contains more than 15 million travel documents from more than 120 countries. This past summer, INTERPOL assisted the Chinese government with security preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing by supplying a support team. INTERPOL’s passport and visa application screening process was used to identify stolen, lost, and fraudulent travel documents, as well as suspected terrorists and dangerous criminals during the games.
Between 2000 and 2007, Noble has presided over a 50% budget increase, to approximately $72.2 million for 2008. This year he opened a new office at the European Union in Brussels to promote closer cooperation and joint initiatives in Europe. He has also spearheaded the creation of a bio-terrorism prevention unit at the General Secretariat, and he has initiated the process of creating the INTERPOL Anti-Corruption Academy in Vienna, Austria, which will be the world’s first international institute dedicated to fighting corruption. This year, Noble was awarded the world-renowned Légion d’ Honneur—the highest decoration in France—by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
The first woman ever elected to lead an African nation in 2005, Johnson-Sirleaf, known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” has been recognized as a determined advocate for peace, justice, and democratic rule in Liberia. Early in her presidency, Johnson-Sirleaf renewed security and law enforcement agencies, returned electricity and water to Liberia’s capital city, repaired roads and bridges, resettled displaced people, rehabilitated heath clinics, and improved government accountability and transparency—all of which are a part of her agenda for economic development and ending corruption and civil war in Liberia.
Johnson-Sirleaf’s strongest asset is her past career in finance. She has experience working at Liberia’s Treasury Department; served as minister of finance; was president of Liberian Bank for Development & Investment, where she led innovations to halt mismanagment of funds; and was vice president for Equator Bank in the U.S. She has represented Liberia in several financial institutions, including the African Development Bank. Johnson-Sirleaf also directed the Regional Bureau of Africa for the United Nations Development Program from 1992–1997. Since she became president, Liberia’s GDP growth has increased to 9.4% from 6.7%. Johnson-Sirleaf also facilitated a Poverty Reduction Strategy Program to relieve Liberia from a debt of approximately $3.5 billion. Liberia has also experienced an increase in private sector investments in various areas such as natural resources, tourism, infrastructure, and the construction