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Second cohort of accomplished African women join leadership initiative founded by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The Amujae Initiative prepares women to excel in the highest echelons of public leadership, and to bring other women along

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) has announced the second cohort of accomplished African women to join its flagship program, the Amujae Initiative.

The initiative was launched last year by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with the aim of inspiring and preparing women to unapologetically take up roles and excel in the highest echelons of public leadership, and to bring other women along.

The second cohort of 15 women leaders joining the program comes from 11 countries across the African continent. They include current and former government ministers, a governor, a member of parliament, senior government advisors, and activists engaged with issues ranging from refugee rights to gender equality and youth empowerment.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said:

“We are delighted to welcome the 2021 cohort of Amujae Leaders. They have already achieved tremendous success over the course of their careers, and they have the drive and the talent to reach even greater heights. They join the initiative at a moment when women’s leadership is more important than ever before, as countries across our continent grapple with building back stronger after COVID-19.”

These talented women will build upon the foundations laid by the inaugural cohort of Amujae Leaders and will be supported by a distinguished group of Amujae Coaches including former heads of state and leaders of international institutions, who provide insight and guidance drawn from their invaluable experience in public leadership.

EJS Center Executive Director, Dr. Ophelia Weeks added:

“Over the course of this past year, I have seen how the inaugural cohort of Amujae Leaders has come together, forging a lasting bond that will not only help them advance in their individual pursuits but also create a step change in women’s public leadership across the continent. I am so pleased that this network continues to grow and flourish, and I look forward to seeing what the new cohort of Amujae Leaders will achieve.”

The announcement comes 15 years after Madam Sirleaf was inaugurated as President of Liberia on 16 January 2006, becoming the first democratically elected woman president on the continent of Africa. Her inauguration was a landmark moment, and the Amujae Initiative seeks to continue her legacy and shift the landscape for women in public leadership, moving from a culture of tokenism to one that truly values women leaders.

To learn more about the second cohort of Amujae Leaders or to arrange an interview, please contact: press@ejscenter.org

Notes to Editor

About the second cohort of Amujae Leaders:

The 2021 cohort of Amujae Leaders consist of 15 women, all recognized as leaders in their spheres of work.

1. Tejumola Abisoye, Development Expert, Lawyer, Youth Advocate, Nigeria
2. Farida Bedwei, Tech Entrepreneur, Disability Rights Advocate, Author, Ghana
3. Dagmawit Moges Bekele, Minister of Transport, Member of House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia, Ethiopia
4. Susan Grace Duku, Activist, Refugee Advocate, South Sudan
5. Dr. Yakama Manty Jones, Economist, Lecturer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Sierra Leone
6. Isata Kabia, Social Entrepreneur, Former MP, Minister, Sierra Leone
7. Bogolo Kenewendo, Economist, Former Minister, Gender and Youth Activist, Botswana
8. Eng. Ghada Labib, Deputy Minister, Communications & Information Technology Expert, Egypt
9. Angèle Makombo, Political Advisor, Party Leader, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
10. Fatoumatta Njai, Parliamentarian, Women’s Leadership Advocate, The Gambia
11. Ifeyinwa Maureen Okafor, Government Advisor, Corporate Director, Nigeria
12. Umra Omar, Humanitarian, Community Development Strategist, Gubernatorial Candidate, Kenya
13. Dr. Adaeze Oreh, Doctor, Healthcare Advocate, Author, Speaker, Nigeria
14. Telia Urey, Businesswoman, Politician, Activist, Liberia
15. Anne Waiguru, Economist, Governor, Kenya

You can read their full biographies here.

About the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development:

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) was founded in 2018 to be a catalyst for political and social change across Africa by helping unleash its most abundant latent power — its women.

The EJS Center aims to amplify the voice of women and girls in all spheres of life by increasing the representation of women in public service leadership roles in Africa.

Through a unique blend of programming, advocacy, archival research, and museum exhibitions, the EJS Center seeks to become a premier institution dedicated to advancing and sustaining women’s political and social development on the continent.

Through its work, the EJS Center envisions more voices heard, talents unleashed, and leaders launched that prioritize the aspirations of women. Its mission is to champion women’s ascension to the highest levels of leadership and challenge systemic barriers to girls’ and women’s advancement.

As the first democratically elected woman president in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led Liberia from 2006-2018. Having been recognized internationally for her leadership, she is passionate about supporting the next generation of women in public life across the continent.

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