Past Event

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Fireside Chat

November 8, 2018
4:15 PM - 6:00 PM
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H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, will participate in a fireside chat on November 8 from 4:15pm-6pm to speak on the future of African politics.

Due to limited seating, you must fill out this form to apply to attend the event:

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician and economist who was president of Liberia (2006-18). She was the first woman to be elected head of state of an African country. Johnson Sirleaf was also one of three recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to further women’s rights.

After obtaining a master’s degree (1971) in public administration from Harvard University, Johnson Sirleaf entered government service in Liberia. She served as assistant minister of finance (1972-73) under President William Tolbert and as finance minister (1980-85) in Samuel K. Doe’s military dictatorship. During Doe’s regime she was imprisoned twice and narrowly avoided execution. In the 1985 national election she campaigned for a seat in the Senate and openly criticized the military government, which led to her arrest and a 10-year prison sentence. She was released after a short time and allowed to leave the country.

During 12 years of exile in Kenya and the United States, during which time Liberia collapsed into civil war, Johnson Sirleaf became an influential economist for the World Bank, Citibank, and other international financial institutions. From 1992-1997 she was the director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme.

In 1997 Johnson Sirleaf ran for president of Liberia, representing the Unity Party (UP). She finished second to Charles Taylor and was forced back into exile when his government charged her with treason. By 1999 Liberia’s civil war had resumed. After Taylor went into exile in 2003, Johnson Sirleaf returned to Liberia to chair the Commission on Good Governance, which oversaw preparations for democratic elections. In 2005 she again ran for president, won, and served as Liberia’s president for two terms, until 2018.