Tuesday, April 29, 2008

President of Liberia - First Elected Female Head of State for Africa and Liberia to speak! Make sure to tune into the live feed!

She will speak at 4:00pm Central Time. Here's a short Wikipedia biography. Not added to this biography is that she is a member of the United Methodist Church.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (born October 29, 1938) is the current President of Liberia, Africa's first elected female head of state and Liberia's first elected female president. She was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office in January 2006.
Her grandfather was a German who married a rural market woman. The grandfather was forced to leave the country during the war in 1917.
Two of Johnson-Sirleaf's grandparents were
indigenous Liberians. Her father, the son of the Gola Chief Jahmalae and Jenneh, one of his many wives, was born in Julejuah, Bomi County. As a result of her grandfather's friendship and loyalty to President Hilary Richard Wright Johnson and on the advice of the President, her father was brought to, his name changed to Johnson and he was given to the settler family, McCritty.
Johnson-Sirleaf graduated from the
College of West Africa (Monrovia), a United Methodist high school. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. in 1964, an economics diploma from the University of Colorado in 1970, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University in 1971. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated [1], a social action organization and the first collegiate sorority founded by and for Black women (1908).
5 November 2007, President George W. Bush awarded Johnson-Sirleaf the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States.
Returning to Liberia after Harvard, Johnson-Sirleaf became Assistant Minister of Finance in President
William Tolbert's administration. In 1980, Tolbert was overthrown and killed by army sergeant Samuel Doe, ending decades of relative stability. Doe was a member of the Krahn ethnic group and was the first Liberian president not to be descended from the elite ex-American slave community. For the next ten years, Doe allowed the Krahn people to dominate public life.
After the overthrow of Tolbert, Johnson-Sirleaf went into exile in
Nairobi, Kenya, where she worked for Citibank. She returned to run for Senate in 1985, but when she spoke out against Doe's military regime, she was sentenced to ten years in prison. Released after a short period, she moved to Washington, D.C.. She returned to Liberia again in 1997 in the capacity of an economist, working for the World Bank, and Citibank in Africa.
Initially supporting
Charles Taylor's bloody rebellion against President Samuel Doe in 1990, she later went on to oppose him, and ran against him in the 1997 presidential election. She managed only 10% of the votes, as opposed to Taylor's 75%. Taylor charged her with treason. She campaigned for the removal of President Taylor from office, playing an active and supportive role in the transitional government, as the country prepared itself for the 2005 election. With Taylor's departure, she returned to take over the leadership of the Unity Party.

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