Ambassador Wallace Hails Deployment of 20 ECOWAS Volunteers to Liberia

Amb. George W. Wallace make a special remarks on behalf of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Liberia, during the program
Amb. George W. Wallace make a special remarks on behalf of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Liberia, during the program
Photo Credit: Public Affairs

Renowned Liberian Diplomat and Advisor to the President on Foreign Affairs, H. E. Ambassador George W. Wallace, Jnr., has hailed the deployment of 20 ECOWAS volunteers from four countries to Liberia to share knowledge and expertise with their Liberian counterparts as a show of African solidarity and fraternity.


Ambassador Wallace told the gathering that Liberians will forever remain proud and grateful to the volunteers and to their various governments.


The Advisor on Foreign Affairs to the President also noted that the transfer of knowledge and other policies that enhance regional integration have always been placed at the heart of Liberia’s foreign policy,which supports South–South Dialogue. This Dialogue is aimed at promoting social-economic development and regional cooperation.


According to a Foreign Ministry release, Ambassador Wallace, who is also currently serving as the Officer-in-Charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remarks Monday, February 19, when delivered the keynote address at the Induction Training of ECOWAS Volunteers. The occasion was held in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Foreign Ministry.


Representing Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, who is currently out of the country on official matter, Ambassador Wallace said he was extremely delighted to welcome the newly deployed ECOWAS volunteers to Liberia, on behalf of H.E. Mr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of the Republic of Liberia; adding, “I hasten to tell you that Liberia is a place of peace, hospitality and friendship.”


He further asserted that as Liberia goes through the process of post-conflict reconstruction, the ECOWAS Volunteers Program will enhance Liberia’s development agenda, noting that the coming of the volunteers is timely as the country strives to address its postwar challenges.


He also stated that Liberia has had a long experience with volunteers, dating back to the early 1960s when President John F. Kennedy of the United States dispatched the US Peace Corps Volunteers to teach in schools across Liberia.


The Peace Corps volunteers took assignments in various technical areas, including agriculture extension, conservation, and health among others.


He further recalled that the last group of Nigerian professors seconded to the Ibrahim Badamasi Badangida Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Liberia endured some horrible experiences and left from Liberia on the strokes of the fall of Monrovia in 1990 during the Liberian civil war.


He indicated that under the technical agreement between Liberia and Nigeria, Liberia was able to receive Nigerian teachers and doctors, who rendered volunteer services in the country after the cessation of hostilities in Liberia.


“We are pleased to welcome the second deployment of 20 ECOWAS volunteers from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana and Sierra Leone,who arrived in Liberia, since Saturday, February 10, to serve their brothers and sisters in promoting ECOWAS’ vision: moving ECOWAS from boundaries to ECOWAS peoples.


President Weah’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs also used the occasion to thank the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H. E. Mr. Marcel A. de Souza, for including Liberia into the pilot project and called on him to extend the program across the length and breadth of the sub-region so as to enable West Africans benefit from this laudable initiative.


He expressed hope that with the concerted efforts and determinations, the regional body will achieve its noble goals of chalking boundaries and lifting people in the ECOWAS region; adding, “Liberian is committed to the achievement of this vision.”


Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Francis Njoaguani, Director of ECOWAS Youth and Sport Development Center, expressed delight over the occasion and on behalf of the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS, officially welcomed the new volunteers at the ceremony.


Mr. Njoaguani emphasized that the workshop marking the induction training of the volunteers was the second of its kind for Liberia to receive a group of young, patriotic, enthusiastic and energetic West Africans, who passionately volunteered to come and render services to their fellow West African brothers and sisters in Liberia.


Mr. Njoaguani further added that the program successfully completed its first phase in three pilot countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2015.


“We are pleased to commence a new cycle with a renewed energy and drive. I must commend the ECOWAS Commission through the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development and their key technical partners, including the United Nations Volunteers for their essential roles in empowering young people in the sub-region, as well as for the sustainability of ECOWAS Youth Volunteer Programs.


“It my pleasure to welcome these young and enthusiastic volunteers from ECOWAS member states including Nigeria Benin, Ghana and Sierra Leone for a year or more selfless services to Liberia,” he noted.


The Director of ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Center then stressed that the role of volunteers in the region cannot be over emphasized, and that the commitments of volunteers to dedicate and continue to risk their lives for the sustenance of peace and development in countries other than their own, must not be taken for granted.


According to him, the services that they are offering to the sub-region are invaluable contributions to our common humanity, adding, “Once the life of a single individual is touched, a changed energy is being released.”


While describing the volunteers as agents of positive change, the Director stressed “for an agent of changed to be effective, he or she must seek new knowledge and continuously be able to synchronize their own background experiences.”


The ECOWAS Youth and Sports Director then thanked the Government and People of Liberia, for availing all necessary supports and assistance for the second cycle of the ECOWAS Volunteers as they carry out their mandate.


Mr. Njoaguani reassured the volunteers of ECOWAS’ unflinching support toward their stay in Liberia.


The colorful ceremony was graced by Ghanaian Ambassador, Representatives of AU and ECOWAS offices in Liberia as well as the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps in Liberia and various line ministries and agencies.


Through the Ecowas Volunteer Program, the Ecowas Commission aims to facilitate the engagement and participation of its young citizens in peace and development initiatives through volunteerism.