MONROVIA – Today Monday, January 16, 2023, marks 17 years since H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in as the first woman to be elected as president of an African country. In recognition of this momentous achievement, in 2016, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) designated January 16 as Human Rights Day, to be observed in the region annually in former President Sirleaf’s honor.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was the pacesetter for the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) multilateral armed force as a formal arrangement for separate armies to work together in ensuing that peace returned to Liberia after civil war broke out on December 24, 1989.
According to a press release from ECOWAS, to commemorate the 6th anniversary of ECOWAS Human Rights Day, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) is convening distinguished speakers and accomplished artists for a celebratory event on Monday, January 16, 2023; 4:00pm GMT at the EJS Center on Tubman Boulevard, Monrovia, Liberia.
Speakers will include H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marjon Kamara; EJS Center Interim Executive Director, Oley Dibba-Wadda; writer Beulah Nimene; former Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, Amb. Tunde Ajisomo; and River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh.
The event will also feature a performance from the iconic musical artist Yatta Zoe. She will perform two songs including her hit song Belle Yallah about the notorious prison which housed political prisoners and was permanently closed by President Sirleaf.
“We are delighted to host this celebration, which coincides with the third anniversary of the EJS Center’s launch and the fifth anniversary of the peaceful transition of power following President Sirleaf’s tenure. As we refresh and renew our vision for the EJS Center, this serves as a critical moment to reflect on Madam Sirleaf’s legacy of strengthening human rights in Liberia and around the world,” a representative of the EJS Center said.
The EJS Center 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 advances 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.