The president of the Catholic-run Stella Maris Polytechnic, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, has called on Liberians to be honest and forge in humility as a nation that is destined for all, irrespective of status.
The renowned Catholic Sister’s comment was contained in a speech she delivered over the weekend at a one-day symposium on Liberia’s symbols and national awards.
The event was hosted at the Paynesville Town Hall, outside Monrovia on Friday, June 6, on the theme, “Reviewing Liberia’s National Symbols to Renew National Identity.”
According to the Catholic Sister, the call for unity has become necessary and therefore, Liberians must undertake the task “individually and collectively” to understand their proper nationality.
In his remarks, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan described the history of Liberia as a puzzle to which Liberians must correctly add all of its pieces if they must form the required image.
The Foreign Minister believes that inclusive and correct national symbols must come out of decisions made by a great number of the people to be the reflection of unity among the varying ethno-national sensitivities, as well as the tribal, religious and other leanings of the Liberian people.
Among several questions, Minister Ngafuan said Liberians always shy from, was whether the country’s national motto should be, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here or The Love of Liberty Binds Us Here”?
Those who also made remarks and expressed gratitude to the organizers of the symposium included, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sr., the President Pro-Tempore, Gbezohngar M. Findley among others.
Other prominent speakers were the South African Ambassador to Liberia, Masilo E. Mabeta, Liberia’s Ambassador to Senegal, Brahima Kaba, the chairperson of the History Department at the University of Liberia, Dr. William E. Allen, and former Associate Justice and current chairperson of the International Human Rights Commission, Cllr. Gladys Johnson.
Friday’s symposium was the first major activity that brought people together to discuss the essence of the national awards project—the symbols and the possibilities for making a few important improvements where necessary. Among those who attended the symposium included Liberians from all walks of life, women groups, the media, and academia, among others.
The symposium which also set the stage for a close and critical look at Liberia’s national symbols and awards was held with the objectives to provide a forum for Liberians from all segments of the society and those in the Diaspora as well as the country’s international partners.
This is meant to understand and appreciate the need for a review of the National Symbols as derived from the National Vision exercise and the Roadmap for National Reconciliation.
It is also to establish the opportunity for a Broader National Conversation; to encourage international partners to join the review process even as Liberians draw upon international best practices and experiences of other countries with situation similar to Liberia, and to use findings from symposium in the formulation of our Civic Education and subsequent National Consultation activities.
The symposium however, coincided with the launch of Information Booklet on the National Symbols Review Project, which was done by the Acting chair of Governance Commission, Yarsuo Weh-Dorliae.
The purpose of the information booklet is to set forth for Liberians what national symbols are, and what the National Symbols Review Project (NSRP) is. For example, the National Flag, the Seal, The Anthem, and the various National Awards constitute the core of the country’s national symbols.
The NSRP is a government initiative, which derived from expressions by vocal and thoughtful segments of the population that a renewed national consensus about these symbols could help Liberians address current burning issues of national unity and reconciliation.