President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday commenced a two-day Liberian Youth Peace Building Conference at the Paynesville City Hall, outside Monrovia, an Executive Mansion release has said.
The President said while it is true that at least 60 percent of the population in the country is comprised of young people, it was important to note that the country, though very rich in history, remains troubled.
She called on the conference participants to use their deliberations to exchange views on how to arrest financial indiscipline and the lack of transparency and accountability in the governance system.
The conference was held under the auspices of Accountability Lab-Liberia. It brought together about 150 young people from the 15 counties.
She noted that judging by Liberia’s past, transparency, accountability, honesty and sincerity have over the years eroded in the country.
The President also welcomed Liberian-born Nollywood superstar, Joseph Van Vicker, as well as Accountability Lab-Liberia and partners, and thanked them for organizing the conference.
Van Vicker admonished Liberian youths to always go for what they want with an open mind in a bid to promote the country’s image. “Together we can build this country if we are united as the youth. I want to encourage you to be united,” Van Vicker said.
The superstar, who resides out of the country, further encouraged the young people to be part of the upcoming democratic process to promote peace and shun vices that have the propensity to plunge the nation into chaos.
“Our democracy is in your hands, do not let anyone deceive you,” he told the youth.
Van Vicker urged the young people to herald messages that will educate Liberian youth who they represented at the conference.
He called on the government to provide the youth community the enabling environment and opportunity to be what they want to be when they grow up.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Liberia, Farid Zarif, noted that Liberia is a nation with a young population under the age of 36 as compared to most developed nations with aging populations.
In his welcome remarks, Sports Minister Sahr N’Tow underscored the strategic role played by the Swedish Embassy and European Union (EU).
The ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic corps including United States Ambassador, Christine Elder; Director of the Department for Africa at Swedish International Development Agency, Torbjorn Pettersson; Lena Nordstrom, former Ambassador to Liberia; and Lawrence Yealue, Country Director, Accountability Lab-Liberia.
In another outreach, President Sirleaf also visited the home of the late Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould in Sinkor, where she expressed sympathy to the bereaved family.