Video director Bulldog Media’s Joe W. speaks more in-depth about the band’s decision to shoot in this style. “I came up with the idea after listening to the song a few times. I’ve always wanted to do a 1950’s era video and thought this song would be a good fit. The lyrics “Old Country Road” made me think about the roads surrounding where I grew up in Sonoma County. We ended up shooting the film outside of Petaluma, CA, about 30 minutes from my home town. It was the perfect setting to match my vision for the video.”The song itself was written by Woodruff, and the first-ever song recorded at the band’s Ruffwood Studios in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Built by Woodruff himself, creating a workspace was influential on the album’s direction. “The process of building a studio from scratch in the mountains, surrounded by Redwood trees, yet 15 minutes from the beach, really framed the concept and direction of the album.”Stick Figure is on tour throughout March and the majority of 2016, so don’t miss the group on the road! For more information, click onto their website. California-based roots rockers Stick Figure always bring a good time wherever they go. Known for their soulful takes on the reggae genre, Stick Figure released their 2015 album Set In Stone to critical acclaim. You can listen to the album here.Now, the band is expanding on the artistic direction of Set In Stone with a brand new music video for the single, “Shadow.” Written about Cocoa The Dog, who frontman Scott Woodruff calls “my sidekick, my shadow,” the new video was shot in a retro 50’s style. Woodruff speaks fondly of Cocoa, saying that she “is essentially a member of the band. She is on stage every night, walking the perimeter and greeting the fans. She also gets first pick on choosing her bunk on the bus!”Enjoy the new music video for “Shadow” below:
Students now have an opportunity to hear from professors outside of the classroom through the First and Last Lecture Series. The Department of Academic Affairs invites professors every semester to speak as if it were their first or last lecture at the University. Sydney Zepf, the coordinator for Last Lectures, said this is a great way for students to learn from professors in a new way. “We ask professors to imagine what they would say if they could only give one more lecture in their life, and then give them the opportunity to present it to students,” she said. “This lecture series is unique because it allows students to hear from professors about something other than the professor’s traditional area of study.” Often, professors lecture on important lessons that they have learned throughout their careers, Zepf said. “Professors tend to lecture about the ways that they have gained their success and important lessons that they have learned. However, the time of the lecture is completely theirs – we give professors no restrictions.” While anyone can attend these lectures, the series serves as a connection between students and professors, Zepf said. “This lecture series is beneficial for the ND community because it gives students an opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge of their teachers in a new way. It also serves to bridge the gap between professors and students and to help students get to know their professors in a new way. Many professors have amazing stories that students just don’t get to hear in a classroom setting. “ These lectures are held twice a year, and anyone is allowed to attend, Zepf said. The First Lecture series is a new addition to the Academic Affairs Department. Timothy Kirchoff, the coordinator for First Lectures, said this series gives students the opportunity to listen to new professors talk about their fields of specialty, and why they came to the University. “It seems to me that, when a professor comes to Notre Dame specifically in order to participate in Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic University, we should take note of that in some way, and that is what the First Lecture is designed to do,” he said. “It is an opportunity for a professor to discuss their field of expertise and why they wanted to come to Notre Dame – to place their own work in the context of Notre Dame’s mission as an institution that seeks to bring faith and reason into conversation.” The Notre Dame identity is an integral part of this series, Kirchoff said. “Maybe this is a cliched line, but Notre Dame is a unique institution, and professors – like many students – come here believing that they can be part of something truly special. They are not just joining the faculty of one of America’s top universities, but the faculty of a uniquely Catholic university,” he said. These lectures may also have many benefits for the future, Kirchoff said. Specifically, he said he hopes to see the First and Last Lectures set a precedent for student-professor engagement outside the classroom. “If each individual First Lecture sends the message to the speaker that students are interested in this kind of engagement and encourages both the speaker and students to pursue it more deliberately, I would consider it a success. As a series, though, I would like the First Lecture to help both students and professors develop a deeper appreciation for and willingness to participate in Notre Dame’s unique identity and mission,” Kirchoff said. The First Lecture series begins with a talk from Professor Deneen of the Department of Political Science on Nov. 11.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and AccessBank Liberia Ltd (ABL) have signed a technical assistance partnership agreement that would boost small and medium sized (SMEs) businesses in the country.The agreement is expected to enhance ABL’s reach to Liberian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and is supported by a grant from the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA). FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Governments of Japan and Austria and the African Development Bank are active contributors to the fund, which to date has provided over 46 Million to 57 projects in 38 countries across the African continent. The FAPA portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of SMEs. At the signing ceremony yesterday, Ms. Margaret Kilo, Resident Representative of the AfDB in Liberia, revealed that there are around 10,000 formally registered SMEs operating in the country, while many of them (SMEs) continue to operate informally.Ms. Kilo said that Liberia’s MSMEs face a number of constraints to profitability and growth including a lack of access to finance. Without such finance, these firms face significant difficulties to expand and enhance their operations, which would allow them to employ more individuals and contribute towards Liberia’s development and growth. She