Journey Santa Fe and Alliance for the Earth Present: "Tending Seeds of Peace in Liberia" with Christian Bethelson and William "Uncle Jake" Jacobs
Mr. Bethelson and Mr. Jacobs will talk and discuss ways to bring peace and reconciliation to a nation shattered by civil war. The aim of this is to foster peace and dialogue and rebuild broken relationships, fostering national reconciliation and healing, beginning at the grassroots.
Christian Wolo Bethelson spent 27 years in the Liberian National Army, received training in Libya, Israel and Romania, and served as one of President Samuel Doe’s personal bodyguards. When Charles Taylor took power, Bethelson was imprisoned and tortured. After 3 years, he was released and joined the rebel forces, fighting under the name “General Leopard.” Out of work after the 14-year civil war ended, he decided to fight in the Ivory Coast, but through a series of unexpected events that changed the course of his life, he became a man of peace. Through Alliance for the Earth, Liberia's Peacebuilding Program he is beginning to mentor former child soldiers and other ex-combatants, inspiring them to turn away from war and build peace.
William G. Jacobs grew up in rural Liberia on the Firestone Plantation in a poor, uneducated family. The
civil war forced him into exile in Ghana where he lived in a refugee camp for 18 years. After losing his way to addiction and depression, he gradually turned his life around and became an advocate for orphaned children and youth. He received a diploma in journalism and public relations and worked as a newspaper reporter. He then chose to serve the refugee community’s orphaned and impoverished children and their single mothers, becoming the Executive Director of the Liberian Dance Troupe and developing innovative programs, including a trauma recovery and cultural awareness program.