Book Talk, Part II: “Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”

From inspiring young women leaders to forging relationships with the hardest hitters on the international stage, how will Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s legacy live on?


On this week’s second episode of The E.R., David Rothkopf continues the conversation with New York Times Pentagon correspondent Helene Cooper about her latest book, Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Taking a broader look at the role of women in politics, Cooper shares her takeaways and observations from writing about Liberia’s first female president and how she thinks Sirleaf’s legacy will shape African politics.

For centuries, women have been the building blocks of African society — from taking care of children and family to providing an income and ensuring that clean water and food is on the table. But it is only just recently that women have realized that they can take their hard work to the hard business of politics — with the goal of creating positive social change. Will the legacy of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and this groundswell of women moving into politics change the landscape for future generations?

The conversation then shifts to the sudden sweep of nationalism across many countries — and the repercussions. Will these national turns inward leave Liberia and other African countries out to dry with no foreign aid assistance?

Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. She is also the author of the newly released book, Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Follow her on Twitter at: @helenecooper.

David Rothkopf is the CEO and editor of the FP Group. Follow him on Twitter at: @djrothkopf.

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