Journalist | Lawyer, Host and Managing Editor of The African World
Kwame Clement is one of Liberia’s most celebrated broadcast journalists. He joined the staff of the Liberia Broadcasting System in 1979 as a radio/television reporter when he was just 19 years old. By the time he was twenty, he was Liberia’s preeminent television news anchor. With a prodigious memory and a unique ability to ad lib the news, Kwame became known in a country where there was no teleprompter as “the man who reads the news without looking at the paper.” Kwame soon drew the constant ire of the military government that ruled Liberia in the 1980s as his reports exposed corruption and abuse of power in high places.
As a result of his reports, Kwame was falsely accused of complicity in the November 12, 1985 abortive coup attempt against the Doe government and was imprisoned along with opponents of the government, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and released without charges after spending more than a month of maximum security detention at the Post Stockade in Monrovia.
After the outbreak of the Liberian Civil War, Kwame was forced to flee the country as he and other journalists committed to fair and objective reporting became targets of the various warring factions. He arrived in the United States in July 1990 as a political refugee and was granted political asylum by the United States Government. As Kwame set out to create a new life from scratch in the United States, he enrolled in the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, while working full time to support a young family. He graduated from the law school in 1998 with a Doctor of Juris Degree (JD) with highest honors, ranking in the top 3 percent of a class of close to 500 students. While in law school, he was awarded the Corpus Juris Secundum Award for attaining the highest grades in two courses: Torts and Civil Procedure.
Upon graduation from law school, Kwame won a prestigious and much coveted federal judicial clerkship and served as a Law Clerk to Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver Colorado. In that position, Kwame researched and drafted many opinions for Judge Lucero in several seminal cases. Kwame has also worked for three of the top major law firms in the United States. While still in law school, he served as a summer associate at two firms regularly ranked among the top 10 corporate law firms in the United States: Cleary Gottlieb Stein and Hamilton, and Skadden Arps Meagher and Flom. Kwame received offers from both of these firms to join them as an associate upon his graduation from law school. However, because of his interest in practicing antitrust law, he chose to join the Washington DC based law firm of Arnold and Porter, which is frequently ranked as the number one antitrust law firm globally. While at Arnold and Porter, Kwame also practiced securities law and commercial litigation and argued many major and complex cases before various federal and state courts.
In addition to the active practice of law, Kwame has for many years served as the host and managing editor of the African World Television Program. The Program, which Kwame founded in 2006, is the premier public affairs program on American television devoted to matters pertaining to Africa. The Program airs on an independent public television station based in Falls Church, Virginia, and regularly features African leaders, diplomats, as well as American officials involved in shaping US Africa policy.
As a direct result of his work on the African World Television Program, Kwame was personally invited by President Bill Clinton to moderate a panel at the 2007 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The panel discussed making vaccines available and accessible to people in the developing world, particularly Africa.
In addition to holding a Doctor of Juris Degree from the George Washington University, Kwame holds an LLB Degree from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law of the University of Liberia from when he graduated in 1984. He also holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Economics from the Business College of the University of Liberia from where he graduated in 1982.
While at the University of Liberia, Kwame established himself as a major student leader and became President of the University of Liberia Students’ Union in 1981 after running as an independent candidate and becoming the first and only person to defeat the Student Unification Party (SUP) in more than 40 years of student politics at the University.
Kwame is regularly invited by various Liberian organizations and groups to speak on issues pertaining to Liberia. For example, at the invitation of the Liberian Ambassador to the United States, Kwame participated in a symposium on July 21, 2012 marking Liberia’s independence and spoke on the role of the Liberian Diaspora in fostering Liberia’s development. Also, at the invitation of the Union of Liberian organizations in the United Kingdom, Kwame served as the Keynote Speaker at celebrations held in Northampton, England on July 27, 2012 to commemorate Liberia’s independence. Given his role and record as a journalist, Kwame was invited in 2007 to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on how the Liberian Civil war impacted journalists and the practice of journalism in Liberia.