Liberian President to Speak at UC Berkeley

Bay City News
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:58:00 PM

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will speak at the University of California at Berkeley tonight. 

University officials say Johnson-Sirleaf will discuss her country’s struggle for peace and justice as part of a series hosted by the university’s Human Rights Center called “Bearing Witness to Atrocity: A MacArthur Symposium on International Criminal Justice.” 

Johnson-Sirleaf’s address will be moderated by author and journalist Adam Hochschild. 

Dubbed the “Iron Lady,” Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is Africa’s first elected female head of state. 

After growing up in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, she traveled to the U.S. in 1961 and studied at the University of Colorado and Harvard University. 

She served a brief stint as Liberia’s minister of finance before launching a three-decade political career in which she frequently contested Liberia’s presidential frontrunners. 

In the 1980s, she was imprisoned for challenging the country’s military regime. Twice she escaped into exile, during which time she served as director of the United Nations Development Program for Africa. In 2005, she ran for president of Liberia against former soccer star George Weah, and won. 

Johnson-Sirleaf’s address will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 9, at the Chevron Auditorium at International House at 2299 Piedmont Ave.