The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Christine Elder, has expressed optimism about the reintroduction of the Fulbright programs that once existed between the University of Liberia and American universities.
Ambassador Elder recounted the historical ties that subsist between the two countries dating back to colonial times, something she said culminated into a full-flesh partnership that saw Liberians studied in the US, while US students came to Liberia for Fulbright and other programs.
“We’re going to look into ways that we can start to rebuild some of those exchanges in both directions,” said Ambassador Elder, when she addressed the UL LUX Talk forum on last Wednesday. My team and I are committed to this.”
She said she was happy that her alma mater, the University of Kentucky could form partnership with the University of Liberia in a Fulbright Specialist Program that’s underway. “We’re really grateful that you’ve come here today to take a look and to start to think about what those connections could be.”
Ambassador Elder noted that true partnership can be built through these connections, adding: “We have to figure out what will work between our universities and our countries so that it can be sustainable over time.”
“I feel the opportunities here; I feel the possibilities and I just, everyday yean for these connections,” she said.
She said she believes these interactions will lead to better acquaintance between faculty and administrators of the two universities thereby creating an opportunity to identify priority areas for capacity building.
“So, I hope this week is the beginning of proper relationship between our universities and further deepening of ties between our countries,” Ambassador Elder noted.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Elder is encouraging Liberian students who have gone to the US for shorter term programs and opportunities for university exchanges to return home after their programs, adding that this would give others the opportunity to travel to the US to actualize their own education opportunities.
“It just pains my heart when I see and hear of a student who went through all the efforts to apply and get accepted at a university but then is unable to obtain a visa,” she said. “It’s really, really hard because I know what a difference that can make in someone’s life, how disappointing it can be.”
“If you are looking at an exchange or degree opportunity at a university, securing entrance to that university is a necessary step to obtaining a visa obviously, because we wouldn’t give you a visa without that, but it isn’t a sufficient step,” she observed.
Ambassador Elder spoke on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at a special centenary edition of LUX TALK on the Capitol Hill campus when two American professors addressed the intellectual forum at the University of Liberia.
In remarks, UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez weeks thanked the American diplomat and professors for the partnership and said it will help to strengthen UL’s research base. Dr. Weeks said she could not hold back on how gratified she is to see more partnerships and collaborations with American and other universities in time to come.