Jeanne Martin Cisse: Guinean diplomat
Jeanne Martin Cisse was a Guinean diplomat who was the first woman appointed as a permanent representative to the United Nations.
Jeanne Martin Cisse was born on April 6, 1926, in Kankan, Guinea, as the eldest of seven children. Her father, Darricau Martin Cisse, was an employee for the French colonial administration, and her mother, Damaye Soumah, was a midwife.
Cisse began her career as a teacher in 1945. In 1946, she married Mohamed Camara, a police inspector. He died in a car accident the same year. Cisse was three months pregnant during that time. In 1948, she married Ansoumane Touré, one of the founders of the Guinea Democratic Party.
Cisse served as a school director from 1954 to 1958. In 1959, she became a member of the Democratic Party and worked in the Federal Office of the Kinda region. In the same year, she was the delegate to the West African Women’s Union congress in Bamako. Cisse also served as the Secretary General of the Pan African Organisation from 1962 to 1972.
Daughter of the Milo, Martin Cisse’s biography was released in 2008.
Cisse also became the first woman vice president of the National Assembly of Guinea. In 1972, she became the first woman to be appointed a permanent representative to the United Nations. She was also the first woman to chair the UN Security Council. She was also elected to chair the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid. Cisse was awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1975 for dedicating her life to improving the conditions of African women.
Cisse returned to Guinea in 1976 at the request of President Toure. He appointed her as Minister of Social Affairs and a member of the Democratic Party of Guinea Politburo. She served as Minister from 1976 to 1984. After Toure died in 1984, Cisse was arrested along with other politicians. She was released after 13 months and acquitted of charges. Cisse left Guinea in 1985, moving first to Senegal and then to the United States. In 1988, she joined the International Committee of Solidarity for Women and Children in Southern Africa.
Daughter of the Milo, Martin Cisse’s biography was released in 2008. In 2014, South African President Jacob Zuma awarded Cisse Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo for her “excellent contribution in denouncing apartheid on the world stage of the United Nations and her stand against injustices that were happening in South Africa during apartheid.”
Martin Cisse died on February 21, 2017.