Sweden Opens Corridor of Support for UL

Sweden Opens Corridor of Support for UL

Swedish Ambassador accredited to Liberia, H.E. Ingrid Wetterqvist has opened a corridor of support for essential programs established by the University of Liberia (UL), urging UL President Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. and his team to meet with agencies of the United Nations through which fundings are channeled for education and development.

During a meeting on UL Capitol Hill Campus on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, Amb. Wetterqvist informed Dr. Nelson and the UL family that for the time being, the Government of Sweden has a window which might close next year when the country goes for election.

In upholding its commitment to train local professionals, the University of Liberia has  identified areas of national needs, created academic programs and currently has a lot of initiatives that are aligned with various pillars of Sweden’s development strategy. These include Education, Climate Change & Environment, Agriculture, Peace & Security, Communication and Media Studies as well as Gender Equity. Amb. Wetterqvist underscored that Sweden’s model of development assistance requires funds to go first to the United Nations before impacting the country of interest through tailored programs. She therefore urged the university’s leadership to strengthen partnership with the UN in Liberia. “Let UNDP take the lead by identifying what are the other thematics because what they’re doing will be funded by us at the end of the day,” She advised.

Amb. Wetterqvist pointed out  that it is a challenge developing the intellectual content for Environment and Climate Change, which means the University of Liberia must reach out to the concerned officials at the Embassy of Sweden near Monrovia to brainstorm as to what their resources are. 

H.E. Ingrid Wetterqvist and Rev. Dr. Julius J.S. Nelson, Jr.
H.E. Ingrid Wetterqvist and Rev. Dr. Julius J.S. Nelson, Jr.

UL President, Dr. Nelson, thanked the Government and People of Sweden for the enormous institutional support received over the years through the Swedish Embassy near Monrovia, notably, partnership on the Liberia Development Conference through the Liberia Institute of Policy Studies and Research. Outlining concrete areas where the University of Liberia has benefited hugely from Swedish support, he referenced security sector engagement, gender equity and women political participation through the Kofi Annan Institute of Conflict Transformation and the participation in the curriculum development of the Honors College of Gender Studies and Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Liberia. “Your Excellency, the University of Liberia family joins the government of Liberia in thanking the government and people of Sweden for the recently approved new development strategy for Liberia for the next five years (2021-2025), which is valued at an estimated US$212 million, representing 40 percent increment from the previous strategy,” Dr. Nelson lauded.

As an institution, he said the University of Liberia’s commitment to its core objectives continues to drive its many actions in recent times, including identifying areas of national needs and creating academic programs to train the needed local professionals, faculty and staff. “Over the last one year and half now, we have been able to continue and build upon the work of past Presidents of the University. New academic programs and colleges have been established in areas such as Climate Change & Environmental Science, Gender Studies & Research, Agriculture Extension, Public Health, Information Communication Technology, Architecture, among others,” Dr. Nelson added. 

Discussing some of the plans for which the University of Liberia seeks partnership and funding opportunities, Dr. Nelson cited well-equipped innovation hubs across the university’s four campuses; support to UL’s technical and vocational education training program and the reawakening of relationship with the Democratic Institute for Development in Africa as well as ongoing work on the Master’s program in Development Studies.

During the meeting with the Swedish Ambassador, presentations were made by several representatives of Faculty and Administration including Dr. Jonathan Taylor, Vice President for Graduate Education; Prof. T. Debey Sayndee, Director, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation; Assistant Prof. James McClain, Dean of the Science College; and Madam Mamawah Moore, Dean of Honors College of Gender Studies and Interdisciplinary Research. UL’s representation also included Assistant Prof. Uriahs Togar, Chairman, Department of Communication and Media Studies; Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor, Executive Director, Research Institute; and Dr. Samuel G. Toe, Director, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Graduate School.

Dr. Jonathan Taylor, Vice President for Graduate Education said the University of Liberia is looking to see how it can further work with the Swedish Government to bring on-stream Development Practice, Development Studies Master’s Degree at the university. “It’s a very important program for the country, helping policy makers at all levels – local government and other people serving in the public sector to see how they can provide theoretical knowledge that will help to promote decision making. So we are looking forward to seeing how we can work and how we can collaborate in bringing that Master’s program on-stream.” He concluded.

For his part, Prof. T. Debey Sayndee said his institution is now preparing a place to house an expected donation of valuable books from Amb. Wetterqvist as part of her last set of donations. According to him, Amb. Wetterqvist has been traveling with a set of books which are valuable to her for the last 25 years of her diplomatic career and she has decided to donate the entire set to the Kofi Annan Institute.

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