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At UNESCO 40th General Conference, Liberia Pushes for Education, Peace, National Development and Youth Capacity Enhancement

(UNESCO-Paris, France-November 16, 2019) Liberia's Education Minister Professor D. Ansu Sonii has addressed the UNESCO 40th General Conference currently taking place at its headquarters in Paris, France emphasizing that Liberia has placed education at the top most life changing priority, second only to road connectivity, which for all intent and purposes supports efficiency in the delivery of all social services needful of the population, including Health.  Professor Sonii said Liberia commits to education and other youth development initiatives even more now, since the hosting of a National Summit on education held in 2018 which outcomes concluded with a global call for significant investment in the education sector. "The population of Liberia, like many similar countries, is largely youthful below the age of 35 years, comprising nearly two thirds, of its 4.5 million people. These we must cater for, to sustain  the peace and guarantee the future of the nation, failing which, security becomes a matter of national and continental concern.  In that regard, the Government of Liberia is grateful for the interventions of major development partners, UNESCO included, all of whom are engaged with the country in varying ways. Though enough is never enough for nations experiencing excessive needs, but the results of these interventions would ultimately bring realization to the concerns of youths regarding education and jobs in preparation for a future filled with so much uncertainties, especially the unpredictable consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change, with more devasting impact for developing countries" Minister Sonii noted. Minister Sonii told the august assembly that the government of Liberia supports the stance of UNESCO to protect the rights of minorities, and guard the cultural heritage of member states. In that regard, he said Liberia has declared Ecological Tourism as part of its economic development focus. He said over the years, Liberia  has managed to have a world heritage tentative list, and appealed for Liberia to be further supported with capacity building and training on world heritage and cultural affairs.  Liberia, he revealed has a unique history and culture that we must promote to the world. He said Liberia looks forward to learning from UNESCO how we can best preserve our tradition and best tell our stories of former slaves who repatriated to West Africa to establish Liberia as the first African Republic without neglecting to continue to incorporate the rich narrative of the indigenous tribe that continue to build on the diverse culture of our nation. Professor Sonii said that part of the reasons why Liberia is co-sponsoring Benin resolution on slave route “Resistance, Liberty and Heritage” and this will greatly bolster our President’s plan to establish a heritage tourism industry.  He told the delegates that Liberia is endowed with several untampered historical sites of ecological relevance, and carries nearly 40% of the remaining Upper Guinea Forest Reserves, providing sustainable support for controlling Climate Change; The Sarpo National Park, and the East Nimba Nature Reserves among other areas. Professor Sonii on behalf of Liberia also paid tribute for the FIFA Football for School Program through UNESCO, with a purpose to create access to this universal sport unmatched in human history. Football is by far a unifying tool, promoting positive values and character changes. Liberia remains committed to the mission of sports in youth development, and by virtue of its standing as the oldest  African state, request to be considered among the 10 countries from Africa for the integration of football in the architecture of education.  He said vast majority of Liberians believe that peace and stability are foundational for education, health, economic growth, job creation and governance, adding that by experience, the absence of Peace is Poverty, and have vowed, that never again shall we become our own enemy. He noted that the Government of Liberia has become overly accommodating of the exercise of peoples’ rights, being cognizant however, that the exercise of such rights, which could impose a return of an already injured country, to its painful history, shall not be looked upon with favor, therefor, President George Weah has repeatedly declared Liberia a welcoming place for honest investment, and partnership and he was privileged to amplify that invitation at the General Conference.