On Monday, September 30, 2013, four EARTH students from Liberia received the opportunity of a lifetime and met the current President of the Republic of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the University of Peace (UPEACE) in San Jose, Costa Rica.
In her first visit to Costa Rica, President Johnson Sirleaf delivered a keynote address for the unveiling of a monument in her honor at the UPEACE campus. Present at the ceremony were UPEACE students and faculty, international diplomats and EARTH University students Festus Guah (‘16, Liberia), Emmanuel Gonfate Cooper (‘15, Liberia), Flomo Quoi Gongunwon Jr. (‘15, Liberia) and Washington Tanookpuwah (‘15, Liberia). The students were able to speak personally with their President, who was very interested in their life in Costa Rica and at EARTH.
“We talked to her all about what we do at EARTH and all the practical experience we get here, and she said she would like to learn more about the University and maybe how she could get some more scholarships for Liberians to come here,” said Emmanuel.
In 2005, President Johnson Sirleaf became the first female head of state in the history of Africa, and in 2011 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen for their outstanding work promoting women’s rights and combatting dictatorship and sexual violence in their respective countries.
Washington added, “She was so nice and so happy to come to Costa Rica and meet people from Liberia.”
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