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Investigating Integrity: Senator’s Evaluation of Foreign Minister Nominee Sara Beysolow Nyanti

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Investigating Integrity: Senator’s Evaluation of Foreign Minister Nominee Sara Beysolow Nyanti

As a ranking member of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, I did my own due diligence on Madam Sara Beysolow Nyanti, President Joseph Boakai’s nominee for Foreign Minister. Her degrees from Western Governors University – an accredited online university where you can earn an affordable, accredited, career-focused college degree at an accelerated pace – are legitimate. I saw the transcripts. I didn’t see any for Andrew Jackson University, which is now defunct. It was founded as a for-profit institution in 1994 by Robert McKim Norris Jr. and D. Michael Barrett. After being acquired in 2010 by Universitynow, Inc., it was renamed New Charter University, and subsequently in 2020, it was again renamed Bottega University (in Salt Lake City). Accredited as an online educational platform, Bottega offers certificates and undergraduate and graduate courses. She may not have followed the traditional route in the pursuit of her university education that we are all accustomed to, but if a degree from an accredited university is a requirement, she has one.

Concerning the circumstances of her UN assignments, I spoke to two former senior UN officials who are familiar with her work, a senior former official of the International Republican Institute who was assigned to South Sudan at the time, and a retired former UN official who is familiar with her work in Nepal. I also had the privilege to speak with John Garang’s widow, South Sudan’s former First Lady and one of the country’s five VPs. All gave satisfactory feedback on her work. I am familiar with her work in Yemen when I served as head of the World Bank’s Global Hub for Fragile States.

The issue for me was integrity and her ability to deliver. My own research and outreach to people who are familiar with her work reassured me. I do not doubt that she is competent to be our Foreign Minister. Could there be other issues? I don’t know. This is why the Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Abe Darius Dillon has decided to do a second hearing in the Committee Room before forwarding the nominee to the Senate Plenary for a vote. The Senate is an elder’s house, and we must act like it by being thorough in our decision-making processes void of emotions and public sentiments.

Madam Beysolow Nyanti’s story gives hope to Liberian women.

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