(CNN) – Gwendolyn Myers, founder of Liberia’s Messengers of Peace civil society organization, and Jefferson Koijee, youngest-ever mayor of Monrovia, were born after the outbreak of war in their country 28 years ago. Like most of Liberia’s young people, who make up the majority of the country’s population, they have known only war or post-conflict recovery.
But both harbor a strong desire to be at the helm of transforming their country and shaping a prosperous future for its citizens.
I visited Liberia last week to celebrate a new era in the nation’s history, ushered in by successful elections and by the end of a 15-year United Nations peacekeeping mission, United Nations Mission in Liberia, or UNMIL. I was deeply moved, both as a senior official of the United Nations and as a daughter of West Africa, to be told by youth activists, women leaders, civil society representatives, members of government and the new President himself that a grateful nation will never forget UNMIL’s contribution to peace.