The Education & Business Conference 2012 Liberia “Issues in Tertiary Education, The Global Bridge Connecting Education, Business and Community” was launched in support of the University Consortium for Liberia (UCL), an initiative developed by Cynthia Lynn Blandford, The Liberian Honorary Consul General in Atlanta, Georgia. UCL was established with the mission to “lift Liberia by coordinating diverse academic efforts for increased impact.” The UCL initiative was launched in June 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in collaboration with the Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C. with a particular focus on the University of Liberia and other tertiary institutions in the country.
Read the Impact Report Executive Summary_Web version here.
In furtherance of this effort, the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, in March 2012, co-hosted the Liberian Business Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, in collaboration with the Liberian Consulate and Global Strategies for Good at Clark Atlanta University (CAU, where more than 300 business attended and where there was a Call for Action from the Vice President that “Liberia is Open for Business.” On July 2, 2012, the President of the University of Liberia and the President of the Association of Liberian Universities (ALU), Dr. Emmet Dennis, co-hosted the UCL meeting with the Liberian Consulate and Dr. Carlton Brown, CAU President, identifying key needs of tertiary education in Liberia. These needs included How to Manage Resources at the University Level; Challenges of Tertiary Education; Entrepreneurship in the Liberian Context; Leadership Development and Ethics; Models of STEM Education; How to Transition into Four Year Colleges/Universities and Real Work Experiences; Student and Faculty Exchanges and Study Abroad and Workforce Development in the New Liberia. In addition to CAU, other UCL member institutions participating at this meeting included Emory University, the University of Georgia, the Carter Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Technical School and others.
Together we agreed that a conference would be held in Monrovia October 1-3, 2012, to help address the challenges of tertiary education in Liberia in collaboration with the Association of Liberian Universities (ALU). Dr. Carlton Brown, incoming chair for UCL, took the challenge to bring his key faculty to Liberia to include the Dean of the School of Business Administration, Professor of Engineering, Professor of Chemistry and the Director of Faculty and Student Exchange to help provide leadership, support and solutions. The Liberian Consulate, CAU, Global Strategies for Good, LLC, CAU and the ALU began the planning process for the Republic of Liberia’s first Education and Business Conference.
The 2-day Education and Business conference impacted more than 300 students, faculty, staff, government, civic and community who attended the conference held at Monrovia City Hall and where more than 40 speakers participated. Thousand of dollars were generated in the local Liberian economy to support hotels, transportation, and facilities providing income for consultants, caterers, drivers & student interns. A few educational scholarships were also provided to students.
The U.S. Delegation totaled twenty-one of which four were Liberians from the Diaspora who provided conference leadership and support. Five in the delegation opened up small business entities in the country including Security, Mining, IT Solutions, Travel and Tourism and E-Commerce. The sheer intellectual capital provided by 8 College and University Presidents and more than 20 Deans and faculty was immeasurable. Three Liberian student interns from UL and A.M.E. University provided hands-on support to the U.S. delegation. The Liberian business and industry participation totaled 7 including Firestone, Sami Darby, Delta Air Lines, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the National Oil Company, the Liberian Petroleum Refining Company and the Liberian Telecommunications Company. An outcome of the conference will be a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CAU and UL to further outline the way forward in terms of faculty and student exchange, joint research and fundraising efforts, on-line courses, book donations, to name a few.
Note, that in addition to the conference, site-visits and private discussions took place between CAU, the U.S. Delegation and the faculty and staff at the UL and Fendel Campuses to conduct a general needs assessment and to build relationships. Reports and recommendations are also included in the detailed Impact Report, that will only be made available to key stakeholders for review and further consideration.
For further information, please contact Cynthia Blandford Nash at 404-565-1154.