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George M. Weah
George Weah was born on this date in 1966. Weah is a Black Liberian politician and former football forward.
George Manneh Weah is from the Clara Town slum of Monrovia in Liberia. His father abandoned him at the age of 3. His mother couldn’t afford to care for her family and left her children with their grandmother. Weah considers her his personal heroine.
Growing up poor, he played soccer on unpaved, dusty, rocky neighborhood patches of land. He used his sports talents to win athletic scholarships for his education. As he grew older, he played for many big soccer clubs in Liberia (Young Survivor, Bong Range, Mighty Barolle, and others).
Weah stayed focused on his education while playing. He also worked part-time with the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation as a switchboard technician. His athletic talents moved him to Cameroon, where Arsene Wenger spotted him, then team manager of a Monaco team. He lived in Milan from 1995 to 2000, where he won the World, European, and African Footballer of the Year awards. Weah was named world best for 1995, becoming the only black African player to win the award. Pelé named Weah one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
Nelson Mandela nicknamed him “African Pride”; he earned an Eagle Award, a Nobel-style award for Black international achievers, for his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 2004.
In mid-November 2004, Weah ran in the October 2005 presidential election. He received a hero's welcome upon his arrival in Monrovia in late November, was widely considered a favorite in the election, and was the candidate for the Congress for Democratic Change. He won the most votes of any candidate in the first ballot on October 11, 2005, but did not secure the required overall majority. A run-off vote took place on 8 November, pitting Weah against former World Bank employee and finance minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who won the vote and is now the first elected female president in Africa.
Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY Awards, he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts. He has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role which he has suspended while he pursued a political career.
Liberia was emerging from more than 20 years of civil war. An interim government ran it under the watchful eye of 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers. Weah did not win the election. In the 2011 election, he ran unsuccessfully for Vice President alongside Winston Tubman. Weah was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections.
Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, and sworn in on January 22, 2018. On 21 February 2018, Weah made his first official visit outside Africa to France, meeting French President Emmanuel Macron. The meeting focused on improving the relationship between France and Liberia and also sought French help for a sports development project in Africa.