The Country Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Anthony Chan, says Liberia needs energetic future leaders prepared to take over the country as the current generation of leaders fades away.
Director Chan spoke on Monday at the fifth graduation ceremony of the President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) at the C. Cecil Dennis Memorial auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. The PYPP Class V consists of nine young professionals who are already absorbed in the country’s Civil Service at various ministries and agencies.
Director Chan told the graduates that they have a huge task ahead of them because Liberia is in dire need of professionals, especially in its public sector where the country suffers massively as a result of the prolonged crisis.
He noted that PYPP and other professional training programs have placed Liberia on the right trajectory because more technocrats and technicians would be trained to replace the departing generation of leaders.
He challenged the graduates to remain curious, always do what is best for the future of Liberia, be good citizens and continue to play vital roles in Liberia’s development.
In remarks, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf congratulated the graduates for availing themselves to acquire knowledge and skills that would help better their lives and create a peaceful and prosperous Liberia. “I want to commend the champions of the program,” President Sirleaf told the graduates.
She expressed delight that the PYPP has emerged as one of the preeminent career development and leadership training programs for the country’s civil service, contributing immensely to the capacity building component of Liberia’s national development agenda.
The President expressed happiness over the performance levels of previous graduates who never believed in their abilities and felt at the time that nothing better could come from them.
She thanked the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for its exemplary role in molding the minds of young Liberians in making them productive citizens of the country.
President Sirleaf, however, said despite the growth of the program from nowhere to somewhere, the PYPP was now in transition, changing hands from heavily depending on overseas support to Liberians taking leadership and ownership role, because it is now benefitting Liberians.
Madam Sirleaf used the occasion to commend the John Snow Incorporated, the Cuttington University, and the Open Society in West Africa (OSIWA) and other partners for providing support for the (PYPP) since its formation in 2009.
The Director General of the CSA, Dr. Puchu Bernard, expressed appreciation over performances of the recruits over the years.
Dr. Bernard noted that the CSA is highly elated over the performance of graduates who enrolled into the program and have been assigned at different Ministries and Agencies.
She pledged the CSA’s support to the program, urging Liberians to take ownership of the program by making contributions to its transition from overseas support and dependence to national support based orientation.
The PYPP is a training and mentoring program that was established under the auspices of President Sirleaf in 2009. It recruits newly and young university graduates who are then trained for professional life.
The President’s intention for creating the program was to also transfer the World Bank Group recruitment exercise to Liberia. It began with a small number of recruits that is growing, with about 71 persons presently.
The PYPP is implemented by John Snow Incorporated (JSI), a public health research and consulting firm in the United States and around the world. JSI is named after the English physician, John Snow.