Liberian Student Graduates with Honor from Prestigious US University

Ambulai Johnson graduated among the top 10 in his class, qualifying him to receive the Delta Omega Award for academic excellence at Johns Hopkins University.

By Fatoumata Njei

A Liberian student at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States, Ambulai Johnson, has been awarded the Outstanding Academic and Leadership Award by the faculty and students. Ambulai graduated among the top 10 of his class, thereby also awarding him the Delta Omega Award for academic excellence.

 “I am very happy to be recognized and receive these awards. Several months ago I was very worried about how I would complete my studies when my tuition could not be paid, but thanks to Dr. Ellen J. MacKenzie, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Dr. Marie Deiner West, Dr. David Peters and many others that I was awarded a scholarship by the Johns Hopkins University which enable me to complete my studies in Public Health,” said Ambulai Johnson in an elated voice.

Ambulai, who graduated among the top of the Class of 2020, was a self-supported student when he enrolled at the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health program about two years ago. He later experienced financial hardship and many interruptions of his studies when the government of Liberia did not fulfil its promise of paying his tuition through a World Bank Scholarship program at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).

“Ambulai is a very determined student who will contribute to public health globally and serve as an example to young people in our society; he deserved all the help for his advancement and we are glad about his academic and winning these recognitions and awards from the Johns Hopkins University,” said Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, a prominent infectious disease expert and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Shufflex Biomed. He added that, “we have to educate and develop our young professionals in every area of national life to prepare them for a better future.”

On his part, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, currently a Research Associate at the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that, “the world needs public health leaders like Ambulai. I am proud of him and Liberia should be proud of its son.”

During his studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Ambulai maintained a 3.8 to 4.0 Grade Pont Average. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was founded in 1916 and is one of the world’s premier Public Health Institutes which is leading the way in advanced research, education and practices that create practical solutions to public health problems around the world.

Ambulai, a self-supported student, received admission to the JHU Bloomberg Public Health program about two years ago and enrolled with money he earned from working at odd jobs after graduating from college. Having entered the JHU program, he has proven himself to be academically studious and hardworking in various public health activities in the school amidst financial hardship.

Awarding the scholarship, the Dean of the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Ellen J. MacKenzie, said, “we are happy to be of help and we are glad to have him [Ambulai] here at Johns Hopkins” as the faculty have spoken very highly of him, adding that “we just have to find a way to provide more of these scholarships” to needed students of high academic excellence as “we [Johns Hopkins] want to extend our reach to Africa; that’s our dream to be able to do more of this.”

For several months Ambulai’s studies were interrupted due to the lack of tuition to continue course work when the Liberian government through the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) failed to make good on its promise to pay the tuition through a World Bank/WHO fund. Ambulai was among several students vetted and accepted for a World Bank sponsorship program during the administration of former Director General of the NPHIL, Tolbert Nyenswah. But, the NPHIL under the new administration did not make the tuition payment after Mr. Nyenswah’s departure from the NPHIL, thus “leaving the student in limbo.”

During his short time at the JHU, Ambulai Johnson, a “straight-A” student, utilized knowledge and skills acquired to analyze a complex of epidemiology data for the NPHIL from the Lassa fever virus outbreak that was occurring in Liberia shortly before the Coronavirus-2 outbreak. Also, he was president of the African Health Initiative of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which organized public health outreach programs targeted at Africa and disadvantaged communities.


  1. this is a dumb and stupid written article. why do we only recognize liberians who graduate from US schools.? do you realize that there are liberians in other countries? USA IS NOT LIBERIA, LIBERIA IS NOT USA. let is give credit to other liberians like Jacob Nimely who graduated from Cambridge University one the greatest universities on this planet. to the Web administrator Please be more of a visionary and not use rose colored glasses. find out out the other Liberians who are benefitting society. NOT JUST THE USA. Please ask other liberians about such people

  2. Apparently your comment is ” dump and stupid”. What is wrong with acknowledging the achievement of this young Liberian under difficult financial condition?
    If you know of any other Liberians with such high honor, write to the Liberian News Medias and lobby that they feature such graduate. But don’t just write rabish against the Liberian News Medias.

    Your arguement is incoherent. DON’T shame my people with your childish and baseless, rabish accusations.

