Elias Shoniyin Inspires Graduates At Carver Christian University

Monrovia-Mr. B. Elias Shoniyin, Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Policy, Cuttington Graduate School, and  Managing Director for Africa Development Management Associates (ADMA), delivered an inspiring commencement speech to about 150 graduates at Carver Christian University (CCU) 23rd Convocation.

The convocation ceremony, held today, July 10, 2024, at Effort Baptist Church on AB Tolbert Road in Paynesville, was attended by hundreds of families and love ones of the graduates, who were mesmerized by former Deputy Foreign Minister, Shoniyin.

Shoniyin emphasized the importance of education and the role the graduates can play in Liberia’s future. “While acknowledging the irrefutable power of education, you should remember that integrity is the cornerstone of a successful and impactful career. In a country where shortcuts and compromises are a common place, hold steadfast to your values. Let integrity guide your actions and decisions”, he asserted.

Shoniyin began, recognizing the resilience and determination that brought the graduates to complete their academic journey.

He highlighted the challenges of pursuing education in Liberia, where the adult literacy rate is around 48.3%, according to UNESCO. He praised the efforts of the graduates’ families, sponsors, and the university’s faculty and staff for the courage and tenacity to have reached this far.

Reflecting on his own journey, Shoniyin spoke about the power of education in overcoming national challenges like poverty, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure.

“Your professional ambitions are not just personal goals,” he said, “but responsibilities to contribute to the progress and transformation of our nation.”

The Former Acting and Deputy Foreign Minister encouraged the graduates to embrace lifelong learning and adaptability in a changing world.

He cited the words of Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to stress the importance of integrity, resilience, and a positive mindset. who said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” he said. “The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ Your education is not just a tool for personal success; it is a weapon for positive change.”

Using examples from Liberia’s history, Shoniyin also spoke of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, a Liberian medical doctor and scientist whose innovations have impacted healthcare. He also shared the story of Tamba, a young boy who became a renowned carpenter in a village despite limited resources, as a metaphor for perseverance and ingenuity.

According to the ADMA Managing Director,  the challenges many graduates might face in the future include joblessness and political patronage, but he encouraged the graduates to remain hopeful and proactive.

“Your circumstances do not define you; your responses to them do,” he stated. “Believe in your ability to make a difference and maintain a hopeful outlook.”

To motivate the students about life’s journey he highlighted the story of a graduate who, upon leaving university, was determined to change the world. This graduate embarked on a journey that required hard work, humility, and unwavering determination. “The lessons for leaders from this story are clear: ‘Always remain humble, work hard, stay focused, and never lose hope.'”

Shoniyin also pointed to the potential for growth and development in Liberia, inspired by the success stories of other African nations like Rwanda. “Be the change-makers,” Shoniyin declared. “Use your education as a foundation to innovate, create, and lead.”

The convocation ceremony ended with a call to action, encouraging the graduates to carry forward the lessons learned at CCU and to work towards the progress of Liberia. “As you start your new journey, remember that you are the future of Liberia,” Shoniyin said. “Your professional career and attitude have the power to drive national transformation. Embrace excellence, positivity, resilience, integrity, learning, service, collaboration, and boldness.”

Since his departure from government, Mr Shoniyin served as a world Fellow at Yale University in the United States, and now, Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Policy at Cuttington University graduate School, and Managing Director of Africa Development Management Associates (ADMA), a  highly skilled Team of high calibre professionals with requisite capabilities in two key developmental pillars: Development Diplomacy and Development Programming.

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