Liberia: Women Leaders Across Africa Share Their Thoughts On Leadership At Amujae Initiative Forum

Monrovia – Former Liberian president and founder of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development says building a network of senior African women leaders is essential to promoting sound governance and economic opportunity across the continent and around the globe for generations to come. 

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said women are the hope of Africa, stressing it is women who are key to ensuring that Africa develops to its potential and to enabling human flourishing. 

Mrs. Sirleaf spoke Sunday in Margibi County, Liberia at the end of a three-day conference convened by the the Amujae Leadership Forum organized by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development.

Focused on the theme “Building Resilience,” the forum aimed to equip the Amujae leaders with the tools to continue their leadership journeys through uncertain times and support their respective countries in rebuilding following COVID-19. 

It also harnessed the power of these accomplished women leaders in advancing women’s leadership in Liberia and across the African continent. 

The Amujae leaders heard from a wide range of distinguished speakers including Amb. Deborah Malac, former Ambassador of the United States to Liberia and EJS Center Board members during the private, three-day Forum.

Reflecting on the discussions over the three-day period, Mrs. Sirleaf said the program did not only enhance the knowledge and skills of current women trailblazers but has also bolstered the pipeline for emerging leaders.

“We feel so emboldened by each and everyone of you just by what I see and what you have been going through, what you aspire to, gives us hope,” said Mrs. Sirleaf.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, Dr. Ophelia Weeks said the intent of the three-day conference was intended to activate, accelerate, and elevate Amujae Leaders’ ambition for even greater future through a series of forum, such as last week’s activities in Margibi, as well as targeted follow-up workshops, one-on-one coaching, and the creation of an active support network.

Dr. Weeks emphasized the need to create spaces for women in leadership. “This leadership forum convenes a group of highly accomplished women leaders from across Africa, who are making a difference, who serve as role models for other women, and who are committed to mentoring a new generation of women leaders to participate in addressing the challenges facing the continent,” she said.

During a press conference which was addressed by African women leaders with a track record of significant contribution towards achievement of the SDGs, panelists focused on the importance of empowering women in rural and capital areas, and the need to ensure that no woman is left behind.

Women leaders from across Africa shared their strategies for building resilience and encouraged each other to persevere in pursuing their goals at the just ended conference of  the Amujae Leadership Forum.

The women who participated in the forum were part of the Amujae Initiative, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development’s flagship program.

Isata Kabia, a 2021 Amujae leader, former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs of Sierra Leone, and founder of Voice of Women Africa, said: “We leave the forum inspired to create a wave of women leaders across the continent and energized to help build more resilient and inclusive societies.”

This year’s Forum will be the first gathering of Amujae Leaders since the official launch on March 8, 2020, on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development:

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) was founded in 2018 to be a catalyst for political and social change across Africa by helping unleash its most abundant latent power — its women. 

The EJS Center aims to amplify the voice of women and girls in all spheres of life by increasing the representation of women in public service leadership roles in Africa. Through a unique blend of programming, advocacy, archival research, and museum exhibitions, the EJS Center seeks to become a premier institution dedicated to advancing and sustaining women’s political and social development on the continent. 

Through its work, the EJS Center envisions more voices heard, talents unleashed, and leaders launched that prioritize the aspirations of women. Its mission is to champion women’s ascension to the highest levels of leadership and challenge systemic barriers to girls’ and women’s advancement. As the first democratically elected woman president in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led Liberia from 2006-2018. Having been recognized internationally for her leadership, she is passionate about supporting the next generation of women in public life across the continent.

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