Who Will Be the Next Culture Ambassador of Liberia?

My take and best suit for the Culture Ambassador post in the Boikai-Koung administration is none other than Professor Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba who celebrates his Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) this year as a Liberian Playwright, Theatre Director, and scholar/artist. He is the dynamic Founder and Executive Director of Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI). DATI also celebrates its 47th Anniversary this year, thus making it the oldest surviving collegiate theatre organization founded in 1977 at the University of Liberia.

Apart from putting Liberia on the cultural map of the world, DATI has trained and continues to mentor over a hundred young Liberian college graduates and current college students across Liberia in Peace Education, Liberian Culture and Traditions and the preservation and institutionalization of spoken and written traditional Liberian languages in our schools and in everyday life, to prevent Liberian culture from becoming extinct. DATI Peace Advocates are students or graduates of Tubman University in Maryland, and the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, A.M.E. Zion University, Stella Maris, and Methodist University, among many others.

My nominee is a seasoned educator and cultural researcher who has taught at various institutions of learning in Liberia, including, St. Patrick’s High School, A.M.E. Zion Academy, St. Teresa’s Convent, College of West Africa, Cuttington University, University of Liberia, and Principal of Zwedru Multilateral High School. He was trained in the areas of English Literature, Theatre (directing and acting), Special Education, and Educational Leadership, with focus on Afrocentric Curriculum Design and Textbook production. He has produced and directed numerous plays in Liberia and the United States, one of his groundbreaking productions being “Chains of Apartheid” that was staged in honor of several West African presidents, diplomats accredited near Monrovia and Freetown, respectively.

Dr. Joseph T. Gbaba is a son of Grand Gedeh County and descendant of the Royal Household of the Nien Dynasty. He is one of the Chief Custodians of Liberian culture and traditions in the Republic of Liberia. Currently, he has mobilized some patriotic citizens to support his concept to construct the first school of the performing and visual arts and center for peace and cultural studies in Liberia, to preserve, promote, and institutionalize Liberian culture and foster research and cultural exchange programs and tourism in Liberia.

At this juncture of our history, and with Liberian culture at the brink of extinction, I can think of no one better than Rabbi Gbaba to lead us in the national endeavor to rescue Liberia’s dying culture from extinction. Indeed, the Boikai-Koung administration will be doing the Liberian people, yea, the youths of Liberia a great favor is we have Rabbi Gbaba as Culture Ambassador of Liberia. It would also indicate from the onset the Boikai-Koung administration believe in the MERITOUS System!

Jackson Wleh Williams, Jr.

DATI Peace Advocate, DATI, Maryland Gbenelue Chapter

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