The Secretary General for the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia, Adama K. Dempster, has won the 2023 Peace and Justice Award in the United States of America (USA).
The award was given on behalf of the Board of the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) at California State University (CSU), Sacramento, USA, in recognition of Dempster's exemplary leadership and outstanding contributions in human rights and social justice in Liberia, as well as his demonstrable commitment to peace and justice in post-civil war Liberia.
It was proudly received by Dempster, who is also known as the lead campaigner for the establishment of the war crimes court in Liberia, on April 29, 2023, at the end of the 31st Annual Africa/Diaspora Conference held in the Ballroom of the University Union at CSU-Sacramento, with a dinner reception.
In his letter to Dempster, Ernest E. Uwazie, Ph.D., Director of CAPCR, disclosed that each year, the CSUS-CAPCR presents the peace awards to select individuals and/or organizations in recognition of their outstanding contributions in various components of peace and conflict resolution in/on Africa or among people of African heritage in the diaspora.
Uwazie wrote, "Dear Mr. Dempster: Congratulations! On behalf of the Board of the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) at CSU, Sacramento, I'm very pleased to inform you that you have been selected to receive the 2023 Peace and Justice Award."
He used the occasion to name other past recipients of the awards, including the first female Chief Justice of Ghana, the Honorable Georgina Theodora Wood, Dr. Joseph Marshall of the Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers, Dr. Ephraim Williams (St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Sacramento), Ms. Jeannette Ndhlovu, former Consul General of South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Dr. David Covin, Professor Emeritus (Sac State), and Prof. Joy Ezeilo (Nigerian family/woman activist/scholar).
Uwazie named Daniel Yamshon, Esq. (Sacramento lawyer), Judge Barry Loncke (Sacramento court judge), Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and Hon. Barbara Lee, US Congresswoman, Dr. Anvar Velji (formerly at Sacramento Kaiser Permanente), California Black Health Network, Water for Life, and Solar Cookers International, CAIR-Sacramento, and Dr. Nicole Clavo of Sacramento City Violence Prevention Program, among others over the past 30 years.
He said that in 2018, CSU honored President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, followed by Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2019, Mr. Danny Glover in 2020, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer, and African agribusiness entrepreneur Mr. Fatai Yusufu in 2022, among other distinguished guests.
For his part, Adama K. Dempster, Secretary General for the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia, who received the award with a smile, expressed gratitude to the organizers for creating a platform to recognize and celebrate the contributions of individuals and organizations committed to promoting peace and justice in Africa.
“I am deeply humbled to accept the 2023 Peace and Justice Award from the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution at the California State University, Sacramento. I thank the board for recognizing the efforts brought towards peace and conflict resolution in Liberia, a country that has struggled with political instability, unaddressed past human rights atrocities, diversity, corruption, and social unrest for years,” he said.
Dempster said the recognition is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the collective efforts of many individuals and organizations who have worked tirelessly to build sustainable peace and justice in Africa.
"I am proud to be part of this movement, and I'm honored to receive this award on behalf of all the human rights community in Liberia, justice campaigners, victims and survivors' communities, peacebuilders, and conflict resolvers in Liberia, who have been working relentlessly towards promoting justice and peaceful coexistence in our country," he added.
The lead justice campaigner noted that Africa has been a continent plagued by conflicts, injustices, and civil unrest, which has led to significant suffering for its people.
Dempster said, “We have witnessed violence, loss of lives and property, and countless human rights violations. The need for peace and justice in Africa cannot be overemphasized. As someone who has experienced the devastating effects of conflict firsthand, I can attest to the importance of peace and justice in rebuilding our communities and our nation."
He said that it is encouraging to see that there are individuals and organizations that share this vision and are working towards achieving it.
"We have come a long way in Liberia, but there is still much work to be done. We are slowly but gradually moving towards a society that values justice and promotes peaceful coexistence, but we cannot do it alone. It is crucial that we continue to work together to build sustainable peace and justice in the world," Dempster added.
He said that the award is a call to action for him and all those committed to this cause.
Dempster revealed that the award is a reminder that he has a responsibility to continue the work he has started and that doing so will create a more peaceful and just society for all.
He concluded, "I would like to thank the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution for this prestigious award. I accept this award with humility and a deep sense of responsibility to continue working toward building a more peaceful and just Liberia. Like Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that justice and peace will reign not just in Liberia but in every single part of Africa. And we all can work together in the diaspora and Africa to make this happen."
CAPCR is an institute of California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) that provides conflict resolution and peace education services and research in and about Africa and the Diaspora. To date, over 30,000 people from six continents and over 40 countries have participated in various CAPCR training workshops and conferences.