A former Liberia diplomat and Trade Representative at the Liberian Embassy near Washington DC has been nominated to head the country’s diplomatic mission to the United States, Mexico and Canada. She is Ms. Gurly Teta Gibson.
News of her appointment was disclosed early on Monday by the Executive Mansion in the Liberian capital Monrovia.
In 2012, as her country’s Trade Representative, Ms Gibson led a delegation of business investors to Liberia and announced that as a result of the successful visit, Liberia stood to reap almost $5 million USD in direct foreign trade investments.
Ms. Gibson at the time disclosed that the trade delegation included representatives from Hilton Group, the Canadian based Reeves Intercontinental Services, Incorporated, Heart of Africa Mission Development Corporation, Philips Consulting Group, Reeves Group.
In 2014, at the height of the Ebola epidemic and plans by the U.S. and other countries to cut off air travel to Liberia to prevent the spread of the deadly pandemic, Ms. Gibson pleaded to keep travel and international medical assistance open to the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
She appeared before the Philadelphia City Council in October, 2014 and told members, “We need airlines to go in to take supplies to those countries; if not, it is going to spread and get worse and people are going to die. We don’t have the capacity. Our health structure is not set up in a way to do the kind of containment that we need to do, and that’s why we are reaching out to other nations…”
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the U.S., Gurly has also served on the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Commission as one of several advisors. From her vantage position as Trade Representative and a member of the African disapora, she was able to constantly seek assistance for Liberian businesses and the Tubman University in the sub-political division of Maryland County in southeastern Liberia.
Gurly became the sole and most authoritative source for would be investors seeking information on investments opportunity and. even as a person in the private sector, is still courted today by international investors for reliable information on business opportunities in Liberia.
As a founding member of the Liberia Women Forum (LWF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the fight in Liberia against domestic violence, rape and justice for female victims, she led advocacy efforts in 2017 in conjunction with the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) to protect underprivileged women and girls.
At a march staged in Monrovia to protest the treatment of Liberia girls who were trafficked to Lebanon, Ms. Gibson said her organization, the LWF “was here to stay and awaken the consciousness of women and girls, saying women are the backbone of every society, and yet the women of Liberia have been disenfranchised.”
She later appeared before lawmakers and told them “We are saying enough of the trafficking of our Liberian girls, enough of the sexual violence against women and girls, enough of the discrimination, enough of the intimidation…”
Gurly, as she is popularly called, is well connected in the Liberian Diaspora, the City governments in Washington DC and Philadelphia and foreign business communities in the United States.
She holds a Masters degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts and is a Trade and Investment expert.
If confirmed by the Liberian Senate, Ms. Gibson will replace Ambassador Lois Lewis Brutus who presented her Letters of Credence to U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House last December.
By Emmanuel Abalo
West African Journal Magazine