Liberia: First Lady Hails French Embassy

Madam Clar Marie Weah.

Liberia's First Lady, Clar Marie Weah hailed the French Embassy near Monrovia for providing lessons to some soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia and belief that the lessons will allow them to intervene in peacekeeping operations in French-speaking countries, as they are courageously doing in Mali.

“I have always tried to inspire our Liberian girls to work and dare to compete, and the results show that they are advancing in their study of French, for which I am grateful to the Agence Française de Development for this programme,” Madam Weah said.

The First Lady made the statement when she opened the Festival of the Francophonie in Liberia at the embassy in Monrovia “I hope the present Festival will sustain the desire to learn French and discover the world for young Liberians.  I wish great success to this initiative.”

The Francophone festival is celebrated across France. It is an event where 220 million Francophones across five different continents honor their language and celebrate their diversity and the love of the French language. The event comprises presentations of plays, poetry reading, food, dance competitions, songs, film, and art exhibitions.

The First Lady recalled her visit to Paris last year where she met Brigitte Macron, the First Lady of France, who was very supportive and passionate about empowering and advancing women and girls and the youthful population in Liberia.

"She was especially pleased when she recounted the work of the Office of the First Lady of Liberia; the She’s You Movement that seeks to boldly empower women and girls to seek the transformation of themselves and their nation. As I stand here at the opening of this Festival today, I again recall that two years ago, I personally showed up at the entrance exam for the 2nd cohort organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Education in partnership with my office, for the 4-year fully funded scholarship for the Institut National Polytechnique, in Côte d’Ivoire, an effort to advance the lives of young people in order to brighten the future of our nation and by extension all francophone nations around Liberia,” Madam Weah added.

She further recalled that in 2021, at the program marking the laying of the foundation stone of the Alliance Francaise Institute in Monrovia, President George Weah said: “We are therefore very proud of the cordial ties of friendship which have existed between Liberia and France for almost 170 years now. 

“Nearly a year later, I can resoundingly repeat that indeed, the ties between our two nations and many of the francophone nations are bonded and strong, for which I am grateful.”

According to her, Liberians are ever cognizant of the fact that they do not live in obscurity, but rather enjoy a myriad of connections interwoven culturally that has led to the celebration of the Festival. 

“The increase of exchanges of any kind between our people and the people of these neighboring countries is of mutual interest. We have to create opportunities for our youth: opportunities to travel, forge personal and friendly ties, have cultural exchanges, study abroad, to do business and trade. And our Youths have to seize these opportunities,” she said.  

In other remarks, El Hadj Abdoulaye Doré, Guinea Ambassador to Liberia, said the creation of the French cultural alliance is important because Liberia is surrounded by French-speaking countries. He said it will help Liberia create a framework for strengthening its bilateral relationships with other French-speaking nations.

“I hope that with the invaluable help of President George Manneh Weah, who himself a Francophile, the French language could obtain more results in the coming years and Liberian youth must take this advantage into their own hands because Liberia is surrounded by French-Speaking Countries within the Mano River Union.”

However, Ambassador Dore said the challenge remains because the competition with English is tough. “La Francophone will have to be part of the fight for feathers, the battle horse of our predecessors.”

For her part, Madam Deweh E. Gray, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, thanked the French Embassy for their continuous support to Liberia.