ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) has awarded scholarships to twenty-one (21) more Liberians to study abroad for advanced academic degrees in various science-related disciplines.
The Advanced Academic Studies Scholarship, fully funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia, is part of its mineral development agreement (MDA) commitments. The scholarship package includes the required fees, tuition, and living accommodations, among others.
The 21 new recipients make up the program’s ninth batch of beneficiaries. They were selected among more than a hundred applicants, following a rigorous recruitment process overseen by an independent committee, comprising various stakeholders, including representatives of the ministries of Education, Mines, and Energy, as well as the company’s three operation counties of Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa.
The new recipients are Patience Ndidi Okoye, Lassana P. Dukuly, Joel F. Gobeh, Brisbane Saye Mehn, Ephraim Joefula, Isaac P. Davis, Sehwy Courage Zekpeh, Saidu Konneh, Edwin B. Fahnbulleh, Paulema Garmai Gweama, and Ernest Z. Mendee, Christian Weah, Daniel Paye Gbaintor, Stephen Paye, Dogbah Korboi, Marcus T. Bundoo, Johnson Emmanuel Sieh, Zayzay Wolobah, Dio T. Bilclue, Ezekiel Korlubah, and Dehyu C. Zangar. They will study at selected universities in India, Malaysia, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana.
To date, ninety-nine (99) Liberians have been sent overseas by ArcelorMittal for advanced academic studies in countries all around the world, including the United States, India, Israel, Rwanda, Botswana, Malaysia, Turkey, Ghana, Zambia, Belgium, South Africa, and Italy, under the Advanced Academic Studies Scholarship Program since 2012, according to AML Head of Human Resources, Rose Kingston.
Kingston further revealed that, of that number, seventy-eight (78) recipients, excluding the current batch, forty-one (41) recipients, which constitutes 53% of the number of beneficiaries, have completed their studies, earning master’s degrees through the MDA scholarship program. The program has cost ArcelorMittal more than US$2.2 million to date since 2012, the company’s CEO Jozephus Coenen termed the amount as an investment in Liberia’s future.
“We didn’t spend money. We invested the money because, personally and from ArcelorMittal’s point of view, education is one of the pillars for not only us but for society, for yourselves and for your families. I am actually proud to have this group of brilliant young people to be going to study at overseas universities,” CEO Coenen said during the send-off ceremony held at the company’s Buchanan concession on Friday.
He congratulated the 21 recipients on their successful vetting as some of Liberia’s best brains, and admonished them to remain focused and studious in their quest for advanced education if they are to be successful and return to impact their lives, families, and country. He also alerted them of the challenges of studying overseas, in new environments, meeting new people, and in new cultures, challenging them to remain steadfast.
Speaking on behalf of the government, the administrator of the Government of Liberia’s Bilateral Scholarships, Samuel G. Williams, thanked the management of ArcelorMittal Liberia for the opportunity provided for Liberians, noting that the program has the best package for Liberian students.
“The people of this country are very excited. They’re happy that you have this kind of opportunity before them,” Williams said.
He also praised members of the scholarship vetting committee for their honesty and dedication in ensuring that the best minds were recruited. Williams encouraged the recipients to make the maximum use of the opportunity provided to them, and properly represent themselves, the company and the country while studying overseas.
Former Grand Bassa County Superintendent, Levi Deemah, on behalf of the AML operations counties praised the management of ArcelorMittal for its continued investment in the professional development of Liberians.
According to Deemah, the selection process of the ArcelorMittal MDA Scholarship has defeated the thought of many that people will walk and buy their way through opportunities instead of passing through a competitive merit-based process.
One of the two female recipients and the top performer during the recruitment exercise, Patience Ndidi Okoye, thanked ArcelorMittal for the opportunity provided to her and many young Liberians, and promised to be focused on her studies to complete and return to serve her country.
“I want to say thanks to ArcelorMittal Liberia for embarking on this journey to empower the people of Liberia. We are grateful for the empowerment to prepare us to take on future responsibilities in our country. My colleagues and I humbly embrace this opportunity. This is a privilege given to us, as there were so many others wanting this opportunity,” Okoye said.
Another recipient, Brisbane Mehn, also praised the AML management for the opportunity to achieve his dream of becoming a specialized engineer, as no university is currently offering advanced degree programs in engineering. For him, this is a golden opportunity.