A youth group named, Youth Organized for the Promotion of Good Governance (YOPGG), has honored Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, as Minister of the Year for what they described as his pivotal and impactful role during the height of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
The Secretary General of the group, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, noted that the decision honor Minister Ngafuan is in recognition of the pivotal role he played in not just rallying the international community to Liberia's aid but also because of his strong advocacy for his country and compatriots during the height of the Ebola crisis.
SG Williams, presenting the certificate, noted that the Minister was the voice of Liberia in the international community when Liberians were being stigmatized because of the Ebola virus.
"When Liberia was so troubled, and most of our friends including some of our African brothers were rejecting us because the Ebola disease had befallen our country, we can recall that Minster Ngafuan was the voice of Liberia in the international community", Williams said.
Reflecting on Minister Ngafuan's presentation and impact at the recent United Nations General Assembly, Williams recalled, "We remember, Minister Ngafuan particularly at the United Nations General Assembly presenting the case for Liberia, ensuring that millions of dollars in cash, kind and in human capacity came to the rescue of this country.
And we can proudly say that his intervention, along with his team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, into the Liberian situation has played a very key role in our country and remains indelible in the minds of Liberian youth, nurses, doctors, and the health workers".
The organization says it views President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's continuous confidence in the Foreign Minister as an inspiration to the young people.
The group held a moment of silence for Liberians, especially young people who lost their lives to the Ebola virus.
Minister Ngafuan, in his response, described the day as a great day in his personal life and that of the Foreign Ministry. The Liberian chief diplomat underscored that public servants should proceed with their work without any expectation of an honor, but stressed that when honor comes, it should be appreciated.
"To note that you have been evaluating us for the past 12 months and that your judgment is one of commendation, we are grateful. Civil society organizations often condemn officials of government when we do condemnable things. It is good to see you commending an official of government for what you consider commendable deeds", Minister Ngafuan stated.
The Foreign Minister stated that he was dedicating the honor first and foremost to all Liberians whom called the real masters: President Sirleaf, for her leadership and guidance in the Ebola fight and the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs family whom he described as real giants whose contributions were critical to his success.
He also dedicated the honor to the memory of the late Mrs. Sharon Washington, his Administrative Assistant who died during the height of the Ebola crisis: "I dedicate this honor to her memory for her dedicated service to the Ministry and the country for almost 20 years."
He then gave the assurance that the Foreign Ministry will commit itself to working hard to do its part in contributing to the Government's agenda. "So, you have given us more reasons why we should work for the Liberian people. You have given us a charge for this New Year. You have given us gasoline for our tanks for the New Year."
YOPGG, a peace-building civil society organization, honored the Foreign Minister yesterday at his Foreign Ministry office.
The organization was founded in 2010. It speaks out against excesses in the society as Liberia strives to strengthen its democracy and recovery process.