I was born in the beautiful city of Monrovia, Liberia. In my earliest memories as a child, the city was very peaceful. But then war broke out, and we eventually lost everything we had: peace, happiness, family members, communication, and our home.
"I envision a Liberia where the young people have a fighting chance, like every other young person in a developed country. A chance to dream big and a chance to achieve their dreams, however insurmountable they may seem."
More Than Me, an education and girls' empowerment non-profit, is gaining notoriety through its guerilla-style marketing, inspiring hundreds of people to write "I am Abigail" on their foreheads and posting the photos on Facebook.
The Liberian constitution makes it mandatory for citizens of Liberia to be black of African descent. I am one of many white children born in Liberia to non-African parents and denied nationality and citizenship rights due to the color of my skin and my roots.
Driving north for an hour from the city of Liberia in Costa Rica, past skinny cows in postcard-green meadows, one wonders if civilization is ever going to reemerge, and then the taxi driver slams on his brakes.
Last month, during an eight-day study tour of Liberia, I discovered that shop names, posters, advertisements, and graffiti told the story of the place and its problems more graphically than any article or guidebook.
It's not a matter of spending more; nor is it a matter of either guns or butter. Shifting priorities and re-balancing our commitment of resources to meet new realities is not idealism. It's good strategy.
Who said sex and politics don't mix? Led by Leymah Gbowee, a young mother, Liberian women went on a sex strike to end the country's brutal civil war. They were successful: in 2003 warlords agreed to end the violence.
Rape, invisible and ubiquitous, is perceived as sexual and inevitable, and we tend to think of children and women as collaterally damaged during war. In truth, all over the world, girls and women are fully, bodily engaged in conflict.
I took more than a passing interest in the recent news that Charles Taylor had been convicted on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, meeting in The Hague.