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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Has Ties To IU

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was one of three recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Since 2008 Indiana University has been working with Sirleaf’s government to improve education in Liberia—one of the issues she was recognized for when she received the Nobel Prize.

IU Associate Vice President of International Programs Charles Reafsnyder has met with the Liberian president on several occasions and says she has greatly improved the once war-torn country.

“She took it on, ran for president, was elected, and in the interim four years, four and a half years has made huge strides in relieving the international debt of Liberia, rebuilding the infrastructure, and in a reconciliation process within the country,” he says.

Johnson Sirleaf received an honorary doctorate from IU in 2008 and since then IU has been working to help rebuild University of Liberia after it was devastated by years of civil war.

“Our first visit out was to get acquainted with the university and its needs,” Reafsnyder says. “Since then we’ve begun to develop a plan for assisting the university in a number of different areas.”

Reafsynder says the university will continue to work with Liberia to improve the country’s education system.

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