Opportunities and Challenges of Democratization and Governance Reform in Liberia
Venue: CMI, Auditorium, Fantoftvegen 38
The signing of the peace agreement in 2003 ended 14 years of intermittent violent conflicts and a civil war in Liberia and paved the way for the launching of a process of democratization and governance reform. The agenda for democratization and governance reform is confronted with numerous challenges and enriched with many opportunities. Sources of opportunities and challenges are to be found in the response of the international community to Liberia as a "fragile state," as well as in the dynamics of Liberia's internal post-conflict political and social processes themselves. This presentation will identify and analyze some of these opportunities and challenges in various aspects of the reform agenda such as in the public sector, security and land reform initiatives, among others. It will emphasize the overarching and critical need for Liberian ownership of the reform processes and sustainability of their outcomes.
Professor Amos Sawyer, the former President of Liberia, has been active in conflict resolution and democratization initiatives in many African countries and has written extensively on governance challenges and conflict resolution in Africa. His publications include Beyond Plunder: Toward Democratic Governance in Liberia (2005). Sawyer studied history and government at the University of Liberia, Monrovia and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, U.S. Professor Sawyer is now Associate Director and Research Scholar at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, U.S. His research investigates the possibilities of attaining local self-governance and the democratization processes in Africa.