Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is Keynote Speaker at National Conference

(A Press Release Issued by ALNC Steering Committee)


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 25, 2005

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Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Chairman of the Governance Reform Commission of Liberia, will serve as Keynote Speaker at the All Liberian National Conference slated for April 14 – 16, 2005. The Conference which will be deliberating on key issues of peace, reform and reconciliation will convene in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Area of Columbia, Maryland, at Kahler Hall, 5440 Old Tucker Row.

The Columbia conference is being organized by major Liberian organizations in Europe and the United States including the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, the European Federation of Liberian Associations, the Conference of Liberian Organizations in Southwestern United States, national county associations including Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Lofa, Bomi and Bong as well as UNIBOA which comprises citizens from Bassa, Margibi and Rivercess among other counties. The conference organizers also include national alumni associations, pro democratic organizations and professional bodies. Specifically, the Liberian associations in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands are also associated with this effort.
Mrs. Sirleaf, a Liberian female politician and international public servant will address the conference during the opening session on Friday, April 14, 2005 at 10:30 AM. she has a distinctive public service record both on the national and international scenes. On the national level, Mrs. Sirleaf served as Minister of Finance of Liberia. In the elections of 1985, Mrs. Sirleaf ran for a Senatorial seat on the ticket of the opposition Liberian Action Party for Monsterrado County and was declared winner. However, she declined to take her seat in protest over reported election irregularities. Mrs. Sirleaf also ran for President in 1997 on the ticket of Unity Party and finished second in that contest.
The goals of the Conference are to discuss national reconciliation, peace and reform. The Conference will serve as a stage for the formulation of national consensus from varying viewpoints, define the parameters of reform, obtain popular endorsement of the broad outlines of reform and enhance commitment of all Liberians to begin reform. It will provide an opportunity for stocktaking, reaffirming our sense of shared national identity, agreeing on minimal conditions for holding of free and fair elections in Liberia and establishing reform as defined by the conference participants. A follow up conference is expected to be held in Monrovia.

Mrs. Sirleaf will be sharing with her fellow countrymen and women her perspectives on reform in the various sectors of the Liberian government. Her speech is expected to set the tune for the conference and to galvanize healthy exchanges among the many delegates who will converge in Columbia.
In her international career service, Mrs. Sirleaf has served in various positions including the Vice President of Citibank, Senior Loan Officer for World Bank, Director of UN Development Programme Regional Bureau for Africa, amongst other reputable positions in global and regional financial institutions. The United Nations Special Envoy to Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Klein has also promised to address the opening session.
The three day conference has been formatted in ten categories based on the core issues for deliberations which were identified by the Program Committee and approved by the Steering Committee. The issues include Peace, National Reconciliation, the 2005 general elections, Political and Social Reform, Military and Security Reform, Economic Reform including taxation, Liberianization, investment Incentives , Health and Sanitation, Agriculture and the environment, Education and Infrastructural reforms. The Steering Committee has identified various presenters who will deliver papers at the plenary on various topics.

Following each presentation, delegates will go into focus groups to discuss the presentation. Several moderators and facilitators will lead discussions in those focus groups. The conference has already lined up distinguished citizens who will be making presentations. The names of presenters, moderators and facilitators will shortly be released.

Anticipation for the nation conference (the first of its kind in terms of nature and scope) is running very high in almost all quarters of the various Liberian communities and organizations across the United States and Europe. Already, the various Liberian Community organizations in the United States have begun preparations for the conference. Not being left behind is the buoyant Liberian community in Europe. Travel arrangements are already in the works for a large delegation representing Liberian Community Associations in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany to be in attendance and to present the Liberian-European perspective on the deliberations.

The three-day conference is expected to be attended by US officials, African diplomats, and representatives of international organizations as well as friends of Liberia. It will draw together Liberian community associations from several US states, the Liberian clergy, Liberian professionals, students studying in the United States and Liberian civil organizations that are actively engaged in seeking national reform in Liberia as well as observers. Each organization will be represented by five delegates no matter the size. There is no sitting fee but each delegate will be required to pay $ 10.00 for conference materials.

The All Liberian National Conference is being spearheaded by a National Steering Committee headed by Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh, former President of UNIBOA and the first female President of ULAA; Mr. John Brownell of the Liberian Association in the United Kingdom (LIBERIAN) is the Vice Chairman; Mr. Abraham G. Massaley, National President of the National Association of Cape Mountainians in the Americas is Secretary and Ms. Mary Broh, community activist, Treasurer.

Meanwhile, the conference hospitality committee has made hotel arrangements. Organizations and individuals attending the conference are free to contact the leadership of the Steering Committee for detailed information at Tuandea@aol.com, ALNConference@yahoo.com, ALNCscribe@yahoo.com or at (410) 532-9134/(215) 868-2822. Interested individuals and organizations may also visit the ALNC website at theALNC.org, ULAA.org and the various websites of national county associations as well other organizations associated with this effort. The conference Ways and Means Committee is also planning a social evening on Saturday, April 16, 2005 to climax the event. A catering service has been contracted to sell food at the conference at minimum cost. Other organizations that have not received invitations are encouraged to immediately contact the steering committee.

Abraham G. Massaley
Secretary, ALNC Steering Committee

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