Clyburn Commends President Johnson-Sirleaf on Nobel Peace Prize

Oct 7, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement today on Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf receiving the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni opposition leader Tawakkul Karman:

“Upon hearing of her selection for the Nobel Peace Prize, I am reminded of President Johnson-Sirleaf’s remarks to the U.S. Congress about her beloved Liberia following her historic election: ‘We will strive to be America's success story in Africa, demonstrating the potential in the transformation from war to peace.’  America and Liberia have been inextricably linked since the U.S. helped to establish the African nation in 1819.  That relationship was tested during the Liberian civil war, but President Johnson-Sirleaf’s election renewed our friendship, and I was pleased to lead the effort in Congress to provide U.S. aid to rebuild the Liberian infrastructure destroyed by war and neglect.   I have seen first-hand the strides President Johnson-Sirleaf has made in transforming the country and was honored to make the trip to Liberia with a Congressional delegation in 2006, which would not have been possible for security reasons prior to her time in office.  Liberia is an emerging success story, and its bright future can be attributed to the extraordinary leadership and determination of its first female president. 

“Peace has been the President’s ultimate mission as she has broken barriers and led her war-torn country with passion and compassion.  This Harvard-educated, well-respected economist has demonstrated that women can be leaders and visionaries in a part of the world where many countries don’t allow women to participate in government. She has shown us all that democracy can survive and thrive in the face of opposition who seek chaos. 

“When she visited my district this year, President Johnson-Sirleaf took great pride in reporting that Liberian youth now ‘do not know a gun and do not have to run,’ which is a reminder to us all not to take for granted the blessing of peace. President Johnson-Sirleaf has returned that blessing of peace to a new generation of Liberians, and I can think of no one more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.”