08 December 2006
Over 1000 students from five leading universities in Liberia participated in programs marking the observance of International Volunteers Day held on 5 December with the theme “Volunteering for Reconstruction and Development in Liberia”.
At a formal program held on the campus of the University of Liberia, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a special statement read on his behalf by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Governance and Recovery Mr. Jordan Ryan, said the culture of volunteers make volunteerism one of the most visible and most welcome attributes of global citizenship. He said, “volunteers are transforming their communities and the world” in both big and small ways and “in this era of growing problems without passports – from HIV/AIDS to trafficking in people and contraband- they are providing grassroots solutions to humanity’s most pressing needs”.
He said, today, no such need is more urgent than attaining the Millennium Development Goals on schedule. “Our world has the wealth and the vision to make poverty history, to end hunger and to bring about development for all. Yet progress has proved uneven both within and between countries,” he added. Mr. Annan further that volunteer efforts can help fill the gap between declarations and delivery and supplement broader national and international efforts to achieve the MDGs.
In his opening remarks at the program, University of Liberia President Dr. Al Hassan Conteh stressed the centrality of youth to the development of this nation. He said the youth constitute 60% of the population and one way the youth can begin to prepare for the challenge of nation building is to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism. He said the theme for the observance; “Volunteering for Reconstruction and Development in Liberia” is ideal and reflects the reality needed for the rebuilding of war-ravished Liberia.
Several speakers including UNDP Country Director, Steven Ursino, Youth and Sports Minister Cllr. Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie, Deputy Commerce Minister Laveli Kortimah and representatives from various youth groups spoke at the program. Activities for the observance of International Volunteers Day included the cleaning of the campuses of the 5 universities in the capitol city and the distribution of souvenir materials commemorating the day. At present, there are 333 UN Volunteers in Liberia.