Foreign Ministry Launches Development Diplomats Program

Foreign Minister Olubanke King Akerele speaking during the ceremony
Foreign Minister Olubanke King Akerele speaking during the ceremony
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with UNDP has launched the Liberia’s Development Diplomats Training Programme aimed at improving its internal capacity and service delivery to the public.

The UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry are sponsoring the first batch of four Liberians with the aim of developing their skills in Development Diplomacy. The trainees are expected to be assigned to Liberian Foreign Service Missions in the Mano River Union Countries and Ghana respectively.

Those benefiting from the program include Ms. Sarah Fyneah Brownell, Emmanuel Saye Larmeh, Stephen A. Marsh and S. Mayumi Grigsby. Speaking during the formal launch, Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele extolled the UNDP for initiating the program, which she noted will help build the skills of the trainees in the field of Development Diplomacy.

Minister King-Akerele promised to reactive the Foreign Service Institute at the Foreign Ministry in order to train more young Liberian Foreign Service Officers. She urged the beneficiaries to serve as goodwill ambassadors for the country.

The Foreign Minister then expressed optimism that the trainees, who have extraordinary experiences will perform in their respective areas of deployment, stressing that the program is aimed at developing a corps of young people to become agents of change in promoting greater integration and economic cooperation in the sub-region and beyond.

Also speaking during the ceremony, UNDP-Liberia Country Director, Dominic Sam, lauded the Government of Liberia for the collaboration and noted that his agency was prepared to support the country’s capacity-building effort.

Mr. Sam said UNDP also plans to assist several government ministries and agencies including the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs and the Civil Service Agency, among others to enhance government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy program.

In remarks, a representative of the Civil Service Agency, Mr. Othello Wells, thanked UNDP for sponsoring the training program to help develop the skills of young Liberian diplomats in Development Diplomacy. He cautioned that any negative activity on their part while in their respective Mission areas could affect the image of the country.

Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, one of the trainees, Ms. Sarah Brownell, lauded UNDP and the government for the opportunity to serve the country abroad and promised to uphold the confidence reposed in them.

Meanwhile, the ceremony was attended by several officials of government including Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador William V.S. Bull, Senior Ambassador At Large, Ambassador Carlton Karpeh; Dr. Emmett Dennis, President of the University of Liberia; Commissioner Pearl Brown-Bull, Commissioner, TRC, Ambassador George Wallace, Advisor to the President on Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Charles Hansford, Ambassador, Assistant Foreign Minister for Public Affairs, Josephus M. Gray ,Ambassador Marcus Kofa, Assistant Minister for American Affairs and
George Wisner, Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs.