The United Nations Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance will beginning November 24, 2019, visit Liberia on a five-day Outreach Mission to create awareness on the recruitment process of the United Nations.
The Outreach Mission, according to Ms. Christine Asokumar, Chief, Staffing Diversity and Outreach Section at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is a part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s reform process, which among others, aims to enhance diversity within the United Nations workforce.
Ms. Asokumar disclosed that Liberia is among Countries that are under-represented within the United Nations System; and observed that sometimes, qualified candidates who applied for United Nations jobs are not given due consideration because they are not cognizant of the application process; thus making simple mistakes that disqualify them.
Ms. Asokumar said there are positions that are geographically set aside for Liberians and expressed the hope that the Outreach Mission will attract more Liberians to apply to fill such positions. She named the United Nations Young Professionals Programme (YPP) as one of the ways through which Liberians can be recruited for jobs within the United Nations system.
During a meeting in New York on Thursday, November 14, 2019, with Liberian Diplomat Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations, Ms. Asokumar disclosed that Ms. Floresha Berisha, Human Resources Officer at the Staffing Diversity and Outreach Section of the United Nations, will conduct the Outreach Mission in Liberia, and requested the support of the Government of Liberia to ensure that the visit is successful and impactful.
As part of the Outreach Mission, Ms. Berisha is expected to present to a diverse range of professionals in Liberia, a detailed overview of the United Nations Secretariat, job and career opportunities, and provide tips on application processes that will increase the probability of an applicant getting selected.
In response, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. welcomed the Outreach Mission and disclosed that it is the direct result of recent engagements Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of Liberia, during meetings with United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres.
Ambassador Kemayah stressed that creating opportunities for Liberians to serve at all levels of the United Nations is one of the top priorities of President Weah, and consistently highlighted at bilateral meetings with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guterres during the High-Level weeks of the 73rd and 74th Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.
Said Ambassador Kemayah: “Our President is very much concerned and interested in increasing the number of Liberians at the maximum level in the United Nations System.
The President is concerned about that to the effect that in his last two meetings, during his participation in activities of the High-Level week of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)–the 73rd and 74th Sessions, one of the Three (3) topics of discussions for meetings President Weah held with the United Nations Secretary-General, has been the issue of job placement for Liberians within the United Nations System.
“I am so thrilled as Ambassador that this is happening. Beyond me, there is going to be a high level of excitement and enthusiasm on the part of our Government and the people of Liberia to receive this United Nations delegation for the purpose of working towards creating room for opportunities for increased recruitment of Liberians within the United Nations System”. Amb. Kemayah added.
He asserted that the employment of more Liberians within the United Nations was also a personal priority for him as Ambassador to the United Nations, pursuant to a mandate from President Weah. “From the very inception of my current tour of duty here, creating opportunities for Liberians to serve in the United Nations has been and continues to be one of the top priorities of my administration here. That priority is pursuant to the mandate I received from President Weah.
The main variable that we want as a Government is to see more Liberians taking up positions in the United Nations. This is one of the many legacies that I as Ambassador want to leave– that during my tenure as Ambassador, and during the administration of President Weah, we had increased number of Liberians taking up employment in the United Nations; not just the United Nations but in other international organizations”. Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.
Ambassador Kemayah stressed that Liberians are among the world’s most competent people, but agree with Ms. Asokumar that lack of awareness of procedures and systems can rob qualified people of opportunities. “Liberians are among the best in terms of competencies and skills; but you can even be the most educated, when you are not fully aware and cognizant with the procedure and familiar with the system, you can be denied the much needed opportunity. I am of the strongest conviction that, this has been the situation with Liberians overtime.”
The Liberian Envoy then stressed that employment of more Liberians within the United Nations will not only increase the number of Liberians in the system but present an opportunity for international exposure and experience in diverse fields, while serving as a boost to the economy of Liberia and the livelihood of citizens; especially the family members and loved ones of those employed.
Ambassador Kemayah thanked the United Nations for the Outreach Mission to Liberia and assured that the Government of President Weah will fully support the Mission to ensure that it is successful and impactful. “On behalf of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah, the Government and People of Liberia, please convey our special sentiments with the highest of esteem to Mr. Antonio Gutteres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and the leadership of your Department for this outreach visit to Liberia. Let me also reassure you and reaffirm the unwavering support of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, the Government and People of Liberia toward this initiative. You have our relentless support.” Ambassador Kemayah assured.
The Liberian envoy then outlined that he and his team at the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations will coordinate with the Government and the United Nations System in Liberia to ensure that the Outreach Team meets with the relevant authorities and target audience; especially the youth, who make up more than Sixty-three (63) percent of Liberia’s population. Ambassador Kemayah furthered that it is his desire and that of His Excellency President Weah, Liberia’s Feminist-in-Chief, to see women play an increased role during the visit.
As part of the coordination, meetings will be set up between the Outreach team and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, officials from the Ministries of State for Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Information, Labor, Education, Gender, Children and Social Protection, and Youth and Sports; the Civil Service Agency, the National Commission on Higher Education, the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, United Methodist University, AME University, AME Zion University and other Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning.
The Outreach Team will also meet with the Federation of Liberian Youths (FLY), the Liberian National Students Union (LINSU),the President Young Professionals (PYP), the Liberia National Bar Association, the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia, the Female Journalists Association of Liberia and other professional female organizations, the Press Union of Liberia, Disabled Organizations, the Liberia Business Association and the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL).
The Outreach Team will have interactive sessions at various venues focusing on the United Nations Secretariat, job and career opportunities, and provide tips on the application process that will increase the probability of an applicant getting selected.
Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. who expressed the hope that the Outreach Mission to Liberia will be the beginning of a sustained partnership, will accompany the Outreach Mission team from the Staffing Diversity and Outreach Section of the United Nations Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. They will be in Liberia from November 24-28, 2019.
Ms. Asokumar thanked Ambassador Kemayah for his enthusiasm and support to the Outreach Mission and expressed confidence that the Mission will have a great impact–an increase in the number of successful applications for employment for Liberians in the United Nations system, as experienced by other countries who benefited from previous Outreach Missions.