November 13, 2022-. The National President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) Hon. Shiwoh Kamara has received a lifetime honor for his selfless dedicated services and contributions to Liberians across the United States, Liberia and humanity.
The award was conferred Saturday, November 12, 2022, by the leadership of Liberian Association of Pennsylvania (LAP-INC), Liberia’s oldest organization in the United States in the State of Pennsylvania.
Speaking at the organization 48th inauguration ceremony, LAP President Madam Saynodee Kofa-Kumorteh said the award was historic and necessary following long years of dedicated community service Mr. Kamara has offered. “Today, we are humbled to recognize and award Mr. Kamara and ULAA for the excellent job done over the years,” Madam Kumorteh said. “Without him and ULAA we couldn’t have been here today as a community,” she emphasized. “For years, we fought among ourselves as a community and people. Thankfully, ULAA and others were able to selvage our confusion and resolved it. We are thankful.”
The LAP president recounted ULAA President tenure as President of LAP in 2007, where he exhibited and exemplified outstanding community service, as well as the recently passed Dual Citizenship bill under his watch as ULAA head. The LAP President said such efforts and years of services remain historic and couldn’t go unnoticed. “President Kamara has gone beyond the ordinary as a servant-leader to redeem, not only Liberians in the United States, but continue to advocate for hundreds of Liberians at home,” she added.
As LAP first female President she vowed to work with ULAA aimed at advancing and harnessing the cause of all Liberians across the State of Pennsylvania. With over 24,000 Liberians across PA, Madam Kumorteh said her leadership will seek a reconciliation and inclusive path, where all Liberians can feel vital.
Responding to the award, ULAA President thanked the leadership of LAP for the honor bestowed on him. He described the new leadership of Pennsylvania as an integral element of ULAA’s advancement, citing the historical gains being made over the years.
“This State is very important to ULAA,” Kamara said. “LAP has produced four outstanding Presidents of ULAA, and as such, we value the immense contributions of all leaders emanating from the State of Pennsylvania.” Accompanied by other ULAA executives, President Kamara said he sees the award as a motivation to continue to work and seek the welfare of all Liberians irrespective of political, social or tribal backgrounds.
He then used the occasion to call on all Liberians across PA to rally the support towards the new leadership. “Madam President, we are humbled for this life-time award, and we pledge ULAA’s commitment to working with your administration so as to enhance transformation and all programs agenda being proffered by your leadership.
Speaking on other ongoing initiatives, ULAA President said the union is currently holding consultations with the government and partners to ensure a Liberian diaspora voting system in the upcoming October 2023 general and presidential elections. “We need all hands-on deck,” he pleaded with Liberians. “This will strengthen our democracy and create more vocal space for Liberians in the diaspora.” He named the passage of the recent Dual Citizenship bill terming it as a major boost for Liberians, which among other things maintains Liberian citizenship despite citizenship status in other countries.
He added that the union for the first time in 48 years, has also launched Liberian Diaspora Initiative Funds (LDIF) aimed at lifting all Liberians out of poverty. Endorsed by ULAA general assembly in September 2022, the initiative is a subsidiary of ULAA social services program in response to poverty reduction efforts irrespective of ethnicity, language, religion, and gender.
Kamara said ULAA believes that all Liberians must have equitable access to living a life of dignity, equality, justice, and economic success. This is a historic moment that all Liberians should be proud of,” he stressed. “ULAA is moving towards solidifying its advocacy role towards sustained economic development agenda. That is why, this project is aimed at promoting economic development and reducing poverty in Liberia.”
As part of LDIF targets, the initiative focuses on education, health care, technology, agriculture, and entrepreneurship. As part of its implementation process, ULAA would seek to collaborate and develop partnerships with the Liberian government, United States partners, Liberians in the diaspora, corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations among others. “No child or family in Liberia should go without food, education, or equitable access to healthcare,” ULAA president said. Graced and endorsed by ULAA chapter delegates, the Union agreed to officially open a Monrovia-based office soon for full implementation of the fund projects.
As part of implementation processes, LDIF management team would select organizations or entities with a track record of yielding results, good leadership structure, and a mission of focusing on women, children, and youth, using a four-step process. The process includes identifying organizations, establishing project criteria, requesting proposals as well as the publication of implementing organizations.
Under its pillars of identifying projects, ULAA has developed a mythology to determine clients’ project eligibility using the highest opportunity for poverty reduction, economic development, and funds availability. The project, which was recently tested in Paynesville City, brought together scores of Liberian youth and officials of ULAA under one banner cleaning city areas in partnership with the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC).
Calling on all Liberians across the US to embrace the project, ULAA boss said the sustenance of the projects and program would depend on the support of all Liberians in the diaspora. “For far too long, we as Liberians have sat on the fence waiting for the government to do everything.” Kamara remarked. “But today, ULAA has opted to take a different modern approach by aiding our people directly through development projects through a ULAA vehicle.”
The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) is the umbrella group of Liberians and their various organizations in the Americas. ULAA is a voluntary, nonprofit and non-governmental organization established July 4, 1974. ULAA’s mission is to advance the just causes of Liberians and Liberia at home and abroad.
The union’s general principles are to promote and encourage national reconciliation, integration, and unification; preserve and protect Liberian culture, history, and traditions; uphold and defend fundamental rights. It also seeks to defend the human rights and civil liberties of Liberians everywhere; cultivate and harness the energies and resources of Liberians to improve the quality of life of all Liberians abroad, and advocate and advance the cause of constitutional democracy and sustainability nationally.
Saturday’s event brought together scores of Liberians from across the state as well as local and federal officials both from the United States and Liberia.
Mr. Stephen Binda
Deputy Press Secretary
Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA)