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After 12 years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stepped down as president, and former football star George Weah was inaugurated.In 2005, when Sirleaf was elected president, Liberia was a shambles, following 25 years of civil war and dictatorship. Few predicted that Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically elected female head of state, could set her country on a better path. Perhaps Sirleaf's defining legacy will be the improved rights of Liberian women and girls. Female voters powered Sirleaf to victory; the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement, which helped end Liberia's second civil war in 2003, was among her strongest political backers. Sirleaf, along with another Liberian, Leymah Gbowee, and a Yemeni, Tawakkol Karman, was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize largely for her work in this field.Sirleaf's leadership served as a catalyst for a more stable, prosperous and freer Liberia.Lastly, like Sirleaf, Weah's government must embrace coalition building and engagement at local, regional, and global levels.
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