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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Former President, Liberia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born in Monrovia, Liberia. She married in 1955 and, in 1961, travelled with her husband to the US, where she studied economics at Harvard University and other institutions. After her return to Liberia, she worked for the government, including as the Minister of Finance, prior to the military coup of 1980. After having worked within the banking industry and at the United Nations, she was defeated in the Liberian presidential election of 1997. In 2005, two years after the guns fell silent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected as the nation's president. She was re-elected in 2011. As the first female head of state ever to be democratically elected in Africa, she has worked to promote peace, reconciliation and social and economic development. Dr. Sirleaf is the recipient as the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. She was elected president in 2005 and then re-elected in 2011.