Harnessing Technology at its Finest!

Posted by  on September 17, 2013: 


By Sylvia Blyden (SEA to the President)

It was on Saturday past that President Koroma summoned all his immediate trusted lieutenants to his State Lodge residence where we met his medical team arraigned. The doctors informed that they were strictly forbidding the President from travelling for a period of at least one week, following injury he sustained to his heel and ankle during a Squash match he had played. Although the President could manage to painfully walk around with a limp, the doctors warned that if he did not rest the foot, it could get worse. So it was that Saturday afternoon that the President instructed of me to enquire of possibility of a live video-conferencing between Freetown and Washington for the event. Indeed, the ever-pleasant World Bank Sierra Leone Country Office Manager, Mr. Francis Ato Brown and the Office of the World Bank’s Vice-President for Africa, Makhtar Diop who was a co-chair for the event today September 17th 2013, assured they would do their best. Indeed, their best was technology at its finest on display today. Shortly after the World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim delivered his Welcome Remarks, our Head of State appeared live on a screen at the World Bank to speak in from Freetown.


This photomontage shows first, the President inside the Howe Street offices of the World Bank in Freetown with Mr. Brown standing by his side and second, the direct video image and voice of our distinguished Head of State being beamed across the world live into a jam-packed hall at the World Bank in Washington D.C. It was spectacular but it was not the only spectacular event today. The prolonged Standing Ovation that the President received at the end of his lecture, was nothing but spectacular appreciation for a spectacular speech!

As the moderator, the distinguished Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole told the audience, although the President was not there in the flesh, he was fully present as he rendered his wonderful, thought-provoking lecture to some of the finest minds in black America including the newly sworn-in Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. She was sworn in just the day before (Monday 16th) by President Obama thus making her presence at the event, to be, in her words, “my very first official assignment as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa” which she said she had “great pride” in carrying out. She then led a distinguished high-level Panel to discuss the topic of President Koroma’s excellent and inspirational lecture which was “Harnessing the African Diaspora in Building Capacity in Africa”.

Let me end by saying just say how proud I am right now of my boss, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone! Congrats to President Koroma who was invited to address the Black American event as a recognised son of Africa! Congrats and Thanks to the World Bank’s technology team for harnessing technology to ensure we discussed how to harness the Diaspora. A hearty congratulations also to all those who made this video-delivered keynote lecture so worthwhile especially our good friends at the CONSTITUENCY FOR AFRICA.

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