Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai Dies at 71
Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died on Sunday after a long struggle with cancer. She was 71 years old. In 1977, she spearheaded the struggle against state-backed deforestation in Kenya and founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted some 45 million trees in the country. She has also been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and democratic development. She won the Right Livelihood Award in 1984. Twenty years later, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Wangari Maathai: “I would like to say this: if the more than 4,000 scientists who have been working on this issue are wrong, this is one issue that we cannot experiment with. We cannot wait until the seas rise, the rivers dry up, and our people are dying and migrating and running away. We cannot wait to see more fires, such as we are seeing in California, erratic fires. We cannot wait to see the kind of floods that we see in Bangladesh, that we see in West Africa. We are already seeing islands that are literally drowning. So, let us not experiment with our lives and that of our children.”
Excerpts from Nobel Peace Prize winner and Green Belt Movement Founder Wangari Maathais keynote address at the ESRI International User Conference in 2007. For additional information, visit ESRI.
1st African Woman to Win Nobel Peace Prize Dies
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Related Topic: A look at the women who won the Nobel Peace Prize
The first was an Austrian lady, Bertha von Suttner, her name. She got the prize in 1905 for starting the European peace movements. Second was an American, Jane Addams, who founded the Hull House in Chicago or the settlement movement. The third woman, an American, in 1946, her name was Emily Greene Balch, a teacher who advised more than seven presidents and was one of the founders of the United Nations Declaration. Then, the next in the line is two mothers from Ireland called Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. They got the prize in 1977 for the Irish peace movement to end the war in Ireland. Next on the list is Mother Teresa, well known as the one, the nun, the Christian nun from Albania, born, who started to work with the people nobody wanted even to touch in India. The next one is Alva Myrdal, who was a Swedish sociologist and politician. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982, and was one of the main driving forces in the creation of the Swedish welfare state. Next on the list is Aung San Suu Kyi, who got the prize in 1991, who won democracy now through elections in Burma but never became prime minister. Instead, she was sentenced to house arrest. And the next on the line is the lady from Guatemala. Her name is Rigoberta Menchu. She got the prize in 1994 for her fight for the rights of the indigenous people of Guatemala. Then there’s again an American named Jody Williams, who got the prize in 1997. She’s the one who started the anti-landmine campaign. And there is a lady from Iran. Her name is Shirin Ebadi, who got the prize in 2003. She’s a lawyer and went to the prisons to fight for people who have no rights in Iran. And the last one is called Mama Miti, Mother of the Trees, Wangari Maathai. She got the prize in 2004 as the Kenyan minister.