Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai to Speak at Boston University

Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 |

(Boston) – Dr. Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her work to reverse African deforestation, will speak at Boston University on Wednesday, March 22, 6:00 p.m. at the Metcalf Trustee Center, One Sherborn Street, Boston.

Dr. Maathai established the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977 as a grassroots, non-governmental organization focused on environmental conservation, community development and capacity building. Its mission is to create a society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their environment and a greener, cleaner Kenya.

The GBM has used tree planting to realize its vision and mission across Kenya. While this has been the focal activity, GBM programs have expanded to include projects in civic education, advocacy, food security, greenbelt eco-safaris, and women and change. The movement has been responsible for planting more than 30 million trees on farms and in school and church compounds and empowering communities to enhance their quality of life.

“Boston University is honored to host Dr. Maathai,” said Boston University Provost David Campbell. “Her efforts to bring environmental awareness and change to the people of Kenya are a testament to how one voice can unite millions, and her message of preservation and conflict resolution can educate us all.”

Through her leadership in solving local challenges, Dr. Maathai has become a major political figure in Kenya. In 2002 she was elected to the country’s parliament and appointed by President Mwai Kibabi as Assistant Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife the following year.

Dr. Maathai obtained a B.S. in Biology from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi before obtaining her Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of Nairobi. Maathai was active in the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) from 1976 to 1987 and served as its chairperson from 1981 to 1987. It was in 1976, while serving in the NCWK, that she introduced the idea of tree planting to help women improve their environment, communities, and lives.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU contains 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

Event: “Preserving the Planet, Preventing Conflict,” featuring Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner

Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Place: The Metcalf Trustee Center
One Sherborn Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA

Note to editors: Event is by invitation only, but open to interested media