This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
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In January 2006, after the Republic of Liberia had been racked by fourteen years of brutal civil conflict, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—Africa's "Iron Lady"—was sworn in as president, an event that marked a tremendous turning point in the history of the West African nation.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the story of her rise to power, including her early childhood; her experiences with abuse, imprisonment, and exile; and her fight for democracy and social justice. She reveals her determination to succeed in multiple worlds, from her studies in the United States to her work as an international bank executive, to campaigning in some of Liberia's most desperate and war-torn villages and neighborhoods. It is the tale of an outspoken political and social reformer who fought the oppression of dictators and championed change. By telling her story, Sirleaf encourages women everywhere to pursue leadership roles at the highest levels of power, and gives us all hope that we can change the world.
Liberians. Before the civil war, agriculture accounted for about 40 percent of GDP and Liberia was a producer and exporter of raw materials: iron ore, timber, and rubber. In Liberia, rubber is king. In the past, the rubber industry generated as much as U.S. $100 million in export earnings annually. In 2000, agriculture and forestry contributed more than 90 percent of export earnings, mainly from rubber and timber, plus cocoa and coffee. When we took office in January 2006, we inherited an
of, 82, 172, 177, 182, 227, 231, 304 Guinea-Bissau, 182, 189 Guinean Forest Hotspot, 19 Habyarimana, Juvénal, 198, 203 Harbel (Mount Barclay plantation), 45, 46–47 Harding, Deborah, 165 Harmon, Edwin, 140 Harmon, Emmett, 135 Harris, Francis, 143, 147–48, 149–50, 153 Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), 53–55 Harvard University, 56, 57–62, 256 health services, 273, 277 Helmboldt, Niles, 165 Henries, Doris Banks, 58–59 Henries, Richard Abrom, 58, 102 HIPC
floor, talking across the gap between the cells to the men, some of whom were beside themselves with fear. “What will happen?” some kept asking. “Why are they doing this? We are innocent! We did nothing. Help us, save us, please.” I did not know what to say, just tried to offer comfort and hope as best I could. Suddenly a group of soldiers came swarming into the building and opened the door to the cell where the men were being held. “Come!” they ordered and marshaled the men out. The men were
while the men sat on the porch eating and talking and laughing, we would peep around the corner to listen to their deep voices boom. Outside work my father was a worldly man who spent much of his personal time away from the family and out on the town. He was good-looking and quite stylish, full of vigor and vim, and he had many, many friends. He also chased women with great enthusiasm and energy. This was not unusual nor particularly frowned upon at the time. Polygamy was the dominant form of
scene, we’re going to remove Johnson from the scene and there’s an interim government that we’re going to back and everybody else is simply out.” Instead what took place was a series of endless meetings. Meanwhile, Taylor, who took seriously none of the peace conferences, set up shop in Gbarnga and ruled with great pomp over what came to be called Greater Liberia, or “Taylorland.” He installed himself as president and appointed a cabinet. He set up a radio station and had American soul music