Ties between IU and the West African nation of Liberia extend back to research by IU faculty the 1930s, when ethnomusicologists from Indiana University traveled to the coast of West Africa in order to make recordings of Liberian music. Later, development of a special relationship continued in the early 1960s, when IU faculty with expertise on West Africa established the African Studies Program at Indiana University. (The Program celebrated its 50th anniversay in 2011. For more on African Studies at IU and IU activities in Kenya and South Africa, see African Scenes.)
Today, IU has one of the largest archival collections outside Liberia for studying the cultural and political history of that nation. In addition (see below) many personal ties exist between IU and Liberia's educational and political leaders.
Currently in Liberia, Indiana University is the lead institution that is helping the University of Liberia regain its capacity to train health care professionals, in a project funded by USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development, a branch of the U.S. State Department) and administered by HED (Higher Education for Development). The medical school of the University of Massachusetts is a subcontractor on the project.
The capacity to train health professional, along with much else at the University of Liberia, was destroyed in the ruinous civil war that ended about a decade ago, after approximately 10% of the population perished.
See references for information on Liberia and its civil wars