Amujae Leaders Leave Monrovia Determined to Change the Landscape for Women in Public Leadership

After attending the Amujae Leadership Forum convened by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, African women leaders feel the strength of the sisterhood behind them

Women leaders from across the African continent shared their strategies for building resilience and encouraged each other to persevere in pursuing their goals during the second Amujae Leadership Forum, held in Monrovia, Liberia this weekend.

Hosted by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center), the women heard insights from former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and distinguished global speakers about bouncing back during periods of uncertainty and hardship.

The women taking part in the Forum are part of the Amujae Initiative, the EJS Center’s flagship program. The initiative prepares women to excel in the highest echelons of public leadership and bring other women along.

Highlighting the aim of the initiative, EJS Center Executive Director, Ophelia Weeks said:

“Our intent is to activate, accelerate, and elevate Amujae Leaders’ ambition for even greater influence through a series of forums, such as this one, as well as targeted follow-up workshops, one-on-one coaching, and the creation of an active support network.”

During the Forum, Amujae Leaders shared lessons from their leadership journeys. Reflecting on the discussions over the three-day event, Madam Sirleaf said:

“When I see all of you and what you have been through, what you aspire to, it gives all of us hope. We feel so emboldened by each and every one of you.”

Isata Kabia, 2021 Amujae Leader, former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs of Sierra Leone, and founder of Voice of Women Africa, said:

“We leave the Forum inspired to create a wave of women leaders across the continent and energized to help build more resilient and inclusive societies.”

The EJS Center also thanked the Liberian health authorities for their collaboration to ensure that the Forum could be held safely. All participants were tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving in Liberia and before departure, among other precautions including handwashing stations and distribution of masks.

The Amujae Leadership Forum was organized with support from Big Win Philanthropy.


Notes to editor:

To learn more about the EJS Center and the Amujae Initiative, or to request interviews with Amujae Leaders, please contact: press@ejscenter.org

About the Amujae Initiative

The Amujae Initiative is the EJS Center’s flagship program. Amujae, pronounced ӓ mōō jāēē, means ‘we are going up’ in Kru, a Liberian language.

Launched 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.

 Drawn from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds, the Amujae Leaders include members of parliament, a governor, a mayor, and several government ministers from 16 countries across Africa. They were selected through a rigorous application process from hundreds of applicants and they each have a track record of demonstrable achievements in public life and a drive to uplift African women and girls.

View the biographies of the Amujae Leaders here:

2021 Cohort

2020 Cohort

About the Amujae Leadership Forum

The Amujae Leadership Forum ran from 29 – 31 October 2021 at the Farmington Hotel in Monrovia, Liberia.

The Forum was facilitated by Ama Van Dantzig, Co-Founder of Dr. Monk, and included addresses and workshops run by the following distinguished speakers:

  • Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia
  • Ambassador Deborah Malac, former United States Ambassador to Liberia; Board Chair, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Foundation
  • Jamie Cooper, Founding Chairperson and President, Big Win Philanthropy; Board Member, EJS Center
  • Kesete Admasu, CEO, Big Win Philanthropy
  • Renee Ngamau, Life Coach, Lawyer
  • Professor Angela Ofori-Atta, Inaugural Board Member, EJS Center
  • Chris Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, National Democratic Institute
  • Eva Barboni, Founder and CEO, Atalanta
  • Barkue Tubman, Founder and CEO, MBL International Group; Inaugural Board Member, EJS Center
  • Riva Levinson, President and CEO, KRL International
  • Ophelia Inez Weeks, Executive Director, EJS Center
  • Amini Kajunju, Chief Operating Officer, EJS Center
  • Rumbidzai Chisenga, Director of Programs, EJS Center

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.

For more information visit: www.ejscenter.org


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