Liberian Swedish Scholars Network Hosts Third First-Time Voters’ Symposium Friday

MONROVIA-The Swedish Institute Alumni Network-Liberia (SIANL) will host its third round of first-time voters’ symposium in Congo Town on Friday, May 12. The series of symposia is the Network’s way of contributing to strengthening democracy and inclusive societies in Liberia.

The symposia are targeting school-going adolescents who did not attain voting age in the 2017 general and presidential elections, but are now constitutionally capable of exercising their democratic franchise in the October 2023 polls. At least 250 representatives from several high schools in Congo Town and Paynesville will gather at the Jones Christian Academy (JCA) in Congo Town, to listen to panelists making presentations on their rights, roles, and responsibilities in this year’s elections.

Mr. Alex Devine, Executive Director of Youth for Change in Liberia, Atty. Bendu Kpoto, Legal Officer at the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, Atty. Sagie F. Kamara of the National Bar Association and D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, Head of Communication and Media of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network Liberia will address the event to be moderated by Cllr. Ade Wede Wee-Wee Kekuleh of the National Bar Association. The panelists will address topics including young people voting in a Democratic Election, Prospects of Voting in a Democratic Election, Challenges of Young People Voting in a Democratic Election, and What Young People need to know while voting in a Democratic Election.

SIANL President Sam Samie Sumo said the network is focusing on elevating Goal 16 of the Sustainable Goals (SDGs) which addresses Inclusive societies. He stated that targeting young people, especially school-going first-time voters is tantamount to engendering inclusiveness. “We are trying to promote and elevate inclusiveness in our society. As scholars trained in Sweden, we are obligated to use our education to make democracy work better in our country. Democracy is all about inclusive voices, because when citizens participate in democratic processes, they are expressing their voices in ensuring an inclusive society, and that’s why we have organized the symposia since last year.”

Sponsored by the Swedish Institute as part of staying engaged with its alumni, Friday’s symposium is held under the theme: Young People Voting in a Democratic Election: Prospects and Challenges – What they Need to Know. SIANL is a registered professional non-governmental and non-political institution, comprising Liberians who benefited from the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals, studied at different Swedish universities, and resided in and out of Liberia. The network’s aim is to promote the Sweden-Liberia partnership through sustainable development initiatives.

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