By Jefferson D. Tweh
Former Minister of Education, Dr. D. Evelyn S. Kandakai on Tuesday told graduates of the United Methodist University (UMU) that Liberia must not lag in the educational sector of Africa.
Dr. Kandakai said Liberia is the oldest country in Africa and must continue the lead and should not be the tail but always be the head and embrace optimism and progress.
The former Minister who delivered the keynote address at the 10th Convocation graduation exercises of the UMU in Virginia, outside Monrovia, challenged the graduates to emulate the life style of the Liberian market women who have attached values to their business.
“One group of Liberian people I find to be very admirable and inspiring are Liberian market women. They have the spirit we as Liberians need. They are up and doing; they get us food 24/7. They have a bag around their waists that they keep money in, which I am told is called, “Kill Me First”. The challenge for you graduates and for us Liberians is for us to continue to add value to what these courageous market women do,” she added.
According to Dr. Kandakai, Liberia, as the oldest republic in Africa must continue to lead and that the country must not be left behind. She assured the graduates that Liberia was never meant to be the tail, but always to be ahead, and so, like Africa, Liberia must shed Afro-pessimism, Liberian style and embrace optimism and progress which our youthful population strongly suggest as a shift in our thinking.
The UMU keynote speaker cautioned the graduates to beware that Liberia is a country that is rich in terms of resources. “The question is, if we are so rich why is this not trickling down to everyone or why are we still going for poverty reduction?” she wondered. Dr. Kandakai warned Liberians to carefully study knowledge as a driver of our economy.
Dr. Kandakai called on the graduates to go out into the real world and say yes or say no at the risk of being repetitive, to several serious situations that they will encounter sooner or later, which are characteristics of the times they live in.
She further pleaded with them to say yes to anything that will raise the dignity of the human person as was revealed by someone who said; ‘Anytime someone has done something to raise the dignity of the human person; I have stood in solidarity with that person,” she stated.