The Spoken Word at the UNIBOA-PA Reunion
By Ray Martin Toe
January 9, 2003
Dr. Samuel Beh, an accomplished school teacher who served as guest speaker of the occasion, read a rather lengthy remark in which he spoke on ethnic diversity in Liberia.
He said the Liberian nation is a mosaic, a tapestry of ethnic enclaves in which each ethnic group has an equal responsibility to contribute a quota to the development of the country.
Dr. Beh said, prior to the chaotic 80's and 90's, ethnic groups in Liberia lived in harmony as sought by past political leaders like Tubman, adding ''each group respected the rights and traditions of the other"
But ethnic harmony has ever since been eroded in Liberia, he observed, - making it a lost heritage. To reclaim such heritage and ultimately achieve national development, Liberian organizations such as UNIBOA should cultivate unity and foster cooperation with other ethnic organizations, the learned Liberian suggested.
Founded in 1999 to bring relief to needy Bassa people in war-torn Liberia, the United Bassa Organization in the Americas (UNIBOA) seeks to unite all members of the Bassa ethnic group residing in the United States - irrespective of which county they belong to.
In his inaugural remark Mr. Scott Mandeh, the new head of UNIBOA-PA, lamented the breakdown of education in Liberia. He made specific reference to the low morale of Liberian schools in which, according to him, out-dated textbooks and other instructional materials are used.
He therefore called on other non-governmental Liberian organizations to put the issue of education on the front burner. Mr. Mandeh said: "The chronic illiteracy rate in our country has reached an alarming proportion - 85%" - further estimating that a far greater number of his Bassa kinsmen are illiterate.
Mr. Mandeh said, in addition to distributing textbooks and requisite educational materials to schools in Bassa communities in Liberia, his administration would initiate a scholarship program to help further train teacher assistants who work at the University of Liberia.