As Johnson Sirleaf Exits, Liberians Thankful for Peace, Excited for Change (Reuters)

MONROVIA (Reuters) - After a dozen years of recovery under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping bring peace after civil war turned her country into a wasteland, Liberians are hopeful about their first democratic power transfer for 73 years.

Twenty candidates are standing to replace Johnson Sirleaf in a first round on Tuesday. With nobody likely to win a majority outright, the top two are expected to face each other in a run-off in around a month. While the election campaign has been rambunctious, it has been mainly peaceful so far, and most expectations are that it will come off without bloodshed...

“High level corruption has been a slap in the face for Liberians, most of whom live in abject poverty,” said Liberian political analyst Robtel Neajai Pailey who also criticized what she described as “hero worship” of Johnson Sirleaf.

With Sirleaf, Liberia's Glass Ceiling Cracked but Failed to Shatter (Agence France-Presse)

Monrovia (AFP) - Liberia's female politicians profess near-universal respect for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as she steps down after 12 years as president -- but many also say the glass ceiling that Africa's first female leader cracked remains firmly in place...

'Anti-feminist'?

Two Liberian feminists have caused a stir by asserting in international media that Sirleaf has "failed" women in the political realm, potentially tarring her legacy.

"I think President Sirleaf is anti-feminist when it comes to politics," Robtel Neajai Pailey, who co-authored a widely shared article with activist Korto Reeves Williams, told AFP.

She accuses Sirleaf of indifference to a call by Liberia's Women's Legislative Caucus for women to occupy 30 percent of political party leadership positions in 2010.

Pailey believes women fall behind in gaining affiliation with larger political parties and often lack their own funding, unlike some of this year's millionaire male candidates.

BBC World Service July 16, 2017 Weekend Programme Highlights (BBC World Service)

'Soul of a Nation' is the title of a big new art show at Tate Modern in London. It features 160 works by black American artists from the two decades beginning in 1963 -- years of huge social change in America. Our arts correspondent, Vincent Dowd, speaks to the show's curators. And Iranian football stars call on government to overturn ban on women in stadiums.

Presenter Julian Worricker discusses these stories with guests: Rami Khouri and Robtel Neajai Pailey.

Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey Goes to AfDB (Daily Observer)

Young Liberian scholar Robtel Neajai Pailey has been selected as one of three successful candidates for the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) Leadership Fellows. Dr. Pailey was one of three announced by the Foundation on Tuesday, with the other two hailing from Botswana and Senegal. They were successful out of over 2,000 candidates who applied for the latest edition of the Fellowship.

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Why Shark's Ice Cream Wants To Put Nice Cream Out Of Business (National Public Radio)

Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic based at the University of Oxford, acknowledges that the Lebanese community has contributed to Liberia's economy, but she sympathizes with Harding.

"The bottom line is we don't have the luxury of neglecting Liberian small- to medium-sized enterprises. I think if we were a middle-income country that hadn't had a war for 14 years we could say, 'Yes, let's open up and let the market take its course,' " she says. "But even countries that preach laissez-faire economics protect certain industries and give subsidies to their farmers."

Dealing with Autocratic Regimes in Africa (Deutsche Welle)

Autocratic or authoritarian regimes, dictatorships, have been a dominant form of governance in Africa for many years. In the second decade of the 21st century, one concern is that they may hinder the attainment of one of the UN's crucial Sustainable Development Goals.

The growth in the number of migrants from Africa poses a challenge outside the continent. Africa must help resolve this challenge by implementing universally acceptable standards of democratic governance. But Robtel Neajai Pailey, a senior researcher from Liberia at Oxford University, rejects the notion of universal standards of democracy. "There are different strands of democracy so it depends on how you define democracy and who is defining it,” she told DW.

Waar is 'Afrika' in Afrikaanse Studies? (OneWorld Netherlands)

Interview – De Universiteit van Leiden organiseerde onlangs een seminar waarin verschillende wetenschappers en studenten spraken over het tekort aan Afrikaanse wetenschappers in studies over Afrika. Pailey, senior onderzoeker aan de Universiteit van Oxford, was één van de sprekers. Aan OneWorld vertelt zij over haar eigen ervaringen.

A Child's Eye View of Corruption (Oxford Development Matters)

Corruption has become the real stuff of public discourse and everyday practice in many African societies, implicating both citizens and subjects, both public and private life...It is against this backdrop that a new children’s storybook Gbagba, published by One Moore Book in 2013 and authored by Liberian academic and activist Robtel Neajai Pailey, is very timely.

This Children’s Book Is Starting a National Conversation about Corruption in Liberia (Public Radio International)

Everyday graft and bribe-taking can make it hard to avoid getting cynical — especially in a place still recovering from civil war and the Ebola epidemic. But Liberian author and academic Robtel Neajai Pailey has turned to the least cynical group to take a look at corruption: children.

OSIWA Assures Support to One Moore Book’s Future Products (Daily Observer)

The Liberia Country Officer of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, (OSIWA), Massa S. S. Crayton has assured One Moore Book, publishers of author Robtel Neajai Pailey’s children’s book GBAGBA of support to develop more educational materials that can fulfill its objective in making Liberia an open society for all citizens.

Interview: Robtel Neajai Pailey—Liberian Activist, Writer, Academic (Heroine Collective)

My intellectual curiosity was piqued at an early age when I discovered words followed by stories. I devoured books one by one, and couldn’t get enough of them. I was in middle school when I started to deconstruct ideas, ask critical questions, and wonder why things were the way they were. In high school, my analytical skills were further sharpened, but I didn’t study in a culturally affirming environment.  I went to a predominantly white all girls’ college preparatory school in Washington, DC, USA, and remember feeling like ‘the other’ most of the time.

Battle for Liberia's Soul: Why Moves to Declare It a 'Christian Nation' Could Spell Disaster (Christian Today)

This is a fear echoed by London-based Liberian academic, activist and author Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey, who told Christian Today: "I fear for this outcome because it will undoubtedly sow the seeds of division in a country that is already very fractured."

Pailey added: "Besides, we need to focus on more important priorities, like improving the lives of the 64 per cent of Liberians who live in abject poverty. After all, poverty knows no religion. Given that political stalwarts such as Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Governance Commission Chairman Dr. Amos Sawyer have publicly rejected the proposition to declare Liberia a Christian state, I can only hope that grassroots public education campaigns will avert a possible 'yes' vote."