President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed admiration for returning graduates and visiting international students for prioritizing education and for the manner in which they competed and were able to succeed in their international exams.
"Today, we are proud of you, particularly because you have prioritized education to prepare for the leadership role that you will play in the country; for the manner in which you competed; and for those who had taken the international exams, with all the competition and to have excelled there and get acceptance into those institutions that offered these scholarships, again to your big credit," President Sirleaf noted.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement at the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium when returning graduates, visiting students and students expected to depart the country shortly paid her a courtesy call on Thursday, August 16.
Through bilateral scholarship arrangements, 10 students pursued undergraduate studies at universities in the Kingdom of Morocco, while 11others pursued undergraduate studies at universities in the People's Republic of China.
Eighteen students are expected to depart Liberia for China on August 20, to study disciplines in Engineering and other sciences; a second group of 12 students will depart for Australia in January 2013 to pursue disciplines in Public Policy, and Financial and Human Resource Management.
President Sirleaf thanked those students who have completed their studies and have returned to make their contribution to the reconstruction and development of the country. She added, "All of you, we're so proud of you and proud of your accomplishments."
For the young graduates that have already been placed in government parastatals, President Sirleaf promised to engage and encourage the heads of these agencies to make sure that the graduates are placed in positions where government can maximize their contribution and they can grow professionally. For those not yet placed, she promised to work with the Civil Service Agency (CSA) to see how they can be supported by identifying proper placement for them.
The Liberian leader cautioned those students expected to depart shortly to observe the laws of the host country. "For those that are going, please observe the rules and regulations of the country in which you are studying," she appealed, pointing out that she has received numerous reports, through the country's diplomatic missions, about the misbehavior of certain students.
Speaking on behalf of the returning graduates earlier, Ms. Rhoda Kilby applauded the Liberian President for her direct intervention in prioritizing education so as to prepare the youth of the country for future challenges as they continue to strive for generational change. "Madam President, our debts to you are immeasurable and, as such, words are inadequate to express our deepest and warmest appreciation for the extremely hard and munificent work done since your induction to office," Ms. Kilby, a graduate of the University of Ab-delalic, in Morocco, said.
She praised the work of the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee and the role it continues to play in meeting the needs of international scholars, including placing returning graduates in government institutions so they can contribute their quota to the country's reconstruction and development.
Introducing the students, Mr. George Werner, head of the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee, said they represented the resiliency of Liberia's educational system. "They are among the best of our brightest minds and they have proven it by the way they have prepared themselves to represent Liberia on the international stage," he said. He reiterated that not only did the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee vet the returning graduates, but when they were recommended to their bilateral partners, they all performed excellently.
Also on Thursday, President Sirleaf met with five Liberians who have returned home after pursuing post-graduate studies in the People's Republic of China, India and the United States of America.
Messrs. Francis Grant and Saye Vah both obtained Master's of Law in International Relations from the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing; and Mr. Vallai Dorley obtained a Master's of Science Degree in Public Policy from Peking University in Beijing.
Mr. Augustus Panton obtained a Master's of Commerce (Finance) from the Osmania University in India; while James Andrews obtained a Master's in Global Business Administration from South New Hampshire University in the United States.
Speaking separately, they all praised President's Sirleaf's leadership and reiterated their desire to join in the reconstruction and development efforts of the country since they had returned with additional knowledge and expertise that Liberia badly needs.
President Sirleaf congratulated and commended the five post-graduates for going through their studies. "I congratulate you and commend you for going through your studies to be able to compete successfully. It makes us proud of you. Now that you've come back to join the effort of the rebuilding of your country, I think that's a great thing," she said.
She promised to work with the CSA, government ministries and agencies to see how they can be absorbed based on their preference and expertise.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf met on Friday, August 17, with two visiting medical doctors assigned at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center. The two doctors, who are in the country for a year, are under a Chevron and Baylor's College of Medicine - Texas Children's Hospital partnership with JFK Hospital.
Shea also received in audience a delegation of Hope Worldwide, Ltd., whose initiatives include programs in HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, as well as programs that target nutrition and education.
According to an Executive Mansion release, in receiving the two doctors, President Sirleaf welcomed and congratulated them on their one-year assignment to Liberia, and thanked them for selecting to serve the women and children of Liberia - the most vulnerable segments of the population.
The Liberian leader reiterated that Liberia appreciates all those who come to help the country after years of self-destruction. She said that all of Chevron's help to Liberia has been good, but support that saves lives is most important. She hoped that the work environment would be smooth and conducive, to enhance efficiency in the work of the doctors.
President Sirleaf also thanked the JFK Administrator, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald, for establishing the institutional partnership with the world-class Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. McDonald expressed her satisfaction with the quality of the two doctors, and described their areas of specialty as high risk areas.
The two specialists, Dr. Yvonne Butler and Dr. Josephine Reece, will help JFK provide much-needed health care to thousands of mothers and children and also help with the training of hundreds of health care professionals. They will complement Chevron's existing partnerships in Liberia precipitated over the last two years by Chevron-Liberia Economic Development Initiative, which has a queue of 54 projects focused on health, education and economic development.
Measurable outcomes under the partnership include the co-funding of an ambulance for St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital, the Children's Under-Five Clinic at JFK Hospital, and extensive renovation of Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town. At Redemption, upgrades have been concluded on the Medical Ward, while upgrades to the Gynecology and Maternity Wards are in progress.
Dr. Butler was born in Liberia, but moved to the United States as a child where she was trained in the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, where she served as Chief Resident Doctor. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Prior to joining the Global Health Corps, she trained as a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Fellow in International Women's Health and Clinical Epidemiology, based at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia. She was a recipient of the 2011 Hippocrates Award given to a Resident who best practices the art of medicine, and is an Assistant Professor in Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Reece, who trained in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, completed medical elective rotations in Zambia, Uganda and Honduras. She is a graduate of the West Virginia University and its School of Medicine. She spent a month during her final year of Residency with BIPAI in Gaborone, Botswana.
President Sirleaf later received in audience a delegation of executives of Hope Worldwide, Ltd., led by Dr. Mark Ottereweller. He thanked the President for meeting with them, pointing out that this was his fourth visit to Liberia. The organization's initiative worldwide covered programs in the health sector, nutrition and education.
Offering an overview of the organization's work in Liberia, its Liberia-based Executive Director, Dorbor Mark Suah, informed President Sirleaf that their interventions will target the JFK Medical Center, and Catholic and Redemption Hospitals. He stated that Hope Worldwide also works with orphanages by providing food and educational materials for orphans under their care and protection.
Liberia, Ghana and Togo are three West African countries where Hope Worldwide operates, in addition to six other countries across the continent.
President Sirleaf thanked the group for selecting Liberia as one of the countries to benefit from its work, and promised her administration's support to groups that come to the help the Liberian people after years of war. "It is my hope that your intervention will help improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB and give hope to Liberian children by offering them a chance to be educated," President Sirleaf concluded.