Roles Of An Informed Citizenry In Nation Building

first_imgBy Siddiq KonnehA nation with a weak judiciary, an inactive and uninformed citizenry is an unstable nation.  An informed citizenry and a strong judiciary are two catalysts for sustainable growth and development in any modern nation. For democracy to flourish and for government to be held accountable, citizens must take initiatives and be active participants in every aspect of governance; they must learn those basic democratic principles that are necessary for their survival and the growth of their nation. We must go further by demanding that our leaders also adhere to these democratic principles. Informed citizenry will ensure that before one is put in a leadership position, he/she is adequately prepared and suited to lead them. They will also choose leaders who will have respect for an independent, strong and vibrant judiciary. As brilliantly put by President Andrew Jackson, who says: “All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary”. We can have all the best laws in the world, but if we do not have an impartial judiciary, they will not serve any purpose for the ordinary citizens. These two, informed citizenry and a strong judiciary, must work in sync for any nation to develop and achieve its full potential. Liberia as a nation has never been fortunate to have these two catalysts for sustainable growth and development working in sync, at any point in its 171-year history. We seem to have an abundant of callous leaders with no vision for the country and its people, and an inactive citizenry that gravitates towards these ineffective leaders. A nation is as good as its citizens, everything must center on the furtherance of life, liberty, and social and economic upward mobility of its citizens. According to Adlai E. Stevenson, “…citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end”. There will be no nation without people, and as people we must be informed enough to know that we are in charge of our democracy and we decide who leads us. We must also demand that those who lead us be informed, because they are ordinary citizens like ourselves before they are chosen. It is a disservice to self and country not to seek the best to lead you.  As free citizens under the right circumstances, we decide who leads us, who represents our collective interest and values in and outside of Liberia. When it comes to political participations in Liberia, our choices in leadership are hardly based on tangible leadership qualities; they are often based on short-lived inducements like- few bags of rice and a little cash, tribal and religious affiliations. Aligning with individuals with similar tribal and religious background is not a crime, but when such alignment undermines our ability to appreciate those qualities that a good leader must have, then it becomes a societal issue. We have institutionalized our tribal and religious identities into political parties in Liberia; it has created over-zealous sycophants and cult-like institutions and figureheads. Sometimes out of sheer ignorance, we follow individuals who are not prepared enough to become leaders. These choices have prolonged negative consequences that do not end with us; they trickle down to generations yet to come.One can argue that being an informed and active citizen is part of our civic duties and responsibilities. An informed citizenry sets standards for its leaders, understands the roles of its leaders and how their actions can either positively or negatively impact the lives of every citizen. In countries where citizens are cognizant of their rights and the responsibilities of their leaders, there is peace, stability and development; there is unity and respect for the rule of law. They often keep their leaders in check and hold them accountable. For so long our nation has been led by men and women with selfish agenda; they take advantage of the gullibility of the electorates most of whom are driven by ethnic and religious sentiments, instead of substantive issues that are vital for nation building. That’s why it is important that the few good people don’t sit and let others dictate their affairs. In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, he writes: -“As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State “What does it matter to me?” the State may be given up for lost”.  And like my mentor Shaykh Mohammed Ayoud Dukuly always tells me, “When the qualified are not available, the unqualified become the available”. We must stand up and add our voices to others in calling for an end to the devaluation of our identity and nation.We hardly critically engage people who come to us to be our leaders, we don’t ask them hard questions, their views about governance, rule of law and nation building; we do not examine their values and moral uprightness, and past accounts. We cannot move forward and secure a better future for our children if we are bent on electing spineless and clueless individuals to lead us. Thomas Jefferson once said, “An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy”. Nations are built by conscious citizens who are informed and able to identify those prepared individuals from amongst themselves to lead them. If we respect and value ourselves, we must select people who will respect and value us. We have to be willing to change our attitudes in order to change our condition. An alien will not come to our aid; we must petition our leaders to govern us justly and with respect.We’ve all heard the saying that goes,” Rome wasn’t built in one day”. Sure, no nation can be built in a day, but neither it is built by unconscionable criminals nor bastardized advocates. Liberia has been around for some 171 years and we are one of the least developed nations in the world. Even though, we have the natural resources that can bring sustainable growth and development to us, but we have never been able to transform our lives and live in peace and harmony. One may ask why? The answer is simple: we have refused to be informed and active citizens; we have surrendered our rights to hold to account our leaders, we have relegated good governance and equal opportunities in exchange for instant gratifications and satisfying our few momentary urges. That’s how low we’ve allowed ourselves to stoop.  