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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Places in Liberia Worthy of UNESCO Heritage List

While the UNESCO World Heritage List aims to protect and appreciate thousands of cultural and environmental places around the world, multiple countries unfortunately are not represented on that list. One of these countries is LIBERIA, a coastal West African nation known for being settled by freed African-American slaves in the 1800s and declaring independence in 1847. Liberia boasts plenty of virgin forests, which are beneficial for native tribes to have shelter, food, and medicinal remedies. UNESCO should want to help protect the biodiversity, cultural traditions, and ways of life occurring in Liberian forests. Several relatively small forested areas are protected in natural parks and preserves, the sorts of natural sites which are typically eligible for UNESCO's goal to protect the environment. Lofa-Mano National Park (northwestern Liberia, near Sierra Leone), Nimba Nature Preserve (in the north, near Ivory Coast and Guinea), and Sapo National Park (southeast) are all fitting places for UNESCO's Heritage List. Remarkable natural features in Liberia include Kpatawee Waterfall, Lake Piso, and Providence Island. A large immigration of freed American slaves first occurred on Providence Island, in 1822.

Kpatawee Waterfall(s) in north-central Liberia

The Liberian capital city — Monrovia — boasts several cultural, societal, and historical sites that are worthy of UNESCO's protection — some of which should ideally be renovated. They include the Centennial Pavilion, Executive Mansion, and the historic but run-down Grand Masonic Lodge. Named after American abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman, the war-ravaged Tubman Center of African Culture sits in a ruined and emptied state in Robertsport (western Liberia) — but it surely has reinvigorated potential. The Episcopal Missionary Church is a Robertsport site still in use while many buildings in the city remain abandoned. Keeping these and other places in mind, it is astounding why UNESCO have not included Liberia on their comprehensive Heritage List. Fortunately, Providence Island will soon likely achieve Heritage Status, so Liberia may finally have a dot on UNESCO's map.

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