First YHRI-Liberia Human Rights Leadership Forum and Competition
Tim Bowles, YHRI’s International Development Director, moved on from Ghana to Liberia this week, joining West African program director Jay Yarsiah, YHRI-Liberia country director Teewon Dolopei, and other dedicated volunteers to produce the first national YHRI-Liberia Human Rights Leadership Forum on 6 July 2007. The event was held in the auditorium of the Ministry of Gender and Development. Leading government officials attending the forum included the Liberian Attorney General Frances Johnson-Morris, Minister of Labor Kofi Samuel Woods and Vice President Joseph Boakai’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Sam Stevaquoh.
As the keynote speaker, Mr. Woods praised YHRI-Liberia’s initiative, calling for nationwide expansion of the program and for the competition to become an annual event. A renowned advocate for human rights during Liberia’s fourteen years of civil conflict, Mr. Woods observed it was a new day for the country, telling the youth attending that the older generation was counting on them to complete the work of creating a future based on individual dignity and mutual respect.The five high-school competition following the dignitaries’ comments was spirited, sprinkled with songs and dramas from the club members. Each team spent the past two-plus months on research and analysis of a selected NGO: UNICEF, UNESCO, Catholic Peace and Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) and National Human Rights Center of Liberia (NHRCL). Cathedral High School’s team took the top prize of a computer system for their library with runners-up awarded library book shelves. All participants were winners, receiving commemorative T-shirts and personalized certificates for their efforts.