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Dr. Harry F. Moniba

Dr. Harry F. Moniba
Leader, Teacher, Author, Humanitarian and Icon
October 22, 1937 – November 24, 2004

The life of Dr. Harry F. Moniba is a truly inspiring story - one of dedication, love and commitment.  Through hard work and a never-ending drive to succeed not only for himself, but for his beloved country of Liberia, Dr. Moniba was able to make it out of the harsh conditions that many of his fellow countrymen faced and ascend to national leadership.  He served as Vice President of Liberia for six years, while never supporting armed conflict but always supporting the rule of law.  Held at gunpoint in a 1985 uprising and told to cede power on behalf of the government, Dr. Moniba, against the wishes of his capturers, famously said, “We are too small a nation to fight.  We must find a way to discuss our differences in a civil manner otherwise no one individual will suffer, but our entire nation will.

His public service to Liberia began in 1975 when he was appointed as Director of Research at the Ministry of Education.  From 1976 to 1980, he served as the First Secretary & Consul to the Embassy of Liberia in Washington D.C. and Ottawa, Canada.  Returning to Liberia, from 1980 to 1981, he served as the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs to Europe in Monrovia, Liberia.  From 1981 to 1984, Dr. Moniba served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Liberia to the Court of St. James, London, England, the Holy See (Vatican) and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Rome, Italy, with residence in London.  In 1984, he was appointed as the Vice President to the Interim National Assembly Government of Liberia and a year later, 1985, was elected Vice President of the Republic of Liberia on the ticket of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL).  As Vice President, he served with distinction and consistency of character and integrity as he never allowed himself to be mired by corruption, civil or human rights violations.  His dream was to make Liberia a peaceful nation while helping to build freedom, rights and prosperity for its people.

Throughout his lifetime, Dr. Moniba received various honors, scholarships and awards.  However, the Human Rights Award from the Liberian Human Rights Chapter that he received in 1994 in honor of his dedicated and tireless efforts in respecting human life and dignity was held nearest to his heart.

Additionally, Dr. Moniba donated to several charities such as the Group of 77 (handicapped Liberians).  He sponsored two schools, both a Junior and Senior High School, named in his honor to which he continually donated and assisted during Liberia’s civil war.  Furthermore, he was a strong supporter of Liberia’s Youth Soccer and other sports.  His memberships included but were not limited to:  Honorary Vice President for the Liberian National Red Cross Society; member of the National Teachers Association of Liberia; Honorary Vice President for the International Lions Club; Sigma Tau, Michigan State University and William V.S. Tubman Masonic Lodge No. 15, Voinjama City, Lofa County, Liberia.

For those who knew Dr. Moniba, it was always certain that with every statement he made, a “God Willing” was sure to follow.  A devout Christian, Dr. Moniba was God-fearing and raised his family in the same manner.  Dr. Moniba’s fundamental goals included working to encourage fellow Liberians to bring reconciliation, peace, stability and national unity in reconstructing our war-ravaged country, in order to ensure national, social and political justice.

On November 24, 2004, while in Michigan, Dr. Moniba passed away in a two-car accident while he was preparing to offer his experienced leadership to the Liberian people by being a presidential candidate in Liberia’s 2005 national Presidential Elections.  He may not have driven his putting “Liberia First” campaign to completion, but he had a clear vision and tirelessly articulated it.

Two funerals were held in honor of Dr. Moniba:  one in the United States and one in his home country of Liberia. At the U.S.A funeral, Dr. Moniba's widow was presented with the United States flag by Congressman Nick Smith. The flag was flown at half mast over the U.S Capitol making him the only Liberian in history to receive such an honor. The Congressman stated, "Dr. Moniba loved his country, and worked tirelessly to establish peace and prosperity for Liberia. He understood well the true role of a politician in a democratic society."

Dr. Moniba was also afforded one of the largest state funerals in Liberia’s history.

 

Part II: Dr. Moniba's Education >>

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