In the long run, these actions ferment public discontents and agitations against leadership; they cause conflicts and civil upheavals.Citizens of all great nations go to great length to fully learn and understand the responsibilities of their leaders to them, and they are active participants in the governing process. They petition only individuals who will deliver the most dividends. For them, choosing an effective leader does not begin and end due to similarities in ethnic and religious values, it goes beyond those boundaries. They take honesty, integrity, wisdom and past interactions into account when choosing their leaders. That’s why their leaders deliver on their promises. When these leaders are vetted, it is done not just to offer few jobs to their loyalists but to actually bring social and economic transformations to everybody. The advocacy of a good leader doesn’t begin or stop when they are given the mantle of authority. It is a vocation for them.We all must stand up and engage those of our compatriots who are not informed to be cognizant and actively participate in their governance, because they have the means to change their social and economic condition by being informed and through participation. If you can contribute by writing one sentence or speaking a word, do it. If our actions convince an individual to become an informed and active citizen, I think, that can be counted as a success.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Fresh look for 52nd iconic Mary from Dungloe Festival

first_imgThe Mary From Dungloe Festival has had a makeover and become an International Arts Festival. What does that mean to the visitors who come every year? Lots of new types of music events; more cultural offerings and definitely something for everyone.Following a major overhaul of the iconic Festival in its 52nd year, there is a fresh new look. Returning to its roots, the Festival will feature over 80 events and performances spread over 10 days. Dungloe will come alive with sounds of Jazz, Rock, Brass, Hip Hop, Classical, Swing, Folk, Blues, Trad and Country. There will also be story telling, poetry, dance, theatre and loads of events for the kids too.  Find the full programme now on www.maryfromdungloe.ieThis year on the Gig Rig, the one and only Daniel O’Donnell will delight his fans by joining other legendary country music stars for a Sunday Afternoon Concert on July 28th. Goats Don’t Shave will also be performing this year as the opening act for the Festival on Saturday 27th July. At the Waterfront Hotel, there will be a number of events including the glorious Swing Time Starlets (Sunday 28th July) and the Festival Fashion Show (Tues 30th July) with the new collections from Paris.KEELAN AND THE CAUSEWAYS8PM, SUNDAY 4 AUGUST – MAIN STAGE DUNGLOETEA DANCE WITH DAVE MARTIN5.30PM TUESDAY 30 JULYWaltz the afternoon away with Dave Martin at the Midway Bar Function RoomIn addition to enjoying local and regional musicians performing on Main Street every day, festival goers can attend workshops, exhibitions and theatre productions, including ‘The History of Ireland’ by Actor John D Ruddy and Irish Folklore Story Telling by Séamus Mac Annaidh, Novelist and Historian. MANNY MAN2.30PM, THURSDAY 1 AUGUSTIonad Teampall ChroineCLASSICAL CONCERT: IRISH AIRS8PM, FRIDAY 2 AUGUSTJoin sopranos Ruth Gallagher and PatriciaGoggins, along with pianist Herta Kelly, for acandlelit evening of vocal duets and solos at St. Crones ChurchThe festival will also go green this year and there were will be an environmental and clean coasts workshop to attend. In true Festival Style, the organisers have added the Donegal Artisans Fair, featuring local craftspeople and artists who will demonstrate local skills as well as sell their one-off creations. DONEGAL ARTISANS FAIR11AM – 8PMTUESDAY 30 & WEDNESDAY 31 JULYThere will also be The Dungloe Street Food Day, offering a large selection of speciality food trucks, accompanied by local buskers. Also for those who enjoy the outdoor life, there are sporting events, walks,and Wild Atlantic Way adventures. DUNGLOE STREET FOOD EVENT11AM – 5PM, SATURDAY 3 AUGUSTThe contestants for the Mary From Dungloe 2019 crown are, as always, diverse and hail from all over the world. This year we welcome a Construction Project Manager, award winning Journalist and a contestant from India. The Festival will culminate in the Crowning Ceremony live on TG4 on Sunday August 4th.  14-year-old Conor Marcus from Loughinisland in County Down will be a surprise guest at the final weekend of the MFD Festival this year.MEGA-TRAD9.30PM, TUESDAY 30TH JULYHead to Dungloe from July 27th to August 5th for another great festival!See the full programme and ticket info on www.maryfromdungloe.ieAbout The Mary From Dungloe International Arts FestivalThe Mary From Dungloe International Arts Festival began 52 years ago and is one of the largest, longest-running events in Ireland. This festival features work from nationally recognized artists and local creators. For more information visit https://maryfromdungloe.ie/ or email mfdfestival@gmail.com. Tickets can be purchased from https://www.eventbrite.ie/ or the Festival Office at 13 Main Street, Dungloe.  Fresh look for 52nd iconic Mary from Dungloe Festival was last modified: July 20th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:dungloeEntertainmentmary from dungloe international arts festivalsummer eventsWhat’s on?last_img read more

