Meet Ambassador Brownell

One of the most distinguished Liberian citizens is “Mother” Mary Brownell, an octogenarian former teacher who became a peace activist in the 1990s. The book Listening to the Silences: Women and War (ed. Helen Durham and Tracey Gurd, 2005) has a brief profile (p. 267):

In 1994, Mary Brownell, a former elementary teacher, ran a radio advertisement calling all women to attend a meeting at Monrovia City Hall. The resulting Liberian Women’s Initiative was pivotal in monitoring the words and actions of warlords. Using their community status as mothers and elderly women, they reprimanded and cajoled fighters into laying down their weapons. When the election of Charles Taylor in 1997, instead of peace, brought international condemnation, Liberian women joined with their counterparts in Sierra Leone and Guinea to form the Mano River Union peace Network…Throughout 2002 and 2003, they were key mediators between the various fighting forces, 18 political parties and the government.

Since then, Brownell has become Chair of the UPF in Liberia; her role was noted in this 2006 report from the Unification Church True Parents website:

Under the guidance of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Liberia and the watchful eye of persons from all sections of Liberian society, Ganta City in Nimba County became the site of the first county-level Peace Council in Liberia. It met on July 31, 2006 with nearly 800 persons in attendance. Peace Councils are envisioned for each of Liberia’s 15 counties.

…Ambassador Mary N. Brownell, Chair of UPF-Liberia, thanked all who had made this day possible. Referring to the theme, Reconciliation, Peace and Family Renewal, she said, “We are promoting understanding and tolerance among us despite the differences of religious beliefs, culture and dialects or language. The Peace Councils will foster peace, good governance, peace education and reconciliation. Through these councils we are confident that we can promote better human understanding and development at all levels of Liberian society, government officials and traditional leaders and elders. We want to find the root causes of existing conflicts and how to minimize them. We hope to realize the importance of family life and the impact of family values on the upbringing of our children.”

Other prominent Liberians to become “Ambassadors” for the UPF include Gerald Coleman, Commissioner of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

In December, the Liberian Analyst published a report about a “Human Rights Defenders’ Workshop” in which Brownell was a speaker:

Madam Mary Brownell told the participants that rights activist in the country must be in the position to fight against societal ills, but must not trade the wrong things. According to her, Liberian rights advocates were paying lip-services and were only and were only engaged in conducting workshop just to attract foreign supports for their personal gains.

“Don’t take money to defend the wrongs in the society, be prepared to defend the victims, and do not use the name Human Rights to defend yourself for political gains” Mother Brownell Mother Brownell added.

Far better, perhaps, to rely on the purely humanitarian and agenda-less initiatives of Rev Moon?


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