    Share knowledge with love and passion.

    Liberian Love Always

    • Emmanuel, you spoke my mind in regards to the “dump comment.” There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging a hard work, especially in such difficult times. We should be proud of each and every Liberian who have achieved academic greatness. I’m one of the few fortunate ones who are in the US attending higher education with financial difficulties. All we can say to our brother is CONGRATULATIONS and hope he continues seeking success. Liberia is proud of you, BROTHER! Let’s not forget to help our fellow Liberian too.


      My comment is appropriate i can tell you did not attend a college. “dump, rabish” Why don’t we recognize individuals who are not living in the United States. the united states is not Liberia and Liberia is not the United States. You Liberians worship us here in the the United States like we are GOD. You stupid jerks worshipt the United States like it is heaven. It is not heaven dumb Liberians. There are Liberians all over the world that are making contributions but you dont recognize them because they are not in the UNITED STATES


  3. Congratulations Mr Johnson!
    Liberia need a young guys like you, no matter of difficulties and still keep pushing through for their future.
    I wish I could be among those people who are really determine set ànd example one day!

  4. We as Africa need to lift each other up not write about anything and everything that comes out of our mouth.WELL DONE young man.

  5. Mr. We Recognize Liberians,
    Let’s put it this way. Every Liberian who completes his or her studies at any College or University must be credited, recognized and praised. In fact, I will go the extra mile to give you an award for completing your studies at the college or university you graduated from. Whether you graduated with honors or not, it doesn’t matter man. But I will be hesitant to heap praise on you or any Liberian:

    1. If the degree or certificate is fake and

    2. If the institution is unaccredited.

    You’re absolutely correct! Cambridge University is a world-renown institution. My concern as it relates to Jacob Nimely is something of a mixed bag. Maybe, Mr./Dr. Nimely didn’t bother himself to publicize where he obtained his degree (s). You see, some people are introverts. Some people are not. So there you have it bro.

    Do us a favor. Name the institution you graduated from. I will forward your name to Liberia in order for your institution and persona to be praised. You’re a great guy, pal. Please don’t limit yourself.

    Until then, peace!

    • My comment is appropriate i can tell you did not attend a college. “dump, rabish” Why don’t we recognize individuals who are not living in the United States. the united states is not Liberia and Liberia is not the United States. You Liberians worship us here in the the United States like we are GOD. You stupid jerks worshipt the United States like it is heaven. It is not heaven dumb Liberians. There are Liberians all over the world that are making contributions but you dont recognize them because they are not in the UNITED STATES



  6. Congratulations Mr.Johnson, I’m glad you didn’t give up on your dream when the going got tough. It’s true that’s there’s no easy way to succeed. I am so so proud of you. God bless you. Love you bro !!

  7. Dr. Tolbert, Dr. Nyan. Dr. Ellen, Dr. Marie: I thank you all immensely for being there and helping to make this young man’s dream a fruition. You are my heroes, and I consider your gestures as true acts of patriotism.

    Well done Ambulai. You fought a good fight!

  8. I ask liberian observer to make a list of the individuals in the united states who graduated with magna cum laude and then present them to the readers. Dont just pick out someone who graduated from an american university. Let us be more open minded and look at all of the other people around the world. Let us STOP WORSHIPPING AMERICAN COLLEGE GRADUATES. Look at our present Finance Minister, he graduated from George Washington University in the United states. what has that done for the Liberian economy. Ellen Johnson graduated from Harvard WHAT A JOKE. Liberians are susceptible to being mistaken by believing that those who graduate from USA univerisities are above all . NOW LOOK AT HOW THE USA GRADUATES F@CKED UP THE DAMN COUNTRY

  9. Congratulations Mr. Johnson for your achievement and the hard work and sacrifice put into it. I also extend congratulations to all Liberian kids, or of Liberian descent, in Liberia or in the diaspora around the world who have graduated from their respective studies. The laurels are even greater during this difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic.

    Again, a big thank you to all the graduates of the year 2020! We are proud of all of you. Well done!

  10. Congratulations to Mr. Johnson for his hard work and excellent academic performance, keep it up brother. Liberia is proud of you.


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