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Roundup in Mercer County next month

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) invites all who have an interest in Ohio’s cattle industry to Mercer County, Ohio for this year’s Roundup, August 28 and 29, 2015, featuring farm tours, sessions with industry leaders, great food, and time with fellow cattlemen.Roundup begins Friday evening, August 28, at Romer’s Catering & Entertainment Facility in Celina, Ohio. Dinner featuring a Mercer County wedding supper will be served at 7 p.m. Following dinner, Representative Jim Buchy, Ohio House of Representatives, 84th District, will provide an overview of the water quality issues facing Ohio and the proactive steps agriculture has taken to address these issues. Attendees will also hear from NCBA’s Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs. Colin will provide a legislative update on Waters of the United States, trade, Country-of-Origin Labeling and other important issues. Roundup speakers are sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America.An auction to benefit the NCBA and OCA Political Action Committees will take place on Friday night and will feature Ohio State football tickets.Saturday morning registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at Romer’s Catering & Entertainment Facility. Breakfast will be sponsored by United Producers, Inc. and United Producers Credit Services.Kate Maher, Senior Director of Member Services with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, will start things off with a discussion on NCBA member benefits and opportunities.An overview of local water quality initiatives will be provided by Terry Mescher, Conservation Engineer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Abbey Tobe, Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Coordinator for the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District. Travis Spicer, Mercer County Landmark, will discuss the growth of cattle feeding in the county.Following the water quality discussion, the first round of bus tours will take place, allowing attendees to see two of four designated locations.A hamburger lunch will be provided when attendees return from the first round of tours. Lunch is sponsored by Elanco.Milt Miller, Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission Manager, will take the floor after lunch to give a presentation on Lake Improvement Association success stories.At 1:30 p.m., attendees will load the buses for the second round of farm tours.Farms included on the tour are:The Boeckman farm is operated by Kevin, his wife Angie and two children, Cody and Gina. The family took over the farm that was at one time a poultry layer operation, from Kevin’s father. As the poultry barns became outdated, they decided to remodel and turn the barns into a calf nursery. About 10 years ago, the Boeckman family started raising 50 calves three times per year and over time grew the operation into 290 calves per group with 5.5 turns per year. Once they had their feet under them with raising baby calves, they decided to expand the operation and built a 300 head grower barn to house the calves until they weighed 600 pounds. The Boeckman’s work closely with the owner of the calves which is Angie’s brother Jeff Siefring. All three phases of the Boeckman’s operations will be on display at the Roundup — nursery barns, weaned barn, and grower barn.The Siefring farm is operated by Jeff, his wife Julie and three children, Taylor, Marcus, and Dylan. Also, involved in the operation is Jeff’s dad Mark and his uncle Ron. Mark & Ron started the farm with a few sows, cattle, and an 80 cow milking operation. In the past 10 years, Jeff has been gradually taking over and expanding the operation into a 2,000 head hog finishing barn, grain storage, and cattle barns, some new and some remodeled. The farm currently runs a 900 head Holstein finishing operation. The family also grain farms 1,800 acres and rents three other cattle finishing facilities. The Siefring’s own and supply the Boeckman operation with calves. The Roundup tour will start with the three phases at the Boeckman farm and continue as the cattle grow to slaughter weight at the Siefring farm.Kahlig Farms located west of Coldwater is owned by John, Jim and Tom Kahlig and sons and consists of over 2,000 acres, along with cattle and hog operations. Forty years ago the sons of Ray Kahlig took over the family farm of 320 acres that milked cows and fed cattle. Today, they own and feed out over 800 head of Holstein feeders, plus feed 11,000 head of contract hogs. The new slat barn that holds 240 head of Holsteins is the focus of this tour stop that includes air-flow concrete walls around the barn. Jim Kahlig designed the walls and has a patent pending. The Kahligs also operate three rigs for custom nutrient application which pumps nearly 150 million gallons of manure per year from Darke County to Paulding County.Three generations of the Jim and Margie Fennig family have been involved in breeding and exhibiting high quality show cattle for over 40 years. Their herd of 40 cows is made up of Maine-Anjou, Simmental and crossbreds that continue to produce the winning kind. The Fennig family was the recent recipient of the 2014 Mercer County Cattleman of the Year award. This family has produced cattle that went on to be AI sires and win titles at national shows including Denver. The top selling bull at the 2014 Ohio Beef Expo Maine-Anjou sale came from this herd. Jim’s sons, Gary, Todd, Ryan and Mike, along with Gary’s son Adam and their