President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departed the country on Wednesday, May 22, for intergovernmental engagements in Ethiopia and Japan, and a philanthropy event sponsored by Forbes Magazine, in the United States.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf departed for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the first leg of her trip, to attend the 21st Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union, and to participate in the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU).
The OAU, founded in 1963, and its successor, the AU, a little over 10 years ago, seeks to promote "an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a vibrant force in the global arena." Heads of State have declared 2013 as the Year of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.
President Sirleaf will hold a series of bilateral meetings on the fringes of the Summit; address a Youth Assembly; and turn over the gavel of authority, as Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), to the President of Mozambique, H.E. Armando Emilio Guebuza.
On Tuesday, May 28, President Sirleaf and delegation depart for Yokohama, Japan, to join other African leaders at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which takes place from June 1-3. While in Japan, President Sirleaf will hold meetings with potential investors and businessmen.
TICAD is held every five years in Japan, with the objective "to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners." TICAD V will provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the TICAD process over the last 20 years, and renew political will and commitment to TICAD's continued partnership in support of Africa's development.
Japan co-hosts the conference along with the United Nations, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, as well as with representatives of partner countries, international and regional organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations.
On Wednesday, June 5, at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, Forbes Magazine will host a Summit on Philanthropy, bringing together 200 of the world's most important philanthropists (representing close to a half-trillion US dollars in wealth) to focus on one specific topic - curtailing extreme global poverty - having selected Liberia as their cause for 2013. Among the many speakers will be Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, Muhammad Yunus, Bono, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The day-long event will include the experiences of Liberian social entrepreneurs, and many conversations. Over lunch, President Sirleaf will tell the story of the journey of her country, following which the philanthropists will brainstorm to develop ways to help Liberia's social entrepreneurs. The program will conclude with a dinner, where keynote speakers will include Mr. Buffett.
While President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christiana Tah, will serve as Chair of the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. The President is expected back in the country on Thursday, June 13.