USAID/Liberia Mission Director Jim Wright's Remarks at the Graduation of the President’s Young Professional Program

Speeches Shim

Friday, August 12, 2022

(As prepared for delivery)


I am extremely delighted to join you here today to celebrate the graduation of the President’s Young Professionals Program–Classes VII, VIII & IX (Classes 7, 8, and 9). 

We have heard from previous speakers’ powerful testimonials about the impact of the PYPP program. As I reflect on my own past, and provide career guidance to my daughters, I am reminded how difficult it is for recent university graduates to obtain employment in their chosen fields, regardless of their talents and education. Few employers will hire someone without relevant prior work experience.  Therefore, I applaud the government entities and businesses that participated in PYPP and provided invaluable professional opportunities to future Liberian leaders. I must point out that the host organizations also benefit immensely from the program, by allowing youth to learn about future career possibilities and establishing a relationship with potential long-term employees. For example, my first experience with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where I have worked for the past twenty-four years, was a short internship during my second year at university.      

To our graduates: We congratulate you on your accomplishments - for having successfully completed two years of service, mentoring and training. We commend and thank you for the diligence and discipline you have demonstrated during your fellowships.

Because of you, the graduating Classes VII, VIII & IX (Classes 7, 8, 9) of the President’s Young Professionals Program, and what you represent, other bright and talented young Liberians are eager to follow in your footsteps. 

Together, you served in over 14 entities. The feedback from the Ministries, Agencies, and State-owned Enterprises where you interned highlighted the exemplary performance of your cohorts, and the professional skills and talents that you demonstrated in carrying out your responsibilities. 

As you graduate, we anticipate that you will continue to serve the Civil Service Agency or work with companies in the private sector.

We are very pleased with the Government of Liberia’s long-term vision to support and fund the PYPP since 2009. Along with the Government of Liberia, the U.S. Agency for International Development, through the generosity of the American people, proudly co-invests in the PYPP. We believe that with small investments today, the PYPP program will produce huge dividends in the future for those it trains and, by extension, for Liberian society at large.

Many partners, including USAID, officials of the Government of Liberia, educators’ trainers, facilitators, mentors and supervisors contributed to your success. 

The U.S. Government recognizes the importance of training future leaders and the crucial role that youth play in the development process to reduce poverty, contribute to peace and stability, and advance economic prosperity in Liberia.

To all PYPP alumni and all young Liberians, let me tell you this: Liberia needs you. It needs your youthful vigor and energy, your dynamism and sense of purpose.

Take full advantage of all opportunities you have to develop yourselves. Wherever you work - whether in government or the private sector, your contributions are critical, and your work has the potential to further your country’s development.

Amidst all the development challenges your country faces now, you must remember that it has great potential. Liberia is richly endowed with vast resources that other nations can only dream of.  You have a proud history that is anchored in close to two hundred years of nationhood.

Your challenge is to seize the moment and take advantage of your country’s boundless potential. Work hard and continue to be curious. Wisely use the gifts with which nature has so generously blessed Liberia.  Draw on that quintessential Liberian spirit of resilience and sense of optimism. And above all, for your sake and for Liberia’s sake, you must dare to succeed in all that you do.

Thank You.


Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 21, 2022

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