ArcelorMittal Liberia has awarded full payment scholarship to eight Liberians to pursue Master's degree in various disciplines as part of the entity's commitments enshrined in the Mineral Development Agreement under the Liberia advanced studies scholarship.
The company made the presentation of the scholarship beneficiaries on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, at a resort in Monrovia. The beneficiaries include S. Augustine P. Weah Jr., 31 years, Janneh V. Dukuly 26 years, Mamadee M. Kamara 27 years, Emmanuel Gbafore 28 years, Tim Telyon 24 years, Thomas N. Gmamlue, Jr 24 years, Leo Kla Wilson 26 years and Abigail K. Nanon 28 years.
The advanced studies scholarship program targets over 30 Liberians according to the management of ArcelorMittal Liberia including the first eight beneficiaries. The Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal Mining Global, Simon Wandke, told beneficiaries that the opportunity was a wonderful one to help them understand other cultures, network and interact if utilized.
Mr. Wandke said the advanced studies program was a chance for beneficiaries to have an experience and come back to make the future of Liberia brighter. "The process you all have been through is the start of another journey and I hope you make the best of it," Mr. Wandke told the beneficiaries.
Mr. Wandke said ArcelorMittal looks forward to seeing more Liberians as the company seeks to see the entire management and employees being Liberians. Highlighting the company's expenditure on education for Liberians, Mr. Wandke said though the company has spent US$7 million on vocational training, the management has decided to expand the curriculum because the company sees it as the best.
The Head of Corporate Services at ArcelorMittal Liberia, Steve Stevquoah, said the management was proud to hear beneficiaries acknowledging the level of transparency in the selection process.
"It doesn't always have to be 'business as usual' and I am pleased to be a part of an organization that is changing the narrative on how young people get opportunities. We are counting on you to help us get where we want to, as ArcelorMittal is going big to prepare the way," Mr. Stevquoah told beneficiaries.
Mr. Stevquoah called on beneficiaries to be ambassadors not only for ArcerlorMittal but also for Liberia. Abigail K. Nanon, of the beneficiaries, lauded ArcelorMittal Liberia for the opportunity, indicating that the process was competitive and she remains grateful.
"We are grateful to the team for the level of transparency and commitments. You have proven integrity. Usually in Liberia, we go by the saying that 'if you don't know anybody in the system, definitely you will not go through,' but you proved us wrong," Ms. Nanon said.
Mamadee M. Kamara, another beneficiary, told ArceloMittal Liberia Management that offering the scholarship for advanced studies was a way of contributing to Liberia and Liberians as well as development of the country.
"ArcelorMittal is helping to build the capacity of young people to be able to contribute. Achieving the needed education and coming back to contribute in our various fields means a lot for beneficiaries," Mr. Kamara said.
Mr. Kamara further expressed gratitude to the management of ArcelorMittal Liberia and the government as well as partners for the creation of such an opportunity, also describing the selection process as 'fair and the best.' Johnson S. Willabo, Sr., Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, described the selection process as one of the toughest because all the applicants were clearly qualified.
"If I had my own will, we would award scholarships to everyone who applied, because they were equally in their specific area. Again, we were to select the best of the best and ensure that we have these young qualified Liberians," Mr. Willabo said.
He told the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them and avoid distractions that will hinder them from representing Liberia. Leemu M. James, Programs Coordinator of the Bureau of Student Personnel Services at the Ministry of Education and a member of the selection process, lauded ArcelorMittal for providing advanced studies opportunities for young Liberians.
Madam James said she was grateful for the opportunity to work with other professionals in selecting Liberians to acquire advanced education.