First Female President of Liberia & Nobel Peace Laureate
Internationally known as “Africa’s Iron Lady,” Nobel Peace Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a leading promoter of freedom, peace, justice, women’s empowerment and democratic rule. As Africa’s first democratically-elected female head of state, she led Liberia through reconciliation and recovery following the nation’s decade-long civil war, as well as the Ebola Crisis, winning international acclaim for achieving economic, social, and political change. Recognized as a global leader for women’s empowerment, President Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2011. In 2018, she joined the ranks of Africa’s most admired and accomplished leaders, including Nelson Mandela, as the first woman honored with the Mo Ibrahim Prize, considered the most prestigious award for African leaders. This prize is offered to those who have developed their countries, strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, and advanced sustainable development. In addition, in 2019 President Sirleaf joined The Elders due to her earned international trust, demonstrated integrity and inclusive, progressive leadership. The Elders are a group of former world leaders tasked with ensuring peace and universal human rights. She is also the recipient of The Presidential Medal of Freedom—the United States’ highest civilian award—for her personal courage and unwavering commitment to expanding freedom and improving the lives of Africans. President Sirleaf’s many other honors include the Grand Croix of the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest public distinction, and being named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women in the World.” Read More >
President Obama Meeting
Mo Ibrahim Prize Ceremony Address
Secretary Kerry Address
ECA Conference of African Ministers
ATT Diplomatic Conference
President Sirleaf Farewell Address to United Nations
As President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led her country through the Ebola epidemic, a crisis that devastated her country’s healthcare infrastructure. Later, she rebuilt Liberia’s system with an emphasis on developing a new generation of community health workers to serve remote and vulnerable populations distant from any healthcare facilities. Her pioneering and innovative work in Africa was praised by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently appointed her as Global Ambassador for the Health Workforce. In this big-picture talk, President Sirleaf provides an overview of the global healthcare workforce and the challenges that world faces with the projected shortfall of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030. She also shares lessons from the developing world that can be applied to healthcare in the U.S. and other countries.
"We were so honored to have you with us this week for the CARE National Conference. We have heard only great feedback from our advocates and we’re so grateful to you for being part of creating a successful and inspiring experience for them. Your story as a woman navigating the vast challenges of running for office in Liberia shared insights that brought to life many of the same issues CARE works to address today. (And more than one person thought your story offered terrific lessons and a primer for women in the United States currently running for president!)"
"It was a privilege to see President Sirleaf at the Global Water Awards and her speech was exceptional. Definitely the best we’ve had so far. Thank you."
"As the first woman elected to lead an African nation, President Sirleaf is an inspiration to women everywhere, men too – a woman revered by her people and determined to make progress."
"Her "residency" was outstanding - perhaps the best we've had. She connected with the students really well, speaking with them as equals and just as interested in them as she was in sharing information about her and Liberia. She certainly won over a school full of new fans, all of whom are pulling for Liberia's continued success - and starting to clamor for a school-sponsored trip to Monrovia to help in the rebuilding! She is a remarkable person, and her strong moral leadership shines through in everything she does. She is also entertaining, engaging, and flexible - all the things you want in a visiting speaker!"
"President Johnson Sirleaf’s message of peace, human rights, and economic empowerment truly inspired all of us. We are proud of her work and the fine examples she is setting for Liberia and around the world."
"The audience really loved her! Thank you!! It was a pleasure to have her on campus."
"For the Lafayette College community, you created such an inspiring and lively discussion about the critical role that education and civil service can have in fostering unity within a divided community. Your visit to Lafayette included an extraordinarily successful event and day of activities. We are so appreciative of your willingness to spend time with our faculty and students in advance of your presentation. Your lecture is a model for what is desired for an academic environment. It was not only informative about your own specific experience, but it was interesting and relevant to all the members of our diverse community. From the point of view of politics, gender, and leadership, you offered so many insightful perspectives, which made it a terrific talk for students. We are very grateful to have had this opportunity to hear your insights about our world."
“She was fabulous…she actually got a standing ovation, which from this crowd, who are not terribly demonstrative - was amazing! Truly, it was a very special hour and we are so thankful to President Sirleaf for everything.”