The NEWS (Monrovia)

5 December 2012

Liberia: UNMIL Pledges to Empower Liberian Youth

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia, Karin Landgren has reiterated UNMIL's commitment to collaborate with the Liberian Government in helping to empower young people with opportunities to showcase their talents and act as beacons of inspiration for all Liberian people.

The UN envoy made these remarks Saturday, December 1, 2012 at the grand finale of the "A Star is born" singing competition held at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia. Hundreds of Liberians attended the program which was jointly organized by the Liberian Government and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The SRSG said the role of the Government and other partners was crucial in making the competition possible. "Liberia's Government and institutions have been making steady progress over many years now. And I am confident that this progress will enable you to build on the success of 'A star is born" so that gradually we will see you take over the supporting role that UNMIL has provided over the last years," the UN envoy asserted.

The UN diplomat also thanked all partners particularly UNICEF, Cellcom and Population Services International for their contributions in making this years' talent contest a success.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was a special guest at the event, congratulated the winners and commended the organizers and sponsors for being able to bring Liberia's young people out to show off their talents.

Nineteen-year-old Allan B Jallah, student of Cuttington University emerged winner of the 2012 'A Star is Born' while 19 year old Margaret Cephas of the United Methodist University and 20 year old Wilma Z. Mensah from the University of Liberia were declared the first and second runners-up respectively. Winners have pledged to work with the Community Outreach Unit of UNMIL for a better future of all Liberians.

Approximately, 1,500 applicants from across Liberia registered for auditions that were held in all 15 counties. A series of qualifying rounds culminated in 15 potential stars that spent a week at boot camp, working on their skills and attending workshops on a number of important issues, such as HIV/AIDS and sexual and gender-based violence.

The "A Star is Born" Under-20 National Talent Hunt project started in 2006 and winners have been active in working with the UN family and partners in sensitizing Liberians on pertinent social issues.

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