Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah, the former Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education and currently serving as the Resident Representative of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia, was recently bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate in Law at the 103rd Convocation of the University of Liberia in Monrovia.
This prestigious recognition was bestowed upon Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah in acknowledgment of her remarkable contributions to public service, advocacy, civil rights, and the promotion of democratic values. During her keynote address, she delivered a thought-provoking speech on the theme “Accountable Leadership, Responsible Citizenship: Reorientation of Mindset for Liberia’s Forward March.” Her Excellency expressed sincere gratitude for the strong bond between ECOWAS and Liberia, and she commended the University of Liberia for its outstanding achievements.
Furthermore, Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah extended her appreciation to the people of Liberia for the warm friendship they have shown her since she commenced her work in April 2022. Aligned with her unwavering convictions, she acknowledged Liberia’s remarkable peace-building efforts following the dark days of war, and she lauded the nation’s diligent endeavors to foster national unity.
In her address, Her Excellency emphasized the imperative of protecting constitutional integrity through responsible citizenship, which acts as a safeguard for democratic progress. She advocated for civic education as a crucial element in preserving and sustaining the gains made by democracy.
Her Excellency Nkrumah stressed that an imbalance in leadership and citizenship roles poses a threat to democracy. She highlighted low-level corruption among citizens, corruption in the public sector involving technical experts, corruption within the judiciary that denies justice to the underprivileged, as well as instances of sexual and gender-based violence as detrimental factors impeding development. She further addressed the negative influence of religious institutions, which, instead of promoting peace for development, are sometimes used to incite dissent. Her Excellency Nkrumah emphasized that all these vices, including inflammatory language and divisive rhetoric prevalent in the political arena, undermine the nation’s progress.
Regarding Liberia’s path towards advancement, Ms. Nkrumah emphasized the need for a deliberate and purposeful reorientation of mindset through active civic education and engagement, aimed at nurturing citizen-leaders who exemplify responsible citizenship and accountable leadership. She advocated for the pivotal role that families, education, and religious spheres of society can play in this mindset reorientation. Ms. Nkrumah expressed optimism about the recent reintroduction of civics into the school curriculum in Liberia, viewing it as a positive step towards the country’s progress.
Furthermore, she congratulated the University of Liberia for its collaborative efforts with other academic institutions, which result in the training of young graduates who contribute significantly to nation-building and the advancement of the sub-region. Ms. Nkrumah encouraged Liberian academic institutions to develop cutting-edge programs and foster collaborations with relevant organizations to enhance capacity and deepen knowledge. She urged universities to prioritize training students as entrepreneurs rather than mere employees, in order to accelerate job creation for Liberia’s economic growth.
Concluding her address, Ms. Nkrumah shared a quote from the visionary leader, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of independent Ghana: “… For this end, Africa needs a new type of citizen, a dedicated, modest, honest, and informed (wo)man. A (wo)man who submerges self in service to the nation and mankind. A (wo)man who abhors greed and detests vanity. A new type of (wo)man whose humility is his strength and whose integrity is his greatness…”
The President of the University of Liberia, Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson Jr., commended Her Excell
ency Josephine Nkrumah for her tireless advocacy of accountable leadership and responsible citizenship during her tenure in the country. He also extended his congratulations to the graduates and encouraged them to utilize the knowledge they gained from the University to become agents of change for national development.
Notable personalities, including H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. Maada Bio, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and H.E. John Agyekum Kuffuor, the former President of the Republic of Ghana, have previously served as commencement speakers at the University of Liberia’s Convocation events.