DR. WILLIAM KONTEH
Top officials of the Planning Committee of Sierra Leone‘s 50TH Independence Anniversary celebrations have arrived in the United States to engage and involve Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora in the celebrations.
The delegation is headed by the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr. William Konteh , who was appointed by President Ernest Bai Koroma to also Chair the Planning Committee. Other members of the delegation are Mrs. Yeniva Sisay-Sogbeh , who is the Executive Secretary , Madam Milly Terry , the Personal Assistant to the Director and Mr.Kwame Yankson , the Communications Officer of the Committee.
They will organize a series of events which will include a reception on Friday November 19 at the Ambassador’s Club, Karma Lounge , 800 G Shoppers Way, Largo, Maryland where distinguished guests will join a select group of changemakers to preview the Committee’s plans for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations. This will be followed by a Celebrity Event in New York on Sunday November 21.This will be followed by a Town Meeting on Tuesday November 23 at 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma ,Maryland ,where the Committee will unveil its plans for the Anniversary.
Madam Millie Terry said that the Committee had come to the diaspora to sensitize Sierra Leoneans and get their views and ideas about the forthcoming celebrations .”We aim to update them , dialogue with them and engage them, because as President Ernest Koroma has been saying, the diaspora is very important and the President wants the 50th Anniversary celebrations to be of a national character “.
Diaspora Director and Chair of the Celebrations Committee, Dr. William Konteh, giving a synopsis of the Committee said that on May 18, 2010, President Ernest Bai Koroma appointed the committee and gave it a clear mandate:
- To organize a year –long celebration, from January 1 to December 31.
- That the celebration should be of a national character involving all Sierra Leoneans , including those in the diaspora.
- It should be non-political and non-partisan, involving all the political parties , interest groups and organizations.
The Chairman disclosed that a committee consisting of 40 persons was appointed comprising political representatives from all the parties to demonstrate its non-partisan nature.
The 50TH Anniversary Celebrations have a four-fold vision, according to the Chairman.
- To revive national pride and patriotism by celebrating our unity and diversity.
- To rebrand and showcase Sierra Leone in a positive light
- To continue the process of consolidating peace and development
- To implement a range of legacy projects which would serve as a memorial to the celebration.
He stated that the Committee will engage in a range of sensitization events and informal functions within the Washington, Virginia, Maryland and New York areas during the period of their stay in America “ We hope these activities will engender interest in Sierra Leoneans and bring into focus the importance of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, which we believe will be a major turning point for Sierra Leone in her move to higher heights “.
Dr. Konteh concluded by calling on all Sierra Leoneans to join His Excellency the President , Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone at this momentous period in history.
LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU
SIERRA LEONE MISSION TO THE UN