The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

UL Prexy Urges Liberians

The President of the University of Liberia Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson has urged Liberians to first reconcile with themselves individually before turning to national reconciliation as the best way of effecting proper and lasting national reconciliation.He spoke yesterday at the Bella Casa Hotel in Monrovia during the opening session of a two days’ reconciliation conference with the theme: “Pathways to National Reconciliation and Social Cohesion in Liberia”
“Reconciliation, my brothers and sisters must start from the self; each of us must find a way to reconcile ourselves as a premise in our engagement for reconciliation in the Republic of Liberia,” the UL Boss stated.
The Liberian educator and clergyman inferred that when a person honestly examines himself and realizes that he has shortcomings and flaws he will be equipped mentally and emotionally to handle the shortcomings of others which is the best way for reconciliation.
He also encouraged the organizers to create a forum for diverse stakeholders for continuous dialogue as well as identifying local and national institutions and structures including children groups, women groups, students and youth groups; not forgetting labor unions, teachers and traditional leaders among others.
“We cannot and should not find pathways for national reconciliation and social cohesion without including these institutions and structures,” he said; noting that because they were the very ones that were affected by the civil war.
According to Dr. Nelson, reconciliation is not an event but a process with enormous challenges but when properly nurtured or maintained can unite the country for prosperity and development.
He further warned the organizers to be careful how they review documents and resources that are available to them referring to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) crafted in 2003 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) documents.
The UL boss stressed that those documents contained many views and contradictions because they were prepared by people with sinister motives or personal aggrandizement.
“Why am I saying that? When you are referring to CPA, most of those in that room developing it were rebel leaders who were thinking of ways and means to maintain what they have, power and enjoy, and also some politicians with their own motives; so be careful how you review them,” he concluded.
The conference was jointly organized by the University of Liberia Institute of Policy Studies and Research, the Bread for the World Liberia Civil Peace Service (CPS) Partners, and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and State Building (CSPPS).
It is premised on two critical assumptions: one, Challenges confronting Liberia, including the current poor economic situation, may be overcome or mitigated when Liberians pursue genuine national reconciliation and leverage national and local resources, capacities, and structures;
And two, adopting a conflict transformation attitude can identify and genuinely discuss the nature, sources, and factors that have undermined national reconciliation and social cohesion over the years and also adopt effective strategies and practical pathway that discourage and prevent matters that foment conflicts and divisions among Liberians.
Its objectives are to first of all critically review available documents, documentaries, and other resources with the goal of identifying factors contributing to or undermining national reconciliation and social cohesion in Liberia.
Secondly create a forum for diverse stakeholders to dialogue, identify best practices, explore opportunities, and prioritize strategic frameworks for building, strengthening, promoting, and sustaining practical approaches to achieving national reconciliation and social cohesion in Liberia.
And lastly identify national and local institutions and structures that will leverage opportunities to foster and maintain synergies for national reconciliation and social cohesion.
The Conference brought together participants from local and national stakeholders representing Government of Liberia, women and youth groups, vulnerable and marginalized groups, traditional leaders, development partners and experts who are involved with national reconciliation processes in various contexts.

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