A Beacon of Hope – Landmark Contribution from Liberian Alumni
On 8 February, the World Maritime University Alumni Association of Liberia (WMUAAL) presented a donation to the WMU Endowment Fund. The virtual event was hosted in cooperation between WMUAAL and the Swedish Embassy in Monrovia and brought together the majority of Liberian graduates.
WMUAAL provided the donation in appreciation of the quality of education that WMU has imparted to Liberians and many developing countries. Welcome remarks were delivered by the President of WMUAAL, Mr Mohamed Calico Lavalie (Class of 2012) who said, “We appreciate WMU because of the road we’ve traveled and the progressive path we continue to navigate. Among other things, it has given us excellent maritime education thus developing our skills in enhancing nation building.” Mr. Lavalie encouraged the Government of Liberia to continue to sponsor and recruit WMU students and graduates. He cited areas that can benefit from WMUAAL professionals, including the National Port Authority and the Ministry of Transport, to which WMU graduates would be a valuable resource.
“Mr. Lavalie encouraged the Government of Liberia to continue to sponsor and recruit WMU students and graduates. He cited areas that can benefit from WMUAAL professionals, including the National Port Authority and the Ministry of Transport, to which WMU graduates would be a valuable resource”
The contribution in the sum of 4,000 USD was presented by Mr Lawrence Barchue (Class of 1991), Assistant Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. He stated that the WMUAAL hopes the gift will serve as a catalyst for WMU graduates around the world to rise to the challenge and give back to WMU. “The great academic institutions did not start off great, nor did they have the financial resources to immediately invest in the state of the art facilities and programmes that have delivered and sustained academic excellence and freedom. It took a lot of effort and commitment by a large number of individuals, corporations, organizations and governments to achieve and sustain these goals. Amongst the lead drivers and collaborators for these achievements were the alumni of these institutions. WMU and its alumni should, therefore, be no different,” said Mr Barchue.
Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, expressed her deep appreciation to WMUAAL, noting that this is a landmark gift as the first contribution from a WMU Alumni Association to the University’s Endowment Fund. She said, “I am truly honored, and so pleased for this initiative you have taken. It is a ground-breaking contribution, especially at a time when all of our lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. It is a beacon of hope, and a challenge that you have now raised to other WMU alumni associations around the world, to match your generosity.”
HE Madam Ingrid Wetterqvist, Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, stated that the Embassy was honoured to host the event. She noted that WMU graduates are working in diverse areas in Liberian society and that their contribution to Liberia’s post-war development is highly commendable. She said, “Capacity building is a key component of Sweden’s work in Liberia as a contribution to peace and state-building. We see education and capacity development at the World Maritime University in Sweden as a key part of this. We are grateful to WMUAAL for their contribution to the WMU Endowment Fund. It is a bold, and proactive step. Continue to inspire others, and continue to lead the way.”
The first Liberians graduated from WMU in 1985, and the latest in 2020. To date, there are a total of 51 WMU alumni from Liberia. The graduates have played a significant role in the Liberian maritime and ocean affairs sector. Notably, alumni have held government positions, particularly the Liberia Maritime Authority, Ministry of National Defense, The Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As new areas emerge under the sector, alumni are occupying critical positions in the nation’s Coast Guard as well as in the Fisheries Authority among others.