Ahmed Sirleaf Receives Prestigious Award

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Mr. Ahmed K. Sirleaf II, a 2005 College of Liberal Arts graduate of Hamline University, has received the University Alumni’s First Decade Outstanding Achievement Award. The Award was presented to Sirleaf during the University’s Alumni weekend at the College of Liberal Arts Alumni/Faculty Awards Brunch on Saturday, October 3.

Sirleaf, who was not present to receive the award because of pressing work commitments at USAID Liberia office in Monrovia, was represented by his 14-year old daughter, Hawah Jasmine. Hawah delivered a message calling on Hamline University to invest in people like her father.

“I encourage Hamline to continue investing in the lives of less privileged, but talented students like my father. As a refugee who fled a civil war in order to build a strong future for our family and the global community, he pursued his education,” Hawah told Hamline officials. She said she realized her father was doing good work when she visited him in Monrovia last year.

“When I visited my father in Liberia just before the recent Ebola Emergency, from what I saw and heard, I realized that he was doing good work and important work for children like me,” Hawah said.

Ahmed Sirleaf is someone who provides leadership across the board. He works as the Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Advisor at the USAID Liberia Mission. “I enjoy the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives while promoting human and economic development,” Sirleaf told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview yesterday.

Prior to joining the world of international development, Sirleaf worked for over six years as an international justice program associate at The Advocates for Human Rights, a Minneapolis based international rights group. Before then, he worked for four years as a workplace dispute settlement officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, having served as a Deputy Ombudsperson at the Bank.

An award winning human rights, democracy, and social justice advocate, Sirleaf received The University of St. Thomas School of Law Human Rights Award for his work in 2008. In 2010, he was honoured by the Twin Cities’ African immigrant community for his public service when he was awarded the MShale African Community Leadership Award.

In 2010, Sirleaf was awarded the Thomas H. Swain Public Leadership Fellowship to study at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. At the Humphrey School, he explored the relationship between leadership and public policy.

Sirleaf graduated in 2011 with his MPA in Public Leadership and International Policy Analysis. During his graduation, the University honoured him with the Art Naftalin Public Service Award for both his local and international public service.

Prior to taking a job with the U.S. Government to serve in Africa, Sirleaf often volunteered his services and expertise for various local and national organizations and causes.

At Hamline, he co-founded the Hamline African Student Association (HASA), which has become a prominent student organization on campus. Presently in Monrovia, he volunteers his time as a lecturer at the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia.

“It is all about sacrifices and inconveniences to oneself in order to bring peace, harmony, unity, cultural understanding and economic advancement of one’s community,” he told the Daily Observer.

In an article on his work with the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), The New York Times described him for his ability to respond to difficult questions with “nimble good humour.”

Sirleaf holds an MA in International Law and the Settlement of Dispute from the United Nations mandated University for Peace, an MPA from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He graduated with his BA in Legal Studies from Hamline in 2005.

This award goes to a degree alumna/alumnus of the college who has done extraordinary work in his/her field or volunteer activities within the first 10 years after graduation. Each year, the CLA Alumni Association selects award winners to join an exclusive group, exemplifying the outstanding leadership, service, and achievements that distinguish Hamline University alumni.

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