Sen. Amara Konneh: Tribute to a Fellow Harvard Crimson

The year was 2014. I was Minister of Finance and Development Planning. The late Thomas Doe Nah called me and politely asked if I could write a recommendation letter on his behalf to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Though a major critic of the government that I served in at the time, when he served as the Executive Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), a chapter of Transparency International, for nearly a decade, from April 2008 to January 2017, I obliged. He got in, of course with the others’ support, especially his family. He sent me a nice thank-you email.

I was back on campus around graduation time in 2016 to receive the Kennedy School’s prestigious Alumni Public Service Award. Three Liberians including Muhammad Bility were in that year’s cohort. I shared my honor and limelight with them (left photo). Gregory Coleman was also there. We had dinner together the evening before the award ceremonies (right photo). Thomas and I lost contact when I became a constructive critic of the CDC Government, but our Harvard bond lived on.

Most of us speak with anger. The words we use determine our perceptions of reality, and the way we express them reflects how we feel and the environment we were raised in. Though we weren’t close friends, Thomas expressed his positions calmly even in our disagreements, and his work at CENTAL helped to keep most of us honest and inspired young professionals. He spoke and carried himself like a leader!

So long fellow Crimson! Thank you for your service to our country. I hope our Senate will honor your service by withholding the confirmation hearings of your appointed successor until your body is laid to rest. May your soul Rest In Peace.

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