Members of the Liberia-Australia Alumni Association (LAAA) inaugurated into various offices a new breed of bureaucrats to advance growth and development of the organization on Sunday, May 29, 2016.
Those installed into offices Sunday include: Miss. Vera G. Mussah, President; Mrs. Neima Candy, Vice President; Mr. Jenkins Flawhor, Secretary General; Madam LasanaKromah, Financial Secretary; Mr. D. Anthony Wesseh, Financial Officer; Mrs. TetaLocolnZennah, Treasurer and Madam Samretta Carr Caldwell, the Ambassador.
The inaugural ceremony which was organized at the Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia brought together over 25 members of the institution – some of whom are current top government officials – while others are professionals working in cardinal divisions of Liberia’s work sector.
Giving a brief history of LAAA, Ms. HawaWanita Page said the idea of forming the organization was conceived in July 2011 following successful completion of a short-term course in Australia by Jenkins S. Flahwor, the institution’s Vice President, consistent with calls from a team of AusAID officials who attended the closing program of awardees, emphasizing the need for such in-country establishment.
She said immediately upon his return, Jenkins singlehandedly initiated works that brought about the formation of the LAAA.
Proxy on behalf of the program keynote speaker,Mr. George Werner,Minister of Education, Mr. Elias B. Shoniyin, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on LAAA members to be good leaders.
Deputy Minister Shoniyin said a good leader should be an enabler, not a boss to the group whose primary objective is to gather wealth for himself or herself at the expense of the organization.
According to him, to be a good leader, one must be a good follower.
“This is because a good follower has also served his boss significantly and he/she is much educated and knows how to lead others … Liberia needs leaders that will put themselves last. Selfless and willing and able to method others,” Deputy Minister Shoniyin asserted.
As member of the LAAA also, Deputy MinisterShoniyinurged that he hopes the new leadership will possess the characteristics of good leadership in order to advance the organization’s goals.He installed the newly elected officers into office further assured the association of his fullest support, as long as members will continue to do the right thing.
Delivering her inaugural address, Miss. Vera G. Mussah assured members that the new leadership will exercise a spirit of ones to reinvigorate the association.
“We will work with the existing work plan and if needed, modify the plan, based on consensus from all alumni,” she noted.
As part of reforms the leadership will undertake, Miss. Mussah said they will help ensure the continuation of Liberians participating in the Australian Government’s scholarship program which has notably discontinued.
“Today, if you visit the Australian Awards website, you will discover that 2017 applications will be opened for 11 African countries, with only Ghana and Nigeria chosen to participate. We think that this is to our disadvantage and, as an elected government, we will strive, through this network to engage the appropriate Australian authority with support from the Liberian government to reintroduce the scholarship scheme in Liberia,” she emphasized.
Among other things, Miss. Mussah noted that one of the key challenges the organization has experienced overtime is the rightful placement of alumni to utilize their skills in relevant institutions upon return to Liberia.
“As we continue to use this platform to lobby for long term developmental assistance from the Australia through the Liberian government, we will ensure that alumni are given opportunities to be assigned to appropriate workplace to drive change,” she intoned.
According to her, there are many Liberians who study in Australia currently contributing immensely to the growth and development of Liberia.
“As a part of our engagement to solidify our quest, we will constitute a body to revisit the memorandum of understanding signed between the Australian and the Liberian governments,” Miss. Mussah pledged.
According to the program organizers, the aim of the association is to engage in a lawful manner and activities that will create inspiration for Liberians aspiring for excellence in education in Australia. The leadership is the first democratically elected management team. The LAAA was led by an interim leadership headed by Mr. Eric FilorNagbe. Mr. Nagbe had earlier challenged the new leadership to ensure the organization improves rather than digress.