|Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Quick Info
|5 ft 4 in
|Date of Birth
|October 29, 1938
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician who served as the 24th president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018.
Ellen Eugenia Johnson
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, The Iron Lady, Africa’s Iron Lady
From 1948 to 1955, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf studied at the College of West Africa, a Methodist high school located in Monrovia, Liberia. She later traveled to the United States and enrolled at Madison Business College in Madison, Wisconsin. She completed an associate degree in Accounting.
Following her divorce from James Sirleaf, she returned to college in order to finish her bachelor’s degree and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in economics from the Economics Institute of the University of Colorado Boulder in 1970. In addition to that, she also spent a summer preparing for graduate studies.
From 1969 to 1971, she studied economics and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and received a Master of Public Administration degree.
- Father – Jahmale Carney Johnson (Politician who became the first Liberian from an indigenous ethnic group to be elected to the country’s national legislature)
- Others – Jahmale Carney (Paternal Grandfather) (A minor Gola chief in Julijuah, Bomi County), Jenneh (Paternal Grandmother), Heinz Kreuger (Maternal Grandfather), Juah Sarwee (Maternal Grandmother), Retta (Niece) (Comedian, Actor, Television Personality, Singer, Musician)
5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
75 kg or 165.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dated –
- James Sirleaf (1956-1961) – She got married to James Sirleaf in the year 1956 and was 17 years old at that time. He worked for the Department of Agriculture and Sirleaf worked as a bookkeeper for an auto-repair shop. The duo had 4 sons together – Robert Sirleaf, Charles Sirleaf, Fombah Sirleaf, and James Sirleaf (who died in his residence in Liberia in December 2021 under unknown circumstances). Eventually, the couple visited the United States in 1961 in order to continue Ellen’s education and she earned an associate degree in Accounting. Owing to James’ abuse, they divorced in 1961. Their son, Charles, was charged with economic sabotage through the unlawful printing of local currency to the value of US$75 million in 2019.
Race / Ethnicity
Mixed (Black and White)
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is of Gola descent on her father’s side and has German and Kru roots on her mother’s side.
Salt and Pepper
She was raised as a Presbyterian but later joined her ex-husband’s Methodist faith.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Facts
- She was appointed as the director of the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Africa at the rank of assistant administrator and assistant secretary general (ASG) in 1992.
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has served as a Chairperson of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and a visiting Professor of Governance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
- She was ranked as the 51st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2006.
- Her first book titled This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President was released in 2010.
- In 2014, she was accused of interfering with a criminal investigation involving her stepson Fombah Sirleaf and the security agency.
- Following an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism in November 2017, it was cited that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was one of the politicians named in the “Paradise Papers” allegations.
- She founded the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development in 2018.
Featured Image by Sean Hurt / U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED