U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Christine Elder, has been sharing with graduates of Liberia’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) ways which, she said, have helped make her professional life successful.
She told the 29 graduates that wherever their paths may take them going forward to whatever positions they might occupy representing Liberia in anyway, she thinks that four principles that have guarded her in her professional career as a seasoned diplomat can also work for them.
She urged them to adapt well to working with those who have very different personalities from their own; pack their ego at the front door of public service as it’s no longer about you, rather it’s about your country; and encouraged the graduates not to fear change in spite of the fundamentals of diplomacy, in many ways being constant.
Elder also urged the graduates to stay focused to make the most of whatever opportunity, primarily always be willing to learn new things.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Ambassador Elder was speaking at the graduation exercises of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute (FSI) where 29 emerging diplomats completed a nine-month intensive training in diplomacy and international relations.
They were awarded post-graduate diplomas last Friday, January 20. The Institute also used the occasion to observe its 65th anniversary.
Ambassador Elder narrated that in the 27 years of her diplomatic career, some of her most satisfying days have been working behind the curtains with representatives of other nations to push the agenda of her nation.
She told the emerging Liberian diplomats that the technologies which are now relied upon daily to make work easier were not available when she joined the foreign service in the 1980s.
She, however, stressed that despite the advancement in technology, the fundamentals in diplomacy remain the same, adding, “We diplomats communicate and this has not changed. We all interpret our countries’ policies to our host governments and explain the views of the countries in which we are accredited back to our governments; this communication process remains the same.”
Ambassador Elder told the graduates that all of the distinguished guests in the hall had not only come to celebrate and acknowledge the graduates’ accomplishments but to underscore their understanding of professional development.
“I think we all understand if we went about our lives and careers with the greater degree of skills we have acquired, the world would be a better place,” she said.
For her part, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, who is the valedictorian, extended her deepest gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Foreign Minister Kamara, and the diplomatic and consular corps near Monrovia for their making their nine-month training worthwhile.
She said their nine-month journey together was a worthwhile one as it allowed them on the one hand to glean the wisdom and knowledge required for the awesome responsibility of representation of their beloved nation and on the other hand to understand the patriotic service to God and country is the highest calling to which they should all strive to achieve.
She hoped that very soon a building will he constructed and dedicated to house the FSI.