Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Africa’s First Elected Female Head of State, Family and Family

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Personal Details

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia; she is Africa’s first elected female head of state

InformationDetail
BirthdayOctober 29, 1938
NationalityLiberian
FamousAfrica’s First Elected Female Head of State, Nobel Peace Prize, Harvard University, Leaders, Political Leaders, Presidents
Nick namesIron Lady of Africa
SpousesJames Sirleaf
Childrens Charles Sirleaf, Fombah Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf
Universities
  • Harvard University
  • 1971 - Harvard University
  • 1970 - University of Colorado Boulder
  • College of West Africa
  • 1964 - University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Wisconsin School of Business
Notable Alumnis
  • Harvard University
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Birth PlaceMonrovia
ReligionMethodism, Christianity
GenderFemale
FatherJahmale Carney Johnson
Net Worth$1.2 Billion as of Feb 5,2017
Sun SignScorpio
Born inMonrovia
Famous asAfrica’s First Elected Female Head of State

// Famous Africa’s First Elected Female Head of State

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's photo

Who is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia. She is Africa’s first elected female head of state, famously dubbed as the ‘Iron Lady of Africa’. An economist by training, she assumed office in 2006 as the first democratically elected female president in postcolonial Africa. Previously she had run for the post of senate, vice-president and president in Liberia and also raised her voice against the unjust rule of military regimes. She spent much of her political career in exile trying to increase international awareness about the chaos and violence that was consuming her country. Throughout her career, she demonstrated passionate commitment to good governance, advocating for the rights of women and the importance of education to provide a better future for her country and its people. Upon becoming the president, she made considerable progress, notably to relieve Liberia from its crushing foreign debt. She also worked towards the liberation of African women, who have long borne the brunt of the violence, instability, and poverty that plagued the continent. She personified the nation's ability to recover from the long nightmare of civil war and has been righteously honored with the ‘Nobel Prize for Peace’ for her sincere efforts. She has revived national hope by strengthening the institutions of national security, leading the revitalization of the national economy, and restoring Liberia’s international reputation and credibility.

// Famous Political Leaders

Childhood & Early Life

She was born on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia, to Jahmale Carney Johnson, a lawyer, and his wife, a teacher. Her father belonged to ‘Gola’ community while her mother was of mixed Kru and German ancestry.

From 1948 to 1955, she studied at the College of West Africa. In 1961, she went to the United States and earned an associate degree in accounting from Madison Business College, Wisconsin.

From 1969 to 1971, she studied economics and public policy at Harvard's ‘John F. Kennedy School of Government’ and earned a Masters of Public Administration degree.

Career

Upon completing her studies, she returned to her native Liberia and became the Assistant Minister of Finance under the government of William Tolbert in 1972 but resigned after a year.

After Tolbert’s assassination and execution of most of the cabinet by Samuel K. Doe in 1980, she initially accepted a post in the new government as ‘President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment’.

In 1981, she moved to Nairobi to serve as the Vice President of the African Regional Office of Citibank, a post she held for four years. She resigned from Citibank following her involvement in the 1985 general election in Liberia and went to work for Equator Bank, a subsidiary of HSBC.

In 1992, she was appointed the Director of the ‘United Nations Development Programme's Regional Bureau for Africa’ at the rank of Assistant Administrator and Assistant Secretary General (ASG). In 1997 she resigned from the post to run for the president in the general elections in Liberia.

She ran as the presidential candidate from the United Party against Charles Taylor and was placed second, getting one-fourth of the total votes in the controversial election. As a result, she left the country soon after and went into exile.

In the 2005 general elections, she returned to contest for the post of President and took over as the leader of the Unity Party. That year, promising economic development and an end to corruption and civil war, she was elected as the President of Liberia.

On January 16, 2006, she assumed the office of the President of Liberia. She became the world's first elected black female president and Africa's first elected female head of state.

In 2011, she decided to run for a second term in office in the presidential election, a decision highly criticized by the opposition leaders. She won against the ‘Congress for Democratic Change’ party candidate Winston Tubman and took presidential oath for her second presidency on January 16, 2012.

Awards & Achievements

In 2006, she became the recipient of ‘Common Ground Award’ and the ‘Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger’. The same year, she also received the ‘David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award’.

In 2007, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States.

In 2010, she was presented with the ‘Friend of the Media in Africa Award’ by The African Editor's Union.

