Liberia: President Weah Acknowledges Challenges in Meeting With US Asst. Secretary of State for Education
Monrovia – Liberian President George Manneh Weah says that despite prevailing challenges facing Liberia, his government was fully prepared to deliver on deliverables of its flagship program, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development which, amongst other things, places premium on education, health, agriculture, and youth empowerment.
Speaking Thursday when he welcomed a delegation of the United States government at his Foreign Affairs Ministry’s office, the President stressed the need for enhanced bilateral cooperation, coordination and collaboration between Liberia and United States.
The US delegation was headed by Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Culture Affairs Bureau, Marie Royce, and included amongst others Ambassador Christine Elder and USAID Mission Director Anthony Chan.
The Liberian leader used the meeting to accentuate the historic relations between Liberia and the United States, describing the US as Liberia’s staunchest ally.
He acknowledged the longstanding contributions of the United States of America in Liberia’s quest to build sustainable peace, democracy and a vibrant economy, noting that his government finds true partnership in the US towards tackling Liberia’s challenges in the days and years ahead.
Said President Weah: “We have challenges everywhere that we as allies and partners need to address,” the President told the US government delegation, adding that in addition to iron ores and rubber which are the major exports of the country, Liberia has great potential in other sectors including palm oil, timber and cocoa.”
President Weah also said most Liberian youth were consumed by substance abuse and that “these young people need rehabilitation and reintegration as well as vocational and technical training in order to avert a looming human capacity deficit in the country.”
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary for Education and Culture Affairs Bureau, said the USA is always willing to work with Liberia in addressing some of the challenges facing the country towards sustaining the peace and development. “I am in the country to meet with key partners in the areas of education, culture and tourism,” she briefed President Weah. “I will be holding separate meetings and making some presentations as well.”
She also promised to provide an opportunity for leadership, including Full Bright and Humphrey Fellows exchange programs between Liberia and USA.
Royce was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs on March 30, 2018.
In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of programs to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural, and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) programs create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address the world’s greatest challenges and opportunities.
Ms. Royce, a former businesswoman and professor, was previously the CEO and Principal of Marie Royce LLC, in California before joining the State Department. She has over 30 years of experience in the private sector with Fortune 500 companies and as a small business owner, creating and launching start-ups and new initiatives and serving as a key business liaison to 80 countries. She held senior management positions at Marriott International, Alcatel-Lucent, Proctor & Gamble, among others.
As a former educator and full-time university professor at California State Polytechnic University, Ms. Royce led an international grant program between universities. She has served on 20 non-profit boards, and as a private sector appointee on the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP) at the State Department, in addition to serving on two U.S. Cultural Exchange Boards. She participated as an American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegate to Hungary and Poland and was recognized with the “2018 ACPYL Honors Award.” She was also recognized by the American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) with its distinguished “Internationalism Award.”
Ms. Royce earned a BS/BA (double major) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an MBA at Georgetown University in International Business with honors, Beta Gamma Sigma. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.