Almost meeting Ellen!

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

I’m so excited! One of my heroines, Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will be speaking on the University of Minnesota campus tomorrow, Friday, April 10.

Johnson Sirleaf is the first democratically-elected woman head of state on the African continent, and has by all accounts been doing a tremendous job to help lift her country out of the morass of its recent 15-year civil war.

Since her election in 2006, she has eliminated the national debt, tripled the national budget, and begun a massive campaign to bring basic infrastructure like electricity, running water, transportation, capital projects, and public education back online — and actually, make them more functional and democratic than they were in the pre-war era.



Humphrey Institute to Host Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at University of Minnestoa

The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs will present the 2009 Distinguished Carlson Lecture featuring Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 10, at Northrop Memorial Auditorium. Doors open at 1 p.m.


Internationally known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman democratically elected to lead an African nation. She previously held several positions at the United Nations, including serving as the first woman to lead the Development Project for Africa.

During the military dictatorship of Samuel Doe, Johnson Sirleaf was charged with treason and imprisoned. She has since been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civil award, for her personal courage and unwavering commitment to expand freedom for and improve the lives of people in Liberia and across Africa.

“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s story is one of courage and breakthrough,”says Humphrey Institute Dean Brian Atwood. “We traveled together to Africa and I saw firsthand the respect she generated. Standing for President in a country emerging from civil war takes a great deal of courage. Then came the breakthrough: she was the first woman ever elected as an African head of state.We are fortunate indeed to welcome her back to Minnesota to tell her magnificent story as the Distinguished Carlson Lecturer.”

President Sirleaf’s speech is free and open to the public, but SOLD OUT. A rush line will form at the Northrop Auditorium Box Office beginning at 1 p.m.

Note: No backpacks, no recording, and no cameras for security purposes.

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