Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Named Co-Chair of Emerging Public Leaders

Former Liberian President will shape organization’s development as it builds a new generation of civil service leaders in Africa

Washington, D.C., USA – July 26, 2018 – Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has joined Emerging Public Leaders as a Co-Chair, alongside Founder Betsy Williams. Emerging Public Leaders (EPL) is a public service leadership organization that is preparing the next generation of competent and ethical public-sector leaders in Africa. Through a highly selective 2-year public service fellowship, Emerging Public Leaders recruits high achieving university graduates and empowers them with the skills necessary to think critically, act ethically and drive good governance in government institutions.


President Sirleaf said of Emerging Public Leaders, “I am delighted to join an organization at the forefront of professionalizing Africa’s civil service. I know firsthand how critical a strong civil service is for any country hoping to drive towards good governance and democracy, deliver quality services to its people, and spur economic and inclusive growth – especially for women – and look forward to helping Emerging Public Leaders expand its partnerships and footprint across Africa to achieve that mission.”

President Sirleaf served as the president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, becoming the first elected female head of state in Africa. During her time as president, Ms. Sirleaf advocated for freedom, justice, and peace, rebuilt and strengthened Liberia's institutions, and promoted opportunity for women and youth. In 2011, she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her accomplishments. In 2017, she was awarded the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in 2017.

EPL’s Founder, Betsy Williams, said, “President Sirleaf's passion for empowering young people is clear in her relentless efforts to provide them with leadership opportunities, especially in the public sector. I am thrilled to have her support as we build on the bold investments in youth and civil service that she made while president of Liberia.”

Emerging Public Leaders expands and adapts the model of the President's Young Professional Program in Liberia. During the past decade, this program has recruited and supported over 140 public service fellows in Liberia; the vast majority of whom continue to work as professionals in Liberia’s civil service. With Liberia's success and innovation, Emerging Public Leaders has recently expanded its public service fellowship to Ghana and intends to grow a pan-African network of 500 public sector leaders by 2022. President Sirleaf will play a crucial role in the program’s efforts to professionalize leadership in Africa’s civil service, encouraging other partners and governments to join the effort as the organization continues to expand to other African countries.

MEDIA CONTACT: For media inquiries, contact Mariam Badi at

ABOUT EMERGING PUBLIC LEADERS: Emerging Public Leaders seeks to build a pan-African network of 500 young leaders in public service by 2022. Visit to learn more.