LANSING, Mich. -- The President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, and his Minister of Defense, Daniel Ziankahn, met with Michigan Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, and members of the Michigan National Guard Friday, Sept. 28 at the Joint Forces Headquarters facility in Lansing to celebrate the friendship between Michigan and Liberia.
Michigan and Liberia have been connected in a special way since 2009 when the Michigan National Guard entered into a partnership with Liberia as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program. In the past ten years Michigan National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have worked closely with members of the Armed Forces of Liberia to construct facilities, implement training protocols and administrative processes, and to strengthen the Armed Forces of Liberia, thus strengthening the security of the country as a whole.
Last May, Vadnais traveled to Liberia specifically to conduct a Senior Leader Engagement with the Armed Forces of Liberia. During the visit, the AFL Chief of Staff requested advice and assistance with an overcrowding issue at the Edward Binyah Kesselly barracks. Overcrowding puts the health of Soldiers at risk, increases fatigue, and can lead to low morale at a time when the newly formed forces need vitality and unity. After a tour, Vadnais committed Michigan National Guard resources to assist the AFL with efforts to alleviate the overcrowding.
After his trip to Liberian earlier this year the Michigan National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Greg Vadnais said, "By all accounts the Armed forces of Liberia is making outstanding progress across the board. The multi-purpose buildings, the renovated laboratory and the use of solar power to delivery steady, reliable energy will service the AFL, families and community members in and around the Edward Binyah Kesselly barracks and the Armed Forces Training Center for many years to come. There is positive progress everywhere and it is wonderful to see."
Following his meeting with the Michigan Airmen and Soldiers, President Weah, his staff and Maj. Gen. Vadnais met with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to further honor the relationship.
The Liberian delegation commented that, "The President shared his agenda on agriculture, healthcare delivery, infrastructure development, education and Security and the Rule of Law."
President Weah is in the United States to attend the 73rd United Nations General Assembly with plans to meet with world leaders and potential investors, in addition to honoring the special relationship with Michigan National Guard members. The United Nations visit is his first General Assembly as Head of State of the Republic of Liberia.