UL, Partners Launch Development Confab Anthology

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Dr. Jonathan Taylor (center) speaking about the anthology.

The University of Liberia (UL) and its partners over the weekend launched a development conference anthology in Monrovia.

An anthology may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts of books.

The ceremony resulted from the report on a development conference held in Monrovia in February 2017.

Addressing the audience on the utilization of the anthology, the dean of the graduate school of UL, Dr. Jonathan Taylor, said the launch of the anthology is an attempt to bring to the public the outcome of the February 2017 meeting, which addressed a couple of key national development issues.

“Today we have come to unveil yet another important chapter in the ongoing engagement on the Liberia Development Conference that was held about a year ago. This anthology is comprised of 39 analytical papers covering ten thematic areas that centered on looking deep into issues affecting the development of our country and also providing recommendations for solutions to our current development deficits,” Dr. Taylor said.

He said the anthology will provide evidence-based insights that will help in the formulation of public policy in Liberia. “This anthology is also a useful academic tool for students and others who are investigating the very complex development framework in which Liberia finds itself and how thoughts and actions can chart the way forward for our own development as we take into account Vision 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, and all of those benchmarks necessary for the growth of a country,” he added.

Taylor said 2,000 hard copies of the anthology will be distributed to colleges and universities as well as people who have an interest in understanding how to engage national government to ensure that development comes to the country.

Also speaking, the Ambassador of Sweden accredited to Liberia, Ingrid Wetterqvist, said the anthology is a success story because researchers from the UL and other collaborating partners took into account ‘loud and unheard voices’ in discussions about the development of Liberia.

“The opportunities here are intended to be optimized to benefit Liberia’s progress. It is our hope as development partners that people of all walks of life, including those in business and politics to seize the opportunity and read the ideas found in this document and recommend if necessary to national government and stakeholders the way forward in seeing development becoming a success story rather than a perpetuated dream,” she said.

Ambassador Wetterqvist said Sweden acknowledges Liberia’s development challenges and the complex priorities that require law and effort to overcome them.

She said her country is pleased with Liberians for allowing the democratic transition from former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to President George Manneh Weah.

She said the need to ensure that more women participate in government and key national and local decision-making processes is vital, and is capable of helping the country succeed on many fronts.

She called on the government to legislate laws that will call for the removal of female genital mutilation (FMG) in Liberia, which she said is a human rights violation carried out against vulnerable girls and women.

For his part, the Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Samuel R. Watson, said Liberians are best positioned to design and implement the growth-inducing policies needed to end poverty that afflicts many of the citizenry.

“Liberia can build inclusive economic institutions only if Liberians particularly those who wield economic and political power give primacy to fashioning policies that see wealth creation as an inclusive process,” Watson said.

USAID Mission Director Dr. Anthony S. Chan thanked development partners, especially the Embassy of Sweden and the UL, whose help, he said, was crucial to the holding of the Liberia Development Conference and publication of the anthology. “In a few weeks, we will be launching development matter television and radio program. The program will provide a nationwide forum for serious debates about the very topics discussed in the anthology,” Dr. Chan said.

Meanwhile one of the authors of the anthology, Victor B. Smith, wrote on Liberia’s infrastructure, “A study of roads and ports,” while Victoria Cooper-Enchia wrote on mainstreaming integrity in public sector administration.

Ibrahim AL-bakri Nyei wrote “Toward political decentralization in Liberia,” while T. Debey Sayndee wrote on the security sector and trust in community relations.

Silas Kpanan’ Ayoung Siakor and Aaron Weah wrote on forestry concessions in postwar Liberia and building conflict resilience capacities through social cohesion and conflict transformation.

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