Elizabeth Sele Mulbah

77MA Service 2004

Elizabeth Sele Mulbah, 77MA, has devoted her life to helping heal both people and places. This nurse educator, teacher, and humanitarian has used educational experiences from her home country of Liberia and from the University of Iowa to effect significant changes in the areas of health care and community action.

As the 11th of 15 children born to a tribal chief, Mulbah had few educational opportunities. She obtained much of her schooling at home but eventually attended a Liberian high school, where she was one of just three women to graduate.

The disciplined scholar went on to receive a bachelors degree in nursing from Liberias Cuttington University College in 1972. After graduation, she became a lecturer, clinical instructor, and director of nursing services at the Curran Lutheran Hospital and the Esther Bacon School of Nursing. She remained in these positions from 1973 to 1980, even while completing a masters degree in nursing service administration at the University of Iowa, where she distinguished herself as an outstanding student.

Mulbah soon put her Iowa education to work helping people in her war-torn country. When she returned to Liberia, the UI graduate took a job as a lecturer, clinical supervisor, and chair for Cuttington University Colleges Department of Nursing, where she worked from 1980 to 1986. During this time, she also sat on the Liberian Board for Nursing and Midwifery, serving as its president from 1983 to 1986.

Eventually, Mulbah left her job at Cuttington to spend a decade as the primary healthcare coordinator, program manager, and executive director of the Christian Health Association of Liberia. Through this position, Mulbah served as a community health development officer, helping to demobilize Liberian fighters and government soldiers.

In addition, she has worked with the United Nations Development Program, first as the community development officer for the Microcredit Program and then as community development specialist for the Reconstruction of Rural Housing in Liberia Program. She also has drafted training manuals on the topics of community development, leadership training, and holistic healing and has devoted herself to the areas of trauma healing, reconciliation, community leadership, and community health. She is currently serving in her countrys transitional government as advisor to the National Chairman on Health and Social Welfare.

This indefatigable educator is a recognized peace promoter who co-facilitated a four-day peace meeting with leaders of her countrys warring factions and also is a founding member of the Mano River Women for Peace Network. Her home has been a refuge for hundreds of people seeking shelter during Liberias civil war.

Such actions have earned Mulbah international recognition, and she is a prolific public speaker, lecturing in places such as the Carter Center in Atlanta, the Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, and the International Peace Academy in New York, as well as in countries throughout Africa. Mulbah is currently working on a story about these and other experiences in her autobiography, Blessed Tears.

Elizabeth Sele Mulbah has transformed her Iowa education into a global experience. She is a true citizen of the world, working at the local, national, and international levels to bring healing and change to her many communities.

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