8 May 2013

Liberia Historical Confab Begin May 13

The Liberia National History Project, an initiative to re-write a compressive history of the country is expected to convene a conference beginning Monday, 13 May to the 16.

The one week affairs which will be held on the University of Liberia Fendell Campus outside the capital, Monrovia, is to kickoff the process of re-writing a comprehensive and general history of Liberia.

The ceremony will bring together Liberian historians and academics living in the diaspora (United States, Africa and Europe), Civil Society Organizations, UN Agencies including UNESCO, members of the Diplomatic Corp, Legislature, Executive and Judiciary to kick start the process of writing a general and comprehensive history of Liberia.

Governance Commission or GC Programme Director, Steve Manley told a news conference Tuesday in Monrovia that the project is a key output of the Vision 2030 and one of the 12 thematic areas in the strategic roadmap for national healing, peace building and reconciliation.

Primarily, he continued: "The project seeks to contribute to reconciliation in the post-war era by assisting in developing historical consciousness among the people of Liberia and strengthening Liberian national identity, national unity and social cohesion."

Manley, also a member of the Liberian National History Project Secretariat indicated that the project is been designed for 5 years.

He also stated the conference is been organized to put together an agenda considering periodization and thematic in religion, civilization, culture and tradition, to develop outline and assign chapters to historians for writing and to determine budget and timeframe and to determine partnership(technical assistance) and collaboration with other academics in writing of general history," he said.

Some of the historians present and expected to re-write the Liberian history during the news conference were Dr Augustine Konneh, Director of the Foreign Service Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Elwood Dunn, Member of the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) and Dr. William E. Allen, Interim Chairman, Department of History at the University of Liberia.

The project specific objectives are to write a comprehensive general scholarly history of Liberia and on the basis for that general scholarly account, prepare in collaboration with the ministry of education and other specialists, guidelines for a history curriculum for Liberian schools, grades one through twelve, and make recommendations to institutionalize among the Liberian people the study and preservation of Liberian history.

The project has two bodies, the Liberian National History Advisory Committee and the Expert Panel of Liberian Historians. The Advisory functions as sponsors of the project with the responsibility to mobilize resources to ensure that the project remains faithful to the National Vision.

Membership to the Committee includes both institutional and individual prominent Liberians. With this, the Governance Commission and Education Ministry serves as chair and co-chair respectively. While the Liberian Expert Panel of Historians call for bona fide historians by virtue of their specialization in the methodologies and subjects of history as a discipline.

In other words, every Liberian with specialization in history may participate as a member of the Expert Panel or Liberian experts specialized in other fields other than history and Experts in oral traditional Liberian history.

About funding, the Liberian Government is the major funder of the project and has committed resources to the conduct of the initial planning process. In the 2012/2013 multi-year budget, US$ 5 million was allocated to the Reconciliation Trust Fund.

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