Meet the Leader: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Meet the Leader: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Date: December 06, 2018

Guest: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

This episode of Meet the Leader features former President of the Republic of Liberia and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who made history as Africa’s first elected female president, sharing her leadership journey, the challenges she encountered along the way, and her work on the continent after her presidency.

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Former President of the Republic of Liberia

On January 16, 2006, H.E. Sirleaf was sworn in as the 24th President of Liberia. She became the first democratically elected female president in postcolonial Africa. She became president after a devastating civil war and led a process of nation building and reconciliation.

During her Presidency, she negotiated the lifting of international trade sanctions against Liberia and convinced creditors to erase almost $5 billion of external debt. She established a right to free, universal elementary education; enforced equal rights for women, rights that were routinely ignored and abused during the chaotic years of civil war; and managed Liberia’s Ebola crisis.

In October 2007, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civil award, for her personal courage and unwavering commitment to expanding freedom and improving the lives of people in Liberia and across Africa. In 2011, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, along with women’s rights campaigners Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. The Nobel Committee credited President Sirleaf’s contribution to “securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women.”

After retiring at the end of two terms in January 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Ibrahim African Leadership prize.