H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Former President of Liberia; Member of The Elders
Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Laureate, is renowned for her unwavering commitment to peace, justice, and global health.

President Sirleaf played a pivotal role in Liberia’s transitional government following the military dictatorship of General Samuel Doe. In 2005, she broke barriers by becoming Liberia’s – and Africa’s – first female Head of State, and was re-elected in 2011 by an overwhelming margin. As president, she led the country through reconciliation and recovery following the nation’s decade-long civil war and spearheaded significant reforms in Liberia’s healthcare system. During this time, she also led the nation through the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak and established the country’s first national community health worker initiative, called the National Community Health Assistant program.

Since leaving office, she has continued to influence global health policies, champion women’s rights, and advocate for community health workers. In 2019, she joined The Elders, becoming a strong voice for women’s role in peacebuilding and in promoting a collective rights-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, she was appointed by the World Health Organization as Co-chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness & Response. She continues to fight for sustainable health financing and has contributed to substantial improvements in healthcare delivery across Africa.