The Egyptian Ambassador accredited to Liberia on Wednesday visited the offices of the Liberian Observer Corporation (LOC), publishers of the Daily Observer newspaper, in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
Ambassador Alaa Khaira Issa is the first envoy to visit the Daily Observer at its ELWA Junction location. After receiving Amb. Issa on behalf of the management and staff of the LOC, Mr. Best led him on a tour of the newspaper’s facilities.
He briefed Ambassador Issa on the steady progress being made on the construction of some parts of the building housing the LOC during the Ambassador’s tour of the business office, editorial department and the printing press. In the Stanton B. Peabody Library, he was further briefed by the librarian
Ms. Satta C. Sonie on the collection of virtually every newspaper and other media publications printed in Liberia, mostly the Daily Observer dating back to its maiden issue in 1981.
One of the many questions Ambassador Issa asked was what led Mr. Best to become a journalist, to which Best responded: “I did not know what I was going to be and it is only the good Lord that guided my destiny into the field of journalism.
“Before my graduation from the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in 1959, I edited two campus-based newspapers, although I was studying agriculture,” said Mr. Best.
He added: “When I enrolled at the Cuttington College and Divinity School, now Cuttington University, I decided to still study agriculture but later discovered that successive Liberian governments did not place serious importance on this lifesaving sector of the economy.” He said this led him to drop agriculture and pursue courses in English literature and Political Science.
Mr. Best further explained that in his sophomore year at Cuttington his English instructor appointed him editor of the Cuttington Review and it was that singular experience that led him into journalism.
Mr. Best said upon graduation from the then CUC in 1963, he was employed by the Liberian government for a few years.
Based on his performance, Mr. Best said he was awarded a fellowship to pursue a post-graduate degree at the prestigious Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
Mr. Best graduated from Columbia University in 1967. The Ambassador said he was happy to note that Mr. Best was a Columbia graduate because he too, is an alumnus. Ambassador Issa graduated from the University of Columbia Law School in 2005.
Ambassador Issa, 50, is a career diplomat. He said before coming to Liberia he served as Egyptian Council General in the American State of Texas.
During his visit, Ambassador Issa also met Daily Observer journalist C.Y. Kwanue who was recently awarded a fellowship to undertake a study tour of Egypt along with several other African journalists.
Following their discussion, Mr. Best presented Ambassador Issa an autographed copy of his book on Liberian democracy entitled: ‘The Evolution of Liberia’s Democracy, with a Brief Look at the Electoral History 1847 to 2011.’’ Ambassador Issa expressed appreciation for Mr. Best’s journey into journalism, describing it as “very inspiring and instructive.”
During their discussion, the Ambassador briefed Mr. Best on the impending visit of the special Egyptian envoy, Mohamed Edrees, who arrived in the country yesterday for a five day visit. His itinerary includes meeting Defence Minister Brownie J. Samukai, today at the Barclay Training Center and Minister of Justice Frederick Cherue at his 9th Street office. Thereafter, the Egyptian Envoy will hold talks with Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon V. Kamara and Assistant Minister of Afro-Asian Affairs Rosetta Jackollie at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the two countries.
Ambassador Edrees will meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, November 7 and Mr. Farid Zarif, SRSG at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) headquarters, to be followed by a lecture at the University of Liberia.
Ambassador Edrees, among other positions, was Egypt’s ambassador to Ethiopia, her Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Commission for Africa.
He also served in missions in Washington D.C., USA; Damascus, Syria; Ankara, Turkey; as well as Egypt’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Born in 1960, Mr. Edrees holds a B.Sc degree in medicine and surgery from Cairo University and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of London.
He is fluent in English and Dutch. He joined the Diplomatic Corps in 1987 and is married with a son and a daughter.