Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of the Republic of Liberia, is the first elected female head of state in Africa and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. She was commended by the Nobel committee for her leadership in promoting economic and social development, peace and women"s rights in Africa.
As the first distinguished speaker in the Chevron Excellence in Leadership Energy Lecture Series, President Sirleaf will discuss new policies for Liberia"s nascent oil and gas industry and the strategic implications of the sector"s development in the regional context. Her remarks come in the wake of the first announcement of a potentially significant oil discovery offshore Liberia, and as her government embarks on an ambitious program to reform the sector. The event marks the first time that President Sirleaf will comprehensively address these issues in a public forum, and is the president"s first public appearance in the United States since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Sirleaf has served as Liberia"s minister of finance, president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment, senior loan officer at The World Bank Group and as assistant secretary-general of the United Nations. She led African development and anti-corruption initiatives both while living in Liberia and while in exile. She has written prolifically on financial, development and human rights issues.
Inaugurated to her first term as president in 2006, President Sirleaf has focused on advancing the economy, infrastructure and good governance in post-conflict Liberia. In 2010, The Economist named her "the best president the country has ever had." She was inaugurated to her second term of office in January 2012. President Sirleaf was born in Monrovia, Liberia, in 1938. She received a master"s degree from Harvard University"s Kennedy School of Government in 1971 and entered politics the following year.