Eye on Sierra Leone – highlights Sierra Leone United States Ambassadors 1961-2009
H.E. Ambassador Bockarie Kortu Stevens: The framers of the constitution created the Ambassadorial position to enable nations to have political representation in other countries in the form of an ambassador, who represents his country’s interest. The ambassadors are the shock absorbers, who take blame as well as credit for their respective countries. (Photo: H.E. Ambassador Bockarie Kortun Stevens)
Ambassadors take orders from their home office political hierarchy and execute them. These are decisions which are beneficial to the government and the nation at large. Just as they take credit for their countries, they also take the heat when problems arise between the two nations which could sometimes result to a recall by his government or expulsion by the host nation. Since these positions are government appointed ambassador’s decisions on major issues must be approved by the home office and they must be of benefit to the government. Government recalls their ambassadors when they believe their representative’s views are incompatible with the governments or could be recalled for reassignment. They represent their country’s population in the host nation for various issues ranging from immigration, social events, and a host of other issues that affect the Diaspora’s population. The Sierra Leone Embassy in the United States was opened on April 27, 1961.
Being an ambassador in the United States of America, Germany, and London etc., is both a thrill and a challenge. All around the world aspiring diplomats vie to work in London, the United States, Germany and so forth. Before and during the rebel war Sierra Leone has had few ambassadors who represented the nation in the USA. Â
We had the opportunity of having our first Ambassador in April 27, 1961,
- H. E. Amb. Dr. W.H. Fitzjohn Charge d’Affiaires, April 27, 1961.
- H. E. Amb. Dr. Richard E. Kerifa-Caulker, June 26, 1961.
- H.E. Amb. Gershon B.O. Collier, October 16, 1963.
- H.E. Amb. Christopher O.E. Cole, February 16, 1967.
- H. E. Amb. Adesanya K. Hyde, January 18, 1968.
- H.E. Amb. John Joseph Akar, August 22, 1969.
- H.E. Collins O. Bright, Charge d’Affaires, April 22, 1971.
- H.E. Amb. Jacob Arthur Christian Davies, July 21, 1971.
- H. E. Amb. Phillip Jonathan Gbagu Palmer, September 26, 1972.
- H. E. Amb. Olu W. Harding, Counselor, Charge d’ Affaires, June 18, 1978.
- H.E. Amb. Mohamed Morlai Turay, July 26, 1978.
- H. E. Amb. Ahmed A. Seray Wurie, Counselor, Charge d’ Affaires, February 28, 1981.
- H. E. Amb. Dauda Sulaiman Kamara, January 13, 1982.
- H.E. Amb. Sahr Matturi, May 11, 1987.
- H. E. Amb. Dr. George Carew, November 9, 1988.
- H. E. Amb. Thomas Kahota Kargbo, June 23, 1993.
- H. E. Amb. John Leigh: Ambassador John Leigh came to represent the country at a very chaotic and sad period in the history of our nation. He was an attorney by profession and a successful businessman who was conducting business in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He gave up his lucrative business to represent his nation as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States. He joined the Friends of Sierra Leone organization to bring the Sierra Leone Amputees to testify at the United States Congress, an act which significantly polarized the S.L. conflict.
- H.E Ambassador Ibrahim M’baba Kamara, May 8, 2003 and
- H.E Amb. Sulaiman Tejan Jalloh, December 8, 2006.
- After the change of power in Freetown came one of Sierra Leone’s most prominent families, His Excellency Bockarie Kortu Stevens, born from one of Sierra Leone’s most elite families and the country’s most prominent figure the late president Dr. and Mrs. Siaka Probyn Stevens.
Mr. Bockarie Stevens started his search for academic excellence at the St. Edwards Secondary School in Freetown. He stands at 5’6”. As a boy, he admired academicians. Thus he made it his business to learn as he grew up. He was a brilliant boy, and he was strongminded to witness his dreams face certainty. He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science at the Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, in 1975. He briefly worked at Sierra Leones’s Port Authority as a Personnel Officer in 1988. Â He proceeded to the United Kingdom and went on to obtain a Master’s degree from the University of East London. He is currently a PhD. candidate in 2009, at the Capella University in the United States. Â He is happily married to his wife, Mrs. Musu Stevens and they are proud parents of five children. Ambassador Stevens started his diplomatic career in 1992.Â He served as an Ambassador to Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, and High Commissioner to Jamaica, Canada and Brazil. He was transferred to the United States in the year 2009 due to his distinguished service through the years.
H. E. Ambassador Bockarie Kortu Stevens is rock solid with his position as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States with renewed support from the political hierarchy in Freetown. He is charming and quite focused. He is readily accessible to the Sierra Leone-US community. Under his management the embassy exhibits a welcoming atmosphere and the office staff is quite friendly. They are always available to help out visitors. Â He is a people’s man, a mixer who mingles with the people he represents.
His Excellency Ambassador Bockarie K. Stevens is a remarkable man who can unite the un-unified, and he has proved it on several occasions in Washington, DC. He is ready as always in and out of office to help whosoever needed his assistance. He is actively involved in serving his community. During the week he is occupied with official duties and on weekends he can be seen in the company of his countrymen visiting funeral houses and cultural celebrations. He has never had any issues of recall in his roughly eighteen years as a career diplomat, other than reassignment to new locations. Â
Changing times have brought diverse classes of Sierra Leoneans, some of whom are fixated in maligning others, in order to gain political polarization while they unconsciously throw away their political capital. These activities have become a common practice among very few, and quite recently Mr. Stevens received a barrage of attacks for decisions which were not of his own making, but as an ambassador people who cannot approach and harass the political hierarchy will find him as an easy target. While some will apply civility others will apply eccentric methods, but as always H.E. Bockarie Stevens will simply smile and handle the issue at hand as best as he possibly can.
For example when asked about a recall on an article titled ‘Diasporan’s want Ambassador Bockarie Stevens’ recall.’ Â He simply laughed “the Sierra Leone population in America is approximately 750,000. Â 25 people out of 750,000 equal what? Â They have a long way to educate themselves if they believe the total number of Sierra Leoneans is 25,” and he smiled. This is a matter of twenty-five individual’s desire to impose their views upon the majority, i.e., their enemy is everybody’s enemy, and their views are everybody’s views. It is based upon people’s lack of knowledge about Ambassadorial duties. Â They insinuated their views represent a consensus which is quite wrong. We have Diaspora offices in Ghana, Kenya, London, German, and Norway etc. All these offices are observing relative peace. We have all the problems coming from the area where it is least expected, the United States and it is causing considerable uneasiness among those who worked hard to bring this government to what it is today, and it is equally producing significant concern among the political hierarchy in Freetown, he concluded.
Every country chooses the best among so many to fill their diplomatic corp., thus these civil servants deserve our utmost respect. They have families, which come with responsibilities. These patriotic citizens go to bed with stress and headaches and wake up with more headaches, yet you see the most beautiful smiles on their faces. They all bring sizeable respect to our nation, Sierra Leone.
Arolyn I. Koroma, APC-NA PRO Washington, DC. Chapter
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