— President Weah Challenges them to serve with distinction
On Thursday, September 5, 2019, President George Manneh Weah applauded graduates of the Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI) for successfully completing a two-year Associate Degree course in marine engineering. The President also challenged each of the graduates to march into the job market and work with “distinction.”
Every single cadet graduated “with secured employment and or continuing education opportunities,” LMTI has announced. “Several of the LMTI cadets will be employed with esteemed maritime shipping companies,” while others will are set to pursue further studies at the Regional Maritime University in Ghana.
The LMTI offers Liberian youth the opportunity to earn essential technical and leadership skills so that they can be valued members of the national workforce and the economy.
In his honorary keynote address to the 24 graduates, President Weah expressed gratitude that LMTI is now a revitalized entity of government that is in full operations.
“LMTI, founded by international ship owners and countries within the Mano River Basin, has a long history, dating as far back as 198. But due to the civil war (1989-2003), everything here was damaged and over time remained dormant. It was a source of pride several years back, and this is what we are again experiencing,” the President said.
Weah added that the Liberia International Shipping and Corporate Registry (LISCR), was tasked with the mandate to redevelop and manage the LMTI. This, he said the LISCR truly rose to the challenge by “excellently doing it assigned task, not only the construction of new training facilities, but training individuals most of whom are young to serve.”
He described the LMTI as one of important contributors to actualize the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The auspicious occasion was graced by an array of high profile government and diplomatic officials, as well as maritime executives and representatives of international business, some of which have already engaged the graduating cadets for employment.
Dr. James Kollie, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the LMA, thanked the graduates for their commitment to gaining quality knowledge and practical skills that will positively impact in the country’s marine service.
“It is this healthy and meaningful partnership with LSCR’s management that has transformed the entity. which we are seeing. This institute has transformed from a once battered and ravaged environment to a now citadel of excellence and productivity,” Dr. Kollie said.
Taking a quote from the Bible (2 Timothy 1:15), Dr. Kollie urged the graduates that, by this rite of passage, they have studied and must now “show themselves approved” in the professional environment and in their further studies.
LISCR was tasked with the management of the LMTI in 2015, and has since embarked on dramatic revitalization program that included overhauling the entity’s facilities, curriculum and faculty staffs. LSCR executive chairman, Elan Cohen, applauded LMTI’s staff and cadets. Cohen also thanked them for transforming the entity into one of the “world class maritime training institutes.”
LMTI chair Avi Zaidenberg, appreciated President Weah’s support for LMTI, and his commitment to youth education. “None of this could become possible without the incredible support from you, Mr. President, and your efforts to empower the Liberian youth,” Zaidenberg said.
The LMTI graduating class came from 14 of the 15 counties. Interestingly, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper observed that not a single graduate was a native of of the host county, Margibi. This fact was reiterated by President Weah during his remarks, within earshot of hundreds of Marshall city children and youth, many who were keenly watching the graduation program.
However, Mr. Zaidenberg said the selection of the trainees was carried out on the basis of geographical balance, as well applying merit system.
“It is done with vigor; and those who meet our criteria, made it to the training halls for two years,” he said.
To fill in the gap as created by the graduation of the 24 cadets, Zaidenberg said he and some members of his staff have already recruited those to be trained as the second batch of cadets.
Among those who attended the LMTI graduation ceremony were the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, and a number of Representatives of the 54th Legislature, as well as other officials from the county.