In 2011, she was conferred with the ‘Nobel Prize for Peace’, which she shared with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman. The award was given "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".

In 2012, she received the ‘Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development’. The same year, she was awarded France’s highest award and public distinction, the Grand Croix of the Légion d’Honneur.

She has received honorary doctorates from various prestigious universities including ‘Indiana University’, ‘Brown University’, ‘Harvard University’, and ‘Yale University’.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1956, at the age of 17, she married James Sirleaf. They had four sons together and divorced later on.

// Famous Alumni of Harvard University

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awards

YearNameAward

Other

2011 - Nobel Prize for Peace

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf biography timelines

  • // 29th Oct 1938
    She was born on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia, to Jahmale Carney Johnson, a lawyer, and his wife, a teacher. Her father belonged to ‘Gola’ community while her mother was of mixed Kru and German ancestry.
  • // 1956
    In 1956, at the age of 17, she married James Sirleaf. They had four sons together and divorced later on.
  • // 1961
    From 1948 to 1955, she studied at the College of West Africa. In 1961, she went to the United States and earned an associate degree in accounting from Madison Business College, Wisconsin.
  • // 1969 To 1971
    From 1969 to 1971, she studied economics and public policy at Harvard's ‘John F. Kennedy School of Government’ and earned a Masters of Public Administration degree.
  • // 1972
    Upon completing her studies, she returned to her native Liberia and became the Assistant Minister of Finance under the government of William Tolbert in 1972 but resigned after a year.
  • // 1980
    After Tolbert’s assassination and execution of most of the cabinet by Samuel K. Doe in 1980, she initially accepted a post in the new government as ‘President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment’.
  • // 1981 To 1985
    In 1981, she moved to Nairobi to serve as the Vice President of the African Regional Office of Citibank, a post she held for four years. She resigned from Citibank following her involvement in the 1985 general election in Liberia and went to work for Equator Bank, a subsidiary of HSBC.
  • // 1992 To 1997
    In 1992, she was appointed the Director of the ‘United Nations Development Programme's Regional Bureau for Africa’ at the rank of Assistant Administrator and Assistant Secretary General (ASG). In 1997 she resigned from the post to run for the president in the general elections in Liberia.
  • // 2005
    In the 2005 general elections, she returned to contest for the post of President and took over as the leader of the Unity Party. That year, promising economic development and an end to corruption and civil war, she was elected as the President of Liberia.
  • // 2006
    In 2006, she became the recipient of ‘Common Ground Award’ and the ‘Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger’. The same year, she also received the ‘David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award’.
  • // 16th Jan 2006
    On January 16, 2006, she assumed the office of the President of Liberia. She became the world's first elected black female president and Africa's first elected female head of state.
  • // 2007
    In 2007, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States.
  • // 2010
    In 2010, she was presented with the ‘Friend of the Media in Africa Award’ by The African Editor's Union.
  • // 2011
    In 2011, she was conferred with the ‘Nobel Prize for Peace’, which she shared with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman. The award was given "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".
  • // 2012
    In 2012, she received the ‘Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development’. The same year, she was awarded France’s highest award and public distinction, the Grand Croix of the Légion d’Honneur.
  • // 16th Jan 2012
    In 2011, she decided to run for a second term in office in the presidential election, a decision highly criticized by the opposition leaders. She won against the ‘Congress for Democratic Change’ party candidate Winston Tubman and took presidential oath for her second presidency on January 16, 2012.

// Famous Nobel Peace Prize

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's FAQ

  • What is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf birthday?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born at 1938-10-29

  • Where is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's birth place?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born in Monrovia

  • What is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf nationalities?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's nationalities is Liberian

  • What is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf nick names?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's nickNames is Iron Lady of Africa

  • Who is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spouses?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's spouses is James Sirleaf

  • Who is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf childrens?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's childrens is Charles Sirleaf, Fombah Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf

  • What was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf universities?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf studied at Harvard University, 1971 - Harvard University, 1970 - University of Colorado Boulder, College of West Africa, 1964 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Wisconsin School of Business

  • What was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf notable alumnis?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's notable alumnis is Harvard University

  • Which company or organization was founded by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the founder/co-founder of Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • What is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's religion?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's religion is Methodism, Christianity

  • Who is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's father?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's father is Jahmale Carney Johnson

  • What is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's sun sign?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Scorpio

  • How famous is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is famouse as Africa’s First Elected Female Head of State