The President’s Young Professionals Program—Leadership, Commitment, and Moving the Innovative GoL’s Juvenile Diversion Project Forward

J. Alben Greaves – President’s Young Professionals Program, Class III

Photo of J. Alben GreavesLeadership is a quality that J. Alben Greaves possessed early on, having served as the student council president while in college, with hopes of eventually becoming a lawyer. At university, J. Alben studied peace and conflict resolution and worked with youth development. After receiving his Degree in Public Administration from the Cuttington University, he was determined to accomplish his goals and immediately enrolled in law school.

One day, while reading a Liberian newspaper, he noticed an announcement about the launch of the President’s Young Professionals (PYP) Program—an innovative program that prepares highly qualified Liberian youth for leadership in public service, and equips them with tools to contribute positively to the overall development of Liberia.

After conducting research on a variety of other professional programs, J. Alben decided to apply while still attending law school. The PYP program accepted J. Alben into the program and placed him within the Government of Liberia’s (GoL) Ministry of Justice with the Child Justice Section where he has taken on leadership and management responsibilities within this Ministry.

In the beginning of J. Alben’s placement, he was responsible for clerical work and attending meetings. To his delight, the Ministry soon formed the Juvenile Diversion Pilot Program. Appointed as the Liaison Officer for the project, he now coordinates between the court, police, and Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Additionally, he serves as the Ministry’s point person acting as Chair for the Independent Accreditation Committee (IAC), which carries out the assessment of orphanages in Liberia—making sure that they are compliant with the law and government policies; those that fail are either placed on probation or recommended for closure.

J. Alben’s responsibilities include meeting facilitation—drawing together different partners in order to discuss issues within his department, taking minutes, and the drafting of employment contracts, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), and Juvenile Diversion Guidelines. Prior to the PYPP, J. Alben had no experience in juvenile diversion. He finds it very rewarding to now understand and be passionate about juvenile protection issues and child justice. He has also had the opportunity to be a guest on Liberian radio stations to debate diversion with community leaders.

He wants the youth of Liberia to know that the PYP Program is more than just a way to close the unemployment gap; it is an opportunity to receive mentoring and training from the best internship program he has seen in the Republic of Liberia. He feels that the lessons on ethics, integrity, and professionalism one learns as a PYP will help them move forward.

In a position of leadership within his department, J. Alben is proud to be part of the Ministry of Justice. He has a strong relationship with his PYP mentor, who encouraged him to take the initiative on many tasks. He has also received guidance from his boss who actively seeks J. Alben’s input and introduces him to important leaders and decision-makers so that J. Alben can represent the Ministry at high-profile events.

J. Alben believes that his greatest contribution so far has been serving as a key implementer of the Juvenile Diversion Project and conducting outreach for the program in his community. In his commitment to excellence, community, and the GoL, J. Alben hopes to become a PYP mentor. He wants the youth of Liberia to know that the PYP Program is more than just a way to close the unemployment gap; it is an opportunity to receive mentoring and training from the best internship program he has seen in the Republic of Liberia. He feels that the lessons on ethics, integrity, and professionalism one learns as a PYP will help them move forward.

Inspired by his work, J. Alben hopes to work as a civil servant in the field of child rights and justice after finishing law school.

To learn more about the President’s Young Professionals Program, please visit pyppliberia.org.

The President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) of Liberia is a prestigious two-year fellowship that places recent Liberian college graduates in important government roles and provides them with training and mentorship as they support the government’s top priorities. Launched by H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2009, the PYPP is now one of Africa’s most competitive programs for leadership in public service.