Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the first woman and the fifth President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018.
She began her career at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education. She later joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she began her long diplomatic career in 1988. She served as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Senegal with accreditation to Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mali; Ambassador to Djibouti and as Permanent Representative (PR) to IGAD for ten years; Ambassador to France with accreditation to Morocco and Tunisia and PR to UNESCO; and after her return to Ethiopia, PR to the AU and Director-General for African Affairs.
President Sahle-Work joined the UN in 2009 and served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic.
In 2011, she was appointed as the first dedicated Director-General of the UN Office at Nairobi at the level of Under-Secretary-General. In June 2018, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed her as his Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UN Office to the AU. She was the first woman to hold these positions at the UN.