Sylvia Blyden

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Sylvia Blyden
Sierra Leone minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs
Assumed office
2016 present
President Ernest Bai Koroma
Special Executive Assistant to Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma
In office
2013–2015
Personal details
Born Sylvia Olayinka Walmina Oreshola Blyden
(1971-10-01) 1 October 1971 (age 45)
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Nationality Sierra Leonean
Political party All People's Congress (APC)
Residence Freetown, Sierra Leone,
Alma mater Fourah Bay College
Profession Journalist
Religion Christianity (Methodism)

Sylvia Olayinka Walmina Oreshola Blyden (born 1 October 1971 in Freetown, Sierra Leone) is a Sierra Leonean journalist, political commentator, newspaper publisher, and the current Sierra Leone minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs. She served as Special Executive Assistant to Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma from 2013 to 2015[1][2].

Blyden is the founder, CEO, and publisher of Sierra Leonean newspaper Awerness Times. She is the only female news publisher in Sierra Leone, and "one of the most recognisable names in the country."[1][2][3] She has spoken of her interest to eventually run for the presidency of Sierra Leone.[4]

Born and raised in the capital Freetown, into a prominent political family, Blyden is widely considered one of the most powerful and highly influential female political figure in Sierra Leone. She is a close ally of Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma, and a prominent supporter and public defender of the Koroma's presidency.

Blyden is a Christian and a member of the Krio ethnic group. Blyden is the great-great-granddaughter of Edward Wilmot Blyden, the "father of Pan-Africanism". Her maternal grandfather is the Sierra Leonean politician Solomon A. J. Pratt, and her paternal grandfather is the late Sierra Leonean diplomat Edward Wilmot Blyden III.

Biography[edit]

Sylvia Olayinka Walmina Oreshola Blyden was born on 1 October 1971 in Freetown, Sierra Leone to Creole parents. She entered the Annie Walsh School with the best Selective Entrance results of entrants in 1982 and left with the best GCE O'Levels for the school in 1987; she was to graduate with the best B.Sc. results from Medical School in 1993 and again graduate with proficiency in 1996 with an M.D in Medicine[5] during which period she emerged as Sierra Leone's first woman to be elected as University students' leader in 1994.

Blyden is the great-great-granddaughter of Edward Wilmot Blyden, the "father of Pan-Africanism". Her maternal grandfather is the Sierra Leonean politician Solomon A. J. Pratt, and her paternal grandfather is the late Sierra Leonean diplomat Edward Wilmot Blyden III.

Career[edit]

A Child-Appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for Sierra Leone's Children, Sylvia Blyden has been a Youths[6] and Women's Rights Activist. She represented Sierra Leone's Female Youths in Beijing during the 1995 United Nations Women's Confab, and was chosen by her African peers to deliver the Female Youths of Africa Speech on 11 August 1995.

In early 2002, she became Sierra Leone's youngest National Political Party Leader at the age of 30, and the third Sierra Leone woman to lead a fully registered political party (the first being Presidential Candidate, the late Mrs. Jeridine Williams-Sarho in 1996).[7]

Founded own newspaper[edit]

Following her 24-Hours Internet Cafes, she launched a news media in 2005 known as Awareness Times, which is generally considered critical of the excesses of Government and State Institutions including the President, Ernest Bai Koroma.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]

Blyden remains the youngest ever Sierra Leonean to be nationally honoured with an Officer of the Rokel insignia in recognition of her meritorious service to the Nation, on 27 April 2007 Independence Day.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sylvia Blyden Is Not Running for President...". Exclusive Press. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Children's Agenda International". Bamine Charlie Boye. May 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Sierra Leone: Big boost for Mass Communication Students". Osman Benk Sankoh. June 2000. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Sylvia Blyden Is Not Running for President...". Exclusive Press. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sierra Leone's Medical University hails Newspaper Publisher Dr. Sylvia Blyden". Daniel Sewah. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Children's Agenda International". Bamine Charlie Boye. May 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Sierra Leone Web - Sierra Leone News - March 2002". Peter Andersen. 31 March 2002. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "What If Sylvia Blyden Has Proofs...". Concord Times. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Orders, Decorations & Medals of Sierra Leone". Jean-Paul LeBlanc. 1 May 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 

External links[edit]