Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks in Monrovia, Liberia
Thank you very much, Madam President. Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here in Monrovia.
I’d like to begin by thanking President Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for the kindness they have shown me and our entire Canadian delegation. I could not have asked for a more gracious welcome on this, my very first stop on my very first official visit to Africa as Prime Minister. Canada and Liberia have a strong relationship, one that is made stronger by our shared belief that when women and girls are full participants in the social, economic, and political lives of our two countries, we will all succeed. The role that women played in bringing an end to the civil war and helping Liberia rebuild is an inspiration to the rest of the world.
That will be my central message in my meeting this afternoon with women and youth leaders. It will be a chance to listen and to learn and to think about what we can all do to encourage more women and girls to lead, whether it’s in government, the business world, or as we’ve seen here in Liberia, in bringing about lasting peace.
Earlier I had a wonderful chance to sit down and meet one on one with President Sirleaf. Together we discussed the ties between our two countries and reaffirmed our commitment to work together to improve peace and security and advance women’s rights. Canada made three specific commitments to help achieve these goals.
First, Canada will increase its support to the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action which works to expand the role that women already play in building and leading peace processes.
Second, we plan to do more to help support Liberia during next year’s elections through the United Nations development program’s joint trust fund. We are hopeful that this support will include a special emphasis on encouraging greater participation of women, both as voters and candidates.
Third, Canada will boost its support for UN women’s efforts to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women in the region. I’m particularly interested in looking at ways that more men and boys can be encouraged to speak out to support the women in their families and their communities and help bring about an end to the violence that is a daily reality for far too many women.
Later today, I’ll be visiting Slipway Elementary School to see learning that is happening with the support of Canadian partners Right to Play and Code. Education is something that is very close to my heart, both as a father and as a former teacher. And tomorrow, I will be joining Minister Bibeau in Madagascar where we will represent Canada at the Summit of the Francophonie.
But I will be forever grateful to President Johnson Sirleaf and to all the women and men I’m meeting here during my time in Liberia, not only for reminding me of why I’m so proud to call myself a feminist, but also for showing me what’s possible when good people who care about each other come together to make a real difference in their communities and in their countries.
Thank you very much.