‘Value Yourself’

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Lena Nordström, Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia, over the weekend called on the 314 graduates of the Booker Washington Institute to value themselves not only because they have acquired technical skills, but more importantly because they have learnt essential life lessons.

“I have no doubt that in inspiring yourself to achieve, you are a great example for many other Liberian youths, and that you will put your skills to work for your communities and your society as a whole,” the Swedish diplomat told the graduates.

Amb. Nordström’s speech was delivered on her behalf by Elisabeth Hårleman, head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia, on Saturday, October 15, at the program marking the 65th graduation ceremony of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County.

By working to improve the society, Amb. Nordström said the graduates would inspire many other youths, who are looking for meaning and direction, and the desire to develop and improve themselves.

“These lessons you have learnt, and because of the challenges you have to overcome, not the least, the most recent Ebola crisis, distinguishes you among the most resilient and resourceful youth of the world,” Amb. Nordström said.

She charged the graduates to value what they have acquired to keep going, adding, “Depend on yourselves and your communities as the first source of solutions to individual achievement.”

She urged each of them to build on the experience acquired and set for themselves high and realistic ambitions.

Earlier in a special statement, BWI Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harry F. Tarnue expressed gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and to members of the Margibi County Legislative Caucus for making available US$750,000 for the renovation of four trade shops, and many ongoing developments on the campus. “…there is unanimous agreement in turning the institution into a model of excellence for technical, vocational and education training/TVET in the country,” Tarnue told the audience.

According to him, this is a process that requires partnership and the total involvement of all stakeholders, including the students.

For his part, BWI’s new Chairman of the Board of Governors, Jackson J. Paye, thanked all those who gave him the opportunity to represent the ministry on the BWI Board, the school which he said gave him more than he could possibly give back. Mr. Paye is Pubic Works
Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Community Services.

He recounted his fond memories of his days as a student at BWI, a student leader, and a Cadet Corps Commander of the school’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Course (ROTC) program, “all of which propelled me in a significant way to what I later became in life.”

He stated that whatever further education a graduate of BWI gets, the foundation was laid at the institute; a premier vocational institute as well as a bastion of academic excellence. Graduates of the school have not only gone on to become top notch technicians, but also gone on to become civil engineers like him, medical doctors, academicians, administrators, etc.

Mr. Paye called on those who elected him to chair the BWI Board of Governors to give him their fullest support to realize President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s desire to make BWI a school of excellence.

Mr. Paye thanked Kenneth Y. Best, the outgoing chair of the Board, for his leadership and commitment to BWI over the years, and for quietly working behind the scenes to get him elected as the new chair.

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