Liberia: Ellen Hosts World Leaders

-brings spotlight on Liberia once more

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will once more draw the world's attention to the West African state of Liberia as she hosts several world leaders on International Women's Day March 8, 2020 to launch a new initiative that will pave the way for women in leadership across Africa.

The guests list includes Ivory Coast President Alasanne Ouattara, Liberia's own Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, among the hosts of several former Prime Ministers, philanthropists, while participants are drawn from countries across the continent - women from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Guinea, among other nations.

The new initiative, The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development will officially launch with its flagship program - the Amujae Initiative.

Amujae (ä mōōjāēē) derived from a phrase in Kru, a Liberian local dialect, which means 'we are going up'. The Initiative's mission is to inspire and prepare women to unapologetically take up roles in the highest echelons of public leadership across Africa, and to bring other women along.

Studies have shown that there is a strong link between women in leadership and better health, education and environmental outcomes, as well as lower levels of corruption and lesser likelihood of using violence when faced with potential conflict. Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the worst statistics globally when it comes to gender equality in public life, and the Amujae Initiative is working to address this imbalance.

"After leaving office, I vowed to dedicate my time to advancing the careers of the next wave of women leaders across the continent. Through this Initiative, we are working to do just that - identifying women who are already driving change in their countries who, through mentorship and support, can reach even greater heights," Amujae Initiative founder and former president Sirleaf said.

"When it comes to advancing women's public leadership, we don't have the luxury of time. Africa's development depends upon harnessing the energy of our women to accelerate progress," Mrs. Sirleaf added.

The first cohort of 'Amujae Leaders' taking part in the program come from countries across the continent - women from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Guinea, among other nations. With backgrounds in law, government, business, education and activism, their achievements are as varied as their origins, but they all have a common purpose; to serve their countries and advocate for their fellow women.

During the inaugural Amujae Forum, hosted by the Center in collaboration with Big Win Philanthropy, participants will be coached and mentored by some of the continent's most prominent public leaders. They will also receive training from leading experts in communications, advocacy, planning, and finance, amongst other areas.

About the launch event:

Location: Monrovia, Liberia (venue details to be provided)

Date: Sunday, March 8, 2020

Time: 10:00am

Format: Panel discussions with Amujae participants and leaders advocating for gender parity and a celebration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's legacy through a cultural performance.

About the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center for Women and Development:

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development was founded in 2018 to be a catalyst for change across Africa, by helping unleash its most abundant untapped power -- its women.

Through a unique blend of programming, advocacy, research and exhibitions, the Center will advance women's public leadership and social development on the continent.

As the first democratically elected woman president in Africa, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is passionate about supporting the next generation of women in public leadership.

About Amujae Initiative

EJS Presidential Center / Programs / Amujae Initiative

The Amujae Initiative is the Center's flagship program. Derived from a phrase in Kru, a Liberian local dialect, Amujae (ӓ mōōjāēē) means 'we are going up'.

Launching on International Women's Day, March 8, 2020, the vision for the Amujae Initiative is to shift the landscape for women in public leadership in Africa, moving from a culture of tokenism to one that truly values women leaders.

Its mission is to inspire and prepare women to unapologetically take up roles and excel in the highest echelons of public leadership, and to bring other women along.

The Amujae Initiative's goals are:

ENHANCE CAPACITY

To enhance the capacity of women in public leadership, helping them to increase their effectiveness within their current roles

EMBOLDEN WOMEN

To embolden women as they navigate career paths in public leadership, supporting them to aspire to the highest positions

STRENGHTEN TIES

To strengthen ties among a growing, experienced, and capable network of women public leaders in Africa

INFLUENCE PUBLIC PERCEPTION

To positively influence public perception of women's leadership across Africa, building a wave of support for greater women's representation

INTEGRATED ACTIVITIES

The Amujae Initiative will achieve these goals through a set of integrated activities:

Leadership development: The Initiative will host the Amujae Leadership Forums, a yearly cycle of forums facilitating ongoing coaching and mentoring of leaders. Participants in the Leadership Forums are African women of proven talent already on a public leadership journey, with a track record of excellence and of supporting their fellow women. The inaugural Forum is hosted in collaboration with Big Win Philanthropy.

Advocacy and movement building: The Center will advocate for and help to establish a sustainable environment for women in public leadership. This will take place through traditional and digital media campaigns, gender sensitivity training for journalists, and media training for Amujae Initiative participants.

Research and thought leadership: The Center will be a leading voice in challenging the state of women's participation in public life in Africa. To this end, the Center will produce and promote evidence-based research on women in leadership and the challenges they face.

Documenting and storytelling: To bring to life the challenges faced by women in leadership across Africa, the Center will document the stories of the Amujae Leaders and other women in public life. This content will be hosted on the Center's website and social media channels and used in the development of other visual, print, and digital media.

*Interested candidates will be invited to apply for participation in the Amujae Leadership Forums when applications are open.

PARTICIPANTS

The first cohort of 'Amujae Leaders' taking part in the program come from countries across the continent - women from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Guinea, among other nations. With backgrounds in law, government, business, education and activism, their achievements are as varied as their origins, but they all have a common purpose; to serve their countries and advocate for their fellow women.

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