Liberia: Former President Sirleaf ‘Shocked And Dismayed Over Death Rumors

According to USIP, the fireside chat with the two iconic women leaders will explore their personal journeys to positions of leadership, the importance of empowering women in politics, public service and the private sector across Africa.

Monrovia – Last week, there was some buzz on social media that former Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has died. However, a statement issued Tuesday by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (EJS) Presidential Center for Women and Development, an institution established for advancement of women in public life, said the 88-year-old former Nobel Peace Laureate is alive, and “shocked, dismayed and disturbed by the false rumors circulating on social media.”

“False rumors of this nature are very dangerous and must not be given ground to take root. Madam Sirleaf is alive and well,” the statement added. The denial from the former Liberian President comes in the buildup to next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit where Madam Sirleaf is expected to feature prominently.

The USIP is an American federal institution tasked with promoting conflict resolution and prevention. worldwide. It provides research, analysis, and training to individuals in diplomacy, mediation, and other peace-building measures.

The fireside chat with the two iconic women leaders explored their personal journeys to positions of leadership, the importance of empowering women in politics, public service and the private sector across Africa, and their shared bond in lifting the next generation, according to the USIP in a statement issued Monday.

The event featured introductory remarks by the president and CEO of USIP.and co-moderated by Aluel Atem and Angela Chin program officer and senior Program Assistant, respectively of USIP.

President Sirleaf and Amb. Greenfield have enjoyed a long-time cordial friendship that began during her presidency where Amb. Greenfield served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia.

Former President Sirleaf, internationally known as “Africa’s Iron Lady,” is hailed as a leading promoter of freedom, peace, justice, women’s empowerment, and democratic rule.

As Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state, she led Liberia for 12 years, and spearheaded its recovery following the nation’s decade-long civil war, as well as the Ebola crisis, winning international acclaim for achieving economic, social, and political change.

Among her legion of accolades, include the prestigious Nobel Prize for Peace in 2011, the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the United States’ highest civilian award – and the Grand Croix of the L├ęgion d’Honneur- France’s highest public distinction — “for her personal courage and unwavering commitment to expanding freedom and improving the lives of Africans.” She is also the recipient of the Mo Ibrahim prize for African Leadership.

Prior to her appointment as U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N., Amb. Thomas-Greenfield served as Board Chair of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Foundation. Her distinguished diplomatic career also includes service as Ambassador to Liberia from 2008-2012, when she played an instrumental role in strengthening US-Liberia relations. She later served as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs from 2013-2017, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa.

The event will mark the former Liberian leader’s second appearance on the global stage amid twirling rumors of her death that have been trending on social media and street corners in Liberia.

She was a guest at a conference hosted by former U.S. Secretary of State and former Presidential Candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea Clinton from December 1-2 at the Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas.

The conference focused on the promotion of women’s rights. In the end, an exhibition was held in honor of Madam Sirleaf, where she was seen moving healthily and having interactions with some attendees of the event, thus cooling anxieties in Liberia.

Before returning to Liberia for the Christmas holiday, she is expected in Washington DC at the call of President Joe Biden, and in Arkansas with the former U.S. First Lady Hilary Clinton.


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