Liberia: ‘Be Humble;’ Cummings Tells Young Liberians, Speaks to Them on Leadership and Management

Alternative National Congress (ANC) Political Leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings (left) and James Kiawoin, Smart Liberia Co-founder

Monrovia – The Political Leader of the opposition political party, Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, is urging young and older Liberians to be humble, which he said is a very respectable characteristic of good leaders.

Mr. Cummings’ Tuesday, July 23rd evening lecture to a group of young Liberians was a part of lecture series for the formal launching of Smart Liberia’s programs and office space. Smart’s office space, situated between Saye and Jallah towns, is known as “Change Makers’ Village.”

Speaking to these young, enterprising Liberians, who had gathered in the hall of inarguably Liberia’s first social innovation hub, Mr. Cummings among many things spoke about the traits of good leaders, managers and about making good life choices.

The ANC Political Leader urged the young people to get involved with politics; adding: “Most of the big choices in life are shaped by political actors. If you will want to change them, you will have to run for office.”

Mr. Cummings, who served for more than 18 years at Coca-Cola before retiring in March 2016 as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, further told the young people that there is not a single policy solution to end national problems and there are multiple interventions that can be staged to effectuate changes at different times.

Mr. Alexander B. Cummings sandwiched by the young Liberians he had just spoken with

The head and founder of the Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF), who become President of Coca-Cola’s Africa Group in 2001 and led the Coca-Cola to a period of strong growth in the franchise’s Africa business, further urged those young Liberians to remain focused and do positive things that will make their lives and country better.

Buttressing what Mr. Cummings had lectured them on, James Earl Kiawoin, Co-founder of Smart Liberia, which operates the Change Makers’ Village, told FrontPageAfrica that among the things that stuck with him from the lecture were the parts about getting involved in and with politics, including doing poll watching and being political advisers, and being humble.

“I just graduated with a degree in Public Policy and one of the big ideas we learned was that there are big policy solutions to end problems. But Alex Cummings was saying we should be humble because there are no big policy solutions to end problems.”

According to him, he finds Mr. Cummings’ statement humbling because politicians are not normally humble so to hear this coming from a politician, he found it humbling.

Another participant, Ms. Shari Raji, Program Manager, Employment Accelerator, also stressed being active politically because one’s ability to make choices is imparted by the people in power who will make choices for one to make choices.

James Earl Kiawoin and Shari Raji of Smart Liberia

Ms. Raji also remembers that Mr. Cummings had reminded them to set goals and have practical ways to achieving them that way the ‘universe works towards making it happens.’

Touching on what they hope to achieve at Smart Liberia taking into account the many challenges Liberia is faced with at the moment, she stated that they hope to create a generation of young Liberians who can impact change.

“We realize that we can stay and create change to some of the problems, but if we don’t empower people that can help create more solutions, we are just going to be able to make very little impact. So, here we aspire plus empower to make impact,” she pointed out.

The ‘Change makers’ village’ is Liberia’s first social innovation hub that brings together the best and brightest and equips them with skills, networks, and opportunities to lift Liberia into a prosperous future.

The Village focuses on college access, employment readiness, technology, business creation, and leadership development.