top of page

PHD Religious Studies Statement of Purpose

PHD Religious Studies
PHD Religious Studies Statement of Purpose

“The Moral Promise of Religious Education in Liberia and the Rest of Africa” 

I have lived and continue to live my entire life in Liberia, on Africa´s West Coast, founded by former slaves from the United States who are my ancestors my home country. Like most Liberians, this means, my educational and religious worldview is informed by traditional African religious motifs as well as life have all been Liberian. My early education and undergraduate, my religion – Christianity. My formal education has been entirely religious, and I like to think of myself as a professional advocate of and for Christianity in African, especially religious education as a strategy, the best hope for resolving the many profound challenges faced by Africa as a whole. In this way, I feel strongly that I am highly qualified to study towards the PHD Degree in Religious Studies and I hope to earn the terminal degree in my field at Princeton, which I see as the finest Religious Studies program on the planet. and the African Traditional Religion have been acquired and continue to be practiced in Liberia.  

I hope to be selected for graduate study towards the PHD in Religious Studies at Princeton, for reasons of diversity and inclusion, concern for social justice, and the fact that I am most highly motivated to earn the degree by finishing a doctoral dissertation with a title very much like: “The Moral Promise of Religious Education in Liberia and the Rest of Africa.” I seek to undertake the fullest immersion experience possible in the way in which religious education helps to make society more cohesive and civic minded, seeking to contribute to the community rather than to take advantage of it. In fact, by ´moral education´ I am referring to that part of our religious code that most bonds us together in terms of our sense of communal bond.  


In high school, I studied and read educational and religious materials, basically, Christian materials as was required of us students – what was or is and what it isn’t. Moral discipline plays a very central role in our society and especially as concerns religious education and the passing on of values from one generation to the nextformed a major – and this holds true not only of Christianity but alsocomponent of our studies because Christianity and the ATR and their educational programs rest on moral ethics which is a key principle of all religious life. African Traditional Religion (ATR)., what it is and isn’t and some information about the doctrines and theologies. I was ignorant. But what I did not grasp during what I now call ‘my introductory’ days, is the role or importance of religious education and moral obligation to society; in this case, to Liberia, and perhaps to the African continent. The key words I need to perhaps define and explain here are ‘moral, education, and religion.’ I believe these terms hold the full definition and purpose in context for my proposed dissertation topic: “The Moral Promise of Religious Education in Liberia and the Rest of Africa.”   

I see religious education for the whole of Africa as the best hope that we have for the progressive define religious education as a fundamental ingredient and principal elements for the transformation andal development of our societies, which would enable us to take our place in the international arena as equal partners, at first morally and then, in time, economically as well. It is my hope that Liberia will be able to achieve the status as a laboratory for religious education learning from teachers on a global level, and able to learn by itself, through our systems of education in Liberia – Islamic as well as Christian and ATR. any society including Liberia and Africa. There are several reasons for this assertion among which are 1. Liberia is a religious society of Christianity, Islam, and the traditional religion known as the African Traditional Religion. Each of these institutions has as moral obligatory responsibilities to the community, their moral and ethical values as they see society and what it ought to be. This point is forcefully stressed in the ATR , and it involves beliefs, values, and an articulation of what behaviors are seen asthe acceptable and what are not, in the context of a nativist or home-grown religious impulse in our society that harkens back to the energy and spirituality of long ago, well before the first white man ever set foot on our continent, let along the slave traders who would come later.  ways in which these are explored and how beliefs and values can be expressed. ATR provides an education in 2. The future of society depends on the prepared foundation laid out today by society self. The people should know what they need and want, and how to achieve it. 3. The four main pillars of moral education practiced by religions are moral character, helping the of the individual to learn how to interact successfully with theand community in peaceful action and debate over our celebration of a, peaceful action, and cultural identity or studies. 4. Education – religious or secular, gives a complete knowledge of our common world and perspectives of that common world along with its resulting religious vision. its view. It also changes what we may know of the world into something of a better value than we may have thought. It is the single powerful force enough and able to create knowledge. It also makes us confident of ourselves for the future. Education breaks down obstacles that might be in ourthat serve to prevent access to  path to greater opportunities that we aim atthat are sorely needed in Africa.  

The teachings of religious doctrines and theologies solely rest on the shoulders of religions. However, it is expected ofR religion is expected to contribute to maintaining peaceful community in Liberia as elsewhere, complementing efforts made by the government in this regard; primarily in terms of to complement society in its efforts in building a good and peaceful community.


PHD Religious Studies
PHD Religious Studies Statement of Purpose

In Liberia, the religious community comprising all religions, is positively engaged in complementing the national government’s educational and moral responsibility to the citizens. These include education, vocational, and technical advancement, most of all with respect to , and academic public and health as part of the moral promise which in some cases, is referred to as social or corporate responsibility of 

Moral promise on the other hand, is the promise made by religion that not only its rules or principles will it enforce in society, but also rules and values that are necessary for society will also be encouraged. In short, God’s will for all humanity should be respected. 

However, these promises made by religion have not been fully accomplished to the expectation of society. This could probably be because of poverty and other factors at the national levels, and the unwillingness of individuals to engage themselves into the various aspects of education as offered by religion. Poverty represents a great challenge to us in almost every aspect of life.  


