Ambassador from Liberia: Who Is Jeremiah Sulunteh?
Sunday, June 03, 2012
The West African nation of Liberia, which has had close relations with the U.S. since its founding by American former slaves in 1847, has sent a new ambassador to Washington who has played a key role in the nation’s reconstruction after back-to-back civil wars that killed 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003. Former Labor Minister Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, who presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on May 7, 2012, replaces William Bull, Sr., who served as Liberian ambassador starting in August 2010.
Jeremiah Sulunteh was born on October 11, 1958, in Gboimu Town, Suacoco, Bong County, Liberia, to Sulunteh Yeibah, a farmer, and his wife, Kanny Bu-Nquoi, now deceased. After completing his secondary education in Suacoco Town, Sulunteh entered the Booker Washington Institute, a vocational school in Kakata, Liberia, where he earned a diploma in Agriculture in 1980. He later earned a B.S. in Economics at Cuttington University in Suacoco in 1988, an M.P.A. at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994, where his thesis was entitled “The Political Economy of African Development: A Comparative Study of Kenya and Tanzania,” and an M.A. in Economics at York University in Toronto, Canada, in 2001, where he taught economics classes and wrote a thesis titled, “Public Sector Deficits and Macroeconomic Performance: Adjustment, Reform and Growth, the Case of Ghana.”
During his career, Sulunteh has worked as a financial aid advisor at York University, as an accounts representative at the Royal Bank of Canada, as project coordinator for the Friends of Liberia, as an administrative assistant to the Vice President for Administration at Cuttington University, and as a field financial analyst for a Bong County, Liberia, Agricultural Development Project. He has taught Public Finance Administration and Administrative Theory and Practice at the University of Liberia, as well as Economic Development at the Graduate School of Cuttington University, where he served as associate vice president for Planning and Development and then as administrator until 2006.
In 2005, Sulunteh ran for Liberia’s vice-presidency on a ticket with Winston Tubman, but the pair did not survive the first round of balloting, and went on to support the eventual winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In 2006, Sulunteh was appointed minister of transport by President Sirleaf, who later named him minister of post & telecommunications, and minister of labor. At the Ministries of Transport and of Post & Telecom, Sulunteh was broadly credited with successfully beginning the reconstruction of Liberia’s infrastructure; while as labor minister he championed labor law reform legislation intended to created “decent workplaces.” Also at the Transport Ministry, he saw to it that an elementary school and a junior high school were built in his hometown so that the children of Gboimu would not have to walk, as he had done, three miles every morning to attend school in Gbondoi.
Sulunteh and his wife, Kabeh Sulunteh, have three children. He speaks and writes Kpelle, his native tongue, which is Liberia’s most commonly spoken indigenous language, as well as English, which is the dominant language of government and commerce.
Biography (Daily Observer)
Sulunteh Takes Oath of Office Honored by Citizens of His Native Bong County (by Stephen Binda and Marcus N. Malayea, Daily Observer)
Minister Sulunteh Fires Three Employees for Check Fraud (by Vivian N. Cooper, Ministry of Post & Telecommunications)
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