(UNESCO -Paris, France-November 25, 2019-) Liberia has been elected as Vice Chair of the Bureau of Education Commission at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) for the next two years. Liberia's Gbovadeh Gbilia was elected overwhelmingly along with representatives from Pakistan, Qatar and Jamaica as Chairman, Vice Chair and Rapporteur respectively. Mr. Gbilia serves currently as Head of the Education Delivery Unit at the Ministry of Education of Liberia. In his new role, as Vice Chair of the UNESCO Education Commission, Mr. Gbilia will work in tandem with the Chairman from Pakistan to lead the Education Commission on education related issues such as; preparation of a medium-term strategy accompanied by programs and a budget financed adult literacy program. Mr Gbilia will also deal with matters related to TVET Education, Higher Education, Framework design for the Implementation of Education Sustainable Development (ESD), developing international standards for Teacher Training Programs, establishment of a future International Bureau of Education, and coordination of and support for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Education 2030. Gbilia earned his MBA in International Business from the Howard University School of Business in 2011. He was awarded one of the highly coveted Trustee Scholarship in 2010, working as a graduate assistant in the Office of the Dean of the School of Business. He later went on to obtain a post-graduate diploma in Project Management from Galilee International Management Institute in Israel. He served as Deputy Education Minister for Administration in the past government, where he also served as chair of the Education Sector Development Committee being responsible for coordinating all donor-funded projects. Mr. Gbilia expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Liberian Government for his nomination, their support and promised to work in elevating global education standards and well as his home country Liberia.
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(UNESCO-Paris, France November 18, 2019) The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization( UNESCO) has received, acknowledged and admitted Liberia through the presentation of two instruments of accession. The two accession documents are the Regional Convention on the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications in Higher Education in the African States as well as the instrument of accession by Liberia to the Convention on Technical and Vocational (TVET). Receiving the instruments from Liberia's Education Minister Professor D. Ansu Sonii, the Director General of UNESCO Madam Audrey Azoulay thanked Liberia for the submission of the two accession instruments and pledged UNESCO unflinching support to programs in Higher Education and TVET in Liberia. Madam Azoulay said the submission of the two instruments demonstrates Liberia's commitment to UNESCO goals and mission and further strengthen the relationships between Liberia and the organization. Since 1981, this submission is Liberia's first and it signifies a new birth and new dynamism to the importance of Higher Education and TVET training that Liberia wishes to promote in the coming years and beyond. The program was held on the sidelines of the ongoing 40th General Conference of UNESCO taking place at the organization's headquarters in Paris, France. Liberia accession documents were presented alongside other countries, including Guinea, Morocco, Cameroon and others. Youth and Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson, Liberia's Ambassador to France and Permannent Delegate to UNESCO Mrs. Geraldine Bass-Goloke, Assistant Education Minister Dominic Kweme, the Head of the UNESCO Liberia Office Sam Hare and his Deputy Csaston Harris and other members of the Liberian Delegation attended the ceremony.
(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.
(UNESCO- Paris, France-November 13, 2019) United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 delivered the keynote address at the 40th General Conference of UNESCO emphasizing the essential mandate in education and pleaded in favor of multilateralism as over 200 representatives of organizations, member governments and dignitaries are attending. Secretary General Guterres said “Education is an essential pillar to achieve our objectives for 2030. And we are late,”. “UNESCO has a fundamental role to play to coordinate and monitor global efforts in this regard. I commend the initiative launched by the Director-General at the UN General Assembly last September on the futures of education.” Mr. Guteres warned against the splintering of the international community along economic, social, and environmental divides, growing hate and discrimination, adding “We must do everything to maintain a universal system based on international law and preserve a multi-polar world with strong multilateral institutions.” The Secretary General also welcomed UNESCO’s contribution to ethical issues in science and technology and “the fact that this General Conference seems to be close to launching a process towards a global normative instrument about the ethics of artificial intelligence.” At the opening of the session, Member States elected Ambassador Ahmet Altay Cengizer, Permanent Delegate of Turkey to UNESCO, as President of the 40th session of the General Conference. UNESCO’s Director General Madam Audrey Azoulay denounced the multiple divides that are eroding national and international governance as well as the planet itself. Madam Azoulay said “Contemporary challenges call on us to draw on our shared humanity,” “They cannot be contained by territorial borders, nor will they find lasting solutions that are not based on cooperation, solidarity and multilateralism.” She told the UNESCO Opening debate about the importance of education, “the keystone of peace. We must not only correct the insufficiencies and inequalities that education is suffering from, but also improve our guidance of the world’s educational systems in the future, to lay the best foundations of effective, real sustainable development.” The Liberian delegation at the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference includes; Education Minister Professor D Ansu Sonii, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson, Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe and Sam Hare of the Liberia UNESCO Office among others. During its 40th session which ends on 27 November, Member States are also set to adopt an international convention destined to facilitate the international recognition of higher education diploma and the free movement of students and faculty.
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