Recently I had the opportunity to visit Liberia with others from Better World Books and Books for Africa . Liberia is a small country in West Africa that has been through horrific civil war for 14 years before finally re-establishing peace in 2003. Needless to say, just about every institution in the country is starting from zero, slowly building back up, and that includes their universities.
Cuttington University (map) is a rural 4-year university in Liberia . It is the oldest coed 4-year university in West Africa , considered by many to be the country’s most prestigious institution of higher education. It also happens to be quite close to the farm of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia who is currently on trial at the International Court of Justice in the Hague .
So here’s what I mean about “starting from zero”… four years ago, this prestigious university had no roofs on its buildings and no books in its library. The campus was ransacked during the wars… most of the books in the library were burned as fuel for fires.
Our group was able to meet with leaders from the university and hear their needs. Better World Books has committed to funding, through Books for Africa, the shipment of two 40-foot sea containers full of books (that’s 80,000 books) to Liberia for the country’s universities.
Cuttington is in dire need of books, so Liberia ’s brightest minds can be educated to help pull this country out of war-ravaged poverty. I think I speak for everyone at Better World Books when I say that we’re honored to be helping Cuttington.