Liberia: Ellen to Highlight Education & Women Issues in the U.S.

11 October 2006

The Presidential Secretary said that funds received will be used towards social services and other humanitarian initiatives in Liberia.

According to Mr. Badio, the hunger prize is awarded to individuals who have contributed immensely to initiatives that are aimed to uplift ordinary people from their plight.

Speech At Georgetown University

Mr. Badio said while in the United States, the Liberian leader is expected to deliver a major foreign policy speech at Georgetown, one of America's leading universities, on Tuesday, October 17.

Badio adds that the president will build on her speech at the United Nations, calling for a more humane world and the reform of global organizations to reflect the realities of the 21st Century. Foreign policy experts, business executives, investors, and students are expected to attend the occasion.

Wachovia Corporation Fund Raising Event

Wednesday, October 18, the President will travel to North Carolina to attend a private fund raising dinner sponsored by Wachovia Corporation for the Liberian Educational Trust (LET), located at: www.liberianeducationtrust.org. It is a foundation formed by the President to support the restoration of the educational system destroyed by years of civil war.

Its mission, according on an Executive Mansion press release, is to build and renovate 50 schools; train 500 teachers; award 5,000 scholarships principally to girls to enroll and stay in school; to support women to enter teacher training colleges; and, to enroll market women in literacy programs.

The release said LET is a grant making initiative. The Wachovia sponsored fundraising event is expected to raise funds to finance the construction and rehabilitation of schools in Liberia.

According to Badio, President Sirleaf's son, Robert Sirleaf, is an executive at Wachovia Corporation & a LET board member, and is using his influence to galvanize more financial support for the educational initiative outlined in LET's mission statement. Wachovia is among the leading banking institutions in the United States, he said.

Women's Conference

The President will continue to push for more assistance for women's education. The Press Secretary noted that another major highlight of the President's visit to the United States is that she will serve as the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Conference for Women, an event that is sponsored by Wachovia Corporation.

The conference is slated for October 19. The conference will be attended by formidable women in business, politics and academia, including US Senator Elizabeth Dole.

As keynote speaker, Badio said the president will highlight the need for continuing progress for women, paying special attention to educational and career advancement opportunities for women in Liberia and all of Africa, adding she will also share notes with women at the conference and encourage them to assist in rebuilding the lives of Liberian women.

As part of her trip, she has agreed to spend an evening with a small group of leaders that are interested in hearing about her challenges and vision for Liberia.

Continuing Fund Raising In Milwaukee

Mr. Badio said as part of her visit to the Americas, President Sirleaf is also expected to visit the city of Milwaukee on Sunday, October 22, to participate in a fund-raising dinner organized by billionaire David Straz, which is intended to raise funds to support educational and development initiatives in the country.

Mr. Straz is a business man who owned two major financial institutions in Wisconsin and Florida, which he later sold.

He is one of the original owners of BB&T, one of the fastest growing banks in America. Mr. Straz visited Liberia a few months ago, and has since taken an interest in the country. Mr. Straz first project is to restore the College of West Africa (CWA).

Mr. Badio further disclosed that Mr. Straz is expected to travel to Liberia along with the Liberian leader when she returns. He will fly with the President to Liberia on his own private jet plane, as he did a few months ago.

While in the U.S, Mrs. Sirleaf will also be meeting with the managing director of the International Monetary Funds (IMF) to discuss Liberia's debt problem and the possibility of debt relief. Wachovia Corporation will finance the first leg of the president's trip and Mr. Straz will pick up the tab for the remaining trip.

The president has made it clear that she wants her trip to be less of a burden on the Liberian people, as she strives to secure financial assistance for the reconstruction of Liberia.

Education and women's development issues will highlight her trip to America, another demonstration of her commitment to women and the education of the Liberian youth, who she believes are the future leaders of the nation. "Education is the only way out of this situation," Mr. Badio quotes the president.

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