Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the fifth President and first woman President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018.

The President began her long diplomatic career as Ambassador to Senegal with accreditation to Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and the Gambia. She served as Ambassador in Djibouti and as Permanent Representative to the IGAD for 10 years. She was subsequently appointed as Ambassador of Ethiopia to France, Tunisia and Morocco and Permanent Representative to UNESCO.

After her return to Ethiopia, she was appointed Permanent Representative to the African Union and Director General for African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. President Sahle-Work Zewde joined the UN in 2009 and served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic thus becoming the first African woman to become an SRSG.

In 2011, she was appointed as the first dedicated Director-General of the UN Office in Nairobi at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

In June 2018, she was appointed by Secretary General Antonio Guterres as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the UN Office to the African Union becoming the first woman to hold these positions.