200th Anniversary of Naming of Liberia Celebrated with Liberia National Day in the State of Qatar

Doha, Qatar – February 23, 2024 – On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, history came alive as the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia to the State of Qatar and Unchain Africa, led by Hesta Baker, hosted the Liberia National Day in Doha, Qatar, marking the 200th anniversary of the naming of Liberia and its capital, Monrovia.

In a tribute to the monumental decision made on February 20, 1824, in Washington DC, USA, the American Colonization Society, under the chairmanship of Bushrod Washington, decided to name the new colony on the western coast of Africa “Liberia” upon the proposal of American General Robert Goodloe Harper. This momentous occasion, which occurred during the Society’s 7th annual meeting, also saw the naming of Monrovia, in honor of the 5th President of the USA, James Monroe.

The Liberia National Day celebration commenced with the dignified raising of both the Qatar and Liberia flags, accompanied by the stirring strains of the Liberian National Anthem. This event, part of the Doha Expo 2023-24 festivities, was graced by the presence of His Excellency Bader bin Omar Al Dafa, Commissioner General of Expo 2023 Doha, along with ambassadors, commissioners, and representatives from over forty countries.

Hesta Baker, the Commissioner General for Liberia and the driving force behind the event, emphasized its historical significance, stating, “We wanted to focus on an event that would pay homage to the naming of Liberia; therefore the day was centered around our history, with a strong highlight on opportunities in Liberia’s tourism and agriculture.”

The ceremony, held at the magnificent Expo House National Stage, featured speeches by notable figures, including His Excellency Ali Sylla, who underscored the importance of the occasion. He remarked, “We selected February 21st as Liberia National Day to commemorate the bicentennial of the name Liberia, given on February 20th, 1824. Coined from the Latin word ‘Liber’ meaning free, on July 26, 1847, Liberia became the second independent black republic in the world, only after Haiti.”

Sylla also extended an invitation to the State of Qatar to collaborate with Liberia in agriculture, particularly in the cultivation of Coffee Liberica, which derives its name from Liberia.

Expo 2023 Doha Commissioner General HE Bader bin Omar Al Dafa in his address thanked Liberia for its participation in the Expo and spoke of the relationship and potential between Liberia and Qatar for trade and investments.  Qatar in 2024 is rated the fourth (4th) richest country in the worlds by GDP.

Dr. Clarice Ford-Kulah emotional live theatre production featured her in a solo performance to the old negro spiritual “Oh Freedom” with a musical interlude by Liberian iconic musician Peter Cole and a high powered cultural performance by the School of Liberia Art and Dance.

A tour of the Liberia Pavilion was led by Baker and HE Ali Sylla with Liberica sampling from Briscoe Coffee and other treats. An elaborate lunch followed at the Expo House including some of Liberia’s staples, such as fufu and soup.

The Liberia National Day celebration forms an integral part of Liberia’s participation at the Doha Expo 2023, an International horticultural expo hosted by the State of Qatar. Expo 2023 Doha promises to offer unique, interactive, and immersive experiences to visitors at Al Bidda Park until March 28th, 2024.

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