(L-R) Dr. Thomas Jay and Former President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks
(L-R) Dr. Thomas Jay and Former President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks

Capitol Hill, Monrovia-July 31, 2020: Dr. Thomas Jaye, the Executive Director of the Liberian Institute for Policy Studies and Research at the University of Liberia (UL), who is remembered for delivering the keynote address at Liberia College’s commencement convocation, the first of seven college-based commencements forming part of the 98th Commencement Convocation of the University of Liberia (UL), in 2017, died early this morning at the ELWA Hospital, in Paynesville, Liberia. 

The news of Dr. Jaye’s sudden death was confirmed to the University community by Dr. Julius S. Nelson Jr., UL President. 

“This comes as a big surprise and shock to many of us here at the University of Liberia, especially so that Dr. Jaye paid a visit at our Capitol Hill campus yesterday evening and was with us throughout the week advising with thesis preparation and proposal,” Dr. Nelson recalled. “This is an enormous loss and a major setback to our effort to strengthen research at the university.”

Remembering Dr. Jaye

In his 2017 commencement address, Dr. Jaye told graduates that adequate academic preparation was fundamental to a hopeful and better future.

He spoke on the topic: “Education is Insurance for you for the future.”

The bulk of Dr. Jaye’s message was essentially a deep historical and self- reflection of how bad governance, corruption, greed, elitism, and external interferences have undermined Africa’s transition from colonialism to democratic governance and development.

Prior to joining the UL in 2018, he served as Director of the Policy Support and Consultancy Services Unit at the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Center in Teshia, Accra, Ghana. 

His speech was a detailed analysis of the origin of the current socio-economic crisis which has plagued the African continent.

He said: “Over the years Africa has produced mixed results with a few countries being stable while the rest have been caught in the barbed-wire of political turbulence, intra-state conflicts, electoral crisis, governance and leadership failure, economic stagnation, social decline, and insecurity.”

He told the graduates that “when we look back, we see that the socio-economic conditions of our people are worse off than at independence.” 

Dr. Jaye, who said he was born right on the eve of African independence, a time he said many felt was promising, lamented that even in the 21st Century, the African continent was still grappling with the story of slavery.

“Our young people who are doing everything possible to cross the sea to migrate to a ‘greener pasture’ in Europe have been turned into slaves, in another African country,” he said. “Some are sold at $200 per person; others went through terrible ordeals, including organ theft and being burned alive; and many have died while trying to cross the sea.”

The Liberia College keynote speaker blamed bad governance and leadership failure in Sub-Sahara Africa as some of the reasons African young and able-bodied men and women were risking their lives to cross into Europe.

Dr. Jaye said another source of the ongoing socio-economic crisis has its roots in the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“These two Breton Woods institutions that were set up to promote development turned out to be barriers to development in Africa,” he said.

“The World Bank and IMF imposed strains of anti-development policies on African countries under the euphemism known as ‘structural adjustment programs (SAP).’”

Dr. Jaye said he provided a brief overview of the world in order for graduates to appreciate the enormity of the challenges confronting the world.

“Fortunately, as graduates of LUX IN TENEBRIS and its oldest college, the Liberia College, you should be fully prepared as you walk out this graduation hall with your heads up high with faith in a bright future,” he said.

Funeral Arrangements

His body has been deposited at the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Service, on Tubman Blvd, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia. More information regarding funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Signed_____________________

           Atty. Norris Tweah

Vice President for University Relations