First Female President of Liberia Receives International Women’s Leadership Award
Opportunity International Honors President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Oak Brook, Ill., (Sept. 24, 2008) — Opportunity International paid homage to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and Africa’s first elected female head of state, at a special awards ceremony hosted by the organization’s Women’s Opportunity Network at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York today. The International Women’s Leadership Award recognized President Sirleaf for her distinguished career over four decades of fighting for freedom, justice and equality both in the private and public domain of Liberia and internationally.
“President Sirleaf has provided outstanding leadership in the rebuilding of her nation, which has revived hope and increased stability in Liberia,” said Christopher A. Crane, president & CEO, Opportunity International. “The Women’s Opportunity Network recognizes the potential of women to make a difference –as leaders, clients, donors, supporters and mentors. Today, we honor President Sirleaf, a woman who is making a dramatic impact in her country and on her continent, and whose personal story of perseverance and leadership serves as an inspiration for women around the world.”
Speakers at the leadership awards ceremony included: Crane; A.T. Tshibaka, board of directors, Opportunity International, and retired senior executive, Citibank and Lloyds TSB Bank of London; Liesel Pritzker, philanthropist and founder of Young Ambassadors of Opportunity; and Dina Powell, managing director, global head of corporate engagement, Goldman Sachs.
“Opportunity International has brought women philanthropists and women business leaders together to hear firsthand about President Sirleaf’s accomplishments and to learn more about the needs of women and children in Liberia and other African countries,” said Ruth-Anne Renaud, vice president, women’s philanthropy, Opportunity International. “We are also showcasing the proven impact that microfinance loans can have to transform the lives of poor women in developing countries. Stories of real women who represent our 1 million clients demonstrate the tangible change that can be achieved through microfinance, and motivate people to get involved in Opportunity’s mission to end global poverty faster. Our experience is that when women hear these stories, they do whatever they can to help their poor sisters across the world.”
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit http://www.opportunity.org or join the conversation at http://facebook.com/opportunityintl and http://twitter.com/opportunityintl.
About the Women’s Opportunity Network
The Women’s Opportunity Network (WON) is a powerful network of women supporters and staff committed to helping Opportunity International end global poverty faster. The mission of WON is to invest in the lives of women around the world, giving them access to financial services and training that transform their lives, their children’s lives and their communities. WON is committed to unleashing the potential of women around the world to make a difference --as leaders, clients, donors, supporters and mentors.