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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf And The EJS Center Host Amujae High Level Leadership Forum In Kigali

  • 3 min read

-Supported By H.E. President Paul Kagame And H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde

Founder of the EJS Center and former President of Liberia, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, alongside H.E. President  Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Amujae Leaders at the Amujae High-Level Leadership Forum in Kigali. 

On 18 and 19 April, 2024, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Centerfor  Women and Development (the EJS Center) hosted the first Amujae High-Level Leadership Forum  since before the COVID-19 pandemic at the Kigali Convention Center in Rwanda with H.E.  President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in attendance and H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia sharing  a recorded message.  

In support of the EJS Center’s renowned Amujae Initiative, the Forum gathered a broad cross section of attendees, including present and former heads of state; government officials; private sector professionals; representatives from multilateral bodies and NGOs; AmujaeLeaders; and  the EJS Center’s Board.  

Acting as an opportunity for Amujae Leaders to deepen their relationships and connections with  one another, the Forum brought together 28 Amujae Leaders from across the continent—many  of whom are senior government officials, activists, civil society leaders, development experts,  academics, and economists—for a two-day interactive workshop with leadership training  exercises and keynote addresses.  

H.E., former President of Liberia, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Africa’s first democratically  elected woman head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said, “Just look at the difference that  leadership and continuity can do for the sustainability of development,” during her opening  remarks for the Forum. On the subject of advancing women’s leadership, Madam Sirleaf  continued by saying, “Let’s be realistic. It takes others, it takes colleagues, it takes supporters, it  takes mentors, it takes partnership for us to achieve those goals….thank you to all of you Amujae  leaders for helping to bring about a wave of emerging African women leaders.” 

The Forum was an opportunity for Amujae Leaders to refine their skills as accomplished women  leaders, learn from one another, and exchange insights from their individual leadership journeys.  The Forum was an important moment for self-reflection and development for many of the  Amujae Leaders, as many have their sights set on running for public office in various elections  taking place throughout 2024. Tailor-made sessions for Amujae Leaders running election  campaigns provided them with not only the tools to run successful campaigns, but also the  confidence to lead a team, develop a coherent message, and listen to people’s concerns with  empathy. 

H.E. President Paul Kagame addressed the Forum and discussed the means by which African  nations can achieve gender equality in public leadership. Moderated by BinaiferNowrojee, the  incoming President of the Open Society Foundations, the intimate conversation was an  opportunity for Amujae Leaders to ask President Kagame how Rwanda achieved the world’s  leading representation of women in its parliament.  

Speaking to attendees, President Kagame said, “When we started this process of rebuilding, the  thing we discovered we had to do was to change the thinking of our own people,” when speaking  of the need to advance women’s leadership and representation in the country. President  Kagame reiterated the change that had to be put in place in order for Rwanda to succeed in its  mission of supporting women in public life. 

The Amujae High-Level Leadership Forum is a milestone moment in the EJS Center’s  programming—it provides a space for Amujae Leaders to network with one another, engage with  the EJS Center, and meet with high-level officials and organizations to advance their own  leadership journeys. Speaking of the importance of women’s leadership, H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde addressed the Forum via a recorded message on the final day, stating, “We cannot just sit down  and watch. One of the critical measures is to bring more women in public leadership in Africa,  including at the highest level.” 

The Amujae Initiative supports women in public leadership across Africa who have proven their  dedication to their communities and to uplifting fellow women. It is the only initiative in the world  specifically designed to support accomplished African women leaders to advance in their public  leadership journeys. For further information on the various Amujae Leader cohorts and the  initiative itself, visit the website.  

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