As the Competition Gains Momentum… CAER-SL Unveils their Chief Judges

Dr. Gbanabom Hallowell Chief Judge for the Poetry category & Professor Joe. A. D. Alie Chief Judge for the Essay Category

By Foday Moriba Conteh

As the National Essay & Poetry Competition continues to trigger the mind-sets of pupils and students, the Centre for Academic Excellence and Research, (CAER-SL) has officially unveiled Professor Joe. A. D Alie as their Chief Judge for the Essay Competition and Dr. Gbanabom Hallowell as the Chief Judge for the Poetry Competition respectively.

The unveiling process was done online in order to adhere to the preventive measures that the Government and its partners have put in place in order to curtail the spread of the corona virus in the country.

It could be recalled that the Centre for Academic Excellence and Research, (CAER-SL) is now poised to host its National Essay & Poetry Competition 2020 on the theme: “My Role in the Fight Against Covid-19” and they have initially open entries for Essays by secondary school pupils on the topic “The Role of Parents and Pupils in the Fight Against COVID 19”, and for university/college students; “Impact of COVID 19 on the International Political Economy”. Both could be sent via

According to the Executive Director for the Centre for Academic Excellence and Research, Issa Icon-K Kabba their organization has concluded the unveiling of their judges for the competition, stating that they have a total of six judges for the competition.

He disclosed that for the Essay competition the Chief Judge is Professor Joe. A. D. Alie, giving a synopsis of his biography. He noted that Professor Alie was born in Moyamba town in the Southern region of Sierra Leone. He attended Moyamba Boys Secondary School and furthered his studies at the Milton Margai Teachers College at Goderich, in the early 1970s and thereafter, taught for a number of years before enrolling at Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) in 1980, to read English, History and Law. He graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in History. Four years later he was awarded with a Masters of Art degree in Modern History.

He has a PhD in African History and a Certificate in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.

He is a Professor of History and African Studies in the University of Sierra Leone and has held other important positions in the University of Sierra Leone system including: Head of History Department – Dean of History of African Studies , Faculty of Arts, and University Public Orator.

Professor Alie is currently the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Sierra Leone.

He has a wealth of teaching experience at home and abroad. He is also an award-winning writer and educationist who was honoured by Government of Sierra Leone Government as Commander of the Order of the Rokel (COR) in 2006, for his contributions to education in the country.

He is also a leading textbook writer with his works used in Secondary schools and universities across Sierra Leone and beyond.

He further disclosed that the Chief Judge of the Poetry category is Dr. Gbanabom Hallowell.

Dr. Hallowell was born in 1965 at Bunumbu, Gbeje West, Kailahun District and was educated in Sierra Leone and in the United States. He holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute & University, Ohio and a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing from Vermont College, Vermont.​ He attended Birch Memorial Secondary School, Makeni and Milton Margai Teachers College.​

He is a poet, playwright and novelist. He has published a  collection of poems, including the poetry collection; Landscape of the Sierra, a novel, The Road to Kaibara, a play, A Case of Four Pillows and a War Memoir, Tears of the Sweet Peninsula: May 25, 1997 and the Sierra Leone Civil Conflict.​

Dr. Hallowell served as the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and was Country Director of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR).​ He has taught in Universities in the United States and in Sierra Leone, including Fourah Bay College and Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone.

He is​ currently an Assistant​ Professor​ of​ Language​ &​ Literature​ at​ the​ College​ of Arts and Sciences in William V.S Tubman University in Liberia.

He maintains that as an institution they strongly believe that the integrity of their judges demonstrates the credibility of the competition, thus, they have secured the services of individuals with the required academic expertise and moral standing to determine the best essay and poem.

He added that entries should be sent online and a panel of judicious judges will independently surf through all of them, and will send their judgments to a Chief Judge who will determine winners on a consensus basis, for both respective categories; essay and poetry.

Results will be announced via both the mainstream media; TV and radio, as well as the social media, noting that winners will be called upon and attractive prizes will be given to them either live on TV or in the presence of media personnel as to enhance transparency as well as to serve as a motivating factor

He called on interested persons to send in their entries via as entries are still open till 27th May, 2020 when all entries will be closed for the competition of both categories.



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