Accountability: A Key to Nation Building
In a quest to spread the message of change, transformation, transparency and integrity, the Accountability Lab participated in the 35th anniversary celebration of the Sociology and Anthropology Students Association (SASA) at the University of Liberia last week. The event was marked by a parade and conference that brought together over 300 stakeholders, including members of the University of Liberia administration, SASA department staff and instructors, students and other community members.
Sociology is one of the largest departments at the University of Liberia, and as Liberia emerges from 14 years of civil war, the study of human relations can play a critical role in post-conflict reconstruction. The theme of the SASA convocation was “Nonviolence is imperative for a peaceful society,” and the program highlighted four important ideas :
- The growth of a nation begins with its people. One of the best ways to develop a country is to develop the minds of the citizens so that they can take ownership of their country. Accountability Lab representative Lawrence Yealue in his remarks challenged University of Liberia students to start to live by the university motto “Lux En Tenebris” which means “Light in Darkness.” The change we want to see does not come from those above— it starts from us.
- The condition of a country can be measured by its social patterns. Sociology and Anthropology has played a vital role over the years in allowing us to understand our society. Yealue called on SASA members to take the lead in transforming the social patterns of Liberia in a direction that brings about economic transformation, social cohesion and peace
- We must address the lingering affects of civil war. Students at the University of Liberia frequently resort to violent actions to obtain results that they desire. This forum will provide a key first step in promoting a culture of accountability that reduces violent extremism on campus. SASA does not wish to follow in the steps of our predecessors by ignoring societal problems, rather SASA wishes to take the lead in setting a non-violent agenda for Liberia.
- Lasting change requires a collective effort. For a nation to develop, citizens must have a sense of nationalism, patriotism and belonging. All of these qualities are developed by a strong education and understanding of human society. The change we need requires contributions from all. The Accountability Lab strives to facilitate this idea of building a community for social change in Liberia and we are eager to engage new partners dedicated to this cause.