generations coming behind. There is a need to increase women’s participation and representation in elected positions.
The sea of knowledge knows no boundaries and it is important to continue to learn. Education, you would soon notice, takes place when your act and learning instructions would no longer be as you’ve known it to be.
According to Admiral William Mc Raven, during his commencement speech at the University of Texas two years ago, I quote “You will likely fail often, it is part of life, but never, ever give up” end of quote.
Always know that you’re first and foremost a woman of substance and a woman of peace with something to offer and that you represent an institution that puts God, not self-first. Learn to pray. In the words of Rev. Fr Too Williams, “Prayers can make the impossible, possible”.
When you have a drive or passion that would uplift you, family and others, go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. It is time for young women to unleash their potentials and not allow themselves to be stifled by anyone, positions or quest for material things.
Let us conclude by letting you know we would be disappointed a few times, many times, many times, even by our closest associates- friends, family members and colleagues, but remember, our heartaches would not stop the sun from rising, shinning or setting, it would not stop time from ticking, it would not
stop the rain and simply put, it would not stop anything. Life would continue as always. In whatever you do or do not do.
Until we meet again my young ladies, let me take this unique opportunity to say peace first, let peace be above all else, may peace prevail in our generation. Peace! Once again, congratulations to Class 2014/15 and welcome to a new beginning. Rules are over, and it is up to you now to take up the mantle and be the peace that Liberia wants.
Thank you all and once again, let me offer my most sincere congratulations to each and every one of you who is graduating today.
Until next year when we come back to you with our dialogue among peace messengers, it’s peace first, peace above all else. May Peace Prevail in our time!