LIBERIA: FTI Holds 1st Associate Degree Commencement Convocation -Graduates 54 forest technicians

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The Forestry Training Institute (FTI) recently held its first Associate Degree commencement convocation at the Jeremiah F. Karmo Conservation Hall in Tubmanburg, Bomi County whereby 54 forest technicians were graduated in various disciplines.

The colorful occasion was graced by representatives from high profile institutions including the USAID, US Forest Service, Mano River Union, UNDP, FDA and a number of national and international partners working in the forest sector.

It can be recalled that on January 17, this year the National Commission on Higher Education (NICHE) certificated and elevated the FTI to an Associate Degree granting institution, having met all necessary academic requirements. The program marked the12th commencement convocation this one being the first Associate Degree convocation.

In a joyous mood while presenting the graduates, the Executive Director, Joel Gamys said,” We have made history; we thank all those who assisted us to reach this far; we are encouraged to move forward and our determination in so doing remains rekindled; it’s our hope that our partners will continue to brace us higher and higher until we can reach our goal of producing more and more professional foresters in the country.” For his part the Chairman of the Board of Directors of FTI, FDA Managing Director, Rudolph Merab acknowledged the dauntless efforts of collaborating partners who have and continue to play pivotal roles thereby promoting the educational standard of the institution. Mr. Merab commended the graduates for their deserved degrees and encouraged them to keep the torch of learning continuously burning to make forestry a journey worth taking. He said FDA will remain standing firm by the side of the FTI family at all times given the crucial roles it plays in the forest sector, especially at a time when the need to protect, preserve and conserve the forest cannot be overemphasized.

In her commencement address, Mrs. Layli Maparyah, an internationally recognized social scientist and researcher spoke highly about the potential of the FTI and the willingness of the students to excel. She praised the resilience of the FTI family for holding together as formidable team thereby resulting to the forward march of the Institution. She rated FTI as “an organized school, a school with heart, a school with a mission and a vision and success stories galore.”

She said FTI needs friends and supporters. “For this reason I am establishing a new philanthropic partner, Friends of FTI” slated to be launched next year. According to her, the Friends of FTI to be launched will seek to provide scholarships, seek emergency funds for students heath care, amongst other human scale projects that meet practical needs.

She continued, “By design we will start small, but FTI is such a good cause that we hope we can get up and running with speed” while expressing the hope that the Friends of FTI will be embraced at the end of the day by those who want to do something about the environment but don’t know what to do. She thanked all parents and family members of the graduates for trusting their sons and daughters in the care of the FTI. She also thanked them for seeing their talents and doing everything possible to make their sons and daughters enter FTI and coming out with flying colors.

She concluded,” Before I leave the podium, I want to pray over all of you. I thou kind lord! Graciously bestow a pair of heavenly wings unto each of these fledglings and give them spiritual power that they may wing their flight through this limitless space; O lord strengthen these fragile seedlings that each one may become a fruitful tree, verdant and flourishing; tender these souls victorious that they may be able to crush the forces of error and ignorance….” thou art the Mighty and the Powerful; thou art the Bestomer and the All-Loving.”

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