Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen


Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen
▪ 2007
 On Jan. 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as president of Liberia. In her inaugural speech she vowed to end civil strife and corruption, establish unity, and rebuild the country's devastated infrastructure. Johnson-Sirleaf's victory in her country's 2005 presidential election was the culmination of a long and often hazardous political career and made the “Iron Lady” Africa's first elected woman head of state.

      She was born in Monrovia on Oct. 29, 1938, of mixed Gola and German heritage. (Her father was the first indigenous Liberian 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 U.S. to study economics and business administration. After obtaining (1971) a master's degree 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, openly criticizing 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 U.S., she became an influential economist for the World Bank, Citibank Corp., and other international financial institutions. From 1992 to 1997 she was the director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the UN Development Programme.

      Johnson-Sirleaf ran for president in the 1997 election, representing the Unity Party. She emphasized her financial experience, her noninvolvement in the civil war, and the personal qualities of compassion, sacrifice, wisdom, and integrity that she had developed in public life and business. She finished second to Charles Taylor and was forced back into exile when his government charged her with treason. By 1999 Liberia had again collapsed into civil war. Taylor was persuaded to go into exile in Nigeria in 2003, and Johnson-Sirleaf returned to Liberia to chair the Commission on Good Governance, which oversaw preparations for democratic elections. In the runoff presidential election on Nov. 8, 2005, she won 59.5% of the vote against retired association football (soccer) legend George Weah, who turned down a post in her administration but later issued a public statement of support.

      With more than 15,000 UN peacekeepers in the country and unemployment running at 80%, the new president faced serious challenges. In her first 100 days in office, Johnson-Sirleaf visited Nigeria and the U.S. to seek debt amelioration and aid from the international community, established a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to probe corruption and heal ethnic tensions, sacked the entire staff of the Ministry of Finance, and issued a program for the expansion of girls' education.

LaRay Denzer

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▪ president of Liberia
née  Ellen Johnson 
born Oct. 29, 1938, Monrovia, Liberia
 
 Liberian politician and economist, who was president of Liberia from 2006. She was the first woman to be elected head of state of an African country.

      Johnson-Sirleaf is of mixed Gola and German heritage; her father was the first indigenous Liberian 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 a master'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 President William Tolbert and as finance minister (1980–85) in Samuel K. Doe (Doe, Samuel K)'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. During 12 years of exile in Kenya and the United States, she became an influential economist for the World Bank, Citibank, and other international financial institutions. From 1992 to 1997 she was the director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme.

 Johnson-Sirleaf ran for president in the 1997 election, representing the Unity Party. She finished second to Charles Taylor (Taylor, Charles Ghankay) and was forced back into exile when his government charged her with treason. By 1999 Liberia had collapsed into civil war. 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, vowing to end civil strife and corruption, establish unity, and rebuild the country's devastated infrastructure. Known as the “Iron Lady,” she placed second in the first round of voting, and on Nov. 8, 2005, she won the runoff election, defeating football (soccer) legend George Weah (Weah, George). Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as president of Liberia on Jan. 16, 2006.

      With more than 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers in the country and unemployment running at 80 percent, Johnson-Sirleaf faced serious challenges. She immediately sought debt amelioration and aid from the international community. In addition, she established a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to probe corruption and heal ethnic tensions.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — (* 29. Oktober 1938) ist seit 16. Januar 2006 Präsidentin von Liberia. Sie ist die erste Frau, die durch eine Wahl das Amt eines Staatsoberhauptes in Afrika erlangte. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — (April 2010) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (* 29. Oktober 1938 in Monrovia) ist seit dem 16. Januar 2006 Präsidentin von Liberia. Sie ist die erste Frau, die durch eine Wahl das Amt eines Staatsoberhauptes in Afrika erlangte. 2011 wurde ihr der Friedensn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — (nacida en 1939) es presidenta electa de Liberia, tras vencer en las elecciones presidenciales del 8 de noviembre de 2005, en las que derrotó al otro principal candidato, el ex jugador de fútbol George Weah. Lider del Partido de la Unidad (Unity… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — Infobox President name = Ellen Johnson Sirleaf order = President of Liberia vicepresident = Joseph Boakai term start = 16 January 2006 predecessor = Gyude Bryant birth date = birth date and age|1938|10|29|mf=y birth place = Monrovia, Liberia… …   Wikipedia

  • Johnson-Sirleaf — /dʒɒnsən ˈsɜlif/ (say jonsuhn serleef) noun Ellen, born 1938, Liberian politician; became president in 2006; the first woman to be elected as head of state in an African country; shared Nobel Peace prize 2011 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Johnson (Familienname) — Johnson ist ein Familienname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Johnson ist eine patronymische Namensbildung, abgeleitet vom englischen Vornamen John (deutsch: Johannes). Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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