Very few ebecause almost all educational institutions are not tuition- free, and equal access to education exist only in principle, at best, across Africa.  even though the religious institutions who own and operate them do offer some form of financial aids which are in response to society’s request. On the African continent, especially countries in the West Africa, these development and experiences are commonly shared. This is because the African tradition, culture, and religion are closely related in characters and morality, and practice of beliefs and cultures. 


In the teachings of Tthe ATR, comprised primarily of the, concrete promises are made not only verbally, but they also form a major component of the curriculum of the ATR and are daily exercised by the religion. Let me state clearly here that apart from the general religious education which is practiced daily with genders inclusiveness, these are what could be referred to as ‘colleges’ for specific trainings and purposes. These are ‘Porol and the Sandi societies, or commonly caledl “bush school¨, s”, and found throughout most ofbasically in West and North Africa. The Sandi is for females overwomen the age of who have reached the admissions age 5. And the Porol is for boys beginning at men starting from age 3.  I seeBefore the coming of western education and civilization into Liberia, each of the schools would admit pupils for basic vigorous training in all human activities – religion, politics and governance, social services, and finally marital status for young men and women. This completes their maturity to be able to assume community responsibility. This means religious education in West Africa is not taught separately from the daily activities of the religion because the religion is a ‘way of life’ of the people. In it they live and find life.  As it is in modern society, religions cannot be divorced from education because in my view, education asis the vehicle that preservestransports religious beliefs and practices, handing them down to the next gen. eration in a refined fashioned, the refinement or polish representing the contribution of that particular generation at a given time place, and moral and social context. 

 Islam is inclusive in this moral promise of religious education because all religions including Islam make educational promises to their respective communities for good reason.  

My My experiences as a Christian parish priest and anof Christianity, an associate member of the ATR, a university instructorteacher and community leader, and a member of several civil society organizations in Liberia and West African, I am informed and knowledgeable of the roles each religion playsplayed by each major religious group in the delivery of education to host countries and communities. 


During the Liberian civil war from 1990-2003 which ravaged both Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone, the religious communities in these countries played leading roles in search of peace, democracy and the rule of law. SNot only did these happened in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but also similar approaches were employed in Ghana and Nigeria during their troubledle days in the 1960s. These successes were achieved because of the spread of religious education and discipline. 

PHD Religious Studies
PHD Religious Studies Statement of Purpose

The promise of religious education delivery is not unique to Liberia and West African. As I have seen, it is a continental religious obligation for all religions. In West Africa, the religious bodies are counterparts in governments’ educational programs for the citizens. It is the duty of governments to educate the citizens. Thus, So, religious bodies in Liberia have learned the need for them to contribute to quality education with a moral component for all Liberians. For my part, I look forward to coordinating educational programs that are targeted or geared towards victims of one form of systemic abuse or another, especially women and girls, abused youth, etc. I will work directly with authorities in the planning and coordination of these institutions and their activities. 

commit themselves to providing quality education for members and non-members. Religious education is also important because in it moral and ethical values are learned and practiced in society. As it is said, ‘ethics is the guiding principle of societal norms and virtues.’ 


Religious Studies at I chose this topic for my proposed dissertation because of my high level of experience in working with various religious groups and individuals. I am also motivated to conduct this proposed research in a wilder and academic approach in finding more comparative ways in this direction. 


As I earlier stated, the promise of religious education by religions has not reached its full expectation. There is a need for combine efforts to make this a reality. I therefore, see myself as one of the many persons who can help make contributions.  

My dissertation will primarily focus on fulfilling this future goal and will be done through coordinated educational programs for specific groups – women and girls, and youths because they are in many ways, victims of abuses. 


Consideration will be given to reviewing the level of educational work done, what is not done, what is needed for today’s religious education at community level, and a well-defined and focused for the future at the national level. I will be work with authorities directly in the planning and implementation. This national program will include academic, vocational and technical with sub-regional syllabuses.


Well, after giving much thoughts and reviewing graduate schools’ academic programs, and bearing in mind the importance of my studies, I found Princeton University is my first choice among doctoral programs because I feel that it is the best option to provide me with the preparation that I am seeking. I have a great deal of respect for the distinguished accomplishments ofGraduate School Department of Religious Studies as my best choice. This is because Princeton’s program is focused and points directly to my program’s future plans. 


I have also read with great interest and satisfied motivation faculty members at Princeton in ours and related fields: especially’ rich academic profiles outlining their professional qualifications in various disciplines that are in line with my studies. Their publications and related works in their respective fields of concentrations and majors. I am convinced that at Princeton my future goal will be achieved.  

The faculty members are:  Professors Eric Gregory, PhD. Religion and Philosophy, Religion, Ethics, and Politics.  Professor Wallace Best, PhD, Religion and African American Studies. Professor Aysenur Guc, PhD. Religion and Philosophy. Professor Andrew Chignell, PhD. Philosophy and religion, Religion, Ethics, and Ppolitics and. Professor Judith Weisenfeld, PhD. 


I thank you for considering my application to Religious Studies at Princeton University. 

Each of these professors’ work is inescapable, unavoidable but an easy to digest academically.  This is helpful for me as an African. It seemed their works were tailored in mind for me. 

It is my hope that they will individually and collectively give me the assistance I need now from them and during my applications period and admissions process to conclusion. 


PHD Religious Studies Statement of Purpose


bottom of page