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Ethical Leadership Program in Liberia

The Wittenberg Center aims at providing ethical competencies for young leaders in business, politics and civil society with a special commitment to developing countries, especially in Africa.

Since 2002 Seminars have been dealing with good governance, responsible leadership, sustainable development and entrepreneurial spirit as crucial drivers for development. Since 2008 Ethical Leadership Seminars have been conducted in Africa, in particular Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

From 29th February to 3rd March 2012 the Center was organizing a training program in Monrovia, Liberia. The course conducted at the University of Liberia, received approximately 170 applications, from which 28 participants were selected to attend. Those selected were young leaders drawn from various fields and the short-listing process took into consideration gender and regional balance.

Included Participants

One of the most important parties represents the Government officials from various ministries and other governmental organisations such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liberia Broadcasting System and civil society. Besides them, experts from agencies working on transparency and accountability issues do participant as well as civil society leaders and academics. In addition to them, people from the business and hospitality fields also take part.

Aims of the Training Programme

The training programme contains a range of objectives. The education of young leaders in the field of ethical leadership, good governance, anti-corruption mechanisms and business ethics has to be considered the main target. Besides this, encouraging young people to identify existing problems in their communities and come up with solutions as to how they could be dealt with and fostering an exchange of ideas between young leaders of Liberia and the WCGE are aims of the training programme.

Furthermore creating a regional network on global ethics (focusing on ethical leadership) in Africa with Liberia as the point of focal points and have organisations commit themselves to replicate training in their organisations and communities may be found on the agenda of the programme. Subsequently it aims at getting leading organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) country team embark on supporting such training programmes.


The course consisted of 4 modules covering the knowledge and skills in dealing with the topics highlighted below:

MODULE 1- Ethical Leadership - Introduction

  • The WCGE Approach
  • Globalization and Global Ethics
  • Leadership and ethics

MODULE 2 - Corruption

  • Definition and components of corruption
  • Case studies of corruption and its effects
  • Accountable and Transparent Leadership
  • Business Ethics
  • Coping with the challenges of Investing in Liberia

MODULE 3 - Good Governance

  • Good Governance: Understanding the concept and its components
  • Free, fair and periodic multi-party elections
  • Decentralising power
  • Separation of Powers & Checks and Balances
  • Democracy and Development

MODULE 4 - Human Rights and Rule of Law

  • Human Rights and Human Wrongs
  • Rule of Law and Rule by Law
  • Protecting and Promoting Women's Rights
  • The role of the media in promoting Human rights and the Rule of Law

The curriculum provided a holistic approach to ethical leadership and paid particular attention to the many specific contexts and influencing factors in which leadership takes place. This was explained through practical hands-on learning techniques, lessons from previous experiences and cross-learning, which works to deepen understanding of ethical leadership frameworks and practices in Liberia. Participants were able to share their own experiences with each other as well as learn from the broad experiences of the trainers. This in turn fed into the thinking around current strategies and activities that participants and trainers worked on during the course.

Prof. Dr. Arnis Vilks was the lead trainer of the course and led on its design and delivery. Ibrahim Bangura (Programme Manager BGC) and Bangaly Bah (lawyer, Crown Prosecuting Service, United Kingdom) served as co-assistant trainers. A total of 5 trainers and experts assisted the lead trainer during the 4-day course. They were from various professions, backgrounds and areas of expertise and all have vast practical and theoretical experiences in the targeted areas.

Based on the evaluation forms the course was highly appreciated and there were calls from different sectors including the Foreign Ministry, Cuttington University, Civil Society etc. for a replication of the course. It is seen as very essential in the post-war reconstruction and state rebuilding process ongoing in Liberia.

In undertaking such training programmes (two already implemented in Madagascar and Sierra Leone), WCGE aims at strengthening the ethics component in leadership among the younger generation. The Centre is currently planning to undertake similar trainings in Ghana and Tanzania as it expands its activities in Africa.