- NAME: Janet Jagan
- OCCUPATION: Activist, Nurse, World Leader, Prime Minister
- BIRTH DATE: October 20, 1920
- DEATH DATE: March 28, 2009
- EDUCATION: Wayne State University, Cook County Nursing School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- PLACE OF DEATH: Georgetown, Guyana
- Maiden Name: Janet Rosenberg
- AKA: Janet Jagan
Best Known For
Janet Jagan co-founded the People's Progressive Party. She was the first woman to become prime minister of Guyana and was also Guyana’s first female president.
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Janet became the minister of home affairs in 1963, but she gave up the post in protest a year later. In 1966, Guyana achieved independence from Great Britain, but in the following years, there were concerns about the fairness of elections held in the country. Jagan served on an election committee in 1967 and complained about the possible rigging of elections. Around the same time,
Jagan became an official citizen of Guyana. She had lost her U.S. citizenship in the 1940s due to her Marxist beliefs.
In the early 1970s, Janet Jagan became editor of the Mirror newspaper, which was published by the PPP. She also co-founded the Union of Guyanese Journalists around the same time. Always committed to public service, Jagan became an opposition member of Parliament in 1973, and was re-elected to her post in 1980 and 1985.
Guyana held its first truly free elections in almost three decades in 1992. As a result, Cheddi Jagan became the country's new executive president. As first lady of Guyana, Janet Jagan held several special positions. She spent several months as the country's ambassador to the United Nations in 1993, and chaired the National Commission on the Rights of the Child.
After her husband's death in March 1997, Janet Jagan became the country's first female prime minister and first vice president. She also became the PPP's candidate for the elections, which were held in December 1997. After winning the election, Jagan became the first female president of Guyana. That same year, she won the Gandhi Gold Medal for Peace, Democracy and Women's Rights from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. While she was forced to resign in 1999 for health reasons, Jagan remained an active member of the PPP for nearly another decade thereafter.
Jagan wrote several children's books in her later years, including Dog Who Loved Flowers (2000), Alligator Ferry Service and Other Stories from Guyana (2001) and Lure of the Mermaid and Other Children??s Stories (2002). She also contributed articles to the Mirror newspaper.
Jagan had two children, Cheddi Jr. and Nadira, and five grandchildren. She died on March 28, 2009, in Georgetown, Guyana.
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