President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia has conferred distinguished National Honors on Stephen D. Cashin (SFS ’79 and member of the SFS Board of Advisors) and Professor Steven Radelet (Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development, and Director of the Global Human Development Program).
In a ceremony in Monrovia on July 25th, President Sirleaf invested Mr. Cashin as Knight Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers. He was honored for his work as an investor and philanthropist in Liberia, where he has been extensively involved for the past twenty years. He invested in several companies soon after the war ended, principally the International Bank of Liberia and the Insurance Company of Africa, both of which have become leaders in their respective fields. He has provided strong support to the John F. Kennedy Hospital, Think Liberia (an initiative to support at-risk girls), the reconstruction of the Elizabeth Tubman Institute, the Liberian Education Trust, and many other initiatives. As part of his involvement with the Jesuit Refugee Service he has supported the efforts of the Jesuits in Liberia in building the Holy Family Parish located in one of the areas that was most devastated by the war. For his work with the Jesuits he received a special commendation from Pope Francis.
During the same ceremony, President Sirleaf invested Professor Radelet as Knight Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers in recognition of his work as an economic advisor to the President and the Government since 2005. In particular, the President noted his support and advice on Liberia’s debt relief initiative, a four-year effort that resulted in creditors writing off more than 97 percent of Liberia’s external debt. He contributed to Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy called “Lift Liberia;” advised on budget, trade, and finance issues; helped design a strategy for economic growth; assisted with donor coordination; and supported efforts on civil service reform. In addition, he co-founded (with Steve Cashin and Carrie Radelet) the Liberia Scott Fellows Program, and helped launch the President’s Young Professionals Program.
President Sirleaf also conferred honors on other partners that have supported Liberia’s post-war development, including Mr. Gerald Padmore (who spoke on behalf of the honorees), Mr. Raj Panjabi of Last Mile Health; Ms. Betsy Williams of Emerging Public Leaders; Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, formerly of the Smithsonian Museum; and the International Senior Lawyers Project, among others.