families are all involved in the Fennig operations that includes crop insurance and an Ag equipment dealership. The Fennig’s are also involved in a cover crop program for water quality.At the completion of the tours, those in attendance will return to Romer’s for an ice cream sundae bar.Registration deadline for this event is Aug. 14, 2015. Friday night is $10 per person for OCA members and non-members. The cost on Saturday is $25 for OCA members and $35 for non-members. All registrations at the door will be $35. For more information about the Roundup or to register call the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at (614) 873-6736 or email beef@ohiobeef.org. A full description of the schedule of events, online registration and a downloadable registration form can also be found at www.ohiocattle.org/announcements/oca-summer-roundup.OCA appreciates the support from sponsors: Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc., United Producers Credit Services and Elanco.last_img read more

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11 Questions to Ask Couples Before Shooting Wedding Videos

first_imgYou just received an email asking you to shoot a wedding. Now what? Here are eleven questions you should ask engaged couples before you shoot their wedding.All images via ShutterstockTalking to an engaged couple is the most important step for planning a wedding shoot. By asking a few simple questions, you’ll be able to pull so much information you’ll need for the day of the shoot. The couple won’t know how many cameras or crew members you’ll need, but by asking these eleven questions — you can figure all that out on your own.When I first receive a wedding inquiry, I immediately reply with a congratulatory message to the couple and attach a copy of my wedding packet. The packet includes a brief bio on myself, the wedding packages I offer (including the starting price), and a request for more information.This packet is incredibly helpful for many reasons. The couple gets to know me a bit and the services I offer. Plus, it gives them a glance at the cost of their wedding video. By requesting their contact information — you are including a call-to-action. If a couple is serious about hiring you, they will immediately respond with their contact information. Also by responding, you know that they agree to your pricing plans. By being straightforward with cost, I am able to target my intended clientele.Once we get past this step, I move forward with additional questions — which can be done face-to-face or in email.1. Who is getting married?/When and where is the wedding?It should be obvious, but the first details you need to ask are who, when, and where. This will be the base of a quote and contract. You need to have the full names of the couple, the location of their ceremony, the location of the reception, the wedding date, and the start time. Be sure you don’t have any conflicts that day. If you’ll be filming before the ceremony as well, you’ll need to know where hair and makeup will be done, what the groomsmen will be up to, or any other places you may need to film that day. Not only do you need locations to know where you will be, but you need to calculate the cost of travel. If there are two videographers, will you use one car — or will the two of you be split up during the day requiring two cars? These are all details you need to figure out well before the shoot.Also, by knowing the start time — you will know the position of the sun. This will tell you how much available light you will have if you’re shooting outdoors. This is a simple question that will give you a lot of answers.2. Do you want a custom quote or package deal?/Do you have a set budget?I am very straight forward with my pricing. There is nothing worse than dragging things out between multiple emails. To simplify the process, I offer different packages — each with their own starting cost. From there you will just need to add things like the cost of travel, parking, additional shooters, or rental gear.While discussing the cost, also ask about their preferred method of payment. Do they want lump sum payments, or will you offer a payment plan? Be sure to clarify the due dates, and impose late fees if necessary.3. What type of coverage do you want?This will tie into the package they choose. Does the couple just want the ceremony and reception filmed, or do they want you to shoot all day? Will they want to follow the bride in the morning to capture hair and makeup, or do they also want to film the groom hanging out with the groomsmen? The type of coverage directly ties into the overall cost. This isn’t a one person shoot if you have to film the bride and groom at the same time at different locations. The more they want filmed, the larger the crew you will need.As a rule of thumb, I never shoot without at least one other person. It’s helpful to have someone not only capture the footage you can’t, but they can also set up and breakdown tripods and gear for the ceremony and reception.4. What type of edit do you want?If a couple has contacted you, hopefully they’ve already seen some of your work. Be sure to ask if they have, and ask which wedding videos of yours they liked the most. If you don’t have many edits under your belt, ask if they prefer a traditional straightforward and chronological wedding video, or if they want a modern cinematic storytelling edit.5. What kind of music do you like?Get a feel for the couple by asking about the music they like. Don’t settle for — “everything.” By knowing the music genres they like, you can start looking for music for the edit. If you can’t get a good answer, be sure to pay attention to the type of music everyone enjoys at the reception. Is this a rustic country wedding or an all-night dance party?You can then license tracks when you start editing. I usually build a playlist of favorites on music sites like PremiumBeat and Shutterstock Music. When I get into editing, I will download watermarked demo versions to make sure I have the right feel for the edit. I also tend to use at least one slower song for the ceremony and a faster song for the reception. It helps the edit flow nicely.Once you have the edit locked in, make sure you license your tracks. If you get a copyright takedown on a wedding video, good luck explaining to the couple why their wedding video was pulled from the internet. You will not only look forward to them wanting a refund, but also any fines for copyright infringement. It’s not worth it! Trust me. Just license tracks from anywhere, and make sure you have the rights to use the songs.If you are interested in checking out some PremiumBeat tracks, you can listen to some Classical and Modern royalty free playlists.6. Are their any planned special moments outside of the ceremony?For all-day shoots, you will want to know as much of the schedule as possible in advance. That way you can prepare your wedding gear accordingly. Is the couple going to have a first look? If so, will it be indoors or outdoors? Maybe the bridal party will all have a morning tea or breakfast they want captured. Groomsmen may take off for a round of golf or lounge around the pool. You need to find out what they want covered, so you’ll know when and where to have cameras ready.This also applies to the reception. You’ll want to know if there are any big choreographed dances or any fun things planned for guests. I’ve seen everything from funny sketches and dances, surprise bands, Marine saber arches, to a family friend hand rolling cigars for guests.7. Do you have any special items you want captured?Will the bride have something old, new, borrowed, and blue? Will the groom be wearing his father’s cufflinks? Making sure to capture all the little sentimental things will make the couple love the final video so much more. Be sure to ask if they have any special decorations on the tables or in the entryway. I’ve had a couple use their grandma’s china plates to serve dinner. While on this topic, be sure to capture all the traditional items too. Wedding rings, jewelry, the veil, shoes. All things worth shooting.8. Do you have any other vendors booked?Once you work in the wedding industry long enough, you’re going to see a lot of familiar faces. It’s not uncommon to work with the same photographer or DJ. The only time that’s a problem is if the two of you don’t work well together. I’m always most interested in knowing if the couple will have a DJ or band.If it’s a DJ I have worked with in the past, and one I trust, I know that I have a reliable source for audio. Having a great relationship with a DJ can be a real timesaver. It’s so much easier to plug straight into their soundboard or speakers. If it’s a DJ I don’t know, or one I don’t trust, then I know I have to focus on capturing all the audio on my own. Be sure to always have some type of audio setup going yourself. It’ll help when syncing, and it will serve as a backup if necessary.9. Do any venues need a signed waiver or Certificate of Insurance?Every church, chapel, synagogue, and venue has their own set of rules. Some require videographers to stay out of certain locations, others have a much more lenient policy. Many big churches ask you to sign a waiver, agreeing to their own church polices. Most often they will require you to use natural lighting, banning any video lights. Other rules are more focused on common sense, like not standing on furniture or pews.Many venues that solely host weddings will have strict rules — mostly because they’ve seen everything happen. If there is a rule, that rule was created for a reason. Some venues also require videographers to provide a Certificate of Insurance — or COI. This is a document issued by your insurance company proving that you have insurance. The venue may ask for a COI that certifies that you are responsible for any damage done while on the property.10. Is there an exit or getaway planned?After the reception, does the couple have a grand exit? You will want to know what time the exit should take place — this will help you decide if you need to set up lights or not. You’ll also want to know some smaller details like if the guests are tossing anything or holding sparklers. Are they driving off in a car, horse and carriage, just walking away? Knowing this will help you keep an eye out for the getaway vehicle. If the couple isn’t leaving yet, you can run out and get a few shots of the car before they leave.11. Do you have any questions for me?Finally, as you wrap up your meeting with the couple, ask if they have any questions or concerns regarding your services. Lay everything out as clearly as possible, so they know exactly what they are getting from you.Sometimes they may ask for special requests. I once had a bride who wanted to have input into the music. I handled that as delicately as I could. I don’t hand over creative control of my edits (they did come to me for my work) but I do allow input. I sent her a playlist of tracks. – Did you know you can make playlists on PremiumBeat and then email them? – I didn’t let her pick the exact songs, but I did allow her to get rid of any she didn’t like. (She wound up loving the video.)In the end, the video is for the couple. Do your best to please them, and you’ll find yourself having success in the future. I can’t tell you how many times one wedding turned into four because of referrals.Was this list helpful? Want more wedding articles like this one? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

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