Swedish Institute Scholars Urged To Give Back To Liberia

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Lund, Sweden – The Swedish Institute Alumni Network Liberia (SIANL) has held its first-ever General Assembly, culminating in the election of officials to steer the organization’s affairs for the next two years. 

Two astute members (Zubah K. Yenego and Sam Sumo) were elected respectively as President and Vice President at the Assembly. They become the first democratically elected officials of the Network, which comprises alumni and current students of the SI Scholarship Program of Sweden.

Calixte Hessou, the first SI Scholar from Liberia (2006-2008), has been serving the Network as its interim President over the years, transforming it into a legally registered organization under Liberian laws and building a solid bond with the Swedish Embassy accredited near Monrovia.

In a farewell remark, on behalf of the interim body, Hessou described the general Assembly as historic and lauded every Network member for their support and commitments that led to the history-making event.

He thanked the Swedish embassy for its steadfast support. He challenged SI Scholars home and away to think about giving back to the Liberian society, what the Swedish Government and people have given them through quality education.

SIANL’s newly inducted President, Zubah K. Yenego (who has been administering the Network’s affairs along with Hessou), applauded network members for the confidence reposed in him. He promised to live up to expectations, including making the Network a viable think-tank in Liberia and helping many younger Liberians benefit from the SI Scholarship.

The SIANL, Zubah contended, will not be just another network in Liberia. It will give back to the society undertaking projects directed at building human resource capacities of NGOs, government entities, and universities, based on the expertise of members of the Network, with the most significant aim of achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals.

In the keynote address of the Assembly, Rev. Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono (Ph.D.), President of the United Methodist University, reminded SI Scholars that they are future leaders and technocrats of the Liberian society. 

Speaking on the theme, ‘Enhancing Higher Education through Swedish-Liberian Bilateral Relations: Prospects and Challenges, ‘ Dr. Gonway-Gono thanked the Swedish Government for establishing a scholarship program benefiting Liberia’s human resource development.

“We are hoping that those of you who have been given the opportunity and educated in Sweden will not be selfish and build in yourselves pride, but will return and give back to Liberia,” the former President of the Nimba Community College said.

Dr. Gonway-Gono alluded to Liberia’s enormous development, economic, and leadership challenges but noted that these problems would never be solved unless the educated take on them and apply solutions they have learned through creativity, innovations, honesty, and dedication. She wants SI Scholars to think of new ways of solving Liberia’s underdevelopment problems to help set the country on a sustainable development path.

Inducting the elected officials, Richard Kador, Assistant Managing Director of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), also challenged the SI scholars to give what they have learned to their country. They can begin doing so with whatever positive contributions they can make to humanity in their communities and trim corners. He said the essence of acquiring education is to give back to society and hoped that the new leadership would lead SIANL to impact the country. 

The event was held on October 23 via zoom under the theme: “Enhancing Higher Education through Swedish-Liberian Bilateral Relations.”

In a related development, SIANL has encouraged Liberians, especially the young generation, to take advantage of the ongoing 2022/2023 SI scholarship application window to seek quality education in Sweden to empower them to help develop Liberia.

Application for admission at Swedish universities opened on October 18 and will end in mid-January, with admitted students having the golden opportunity to apply for the SI Scholarship in February 2022. The Network says interested individuals only have to google SI scholarship 2022/2023 to get the complete information and can also visit the Swedish Institute Alumni Network Liberia Facebook page for links and the Network’s information session for potential applicants.

“We want to see more Liberians applying and winning this prestigious scholarship. It will enable them to advance themselves academically and pull their knowledge together with others in developing their country and serving humanity at large,” stated D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, SIANL communication team member.  

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