Liberia Students Scholarship annual banquet on Dec 18



Liberia Students Scholarship annual banquet on Dec 18 in Houston

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

The  Liberia Students Scholarship annual banquet, established 6 years ago in Columbus Ohio by Dr. Naboth and Victoria Zondo, will hold on Dec 18, 2009 in Houston. Dr. Naboth told and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu that “the goal of this event is to raise funds for Liberian schools and to supporting a school for the disabled” called STEP Academy in Grand Bassa, southern Liberia. He is the director of the Liberian Center for Growth and Development based in Humble, Texas.

The event is expected to be attended by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Ambassador of Liberia to the US Nathaniel Barnes and several dignitaries.

USAfrica and CLASmagazine is schedule to cover the special event, with pictorials, too, on the African community in the Diaspora’s mega-site www.PhotoWorks.TV


Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf calls for “partnership” rather than “patronage” relationship with U.S. By Chido Nwangwu.

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

March 15, 2006, Washington DC ( Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s recently inaugurated president has called on the U.S to relate with her battered country on a platform of partnership ratherLiberia Students Scholarship annual banquet on Dec 18 than patronage. Hoping that “with your prayers and with your help, we will demonstrate that democracy can work, even under the most challenging conditions. We will honor the suffering of our people, and Liberia will become a brilliant beacon, an example to Africa and the world of what the love of liberty can achieve. We will strive to be America’s success story in Africa, demonstrating the potential in the transformation from war to peace; demonstrating the will to join in the global fight against terrorism; demonstrating that democracy can prevail, demonstrating that prosperity can be achieved. The people of Liberia have already rolled up their sleeves, despite overwhelming obstacles, confident that their work will be rewarded, confident in the hope and promise of the future.” and CLASS magazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu who was in the gallery and saw the speech live reports: She said with a certain, dignified lucidity that “I stand before you today, as the first woman elected to lead an African nation, thanks to the grace of Almighty God; thanks to the courage of the Liberian people, who chose their future over fear; thanks to the people of west Africa and of Africa generally, who continued to give hope to my people.”

Her history-making, impactful 40-minute speech to the joint session of the U.S Congress on Wednesday March 15, 2006 in Washington DC drew almost a dozen standing ovation from Washington power brokers like U.S Vice President Dick Cheney (constitutionally, the president of the American Senate) who co-presided with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, influential Democrats Joe Biden, diplomats, business executives, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and U.S-based members of the Liberian community.

She continued “Our abundant natural resources have been diverted by criminal conspiracies for private gain. International sanctions, imposed for the best of reasons, still prevent us from exporting our raw materials. Roads and bridges have disappeared or been bombed or washed away. We know that trouble could once again breed outside our borders. The physical and spiritual scars of war are deep indeed.” She encouraged Black Americans to come do business in Liberia, arguing no other group in America has more stake in Liberia’s stabilization and redevelopment. CBC’s chair Mel Watts assured her of the commitment and support of the group. Houston congresswoman Sheila Jakcson Lee spoke on the need to sustain the immigration status of many Liberians in the U.S. Congressman John Lewis, civil rights icon, recalled he went to Liberia in 1964 as part of a student group.

President Sirleaf, without a doubt, left an indelible impression and sense of dignity despite the massive problems faced by her impoverished and war-torn country. Additional features and reports will appear her e and our related special events magazine, CLASS magazine

Liberia’s president address joint session of U.S Con gress, meets with U.S government officials, CBC, Liberian communities. Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist and newly inaugurated president of the west African country of Liberia had the honor of addressing a joint meeting of the U.S Congress on Wednesday March 15, 2006. President Johnson-Sirleaf’s visit to Washington follows the visit to Liberia in January of a U.S. delegation led by Laura Bush, and including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to attend the Liberian leader’s inauguration. Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat representing the U.S congressional District 18 of Houston, Texas, told Publisher Chido Nwangwu that “it’s historic that she’s addressing our joint session. Also, I think it’s deserving that President Sirleaf be given the necessary financial support and facilities to further her efforts at turning Liberia’s recent but difficult experiences to a success story. America has centuries old relationship with Liberia.” She is one of the few American legislators who visited Liberia as a student decades ago, and has sustained interest in the dynamics of events in that country.

“The first female in Africa, in the history of the [Liberian] nation,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick. “The continent of Africa is two-and-a-half times the size of the U.S. [and] not without its problems. But [this will be] an opportunity to build real communities and countries with resources that can partner with the United States of America.” In the regular 2006 U.S. fiscal year budget, $128 million was designated for Liberia, a point driven home by Congressman Jim Kolbe who heads the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee. However, the funding has been held up and Kolbe says congressional appropriators have been waiting for U.S. government agencies to come back with specific plans on how the money will be spent in Liberia, which he agrees is at a crucial point.

“It is fragile, it is extraordinarily fragile,” he said. “We have made a tiny baby step forward with the election of the new president there. And we should do everything we can to assist that process.”

Lawmakers will be pressing for more money for Liberia as part of the 2007 budget process which will be unfolding in coming months. South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn says the Liberian leader needs to be able to return home with some tangible results in the form of aid commitments: “I believe it is important for us to show some support for this great woman, who was educated in this country, and who I believe will be an outstanding symbol for freedom and justice,” said Clyburn. “We need to support her.” Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. says while the United States has helped Liberia in its peaceful transition from former President Charles Taylor, to President Johnson-Sirleaf, more needs to be done by Liberians “to ensure that this investment is not squandered.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey says she expects the Liberian president to give President Bush, whom she meets next week, and other government officials specifics about plans for reconstruction in the wake of Liberia’s long and bloody civil conflict: “It is my understanding that President Johnson-Sirleaf does have a plan, in addition to the $128 million,” she said. “There are infrastructure projects. It is critical that we respond positively, in my judgment, to her request.” “Liberia is at a crucial turning point,” said Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. “The next few months will be critical in determining whether peace and democracy prevail, or whether political instability, the threat of violence, rampant corruption, and criminality burgeon anew.” Among pledges she has made since taking office in Liberia, President Johnson-Sirleaf says she wants to bring back electricity to the capital, Monrovia, by this July’s 159th anniversary of Liberia’s independence. U.S. lawmakers say this and other reconstruction hopes may be dashed without a commitment of substantial new U.S. reports with additional info by Dan Robinson.

U.S. First Lady Bush, Sec of State Rice in Liberia for inauguration of the first woman elected President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. America’s First lady Laura Bush witnessed history on Monday January 16, 2006 at the swearing-in of Liberia’s new leader, the first woman elected president in Africa who has pledged to restore peace after 14 years of civil strife in this nation founded by freed American slaves. On her second trip to Africa, Mrs. Bush is joining Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has called on women to help govern other African nations.

“I think it’s really important worldwide,” Mrs. Bush said about Sirleaf’s inauguration, which falls on the day Americans honor civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “I think it’s particularly important on the continent of Africa, because traditionally women have been excluded in many African cultures not all of them, but in many.” Full report by Deb Reichmann in Monrovia/AP here.

Related insight:
Liberia’s bloody mess and hopes of a battered nation. By Chido Nwangwu.
Liberia: Death by installment. By Chido Nwangwu, June 21, 1996.
Obasanjo and
Bush ‘monitored’ while Liberia was murdered.