Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis
1999, Liberia
Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis

Following the wreckage of Liberia’s first civil war, Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis became a vital voice for positive change, calling upon the international community to help keep peace, reconstruct the nation, and usher Liberia towards democracy. His organizations, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and Radio Veritas, have worked with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to involve Liberian citizens in the peace and reconstruction process, empowering the people of Liberia to take responsibility for a lasting peace.

During his life, Archbishop Francis was regarded as the conscience of his nation, speaking truth to power against corruption within Liberia’s government. He stood against the succession of brutal regimes that plagued Liberia and was known for delivering passionate, rousing sermons in which he criticized social ills and advocated for the poor. He was known for openly criticizing warlords and the use of child soldiers, despite the obvious risks.

When Archbishop Francis passed away in 2013, Liberians and Catholics the world over mourned the loss of one of their most important and visionary leaders. His legacy lives on as a rallying cry for peace and justice in Liberia and around the world.