Official launching of IAYSP Liberia
On September 21, Youth and Students for Peace Liberia officially launched in the auditorium of the Nathan E. Gibson Memorial Institute. In total, six hundred fifty people attended the ceremony. Among them were different student representatives, government officials, friends and supporters, and members of YSP Liberia. The launch commenced with a march that finished at the auditorium of Nathan E. Gibson Memorial Institute. The event started from 11:00am and ended by 6:00pm. The theme of the event was, “The Role of Youth and Students in Building a Culture of Sustainable Peace”.
The welcoming remarks were given by the Service Program Director of YSP, Mr. Francis Jallah. He encouraged everyone to feel free and act accordingly as the program had been planned and organized in the spirit of peace.
Our guest speaker was the current Vice-Chairperson for Planning and Policies of the Opposition Liberty Party and owner of many schools in Liberia, Hon. Martin Saye Kollah. He briefly spoke to the hundreds of students from different schools about the importance of peace in Liberia.
Hon. Martin Saye Kollah went on to say, “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways. What kind of peace do we seek? Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children . . . not merely peace in our time but peace for all time…”
Ms. Banica S. Elliott, a government official from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Liberia, also gave remarks during the event. She congratulated the ceremony organizers and cautioned everyone around the world that peace is a daily, weekly, monthly process. Elliott affirmed, “It involves gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers and quietly building new structures,” she added. “Let peace reign!” She concluded by reassuring the audience that her Ministry is looking forward to working with YSP. Another dignitary from the government, Mr. George cautioned all participants to value the peace that we currently have. He said, “If you want to end war then instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers.” He commended the YSP President (Elijah D. Kopeh Jr.) for organizing such a unique program. Likewise, the President of the Young Ambassador for Peace (YAP), Mr. Wilmon Wesseh, praised the organizer. He also promised to continue working with YSP Liberia.
The President of YSP Liberia gave a brief background about YSP Liberia to the audience. He started by encouraging all participating institutions to become a part of the organization (YSP) as partners in progress. He also clarified that the vision of YSP is to build a culture of peace with true love, whereas its mission is to raise leaders of the next generation who are armed with filial piety and true love. Ms. Edwina P. Gurley officially introduced a program called Each One Teach One to the public. This program is intended to raise funds that will help the less privileged in the society who cannot afford school expenses in the current academic year. This program will help to raise funds to help the underprivileged. The Queen is currently seeking donor support to provide assistance where it is needed. The motto of this fundraiser is “Living for the sake of others.”
During the lunch session, the YSP Liberia Peace Arts team gave a wonderful performance. Their performance sent a clear message about the significance of peace and forgiveness. The spirit of the message entailed that “peace cannot be kept by force — it can only be achieved by understanding.” A Liberian comedian then entertained with comedic relief. Following on from this, was a local Liberian artist who made such a splendid performance that the crowd was ecstatic.