AU Permanent Representative to the U.S. Lauds KPRI & DATI Peace Efforts in Liberia and Abroad, As DATI Writes

Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D., Chairman – Kukatonon Peace and Reconciliation Initiative

Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao

African Union Permanent Representative to the United States of America

1640 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20007

Your Excellency:

We have the honor to present our compliments and to introduce to your Excellency a group of Eminent Liberian Statesmen and Stateswomen of the KPRI with current headquarters in the United States of America.

We had the distinguished pleasure to watch your YouTube video message to all Africans in the diaspora and we were deeply touched by the resounding message you delivered. We are also very pleased to introduce ourselves and to acquaint you with our mission and vision for a new Liberia where all Liberians and Africans within our territorial confines can live together in peace and harmony as compatriots and as African brothers and sisters.

The third reason for contacting you is because we would like to collaborate with the African Union Mission in the United States; to inform the world about our plight as a nation and people and to request your assistance in helping us identify resources that will empower us to implement our peacebuilding goals and objectives in Liberia.

Who We Are and What We Represent

The word “Kukatonon” is an expression from the Kpelle language of Liberia. It means, “We are one”. Thus, the Kukatonon Peace and Reconciliation Initiative (KPRI) is a newly formed Liberian nonprofit humanitarian and cultural-based organization devoted to promoting peace and reconciliation among all Liberians at home and in the diaspora through the performing and visual arts, advocacy, literacy, and the provision of educational, health, and social services.

The overarching goal of the Kukatonon Peace and Reconciliation Initiative is inter alia, to provide a forum in which Liberians of diverse opinions may have an opportunity to freely exchange views on ways to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation in Liberia. The KPRI goal will be implemented through dialogue, advocacy, counselling, mediation, peace education and reconciliation workshops, through the performing and visual arts, through the reconceptualization of the national curriculum to instill in each Liberian pupil a true spirit of patriotism and national consciousness; and to ensure the safety, well-being, and permanency of Liberians as well as Africans from all spheres of the globe that live in Liberia.

Our organization comprises of about one hundred distinguished Liberian citizens, students and professionals specialized in various disciplines. Some KPRI members reside in Liberia, and others are here in the United States and Europe. The elected officers of KPRI are: Statesman Dr. Joseph T. Gbaba, Sr., (Chairman), Stateswoman Esther K Richards, (Vice Chair), Statesman Edward Carter (Secretary General), Stateswoman Cedia Okon (Interim Treasurer), Statesman Wisseh Geegbae (Chaplain), and Statesman Dr. Lincoln Sie Brownell, Chair of the Advisory Council.

 The KPRI Theoretical Framework and How It Drives Our Mission

The KPRI mandate or mission is driven by the Kukatonon Theoretical Framework. This framework is based on Dr. Gbaba’s doctoral dissertation and Chiandeh qualitative research study conducted at St. Joseph’s University in 2009. Dr. Gbaba’s research study is entitled, “The Chiandeh Curriculum and Textbook Experience: Exploring Children’s Responses to an Afrocentric Curriculum”. The word “Chiandeh” means “Learn something” in the Kru, Krahn, Bassa, and Grebo languages of Liberia.

The Chiandeh study uses various learning theories like constructivism, equity pedagogy, and multiculturalism, as tools to help children of color, from ages eight to thirteen to develop affinity for their Black cultural heritage through reading, writing, dialogue, drama, poetry, etc. It provides various forms of writing, such as prose, poems, short stories, and dramas that depict African cultural beliefs and practices. This is a means of producing Afrocentric literature that may be used in schools around the world to inculcate African-centered materials in mainstream curriculums to benefit children of color and to promote cultural diversity in places around the world where African culture and pupils are in the minority or are marginalized.

Accordingly, the Kukatonon Theoretical Framework beseeches all Liberians and Africans to acquire self-knowledge, to learn about their history and culture and to espouse the philosophy of Pan Africanism. Consequently, we will use the same teaching and learning theories and methods to coordinate and make the peacebuilding process in post genocide Liberian society culturally relevant and unique to the Liberian experience. Based on this perspective, the KPRI Theoretical Framework seeks to center Liberians and Africans in their own history and culture and to better equip Liberians and Africans to address issues relating to national identity and promotion of our African cultural heritage.

The KPRI Theoretical Framework encourages Liberians to develop quality relations among Africans/Liberians on the continent of Africa and those in the diaspora. It urges Liberians and Africans to be forerunners of their own destiny—to organize, plan, and act in the interest of a free and vibrant Liberia and Africa. The framework urges Liberians and Africans to appreciate their own cultural and historical values, as well as their natural, mineral, and human resources for the advancement of Liberia and Africa, respectively.

Further, the goal of the KPRI is to ensure that all Liberians are respected and equally protected under the law and to encourage all Liberians to be law-abiding so that they may coexist cordially as compatriots with shared national goals and objectives in the pursuit of their individual and collective happiness.

Against this backdrop, KPRI members have committed themselves to the sustenance of the fragile peace in Liberia now that the international peacekeeping force and mission has been withdrawn. Also, our aim is to organize a National Peace and Reconciliation and Cultural Awareness Conference in the United States and subsequently in Liberia sometime this year or early 2020 at a date and venue to be announced, so that Liberians may have closure to their national loss and grief and to de-traumatize victims and survivors of the Liberian Genocide.

Some of the services we would like to provide as a nonprofit include the following:

  • Provide war trauma counseling services to post genocide Liberian citizens worldwide;
  • Provision of Rehabilitation services for former combatants and child soldiers and survivors of the Liberian Genocide;
  • Promote gender equity and women empowerment programs to empower Liberian females and Liberian youth acquire skills to enable them to earn honest livelihoods and reintegrate successfully into mainstream Liberian society;
  • Launch an effective national peace and reconciliation campaign throughout Liberia using the performing and visual arts in collaboration with local Liberian artists to promote peace, reconciliation and national unity;
  • Actively engage Liberian youth in peacebuilding activities and provide them scholarships and appropriate teaching and learning opportunities to advance themselves and prepare them as future leaders of Liberia;
  • Promote mass literacy, peace and civic education programs for Liberian citizens in the hinterland to help them learn about their basic human rights and freedoms;
  • Promote voter’s education to create awareness among Liberian voters and to help them make informed decisions in the exercise of their franchise;
  • Promote rule of law and transitional justice in Liberia to ensure perpetrators of genocidal and economic crimes face the consequences of their actions.

In view of the foregoing, we would like to arrange an audience with you at your earliest convenience to hold discussions with you and your staff to explore means to collaborate with you.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the sentiments of our highest esteem and assurance as we strive to create a safe and wholesome environment for all peoples of the world.

Very truly yours,

Signed: ______________________________________

Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.

Chairman

Kukatonon Peace and Reconciliation Initiative

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About Cholo Brooks 11032 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.