MONROVIA – The Concern Christian Community (CCC), based in Liberia, and its international partner, the US-based OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership ongoing leadership training workshop, today entered day-four, at the New Water in the Desert Assembly APC, located in Brewerville, outside the capital, Monrovia.
The OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, which was founded in 1976, focuses on countering religious extremism and combating religion-based oppression, domination, and violence.
OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership partners with one of Liberia’s oldest faith-based relief and peace-building organizations, the Concern Christian Community, in building community-based Interfaith Peacemaking Teams (IPTs) to help address issues of violence in the communities and enable communities to be self-reliant.
The President of the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, who is visiting Liberia for the first time as guest of the CCC, is facilitating a training of trainers, covering leaders of some 20 IPTs.
The leaders of the 20 IPTs when trained at the advanced level, as expected would then train others on strategies of peace-building, with specific focus on reducing election-related violence.
He is also expected to conduct a two-day training session for 10 or 12 trainers of Interfaith Peacemaker Team.
Yesterday, the first 3 days of sessions for Level-2 Trainees of the training exercises came to a climax, including the conduct of non-violent election awareness for approximately 100 students drawn from various schools in Liberia.
The students have been sent in the field with a mandate to spread peace messages, with emphasis on non-violence before, during and after elections.
On today, also, the leadership of CCC and the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership received in audience, Messrs. Juan D. Martinez and Thomas Quaye, who both serve at the US Embassy near Monrovia as Political Officer and Human Rights Assistant respectively.
Both leaderships and participants attending the IPT training workshop thanked the US Government for standing up for election integrity during Liberia’s elections scheduled to take place next month.
Mr. Martinez thanked the organizers of the workshop for hosting the event and stressed the need for Liberians to stand up against electoral violence as the country prepares for the 10 October elections, adding; “With community initiatives like yours, the country can become better with Liberians finding new ways of doing what they desire to be.”
The American diplomat extolled the role of the rest of the international community in accompanying Liberia in its promotion of democracy, peace, and security, and reiterated the commitment of the US government to hold anyone accountable for undermining the democratic process as declared this week in Monrovia by the US Chargé d’affaires.
For his part, the head of the CCC, renowned Liberian cleric Bishop Kortu K. Brown, also applauded the United States of America for its role in promoting democracy, peace and security in Liberia.
He then asked Political Officer Martinez to convey to the US Chargé d’affaires the pleasure of ordinary Liberians over the commitment of the United States government to hold anyone in Liberia accountable for undermining the country’s electoral process
He hailed the CCC – OMNIA initiative for bringing together community leaders to train and provide them awareness in the campaign against electoral violence in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Concern Christian Community is seeking the approval of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the monitoring of next month’s elections through what the CCC calls the deployment of Interfaith Peacemakers Teams, as election observers in accessible communities, and at polling stations across the country.