Two Liberian Female Journalists Receive Master's Degree

By Alex Redd

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 21, 2004

As the old adage would clearly put it, "education is the bedrock of a nation" and, indeed, education is also the sole guarantor of human development and progress for both an individual and society at large. With statistical upsurge of illiteracy rate in Liberia, many Liberians who left the country due to an unending political conflict, are rolling up their sleeves to enhance their lives through quality education in the U.S. Over the years, two outstanding female Liberian broadcast journalists, namely, Mrs. Welma Mashinini Redd and Mrs. Edith Gongloe-Weh have pursued the cause for quality education with the hope to enhance their individual future and, as well, help lend their ever-changing support to the reconstruction of their homeland, Liberia.

Mrs. Welma Mashinini Redd, a former Liberian news anchor at ELTV, received her Master of Fine Arts, Film and Electronic Media degree from the American University in Washington D.C. on May 9, 2004. In an interview last weekend at her home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the graduate said that "it is important to have a voice during this crucial time in the history of our nation and Africa as a whole," lamenting the hurdles African women constantly experience while expressing their cultural views on variety of political, economical and social issues. It is Mrs. Redd's hope and aspiration to use her latest degree through the production of films, such as documentary, to "open people's mind in the western world about the essence and impact of entrenched indigenous culture in developing countries. This effort, Mrs. Redd believes, is a way to build a strong bridge of cultural awareness and integration between inhabitants of western culture and indigenous culture.

As technology seems to increasingly spawn, it is the former female news anchor's understanding that it is the right opportunity to bridge the gap of cultural unawareness and disintegration. And this is true to Mrs. Redd's credit as evident of her latest involvement in the sponsored World Bank African Club television program called " PULSEAFRICATV", launched last April at the IMF headquarters in Washington D.C.

On the question of helping Liberia, Mrs. Redd, recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Liberia in 1985 said, her goal is to also do independent film production with the sole purpose to bring growth and development to rural areas of the country. " Women and children issues, as well as the right social policy for their well-being, are of paramount concern to me", she expressed with stern gesture.

In all of this, the former webcasting manager for the Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. legislature was quick to point out that proper use of the media can open doors for the right policy that would eventually benefit the down-trodden masses. The other graduate, Mrs. Edith Gongloe Weh expressed happiness that, "it is the time to do what is right for Liberia particularly in the health sector."

Mrs. Gongloe-Weh will receive her Master of Social Work degree on May 20, 2004 from Temple University in Philadelphia. As a strong advocate for women's rights in Liberia and the U.S., Mrs Gongloe-Weh is the current spokesperson for the Association of Liberian Women in Pennsylvania. Prior to the 1997 Liberian presidential election, she briefly worked at ELBC as a reporter before heading off to the independent Star Radio, where she served a year as a reporter and newscaster.

The former Liberian broadcast journalist has been one of the main pillows behind organized community-oriented programs for political and social change. Mrs. Gongloe-Weh was a founding member of the 1997 Liberian Election Observation Network (LEON), which was sponsored by the American-based National Democratic Institute. While the graduate is currently a member of the Delaware-Valley Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), she has also found strength in affiliating with the Liberian Women Initiative based in Monrovia, and as a member of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, U.S.A.