Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

24th president of Liberia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born Ellen Eugenia Johnson, 29 October 1938) is a Liberian politician who served as the 24th president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, in recognition of her efforts to bring women into the peacekeeping process.

To girls and women everywhere, I issue a simple invitation. My sisters, my daughters, my friends; find your voice.

Quotes edit

  • To girls and women everywhere, I issue a simple invitation. My sisters, my daughters, my friends; find your voice.
    • [1] January 10 2021 by YourStory.Com retrieved 14 November 2022.
  • Once the glass ceiling has been broken, it can never be put back together, however one would try to do that.
    • [2] January 10 2021 by YourStory.Com retrieved 14 November 2022.
  • I believe that there are certain attributes in a woman that give her some advantages over a man. Women are usually more honest, more sensitive to issues and bring a stronger sense of commitment and dedication to what they do. Maybe because they were mothers, and being a mother, you have that special attention for the family, for the young, for children.
    • [3] January 10 2021 by YourStory.Com retrieved 14 November 2022. January 10 2021 by YourStory.Com retrieved 14 November 2022.
  • “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”[4]
  • The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”[5]
  • “Why are some countries able, despite their very real and serious problems, to press ahead along the road to reconciliation, recovery, and redevelopment while others cannot? These are critical questions for Africa, and their answers are complex and not always clear. Leadership is crucial, of course. Kagame was a strong leader–decisive, focused, disciplined, and honest–and he remains so today. I believe that sometimes people's characters are molded by their environment. Angola, like Liberia, like Sierra Leone, is resource-rich, a natural blessing that sometimes has the sad effect of diminishing the human drive for self-sufficiency, the ability and determination to maximize that which one has. Kagame had nothing. He grew up in a refugee camp, equipped with only his own strength of will and determination to create a better life for himself and his countrymen. ”[6]
  • Increasingly there is recognition that full gender equity will ensure a stronger economy, a more developed nation, a more peaceful nation. And that is why we must continue to work.

2011 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (December 10, 2011) edit

A Voice for Freedom online at Nobel Prize website

It is you, my sisters, and especially those who have seen the devastation that merciless violence can bring, to whom I dedicate my remarks, and this Prize.
  • History will judge us not by what we say in this moment in time, but by what we do next to lift the lives of our countrymen and women. It will judge us by the legacy we leave behind for generations to come.
  • Mine has been a long journey, a lifetime journey to Oslo. It was shaped by the values of my parents and by my two grandmothers – indigenous Liberians, farmers and market traders – neither of whom could read or write. They taught me that only through service is one’s life truly blessed.
  • My journey was supported by my many teachers and mentors who guided me to a world opened up by the enlightenment of higher education, and which led to my conviction that access to quality education is the social justice issue of our time.
  • My life was safeguarded when thousands mobilized around the world to free me from imprisonment, and my life was spared by individual acts of compassion by some of my captors.
  • My life was forever transformed when I was given the privilege to serve the people of Liberia – taking on the awesome responsibility of rebuilding a nation nearly destroyed by war and plunder. There was no roadmap for post-conflict transformation. But we knew that we could not let our country slip back into the past. We understood that our greatest responsibility was to keep the peace.
  • The Nobel Committee cannot license us three Laureates to speak for women. But it has provided us a platform from which to speak to women, around the globe, whatever their nationality, their color, their religion, or their station in life. It is you, my sisters, and especially those who have seen the devastation that merciless violence can bring, to whom I dedicate my remarks, and this Prize.
  • Although international tribunals have correctly declared that rape, used as a weapon of war, is a crime against humanity, rapes in times of lawlessness continue unabated. The number of our sisters and daughters of all ages brutally defiled over the past two decades staggers the imagination, and the number of lives devastated by such evil defies comprehension.
  • Through the mutilation of our bodies and the destruction of our ambitions, women and girls have disproportionately paid the price of domestic and international armed conflict. We have paid in the currencies of blood, of tears, and of dignity.
  • However, the need to defend the rights of women is not limited to the battlefield, and the threats to those rights do not emanate only from armed violence. Girls’ education, seen far too often as an unnecessary indulgence rather than the key investment it is, is still under-funded and under-staffed. Too often girls are discouraged from pursuing an academic training, no matter how promising they may be.
  • In too many parts of the world, crimes against women are still under-reported, and the laws protecting women are under-enforced. In this 21st century, surely there is no place for human trafficking that victimizes almost a million people, mostly girls and women, each year. Surely there is no place for girls and women to be beaten and abused. Surely there is no place for a continuing belief that leadership qualities belong to only one gender.
  • Technology has turned our world into one interconnected neighborhood. What happens in one place is seen in every corner, and there has been no better time for the spread of peace, democracy and their attending social justice and fairness for all.
  • Today, across the globe, women, and also men, from all walks of life are finding the courage to say, loudly and firmly, in a thousand languages, “No more.” They reject mindless violence, and defend the fundamental values of democracy, of open society, of freedom, and of peace.
  • If I might thus speak to girls and women everywhere, I would issue them this simple invitation: My sisters, my daughters, my friends, find your voices!
  • Each of us has her own voice, and the differences among us are to be celebrated. But our goals are in harmony. They are the pursuit of peace, the pursuit of justice. They are the defense of rights to which all people are entitled.
  • The political struggles that our countries – Liberia, Yemen and others – have gone through will be meaningful only if the new-found freedom opens new opportunities for all. We are well aware that a new order, born of hunger for change, can easily fall back into the lawless ways of the past. We need our voices to be heard. Find your voice! And raise your voice! Let yours be a voice for freedom!
  • Liberia’s continued progress depends on policies and programs that invest in people and strengthen democratic institutions, while remaining grounded in the rule of law. Most importantly, they must stand the test of time. They must not be dependent on any one leader or any one political party. We must build space and respect for opposition voices; they are not the losers in our open society, but an essential component to strengthened accountability in government.
  • It was exactly 63 years ago today that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document, the legacy of a generation that had just emerged from the horrors of a devastating World War, remains of great significance to us today. It is a Declaration that is universal. It speaks of rights that all humans have simply by virtue of being human. These rights are not given to us by governments, which might revoke them at their pleasure. It is a Declaration that is legal, not a list of benevolent aspirations. It obligates States, even in their treatment of their own citizens, to observe, and to uphold, those universal rights and freedoms that belong to us all.

External links edit

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