Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee MA ’07 delivered the prestigious national oration at Liberia’s 172nd independence Day celebration on Friday, July 26. The invitation to speak was made by President George Weah. The event, attended by dignitaries and foreign heads of state, took place at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside the country’s capital.
She used the platform to encourage attention to development, corruption, meritorious appointments instead of partisan nominations for public officials, and cooperation among political parties.
The country of Liberia was founded as Africa’s first republic in 1822. Independence was declared on July 26, 1847. Expatriates around the world, including those in the United States, also celebrated the holiday.
According a government press release, Weah continues to encourage citizens to embrace peace, unity and harmony towards the greater good of the nation.
Gbowee, a graduate of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, was awarded EMU’s first honorary doctorate in 2018. She gave the commencement address that year as well. [Read her address.] Her son Joshua Mensah ’14 is also a graduate of EMU.
Gbowee is founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, which provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and the youth in Liberia. Her peace activism in leading a women’s nonviolent peace movement that helped bring an end to the Liberian Civil War in 2003. She is a founding member and coordinator of Women in Peace-building Network (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP).