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West African Nation Unveils Semicentennial Celebration

NEW YORK  --Jeffrey Wright, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning Actor and Chairman of Taia, LLC & Taia Peace Foundation, was introduced as Sierra Leone, West Africa's "Peace by Piece" Ambassador on Sunday, November 21, 2010, at an exclusive reception and screening at Tribeca Cinemas in New York. In preparation for the West African Nation’'s 50th Independence Anniversary in 2011, the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee hosted an impromptu reception to preview their plans for their semicentennial in the New Year and to premiere the compelling documentary Sierra Leone: Road to Change, produced by M3 Films.

The intimate event, with spirits sponsored by VeeV, included more than 100 international key influencers, such as Ambassadors to Sierra Leone and the UN, Mos Def, Best-Selling Author Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier); Jeff Johnson, award-winning journalist and political commentator; and special performances by Sierra Leone's most prolific Hip Hop group Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew and by R&B singer/songwriter Carolyn Malachi. These key influencers and others have pledged to join Jeffrey Wright, to serve as host committee members on behalf of the "Peace by Piece" campaign and to spread Sierra Leone's good news to at least 50 people in honor of their "50 for 50" campaign and to help attract long-term investors and sponsorship for the momentous occasion. The theme of the celebration is "50 Years Forward - Celebrating a New Sierra Leone." April 27, 2011, will mark fifty years of independence from British rule.

His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has appointed a national committee to organize year long celebrations in 2011 to mark their golden jubilee. The members of the Committee represent Sierra Leone's diverse cultural and regional landscape. The 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations Committee is the only entity officially recognized by the government of Sierra Leone with the mandate to plan and implement public events for Sierra Leone's 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.

"Over the span of year-long commemorations, we will celebrate through a variety of legacy projects and social, cultural, artistic, religious, educational, environmental, and ceremonial events. The 50th Anniversary provides a great opportunity to rebrand and showcase the touristic and long-term sustainable investment opportunities in Sierra Leone to the rest of the world," says Dr. William Konteh, Chairman of Sierra Leone's 50th Anniversary Planning Committee.

50th Anniversary Planning Committee is aware of Sierra Leone's war-torn image of child soldiers, Charles Taylor, and perception of "blood diamonds" that persists in the international media. Yet, the committee is working diligently to engage friends of Sierra Leone around the world to join them to rebrand the image of this West African nation and share their good news.

For more information about Sierra Leone and its 50th anniversary celebrations, visit

About 50 Years Forward - Celebrating a New Sierra Leone:
On April 27,1961, Sierra Leone became politically independent from Great Britain. It retained a parliamentary system of government and was a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Sierra Leone was known as the “Athens" of West Africa and a prime tourism destination before the civil war. Since the 11-year civil conflict ended in 2002, Sierra Leone has had progressive peace, stability and economic growth for more than 8 years. His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has appointed a 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations Committee with the mandate to plan and implement public events for Sierra Leone's 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations in the country and abroad.

Sierra Leone has a different story to tell. For instance, the country moved from 167 to 158 on the United Nations Human Development Index for the first time since 2005. Since the end of the civil war in 2002, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone have achieved other milestones. Together, they have established a special court along with the United Nations mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996; disarmed and reintegrated internally displaced victims and perpetrators of the civil war; conducted two free and fair Presidential and Parliamentary elections; worked to ensure the peaceful transition of political power; provided free health care for mothers and children under five to combat maternal mortality; and received the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Award for steps taken to reduce diseases such as HIV/AIDS & Malaria.




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