Honory doctorates 2002

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr. M.M. van Reijsen - 2012 –Tilburg School of Humanities

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Monrovia, 1938) is a Liberian politician who was the first female president of her country between 2006 and 2018. In 2011, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf van Liberia

She attended the College of West Africa in Monrovia, then, after her marriage to James Sirleaf, she studied in the United States (accountancy and economics) at the Universities of Colorado and at Harvard where she obtained her Master's degree in Public Administration in 1971. She then returned to Liberia to hold various positions in government.

During the reign of Samuel Doe, she landed in prison twice and only narrowly escaped the death penalty. During the 1985 national elections, she openly criticized the government and was sentenced to ten years in prison. After a short time, she was released and fled to Kenya. For the next 12 years, she lived and worked in Kenya and the United States where she became an influential economist at the World Bank, Citibank, and other financial institutions. From 1992 to 1997, she was the Director of the Africa department for the UN Development Programme.

After the fall of the Taylor regime in 1999, she returned to her country to win the presidential election in 2005 with the goal of ending conflict and corruption, creating unity, and restoring infrastructure. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf invested heavily in education, in part because she saw it as a way to convey norms and values. In 2009, she published her memoir, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: This child will be great, Memoir of a remarkable life by Africa's first woman president.

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