The Informer (Monrovia)

5 May 2009

Liberia: Kimmie Weeks For Major International Recognition

Monrovia — Liberia’s acclaimed child rights’ activist Mr. Kimmie Weeks has received a number of major awards at home and abroad. The honors bestowed upon him by the National Excellence Award, the Oracle Group, and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Leadership Committee.

On April 17th, Kimmie Weeks received the Wangari Mathai Award for Global Citizenship. The award was presented to Mr. Weeks in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington DC. The program, which coincided with the launch of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf s book was attended by more than 800 people included Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , Liberian Ambassador to the United States Nathaniel Barnes as well as Liberia’s Public Works Minister designate Samuel Kofi Woods and Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh.
At home, Kimmie Weeks received the 2009 Excellence Award for youth leadership on April 19th. Although not able to attend the ceremony at the Unity Conference Center, Kimmie Weeks was represented by his Public Relations Officer Mr. Oliver Menyongar who stressed Kimmie's conviction in a new Liberia where youth could be actively engaged in the nation building process.

A press release from the Youth Action International (YAI) in South Africa, Kimmie Weeks was awarded the prestigious 2009 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship by an international committee of judges. In a letter from the awards committee, they noted that: "the selected fellows representing nine different countries will meet first at the Mont Fleur Conference Center near Stellenbosch in Western Cape Town, South Africa.

In a statement issued in South Africa today, Kimmie Weeks who is currently embarking on a global speaking tour noted: "I am very happy to have been selected for this award. It is an honor for me to be selected from among the many outstanding young and inspiring leaders in Africa." While hi his global speaking tour, Kimmie Weeks continues to be based in Liberia where he continues to work on developing and implementing anti-poverty programs.

Meanwhile, Mr. Weeks has embarked on a global speaking tour, which will take him to capitals across Africa, Europe, North America, and the Middle East. While on tour, Kimmie Weeks will speak to thousands of people at audiences ranging from a few hundred to several thousand. Mr. Weeks will deliver speeches in several countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Oman, South Africa, Nigeria, France, and Luxemburg.
Kimmie Weeks is currently in South Africa where he is serving as an Executive-in-Residence at the
prestigious African Leadership Academy. Over the course of his three day visit to South Africa, Weeks
will address an audience of hundreds of talented young scholars. He will also conduct two executive
seminars on ending poverty in Africa, and the use of children in armed conflicts.

Kimmie Weeks has already delivered dozens of speeches to diverse audiences. Kimmie speaks form a unique perspective on topics such as civil war, child soldiers, children affected by war, children living in difficult circumstances, poverty, and peace building allow him to instantly connect with young audiences. His unique ability to navigate his speeches from the ravages of war to the potential of young people as activists, make his speeches incredibly motivational and effective.

Mr. Weeks used his background as a youth activist to inform young people of the world's humanitarian crisis and to motivate them by offering them tools to become activists for social change. Kimmie notes: "I remain a strong believer in the power of young people to make change happen. I believe that young people have immense power, more than we realize. Once [young people] are informed and begin to feel the issues, they will discover their passion for change and will put it to use."

Kimmie's impact is already being felt around the world. Both the Arab news network AlJazeera and author Susan Skog have likened Kimmie Weeks to iconic figures such as Martin Luther King, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. In her book Peace in Our Lifetime, Susan Skog writes: "We are all Kimmie Weeks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Jimmy Carter, Elissa Tivona, Natalie Wieseltier, Lech Walesa, Alina Pienkowska, and all the grand peacemakers featured in this book. And they are all of us. Our suffering is their suffering. Our dream and longings are their dreams and longings. Their choices for peace can be our choices. We all can work for a brighter future laid on a million miles of change and supported by infinite guidance."

A native of Liberia, 27 year-old Kimmie Weeks holds bachelors from Amherst College (USA) and Masters from the University of Pennsylvania (US A). Based upon his own childhood experiences, Kimmie now works on a variety of projects to empower children and youth trapped by war and poverty to improve then- own lives. His organization Youth Action International is active in a number of countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Its objectives are to work with youth (rather than simply for youth), to encourage youth to economically empower young people.

One observer notes: "too often the media is dominated by images of Africa which portray Africa and its people as helpless victims in need of relief. The message of Kimmie Weeks is a necessary antidote to this - for his work is grounded in the firm conviction that youth can help themselves, given guidance and opportunity. It is a powerful, universal message." Kimmie Weeks will conclude his international speaking tour in August 2009, a press release from the Youth Action International (YAI) Bureau concluded.

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