Assistant Culture Minister Margaret Frank, upon taking over office yesterday, promised to implement several projects to resurrect cultural activities in Liberia.
Min. Margaret Frank, wife of Liberia’s movie icon Artus Frank, said under her administration she intended to focus on hosting an annual national cultural festival, inter-high school cultural competition and the teaching of culture in schools across the country.
“The festival will bring together each county’s cultural troupe to compete for an award. Although the award’s title has not been decided yet, I believe that this cultural festival will actually resurrect Liberia’s dying culture as well as helping with the unification process,” she said.
The minister added the department’s plans to embark on inter-high school cultural competitions is intended to raise the interest of Liberian students in the cultural sector.
“We grew up being oriented in our culture but that is not the case anymore. This is why the initiative is coming to address the problem of lack of interest in our culture by the youthful population. It is our role to help them develop an interest in our country. It is not their fault. They have not actually been taught about it,” Margaret Frank added.
Min. Margaret Frank has an extensive experience in cultural matters. She is a cultural dancer, a traditional singer and an actress, popularly known for her role in the blockbuster film, Juety.
The minister also added that she is working out modalities to begin a collaborative process with the Ministry of Education (MoE), to train teachers to teach Liberia’s culture in schools across the country.
“The partnership will look at enshrining cultural lesson in the national curriculum, the development of textbooks, and the training of teachers to have the requisite knowledge to teach our culture in school. We have a beautiful culture and it is time for it to be taught in schools. This initiative will help our students to have an in-depth understanding of our culture and heritage which will motivate them more to get involved in its preservation.
“My goal as a minister is to promote a progressive, inclusive an egalitarian society characterized by respect for diversity, equity, and social justice drawing largely from our cultures, values and traditions. And to safeguard and promote our cultural linguistic and religious diversity with the view of reviving, strengthening and teaching cultural understanding national consciousness and the enrichment of the Liberian identity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Margaret Frank has called on President George Weah to submit the USESCO 8 cultural conventions to the lawmakers for ratification.
”These conventions, when ratified, will help protect the cultural properties of Liberia in time of armed conflict. This convention will also create, preserve and promote the list of cultural properties of Liberia. And also help remove tariffs from education materials from countries that are parties to the conventions,” Min. Margaret Frank said.
She added there are so many more benefits Liberia stands to achieve if these cultural conventions are ratified.