Former Indian Honorary Consul General to Liberia Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva has challenged graduates of the Booker Washington Institution in Margibi County to take risks and face the challenges to combat against poverty and other ills and vices in Liberia and other parts of the world.
By Obediah Johnson
Mr. Sachdeva, who is commonly known as “Jeety” in Liberia is a former member of the BWI Board of Governors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Jeety Rubber Liberia Limited Corporation under construction in Weala, Margibi County.
He observed that the world is facing several challenges that require the attention of the graduates.
He named some of those challenges as climate change, inequality, poverty, and conflict are just some of the challenges that you will face.”
Mr. SAchdeva made the call when he served as Keynote Speaker at the 71st Graduation and Convocation exercise of the BWI on Saturday,
Mr. Sachdeva maintained that these challenges are complex, and they require collaborative efforts from people across all walks of life to overcome them.
He challenged the graduates to use the skills and knowledge they have acquired and have been equipped with as tools to navigate and address these challenges successfully.
“You have a responsibility to be part of the solution. You have a responsibility to use your education, skills, and knowledge to make the world a better place. As you embark on your journey, remember that you are not alone. You are part of a community of graduates who have the potential to shape the future.”
“So I want you to take risks, dream big, and believe in yourself. You have the potential to achieve great things, and the world needs you. Do not forget to seize every opportunity that comes your way, as technological advancements have made the world a global village, where boundaries and distances have become almost insignificant.”
Speaking on the theme “Your ideal is Imperatives for Shared Prosperity of Liberia’s future,” Mr. Sachdeva encouraged them not to be afraid to face challenges.
He said they should embrace it and learn from their failures.
“You have the power to effect change. Never say to yourself ” I’m afraid to fail.” Those who face challenges, learn to innovate and stay afloat. This is the secret of successful people.”
Quoting a famous scientist Thomas Edison, he stated that giving up should not be an option for Liberians and they should never be afraid of making mistakes.
“It is only people who never try that give up. If you look at the history of developed societies today, you will realize that it is the people and their struggles that grow the countries that are now called the first world.”
Mr. Sachdeva observed that these countries, at one point in time, were up against formidable odds, but their people took on the challenge and turned them into opportunities by coming up with solutions to fight the odds and develop their societies.
“This brings me to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960s quotation, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
“So, like JFK, let me challenge you graduates to ask not what Liberia can do for you at this time, but how you, with your education, can help Liberia rise and meet its development goals and objectives.”
Have clear vision
Mr. Sachdeva said though risk-taking is necessary, citizens, especially the graduates should have a clear vision of what they want to achieve.
He indicated that having a clear vision is a significant step towards success.
“Failures will come along the way but do not be frightened. To live, you must continually reinvent yourself, or else you will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.”
Work harder and smarter
Speaking further, Mr. Sachdeva observed that Liberia has just seven more years to accomplish its goal of becoming a middle-income country, according to the country’s vision 2030 plan.
He, however, noted that the post-conflict nation still has a long way off, but chances would be actualized if Liberians, including the graduates work harder and smarter.
He expressed optimism that with exciting new talents like the graduates, the vision 2030 goal is within reach, but for just reality to come to the past, the graduates have to recognize that Liberia depends on them and therefore, “the future is yours to shape — with the force of your will – and your intellect, I am certain of a better future for Liberia.”
“You can make a difference. This I know for sure. You are capable. And I cannot think of a better place to look for such people than right here at BWI, which was founded nearly 95 years ago to be a training ground not only for individual success but for skills that can change Liberia. This vision regardless of the time still endures.”
“And considering the skills that you have which are in high demand, I asked you to organize yourself into businesses, each person bringing a different piece of their knowledge to solve the myriad of problems besetting Liberia.
Whatever the ideal is, the advancement of technological development presents numerous opportunities for success. If you are frightened of failure, then you will not try anything that would lead to change.”
As a successful Indian businessman in Liberia, Mr. Sachdeva further challenged he graduates to go out and try working together to establish a business as a team that can solve the myriad of problems besetting Liberia.
He stressed that if citizens allow themselves to be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown, they would be failing Liberia.
But when they rise to the challenge, he added that they can drive change.
Mr. Sachdeva maintained that the opportunities and means at the disposal of the current generation are far greater than they were five decades ago.
“If we look into your surroundings, there are enormous examples of Liberians who muster the odds and are now contributing positively to the socio-economy growth of Liberia. You can do the same. So, I implore you to do the same. “
He stressed that Liberians should develop that resolve and start with just an idea, it could grow into something big.
Considering this perspective, he maintained that, citizens will discover their respective positions to contribute towards the betterment of Liberia — recreating it in their own image.
Mr. Sachdeva said citizens should strive to make Liberia they envision a reality.
Employment and Internship opportunities
He, however, used the occasion to announce 20 annual internship opportunities for students studying automotive, mechanical and electrical engineering.
He said the opportunity is reserved for the top 20 and it will be available when the Jeety Rubber Factory starts full operations in a few months.
“This commitment is being made considering that when the factory is open, I will depend a lot on the local workforce, particularly those with technical knowledge.”
Mr. Sachdeva pointed out that his gesture is intended to ensure that students studying at a tertiary level develop practical experience in their chosen field of studies.
“I am also announcing 25 cadet employment slots for BWI graduates with automotive, mechanical and electrical engineering knowledge. This opportunity is a path to full employment and it is my hope that the beneficiaries will perform well. Again, the slot is for the best of the best and I look forward to the BWI administration for the names.”
He disclosed that presently, the installation of the factory equipment is ongoing; therefore, he needs foreign expatiates to train the locals on how to operate these machines.
“It is in this regard that I am partnering with BWI to create industry-ready talents through internships and cadet employment opportunities.”
Mr. Sachdeva stressed that this is important to develop relevant workplace skills and knowledge for these young Liberians as well as to provide them with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world work situations; while serving as a stepping stone to the job market for the prospective beneficiary as the world is changing at an incredible pace.
He added that it is also about creating a higher-skilled workforce for immediate employment opportunities anywhere in the world.
Established by Liberia’s 17th President Charles D. B. King, he described BWI as a school of great purpose that continue to train young middle-level technicians to contribute to Liberia’s construction and industrial undertakings.
“And as we celebrate the resilience of BWI through the ages, I would like to respectfully extend my sincere congratulations to all the congratulations here today for their remarkable achievements.”
He said the day remains an immense pride, not just for the graduates, but also for families and loved ones, who have supported and encouraged them throughout their academic journey.
As you move forward, he called on the BWI graduates to remember the value of their education and the impact that they can make in the world.
“I like to once again congratulate the graduating class for a job well done. You persevered and it has paid off. You have worked hard, and you have earned this recognition. As you move forward, remember the value of your education and the impact that you can make in the world. You are the future of our workforce, and I do not doubt that you will make us proud. As you revel in your accomplishments, be sure to give your families and significant others a big thank-you hug for all of the times that they were there to support you as well.”
He urged them to be curious, ask a lot of big questions and try to find the answers.
“You have the knowledge at your fingertips, so explore it now and make Liberia a better place. While you are at it, be sure to thank your professors for all they did to assist you.”