The 44th Annual Conference of the Liberian Studies Association

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44th Annual Conference of the Liberian Studies Association
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The 44th Annual Conference of the Liberian Studies Association

March 29-31, 2012
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY


Building a Capable State:
Looking Back, Moving Forward in Liberia's Development

"Post-conflict state-building exercises must be rooted in their historical, political and social context. States are not built in a vacuum, but emerge from complex interactions and processes. These include legacies from the pre-conflict period, attributes of the conflict period, and new elements like emerging configurations of political power arising in the post-conflict period." (UNDP)

The Liberian civil war weakened the authority of the state, created insecurity, and eroded institutions of civil society. Such post-conflict societies are characterized by lack of respect for the rule of law, human rights violations, impunity, and economic devastation and decay. The end of the conflict does not automatically bring peace, security and an end to violence. There is also always a continuing risk that the conflict might resume. In Liberia, some of the most difficult tasks include the articulation of the vision of a new society, dealing with the past, defining the fundamental principles by which the country will be transformed, distribution of power within the country among the various segments of the population, engaging in effective reconstruction, and establishing and securing enduring peace. The manner in which these processes are handled can play an important role in the consolidation of peace in the country. Many of the issues, if not handled properly, can accentuate fundamental differences and lead to renewed conflict.

The 44th Annual meeting of the Liberian Studies Association will attempt to derive common lessons learnt, identify pitfalls to be avoided, and to articulate issues and guidelines to be considered in the design of the new Liberia. The meeting will also attempt to identify what is needed to create a constitutive national political, economic, social, and cultural framework with which all Liberian citizens can identity and which would provide them with a sense of belonging as citizens.
Sub-themes of the meeting will include:
1. Land Security and Tenure in Liberia: Problems, Challenges, and Solutions
2. Approaches of Accountability to the Path to Peace: Restorative/Retributive Justice
3. The Role of the Media in the New Liberia
4. The Rule of Law and the Judicial System in Liberia
5. Financing Liberia's Development
6. Role, Impact , and Sustainability of NGOs and Not for Profit in Liberia's Development
7. Natural Resources Development and Extractive Industries in Liberia
8. Role and Reform of Education in Post-Conflict Liberia
9. Youth and Development in Liberia
10. Agricultural Development and Extension
11. Health and Well-being in Post-Conflict Liberia
12. Crafting a National Vision of Civil Society
13. The Role of Government
14. Corruption and Development
15. Bridging the Disconnect between the Urban/Rural divide
16. Entrepreneurship in the New Liberia
17. Citizenship and Belonging in Liberia
18. Liberian Literature
19. Historical and Cultural Factors related to Liberia's problems and the solutions
22. Expressive forms of culture (music, art, folklore), addresses Liberia's problems
21. Strategies and Alternate Paths to Moving Ahead

Interested persons are invited to submit proposals for the symposium. Proposals must be no more than a page in length, single-spaced, and must have the name, title, and institutional or organizational affiliation and full contact details of the person or persons submitting the abstract.
Deadline for proposals/abstracts is December 15, 2011. Presenters who have been for accepted for participation must submit completed papers by February 10th, 2012. The Institute will modestly assist a few presenters with travel or lodging expenses (for those whose abstracts are accepted and who submit completed papers by the deadline). Registration is required to attend and present papers at the conference. General Registration is $75.00 / $30.00 for registered students. There will also be on-site registration.

Each individual may make only one presentation on a panel or roundtable. Individuals may serve as a discussant or chair on a panel or roundtable in addition to making a presentation on a panel or roundtable. A panel typically will have three to four persons including the discussant/moderator. The panel abstract should consist of a statement about the topic and a brief summary of the main argument(s) to be explored (no more than 250 words). A roundtable typically consists of a chair and three to five presenters. A roundtable proposal consists of a title, abstract, and the names of proposed roundtable participants. The roundtable abstract should consist of a statement about the topic and a brief summary of the main issues to be explored (approximately 250 words).
Inquiries should be directed to Jackie Sayegh at (607) 255-6849 /
Papers and abstracts should be sent to
Or by surface mail to :

44th Liberian Studies Association Meeting
Institute for African Development
190 Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853