The Foreign Mission Board of the Baptist Church in the United States has renewed its commitment to the restoration of the Suehn Industrial Training School in Bomi County.
The facilities were destroyed during Liberia's civil conflict, effectively shutting down the institution to date.
According to an Executive Mansion release, a delegation of the Foreign Mission Board, at a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday, said they intend to prioritize reconciliation and industrial education at the new Suehn Mission.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Rev. Nicholas Richards of the Abyssinia Baptist Church said the new Suehn Mission and the two areas of concentration - reconciliation and industrial education - will serve as model for the African continent in enhancing reconciliation and quality education.
Rev. Richards noted that the new areas of focus will provide the opportunity for students of diverse cultural and tribal backgrounds to learn together, in harmony as boarding students, which would help support Liberia's quest for long-term reconciliation and, at the same time, contribute to the country's reconstruction.
The delegation also informed President Sirleaf of its intention to turn the area into a tourist attraction to further enhance employment and revenue generation for Liberia.
Responding, President Sirleaf welcomed the Suehn Mission restoration plan, seeing the concentrated areas of reconciliation and quality education as critical to Liberia's post-war recovery.
The Liberian leader, however, expressed concern over the failure of earlier initiatives to restore the Mission, and hoped the new plan would be fast-tracked in order to restore academic activities to the institution and the people within the area. "Government had earlier planned to take over the facilities for rehabilitation due to the delay in its rehabilitation to prevent the total collapse of the facilities," President Sirleaf said, adding, "but with the renewed commitment, I hope we will work together on the restoration plan."
The President suggested to the delegation to consider inviting retired United States teachers to form part of the teaching staff when the school is fully operational, as part of their desire to impact quality education at the school. Members of the delegation included: Rev. William Moore, Chairman; Rev. Nicholas Richards, Executive Secretary; Mr. Frank Tucker of the First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; and Mr. Joseph Yorgbor and Rev. Joseph Roberts, Presidents of the Suehn Alumni Association in the United States and Liberia, respectively.