MAY 16, 2007

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President Johnson-Sirleaf speaks at Langston University

The Langston University family couldn’t be more elated about the visit from Liberia’s first woman president, The Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

President Johnson Sirleaf delivered her first commencement address on May 12 at the W. E. Anderson Stadium.

“This will be a day to mark in the history of Langston University,” LU President, JoAnn W. Haysbert said. “President Johnson Sirleaf is a dynamic world leader who spreads a profound message of justice, peace, and community service.”

Internationally known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” Johnson Sirleaf grew up in the Liberian capital of Monrovia where she married and had four sons.

She later moved to the United States where she earned an accounting degree from the Madison College of Business and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

In her efforts to bring justice to her people in Liberia, she has spent more than a year in jail and had her life threatened.

President Johnson Sirleaf was a presidential candidate in the 1997 Liberia general election where she finished second in the field of 13. Before that, she served for five years as assistant administrator and director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Program as assistant secretary general of the United Nations and was the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Project for Africa.

She also served as the chairperson of the Governance Reform Commission of the National Transitional Government of Liberia until she resigned in March 2004 to accept the nomination of the Unity Party of Liberia as its Standard Bearer.

In November 2005, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African nation. The Harvard-educated and former World Bank economist defeated popular World Class soccer star George Weah with an impressive 59.4 percent of the vote.

Contact: Ashley Gibson, LU, (405) 466-3484