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Zoom In: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, née Ellen Johnson, (born October 29, 1938, Monrovia, Liberia), 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 one of three recipients, along with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karmān, of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace for their efforts to further women’s rights.

Education And Start Of Government Service
Johnson Sirleaf is of mixed Gola and German heritage. Her father was the first indigenousLiberian to sit in the national legislature. She was educated at the College of West Africa in Monrovia and at age 17 married James Sirleaf (they were later divorced). In 1961 Johnson Sirleaf went to the United States to study economics and business administration. After obtaining amaster’s degree (1971) in public administration from Harvard University, she entered government service in Liberia.

Johnson Sirleaf served as assistant minister of finance (1972–73) under Pres. William Tolbert and as finance minister (1980–85) in Samuel K. Doe’s military dictatorship. She became known for her personal financial integrity and clashed with both heads of state. 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… more

(Britannica)


 
 
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