Open Petition to the United States Government

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 24, 2003

Achieving Peace and Democracy in Liberia: An Open Petition to the United States Government Liberia holds the key to ending conflict and encouraging the growth of democracy in West Africa. The people of Liberia, furthermore, have a special trust in the United States' good will and ability to assist them. For these reasons, we, the undersigned network of Liberians, international scholars, business professionals and supporters of Liberia, call on the United States to take the lead in ending the violence and the humanitarian crisis, and in working toward peace.

We endorse calls for immediate U.S. action from the people of Liberia, including the combatant groups, as well as the United Nations, the International Crisis Group, Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Friends of Liberia, and many other organizations to support the peace process.

Along with a leading role and U.S. troop presence to restore confidence in the neutrality of a multi-lateral peacekeeping force, we also support calls for American support of the budget for peacekeeping, rebuilding the infrastructure and governmental reconstruction, the de-militarization of combatants and assisting in their return to civilian lives, the return and resettlement of refugees and rehabilitation of rural and urban areas. Help is needed in establishing a transitional government that cannot succeed itself, which will work towards a safe and secure nation based on democracy, the rule of law, and universal protection of human rights. Only an internationally supported government including all sectors of Liberian society can address problems of domestic and international war crimes and human rights abuses on all sides, and re-establish the norms of Liberian and international law.

All the various sectors of Liberian society need to be integrated in developing a government that will build on a national spirit instead of self-destructive divisiveness. At the same time, there must be a comprehensive program for the economic re-development of Liberia, from the rural agricultural to the urban entrepreneurial sectors. These steps are essential for the reintegration of Liberia into the community of West African nations, Africa and the world as a whole.

1. Al-Hassan Conteh, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, University of Pennsylvania
2. M. Alpha Bah, Ph.D., Professor of History and Director of African Studies at the College of Charleston
3. Kenneth Barnes, Ph.D., University of Central Arkansas
4. Beverlee Bruce, Ph.D., Program Director, Social Science Research Council
5. Arancha Garcia Del Soto, Ph.D., Director of Refugee Initiatives, Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, University of Pennsylvania
6. Emmet Dennis, Ph.D., Vice President and Dean, Rutgers University
7. Barbara Lakeberg Dridi, Ph.D., Political Scientist, Founder and Director of Concordia International Research, Mount Rainier, Maryland, USA
8. D. Elwood Dunn, PhD., Professor & Chair of Political Science, University of the South (TN), Former Liberian Government Official
9. E. Richmond Draper, Chairman, New African Research & Development Agency (NARDA), Monrovia, Liberia
10. Charles Wesley Ford, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair Department of Computer Science, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
11. Dr. Veronika Fuest, Center for Development Research, Bonn, Germany
12. Dr. John Gay , Former Professor Cuttington University College, Liberia
13. Reverend Dr. Judith Gay Former Professor Cuttington University College, Liberia
14. Yekutiel Gershoni, Associate Professor, Tel Aviv University, Israel
15. James K. Gray, Ph.D. Friends of Liberia (FOL)
16. George Parkinson Gonpu, Ph. D. Economist/Statistician, School of Administration and Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey
17. James S. Guseh, JD/Ph.D., Professor of Law and Political Economy, Department of Public Administration, North Carolina University, Durhan
18. Jeff Gray, Vice President for Food Security, Opportunities Industrialization Centers, International, Philadelphia, PA
19. Svend Holsoe, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware
20. Robert Kappel, Professor Dr., Institute of African Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany
21. Alfred Kulah, Ph.D. Former Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Government of Liberia
22. Dr. Abdul Rahman Lamin, Fellow, Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, University of Pennsylvania
23. Major Gen. Frederick H. Leigh (Rtd.), Executive Vice President, KTA Global Partners
24. Karyn T. Leigh, Ph.D., CEO, KTA Global Partners
25. Janice Fanning Madden, Ph.D., Professor of Regional Science, Sociology, Urban Studies, and Real Estate, University of Pennsylvania
26. Mehari Maru, United Nations Africa Branch, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
27. Mary H. Moran, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Colgate University
28. Richard A. Nisbett, PhD, MSPH, Texas Tech University
29. Corann Okorodudu, Ed.D, Full Professor of Developmental Psychology & Africana Studies, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey 08028
30. Elain Peabody, Liberian Educator & Musician
31. Daniel B. Reed, Ph.D., Director, Archives of Traditional Music, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
32. Massala Reffell Sr. (Author of The Black Mayflower)
33. Peter Sevareid, Professor of Law, Emeritus, Temple University
34. Marilyn Silberfein, Ph.D. Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Phila. PA
35. Verlon L. Stone, Ph.D., Project Coordinator, Liberian Collections Project, Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
36. Ruth M. Stone, Ph.D., Professor and Chair Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology & Director, Ethnomusicology Institute and Program, University of Indiana, Bloomington
37. Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D., World History Faculty, Broome Community College (SUNY)
38. William Wagner, Director Center for Ethics and Responsibility, Former Federal Judge, Former American Diplomat at the American Embassy in Liberia;