asserted that the Ebola virus exacerbated the challenges faced by Liberian MSMEs, and this support will help reinvigorate the sector. “It will also increase the capacity of the SME sector to provide services to the government and concessions sectors.” Commenting further on the partnership, Ms. Kilo said: “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Access Bank Liberia, to help address the challenges MSME faces in accessing finance. She indicated Access Bank provides loans and banking services that help develop a vibrant private sector and increase incomes and employment.The acting CEO of AccessBank Liberia, Dusko Dimitrov, said that: “AccessBank Liberia would like to extend its deepest gratitude for AfDB’s ongoing support of AccessBank and the MSME sector in Liberia. These funds will allow the Bank to extend its outreach as the only dedicated MSME lender in the country. AccessBank sees access to finance as an essential point of development for Liberia and its citizens and will continue to strive towards making banking services available to all members of society.”The partnership with ABL falls under the AfDB’s overall Financial Sector Development Strategy (2014-2019), which focuses on accelerating Africa’s transformation. The strategy seeks to: expand access to basic financial services; provide financial products and services to support the gradual transition to green growth of the real economy; improve financial infrastructure; enhance regional financial integration; enrich corporate governance; focus on entrepreneurship and innovation to foster private sector development; and build financial skills.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Signed in May 2018, the transaction was the first under the EU’s new budget support programme, called “Moving Liberia forward – Improving service delivery and public investment”. Flashback: Finance Minister (right) Tweah signs the financing agreements on behalf of the Government of Liberia, as the EU Ambassador Cavé looks on.The European Union (EU) and the Liberian government have signed two financing agreements valued at Euro24 million or US$29 million to support efforts that aim to improve technical and vocational education and training (TVET).The Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., signed for the Liberian government, while EU Ambassador to Liberia Helene Cave signed for her government. The signing ceremony was held on Thursday, May 3, in the conference room of the Finance Ministry.The money will make significant contributions to the government’s “pro-poor agenda,” fostering governance and promoting institution building by focusing on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), according to Ambassador Cave and will be complementary to EU’s efforts in supporting the supply side of accountability in the four focal sectors of EU cooperation in Liberia, which are education, agriculture, governance and energy.The main targets of the programme, according to Ambassador Cave, are Liberian middle-level CSOs that are interested and willing to get more deeply involved as well as play a stronger role in domestic public policies. She said the program is also intended to be complementary to the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project, implemented by the World Bank, which the EU is supporting through a multi-donor trust fund.“These two programs are the first that we are signing since President Weah’s administration took power in January, but they will not be the last. The EU has a long-term commitment to Liberia. We will continue to work closely with the government to identify ways in which we can support their ‘pro-poor agenda,’” said ambassador Cave.She added that the programs will be implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Euro 20 million will go directly to TVET for a period of six years while Euro 4 million will go to CSOs’ initiatives.“Quality, technical and vocational education is the key to unlocking employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people, while the active involvement of CSOs in policy development and monitoring of service delivery is an important element of sustainable development,” she said.The program will, therefore, support the government to modernize TVET, promote training in strategic sectors of the economy, foster an entrepreneurial culture and equip youth with skills that actually match labor market demand and respond to new economic growth opportunities.“It will directly support a number of schools to strengthen links with the private sector, to ensure the education and skills on offer match local demand. Based on initial consultations these include ICT, agriculture, technology, electrification with focus on rural electrification, among others,” she added.She said EU will also send a number of vocational instructors abroad for training and practice for up to a year so that they can serve upon their return as instructors in TVET schools and as master trainers in the Centre of Excellence for Vocational Instructor Training that will be established with support from the program.The schools that will initially be supported include MVTC, BWI, Greenville Multilateral High School; Cape Palmas High School and Zwedru Multilateral High School.Ambassador Cave said the element of support at the central level means the program will also create a framework that the government can eventually extend to other public schools in the future should funding become available.“We are confident that the government will embrace and adopt the project from the very beginning so that after six years of support and financing the schools –by then upgraded and modernized-will remain fully operational and will deliver high-quality TVET to students.“We remain committed to our agreement to support and improve the labor force by empowering the young people of this country through the provision of quality TVET and look forward to working closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Education under this program,” she said.Minister of Education Prof. Ansu Sonii said the program is in line with President George Weah’s quest to providing a better education for his citizens.Minister Sonii said there are too many young people who are waiting to be reprocessed into active self-productive citizens, to contribute to the development of Liberia, and the agreement will ensure that it is implemented under the “pro-poor agenda.”Meanwhile, MFDP Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., said EU remains one of the most trusted partners to the Government of Liberia and said over the next six years of the government’s development plan process, “we look to deepen this partnership and to see the possibility for stronger coordination and cooperation.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)