President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised the Australian Government for choosing Liberia to launch the Australia Awards African Women Leadership Network.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Network will provide information and support to female candidates around Africa to apply for and take advantage of the Australia Awards Scholarships. It also encourages them to engage in and provide leadership for gender and development in their respective countries.
At the launch of the Network at the Cape Hotel in Mamba Point on Monday, March 18, President Sirleaf described it as yet another achievement for Liberia in its international engagements, and challenged Liberian women to take advantage of the Network by empowering themselves. The launch, which brought together alumni from the West African sub-region, including Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, will be followed by a similar initiative in other African countries.
President Sirleaf challenged the beneficiaries to serve as examples for those wishing to apply to the program by demonstrating those values imparted to them during their studies in Australia. She assured the Liberians of government's commitment to remain open for discussion on their placement at various institutions after their studies.
Also present at the launch was the new Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Australia to Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Joanna Marie Adamson, who had presented her Letters of Credence to the Liberian President at a ceremony earlier on Monday. In receiving the Credentials, President Sirleaf had noted with satisfaction the enormous contributions of the Government and people of Australia in support of peace and stability, and in further development of Liberia's economy.
The Australia Awards Scholarships Program aims at contributing to the long-term development needs of Australia's partner countries, in line with bilateral and regional agreements that provide opportunities for people from developing countries to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities.
Liberia has participated in the Australia Awards initiative since 2010, receiving 71 scholarships between 2010 and 2013, and with women the recipients of 25 percent of these Awards.
The Australia Awards promotes equal participation by both women and men, and aims to ensure that people are given a fair and equal opportunity to compete for and obtain scholarships. The Australian Government has put mechanisms in place to support applicants and awardees requiring specific assistance.