LibPositives Recap of 2017
The year 2017 has been a year of growth, rebuilding, and elevation in Liberia. So many great things have happened in the country and in the lives of many Liberians around the world: from building a new airport, mall, restaurants, five-star hotels, to the reopening of the Liberian National Museum, to finally selecting a new president. LibPositives made it our priority to report all major positive events that happened in 2017. Here are some of the highlights.
8 major events that took place in 2017
1. Liberia hosted the 28th and 29th West African Post Graduate College of Pharmacists Symposium (WAPCP)
In October 1976, the West African Pharmaceutical Federation (WAPF) was created in Monrovia, Liberia, for pharmacists in West Africa to come together for the development of pharmaceutical education, laws, and practices to improve the health of West Africans. Pharmacists from Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone were all present at the inaugural meeting. In 1991, another college was created under the educational mandate of WAPF, the West African Post Graduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), which officially inaugurated in Accra, Ghana. The goal of the new college was to improve the knowledge and skills of practicing pharmacist through post graduate education and training program. With the improvement of Liberia’s health care system, Liberia was chosen to host the 28th and 29th WAPCP.
2. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's 2017 legacy
On November 9, 2017, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was honored by the Governor of Imo State, Nigeria, Rochas A.O. Okorocha, where he erected a statue of the president. The governor also honored the president with a Chieftaincy title, a merit award, and named a street in honor of her in the state capital, Owerri. Her honors continue with being inducted into the Imo State Hall of Fame. The governor described the first female president in Africa as a pride of the continent.
3. Liberia Inspector General of Police wins an award
Hon. Gregory Oliver Wendell Coleman won the Golden Star Award for Distinguished Security Service in West Africa for his continuous commitment to the assurance of sanity, safety, and security in the Republic of Liberia. The 14th edition of the Golden Star Award will be conferred to the LNP Inspector General on February 6-9, 2018. The ceremony will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Center.
4. Reopening of Liberian National Museum
On November 28, the Liberian National Museum reopened after many years of being closed due to looting during the war. The museum was established in 1958 with support from UNESCO to obtain, preserve, and display cultural artifacts and other historical items, which depict the country’s heritage. Citizens of Liberia as well as tourists are excited for the reopening of the museum, which shares the rich culture and traditions of Liberia.
5. Construction of Roberts International Airport
The construction of the new Roberts International Airport, which started in 2017, is still going on. However, on the 18th of December, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf dedicated its new terminal. The project was financed with a $50 million loan from China EximBank, with the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. serving as contractors and supervision by the LAA Project Implementation Unit (PIU). The new Roberts International Airport is set to be complete next year.
6. Liberia went to the Miss World and Miss Africa pageants
After many years of Liberia not participating in the Miss World and Miss Africa pageants, Liberians were determined to change that in 2017. With the help and support of many Liberians, Miss Liberia, Ms. Wokie Dolo, represented Liberia in both pageants, winning 1st runner up at the Miss Africa pageant, and top 40 contestants in the Miss World pageant. This year was a great year for the queen and the entire team of Miss Liberia.
7. A native Liberian became the first black mayor in Montana
On November 8, 2017, a native Liberian, Mr. Wilmot Collins, became the first black mayor in Helena, Montana. Born in Liberia, Mr. Collins grew up in Firestone. He attended the University of Liberia, where he met his wife Maddie Collins. Mr. Collins and his wife left Liberia during the civil war and immigrated to Ghana. Later, his wife immigrated to the United States and after a few years Mr. Collins followed. Arriving in the United States, Mr. Collins and his wife settled in Montana, where he joined the navy and later became a child protection specialist with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. His love for the city Helena, which he considers "his home away from home,” inspired him to run for public office, leading to this milestone as the city’s first black mayor.
8. Liberia chose a new president
The 2017 election process started on October 10 with 20 candidates competing for the title of 25th president of Liberia. Because of the high number of candidates, the country was unable to decide a definitive winner with 50% plus one vote. The top two candidates, Joseph Boakai (Liberia’s current Vice President) and George Oppong Weah (senator and former professional football player), had to go for a runoff election. The second election took place on December 26, and Mr. Weah was declared the 25th president of Liberia. The inauguration is set to take place on January 15, 2018. It was delightful to see Liberia set an example of democracy by having a peaceful election and a peaceful transition of power from a sitting president in decades.