Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — The first female president of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state, she was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2011. She served as Minister of Finance, and is one of three women awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Malawian President Joyce Banda — The first female president of Malawi was sworn in April 7, 2012. She served as the first female vice president, Member of Parliament and Minister of Gender, Children’s Affairs & Community Services. Since inauguration, Banda has initiated sweeping reforms, including selling the presidential jet and a fleet of 60 Mercedes limousines.

UN Deputy Secretary General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro was born, raised, and educated in Tanzania. As the current second in command at the UN, Dr. Migrio is now not only the highest ranking woman from a developing country in the UN system, but in fact the highest ranking woman in UN history. She is a leader in the causes of maternal health, HIV/AIDS, and educational development; her work benefits women, girls, and vulnerable populations across the globe.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United NationsH.E. Professor U. Joy Ogwu, served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Director General of Nigeria’s Institute of International Affairs before becoming the permanent representative in 2008. The author of several academic works, she specializes in International Relations, Political Science and Diplomatic History. Her focus on the dynamics of South-South relationships especially between Africa and Latin America has won major academic awards and distinctions.

From Around Africa, by Rubea Stouppe, AFJN Intern