The Mission Director of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), John Mark Winfield, has urged patriotic citizens and educated people in Liberia not to take their own history for granted.
Speaking at the Center for National Documents and Records Agency (CNDRA), on the first Exhibition of 2014 under the theme: A Window Connecting Liberia’s Past through Partnership, Mr. Winfield said people need to take advantage of historical experiences for Liberia and the world.
According to the Director, he cannot imagine the camera that was used to record the historical events since 1926, compared to the modern technology that has been developed. “This alone,” he said, “is history.”
The Mission Director used the occasion to define history. It is, he said, what people can record, memorize or remember and use as history.
Commenting on a the film that was made in 1926 depicting the Executive Mansion, Providence Island, Liberian chiefs, including the legendary Madam Suah Koko and Greenville, Sinoe County, Mr. Winfield said the film itself is quite interesting. He described it as history being transferred to the people of Liberia.
The program marked the official turning over of historical photos and documentary by Dr. Gregg Mitman of University of Wisconsin-Madison to the Center for National Documents and Records Agency (CNDRA).
The program brought together representatives from the national Legislature, chairman of the National History Project, Dr. William E. Allen, government officials, including CNDRA Director General Bloh Sayeh, partners and staff of the CNDRA, staffs of CNDRA and students of various schools.
Also speaking at the program, the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Boakai Kanneh, said CNDRA, with critical and much needed support from partners from the universities of Indiana, University of Wisconsin-Madison and other well meaning institutions, have embarked on a weeklong exhibition of historical documents.
According to Mr. Kanneh, the display of documents that mirror Liberia’s past, it is a significant indication of the sincere progress that government is making in all sectors in trying to salvage what was left of the country after almost two-decade conflict.
“We take cue from the theme of this event saying that indeed history serves as the foundation for the future as it is only a people ‘s appreciation of their history that provides them proper guidance in their quest for advancement and prosperity,” the Deputy Minister declared.
Another equally significant aspect of this week’s exhibition which is worthy of note is the value of the management and preservation of historical documents that we are being made aware of, Mr. Kanneh added.
“What if our forefathers had not seen the wisdom to preserve for posterity such important historical documents as the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence in handwriting, treaties and those early land deeds that we now have reference?”
The Deputy Minister asked, “Would anyone imagine the state of our existence if there were no records to refer to regarding our identity as the people of Liberia?”
He pledged the commitment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with CNDR as we all aim to safeguard our country’s heritage through the preservation of valuable historical assets.
The exhibition is open to the public from June 19 to Wednesday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Archives Building at 12th, Monrovia.