MONROVIA: The Women Situation Room (WSR) on Friday, was a scene of exhilaration when the Eminent Women recognized and awarded several Eminent Women of the WSR from Sister African Countries who have come to support their sisters Eminent Women of Liberia as they conducted the Women’s Situation Room to ensure there is nonviolent elections in Liberia. The women received the Judge Emma Shannon Walser Medal, for their outstanding contributions to peace building across the African Continent.
The Judge Emma Shannon Walser Medal is for the rule of law, good governance and patriotism.
The impressive ceremony was held 13 October 2023 at the Secretariat office of the Women’s Situation Room on 3rd Street, Monrovia, Liberia and saw in attendance Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Kingford Amoako, Ghana’s Ambassador to Liberia, as well as other notable individuals.
Recipients of the awards included Dr. Grace Ongile of Kenya, former head of UN Women in Nigeria and former Chair of the recent Women Situation Room in Kenya, Oduka -Ochan Mary Achan of Uganda, founder and board member of Finance and Trust Bank of Uganda, former Senior Advisor to the Embassy of Ireland.
Others included Hon. Matlhohonolofatso Tsepang Mosena, who is the deputy speaker of the Parliament of Lesotho, and Hon. Mary Chinery Hesse, Chancellor at the University of Ghana and former Chief Advisor to the President of Ghana amongst others.
In her welcoming remarks, Olubanke King- Akerele, Chair of Board of the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC), intimated that the Eminent Women of the Women’s Situation Room had an extraordinary experience and therefore, it was so important to host such an occasion to honor the women for their significant contributions to the continent, especially at the particular moment of elections in Liberia.
Giving the significance of Judge Emma Shannon Walser, Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison, former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia, described the late Judge Walser as an enterprising and effective woman who served the position of the First Circuit Court Judge in Montserrado County and was concerned about peace and the rights of women
In brief remarks, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, Establishment Coordinator of Angie Brooks International Centre and Initiator of the Women’s Situation Room, averred that the Eminent Women are noticed for what they achieved not only for themselves but for the women of Africa, to move the continent forward and their visibility have transformed lives and make people aspired to add value to their lives.
“We have with us the Eminent Women of Africa who have come to support their sisters Eminent Women of Liberia as we conduct the Women’s Situation Room to make sure that we have stable and nonviolent elections in Liberia”, she said.
Making remarks at the event, Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia extolled the Eminent Women of the WSR for their exemplary role on the Continent of Africa and hoped to see more young women in the fold of the WSR. This, according to her, will inspire them when they are part of the contributions to the peace of Africa, and will catapult the Continent into the next chapter of Africa prominence in global affairs.
“Your work is far from over and the struggle to see women rise is not going to end anytime soon. We must not forget that the people we are supposed to be talking to, are the men. We need to bring the men to the table for them to appreciate, understand and become partners to us to push the agenda of women forward”, said Amb. Nkrumah.
For his part, Kingford Amoako, Ambassador of Ghana to Liberia, thanked the WSR for the occasion. He said the work Eminent Women had been doing individually and collectively cut across to impact Africa, as he hope that the work of the WSR through a communication device should trigger down to universities so that opinion leaders, especially the youth can have information about the WSR peace building initiative and be a part of the process.
Judge Emma Shannon Walser – the first woman circuit court judge was born in Maryland County on July 24, 1931. Judge Shannon was educated at St. Theresa’s Convent in Monrovia, the Preparatory Division of Liberia College, and the Eugenia Simpson Cooper Secretarial School. She then worked for the bank of Monrovia, where she served as private secretary to the General Manager for many years.
In mid-career she enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, and graduated with a LL.B degree in 1969. Judge Walser then entered legal practice at the J. Dossen Richards Law Firm as an Attorney-At-Law.
She was appointed to the First Judicial Circuit Court, Montserrado County by President William R. Tolbert, Jr in 1971 and became the first female Circuit Court Judge. On the occasion of her commissioning, she declared that President Tolbert had desecrated the Liberian Judiciary. She was highly respected as a progressive and liberal judge in the 1970s. She was later removed from the bench, a removal which was effected by a “joint resolution” of the legislature in 1979. She was thereafter employed by Amnesty International during which she covered parts of Africa.