On July 1, 2016, students from the Global Human Development (GHD) program met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The occasion was organized by GHD Program Director (and Economic Advisor to President Sirleaf), Dr. Steven Radelet, and served as an opportunity for the graduate students to both meet the President and discuss the projects they are supporting this summer in Liberia.
Notably, students and summer projects are as follows:
- Matthew Johnson is supporting the Ministry of Public Works primarily in developing a new strategy for the Bureau of Planning & Programming and guiding efforts to strengthen operations within the Ministry’s Program Coordination Unit.
- Kate Pavelich is supporting the Ministry of Education’s launch of a public private partnership known as Partnership Schools for Liberia—set to launch in fall 2016
- Eileen Ng Fabrega is a Bridge International Academies' Impact Fellow, working on stakeholder engagement and contributing to the design of Bridge’s local strategy around girls' education.
- Talia Dweck is contributing to the Ministry of Health’s efforts to develop the health workforce and build a new regional hospital expected to serve five of Liberia’s 15 counties.
President Sirleaf individually thanked the students for their efforts and asked on how they were finding Liberia, specifically during the rainy season. To this, Eileen quickly replied “I’m from Panama, so I’m used to it.” The lighthearted tone of conversation persisted through to the end of the meeting. When the President learned that the students were living in a church compound for the summer, she jokingly responded “well maybe you’ll leave Liberia a bit more religious.” The students promptly confirmed that truer words were never spoken.