Dr. Wangari Maathai

Recognition Year: 
2007

Empowerment and the Escape from Poverty
Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 7 pm

The first woman from Africa to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Wangari Maathai has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to empower peasant farmers, create a sustainable environment, promote democratic values, and establish a more equitable balance of power between women and men in her native Kenya.The Green Belt Movement, a grassroots nongovernmental organization pioneered by Dr. Maathai in 1976, has worked with local communities to establish over 6,000 tree nurseries and plant more than 30 million trees. In December 2002, with 98% of the vote in Kenya’s first free and fair election in decades, Dr. Maathai was elected to Kenya’s Parliament. She was subsequently appointed by Kenya’s president as Assistant Minister for the Environment.