George Werner, MSW’09

  • Director-General of Liberia’s Civil Service Agency

  • Chair of the Government of Liberia’s Inter-ministerial Scholarships Committee

“I now serve as a member of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as Director General of the Civil Service and Head of the Civil Service Agency (The equivalent of a Minister/Secretary of Public Service in some countries). In essence, I am the President’s chief Advisor on all issues related to public service and public personnel management. Liberia’s Civil Service is 35, 000 to 45, 000 strong.

“I also serve as Chair of the Government of Liberia’s Inter-ministerial Scholarships Committee. We have about 300 students in 12 countries pursuing degrees in Engineering, Medicine, Agriculture, Mining, Geology, Public Policy, Diplomacy.

“A PENN MSW cuts across many disciplines and, at its core, it is qualification which prepares one to serve humanity at all levels, public and private. 
“When Liberia first post-conflict government took power in 2006, it inherited an ineffective and inefficient civil service. Most agencies were dysfunctional. There was systemic failure in the policy environment occasioned by a weak policy formulation and implementation capacity. At the institutional level, mandates and functions overlapped, organizational structures were inappropriate, systems and procedures unwieldy and cumbersome, working environments un-enabling, and work ethics wanting. At the individual levels, many civil servants were poor, inadequately skilled, and de-motivated to commit to serving their fellow citizens. Even those that had been skilled prior to the protracted conflict had become deskilled on account of the lack continuous education in a setting of rapid advancement in technology and knowledge in various fields.

“The system was bridled with the perennial problems of ghost names, tardiness, absenteeism, corruption, low entry barriers, poor rewards for performance, and outdated human resources management systems, policies and practices.

“Accordingly, the new government realized that to achieve Liberia’s post-conflict, peace maintenance and poverty reduction development goals, it was mandatory that civil service be reformed. Particularly, it was urgent that the size, structure, policies, operations, and orientation of the civil service be reformed.  To address these challenges in the Liberian public sector Civil Service Reform Strategy was launched. With that, the Government of Liberia (GoL) embarked on the process of reforming its civil service for effective service delivery.

“I am thankful to have been asked by President Sirleaf to lead this reform.”

SP2 News

Faculty & Research, Global Engagement

International Experts Assemble to Examine, Investigate Public Health and Epidemics

On May 13 and 14, Jennifer Prah Ruger, PhD, and other international scholars and public health experts will assemble in...

Students from the MSSP 797 course in Havana, with instructor Azahara Palomeque

Student Life, Global Engagement

Social Issues Through a Global Lens: SP2 Students Reflect on Their Immersion Experience in Cuba

For students in the Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), having both a...

Faculty & Research

National Survey Examines Emergency Department Management of Deliberate Self-Harm

How routinely do emergency room staff members properly provide help to individuals who present for self-harm? Do they appropriately assess...

SP2 Student Emily Berkowitz presents at the APPAM Student Conference

Student Life

Students Present Policy Research on Housing, Immigration, Harassment

Four students from the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) shared their research across a wide range of...

Discover More