Our Beautiful and Brave of the month is the Iron Lady Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state.

Ellen who got married right after her high school studies and had four kids before college was motivated to pursue her degree and develop her career after seeing her friends from high school go to college and be successful. Hence, this resulted into her leaving her children back in Africa to study abroad.

However it was not easy as her desire to pursue her career caused conflicts in her marriage leading into domestic violence and as the result Ellen was divorced at a young age.

Ellen had previously worked as auto repair, served as assistant minister of Finance in President William Tolbert’s administration, and executive in the international banking community before running for a seat in the senate in Liberia.

Among the many challenges faced by Ellen was house arrest, a 10 years sentence in prison for speaking out against Doe’s military regime which she served partially before moving to Washington, D.C. Upon her return to her native country for a third time in 1997 she was working as an economist, working for the World Bank and Citibank in Africa.

After running for an unsuccessfully against Taylor in the 1997 presidential election; 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 and achievement

Prior to her ascendancy to the Presidency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served on many advisory boards, including the International Crisis Group (USA) and Women Waging Peace (USA). She is also a proud recipient of numerous prestigious awards including: the FAO CERES Medal (2008); the Crisis Group Fred Cuny Award for the Prevention of Deadly Crisis (2008) for outstanding leadership in democracy, development and peace-building in Africa; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007), the highest civilian honor bestowed by an American President.

President Sirleaf has been recognized amid numerous honors such as 14 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities. In 2010, Newsweek magazine listed her as one of the ten best leaders in the world; Time placed her among the top ten female leaders; and the Economist called her “the best President the country has ever had.”


Ellen’s strengths and braveness are what made her the Iron lady that she is today.

So beautiful people do not be discouraged. We all have a purpose on this earth so find it and serve it boldly.


SOURCE: American Academy of Achievement.


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