In this interview, C. William Allen reflects on how the President’s Young Professionals Program boosted the quality of the civil service in Liberia. For background, he describes the strategy and programs that improved the civil service in the aftermath of the Second Liberian Civil War. He highlights the PYPP’s uniqueness in identifying young talent, heavily recruiting women, and offering placements in rural areas. He analyzes the pay scale’s role in strengthening the program. He compares the PYPP with alternative paths to working for the government, as well as the Young Professionals with other civil servants. He champions the PYPP’s transparent and meritocratic recruitment process as a model for the rest of the civil service while presenting the steps necessary to sustain the program.
At the time of this interview, C. William Allen represented Liberia as the ambassador to France and permanent delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). From 2006 to 2013, he served as director-general of the Liberian Civil Service Agency, where he chaired the steering committee of the President’s Young Professionals Program. In his prior post as minister of information, culture and tourism, he was the chief spokesman for the National Transitional Government of Liberia. He also worked as a journalist and taught journalism and mass communications at several universities. Allen earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Franklin College, a master of public administration from California State University at Sacramento, and a PhD in mass communication from Syracuse University.