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By Abraham Kettor ’19

In his famous inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” So, as a native of the Republic of Liberia, West Africa, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and go back to my home country with the hope of inspiring other youths to take on peace initiatives and to seek higher education. Of course, this decision wasn’t easy. However, I was prompted to take on this challenge because I have experienced the horror brought on by Civil Wars in Liberia. As a result, I have developed a unique perspective towards life, which inspired me to focus on spreading awareness about love, peace, unity and hope instead of war, hate, intolerance and tribal discrimination. Therefore, when I learned about the Davis Projects for Peace, I knew it would be an exceptional platform for me to step out of my comfort zone.

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17_Abraham Kettor

Student to Work for Peace in Liberia

Abraham Kettor ’19 will travel to Liberia to improve educational development of high school students through the Davis Projects for Peace grant.

Kettor noticed that students seemed to be giving up on the educational system in Monrovia, Liberia, and those who did not were still at risk for dropping out. He said this problem is due in large part to the prolonged, brutal and destructive period of civil unrest, corruption within the government and the most recent school closures due to the Ebola viral disease.

He plans to travel to Liberia where he will meet five volunteers from the education department at the University of Liberia. They will serve as mentors to 25 selected students who are in jeopardy of failing or dropping out of high school.

“We will help inspire students to believe in themselves and encourage them to go to college after high school,” Kettor said. “We will work with them to not only find inner peace but to also think about ways to establish and maintain that peace in Liberia for generations to come.”

The hope is that after a five-week, after-school reading and writing program, students will be able to write compelling essays with good grammar. Kettor also wishes to organize a small library that would provide students free textbooks as well as three computers to enable students to connect globally.

Kettor, a Liberian native, heard about the Davis Foundation from a friend, and after watching Le Nguyen’s presentation, he felt the need to apply. He grew up during the first and second civil wars in Liberia.

“After living in the war-torn country for 17 challenging years, the ideas of peace, love, and hope have become essential parts of my life,” he said.

Kettor plans to leave May 29 and return within the first week of July.

The Davis Projects for Peace is an invitation to undergraduates to design grassroots projects to be implemented during the summer. The objective is to encourage and support motivated youth to try out their ideas for building peace.

Read about Kettor’s experience.