Liberia: Ruth Sando Perry

As a mother, I consider the children and their future my biggest priority.

— Ruth Sando Perry

Ruth Sando Perry (born 1939) was a lecturer at the University of Liberia before settling in Monrovia where she worked in a bank and created the NGO Peace Now. As the first female Head of State and Chairperson, Council of State of the Liberia National Transitional Government, Ruth Sando Perry presided over the disarmament of the warring parties in Liberia, repatriated and resettled refugees and displaced people, and conducted internationally acclaimed free and fair democratic elections.

The month of August 1996 was a historic moment when, for the first time, a woman was elected unanimously over two male contestants as leader of an African government by the authorities of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Ruth Sando Perry had a very difficult mandate to execute, but she succeed where many failed and established the first peace framework in seven years and guided the country to democratic elections. She is gifted with the traditional capacity to direct and, with a great degree of patience, wisdom and faith in God, she faced the trials imposed by conflict resolution. Her efforts brought about the installation of a peaceful environment: she insisted on disarmament and the repatriation of refugees. As head of state, she worked also on the problem of child soldiers. On this last issue she contextualized where exactly in Liberia large numbers of children were being used as soldiers. Her coming to political power gave rise to great hope throughout the country. Ruth Sando Perry encouraged many groups of women to participate actively in politics. Today, she continues to educate people of developing countries with the intention of increasing awareness on the problems of peace, gender, and security. Madam Ruth Sando Perry is the second Balfour African President in Residence at Boston University's African Presidential Archives and Research Center.

Peace Now Perry Center