Mydea Reeves-Karpeh's Speech
St. Christopher's Alumni Association Convention
Story by Sidiki Trawally, firstname.lastname@example.org (culled from FrontPage Africa)
Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh
Mydea Reeves-Karpeh Blasts Leaders Of Diaspora Organizations
Leaders of most Liberian Diaspora organizations are themselves responsible for the failure of their respective units, observed an eminent Liberian resident in the United States.
Thumping the nail on the head, ULAA Eminent Person shared harsh notes with Liberian leaders and those of the various communities in the Diaspora. Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh observed that Liberian organizations are experiencing problems of governance and effective leadership because “our egos remain too big and we never want to come together.”
The stateswoman, disappointed with the infinite disunity that continues to chip away at the progress of various Liberian community organizations across the country blasted that except self-indulgence and circumventing the rules of these organizations by their leaders is taken out of the practice of governance, growth will continue to slow to a murky end.
Mrs. Karpeh served as the keynote speaker at the fourth annual convention of St. Christopher’s Catholic High School Alumni Association in Columbia, Maryland over the weekend.
“It appears to me that the problems of Liberian organizations are not unique to the kind or type of organizations,” she added. Mrs. Karpeh lamented that circumventing the rules of organizations, backbiting, gossiping and practicing divide and rule tactics to keep these organizations from functioning is seriously undermining progress in these Liberian communities. “We keep identifying who the “real leaders” are and fight to control our territories when things don’t go our way.”
She told the enthusiastic audience of alumni and friends that “once elections are held and when one group does not win, they characteristically go and form a sub-group with the intent to sabotage the laudable goals and objectives they all set out to accomplish. To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy it seems that each community is unhappy in its own way.”
The keynote speaker noted that Liberians have always taken a keen interest in their homeland since the early 1970’s when students came to the United States in quest for higher education. She said these student formed unions and later the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA). “However Liberians began coming in significant numbers after 1980, when civil unrest sent immigrants fleeing across the ocean. The population continued to grow throughout the decade; a new wave of fighting after 1990 created the immigrant/refugee outflow that continues to bring Liberians to the United States.”
“Consequently various organizations including alumni associations such as St. Christopher’s Alumni Association, ethnic organizations, local, religious, regional and other professional organizations have mushroomed over these years. The operations of these organizations have been characterized by conflicts and strife resulting in poor governance.”
Mrs. Karpeh calls for paradigm shift in leadership approach
The tough-speaking Mrs. Karpeh strongly advised that since a business as usual approach towards governance is not working for these organizations, she would think they should embark on a new beginning which provides for the real measures of policy successes or failures.
“Most old approaches are not working. We need a new beginning which supports a new partnership undergirded by a strong commitment to be flexible as opposed to the current one-size-fits-all approach to solving the hundreds of problems in our communities. It is this paradigm shift that I believe holds the salvation for many Liberian organizations.”
Mrs. Karpeh cautioned Liberian leaders to develop a new model of governance, one that gives each of “us real incentives to do what is right, forces us to serve rather than be served, helps us realize that it is okay to do quality work for ourselves and not just for our Western employers, and inspires a healthy competitive spirit within each of us.”
The learned community leader furthered that Liberian organizations need accountable and responsible leadership. She added, “We must therefore elect leaders who will challenge our people and whom our people will challenge; leaders who will liberate our people from the bondage of ignorance and the claws of perpetual failures. Organizations like yours provide an opportunity to help create the paradigm shift that our nation needs in not just your members but also in those Liberians whose young minds are being molded by your alma mater.”
She challenged the alumni to ensure that their Association is a mechanism for the exchange of ideas among alumni and acts as an official channel of communication between the alumni and the School.
“The Association nurtures lifelong relationships with and among current and future alumni. The objectives and purposes of St Christopher’s Alumni Association are to promote the interest and welfare of the school and its alumni; to inspire, develop and maintain the interest of the alumni in the school; to help alumni keep alive the friendships, associations and interests they formed as students in Kakata; to foster giving to the school; to maintain close cooperation and to establish a medium through which the alumni may support and advance the cause of education by the School.”