H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was presented with the 2006 Gold Mercury Peace & Security Award for her efforts to achieve stability in Liberia. Mrs Johnson Sirleaf has worked tirelessly both locally and internationally for the past four decades, led by the desire for a free market system in Liberia and the ability to present the country as a model for African development. Upon winning the 2005 presidential election, she became the first democratically elected female Head of State in Africa. However with this role Mrs Johnson Sirleaf inherited the extensive task of rebuilding Liberia following fourteen years of civil war and destruction. She embarked on this transition by encouraging Liberians to reconcile their differences and work together to rebuild a new, unified Liberia. During her first presidential term, she launched a strong effort to prevent a regression into civil war by restructuring the economy and reforming existing governing practices. Through her strength and determination she has been able to ensure her country is on the path to peace, growth and development.