The Fendell campus of the University of Liberia, which had been virtually dormant due to the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country, came alive Wednesday, September 2, 2020, but for some unpleasant reasons. Hundreds of UL people—UL students, teachers, faculty members, academic and professionals from other schools and institutions, well-wishers and family members swarmed the campus to see off an ace academic and longtime educator, Professor Dr. Thomas Jaye at a highly emotional funeral service. Moving tributes and eulogies flowed from mourner to mourner, showcasing the life of a man who spent much of his life fighting for the education of Liberian children, particular at the state-owned university even in difficult times and conditions. The Analyst reports.
One of Liberia’s iconic educators and progressives, Professor Thomas Jaye, has finally be buried. The burial followed an emotionally charged funeral on the Fedell campus of the University of Liberia where he contributed so immensely to the human resources challenges of the country.
The stream of mourners, including his colleagues, mentees, relatives of Dr. Jaye, who was before his demise was the Executive Director for Research of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) at the University of Liberia, were not short of soothing tributes and graphical testimonies of his humility, pedigree and resourcefulness.
In its tribute, the KAIPTC recalled that TJ, as Dr. Jaye was popularly known, loved to discuss and share his fields of expertise and his passion for different genres of music, football, and exquisite victuals.
“He will not only be remembered for his academic acumen or managerial skills or international influence but even more for his affability, his ‘open door’ policy, his quiet wisdom and ease in interacting with policy-makers, peers and juniors alike,” the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center said further.
TJ rose to become the Deputy Director of the Research Department and its expanded form; the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research. He was instrumental in birthing and building the academic section at KAIPTC and availed his expertise and mentorship to junior colleagues, interns, external scholars, training course participants, postgraduate students and PhD candidates.
Prof. Jaye used his influence and networks to positively impact peace, state and human security and development throughout the African continent and beyond.
He was essential to the success of the Centre’s research, training, policy and technical support particularly in his home country of Liberia, including to partner funded projects by the Governments of, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia and Japan.
He was the key expert and consultant on the entire security sector reform program of Liberia during the last 15 years leading to the AFL Act, the Police Act and the Immigration Act. He is one of the leading African progressive intellectuals groomed from the ranks of the Movement for Justice in Africa and the student movement (SUP, ULSU and LINSU).
He writes on security issues and has other academic interests in conflict studies, democracy, governance and international relations. He is author of “Issues of Sovereignty, Strategy and Security Outcomes in the ECOWAS Intervention in the Liberian Civil War” and co-editor of the book, “ECOWAS and the Dynamics of Peacebuilding in West Africa”. He has also written on issues related to security culture, HIV/AIDS and securitization, US-Liberia Security Relations and others. Dr. Jaye teaches Post-War Recovery on the Masters in Conflict, Peace and Security Studies, and the Masters in Gender, Peace and Security Studies at the KAIPTC.
Dr. Jaye hails from Tienpo District, River Gee County. His wife of Moroccan nationality predeceased him a couple of years ago as were his parents. He is survived by his only child, Mubarak, who lives in London, his brothers including Senator Matthew Jaye, Attorney-at-law Andrew Jaye, Anthony Jaye and other relatives and friends across the world. TJ as he is popularly known is an irreparable loss to Liberia and the continent.
Dr. Jaye – UL Commencement Speaker
In his 2017 commencement address, Dr. Jaye told graduates that adequate academic preparation was fundamental to a hopeful and better future. He spoke on the topic: “Education is Insurance for you for the future.”
The bulk of Dr. Jaye’s message was essentially a deep historical and self- reflection of how bad governance, corruption, greed, elitism, and external interference have undermined Africa’s transition from colonialism to democratic governance and development.
His speech was a detailed analysis of the origin of the current socio-economic crisis which has plagued the African continent.
He said: “Over the years Africa has produced mixed results with a few countries being stable while the rest have been caught in the barbed-wire of political turbulence, intra-state conflicts, electoral crisis, governance and leadership failure, economic stagnation, social decline, and insecurity.”
He told the graduates that “when we look back, we see that the socio-economic conditions of our people are worse off than at independence.”
Dr. Jaye, who said he was born right on the eve of African independence, a time he said many felt was promising, lamented that even in the 21st Century, the African continent was still grappling with the story of slavery.
“Our young people who are doing everything possible to cross the sea to migrate to a ‘greener pasture’ in Europe have been turned into slaves, in another African country,” he said. “Some are sold at $200 per person; others went through terrible ordeals, including organ theft and being burned alive; and many have died while trying to cross the sea.”
The Liberia College keynote speaker blamed bad governance and leadership failure in Sub-Sahara Africa as some of the reasons African young and able-bodied men and women were risking their lives to cross into Europe.
Dr. Jaye said another source of the ongoing socio-economic crisis has its roots in the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “These two Breton Woods institutions that were set up to promote development turned out to be barriers to development in Africa,” he said. “The World Bank and IMF imposed strains of anti-development policies on African countries under the euphemism known as ‘structural adjustment programs (SAP)”.
Dr. Jaye said he provided a brief overview of the world in order for graduates to appreciate the enormity of the challenges confronting the world. “Fortunately, as graduates of LUX IN TENEBRIS and its oldest college, the Liberia College, you should be fully prepared as you walk out this graduation hall with your heads up high with faith in a bright future,” he said.