Samuel Toe, M.A. ’09

Published: April 02, 2013

Author: Renée LaReau

Samuel Toe

Samuel Toe is assistant minister of foreign affairs for the Republic of Liberia. He was appointed to his post in March 2012 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically elected female president.

Samuel was 12 years old when Liberia's civil war began in 1989. During 14 years of violent conflict, he and his family were displaced across the country multiple times, he says. After the war ended in 2003, Samuel worked for Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), serving as secretary of the TRC selection panel and later as a hearings officer, organizing public hearings on human rights violations that occurred during the war.

"What pushed me into peacebuilding was the sheer victimhood of people in the stories I heard," Samuel said, "People were uprooted from their homes, women were sexually assaulted, and children were conscripted by rebel factions. I saw a deep need for reconciliation and recognized that, without it, recovery would be impossible"

After graduating from college with a degree in business administration, Samuel served as a fellow with the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He came to the Kroc Institute in 2007 and graduated with a master's degree in international peace studies.

In 2009, Samuel returned to Liberia to work for the UN Mission as the national coordination officer for peacebuilding. He helped develop several peacebuilding projects ranging from security sector reform to the empowerment of women and youth. He held this position for three years until he was selected to work in Liberia's Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

In his current post, Samuel hires and places Foreign Services Officers, reviews diplomatic communications, drafts reports and speeches, and monitors political and security developments in the West African region. He represents Liberia at the United Nations for negotiations related to peace and security, and he helps prepare Liberia's delegation for the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

"The year 2013 marks 10 years of relative peace in Liberia, which is significant to me on personal and professional levels," Samuel says. "Being a minister of government has given me an important opportunity to continue to advocate for human rights and promote reconciliation through effective national policies"