Presents Alpha 2022 Peace Award to the AFL
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) at the University of Liberia have both called for the protection of peace and democracy in Liberia during events commemorating 2022 International Day of Peace.
Peace and security, they believe are essential elements of human security, and that a peaceful and secure environment is critical to economic and social development, and the realization of human aspirations.
The call came as the two institutions jointly commemorated the “2022 International Day of Peace” under the theme- “Politicizing Ethnicity Threatens Peace and Stability”.
The colorful events began with a grand parade from the Antoinette Tubman Stadium to the University of Liberia (UL) Capitol Hill ‘main Campus’. The parade was joined by cross – section of students from high schools and universities across Monrovia and its environs.
During the official program in the Auditorium of the University of Liberia, UL President, Reverend Dr Julius Sarwolo Nelson welcomed the guests, including high level dignitaries from the diplomatic corps, academia and the private sector, and asked all Liberians to cultivate peaceful conducts that can project a better image of the country.
Dr. Nelson said Liberia cannot get developed in the midst of politicization of nearly everything in the country.
“Politicization of everything is counterproductive to peace and democratic development. Liberia does not develop when you are heading in reverse”
He said the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia and all its partners, including Alpha Phi Alpha, were grateful for the celebration, adding “we must work to continue the development of Mama Liberia”
Delivering the keynote address, Ecowas Ambassador to Liberia Her Excellency Madam Josephine Nkrumah admonished Liberians to engage, mobilize and promote the overall growth and development of the society through peaceful activities.
The Ecowas ambassador who spoke on the theme” Is Ethnicity A Threat to Peace and Stability in Liberian?, had a conviction that the advance of the Liberian society is a matter of hard but necessary choices by the people of Liberia.
“What role do we play in transforming Liberia? How do we turn ethnicity into a tool for unity in this diversity, build social cohesion and play a part in the development agenda. How do we turn ethnicity as a tool for unity in this diversity; build social cohesion and play a part in the development agenda??” The Ambassador pondered as she called for a transformative mindset of all Liberians in embracing peace and rejecting ethnic political divides.
Said Ambassador Nkrumah: “our mindset transformation must begin now”
The 2021 Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index” scores on Liberia places ethnic identity strength as 9.6, Liberian identity strength as 5.3, as well as co-existence and Civic Trust, 5.4.
The Ecowas Ambassador thinks these low scores portray a general civic mindset that must be transformed to build a higher national identity cohesion despite ethnic differences through “soft interventions that change mindset, through our teaching values right from the family, the classrooms, religious platforms, sports, media, business”
For his part the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Godfrey A.E Odudigbo warned that politicizing ethnicity is apprehensive with serious dangers to peace, stability and development of societies as it breeds divisions and rivalry among the different groups that are components of the societies.
He explained that the tendency to use ethnic divides against each other are real and must not be glossed over.
“Many at time people in government use their position to offer jobs, contracts, appointments etc. disproportionately to the advantage of applicants from their ethnic groups and by so doing aggravate the hatred of ethnic groups not so favored”.
Also at the International day of Peace celebration, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc awarded its prestigious 2022 Alpha Peace Award to the Armed Forces of Liberia, for upholding its commitment to peace and security in Liberia and the African region.
Reading the Alpha citation of honor to the AFL, former Deputy Foreign Minister, B. Elias Shoniyin, who is Chairman of the World Policy Council of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, gave a background of the Armed Forces of Liberia and its contribution to peace in Liberia.
Hon. Shoniyin, said despite challenges the AFL “stands tall today as a towering national asset that has won the admiration, love, and respect of Liberians as well as foreigners”.
The citation stated furthered that “The people of Liberia owe a debt of gratitude to the Armed Forces of Liberia for their display of high standards, complete integrity, great intellect, and the effective manner in which they carry out their duties in service to the nation and its people”.
“Therefore, we the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter, bestow upon the Armed Forces of Liberia, its inaugural 2022 Alpha Peace Award, in honor of our legendary Bro, The Late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Chief of Staff of the AFL Brigadier General Prince C. Johnson, III, along with Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Tibli Olandrus Dickson, Sr, accepted the award, on behalf of the Armed forces of Liberia, with joy and said the armed forces is committed to protecting and keeping peace in Liberia.
General Johnson warned against the militarization of youths by politicians and called for the naming and shaming of those involved with acts that clearly undermine the peace of the state.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation have for three years and ten years respectively, joined nations and institutions around the world, including the United Nations system, to commemorate the International Day of Peace on September 21.
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 and unanimously adopted two decades later, in 2001, to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. Since then, this day has provided a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.