Peace and Security


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Peace and Security

In the News: Japanese Goodwill Ambassadors Visit Liberian President


A delegation of Japanese goodwill ambassadors paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Monrovia.

The six-person delegation headed by Mrs. Ayumi Hasegawa is in the country to identify with President Johnson-Sirleaf and Liberians in general on the reconstruction of the country.

The meeting that took place at the Foreign Ministry also included Mr. Mitsuhiro Hasegawa, Mrs. Hisayo Ogata, Mrs. Kimiko Haga, Ms. Yuri Ogata, and Little Shoma Hasegawa.

The delegation, which earlier met with Vice President Joseph Boakai on Wednesday, is part of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).

The Japanese goodwill ambassadors were accompanied by the President of the Family Federation for World Peace, Rev. Augustine S. Arkoi.

Amb. Hasegawa literally consoled the president in tears in recognition of the post-war reconstruction burden inherited by her administration. She assured the president of their commitment to support the rebuilding of Liberia at all cost.

It can be recalled that Amb. Ayumi and a delegation of ten Japanese women goodwill ambassadors visited Liberia in 1993 during the administration of Cllr. David Kpomarkpo.

The volunteers have been supporting various community projects ranging from skills training programs for street girls to counseling and educational development.

Kimiko Haga, the first Japanese volunteer to Liberia in 1979, said her return to here exactly after 20 years, accompanying her children and grandchildren should signal to the world that “Liberia is now at peace and needs support for reconstruction from all peoples of good will.”

Little Shoma Hasegawa and Ms. Yuri Ogata presented a flower to President Sileaf after which Ogata played piano while Hasegawa sang a song.

The President was moved not only because of the song “Amazing Grace” played by the two children but because Little Hasegawa is the same boy who had presented a flower to President Sirleaf during her last visit to Japan early this year.

In response, Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf thanked the goodwill ambassadors and noted that Liberians recognize and appreciate their concerns and love for Liberia as demonstrated by their sacrificial services.

She encouraged little Hasegawa to visit Liberia again. Mr. Mitsuhiro Hasegawa, Mrs. Hisayo Ogata, Ms. Yuri Ogata and little Shoma Hasegawa depart the country today for Japan.

Meanwhile, Rev. Arkoi has disclosed that 21 peace ambassadors from the US, Japan and South Korea will alternatively visit and work in Liberia between now and September 2007.

Rev. Arkoi said their duties will involve peace building and conflict resolution among cluster families and community-based organizations.


Reprinted by permission of The Analyst, Monrovia, Liberia.

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