Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Chairman of the
Governance Reform Commission of Liberia, will serve as Keynote Speaker at the
All Liberian National Conference slated for April 14 – 16, 2005. The Conference
which will be deliberating on key issues of peace, reform and reconciliation
will convene in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Area of Columbia, Maryland,
at Kahler Hall, 5440 Old Tucker Row.
The Columbia conference is being organized by major Liberian organizations in
Europe and the United States including the Union of Liberian Associations in
the Americas, the European Federation of Liberian Associations, the Conference
of Liberian Organizations in Southwestern United States, national county associations
including Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Lofa, Bomi and Bong as
well as UNIBOA which comprises citizens from Bassa, Margibi and Rivercess among
other counties. The conference organizers also include national alumni associations,
pro democratic organizations and professional bodies. Specifically, the Liberian
associations in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands are
also associated with this effort.
Mrs. Sirleaf, a Liberian female politician and international public servant
will address the conference during the opening session on Friday, April 14,
2005 at 10:30 AM. she has a distinctive public service record both on the national
and international scenes. On the national level, Mrs. Sirleaf served as Minister
of Finance of Liberia. In the elections of 1985, Mrs. Sirleaf ran for a Senatorial
seat on the ticket of the opposition Liberian Action Party for Monsterrado County
and was declared winner. However, she declined to take her seat in protest over
reported election irregularities. Mrs. Sirleaf also ran for President in 1997
on the ticket of Unity Party and finished second in that contest.
The goals of the Conference are to discuss national reconciliation, peace and
reform. The Conference will serve as a stage for the formulation of national
consensus from varying viewpoints, define the parameters of reform, obtain popular
endorsement of the broad outlines of reform and enhance commitment of all Liberians
to begin reform. It will provide an opportunity for stocktaking, reaffirming
our sense of shared national identity, agreeing on minimal conditions for holding
of free and fair elections in Liberia and establishing reform as defined by
the conference participants. A follow up conference is expected to be held in
Mrs. Sirleaf will be sharing with her fellow countrymen and women her perspectives
on reform in the various sectors of the Liberian government. Her speech is expected
to set the tune for the conference and to galvanize healthy exchanges among
the many delegates who will converge in Columbia.
In her international career service, Mrs. Sirleaf has served in various positions
including the Vice President of Citibank, Senior Loan Officer for World Bank,
Director of UN Development Programme Regional Bureau for Africa, amongst other
reputable positions in global and regional financial institutions. The United
Nations Special Envoy to Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Klein has also promised
to address the opening session.
The three day conference has been formatted in ten categories based on the core
issues for deliberations which were identified by the Program Committee and
approved by the Steering Committee. The issues include Peace, National Reconciliation,
the 2005 general elections, Political and Social Reform, Military and Security
Reform, Economic Reform including taxation, Liberianization, investment Incentives
, Health and Sanitation, Agriculture and the environment, Education and Infrastructural
reforms. The Steering Committee has identified various presenters who will deliver
papers at the plenary on various topics.
Following each presentation, delegates will go into focus groups to discuss
the presentation. Several moderators and facilitators will lead discussions
in those focus groups. The conference has already lined up distinguished citizens
who will be making presentations. The names of presenters, moderators and facilitators
will shortly be released.
Anticipation for the nation conference (the first of its kind in terms of nature
and scope) is running very high in almost all quarters of the various Liberian
communities and organizations across the United States and Europe. Already,
the various Liberian Community organizations in the United States have begun
preparations for the conference. Not being left behind is the buoyant Liberian
community in Europe. Travel arrangements are already in the works for a large
delegation representing Liberian Community Associations in the United Kingdom,
the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany to be in attendance and to present
the Liberian-European perspective on the deliberations.
The three-day conference is expected to be attended by US officials, African
diplomats, and representatives of international organizations as well as friends
of Liberia. It will draw together Liberian community associations from several
US states, the Liberian clergy, Liberian professionals, students studying in
the United States and Liberian civil organizations that are actively engaged
in seeking national reform in Liberia as well as observers. Each organization
will be represented by five delegates no matter the size. There is no sitting
fee but each delegate will be required to pay $ 10.00 for conference materials.
The All Liberian National Conference is being spearheaded by a National Steering
Committee headed by Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh, former President of UNIBOA and
the first female President of ULAA; Mr. John Brownell of the Liberian Association
in the United Kingdom (LIBERIAN) is the Vice Chairman; Mr. Abraham G. Massaley,
National President of the National Association of Cape Mountainians in the Americas
is Secretary and Ms. Mary Broh, community activist, Treasurer.
Meanwhile, the conference hospitality committee has made hotel arrangements.
Organizations and individuals attending the conference are free to contact the
leadership of the Steering Committee for detailed information at Tuandea@aol.com,
ALNConference@yahoo.com, ALNCscribe@yahoo.com or at (410) 532-9134/(215) 868-2822.
Interested individuals and organizations may also visit the ALNC website at
theALNC.org, ULAA.org and the various websites of national county associations
as well other organizations associated with this effort. The conference Ways
and Means Committee is also planning a social evening on Saturday, April 16,
2005 to climax the event. A catering service has been contracted to sell food
at the conference at minimum cost. Other organizations that have not received
invitations are encouraged to immediately contact the steering committee.
Abraham G. Massaley
Secretary, ALNC Steering Committee
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