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International Colloquium in Liberia demonstrates the benefits of women in leadership for peace, security and development

© UNICEF/Liberia/2009/Gordon
President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade. Women from around the world and from all over Liberia gathered for an International Colloquium on March 7-8. The conference was facilitated by Finland and Liberia.

Nearly 1000 women leaders and delegates from around the world gathered in Monrovia, Liberia on March 7 and 8 for an International Women’s Colloquium to discuss issues facing women in the developed and developing world and to showcase how much progress Liberia has made just a few short years after the end of nearly two decades of civil war.

Dignitaries in attendance included Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Finland Tarja Halonen, President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade, Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. The UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson was also in attendance.

Young delegates had the opportunity to play a role in the forum as well. A group of girls from each of Liberia’s counties greeted guests in local dialects.

Another group of young Liberians put on a skit where they pretended to be famous black women leaders from throughout history and addressed President Johnson as, “Ellen my child,” giving her words of wisdom and encouragement.

During keynote speeches, President Johnson emphasized the challenges Liberia has already faced and subsequently overcome as well as the distance it still must travel to improve standards of living for all of its citizens. 

President Halonen discussed how climate change will affect women and the importance of developed countries paring with those in the developing world to create partnerships for progress.

Plenary sessions and thematic sessions discussed issues of peace, security, education, empowerment, leadership and other topics.

Additionally, the youth voice played an important role in the Colloquium. During the Youth Forum that took place the previous day, several recommendations were drafted for presentation at the general Colloquium.  The recommendations were heard and taken into consideration when the final Colloquium reports were discussed on Sunday afternoon.

This conference was the biggest gathering of international guests and dignitaries in Liberia since the 1979 Organization of African Unity conference that took place in Monrovia.

For more information, please contact:
Louis Vigneault
UNICEF Liberia
Email:, Tel: +231 (0)6-923-174



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