International Relations


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In 2007, the presidents of the University of Massachusetts and the University of Liberia came together in Boston to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Under the terms of this agreement, faculty at the UMass Medical School are working with colleagues at the University of Liberia to establish a National HIV/AIDS Reference Laboratory on the University of Liberia Medical School campus in Monrovia.

Building a Responsible, Effective Liberian Media: an Exchange Program for Liberian Journalists, Editors, Educators and Media Managers
The Center for Democracy and Development at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, working closely with the Office of the President of the University of Massachusetts, the University of Liberia and other U.S. and Liberian allies, is undertaking a program of educational and cultural exchange to help Liberian journalists, editors, educators, and media managers develop independent, effective, professional media in their recently devastated and still fragile country. The project is funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Liberian participants will be exposed to international professional standards in journalistic ethics, accountability, objective reporting, and impartial investigation. Among our goals are more accurate and more extensive media coverage on vital issues including HIV/AIDS, anti-corruption efforts, and respect for cultural and ethnic identity. We will also emphasize the business and management aspects of running a successful media business in a developing society where media organizations and professionals may be subject to intimidating or corrupting influences.

Liberian and American professionals will participate in workshops and site visits in New England and Liberia that will promote professional standards, effective management, innovation in media production, and organizational sustainability. In-country institutions involved in the project include the Press Union of Liberia, the Liberian Media Center, and the Environmental Journalists of Liberia Association. We will also involve the Association of Liberian Journalists in America.

During September and October, 2007, the Project brought a delegation of Liberian journalists to Boston and Washington DC for a three week program of workshops, site visits, and internships. The delegation included:
  • Mae Azango - Reporter, Daily Observer
  • Torwon Brown, Producer/Reporter UNMIL Radio
  • Isaac Yeah, Producer/Reporter UNMIL Radio
  • Veronica Kpan, Reporter/Producer Star Radio
  • Matthias Daffah, Reporter/Producer Star Radio
  • James Dorbor Sao, Student Manager Radio Bongese
  • George Barpeen, President, Press Union of Liberia
  • Lawrence Randall, Director, Liberia Media Center
Among other project activities, internships were arranged for various participants with radio stations WBUR, WERS, WUMB, and with the Christian Science Monitor newspaper. Several delegates also visited the National Endowment for Democracy, the World Bank, and the International Center for Journalists in Washington DC. Follow-up programming in Liberia will take place in the spring of 2008.

Liberia Workforce Development Delegation Visit Massachusetts
From 2-14 June, 2008, a delegation of workforce development experts from the Republic of Liberia visited Massachusetts under a US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs project awarded to the University of Massachusetts (Edmund Beard, Senior Advisor, Office of the UMass President and Director of the McCormack Graduate School Center for Democracy and Development, PI). 

The delegation consisted of:
  • Mr. Mulbah S. Jackollie, Principal, Booker T. Washington Institute.   Head of Delegation
  • Ms. Vida H. Bracewell, Comptroller, the YMCA of Liberia.
  • Ms. Tomaa Davis, Special Assistant to the Minister of Youth and Sports.
  • Ms. Charlotte Evangelynn Kaicora, Administrative Assistant to the Pastor, Providence Baptist Church.
  • Ms. Musu Sharon Kardamie, Chair, Concerned Women of Liberia Association.
  • Mr. Francis N. Maweah, Chairman, Department of Rural Development, Cuttington University
For a snapshot of the Liberians itinerary the following is how they spent Wednesday, June 4.  Met in AM at hotel by Edmund Beard.  Walked to Massachusetts State House for full day's programming, arranged by Representatives Daniel Bosley (D. North Adams) and Byron Rushing (D. Boston).  The delegation met with Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne Bump, Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, and representatives of Commonwealth Corporation, YOUTHBUILD, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, Mass Office of International Trade and Investment, and the YMCA.
Lunch was provided in the Members Lounge.  At the close of the day, the entire delegation was taken to the well of the House, during a live session, and introduced by name to the House Membership; at which time the delegation received an extended standing ovation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives.