Accomplished politician Ellen Eugenia Johnson, born 29 October 1938 served as the 24th President of Liberia from January 2006 to 2018.
The foremost Economist, dubbed “Africa’s Iron Lady”, in 2005 rewrote history when she became the continent’s first elected woman president.
In 2011 she was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts to bring women into the peacekeeping process.
In June 2016, Sirleaf was elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States, becoming the first woman to hold the position since it was created.
A leading voice of peace, justice and democracy, part of her achievements during presidency was probing corruption and easing ethnic tensions.
A power lady, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid a high price in her fight for justice and human rights, spending more than a year in jail at the hands of military dictatorship of General Samuel Doe, her life was also threatened by former President Charles Taylor. She would later campaign relentlessly for Taylor’s removal from office.
In October 2007, 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.
So far, she has received numerous other awards for her accomplishments and selfless public service, including the Ralph Bunche International Leadership Award, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom of Speech Award, Grand Commander of the Star of African Redemption of Liberia, and the 2006 International Republican Institute Freedom Award.
Born and raised in Liberia, Sirleaf upon proceeding to the United States as a young woman, earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
She proudly takes her place amongst the world’s most influential leaders.