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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The first female President of Liberia - Nobel Peace Prize 2011

Internationally known as Africa’s "Iron Lady," President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a leading promoter of peace, justice, and democratic rule.

In November 2005, she was elected President of Liberia and became the first elected female head of state in Africa. The Harvard educated former World Bank economist won the election with an impressive 59.4 % of the vote.

Before her election, she worked tirelessly to bring justice to her people in Liberia and had spent more than a year in jail at the hands of the military dictatorship of General Samuel Doe. After having her life threatened by former President Charles Taylor, she campaigned relentlessly for Taylor’s removal from office and played an active and supportive role in the establishing the Transitional Government of Liberia as the country prepared for elections in 2005.

President Johnson Sirleaf had previously served as the Chairperson of the Governance Reform Commission of the National Transitional Government of Liberia until she had resigned in 2004 to accept the nomination of the Unity Party of Liberia as its Standard Bearer.

Also a presidential candidate in the 1997 Liberia general election, she finished second in the field of 13 candidates. Before that, she served for five years as Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa and was the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Project for Africa. Throughout her professional career, she served in several financial positions such as the first woman Minister of Finance for Liberia, Vice President of Citicorp, Vice President of the HSBC Equator Bank, and the Senior Loan Officer of the World Bank.

She has been awarded many special honors, including the Commander de l’Ordre du Mono of Togo (1996), the Ralph Bunche International Leadership Award of United States (1995 and 1996), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Of Speech Award of the United States (1988), and the Grand Commander of the Star of African Redemption of Liberia (1980).

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