The second oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa , the University of Liberia has put out over three thousand six hundred graduates at this years’ centennial commencement convocation held at the SKD sports Complex in Paynesville, Liberia .
The institution over the years has produced politicians,diplomats,attorney,soldiers,environmentalists, human rights activists, entrepreneurs, accountants, engineers, journalists, inventors, physicians amongst others.
Addressing this year’s 100 commencement ceremony of the UL , Sierra Leone President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, recalled the relationship between Liberia and his country.
He reference some political scholars from both countries and the formation of the both nations as results of slavery , civil war and name Ebola as the disease both nations recently battle.
President Bio name Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden, as one of the foremost black intellectuals of the Nineteenth Century, who was a professor both at Liberia College and Fourah Bay College and Professor Davidson-Nicol who collaborated with the University of Liberia in the 1980s, during the administration of UL President Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown-Grimes Sherman.
“Adversity has strengthened our collective will to survive, to fight back, to live again, stronger, better, more united, and ever more hopeful” he noted
Reciting some lines in Liberia’s National Anthem , All hail Liberia, hail, In union strong, success is sure., he said only in unity of common cause; in unity of common purpose; in unity of common goals, can Liberians make this Liberia a better place and Africa a better continent.
“Liberians must always remember that the lies of the wicked and self-seeking that blind are never the ties that bind you together as a nation” he cautioned.
He said the nation is at an inflection point and the graduates must now respond to the challenges of nation-building.
“Your generation must provide access to quality healthcare and food security. Your generation must make new roads, build hospitals, supply potable water to all Liberians. Your generation must reduce maternal and child mortality and stop all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. Women comprise nearly 50% of Liberia’s population and women matter. They must be included in development, and they must be present in all democratic and civic spaces, and their voices must be heard! Your generation must eliminate corruption from public life.” he concluded.
The Sierra Leone leader also reveal that as a young military officer in his 20s on August 24, 1990, he was part of the very first wave of ECOMOG peacekeeping troops in the country to keep peace during the civil unrest .
To improve services delivery throughout Liberia, the Sierra Leone President also recommended the use of technology to provide solutions for governance processes, revenue collection, healthcare, quality education, service delivery, small-scale manufacturing amongst others .
He then challenged the graduates not to sit down and wait for a government job and an air-conditioned office saying “Always remember that you have been educated not just to run the Liberia that you have. Remind yourself every day that you graduate today to make Liberia what it should be”.
He cautioned the graduates not to allow people to use them to further their own ambitions or their plans saying “Never do anything to take your nation back to that painful past; To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war”.
Meanwhile, the leader of Sierra Leone said development is complex and multipolar and Liberia needs a critical mass of highly qualified professionals to provide sustainable solutions for its future development.
He said Liberians would be keen to feel the positive impacts the graduates will make in the country and in the world at large.
The Liberian Leader told the graduates further: “You have fought a good fight, and today is your day of victory. You have run a long and hard race, and today all of you have reached the finish line as winners.”
Also making remarks, Liberian President George Manneh Weah, urged the graduates to utilize the skills, create employment opportunities for others.
“Today marks the successful end of your undergraduate studies, and the completion of the current phase for those who received their graduate degrees. To each and every one of you, I extend my personal congratulations.”
President Weah said education is the key that can unlock the full potential of a nation and its people and promised his government support to the country’s education system.